Positive Affirmations Sort of Work

interview nerves

Via Imgur.

I remember the first time I had to stand up and speak in front of a group of people. I was in elementary school and the teacher called me to the makeshift podium to read my report on Amelia Earhart. With all eyes on me, I panicked. I left the classroom, shaking and trying not to cry. Since then, my life has been a continuous stream of awkward events borne out of shyness.

I found a somewhat solution. In addition to forcing myself to engage in things that make me highly uncomfortable, I’ve also perfected a self-talk routine, inspired by this little girl on YouTube’s speech. I repeat the affirmations over and over again (aloud of course). It started when I had to give a presentation to a prospective client a few months ago. This is the one-sided conversation I had while driving to the location (It’s kind of nuts):

“I can do anything I put my mind to.”

“I am friendly.”

“I am knowledgeable.”

“I have a nice smile.”

“I am good at my job.”

I swear it worked. The meeting went moderately well. I definitely did not see that one coming.

Then, I tweaked it for dating:

“I am friendly.”

“I am kind.”

“I have a nice smile.”

“I’m entertaining.”

“I have a lot to offer.”

I don’t know what’s up with the smile thing. I’m not sure it’s even true, but it has an odd calming effect. I never alter the mantra. I’m still a mute for the first 15-20 minutes when talking to strangers, but it hasn’t been as awful as I predicted, at least due to my behavior. Except for when I said, “It smells like cornbread and pussy in here.” I still think that’s pretty funny though.

Immediately following my affirmations, I ask myself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” This inevitably results in, “I will die.” However, if I did happen to die mid-speaking in public, it would probably be on the news and I’d have my 15 minutes of post-mortem fame. Logically, I eventually conclude death isn’t imminent (knock on wood) and the other imagined outcomes pale in comparison. Discomfort is only temporary. At the very least, I’ll have a great story.

If all else fails, I’ve memorized a shit ton of fun facts to diffuse the situation. I’ve thrown them out at some point in almost every single recent interaction:

Barbara Walters, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank were all born in the same year, 1929.

The time difference between when a stegosaurus and a t-rex walked the Earth is greater than the time difference between when a t-rex lived and now. Note: I’m not sure I worded that correctly.

Every time you pick up a well-shuffled deck of cards, you are almost certainly holding an arrangement of cards that has never before existed and will probably never exist again.

Coconuts kill more people than sharks every year.

My brain is stuffed with bits of trivia. Who could dislike someone with tons of essential information floating around in their head? No one. If they did I probably wouldn’t trust them.



The Fake Graduation and the Sexual Activity of Rodents

terrible sex

Photo via Live Science.

As senior year of college came to a close, I was excited about the prospect of entering the real world and starting my adult life (what was I thinking?). On graduation day, I was surrounded by family, the sun was shining and it ended up being a phenomenal afternoon. I remember it vividly, particularly the terror of teetering down the aisle in heels whispering to myself, “Please don’t fall. Please don’t fall.”

A week later, I applied for a grown-up position with a large company, aced the interview and was promptly hired pending a background check. Easy right? In a few days I’d be gainfully employed. To celebrate I went to Great Adventure which is basically the happiest place in New Jersey. During a breather from going hard on the rides, my phone rang. I answered and listened in horror as the manager apologized and told me my college claimed I hadn’t actually graduated. Peals of laughter rang out and furries dressed as Looney Tunes characters pranced around, while I sat on a bench bawling.

I immediately called the university assuming it was a mistake. I was informed I had missed a lab requirement and needed three more credits. I cannot believe I didn’t catch that. I still still feel like an idiot. Though it’s my own fault, my advisor was the worst advisor to ever advise.

After working things out with a professor, I drove an hour and a half three times per week to complete the lab. The only opening available was studying rats having sex. I’m not one to sneeze at sex of any kind, but the rats weren’t all that crazy. They didn’t bang as frequently as I hoped and it was the most tedious process ever. I was stuck in a tiny office turned “laboratory” for hours upon hours. The worst part? There weren’t any rats there in the flesh. I had to watch it on video.

My sole task was to write down the number of times the rats engaged in the following sexual behavior: lordosis, mounting, ejaculation and something else (it brings back way too many dreadful memories to even look it up). The encounters happened in a split second so I spent a lot of time rewinding to make sure I was documenting their ejaculations correctly. I slowly lost my god damned mind in that stuffy little space.

Thankfully it concluded. I’m all set with my degrees. In the past, I would get frustrated with myself for running back into a house several times to see if the hair straightener was still plugged in (it’s often raging on high, so the first check tends to be fruitful). That slightly OCD guilt no longer plagues me. It’s either psychotically re-check everything and spend an inordinate amount of time entering and exiting my apartment, or get stuck in a similar situation like the never ending creepy cycle of spying on rats in intimate positions.

Note: I haven’t been back to Great Adventure since the soul crushing incident.

Basically the Best Thing Ever


As soon as I turned 18 I decided I absolutely had to have something permanently inked onto my skin. I went to a random dirty place on a whim and picked a weird, cheesy, non-aesthetically pleasing moon and star design off of the wall. I chose to have it placed on the side of my lower back (perilously close to being a tramp stamp). The whole thing was bizarre. Horrible choice of rebellion I guess.

It took me 12 years, but I finally covered up that nonsense with the most stunning tattoo in the universe. What’s the best way to erase a sketchy decision from my youth? An anthropomorphic cat.

I was reading a blog one day and saw a painting by Finnish artist Ilona Sampovaara.

Ilona Sampovaara cat

“Naughty Girl” by Ilona Sampovaara.

Perfection. To ensure that it 100% represented my soul, the fancy white feline was swapped out for a portrait of the love of my life: my cat.

cat tattoo


The result:

cat tattoo

By Matt Kimball of NJ’s Timeless Tat2. Amazing artist.

Bam! My magical as hell cat tattoo. It makes my heart burst with joy.

My Biological Clock is a Ticking Time Bomb

Biological Clock

Oh my God! I want one. We’re related by the way. Yup. Some of my genes in there.

In my heart I’m 26-years-old. Maturity-wise I’d say 22 is a generous estimate. I forget my true chronological age or maybe I’m in denial. I recently discovered the joys of The Mindy Project. So the other night, I watched an episode and out of the blue I received a swift punch to the ovaries. The main character, Mindy, tells Dr. Castellano that she plans on having four children. He reminds her that she’s 31-years-old and single, does some number crunching, and says she’ll be lucky to pop out one child just under the gun. In that moment I realized, “Holy shit. I’m 31 and single.” Wah wah.

I want to have kids one day (two to be exact and one better be a girl) but I still need a few years. Before my womb’s harsh, harsh wakeup call, my biological clock never seemed like a major issue. Though I’ve been working on my heart chakra, I don’t think marriage before age 65 is my thing. On the other hand, kids are freakin’ expensive and I like the idea of any future offspring having two parents in case they hate me. I have no problem getting knocked up out of wedlock, but part of me assumed I’d be in a relationship when it went down. That idea kind of turns me off too though. When things eventually go awry, do I really want to have see the father all of the time, FOREVER? No. I don’t.

I’m going to have to convince someone to impregnate me with no strings attached, preferably by 35. The caveat: I want a super baby. Basically, I have a few years left to find a tall, good looking, brilliant, funny, single dude who is significantly saner than me. There is a strong possibility that this plan will fail. I don’t want to have to worry about it so I’ve narrowed down my options to ensure success.

  1. Guilt a male friend, with the aforementioned qualities, into having a child and splitting it. No marriage, no dating, just business.
  2. Become BFFs with a gay couple seeking a kid. I’ll mix my eggs with one partner’s sperm and go 50/50.
  3. Bamboozle either a sister or female friend, who is also childless at the time, into some in vitro magic and again split the resulting baby. A weekly three- to four-day vacation from parenting sounds awesome to me.
  4. If things are looking bleak, visit a sperm bank. This would require financial stability and the fortitude to go it alone, which is why it is number four on the list. Plus, after a lifetime of avoiding strange sperm it feels sketchy.
  5. Adoption. But, I kind of want a miniature me.

While my annoying evolutionary drive to procreate is like an ominous tribal drum beat in my brain, I wouldn’t be surprised or dismayed if I was the first person to birth a litter of kittens (via a test tube. I’m not a sicko).

An Uncomfortable Meeting aka I’m Slightly Psychic


Life blows my mind sometimes.

I’ve said it a million times, but I’m a firm believer in signs and that each odd twist of fate carries some meaning. Lately it had been bothering me that I spent 1/3 of my life with my ex-fiance and there was a chance I’d never see him again. It had been six months since we’d even talked. Things ended abruptly. One day he was there and the next he was gone permanently.

A few days ago, I had a dream about him. It was so vivid and detailed. I hardly ever remember my dreams but this one left me shaken. The oddest part of the whole scenario, was I just couldn’t see his face.

The next night I had plans to go to an enormous bar/entertainment complex. It’s not necessarily my style. I know that his band plays there sometimes and before I even agreed I stalked Facebook and found his schedule. I was in the clear and it’s not a place he would frequent even if his show was cancelled. I almost backed out several times, but I’ve been pushing my boundaries lately. I suppressed the nagging feeling that something strange was going to happen.

Within a half hour of arriving at the bar, I was standing around with friends when a guy walked up to the group.  I don’t know if I was in shock or what, but my initial thought was, “Damn. He’s hot.” Then, “Wait. He looks really familiar.” There was complete silence and everyone’s faces changed. Shit suddenly got realer than the Real World. But I couldn’t process why.

As the guy hugged my friend, I looked down at his calf. I recognized the tattoo. All of the color drained from my face, I started sweating, I couldn’t hear a sound except for the pounding of my heart. It was him. I waited in a stunned daze as he made his way toward me. The world stopped and nothing seemed real.

He gave me a hug and I tried to smile. We exchanged pleasantries. “What’s new with you?” he asked. “Well Pandora Shuffle has really changed my life for the positive,” I replied. I don’t know why I said that. At least it broke the tension and his familiar laugh dissolved the space between us.

“Let’s go for a walk,” he said.

My friends, completely unsure of what to do, were talking to me, yet I couldn’t make out a word they were saying. I just walked away with him.

After his gig ended he had made his way to the bar (or whatever the weird adult Disneyland was), because he knew a band playing on one of the stages. Out of the thousands and thousands people inside and outside and the endless places to go for a drink in a huge city, the universe tossed us into each other’s paths. The odds of this occurrence are staggering. Strangely, it was much like the lightening, random way we met.

We sat on a bench away from the crowd in a quiet little corner alone. I only had one drink but I felt high as a bat. I didn’t care what anyone else was doing. I was just floating in this weird state of suspended realty. I wasn’t sure what to expect. He looked so different. What was his life like? Was he still the same person? Had I been replaced yet?

As we talked under the moonlight, it was like nothing had changed. He was my best friend again. We laughed and filled each other in on what we’d each missed. I felt a sense of relief. I’d imagined what it would be like should we ever meet again. This possibility was happening and it wasn’t anything like I had feared. It felt good. The topic of conversation inevitably turned to what had happened. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy or that I’ve completely dealt with everything and moved on. It was sad, but not more than I could handle.

I’ve been carrying this burden with me. Everything was my fault. He had every right to despise me and it killed me. There hasn’t been a single day that has gone by that he hasn’t crossed my mind. But when he told me that he didn’t hate me and I had to let go of my self-loathing, I saw in his eyes that he meant it. He freed me.

He’s still the same person I’ve always known and loved. He exists. Time didn’t stop. Talking to him felt right. Half of me was overjoyed while the other half straight up hurt. But it was okay. Things got even stranger when I had to sleep at his house (long story involving a lost cell phone, not knowing anyone’s phone number by heart, and losing my friends in the massive crush of people…not what you’re thinking).

“Do you think this is going to be weird? Is this the best idea?” I asked in the cab on the way there.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t care. My intuition and every cell in my body told me it was fine (I also didn’t have any other options). I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye. I silenced my rational mind and just went with it. Was seeing him and talking to him going to make things more painful later? Probably. But sometimes these little moments are all we have. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with embracing the split second when everything is normal. If I constantly fear the future and what I might or might not feel, I’m denying part of being human. Underneath it all, even the aching is beautiful in a way.

He dropped me off the next day and I cried when I said goodbye. I didn’t want our hug to end but it did as all things do. It got really messed up between us. We won’t be together again, but in the past few days I’ve felt a sense of peace that has been eluding me. Maybe I really needed the closure and the stars aligned to let me experience it.

My brother brought my two-year-old niece over that evening. We blew bubbles, she called me a good “boy.” I laughed, gave her a kiss on the head, and thought, “Fuck it. I’m going to be okay.”

A Tipsy Toilet Confession


It’s Monday and I’ve been sucking down some wine. Whenever I feel like I need a serious pick-me-up, I think of a few things that crack me up and make life a little better. The first one is evil. My sister had this strange boyfriend that I wasn’t a fan of. So beyond strange with these huge lips, tight Speedo, and bad attitude. He said goodbye to my sister when she was leaving for Germany for several years and ending the relationship. My friend saw him on the train crying his eyes out after the last farewell. Not funny. But if you knew him, fucking hilarious. I almost went down in a plane. Everyone was praying and crying and I started laughing like a maniac thinking of him bawling.

The second is a hard confession to make. A few years ago when I lived in an apartment I received a new toilet (very exciting event). Two weeks later it stopped working. The plumbers dug deep and found a fork in there. That was the cause of the toilet destruction. Everyone blamed my former fiance’s nephew since he was an adorable terror. I went along with it. The truth is, I accidentally flushed the fork. It was in a bowl of old cereal and I didn’t see it. Off my chest. I never admitted the truth, though some suspected it.

For some reason Keurig cups have been blowing up every where in my house lately. There are coffee grinds in my purse, the floor, the carpet, the sink, the bathtub. It’s like I get my paws on a K-Cup and it explodes. I tried to empty my coffee remnants out of my bag down the toilet and several hundred pennies fell out with it. Who knew pennies would not flush until at least 30 tries? There was no way I was sticking my hands in the toilet and fishing for those things. So I just kept flushing. They’re gone now, but coffee grinds remain. If this toilet blows, I will go down denying it.

Pointless stories, but endless sources of amusement for me. If my sisters or brother (ultimate narc) are reading this and Pennygate 2013 happens, do not tell Mom it was me or I will shank you.

Life Skills in One Easy List


I have been told I have no life skills. There’s three types of people in the world: book smart, street smart, and that rare combination of both. I would go to school for years if it was possible, I take tests like a mother fuc*a, but when it comes to survival tactics, I’m lacking. I found this article on Buzzfeed that is an excellent common sense primer:

21 Incredibly Important Diagrams to Help You Get Through Life

Bam. You’re welcome.


Freeeeeeeddddommmm (in a Scottish accent of course)


I’m trying to find the positive in the midst of personal disasters and I’m starting to warm up to the idea of having no ties, aside from my cat. Instead of looking at empty rooms and crying, I see possibility. The back room of my apartment that was his former music studio is perfect for my home office. He painted the walls black, which looks surprisingly bad ass, and after seeing a photo of an office designed by Abigail Ahern (sick interior designer), I am going to try to replicate the dark walls combined with a hot pink desk look. In fact, hot pink and other “girly” colors will be making a comeback in my crib. I could even wallpaper every room with pictures of shirtless dudes holding kittens if I wanted to.

It’s not only interior design that makes me giddy. I really want to dive back into life and take on the things that I never had the chance to conquer. Now that marriage and babies are no longer on the horizon (I can adopt little nuggets anyway), it’s time to start crossing shit off of my life to-do list. My 31st birthday is coming up. I freaked when I turned 30 and started thinking of the experiences I never had. You can see it here. But my 31st year offers a whole new world of opportunity. I’m going to add to that list. So far, one down:

Forearm Buddha Tattoo

My fear or needles has been conquered.

Here’s my revised agenda:

  1. Go serious camping.
  2. Try skiing or snowboarding.
  3. See as many other U.S. states as possible.
  4. Go to at least one more European nation.
  5. Take a road trip to California (I hate driving so this might be a challenge).
  6. Continue making odd wall art.
  7. Take my yoga and meditation practices to a new level.
  8. Go to the gym regularly and get buff as hell.
  9. Do some hiking.
  10. Visit the MoMA again, but this time alone.
  11. Touch a mountain (this has been on the list for some time).
  12. Write as much of my own shit as possible.
  13. Record some of my grandmother’s life stories.
  14. Eventually, move somewhere beautiful.

I’m sure there are many more things to add, but until I win the lottery these will have to suffice. I must admit, I’m a little scared. I’ll have to get over my social anxiety and fear. But, my sister’s favorite quote made me reevaluate my pointless worries:

“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain (though it has been attributed to Twain, this attribution hasn’t actually been verified. I’ll give it to him though).

What’s on your life list just waiting to be crossed off?

Quiet: My Life is a Library and Not a Cool One


I’m too broke to purchase a plutonium-powered DeLorean and hot tubs are just a UTI waiting to happen. So I guess I’m shit out of luck when it comes to a time machine. Otherwise, I’d jet back to my infancy for a life re-do. Unfortunately, I’m just going to have to be where I’m at.

In my emotional turmoil/mental breakdown I hurt people I love. My ring finger is bare, my former fiance moved out and after an almost 11 year relationship, I’m alone for the first time in my adult life. It’s weird being in an empty apartment surrounded by things that we created together. It obviously wasn’t meant to be or I wouldn’t have subconsciously sabotaged the hell out of us. That doesn’t make it hurt less. He was my best friend.

The weekend after I met him in college, I went home and told my grandmother that I found the dude I was going to marry. And I almost did. I thought I was psychic. But premium psychics always say, “almost doesn’t count” when it comes to predictions of the future. Actually, I have no idea if they say that. I just made that up.

I keep holding on to all that was good in our relationship. I wish my selective memory would fuck off. The truth of the matter is that it wasn’t 11 years of bliss. I haven’t been happy for a while. It’s not that he did anything horribly wrong. I just haven’t been happy with myself. I’m not the person I know I can be. If I can’t get my head right, no relationship will be successful.

I’ve never had the space to figure my shit out. I’ve had a boyfriend from the time I was 16. I don’t know why I’m so afraid to be alone. Probably because I’ll have to face my shadow. I consider myself pretty self-aware and I know all about my insecurities, judgements, fear, anger, and negativity. Awareness and constant self-reflection aren’t enough. It’s time for me to accept these qualities, stop acting on their impulse, and eventually free up the energy they have a stranglehold on. I’m tired of being a slave to my inner-bitch.

Who knows? I’ve had a lot of “a ha” moments that Oprah would find absolutely orgasmic. They don’t always pan out. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be back in the fetal position hating myself. But I have some work to do.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that just because someone has a penis it doesn’t mean they can save me from myself.