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.