Ctrl + Alt + Reboot

I spent more time complaining last week than probably anything else (except working). I complained because I was sore from a tough yoga class last Sunday, and then I complained because I wasn’t doing yoga. I complained because I was stressed out at the office, and then complained even more because I couldn’t soothe the stress with a glass of wine. I complained because I’m trying to figure out my budget for the next six months and don’t know that I can reconcile another plane ticket for something I absolutely don’t want to miss. I tried to stay on the good side of positive, holding on to the Weather Channel’s promise of a beautiful weekend and a chance to catch up on sleep as the hallmark of my complaining streak to end, but by Friday night I was in no mood for anything that wasn’t sitting on my couch after a late night in the office, coconut water in a wine glass pretending it was the same (it wasn’t), hoping that my neighbors would turn down the music so I could sleep away the week and wake up on Saturday in a new attitude.

This weekend was exactly what I needed after a full week of seemingly non-stop complaining. I had long-standing plans with my partner-in-crime R to test out a Bikram yoga class (that’s the hot one), and my lovely friend M had been looking forward to Saturday, where she hosted two classes about the wonder of essential oils. Both things were massive successes in such minor ways. The Bikram studio R attends was so welcoming and enthusiastic, and despite sweating through everything I wore for the rest of the day, I felt amazing: stretched out more thoroughly than ever before, and proud, because I tried the class, made it through, and even saw some crazy improvements in backbends by the end. The oils class was even more interesting, because even though I’ve been using essential oils for years, I didn’t know a quarter of what M and her cohost share with us, like how oregano oil is as powerful as penicillin as an antibiotic, or how lemon oil on the side of your nose can help with congestion. After all the classes were over, M and I sat on her couch and just chilled for an hour, talking about the day and drinking seltzer until it was far past my bedtime, and I walked the two blocks home with the kind of smile that comes from a really satisfying day.

There’s something really nice about having plans to look forward to on Whole30, since it’s totally different from the “typical” weekend plans. I mean don’t get me wrong, when R and my fashionista C started putting up Insta-photos of their Saturday night I had the WORST pang of FOMO flood my brain, desperately missing the nights where we all go out for dinner and see what happens, never knowing if I’ll end up home by midnight, tired and a little buzzed, or if I’ll wake up on R and H the Scot’s floor, still in my party clothes with contacts in shot glasses next to my head. But in this case, after a full week of complaining and crankiness, it was really nice to know I had fun activities to look forward to that were more than “buy more vegetables and eggs and prep enough food to feed a hungry girl for the week.” Maybe it’s a sign of growing up that I can plan things for weekends that don’t involve terrible decisions. Although on that same token, I can always just plan on the healthy things and have a drink after to celebrate.

For whatever reason, there are a lot of milestones coming up in the next week, including a super major massive one tomorrow for me. I’ve actually been looking forward to this week for a while: it’s the home stretch for Whole30, the weather is finally turning around from cold and dreary to lukewarm, though still dreary today. We’re about to start a six-month period of big things, as tomorrow marks an anniversary of when everything started happening, and the new beginnings coming up soon are too numerous to try and mention. A little reboot of my life and my attitude was a good prescription for a crappy attitude, complaining about everything instead of celebrating everything that’s just around the corner. Of course, I’m still going to complain when I’m stuck in the office without snacks again, or when I see someone eating a Twix in front of me (“ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME.”), but I’ll do my best to keep it to myself for a little while. If almost passing out in a Bikram class or spending two hours covered in potent oils taught me anything on my long Saturday, it’s that staying in the present moment, with a deep breath and a smile, will come back to you threefold over complaining about the same thing, one more time and again.

Chronicle Q&A

Thank you to everyone that texted, emailed and otherwise asked questions after my adorably written plea for material. Since I said all of the sappy stuff yesterday on the real anniversary, let’s just get straight to the inquisition! From my heart and my keyboard to your screen, I hope you enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at my Chronicle of a 20-whatever,

Q: What made you decide to start a blog?
A: This is a difficult question to answer, because honestly I’ve always had some form of a blog. I had a Livejournal in high school (it was 2004, everyone did it), a blogger site in the early city years, even another public blog for about 6 months in 2013. I also have a personal journal I’ve been writing in since 2008. I’ve always felt compelled to write; writing calms me down and makes me feel like I understand what’s going on around me, even though that’s almost definitely never true.

What made me decide to start this blog was realizing that I was getting myself into all of these hilarious and absurd situations, and going through all of these growing pains and all of this emotional turmoil, simply trying to navigate the city as a mid-20s single person. For a really long time it felt like a terrible and shameful thing that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but then I noticed I was having a freaking BLAST at life and I didn’t care that I was bad at it. Apparently sucking at life is a part of your 20s, so why not share my struggles with people going through the same thing?

My goals have always been to overshare as much as possible while still knowing that family and coworkers read this; and to put out posts that are relatable to anyone, whether you’re single in your 20s, married in your 30s, or my grandmother, who’s almost 90 but still tells me all the time how much she loves the blog. Even though tbh she can’t work a computer and has probably never seen this before (If I’m wrong, hi Meems!).

Q: How do your friends feel about being included in your stories?
A: Great question. They hate it.

Just kidding! I think. I hope? In all seriousness, no one has complained, to me at least. Do they love being included in my Friendly Conversations round-ups or my expert recapping of our Epic Sunday Funday PLDs? Probably not. But they all read and love the stories, with a high-five and a shout-out to R, H and C, who are unquestionably my biggest fans and the instigators and/or bystanders for most of my best material.

That said, my goal in writing all this is to make sure things stay focused on me, because at the end of the day, it’s not a blog about anyone else. I’m not speculating on my friend’s relationships or how they feel when I show up late somewhere (again) or forget plans (again) or embarrass them in public (again). With that distinction, I think if you look at the blog from a big picture perspective, all of my stories that involve friends are meant to celebrate the role the Nickname Posse plays in my life. They’re the tough love-givers, the ones who pop a dream bubble that they can see turning into a nightmare, the ones that hold my hair back when I’m throwing up in the street (I mean what? that never happened) and the ones who hold me back when I’m about to do something I’ll regret. They’re the most important people in my life, and my Chronicle doesn’t exist without them.

So do they love it all the time? Probably not, but at least on their side, the good far outweighs the embarrassing.

Q: What are the best and worst parts about having a blog?
A: Honestly, the worst part about having a blog is, in fact, having a blog. I very naively did not think ahead and realize how much writing and moderating would penetrate my daily life. When I first started putting the site together, I was at a job which didn’t keep me too busy, plus I hadn’t settled into single life, plus I thought I had a lot to say. So the first few weeks, I wrote a lot of content in between tasks at work, and assumed it would always be that easy. Pro tip: THAT IS FALSE. Keeping up with the blog, in terms of inspiration for posts, writing said posts in a coherent way, and then editing them to be blog-ready, is really freaking hard. I’m more than a little surprised I’ve been able to keep it up for this long, given my track record.

Having said that, the best part about having a blog is having a blog. I love having a place to share all my opinions and musings and tales from weekend PLDs. I love writing and having people respond. I love hearing from people who really connect with something I’ve put out there, especially when I’ve wrestled with whether to share that information. I love friends referencing the blog in daily conversations and I love that they support this crazy space no matter what. I hope I can keep it up in the years to come.

Q: You seem to have some really pointed references in some of the posts. Are those meant for particular people? 
A: I can’t pull out any examples here without outing people, so I have to dance around this a little bit. I won’t admit to posting content specifically for a person, but I will say this much: every word on this blog is deliberate. If you read something and think, “Hm, that’s oddly specific. I wonder if it’s meant for someone…” the answer is probably yes.

Q: Can you reveal any of the cryptic hints/secrets from posts in the past?
A: Fair follow-up. I try not to be cryptic when it comes to things that affect me directly, and only me, but if I’m referencing someone else who (a): hasn’t consented to the story being public, or (b): may not read the blog and know what’s up there, I try not to divulge too much. I can’t go into big secrets, like identities or anything, but I’ll divulge a few fun tidbits:

  • Here’s what really happened on the Weirdest Day Ever: My ex-boyfriend (the big one) requested to follow me on Instagram, a high school boyfriend sent me something on Facebook, my college boyfriend was apparently creeping on my LinkedIn profile, the guy that I’d recently met and really liked (despite his inconveniently living across the pond) sent me a text after a few days of silence, and then I heard from The Child for the first time since everything between us went down. That shit was seriously cray.
  • The infamous Dating Confessions and booty-call posts are in reference to the same person BUT he wasn’t involved in the weird day above.
  • The Crush and Rebound posts are also inspired by the same person, but he isn’t ANY of the guys above. (Though Confessions has a cameo in Rebound).
  • In the PLD Montage: Austin edition, I will admit that the “beard burn” quote was mine.
  • And just for fun: the commenter labeled “Dave” on the Sister Wives post is actually N. Which I knew, clearly. We also went out later that night for his birthday and he spilled the beans twice that it was him. Oh, hubs.

Q: Are the initials for the Nickname Posse their actual initials? Also, are yours really LB?
A: This is a surprisingly hard question to answer. Everyone’s initials are connected to their name, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s initials are their first name, or even last name. You’d be surprised how many friends I have with names that start with “M.”

But yes, my real initials are LB. LEB, in full.

Friendly Conversations: Uno

Like the new title? I figured new year means new language count for the Conversations! Here we go again:

On states of emergency
M: Can we change the channel? I don’t want to watch weather anymore
N: Well at this point, Snowpacolypse and Deflategate are our only options.
Me: That says a lot about society, doesn’t it.

On primping
Friend: You look so cute! Are you wearing makeup?
Me: Nah, just a little mineral powder and mascara. Oh, and I filled in my eyebrows. Oh and this new lip stain from Birchbox.
Friend: So… yes.

On coping

FC1.3

On text-tiquette
Me: Yeah, apparently he found our drunk texts annoying so basically I’m over it.
Mama B: Oh lord. If your father was that uptight about my drunk antics we would have divorced a long time ago.
Me: MOM.
Mama B: Remember when I invited the whole cruise table to your sister’s wedding? Still trying to get out of that one.

On coping (pt. 2)
IMG_0782

On dating
Me: It’s like the Sopranos. He’s like my Feech La Manna.
Friend: … What?
Me: You know, “Didn’t I learn anything from Richie Aprile?”
Friend: … What?
Me: Like, I’m Tony, and The Child was Richie. You know, “nip it in the bud” and all.
Friend: … Girl if you are comparing your dating life to a mafia drama, we need to seriously reevaluate your priorities.

Secrets, secrets

Secrets, secrets are no fun unless you share with everyone.

When you’re young, secrets are the ultimate currency. Adults keep secrets from you because you’re “too young,” friend trade secrets back and forth as a show of trust, and taunting other friends with the fact that you’re keeping a secret makes you feel powerful and popular. Secrets can be as harmless as “I totally copied [friend’s] homework because I didn’t do it last night,” or as seemingly major as “OMG I have such a crush on [popular boy/girl],” but in any language, way, shape, or form, secrets are valuable, precious commodities that make you feel trusted and powerful all in one. There was always that one person who responded to your “I know something you don’t know” taunts with the rhyme above, humming it at the sing-song intonation we all know so well, trying to get you to spill the words that let you one-up them for the time. In those early years, it’s a fun game, singing those two sentences back and forth, but as we grow up, we start to realize that having or keeping secrets can be a dangerous game. Even if you don’t know the content, just knowing that a secret is out there can spread rumors like wildfire, igniting a flame of destruction until someone is forced to spill the beans to clear their name, or someone else is devastated to find out they’d misplaced that knowledge, and its subsequent power and information, in the wrong hands.

So I guess it’s a little strange to be sharing on such a public forum that I have a secret.

Well, let’s clarify for a minute. Clearly I have a lot of secrets on this blog: my real name and those of the Nickname Posse, where I work/what I do, my favorite color (purple) (wait DAMMIT), and how I look, for a few things. This blog is like an intersection of secrecy and TMI, telling the world my personal experiences with booty calls and bad dates balanced by cryptic hints as to who flipped my mood upside down one day and made me smile the next. I don’t keep these things private because I like keeping secrets (which I don’t), or because I’m good at it (which I’m DEFINITELY not), but more that I like the semi-freedom of telling my tales without a filter, not held back from saying “and then I flashed some sideboob” because it might be the first result when you google my name. Plus, there will always be people in my stories that don’t get a say in the final draft, and their privacy will always be more important than my storytelling. In the grand scheme of things here, though, I haven’t kept any secrets. I’ve laid out everything about my past two relationships, been upfront when I’m depressed or angry, and shared quite frequently how often I’m pretending to be busy on weekends so I can drink wine alone with my cat. I’m an open book usually, the heart-on-her-sleeve kind of oversharer, who is happy to share the good stories and the bad, so long as there are people excited enough to listen.

That being my personality, for the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to share said secret here. Should I hint at it with cryptic metaphors until someone asks me to cut the bullshit and just come out with it? Should I just say “fuck it” and tell the world what’s going on? Honestly though, I really don’t want to say anything, not yet at least. The secret is wonderful, it puts a smile on my face every single time I think about it, and I can’t wait to share it when the time is right. But having this secret has brought me back to that girl in elementary school, middle school, high school, and just sharing it here makes me feel like I’m a purveyor of precious knowledge once again. It’s not just on the blog, either – this is a secret that no one, outside the Nickname Posse, knows. Every day there’s this delicious aftertaste of holding the secret in my mouth the second before I blurt it out to everyone, dying to share what’s making me so happy yet still holding on to that little bit of power and intrigue. It distracts me at the worst possible times: I’ll be walking across the office and I’ll start smiling, wide, completely distracted by a memory of this perfect surprise; and to everyone else, I’m just smiling like an idiot at absolutely nothing.

So maybe there is a bit of truth to that sing-song rhyme, even now. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to share the secret itself: weeks, months, or maybe tomorrow. But it’s definitely been fun sharing that it exists

(I will at least clarify: I am not pregnant. I’m not moving. I’m still a redhead and aside from finally finishing the rib piece, I don’t have any new tattoos. Oh also no new cats, but only because mama B told me no. Yes, I’m 26 years old and I still listen to my mother when she yells. That’s not the secret either, but I’m glad it’s out there now.)

Sexting.

Recently a former coworker and I were laughing over drinks and comparing tales of dating life, me recalling the origin of some interesting injuries and her sharing anecdotes of the perils of online dating. Despite using the “respectable” apps, like Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel, she still managed to land a dud every once in a while, like a recent someone, who spent exactly 4 days charming her on text, saying how much he couldn’t wait to meet her, and then after they met, pulling a total 180. “A 180? Like he stopped responding?” I asked, curiosity piqued. “Ugh, worse,” she sighed. “Unsolicited dick pic.”

wait wut.

wait wut.

Believe me or don’t (I don’t care), but to be perfectly honest, I’m not really a fan of sexting. Maybe it’s a lack of experience, because I’m not on any online dating sites and therefore haven’t received an unsolicited dick pic, but despite all the other ridiculous single stereotypes I have experienced, sexting just isn’t my thing. Look, obviously I can understand the appeal: it’s quick, and easy, and a good way to confirm that the person you’ve been creeping on OKCupid (is that still relevant?) actually matches his profile pic. But there’s no mystery, no intrigue, to sending someone a naked selfie; everything’s just out there, no effort. Couple that with a gripping paranoia that I wouldn’t have control over what happened to the photo once it was in someone else’s hands, and in my opinion that’s just too much anxiety for a blurry frame of half a boob, or a mirror shot where anything interesting is blocked by the flash. Again, I’m not speaking from single life experience here. I don’t have stories of sexting gone right or wrong, because I don’t really have any sexting stories period. But from where I’m standing, I don’t really get it.

There’s something to be said about the instant gratification of this day and age. You can beat your friend at trivia with a simple Google search on a phone, buy way too many clothes on Hautelook while on a 5 minute break from work (<– what? not me), and yes, share a shot of your goodies without leaving your couch. I love the immediacy of our culture to an extent, the wealth of knowledge and information you can access with a swipe on a glass screen, and how easy it is to stay connected to people, across the room, across the state or even across the ocean. In certain situations, the immediacy is thrilling; planning a last-minute date on the fly, ordering delivery anything from your couch when you’re too hung over to move, planning your next vacation with someone while a hundred miles apart. But in situations like sexting, it takes away from the thrill of the chase, the wild anticipation of not knowing something unless you work for it, not having something without putting in the effort.

I much prefer the slow burn of words on a phone, the lag time in between texts, like you’ve spent time on your response, the modern idea of waiting for a letter in the mail. The implicit understanding of what you really mean when you’re talking about working out, or asking questions about exactly how far I can bend in yoga. Agonizing over whether it’s too soon to respond, enjoying the idea that he might be checking, and rechecking, and rechecking his phone, the way you do after finally sending that message to him. A conversation that has nothing to do with anything, but it causes you to smile when you read, and reread, and reread; the strategic use of emojis make everything look silly and sexy all at once. Reading a long conversation and trying to imagine the voice on the other end, and then rereading it trying to paint a picture of where that person is and whether you’re still on his mind.

Granted it’s not “sexting” in the “traditional” sense of the word, as traditional as technology that’s barely two decades old can be. And all things considered, in most aspects of my life, “patience” is a foreign concept. Maybe it’s just a weird personality shift as I’m slowly approaching my birthday in a few weeks, getting accustomed to the idea that birthdays are now becoming synonymous with “actually getting old” (and to think I used to complain about 23). I’m sure someday I’ll have to revisit this post, revising with my own horrifying story or …. well let’s just say “or.” At this particular moment though, the slow burn is enough for me for now.

“Fortune favors the brave.”

” I don’t know if I should ask him out instead! I mean he’s definitely going to ask eventually, so should I just wait?”
“Oh lord, JUST GO FOR IT. Fortune favors the brave!”

My sister T is a amazing person, for a million reasons and then a million and one more. She’s headstrong, opinionated, sarcastic, direct and always, always right. She’s also one of the few people I know who genuinely dislikes and does not attract drama in her life, looking at things pragmatically and honestly before making decisions. I’ll always go to her for advice when I know I’m being overly dramatic or over-analytical, because her advice always boils down to this:

  • Assess the situation: is this something you can change?
  • If NO: Well then deal with it.
  • If YES: Well then change it.

A few months back, after exchanging numbers with a new friend she masterfully wingman-ed for me while visiting NYC, I was frantically texting her about what to do.  I could practically feel her rolling her eyes as she read my desperate pleas for advice about when to text him (“but I can’t respond right away because I don’t want to seem too eager!” “you an are idiot, don’t just sit on a response if you’re enjoying the conversation”), what to say (“Ugh, he probably thinks whatever I said was so dumb,” “Well so do I, why do you need to tell everyone about your intense relationship with wine?”), and then the big one: should I wait for him to make the move and initiate actual date plans? Or should I bite the bullet and ask him myself, taking a chance that I wasn’t the only one enjoying our playful banter. She finally pushed me with the text above: “Just do it! Fortune favors the brave!”

My two professional mottos.

My two professional mottos.

That quote has been on my mind a lot ever since she said that, doodled in notebooks during staff meetings and even hanging over my desk at work. It’s gone beyond that situation and permeated into everything I’ve been doing in recent days: talking to strangers, trying new exercise things, standing up for myself at work. For most of my life I’ve dealt with a semi-crippling self-conscious attitude, worrying about what strangers think of me, friends, coworkers. I’ve censored certain aspects of my personal style, not wanting to take too much of a fashion risk, overthought sentences and tripped over my carefully-planned words, and scenario-planned for pretty much every aspect of my life that could somehow lead to embarrassment or anxiety. Essentially, for a long time, I was not a brave person.

It’s not easy to bring small bits of bravery into tiny acts in life, like standing up in a brainstorm to make yourself heard or going sleeveless for the first time in the office since getting a tattoo on your arm. It’s even more difficult to take these tiny steps of bravery when you’re on your own, only turning to yourself and your instincts for guidance and clarity. I’m still a self-conscious person and still question most things I do, but more and more frequently lately I’ll find myself saying the phrase out loud, a constant reminder that there’s only so much to lose from taking a chance, and eventually there might be so much to gain.