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Monday, January 12, 2015

Life: An Update

So life has been a bit of a whirlwind these days, but in mostly good ways. After returning from our Belated Honeymoon (which was perfect and amazing and I will gush about it later, with photos) on December 21st, I went to my hometown to visit some high school friends and fetch my dog, who I probably missed more than anyone during our 10 day absence. No offense, human friends.
Look how unbearably adorable he is:

Don't you just want to throw up a little? 

Then it was Christmas. First, a small Christmas Eve friend gathering at our home, then Christmas with my mom, then with my mom and brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces, and nephew. Finally, the annual "Super Fucking Classy Christmas Party" our friends throw where we all dress up pretty, drink champagne, and listen to classy music while getting moderately messy marked the end of the 2014 Christmas season, which I will always remember fondly as a six-day blur of glitter and people and wrapping paper and food, followed by a two-day nap.


"Classy"

Joel and I were determined to finish organizing our basement before our New Year's Eve party. We had been talking about organizing that basement since basically the dawn of time and our Must Finish Date kept getting pushed back because of reasons. First we wanted to get it done before fall, so we (I) wouldn't be so cold down there. Then it was before winter for the same reason. Then it was before our trip. Then it was by New Year's Eve, which we actually stuck to so we could use it as some extra space for our New Year's Eve party. And after a few days of a frantic purging, cleaning, and organizing extravaganza, our basement went from "so disgusting I refuse to ever step foot in it" to "not bad for an old, creepy basement." We finished it on New Year's Eve day. 
Important note: The disgusting part was not because of us. We rent an apartment in a house that was built 100+ years ago and this basement had not been cleaned out in, like, 50 years at least. Seriously. We threw away our broom after using it to clean down there. THAT'S how gross it was.


Note the lack of dead bugs all over the floor. That's because of me. You're welcome, landlord.

In the first week of 2015, I got started furiously working on my new business venture and I'm feeling motivated, inspired, and a little overwhelmed. I have so many goals and plans and there is so. much. to learn, I'm trying not to let my brain turn to mush and my anxiety-monster turn me into a raging psycho. But I got my first paid client (shh, don't tell him I'm technically an amateur), so I think I'm off to a good start! 

But of course, it wouldn't be me if a few crappy things didn't happen. So naturally, we had to actually come home from our vacation and say goodbye to my new friend The Ocean (crappy thing #1). Joel got rear-ended on Christmas Eve in our brand new leased car, leaving a dent the size of a baby's head in our bumper (crappy thing #2). His new $150 Nikes, a gift to himself for being awesome at work (he rarely buys anything for himself) got stolen out of the front seat of our SUV. We didn't even realize it until after Christmas, after they had been gone for about a week (crappy thing #3). THEN, $500 was stolen out of our bank account from someone who got their hands on his debit card number (crappy thing #4), which apparently happens "all the time," according to the bank, and there's nothing anyone can do about it except heavily invest in gold and bury it in several different locations around Pawnee. We will get it back from the bank eventually. They originally said it would take up to 90 days because banks do not like to give you your own money ever, but Joel threw a fit and talked them down to 10 days. I would have just accepted the 90 days and cried about it, but he's a lot better at knowing when it's okay to be an asshole and actually doing it. 

Despite all that stupid stuff, I feel pretty positive and, like, kinda great, for the first time in a long time. (Knock on wood. My only superstition.) It's like I don't even know who I am anymore.

But honestly. Do any of us really know who we are?


Source


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Be Your Own Best Friend

I've never been one to call my significant other my "best friend." I don't care if anyone else does, of course, I just don't think there's anything wrong with admitting that romantic relationships are inherently different than friend relationships. Joel is my most favorite person in the world. But he's not my best friend.

In fact, I've always secretly had an aversion to the term "best friend" in general. It seems so exclusionary. It reminds me of a part in one of my favorite children's books, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Daywhen Alexander gets demoted to third best friend and then tells that little punkass frienemy Paul what's up:

"...Paul said I wasn’t his best friend anymore. He said that Philip Parker was his best friend and Albert Moyo was his next best friend and that I was only his third best friend.

I hope you sit on a tack, I said to Paul. I hope the next time you get a double-decker strawberry ice cream cone the ice cream part falls off the cone part and lands in Australia."

Harsh, Alexander. I would never wish a fallen ice cream cone on even my worst enemies. But still, that kind of hierarchical bullshit would make anyone cranky, so I feel you, guy.

Source

Of course, we're not children anymore and it shouldn't be that big of a deal. You can clearly have more than one BFF without assigning numbers. But the childhood fears of exclusion and envy never really go away. They're all in the backs of our minds, even if we'll never admit it out loud. Things like Facebook and other social networks only help to exacerbate these unpleasant feelings. We're all just children deep down inside, wishing our friends would sit on a tack whenever we feel like we've been unfairly left out. The difference is that adults are (usually) more logical and can get over it without telling their friends they hope they sit on a tack. Because it doesn't mean your friends don't like you, they just have other friends and a life and shit. And that's great! I hope everyone has lots of friends! Except for Paul. Fuck Paul.

But I have a radical idea that could maybe help us all feel a little better about ourselves, if only by a fraction:

Try being your own best friend. 

No, don't dump all your BFFs. You need them. That's not what I mean. They're still your friends, close friends, soul sisters, blood brothers, sisters from another mister, boos, brosephs, whatever. But I believe something magical can happen when you choose to love yourself the way you would a First Best Friend. 

A lot of people are so mean to themselves, myself included. We make a mistake at something and think, "Who am I kidding? I can't do this. I'll never be good at this. I should give up now before I further humiliate myself." Or we accidentally say something awkward and stupid in public and think, "I'm so fucking awkward I don't know why people allow me to be in public ever." We look at ourselves in the mirror and hate on our looks or the way our outfit hangs on our bodies. We call ourselves lazy losers for choosing to watch another show on Netflix instead of doing something productive. If we do something good, we question whether it's good enough or whether we deserve recognition. 

My point is: We say a whole host of terrible things to ourselves that we would never in a million years say to a friend (unless you're a mean, shitty friend). Your friend says she had a rough day and messed something up at work, what do you say? You encourage her. You tell her everyone makes mistakes. You give her hugs and/or booze to make her feel a little less crappy in this moment and maybe talk about how she can do better next time. 

My notebook.

So why are we so shitty to ourselves? Why can't we be compassionate, understanding, and supportive to ourselves in the way we would to a friend or fuck buddy romantic partner? The next time you're thinking of your friends, I dare you to add your name and face to the list in your head. Make it Number One. You're your First Best Friend and everyone else comes next, in whatever order floats your boat (but don't rank them out loud like Paul, because fuck Paul). There's power in language. Calling yourself your Number One doesn't make you arrogant or pretentious. It doesn't  mean that you always put your needs before others (though sometimes you should). You still have beautiful relationships with other humans. You just have one with yourself, too.

Considering yourself your First Best Friend simply means that, the next time you fuck something up (and you will, 'cause everyone does), you're much more likely to treat yourself with kindness, understanding, and forgiveness, which is obviously better than abusing yourself. By the same token, the next time you do something super awesome that you would normally question whether or not is "good enough," you can say to yourself: "Good job, buddy! You fucking nailed it! You're so awesome. Let's get a beer together." Then have a beer. You deserve it, friend.