Have you ever played the game with your friends where someone picks out a snack for someone else based on their personality? Like Sour Patch Kids because first they were sour, but then they’re sweet. Or maybe a Tootsie Pop because it took some work to really get to know them deep down.
I think people are like candy.
When we were younger, my siblings and I we were taught to love all types of candy.I think as children we all were. It didn’t matter what kind, we craved it and we would enjoy it in any form. On a stick, in a tube, in the shape of a baby’s bottle or being flung out of a mutilated colorful animal hanging from the ceiling. We loved that shit! Then as we got older we began to get more selective and form opinions.
I loved Reece’s peanut butter cups and despised Mounds and Almond Joys. I still don’t care what anyone has to say, they are the same horrible candy just with a different name and equally as gross.
I love peeps (unpopular opinion, I know) and I hate gum. Hate it. With a passion. The taste. The texture. THE. SOUND. Like the taste of betrayal by someone I thought was my best friend. Or the texture of the knife being twisted in my back by someone I trusted enough to pour my deepest secrets into. Or the sound of my ex-boyfriend lying to me about countless other girls.
I don’t enjoy gum because I’ve had horrible experiences with it. No matter where I was or what I was doing, the gum would find me and try to destroy me.
It would get in my hair. How?
It would stick to my knee. Again, how?
Listening to someone chomping away on the slimy thing while trying to concentrate on the math portion of the SAT drove me absolutely mad to the point that I didn’t finish.
So gum is triggering to me. It makes me sad. Therefore, I stay away from gum.
One day in the future, could I learn to like gum? Yeah, maybe. I’m not ruling anything out and people can absolutely change. Maybe one day I will learn to love gum, but right now, I will keep a healthy distance.
Some candy is exactly what it is selling. When you get a Hershey bar you know you are getting a smooth, chocolatey, milky, rich bar of heaven right of the bat. The wrapper is straightforward and you can trust it. Some other candy wrappers are deceiving. You think that you are about to indulge in a delicious magical truffle filled with ribbons of caramel but actually it’s the strawberry cream one or better yet, the gross one with a cherry in it. It is terribly misleading. Dots: Cute packaging. It’s colorful. It seems fun. Reality: It tastes like nothing and gets stuck in your teeth for days. But we don’t realize any of this until we try it.
Kind of like people.
We go through life trying so many types of candy, meeting tons of different people who come from different walks of life. There’s no way we are going to like every piece of candy or click with every single person. Based on our tastes (and our allergies), there are some we are going to like, some we aren’t, some that cause us harm, some that we will grow out of and some we learn to love. Some are bitter and some are sweet and I think that’s okay.
If I don’t enjoy gum, I’m not going to have any in my candy bowl right now. Maybe I‘ll throw in a few later on to try to learn to like them, but for now, if they don’t make me smile or challenge me to be a better me, I’ll keep them out of the bowl. It’s all trial and error. My goal is to introduce myself to as many types of candy as I can, and although I’ll be cautious, I will try not to judge them by their wrappers. Because that’s all I can do. Try.
I asked a friend to bring me a snack that reminded her of me to a movie once. She brought me chocolate covered pretzels.
What the hell does that mean?
My favorite holiday has always been Halloween. When picking out or making pieces for a costume, getting dolled up in said costume, and transforming into someone entirely new, my confidence, self-love, and tenacity soar. The last few Halloweens have been a blast; I’ve killed with my renditions of Poison Ivy, Eleven, Zelda, and Margot Tenenbaum. Last year, a man I dated revealed the wonderful experiences Los Angeles’ spooky season has to offer. I am so grateful for him showing me Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, haunted mazes (being from the midwest, I never knew those were a thing!), and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas at the Hollywood Bowl. These experiences sparked something wonderful inside me and gave me confidence regarding my favorite holiday during the upcoming years in the great city of Los Angeles to come.
When I was in sixth grade, Catwoman starring Halle Berry came out. After watching her inspiring performance in a not-so-amazing movie, I found pleasure in pretending to be the badass antihero. I accumulated and hid a black leather skirt, a vest, and a toy whip under my mattress all summer. I spent those summer days secretly dressed as Catwoman, prepping for Halloween in the fall. It was the first time I showed self expression by going out of my way to find clothing and items to craft into a costume; it was the first time I felt so confident in something I created. When my mom found the leather and whip, she became furious. I think that Halloween I ended up in my room crying because she told me sixth graders were too old to go out and trick or treat. My spirit shrank.
In high school, no one dressed up for the holiday. It wasn’t cool unless you were at a party. Even then, there were unspoken rules. When I was sixteen, I showed up to one of these parties wearing footie pajamas and a giant, decorated cardboard box. I was a “Jackie in the Box.” I felt clever, funny, unique, completely in my element, and totally myself. To this day, I’m still proud of that creation. When I arrived, my fellow peers gave me indescribable looks. That was the second time I felt insecure about attire I worked extremely hard on. Initially being incredibly confident and happy with my choice, it came as a shock when comments were made. I looked unlike others and truly felt like an outsider. That evening I realized the only costumes high school girls were supposed to wear were sexy _______ (insert animals, superheroes, witches, nurses, etc.).
During the last seven months, there were several times I felt my confidence drop like it did those previous Halloween nights. At times, we all try on costumes we are never meant to wear. When you put something on that doesn’t quite fit, it’s hard to feel confident wearing it, even if you love the idea of it or thought it looked great when you first tried it on.
The secret girlfriend did not, nor will it ever, fit me. The longer I wore this outfit, the more it came as a shock when friends, coworkers, family, and castmates verbalized their worries. Then I started looking and feeling unlike myself: I lost over twenty pounds, I obtained an ulcer, and I started to dissociate constantly. I lost myself so much that, at one point, I became suicidal. My confidence was gone; I was gone. I bent over backwards and completely busted my ass, causing me to unintentionally hurt myself, all to try to get the costume to fit a little better. No matter what I did, nothing worked. I didn’t know how to be confident in any aspect of my life while hiding something I was proud of and wanted to share with the world. I thought the secret girlfriend was the most well-fit, amazing costume of mine to date. Now that I’ve taken it off, it’s easy to see how wrong I was. And although the metaphorical outfit didn’t work for me, it left a very literal and permanent scar on the left side of my chest as I was pulling it off. Some [wardrobe] choices stay with you forever, even if you want to forget them.
It seems obvious both my ranging Halloween experiences and the last seven months consisted of a large array of emotions: happy, torn down, ecstatic, anxious, proud, unsure, passionate, sad, confident, frustrated, the life of the party, insignificant, excited, depressed, inspired, terrified, in love, obsessive, goofy, furious, euphoric, insecure, etc. During the midst of that recently difficult time, HBO’s Euphoria made a big impression in my life. One scene that stuck out to me had a high school Halloween party where a female side character shows up dressed as Bob Ross. Despite her absolutely nailing the costume, the show highlighted all the looks and comments her peers made. Even through their scrutiny, her confidence exuded. As a 26-year-old woman at one of the lowest points in her life, I realized I wanted my confidence back after watching Maude Apatow play a brave teenager draped in a Bob Ross getup. I wanted the confidence of a 16-year-old who just wants to live life uninfluenced by people’s expectations.
Now I want that more than ever. I’m struggling to love the Halloween season this year; although that costume I wore for months didn’t fit, I grew to love it. Despite all the lows, I was supposed to celebrate Halloween with someone I loved; we were going to go to haunted houses together. I wanted to share with this person all I was shown the year prior, disclose how much fun a Los Angeles Halloween could be. I no longer have that plan. Instead, I’ve decided to gain back the confidence that both my 16-year-old self and Maude Apatow’s character portrayed. I am terrifying myself with haunted houses and mazes, taking myself to the Hollywood Bowl, going to a pumpkin patch with my girlfriends, and dressing however damn well I please.
Continuing to positively move forward through the season, I started hand-picking my favorite emotions from the jumble I felt during my previous Halloweens and the last seven months, piecing together my favorite costume to date: the confident bitch. My loved ones and I all happily agree: it fits perfectly.
As for my Halloween attire? I’m going to be Bob Ross.
If you roll your eyes when someone orders a pumpkin spice latte, then fuck you, dude. Yeah, what are you gonna order, big guy? I assure you whatever you’re ordering isn’t superior to a Pumpkin Spice Latte. That beverage is delicious and it brings joy to everyone who drinks it! It’s packed with sugar and comes around once a year, so this is a special occasion for some people. I swear, if I hear another judgemental customer scoff after a pumpkin spice order, I’m gonna scream some select words into their ugly visage.
Just because something is popular doesn't mean it's bad!
For example, those Avengers movies make billions and billions of dollars and at worst they are OK. I’m thrilled to see kids loving superheroes! That was pretty niche about a decade ago, now you have kids knowing what a “Thanos” is. Spongebob Squarepants memes are all over my Twitter and Facebook timeline, but just because it’s oversaturated doesn’t mean the core material has less value.
Of course, you’ll always have someone taking their passion too far. Things like following actors to their home or harming yourself in the name of your passion are obviously not okay. Don’t be a celebrity stalker or “Cut Yourself for Zayn”.
Now, I’m not a Pumpkin Spice man myself. Usually I order a black coffee because I’m trying to lose weight, but I think this is indicative of a bigger problem in our society.
People are too judgmental. Yes, I know that statement in itself is judgmental, but hear me out.
Everyone seems to want to be on the moral high ground to the point where they are determined to ruin other people’s career by digging through their tweets. I’m not saying we shouldn’t hold people accountable, but we shouldn’t totally disregard emotional growth and maturity. Some people are so desperate to feel superior to others that they criticize their caffeine choices! I believe at this point, we should take a step back and really think about what actions are worth judging. I understand there’s a lotta tension, but ask yourself, “Is this worth my energy?”
The world definitely isn’t perfect, but there’s definitely more healthy ways to vent your frustrations than shouting at people on social media.
And this is from a guy who loves being right. My job is mostly quality control which is telling people this product is too wrong and not enough right.
But you have to choose your battles. Don’t argue with that guy with a different political view than you online. You aren’t gonna change his or her mind. TRUST ME!!! You aren’t gonna convince people that Maroon 5 aren’t sellout garbage (I recommend a healthy dose of Ben Folds instead). And you definitely aren’t gonna shame someone into picking out a different coffee product.
Have a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Have a shot of espresso.
Get a Venti.
I’m gonna enjoy a cup of black coffee.
Get whatever you want.
"Darker than a moonless night. Hotter and more bitter than hell itself, that is coffee." -Godot from Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, 2004
Looking out the window, you can see the air changing. The crisp autumn air is blowing through the leaves of the trees, dragging down several leaves to the cool ground. The rain makes the pavement sparkle, with the colored trees reflected in the water. The breeze blowing your hair in your face calls for scarves and sweaters, boots and jeans. You start wearing your hair down to keep your ears warm and to pull your look all together. Your cheeks turn rosy and your eyes water a little from the cool wind, but the smile on your face welcomes the weather with joy.
The nearby farm turns from a fun playground to an apple orchard and pumpkin patch and the weekends bring the haunted barn and corn maze. You pick out your pumpkin for carving, some apples for baking and maybe some decorative gourds for the front steps. The decorations that have been packed away get placed all over your front yard, which you had to rake earlier to get the fallen leaves into the pumpkin colored trash bags. Before you put them in the bag, you had to jump in them a few times, take a few pictures laying in the pile of leaves.
The comfort foods you eat change from ice cream to homemade apple crisp and scotcheroos. The candy corn at the store sits stale while you grab the bags of candy to hand out to the children come the end of the month. Some like to dress up in scary costumes for the children, others like to wear their own favorite character, but very few don’t dress up at all. Not because they don’t believe in it, but simply so they can tell the kids how wonderful their costume is without expecting them to say something about theirs.
Pumpkin Spice Lattes are in many women’s hands, while I usually go for a salted caramel mocha because it mixes the fall with what comes after Halloween, Christmas time. The hot chocolate flavor sits on your tongue and you smile warmly, knowing the hot drinks will keep you warm come the freezing weather in a few months. You hold the cup with both hands and pull your shoulders up to your ears in delight with that first sip of what tastes like fall.
After work, you curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and some soup, turning on your favorite spooky time movie. The windows are open and you can smell the wet leaves through the breeze that comes through the window. The fresh apple pie you made is baking in the oven, filling the house with the smell of fall. You listen to the rain hit the leaves outside the window as you fall asleep that night, the natural ambiance so soothing in your ears.
Fall is the one season that I miss seeing since moving to California. I would take drives out of town to find the biggest forested area and see the orange, yellow, red and purple trees. For me, there wasn’t any point in taking pictures, I just sat and admired the beauty that was there in front of me. There isn’t much of that here in LA, but I make sure to find it somewhere whenever I can. Fall is my favorite season and October is my favorite month in Iowa. Someday I’ll get married in October, keeping the scenery of the fall trees in my wedding pictures for life.
I’m not a beach girl. I don’t like wet swimsuits, finding trash in the sand, gross bathrooms. I live an hour from the beach and rarely go.
The ocean however…
I could sit and stare at forever. The waves crashing in the distance. My hair smelling like salt. The way I like to believe it makes my skin softer.
When I was 13, I saw a photo of Giant’s Causeway in Ireland in National Geographic. I’d never seen anything so strange and unique looking. These octagonal lava formations stacked and stacked upon each other in odd varying patterns. Standing in my 7th grade geography classroom, I vowed to make it there one day.
I finally made it to Ireland. I was 32, divorced, heartbroken seemingly beyond repair. Not where I thought I would be when I was 13. I rented a car and taught myself how to drive on the opposite side of the road, specifically so I could eventually get to the Causeway. I’ve done a lot of scary things in my life, but those first few hours on the road were terrifying.
Ireland is a magical place filled with the loveliest people on the planet. Everywhere you go, they want to know everything about you. Where you’re from, what you do, what have you done so far, and where are you going. Every time I mentioned the Causeway, everyone said it was disappointing, small, and not worth my time. Essentially how I had been feeling the entire trip. Nevertheless, I had a non-refundable hotel so I was going.
It took me five hours to drive up to the Causeway, far longer than I’m willing to drive to get to Santa Monica in LA. But I got to the hotel, and checked in at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Determined, I rushed to make it there before sundown. As I walked along the trail, the soothing feel of the tides began to wash over me. I turned the corner and there it was. The photo on the cover of National Geographic. It looked exactly as I imagined it.
I broke down before I even stepped foot on the Causeway. I cried for the strength that I had to make it all the way there. For the courage to dissolve my broken marriage. For all of the decisions I had made along the way that had gotten me to that very moment.
My feet felt like sand as I walked closer to what is now my favorite place in the whole world. No one else was there. It was a travel miracle. When I reached the edge, I finally felt free.
I sat in my solitude and watched the sun go down with serenade of the waves crashing in the distance. Being alone is a power that very few people can handle. That day I saw myself for who I truly am. Whole. I have never been happier in any moment in my life. I knew that 13 year old me was beaming inside.
It’s a humbling feeling to feel so small and so seen by the universe at the same time.
Beaches are lovely. But give me an ocean with depths and a jagged shoreline. This girl? She’s gonna be just fine.
Funny how 10 years can fly by. How appropriate it is to reminisce about days gone by; to look back at all the possible what-ifs.
It was the summer of 2009, and I was just in between my second and third year of community college. I was still feeling the sting of being denied my transfer to Cal Poly Pomona. It would be my first of three attempts in pursuing a potential career in Civil Engineering; I would never end up attending.
Every summer since high school, I enrolled in extra classes when I should’ve had fun and relaxed. Every summer, my skin would kiss the sun in a never-ending sweaty embrace. Every summer, I wished for something to happen to me; anything out of the ordinary for that matter. I never had time for myself for those summers, every summer living the same basic life.
I met Jessica in my chemistry lab. I initially didn’t take notice of her since my main concern was my studies and bearing with the searing summer sun. We both were paired up to experiment on the acidity of hydrochloric acids. We both were 20 years old at the time; so attempting to maintain our focus on balancing equations was about as easy as learning to play a piccolo. I can recall our casual banter ranging from the heat outside, to the death of Michael Jackson, to just getting to know what makes us tick. What we found was that we both followed the same tick.
Andy, at 20 years old, was a timid, sheltered, unconfident, anxiety filled wreck; the anxiety is still a bit there. Jessica was a near perfect match to lower then-Andy’s steel-enforced walls; she was more willing to be vulnerable. There was a healthy boundary between us; when we exchanged numbers, we would talk about academics, when we met up we would discuss our aspirations, and when class was dismissed, we made it a point to walk together out of the lab and straight to the parking garage. We kept it low key, we kept it from change, we kept it nerdy; for the first month.
We slowly began to dip our toes into our personal thoughts and opinions. When we texted, we began to slowly share funny photos and funny glimpses into our family lives. When we met up, we began to schedule times to grab food. When we would leave lab, we would lightly flirt which brought my double thinking anxiety into overdrive.
I believe this was the first instance where I began to learn how to get close to somebody. It was confirmed only when we both peered into our elongated flasks bubbling with chemicals, we leaned our bodies together against the table, shoulders touching, hips placed in sync. I blushed Mars red as I turned my head to her; her eyes laser focused to mine. Her expression was indescribable. We both were thinking the same thought: are these chemicals on the table about to explode?
It was a daunting task to fall asleep those nights. Who cares about studying for the midterm when there is a need to not fail at a potential, let’s call it, extra credit opportunity. The human mind is truly a cruel place for the imagination; so many scenarios, so many probable futures. Who is to say that any of them could possibly come true? One Friday August afternoon, I found my answer.
I realized as we continued to talk, something was off, something was missing. Let me put it to you this way: when a guy who has never felt the feeling of being wanted by a girl all his young life, his pathetic mind attempts to explain it as “I wish somebody would love me”, “why can’t I find anybody”, or “I’ll never find anybody who wants me for me”. Said-guy is desperate, he doesn’t believe in himself or that he deserves to be happy. In relationships, when you know somebody is the one, there is usually a confirming feeling, a spark if you will. In this particular instance, said-guy learned self-respect, he learned he doesn’t have to take the first treasure available to him, he learned there was no spark, despite all that has transpired.
I felt an overwhelming feeling of shame. It felt like I lead this person to believe in an idea, and an emotion. I began to distance myself from her; slowly, then gradually climbing out of the hole I created. The chemistry class eventually concluded, we both said we would continue to keep in touch. This was before the term ghosting became a huge thing, but that’s bullshit since ghosting has always been a thing.
If I want to leave you with anything, it would be on how not a day goes by that I don’t revisit the memory. If given the chance, I would probably apologize to her for what could’ve been, on the time lost and for ghosting her. What I wouldn’t apologize for is in finding myself during those days in the summer sun. I learned love is reciprocal. Love has to be shared between two people. You are worthy, you are beautiful, and you don’t have to settle for somebody who isn’t meant for you. Shoot for the stars; make mistakes because it’s how we grow. It’s how we drown out the what-ifs.
"I don’t really see anything romantic between us."
This is what her text said in April after having spent a Saturday together. Well, to be honest, I don’t remember the words exactly, and I can’t fathom going back through the mountain of texts we’ve exchanged since.
That would seem to be the end of that. We met from a dating app in January, talked occasionally through March before going out once more and then, I got that text. She said she wanted to be friends, which is what you say to soften the blow and you’re supposed to take it for what it is: a nice sentiment. I mean, how often do you keep up with people you've met from a dating app that you DIDN’T end up dating. We weren’t in any of the same social circles and we lived in different parts of town. In LA, that’s enough to separate you from someone entirely. A simple, “Happy birthday!” text two weeks later started off a text conversation that continues to this day.
At first, a lot of it was pop culture based. We had lots of thoughts to exchange about the last season of Game of Thrones, not to mention Endgame. These weren’t just casual exchanges of thought. These were chains that were fifty texts long with in depth thoughts, analyses, and speculations.
Soon the scope of the conversation expanded. I told her I needed to talk to someone on a late night drive and we had a Friday night phone call that lasted over an hour. The second, third, and fourth time it was even longer. We talked about everything from family, to school, to traveling, and more. I tried not to fall deeper into it, but I couldn’t help it. She’s the funniest person I’ve ever met and so engaging to talk to- I can and have talked to her for hours.
Like a ticking time bomb, I kept waiting for something to mark the end.
Maybe the conversation would start to bore her?
Maybe we run out of things to talk about?
Maybe one of us would meet someone and there wouldn’t need to be a conversation?
But it’s been
We texted when I went to a wedding out of state. We texted when I went to the east coast for two weeks. It may be spread out over a few hours, but it’s everyday. No matter what we both come back to it. We have had at least three more phone calls all over and hour, one over two and a half.... I don’t get it.
What we are has not come up in the past, (hang on let me count)
FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS.
Some of my friends (and my therapist) recommend having a conversation with her about
“It’s not fair to either of you to waste each others’ time!”
Any friend I explain it to can’t comprehend it.
“Why is she keeping this up if she’s not interested?”
And I shrug, because... again, I don’t know.
Phone calls that go past one in the morning, competitions against each other to write more, actual rap battles (over text) that went on for a week. I didn’t know that’s what I would have wanted out of anyone ever, but here we are. I sent her a picture of a hideous Hawaiian shirt asking if I should buy it and got thirty of the most creative insults peaking
"THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF BEING QUEER EYED. LIKE STRAIGHT
(She put it in all caps...)
Last month the two of us went to a movie together. It was the first time we had hung out since April. About time to bring up what’s going on, right? That’s what I though despite some resistance. We saw the movie and got dessert after. We talked and talked but not about us. We talked about our families, we talked about our jobs, we talked about the ridiculous names she wants to name twin boys (but I’ve been sworn to secrecy), but not about us. You can say I was scared, but it didn’t feel right to bring it up. The night ended with us going separate ways and our texting resumed as usual when I got home. So where do she and I go from here? Does this go anywhere? What is it between us? She
"I don’t see anything romantic."
How many two hour phone calls have you had with someone you met on a dating app this summer? In some sense it plagues me. This state of denial? Or limbo? Or being just friends? But more than that, she’s the person I want to talk to the most.
And right now that’s enough.
I sneezed and now it’s the Fall.
It wasn’t that long ago that I gazed upon a calendar with an imminent June, thoughts of sunshine and wildflowers swirling, when I turned to my partner and said “What if I just got shredded this summer lol”.
It’s Summer Optimism™.
We’ve all been there. We putter through the winter slog. We inch our way across spring. At the same time, our Instagram feeds gently…gradually….ever-so-subtly start increasing in saturation. The group photos start shedding layers. #BacheloretteParties start popping up like zits. Flip flops creep their way out of closets and feet creep their way out of close-toed shoes. The days grow longer, magazines start to choke on bikinis, and Summer Optimism™ kicks in.
It’s that feeling of “This is going to be the best summer of my life”. And it’s easy! All you have to do to have a great summer is to just do it. You grow nostalgic for memories you haven’t made yet. Before summer, were all just pre-skinny. Before summer, we’re hiker-adjacent. Before summer – hell, we’re not even in spring – we’re before summer. Glorious Summer Optimism™. It’s a Mean Girls world where “the limit does not exist”.
And then we sneeze. We do a giant, collective group sneeze and it’s gone. And we’re left missing what was, zooming in on our photos to ogle at our own tan lines. We don’t understand how it went so fast. We think, “shouldn’t I remember every single moment of every single day of summer because in my head it was going to be this transcendent time of year that put my hopes and dreams into a string bikini and strapped them onto a rocket and blasted it to stars? Why did it feel like…a regular 3 months?”
Because the thing we love most isn’t summer, it’s the time pre/post summer. Those 9 months of Summer Optimism™. Living in the moment is one of the hardest things on earth. While I want nothing more than to be the type of girl who can go sit on the beach, day in and day out, reading books, listening to waves, growing more and more radiantly sun-kissed…. My dark secret is that even then, I’m looking to the future. I’m already on my couch, at home, pantsless, my boyfriend and Halo Top next to me, playing The Sims.
So maybe I can’t enjoy the summer while I’m in it. Maybe none of us really can. Or maybe I’m the only one. But you know what? At least it’s always summer in The Sims.
9:30pm. Standing in what could only be described as the “Geriatric Wear” aisle of the Rite Aid
on Franklin, I held concealer in my hands.
Brand: Covergirl. Shade: Fair. The blue twist top. My most desperate necessity. Curse my
haggard, thin-skinned undereye for its perpetual darkness. I could not go a day without it. I could
sacrifice literally all other make-up tubes and tools if I had to. I could never curl my eyelashes
again. I could let my brows be the color they actually are. But not this. For the sake of looking as
I wasn’t on the cusp of literal and actual death, I needed this damn tube.
Not the highest quality of concealers, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t qualify what I do to my face in
the morning as a “regimen”. No. It is a face regime. I engage in skin warfare. The way I start to
apply my moisturizer is sick, rushing at a pace as if I’m being timed. About halfway through
application, my best friend (skin care magician, beauty guru) Ranna’s voice echoes through my
head: “Anna! Slow down! Your skin is your friend!”
What came first – the washing of my face, or the friend who told me to?
None of it matters in Rite Aid after dark. And yet some wave of rebellion washes over me. I
looked at my basket, full of beauty products I’ve purchased for years, brands and shades and
colors and things that were unattached to my identity and yet required for my presentation. I
balked at the weight of that basket. We carry the weight of femininity, the burden of
performative womanhood, and it is heavy!
So I held that concealer tight in my hands. My grip became tighter until the plastic seal burst
from the paper backing and the tube slipped out. I checked my 6:00, I checked my 12. No one
eyeing me. I slid the plastic cover into a tub of women’s slippers. I walked into the alcohol aisle
and slid the branded paper backing between two jugs of Carlo Rossi. And in a moment smoother
than any I’d had previously, the tube of concealer dropped into my purse.
No one the wiser.
I did complete the rest of my purchase of makeup goods, totaling some 87 dollars and change.
But I DID NOT pay for the tube. And that was satisfaction enough.
I’ve noticed your bizarre gestures
Upon this adventure
Into this city of angels
So please, allow me to indulge knowledge upon you
First, always be ready for the new
New hair, new shoes,
New low paying jobs, many bills overdue
Often, you must chose on what is right and what is easy
Enjoy crowded spaces to live in
No privacy, no dignity
I’m only teasing
If you find it pleasing to be with others
Who couldn’t be bothered
To care for one another
Then decipher my words carefully
You see, people prefer belonging
Appearing as widespread loving
Secondly, toughing it out through paradoxes
The things you will do
Regrets you will set
Upon this list, you’ll check off most of it I’ll bet
Prepare to run red signal lights
Keepers of angry groans
Because on one of those nights
To avoid any fights
Tardiness can be blamed on the tight work schedule
You had to pull off miracles
Maybe you couldn’t pay that extra tip to that waiter
Perhaps you had to gamble under that table
Labeling the rent as collateral
Being literal to your elongated fable
Of why you had to lose your fingers
Coming out of that sketchy bar
The one with the one eyed gangster
Who prefers to be paid on time for this troubles
You body narrowly missing being within the gravel
Such a travel in the middle of the night
Might not look right to your boss
Who you happened to tell to fuck off
When you had enough calls on your Tuesday dress code
Knowing you had a long yesterday
Sitting at your desk, defeated, saying
“I fucking HATE Mondays”
Lastly, even with all the illegal possible activity
The most of them all
Is the amount you could steal
Not from the rich who couldn’t be inched to care
But from those that do
Who always knew you
Those that were there
The ones within your heart
You decided to part ways
Always paying their dues in energy
Spirited souls only wishing for loving
You no longer phased, now plummeting farther
Don’t bother filling what might not be there
Do not steal from those treasures
Because beyond measure
The pressure will always be there
But those tears are temporary
The hear heals consistently
Knowing the sun will brighten and rise
On those darken days
As you begin your journey
I wish you the best of luck.