Monday, September 16, 2013

Here you go, Taylor Swift. I wrote you some songs.

I never have an urge to write poems - and honestly, everyone is better off for that - unless....unless I have a guy problem. On the bright side, I have come to realize that the inspiration only comes when I am winding down in my distress and need one final blurt of emotion. Who knew, song writing is kind of cathartic. I wonder if any one else has ever realized that...

The latest edition to the "Woe is me" poetry collection:

Four weeks since you were nice to me
Laughed with me
Reached out for me
Made me feel
Like this was real
And we felt the same things

Week one
I didn't know
Missed you but
Couldn't show.
It might have been
All in my head
And the ache was made up on my own.

Week two
Tried to say 
'He's just a guy,
Doesn't realize
This silence makes me cry.
He'll be back and we'll be fine'
But knowing the whole while...

Week three
It hurt to think of you
I cried though I told myself
That wouldn't do
Anyone who'd make me feel this way
Wasn't worth the time of day.

Week four
I'm out of tears
Just anger when my thoughts get near
To still wishing that you'll appear
With apologies for me to hear.

I guess you think 
Not saying anything
Spares me pain and suffering.
But that's not true - 
It just spares you.

Thanks for all you put me through
To keep up the lie
You tell yourself when you think
You're still a nice guy.


2012's contribution:

The only type of love I've had is the unrequited kind
When I dreamt of my life, this wasn't what I had in mind
I knew that there'd be heartbreak
But I never thought it'd be all on one side.

Knowing the answer is 'no' but still hoping it could be 'yes'
Finding out that you'll be there and changing the way I dress.
Hope is supposed to get us through
But mine only gets me in a bigger mess.

So tired of hearing "he's out there"
"Don't look and you shall find."
"It's always when you least expect it"
And other cliche'd lines.

I'm not looking for a a fairy tale
Just someone whose story fits with mine

Friday, May 10, 2013

Reality Bites (or So I Hear)

When my grandmother passed away rather suddenly in March, I told myself that I would sit down and write a blog post about her. Even though my audience isn’t very large, I thought it would be cathartic to put some words down about her so the memories and feelings I have would be digital, and somewhat ‘ever-lasting.’

But I kept putting it off. I couldn’t get myself to sit down and write about my Bubby and what she meant to me and, most importantly, how much she taught – and is still teaching – me. And I think the reason I keep putting this blog entry off is that I kind of don’t accept the fact that she’s gone.

I’ve often tried to explain what it’s like living here in DC to other people by telling them about our delayed reality. Life in this area just is NOT like the rest of the world, or even like the world half an hour’s drive away. We work hard at relatively high-paying jobs and then we take our disposable income and play even harder. I can’t imagine that you’d find a lot of 32 year olds playing kickball on a Tuesday night in Omaha, then wandering to a bar to get plastered over a game of beer pong. While everyone here has at least two friends from ‘back home’ who got married at 24, the women I work with all get married between the ages of 30 and 36.  Then they have their first child, while our hometown pals are taking six-year-olds to recitals or soccer practice. I’ve so assimilated to the area that having a kid before turning 30 seems like such a crazy thing to do (irrespective of the fact that a lot would have to happen VERY quickly for it to be in the realm of possibility for me) and I am amazed that anyone in their early 20s could possibly take care of a baby. Because these delayed life milestones are the norm for our society, they appear to be THE norm. The DC Metro area is our own little bubble, and we only have to believe the truths that are right in front of our faces. It's everyone outside that appears skewed. We are a city of people who watch polls and don't understand their results because we aren't familiar with people who aren't exactly like us. 

Trying to come to terms with my Bubby’s death has shown me another component of this delayed reality: while my family all lives within a 4- to 75-minute drive from each other, I’m a three hour train ride away and don’t see anyone with real frequency. I would see my grandmother every time I came back to my hometown – so about every 6 weeks – but didn’t call very often. So, I have seen my Bubby exactly as many times since her memorial service as I would if she were alive today. I haven’t accepted the reality of her death because, like a true DC-denizen, I just don’t have to.

I am on my way home for the first time since I was there for her memorial – it’s Mother’s Day weekend and my nephew’s first birthday. It wasn’t until tonight on the train that I realized: this might be hard. These might be difficult milestones to get through, for my mother and my aunts even if it isn’t for me. And while I don’t want to be sad this weekend, and both of these occasions deserve to be properly celebrated, it would be nice to get a strong dose of reality. Then, hopefully, I will be able to tell you about what an amazing woman my Bubby was. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Little Great Ideas to Slightly Alter the World

I have my best ideas when I can't sleep. Usually, my insomnia is because my brain is whirring at a thousand miles per hour, thinking and rethinking and planning and worrying. In the midst of all that extraneous thought, a doozy of an idea will sometimes wrestle its way through (and be totally unrelated to anything that was actually keeping me up). In the morning, when most dimly-conceived ideas pale in the light of a new day, I am wishing I knew the right person to tell. 
  • The Caps Lock key on your computer should be able to toggle whole words/sentences/paragraphs between capital and lower case letters. Why do we have to delete and retype? It's 2012, people.
  • Soda can rings should be perforated so they can be pulled apart before going in the trash. People are lazy and often won't go the extra step to find a pair of scissors and save a fishy's life.
  • Magazines should have unsubscribe URLs on the back page, or even a rip-off reply card. It's obnoxiously impossible to get off those mailing lists. My mom once sent me a gift from what appears to be a catalog for Wiccans, and I've been getting their quarterly mailing ever since. It's not quite my style, and I have to assume that anyone who sells long, shapeless dresses and worships Gaia would appreciate saving a tree or two by not sending me something that I promptly throw away.
What's your best little-great idea?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


me: human beings are absurd
i like friends
friends are so much less complicated, even when they are complicated
guy friend: i like bacon
me: exactly
you get me

Thursday, April 28, 2011

You don't get to be frustrated with my frustration

The next person who tells me I can improve my love life by "being more social" is going to find their phone number written on the bathroom wall of every public building I visit. As I explained to a good friend tonight (who I totally realize only has my best interests at heart), that is pretty much the equivalent of telling me: "have brown hair." Done. Accomplished. One might say that it's even in my genetic make up.

Having the coupled-up people in my life feel badly for my lack of a relationship doesn't actually make me feel any better. In fact, as someone who tries very hard to make sure everyone around her is happy, knowing that my relationship status is making others feel bad makes me feel terrible. And it is pretty much the only time I feel badly about my lot in love.

There are two things that scare me about how long I've been single. One: if things haven't changed in SO long, it seems less and less likely as time goes by that change will occur. Scarier, though, is two: I don't feel any gaping hole. It doesn't feel like a part of me is missing (until it is pointed out to me that I am missing something). I'm used to living by myself and for myself, used to doing what I want when I want to do it, used to only having one set of familial obligations. For some reason, feeling like I don't need anyone else to "complete" me - which should really be another reason why I am an awesome woman to date - but wanting it anyway is so hypocritical that I can't even process it correctly.

See, here's the thing: except for this whole "sharing my life with someone" malarky, things are pretty good for ol' Princess R-in-the-P. Good job, good health, decent salary, amazing friends, fun city, superb family. Those are not things to be taken for granted. Am I supposed to leave half of that list behind because DC obviously isn't a city made for single young women on the prowl? No, I?

While I avoid mulling that life-changing question over, please - don't bring it up too often. I promise, if there is news in the dating category of my life, you won't have to ask me to hear about it. I'll shout it from the rooftops and plaster it all over town - right next to your phone number in the bathroom stall.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Modern Day Fairy Tales

I don't think I've ever really believed in fairy tales, Disney or Grimm or otherwise. The idea of falling asleep and waiting for some prince - who was obviously attractive and wonderful - to come and wake me with a kiss didn't ever really seem likely. 'Happily ever after' still seemed plausible, but I never expected to have a meaningful relationship with local fauna nor believe they would sew the dress I'd wear when meeting my beloved.

It doesn't really add up, then, that I discovered myself buying in to a whole new version of the fairytale story, version 2010. Internet dating tries to purport an idea of relationships almost completely opposed to any damsel-in-distress/knight-in-shining armor love story. The more obvious message of commercials for, eHarmony, or the hundred other dating sites tries to be, "You've got to make your magic. Seek and ye shall find, but ya gotta do some seeking." So when you take a deep breath and delve into those deep, deep questions of life (What's your career? What's your next big goal? Do you prefer dogs or cats or none of the above?) you feel proactive. Finally! you think. I am going to stop wishing and start taking control of my love life.

But there's more to it than that. We are still being sold on a dream, but now it's a dream deferred. And while the eHarmony commercials are especially good at making you feel like you're just one more personal survey question or one more email correspondence away from The One, it's also a fairytale story that Hollywood is selling to online daters (and some online daters are selling to each other). Here's a popular one:

A girl on a dating site is meeting some nice people, but none of them are really anyone she cares to see again. She goes away for a week to her brother's wedding, which she leaves with the takeaway that love is possible and comes when you least expect it. She decides to take a break from online dating and just live her life - a fun life, at that - for the time being and hope for the best.

Then, she's emailed by a guy who she'd been conversing with before the wedding. She had planned to meet him but was sick and had to cancel the date right before she went away for the family event. When he emails again, she feels guilty for not getting back in touch and has a first date. It goes pretty well, and there is a second. She realizes she's interested in him and gets excited for their third date, a low key affair.

But then! He calls at the last minute to suggest a much fancier plan and she has to mentally switch from county-fair casual to four-star restaurant chic. She excitedly tells her friends, and slips out of the office to buy a new dress for the night. Her work day is slow until the very last minute, when she falls into an urgent, rush project and almost misses the date! Somehow, she makes it home in time to gussy herself up in the new dress and has a wonderful dinner with Third Date Guy. Third Date Guy makes an overt promise to be, at the very least, her Fourth Date Guy and they end the night with a kiss.

Isn't that a beautiful story? The kind that rom-com's are made of? I can just see Jennifer Lopez running frantically to some wonderful NYC boutique and having a dress-me-up montage while her married coworker looks on with approving and hopeful eyes. But the parts that don't fit in to the cliche are the ones that make it real: he's just getting out of an 8-year relationship at the age of 26; he suggests they split the bill; he makes no effort for a fourth date and instead schedules a "break up" phone call.

I'm a little bitter (at least bitter enough to write this post) but not really with the guy - I'm bitter that I was eating up all of the 'clues' that made this feel like my last foray in the online dating world for at least awhile. The "We were supposed to meet but I had to cancel our first date" or "I'd given up until so-and-so emailed me" clue. The "he changed his plans around so he could see me" clue. The "he wanted to up the ante on our date and take me to a fancy restaurant" clue, and finally, the "I almost didn't make it to that date because of a work crisis, and wouldn'tcha know that's when we fell in love!" potentiality. All of that seemed to add up like basic math to the perfect eHarmony commercial or Success Story post.

In retrospect, it was just as ridiculous as if I'd somehow lost a shoe while walking and, instead of stopping to pick it up like any logical human being, expected the person who chased me down with the shoe to be the man of my dreams and heir to a throne. But when you find yourself in the middle of what appears to be a fairytale, you don't want to fight the possibility that Walt Disney was right all along and dreams do come true.

I'm sure it works like that for some people, or those little details wouldn't have felt so familiar. But I think what I'm realizing now is that every one has a different love story. If it starts to feel like a tale I've heard before, then it's probably not the one for me. No one likes plagiary, and I shouldn't be so eager to accept it in my life's story.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"We Don't Make a Lot of the Products You Buy..."

This is absurd to admit, but this is probably one of my favorite (and definitely the most memorable) ad campaigns from my childhood*:

*do other people have favorite childhood ad campaigns? Is that the weirdest part of that statement?

That slogan is starting to ring a little too true for me - at least the first part. I'm a very loyal person and that includes brand loyalty. I was raised on Diet Coke, and Diet Coke is what I shall drink until my dying day. Don't even bother suggesting I buy Jiffy peanut butter if the Skip
py is out of stock. That's just grotesque. In the past few years, the products that I love and rely upon have started to fade from the shelves. I think I'm cursed.

1. Citre Shine Hair Gel Once upon a time, there was a little Princess R-in the-P who didn't pay attention to fashion. Or style. Or humidity's effect on thick, curly hair.

Then one day she was cleaning the gym locker
room after the 7th grade play was over (once a volunteer, always a volunteer) and got in a fight that involved flinging some leftover hair gel at her attackers. Someone suggested that, lo!, hair gel would be a good addition to the Princess' morning regiment and from then on, her locks did not remind any older brothers of the wind tunnel effect. And it was good.

Over the years, this product began to disappear. When she moved away for college, the new city did not posess a trace of the potion and the Princess' mother had to ship it up in care packages
. She tried other products but they were too goopy or left white bits in her hair or just plain could not conquer her beast of a braid. Now, the product does not even exist for sale in her homeland and the quest for a replacement has been arduous and full of disappointment.

Okay, back to the 1st person narrative, that's exhausting.

2. Conair/Scunci Comfort Curved Bobby Pin
s Now that I am aware that hair can (and usually should, NJ stereotypes be damned) be smoothed down, it is a requirement. Bumps are not allowed. Sleek is in. I found these curved bobby pins once - once! - and fell in love immediately. They're amazing. Most bobby pins are wiggly little buggers that stick up and make you look like you're trying to hide antennae. These are curved to the shape of your head with out the wriggles and I need them in my life. Apparently, so do a lot of other people because when I search for them online I always end up on message boards with women like me complaining that they're no where to be found. Hear us roar, Conair! We want our smooth hair pins back and we want them now!

3. Smucker's Easy Squeeze Strawberry Jelly I didn't eat anything fruit-related until
a few years ago. That means that I survived for years on straight-up peanut butter sandwiches. No wonder I drank so much milk as a kid (though a helluva lot of good that ended up doing...). When I finally got around to incorporating jelly into my life and my lunches, a glorious invention had been introduced to the market: an inverted, squeezable container guaranteeing that I would never have to stick my hand into the Smuckers jar to make a sandwich. My timing was impeccable. But now...the Easy Squeeze has started to go the way of the dinosaur! Or the Citre Shine Hair Gel! Every time I see it in the store I buy it, just in case it's the last time I see it. Do you know how many times that has happened? Once - because it is near impossible to find.

Here I am, a girl whose favorite ad campaign was for a company that, in it's own confession, didn't really seem to do anything. It's hard to see the things you love disappear, but it's even more difficult to be a female born in the 80s who does not find herself, at least every now and again, acting like a total Material Girl.