Eager Eager

It is AUGUST, which means I am BACK. Oh, it’s good to be writing again. A mini-vacation from a self-imposed responsibility to share my poor life decisions with the world was exactly what I needed before diving into yet another busy month in the life of LB.

A break, a break, I need a break. How often do we say those things? The city gets too overwhelming and too crazy, strangers pushing you in the subway: I need a break! Work is emails on meetings on phone calls on meetings, more hours, push harder, do better: I need a break! Life is weddings and parties before the weddings, clean that, decorate that, there are 40 people coming in 2 minutes: I need a break! It killed me to stop writing for a few weeks, but this was the one space in my life at that moment where I could actually, legitimately take a break, and honestly, it helped. I still checked in here, and I had all these great ideas for posts (“How Snapchat selfies saved my sanity on 4-hour client calls”; “Packing – how many feather boas are too many?”; “4 hours of sleep vs. my sister’s bridal shower”), but stepping away helped move everything along this past weekend, and this past weekend was perfect.

This past weekend was the bridal shower and bachelorette bash for Twinster, a Paris-themed fete complete with chocolate Eiffel Towers and wedding-themed drinking games (*at different parties). The weather was perfect, the crowd was perfect, and we had so many laughs that my cheeks still ache, months of nerves eased by obsessive planning on my part and a wonderful group of women. There was no feeling quite like spending 48 hours watching my sister smile and laugh and talk about her big day, which is so rapidly approaching it makes me eager and anxious and excited in a way I’ve never been before.

The weekend also kicked off bridal season for me, with weddings every month for the rest of the year. Speaking candidly, I’ve been so focused on T’s weekend that it only hit me this morning that we’re under a month before my partner-in-crime R and her Scot H make it official, the wedding I’ve been looking forward to since pretty much the day they met. The group has been so busy the past few weeks between weddings and work and other travel that it feels like we’ve barely seen each other since the springtime, so the prospect of a party to celebrate how much we love two of our own while they celebrate how much they love each other is such a delicious event to look forward to.

I’ve noticed lately that things feel like they’re on the verge of something, though I can’t tell you what that something is. Leading into last weekend things felt like they were teetering at the peak of the first drop of a roller coaster; there is anxiety and anticipation and some feeling you can’t describe, as you know things are about to tip and then the wild ride really begins. I can’t put my finger on what I’m feeling in that regard exactly – all I know is that a rush of calm came over me when I got back to my apartment last night, like things have officially been set in motion, and now everything is about to come to light. Where such a feeling might have scared me two years ago, the idea that change is a’coming whether I want it to or not has given me a steady calm, like I’ve never really felt before.

I realize this post has a lot of feelings and not a lot of substance, and a lot of crazy and very little sense, but after leaving the blog alone for two weeks, I think that’s what it needed: a boost from the cranky, whining posts of recent past, where I’m exasperated and exhausted; a new perspective after a few weeks to focus on everything calming down before everything else happens. So here’s to whatever is about to happen! Because I am b-a-c-k baby, and the only thing I can say to this crazy ride that’s getting ready to tip over is to bring. it. on.

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Gumshoe

There’s nothing like a mid-morning walk through Chelsea during the week. The city in general has a different vibe during the workday, somehow more and less panicked, panicked tourists trying to find their way around but no panicked workers trying to navigate the throngs of aforementioned tourists and fellow commuters. Yesterday I was heading up to 30th and 7th around 11am, and while I’d originally planned to take the subway up from my office on 15th and 9th, it was such a nice day outside that I wanted to walk. The walk itself was so relaxing, exactly what I needed despite only being three hours into the work week; the sunshine made me smile for summer and I had happy music in my earbuds providing a soundtrack to a precious few moments alone. And then I noticed my sandal sticking while I bobbed and weaved through aforementioned packs of panicked tourists – because of course, on today of all days, I stepped in gum.

I should elaborate on why exactly I was walking 15 blocks up into midtown on a Tuesday morning after a holiday weekend. To get there though, we need to back it up a few days to the perfect, sunny magic of Memorial Day Weekend.

The chance to do Sunday brunch with the people I love the most is an opportunity I wouldn’t ever pass up, so when my fashionista C sent out an email to the group a few weeks back about the rooftop at Hotel Chantelle for $8 pitchers and live jazz for Memorial Day Sunday, I couldn’t reply fast enough. I wore my favorite summer dress, switched to my weekend purse and took a million photos, most of which will never see the light of Instagram, and had a perfect, perfect day. The weather felt like a present after so many months of winter and cold, and there was no question that we would spend the after-brunch hours on my partner-in-crime R and H the Scot’s rooftop. Where the questions start popping up is after about 9pm, after we migrated downstairs to R and H’s apartment with two New Zealanders we found on the roof and their German friend. A great time was had by all, but for all my bemoaning a few weeks back that I was becoming boring, let’s just say Sunday had enough PLDs to last me through R’s wedding at the end of the summer.

Monday morning I awoke slightly disoriented and very thirsty. I patted myself on the back as I started mustering the energy to roll from my bed to the La-Z Boy chair in the other room, because not only had I washed off my makeup, I’d remembered to take out my contacts and brush my teeth. Adulthood! I lazed around on the chair for a minute and then decided to play everyone’s favorite post-night-out game of “How much money did I spend last night?” I reached for my purse to pull out what I assumed would be a stack of receipts from aforementioned poor decision making, and found…. nothing. Not like, there were no receipts, or no hints as to how much I’d spent. I mean literally nothing. My wallet was fucking gone.

I’ve had a hard time assimilating my body to life after Whole30. On the one hand, it’s awesome to have the freedom of food rules, and not having to check labels obsessively or ask a waitress for seven thousand substitutions makes life a lot easier. On the other, I’m physically reacting to things in ways I haven’t before. Foods I used to love give me headaches, and after a particularly motivated food binge a few weeks back, I thought someone was twisting hot knives into my intestines for three days straight. Maybe these symptoms were there before and I’m just aware of them now, but alcohol is another story. I don’t know if I still haven’t figured out how my tolerance has changed, or if I’m processing booze differently now, but I go from zero to fuzzy to TANKED in the span of one drink. It’s never the same drink: once it was the second margarita, once it was the third glass of wine, and okay Sunday night may have involved tequila shots (or so I’ve been told), but I’m noticing that I’ll feel fine, fine, fine and then all of a sudden I’m a little bit tipsy and then I’m fine no more. I’m not an irresponsible person, not even usually while drunk (*unless I’ve been drinking vodka which I strategically avoided Sunday #justsaying), so I knew the moment I looked in that empty purse that my wallet was not going to be there. It put me in a mood for a little while on Memorial Day, while I cancelled credit cards en masse and borrowed a MetroCard so I didn’t miss C’s rooftop barbecue, and I spent most of the day thinking the same thing over and over: “What is wrong with you, LB.”

Which brings us back to Tuesday morning, walking through Chelsea to the DMV license center to find out what I could do to get a new photo ID, and hopefully switch my residency to New York officially. Turns out it’s a fairly complicated process when you don’t have your old license, so as I walked I was trying my hardest to smile and accept that I probably won’t have a license for six weeks when I stepped in gum with 10 blocks to go. I pushed through the anger and frustration of a lost wallet and gum on my shoe until I got back to the office, naturally just in time for things to get crazy and throw my emotions into haywire. Much as I wanted to collapse on my chair when I got home and do nothing, I forced myself to put on my favorite leggings and pull out my mat, the first time I’ve practiced in a week after injuring my shoulder last Wednesday. Yoga really has this way of making me feel everything, in this case all the frustration and stress from overdoing it on Sunday and all the emotions around losing my wallet, and I had a moment after sitting in a hip-opening pose (remember: negative emotions are stored in the hips) where I felt an emotion start to bubble up from deep inside. I couldn’t tell if I was about to laugh or cry, but I could feel that something was going to happen and it was going to be big. And all of a sudden, it hit me that I didn’t need to brace myself, or wait for something to happen: I had the choice to lay down on my mat in frustration and anger, and cry and feel sorry for myself; or I could just start laughing.

So I laughed. I laughed a little at first, and then once I started I couldn’t stop. I laughed so hard tears ran down my face, I grabbed the cat and we danced around the apartment while I laughed and she squirmed to go free. I mean, the whole situation is pretty ridiculous. Who loses their ENTIRE wallet?!? Credit cards left at bars fine, phones left in friends’s apartments okay, but losing a FULL wallet? It’s a skill. And it’s nothing worth crying over, because at the end of the day, it’s all going to be okay. I’ll get a new ID eventually, I cancelled all my cards and only one card had a $65 charge to Boost Mobile that definitely wasn’t me. I’ll find a pretty new wallet and use my passport at bars like a weirdo in the meantime. It was a weekend of detective work to find a missing thing that ended with a gumshoe and me laughing like a crazy person alone in my apartment. People always tell you “Everything happens for a reason” when things happen we can’t fix, and maybe I don’t know the reason for all this wallet craziness quite yet, but maybe I do – because if all that comes from this situation is my new-found knowledge of DMV and social security card locations around the city, sticky stranger germs on my favorite sandals, and the ability to laugh at the little things instead of crying and making them big, it’s a pretty successful lesson from a big ol’ PLD.

Maybe, Never

On Super Bowl Sunday, following a languid day of yoga, food prep, more yoga and of course, the Puppy Bowl, I found myself standing in my lovely friend M’s kitchen between quarters, searching for a bottle opener amid solo cups and mountains of chips. I heard a loud “LB!” behind me, and turned to find M striding quickly in my direction, stopping close enough to put her hand on my shoulder, lean in my ear and tell me something I was absolutely not expecting to hear. It’s not a secret, it wasn’t shocking in content, and granted I was a *few* beers in, but it was enough of a surprise that for most of the third quarter, I sat next to H the Scot, halfheartedly yelling at the television screen while I let this new information roll around in my thoughts, testing the words on the tip of my tongue, trying to figure out how I felt about them. I finally put the words away for a while, since there’s only one way I’ll really figure out how to feel about them: I just have to wait and see.

That next weekend was the ever-epic Nickname Posse Does Atlantic City weekend, my last “hurrah” after 36 hours of funemployment before starting the new job. While wandering around with drinks on Friday, trying to find a good spot to settle for a steady drunk on the first night, we saw on a poster that freaking Lil Jon was going to be spinning at one of the clubs in the casino on Saturday, and in the spirit of “EPIC WEEKEND,” we knew we had to go. Despite a mishap where our dinner restaurant apparently thought “we have a reservation” meant “you can wait around for 30 minutes,” we made it to the show with enough time to get primo standing real estate (complete with perfect stage view) and enjoy a few drinks before the dulcet tones of “SHOTS” started thumpa-thumping. Somehow towards the end of the night, H and I ended up as the last ones standing, downing whiskeys by the bar and having one of our classic drunk heart-to-hearts about everything and nothing. He brought up the content of the Super Bowl conversation and we talked about it for a while. It’s so dumb, how much I’ve thought about the content of that conversation; it’s almost embarrassing, a delusional dreamer who can’t get those two conversations out of her head. But H and I came to the same conclusion that M and I did: I can’t figure out how I feel about the situation, so I just need to wait and see.

I have a hard time waiting things out. Blame it on my Irish roots, my miserable attention span, an after-effect of the gimme generation or a combination of those factors and more, but my personality is not one that gravitates towards situations where the only conclusion is “wait and see.” Usually it’s harmless: I’ll read spoilers for movies I don’t want to see that badly (and some that I do), open the oven door 2 minutes before the cookies are done “just to check,” or post a video on Instagram of my partner-in-crime R and I dancing to Lil Jon in Atlantic City before watching it because I want to show off our sweet moves. Other times it’s harder: I’ll decide I want a tattoo and a week later I’ve got one, or I’ll buy a bottle of wine the night before a date with the assumption I’ll need it after the date turns out terribly and I’m alone with little miss again. I’m impatient and impulsive to a fault, and knowing there’s something coming in the not-so-distant future that can change everything or change nothing has set off my internal Uh-Ohs; I’m desperately searching for answers or even just a clue as to whether all these weird emotions are completely insane or if it’s okay that I find myself daydreaming of the summer sun on FiDi rooftops like it’s five days instead of five months away.

Something non-single people love to tell single people is “You never know.” As in, “I know you didn’t have a great time on the first date, but give him another chance – you never know!” or “Sure, you haven’t heard from him in days, but he’s probably just busy! You never know!” That’s all I’ve heard in any direction of a conclusion since hearing those words on Superbowl Sunday, in Atlantic City: “Well LB sure it’s kind of crazy, but come on, you never know!” It’s an evil yet powerful statement to hear in any situation, much like “everything happens for a reason” and “free booze till 10.” I know I need to keep those words tucked in the back of my mind for now, safely guarded within the stone walls of what are either delusions or fantasies, until I have no other choice but to deal with them. Maybe this wait-and-see will turn out to be a false alarm, or maybe it won’t even be a relevant factor in my life when the time comes. Or maybe it’ll surprise me, and waiting will have been worth it the whole time. I mean, maybe it’s crazy – but hey. You never know.

“Unsubscribe”

The Nickname Posse loves sending group emails that are something like 37% helpful and 63% useless jokes and conversation that probably doesn’t need to happen. Despite the fact that there are two couples who live together in the core group of 6, everyone responds to every email, meaning our chains frequently top 20 responses or more. This also applies to the group text, which is actually worse. Once I came back from a 45 minute work meeting to 30 texts. That is not an exaggeration and may actually be an underestimate. Personally I love reading the conversations, the silly jokes and irrelevant banter when trying to plan a night out or the upcoming Atlantic City trip, but not all of us appreciate these ridiculous conversations. In fact, almost every single Posse chat, regardless of medium, ends the same way: N finally gets sick of us and sends “Unsubscribe.”

This response has become a huge joke in the group, used in live conversations all the time, like when someone doesn’t want to take a shot of Patron or can’t keep listening to a conversation about America’s Next Top Model. Lately though, I keep thinking how convenient it would be to have an unsubscribe button for moments in life outside of Posse chats. The guy you met on New Year’s Eve is texting and wants to take you out? Unsubscribe. The office kitchen has leftover cheese and cookies during the week you stopped eating dairy and sugar again? Unsubscribe. Subway preachers? UNSUBSCRIBE. It’d be like an easy button for cynical people, giving you the option to remove the general frustration of dealing with people and tailoring your day in a way that makes you content. Sure, you can choose not to respond to the guy, not to eat the food, or to turn up your headphones to drown out “JESUS KNOWS YOUR SINS,” but simply removing the choice and distraction instead is such a delicious idea.

Maybe it’s the winter weather, but I am feeling particularly uninspired lately. Selective writer’s block means I’ve started at least 10 new drafts for posts in the past two weeks but haven’t figured out how to finish any of them. This morning I stared at the same food I’ve been eating all week in my fridge and could not get myself to make eggs for breakfast again. I tried to mix up my breakfast routine with a pumpkin muffin from Grey Dog but it made me feel sick, plus I threw half of it out because I found myself bored chewing it. Even in yoga this morning, I was holding a pose that I usually love, and before I’d reached five breaths I just sat on the ground and sighed. I’m not suffering from a lack of drama or interesting conversation topics in my life, and certainly given this is the Month of No, I should have all this free time to force inspiration by trying new things instead of finding myself glued to the couch ingesting hours of Netflix like a medicine, but I’m just in a funk and I can’t muster the enthusiasm to get out.

I have a three day weekend this weekend, as many of us do, and did manage to make a few plans – dance class on Saturday, my brother’s birthday/Sunday Funday/Football Funday celebration and yoga with my favorite instructor in between. Earlier this week I had this grand plan that in between those activities I would do nothing, take the time off to clean a little around the apartment and enjoy said Netflix. But as I started to convince myself today that I could “use a few days off,” it hit me that I just had two weeks off going into the New Year, and if I’m already telling myself I “deserve a break,” that’s a problem. I immediately went to the Interwebs and signed up for an inversion workshop on Valentine’s Day, hosted by my favorite Instagram yogi who’s traveling to NYC next month, something I’ve been putting off doing for nearly a week. It’s a small victory to motivation that I want to impress her, something to make sure I’m practicing regularly, and a potential first step in climbing back to my usual state of unfettered and idealistic optimism. Maybe it won’t keep me from continuing my Parks and Rec binge on Monday afternoon, and maybe it’s not the easy fix I’m telling myself it will be for this funk that I’m in. But if nothing else, it’s the first of hopefully many times this year that I look boredom straight in its uninspired eyes and simply say “Unsubscribe.”

Turkey Time!

Hooray for long weekends focused on food and sale shopping! I’m hunkering down in Connecticut with the rest of the family for a few days to rest and recharge on this snowy and cold Thanksgiving week. I’ll be back next week with holiday-themed everything until T tells me to stop (she’s very particular about how/when/where the holidays should be celebrated.

In the meantime, here’s a list of the top things I’m thankful for this year:

  • Surviving #eleven25. Check back next week for details!
  • Little miss and her terrible cuddling skills.
  • Salsa Sun Chips.
  • The new Taylor Swift album.
  • And the new videos too.
  • Sharpie pens. (Have you used them? You’d be thankful too).
  • PLDs. My life wouldn’t be half as fun if I didn’t make a mess of it on the reg.
  • WINE. Always wine. All of the wine.
  • The Nickname Posse. You betches make my life complicated and a million times better, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • Family, and especially my Twinster, for being fully on board with my wearing a jumpsuit as her Maid of Honor next year.
  • This Chronicle. What an awesome time I’ve had writing this over the past nine months.

Until next week – Happy Turkey Genocide Day, all!

Friendsgiving: A Recipe for Success

For my American readers, this time of year is the magical time where excessive food and alcohol consumption is encouraged and we all pretend the calories don’t count. I’m not referring to Thanksgiving quite yet, however – this past weekend for many of us was the new-ish magical time known as Friendsgiving. For those who aren’t familiar, here’s a recipe to make your get-together as successful as ours was this past weekend.

Friendsgiving Recipe (Serves as many people as you invite)
YOU WILL NEED:

One (1) Nickname Posse (or whatever variation you have)
One (1) group email
One (1) group text
Eleven (11) bottles of wine
One (1) pitcher of homemade pear/rosemary cocktails
Two (2) pies of your making
Three (3) cheeses
One (1) trip to Whole Foods

TO MAKE YOUR FRIENDSGIVING PERFECT(ish):

  1. Start a group email chain about a month out with your Nickname Posse. Make sure that very little actual information is included, and use it more as a sounding board to annoy each other and plan other weekend activities.
  2. Decide against a potluck dinner because it’s complicated and the group is lazy, and instead order a fully-cooked meal from Whole Foods. Congratulate each other on fantastic planning.
  3. Two days prior, realize no one has confirmed important things like time of arrival and semi-formal dress code so send a group text with details.
  4. Allow group text to delineate into discussions of who’s showing up naked and who’s bringing assless chaps.
  5. Attempt to make pies the night before. Forget crucial ingredients, say “screw it” and drink wine with lovely friend and her boyfriend instead. Plan on making pies in the morning.
  6. Burn pie crust in the morning. Curse poor planning.
  7. Start drinking at 11 a.m. Someone has to test the cocktails, natch.
  8. Everyone shows up on time. Turn on football and hope the turkey will fit in the oven.
  9. Make adorable labels for all the food and somehow get everything in and out of the oven with a level of grace and decorum. Serve food to happy crowds.
  10. Realize by 4 p.m. everyone is pretty drunk and REAL full. Decide to take a walk around the Heights with the dogs. Neglect to tell a certain fashionista that it will be a legitimate “walk” so she’s forced to wander in stilettos. Find yourself impressed when she doesn’t complain.
  11. Eat pies upon return from walk. Eat too much. Like, way too much.
  12. Everyone falls asleep on the couch by 7 p.m.
  13. Everyone leaves full, happy and very tired by 7:30 p.m.
  14. Everyone promises to do this again next year by 7:45 p.m.
  15. Fall asleep by 9 p.m. following a very satisfying weekend.

I’ll list out things I’m thankful for later this week, but for now, let me just say a quick “toast”: To old friends, new friends, and to the family we choose. To my Nickname Posse, I love you all so dearly. And to Friendsgiving in 2015, where one hopes we’ll have learned self-restraint in the face of too many desserts.

Tough Love

“No! That’s so selfish. You need to stand up for yourself, this is getting ridiculous.”
“I don’t even think that you should say anything to that”
“At the end of the day, you just have to ask yourself whether that would improve your life or not. And you’re the only one who knows that.”

I’m generally not one for being coddled. As much as I like to hear that I’m always right and obviously perfect, if someone disagrees with me or needs to give me cold dose of reality, I’d prefer they do so, rather than sit on something about which they feel strongly, or stay quiet when they think I’m walking into fire. Be it my work performance, my wardrobe choices, or my indecision related to retrieving missing accessories, I’m usually okay with someone eschewing the “everything is going to be okay” or “you’re always right” in lieu of the truth.

My Nickname Posse, my people, are the best at handing out reality face-palms when I get that dreamy look in my eyes, playing Chicken with the “what ifs” and “why nots.” My lovely friend M in particular is described by mama B (and herself) as a hyper-protective mama bear, having watched me go through so much in the past few years. She let it fly at me earlier this week while I was entangled in a sticky situation, reminding me again and again that I need to look out for myself and I can’t backtrack when I’ve come such a long distance in such a short period of time. To be honest, her words stung for a minute, so I ran to my partner-in-crime R and my fashionista C for different advice, hoping they would tell me that I was right and everything was okay. Instead, they echoed M almost exactly, giving me reality instead of fantasy when it comes to handling my own health and sanity. Stung slightly, my first instinct was to pull away from them, stop sharing my over-analytical thoughts as they unfold in the next few weeks, but the more I tried to convince myself that I know best, the more I realized I don’t.

Exactly a year ago at this moment, I was in the middle of the first break-up with my then-boyfriend, a decision that felt so impossible at the time, pushing me out of a comfort zone into unfamiliar territory of unplanned weekends and nights alone. I remember the first week felt like an eternity; I spent most of those nights buoyed by one of my friends and a lot of alcohol, sometimes crying, mostly trying to figure out what was going to happen, if we would be okay or if this was the forever end. I’ll never forget a night where M came over after a late work shift, nearly 11 p.m. on a weeknight, and held me as I rocked back and forth, wrapped in his tattered grey sweatshirt, sobbing that I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what to do, I just didn’t know what to do. She let me cry until I couldn’t, listened to my “What Ifs” and “But Maybes” patiently, and when I finally lifted my head, she looked me square in the eye and said “You know I love you and will support any decision you make. But you were doing this when you guys were together, too. Shouldn’t that tell you what you need to do?”

Sometimes I wish I’d listened to her then, instead of spending the next three months trying to salvage something that was broken beyond repair. But I wasn’t ready for tough love at that point, at least not from her. I was holding on to the life I’d spent three years building in the city instead of looking forward to possibilities. And looking back, it’s okay that I wasn’t ready to give up that life when given that opportunity, but sometimes I look back again and I wish, I wish, I wish I had. So it’s strange now, a year later, to be in a very different place receiving very similar advice. I’m dancing around the same edge, holding on to the same idea that there’s something I can fix on my own, without taking the other parts of the equation into consideration; namely: I can’t daydream my way into a happy ending.

Tough love stings, it burns, and it wants you to pull away furiously from the person holding your hand, gently trying to lead you into an obvious realization that you can choose to be happy above all things. Tough love is like ripping a bandaid off what used to be a bad wound, so nervous that it’s too soon and then so relieved when it’s over.  I’m not saying I agree with the Nickname Posse all the time, or that they will always understand every aspect of the decisions that I make – after all, they may see me in the bad times, hysterically sobbing on my couch, but they don’t see me in the best times, enjoying sushi after a major score on $1 records, nestled in strong arms on my couch at 2 a.m. after the first I-maybe-love-you. In the end, decisions about my life will always be mine. But it will always be nice to know that the people that love me, love me enough to tell me “no” when I don’t want to hear it, tell me to “snap out of it” when I start to daydream about perfect, and tell me “I’ll always be there for you” when I need to hear it the most.

The Nickname Posse

“I can’t believe you bitches took photos without me!”

The scene: about 9 p.m. on Saturday night. I’d left the office about an hour earlier and headed straight to my partner-in-crime R’s new place with her Scot H, where I was greeted by two dogs and a full cup of plum vodka. My lovely friend M, her N, my fashionista C and briefly my work buddy S were all watching the final minutes of the World Cup game as I showed up, exhausted and frustrated after making stupid mistakes while working that day. We decided to spend the remainder of the waning daylight, my only exposure to it all day, on the roof, before heading out to dinner, when we realized the temperature had dropped significantly in the few minutes between my arrival and our trek to the top of the building. C decided to run home (which is conveniently next door to R and H’s place) and grab a jacket before we all went out for food and some more much-needed drinks. Much-needed on my end, at least.

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M and I decided to explore a little before heading downstairs, and upon rounding a corner, found the most incredible view of One World Trade in the setting sun, the perfect reminder of why we live in New York: for views like that, moments like that. We insisted that N and H snap a picture, which they managed to do with only minimal inappropriate gestures to get us to smile, and without inundating my camera roll with selfies (Aside: that is a big deal, and very unlike them. End aside). I had to put the photo online, proof of my first real, full-body laugh in far too long. Naturally upon meeting with C once she’d secured an extra layer against the setting chill in the air, she jokingly chided us for taking photos immediately after she left (which wasn’t true, it was at least ten minutes!), and to make it better, I halted everyone in the middle of a crowded sidewalk so I could get a group selfie. The picture is almost grotesque in the most hilarious way: all teeth and close-up features and funny faces, but it captures our group, my Nickname Posse, in the most amazing, unattractive, wonderful way.

I say it here all the time, jokingly or in more serious matters, but the people in that Epic Selfie are nothing less than my lifeline. In my stressed out and confused mess of self in recent days, they let me snap at them via both text and email, cry immediately upon entering an apartment, skip out on plans so I could sit at home and sulk (read: drink wine and listen to T. Swift), complain about the same thing over and over, ask the same questions over and over and generally be a pain in the ass. And in dealing with my bratty attitude and elevated sass levels, they never once snapped back, never coddled me when I was being irrational and never let me forget that they are there for me, unconditionally. They give the tough advice and reality checks I need in the gentlest manner, the kind where I have to listen because it makes too much sense. And they give the unconditional, unwavering, unmatched love that you only experience with a few people in a lifetime, the kind where saying “best friends” would never be enough.

We were sitting around R’s coffee table after dinner, R, H, N and C getting ready to go out, and M and I getting ready to go home, playing Cards Against Humanity and sipping whiskey like water. My stomach and my cheeks ached from how hard I was laughing at how depraved we all are, after the least offensive card in a category read that “Preteens” were Batman’s guilty pleasure. N had said something to M earlier which she relayed to me, a simple observation looking around all of us, the Nickname Posse. Earlier that day, he’d surveyed the room and told her simply, “I like this group of people.”

Me too, doll. Absolutely me too.