Call Me Bettina

cardboardlife:

A lot of people have been asking me about the names of my guys, so here you go!

ONE OF THEM IS NAMED BETSY AND IT’S EVEN SPELLED LIKE MINE! Moments like this make me so grateful for Tumblr.

And no, I have no idea who/what these knit creatures are, but does it really matter?

There aren’t many moments of clarity in dating.  I was going to say in “modern” dating, but I am pretty sure that there has been confusion and mixed signals between courting parties since the dawn of time. 

So it’s a pleasant surprise when I find that I actually learned something from the hours of hand-wringing and analyzing brief texts (instead of, I don’t know, the pages of reading I have as a grad student?) 

I was perusing my Facebook friends to find people to invite to my upcoming birthday party, and I came across the profile of a notorious (to me and maybe 4 of my friends?) hipster douche I was dating last spring and summer. He made it pretty clear he didn’t want anything serious, but I labored under the impression that he only felt that way in the moment—I could change that, if only I didn’t scare him.  If I went to his apartment instead of mine.  If I didn’t get mad when he kept me waiting at a Starbucks for an hour as he leisurely finished dinner with his friends. If I let him sleep with me even though I didn’t really feel like it.  For awhile, I convinced myself that this was ok, that his personality and my attraction to him were enough to overcome constantly second-guessing myself. I fooled myself into believing it would somehow pay off.

But when I found myself doing a train-ride of shame, feeling sordid and used, staring at the dirty floor of the L train so the early risers on their way to work wouldn’t see my smeared eyeliner, something snapped.

I had spent so much time and energy justifying why I liked him, why I forgave him things that would normally drive me into a rage.  I got so angry at my friends who said I should ditch him, because they didn’t get it.  I liked guys who were quirky, who lived in Williamsburg and went to art school and wore vintage clothes. But I got home that day, and all my roommate had to do was ask “how was your night?” and I burst into tears. All my friends were right. No amount of quirks can replace basic human decency.

He was just another 24-year old jerk. The problem wasn’t my personality, or looks; it was that I was willing to rearrange my life for someone who, by the end, was pretty open about only texting me when he wanted sex. I’m not perfect. But I’m worth a hell of a lot more than that.

I’m still not good at dating.  I don’t know that I ever will be.  But I have finally learned that I can’t convince someone to like me through repressing my own instincts and needs. It’s a little embarrassing that it took this long.

Semi-regular NYC freakout

Every now and again it dawns on me that being single and living off of loans in the most expensive city in the country can be really fucking hard.  I’ve been so lucky to fall into a great living arrangement, actually enjoy my grad school experience and meet awesome people; much of the time, living here really does feel like an adventure, exactly how I imagined it when I was 11 and lonely in a way I don’t think I can ever experience again (THANKFULLY). But sometimes, the little things just pile up and I can’t see a way out that doesn’t cost me tons of money that I don’t have.  Like right now.  My room is freezing—any part of my body that is exposed turns cold instantly.  My nose is like a fucking dog’s at this point.  I think the main reason is that my heat (which I do have, and pay for) is weak, but it’s also because I still have my AC unit in the window.  “Take it out,” concerned family and friends say.  But I have no space for it.  None.  And the cheapest storage unit option is $29/month, which is not terrible, but that’s for a year’s worth of storage.  And I only need to store this fucking air conditioner.  My roommate and I both have space heaters, which are helpful, but drive the electricity costs up considerably.  I know this is a prime example of a first world problem, and that many people in my own city are sleeping outside tonight or in unsafe, decrepit shelters.  I simply didn’t foresee the daily challenges of living here.  I knew I’d be on a budget, and that’s fine.  This goes beyond that. You can be cheap as hell and still feel like you’re burning through money in this city. The expense combined with the small living spaces is enough to drive even the most diehard New Yorker insane from time to time.

I actually feel better now. Thanks, Tumblr.

"It’s your brand!"

In my final class of my first year of grad school, we did an exercise in which everyone revealed something that they had not yet shared with the group. People shared all manner of truly heartbreaking stories, about grief and pain that they had to store away just to get through an often challenging first year. When it came time for me to share, I was already welling up, as I care a lot about these people, and I had no idea there was so much more beneath the surface. I spoke of my at times crippling insecurities. If something goes wrong, I feel it is always my fault. If a guy blows me off, it’s because I’m too needy, not good enough in bed or just destined to live by myself with a dog forever. I wondered for years why I lacked a core group of friends, never once thinking that being in adolescent hell may have played some role. It takes just one rejection or bad date for me to question everything. So I shared this, tearfully wondering why I saw so much good in others, but so rarely in myself. After class, as we all hugged, I thanked the professor for a great class. She brings up complicated feelings in me. She’s very maternal and shares the same name as my actual mother, which makes me jump a bit every time she sends an email. And she told me something that has been marinating in my head ever since: “Don’t worry about being neurotic. That’s your brand.” Huh?

I still don’t really know what to make of this. I THINK she meant that I could use this knowledge—of how it feels to be lonely, of taking things painfully personally—to be a better counselor. But I worry it means something different. I sometimes wonder if I make too much of being neurotic—-I value humor and laughter so much, and a great deal of this comes at my own expense. I may make terrible decisions when it comes to dating, but if I can make my friends laugh in the retelling, it was probably worth it. What would be left of my sarcasm or wit if I was more content? Would I just be boring?

But here’s why I’m glad my teacher said this—what I just said is obviously bullshit. Despite my ruminating, I am happy.  I just am. Despite this, I will always laugh at myself. Of course I will still find things to loudly complain about. My friends are loving, kind, hilarious people. I’m sure I will find other things to talk about if I decide to focus a little less on some dude.

If I had this picture, I would frame it. Seriously.  Even though it sort of looks like Gilda Radner is giving birth to John Belushi. 

If I had this picture, I would frame it. Seriously.  Even though it sort of looks like Gilda Radner is giving birth to John Belushi. 

bookriot:

Why have a reading nook with shelves when you could have a reading nook IN shelves?
More photos of the bookshelf with built-in reading nook here.

I just said “ohmigod I want that” out loud.  I’m the only one home.

bookriot:

Why have a reading nook with shelves when you could have a reading nook IN shelves?

More photos of the bookshelf with built-in reading nook here.

I just said “ohmigod I want that” out loud.  I’m the only one home.

barackobama:

Dare you not to smile.

You got me, Obama campaign.  I am indeed grinning like an idiot.

barackobama:

Dare you not to smile.

You got me, Obama campaign.  I am indeed grinning like an idiot.

I spent much of the past year working in a temporary shelter, with a population that many would call “difficult” (people with mental illnesses, drug issues, violence, the whole shebang), yet the micro-managing mother I work for is still the “client” who evokes the most apprehension for me.

This is why I must get over my disdain for the suburbs by the time I have children. 

erikmaroney:

Beyonce: “Oh yay….Kim’s coming….”

This is exactly how I imagine Beyonce looking when Kim is around.  Fake smile/grimace and all.

erikmaroney:

Beyonce: “Oh yay….Kim’s coming….”

This is exactly how I imagine Beyonce looking when Kim is around.  Fake smile/grimace and all.

These are the questions I ask myself internally while making a running playlist:

1) Did I dance to the song at sleep away camp, where I first learned what “grinding” actually was (not just a show on MTV)?

2) At some point, was it the soundtrack to a warm-up in a jazz class in 1995? 

3) Can I pretend I’m at a gay club?  Or have been transported back in time to a mythical disco where no one snorted copious amounts of coke and everyone just danced all night? 

4) Should I include at least a few songs that were recorded after 1999, and don’t involve a drum machine?  I should, right?

I don’t know what I’m going to do when I have school and don’t have time to just play around on Spotify looking for the perfect running jam.