The little red notebook.

11-Dec15

It’s a new moon tonight, the last of the year before the full moon on Christmas. Somehow this feels important, especially when you consider this is the last page in this journal, and also the day of my last wedding this year.

I’m nursing a hangover from the holiday party and picking the car up at LaGuardia in an hour, but I still feel like relaxing at home for a bit in my chair before I get ready. It’s so nice to do nothing.

So these are my final intentions in a lot of ways: final for 2015, final for this amazing journal, final when you consider where I want to be this time in 6 months, next year.

I have loved this journal, and it holds all my secrets from this part of my life – the parties, the men, growing up. I will love this notebook forever but I’m ready to let this entire part of me go, forever. I’m ready to move on. 

So my final, final hopes:

 

(are safely locked in here).

XO forever

(here, at least).

LB

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.

One Year!!

I remember exactly where I was on this day last year. I was at my then-desk, trying to fill the slow hours of one of my final days in that company before starting at the place I’ll be leaving for good in two days. I was still reeling from one of the most ridiculous weekends I’d had with my as-then-single partner-in-crime R, and secretly texting the Banker, the first crush I’d had since my as-then-still recent big break-up. I looked the final draft that I’d been working on for the entire day for the hundredth time, took a deep breath, and pushed “Publish” without looking at the screen, like I couldn’t believe I’d just took the first step in starting a blog that I’d unofficially decided would focus on all the dumb things I do in my daily life. I let out that deep breath and took a minute to sit and stare at the screen, hoping that I’d have enough to talk about to keep a blog, and praying to whatever god was listening that I knew what I was getting myself into.

I never could have expected how much would happen in 2014: engagements, weddings, a new relationship, another break-up and the slow integration of yoga into my life. When I hit that button on the first entry last year, I thought if I could keep the blog going for six months, I’d be proud of myself; then it was nine months, and now here we are, one year and 133 entries later. In a year I’ve talked about booty calls and sexting, about my love for Taylor Swift and what to do when you accidentally step in sidewalk pee. I’ve shared pictures without my face and almost flashed a boob trying to show off the tattoo I’d dreamed of getting for years. I’ve hinted at the beginnings of new crushes and first dates, and I’ve not-so-subtly hinted when things ended, sometimes easily and sometimes not so much. I’ve blogged through hangovers, Spartan Race- and/or yoga-related injuries, deep depression and the peak of happiness, and I’ve shared snippets of my daily life and daily conversations that made me smile, hoping it does the same for everyone who reads them.

For 2015, I’m faced with: a new job, bridesmaid/maid-of-honor duties, exponentially more engagements and maybe a date here and there. I’m sure there will be more terrible decisions, ones that make me sad and others that make me laugh. I think on some level, I started this blog because I thought it would help me make sense of a life that seemed to be changing with every sunrise, maybe bring some order into a chaotic life. Now I can’t wait for the next year to unfold; the uncertainty and the chaos mixed with moments of self-reflection and perhaps a little bit of calm.

I’ve said it recently, but it can never be said enough: I am so, so grateful to anyone reading this right now, whether you’ve been following me for five days or five months, whether you’ve watched the story from day one or whether you’re only here because Google fucked up and you were trying to find actual advice about living life as a 20-whatever. If the latter, though – the best advice I can give you is none of us know what we’re doing, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

I look forward to sharing the next year with every single one of you.

Much love,
LB

A letter and a request

Dear readers,

Two weeks from tomorrow will be the official one-year celebration of the Chronicle. WUT. I know. Pause for incredulity that it’s been that long, it’s only been that long and that I haven’t given up on writing about (/making) drunk mistakes. It’s crazy to go back and see how things in my life have evolved and continue evolving, and I am so grateful to everyone who reads, whether you’ve been following since the beginning or you stumbled upon this today.

In honor of 365 days of PLDs, I want to give you guys a chance to have a voice on here. So if you’ve ever had a burning question for me, here’s your chance to ask! Leave a comment here, send me an email (LBth20whatev@gmail.com), tweet at me (@LBthe20whatev), send a carrier pigeon up to Washington Heights and hope for the best, whatever works. I’ll post the final Q&A during week of the anniversary and will do my best to answer every single one.

There’s a big post coming up later this week, so don’t forget to check back when you can. And thank you all again – truly, watching this place grow in 12 months has been one of the highlights of a very long year.

xo,
LB

“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.”

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.)