Monthly Archives: February 2015

Self-Confidence and Social Media

My friend Katie and I went for a hike over the weekend. We brought skis and dogs to a small mountain where the snow came down through the pines on the hillside, muffling the groans of branches when it gusted and the creaks our feet made in the packed powder of the trail. At the peak we slid into ski boots and clicked into bindings, skiing down through falling snow while the dogs padded alongside—quiet and cold, the type of day that changes your life.

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BARF.

Holy moly writing that was terrible. I plagiarized half that diarrhea from a Hemingway book and still it’s making my insides burn with shatred. That’s a combo of shame and hatred and sharts, and it barely describes the amount of discomfort that paragraph makes me feel. “The type of day that changes your life.” Again:

BARF.

But after you’re done throwing up, you can admit it sounded a little bit dope, right? Not the trying-too-hard paragraph, but the hiking experience itself. Katie and I really did hike up a mountain and ski down it with our dogs in tow. Doesn’t it make us sound like a couple of cool Maine ladies who spend their days backcountrying around the backcountry, chilling with four-legged creatures, and adventuring?

Imagine if I posted about our hike on Instagram. That picture of me with the skis and the dogs, with a Walden filter, and some caption about winter and Maine and snow. Maybe I tag L.L.Bean in it. Maybe I quote Robert Frost.

“You can’t get too much winter in the winter.” –Robert Frost, Snow
#winter #maine #llbean #mansbestfriend #rescuepups #alwaysadopt

If I posted that on Instagram, you might think I was pretentious, but you also might think I was a lil bit cool. Quoting poets, rescuing dogs, hiking snowy mountains. You’d have no idea that I had to Google “Robert Frost quotes” to find that Robert Frost quote. Or that my dog didn’t come from a shelter—he came from a breeder, and I had to barter away months of my life in order to afford that tiny, expensive bed-whizzer. Or that my snowy hike last weekend was not at all life-changing, that in fact it sucked 100% balls.

It was less than two miles to the top but Katie and I each almost had true mental breakdowns on that hike. Our backs hurt, our feet froze, and snowmobilers kept trying to murder us. It took half an hour to get into our ski boots, I was convinced I shattered my Achilles tendon, and when we finally succeeded in putting our skis on, we learned the way back down was not down at all. That shady ass mountain was actually a field in disguise—we had to trek it cross-country style the whole way back. That hike was made of snot rockets and swear words, and it effin blew. But you wouldn’t know it from that picture.

I try to remember that every time I go on Instagram. I’m following lots of people who do cool things, and sometimes I get a little down on myself. My feed’s full of people’s pictures of their houses and vacations and brand new cars. Meanwhile, I’m living with my parents and starting collection jars for candy bars.* Every time I see a cool picture and I feel myself getting jealous, I think of all the ways it could actually suck.

  • Photo of someone’s new house: They have rats living in their walls.
  • Photo of a nice gift from a boyfriend: Their boyfriend is their cousin and also a thief.
  • Photo out of an airplane window: The person in the seat next to them has measles. And is also their boyfriend, the cousin/thief.
  • Photo at the gym, post-workout: They have rats at home, remember, so they like to get out the crib and Planet Fitness is open 24 hours.
  • Photo of their feet near water, someplace warm: The rest of their body is covered in rats. And hickeys from their cousin.

Really, all you have to do is add in rats and incest. Nobody’s life sounds good when you add in rats and incest.

*I’m up to 45 cents, if anyone would like to contribute.

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Better Off Home

I took a shower last Saturday night. I put on mascara, perfume, and a T-shirt I’d only worn one other time without washing. I also seriously considered wearing earrings (but pierced ear holes smell like straight booty and idfwt). I was ready for a night out on the town in New England’s 29th biggest city. Curtis and I had plans to get dinner and drinks with a friend in Portland.

But on the way into town, we remembered PLANS ARE FOR FOOLS and instead got pizza and went back to my house to eat cheesecake and watch The Office on Netflix. I was asleep by 9 damn 30, and I couldn’t have been happier. (Also, our friend had furniture troubles and couldn’t make it, so it was just Curtis and me. Hells if we’re gonna spend a Saturday night socializing when we don’t have to.)

The thing is: going out blows. Sometimes I feel bad for thinking it blows so much, and that I don’t do more of it. I’m 25 now—when I’m 80, will I look back at my twenties and regret not going out to the club more often? Will I regret never learning how to twerk or jerk or yeet? (Those are all dances, by the way—not gross things.)

The answer is no. I won’t regret any of that. Because I did learn how to yeet. In my living room, in an old pair of my sister’s friend’s sweatpants, in front of my parents while they watched The Weather Channel. And then I went to bed and was asleep by 9 damn 30, and I couldn’t have been happier. I’m the type of person who’s better off in the crib.

To go out is to spend several hours interacting with others. I have nothing against others—some of my best friends are others—I’d just rather not have to interact with them in loud, dimly lit places when I’m sleepy. Plus I’m self-conscious in groups greater than two, so if I don’t drink I get bad social anxiety. But if I do drink, then I’m not self-conscious, which is even worse. My unself-conscious self is weirdly aggressive and … athletic, maybe. Or just competitive. And awful.

Por ejemplo, last year, I went to a strangers’ party in New York City. I was with friends who were related to these strangers, but I ain’t know them like that. I didn’t want to be socially anxious so I brought a bottle of Cîroc. At the same time I didn’t want to act like my uninhibited self and embarrass my friends, so I made a list of the things to avoid doing. The list included:

  • Speaking Spanish
  • Asking about food
  • Asking about candy
  • Doing push-ups
  • Talking about how getting into a fight could be cool
  • Drooling
  • Doing a southern accent
  • Talking about Patrick Stump
  • Talking about rappers
  • Rapping

This was a real list written in earnest days prior to going to New York. I even brought it along to make sure I didn’t forget about it.

It worked for a while, too. I went to the strangers’ party in New York, ate Hawaiian pizza, and had a sugary boozy drink. I laughed at people’s stories and spoke without stumbling and, in general, acted like a normal person. Until I met a girl from St. Louis.

You know who’s from St. Louis? The St. Lunatics. Nelly and Murphy Lee and their St. Louis-born rapping friends.

Me: Oh, St. Louis! Do you like Murphy Lee?
Girl from St. Louis: Murphy Lee?
Me: Yeah! You know, Baby Houie. One of the best in the Louie … “I’m so St. Louis, ask my tattooist. I was like the waterboy now they sayin’ you can do it.” You two related or anything?

Not only did I talk about rappers, I rapped. With that, all was lost. I started speaking terrible Spanish. Instead of push-ups I did fake pull-ups. I took a shot of white vinegar. Those strangers? I gave them all the suck-it sign and challenged them to dance battles.

That’s why I stay in the crib. We’re all better off because of it.

Surfing in the Winter

If you want to surf somewhere cold—like Maine in the winter, maybe—the first step is getting a thick wetsuit. If you don’t already have a thick wetsuit, visit your local surf shop and follow these steps:

AT THE SURF SHOP
Seek help from one of the friendly employees. Ideally you’ll find the owner of the shop, maybe a 60ish-year-old gentleman named John, and he’ll lead you to the wetsuit section of the store. You’ll want to be on your cell phone at this point, so John knows you’re important and not that serious about wetsuits. But you’ll also want him to sympathize with you, so knock over a skateboard display and fart a rotten one. This will show him you’re both down-to-earth and helpless, and it will endear you to him.

PICKING OUT THE SUIT
Follow John’s lead on this one. He knows how cold the waters can get, and will recommend the right ones to keep you warm. Some of them will have hoods, some will not—just make sure you tell him your sisters used to suffocate you under blankets and that you hate constrictive clothing and struggle with claustrophobia. He will not understand, but you’ll feel better having told him.

THE FITTING ROOM
John will escort you to the fitting room, likely located directly across from the main entrance of the store. Tell him you’re wearing underpants—not a bathing suit—under your clothes, and ask if that’s cool. Remember, you will have earned his pity from the skateboards and the farts, and he’ll reluctantly let it slide.

TRYING ON THE SUITS
Put on the first wetsuit. Since it’s supposed to be warm enough for cold-water surfing, it’s going to be crazy thick—six millimeters, even. Squirm your way in as best as you can. Then, once you’ve zipped yourself up, walk out from the fitting room and into the main part of the store, and ask John to check you out. He’ll tell you your crotch is sagging, and then he’ll make you tug at your junk for the next ten minutes. Finally he’ll tell you the wetsuit’s positioned correctly, and you’ll tell him you’re choking and that you “hate this so much.” Retreat to the fitting room.

TAKING OFF THE SUITS
Remember how you squirmed your way into the wetsuit? You will now realize that your shoulders are too broad and your fingers too weak to squirm your way back out. Tug helplessly for five minutes, get so sweaty the suit sticks to you even worse, and then run out of the fitting room shouting for help. Remind John about how much you hate constrictive clothing. Ask him to get you out of that GODDAMN THICK ASS FUCKING WETSUIT.

STILL TAKING OFF THE SUITS
It will require two people—John and a high school girl who works there—to get you out of the wetsuit. When they’re done, thank them by explaining, again, how your sisters used to try to suffocate you with blankets. You will notice both John and the girl are uncomfortable yet amused. Look down and realize you are in your underpants in the middle of the store (just the top half, but still definitely underpants). Hasten back to the fitting room.

NEXT STEPS
Do not buy a wetsuit. Do not surf anywhere cold.

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