Patiently Waiting*

            I think about death a lot. Probably way more than I should or way more than a normal person. I may have mentioned this briefly before but it happened again today so I figured I’d write about it. At night, maybe twice a month, I have these pretty horrific nightmares. Mostly they’re about people I love dying and then I’ll wake up and not be able to move because of petrifying fear about five to ten minutes. I hate them and I don’t know what triggers them. You would think that’s bad enough but it’s not. My brain during the day can manage to come up with much, much worse.

            My imagination has always been on steroids. As a child, I would sit in the bathtub forever and play with my toys. Have full on conversations with them and make them talk to each other. I loved my dollhouses and could spend hours playing with them and coming up with scenarios for my dolls. Sometimes life is very difficult for me. People don’t follow a script and it bothers me. I’ll imagine saying something to a person and then I’ll imagine every single thing that person could possibly say but the bottom line is, other people don’t follow my script. I think the only surprises in life should come in the form of Christmas presents. I like to know what’s coming. I like to control what is going to happen in my life. I could control my toys and my dolls, I could control their lives and circumstances with my imagination. As an adult, I control the characters I write because at least they follow my script…most of the time.

            My imagination can give me incredibly vivid scenarios and play them out in my head over and over again. It chooses to center around death a lot of the time. I don’t know when I started thinking about death so much. I think when I was a junior in high school, all of our summer reading had books with dead mothers: The Secret Lift of Bees, Out of the Dust, and The Elephant Man. Dead mothers galore. Then I started reading more and more young adult books with dead parental characters or suicidal characters. I think because not only did I love to read but I was also fascinated by psychology and I wanted to know why people feel the way they feel, why they do the things they do.

            Then a year later my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and the whole possibility of a dead parent thing became a lot more real.

            This morning on my way to work, I started crying. I honestly don’t know what set me off. One second I’m just driving down the street passing by a big building I like to pretend is Wayne Manor and the next second, I’m picturing calling my best friend Chrissy and telling her my Mother is dead. And I’m screaming and crying and I can’t leave her bedside and Chrissy has to come and pry me away from her. Why did I think that? Why? Where did it come from? And why, oh jesus Christ, WHY can I see it so fucking clearly in my head? I can see everything about the hospital room, I can smell it, I can taste the tears on my lips. And all of a sudden, I’m crying softly and slowly in my car on the way to work. I have to tell myself over and over again, it’s okay, she’s alive. She’s at work. My Dad’s at work. David is at work. Everyone is fine, they’re fine. But it doesn’t feel fine; my imagination makes it feel very, very real. As if it’s already happened and I’m remembering a situation from the past. It’s not my past, I don’t even know if it’s my future and yet it’s my present in the car at that very moment and I can’t control it. I try, I try to stop the thoughts as they come hurdling to the fore front of my brain but it’s too difficult. They come and they burry themselves until I can’t do anything but play out the scene in my mind and wait for it to end. Wait for the script to run out. But this isn’t my script. This is an involuntary script being forced upon me by my own brain.

            There’s been a lot of death in my life, directly and indirectly. I’ve lost two Grandpops, one step Grandpop, I watched one of my best friends lose both his step-parents, I’ve watched people lose their grandparents, parents, friends. I’ve watched my Mom lose person after person, family member after family member, friend after friend. My Dad lost almost all of his friends and his father, shrinking his family to a very small size. I’ve been to a lot of funerals. Too many funerals. And there’s so many more to come. Maybe that’s why I think of these things so much? Because I know death is coming eventually and maybe if I know it’s coming, maybe if I can see it all in my head first it won’t be as horrifying when it actually happens. Wouldn’t that be nice? Of course, it’s not like that. I can think of 800 different ways I could lose someone I love and chances are not one of my predictions will be how it actually goes down.

            I love my imagination for so many reasons. It’s how I create characters, it’s how I enjoy movies and books and life in general. I rely heavily on it to get through a boring day. Then there are days like today, days when I wouldn’t wish this imagination on my worst enemy.

            Days when I picture my loved ones dying.

            Days when I picture their funerals in perfect detail.

            Days when I can picture the burial, the casket, the crying, the heart wrenching loneliness of losing them all.

            It’s hard to talk about these things with people. I’ve tried and I’ve been called “negative” or they look at me with this face, this face that says “What a weird morbid person you are”. No one wants to talk to me about the death of people who aren’t sick or dying. No one wants to see me cry over something that hasn’t happened and isn’t even close to happening.

            What people don’t understand, what I WANT people to understand is, I can’t control these thoughts. No more so than I can control the weather. I hate not being able to talk about this with people. I hate that I bury it away because it makes me feel like I’m in the wrong when I know I’m not. So here I am, talking about it. Even if I’m just talking about it to a website that maybe 3 people read. These are my thoughts and sometimes they’re scary and sad and involuntary and I hate them.

            There’s a bright side though (for all of you who think I’m so negative).

            The good thoughts always come back. It might take a day; it usually takes me writing out the horrible thoughts first. But they do always come back.

            The good thoughts always come back. I just have to wait.

*I'm horrible with coming up with titles so this one is courtesy of my friend Bonnie, also a writer. We were torn between Patiently Waiting and Patiently Morbid so I wanted to mention both. Thanks, Bonnie!

Why I Love the Fall/Winter Seasons

            Oh there are so many reasons to love the Fall/Winter seasons. Here are mine:

            MOVIES- People, let me stress the importance of film between the months of September to December. Studios specifically save their cream of the crop movies for this time of year because they want the Oscar nod. They want the nominations for Golden Globes, SAGs, Critic’s Choice, and the elusive Academy Award. The best of film comes out during these months. This year, I’m looking forward to the following movies (if you’re not a movie watcher, please leave. NO, I’m kidding, just scroll down to my other reasons…and also reevaluate your life):

            Legend- Tom Hardy (two actually, he plays twins!), Christopher Eccleston (the 9th Doctor!), Emily Browning and Chazz Palminteri.

            Release Date: October 2nd

            Plot: Identical twin gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray terrorize London during the 1950s and 1960s.

            Secret in Their Eyes- Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Joe Cole (John from Netflix’s Peaky Blinders (which I also suggest everyone watch)).

            Release Date: November 20th

            Plot: Rising FBI investigators Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Jess (Julia Roberts), along with their district-attorney supervisor, Claire (Nicole Kidman), are suddenly torn apart following the brutal murder of Jess' teenage daughter. Now, 13 years later, after obsessively searching for the elusive killer, Ray uncovers a new lead that he is certain can permanently resolve the case and bring long-desired closure to the team. But no one is prepared for the shocking and unspeakable secret that follows.

            Black Mass- Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton (Warrior, SUCH a good movie, watch it), Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon (!), Adam Scott, Cory Stoll and a whole mess of other awesome people.

            Release Date: September 18th

            Plot: While his brother Bill (Benedict Cumberbatch) remains a powerful leader in the Massachusetts Senate, Irish hoodlum James "Whitey" Bulger (Johnny Depp) continues to pursue a life of crime in 1970s Boston. Approached by FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), the lawman convinces Whitey to help the agency fight the Italian mob. As their unholy alliance spirals out of control, Bulger increases his power and evades capture to become one of the most dangerous gangsters in U.S. history.

            The Intern- Robert DeNiro, Anne Hathaway, Adam DeVine, and Rene Russo.

            Release Date: September 25th

            This one isn’t winning any Oscars but it’s going to be funny, I can feel it.

            Plot: Dissatisfied with retirement, a 70-year-old widower (Robert De Niro) takes an internship at an online fashion site and develops a special bond with his young and attractive boss (Anne Hathaway).

             The Martian- Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain (love this woman, look into her movies and watch them ALL), Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels (one of my favorites), Michael Pena, Sean Bean, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

            Release Date: October 2nd (sorry Matt Damon, I have to see Legend first)

            Plot: When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission.

           The Martian is based off a book which I plan on reading before I see the movie. Now, even though I’m not a HUGE Matt Damon fan, I think this movie looks brilliant and it has a bunch of other incredible actors in it.

            But LOOK at the lineup, folks! And this is only FIVE out of all the movies coming out this Fall. There’s going to more awesome ones to follow and I can’t wait. So yes, the number one reason I love Fall/Winter is for the movies.

            Second reason I love Fall/Winter: Hoodies! Hoodies, sweaters, hats, gloves, and scarfs. Bundle up in the comfiest clothes ever made. I get to bring out all my thousand hoodies and wear a new one every day. Hoodies have always brought me comfort. Usually oversized ones too.

            Next up: Hot chocolate and pumpkin muffins. Now, I don’t get all obsessed with the pumpkin extravaganza in the Fall like most people. I like my pumpkin muffin and my pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and that’s about it. But the combination of a Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate and pumpkin muffin is my FAVORITE Fall/Winter breakfast.

            Fourth reason: HOLIDAYS!!! Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, OH MY! Get pumped, ladies and gentleman because I am like a 12 year old on happiness steroids during this time of year. I love the fact that Christmas music starts playing four seconds after Thanksgiving ends. I love that Hallmark already has Christmas ornaments out. I love helping my Mom make Thanksgiving dinner. I love going to Halloween parties and eating ridiculous amount of Kit Kats (the BEST candy). I love the holidays and I think it’s sad and depressing when people my age or older have lost their love of the holidays and think of them as nothing but an annoyance or inconvenience. Holidays are for seeing your family members several times in a short span of time. Holidays are for smiling and happiness and being cheerful, and playing in the snow regardless of your age and taking walks around the neighborhood with your friends in the cold air. Holidays are amazing and everyone should try to find the joy in them, it’s worth it, I promise.

            Fifth reason: SNOW! I love it, I crave it, I wait for it all year. I know a lot of people who hate the snow. Hate everything about it. Despise it, in fact. They act as if it’s this HUGE inconvenience like it doesn’t come around every single year on the East Coast. I get it, sometimes it only snows one or two inches making it just annoying enough to commute to work. But we live in Philadelphia with about a million different ways of transportation: figure it out. And after you figure it out, stop. Stand there in the snow, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Then open your eyes and look. It’s quiet and clean and pure and lovely. It’s magic. Snow is magic. Take your time this year and appreciate it, please.

            I’m sure I have a dozen more reasons but they’re all really just subsets of the reasons I’ve already stated. I love Fall/Winter and I hope you do too. Or at least, I hope we can all take the time out of our very busy lives and feel grateful and lucky for even experiencing another Fall/Winter season with our families.

Confessions of a Single 25 Year Old Woman

Note: I wrote this when I was 23 but I've gone over it again and updated it a bit. Whether these are still my confessions or not doesn't make them any less important. 23 year old me poured her heart out and I'm sure she wants me to share (or she's cursing me off, whatever).

Usually when I write for my blog, I try to write about something everyone can relate to in some way and I write about situations my friends are in. But today, it’s going to be about me and my feelings as of late. Maybe someone will be able to relate to it but that’s not what I’m focusing on. Sometimes, when I don’t write for a while, my head just gets filled and my emotions run really high and it feels like if I don’t write it down soon my head will explode.

Here’s a little background, like I said before, all of my friends (with the exception of 4 guys and 1 girl) are in relationships. They are all dating, engaged, married, or practically married. I’m happy for all of them, nervous for some, and envy very few of them. It’s never been a goal of mine to get married and have children; in fact it’s a conventional 1950s lifestyle that I’ve rebelled against for years and years. For some reason, the thought of marriage and being a mother makes me anxious and almost physically ill. Even the idea of spending the rest of my life attached to another person boggles my mind.

When I think about what I want out of life there are only a few things I desire: to write, to travel, to take care of my family, and to live comfortably. Most of the time, when I think about myself being older, it’s only me in the picture. I never needed anyone else. And if we were to go into the psychological reasons behind this thinking it would probably be because I’ve always been severely independent. My whole life I’ve felt like no one could hear me or no one would listen (besides some family) and yet I talk nonstop. I’m a chatterbox. My Grandpop used to pick me up from school if I had a half day and he would take me to Burger King and then we would go home. He would tell my Mom, “School must be torture for her. She doesn’t stop talking from the second I pick her up.” But you know what? He listened to me.

 So…I write. Paper has to listen to me, it has no other choice. As I was saying, I never pictured myself with anyone else before…except Leonardo DiCaprio, he might the only guy to change my mind. But now, with all my friends paired up, a quote from Sex and the City keeps popping into my head (stay with me, guys). It was Carrie Bradshaw’s 35th birthday and she wasn’t seeing anyone at the time. She was sitting in the café with her three best friends and she said, “I’m lonely. The loneliness is palpable.” I never thought of myself as being lonely. I LOVE living on my own. I love coming home to absolute and complete silence. I love having control of my TV all the time and being able to decorate and rearrange things at will without having to ask anyone if it’s okay. Not to say, living alone is perfect. Night still freaks me out from time to time. But other than that, living on my own is awesome.

 Where does the loneliness come in, you ask? Well when I go out with my friends and I become the third, fifth, or seventh wheel, that’s where it comes in. I love my friends, they know I love them and I would do anything for each and every one of them. But even when I’m in a room filled with them, I still feel utterly alone because at the end of the day, when they all go home, they have someone to talk to, someone to listen to them. I’m probably not painting my friends in a nice light which isn’t my intention. I know there are people I can go to talk to and they listen but none of them really get it because they all have someone. No one really gets the loneliness because none of them are alone. I’m not saying if I had a boyfriend it would solve all these problems, I’m not naïve enough to believe that load of bull. What I’m saying is, I miss when my friends were just my friends and not my friends plus *insert name here*.

 Sure, sometimes I can pull them away from their boyfriends for a night but there’s usually one that wants their significant other to come. I don’t know why, they generally just sit there and say nothing like a block of wood. (I’m aware I’m probably insulting people here but I’m telling the truth).  However, a lot of the time, they never go anywhere without their boyfriends or girlfriends. Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of their significant others, they’re good guys and gals and I enjoy hanging out with them but I miss my friends. I miss when everyone was single at the same time and nothing else mattered. Our twenties are supposed to be fun, right? Staying out all night, drinking, or just having a good time with your friends? Gotta tell ya, those times are rare these days. Now it’s trying to schedule time with your friends between everyone’s jobs or trying to get them to leave the confines of their homes for a few hours on the weekend.

I guess one of the upsides of having a significant other is someone is obligated to listen to you. No one is obligated to listen to me. And I’m not saying this to throw a pity party for myself; I hate people that do that shit. I’m saying it because this is how I actually feel. I feel sad sometimes when my friends tell me all the things they’re doing with their boyfriends or girlfriends. Because it’s the stuff we all used to do together. This is me really nostalgic for when times were easier and life wasn’t complicated and no one was engaged or married or in seriously committed relationships. I understand things change and people grow up, I just didn’t expect it to come this early in life. Truthfully, I don’t believe I’m ready for it.

 This is the part I think most of you have been waiting for in this whole entry. Do I wish I had a boyfriend? Occasionally. If I were to have a boyfriend, I would more or less like him to be part time. Which probably sounds horrible but it’s the honest to god truth, I hate clingy people, I hate people that have to text someone 24 hours a day because trust me, you have NOTHING interesting to say ALL DAY LONG, neither do I. I would hate someone being in my apartment all the time. I’m not a romantic person, I don’t like roses or candles or any of that junk. Romance in my book is you shutting up for two hours so we can watch a movie then AFTERWARDS discuss it. Does it frustrate me that I can’t find a boyfriend? Of course it does, I’m a woman, it’s something we spend more time thinking about than we admit. Even me, the person who thinks relationships are awkward and weird and pointless 75% of the time, occasionally wants a boyfriend. You know, at 15 years old, I thought by 25 someone would love me, someone has to by then right? Well no, that didn’t happen. Here’s the part where it becomes a little intense:

 Growing up, I never had a lot of self-confidence in the way I look. Bullied through high school didn’t help either. I’ve always had a pretty good sense of myself though. I knew I wanted to be a writer at an early age, I knew movies would always be my second love behind writing; I know I’m sarcastic, and I can be harsh sometimes. But I also know that I’m a really good listener and pretty good therapist when my friends need one. My best friend used to call me Oprah for god sake. So I always just assumed once I became comfortable with how I look then everything would fall into place. But when you have gorgeous friends and cousins who look like models, it’s hard to be happy with how you look. “When will my reflection show who I am inside?” Perfect lyric for this paragraph from the movie Mulan.

 However, within the past few years, I’ve started to care less about what other people think of me. I’m 25, I write, I’ve worked as an editor and a technical writer and I do a damn good job, I’m self-sufficient and I’m a pretty good person. And you know what? I like the way I look. I like that I have breasts and hips and an ass. Are they slightly bigger than average? Damn straight and guess what? I’m proud of it. Are there still parts of my body I’m not comfortable with? Of course, everyone has those and it’s something everyone has to come to terms with eventually. My point is this, you know that saying, “You have to love yourself before others can love you”? I call bullshit. Here’s why: I really do love who I am in my life right now. I have my life together and I’m finally, FINALLY, comfortable when I look in the mirror. So uh…where exactly is the love?

 I’ve come to believe everything having to do with love and relationships is completely random and up to fate. It has nothing to do with where you are in your life or if you love yourself or not. It’s a day to day random occurrence that no one has any control over, ever. And I believe if every single girl thinks of it in those terms, then it’s a little easier to get through the day without beating herself up. Personally, I’m hoping to meet mine in Ireland, he’ll be rich, with a thick accent and we’ll live happily ever after. See that? That’s a joke because this post was really hard for me to write and I need the jokes like I need oxygen. There you go, folks. That was more of me than I have ever put out here before. Cherish it, ignore it, scoff or laugh at it, but do me a favor? Just listen when other people speak. It means a lot to them. 


Quick Note: I wrote this a while back but it still rings true for me.

I used to have a really hard time being honest with people. Usually it was white lies I would tell but then as I became a teenager the lies became bigger. I would tell them for a few different reasons. The number one reason I would lie is because I wanted to make my life sound way more interesting than it actually is. I could never tell the lies to people like Chrissy or Kait because I’m too close to them and they would know. But to people at Huberts, to "friends" I didn’t see very often, they would get complete and utter lies and fabricated stories. Anything to make me sound like I was a normal teenager.

I didn’t want to be the nerd. I didn’t want to be the girl who stayed in every weekend. I didn’t want to be the bookworm or the freak who’s obsessed with movies and television. The loser. The loner. The freak with no friends. But that’s who I was to the girls at Huberts for two years before I started lying to them. Stupid made up stories just to get them off my back. To get them to stop making fun of me. To get them to shut the fuck up.

When my Mom was diagnosed, I stopped lying. My life, our lives, were no longer boring. I didn’t need to lie because my life now had “excitement” or “interest” whatever you want to call it. So I turned to honesty. Brutal honesty some would call it. I stopped caring what other people thought of how I lived my life. I preferred to go to the movies on prom night because I hated the people at Huberts and I didn’t want to spend any more time with them than I had to and I was damn proud to tell people. I preferred to read than drink from a keg in the woods and that’s okay. I preferred to sit and talk to my family for hours on end then sit in a basement and get high and that’s okay. It took me a long time to realize that.

I’m very honest when I tell someone how I feel about a situation or a person. Sometimes people get really mad at me. Some people won’t talk to me for days afterwards. Some people admire it. Some people act like they admire it but secretly hate me for it. I don’t let negative people stay in my life anymore. People call me harsh. People call me a bitch. People call me unforgiving. Honestly? I don’t give a shit. I rather not have someone constantly poison my mind with their horrible negative comments. It’s easier for me to cut people off. Sometimes I get upset about it. Most of the time, I get over it fairly quickly. 

 The person I have the hardest time being honest with is myself. Which sounds cliché but it’s true. I lie to myself all the time. Tell myself I’m okay, tell myself I can deal with certain situations, tell myself I don’t care as much as I do about someone. Sometimes they’re lies, other times they’re partial truths. I’ll play out different situations in my head over and over again, making sure I’ve planned out every conclusion to an occurrence possible. Half the time I don’t use any of them because I’ll be too scared to go into the situation in the first place. Or I won’t use them because it’s a made up situation. You see, I never really stopped lying in a way. I used to tell other people made up situations, made up stories. Now it’s something I’ve created in my head, a story, a scene, really. A scene I wrote, starred in, and directed. A scene to make my life seem more interesting in my own head. A scene to placate my boring reality. Sometimes I’ll go entire days where I’ll live in those scenes. Act them out over and over again. Mostly in my car when I’m driving, I’ll rewrite them, I’ll act them out in my head, rewrite, act it out, no, not perfect yet. Another rewrite, act it out. Still not right. Another rewrite. Act it out. Perfect. Finally. Next scene.

Probably seems utterly insane to normal people but I’ve always wanted my life to be like a movie. So if I have to live two lives, one in reality, and one in my head where things are easier, more fun, and interesting then that’s what I’ll do. That’s what I have to do for my own sanity. Be honest in reality, lie to myself in my imagination. It’s my normal and that’s okay.