For the past year I have shared a 450 square ft. studio with my Heavy Metal Bearded Boyfriend (HMBB for short). Prior to the scientific experiment of “Let's move to Los Angeles and live in a shoe box”, we lived in a 4 bedroom duplex flat in Chicago for 8 years. We only shared that extravagant palace with one other person, our best friend Kristen. Not to brag, but we had a lot of space. Now, we are literally on top of each other, whether it’s in bed, or at our respective work stations which due to that 450 sq. footage are conjoined. (Lets not get started on his argument that I have about maybe 4 ft. more space than he does to work.) When living like sardines you start to notice things. Things that didn’t matter in a 4-bedroom duplex with separate offices and a bathroom with a window to fresh air.
I’ve started to notice how much time this man spends in the bathroom. Lets be fair, he does have IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) but it’s not severe enough to warrant this much time on the porcelain throne. Then I started thinking about all the other men I’ve lived with or know and something clicked. Men just spend a lot of time in the bathroom. And here I thought movies and TV shows were just exaggerating. Nope. They were commenting on the phenomenon of men rushing to the bathroom at the slightest hint of doing a number 2.
How can anyone sit there that long and wait? Do you realize how much time is wasted in a lifetime by waiting on a toilet? Extraordinary. So, then I got interested in what women do. I personally wait until I am 100% sure I am ready to go poop. I don’t fuck around with it. I get in, get it done, wipe and get the muff out of there. I asked a few of my girlfriends their bathroom routine and astonishingly theirs mirrored mine. So I asked about their significant others, ones that were male, if it was the same as HMBB. I was astonished once again. THEY ALL WERE. So I did some research and this is what I discovered….
Men have been doing this for centuries. CENTURIES! Better yet, they love to read while waiting. Can you imagine how many tiny fecal particles are on magazines in bathrooms? Or even on your PHONE? I see you out there, you tweet and Instagram poopers. I had a roommate who would bring his computer in the bathroom with him. He would watch an entire movie while waiting to poop. I had to arrange my morning routine by 15 minutes to beat him to the bathroom so I wouldn’t be late for my job at the Apple Store. No joke, a full movie to take a shit. Wild.
Science has proven “bathroom readers” tend to NOT feel disgusted by the smell of their own feces either. I believe this. HMBB has no shame. Wanna know how I know? Of course you don’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway. When he’s spending too much time in the bathroom after his morning coffee, I can smell his feces from across the apartment. The door is CLOSED. Do you hear me? CLOSED. If I can smell it across the apartment and THROUGH A DOOR, can you even imagine the potency of the smell from inside the bathroom? Legendary.
They make a whole line of “Poo-Pourri” sprays to mask the demons he summons into the toilet from his rectum and I can tell you first had, they don’t work. The key word in this is mask. The only thing that works, believe it or not, is a really strong 7-dollar candle from Home Goods. There isn’t much I ask of the HMBB, really there isn’t…
News flash, my toilet sitting friends, science has proven it’s not actually healthy to sit there and wait for your colon to do its thing. The longer you sit the more strain you’re putting on those muscles you need to get the job done. You know what strain does? Causes hemorrhoids. Nothing is sexier than having your significant other help you put medicine on your excessive toilet use reading until your feet go numb hemorrhoids. HOT. TAKE ME NOW BABY.
Lessons from todays Ted-Talk are the following:
First off- I love Taylor Swift. There I said it. I do, I really love her. She’s proven time and time again that her thoughtfulness in theming and clever word play will always be her strong suit. She doesn’t shy away from saying how she truly feels in song and has been pegged as the breakup song starlet of our generation.
As she matures and begins her journey into her late twenties and early thirties, I wonder as a thirty something myself how well her themes will translate. In “Lover” she brands herself as the same starlet not afraid to speak the truth of her life but this time around it’s from a different perspective. She’s truly in love.
The honesty in some of the songs about the legit struggles of being in a long term relationship in your late 20s early 30s struck a chord with me, and I’m here for it but...
Is her new sound genuine? Or is it just piggy-backing on the trend of 80s purposeful pop? These questions became apparent to me after reading Rolling Stones review of the album. I was flabbergasted to find my queen Carly Rae Jepsen’s name in the article and the subtle jab that came along with it.
Upon hearing Swift’s song “Cruel Summer” it’s almost impossible not to think of Carly Rae and her catalog of 80s nostalgia rooted deep within her synth beats. Carly sets the trends, Taylor follows them. There I said it. Gag and tie time to a post and burn me alive. I just blurted witchcraft at you!
I spent most of the afternoon dissecting the album with my friend, Sierra. She said it best - "There's nothing wrong with the album, and a few songs are REALLY good but most of them sound like things she's done before. She's talented but I wish she'd push the boundaries. I mean- how is this music more celebrated than Lizzo?"
Nail on the fucking head babe.
It’s also hard not to compare Taylor’s more outspoken agenda with current events in the mainstream media and come to the conclusion she might only be riding the liberal train because it’s expedient to do so for her career.
But I’d like to think she isn’t that crass. At the end of the day she’s still a human, and a woman at that trying to guide herself into her 30s with some dignity. I say this because I too, became more politically astute in my late 20s and early thirties. After taking what seemed like an 8 year nap on the revolution when Obama was in office, most of us are on high alert. Everything pre Trump is but a blur. Everything post Trump will define the rest of our lives. I hope it’s just a weird coincidence she has taken on these topics and it has nothing to do with money or her career. I’m an eternal optimist masked by a deep level of sarcasm. So sue me.
Regardless of political or career agenda, my biggest issue with "Lover" is editing. Do we really need 18 songs from Taylor Swift? Or anyone for that matter? I'm a fan of cohesion and deliberate theming. I want a Goddamn story. Home girl needs to reestablish her editing skills STAT.
So I leave you with my edited version of “Lover”.
Don’t @ me about Carly. Clearly you need to look past “Call Me Maybe” and give her a chance. Then again you probably liked “Look What You Made Me Do” and were too young or not even born yet to know it uses the same beat as “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt”.
P.S.S. - After writing this and even more in depth discussion with other music friends and the HMBB (Heavy Metal Bearded Boyfriend) I've come to the conclusion that Taylor might have peaked with "Blank Space".
Just give me a half country / half pop album with 1960s Dolly Parton vibes already. The song "Lover" is a great jumping off point for that.
Don't follow the trends, MAKE THEM B.B.
Death. We are taught it is a natural part of life. We find ways to accept it when it's an older relative, parent, or someone who fought the good fight. We rationalize their passing as a part of life. I've been having a hard time "rationalizing" a friend passing lately. I can't bring myself to rationalize that this was all a part of life's great mystery or "God's Plan". I simply just want my friend back.
I stood in his room, intently inspecting his belongings with my eyes. I focused on the way every pair of shoes, sat on the floor, scattered in a certain pattern. I could envision him peeling off each shoe and throwing them the exact same way as he made his way towards his computer chair or bed. There was something symbolic in visualizing him standing there, tripping over laces, chucking the shoes in the same fashion. I was pulled out of the moment when my eyes found a crumbled up pair of boxer briefs on the ground, skid mark clear as day on them. Poopy underwear pulled me back into my reality, one I wasn't particularly fond of at the time. So there's that, Casey still finding a way to gross me out even in death.
It was surreal to stand in a room that belonged to someone who didn't exist anymore. My friend didn't EXIST anymore. How do you rationalize that? His body, gone, into ashes in a urn yet to be seen. His voice, personality, and every essence of him had evaporated into thin air but the physical remnants of him laid on the floor in dirty piles just as he left it. How did we get here? I honestly cannot say how we got here. It's all a blur. I only know one thing. I miss him and it's not a missing that can be filled. There is a hole in my heart unable to ever be occupied again. It was Casey's spot, right in the tenderness of areas, where I hold the people I care about most.
They say in time you learn to accept the unacceptable, the unfathomable and move on with your life. There's no really getting over someone evaporating into thin air, you learn to deal with the pain, the mark on your skin forever burned for the world to see. You are forever changed because of this person being in your life and you are forever changed because this person is no longer physically present in your life. It's a hard place to sit, to feel happy again even though you've experienced so much loss. To feel guilty for moving on and accepting the facts of the matter.
I made a promise to Casey, that I would always immortalize him in the world I write and I plan to do that, I just don't have the strength right at this moment. I've found it hard to keep working, keep moving, keep doing anything I would normally do without thinking -Casey isn't here anymore. I'm struggling to find my place in a world that doesn't have him physically in it. I felt his presence very strongly the first couple of weeks after it happened. He was giving Shea, Kristen and I incredible signs he was still with us. Those signs were the strength I needed to find my way but recently I haven't felt him around as much. It pulls me back to not being able to grasp that he doesn't exist anymore.
In the end, this is on me, coming to terms with the new reality I live in, without my friend. I leave you with what I wrote for Casey at his memorial. I wasn't sure if I wanted to share it, considering how much it and he means to me BUT there might be someone out there struggling as much as I am. Maybe this person isn't as vocal, or able to creatively let their pain out. Maybe, my words help this person find their way through their new reality as well.
P.S. I still can't get the skid mark underwear image out of my head. Wipe your butt better in the expanses of the Universe Casey. I'm sure they have those delightful adult flush-able wipes wherever you might be now.
To my Seashell with love :
“When the fuck did we get nutty buddy’s?” Casey exclaimed with glossed over eyes of excitement as he thumbed through the newly stocked cabinet shelves of food in the Ferndale house kitchen. I had never lived in a house with all boys before so seeing such wonderment over a snack, was a new experience to say the very least. He gleefully dug into his snack shelf, grinning like the goofy goober he was, completely thankful I had thought of him when I was at the grocery store. When he hugged me, he meant it. There wasn’t a time I didn’t feel safe and loved in his arms. That was Casey. His heart of gold shown through the sometimes-rough punk dude exterior the world often only seen.
I quickly learned living with Casey was an adventure. One cold winter morning, I woke up to an extra body in my bed. Someone had wedged himself right between Shea and I. After my eyes adjusted, I realized it was Casey, snug as a bug in a rug cuddling my boyfriend. Apparently, this wasn’t a very uncommon thing for Casey to do. He didn’t like being alone and always wanted to be near the people he cared for the most. Then I realized I was the one getting the better end of the deal, two hot guys in my bed at one time. SCHWING. I nestled back down in bed and gently rested my head on the small of his back and drifted back off to sleep.
I have always felt, Casey and I were in some way kindred spirits. We both are painfully shy but have our moments of comedic outbursts around people we truly care about. We love our friends fiercely, keep promises and above all else are loyal to the people who matter the most to us. I have been lucky to call him a close friend for the last 8 years. Over the last couple of days I’ve had the same thought in my head “What am I going to do without him?”. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this I realized something. I am never going to be without my friend. He will always live within me. I can immortalize him on the page with every character I write. Every goofy antic he pulled can be acted out on screen in whatever TV show I’m working on. I wouldn’t be doing him a service if I didn’t write a character who had a crippling fear of ordering his own damn pizza. So, that’s what I am going to do, make sure Casey lives forever in the things I create. To be honest, he wouldn’t want it any other way.
I love you my seashell, and I know I haven’t felt your presence yet because you’re off exploring the vast expanses of the universe but when you come back, I’ll be waiting for a sign you’re here snuggling Shea with me.
DISCLAIMER - THE CONTENTS OF THIS NEXT POST WILL BE SAPPY, CRINGE WORTHY, AND DOWN RIGHT TRUTHFUL TO SOME WHO TEND TO CONTINUE TO JUDGE MY CHOICES IN THE LOVE DEPARTMENT. IF YOU SUFFER FROM A GAG REFLEX WHEN EXPOSED TO LOVE OR OTHER VARIOUS HAPPY FEELINGS, TURN AWAY NOW.
OKAY, I WARNED YOU. LETS GO.
Out of all things I write about, this will be by far the hardest. It will not be the hardest because it is painful or embarrassing for me to share. It will be difficult because there is no way to ever put into words and clearly convey the love and admiration I feel for the person I plan to talk about. I could spend a life time doing so and yet, those pages will still not be enough to measure up to the amount of love he fills my soul with. I am clearly referring to the HMBB or Shea as he will be referred to this time out of respect. Sorry for the disappointment if you were hoping I was going to gush about my fantasy relationships I have with most of Hollywood’s leading men right now. I know everyone wants to read my fan fiction on those dudes, but this time it’s all about Mr. Shea and his ability to keep me entertained even after 6 years.
Nearly six years ago now, I was faced with a very hard decision. My life in Chicago was in shambles, the great crash of 2009 hit my ego hard and I was unable to recover on my own. I was faced with the uncertainty of the future and the thought of moving back home felt like failure. I was terrified to face my family, who has always been quick to judge my not so societal standard way of life, even to this day. I needed to escape another failed relationship I stayed in too long for the sake of not being alone. I had given everything to the man in question and he gave me nothing in return but a dwindling self worth and enough emotional and physical scars to last a lifetime. It was the obvious decision to move back home but I was still torn. I had tried very hard to make a life for myself in the big city, securing a job, being involved in the ever expansive cycling community and feeling like I was apart of something bigger than myself. When I broke down and finally made the correct decision to move back home, I was faced with starting over and knew I needed to try and hold on to what little life I had left in Chicago, in Michigan. Six months prior to my departure for the mitten state my Chicago bike group held an event for all Midwest riders. Avid bike enthusiast came from all over the Midwest to participate in the event including a few members of the group DPH (Detroit Pedal Heads) from my home town of Detroit Michigan. This would have been the night I SHOULD have met Shea for the first time, but alas he was doing what he was actually supposed to be doing at the event, riding his bike. Luckily for me, one of his members was far more interested in the female population at the event than bikes so the first connection was made. This gentlemen and I exchanged information and within a few weeks I had added both him and Shea on Facebook. Little did I know, I had a fan club in Michigan and it had one member, Shea. Truth be told, he pretty much internet stalked me for the next six months and was completely enamored. He later told me he thought I was the most beautiful girl he has ever met (still thinks that, thank you very much!). So of course, when I first reached out to him about joining his group once I moved home he was more than welcoming!
I don’t think I will ever forget the first time I met Shea in person. I can remember it so vividly in my head, even now. I felt an instant connection with a guy I hardly knew, it was electric. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up the first time we hugged. It was for real yo. That night I also met Kristen who instantly became my best friend. We gravitated to each other from across the room and to this day are still attached at the hip (so much so, we live together and act like a married couple). Something insanely special happened that night which I was unaware of. I began a new exciting chapter to my life which I am still living to this day, adding more pages along the way.
I wish I could tell you everything has been rainbows, puppies and kittens since that day and we have been utterly encompassed in each other’s love for the last six years but then this open ended love letter to the man I am madly in love with wouldn’t mean nearly as much. The road to happiness has not been paved smoothly by any means. We have had quite our fair share of bumps in the road to be completely honest. We both have done some downright nasty things to one another and both paid dearly for them within ourselves and our peers. Most of the experiences we have been through would have been enough for any couples our age to call it quits, which we have on several occasions. There have been times when Shea and I weren’t always together over our six year journey but those times we spent a part don’t define who we are as a couple, they help us break the mold of what society expects from us. This is where I intend to set the record straight about it all. There are still plenty of people in our lives that do not think we should be together, mainly people in Shea’s life who might not be his close friends but people who he associates with whether at work or through social circles. These people have a preconceived notion of who they think I am, and who they think Shea and I are as a couple. I have spent years avoiding certain aspects of Shea’s life so I would never have to be face to face with some of them. This is where this stops. Although their opinions of me might never change, it’s how Shea and I have decided to rise above the hate and opinions of certain individuals and stay true to who we are as a couple. We have come to terms with what our relationship once was and what it has turned into. This is our journey and we will fuck up, break up, fight, make up, yell, make memories, have extraordinary adventures as much as we like. It is our job to figure out what is right for our relationship not someone else. If there is a mold of how a relationship is supposed to be, how it’s supposed to progress or look, then we most definitely want to break it. Our trials and tribulations have only made us stronger individuals and stronger has a couple. We both know without a doubt we can withstand the test of time and any circumstance thrown our way because of the situations we have already been through. We are both extremely confident our love will surpass others expectations and last well into the future.
I still cannot believe it has been almost 6 years. In the grand scheme of things, 6 years is nothing, but in retrospect where in the hell did that time actually go? As I stated above those years have gone a multitude of different ways and fortunately we have had many more good years than bad and we couldn’t be more thankful for that. I have had the distinct pleasure of watching a boy grow into a very strong loving man. I think we have both taught each other how to grow in ways neither of us thought were possible. I cannot even recognize the person I was six years ago and I definitely cannot recognize Shea. Let’s just say he used to wear pastel color pants, listened to Blink 182 and had the emotions of a 14 year old girl just starting her period and that is just scratching the surface here guys. When I first met Shea I didn’t know how to be a human, he so affectionately now calls who I was back then a “Cyborg”. I was completely stripped of all human emotions. I had gone through the ringer with my last boyfriend and he made it very clear he didn’t want me to come out of it being a human. I have spent most of my life being in fear of men, what they have thought of me and their ultimate grip on my life. It wasn’t until I met Shea that I understood what it was like to be really loved by a man. Shea has over the last six years helped guide me from being a “Cyborg” to being an emotional functioning member of society again. Granted, perhaps a little TOO emotional, I cry during commercials these days (Thanks a lot Shea! GOSH!). It has taken several years for me to accept his love with open arms because quite frankly that type of emotion is kind of scary. It is a type of deep rooted insecurity I struggle with everyday and luckily I have a very understanding and patient man who understands my needs and sometimes irrational fears of air planes, and that he might die at any moment so I should brace myself for the worst complexes. I can tell without a doubt he loves every part of who I am inside and out just by the way he looks at me. He makes me feel more beautiful than words can express and has unknowingly helped me become a very strong confident independent woman. I would like to think I taught him a few things or two about life, the universe and everything but I guess you might have to ask him about all of those cosmic things. What is in store for us next? Marriage and babies you ask? Sorry, we can’t grant that typical request. This entire journey we have embarked on helped us realize a few key points about life. We don’t have to be a part of the societal norm, we really want to make up our own rules for our relationship. The moment I stopped yearning to be like all the other women on my Facebook page who were getting married and having babies was the moment our real relationship began. Just because everyone else is having babies and getting married doesn’t mean Shea and I should jump on the bandwagon. We both march to the beat of our own drums and we will get there, in our own time at our own pace if it is what is right for us. We definitely do not know if we will be together forever and for once we are not dwelling on that uncertainty. We used to dwell on that daunting thought and it was ruining what could have been happening right in front of us, in the now. None of us know what the future will hold, the only thing we can control is what is happening right here and now. So, that is our plan. We will keep doing what we are doing, being together, caring for our adorable dog Digit, creating art together and separately, supporting one another in all decisions as a couple and as individuals and if the timing is right we will take it from there. Marriage to us is just a piece of paper; the relationship is what really matters. So much so, I am willing to recite vows of my own making to the man I love on the internet just to prove once and for all we are not like other couples and we never will be. Shea nor I have ever done anything normally, so why would we ever have thought a relationship would be any different! So here it goes, for you my love!
My dearest Shea,
I never knew true love until I met you. The instant we met, I knew without a doubt there was something about you. I was immediately comfortable with your presence and knew I could be myself without any doubts. I have waited my entire life to find someone who truly understands every part of exactly who I am and who will love me without judgment. I vow to love you for better or worse, through sickness and in health. I vow to argue with you over whether or not you should eat that plate of ranch dressing, or who was the bigger baby in Disney World. I vow to not get angry when Digit and you both snore in unison EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I vow to support your endeavors big or small, and always stick by your side. The last six years have completely changed my life and I cannot wait to have another six, to infinity and beyond my darling, nerds for life.
“You've got green ocean eyes
I've got dreams as the crow flies
I've got cold
I've got clean midwestern sunlight
I found peace in my heart
you burn like a fire in the dark
I've got heat, I've got embers
I've got sparks"
Almost 2 months ago I was brave enough to share with the world an endeavor I planned on exploring in hopes to find a physical distraction for my anxiety. This brave new experiment was taking a Modern Contemporary dance class at The Visceral Dance Center in the Logan Square neighborhood here in Chicago. My teacher was Phillip Elson and let me tell you, he was beyond fantastic, but we will get into more of that in a few. In a recent post after my first class, I stated I felt defeated and had no idea if I could go back and try again. Past dance experiences filled my mind and my anxiety went into overdrive, making concentrating on what I was learning in the first class almost impossible to comprehend. If any of you are friends with me on the FB, you know this is all hearsay at this point because I did go back and made that dance floor my bitch in a big bad way.
My experience with dance this time around has been nothing short of legendary in regards to who I am as a person and what I have been silently struggling with over the last couple of years. Now that I have completed my first set of classes I can honestly say I found something which could help me in more ways than just exercise. Each week my teacher Phillip pushed me out of my comfort zone with dignity and respect which in turn caused me to blossom like the flower we all know I can be. As the weeks went on I found something in myself I didn't think existed anymore. This amazing inner confidence started to beam out from within me. I honestly thought I lost that spark somewhere in my mid 20s around the time of the great crash of 2009. I am certainly glad now that I didn't and something as simple as taking a dance class and pushing myself out of my anxiety comfort zone helped pull it back out of me. Needless to say, this experience has been transformative and I couldn't thank the studio, my teacher and other class mates for the pleasant, welcoming environment and I am more than excited to continue this endeavor with an open mind and heart.
The second to last class I had, Phillip let the HMBB (Heavy Metal Bearded Boyfriend - for those just joining us on this adventure) attend to photograph the class for this piece. I was so nervous to have him in class with me that day. He has never seen me dance before. Sure, I have done a few of my sweet moves I have learned around the house but that was nothing in comparison to having him sit and watch me intently as I learned new content etc. He has seen me booty dancing at the clubs before but none of that type of dancing I take seriously, it's all in good fun and I look like a complete idiot while doing it. This class has been very special to me, thus why I have worked so hard to keep up and do all the moves as correctly as possible. I can be serious when I really want something and this experience has been no different. So, yeah I was incredibly nervous at first when the HMBB came but after a few minutes it was kind of empowering having him present. I wanted to show off for him and let him be a part of something that was changing who I was as a person. I would glance over at him from time to time in-between dance sequences and he was just smiling, beaming even, from ear to ear. My heart was just exploding for him in those moments. I was so happy to share this experience with him and having him there just pushed my confidence even higher than before.
I guess the point of all of this is to realize it is never too late to try something new. You are never too old, and there is never a better time more than the present to seek out and accomplish things you might think you cannot do. I waited for years to do something like this because I was afraid of something that happened a long time ago. I am glad that I finally stopped living in the past and started living in the present. It is a liberating experience to say the very least to do something like this. I am pretty excited to see where the next chapter in this saga will lead me and how I will overcome the next set of obstacles laid in front of me. After this experience I have been given a little more confidence to not be so afraid of change, or trying new things. As long as I put my heart into something and try 100% without giving up the end result is going to be rewarding regardless if I am a naturally gifted dancer, writer, photographer, crafter or whatever else I have on my plate at the time or not. The lesson is to never give up on something you are passionate about even when the odds are stacked against you and you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. The light is there, and it is waiting for you when you're ready at your own time and pace.
I want to give a large shout out to the Visceral Dance Center, my teacher Phillip Elson and the community within those walls. They are strong, unique individuals who create beautiful works of art through dance and are gracious enough to share those teachings with people like me who don't have a clue in the world what they are doing, but try really hard. Also a big shout out to the founder and director Nick Pupillo for starting this amazing center and letting us all be a part of your vision.
I would also like to say a very large THANK YOU to all of my friends and readers who have been so supportive during this 6 week journey. The outpour of support whether it be on here or on my personal FB has been overwhelming and inspiring. I could not begin to thank each and every one of you enough for the constant encouraging words and the personal stories you have also shared with me. They really have affected me in the best possible way. Your support means the world to me.
Below are photos the HMBB (Shea Hardacre) took in the fifth week of the beginners Modern Contemporary class at the Visceral Dance Center with teacher Phillip Elson. I edited all the photos the best I could - they aren't the best but HMBB tried his best with the 5 minute photography lesson I gave him before class started. The center was founded and directed by Nick Pupillo. Interested in classes? Check them out on their website www.visceraldance.com for more information.
The big 29. The last year of my controversial 20s. The last year society tells me I can act like an idiot. How do I feel about this cosmic shift in my life? Pretty good actually. For the last couple of years, I have verbally raped my friends with woe and sorrow over inching closer to 30 because for a while I thought 30 meant my life was over. It was hard for me to see what my life was going to hold past 30. At the time I had no idea who I was when I was dragging my knuckles around on the ground complaining I was getting old, and couldn’t fathom staying up past 11PM on a week night anymore. Now, that I am actually the age I was dreading to be, I’m not too terribly upset about it anymore. I am actually kind of excited about it, weird right?. Who ever thought you could get excited about getting older? Definitely not me. I am definitely a firm believer in living every day like it is your last. Never waste a single moment, always keep creating, always keep imagining having a bigger life than what you are living in that moment. I don’t know if it was Jim Henson having such an astonishing effect on me when I was a kid or if this type of mentality was just genetically zapped into my brain at birth but I am glad I never stop reaching for the stars.
Now, looking back at this last year, I can see a definitive cosmic shift in who I am. There is a sense of calm that has come over me in many aspects of my life. - Let’s be clear though, I am still a spaz with her own set of paranoia, anxiety and obnoxious OCD problems. That might never change - 28 was a pretty awesome year for me. There were a couple of hiccups along the way, but for once I am not letting the negative situations define who I am. I have somehow learned to move on from such events and become a stronger person all on my own, without medication, hospitalization or too much soul searching. For any one of you who know me in real life and spend a great deal of time with me, this is a very large victory on my part. Gold star for me - woot woot.
So what’s next for this freshly minted 29 year old? Quite a lot actually. My mind is constantly moving, creating, shifting, and experimenting. There isn’t a dull moment within the cells of my brain. It works on overdrive 99% of the time. That other 1% is when I am actually trying to sleep, which I don’t get very much of anymore. I am that type of person who enjoys setting unrealistic goals for herself. I am pretty proud when I actually meet those expectations regardless of what other people might think. Let’s see what new adventures 29 can bring to me. I am ready for the last year of my 20s and the unrealistic and realistic goals I have already set for myself for this next year, and beyond. I am a dreamer who likes making the impossible possible and the improbable the most probable in the best ways. I’m your one crazy friend, who marches to the beat of her own drum and keeps you on your toes. Let’s see what I can do next.
I leave you with this, an embarrassing birthday memory of why I need to just stop drinking all together. Enjoy.
I am going to preface this little memory by saying, I am no good at holding my liquor, never have been and probably never will be. When you get me going, I barrel past my threshold and enter the land of no return. You can thank my thick Irish and Italian blood for that type of drinking mentality. This particular evening I am going to share with you, was not the first time I had saddled up to the hot mess express rodeo and trust me, it was by far not the last - (ex - my best friends sister’s wedding reception where I decided even after the open bar had closed down that it would be a good idea to finish all the abandoned drinks littered on the tables OR the incident at the Beauty Bar in Chicago for another friends birthday where I went past my limit and literally removed my best friend from the toilet she was pissing in to vomit all over it. - JUST TO NAME A FEW). So brace yourself for an epic embarrassing story.
In my early 20s, I spent a good portion of my time being a music photographer, going on tour with bands etc. The fans associated with the music I enjoy listening to are pretty legendary. We are all like a big family, most being around for over a decade or more, meeting up for drinks at shows etc. I met my partner in crime Sarah Jane also known as SJ at a Lawrence Arms show in Pittsburgh before either one of us moved to Chicago. We became friends instantly because of our love of the Lawrence Arms but over time realized we are both pretty big nerds for things like transit systems. Once we both moved to Chicago, we hung out quite a bit, most importantly around our birthdays. She was born on the 4th of August and I was born on the 9th so it became a tradition to celebrate together. Back then the lead singer of the Lawrence Arms, Brendan Kelly also known as BK, bartended most nights at the Northside Bar and Grill in Wicker Park. We would go on the weekends, chat him up and in return usually get some kind of buffet of free drinks from him. That particular year we decided the best way to celebrate our birthdays was with BK at his bar. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of eating before embarking on the amount of drinking we did that night. We thought we were so cool with our vodka cranberries, and whiskey shots. We were just the coolest punk girls ever. BK poured us drink after drink, shot after shot. I do believe there were quite a few lemon drops mixed in on that toxic cocktail as well. I hope you all are mentally keeping track of the different types of liquor I was ingesting on an empty stomach. I do not remember leaving the bar. I do not remember getting on the train back to Logan Square. I do not remember calling my high school boyfriend and telling him how madly in love with him I was and how I needed to make his babies right then and there or else I would die. I do not remember how I even managed to get into my apartment building either, it took at least 3 separate keys to enter my apartment and you best believe I somehow found a way. My roommate Laura found me the next morning in nothing but my underwear gripping the bottom of the toilet. I couldn’t sit up, I could barely open my eyes the pain was so intense. I was learning very quickly why you never mixed certain drinks together and why staying away from sugary ones is always the wisest course of action. Oh Laura, bless her and the crackers she brought to me in my time of need. What would I have done without her? I would have died on that floor, from humiliation and dehydration more than likely. The authorities would have been called when I failed to show up for work, they would have stormed into my apartment and found my body shriveled up like a raisin. My mother would have cried at my funeral. The tombstone would have said “DIED FROM MIXING TOO MANY TYPES OF LIQUOR, WHAT AN AMATEUR”. Thanks to Laura and the box of crackers from the neighboring 24 hour Food Smart, my mother didn’t have to worry about smudging her mascara at my funeral because I lived to see another day though at the time it sure didn’t feel like I would. I laid in the living room chair, with my glass of water and crackers all day, trying to recover, SJ doing the same from her respective living room space up in Bryn Mawr. After that SJ and I stopped trying to be hot mess expresses but history will show it took a few more failed nights out for us to fully grasp the fact we were just big nerds who needed to stay away from the booze.
I’d like to say now at 29 I know how to not be a hot mess express but there are still moments when that notion is negotiable - EX - Jenna’s wedding reception 2 years ago where I drank my weight in wine and beer then vomited in the shower the next morning and the whole way to Portland Maine later that day. Kyle had to put a CVS bag around my face like a horse feedbag to catch my vomit. I’m a winner aimed for success I swear!
Until next time kids. This 29 year old needs to get some rest, she drank herself silly on Saturday and puked up a lung. Fun times.
I’ve stated before that I was starting a printed zine, each issue being a different topic, all content from myself etc. I started working on the first issue today. The first issue will be about positive and negative body images and how body shaming has changed certain aspects of not only my life, but others as well. I shot the photos today and wanted to share the outtakes from the shoot to start the dialogue for the issue release (which will be soon I promise!). This is an outtake from the “positive image” portion of the issue. The HMBB and my BFF Kristen were willing enough let me photograph them in very unflattering poses and I couldn’t be more grateful for their involvement in this process. It takes a bold person to put themselves out there in the written form and even physical form like we did today. I am excited to share the issue with you and will let you know when it’s released. Until then, enjoy us being goofy and totally bad ass in our underwear and shades. Stay tuned dudes!
So, I have been thinking a lot lately about the choices we make, good or bad and how they can positively and more often than not negatively impact our lives. I have made a lot of naive mistakes over the last decade and for the most part I have accepted these mistakes and have become stronger because of them. That being sad, it wasn’t an easy road to acceptance. I still struggle with coming clean about the choices I sometimes make out of fear of judgment from my peers. I am almost 30, so you’d think I was old enough to stop making really stupid mistakes. Right? Right. That’s unfortunately not the case all the time. I have this extremely annoying habit of being overly nice to others. You could say that would be more of a good quality instead of bad. You are right when I use my powers for good, like helping out my friends, or surprising someone with something special. I really do live for those moments because helping someone who truly deserves and appreciates the help makes everything worthwhile. The annoying part comes into play when I continue to help people who aren’t worthy of my generosity. I have the habit of not knowing when it’s time to throw in the towel. Giving up is just not in my DNA, and I practice this motto in every aspect of my life, including relationships. I have been guilty on more than one occasion of staying in a relationship well past its expiration date because I didn’t want to give up. You could compare me to a lovable beagle. Beagles are a very forgiving breed of dog. They will pretty much love you no matter what, with no judgment no matter what happens to them. The same can be said for me. I am a loyal beagle in human form. You might as well take me out back and shoot me right now.
Recently I have been harboring not so friendly feelings for an ex significant lover after discovering he was offered a very amazing job in NYC. Now, I know what you’re thinking, I need to stop being jealous and move on. My frustration which has morphed into anger has nothing to do with jealousy, though he thinks it is – Cue the eye rolling emoji. It has to do with HOW he received this opportunity and whose back he stood on to get there. I am trying very hard to be the bigger person in this situation and not let this type of thing get to me. What happens to others should not be any concern of mine, but the underlining reasoning involves me and is eating at my patience on the subject. Now, he is one of those people I should have given up on long before I lost myself in the situation. I was a super sad beagle puppy for this guy, and haven’t talked about what happened between us until now. All that thinking I have been immersed in lately, has been cultivating into writing about this without any fear because up until now, I have been pretty ashamed of not only my actions but my inability to walk away from a terrible situation.
A few entries ago I mentioned HMBB (Heavy Metal Bearded Boyfriend – for those who are just joining us. Hi- Hello) spent some time apart. This is going to be one of those stories where we were not together and I will refer to him as Shea. Last August we decided to spend some time apart. He is much younger than I am and is still going through a lot of growing in regards to his personality and who he wants to be when he’s a grown up. On the other hand, I am through that stage in my life and know exactly what I want and made it clear I was going after it whether we were together or not. We both decided some time apart could be good for us, so we did just that. I was open to meeting new friends or possible love interest. Now, to be clear I have only ever “online dated” one other time in my life and it resulted in the worst relationship I have ever been in. I was a super duper sad beagle puppy in that one and after it was all said and done, I was over meeting someone through a website. I was being a little too optimistic about online dating last September when I decided to give it another go. So, I met this guy who I am going to refer to as ___ for privacy reasons. If you received a Christmas card from me this past year you know who I am talking about. You have my permission to either throw it away or burn it. Go nuts. Anyway, ___ and I hit it off almost immediately and started dating not soon after we met. I know what you are thinking…You are how old and you did what? I am well aware of how stupid the entire situation I put myself in now in retrospect. I have been around the bock more than a few times with manipulating men and their powerful grip on my soul. I am trying not to feel guilty for my naïve mistakes remember? Keep with me. To be fair here, I had not been with anyone else other than Shea for at least 5 years. The thought of being with someone who was the polar opposite of the man I knew better than myself for most of my 20s was kind of exciting – well at first. I naturally fell hard and fast for ___. How could I not? He was a total babe – at first. Why does a person completely loose all sense of decency they had for a significant other the moment “I love you” is uttered? I was definitely experiencing the true color syndrome with ___ once “I love you” was put on the table. I found myself covering for him on so many occasions I shouldn’t have. I had convinced myself if I made it seem like we were happy everything else that wasn’t so perfect would eventually sort itself out. If you are rolling your eyes at my thought process, trust me, so am I while I am typing this out to you. I am very stubborn and refused to throw in the towel. I am referring to the times when any normal person would have had enough common sense to walk away but remember I am that sad beagle puppy, looking for love and acceptance so I am going to help the people who don’t really deserve it. I am going to tell you the things he did, not out of wanting pity, but to clarify the type of person I dealt with and the type of person I am despite the naïve choices some people think I make. Okay, here it goes.
We dated for about 6 months before I just couldn’t take it anymore. If it wasn’t for Shea and Kristen pulling me out of the situation, it would have swallowed me whole. I had suspicions there was something seriously wrong with ___ but I was too blind to accept what it enviably was. Three or so months in, I learned from his parents he was a high functioning alcoholic. I think someone needs to explain to me what “high functioning” means because when we were together, there was nothing functioning. I tried everything I could to get him to admit to me he had a problem. I have never been with anyone who had this type of addiction before so the signs were not as obvious to me. Even before I knew what was going on, I put up with a lot of bullshit I shouldn’t have. Some of the examples include being pushed down a flight of stairs at a subway stop (with his bike and my bike on my shoulders) when we were kicked out of a bar because he was being disorderly. He passed out on my couch one night and urinated himself several times. I was sleeping in my room and didn’t discover him until hours later and I was yelled at when I asked him to replace the cushions. I was very sick in December of last year and was almost hospitalized. He didn’t understand that maybe it was time he took care of me for a change and was angry when I was too sick to pay attention to him. He would constantly compare me to his ex girlfriends and ask why I wouldn’t swallow his cum or let him shoot it all over my face and act like a prostitute. These were all acts done while under the influence of alcohol. The times when I could get him to stay sober for a couple of weeks straight, he was a completely different person and was wonderful. I was holding onto the wonderful parts, which were too far in-between the bad.
I tried very hard when we were together for him to see how great sober living could be. How nothing good was going to come from staying on the course he was on. His career of being a comedian and television writer would cease to exist if he kept being a drunk. I did have an impact on him when we were together because he tried very hard to stay sober. In the end, it was just too much for him and he succumbed to the drink. When I walked away, it was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. It was not something I made lightly by any means and it took a while to come to the decision. I knew he needed to get sober, but I knew I couldn’t be with him romantically while he did that. I tried and it wasn’t working. I was losing who I was in the situation and being that I already struggle with my own mental health problems, I had to stop being a sad beagle puppy and put myself first for once in my life. This isn’t to say I wasn’t here for him though. I helped him get sober. I helped him do the impossible and stay sober but from a safe distance. I learned to balance my life and what I was feeling along with being there for him as a friend. He unfortunately did not see it that way because underneath the fact he worked hard to be sober; he is still a very selfish person. He could not see that our relationship wasn’t working and I needed to be free to find out what was good for me. He took it as a jab towards him when Shea and I ended up back together. This is just the type of person ___ is, and when I heard about the job opportunity he has received I expected the same type of selfish attitude.
As of last week he officially lives in NYC. I had asked to see him in person before he left to have a proper goodbye. Sounds nice right? We would say our goodbyes; he would thank me sincerely for my help and encouragement during the tough times and apologize for the things he put me through. It would have been great if it actually happened. He avoided seeing me in person one last time because it would have been too awkward for him. Yeah, too awkward for him, let the eye rolling begin. So, now, this is why I am so mad and trying like hell to look past it. If it wasn’t for me, he would still be hanging out with a gallon of vodka a day. The least he could do is say thank you. I just don’t understand how people can treat other people like that. There is good and bad in all of us, choosing the good over the bad makes us who we are. I always try to do the right thing even if the right choice hurts. It hurt to leave him and watch from afar. I am the one here picking up the pieces and trying not to feel guilty about everything while he is off starting a new life. Doesn’t seem very fair does it?
This is what it all comes down to though. We choose to help people who don’t really deserve it because we are good people. Why should I feel guilty about the things I went through with him? Why should I care what others think about my choices? It is even harder now, in the social media age to escape judgment of your peers because your life choices are always center stage. I made the choice to erase ___ from my social media life swiftly and quietly to avoid the questions because I was embarrassed. How silly is that? Why should I care what others think? If I am not supposed to care about other people’s life accomplishments or even some times public struggles, why am I so hell bent on hiding mine? There was a friend on my FB feed recently who stated she hated herself sometimes for the choices she has made in her life. I told her she should never hate herself for the choices she has made. She is a stronger person for those mistakes and choices. She is not a failure for these mishaps. I think she is better prepared for what life might throw at her next thanks to her not so perfect experiences as opposed to someone who might have been luckier in love. What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. You – my friend – are a strong woman and a wonderful mother filled with so much creative talent. You can do anything you set your mind to. We are just giving those who point out our failures ammo. We never should let someone else make us feel inferior.
I am trying very hard to not let ___’s new life opportunities get to me. I am trying very hard to look at the positive; even though he might not deserve what he has been given I helped someone see the light. That should be enough for me to let go of the hostile feelings and let things be what they are. Alas, I am only human and will have to let these feelings run their course. I am definitely one of those people who bottle up my emotions and let them explode later. I am trying to be a better grown up and talk about these unfortunate mishaps publically, to my peers without fear before they turn into massive eye sores on my personality because being a cold person isn’t fun guys. I have let others use me as a martyr to better their lives and I need to learn to still help people, but walk away from a train wreck sooner than later. Being honest with you now is a huge stepping stone and writing about it is very freeing. There is a large weight off my shoulders sharing my not so perfect experience with the world. In the end, I still wish ___ the best despite everything that has happened. Has anyone else ever felt this way before? My friend and I cannot be the only ones out there who have felt ashamed about their actions. Let’s talk about it. Let’s stop being sad beagle puppies and instead strong individuals who stand by their choices, good or bad. This was my stand up moment. What’s yours?
“And now you’re just a ghost
When I look back never would have known that
You could be so cold
Like a stranger vanish like a vapor
There’s just an echo where your heart used to be
Now I see it clearly
And there’s just a pillow where your head used to sleep
My vision’s 20/20
I see through you now
I see through you now”
Last night I took a leap of faith and attended 1 of 6 beginner modern contemporary classes at Visceral Dance Company in Logan Square (my neighborhood here in Chicago). I wish I could sit here and write to you saying what an amazing experience it was for me but then I would be lying. Now, I would like to point out, this has nothing to do with the dance company itself. The company is wonderful, and the staff is fantastic, made me feel very welcome and at ease in my surroundings. I was the culprit to my overall demise of the situation last night and can only blame myself for the hysterical crying fit I had once I made it home.
I am sure you are asking what the hell possessed me to just “go for it” and sign up for a dance class. It doesn’t seem like something I would personally do considering what I actually spend my time doing (examples – reading books about the history of the US highway system, singing elaborate songs to my dog Digit, riding my bike and tickling the HMBB until he cries). I am a pretty elusive creative which is not that big of a surprise to the closer humans in my life. So, when I announced I was going to take dance classes again I was met with a few pondering facial expressions. Yes, I wanted to take classes AGAIN. What do you mean AGAIN? How could I possibly have failed so bad last night if I am a veteran at dancing? Let me explain. When I was in middle school and high school I did take dance classes. I had watched my little cousins for years be a part of recitals, solo performances etc. I was interested in finding an outlet for the emotions I kept inside so much. I knew dance was a powerful tool with releasing emotions and stress. After my grandmother passed away so suddenly and I was thrown into being around my mother and brother all the time, I knew I needed some kind of outlet. At first being a part of a dance community was really exciting. I was able to meet new people and maybe make some new friends. I am most definitely an introvert with several extroverted personality traits so deciding to do something like that was a big move for me especially in my tween and teen years. I wish I could say things went smoothly for me in my formative dance years and last night was just a fluke chalked up to finding out an ex boyfriend getting better job opportunity because I helped him get sober (while I am still working for pennies for someone who doesn’t care waiting for my “opportunity”) or the sheer stress of spending my only vacation in months with my mother but I unfortunately can’t.
I was actually met with some resistance when I did take dance and it wasn’t me or even my very non active parents, it was the students and the teacher surprisingly. After a while I realized I was the target of most of their under the breath and inside jokes, the teacher even getting in on some of them. Now, not all of my teachers were like this, but this particular one, yes you – you know exactly who you are – was a fucking cunt. Take note, I do not say that word lightly, so please know me typing out that very vulgar word and directing it towards another woman means she did some pretty heinous things to be called it in the first place. I am a very sensitive person, to the point where I cry during certain commercials these days (Ask the HMBB, he can confirm), so you can imagine how I felt when I realized their jokes were directed at me. Every week I would go into the studio with my head held high ready to take on a new dancing task along side with the torment these pathetic girls would dish out to me. I left every class with my head hanging low, defeated and waited until I was in my room alone to let out my frustration. I know now as an adult to ignore these childish and vicious attacks towards me but as a young teenager just trying to survive, it was brutal. I wish I could say I continued to fight the good fight and eventually overcame those bullies and danced in my sequin and feather costumes until my heart’s content but again, I wouldn’t be telling the truth.
Deciding to quit dance even though I loved it wasn’t the last time I let others get the best of me. There were countless other times I was the subject of cruel jokes and plots of sabotage (high school Drum Major, college classmates and coworkers – all to be explored in other rants at some point I promise). I am well aware if you really want something you cannot give up no matter how tough it might get. I really do understand that statement all too well. I have crawled through those words and risen up through the mud to be where I am today because I didn’t let giving up get in my way. So why now, why do I feel the need to quit this new endeavor now? I am no stranger to failure or success so this should be something I just brush off my shoulder right? You would think, but you forgot to add one tiny MASSIVE thing to the equation; my anxiety and paranoia. I have suffered from both most of my life but didn’t really understand their meanings and effects on my life until a few years ago. I quite literally lost my mind in 2011 and rode my bike into oncoming traffic. I was fortunate, whether it was an angel looking out for me or in my catatonic state I somehow knew to swerve my bike at the last possible moment to avoid death. I let my anxiety and fear overtake every inch of my body that I completely lost control and had a breakdown. In retrospect of the entire situation, I am honestly surprised it did not happen sooner in my life. The sheer fact it happened in the middle of my 20s lets me know I am a lot stronger than I actually thought I was. I am not going to lie to you; it was a long hard road to feel normal again. No one is ever truly cured from a mental illness; they just recover and work for normalcy every day. Some days are harder than others, fuck, some YEARS are harder than others, but I am old enough to know now fighting for normalcy is better than not breathing. I am pretty proud to say I handle normalcy without any medication and substitute taking prescription drugs with other means of release like biking, writing, exercise, yoga and I was hoping to add dance to the list.
Yes, I will admit part of the reason why I wanted to try modern contemporary was because of Dancing with the Stars. DO NOT JUDGE ME. I CANNOT HELP MYSELF. I make Kristen watch it with me every week when there is a season on. I love everything about it, so get over it. Yes, I am also willing to admit because I know Kristen is reading this right now yelling ‘BULLSHIT E YOU BEST TELL THE TRUTH” that I also wanted to get back into dance again because of Riker Lynch of R5. ONCE AGAIN DO NOT JUDGE ME. He was my favourite on the last season of DWTS and should have won. I also have claimed he is my future husband and we will dance beautifully at our wedding. HMBB is okay with this, we have discussed it and he approves (he only approves because he thinks I am kidding about all of this. Really, I am not. Riker *wink wink* I will rock your world). So, adding my love for DWTS, Riker Lynch and a Groupon, I found myself wanting to try this again. Modern contemporary is a very physical yet emotional type of dance. I wear my heart and emotions completely on my sleeve and thought giving it a try could be a really great stress reliever and maybe just maybe help with my anxiety.
I guess I wasn’t using my brain completely when I made this decision. I didn’t realize that I would have to fight through my anxiety first before dance would help ease it. Last night, I felt the exact emotions I felt years ago when those evil little girls bullied me. No one actually bullied me last night, to be clear. This was all in my head. I let myself get in my own head and that’s when I lost all control of reason and started to unknowingly give up. I don’t know if anyone reading knows what it’s like to let anxiety and paranoia take over. It is a crippling thing to watch from an outsider’s perspective let alone your own. You get to the point where nothing you do for yourself will change the course of an attack. I could not keep up with what the instructor was doing because I could not concentrate any further. I kept focusing on what I had done wrong 10 minutes prior instead of what was right in front of me. It’s quite literally a snow ball effect. If I wasn’t so embarrassed by the thought of it, I would have grabbed my bag and ran out of the room at the first given opportunity but since I have more respect for my instructor than that, I stayed.
I choked back tears the entire bike ride home. I burst in my front door with imaginary flames shooting out of my nostrils and proceeded to lay it on Kristen and the HMBB sitting on the couch. They are far too familiar with my explosive panic attacks and are honestly the only two who can bring reason back into my brain when I have completely lost control. Once I was done yelling to yell, they regrouped their approach and comforted me the best way they could. Still, after all that, I was convinced I was never going back. I was convinced it was a bad idea in the first place. I was physically ill all night last night over the thought of having to go through 5 more weeks of not being able to keep up with everyone else in class. This was supposed to be fun, no stress and a learning experience. My anxiety has turned it into a fucking nightmare from hell. I was so sick this morning I couldn’t go to work. I had to take a sick day because I let my anxiety get the best of me. I have been keeled over in pain most of the day, sick to my stomach, dizzy and disoriented any time I think of trying to remember the steps from last night’s class. I am supposed to remember for next week so we can build on them. Yeah, that’s not fucking happening. I have a pretty good photographic memory and I cannot remember a damn thing, that’s how bad my anxiety can get. I am practically a 29 year old with Dementia. I am a sad almost 30 year old person sometimes I swear.
I was brave enough to vaguely share my experience last night on the FB. Now, I really do not like sharing too much on that garbage of a website but I know I am living in a social media world and I want to write for television so I need to learn to suck it up. Yeah, I get it. What I was most surprised about was waking up this morning to a long string of comments from friends sending their support and other personal stories of feeling defeated. I cannot express enough how amazing those comments were. Although I have been in a constant state of panic, depression and physical pain today due to my anxiety, rereading those comments over and over again have given me strength. My college friend Jane said I was brave for trying it at all. She is right; I was brave for taking that leap into the unknown without a friend and staring my separation anxiety and other flaws straight in the eye. What I think is even braver is deciding to keep going even though I am not even remotely sure of the outcome. Yes, I could fail miserably again but at least I wouldn’t be letting my demons get the best of me like I did in my past. If I stick this out, and see it through despite my fears, doubts and sometimes crippling mental dysfunctions I will in turn be making myself a little closer to normalcy. I want to be good at this; I want it to be a great emotional and physical outlet of my stress and frustrations. Am I going to the studio early next week to have time alone to work out my moves in front of the mirror? YOU BET I AM. Am I going to leave my annoying fears at the door when I walk in and pick them back up when I leave? I AM SURE GOING TO TRY. Am I going to embrace this new experience without any fear? ONCE AGAIN, I AM SURE GOING TO TRY.
I noted on the FB I might expand on this topic in my blog, so here it is. Here is my long winded response in all its glory. I will continue to keep a log of this dancing experience and see how my emotions progress in the coming weeks. I am pretty embarrassed I just shared all of this nonsense with the world but I guess there’s no going back now. YOLO.
*To the people who did comment on my post last night and today – THANK YOU. Sometimes a third party perspective and honest emotions help me pull myself out of the gutter and back to the confidence I know I have deep down inside of me. YOU ROCK.
It’s been a week since HBO’s Game of Thrones rocked us with the episode “Hardhome” and introduced to the world at long last the truly terrifying threat that is the White Walkers and their “Army of the Undead”. I am not going to lie here; I am still having nightmares over those fast paced terrifying last 20 minutes. It has caused a rather large debate in my house hold - who did it better, GOT or TWD - in the “zombie department”. I am a very large nerd and have decided to break it all down for you, here on my blog, putting the heated discussion to rest once and for all.
LET’S BACK IT UP SHALL WE?
I have a rather large amount of people in my FB news feed that have jumped on TWD bandwagon merely because it is one of the biggest juggernaut shows on television since ABC’s Lost. I swear to Satan if I have to read one more “TWD WAS SO INTENSE TONIGHT GUYS, BEST SHOW EVER, I LOVE ZOMBIES” status, I might lose it. I know what you are thinking, just hide these people from your feed, or delete them. I can’t, some of these “friends” are people I went to high school with and it gives me so much pleasure watching their lives fall apart through social media. I am well aware I am a sadistic asshole, thank you; I do not need a reminder. I kid you not, I somehow ended up in a comment war with one of those “friends” because they were blissfully unaware TWD is based off a very popular comic which is still in print with new issues. I had linked this person to the cold hard facts and they were still dead set on letting me know the show came BEFORE the comic. In the end, despite my love of arguing I let this poor soul win. Deep down she knows she’s a fucking idiot and that’s all that really needs to matter. I will say this though, in regards to GOT, there aren’t as many idiots reporting the play by play action every fucking episode like TWD. I haven’t quite decided if it’s because GOT is on HBO and most people these days won’t pay for that extravagance (I told Kristen – my wife / roommate - we will not live without the extravagance) or, GOT is far too complex for their underdeveloped brains. The simplicity of the plots / story lines of TWD are easier to grasp and I can understand why single cell organisms are so in awe with the show. The intricate and complex plot / story and mind numbing yet AWESOME theories surrounding the GOT world can sometimes be too much for some. Other people find joy in simple gore over the complexity of humanity, to each their own.
Now that I have successfully insulted most of my friends on FB we can move onto the meat of this conversation.
BACK TO PRESENT DAY
Since the beginning of TWD zombies have always been a looming presence. I have been an avid watcher since day one. The Heavy Metal Bearded Boyfriend (HMBB for short) and I started dating the week the show premiered and watched the pilot together, excited for its progression. TWD does hold a special place in my heart, with the HMBB and of course my love television writing. As the story has progressed through the years, TWD has become less about zombies and more about the humans living in a post- apocalyptic world. This has always been the intent of the show, and has been met with backlash from the untrained eye. I have had several discussions with other television friends who work behind the scenes like me about AMC and how they have handled the progression of the show. Although I am fond of the show, I find myself reading reviews of episodes before watching. Why? I want to know if they are walking around for an entire hour or if something exciting is actually going to happen. TWD being on AMC gives it a chance to have roughly 22 episodes a season to really work on very in-depth character development along with the gore and action everyone expects. Unfortunately for me, I feel like there is too much character development and not enough action. Yes, they are starting to hit their mark better on this subject but it has been a LONG time coming. They could easily move the show along faster and add more content. I see a 13 episode season being drug out to 22 episodes. I unfortunately do not think the zombies are even remotely scary anymore and I think that is the point when the people are becoming more terrifying by the minute. Reverting back to the people I scroll past in my FB feed, they are the ones who claim TWD is so intense. Really, that’s what you call intense? I’d hate to be around those people when the world really does go to shit. I felt my heart hit the pit of my stomach more watching humans killing other humans like cattle for meat at Terminus than when a zombie horde slowly falls through a fence and hobbles towards you slower than a baby learning to crawl. Regardless, as long as TWD has comic book type characters like Daryl Dixon and Michonne and their special effects department keeps pushing the limits of prosthetics (I studied movie makeup in college, BOOYA bitches) I’m going to keep being loyal and watch. I will still have my opinions of course, but if I didn’t I wouldn’t be a very good writer and wouldn’t have any business writing for television. BOOM.
Game of Thrones as well, from the beginning had a very looming notion something bigger was coming. I will never forget the HMBB’s face when he seen a White Walker for the first time. He is a VERY cynical television watcher. If you think I am harsh on the subject, have a chat with him. He’ll piss you off real quick and has no ties to the back end of show making like myself to fuel his reasoning’s. I watched the HMBB sit up in his chair and say “what the fuck was that?!?!”. It was a priceless moment in my household, I can assure you. In my opinion anyone who hasn’t read the books, or looked up the back story about GOT on the internet was having the WTF moment with that White Walker. Season after season the characters of Westeros were warned “Winter is Coming” and for the most part no one was fucking listening. What I really enjoy about GOT is the characters reactions to the mythical aspects of the story. The characters who do not believe in myths have the same exact reaction any one of us would have, here in the real world, to magic, dragons and an army of the undead. It makes the mythical story GOT is portraying that much more believable when characters dismiss these ominous threats as old wise tales meant for children. It also makes the story more exciting because you want to see these characters reactions when they witness a myth being a reality. A good example would be Tyrion’s face when he sees one of Dany’s dragons fly over head. A priceless moment, most of us nerdy fans have been waiting 5 years to see. There have been other brief moments over the last couple of seasons of the imposing threat of the White Walkers and their army. It was clear, the Wildling clans who all hate one another came together to get south of the wall before all hell broke loose. Sam had his own encounter with the slow moving army as well. As viewers we just knew it was a threat, there was no way to know how the show runners were going to actually depict the army of the undead in action. Last week we got exactly what we were unerring for. What we witnessed was pure television glory in the most terrifying way. I was on the edge of my seat screaming at the television. For the first time, viewers truly felt the nightmare inducing horror the army of the undead could bring and it was glorious.
On the surface of both shows, TWD “Walkers” and the GOT “Wights” (what members of the undead army are referred to as) are simply zombies one in the same. On a deeper level there’s a little more to the story. In TWD the zombies decay over time, and can be killed with a bullet to the head or decapitation (Michonne katana FTW). In GOT, the Wights are seemingly indestructible. Decapitation does not stop these vicious almost robot like creatures from their quest of killing. The only way to kill a Wight is with fire. Their skin is extremely flammable and the Wildlings always burn their dead as a precaution of a potential “undead status” after the living has passed. In TWD a Walker moves slowly and only in the direction of noises. Sometimes you really don’t know where those Walker hordes are heading or if they really have any direction at all. They are more like really annoying road blocks these days for TWD crew than actual threats. Last week we were given a 20 minute crash course on what’s to come from GOT’s very own undead army and it’s a hell of a lot more terrifying than anything TWD has put forth EVER. The Wights sprint with one goal in mind, take apart the living any way possible. They have the ability to use weapons, and their own mouths to devour their victims. That alone is far more terrifying than anything TWD crew has come up against zombie wise. Watching the horde of Wights fall off that icy cliff and rising up like it was nothing was EPIC. I’d like to see TWD do something like that. The Wights are also controlled by the White Walkers. We watched the Night’s King simply raise his arms and every Wildling who fell to a Wight instantly popped back up like it was NOTHING. We watched the Night’s King give Jon Snow and Tormund Giantsbane an evil yet smug look, almost thanking them with his eyes for his new recruits. In those moments you as a viewer along with the characters of the show realize the quest for the throne isn’t going to mean shit anymore. While Westros is busy scheming and backstabbing, the real threat is practically on its doorstep. This certainly will not be the first and last time we see the army of the undead either. The books GOT is based off of are called “A Song of Ice and Fire” and as viewers we are finally getting validation of what the title really means. In my eyes, it’s going to come down to Dany, her dragons and the White Walkers with their army of the undead. Will this all play out like I hope? Who knows, only time will tell.
So, each show as a distinct version of what they think a “zombie” is. My question is, how would a character like Daryl Dixon survive if he was thrown into a Wight attack? Or better yet, how would a character like Tormund Giantsbane survive in the world of TWD? Daryl is by far my favorite character on TWD. He has had the most depth and character development than most other characters on the show and wasn’t even in the comic. His story is always a nail biter because you really don’t know what’s going to happen to him. If you read the comics like I have, you have a pretty good idea what’s going to happen next with all the other characters except him. Daryl in the TWD world is nothing short of a badass. He has used his hunting and tracking skills in his pre-apocalyptic world to his advantage. Deep down he is kind of a wuss, which makes all of us women watching swoon for him. (Will you just get together with Carol already?). As much as I adore Mr. Dixon, could he really survive fighting against a Wight? His bow and arrow mean shit in a fast paced fight with a horde of Wights. He wouldn’t have his motorcycle to escape on, and would literally be left with his endurance. Can he endure one after another coming at him without stopping? The Wildlings are a tough bunch and fell almost instantly to the horde. I don’t think Daryl would be any different. Tormund Giantsbane is a beast of a man (who I wish would get naked on the show. I am sorry, I cannot help it. I love a good dirty bearded man), who I know physically could take down a TWD horde no problem. The man probably wouldn’t even be out of breath afterwards either. Where I think Tormund Giantsbane would fall short of surviving in a post - apocalyptic world like TWD would be his attitude. He has a temper and does not deal with bullshit. You saw what he did to The Lord of Bones when he didn’t feel like listening to reason. You have seen his decision making skills and his desire to rip a member of The Night’s Watch eyeballs from their sockets. He is not the man to reason, or has any sensible thought processes. Even though he decided to side with Jon Snow, doesn’t mean he didn’t protest the hell out of it first or is still unsure if this is the right one. You could almost compare his attitude about situations with Rick’s from TWD. Now, Rick has his moments of being a rational human being but then sometimes crazy Rick comes out and all hell breaks loose. I think Tormund would have a very tough time surviving on the TWD because he doesn’t reason and even though we have learned you need to have a guard up, I could still see him struggling. He seems like a character who would try to face a world like TWD alone, and we all know it is almost impossible to survive in TWD alone. I could be wrong though, he does have an overwhelming desire to survive that in proper character development he might shine in TWD. I’d rather keep him as a sexy Wildling man fighting for his life. Let the sexual fantasies commence. It’s always fun to think about how other character from other television shows would survive. Yes, I am well aware I have way too much time on my hands.
So, after all of my very long winded rambling about both shows, who did zombie better? TWD is a veteran at the zombie game and brings the gore aspect of a zombie to the table brilliantly. GOT just introduced their undead horde to the world with a driving force. As it sits now, GOT has brought the intensity TWD has been lacking for years. The HMBB has put out the point that both shows can’t really be compared because one is a mythical land and the other is set in present day real life. I like to argue so I cannot confirm he is correct in this debate in person, only in written form. The man will boast about this win for longer than anyone should. He loves it when he can defy me because I am usually never wrong, always right. In this debate, he is right and wins. Looking at the facts of the matter, as much as I could compare the two, they are both in their own realms. Personally, I think GOT brought the intensity and fear back into an undead army. We now have two of the biggest shows on television ever with their own respective zombie hordes. They both bring their own to the table and will have their own devote followers no matter what I say. I am excited to see what GOT will do next with their horde and I am also excited to see if TWD steps up their game in wake of such an amazing debut from GOT.
I’m going to go and watch the next episode of GOT and shit my pants with excitement. Sexy, I know.
Please note, I have more time on my hands than I should and can’t believe you actually read all of this.
END OF NERD RANT.