Adventures of a Midwest Transplant

Posts tagged “like a diary

Finding Myself In Television Shows

Am I the only one who looks at a good deal of my life through a Sex and the City lens? I think if you fall in a certain age range (pretty much anyone born between 1970-2000), there’s a good chance this show occupies a corner of your life. Maybe you were an adult when it came out and watched it as it mirrored your life. Maybe you discovered it because your mother/sister/college roommate was obsessed and insisted you’d love it too. Maybe you stumbled across it like I did, back when Netflix DVDs were still a new and amazing facet of life.

In case you hadn’t heard, last week was the 20th anniversary of the premier of the show. Since I loved it so much in college, I’ve been doing a deep dive. I read old Sex & the City columns for the first time. I read a young Cosmo’s writer take on “living like Carrie.” And I read think pieces arguing about how groundbreaking it was, how it lacked diversity, etc., etc..

I think time has done Samantha well. People appreciate her sex positivity. They love that she didn’t give a damn what anyone thought of her. I think time has been less friendly to Carrie. Look at what came up when I googled “Carrie Bradshaw was trash.”

I didn’t come up with this idea on my own. An article all about it popped up on my google feed not too long ago. You can read it for yourself here.

As much as I wanted to binge-watch the entire series over in celebration of the 20th anniversary, it ain’t gonna happen. I’m not putting myself back in the frame of mind that made me grateful for the diversity crumb that saw Jennifer Hudson cast in the SATC movie. No thank you. I’d rather wait for the next season of Insecure to premier (August 12th!!).

But still there’s this:

It’s a piece of “art” I bought on “the street” years ago. I think it was back during one of my first trips to NYC. I drove here, on a rather impromptu road trip with my girls, for an in-person job interview. My husband wanted to move to NYC, and so I wanted to make his dream a reality. I even have a picture of that evening in Times Square when I bought the picture that still hangs on the wall in my bedroom. Want to see it? Of course you do. I looked like I fell out off of a Forever 21 mannequin display and was proud of it. Perhaps the shades of lipstick I used to choose are the reason I was less confident in a bright red lip back then…

Well, the internet has me convinced I do NOT want to be a Carrie, haha. She was far too vanilla for me anyway. The heteronormativity and the barely hidden homo- and biphobia irritate me to no end. And the way she would have these moments of silence (read: silent judgement) whenever one of her friends’ stories got too extra was the worst. Besides, these four white women aren’t the only friendships shown on TV. There are plenty of others for me to figure out which archetype I am.

There’s Living Single:

There’s Girlfriends:

There’s Insecure:

I’m gonna figure out which one of those I am instead on continuing to fuss over SATC. Too bad there aren’t any handy quizzes out there to help me learn if I’m a Joan or a Maxine or an Issa. But wait! There is! Sort Of! Not for Living Single (does the show pre-date Buzzfeed? That’s prolly why), but there are quizzes for the other two.

This 8-Question Quiz Will Tell You Which “Insecure” Character You Are. This quiz covers all the characters, not just the women, but I’ll take what I can get.

Which “Living Single” Character Are You?. Same. All the characters.

Okay, I’mma go off for one quick second. See this is what the fuck I mean about intersectionality! Y’all so busy lumping us into the women category or the black category, there’s no space for black women. I’m looking for the space for just us, but nope, we gotta get in where we fit in. And Buzzfeed tells me that separating me from my brothers isn’t an option. Surprise, sur-fucking-prise. Whatever. Here’s my quiz results.

Nope, not giving you my quiz results yet. What the fuck is this question?!?!?!?!?!?!

Do I need to talk about how the only two options with white folks are “chic and sophisticated” and “preppy and minimalist”???? Really buzzfeed, y’all couldn’t find no black people on Getty Images to represent those styles?? This, ladies and gentleman, is what is referred to as a microaggression. Ugh, okay, back to my quiz results.

Trying not to be irritated by this intergender quiz because my results are actually quite spot on, lol. Whatever.

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Working on Living My Truth

This blog is supposed to be a personal blog where I share things about myself, and my experiences as I explore the world around me. Feeling like a city girl, born and raised in Chicago, there are some Midwestern mores I’ve struggled to let go of.

You want to live out and proud? Eh, sure, but not so loud. The people who chose to do that when I was growing up were always looked at as weird and odd and not the type of people you want to be too close to.

But my parents raised me to be weird, to let my freak flag fly. They never encouraged me to seek out oddities simply for the sake of uniqueness, but they taught me to embrace the things that made me stand out and to take pride in the ways I wasn’t like everyone else.

I’m sure these days, when I’m fussing at them about toxic masculinity (which neither of them fully understand their complicit roles in) and the shortcomings of affirmative action (which several family members dedicated their careers to enacting and supporting), they are wondering where they went wrong.

My mother even jokes that she advises her friends to give their kids less choices. Choices is where she went wrong with my brother and me. I think we turned out just fine, better than fine either. But there is the evidence: the amount of illicit substances we consume (mostly alcohol, calm down), the fact that neither of us is happily married (more on that later), and the fact that only one of my seven first cousins of childbearing age have or even seem to want a child.

I’d like to think my parents are satisfied with us. I’m satisfied with them. Actually, that’s an understatement. Like any good Libra child, I’m obsessed with them. I intended on writing about trying to stand more in my truth, but yet I’m talking about what my parents opinion of that might be.

They’ve had to deal with a lot from me in the last year. They’ve heard about my plans for grad school. They’ve heard about the dissolution of my marriage (sorry if you actually know me and this is how you’re hearing about it). They’ve heard about polyamory (more on that later). They’ve taken it all in stride, certainly better than they did when I gave them unasked for progress reports on how well they’re doing at fixing their inherent racial prejudices.

I’m one of the lucky ones. My parents try to hard to let me be me, and tried to teach me to let me be myself. Ever the aging millennial, I cannot possibly move forward with confidence without rooting around for parental support. But I have it, so I should probably move on to step two, right?

So what is step two? Am I such a Libra cliche that I must spend time every few years “finding myself?” Here’s what I know. The only constant in life is change. If you’re exactly who you were five years ago, you’re doing something wrong.

This was me around five years ago.

I am pretty sure I took that picture at work, some night shift I was working when I still lived in Chicago. I was coming up on my first wedding anniversary and feeling myself because my locs had just about reached my shoulders. I knew my husband wanted to move to New York, but I had no idea what it would look like to live anywhere else other than Chicago. I was just as proud of my eyebrows then, which I didn’t have to do anything to for them to look like that.

This is me just a couple of months ago.

I like this picture enough that it’s currently my profile picture. I could talk for another 500 words about the process of eradicating my marriage from all my profile pics and blurbs, but I’d rather talk about this picture. My vision makes it so that I now have to wear my glasses all the time. I’m no longer afraid of a bright red lip. Too much hair dye means my locs aren’t as long as they should be at this point, but I’m working on it. Oh, and I’m wearing a Slytherin scarf that was my actual winter scarf. My husband and work husband both worked hard to make sure I didn’t lose that thing by retrieving it when I drunkenly left it behind at all the bars. I’ve learned this half smile thing (don’t know that it qualifies as a whole smize) that does a nice job at camouflaging the lines around my eyes. And I still have wonderful eyebrows with very little effort.

I’ve worked hard to stay happy with myself, and I’m proud of it because self-confidence is not a given. I think step two isn’t so much about finding myself, but more about authentically expressing myself. I’ve always been the girl with an opinion on everything, whether someone asked me or not. Hopefully I can take those skills and apply them to this.


The Holidays Are Upon Us… Yay…

I’m a known shopaholic. But shopping for Christmas gifts isn’t bringing me the usual joy. I think I’m just so ready for 2016 to be over.

Chris and I are supposed to go shopping for a Christmas tree tomorrow… yay.

I want to be excited, but I’m not. I’m just thinking about how I hope it doesn’t rain like it did last night. And I’m thinking about how this is our 7th Christmas, and we’ve never actually decorated a Christmas tree so we have to go to Target and get Christmas decorations. Right now the only decorations we have are Christmas stockings that we never took down from 2 Christmases ago and a Nutcracker doll I bought at Duane Reade that has basically become part of our permanent home decor.

Oh, and there are the Christmas cards Chris wants to send. We suck at sending cards. We never send birthday cards, we never sent thank you cards after our wedding (even though I hand wrote every single card by my damn self), but somehow he thinks we’ll send holiday cards this year. We’ll see…

Can y’all tell I’m not really in the holiday spirit?

It’s not really true though. Normally, I love this time of year. I love me some Christmas and Kwanzaa, and I really love me some New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

I am all about holiday music. For the last few days, I’ve been listening to my holiday playlist on my phone. Playlist is an inaccurate term because it’s really all my holiday music, but the genres are labelled weird in Amazon Music, so I had to manually put them all together.

As I’m typing this, I’m at work. I just changed my desktop background to one of the holiday options that Microsoft has available online. I keep staring deeply into the photos as they come up; I’ve got it set to change every 60 seconds. Two of my co-workers were just chuckling at just how deeply I was staring.

I feel like I’m looking for joy where there’s none to be found. I really really really want to be excited for Christmas and this holiday season. But I feel separated from the excitement, like I’m wearing fancy winter gloves meant to be used with a touchscreen smartphone. It’s like I can still use my phone and keep protected from  the cold, but my interactions with the phone are more difficult, blunted somehow.

I’ve been reading through the Harry Potter books again, prepping myself to finally read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This story seems darker to me than ever before. All the evil wizards, even the ones who aren’t dark (read: Dolores Umbridge), are just a bit much to take. And all the loss is making me tear up. I’m a highly emotional person, but not really prone to tears. But Dumbledore dying, Mad Eye Moody dying, Harry breaking up with Ginny, these really got to me on this read through.

I suppose that’s to be expected when you feel close to tears all day long though, right?

At least there are a few things that make me smile no matter what:

  1. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by NSYNC
  2. The Sims 4 (I just finished decorating the Epsteins’ house for Hannukah, that will mean something to you if you read my SimLit blog)
  3. Hand-written notes, like this one from one of my favorite coworkers

coworker-smile

I’ll keep looking for things that can make me smile, since smiles are so hard to come by these days. Anyone got any suggestions?


My Nickname Should Be Breadcrumbs

Have you ever thought about giving yourself a nickname? If you could choose one, would it focus on your best qualities? Would it be funny? Clever? Revealing?

Yeah… the name I came up with for myself is none of those really. It’s blunt, if whimsical. Remember Hansel and Gretel? They tried to find their way home using a trail of breadcrumbs. Usually a trail of breadcrumbs can be followed.

My breadcrumbs are a little different. They are scattered all over, in no particular order. They simply leave a path of where I’ve been. You could literally track my physical location through history if you had some sort of way of tracking my possessions.

I’m not joking when I say I leave all my shit everywhere all the time.

It’s a bad habit I cannot break, no matter how hard I try. I’ve done a better job at keeping up with possessions over the years. For instance, no house keys have been lost in years and years. Misplaced, of course, but always eventually found.

Essential home items aside, lots of other things are left as an accidental reminder of my presence. I try not to think about to monetary value of things I’ve left that can’t be retrieved. Instead I focus on the things I’ve mislaid that can be retrieved, even if it takes a while.

Since I’m on the subject, here are five examples of things I’ve left behind.

  1. This past Thanksgiving, I spent the night at a my friend Sara’s house after eating soooo much pie. I worked Thanksgiving and the day after. It was not until I got back to work that I noticed I had left my watch (aka the Samsung Gear Fit 2) and three rings. I’d placed them on her bathroom floor when I showered in the morning so as to not lose them down a drain or mix them up with her stuff on her dresser. And of course, I walked right out the apartment without them. I had to head back there Friday night after work to pick them up.
  2. A couple of years after college, I was back visiting with my friend David. We were there for a huge part his fraternity used to throw every year, and it was a nice reunion. I had a ton of toiletries with me (as I usually do when I travel). After I got back from the weekend, I realized I’d left brand new bottle of an entire line of hair care and face care products. Seeing as how I only visited Tallahassee once a year, I knew there was no way to get them back. That was a particularly expensive fuckup.
  3. This is not a specific time, but a specific item: eye glasses. I swear I leave them anywhere not at home where I remove them. I wish I could say I was one of those people who look for glasses sitting atop their head. Nope, mine are found such interesting places as on top of the toilet tank in a jazz club bathroom, in a seat I’ve just left on the subway, in between the couch cushions at the house of a friend of a friend, and inside someone else’s jacket pocket.
  4. Another item: earrings. I lose and leave them everywhere. Most incriminatingly (is that word?), at every home I’ve visited of every guy I never should’ve dated. I also leave one earring behind at work, in the collar of shirts and jackets, hooked into sweaters of people who hug me, and some black hole where I assume they adorn the lost socks of the world. I have a medium sized box in my bedroom that holds all the single earrings I still own. I threw one out once last year. Before my parents moved, the other earring went missing one fateful afternoon in which I’d spent time in every fucking room in the house, which never happens in one afternoon. After my parents moved, I gave the earring up for lost, so I tossed the other one in the pair. Wouldn’t you know that I found the earring in a corner of a drawer in the bedroom set they’d moved from my old bedroom. The lost earring survived the move, and I threw out its match for no reason! Needless to say, the other earrings may stay in that box for eternity, in case their match resurfaces.
  5. This last one is a doozy. I got a free tablet with an old phone, I’m thinking it was my Note 5. I happily used this tablet to play all the games I used to play on my cell, but stopped when I realized how much battery they drained. One visit to Chicago, I got off the plane in Chicago, only to realize I’d left my tablet on the plane. Instead of having my parents drive back to the airport, I asked my husband, who felw in the next day, to check with lost and found to see about the table. Turns out Delta Airlines has a bullshit lost and found system. I filled out the appropriate online forms, got some terrible customer service and runaround, then accepted my tablet was lost forever. When I got my new Note 7 (I miss my beloved phone), I got a new tablet with it. I was able to play my games, so I had less overall ire towards Delta even though I just knew one of their staff members was living it up with my old tablet. Then my mother asked if either Chris or I had lost an iPad. Chris’s iPad was on our kitchen counter, where it always it. Luckily, I was headed back to Chicago for  a visit. When I got there, I saw the tablet. And, you guessed it, it was my old Samsung tablet. Not an iPad, not stolen by some wayward Delta employee. I felt so foolish. That whole situation was peak breadcrumbs.

Looking for a common thread in these scenarios, and the only one I can see is that I’m usually in a state of fight or flight when something is left behind. Not necessarily immediate fight or flight, but definitely that’s my overall feeling. Leaving the house of a guy I never intend to see again would help explain why I wouldn’t be in the right mind to itemize my belongings.

Although… if I really wanted to go and have no reason for return, you’d think I’d do a better job of collecting my stuff, right? It’s happened to me more than once that I dealt with guys assuming I wanted them to chase me with the old left-the-earring-routine. How I have pined for the lost costume jewelry as I ignored smug text messages offering to return my item. So many ransom notices, lol. Excuse my hyperbole, but you know by now I’m contractually obligated to speak in hyperbole every so often.

There is, of course, a silver lining. Because of my tendency to leave bits of myself behind everywhere I go, I have learned what I truly value and what I don’t. I lost a new cardigan I deeply loved at a restaurant, and as a result, I only take pashminas out with me in the summer to do the battle against unreasonable air conditioning. And some of my jewelry, particularly the gifts from my parents and husband, are really important to me. I don’t want to lose them, so I only wear them when I’m in a good mood and travelling to trusted establishments.

Other than my rings I left at Sara’s, pretty much the only jewelry I wear these days is the costume jewelry. Trump and all the heavy bigoted bullshit that comes with his election has me in a semi-permanent state of fight or flight, so yeah… leaving the diamonds and pearls at home for now. Lab created gemstones only!