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.
Two and a half years ago I finally decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It was a complete 180 from what everyone thought it would be, but I am extremely happy with my decision none the less. I had been floundering for several months, overcome with anxiety and depression. I was letting my Bi-Polar depression and Paranoia kick up beyond words. One day, the Heavy Metal Bearded Boyfriend told me something I will not soon forget “Pick one thing to focus on and only focus on that one thing until you are the best you can be at it”. His words were the clarity I needed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had and still do have many interests. The decision though, was the easiest I have ever made in my life. That is how I knew it was the right one. I had decided I wanted more than anything to be a T.V. writer, but not just any writer, a successful one at that. I wanted to write, produce and star in my own show. If Lena Dunham could do it, why couldn’t I? My decision was met with much resistance from the person who told me to pick just one thing to focus on. I did, I picked one thing, I just chose something he had no idea I had passion for….
I have been writing since I was kid. It was my escape from the mind numbing mentally abusive early teenage years I was faced with. I would sit for hours in my room, day after day writing my imagination out on paper. I would fill notebooks to the brim with ideas, short stories and sometimes epic teenage novels. I could never tell my parents this was what I was passionate about. They would have crushed it like a bug on the wall. My interests were of no concern to them, and I was seemingly invisible, still am to be honest. My stories became sacred to me. I wouldn’t let anyone read them in fear of rejection (See “Things I was told all the time as a child” footnotes for more on THAT subject). There were only two people who I grew to trust with my most sacred words, Jenna and Mara. Those women are still large parts of my life to this day, and are saints for it. I would be on the phone with Jenna for hours (Remember this was before the internet was huge and cell phones) reading to her page after page of the worlds I had created. She always listened and encouraged me to keep it up. Mara was also the same. She was the person I sent my paragraphs to in college (post internet craze, I still didn’t have a cell phone though). I could depend on her to edit what I had been working on and always took her comments in stride. Up until two years ago, they were the only two. I wouldn’t even finish writing assignments in high school or college out of the same fear of rejection. They are right when they say “adolescent scars take years to heal”.
After college, I became involved in the fixed gear bicycle community here in Chicago. At the time, on the surface I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I was making new and interesting friends who shared similar interests as me (art and bikes!) and falling in love with the wrong type of guy. The time I spent in the biking community inspired me once again to continue writing. I was only sharing with Mara like before and recorded all the fucked up things that happened in the community including things done to myself. Those years were some of the hardest of my life. I learned so many life lessons, let alone personal ones no one could ever prepare you for. I did on the other hand meet some amazing individuals who I am happy to say are the glue to my skeletal existence today. They are the people who unknowingly pushed me to want to share our story in a big way. Writing this story as a book never felt quite right. It wasn’t until I seen HBO Girls and Lena Dunham (who is also my age and struggles with similar insecurities)that I knew without a doubt what the right path would be.
I started writing the series “Fears and Gears” 2.5 years ago with one scene. It only took the opening scene to the pilot to put the Heavy Metal Bearded Boyfriends doubts aside. He was flabbergasted at my choice. Here is a man, who thought he knew everything about the person he was in love with and then BAM he didn’t. When you have lived a very complicated life such as mine, you still have chances to surprise the ones you love quite often. To my surprise, he was flabbergasted in a good way. I completely floored his preconceived notion and kept him wanting more. He turned to me and said “Tell me what happens next!”. Mission accomplished, this was exactly what I wanted to do with my life.
So, here I am, twiddling my thumbs still wondering if I am good enough. There is interest in my story and show. My pilot took 2.5 years of hard work and preparation to get it where it is today. It is off in the hands of industry professionals being poked, prodded and judged on whether it is worthy enough to be on air. I should be nervous about this but honestly I am more nervous writing about it right now. Up until now, only a select few know what I have been up to. Even less people have been given the opportunity to actually READ what I have been slaving away at. Again, we are back to those adolescent scars. I still feel I am not good enough. I have friends who are articulate, use big words and know how to use proper grammar; they scare the shit out of me. Those are the people who honestly inadvertently make me feel stupid. I have a 5th grade reading level for the most part, and don’t know proper grammar 100%. I know there will be some people reading this saying to themselves “This girl is a fucking idiot” and it will be people I know. Writing to me isn’t about proper grammar or big words, it’s about telling a story and being blood thirsty passionate about it. If every writer was perfect at the technical aspects of writing people called EDITORS would be out of a job.
This is my moment to “LEAN IN” so to speak. I need to stop being worried about what others are going to think of my work and be proud of what I have accomplished instead. It doesn’t matter what someone thinks about me. They do not have to live my life. They do not have to look at my face every day in the mirror and remind me “YOU DA BEST GURL”. I am my own worst enemy and it needs to stop. RIGHT NOW. This is what this blog is all about. I am here to speak my mind, share my stories and let the world know exactly who I am. I want to be in the writing world and I don’t give a fuck how late in the game I’m entering. AT LEAST I AM ENTERING IN THE FIRST PLACE. I don’t give a fuck if you think I have shitty grammar or need to use a thesaurus more because that isn’t who I am. You’re going to want to know what happens next. You’re going to give a shit about what this lady right here has to say. I’m a story teller and I’m going to tell the stories, all the stories and it’s going to be EPIC.
I’m EhrynSka and I am going to be a T. V. writer whether you like it or not.
*curls up in a ball on the floor after realizing she just shared her secret with the rest of the world.*
The title says it all. I am a horrible human being. It has been 858 days since I abandoned my 2013 “New Year’s Resolution” to keep up with a blog. 858 days later and I am shrugging my shoulders at the thought of New Years Resolutions. They are fucking stupid, and I was fucking stupid. I waited a few months until January 2013 to start something new. Has anyone really thought about how stupid that really is? If you want to start something new, don’t fucking wait. DO IT. YOLO.
On to more important things - HI. HELLO. It certainly has been a while, not like I have rows and rows of screaming fans demanding I keep them informed about my life or anything. HELLO 18 follows, you are loved dearly I promise. In the two and a half years I have been apart from this world, many things have changed. I have changed so much; I barely can remember who I was previously. Whether that is a good or bad thing remains to be seen. Shall we do a recap? I like recaps.
AN INTRO PART 2.
Hi. I’m EhrynSka. The last time I graced this blog with my words , I was 26 years young. I am now on the verge of becoming 29 and for the first time not afraid of the last year of my 20s. I welcome it with open arms along with the exciting prospect of my 30s. I have been told your 20s are for your mistakes and your 30s are for all the fun. Stay tuned for the truth in that statement.
At 29, I know EXACTLY who I am and the type of person I want to continue to grow into (It’s a first for me guys). It has taken an extremely long time me to be okay with myself. Granted, it is a learning process and I still struggle like any other human with self love and motivation. I will say this though, I’ve crawled through the mud, over the hurdles and through the finish line of sorts of self discovery. Of course this will all change in a few years when I have to reinvent myself again but for the sake of my sanity let’s pretend I have it all figured out.
I have spent the majority of the last two years on the road with one of my best friends, Kyle. He is no longer a large part in my life (please see “Things EhrynSka is really good at fucking up” footnotes for more on that subject) but is still very dear to me. I saw parts of the U.S. I never would have seen without his companionship. I also wouldn’t be the person I am today without our quirky adventures. Yes, I am well aware this would have been the place to record all of these said adventures, like I said before I AM SORRY. Moving on……
Yes, I am still with the “Heavy Metal Bearded Boyfriend”. He has also grown and changed along with me. We spent some time apart; some time together and ultimately decided being together during this crazy journey called life is far better choice than being apart. Please see PARAMORE’S “STILL INTO YOU” for a complete musical rendition of our lives together.
Yes, we still have the most adorable Boston Terrier “Digit”. She is almost 5 and still as agile as a puppy (in other words – YES SHE STILL DRIVES ME INSANE). We love her dearly and couldn’t imagine life without her.
So, what am I up to creatively these days? A LOT.
Stay tuned for the DEETS.