The Tale of the Sequined Booty Shorts

Once upon a time, a naive 22-year old was trying to pull together a last-minute costume while still adjusting to New York City in a tiny apartment that she shared with a stripper and at least a few mice. Recently out of college, and sorority crafting skills still fresh on her mind, she decided to capitalize on the then-booming career of a pop star named Ke$ha and pay tribute to her unique style on Halloween night. She had almost everything she needed for the look, including a ripped t-shirt that was eventually drenched in glitter, crazy makeup and crazier hair, and even some absurd faux fur accessories. The one thing she needed was a good pair of shorts to pull the whole thing together.

After an intense visit to the Union Square Forever 21, and fighting fiercely with a few scrappy teenagers, she finally found the perfect pair of $12 black sequined booty shorts, just small enough to add a little raciness to the pop star ensemble, and just adult enough that her ass cheeks weren’t hanging out, though that likely wouldn’t have mattered in the costumed city streets. The shorts were perfect that night, and once she returned home, she tucked them carefully in the bottom of her dresser, not willing to part with them to Goodwill (or the trash can) just yet, but not confident she’d ever actually wear a pair of black sequined booty shorts ever again.

The next year, while brainstorming with her lovely friend as to what they could be for Halloween, she remembered the shorts that had laid forgotten in her drawer for nearly a year. “Why not plan something where I can wear these again,” she mentioned to her friend, “since they were so perfect and comfortable last year!” And thus, the saga of the shorts began. After debuting as Ke$ha, the shorts evolved into part of a Jazzercise uniform, complete with leg warmers, headbands and sweet dance moves, despite the freak snowstorm that nearly shut down Halloween in 2011. In 2012, the shorts came back out of hiding to spoof the ongoing NFL replacement referee hilarity, paired with a ref jersey, knee socks and fake penalty flags, which she and her lovely friend (they had dressed up together again) threw in conflict throughout the night. In 2013, the shorts were meant to be a part of a ringmaster costume (with whip and everything!), but the confusion over which weekend was “Halloween” weekend in the city meant our protagonist didn’t do anything for Halloween, returning all the parts of the costume she’d purchased, save for those sequined shorts. It was scary how well they managed to hold up over the years, despite two moves and countless questionable Halloween decisions, but by 2014, the shorts were still going strong, nary a sequin out of place from their original debut in 2010.

The fifth Halloween finally rolled around, and our now 26 year-old started brainstorming what else she could do with the wondrous shorts. Perhaps something like Harley Quinn? Maybe a modified cheerleader outfit? Maybe a disco bumblebee! Sadly, none of these ideas clicked, and after weeks of brainstorming, she finally had to take a long, hard look at the World’s Longest-Lasting Item of Clothing from Forever 21. The sequined booty shorts had weathered a Halloween snowstorm and many dances on bars; they’d lasted through countless parties and drinks spilled everywhere around them. The shorts danced Jazzercize style in front of many, many strangers and got some of them to join in, and threw makeshift penalty flags at innocent bystanders, claiming Party Foul. The shorts had far outlasted the $12 they’d cost, and they made some pretty fantastic Halloween memories in their many years of service.

The shorts were laid to rest as a Halloween staple on October 30, 2014. They’d done their job admirably, and it’s really scary that they managed to last as long as they did. So rest in peace, greatest Halloween purchase ever. May the memory of our main character’s ass covered in sequins live in infamy, and in photos on Facebook.

The End. Happy Halloween everyone!

Fearless

“DID YOU LISTEN!?”
“I’ve already listened to it twice!”
“I KNOW IT’S… wait seriously? It’s not even 9 o’clock.”
“….. Yep.”

Monday was a day I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. My coworkers and I had the conversation above the moment we all walked in, fresh from the weekend and a beautiful sunny morning, because we’ve all been waiting for Monday for a long, long time. Why, you ask? My entire office of 20-whatevers has been waiting with baited breath to finally, finally hear the new Taylor Swift album.

Now, I’ve alluded to it here before on more than one occasion, but I have an unwavering and unabashedly loud love for Taylor Swift. I’ve been listening to her since 2006, royally pissing off my Twinster while on break freshman year of college as we listened to her first CD on repeat while working at the local toy store during the Christmas rush. From the early, early moments of listening to her twangy beats I felt really connected to the songs, similar to how many of her fans do. It’s part of her charm, the universal appeal, but it still feels very personal at the same time. I love that she’s only a year younger than I am and also has cats and loves to bake. I love that she and I probably have the same issues with love, in that we’re everything or nothing when it comes to bringing someone else in our lives. And I love her music, from the early low-country drawl about cowboy boots and high school crushes, to the synth beats of the new album, which I’ve been listening to on repeat since buying it within 45 seconds of waking up on Monday.

For a long time, I played down my rabid Swift fandom, listening to her music in my college apartment, at the gym, in my early NYC apartment, but never when anyone else was around, never playing songs on Spotify, lest it announce to Facebook that I’d been listening to Fearless for six straight hours. I was really concerned for years about cultivating an image that listened to all this indie, unknown, underground music; I didn’t want to be associated with the screaming teenage girls in the background of a bad MTV show, hysterically crying that Taylor Swift’s songs are “BASICALLY MY LIFE.” It was years, really, of listening to this music over and over in secret and categorically denying that I knew every word to every song and then some before I finally stopped caring. You know what? I’m allowed to love the weird underground music alongside T Swizzle. She’s a talented songwriter and artist. Her songs are catchy and relatable and I want to raid her closet. So I stopped pretending that I didn’t know everything about her and her music and started telling people within five minutes of meeting them that I’m a full-on Swift addict and I don’t care who knows it.

This is my 100th post on this blog. One hundredth! Sometimes I’m still in shock that I’ve been able to maintain the site for this long already, that I’ve somehow found 100 topics interesting enough to inspire me to share. And other times, while watching the total views and total visitors creep higher and higher each day, I’ll panic a little bit. In 100 entries. I’ve admitted to: injuring myself and losing things after excessive drinking, flashing my nipples at a neighbor, stepping in puddles of pee on the NYC sidewalks, walking around for hours with food in my hair, and accidentally making out with strangers who tell me I’m pretty. I’ve also immortalized how on more than one occasion I’ve felt like a total failure at my job, how it felt to hand someone my heart and watch him crush it slowly and then all at once, and what it’s like for my heart to break a little, even now, when I see a beagle in the street or I find another wayward Chapstick under my bed.

It’s really scary to have opened myself up to criticism in the way that I have with this space. Sometimes I’m expecting my inbox to be flooded with emails from exes or friends, demanding I rewrite their story, forcing me to take something offline. Other times I wonder if strangers think I’m crazy, a stereotypical single girl who lives alone with a cat and worships all things Taylor Swift. It’s crossed my mind more than once not to put something up here, looking at a final draft with the same trepidation that I would an email to a client, scrutinizing every word as though my life depended on it. And every time I stare at something thinking “Am I really about to put this out into the world?” I always hit OK. I could censor myself easily, but if I’ve learned anything from 8 years of tireless devotion to Ms. Swift’s music, it’s that there’s no point in doing anything if you’re going to do it halfway.

The new album this week was more than I’d been hoping for, with a few lines that literally took the breath out of my lungs, because once again, I know exactly how she was feeling when she wrote it (10 months sober, I must admit/Just because you’re clean don’t mean you don’t miss it). She finally knocked Hozier out of my headphones, and 1989 will stay there until I’ve learned all these words like I have all the others, dancing at my desk, on the subway, while at home in PJs with little miss. Say what you want about my love for Ms. Swift or any of the decisions I make here, the content and the stories I’ve deemed acceptable for public consumption. Because haters gonna hate hate hate – I’ll be the one shaking it like everyone’s watching for the next 100 entries and beyond.

Friendly Conversations: Quatre

On twins 
Me: So it looks like T will be in town this weekend, you might finally get to meet her!
H the Scot: Sounds great, can finally complete the set!

On generosity
Mama B: I’ll leave you cash for the movie and shopping while we’re gone tomorrow.
Me: You don’t have to do that!!
Mama B: I want to!! Plus I have a shitload of cash. Don’t ask where it came from.

On creeping
Friend: It’s cute! He’s just checking up on you.
Me: I’d prefer he’d just ask me how I’m doing himself! Next time it happens I’m putting up an entry that says “I see you” and nothing else.

On comebacks (in reference to AHS: Freak Show)

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On road trips
M: Okay, we’re barely an hour in and we have four more to go. I’m pacing myself on this Chipotle.
Me: Oooh. Yeah. Good point. Except I just inhaled most of mine.
C: … Me too.

On semantics
M: We’re in your state, what’s a good radio station?
Me: Oh! There’s this alternative rock station that’s pretty good
C: “Connecticut alternative rock” feels like an oxymoron

On post-vaca first dates
Neighbors: Yo Snow White, where you been all night? It’s late for you and you ain’t in sweats.
Me: Guys, I wear more than just gym clothes.
Neighbs: Not lately.

On breaking news

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Full.

After a blissful week disconnected from work and the general responsibilities of being an adult, I begrudgingly made it back to the real world yesterday, settling into my desk around 8, hoping to get a head start before the rest of the office made it in. As people saw I was on GChat again, and the office slowly filled up, I was asked every which way by every single person “How was your vacation!?” I think people expect to hear one of a few stereotypical responses to that question, like “Great!” and “Very relaxing!” and “Too short!,” but my take on our jaunt up north for four days last week was a little different. The best answer I could come up with for every “How was Maine??” thrown my way today was “Full.”

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Dis is Maine.

Let’s start with the obvious: aside from that time my lovely friend M and I plowed through a meal intended for 6 people while spending Thanksgiving in Amsterdam, I have never eaten so much in my life. Having also grown up in a beach town, I was prepared for lots of seafood, maybe accompanied by vegetables or maybe just next to more seafood and crinkle-cut fries, but we took eating to the next level in our mere 96 hours. None of us had any intention of turning down plates because they “weren’t healthy” or we “weren’t hungry,” so we encouraged each other’s bad decisions and ate our way up and down the coast: pizza and duck fat poutine in Portland, chowder and fried clams in Portsmouth, pancakes and french toast and bacon for breakfast on two consecutive days, a full lobster bake, and an interesting experiment with butter sandwiches (yup) after either the third gin cocktail or fourth bottle of wine on the cold Friday night. Everything had a drink with it, mimosas with breakfast, cocktails after lunch, wine after dinner; yet despite food comas by all and not enough water by normal standards, none of us felt any less than refreshed in the mornings, pain washed away by the sea air and a steady feeling of relaxed calm I’ve never felt in the city.

The weekend itself was filled with activities, though nothing that had a time frame or even too many boundaries. Time at the beach melted into time shopping in Portland, into time at the outlets, spending money we don’t have on things we absolutely need. We spent as much time as possible on the beach each day, digging toes into the cold sand on Thursday morning, bathed in sunshine till the rain moved in, tossing bocce balls and tossing back drinks all day on Friday, climbing rocks on Saturday to find a secret spot for just the four of us and taking pictures of everything on Sunday. Nights were spent curled up in sweatpants with an unlimited supply of red wine and an ever-present game of Cards of Humanity, graciously gifted by my partner-and-crime R and her Scot H for the weekend after they had to cancel coming last minute. M’s mother kicked all our asses one night as she laughed uproariously at everything and asked us repeatedly not to judge her for all the best answers. It hit me at one point on Thursday night, after the first of the four perfect days, that I hadn’t laughed like that in months.

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My lovely friend M told us that she can feel a shift in perspective the moment she crosses the state line into Maine, like the city hustle and everything alongside it melt away once you’re within state lines. Given this was only my second time to Maine ever, I didn’t quite have that feeling when we passed the “Welcome to Maine!” sign, but I sure felt something over the next few days. I felt it waking up the first morning, after the best night of sleep I’d had in months, to the gentle waves of the ocean undulating in and out of earshot, just faint enough that the whole world felt silent, and just loud enough to call us to the sand. And again, sitting in a car with my best friends, singing along to all the bad 90’s music, the perfect autumn colors flying past us on the still-full trees. And then again on the last night in Cocktail Cove, an aptly named secluded/secret mini-beach, where we sat on jagged rocks with beers in plastic cups, watching the sun languidly lower into the horizon, the colors changing from soft pinks and yellows, to bright blues, to pale greens, to black.

It wasn’t an epiphanic moment of clarity, that last night, but more like an easy calm setting in as I looked around at the beautiful sunset and the people around me. It’s corny, and cliched, but there’s something about staring into a clear sunset, into an ocean horizon, that reminds you how small these moments are in the grand scheme of life and things. It reminded me how small the little insecurities I’ve been carrying around like a bomb for months are, nothing more than Post-Its slowly losing their sticky before falling to be forgotten and trampled by rain-soaked feet. And it reminded me that it doesn’t take an army to have a good time, doesn’t require a big fanfare of drinks and shots and boys and bad decisions. Right then, I just needed a few days on the beach, listening to the sea breeze, digging my feet into the rocky, cold sand, with nothing on my mind but how beautiful everything was around me, and how my life was, and is, so very full.

VAAAY CAAAAY

Guess who’s on vacation!

*~*DIS GURL*~*

My lovely friend M, her N, my fashionista C and I are taking a very well-deserved break from the city to head up to Maine for a few days of eating, drinking, beaching and sleeping. I have a mini-staycation planned after that in the city, so will be taking a few days off from anything that isn’t Netflix and Seamless to recharge and reboot. Will have a Maine recap up as soon as I can, and a fun “announcement” to share in the coming days.

Hope everyone enjoys the beautiful mid-October weather and is as well-rested as I plan to be in 24 hours. As a parting gift, here’s a photo of little miss trying her hardest to figure out yoga mats:

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See you next week, kids!

UPDATE (Oct. 24): Unfortunately, the teased announcement above has been postponed by a month. Whomp whomp. Look for the news around Thanksgiving!

Quick Thoughts: I could.

There are a lot of benefits to living alone. You can order Seamless twice in a day without anyone judging, even if one of those orders is just mashed potatoes and cake. You can prance around in your new wedge boots while wearing sweatpants and a sports bra (and you make it look cute). You can drink wine from a coffee cup or even just a straw, wear the same pants multiple days in a row, put on music and sing along, a hairbrush as a microphone. And you can walk around naked because why not, there’s no one else there. I mean, I’m not saying that I do any of these things. But I’m just saying, if I wanted to, I could.

You can also go to bed before 9:30, because you’re already exhausted from the ups and downs of the week ahead, or light candles and breathe slowly while laying on the floor for as long as it takes to get back up. You can ugly cry while watching old Audrey Hepburn movies all weekend, and sing along to Moon River every time. You can snuggle up with a squirming cat and make her stay there till you fall asleep. And you can sit in the shower for just a minute when you need to, letting the sound of the water and the new blues on the stereo drown out a running mind, trying to figure out what’s wrong.

Like I said, I’m not saying that I do any of these things. But I am saying, if I wanted to, I could.

Two Broke Girls

I pulled my credit card out of my wallet last week and punched in the numbers, trying not to memorize them as I’ve done with most of my other cards, and rationalized as the website check-out loaded: I’ve been eyeing this dress for weeks. It’s a quarter of the original price! THEY ACTUALLY HAVE MY SIZE. I don’t know what else I could wear to H the Scot’s birthday celebrations this weekend! Despite that last one being horribly untrue (e.g., already had something in mind), I hit “Submit” and then immediately checked my credit card statement and mentally subtracted what I’d need to cut out of my budget that week to cover the dress. “Welp,” I thought as I happily shared the link to the dress with a coworker, who agreed it was totally worth it, “looks like I have a long week of frozen veggies and canned tuna till pay day.”

I am in the unfortunate position of being a fashion-obsessed 20-something with a decent salary living on my own in New York City. “Unfortunate?” you ask. “That sounds ideal!” But no, it’s unfortunate, because that sentences really translates as this:

  • Fashion-obsessed 20-something = Talks about saving money and then spends it on shoes.
  • Decent salary = Enough to cover rent and bills like 65% of the time.
  • Living on my own in New York City = Okay this part is true. And also rocks.

Usually, I find myself in one of two positions: it’s within 24 hours of payday and I feel like a millionaire, or it’s more than 24 hours after payday and I’m reminded that being an adult, and especially a New Yorker, is expensive and hard. My fashionista C and I bond over this in particular on the weeks after paying rent, swapping “I’m so broke until payday”s and “I’m serious, I can’t even afford dollar oysters this week”s, and yet our conversations frequently end up leading to “LOOK AT THIS NEW DRESS” and “Should I buy this purse? Just kidding I already did.” Last week in particular was a doozy of budget discussions, as we had a whirlwind weekend ahead, birthdays, bachelorette parties and a fast-approaching trip to Maine. With big Saturdays on the books for both of us, and C and I going on vacation in a week, we decided to spend Friday at her place, a low-key night of wine and on-demand movies.

Saving money is not fun. Sorry, but it’s just true. I know I can’t pull $600 out of savings for an impulse buy, but when that new Marc Jacobs purse is emitting a siren call while I’m “just looking” on Net-a-Porter, it’s so, so hard not to listen to it. It was more difficult in the early city days, the unstable months adjusting to the city, to biweekly paychecks, to the constant pull to buy every meal on Seamless and overspend on accessories, but even now that I’ve got my feet under me, it’s really hard to budget. I wonder sometimes, looking at an uncertain future, if I’ll regret going to that concert last-minute instead of putting that money towards my upcoming bedroom redecoration, wonder if I’ll berate myself for taking all those cabs over the years without sucking it up and taking the subway. I wonder sometimes if I’ll be the person that is always broke in the city, taking care of myself alone, or if someday it might get easier. Wondering all of this all the time can be overwhelming, anxiety-inducing even, when I’m trying to figure out if I really can survive on a can of tuna and salad greens until Wednesday this week. But a quick ping on Gchat from C makes me laugh and calm down a little, because whether it’s a 20-whatever thing or a New York City thing, at least I know I’m not the only one.

Friday night, for a grand total of $60, C and I got very drunk and stuffed our faces with what may be my new favorite pizza in the entire city, shrieking at the television when it stalled during a crucial scene in Belle and reciting along to Gone with the Wind until the third bottle of wine put us to bed. It was the kind of Friday we both needed after long weeks, a chance to forget our dwindling bank accounts and just enjoy a night of gossip and girl talk. It sucks to be broke most of the time, sucks to be the kind of person that will impulse-buy a dress she probably doesn’t need without realizing that money could go to groceries down the line. But I don’t think I’ll be too angry with myself in 40 years for spending that money now. After all, I may be a broke girl trying to make my way in New York City, but all things considered, I’ve made some pretty rich memories along the way.

Cool Girl Interruptus

Last night, while heading to my lovely friend M’s place for dinner, I was talking to a friend, one of M’s neighbors I’ve known for a few years, trading sly comments about my new yoga mat, the words laced with the type of innuendo that usually peppers our talks. He’s funny, and familiar, someone who knows me well enough to know a few flaws, but is distant enough to flirt with gusto. In a brief moment of inspiration, I did something brave without thinking about it too much, and planned a perfect exit from the situation, telling myself it would be that classic aloof moment that would leave him thinking of me as a Cool Girl. Despite the exit not quite turning out as planned (more below), it led to a brief internal dialogue about the Cool Girls, and why in that moment of inspiration I wanted to be one.

The “Cool Girl” is a hotly debated stereotype, fueled in recent days by the release of the Gone Girl movie, where the brilliant soliloquy from the book is used as a scathing voiceover on the backdrop of a bad marriage. We all know the stereotype: the hot girl who loves sports and beer and junk food and sex, and I’m sure everyone has a strong opinion on whether these girls actually exist, or whether the “Cool Girls” are just pretending to like sports and beer and sex to gain the attention and approval of a man. I can definitely argue that the not-so-Cool Girls exist: let’s be real, we’ve all seen the girl in the bar who cozies up to the Giants fan and starts talking about how much she loooOOoOooOoves Victor Cruz before asking “Which one is the blue team?” The “real” Cool Girls though, are a different story.

With 100 percent honesty: I love watching sports and especially football. I’m that girl that talks about her Fantasy team like it’s a real team, and I love nothing more than a bacon cheeseburger on the weekends, grease dripping down my chin, how I can tangibly feel the salt puffing up my face and how much I don’t care. If I’m to believe the catcalls that follow me around the Heights, I’m not bad on the eyes. And let’s just say I’m a huge fan of being single and certain freedoms that presents me. It’s not just me: my twinster T can rattle off Red Sox stats better than anyone I know, M and I have been known to house multiple orders of wings without blinking an eye, and without calling anyone out, I definitely have friends that share my penchant for living the NYC single life. But I’m also a girl, which means I used to pick fights with my former boyfriend when he wasn’t paying enough attention to me, I look forward to Friday nights so I can watch wedding shows on TLC, and I have a salad for lunch every day of the week. And come on now: much as I love doing my own makeup and how confident I feel in heels, if I weren’t trying to catch the eye of a cute guy in a bar, I’d be going out in sweats and sneakers.

So with all the above, does that make me a normal girl or a Cool Girl? I think the stereotype as it stands doesn’t account for the fact that girls can like things like burgers and beer, while also totally tearing up when the bride on TV says yes to the dress. The hate for the Cool Girl feels misplaced, like someone is projecting her insecurities about disliking hockey and preferring a salad to cheese fries. I think the real Cool Girls are the ones that don’t force themselves to pay attention to a sport in which they have no interest, the ones that order the fries instead of the salad without making comments about a “fat day,” and the ones that order the salad instead of the fries because salad just sounded really good right then. Essentially, the ones that can bravely say “IDGAF” and do what makes them happy, regardless of whether guys will judge them for ordering wine at a sports bar or what that group of girls thinks when they start screaming obscenities at the screen after Harvin’s third touchdown is called back by penalties (IT WOULD HAVE NETTED ME SO MANY POINTS).

While talking to my friend last night, I knew he wanted to kiss me, because he always wants to kiss me, and in those two seconds of inspiration, I decided to give him a kiss goodbye and then saunter into M’s apartment building, where the front door is rarely locked, and breeze inside like it was nothing, the ultimate Cool Girl moment. It wasn’t the first kiss we’d had, but the first in a long time, so I leaned in, gave him a brief kiss, and winked, turning around with a smug grin as his expression let me know I’d caught him completely off guard in a good way, exactly like I planned. As I walked away, blindsided by my own bravery, I went to enter the apartment building and the freaking door was locked. Locked! Cool Girl moment totally ruined, I stared determinedly at the door trying not to look back, preserving some semblance of the “walks inside like nothing” exit I was hoping to give that memory. I let out a brief sigh and a giggle as I heard the quiet click of the lock and finally made it inside, ready to set aside the Cool Girl for a night of girl talk with M and her amazing homemade dinner. It was a small victory for my new “IDGAF” attitude towards the little things in life, for sure, but it felt good to feel brave for a change, and in that silly, small moment, I felt pretty freaking cool.

26 going on 4

You know how you can’t rationalize with toddlers? You can tell them eating paste is bad, screaming in public isn’t polite, and they’ll get ice cream once they finish their veggies, but inevitably you’ll find one with his mouth glued shut, another screaming on a crowded subway and another dissolved in tears over two pieces of broccoli. You know they know better, and you know they’re trying, but it’s frustrating waiting for them to grow up a little and figure it out. When you’re a toddler, you don’t realize what’s happening outside of the three second emotional spectrum, furious one second, thrilled the next. You’re still learning and it’s all so new, and we as adults forgive them that lack of life experience and know it won’t last forever.

Sometimes I feel like I haven’t grown out of that phase, stuck making the same mistakes over and over, trying and trying but still metaphorically sticking the paste in my mouth, even though I know it’s going to end with me closed-mouth and screaming. As an adult, I’m supposed to do better, I’m supposed to know better. I mean it when I say things like “I can do better,” but then I don’t do better; I do the same thing, stuck in the same cycle of trying and failing and failing to learn. Maybe it’s immaturity in spite of my 26 years, maybe it’s some links in my brain that had a fight six months ago and refuse to talk it out. Maybe it’s years of bad habits becoming permanent habits, or maybe I’m just not seeing something clearly, and I’m not trying hard enough to open my eyes.

I sat down tonight to write a post about my weekend in Connecticut, a cozy few days isolated from the city hustle, taking in a Saturday matinee by myself and preparing for this week ahead. These are the only words I can call to mind, endlessly frustrated with myself for making a mistake that I’ve made before and from which I thought I’d learned. I debated not posting this, bottling these words in favor of something with sunshine and rainbows, spinning a funny story about a stupid mistake, but it’s just not where my head is these days. My mind isn’t on the big picture, what happens after you eat the paste or how easy it is to eat those last few vegetables; I’m the toddler screaming in Central Park at everything and nothing, emotional and empty somehow at the same time.

I don’t have an encouraging word here, don’t have a funny play on words or acronyms, or quotes that made me think. If there aren’t that many words here this week, just know I’m working on growing up a little in the next few days, showing the people around me I’m capable than so much more than I’ve been giving for far too long.

IDGAF

“It’s hilarious. Once she stopped giving any fucks, everything started happening for her.”

The scene: happy hour with my dearest K at Essex, our favorite spot for half-priced drinks and a sassy Australian bartender, who has been serving K and me Grey Goose martinis and Bulleit rocks (respectively) for the past few years. We were chatting about one of his close friends, a girl I adore, who’d been in town that past weekend staying with him; the discussion had reached her recent reveal that she’s in the photos for the new Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett album artwork, and may go on tour with them in the next year. K said that to me in reference to the wild success of his wildly talented friend, and we laughed at the absurd truth of such a statement. It made me pause for a minute, though, and has been running on repeat in my mind since then: while drinking coffee, on the subway, in work meetings. Admittedly, part of it is wondering how many less fucks I’d need to give to be best friends with Taylor Swift so we can bake cookies and hang out with our cats forever, but on a larger scale, it’s an interesting concept for someone like me.

I’m the kind of person that gives a lot of fucks. Like, a lot. Almost all of them, really. It’s not that I get embarrassed easily (clearly), or I’m fraught with fear and anxiety in daily situations, but my personality is one that tends towards extremes, a pendulum swinging from listless to passionate, and in many situations I give way. too. many. fucks. Most of the time it’s over nonsense: I’ll see someone haphazardly glance at me on the subway and start caring about how everyone sees me: am I standing awkwardly? Is there something in my hair? Can everyone see how much I’m sweating right now? Am I in everyone’s way? Other times it’s at work, when I’m taking a few minutes to update a draft post here, or checking the news fine, Daily Mail, in between projects, and a boss walks by my cube: Did she see my screen? What if she thinks this is all I do? Is that side-eye intentional? Does she think I get my news from the Daily Mail? Don’t even get me started on how often I think “Is everyone around me thinking about how bad I am at this?” in yoga class, breaking concentration to give a fuck about what strangers think of my ass in Lululemon. It’s really silly to give that many fucks over situations that are generally created in my head, but really, that’s just how I’ve always been.

I don’t want to imply that giving a fuck is a bad thing, because it’s not. Most of the time, caring that much, giving that many fucks, is a great thing; it’s the part of my personality that feels things as deeply as I do, cares as much as I do, wants as much as I do. I give a fuck about my career, how much I wish the past few months had been more about learning and growing, and less about pulling myself out of the hole I dug while giving too many fucks about someone who didn’t give a fuck about me. I give a fuck about my friends, enough that they can do something I disagree with completely, and I’d still be the first one there any day of the week, with a bottle of wine and a shoulder to cry on, when things don’t go their way. But I give too many fucks about myself, and how things aren’t going the way that I thought they would, and I really give a fuck that I don’t know how to handle that.

The idea of letting go of the things that keep me chained to insecurities and anxieties is an intriguing one, something I’ve thought on before but never in this context. I’ve tried telling myself to “stay in the present,” and “focus on what you can control,” but nothing has resonated as deeply as “just stop giving that many fucks.” It feels like I’ve been shamelessly throwing around these thoughts and cares and worries, working my way around a big pile of IDGAF and not stopping for three seconds to figure out if it’s really worth wasting a finite level of Cares in favor of watching where something leads. If you take the assumed aggressive tone out of “I don’t give a fuck” and apply it to the little things, like what the cashier at Bravo thinks of me when I’m buying a 6-pack of pumpkin beer and cat food in pajamas on a Wednesday night, or what the guy at the bar who’s been eyeing me for a minute thinks of my Bulleit-fueled dance moves, it calls to mind a carefree abandon, a nod to unpredictability and a “fuck you” to all the minor insecurities. I’ll never be someone who can stop giving a fuck, never be someone who doesn’t pause for just a minute when debating things like what people will think of a public blog entry that’s filled with profanity. But I can be someone who can stop letting all of that dictate my days, weeks, months, years, save all the fucks I give for something important, and let everything else just Happen around me along the way.

(Just in case you were wondering: Fuck count: 20, or two minutes in a Tarantino movie).