Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Because I'm freaking hilarious!"

It is ridiculously raining. I just walked ten minutes through the storm, from a meeting to my dorm room, and even my umbrella and rubber boots could not stand up to what felt like gallons of water being thrown directly at my face. Now I know how Shamu feels. Well, like, Shamu after some anger management.

I'm crazy about rain. In the same way that it makes me want to hide inside a sweater with too long of sleeves, rain makes me want to hide inside my brain. I have so many story ideas swirling around in there right now that I can't even see straight. I'm drinking peach tea and typing so loudly and with so much conviction that I look like I belong in a movie montage-- I'm the erratic journalist, racing to the deadline, all while maintaining an atmosphere of chicness and sexitude*. I've also taken to listening to French pop music, breaking character to clap excitedly when I understand it, and nodding noncommittally (moodily!) when I don't. I'm really very artistic and indie, guys. You have no idea.

Okay, enough of that. I can only be a hipster for so long before I want to punch myself in the face. I will now try to counteract the damage: McDonald's! A genuine interest in the wellbeing of Lindsay Lohan! The unironic purchasing of t-shirts with "Hollister" written on them! There we go. Balanced and back to normal.

What's up, guys? Lately, I've been thinking about this internet culture that most of us are deeply invested in, and how it appears to people on the outside. As odd as it sounds, I spend most of my time around people with lifestyles so similar to my own, that I can go weeks without remembering that what I do is really, really strange. Last week, I mentioned twitter in a class, and some guy in the back of the room sighed loudly in response. "I hate twitter," he said, as if he couldn't have been more serious about anything, ever. "How self-involved are you?"

I can never predict ahead of time how I'll react to confrontation, because I either go completely silent, or retort as cockily as possible. It all depends on my mood, the setting, and the person provoking me. And apparently I was in Fight Mode on that particular morning, because I laughed, shook my head, and said, "7,000 followers' worth?" Which was, admittedly, both self-involved and a stupid thing to say in front of people whom I can now never mock online.

The guy then said, "See, I think that's disgusting. Why do that many people need to hear what you're doing today?"

I'd already started blushing, realizing that it was a pointless argument that would only end in me sounding like I was obsessed with myself, but I guess I had an adrenaline rush, because there was suddenly no turning back. I figured I'd better go big or go home. I shrugged and said, "Because I'm freaking hilarious!"

Guy: "Yeah, it's stuff like that. I hate twitter and blogs and all that. Anyone who wants can go online and write whatever they're thinking, and then other idiots read it and convince the writer that they're famous or something."

Me: "Well, mine's kind of different. I don't just write my opinions on Justin Bieber." As these words left my mouth, I became suddenly aware of the fact that I end each post with the nail polish brand I'm wearing, and that sometimes my tweets are somewhat obscure references to the personal lives of Disney Channel actresses... but he didn't need to know that part. What he did need to know was that, "I'm a professional writer," (I technically am!) and that "People read what I have to say because they want to."

I wish I had a better story for you, but our debate pretty much ended there. Class had ended and, as heated as the discussion had been, I was still more interested in the prospect of lunch than I was in defending my own dignity. He said something passively polite, like, "Well, I've never seen what you write, but maybe you're different," and then I ate a sandwich.

I wanted to recount this conversation to you guys, though. Partially to provide a less biased view of what an annoying person I am in the real world, so you don't get your hopes up too high, and partially because I know a lot of you can relate. Maybe our generation has become irrevocably shallow and selfish due to the large-scale outlets for adolescent vanity available through our computer screens, but I like to be a little more optimistic about it. Internet culture allows us to form heroes and quasi-celebrities around those who offer something we desire, instead of always limiting us to what major media corporations deem Fame-worthy. Sure, Kim Kardashian is still a household name in our society, but internet communities allow us to also follow people who make us laugh, or whose self-produced music makes us happy, or who make videos about things we care about. I may be bombarded with Kim Kardashian, but now I have the ability to idolize someone like Natalie Tran, too. Not because she had a nice butt (although she might; I haven't studied it extensively), but because she has creative things to say. Natalie probably wouldn't have peddled her talents through auditions for TV shows, or taken her clothes off in order to be noticed more**, but youtube is the perfect environment to bring people like her to the attention of people like me. Do you get what I mean? Do you agree?

Anyway, that's just what's running through my spastic mind tonight. I hope you're all having a good week, and that you're not letting the news about Hiccup Girl upset you too much. I'd apologize for the gap between posts, but you know how that goes. You've heard it all before. You guys stick by me even when I suck, and for that, I will leave you with this.

Chipotle burritos this year: 29
Subscribers: 36,148
Nail color: Just clear Sally Hansen Hard As Nails.

*Don't say anything; let me have my dreams.
**Not that any of us would object! I mean. Not that... OTHER people... would... object.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Note on Body Image

My name is Hayley Hoover, and my body is freaking awesome.

I've been doing this for almost five years. By now, my skin is thick enough that rude, ignorant youtube comments pretty much explode on impact when they hit my rock-hard self-esteem of steel. It doesn't even begin to sting anymore when I read something like "ur fat," because I know for a fact that I am not. And even if I were, I've reached a level of confidence at this point in my life that I no longer feel the desire to match anyone else's standards. My clothes fit comfortably, I can hike up a hill without losing my breath, my skin sits taut and smooth over my muscles, and I feel good. Sure, there are days when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and cringe a little bit, but that's because I'm a girl and we have self-doubt wired into our brains at birth already, without any contributions from stupid boys who have probably never been within a foot of a boob. What I mean to say is, if you want to hurt my feelings, tell me I'm a bad writer, or an incurably mean person, or say something cruel to somebody I love. But if your goal is to bring me down, don't even bother with "Failed boob to body ratio." My body is hot, my brain is hotter, and my shape has zero effect on who I am as a person.

I had a friend in middle school who wore nothing but big sweatshirts every single day, because she was built like a Playboy bunny and had a movie star face, and boys would tease her by assuming she was promiscuous. She was beautiful, but if she wore anything remotely form-fitting, she was tortured as much as the girls with acne or extra pounds. If even the girls our society deems perfect can't escape ridicule from idiots, why should you allow rude remarks to get in your way?

My mother always tells me that some boy on the schoolbus once called her hairy, and somehow that one little comment stuck with her for years... so long that, in high school, when that same guy asked her out, she took heaps of pleasure in declining his offer. You don't know her, but my mom is smokin'. And part of what makes her so gorgeous is the fact that she understands how little it matters to be perfect-looking, and the fact that, while she's out being this stunning role-model, that kid from the schoolbus is probably raising more little jerk boys who will never be as awesome as she is.

Girls, I know you've heard it said before, but listen. I'm not a model. I'm not old and wise. I'm just a healthy, happy twenty-year-old girl who spends too much time on the internet, and I have no reason to lie to you. You kick ass. You're awesome. You don't have a perfect body, but thank God, because life sucks just as much for people who do. There are parts of you that are majorly pretty, and it's up to you to decide who deserves to comment on them. If someone makes you feel ugly, forget them. Criticism like "ugly" happens even to the people you think are beautiful, so it can't be all that valid. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, deal with it or ignore them. You are hot, but you are also a hell of a lot more than that.

I'm not writing this blog post just to brag about my level of comfort with my self-image, because I was thirteen once, and there are few things less inspiring than hearing how happy everyone else is when you despise the way you look. I also don't want to be Tyra Banks and scream and cry and preach all day, because it's not exactly reassuring to watch a millionaire model talk about how hard it is to be a size six. What I do hope I can accomplish, though, is to tell each and every girl out there who reads this that guys who make comments on your appearance are complete and utter morons. You are not worthless for having cellulite; the comments of those who mention it are what's worthless.

Chipotle burritos this year: 29
Subscribers: 35,857
Nail color: Plain, for once. Riding this whole "I'm natural and beautiful" wave as long as possible. Also lazy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Since August

"I'd never given much thought to how I would die, but dying in the place of someone I love seems like a good way to go."

I'd never given much thought to how I would address my blog readers, had I taken an unannounced month-and-a-half hiatus and made many of them growl at me, but catching them off guard with an inane and irrelevant quote from Twilight seems like a good way to start.

What? I don't know. That made even less sense in print than it did in my head. I think what I'm trying to say is HELLO, GUYS. I AM SORRY. I AM VERY, VERY SORRY. School has been giving me a constant and painful noogie since the beginning of the quarter, and on most weekdays, I've found myself weighing the pros and cons of showering, breathing, sleeping and eating, because my massive stack of homework has allowed for me to choose only two of the above. Still, I feel guilty. I should have blogged smellily, breathlessly, on narcotics, and whilst wearing a feedbag*. I am a blogging failure, and I deserve whatever the modern middle-class American equivalent to being stoned in the streets.** But can we just put that all in the past for now? So much has happened since August and I sort of want to bounce up and down and tell you things without feeling like you're glaring at me. Okay? Okay.

Since August, I:

--Moved back into college, where I now live with one of my best friends, Heather, in a little white room with sloping ceilings and a colorful world map above my bed, so I can lean back and fantasize about moving to a magical land without homework.

--Skirted any existential crisis I'd anticipated would accompany my turning twenty. It turns out that twenty feels a lot like nineteen, except slamming doors becomes less acceptable and people expect you to phase out of wearing tight t-shirts with words written across the boobs. Luckily, these two particular traits of teenagedom were never my favorites to begin with, so I haven't missed them yet. What I will miss, though, is this. Entering a new decade of life means starring as Liesl von Trapp is but a distant dream.***

--Had a birthday party that ended in DESTRUCTION. We went to Chipotle, had a cake with contraband candles (they're not allowed in the dorms, because a tiny wax stick can wreak havoc on cinderblock and brick) and the whole shebang, before we were ordered to file into the first floor hallway because of a tornado warning. It was surprisingly fun, though. Just like John Green's character in Let It Snow, I've always loved the inconvenience of bad weather.

--Started taking some new classes that, for the most part, anger me SO MUCH THAT I'M SLIPPING INTO CAPS LOCK. I don't feel like getting into it tonight, since my hatred for my current course load makes my blood course loads of jagged spikes throughout my body and OH MY GOODNESS IT IS HORRIBLE. But that is a story for another day.

--Have picked up running even more seriously, and am now putting in about five miles a day. I like to think that stress is converting itself into energy and giving me superhuman strength.

--Got my first speeding ticket! I was on my way back to school tonight, not exhibiting any unusually erratic behind-the-wheel behavior as far as I know, but I was admittedly going faster than the speed limit. The whole event was pretty anticlimactic. The police officer was friendly to me, I didn't cry, I didn't slam into the highway shoulder rail when I got back on the road, and he didn't search the car or find any of the illegal drugs I didn't have. It still doesn't make for a very exciting story, but I did find out that every other member of my family has been pulled over in the exact same town. I've never really considered us to be a wild gang of daredevils, but hey, each day brings new discoveries.

--Have been to an eye doctor (they're fine), a dentist (them too), and a regular doctor (ten fingers, ten toes), all of whom ruled out several common causes for headaches, but could offer no explanation for the ones that have been attacking me daily. I went home this weekend to fill out a giant stack of paperwork, and have to drive back this coming Friday to see a migraine specialist. At this point, I'm pretty much used to walking around with what feels like a stack of bricks on my neck, but would really like to eliminate the charming side-effect that is my need for extra sleep. Because, as I previously mentioned, I don't have time for extra sleep, and I reckon it's probably dangerous to try eating at the same time.

--Made a particularly whiny list of white girl problems in my first post-hiatus blog entry. Sorry. WHY DO YOU GUYS LIKE ME?! Wait. Counterproductive. Double sorry.

And that's the basic outline, I think. If I happen to awaken suddenly, realizing that I forgot to tell you about something majorly fascinating and pertinent to your wellbeing as a person I probably have never met... I'll be sure to tell you in the next year or two, whenever I remember I have a blog. Haha. You guys are one amazingly loyal group of people, and I can't express how grateful I am that you continue to forgive me for getting too caught up in my own personal drama to, um, record my own personal drama for the internet. I hope you all have a lovely day, and remember how much I appreciate you, even when I blatantly ignore you for months at a time. :-p

Chipotle burritos this year: 28
Subscribers: 35,635
Nail color: Finger Paints, "Art You Kidding Me?"

**Being denied access to cable television? Only being allowed to purchase tall Starbucks beverages? Having to wear previously-owned clothing?!
***That Rolf totally botched some of the lyrics. Put a hat on me and I'd out-prance him. Nazi. (Not the actor. I mean. Sorry, dude.)