Monday, July 22, 2013

Jobs I Could Do

I've been out of college for seven months, obsessively Craigslisting apartments on the West Coast for a year*, and staring at the microscopic number in my measly savings account for the past twenty minutes. Don't get me wrong-- I'm loving every second of freelance writing and videoblogging and making content for Gurl and My Damn Channel. I'm paying the bills (for the most part) and working hard (for the most part) and doing everything I ought to be doing (eh), but if I want to live somewhere perpetually sunny and where the majority of pedestrians don't don bald eagle-emblazoned sweatpants, it may be time to consider a job on the side. Unfortunately, my bachelor's degree is in "Creative Writing" and "Gender Studies" and essentially qualifies me to talk about my feelings and fill out coloring books, so below is a list of side jobs I think I could handle.

Side jobs I think I could handle:

  • High class prostitute who only gets hired by old retirees who physically can't have sex and just want to pay young women $200,000 a year to sit by a pool and drink mimosas
  • Manicurist at one of those expensive salons where rich white ladies want to talk to you about their neighbors' husbands' affairs for so long that they overstay their appointments and tip generously
  • Jillian Michaels impersonator, provided I don't actually have to work out and my job just entails watching exhausted people jog on a treadmill and shouting "You disgust me!" intermittently
  • Cat psychic
  • A cat's sidekick in a movie about a superhero cat and me, her clumsy-but-lovable best friend
  • Alternatively, the screenwriter for the cat superhero movie
  • Personal assistant/shopper for a cat actor (is the one who played Sassy in Homeward Bound available/alive?)**
  • Porn actress-- catering only to food fetishes-- and only if I don't have to show my face-- and only if I don't have to use my real name-- and only if all I have to do is eat 35-cent Oriental ramen on camera
  • Plant watcher (Note: I have proven multiple times my inability to keep plants alive, so only hire me if you are in the market for someone to just literally look at your plants)
  • Snarky livetweeter (will occasionally write "Buy Oreos or something!" in between my speculations as to whether an 83-year-old Christopher Plummer would go out with me-- for a fee of $5,000/tweet plus Oreos)
  • Celebrity baby namer (I predicted "North West" months in advance and if that's not a marketable skill then I can't fathom what is)
  • Starbucks

So if you can offer me any of those positions along with fantastic health benefits, occasional doughnuts, and leniency if I sometimes stop working to record myself talking about Honey Boo Boo, I'm all yours. Until then, I'll be here... refreshing Craiglist and using my diploma as an 80,000-dollar tea coaster.

P.S. I put up a new video a few days ago!

*Are you aware that you can get away with calling an apartment a "two-bedroom" if there's a large enough closet in the bathroom for someone to feasibly sleep in it if they were strapped, standing, to a hotel cot?
**No word on Sassy's breathing status, but she does have a very descriptive wiki page

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Doing What I Like To Do

Wouldn't it be a hoot if I posted something on here, for the first time in a year or something, without mentioning it to anyone? Wouldn't it be a hoot if I started saying "hoot?"

There's something really weird about a twenty-two-year-old woman writing in the same blog that contains her high-school-sophomore angst. I feel like I'm disturbing a haunted tomb or something. If I make too much noise, the puffy-haired ghost of Teenage Hayley might climb out of my laptop screen The Ring-style and yell at me for liking Top 40 and be disappointed that I still haven't figured out how to shape my eyebrows. In fact, I can name at least fifty things she'd berate me for. Some examples:

  • I'm not a rich and famous author and I don't really desire to be one
  • I'm not married to my friend's guitar-playing big brother (he now has a really trashy upper arm tattoo of the name of the city we grew up in; dodged a bullet there)
  • I don't eat cheese
  • I don't think enjoying reality TV is a symptom of being stupid
  • I own a romper
  • I maybe voted for Nader in 2008?

We still like Chipotle and Harry Potter and thinking we're better than everyone, though, so not all is lost. Anyway, this just feels weird. Typing this. Posting this. Like driving by a house you used to live in and knowing exactly how many stairs are inside but also knowing you're not allowed to go in. 

I used to make lists here-- about things I wanted to accomplish or how I wanted to improve myself-- and jotting one down on a Panera napkin this afternoon is what reminded me of this old abandoned blog. One of my present-day goals (alongside learning to actually wash dishes instead of rationalizing that you can use the same bowl over and over if you never take it downstairs) is to do things I like to do. I like reading and listening to the radio and wearing jewelry and eating spinach, so why do I avoid doing those things? Writing about my life is not a chore. It's something I like to do. But I've stopped doing it.

I think it's because I have a hard time treating the present like it's a real thing that really counts. Right now I'm saving money (in theory... trying to... thinking about starting to...) so I can move to Los Angeles and Begin My Real Life, but I know I need to stop thinking that way. I treated high school like the purgatory before college, and college like the waiting room before adulthood, and now I keep thinking of my bedroom and my car and my clothes and my city as temporary. That's so unhealthy! Now is the only now. And even though that sounds like the title of a bad '80s rock ballad, it's how I'm trying to live from here on out. Ohio isn't LA but it's still real life. So I'm going to spend my real life doing what I like to do. I'm going to wear dresses and have living plants around the house and talk to human beings. And maybe, like, write in a blog. Maybe.

Is that cool with you, fifteen-year-old self?

Monday, October 1, 2012


In a crazy, unfathomable turn of events that takes the universe by surprise, Hayley begins to realize that working six hours a day while going to college full-time and while navigating through a personal crisis is difficult and tiring and makes people sit in their dark cars and eat Taco Bell through their sobs in a Leghorns parking lot. Taylor Swift was playing, too. It wasn't pretty.

I'm not here to complain-- I don't even feel bad at the moment-- but I am compelled to immortalize those parking-lot-Swift-binge feelings on the internet, so that I can find them amusing and charming someday when I have my life together. Is that how it works? I'm counting on all of 2012 melding into one quirky flashback that I can later recall fondly. Remember when we were young and depressed and bad at sorting laundry? Remember how my hair looked raggedy and I ate my feelings and I was unreasonably proud of myself every time I remembered to floss? Remember that Taco Bell incident?

It's not like I can't handle stress, and it's not like this is going to be the most stress I ever endure, but it feels kind of like all these Things that I need to Do are marbles, and they keep piling up on top of each other inside my brain, rolling around, clanking and clacking, making everything heavier. I'm generally good at keeping the marbles afloat-- the inside of my head is a pretty, organized fishbowl-- but anytime I trip, they all start tumbling around. The other night, when I taco'd myself into a wet-eyed stupor, they flat-out poured from my mouth. I lost my marbles. Lost 'em good.

What am I talking about? I don't have a clue what I'm talking about.

I guess my point... is that I am very tired.

Monday, September 24, 2012


It turns out I can't make ceramic dishware. Somewhere on my twisty-turny pasta noodles of DNA, next to eye color and affinity for remembering the names of D-List celebrities, there's a post-it note that reads, "Horrible with pottery wheel. Just disgusting. Will never succeed as artist." Fortunately, this fatal flaw probably won't come back to haunt me after I finish my art class, since those who are not professional potters rarely need to participate in pottering. Unfortunately, I need to pass this freaking class.

Six hours of class time, three hours of my own time, a stinging cut up the side of my pinky, a splattered and stained pair of jeans, and ten destroyed fingernails were all part of this week's sacrifice to the pottery gods. And what did I have to show for it? Four "bowls" (in quotation marks because each one was lopsided and likely couldn't hold liquid) when eight were due. When I heard the teacher call my name and ask to grade my finished product, I took a deep breath, plopped the little disasters before him, and tried to look as innocent as possible. I think I curtsied. I probably curtsied.

"What happened here?" he asked in a way that wasn't blatantly condescending but still made me bite my lip.

I wanted to say, "I'm graduating in two months and I'm working essentially full-time and I don't like being cold or wet or dirty and I'm so tired, dude; can I please just have a C and be on my way?"

I ended up saying, "Buhhh."

"I'll tell you what," he began, and a choir of angels sang out in jubilation, because no one but a sadist would start a sentence with "I'll tell you what" if he wasn't going to end it with something kind and helpful. "Why don't you toss these and I'll let you start over. Can you redo them tonight?"

"...Eight of them?"


So I think, "Oh yeah, I have a free eighteen hours tonight. I'll just fit that in between all the work I have to do for the book, and the video I have to upload, and the forms I have to fill out, and the prescription I have to drop off, and the homework I have to do, and the miles I have to run, and the video I have to plan, and the laundry I have to do, and the food I have to eat, and the reading I have to do, and the blog I have to write, and the shower I have to take, and the dying with my face down on the public sidewalk I have to do."

And I say, "Yeah. Sure."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tell me where to live?

I always thought of myself as a suburban girl. I pictured living near my extended family, owning a used car, never changing my voter registration to anywhere besides Ohio, wearing sweatpants to Olive Garden. Honestly, I don't look down on that choice at all, and it's entirely possible that I'll find myself happily living between a llama farm and a Cracker Barrel in my forties. I was a suburban girl, and I'll probably be a suburban woman. Buuuuut, at least for my take-chances-because-you're-in-your-twenties decade, I think I'm ready to hook some Mace on my keychain and call myself a city mouse.

So like... how do you do that? Or more importantly, where?

I've spent the last year compiling a mile-long list of US cities I could see myself living in, which ranges from the financially ambitious (LA and NYC) to the easy (Orlando and Indianapolis) to the new and exciting (San Francisco and DC) to the hippy (Portland and Denver) to the idk-I-mean-I-like-country-music (Nashville and Charlotte). I'm not writing off any possibilities, and the second that otherwise unappealing Minneapolis calls to offer me a cool job or great place to live, I'm there. But, after much consideration and eager prodding from friends, I think I've narrowed it down to three Big Scary Options. Maybe none of these will be realistic for a year or two, but it's fun to daydream, you know? Here's the rundown.

Los Angeles Pros:
  • Sunshine all year/no snow
  • Healthy atmosphere, easy to eat well
  • The beach! Nature! Green stuff!
  • SO many of my friends live there or plan on moving there
  • Potential for entertainment jobs/creative environment
  • Cool stuff to do/entertainment
  • Proximity to other West Coast cities
Los Angeles Cons:
  • Expensive rent
  • Need a car, need to park that car, need to insure that car
  • Feeling comparatively frumpy and Midwestern
  • Difficult and expensive to make plane trips home
  • Very competitive work-wise
  • No autumn leaves
New York City Pros:
  • Potential for in-office writing jobs
  • Don't need a car
  • Fairly easy to visit home
  • Cool stuff to do/entertainment/ability to stalk SNL cast
  • Seasons similar to home
  • Proximity to other East Coast cities
New York City Cons:
  • Very expensive and small living space
  • Gray, may have to go out of my way to be around trees
  • Maybe this is unfair, but a lot of my experiences with New York have left me sensing a certain elitism from people in the city, which turns me off and makes me feel judged
  • Snow that you have to walk through
Chicago Pros:
  • Midwestern feel (ability to wear sweatpants to an Olive Garden if you MUST)
  • Easy to get home to my family
  • Don't need a car
  • Potential for in-office writing jobs
  • Cool stuff to do/entertainment/ability to obsess over Second City
Chicago Cons:
  • Cold, rainy, snowy, windy/not enough sunshine
  • I hardly know anybody there
  • Farther away from East Coast cities

Uh... what do you think? I'm half tempted just to put it up to a vote. TELL ME WHERE I BELONG, STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET! Write-ins are also accepted, so long as you don't say "my house" or "Detroit." This isn't a problem I need to solve immediately, but it's pretty fun to fantasize about it. I don't have a clue where home will be nine months from now! Maybe my parents' house. Maybe under a bridge. Maybe in a mansion with Daddy Warbucks. Maybe Jason Mraz will finally answer my emails and carry me over his hippy shoulder all the way to his avocado orchard. Who knows? I don't have a clue, and for the first time in my life, I think that's awesome.

P.S. You guys were HILARIOUS with your responses to my little complain-about-your-exes game. I read every comment (94 at the time that I'm writing this!) and I honestly cannot pick a favorite. Honorable mentions go out to Sarah (MVP song: "I Wish I Hadn't Kissed You After I Beat You in Air Hockey"), Comelygrace (MVP song: "Why did you think I would want you to hollow out a tree in the woods and make a boat for me"), and a presumably different Sarah (MVP song: "Obscure Haiku [Don't Get That Tattoo]"). Cheers and appreciation and high-fives to you all.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Songs for Boyfriends Past

Today, while struggling more than any able-bodied adult human ever should to make a clay pot for my art class, I overheard an intriguing conversation. As water splashed off my pottery wheel, covering my arms in a layer of gray mud, two competent art students nearby discussed the new album one of them (presumably a singer-songwriter) is recording. "All the song titles," she told her friend, "are things I've always wanted to tell my old boyfriends." I was fascinated, in the way people who spend too much time on twitter and tumblr are always fascinated by the love lives of strangers, but didn't want to eavesdrop too much. The musician went on to list the track names for her friend, and I forced myself not to listen... but I did make out two of them: "I'm Completely Over It" and "Shut Up Already." Nice.

I tried to disguise my smile as a twisted-face look of concentration, and in taking my mind momentarily off the slippery monstrosity before me, I flattened my pot into a lopsided disaster. It was okay, though, because my brain had moved on to better things. If I were to write songs for all my former significant others, what would I call them? After some thought, I came up with the following:

NOW! That's What I Call Irritating (Volume 1)
1. I'll Never Stop Hating Your Oasis CD
2. Ugh
3. We're Very Impressed By Your Atheism (Talk About Something Else)
4. Making Out During That '70s Show
5. Bored! at the DnD Game
6. Is There a Subreddit That Can Teach You Social Skills?
7. I Think My Dad Hates You
8. I Told You That In Confidence (Don't Repeat It At This Party)
9. Your New Piercing
10. My Dad Definitely Hates You
11. Let's Just Watch Wishbone and Eat Chips
12. Ugh (reprise)

So what would yours be? This game doesn't discriminate against those who rock their singlehood-- you can make a track list for former crushes or flings or celebrity obsessions, too. If you want to play along, leave a comment with your list of song titles, and maybe I'll announce my favorite entry next time? All applicants win the invisible prize of my eternal love. And seventy invisible cookies.

Okay, I have to go scrub hunks of dry clay off my legs. (Is it supposed to burn?) I hope you guys have a lovely evening!

P.S. I posted a new video on Sunday. It's ridiculous.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I'm reclining on a hideous-in-a-cool-way vintage couch that once lived in my late (incredible, inspiring) grandpa's work office, watching the sun set over the 1800s red brick architecture of my university campus, huffing the glorious fumes of a baking batch of cookies, whose recipe I just created on a whim. My roommate is off somewhere, allowing me to guiltlessly lounge pantsless and let my favorite Julia Nunes album play without headphones. I think you know, but just for the record, I only like you for your large hands...

This is one of those pretty moments that remind me of just how important pretty moments are. When I'm fifty years old and I think "college," my mind will probably go to that one professor who really believed in my poetry, the tornado that forced my nineteenth birthday party into a windowless hallway with a group of strangers and half a cake, waiting in the same line for the same late-night burrito every drunken weekend. Chances are, I won't commit a lot of this to memory-- the sipping tea, the listening to myself typing, the ignoring a sink of dirty dishes, the messy bun on top my head. I won't remember this pair of brown sandals, about which there is nothing at all special or extraordinary, but who took my feet for long walks around Chicago and out to karaoke with my best friend and shopping with my mom for the first time that I insisted I purchase all my own clothes. I won't always remember twenty-one with the kind of reverence I currently feel it deserves. I won't be able to conjure up this feeling of being equal parts confident and insecure about my body, equal parts excited and terrified about future job possibilities, equal parts comfortable in the world and anxious as hell. I won't remember how it feels like a victory every time I get through a phone call with a doctor's office without stumbling over my words like a little kid, or how it feels to have someone refer to you as "that woman over there" and realize they don't mean "woman" as a condescending compliment, but a genuine descriptor. I won't remember that little sinking in my stomach when it occurred to me that blue nail polish looks kind of silly on me now, or how I actually hold my breath every time I check my bank statement, or how eating a grocery store doughnut in a parking lot no longer sounds like an awesome idea. This state of twenty-one-ness that makes up my entire life right now will be gone and virtually forgotten as soon as the next stage starts... so this evening, I'm making an effort to soak it up.

I hope you guys have a lovely night! I'm off now to fill myself with banana-oatmeal-dark-chocolate-graham-cracker cookies and throw another filthy bowl on top my pyramid of neglected dishes. I should probably feel guilty about it, but who has time for that? I have a lot more twenty-one-ing to do before bed.

P.S. I posted a new video yesterday! This week's Answerly video (my series of advice for college students) is up as well.