I’m Not Dead

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I’ve started this post about 12 to 15 times and every single time I have the urge to write a sentence about how hard it is to put everything into words. Today I’m acknowledging, there’s no easy way for me to start this post. So here, you can have this useless paragraph chock-full of my own obsessive self awareness.

Around this time two years ago I was going through a really difficult breakup. One that woefully dug up every tenuous root of in life and left me hating the person I’d become. I was drinking way too much and floating through life like a sloppy clumsy shell of a person. I woke up every morning feeling like a body with no purpose, realizing that I hadn’t felt like myself since I moved to Los Angeles in the first place.

The sad truth is that I wasn’t myself. I was desperately searching for an identity that was with me all along, hiding almost. I wanted to be part of the big creative machine, I wanted to share a unique perspective, I wanted to live in an entertaining world that I helped to create. I wanted to make people laugh, I thought it was my purpose. I thought if I really put my mind to it, I could create outstanding animated comedy.

Slowly but surely, I broke off parts of myself and let them die. I became so obsessed with being the person I thought my bosses wanted me to be, I ceased to have a personality. I lived in fear for my job, every single day I woke up afraid I’d get fired for something that hadn’t happened yet. I lived in perpetual anxiety, juggling however many tasks my bosses placed upon me. I hated myself when I wasn’t good enough, and they constantly told me that I wasn’t good enough. So I constantly hated myself.

You can’t fully live your life when you hate yourself. You’ll always be slugging forward, yearning for the next opportunity to escape. Drinking copious amounts of whatever liquor I could get my hands on was my personal escape. I had a lack of “off switch” which was terrible for my brain and overall health. I wasn’t nice to myself for almost five years. 

Whether it be binge drinking, restrictive eating, binge eating, or over-exercising… I was a complete asshole to myself for about five consecutive years.

So how do you just magically stop yourself from implosion? How do you turn off that constant negativity? How do you quiet the criticism?

You figure out what drives you.

This sounds like bullshit from a self-help book, but I really mean it. Your version of success isn’t the same as someone else’s. Your dream job, dream home, and dream partner are all different. There is no template for what is going to fulfill you and make you feel whole, you just have to keep trying to see what fits for you. WARNING: This process feels pretty similar to being run over by an SUV repeatedly, but that’s okay: it’s supposed to.

During my studies in Becoming a Human Being 101 I learned that playing a team sport was the missing ingredient in my life.  In hindsight, I never found a passion for soccer, basketball or track. I had nothing that drove me other than being naturally gifted. I enjoyed so many aspects of being an athlete, but I didn’t love the game. 

With football, I don’t care how frustrated, angry, depressed, exhausted, confused, maniacal, and obscene I get. I don’t care that I turn into a sputtering overly caffeinated monster no matter what context I play in. I don’t care that my physicality rubs people the wrong way (plz appreciate that humor.) I  I will always look forward to stepping on the field again. Every single struggle is worth it because I get to keep playing football. I understand that I am obsessed, I understand that it’s not traditional, but when the fuck have I ever been traditional at any point in my life?

I’d say if anything I was hypnotized by the game because I was so infatuated with a man who shared this passion. I knew from the moment I first got my ass kicked by him in coed flag football that he was special to me. Not because of his appearance (he was wearing neon leggings and a skull cap the first time I spotted him) but because of the way he carried himself (despite looking like a clown.) The blind confidence with which he dissected my shitty defense, the no-mercy sportsmanship even though we were losing unequivocally… There was something special about this pompous asshole that drew me in. Against my better judgement.

Now, a year or so later, I’m living with that pompous asshole. He has taken me under his beefy wing and showed me a world within Los Angeles that I didn’t know existed. He brought out the girl I remembered from high school… The girl with a concerning amount of tenacity and aggression (an amount that could require intense psychological intervention without proper supervision.) The girl who wore clothing that matched her mood. The girl who laughs so hard she snorts and then chokes on her own spit. The girl who constantly wants to create and express herself.

Whatever obstacles I face in this life, I am comfortable. I am confident that I can handle anything that comes my way. I am unafraid, I am safe. I am myself.

cat cat face pussycat cat eye

Photo by Hardeep Bhagat on Pexels.com

Meow.

I Deserve Respect

Being a female football player is hard, not the most shocking thesis to cross these pages. I’ve had a hard time figuring out how to really dive into it because there are so many different layers to the issue. Today really set me over the edge though, I have to speak up. I’m fucking sick of the lack of respect. I’m sick of the soullessness of other athletes. I’m fucking sick of being treated like shit.

Every sport I’ve ever played, I’ve played with intensity. Whether you like it or not, I’m an aggressive and tenacious player who takes pride in her defensive capabilities. If I had to classify myself as an athlete, I’m a defender at my core. I will protect what I need to protect in the best way I can. To be a good defender you HAVE to be aggressive. To be a great defender you have to be blood thirsty. I strive to be great.

There is a time and a place for everything. When I play in an LFL game, I have a different mentality than when I play in a CoEd flag football recreational league. Sure, I’m still going to try my best, but I am going to play my game differently. LFL is almost intimidating because there are no holds barred. It’s a primal version of football, you have to use whatever tools you have at your disposal.

I’ve done things in LFL that I’ve never done in my regular life. I have slapped a girl square across her helmet. I have yanked a woman’s body off of my quarterback and thrown her, I have pulled a girl by her bra strap to get ahold of her. I have shoved a girl to the ground repeatedly as hard as I could. And I’m still not even scratching the surface of what I’m sure I’ll do in years to come.

I’ve trained myself to restrict that mindset to LFL games. Granted, I signed up to play in a men’s only league so that I could hone my physicality in a way that feels “clean.” Well, that’s part of the reason. I also joined a men’s flag football league because I know I’m better than at least 80% of the men out there. For 3 of the 4 seasons I played in TUFF Men’s I was the league leader in sacks. I had one season where someone beat me, but he is a fucking boss and has shown me more respect than any other male opponent at my position. I’ll give him the recognition he deserves, Tim Taylor, you are a fucking unbelievable lunatic and I love playing on the same field as you.

Back to the men’s league thing. I’m better than most of the men out there. I know it’s hard to admit when a woman is better than you at something. I acknowledge that it’s a blow to your ego. Most of you have tolerated me pretty well, but the ones who can’t tolerate me are insecure about their own ability.

The first time I ever stepped on the men’s field I got laughed at by everyone I lined up across from. No one took me seriously, people on my own team didn’t think I was cut out for it. I had to suck it up and get back out there every single week. It was fucking scary. I felt afraid and insecure. But I pushed through it week after week because I loved it and I knew I was capable. I had something to prove.

When I play in a CoEd non-contact format, I like to work on things I’m normally too afraid to try because of the contact. One of the specific things I’ve been challenging myself to try is jumping routes and going for interceptions. I wanted to develop the instincts in CoEd so that when I got to tackle I would be able to brace for contact and the muscle memory would be strong.

Today I had the coolest interception of my entire career playing flag football. I was playing a rolling corner in a cover 3 scheme that Kaker designed specifically so that Dianne and I could lock down our side, baiting the guys into testing us.

The opposing quarterback sent a guy deep on my side almost every single play. I got torched deep on one of the first plays of the game. I was so pissed at myself that I vowed to make a play to redeem myself.

So when a lofty deep ball came to my side and I got great positioning on the ball, I fully extended my body to make the catch for the interception against the intended male target. Guess what? I caught the fucking ball and it was amazing, it was one of those moments as an athlete that takes your breath away. It was that feeling that keeps me coming out onto the field; the shocking realization of what my body is capable of.

But that male ego, it’ll get you.

The guy who I stole the ball from decided to bring me down to the ground. I’m not sure how exactly he did it, because I wasn’t expecting it AT ALL. I wasn’t expecting to be touched by anyone, I was elated that I got the ball back for my team.

But while I was in the air, he took my feet out from underneath me and I smacked the turf directly on my tailbone and hyperextended my hip-flexor. Unfortunately because I wasn’t in my tackle mindset, I didn’t brace myself for contact so my body didn’t take the fall very gracefully. I was in no way prepared to be hit the way that I was by the person who I was hit by.

It’s okay though, right? This is why we have referees to make sure we’re safe. At least they would give me credit for the interception, plus some additional yards for the offensive PI? I could easily go to the sideline and deal with the injury knowing that the obvious call would be made. The league prides itself on being “non-contact” something I have specifically been talked to about because of my aggressive tendencies.

No, if you thought I was speaking the truth in my last paragraph… You’re wrong. They called it an incomplete. The call on the field was “incomplete” because the ball popped out of my hands when I hit the ground. For the record, there are no fumbles in flag football. They didn’t acknowledge that I ever had possession of the ball.

One of the referees couldn’t see the play, but understood that there was unfair contact. The other referee from across the field, a woman, refused to acknowledge the interception. The other team, obviously having seen the entire thing knowing full well what had happened, said nothing. The man who dragged me to the ground? Said nothing.

I lost my mind. I told every person on the field to fuck themselves. I ripped my flags off and went over to my bag and cried by myself. Not even about the pain, but just the frustration. I’ve spent every game feeling like I had to prove myself more because I’m a woman. Because I’m a woman who is better than most of the guys. Objectively: I am taller, faster, stronger and smarter than most of the guys.

The ones who are better than me are the ones who respect me. It’s the weak ones who can’t let their ego accept the fact that a woman is torching them.

I’m not sorry for anything I said. I’m fully ashamed of the behavior I witnessed today on so many levels. I’m ashamed of what that CoEd football league has become. I’m ashamed that not a single person chose to acknowledge what they saw and do the right thing.

If I can’t prove myself to people who have seen me play for over a year now, how can I ever expect to prove myself to the general public? To the guy in my office who tells me I can’t have my boyfriend running my fantasy football team? To the man at the airport who asks me if I’m a volleyball player and then assumes I mean soccer when I tell him I play football? How the fuck am I supposed to reconcile that men get paid millions of dollars to play football while I can’t even expect to get people to watch unless I play in my bra and underwear?

Please tell me why I’m not supposed to be irate.

A Peak Into My Anxious Brain

Disclaimer- I am not a medical professional or really a professional in anything related to the topic I’m about to speak extensively about. But that’s why this is a blog and not a scientific journal.  I am a person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Many of you already know that, for those who don’t: welcome to a new side of me that you may or may not care to know.

One of the hardest parts of being an anxious person is that you feel incredibly isolated. I’ve talked about this before, but generalized anxiety feels so personal that you (I just dropped a Cheerio on the ground, I can’t find it and it’s going to ruin my night) can’t even explain it to someone. You know that other people suffer from Anxiety but you know that their symptoms manifest differently, their coping mechanisms are different, their triggers are different.

I understand that many people “try” to understand but a lot of people do a poor job of it. I’m not asking to you do research on the disorder, but I’m asking you to listen to me when I try my hardest to explain to you what it feels like. I hope that my elaboration can help you with someone in your life who may be suffering similarly. First and foremost, though, I want to put a stop to some of the misconceptions surrounding Anxiety.

 

1.) Generalized anxiety is not the same thing as feeling nervous

 

A lot of people falsely assume that having anxiety is similar to stage fright or the feeling you get when you go on a first date. It’s not. When my anxiety first started in 2nd grade it felt like constant terror. Terror that kept me awake at night, terror that had me bawling in the middle of a theater during the movie “Dinosaur,”  terror that sent me home from basketball camp in an ambulance. It completely consumes you when it is at its worst.

With Generalized Anxiety Disorder, your baseline is stage fright on a good day. You wake up and it’s sitting on your pillow patiently waiting for your consciousness, leaping down your throat with a list of things to ruminate on. If you’re really unlucky you’ve already spent the entire night in anxiety ridden dreams which are so stressful you don’t even feel like you slept.

Yes, the average person experiences some anxiety. But the person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder experiences intense anxiety that is pervasive and, at times, debilitating.

The same concept applies here as it does with OCD. People will use the term Anxiety colloquially and not understand the repercussions. When you claim to “be so OCD” or claim to have “hardcore anxiety” offhand you are invalidating the experiences of those who have crippling mental health issues. Whether you intend on it or not, you are making our fight even harder.

 

2.) Anxiety is not something you can just “stop” feeling

It’s more of a symptom that you can manage. You can take action to help your anxiety, do things that give you brief respite… But you can’t just tell your brain to stop feeling anxious. Because guess what? My brain is a floating sack of chemicals and neural connections that are beyond comprehension. My brain is already self-aware enough to know that it’s fucked up- if it had any intention of changing I think it would have done so by now. Asshole.

That’s probably the thing that pisses me off most, when people tell me to “Stop thinking so much.”

Why. In. The. Fuck. Would. I. Choose. This? Please enlighten me.

If I could stop thinking so much I would just never feel anxious. My anxiety sets the pace; I don’t get to decide whether or not I overthink things.

Drugs help. Whether it be prescription medication, weed, alcohol. I know I turned to alcohol quite frequently. But nothing makes it “stop.” I don’t have the option of taking a long drink of water, staring at myself in the mirror, slapping myself across the face and yelling “get it together.” Isn’t that what normal people do? Or is that just in the movies?

 

3.) Speaking of drugs.

A lot of people use anxiety as an excuse to get Xanax or other Benzodiazepines for recreational purposes. They also use it as an excuse to get weed for recreational purposes. Unfortunately that lends itself to Anxiety being considered a “fake” medical problem in a lot of people’s mind.

I am one of the unlucky people who had symptoms of Anxiety manifest into physical symptoms. I decided to quit my medication from 2012 to 2014 because I thought I was “cured” but it turned out that my body couldn’t properly digest food without the medication. Once I cut out my medication “cold turkey” I started to show physical symptoms for Crohn’s Disease.

I spent a lot of time in doctors offices with invasive tests that led only to a bunch of expensive doctors telling me “It looks like Crohn’s, it behaves like Crohn’s, but the blood test is negative for Crohn’s… So I’m not sure, good luck!”

30 pounds lost and 2 years of discomfort and agony later- turns out my anxiety medication completely erased the symptoms. I tried to be strong enough to live without my medication because society makes me feel weak for needing it. Turns out I am weak without it.

 

4.) The hardest part

Making sense of it. You feel like there should be a reason for feeling anxious so you assign meaning to it. Rather than sitting here at my computer feeling like there are rocks rolling around in my stomach for no reason- I’ll assign these feelings of distress to things in my life. You get a little “chicken or the egg” situation here because you’re not sure if the stressful life situations cause the anxiety or if the anxiety would have been just as intense either way. But without a doubt- the chicken and the egg definitely enable each other.

My instinct is usually to avoid this feeling- because it fucking sucks. But right now I figured I would lean into it for the purpose of this post. I’ve thought to myself dozens of times today “Why can’t I just feel normal?” But I realize there is no normal and everyone feels differently and I’m just a particularly emotional being. Sure- I want to feel lucky for being uniquely me, but I also hate me for making me feel like an absolute trainwreck when there is objectively nothing to feel like a trainwreck about.

 

5.) So really- what does it feel like?

As I mentioned earlier, the first time I felt anxiety it felt like terror. It felt like my parents dying in a horrific car accident, my brother dying from an incurable infection, the world coming to an end and my house being torn up by a tornado. It felt like creatures floating around my room while I laid sweating in paralysis desperately grabbing onto my cat for a portal into reality. It felt like a loud ringing in my ear before I fell asleep was going to ruin me.

As I grew up it felt like motivation, it felt like the reason I was good at things. It felt like the constant reach towards perfection. It felt like my heart stopping moments before the gun exploded at the starting line. It felt like the reason I was never happy with myself because there was always something I could be doing better. It felt like never being content with what I had and always expecting more of myself- being disappointed whenever I fell short and still being disappointed by something I’d find wrong with my success.

Now it feels like something I can laugh about on some days and something that makes me want to die on other days. It feels like every person who has ever hurt me. It feels like that person who lives to watch you fail. It feels like someone hiding around the corner laying in wait to attack. It feels like the task I can put off for weeks and weeks until it becomes so necessary I can’t ignore it. It feels like rejection and failure- it feels like anger. It feels like frustration so intense and debilitating that you collapse inside.

It doesn’t feel like forever though.

 

Anger

This has been a confusing year. I struggle to write, I’m afraid of what will come out. I am angry. Very angry. I try to push aside the reasons why I’m angry, but some days they hit me all at once while I’m taking a shower and of course that’s fucking useless. It’s hard to get myself to sit down and let this all out because it’s not a pleasant feeling. Sitting here, at my computer slamming on the keys so loudly I might wake Kaker up from a sound sleep. But here we are, so let’s see if I have the balls to post this.

I went to a great school for writing. I don’t think going to Boston University necessarily made me a better writer. I think I learned useful tools and I became a lot more savvy in formatting and ‘tricks of the trade.’ I learned how to create a polished script. I met people who will probably be successful someday because they went to Boston University. But no, my education did not make me a better writer and I’m not sure if that’s even what I was expecting in the first place.

I was (do people still use italics in this way?) expecting help in my career. WHY ELSE DO YOU GO TO COLLEGE OTHER THAN FOR HELP IN YOUR CAREER? PLEASE ANSWER ME THAT QUESTION WITH ANYTHING LOGICAL OTHER THAN TO RAGE YOUR FACE OFF.

The main reason why I ultimately chose Boston University was because of the LA Internship program. In a sick and twisted turn of events I can honestly say that internship program was one of the most hellish experiences of my entire life. That’s not entirely BU’s fault, it was a combination of things (eating disorder, long distance relationship, being broke as shit, eating disorder.) Let’s talk more about BU for a second though.

Boston University sells you on the idea that they will hook you up with your first internship. They will give you the proverbial “foot in the door.” They sell you on the 500+ LinkedIn connections the internship program coordinator has developed across the industry. What they don’t tell you is that at the end of the day your internship quality depends entirely on the bias of that program coordinator (and that she is insufferable and unhelpful.)

I told her my interests (horror films, death, and violence) and she gave me the names of 3 people who I had to reach out to personally and set interviews up with. I guess you pay for this ludicrously expensive program on the hopes that she hooks you up with a solid email address? I didn’t get anyone solid. The one interview I set up from her ~contacts~ sent me to a small apartment in mid-city with three middle-aged men and a small yappy blind dog named Tiberius. They called themselves a production company, I call them four weirdos who were too delusional to get a real job. The only upward mobility at that place was into one of their beds as their night time companion. I don’t even mean that in a sexual way, I mean in the “let’s stare at the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling and talk about hypothetical philosophical scenarios” way.  

For the BULA program I had to “take initiative” (entertainment folk are big on taking initiative which really means doing someone else’s job for them) and go find my own internship. I found mine by browsing Entertainment Careers (the equivalent of entertainment Craigslist.) The only reason I chose to intern on The Jeff Probst Show was because they hired off the phone and it was with CBS distribution and at least I’d heard of CBS before. Everyone had, Jesus.

I don’t really want to talk about either of my internships other than to say they were utterly useless and demoralizing. (Has the highlight of your day ever been walking onto the empty set of Judge Judy to avoid being yelled at by an angry cab driver you refused to give your cell phone number to?) My night classes with Boston University were no better… At one point my “professor” (a washed up entertainment lawyer) gave us a breakdown of how much money we should expect to make our first year out of college and how far that income would take us in LA. He literally drew out a pie chart of all of our expenses. This wonderful chart showed us that we would barely make enough to live on. And that was IF ANY ONLY IF we were lucky enough to get our dream job as a Production Assistant. For reference, the average PA makes $15 per hour which is roughly $30,000 per year. For more reference, the cheaper end of rent in a safe part of Los Angeles is $1,000 per month… Meaning over a third of your income is devoted solely to making sure you’re not homeless. Again, that’s if you are #blessed with such a sacred opportunity.

Fuck. At the time I thought this was all worth it because I loved writing so much and it was the only thing I REALLY knew how to do. Since I was a little girl (who looked like a boy) writing stories of my cat taking a dump so large his litterbox couldn’t contain it. Since my second grade teacher praised my mediocre story about a penguin following a trail of pizzas to a cave of jewels. Since my sixth grade teacher gave me my only A+ ever and told me that he wanted a signed copy of my book when I was a famous writer someday. Failure wasn’t an option because so many people expected me to succeed. Failure was never an option.

Until it was. I felt myself failing, I felt myself accepting that I was failing. Since I officially gave up on writing as my career I have not shared a single new piece of writing with anyone. That was on June 1st of 2017. Since that day I’ve tried to reconcile who the fuck I really am behind all of this anger and pain.

Can I still be a writer even though this town has essentially told me, no? Do I even like to write anymore? Am I even a good writer? Was I ever a good writer? Am I just a simple white girl from Minnesota with made up problems and excessive angst?

The only thing I knew for sure this year was that I am an athlete. I could not prove anything else. I embraced the one part of my identity that was clear and obvious to me. I slowly chipped away at the parts of myself that detracted from being an athlete. I quit drinking, I ran screaming from all things entertainment, and I embraced those who accepted this new version of myself. The brooding and pseudo-artistic part of me took a backseat, only escaping for brief moments of “what the fuck?” My frustration turned slowly but surely into unbridled anger. All negative emotions were recycled into a giant heaping blob of Anger.

Kaker lovingly calls me an angry bitch. My male teammates tell me I play best when I’m angry. My coaches are begging me to channel my anger. You’d think at this point I would constantly be foaming at the mouth. Unfortunately I am a complicated woman and my brain often does the opposite of what I’d like it to do. But I’m sick of suffering from my own mentality. I’m sick of being victim of my own insecurity.

I’m sure as hell done being a victim of other people’s insecurities.

I have nothing to lose anymore. I’ll never be someone’s assistant again. I’ll never serve as another woman’s emotional punching bag. I’ll never be that resume that someone looks at and thinks “I’ll hire this girl because at least I know she won’t quit after putting up with my bullshit.” I’ll never comprehend why any of those women thought it was ok to treat another human being the way they treated me and every assistant they had before or after me. You call yourselves feminists but I call you imposters.

I wake up on Saturday morning for my tackle football practice and I think of these women. I think of the 10 dollars per hour I killed myself over, I think of the walls of iMessage I would receive at 2:00 am on a Saturday, I think of the lies and deception I witnessed firsthand but stayed silent for. I feel myself growing angrier and angrier.

When I line up across from a girl in a tackling drill, I think about my first boss in Los Angeles. The one who started it all. I visualize her name, I repeat it over and over again in my head. I can feel it stuck to my tongue like spoiled milk. I think of how many times I had to clean up pee soaked potty pads from the floor of her apartment, how many plates of disgusting microwaved dog food I had to concoct and make palatable for two dogs with a higher net worth than me, how many useless tasks I was assigned on half-baked ideas that would never amount to anything. It’s hard not to want to beat the shit out of someone.

The problem with my anger is that sometimes it gets stuck and forms into a funnel cloud in my brain. That funnel cloud grows more and more ominous each time I fuck up. After enough frustration and failure I’ve got a full on tornado swirling around in my brain. The tornado that screams

“What’s wrong with you?”

“Why are you so stupid?”

“Why can’t you figure this out?”

“What the fuck is your problem?”

The easiest person to be angry with is yourself. I find myself randomly frustrated that I chose to go to school for film, I find myself randomly frustrated that I drank myself stupid most weekends since I got to college, I find myself randomly frustrated that I allowed employers to treat me the way they did for so many years. What do I do with this anger? How do I move past my own transgressions when the laundry list seems to grow by the day? How the fuck do I turn around the goddamn funnel cloud?

If you are similarly struggling with these questions, I encourage you to stop living in the past. Stop fixating on the things you did wrong and focus on the things you’ve done right. Realize now that you are on the top of a mountain, you are looking over the destruction. It’s easy to get stuck in the chaos and never pull yourself out, but you have done that. Being angry at your former self does not help your future self. Anger is not the opposite of happiness, but you still cannot let the anger consume you.

I have a hard time admitting that I’m proud of myself because I still feel like I haven’t done enough. I don’t feel like I can truly be proud until I have accomplished the things I set out to accomplish. I am happy that I am moving in the right direction but I’m not done. I’m not ready to sit back and accept this. I have grown stronger from the bullshit of the last 5 years, even the self inflicted bullshit. All of the bullshit was worth it to feel like I have purpose and a future.

Writing this didn’t feel great, but it’s a start. My instinct is to make sure this never sees the light of day, but who knows. Maybe someone else can benefit from reading this, or maybe someone who was wondering how I am doing behind the social media facade will feel enlightened. If you didn’t feel like reading every word- the summary here is:

  • I’m angry
  • I’m going to write again
  • I’m scared

 

My Dream Wedding

There’s really nothing scarier in life than revealing your innermost desires for your “Big Day.” Sure, I could share you a Pinterest Board of everything I want, but what fun would that be? I am going to spell it out to you- from the horse’s mouth… I might even make some horse noises if you’re lucky. So for any eligible suitors out there reading this post, if you want to marry me, here is what I expect in my ideal wedding.

The Ring: Needs to be from a vending machine at Taco Bell. I will not accept anything less, the Taco Bell part is important. I grew up waiting for meat tacos at Taco Bell and if I was LUCKY my mom would give me a quarter to buy a ring from the vending machine. The design of the ring doesn’t matter so much- but I will know if it’s authentic. Do not test me.

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The Venue: A VFW in rural Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska… Somewhere where we can be as far as possible from civilization. Alternatively, I want it to be a dirty ramshackle barn, crucial that it’s not a ‘rustic’ barn… A real one with fresh manure and livestock milling around. Goats screaming like Usher, pigs rolling in their own feces, chickens freaking the fuck out over nothing… Guests will sit on rusty and breaking folding chairs, hay bales if we can find enough in the storage shed. No need for an alter or anything, we can just borrow a podium from the local high school’s speech team.

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(***person in this picture is also invited)

Service: There will be no service. We will skip right to the part where we ask if anyone objects, I have a feeling someone will object. Whether it be my 7th grade science teacher, Mr. Bale, or a scorned lover from a fling in Vegas, someone will disapprove. (Yes both of those people will be on the guest list.) We will start the discussion segment there and have a civil discourse about my life choices. Ultimately my father, Alex Nicholson, will decide whether or not we can proceed with the union. He will signal this by lighting a torch.

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Ring Bearer: Will be an untrained pig.

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Dress: I will find my mother’s wedding dress from storage (without her permission.) It is shrinkwrapped at the moment. I will unwrap it the day of the wedding and wear it as is. NO alterations. If my mother wore it I will wear it. If something rips then we can use clothespins and bedsheets.

Flowers: I’m cool with sending someone’s child into a field for some dandelions, dead dandelions, or just wildgrasses of whatever state we decide to have this in. Maybe we can scatter the feed of the livestock around so we might have a guest appearance from a cow, pig, goat, rats… Maybe we even open up the chicken coop and let them flood in. Idk, just spitballing here.

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Catering: Sloppy joes, walking tacos and deer meat. Those are the staples. If you are a vegetarian you can just eat the Doritos and lettuce from the walking tacos. We will also have a cookie table. The table will be full of just cookies, I repeat, cookies only. We will buy them from the local grocery chain and put them on a plastic plate. Yes, this does include every possible flavor of those frosted sugar cookies with the sprinkles on them. Yes the powdery ones that break apart all over you as you eat them. Yes, we will EVEN have the different holiday variations… Don’t ask me how we will get all of them but we will. Everyone will really love the cookie table. If I’m feeling spendy, I’ll potentially have Raising Cane’s cater. But if that’s the case I’d feel bad letting the chickens out of their coop.

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Cake: Would be great if someone whips up a Funfetti day of. I just want to be clear that the topper has both me and my husband on a tractor. I don’t know how to drive a tractor but so help me God I better be on a fucking tractor for my wedding cake topper.

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Photography: I am going to blow my entire budget on finding the actor who plays the photographer in 13 Reasons Why. I want him to be in character for the entire wedding. I don’t care how much it costs, he needs to be at my wedding. And everyone gets an autographed, shirtless, headshot of him.

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The Reception: We will have the reception under a white tent near a swamp. The swamp is crucial to the success of the reception. I need there to be insects, I love bugs. I want people to be swatting at them while they eat, perhaps there will even be dead insects in the sloppy joes. Idk, we can only ask for so much. Karaoke machine with only cassette tapes, 90% of the cassette tapes are nursery rhymes. Microphone will have a MASSIVE foam mouthpiece for comedic purposes only but also so that everyone has to feel the person before them’s spit.

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The DJ: I am going to wait outside a high school and see which dude rolls in with his music blaring the loudest. He will be my DJ, he is the most confident in his taste in music. Must play the Chicken Dance and Born In The USA.

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Alcohol: Open bar. Only beverage is bottom-shelf vodka and the only thing to mix it with is Koolaid. Don’t worry, we will mix the Koolaid ahead of time and might even offer a few different flavors, but probably you can expect mostly red and blue because that’s what I like best and this is my wedding.

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Bartender: He is a failed comedian who I found in Boise. I gave him free reign to use the bar as his stage, so you have to all listen to his jokes for the entire night. That’s the price you pay for free alcohol. Your laughter are his form of tips- he understands this agreement.

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Honeymoon: Wisconsin Dells. We are going to stay in a suite at the Wilderness Lodge and we are going to play in the waterpark all day every day. Sex takes a backseat to playing in the wave pool drunk. You will take me go karting at Mt. Olympus and we will dangle the fact that we have our driver’s license over the heads of our child/teen/preteen competitors. We will not let them win. I will get cotton candy. We will probably go to Noah’s Ark and I will call you a pussy for not wanting to ride the slide that some kid died on years ago. Then I will wait in line for it, get to the top, and chicken out but make a bunch of excuses about how I heard it making weird noises and how I totally cheated death.

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Women Don’t Hate Porn

Glad I can take a month long hiatus again and come back with a post about pornography. Whatever, I’m taking a break from the shitshow that is the American Political Scene… Can I just pause for a second and ask you to think about the fact that some day our children will be studying this in school? I know that’s a funny prospect in abstract but I’m serious…

I’m picturing my 15 year old self in A.P United States History class. Picturing how maniacally stressed I was memorizing all of the fucking treaties and compromises and edicts and other words/concepts I no longer remember the meaning of. Just imagine that nervous little girl, back in the classroom, with Ms. Clark asking us to write a Document Based Question (DBQ) on Donald Trump’s tweets.

“Using President Trump’s tweets, please analyze and dissect exactly which monumental events led to the outbreak of World War III.”

Seriously it sounds like I’m kidding, but this is actual history in the making and we are part of it. This could ACTUALLY be a legitimate historical question. We are the generation who elected Donald Trump into office and watched him unintentionally lambast himself using a social media platform frequented by 11-year-old fangirls. Adorable. So proud that we have a democratic system of checks and balances, really couldn’t be happier with America.

Speaking of America. I watched the first episode of a Netflix docu-series last night called Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On. It sounds sexy, and it sort of is…I highly recommend it so far. The first episode made some interesting points about the current state of pornography. The idea that women “hate porn” is a misrepresentation of how we actually view it. We don’t hate pornography; we hate the way pornography depicts sex.

I remember the moment in my life where I realized it wasn’t an “if” but rather a “how” when referring to a man’s porn consumption. Sure- there are outliers but for the most part every single man you look at either IS or WAS a regular consumer of pornography. That used to bother me back when I was young and naive and thought love was enough to make a man never want to look at another female specimen for the rest of his life… but at this point you HAVE TO realize that the moment a boy hits puberty, porn becomes a necessary ‘evil.’ Pornography is sadly our biggest form of modern sexual education.

This wouldn’t be much of an issue if average pornography gave a realistic depiction of a sexual relationship. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

I’ve never actually sat through more than 3 to 5 minutes of pornography because it makes me physically ill. This is coming from a girl who regularly watches the Saw series and purposefully pours over Reddit lists about the “most disturbing movies EVER.” Nothing has ever irked me quite the way pornography does.

Why?

Because sex should be mutually enjoyable. Does ANY widely consumed pornography show sex that is enjoyable for women?

“But she’s moaning and screaming like she loves it?! Maybe YOU just don’t enjoy sex.” Some white, upper middle class, romper-wearing, frat bro with a wallet full of magnums he will never use or fill, might tell me.

Female porn stars are satisfying common male desire. They’re nothing more than objects in a twisted “domination” fantasy. They’re props to make a man feel like a king. It’s not anyone’s fault (I won’t go there), that’s just the type of material we’ve conditioned men to enjoy from age 13 onward. And as they get older, maybe that’s not always enough. Maybe they start watching aggressive shit like forced blowjobs and “swirlies.” The double edged sword of the Internet: For every weird fetish there’s a porno out there. For better or worse. 

Can you imagine walking into a sexual situation with a woman having viewed porn like that your entire life? (Maybe you don’t even have to imagine it, maybe it has happened to you.) How exactly are you viewing this naked woman you’re suddenly across from? Is she a person? Or is she your ticket to acting out your own version of what you’ve watched for years?

Maybe you’ll tell me “That’s different! Porn is one thing, sex is another!”

Well that woman in the porno you’re watching is no different from me. Except she’s getting miserably railed by some 40-year-old failed actor who took too much viagra. She’s worried about pretending to enjoy it and pretending to actually get off from it. She’s sick of getting her hair pulled and her face slapped. But she stopped caring about all that shit a long time ago and is just doing her job.

Women wouldn’t take issue with porn if it made us look like something other than robots designed to fulfill male desire. We wouldn’t take issue with it if it didn’t make us want to throw up after 3 minutes of watching it. We’d maybe enjoy it if it showed any semblance of our ideal sexual encounter. But since WE are not the customer, WE are not relevant. We are constantly getting the message that we do not matter.

Do you think you might be annoyed by that too?

 

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Here’s this to lighten the mood.

I Was Buried Under a Pile of Monkeys

I don’t think it’s normal to learn a lesson from your dreams, and I’m not even sure that I did learn a lesson. My dreams are startlingly realistic, most of the time they cling to me far past sleepytime and I momentarily forget whether I’m in dream world or reality. My life is like a melodramatic remake of Inception where the main character, Katrina, an oblivious white girl, works at an ad agency in Los Angeles and compulsively chugs tea out of an enormous Iowa mug her mother accidentally sent her.

Sometimes I can control my actions in my dreams AKA “lucid dreaming.” These dreams are the most memorable because they genuinely feel like a second life. There are certain things that exist in my “dream life” that don’t exist in my actual life. For example, my childhood home always has a pool in the backyard in my dream life but not in reality. This has been the case since high school, so it kind of felt like waking up and realizing you didn’t actually get that golden retriever puppy in real life. Every, day.

By the way, for anyone who thinks this sound “cool” I would gladly trade you this ability for ANY one of your marketable skills… Like the ability to do math for example. Or maybe ability to write code. Programming. Anything of that nature.

ANYWAY. For this dream, I was in Africa with a few friends (no I’ve never actually been to Africa) and we decided to go rogue on a safari. Dream Katrina is constantly putting herself in vulnerable situations with wild animals, not sure if that means anything, but she sure likes to do it. For the safari we were walking through a desert savannah and kept spotting monkeys in the distance. They disguised themselves as trees before attacking their prey… It was as acid trippy as it sounds, yes. Picture Kirby’s World for NES in that level where the birds all shoot out of the tree when you pass it (if you get that reference please notify me, ASAP, I’d like to make you my husband.) There were also alligators, rhinos, plenty of shit that can kill you. But we were prancing carelessly around like we were in a fucking Minnesota cornfield.

My friends rushed ahead of me and out of sight. In real life this wouldn’t be a huge issue because I’m fast as all fuck, but in this dream I might as well have been 95 years old with metal knees. While I fruitlessly rushed onward, I accidentally stumbled under what looked like a harmless tree, but was actually an aggressive nest of monkeys. This troop of monkeys leapt onto my back and paused for a moment while I pretended to be dead. They chattered amongst themselves, probably deciding how to best feast on my innards. What the fuck else could the monkeys of my subconscious possibly have to say? 

Unfortunately this was a very heavy pile of monkeys, and I needed to breathe, so they quickly figured out the truth as they felt the rise and fall of my ribcage underneath them. I braced myself for contact, which is a horrifying prospect if you’ve ever seen anyone who survived a monkey attack. Monkeys rip faces off.

For reference, this is sort of what the monkeys looked like:

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Before you make fun of the size of this monkey, let’s discuss a few things.

  • Look at its fucking teeth
  • Look how angry he looks
  • Imagine at least 12 of him on your back (you’re completely alone)
  • He is a wild animal, so the fact that his mouth is about the size of a cat isn’t relevant because this motherfucker will tear into you barehanded with reckless abandon on INSTINCT
  • He is defending his nest

Anyway. I’m deflecting because I’m trying not to be too morbid. This entire post is a little off, sorry mom, these are the things that keep me up at night (or not? these are the things that haunt me while I sleep?) 

The moment underneath those monkeys felt so real that I genuinely thought I was going to die. I felt those near-death thoughts flying through my head. How disappointed my parents, friends, family would be that I died in such a reckless way. I thought about how my last moments on earth would be wasted by my own ignorance and overzealousness. I would be just another white girl who thought she was invulnerable and could run around unknown territory without any repercussions. Just like when I used to walk home alone from Allston back in college at 2:00 am and get into strange cabs who offered free rides.

Most of all, I thought about how this was the real, black, immanent, void. The end.

I came to that lonely realization that I imagine most Atheists have in the back of their mind (but are too busy playing World of Warcraft and blaming ~society~ for their problems to admit.) When you reject religion or a higher power as a concept, you reject the belief in an afterlife. You truly believe that when you die, you just rot in the ground and that’s it. Maybe people scatter your ashes or whatever, but you cease to exist in any way shape or form. Bleak. As. FUCK. (I’m really fun at parties.)

When I was younger and a “practicing Lutheran” I had these types of dreams, I’d get to my Monkey Pile Moment and I’d pray. I’d pray that God would save me or that somehow this wouldn’t be the end, and many times when I did this I’d be rescued or brought to some other reality within the dream. But now, at 25, I feel that crushing defeat of ultimately losing faith. I don’t believe anymore, I genuinely don’t, and having that vividly illuminated in a dream is startling. 

On the optimistic side, I realize the importance of self reliance. Being able to find solutions for yourself and work your way through The Monkey Piles Of Life (I hate myself for just saying that… I feel like I just wrote a fucking sermon which is some pretty tasty irony for you literary fiends out there who might be picking apart my work trying to decide if there is any deeper meaning! There’s not, and I’m sure that’s not what you’re doing here.)

Let me try again without getting all preachy. I woke up from this dream covered in sweat, with a very sore throat from some sleep-apnea-esque snoring (I’M SORRY, I’M ACTIVELY WORKING ON IT OK?) and I felt myself actually relax a bit. Whatever the hell gets thrown my way, whether it be an entire tree full of monkeys, a knee injury (please no), or a career change… I’m gonna make it work. I’ll be ok. 

Your story is not already written for you. If you’re an Atheist or even just someone who is questioning faith, spirituality, etc… If you’re feeling like you have nothing to fall back on… You do. But either fortunately or unfortunately, that thing is you. As I’ve said many times before, if you don’t like your life, it’s time to grab it by the haunches and hump it into submission. Because you can, no one else can.

Genuinely beautiful song about loving yourself even though everyone else might think you’re a lunatic ❤ (and they might be RIGHT)