Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s lucky for you that we’re friends…

I recently told someone that I had a crush on them. It was a big risk, especially since I really like hanging out with this person and changing that friendly dynamic was likely. Anyway, I realized about 24 hours later that it wasn’t an actual crush. It was a friend crush.

A few weeks ago I met a girl at a bar. We chatted a bit and even added each other on Facebook (I know, a huge deal) and said that eventually we’d have to get drinks again. It struck me as funny because it was like a “pick up” – chatting, laughing, getting contact info, making plans to see each other again. I even contacted her about getting together and called it a “lady date.” And no, I haven’t switched teams… but I think I have another friend crush.

I’ve asked a few people about this phenomenon. I know I’ve had this kind of “crush” before, but I wondered if I was the only one who had them. By my definition, a friend crush is when you like hanging out with someone and want to see more of them – all on a platonic level. You can have friend crushes on anyone, but it can get confusing when it’s on someone of the gender to which you are attracted. A friend crush can easily be confused as a romantic crush. Which is I think what happened to me with my previously mentioned friend… oops.

And just like regular crushes, friend crushes can get awkward or weird if you let them. In my case, I come off as overeager. What can I say? When I get along with someone, I want to see more of them… sheesh.

Friend crushes are more prevalent with adults because we don’t make friends the way we used to. Once you leave school – the  main catalyst for friend making – it gets harder to make friends. Most people establish friendships before entering the so-called “real world” and maintain those friendships throughout adulthood (or so I’ve been told). The workplace is also a possible friend pool, but I’ve worked jobs where I didn’t want to spend an extra second with anyone there so that’s no guarantee. And unfortunately, I am not in school and I’m still without a job. So where do I meet new friends in this new city? Bars? I guess so.

I’m a pretty independent person and I can entertain myself quite well. I’m not afraid to go out alone and I am content spending lots of time with just me. However, I think the desire to connect with others is in us all (unless you’re a sociopath). I know this is why I’ve done the online dating thing… and why I am developing friend crushes. We want people to “get” us. I want someone to “get” me. I want someone I can call up and say, “Hey, wanna go see Chuck Klosterman in Brooklyn?” and they’ll say, “Hell yeah.” Or, “I’m going to go walk around in Central Park, wanna join?” and they’ll say, “Sounds awesome.” And none of this has to be in a romantic sense (I mean, how romantic can Chuck be?)… sometimes it’s good enough to just sit around and talk to someone about a shared music taste.

So if I get a friend crush on you I will do my best not to seem too overeager. But you should just go with it… I’m an awesome friend.

Blog song title: “Like a Friend” by Pulp
Image: someecards.com 


She works hard for the money…

Despite what my previous post may have you thinking, I am not going out every night. I spend most of my time doing the job hustle thing. After my very brief stint at Columbia showed me that the financial risk of graduate school was not worth the reward, I have devoted my days looking for work. Any work. All work.

I have a handful of things going right now… I’m on an odd jobs site called Done.com (cleaning houses, tutoring, childcare, etc.), I’ve been working with the CEO of a company called Roommate Happy Hour doing administrative stuff (including a couple of blogs for his site), I’m temping (easiest money of life), and still seeking more permanent employment by going on interviews and junk.

I am networking like a fiend… volunteering, playing softball, going to UCLA alumni events, telling EVERYONE I meet that I’m seeking a job… I’ve never had to work so hard to find work. But hopefully it will pay off soon. It better… or I’m going to have to start selling my underwear online to perverts.

Blog title song: “She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer


Tonight… we are young…

There’s this trend going around with the young’uns… #YOLO… translated for the old folk that’s “You Only Live Once.” It’s the “Carpe Diem” of today. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with pictures of college kids going on random road trips or to parties with this hashtag in the caption. At first I thought that this was a really good way to rationalize making bad decisions. But then I think of how I have spent a lot of years NOT living… and maybe there is something to this YOLO…

I crave adventure. It’s really easy for me to get stuck in a rut and routine. But I like doing new and different things (hence the uprooting and relocation to a city 3000 miles away from everything safe). I thrive in situations where my comfort zone is compromised. In the last couple of weeks I have stayed out all night more than once. I didn’t always make the best decisions and more than once I ended up so hungover that I was completely useless for the subsequent 24 hours.But I’ve met new people, been to new places… I’ve broken the routine.

I get easily caught up in the moment. It doesn’t take much for me to agree to go along with something (relax, Mom, I mean this within reason – I would never do something I don’t WANT to do). It’s exciting – just going with the flow. I could say no and go home, but then I wouldn’t get to sing karaoke (if you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you know what happens to me when you put a mic in my hand) until it’s light outside and walk to the subway to go home while everyone else is going to work. Or I wouldn’t meet new and interesting people from different places who tell me about why they have their name tattooed on their forearm (and I thought my “Q” was bad) or that they are wearing a $1500 jacket (why would you tell a stranger that??) or that they are a freelance photographer for international editions of Vogue.

I’m not planning on making this a habit… my recovery time after staying out all night is not quite what it once was (and eventually I will have a “normal” job and will need to sleep during “normal” hours). But I don’t plan on making any night typical. And really, this city is anything but typical. I want as many new and different experiences as I can get. Isn’t this why I came here?

 

Photo credit: someecards.com
Blog title song: “We Are Young” by Fun.


Thirty-two’s still a goddamn number…

I’m 32. I’m not ashamed to admit that now. Maybe it was because I recently worked with teenagers, but turning 30 felt really OLD. However, I think that uprooting my life a couple of months ago has helped me come to grips with my age.. and not just coming to grips, but accepting it… and possibly even celebrating it. Ok, maybe not yet…

I’ve always had a hang up about age. I think it’s because I’m the youngest of four. Though they didn’t realize it, my older siblings provided me with age benchmarks… as I reached certain ages, I would compare myself to where they were at that particular age. And I always felt behind somehow. My brother is 11 years older than me…. when he was 18, he seemed ANCIENT to me… like he was a grown-up or something.  When I reached 18, I still felt like a child.

So that’s how I spent my 20s… comparing myself to others… and questioning myself. Is this what 23 should be? (Because it sucks). Is this how I should look at 26? How much should I be dating? Do I dress like an adult? Am I an adult?? I looked around a peers who were married and having kids. And even though I didn’t necessarily want those things, I wondered why I didn’t have them (yes, I’m aware of the crazy there). I lived on my own, took care of myself, paid my bills… but I couldn’t help but feel that I was behind somehow.

As I prepared to move to a new city and start over with a new career (that has yet to be determined), the comparisons began again. Generally, other people my age are well-established in careers and have moved up the proverbial ladder… and though I have been employed since the age of 21, I’m still looking at jobs that require a few years of industry specific experience. It’s like I’m back at the starting line when I should be a few hurdles ahead.

However… I’m feeling less and less like I’ve gotten a late start on things. I’ve been able to visit NYC twice since my OC exit and I’ve had this overwhelming and relieving feeling that I’m on the right path. I think the magic of NYC is opportunity… potential… possibility. I have the chance to make my life the way I always imagined it… who cares how old I am? (Incidentally, on my last visit to the city, a waiter thought I looked no older than 24… so suck it, 32).

SO I’m jobless, homeless (at least in NYC), single… and 32. And that’s ok. I’ll probably still compare myself to others… but I’ll make a conscious effort not to. What’s the point? I’m doing all of this for me… not my peers, or anyone else for that matter. This is my reinvention.

At least I don’t look 32… whatever that means.

 

Blog title song: “Oedipus” by Regina Spektor


We’re fated to pretend…

Foreword (yes, this post also gets a foreword): my life is lagging at the moment… no phone calls from prospective employers, no chance of moving without some form of income… so I don’t have any excitement to write about – which is kind of the whole point of this blog. But, I want to keep writing and not let this thing lapse… so I am writing about one thing that brings joy to my day… The Sims Social. Yeah… seriously. 

“Developed by Electronic Arts, The Sims is a video game where you do all the things you would do in real life if you weren’t playing a video game. You create a human character, and it exists. That’s it.[…] The Sims is an escapist vehicle for people who want to escape to where they already are, which is why I thought this game was made precisely for me.” -Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto

I will try not to sound too much like Chuck Klosterman with this post, but I have a new time sucking obsession and I need to find some way to rationalize it… or at least talk about it. Yes… I have succumbed to the power of The Sims Social on Facebook. Reluctant as I was to start (like many, I was terribly annoyed with the FarmVille craze of 2009 and refused to take part), it has become the highlight of my days and the topic of many discussions with my sister and brother-in-law (with whom I live… and attracted me to this addiction in the first place). Now remember, I am jobless and without transportation in an unfamiliar town.

As Chuck indicates, there isn’t much to it. You create a character and do stupid everyday things – eat, stay hygienic, pee, watch TV. However, unlike Chuck, I am not escaping to where I already am (yes, I do eat, stay hygienic, pee and watch TV). I’m creating an alternate universe where I am successful, rich and good at everything I do. Wow, that is really pathetic…

Like any good escapist vehicle, this one takes you out of the everyday by putting you in an alternate everyday… an easier everyday… an everyday where you don’t have to work too hard to have whatever you want/need. It only takes mere hours to earn enough Simoleons (Sim currency) to expand a home and fill said home with items such as a flat panel TV and an elephant topiary (yeah, I have my eyes on that next).

The actions of my Sim (who I have named Lisa Loeb because her default appearance strongly resembled the bespectacled songstress) revolve primarily around completing skills such as cooking/catering, painting, composing music and writing. The goal, or at least MY goal, is to keep getting to a higher skill level. Though I can’t help to think what will happen when I reach the highest possible levels on each of these skills… (yes, still pathetic).

The added element to this version of the decade old life-simulation game is that it is “live” on Facebook. I had assumed (incorrectly) that this was just another means to interact with FB friends. However, the function of FB friends (“neighbors” in the game) is to increase social interaction- one of the necessities to keep your Sim happy-  and to get items required for different skills and tasks.

This is also where things can get interesting… and confusing. As my brother-in-law pointed out last night, these interactions are likely very appealing to the passive-aggressive player. Upon encountering your neighbors you have the opportunity for different types of interactions – friendly, mean or romantic. And the interactions will escalate from there resulting in those essential social points and skill/task related items. SO, since certain actions are required for different tasks, it is really easy to take out all of your frustration on someone by implying that their mother is a llama (an actual possibility) and just blaming it on the game. I don’t really think your mother is a llama… it’s just because I needed a Fury for a task. Oh, and you are really pissing me off (as is your mother, apparently).

The confusing part of the social interactions comes when you are in need of Love (the item, not the form of affection), which is something you can only get from romantic interactions with other Sims. You get one default neighbor when you sign up – the rest are your FB friends. Considering the only other neighbors my Sim had when I started were my brother-in-law and sister, things got… weird. Bella, the default neighbor, isn’t always giving with the Love and my Sim, for the sake of the game, had to flirt with the Sims of my sister and brother-in-law. Creepy.

HOWEVER, if you’re following the whole point of this post, I am not my Sim. I did not create her in my image and her house is not my dream house. I am not a piano virtuoso or brilliant chef. It is all just a GAME. And I’m not trying to wax philosophical and examine the sociological and psychological impacts of such a game – nor do I want to. It’s just not that worth reading into – just like any good escapist vehicle. Like I said before, I’m just trying to rationalize the attraction. Not really sure that I did that here… but it was kinda fun to think about.

So if you happen to be my friend on Facebook and see that I have posted something from the Sims that asks you to help me out… give me a break and click it. I (and Lisa) really appreciate it.

Photo credit: me… screen cap
Blog title song: “Time to Pretend” by MGMT


You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?

So how did a fantastically successful high school teacher (stop laughing) from Orange County find herself living in suburban Connecticut? Well, I’m glad you asked… oh, you didn’t ask? And you’re still laughing about the “successful teacher” part… that’s not nice.

I gave the quick and dirty in my inaugural post… I’m not going to give every single detail of my life thus far here, but I need to give some appropriate context to my current situation. I guess this could get lengthy… you have been warned.

Since 2005, I have worked for my high school alma mater. I started off as a secretary in the counseling office and worked my way into the classroom, first as a sub and then as a full-fledged teacher. From the time I set foot back on that campus in 2005, I felt I belonged in education. Looking back, I think I was looking for comfort and familiarity after a disastrous post-grad stint in Los Angeles (worked a terrible cubicle media job and kept myself in a painfully dysfunctional relationship).

Anyway… I loved teaching from the beginning. I had this wide-eyed (and pretty naive) optimism about it. I felt I had the opportunity to foster some good in the world. It was pretty awesome. And I adored my students. But it was getting harder and harder to be John Keating… outside of the classroom nothing was working right and subconsciously this spilled into the classroom. I had known for a while that I needed a change and in the Spring of 2010, I started looking for opportunities.

First I thought I’d apply to Master’s programs in English… incorrectly thinking I would remain a teacher for life. I labored over my Christmas break in 2010 on my applications. In the meantime, I barely had it in me to return to my classes. When the rejection letters started coming in, part of me was relieved. I had been looking for any excuse to leave Orange County… but this wasn’t right.

By a series of happy accidents I came upon a post-baccalaureate program at Columbia University where I could focus on pop culture (WHAT?!)… I applied and got in. I had no desire to live in New York City… but I couldn’t turn down this chance (educationally and personally). And thus began the complicated task of moving 3000 miles away from all that had been familiar to me for the last 20 years… selling all that I own and saying goodbye…

Of course, things never go as planned. I had to defer my registration at Columbia until January because I couldn’t get any financial aid (still working on that now unfortunately). I wasn’t prepared for the full time job hunt and apartments are hard to come by when you are jobless.

So here I am… staying with my sister and her family in beautiful and peaceful Connecticut. I’m eternally grateful to them for allowing me to stay here while I get things settled, but I never thought it would take this long. On a recent trip into the city (New York, that is… and it’s only 2.5 hours away by train), I had a moment of empowered clarity… I knew that I belonged there. It felt right. With so many questions left unanswered, it was nice to have some certainty. So now I’m stuck in limbo… all that I want is so close, but it feels very far away. It feels like I’ve been waiting for years for my life to start… but I have to wait just a little bit longer.

So is there more to this whole story of my life (la la la la)? Sure… but this is all you’re going to get for now…

Blog title song: “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads


When I was just a little girl…

So when I was a kid I wasn’t really afraid of much… except for the dark. I remember playing outside… picking up worms and hanging upside down from the monkey bars and riding my bike without holding onto the handlebars. I remember swinging as high as I could on the swings and jumping off.

On a recent trip to the park with my niece and nephew, I found myself on the swings and felt an exhilaration that I hadn’t felt in a long time as I got higher and higher… I had almost forgotten how much fun the swings were. Simple fun. BUT I couldn’t bring myself to jump… I hesitated… I thought too much about it. I eventually slowed my momentum and stepped off the swing.

SO as I am apt to do these days, I started thinking about my childhood (What? I’m jobless and in the middle of a major transition… you’d be thinking about this crap too…. don’t judge me).

I had some big goals when I was a kid. I was going to be a scientist… and an actress. I was going to travel the world. I was going to write a book. I was going to marry Christian Bale (not the American Psycho/Batman Christian Bale, but the Newsies/Swing Kids Christian Bale).  I was going to have long blonde hair like Kelly from 90210. There was nothing complicated about these dreams. I didn’t over-think them… I just jumped wholeheartedly into believing they would happen.  However, aside from a brief blonde stint in my mid-20s (yes, there are pictures… somewhere), none of these things came to be.

But…instead of being really depressed about not realizing my childhood dreams (even though cynicism is SO much easier), I’ll think about the reasons I decided to leave an entire life behind in California – to set NEW goals and have NEW dreams and actually have the balls to PURSUE those dreams.

I keep finding myself looking at the picture of my feet in the air. I wish I had jumped. It wouldn’t have mattered if I fell… what’s the worst that would have happened? I would have gotten sand everywhere? I might have been bruised and sore for a couple of days? So what? At least I would have jumped.

 

Photo credit: me… with my iPhone
Blog title song: “Que Sera Sera” by Doris Day


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