1. Lost buttloads of sleep.
There was this dude I was seeing my freshman year of college who treated me like a lifeless doll, and I willingly submitted myself to that role. Perhaps because he was a senior he seemed to feel it was A-OK to invite me over at absurd hours of the night, and then ignore me if we ever saw one another during the day. I remember one particular night; I had had a full night out, went to the diner with my friends, fell asleep at the table, finally got home and went to sleep, and then was awoken at 4am by a text from him asking me to come over. The craziest part is I actually went. And, after that, I guess I can’t really blame him for treating me the way he did. Once you resign yourself to this type of submissive behavior, the relationship will be perpetually unbalanced.
As luck would have it, it was this same guy who taught me what molly is and convinced me to try it when I was nowhere near ready for something like that. If you ever feel pressured by a guy to try something you’re not comfortable with, know that he does not have your best interest in mind. In fact, it’s likely that he has no interest in mind whatsoever when it comes to you. It’s himself he’s thinking about and no one else. And the only way you’ll stand out from the millions of other girls who have submitted themselves to him is by following his lead: being a self-possessed, autonomous woman who makes decisions for herself and no one else.
3. Worked for free.
“Work” should always imply some form of payment, but sometimes that’s hard to remember when you’re faced with a gorgeous man with an impressive editorial position. Apparently such a man has a paralyzing hold over me for one day I came-to and found myself nodding in agreement while signing my life away to unpaid work. Be stronger than that. Looks will fade; money (if you tuck it safely away inside a bank account) will not.
4. Neglected school.
During my entire senior year of high school I had this virus I couldn’t kick that came in the form of my cheating ex-boyfriend. Because of him, everything else came second and that includes school. The terrible influence he had on me directly damaged my college application process and, because of that, the following four years of my life as well. Long story short: he was a mistake.
5. Got a puffy face.
Everyone cries, but we must draw the line somewhere and, call me crazy, but I think that line should be drawn right about here:
Let this be a lesson in what happens when you drown yourself in tears while binge-watching Scandal. You see, that’s me. Right after a breakup. I show you this not to hurt your eyes, but as a warning. With eyes as swollen as this, stepping foot outside wasn’t even an option for me. It’s OK to cry, but no man is worth looking that puffy.
Before you decide to move, make sure no more than 50% of your decision to move is for a guy. Not even so much for your own integrity, but because you’ll probably end up genuinely hating the place if you move there for him. I moved to Los Angeles once for a guy and quickly discovered that, aside for him, I had no friends there. My days were spent with him, for him, and relying on him and, because of that, I grew to hate the town. Everyone deserves a fair shot at living in a new place.
7. Got grounded for 6 months.
And never disobey your parents for a guy either. Because they will find out, you will get grounded, and it won’t be worth it. One time I threw a party at my parent’s house when they were out at a movie. Let that sink in for a second…A MOVIE. And all because my crush agreed to come over. After fully fraternizing my parents’ place, my crush decided he wanted to leave and so, being the complicit 10th grader I was, I followed suit. I don’t even think I informed anyone I was leaving, but instead just blindly trusted them with the fate of my childhood home. At the time it felt like a brilliant idea.
I know that your favourite romantic comedies appear to be pulling for your relationship with every dollar in their ridiculous budgets, and I know that there are a trillion catchy songs to sing along to, at the top of your lungs, that make you think that maybe, just maybe, this song could be written about you (Thank you, T-Swift). All you need is for them to realize it.
You can watch the movies. Just promise me that you’ll remember: that was not a documentary. Listen to the songs, but commit the tune to memory, not the lyrics. Don’t let them adhere to your brain, or worse, your heart.
Don’t succumb to the pretty words that your friends will invariably bait you with, no matter how often they say I Bet You Two Will End Up Married or Why Don’t You Tell Him How You Feel.
Don’t let your heart leap every time his face lights up your phone.
Don’t let him tell you his Mom thinks you’re pretty or that you remind him of his One Who Got Away.
True love too often goes unrequited. At the risk of assuming the role of dream-crushing pessimist, I will tell you this: your life, my life, the lives of average human beings—they are not like the movies. He doesn’t always wake up and realize that you are the perfect girl for him.
Hell, maybe you aren’t.
If you fall in love with your best friend, you risk being dealt the tragic task of giving him girl advice.
You will wingman the great love of your life (and do a fantastic job of it, because girls are the greatest wingmen you will ever encounter) and smile supportively and agree that Yes, She Is Perfect when he meets the girl that he’s sure, this time, is The One. You will fake-empathize when she breaks his heart because she made a mistake you never would have been careless enough to make.
You will remember to save him the chicken-fried rice that you’re always too full for at the end of the take-out meal, because you know that he both loves it, and is perpetually hungry.
You will not think twice about texting him your deep thought of the day or the pun you thought of in history class or the instrumental cover of the song you both love.
You will remember to buy the beer he likes, because life is easier when you two share.
Your other friends will secretly hate you because you understand each other on a level that they don’t.
You will listen to him tell you he loves you or misses you or that you’re his favourite, and you will know that he doesn’t mean it in the way that you so desperately want him to.
You will constantly be asked if you are dating. Constantly. Because, to paraphrase the boy that this article has embarrassingly, and most likely mistakenly, been written about, we live in a society consumed by the ignorance of patriarchy and underlying societal norms.
You will watch every day as he executes an infinite number of rare and small and beautiful and heart-wrenching tasks that you have to resort to writing about because no one can ever know how carefully you watch.
You will constantly have to look like you care less than you do.
But, sometimes, it’s inevitable. You fall in like (because saying love might jinx it) and even though it hurts to look at them and listen to them and touch them, you trek on. Because it hurts a hell of a lot more to consider losing them.
“Haha! You’re funny looking!”
The voices of the kids rang in my head as I willed myself not to cry. But, I couldn’t help it. I saw a teardrop fall into the sand that I had been trying to shape into a pillar for my castle.
I was in kindergarten.
The beginnings of my childhood were the worst. Even to this day, I still don’t understand how children could be so cruel. They don’t use curse words, like the n-word, and they don’t even say those heart-wrenching things you hear when you see two couples fighting (or it may be that you were one of those couples).
They were children. All they knew was the truth. And the truth was, I was different. I had a different look, different lifestyle, different family, different in a bunch of other possible ways. I didn’t have blonde hair or blue eyes. I didn’t have white skin, although I’m pretty sure I was paler than most of the people there. It was the yellow undertone that would make those kids mock me. It was my straight black hair that they would laugh at simply because it wasn’t like the rest of them.
I dreaded every day of kindergarten. I would hide under the covers until my mom came and dragged me up. Every day, I would go into class, already hearing the laughter of my classmates. The teacher was of no use. I would go to her and cry into her long skirt but she would feign ignorance or simply tell me to brush off. How cruel society could be.
It wasn’t until one day as I was playing in my sandbox, creating now the doors to my castle, that the kids came over again.
I heard their start words and before I could stop myself, I stood up angrily with my fist clenched, “Stop it! You all are just bullies!” (Or at least, that’s what I remembered I said, it was over a decade ago).
Then there was just silence. No one said anything for what seemed like forever.
After a while, they walked away and I was left alone to my sandbox. The next day, as I was sitting in my sandbox, I saw the shadows come over me again.
I looked up, getting ready to hear what taunts the other kids would throw at me. However, it was another girl with some of the kids standing there, looking confused. But, the girl was smiling as she held a plastic shovel to me.
“Can we play with you?”
Hesitantly, I nodded, still unsure of this sudden act of what seemed to be friendship.
That day, I was able to finish building my castle, even laughing and having fun with the rest of the kids while we made every part of it. It wasn’t the fact that I was different that they laughed at me. It was that I didn’t stand up for myself. I was afraid of who I was, trying to hide away, day after day, from my problems.
I take this lesson with me in whatever I do. If you truly believe in something, you will stand up for it. You will stand up for yourself and not let anything or anyone else get in your way.
If you’re a 20-something college student with little to no money to your name — like myself — and thus likely to walk to all locations when the bus isn’t an option, I have a casual proposition for you. Next time you’re getting ready to settle in for say, a three to four-hour Netflix Watch Instantly marathon of House of Cards, New Girl (both great shows that have brought a whole new meaning to the beauty that is binge-watching reruns), etc — don’t. Instead, put on a pair of comfortable walking shoes, grab your phone/Ipod, headphones, wallet, house keys (do not forget the house keys, I do all too often), and embark on a spontaneous walking quest to absolutely ‘nowhere.’
Yup, that’s right. This guy who apparently loses his car keys at the drop of a hat is telling you to go for a walk with the sole intention of getting lost.
Obviously this can’t really be truly accomplished due to the fact that pretty much all phones these days have location services, so when I say ‘get lost’ here’s what I mean: just start walking, be sure to blare a few of your favorite songs so loud that your eardrums ache, think about life and its many mysteries, and look up! Yes, look up. We’ve grown accustomed these days to hiding behind our smartphone screens, scanning Facebook feeds, tweeting about significant events like how amazing maple bars are (guilty, but seriously, they’re amazing creations), or Instagramming a picture that may or may not get 75 of those little heart ‘like’ things. Unfortunately, we forget to absorb all that is beautiful around us.
Whether it’s finding yourself utterly infatuated with a squirrel who is slowly chomping their way through a loaf of bread that looks like it was foolishly dropped by someone eating a sandwich, or infatuated with a particularly radical cloud formation that might resemble your favorite Disney character, life has a tendency to throw some pretty incredible sights and happenings our way. If we look up from our screens, we might just stand to catch a hint of more of ‘em.
But back to the main topic of discussion today, why should you get lost more often? Where’s the fun in it? There is certainly an unmistakable liberation from taking what could have been a loosely — or even rigidly — planned couple of hours out of your day, and basically saying to yourself out loud or mentally (choose the latter and you’ll appear less like a raving lunatic), ‘fuck it, I’m going to go for a walk. Wait where am I going to go? No idea. Perfect.’ So you walk, and you walk, and maybe the first 10, 20, 30 minutes you note nothing new save for that one crazy-awesome looking homeless man sitting on a park bench with a bag of Funyons and some awesome dreadlocks that probably haven’t been washed in at least a decade which is probably awesome. But then you start to have some thoughts — thoughts that go something along the lines of, ‘uh … where in the hell am I?’ Or better yet, ‘wow, that burger place looks insanely authentic, and everyone looks so happy through the window. Oh wait, I should probably stop peering through the window, what’s wrong with me? Really though, how had I never heard about this place before?’
Okay, so where am I going with all of this?
By walking to nowhere in particular, you have expanded your horizons and discovered new places in the best way possible. You didn’t discover that burger place — or maybe it was a fish and chips joint — through an online platform like Yelp, which is still great, but hey, I’m just saying those kinds of services take all the fun out of what could have been a great adventure. You discovered that amazing new restaurant or that awesome new reading spot through a ‘physical’ adventure, and furthermore, an adventure that might have been supplemented with some of your favorite tunes, and a mobile doughnut or two.
Walking with no destination planned out beforehand is a liberating and therapeutic experience, and I’m telling you today to try it out. Expand your horizons the fun way. Sure, it’s great to know where you’re going, and to know that said destination might average 4.3/5 stars on Yelp, but it’s also fun to discover a great spot ‘organically’, on your own account. There’s a saying that goes something like, ‘sometimes we just need to get lost to find ourselves again.’ I’m a big fan of that saying, and I think it holds true in this scenario, in which we walk our way into the wonderful world of being ‘lost,’ only to discover our next new favorite spot to grab a bite to eat, or pick out a new book and effectually feel, well, just kind of great.
So next time you’re looking ahead to the next few hours of your day, and what said hours might include, consider taking a walk. (That is unless, of course, you really do have to be somewhere or fulfill some mandatory commitment. If that’s the case save the walk for another time, but just be sure to follow up on that ‘other time.’)
Summer’s creepin’ on up. Best get ready to say goodbye to your friends, and hello to these hilarious humans:
1. Beach Logistics Lauren
This person will stop at NOTHING to get some sand – even it requires a train ride, 7 different car scenarios, and a distant cousin as the designated driver.
Oftentimes the logistical planning becomes so stressful, it grossly overshadows — and defeats the entire purpose — of going to the beach.
2. Timeshare Tina
The saga starts in March, when a mass group text is sent about possibly renting a summer house.
It’ll be more expensive than most people are willing to pay for. So begins a 3 month cycle of peer pressure tango.
3. Sunscreen Forcing Faye
Usually the mom of the friend group, Sunscreen Forcing Faye will have two things at the ready — a bottle of sunscreen, and a 14 inch knife to stab you with if you don’t oblige.
4. Busy Business Barry
This is not the first time Busy Business Barry has appeared in list form– this is because Busy Business Barry is a force like no other, and summer usually represents his finest hour.
While all his friends are all off shucking oysters in a place that wonderfully smells like salt, Barry is grinding it out late office nights. Sushi on the company.
5. Always Off Olivia
She has a pretty demanding job and works hard, but for some reason her entire office doesn’t believe in doing any work during the summer months — she’ll work one Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and her boss will be in random South American countries for most of July.
She’ll actually be happy come September, finally having something to do.
6. Guy Who Is Weirdly Obsessed With His Summer Camp
He has 10 vacation days, and takes 5 of them to travel to the middle of the wilderness and take part in some incredibly hyped up tradition, despite the fact that he’s 26 years old.
Mystifying, but impressive.
7. The Obsessive Griller
He wants you to come over so you guys can grill. And he’ll be very, very vocal about it.
8. The Intern Experience
Internships nowadays aren’t so much internships as they are fiscally wasteful travel adventures — spending the summer in a different city, exploring that cities nightlife and sites infinity more than exploring the ins and outs of the company.
By week 2, you’ll realize theres’s very little reason for you to do much other than read the same 4 tweets for hours on end.
9. The 95 Degree Heat Athletic Superstar
Usually runners or people who really want to play pickup basketball, these people seem totally nonplussed by the fact that this is exactly how people die from heatstrokes.
10. Friend Who Suddenly Likes Country Music
Having once heard a Zac Brown Band song that involves kicking back, opening a beer, and enjoying the warm summer sun, this person’s music taste will trend away from Bastille and towards Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentey, and Miranda Lambert.
They ‘ll claim they’ve liked these artists for years, and it will be really funny.
11. “Let’s Go To The Roof”
The idea of going to the roof is a lot like watching two people on a TV show who you desperately want to get together.
Finally getting on the roof is like the episode where that couple finally does get together — awesome for about 5 seconds, when it’s replaced with the “what’s next” complacency dread.
12. Air Conditioning Julia Roberts
Meryl Streep is probably more accurate — if there was an Oscar category for desperately needing air conditioning all the time, she’d be nominated every year.