friend love

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Friends with benefits?? Remember when that was a thing we used to say? Remember that Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis movie from 2011? This month, I’m showing love to my friends…who come with benefits like loyalty, the ability to listen, and lots of gossip. Which is, like, way better than using a friend for his dick, in my opinion. But I’ll let you decide.

Cheers to those who got us through the heartbreak. Those who pick us up when our heel gets stuck in a crack and we fall flat on our face on the pier. Those who tell us with ultimate certainty, that teal isn’t our color and will never be. This week, this month, this year, and forever, I want us to be a little extra grateful for our friends. So, here’s a tribute to some of the best there are.

Friends help us out of bad situations. And I’m sure we can name many. For me, my college roommates of three years, Ailsa and Veronica, were there for me constantly. They let me crash in their dorm room the multiple times I locked myself out of mine—when my nocturnal-ass roommate wouldn’t wake up to let me back in. They joined me as we went outside in the middle of the night to practice dance routines, using the reflection in the doors downstairs, hoping no one would complain and/or film us and laugh. They even woke me up every two hours when I got a concussion for a mosh pit, so I didn’t literally die.

Some friends come and go. Sometimes literally. You see, all of my best friends from adolescence moved away, but their impact was lasting.  There was Joyce in second grade, who would invite me to her house, where we took our shoes off at the door and played games upstairs while we ate Asian snacks. She moved about 10 miles east, never to be seen again. There was Patricia in grades four through eight, who loved Supernatural, Motion City Soundtrack, and played the flute. Coincidentally, I loved all of those things, and sat next to her in band, so we were pretty much the same person. She went to a different high school, and I saw her literally once after that at the Santa Anita Mall when we were both home for winter break in college. Then there was Chynna, who I sat with at lunch amongst the anime kids and pokemon players in front of the library in high school. Yes, this happened in high school. We used to sit in her tree house and request “Snakes on a Plane” to be played on KROQ. And then she moved to Arizona. But she sends a hell of a Halloween/holiday card, so what else could I ask for?

Some friends give you all the chisme, like my BFF Gabriel. His grandparents’ house was the place to be in middle and high school, where we’d talk shit in front of The Last Supper painting, without an ounce of guilt. Gabriel is the type that would punch his ex in the face in the most dramatic way possible at a Halloween party and would love to tell the story of how it all went down. I know this because it happened. And he does. Will I ever get VIP seats for the fireworks or Paint the Night after that fiasco? No. But that’s okay.

Some friends start off as enemies, but come around and become your BFF, like Liane. She apparently despised me in middle school (and told me this via a yearbook entry my senior year!!), until we bonded at an all-night fundraising event. And from that point, we’ve been inseparable. She tells it like it is, like when I texted her the third day of college, after I’d taken a nasty shot of vodka, hoping she’d be impressed. She responded that she was very disappointed in me. I was humbled. She also wrapped one of my presents in the same tissue paper I’d given her, which I recycled from a previous gift. That’s how you know your relationship is real.

I urge you to take a quick sec to tell someone you care and appreciate them. Be grateful these friends that have been in your life, and will continue to be, barring an alien invasion or that thing that happened at the end of Infinity War. Forget the dudes and chicks who you aren’t gelling with, and celebrate the ones you’ve been gelling with for years!!!

Holiday (Self) Love

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The ho-ho-holidays are upon us! Reindeer! Jingle Bells! Food for literal days because you’re poor and have to ration the leftovers from your family gathering! To be honest, though, as I’ve gotten older, this time of year has started to feel less magical and more like a constant source of stress. I feel stretched out in every direction, whether it’s figuring out how to split time between my family and my partner’s, how I can buy gifts with the zero money I have, or even just worrying about work hours. It’s exhausting, and it makes what was once my favorite time of the year feel like something that’s trying to break me.

The holidays used to be a time when I’d get weeks off from school, a chance to catch up on the “Gossip Girl” or “Supernatural” episodes I missed, and an opportunity to dress nicely and eat a bunch of food in someone’s home with my extended family. It was amazing. Magical. It never felt like it lasted long enough. Now, I feel like I’m trying to budget my non-existent money to afford gifts for everyone on my list on top of trying to organize my schedule to accommodate everyone, all while picking up shifts at work to mitigate the fact that I am both broke af and am maybe looking for an excuse to not attend certain holiday functions.

So, basically, I dread the holidays now lol. Everything I used to look forward to feels like it’s turned on me and is now trying to feed off my misery. But, like, I get it. As we get older and take on more responsibilities, whether that be at work or in other peoples’ lives, the holidays can feel like they’re less about that warm feeling of togetherness and peppermint mocha, and more about how to survive a couple days of panicked shopping, or in-laws, or thinking about how you have to go work on Christmas Eve or on the 26th. For many of us, Christmas can start to feel like just another day to get through.

But, what if it didn’t have to be? What if you could wake up and be excited about presents and family and food (mostly food)? What if you could, instead of expending energy wishing you could be a hermit, enjoy the magic and wonder of the holidays?

This year, instead of thinking about everything swirling in your head, I’m going to try to do just this.

For me, this means that I will try to be aware of what is happening in the moment and showing gratitude for what I have. Rather than think about how early I have to wake up for work the next day and letting that make me sad, I’m going to focus on how much I enjoy being around my loved ones. I am going to listen and have conversations with my family as we sit around the table eating dim sum out of Styrofoam containers instead of worrying about what my partner’s family thinks of my not being with them. I am going to make a gingerbread house while listening to the Hanson Christmas CD (or my curated self-care holiday playlist). I am going to appreciate the holidays and the joy they bring me again!!!

Showing gratitude for the things you are surrounded by is a mood booster like no other, and can help when things start to feel overwhelming. Also, if all else fails, my former therapist told me to find a small dark corner and hide whenever I feel like I want to cry or combust. So, that might work, too.

emo girl mixtape // 2009

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sad girl playlistThis post is accompanied by this playlist of sad songs that I made when I was heartbroken in 2009. Listen to it as you read along, for the whole experience (and for some throwback emo tunes). If you want more playlists + content like this, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter!

“I hate myself more than I ever led on / I’m burnt out / at 22”
TORTURES OF THE DAMNED, BAYSIDE

It is 5:00pm– a half hour after I ruined my life. Possibly for good. Definitely for the rest of senior year.

To relieve my pain, I have rolled three of the chairs at my grandma’s house together and I am laying on them like a bed, face down. My earbuds are in and these lyrics blast through, drowning out the noise from the evening news on the television. Typically, I’d be hovering around the kitchen, wondering when dinner would be finished, or getting the plates set out on the table. But today, I don’t feel like doing anything except lying here, listening to this melodramatic song on repeat.

I guess I should stand up, unless I want them to think something’s wrong. I mean, there is. But no one has to know that.

“I’m noooooot ooookay / I’m not okaaayyhaaayyyhayyyyy”
I’M NOT OKAY (I PROMISE), MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE

I am now driving back home when I turn this song on. I like it because it reminds me of the stickers from the top of CDs— you know, the ones that keep the case sealed. I collected these, sticking them on he wooden door to my bedroom, like a collage to show the world that, fuck yeah, I own 117 compact discs. And fuck yeah, those are all loaded into my 16gb iPod so I can listen to my non-conformist music whenever I want.

When I visited his house for the first time, I noticed he, too, had a collection of stickers, but on his wooden bed posts. We’re meant to be, I thought. I asked him about it once, and he nodded and smiled. This wasn’t an uncommon reaction from him, as on a good day, he managed to utter three words to me or anyone else.

“And I can’t make it on my own / because my heart is in Ohio / so cut my wrists and black my eyes  / so I can fall asleep tonight, or die”
OHIO IS FOR LOVERS, HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS

Whoa now, getting a little dramatic there, aren’t we? Heartbreak sucks, but today– a couple hours after I texted, “I like you” to him, told him not to look at the text until I said he could, and had to painfully pry the head shake “no” out of him when I asked if he “liked me back”– mine is not Hawthorne Heights bad. But I’ll spend a couple more hours being dramatic because it still sucks.

“Stop burning bridges / and drive off of them / so I can forget about you”
TELL THAT MICK HE JUST MADE MY LIST OF THINGS TO DO TODAY, FALL OUT BOY

I wanted nothing bad to happen to him. On the contrary, it was I who was dumb. I made up signs and symbols that said we were meant to be— like the fact that we both wanted to go into the film industry (In truth, I hadn’t wanted to until I heard that he did). Or that we both liked the same music (I beefed up my The Shins collection and pushed my From First to Last to the bottom of the pile of CDs in my car I left there, hoping he’d see them and want to swap). In doing this like this, I created a fictional narrative, one that could only end badly for me when reality came crashing down.

I can want nothing bad to happen to someone, yet sing along to this song that implies the opposite because I am sad. I am giving myself that.

“If you leave / don’t leave now / please don’t take my heart away”
IF YOU LEAVE, COVER BY NADA SURF

It’s been 16 hours. I have watched three John Hughes movies + He’s Just That Into You because tbh, I hate myself right now. I feel like Duckie at the end of Pretty in Pink, watching Andie run off with Blane as this song plays in the background. Duckie and I are alike because we kept prodding, even though it was clear our feelings weren’t being reciprocated. But Duckie was smart because he didn’t say, “Did you know that I like you?”  and get a shrug in response. Duckie didn’t say he wanted to make short films in an attempt to get closer to Andie. Duckie got that girl with the puffy sleeves at the end, and I am sitting here with no one; nothing.

I haven’t left that oversized green chair I set up in the middle of my room in hours. I figure if someone asks me what’s wrong, I’ll just pretend I’m asleep. That sounds like a good plan.

“Take the pain out of love / and then love won’t exist / everything we had … is no longer there”
EVERYTHING WE HAD, THE ACADEMY IS…

I never liked this song, but it’s starting to grow on me.

“Even if I spend 2004 / listening to Morrissey in my car / I’m better off alone than I would be in your arms”
POPULACE IN TWO, FROM FIRST TO LAST

A couple days have passed. My From First to Last CDs are back at the top of the pile in my trunk. I’ve started to take some of the plastic cases out to make room in my car, and in my heart, which is easier to do now, knowing that I won’t win him over with my impeccable music taste.

I sing along to this song at the top of my lungs. In this moment, it is 2004, and Sonny Moore is my Morrissey. I suddenly feel a little more alive. Better listen to this song 46 more times.

“Swing, swing from the tangles of / my heart is crushed by a former love”
SWING, SWING, THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS

A week later. The songs about death are still in rotation, but less so. I still want to die a little (a lot), but now I know I won’t, unless I get hit by a car or contract ebola, like in that movie with Dustin Hoffman that we had to watch in health class that one time.

I have stopped avoiding the route that leads to his house. I have stopped taking bites of the communal chocolate ice cream straight from the carton because that’s what females are supposed to do when dudes wrong them. I have stopped feeling like my whole world rides on us getting into film school together (spoiler alert: I did, he didn’t), and living happily ever after with two cats and maybe a dog, and probably not a kid.

“Although we’ve come / to the end of the road / still, I can’t let gooooo”
END OF THE ROAD, BOYZ II MEN

I can actually let go. I am fine. The only person this song reminds me of is Seth Cohen on The OC (That’s a lie, but I’m trying to speak truth into existence). I feel stupid. I feel sad. I feel everything at a time when I want to feel nothing. But I am mending. I am starting to laugh about the whole situation with friends over boba. I am starting to feel like a functioning 17-year-old again, whose only worries should be school and boys– oh, wait. I am starting to make new playlists in iTunes to preoccupy myself when I feel like trash.

I still listen to My Chemical Romance, but because I’m, like, really into horror right now (this will pass), and not because I actually want to die and/or be on the foggy brain meds my favorite bands sing about so often.

I think I’m okay (I promise).

 

 

 

The Time Spent Living With My Significant Other

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I did a super smart thing and moved in with my boyfriend after a few months of being together because, well, why not? We knew each others’ last names and middle initials, we never fought over the TV remote (because it’s federal law that it always belongs to me and we always watch Project Runway), and he saw me without makeup at least one and  half times. I don’t even think we discussed it– it just happened. And when it came to moving to a new apartment, I just sort of followed him, hoping he wouldn’t notice the six pillow pets I sneakily tucked into his bed. Absolutely nothing could go wrong!

PLOT TWIST: it’s working out splendidly. He does things I have the ability to do, but would never want to do, and is good for things my other roommates didn’t do, but should have done. Basically, this is a near-perfect living arrangement, and this is why:

1. Home protection. One night, I woke up to pee, and noticed the bathroom door was closed. No one else we knew was in the apartment, and neither of us thought we closed it, so we came to the only valid conclusion we could think of: there was a murderer and he was there to decapitate us one at a time. I feigned bravery and pretended like I was going to risk my life when the boyfriend stopped me, grabbed a pair of scissors, and told me to stay in the room. He then inspected the apartment, scissors at the ready for stabbing fools, and reported back with the verdict. It turns out we both have memories that resemble those of fish, and one of us (not me) idiotically closed the door.

2. Alone time. I’ve always been a lone wolf type, but living in the same room as someone means being around that person practically 24/7. If I want alone time, I have to go into the living room, which means *gasp* not being able to sit around in my underwear with my legs spread wide apart. Luckily for me, as we’ve lived together, I learned that boys like to take their phones into the bathroom with them when they know they’re going to be in there a while (you know, when they’re taking a shit), which makes them stay in there even longer. This gives me 20-30 minutes of “me time” per day, depending on what we eat. I now plan my schedule around his daily trek to the bathroom, and I must say, it’s taught me a great deal about time management.

3. Warmth. I’m naturally a cold person– both emotionally and physically– and he is the exact opposite. He is warm. That is the opposite of cold. I love the fact that I can come in with freezing cold hands, and demand a hug (aka put my hands on his neck to absorb warmth… aka use him as a personal heater that’s only purpose is to provide me with heat). The best part is he only resists most of the time, and I don’t feel guilty at all!

While this all might sound like heaven on earth, there have been a few things a good five-minute discussion and maybe another year or three of dating would have fixed. We haven’t been able to work out some crucial issues such as: 

1. Farting. We haven’t broken the fart barrier yet. Sure, there have been multiple times we’ve farted ourselves awake without the other noticing, but apparently this “doesn’t count” because it’s done unconsciously or something. I’ve definitely come back into the room to discover he’s surrounded by a faint gaseous smell, but he’s denied it every time because he claims he’s “incapable of farting.” It’s turned into this strange game that involves him saying he needs to fart and me pushing on his stomach to force it out, but I’ve had no luck so far. It’s actually quite frustrating.

2. Blankets. We have one blanket that’s definitely big enough for two-to-six people, yet somehow all the laws of blanket-sharing physics go out the window the second we fall asleep. I feel like I’m always pulling it away from him at night as I shiver and risk losing limbs due to frostbite, and rather than be a gentleman about it, he pulls it back with true force. In fact, there was a time when I tried grabbing it, and he semi-unconsciously whined, “But I neeeeeeed this!” He claims he doesn’t remember. I think he’s lying.

3. Masturbation.  I’ve heard that sometimes people get urges to do things, and sometimes these urges can’t be stopped. And sometimes all a person wants to do is go in the other room and do… stuff… alone. “Beat one out,” if you will. And once in a while, someone will come into the room without knocking and find the other person with her eyes closed tight and with one hand down her pants. I’m speaking hypothetically, of course. But to be clear, knocking is a good thing that some people should learn how to do. Especially if their initials are M.B.

But other than that, things are great! I highly suggest moving in with someone you kind of know and like, and have an inkling you’d get along with more than half the time you spend together. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be able to fart freely in front of each other eventually. That’s true cohabitation.