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)

Go Ahead, Blacklist Me.

For a while I was really afraid to post stories about working in TV because I was concerned that I’d “blacklist” myself if I pissed off the wrong person. While that might be true, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t care anymore and some stories are meant to be told. This one isn’t even that bad, considering this woman made my life a living hell for about a year.

My first year working in Los Angeles as an “Executive Coordinator” entailed a lot more personal work than I expected. And very little Executive Coordinating. I was a glorified Personal Assistant at best- I didn’t make enough money to live on because my rate was laughably low (I believe it’s the current minimum wage, which is under scrutiny) and I was restricted to “40 hours per week” even though this still required me to promptly answer text messages, calls, and emails 24/7. And if you’re asking why I didn’t claim those hours, it’s because my boss extensively reviewed my work hours every week and occasionally argued me down if she thought the number was too high. Did the same thing for my gas mileage tracker, which I never lied on but was still accused of tracking my commute miles.

I genuinely believed this job would fast-track me on to becoming a television writer’s assistant. I was one of the many aspirational 21 year olds who believed the false promises made to them by unhappy people at the top who resent them for “being the future of the industry.” I trusted this person who claimed to see potential in me, I invested myself fully in this job even though it made me miserable and wasn’t remotely close to what I wanted to be doing with my life.

This silly story sticks out in my mind, just to give you an idea of how out of touch I was with reality. And maybe it will make you realize how out of touch with reality you are too. Because if you don’t see anything wrong with it, something is off.

My boss asked me to watch her two dogs on a Sunday in Beverly Hills while she went out and had fun with her friends. My ex-boyfriend and I decided we’d make a morning of it and go out for breakfast at Hugo’s in West Hollywood. Granted- I probably spent all of the money I earned in that day on my meal at Hugo’s… Not because Hugo’s is expensive but because that’s truly how little money I made. (Can I also note that I had no health insurance, PTO, government holidays, literally zero benefits other than the occasional free lunch that I had to pick up for myself and all others in the office in the heart of Beverly Hills where parking is basically a hazing ritual for the new folk?)

Anyway, at Hugo’s I ordered this intriguing frittata called the “Go Green Frittata” it was a massive GREEN egg bake with quinoa, kale, and other various green ruffagey shit. This was back when I was desperately trying to be skinny by eating nothing and prancing on ellipticals a few times per week. The thing was gargantuan and tasted mostly revolting but I ate it all. Would highly recommend that no one ever allow themselves to eat anything bright green for breakfast. You’re asking for a weird day. 

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(this is an actual image of the frittata at Hugo’s)

I was nursing a bit of a hangover because what else do you do when you’re 21, new to Los Angeles and your boyfriend is pretty much the only friend you have? You get hammered and lament your life choices. You also starve yourself slightly so that it takes less alcohol to get drunk and you can save money. On this particular morning I had the kind of hangover that came in waves of brief, sweaty, panicked, nausea. The kind I now can cure with my bff edible marijuana and an alarmingly long nap. 

We went back to take care of the dogs and watch a little NFL. Boyfriend had to be at work later that afternoon so I would drive him and then come back to the house. I felt my stomach get that cute little nauseousness so I spent the majority of the morning napping while he gave me emphatic highlights from the games we cared about.

When it came time to drive him to work, I was fully ill. At this time I was dealing with severe digestive problems and had no way of predicting how my body would react to unfamiliar foods. Almost every meal gave me trouble- but not this kind of trouble. Not Go Green Frittata trouble. I was sweating and could barely speak as we drove the 5 minutes to his office. He was concerned, because anyone who knows me knows that it’s an issue if I go 5 minutes without speaking. I pretended to be fine even though I could feel that unmistakable lump forming in the back of my throat, the one that firms up the esophagus in preparation for a boot and rally. 

Once I dropped him off, I genuinely worried I wouldn’t make it back to her house without barfing all over the interior of his new Ford Fusion. 

As I was rounding the corner onto my boss’s street, desperately gasping for air and blasting cold air conditioning breeze on my sweaty face, my cell phone rang and it was the boss.

I answered the line knowing I’d be in trouble (and she’d just keep calling) if I didn’t, and she immediately started barking demands at me. My stomach gave a violent churn as I hung up on her and made a drastic swerve to the side of the road in this bougie Beverly Hills neighborhood. I ran to the sidewalk, fell to my knees, and proceeded to vomit a massive green mound of quinoa, veggies, eggs and shreds of pancake. I’ve never thrown up so much in one sitting in my entire life. I can almost guarantee you a curious dog or a lucky raccoon made lunch out of it later that day.

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(Another gentle reminder of what the frittata looked like to begin with)

I stared into the vomit for a minute and realized that this was probably going to be very representative of my time in Los Angeles. Laugh at me if you want- but this was a profound moment. Here I was… Amidst million dollar homes in one of the world’s most famous neighborhoods, finally “pursuing my lifelong dream”, but actually just staring into a pile of my own bright green vomit. Hollywood, where (if you REALLY want it bad enough) your dreams come true… Right???

I got back in the car fully knowing my stomach was not emptied and the storm hadn’t cleared. But that didn’t matter- I had hung up on her.

“I’m so sorry- I had to pull over the car and throw up. What did you need?” I asked

“You actually threw up? Wow, good thing you weren’t driving my car.” She said, then quickly moved on as if I’d told her that I just sneezed on the steering wheel while driving. As if it wasn’t Sunday and I wasn’t spending my “free time” trapped in the apartment that had come to feel more like a prison than an “office.”

It was this moment where I realized that as much as MY life revolved around HER, I ceased to exist in her mind when I wasn’t doing something for her. I wasn’t a human to her. I was means to an end, something she could take advantage of with no remorse. There was no part of her that considered coming home early to relieve me of dog sitting so that I could go home and rest. There was no part of her that felt guilty that I spent the remainder of the day vomiting violently (and surprisingly painfully) into her various toilets while my boyfriend helplessly texted me from his office.

Tell me that this is what it takes to be successful in Los Angeles. Tell me that you have to “work in the trenches” before you can ever EARN the opportunity to do what you love. Tell me that I deserved to be emotionally abused and manipulated for a year, which amounted to approximately nothing other than teaching me never to trust what someone promises you. Tell me that I deserved to feel like I was never good enough and that I’d made the biggest mistake of my life by moving out here.

You can tell me any of that, I don’t agree with you. I don’t think I ever should have been treated that way and I don’t think ANYONE deserves to be treated that way. Yet this is just one tiny story in a catalogue of experiences I’ve had over the last four-plus years out here. And I’m just one person. There are hundreds of you out there still accepting this treatment because you believe some day you’ll get the chance to do what you love.

Consider if it’s really worth it. Consider the long term implications of this mentality. I wish I had stood up for myself sooner. I wish I had realized that no matter how shitty someone treated me that didn’t affect my personal worth. I’m still a writer, I’ll always be a writer, and no one can tell me otherwise. Please, if you’re going through anything similar, remind yourself that you’re worth more.

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(And for the love of all that is good in this world, please do yourself a favor and NEVER order this food item)

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Not a relevant image but it makes me giggle.

A Comforting Exchange (I’m Listening to Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield rn I can’t lie.)

It’s nice to start off my day in a not shitty way, even if my definition of “not shitty” still includes me waking up in a cold sweat after having an unsatisfying sexual dream about former Bachelor lead Chris Soules. A dream that came at the end of a series of highly disturbing dreams, I might add. One of them my brother Kyle had an evil twin who was trying to slit his throat while Kyle played video games. The hard part was that I couldn’t tell which Kyle was Evil Kyle so I just watched. For more information on my fucked up dreams- shoot me a text. I’ll happily make you uncomfortable.

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(Definitely never going to be able to think of him the same way)

Full disclosure, I’m trying to teach myself how to properly wear makeup on a daily basis. When I say that, I specifically mean I’m trying to learn how to contour. Before you laugh, please realize that shit is highly complicated and the reason a lot of people look ridiculous when they attempt it is because it’s an artform. I honestly don’t think I’m doing it right yet, but I’ve covered up most of the failed effort using “bronzer powder” which just makes my skin smooth and sparkly like a Twilight-era vampire.

I had an extra half hour to do my facial reconstruction today, and since I don’t have a functional hairdryer I’m working with the “wet rat” base look. I went ham at TJ Maxx last week and bought a few contouring kits as well as bronzing powder, a blending sponge, and lipstick. Yes, lipstick. I have a lot to say about lipstick, we can talk about it later. Maybe on another post.

One of my contouring kits specifically outlines on the box exactly where to put each color and even includes a diagram. I have been strictly following this as if it were a bible, and to be honest I question its credibility as a few times I’ve just looked like a tribal warrior at the end of it. No doubt, I’m still missing a few steps (primer, tinted moisturizer, setting spray… etc) but I am in the process of learning and that’s what counts, right? I’m trying and eager as ever. About as eager as I am to finish off the remnants of whatever appetizer is on the dinner table in a large group, because I guarantee I didn’t get nearly enough of it.

Anyway. I showed up to work today with my experimental makeup look on, and immediately felt insecure. Not only because I don’t typically wear a lot of makeup, but also because I have no idea if I look ridiculous in this lighting as compared to the dim sea cave I call home. I realize that half the battle with feeling confident is appearing confident, but it’s hard to do that when there’s a serious possibility you look like you have dirt/soil/excrement smeared on your face.

I went up to order eggs and bacon in the staff cafeteria and immediately when I approached the chef, I got insecure. I was certain he was giving me a weird look, as he probably knows me as the weird girl who always asks for an extra egg and seems ashamed about it. (It’s true, I do emotionally need that extra egg and it pains me to make it known.) In my mind, he noticed in a bad way, and I was about ready to sprint off to the bathroom and wipe off my fake face.

Quick aside here- I’ll give you a flashback to the first time I ever attempted to wear makeup in sixth grade. All of the other girls were doing it, and I was sick of being called a tomboy (note: I exclusively wore XXL mismatching sweatpants and sweatshirts for the entirety of my sixth grade year, this is fact.) So one day, after my mom left for work I raided her makeup stash (which is very minimalistic I might add- props to you mom… you’re fackin gorgeous!)

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(Above is a good example of what I was working with at this time in my life, please appreciate those jeans for the love of god where did we find those?)

At this stage I really did not know how to wear makeup, I wasn’t even sure what most of it was for. I put mascara on, shockingly correctly. But then I found some dark blue eyeliner that my mom probably bought by accident and discarded. I put that at the back of my eyelids, not the line of them. I outlined the base of my eyeball. And then I probably did another line on the inside of my bottom eyelid. While this terminology may not make sense- trust me, it did not look good. The mascara was passable, but the rest… ooooof.

Immediately when I got into school, Kaitlin Barry, one of the popular girls, asked me what the makeup was for. In a condescending tone. My stomach fell into my colon and I nearly shat out my internal organs. I was insecure and she knew it. When I didn’t answer?

“Katrina… What’s the makeup for?”

Mind you, this girl had makeup caked on in the punk rock Good Charlotte era style that was quickly becoming the new norm. I still couldn’t say anything, because I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself for even trying to be like the rest of the girls. When clearly I’d made myself an “other.”

“Katrina… Are you trying to impress someone?”

I shot up from my desk and ran to the bathroom and started wiping off my face with wet paper towels. I wasn’t crying or anything, I was just humiliated. And honestly I don’t even know if anyone else ever noticed I had it on in the first place. But it felt like the whole class saw and was laughing at me. (Just like the time I accidentally farted audibly during silent reading time.)

I spent the rest of the day asking one of my closest guy friends in paranoia if it was smeared or visible in any way shape or form. We’d pass each other in the hallways and he’d give me a thumbs up to assure me he couldn’t tell. Thank god for dude friends before hormones were a real thing. I somehow survived the day, but definitely had panic diarrhea.

Anyway- with that aside in mind, I was having panic flashbacks this morning. Sure it was 14 years ago and I’ve come a long way in my makeup skills… But I’m still the oversized sweatshirt wearing woman at the end of the day. I’m comfiest when I’m dressed like Stan Kovack, the middle aged real estate worker who cheers on the Phillies and listens to Toto. I like wearing makeup and feeling pretty, but I’m terrified of doing it wrong and looking like a fool.

Moments after I got my bacon and eggs and went to pay for it, I was met by one of the friendly cafe staff members. We frequently banter over my daily kombucha keg cup that legitimately looks like a cup full of beer… She playfully calls me “drunk girl” and has no idea how accurate of an assessment that really is.

“Your makeup looks really good today, did you do something different?” She said casually

I felt a full body sigh of relief and thanked her. “I was just thinking about how I’m afraid I look ridiculous.”

“I know what you mean,” She said “Sometimes when I wear makeup differently I feel like I look like a drag queen.”

It’s funny, because I’ve said that so many times about myself and no one else has ever humored me. We had a quick chat about the downfalls of wearing heels, purses, etc and I walked away feeling 100% better about life.

Not even because I am sure I actually look good, but more because I realize everyone has their insecurities about their femininity. Especially women like me who tend to err on the side of masculine or “tomboy.” It’s not that we don’t have the desire to look pretty, but it definitely doesn’t come naturally to us. For that reason, showing up to work in “experimental” makeup feels about as awkward as wearing a fedora, although far less shameful.

Having another woman’s support, even just something as small as commiserating, meant a lot to me and reminded me we’re all in this together. And we run the world. So for anyone out there who feels weird in their own body today, just know that we’re all feeling a little weird in our own way. If you see someone taking a step outside of the norm, give them a compliment. I like you already for making it this far down in the post, and please know that it means a lot to me.

o7NgowX

My 90 Year Old Grandpa Runs a Greenhouse and I Can’t Even Write a Damn Blog Post?

After almost a month of radio silence on here, I didn’t think my first returning post would be about my grandpa’s horticulture habits but… Here we are. It’s the only thing I could get excited about on this Friday afternoon. I know it’s St. Patrick’s Day but can I just admit that I don’t give a shit? I’m not even a little bit Irish and frankly my European genes resent this holiday on principle.

Let me give you the scoop- I thought it was a thing for EVERYONE’S Grandpa to have a massive garden full of vegetables in their backyard. I thought that was just what grandpas did… Pop Pop had his… and my Opa had a massive swampland surrounding a ramshackle barn filled with uncategorizable paraphernalia, there had to be a garden in there somewhere right? The obligatory grandpa garden?

Pop Pop lives in Wisconsin in a podunk village called Greenville. The most exciting things happening in this village are A.) Anything pertaining to the Green Bay Packers B.) The massive Costco a couple miles down the road and C.) Tractor style lawnmowers (both in practice and as a concept.) Wisconsin is booger-icicle cold for 75% of the year and for the other 25% (I really had to think about those percentages… Math is hard for me) so humid that your tears of anguish mix with with your sweat and blood to form an unrecognizable fluid that even renowned doctors don’t have a word for.

In case you haven’t gathered- this is not the ideal climate for gardening. Unless you’re really into pine trees and other coniferous fare (Pop Pop is not into that type of fare.) Pop Pop was in the Navy and he doesn’t take no for an answer. He also worked at a meatpacking plant back in the Upton Sinclair days (I’ve asked him how accurate that hot dog description was and he wouldn’t tell me.) Pop Pop will defeat mother nature while still maintaining a Midwestern Charm that makes him such a threat to society. Pop Pop scoffs at impossible, because really, nothing is impossible for Pop Pop.

I was the pickiest eater in the world when I was younger, I blame it on not having a sense of smell but honestly I was just a finicky turd. I’d pretty much only eat pizza, chicken tenders and peanut butter. Somehow, though, Pop Pop got me to eat green beans from his garden. And when I say this I mean the man literally got me to eat the entire pod raw and covered in soil. To the point where my mom was like “Is that even healthy?” And Pop Pop told her it would help my immune system and make me big and strong (jokes on you, mom, he was right!) I didn’t really like the taste, I just really wanted Pop Pop’s approval and I hoped that someday I could inherit his garden AND rare coin collection.

“How does Pop Pop’s garden survive the winter?” You’re wondering with concern…

You probably figured Pop Pop didn’t think about that… But what did I tell you? Nothing is impossible for Pop Pop. He spits on “impossible.”

He turned his entire basement into a greenhouse. If you didn’t know it was Pop Pop’s basement you’d think it belonged to a serial killer, an aspiring and confused surgeon, a museum curator who takes his work home with him, or really anyone who feels the need to hang fluorescent lights from every inch of their ceiling in hopes that they will stimulate the growth of another lifeform by providing synthetic sunlight. I don’t really know why Pop Pop trusted us kids to go down there back in the day, because all we would do is take running leaps onto his plant wagon destroying everything in our path. Except the plants. Somehow.

Today I got a text from my mom letting me know she’s planting in the basement garden to prepare the seedlings for spring harvest. She told me they’ll be cleaning out 75 pots whilst listening to soft classical music (AKA Pop Pop music.) Pop Pop has every detail about the garden plotted in a tattered looseleaf notebook that only he can read. Not because it’s in code, but because his handwriting is so horrendous that he’s the only living human who can interpret it. He keeps this precious notebook locked safely in his “Coin Room” a room that my brothers are often dragged into for unsolicited rare coin lectures. My dad goes in willingly and is secretly lobbying to inherit the coin collection (even though he’s not blood related.) A battle for another day I suppose. Just beware… I see you, Alex.

In all seriousness, I’ve been complaining about not having any inspiration to write for weeks now. I claim that writing is my passion and I want to make a career out of it. I claim it comes naturally to me and that I’d do whatever it takes to succeed with it. But I just went a month without posting to this blog, with no valid excuse for it. I’ve been the prototypical “uninspired writer” with the insufferably cliched “writer’s block.” And if I’m being totally honest, I’ve felt pretty damn insecure about everything I almost posted.

Pop Pop is 90 years old. For the last 10 years my mom and her siblings have begged him to stop gardening. They don’t want him to get injured walking down the steep stairs to the basement (they’re VERY steep, no joke I’ve fallen down them several times.) He assures them that he’ll tone it down, but he continues to sneak in there day after day to tend to the glorious Wisco Greenhouse he’s worked tirelessly to perfect. The only time Pop Pop won’t garden is when he PHYSICALLY CAN’T.

Yet, here I am. Living in Los Angeles, spending hours on Reddit saving memes to a folder on my desktop at work called “Dank Memes” and sending them to my friends on iMessage. Here I am buying Kombucha on tap for $4.00 at work and still living with myself. Here I am getting stoned, eating an entire pint of ice cream and watching the Bachelor on Tuesday nights to feel better about my life. Here I am, afraid to write about things that matter because of how I believe people will react.

All of us unmotivated pieces of shit need to live like Pop Pop. Pursue your passion until your body refuses to let you do so anymore. And even then, keep doing it and do it well. There’s no excuse for giving up on something that you claim to love doing. If you really want to be successful you have to devote yourself to doing so. No more of this month long gap bullshit. No more fear. Chips Are Back in Town.

And as Pop Pop loves to ask “Whaddya say to that!?”

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The man, the myth, the legend… And the woman who constantly keeps him on his toes.