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.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


This is my last semester of college. Like, ever. By December, I'll have a degree, a real life, and a heart attack. What do graduates do? When does their year start? When is their summer? Do they ever buy five-subject notebooks? Do they still eat a whole package of Oreos in one sitting?

To commemorate my career as a writing student, I thought I might start posting some of my more entertaining* class assignments. I'm currently taking a course on the personal essay-- talking about yourself, trying not to sound obsessed with yourself, being obsessed with yourself-- you know, essentially this blog. For our first assignment, a short essay about one or more of our pet peeves, I was too bored to be honest, so I decided to write it from a slightly exaggerated, not-exactly-real version of myself. It's not a masterpiece, but it was fun. I hope you enjoy.

At this point, my biggest pet peeve is a little too big to fall under “pet” status. This peeve is more like an overweight son in his mid-twenties who won’t move out of your basement and get a job. This peeve has been nagging me to some degree my entire life, and it just gets uglier and heavier and peevier as the days go by. People tell me, “Get over it! It’s a fact of life! Junk food makes you fat!” I tell people, “Yes, and that pisses me off.” 

The thing is, I understand why unhinging your jaw like a pelican and cramming a dozen mini cupcakes down your throat would, in theory, make you gain weight. We’re decedents of chimpanzees who spend most of their afternoons gnawing fruit and trying to crack nuts open. Anything that strays too far from naked grazing on an open meadow is bound to be unhealthy. But shouldn’t evolution have solved this problem? Shouldn’t evolution have looked around, noticed that I spend my afternoons sprawled on my crumb-covered bed, elevating my chin just high enough to see my computer screen? Science really ought to have abolished calories by now. If I were science, I’d be like, “Wow, humans invented onion rings? That’s freaking incredible. We should get our shit together and let them eat onion rings. Free of charge. Go forth, my children.” 

But my peeve isn’t quite that simple. I’m almost able to accept the conditions: If you want to look good, you can’t be happy. This has been proven so many times, by so many blonde celebrities holding Starbucks cups on their way out of rehab, that nobody with the E! channel needs me to elaborate further. My second-biggest peeve emerges when someone inevitably tries to defy this law. For every two McDonald’s patrons this country has to offer, there is at least one vegan surfer who takes B12 supplements and does yoga on purpose. I really don’t know which is worse. On the one hand, all the leading causes of death in the US involve eating yourself into a blob. On the other hand, screw vegans. (I can say that. I am one. Because I hate myself.) 

I just want to let you know, chick wearing a handmade sweater made of organic yarn, that everybody hates you. Not for real, but symbolically. We see you picking at your cup of spinach, staring straight ahead with a dead-in-the-eyes smile as you attempt to gnash raw leaves between your molars, and you remind us that we’re Jolly Rancher-ing ourselves into a downward spiral. It’s your prerogative to eat granola, but at least have the common decency not to do it in front of me! 

Above all, though, I’m peeved with myself. These ten pounds that I lose and gain and lose again, every three months like clockwork, keep me constantly yo-yoing between worlds. I have duel citizenship in Fatass Town and Pretentious Pseudo-Nutritionist Who Says Shit Like “Holistic” City. I’ve been that person at the party whose enthusiastic cry of “Let’s make more brownies!” is greeted with silence and shrugs, and I’ve also been that person holding out a Mason jar and crooning, “Do you want some of my quinoa? I can never finish it.” Get with the program, past self! Your brownies make everyone feel like shit, and your quinoa tastes like it. But until I get a grip on reality (never), I will remain militant against all other eaters worldwide. You with the cheeseburger? You’re pissing me off. You with the agave nectar? You’re pissing me off. I guess what I’m getting at-- after all the “Can I see a dessert menu?” is said and after all the Pilates is done-- is that food stresses me out.

So yeah, that's basically how I'm using my multi-thousand-dollar education. If you're not completely sick of me yet, I posted a video on my second channel a few days ago, and I have a new hayleyghooover video coming out tonight. I hope you all have a lovely day! See you soon, guys.

*Keep in mind that "entertaining" is a relative term, and that these essays are pretty much only entertaining in comparison to 10-page papers about what the color green means in The Great Gatsby.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pits and Parkas

Depression is the shittiest shit monster made of shit. It makes me write sentences like that one. It makes me write nothing else, at all, for days. The only natural cure for this feeling-- where it's like you've fallen into an extremely deep pit, and any attempt to crawl out just jostles more dirt into your face-- is to do your best to ignore that face-dirt, power through, and pull yourself out. That's what this melodramatic analogy is for. If I don't write a little bit of nonsense, I'll continue not writing anything at all. So get out of my way, face-dirt! I've got a blog to update!

I hate nothing more (short of, like, the supervolcano) than being a massive downer. I get my energy from being around positive people, I feel like one of my strengths is maintaining a certain level of optimism during debates, I genuinely enjoy the musical stylings of Ke$ha. It kind of disturbs me that a catchphrase of my generation is "I hate everybody," and when I'm in that place where I'm more happy than not-- more grateful than disappointed-- I find it difficult to be around people who disagree. Because of all this, it's mega hard for me to answer "How are you doing?" with anything other than "Good!" I don't want to be the sad one. I don't want to be that introspective emo chick in the coffee shop, wearing enough eyeliner that you can see her misery drip down her face. I don't want to be a drain or a bother or an Eeyore or a supervolcano. I just wish the energy and excitement for life that I definitely do have... came out of me with less effort. Maybe a better analogy than the pit of dirt would be a parka? Or something? It's me under the coat, completely alive, completely normal, but it's zipped up too tightly for me to get it off, and I can't get any work done because I'm sweating to death under the weight of this totally unnecessary layer. I can talk about all the stuff I have to get done, but I can't actually move.

I have just pages of video ideas on my desk right now, and I haven't been able to post anything for over a month. The creativity isn't an issue, but the creativity might as well not exist without the followthrough. I've found myself sitting still, doing nothing at all besides glancing half-heartedly at my twitter feed, saying out loud, "Today. You're filming that today. You're finishing those edits in half an hour. Twenty minutes. Now. You're writing that paper, you're going for that run, you're calling that friend. Get up!" And I just can't. The parka's too tight, the pit's too deep, whatever. It's the absolute shittiest feeling in the world.

I guess it's a step in the right direction, though, to be able to write this feeling down. It's taking longer than it ought to, yeah, and I'll be embarrassed and flighty if anyone in my day-to-day life tries to talk to me about it, of course, but at least I'm getting something finished. I apologize if I've made you uncomfortable or sad, guys. But, as always, I'm so, so, so entirely thankful that you're here to listen. I hope you have a lovely day, and that any pits or parkas you're aquatinted with don't get a good grip on you.

P.S. If depressed, I do not recommend clicking that link about the supervolcano. It was a bad decision to include that one. Just watch today's Answerly video about bagels instead. Or listen to Ke$ha.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Not a girl, not yet a non-disaster

Want to hear something completely insane? I'll be twenty-two years old in one month, a college graduate in four, a potential non-Ohioan soon thereafter. Want to hear my worldly, grown up, cosmopolitan response to all of it? Holy shit.

Evidence that I'm a woman:
  • I can put on earrings without looking for the holes in a mirror.
  • I can give you a to-the-hundred estimate of what's in my checking account at any given time.
  • I don't feel any desire to buy vending machine candy bars.
  • I keep my keys on a hook and my jewelry in a box.
  • I keep track of appointments on a calendar.
  • I get really excited by Target's kitchen supply section.
  • All my coats have a matching pair of gloves in their front pockets.
  • I rarely eat anything containing neon food coloring.
Reasons I'm a kid:
  • I think jeans belong on the floor. (Anyone who claims it's convenient to fold them over slippery hangers or stack of them where they'll never be seen is pretentious/lying.)
  • I don't keep bank deposit slips in my glove compartment.
  • Regarding makeup, I haven't yet found a balance between Completely Bare and Crack Whore.
  • Sometimes I let empty toilet paper rolls collect into a cardboard tube graveyard instead of just throwing them away.
  • I still buy $4 magazines even though I know they're brainwashing and catalogueish and wasteful and satanic and all that.
  • I can't make eye contact with the condom/pregnancy test/any-tube-with-the-word-"vaginal"-on-it aisle.
  • I recently made my mother convince me there wasn't a murderer in my house.
  • I'm, like, really pumped that they're making new Sailor Moon episodes.

I don't have the slightest idea how one is supposed to handle this transition. Ingest illegal substances? Get a mom haircut? Listen to the second track of every Broadway musical recording, wherein the protagonist invariably sings about how something's coming and they've gotta find their purpose and their corner of the sky and their one song glory? I don't know. I don't know. So I'm taking baby steps. Today, I clean out my childhood bedroom.

It's amazing how this room-- which used to be my only sanctuary of semi-privacy, where I could be my absolute self-- is suddenly a hot pink memorial to some kid who doesn't exist anymore. This polkadot rug that everyone said was ugly but I swore represented my unique style? It's ugly. The books that once changed my life are suddenly "cute." I can't decipher the metaphors in old journaled poems, I can't comprehend why something as hideous as this lamp would dare to exist, I can't remember what led me to attempt a "mural" on my closet wall. This room is a time capsule, a museum exhibit... a complete mess.

First task: eliminate any and all clothing that rings even the tiniest bit pubescent. I keep catching myself mulling over sweaters and being all, "Oh, this is still good! I got it during my freshman year of high school! That was only... seven years ago." Nope. Goodbye, tank tops with broken lace. Ciao, good-intentioned tops that look pretty on hangers but don't cover my boobs. I'm forcing myself to toss anything emblazoned with an embroidered seagull or designed for someone awaiting her first period. Discharging all Abercrombie products, pronto.

Sigh. The thing is, I'm getting pretty good at not being a child, but I'm still awful at being an adult. What are women supposed to wear? Like, khakis? I know the applique sweater vests don't come until later, and I think I'm supposed to own a lot of sparkly things for going to bars, but that's as close as I've come to figuring it out. I'll let you know if I wake up tomorrow with an insatiable desire to purchase control-top pantyhose. Until then, it's back to Britney Spearsing for me. I'm not a girl, not yet a woman, and not anywhere near done de-Hollister-izing my bedroom floor. See you guys soon!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Less Than Three Update & Stuff & Ponies

Your entries to my little makeshift writing contest were an absolute delight, guys. I pulled up your comments and blogs on my phone and rewarded myself for staying awake in class by reading them under the desk. We'll have to do this again sometime, yes? It feels silly to pick a winner, since that wasn't really the point, but I'm gonna have to go with EJ on this one. Just beautiful and affecting and good. Cheers and confetti and pinatas for everybody!

I've been in Crazy Work Mode for the last few days. It's all video filming and Less Than Three editing and homework and throwing things in fits of frustration. Still, I can't help but feel lucky or blessed or what-have-you that I get the opportunity to do what I love, and that I have the health and financial situation and support that I need in order for these kinds of projects be possible. I'm stressed, but it's the kind of stress I'm really grateful to have, you know? I'm trying to make more of an effort to spread my work out evenly and spend time enjoying it. As we speak, I'm writing this on my sunshiney balcony with a bottle of sun tea slowly changing color beside me, listening to the new Jason Mraz album, stretching my neck. Right on cue, Jason just sang the perfect summary of what I'm going for: "I'm letting go of the thoughts that do not make me strong." Me too, bud.

Oh hey, while we're (sort of) on the topic of The Book-- I've had a few people ask for an update about the project, probably because we've had a hard time coming up with some sort of central place for news about it, between mine and Kristina's million youtube channels and blogs and twitters and et cetera. At this point, we've been in contact with-- and received confirmation from-- all of the finalists. If you submitted a story and haven't heard from us personally about it, your story hasn't made it on to the next round to be considered for the official book. It is 100% yours again, so feel free to put it on your own blog or submit it to another publication, or even save it for if Kristina and I ever host a similar contest. Narrowing down the near thousand submissions was one of the most challenging hunks of work I've ever finished. Frankly, I was amazed by the talent and heart in each and every entry. If you participated, thank you so much for putting yourself out there, taking risks, and allowing us to read your work. This community is pretty much a constant ass-kicking awesome-fest. Thank you, guys.

On that note, my video files just finished rendering, so I'm about to jump into ferocious editing mode. If you missed it, I posted a new HGH video on Thursday (in which I wear a bikini and obscene amounts of eyeliner) and a new Answerly video yesterday, complete with tips for surviving final exams! I hope you all have a lovely morning/afternoon/evening/middle-of-the-night-when-you-should-be-sleeping-but-let's-face-it-you-probably-won't-because-tumblr-and-youtube-exist. I'll see you soon!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Uh... poetry?

I hope you guys are in the mood for a little dash of ridiculousness, because man, do I have a treat for you tonight!

I do not write poetry. I just don't. I appreciate poetry-- I've had to remind myself not to lick the pages of my John Donne anthology in public-- but my thoughts and feelings and emotions (even the best ones) simply do not translate into a world without punctuation rules. I've worked on it, I've taken classes, I've stared frustratedly at botched pieces of notebook paper and willed them to become art, but it has yet to work. Sadly, I've somehow found myself enrolled in a workshop intended for people who, like, know what they're doing. My strategy so far has been to write prose and then go back and add haphazard line breaks and delete all the periods. My professor has actually liked them, by some crazy, demented twist of fate... but I still cringe every time I glance at my class folder. But what better way to overcome anxiety than to dip your whole head into a freezing cold bucket of it?

I'm sharing this one with you because the prompt is awesome, and I want to invite you to write your own original poems under the same guidelines. So I can selfishly read them and feel like some kind of proud aunt. You can leave your poem as a comment, or just comment with a link to your own blog. I'll pick a favorite and then praise the hell out of its author in a future post. Are you down? Will you do this with me? Cool.

In your poem, include at least fourteen of the following items: a statistic, a dish eaten cold, three forms of heat, a smell you can't forget, a line from a movie, something out of a textbook, two things you wish you had said, a reference to an aunt or uncle, some kind of moving vehicle, two words beginning with R and ending with "-ion", a stage direction, two distinct hours of the day, an historical figure, an adhesive, an animal only seen up close in the zoo, a slang expression ("call it quits," for example), something really bad that you did, something that undermines or negates everything else you've said.

Here's mine!

Is this punishment for when I was ten
and I scratched my brother’s arm so hard
that it left permanent half-moon scars?
Is that why I saw my eleventh birthday come
and go without receiving a single piece of parchment
stamped with the imprint of an owl’s beak?

They say revenge is a dish served cold,
and goddamn it, I am freezing.
I belong in a toasty wand-knit sweater
with my blocky first initial on its front!
I belong with my legs tucked under me
on a red couch next to a furnacey fireplace!
I belong gulping steamy potato leak soup
that I charmed out of the kitchen after hours!

Where are all my adventures?
Where is my 8AM air tingling my cheekbones
as my thighs hold tightly to a wooden handle?
Where is my midnight foray into the forest
under my friend’s dad’s uncle’s old cloak?
Where is the unforgettable smell of butterbeer,
all caramel-colored and homey and in my throat?

For Merlin’s sake, just let me in!
Let me in or I’ll use the Expoximise charm
and glue my ass to the front gate!
Let all the “deserving” eleven-year-olds watch
as I lean, center stage, gate-to-ass like a zoo elephant
and yell all the things I should have said!
I should have sent them my own letter
and been like, “Dear Hogwarts School.
I am pleased to inform you that you have been
invited to accept me into your establishment!”
I should’ve found Dumbledore’s email address
and said, “Hey, buddy. I’ll set you up on Grindr
if you let me be a Gryffindor!”

Whatever. Out of everyone in the world,
.0355% of us are special enough for your castle,
and I was supposed to grow old and jaded
without you. Was that the plan?
Well, I found a loophole!
You didn’t admit me, but I snuck in!
And every time I open those heavy,
beautiful books, I will have the adventure
and the food and the burgundy sweater!
And even longer than my brother
will have half-moon scars,
I will have my own personal magic.

I can't wait to see what you guys come up with. I may never even reach angry-eighth-grade-diary-scribbler levels of poet talent, but at least I just posted the phrase "gate-to-ass" on my blog. I hope you all have a lovely day. I'll see you guys soon!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I need an oil change.

You know that ridiculous staple of horrible pop songs, when it digresses into a boys vs. girls chant-off? Like this and this. Lately, I... sort of feel like there's one of those happening in my head. On the one side, I'm working hard in school, taking on a huge project with the book, making videos, running, feeling good about myself. It's like a really enthusiastic Zac Efron wearing pastels and nailing his choreography. But all the while, on the other side, there's this catatonic depressive waste of space who eats a lot of cookies and doesn't get out of bed until noon and finds it physically strenuous to put on pants. The anti-Efron. I've tried to force the latter side out of my brain. I've tried to make the two opposing mindsets converge or battle to the death or something... but as with everything in my personality, this situation is sort of all or nothing. I'm either ON or I'm OFF.

I pretty much took the month of March off from working-- a mental health sabbatical, or something-- but now I'm having a hard time getting my footing again. For instance, this is like my seventh try at writing a blog post. That's nuts. That's just utterly nuts. I've never in my life had a problem vomiting my thoughts here, but tonight? It sort of feels like I'm on an exercise machine and somebody turned up the resistance level to 70,000,000. I keep typing halves of sentences just to erase them, stretching my neck agitatedly, punching my left hand with my right. I don't know how to turn it off. My eye keeps going down to a minimized Word document that contains the blueprints for a video I'd really like to have done, but even with all the free time in the world, I haven't been able to make it. Do I need an oil change?

This year has brought me quite a heaping plate full of personal challenges-- some of them definitely big enough to warrant the occasional breakdown/cookie massacre-- but something really huge occurred to me today. It's April. As in the fifth month.*
As in 2012 is nearly half over. It's one thing to let yourself feel necessary emotions when they're necessary for the necessary healing process, but it's another thing to let an entire year slip by while you're hiding your head under your food-stained comforter. Starting today, I'm renewing my commitment to work through the pain. I'm going to structure my life so tightly that there's no room for wallowing. I'm going to be bigger than the forces trying to bring me down. I'm going to stop playing this
High School Musical song oh dear god why.

Do you guys know of any secret tricks that... kill depression? Is there some kind of aerosol spray I can buy? Is there an app for that? I'm really open to any and all suggestions.

Thanks for putting up with my moody evil twin tonight. Here, have a pretty picture of my college campus, for your trouble. I hope you all have a lovely evening! Sincerely. I'll see you soon.

*Mmkay, so yes, let's take a moment and discuss the fact that I-- for a few minutes--thought April was the 5th month of the year. Go on. Laugh. Get it out of your systems. I'm tired. Screw you.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Working a practically full-time job based out of my laptop has quickly taught me that I’m much less of an introvert than I’d originally thought. While I’d still choose a bag of popcorn and old episodes of The Office over a college lawn party nine times out of ten, there’s something oddly draining about spending the vast majority of your day secluded in the same room. It feels almost pointless to wear makeup or attractive clothes when you’re only in class for four hours, and it becomes less and less comforting to lie in your bed at the end of the day when you’ve been there since two. Emily Dickinson-ing can take its toll on a person. So, because I’ve dedicated 2012 to mimicking adulthood and trying to get a sense of how I plan to live once I’m done with school next winter, I’m pushing myself to move out of my comfort zone, and tonight I’m coming to you live from a corner table at a coffee shop.

It’s a little bit distracting—one of my teachers is across the room, two nearby girls are noisily playing Scrabble, and the soundtrack keeps fading from The Rolling Stones to Teagan and Sara to something drum-based and vaguely African—but this tea is comforting and it feels nice to bring you, Blog, out on a field trip. There’s something charming about typing away in my little world, knowing that twenty other Little Worlds are happening around me. That bearded guy in the armchair is probably writing a screenplay. Those two blondes are maybe on a second date. The laptoppy blue haze on one girl’s face just screams Tumblr. These people all value being alone just as much as I do, but they’re choosing to be alone together. I could get used to this.

So what is there to say tonight? I had a really pleasant weekend. One of my best friends, Heather (she was my roommate last year, but transferred to a school near my parents’ house, for those playing along at home) came and stayed over for Friday and Saturday. With some other friends, we spent the former night ingesting things and watching movies and being ridiculous (my memories are admittedly scattered—at one point, I debated with a friend why he should let me draw on his face with marker), and the latter night at an annual dance held by our school’s LGBT group, the theme for which was “Super Queeros.” My Sailor Venus costume was unparalleled. Sunday was lazy and included a few hours of walking aimlessly uptown with Heather, talking about every stupid thing that wandered into our minds. It upsets me on a weekly basis that we no longer live within an arm’s-length of each other, but distance does, at least, make the heart grow fonder of walking together in the cold.

In other news, I continue to make progress with The Book project, and I’ve also returned to an old, previously abandoned novel. Before starting this post, I reread what I’d worked on this time last year, and those fifty stupid pages that I’d wanted to vomit all over at one time? They were surprisingly… not horrible. I’ll probably change my mind about it ten thousand more times before I ever finish the story, but for tonight, I’m going to allow myself to feel good. I can write sometimes! Who knew?

On that note, I’ve gotta get out of here to free up room for other Poets and Bards who actually plan on buying more than one cup of tea. But hey, maybe I’ll be back tomorrow! My goal for this week is to get out of my apartment more often and to judge myself less harshly when it comes to first drafts and valiant efforts. What’s yours?

P.S. New Answerly video today! This one is about not being a drunkard. Features photos of me being a drunkard.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Angry Girl Music! (And the letter H)

Tonight's post is brought to you by the letter H. H begins all kinds of important words! Like
"Hayley!" And "horticulture!" And "
hemorrhage!" And "holy shit I need to take a break from working right now or I'm going to pass out with my face down on the keyboard and the landlord won't find my maggot-gnawed body until July." I'm chin-deep into the work that remains in this phase of production on the book, which means I'm forgetting meals, I'm making nasty crackling joint noises whenever I move my wrists, and I'm seeing black Times New Roman inside my eyelids when I try to sleep. But I'm not complaining! God, not in the slightest. This stress and frustration is exactly what I need in my life right now. I feel like I'm doing what I was meant to do. Harmony. Happiness. Other H-words. Hurrah!

I was really pleased by the response to my last post. It looks most of us are on the same page regarding my goal to find more balance in my everyday life-- a lot of you were already working towards that, and some of you renewed your vows, which rocks. In the immortal words of Troy Bolton and the East High Wildcats, we're all in this together. That's inspirational. It's high-fivable. It's choreographed-dance-able.

Speaking of dancing and dorkiness, I'm at that point in my college career where I've given up hope on ever looking like a normal human being, and I've embraced the power in my eccentricity and taken it one step further. My workout schedule was getting kind of stale since the weather's forcing me to kick it treadmill style, so I've created a playlist of ANGRY EMPOWERING BREAKUP SONGS that I unabashedly lipsync to while running and/or ponytail-bouncing. And who would I be to deny you the same fun? If you're a runner or a walker or a rower or a what-have-you, I highly recommend downloading these puppies and giving mental hell to whatever douchebag last did you wrong. 68% satisfaction guaranteed (that nearly doubles if sing along; screw the people next to you).

  1. "You Oughta Know" - Alanis Morissette
  2. "Survivor" - Destiny's Child
  3. "Fighter" - Christina Aguilera
  4. "Piece of My Heart" - Janis Joplin
  5. "So What" - Pink
  6. "I Will Survive" - Gloria Gaynor
  7. "Stronger" - Britney Spears
  8. "Since U Been Gone" - Kelly Clarkson
  9. "What Doesn't Kill You" - Kelly Clarkson
  10. "Walk Away" - Kelly Clarkson
  11. "Picture to Burn" - Taylor Swift
  12. "Before He Cheats" - Carrie Underwood
When combined with rage and determination, this collection of blonde lady pop songs (and a few angry brunettes) is part of a healthy weight loss plan!*

On that high-pitched note, I'm gonna go practice what I preach and get in a quick run before I have to dive back into accomplishing shit. I'm continuing to work on my goal of better balance, and I hope you guys all find yourselves healthy and happy enough to do the same. Have a lovely evening! <3

P.S. I have a cheesy-yet-sincere new video from Thursday, as well as today's new Answerly video featuring brief partial nudity. Enjoy!

*And it's not just for straight girls! Change the pronouns and/or add in some NSYNC and you're good to go, dudes and et cetera-s.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I'm very much supposed to be writing a paper right now about Ernest Hemingway and our culture's obsession with an imagined sexual orientation binary, but just typing this sentence is pretentious and exhausting enough for me to put the project off for another hour. Instead, I'm squeezing every last bit of value out of my time by lying here, open-mouthed, increasing the chances of my already likely carpal tunnel by scrolling endlessly through Tumblr. So speaking of extremely addictive/pointless activities and the way my posture is giving me several excess chins, today I want to talk about self-improvement.

My best friend gets mad at me when I pile pressure on her by describing her as purely good, but that doesn't change the fact that she is. Even from far away, she makes a point to spread little wisdoms to me over the phone, and I have to share one with you. Both of us have a certain propensity for depression and a much stronger and unnecessary sense of guilt for being sad, and to combat these, she's recently tried to show me the value of balance. The idea, basically, is that moderation is the cure for everything. You can't expect your body and mind and soul to all work properly if you're only feeding one of them. Everyone has certain unique needs, and denying yourself any of them can lead to feeling off-kilter. I know for a fact that, every day, I require:

  • at least twenty minutes of exercise
  • a good dose of sunshine and fresh air
  • to write something for myself
  • to write something for an audience
  • a solid conversation with someone I love
  • fresh vegetables
  • eight glasses of water
  • to make something with my hands
  • and to have some physical contact with another person.

Still, I'm constantly sacrificing one or several of these because it's convenient or because I'd rather sit around and feel bad for myself. Inevitably, that feeling-bad-for-myself will soon turn to feeling-bad-about-myself and then to being-a-drain-on-other-people, eventually resulting in all-around Shit. And the thing is... I really don't like Shit. Depression breeds on itself, and if your natural defense system against it is already weak or holed, you need to make conscious, everyday efforts if you're going to combat the bastard. So balance. I'm working on balance.

Here's something I made with my hands to illustrate my determination to follow through with this don't-give-into-stupid-instinct-when-you-could-be-kicking-ass plan:

And to help me keep up the positive attitude, I'm going to end all my posts for a while with a new personal goal. This week: Balance. Making time to treat myself the way I need to be treated. What's yours? <3

P.S. Since we last spoke, I've posted a new video on my main channel, a companion video on my second channel, and a new (totally eccentric) Answerly video!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Brain-Thudding Thoughtvomit

For the past few years, I've gotten these intense, disabling headaches at fairly random intervals, without notice or warning, that can last anywhere from forty minutes to nine hours. My very sweet and concerned mother insisted that I get a check-up (nothing) and then a visit to a migraine specialist (nope) and then an optometrist appointment (my flinchy phobia of all things ocular made that exciting, but still nothing) and then an MRI, all of which led to the diagnosis: Uh, hmm, well. Looks like you just get headaches. That sucks.

There were pills for a while, but they were huge and chalky and they never seemed to do much anyway, so I eventually threw my hands in the air and resigned myself to an extremely easy and luxurious and blessed life with the occasional bout of cranial misery. I'm a healthy person, I'm a happy person, I'm a lucky person. But the pressure and pounding in my forehead is making me effing insane right now.

Maybe if I sift out some of my thoughts and dump them here, there will be more room in my brain? While I'm not sure if these pains are directly related to stress, having a lot to worry about definitely doesn't make them any more pleasant. What I'm basically getting at, Blog, is that you get to be my medicine tonight. Or, rather, you're my external hard drive. Below are some of the thoughts-- in no particular order-- that I don't currently have room for in the main cabin of my head.

--The harder I work on homework and various projects, the more disastrous my room becomes. My sheet is a crumpled ball at the end of my bed, there are two teal teacups positioned about, my floor is scattered with headphones and pieces of embroidery floss and a single dollar bill and those horrible cardstock inserts from magazines that always fall in the bathtub. Cleaning would be an easy solution to this-- and would probably calm me down-- but movement hurts so shut up.

--I don't think I've spoken to a human being all day. I answered two phone calls (both from family members and both shorter than five minutes) and have otherwise done a spectacular job of playing Hermit Recluse Apparition Hobo for the twelve hours I've been awake. That's... not healthy. I need to get out of Ohio.

--I have to get my car fixed and schedule classes for spring and write a paper for tomorrow and get through this editing stage before Thursday and also wash this mop that was once my hair before an army of flies surrounds me like the kid from Charlie Brown.

--Did I eat anything that grew out of the ground today? At all?

And on a final, less pessimistic note:

--I really feel like I've found my calling in life with this job-- editing/writing for the book, making videos, connecting with people online-- and I'm so, so grateful that I get the opportunity to create things that mean something (whatever that is) to people (however many). There isn't a "but" to this, either. I just had to say it one more time.

...I'm not gonna lie; that really did make me feel a little bit better. My headache is by no means cured, but it's devolved from Volcano of Eye-Squinting Pain all the way down to Irish-Dancer-Bouncing-on-My-Brain. I apologize for being a disjointed mess tonight, but as always, thank you so much for being here to catch my thoughtvomit. I don't know where I'd be without you. <3

P.S. New Answerly video today! I had computer trouble and had to edit the damn thing TWICE in the span of eight hours so, like, I hope you like it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Are you a murderer?!

It's New Video Thursday! At the risk of sounding like a douchebag, I'm particularly fond of this one-- mostly because the comments have already provided me with six or seven good LOLs. If you have any free time, I highly recommend taking a look at what people are coming up with. Comments best served with a wine glass full of ice water.

I hope you all have a lovely evening! <3

Monday, February 6, 2012


Wait. Before you read any further, open another tab and turn this on. It has a 96% chance of making you wag your head back and forth and/or wiggle your toes. Feel better now? You're welcome.

Hello! A minor technical difficulty is impeding my ability to read story submissions for the book this evening, and even though one of my eyelids has been subsequently twitching like a nervous rodent's tail, I'm trying to see the setback as a blessing. Maybe the universe caught on to the fact that I've been having stress dreams about paragraph breaks and it, like, decided I need a break. So I'm breaking! I'm eating dark chocolate-covered almonds, listening to that Julia Nunes song, and sorting through the hundreds of old video files cluttering my camera. One result of that last activity just made its way up on my youtube channel, so if you like hot guys and pretty mountains and the sight of me wearing the same cardigan for three weeks, you can check out this montage from the road trip I went on last summer. I'm trying to be more take-charge about making videos. In fact-- can you keep a secret? Seriously. This piece of information is a blog-readers-only exclusive, okay? I'm going to be posting a new video on my main channel every Thursday from now until... indefinitely. I don't want to make that promise to the Greater Internet because nothing dooms a plan more than talking about it, but I think this will be good for me. Keep an eye on your subscriptions box (or just keep reading this blog; it almost feels like the current YouTube layout is trying to make it hard to see new videos) and you're guaranteed to get slapped in the face with my voice on a fairly regular basis. Everyone wins! (Depending on how you define "winning.")

In other news... I guess I go to school or something? If it weren't for the fact that I host a weekly advice show about college living (new video today!), I'd probably forget that minor detail and just never leave my apartment. My latest motivation for attending class comes in the form of two cuter boys who sit behind me in one them. Our professor is this very knowledgeable and sweet but extremely dramatic little man who has a habit of STARTING EVERY SENTENCE IN A LOUD, BOOMING VOICE that tapers off and eventually concludes in a slow. exaggerated. whisper. It was charming the first hundred times-- I thought the guy was just super pumped about literature of the Enlightenment-- but it turns out he's terrifically, mightily, exponentially pumped about everything. Anyway, the two boys in the back row noticed my brass Gryffindor crest ring and realized that referencing Harry Potter makes me laugh, so they've taken to calling our class History of Magic. They also do just about everything within their power to mask the pain of class with hilarity. One of them leans over to my ear and narrates the lectures:

Guy behind me: "Exposition."
Guy behind me: "Rising action, rising action..."
Professor: "Because he wants. to. feel..."
Guy behind me: "Climax!"
Professor: "Alive."
Guy behind me: "And scene."

Yeah, so even though I'd rather be forced to watch a football game than feel the need to flirt outrageously with some dumb twenty-year-old guys, they're amusing enough to get me out of bed and into a little bit of mascara. Whatever works, I guess.

It's nine o'clock now and I still haven't worked out tonight, so I'm gonna go try to pound out three miles on a treadmill. It's always a pleasure to talk to you fine people! I hope you have a lovely night. <3

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Eyebrows (New video!)

New video today! I'll just leave this here. I hope you all have a lovely evening. <3

Monday, January 30, 2012


Studying English at the university level has taught me a few things. First, the word "postmodern" is misused and abused and annoying as hell. Second, try to throw the word "misogyny" into every paper you write because it will make female teachers like you and male teachers afraid of you. And third, don't effing wait until the last effing minute to write an effing paper or else you'll be up all effing night waiting for effing video files to render and writing an effing blog post even though you're too effing tired to be co-effing-herent. Effing.

Still, here I am. Just tonight, I was talking to a good friend about our self-improvement plans-- his being to value his time more and mine being to find more balance/stop putting all my energy into one basket-- and the conversation reminded me that I need to write for fun at least once a day. I spend so much of my time churning out lame essays and working on the not-at-all-lame-but-still-kind-of-stressful book, and if I don't stop to smell the Blogger roses every now and then, I'll start holding a grudge against my keyboard. So here we are. Let's have fun. Let's talk about something fun.

...I don't remember what fun is. Hold on; I'll google it.

Oh, awesome. According to this, "sport" is a synonym and "jape" is a concept that exists. I don't really know what a jape is, but it's sure going to be sport throwing it into conversation for the rest of my life.

My train of thought has derailed and caught on fire and now Anastasia is fleeing from it-- where was I? Nowhere? Perfect.

I had a really pleasant weekend. My legs are starting to form these super intensely hardcore muscle lines from all the running I've been doing, including five miles on Friday afternoon (fear me!), after which I hung out with a man I'm... hanging out with. The ellipsis wasn't meant to make that sound suggestive and cosmopolitan; I just don't know what the proper terminology is for not-friending/not-dating. Anyway, then Saturday was spent being suggestive and cosmopolitan and throwing around horrible attempts at sex-related wordplay, seeing as me and a few of my friends rented five Sex and the City DVDs. We sat on my couch for hours, accomplished less than nothing, ate too much popcorn, and felt wonderful. What is it about shows that are categorically awful that makes them so damn pleasant to stare at all day? I mean, prop me up in front of Kim Cattrall long enough and I'll be pretending to hold a martini and putting unnecessary emphasis on the word "hard" for the rest of the week. And doing that thing where she takes too much breath in through her nose and holds vowel sounds too long. What is that?

That brings us to today, Sunday (it's still Sunday until I fall asleep, right?), which I put to great use by neglecting my stupid paper in order to get a lot of work-work done and organize my calendar and watch old Very Mary-Kate episodes. I'm exhausted. Like try-to-describe-Kim-Cattrall's-speech-patterns-in-terms-of-breath-placement exhausted. As soon as this video finishes exporting, I'm going to fall asleep and will myself to dream about attacking homework assignments repeatedly with a chainsaw. And if anyone or anything tries to stand in my way, I'll turn the chainsaw on them and make them listen to audio files of Kim Cattrall saying the word "penis" over and over again until I get that effing sleep.

Nah. I'm just japing with you.

P.S. I posted a new main channel video on Thursday and I really like this one, so, like, you know. I hope you do too.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Being It

I worry sometimes that I'm going to start coming off as phony if I keep up this "I love you I love you I love you" habit where my blog readers are concerned, but I can't stress enough how genuinely I feel that way. I can write the melancholiest post of Debbie Downer proportions, full of emo ass similes and all the works, and yet there you guys go, leaving heartfelt, kind comments like I did anything real to deserve them. This dumb little blog is such a happy vacation place for me-- a cozy corner of the Internet with comfy chairs and hot tea and amusing people-- and you guys make it that way. So I'll say it once again, even if it sounds like pandering, because I am just never able to get the point across as strongly as I mean it: I love you, I love you, I love you. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to care about me, and a special thank you to everyone who commented on my last post.*

Got it? Okay, now get over yourselves. I have other things to say.

I'm still nowhere near unsad-- I don't see myself getting to that point in the near future-- but for the rest of this week, I've been doing a good job of ignoring it and moving on. I'm the kind of busy where I just don't have time to be miserable. I'm going to class (spending most of the lecture neglecting my notes in order to write to-do lists and Answerly videos [or organizing different aspects of the book]), doing the homework that accompanies three literature classes (and Linguistics!), training for the half-marathon I plan to complete this year, and devoting every other free second to reading and editing submissions for my short story compilation. I've actually had to turn down offers for dates because I just can't squeeze them into my schedule. Did you read that? Did you let that soak in? People who have been following me around the Internet since I was in high school are probably drowning in their own drool from the shock of it. I have become that cynical bitch in romantic comedies who "doesn't have TIME for love!" because her job kicks too much ass, and I'm kind of really savoring being able to say so.

See, another good distraction from a personal crisis is working hard for something and proving to yourself that you kind of rock a little bit. I keep shivering from these little waves of self-actualization whenever I cross another item off my list of goals.** And you know what? I'm doing good things. I wanted to be a published editor so I'm being one. I wanted to find a way to help other writers get their work read so I'm doing it. I want to be a serious runner so I'm becoming one. I want to show the source of my sadness-- and the whole rest of the world-- that I am capable of accomplishing what I set out to accomplish. So you know what, depression? Kiss my ass.

On that Tyra Banks-like note, I have to wrap this up so I can get back to reading submissions. The contest closes in exactly one week, so I'm trying to get everything under control before the really hard stuff begins! Yikes. Anyway, thank you once again for reading my ramblings and caring about the life of a stranger. This week, I challenge you to find something you want to be and to take the first steps towards being it. Seriously, it's the best medicine I can think of.

Keep being awesome and keep kicking ass.

*Anna, Rebekah, Alex, Amanda, Louise, Sylvain, Cat, Cate, Rose24, Evelyn, Nicci, another Anna, Amie, Niki, Kathy, sterff1face, Bridget, Katie, Miranda, Alexis, an anonymous commenter, another Cat, Sara, Kenzly, Bethany, Rosianna (<3), Cath, Typical life of boy teenagers, and Stacie.
**Although, come to think, that might be a symptom of a concussion. I've had two car accidents this month! But those are stories for another day.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Just a warning before we begin a slow and tedious spiral into incessant white girl whining: If this is your first time reading my blog, please skip this one. If you're having a good day, please skip this one. If you have a strong (normal) opposition to the language of shitty emo high school diaries, please skip this one. And if there is absolutely anything else you could be doing right now-- like even laundry or filing your toenails or reading the Wikipedia page about wool-- please skip this one. I even linked the wool page, so, like, don't say I didn't give you the choice.

Anyway, here it goes.

Sad is not something I like to be. I'd choose angry or bored or lonely or sick or stabbed-repeatedly-in-the-kneecap-with-toothpicks over Sad. Being sad makes me feel... pathetic? Or needy? Or like I'm a burden to the people I spend enough time around for them to be obligated to care? I know it's irrational to feel guilty for talking about my human emotions in the place where I... write about my human emotions, but there it is. I'm sad and I regret being sad and whdoihadnfjenbfjwe whatever.

Unfortunately, I can't just ignore it this time. My tendency to repress the feelings I don't feel like feeling leads to all this physical evidence. I gain weight, I get dark circles under my eyes, and I actually broke out in hives all over my face last night. Did you hear that? My own skin said Screw this! and tried to escape my body. A little Benadryl later and okay, fine, yes. I admit it, blog. I am sad.

Sorry. I mean. Sorry for saying sorry. I mean. Sorry.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars (Nothing resembling spoilers)

At the risk of sounding like I'm under the influence of something hard and illegal, my stomach feels like a tennis ball right now. I don't know why that's the image coming to mind, but I can't shake it. When my old dog was a jumpy, vivacious puppy, she used to tear the living shit out of tennis balls-- rip off all the fuzz, bat tiny holes into them with her nails, cover them in slobber-- and as soon as they were totally unrecognizable, she'd place them in my palm. My dog would then look up at me expectantly, wag, and I would pretend I wasn't on the verge of gagging because I loved her. The way those balls looked and felt after being destroyed, with their cores still intact but every other fiber an utter disaster... that's how I feel after reading The Fault in Our Stars.

Let me clarify: John Green's new novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is beautiful. At no point in its eloquent, funny, torturous pages does it resemble a chew toy in any way. I, however, am a mess.

I considered writing up a list of reasons why I'm a mess, citing quotations in MLA format, going into detail about which parts affected me in which ways. But I can't do that. Not only because my stomach is a raw, wet, skinned tennis ball after the emotional shitstorm I just dragged myself through, but because it was such a personal experience for me. It's likely that the vast majority of people reading this blog will also encounter the novel-- and I sincerely hope that they do-- but I don't want to talk about it. Does that make sense?

It reminds me of high school, when everyone assumes everyone else's lives to be public domain for discussion. Occasionally, I'd sit in class and read a book, and on every one of those occasions, someone would come up and ask, "What are you reading?" I'd sigh or shrug or breath-laugh, hold up the cover for them to see, and mumble, "It's just this thing."

What do you mean, what am I reading? Reading is not a group activity! Reading is not something I've chosen to share with you! There's a secret universe playing itself out in a buried corner of my brain right now, and you are not invited in!

That's... that's sort of how I feel about The Fault in Our Stars. I can't preach enough about how grateful I am to belong to a community of like-minded people who get the opportunity to love things together, and I deeply, sincerely hope that thousands of people get to love this book. I hope every person who touches it comes away with a tennis ball stomach, and I hope it goes on and on and breaks the hearts of people I'll never meet. But for now, even if it's unrealistic or selfish or juvenile or silly, I want to pretend that it belongs only to me.

However, I understand that I'm supposed to have something to say about it. I'm expected, as someone known online first and foremost for her association with the author and the things he's created, to review the experience I just had between bright blue covers. So let's just say this: Tonight, I finished a book that made my insides feel like they'd been through a spin-cycle in a dog's mouth. And it was extremely beautiful.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


We've had an unseasonably warm, dry winter so far in Ohio*-- sometimes our Novembers are covered in a foot of snow, sometimes our Decembers are slushy and permanently gray-- but my stay at my parents' house this season has been full of relatively nonchalant 40-something-degree weather. Considering this, it shouldn't have come as a shock to me when I stepped outside today at noon to bright, blinding sunshine and a jacket-free temperature. It made sense with the weather pattern, and it wasn't totally out of the blue, but I still found myself spreading my arms out in the wind, taking a huge breath, and feeling like, "Wow. Is this real life?"

My 2011 was a wonderful year full of opportunities and fun memories and love and personal growth and everything else it was supposed to be, right up until the very last two days. Then, in the middle of the night, I received a call that informed me of some deeply personal, deeply distressing news. It's not something I can-- or would-- disclose to the entire world, but I'm currently going through a small tragedy in my life.... For a while, I was tempted to ignore it in the areas of my life where that was possible, to pretend everything was fine online and to my casual friends, to compartmentalize. But then, this afternoon, I felt that sunshine.

It's really amazing how, when horrible news comes at you like a poison-coated butcher knife to the stomach, you can feel so immersed in sadness and worry that a year's worth of happiness can be wiped from your memory in one fluid motion. You're checked out, you're miserable, just gone for a day or two. The clock ticks passed midnight on December 31st, but nothing feels different at all. But the thing is, life moves on whether you're willing to participate or not. The old year ends and the new year starts and the clouds move in the sky and the sun comes out in the morning. I'm feeling low-- really, really low-- and that doesn't change just because I replaced my calendar-- but something about a warm, bright new day makes me feel like, I don't know... life will always continue to regenerate itself. Just like my bad news came out of nowhere amidst a previously great year, 50 degrees sometimes happens on January 1st. There's always hope, even when you're not looking for it.

*Bear with me here. I'm allowed to draw melodramatic symbolism from the weather once a year, and I'm getting it out of my system early on. (Creative Writing professors basically get paid their entire salary to slash out weather metaphors with red pen. And to quote a lot of dead people/sometimes wear berets.)