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Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Breakup

It was so great in the beginning.

I was excited when I knew we’d see each other, which was basically every day. I was proud to tell people about it, and it felt like the first “real” thing going on in my life in a while, if not ever.  

It started out well. And I was good at it *hair flip*. Creating marketing campaigns and problem solving and dazzling customers with my boyish charm and finesse? This job was my bitch lover.

When things come easily to me, I work hard at the difficult things to make them come easily, too. I don’t take lightly to not being the best, so any threat of that was eradicated pretty quickly (like, I didn’t kill anyone, but I got sick pleasure out of proving some of the long-time employees wrong and convincing my boss to do things my way aka the correct way. LIFE’S TOUGH GET A HELMET). Needless to say, I have zero sentimental value attached to any participation trophy I’ve ever received.

Of course, the months turned into years, and it got a bit...monotonous.

Here’s the thing about long-term relationships: if they start to get stale even in the slightest, you’ve gotta freshen them up real quick, or they’ll dry out faster than Irish soda bread. You do the same thing every day because that’s what you’ve always done, and that’s what’s always worked. Everyone else was fine with working this way, but I require constant and varying stimulation.  

Because, inevitably, I know what’s “always worked” will stop working.

Boredom creeps in. Your eyes glaze over. You care less. It’s a tedium takeover.

I wasn’t excited anymore. It was just part of my routine. I showed up, took care of the same problems, had the same phone conversations, complained about the same issues to whoever wasn’t sick of hearing about them yet (Guess what?! Everyone was!). It was turning me into an asshole and I knew it.

Like I said, if something is difficult, I do whatever I can to make it the opposite. Failure and I don’t get along. And so, I was convinced it could get better. I would make it better. I was lucky to have this job! So many people didn’t have jobs! This was fixable!

Of course, then it got worse. Big changes occurred, and not necessarily of a positive nature. I know that love is blind, as I’ve ignored the shortcomings of many guys simply because I “cared about them” or some shit. The same disregard applied here. I wanted everything to work out so badly that I shut off the part of my brain that said, “Hey, this sucks, actually. Maybe do something that, you know, doesn’t suck, instead.”     

It felt like the people in charge of the big changes were doing their darndest to get me to quit so they wouldn’t have to fire me. It’s similar to when a guy treats you like shit but won’t break up with you so they don’t have to be the bad guy and you’ll dump them on your own. Yeah, people actually do that. I have their phone numbers.

Whatever the case, as things got more stressful, less organized, more illogical, and generally more clusterfucky, I became more of a monster to be around, both in and out of the office.
If someone asked me to add something to my already 50-point To Do list, they were issued a formidable death stare.
If out with friends, I complained about work the whole time.
If hanging out with my boyfriend, I was tired and pessimistic.
I was cognizantly becoming consistently cranky and negative, which was a huge jump from my typical obnoxious peppiness, and I couldn’t shake it.

It took crying every day in the office bathroom; getting ready for bed already dreading the next day; double dosing on sleeping pills only to still lie awake with my anxiety; and waking up feeling horrible to hit my breaking point. It was a fun journey, clearly.   

I had far too much on my plate, and my bullshit tolerance looked like a cokehead in a Yeezy sweatshirt: extremely thin and heavily distressed. I finally established a deadline by which time I would have either [hopefully] found another job, or I would quit.

Well, that date came and went. I had too much to do to leave. As much as I openly despised my job, my penchant for self-destructive diligence held strong. So I set another date. And another. And one more.

The problem was, I was making that money but also letting it make me, which went against everything the Ying Yang Twins had ever taught me.
Quitting meant being unemployed meant not having a paycheck meant not buying $6 Peanut Butter & Co Cinnamon Raisin Swirl like it was no big deal. And that shit is a very big deal to me.

It came down to one fateful horoscope in the back of the January issue of a random fashion magazine that ended up making all the difference. It might as well have been the rejected plot from The Devil Wears Prada 2.

My horoscope said that if I survived the first part of the month (due to planets being out of line or whatever astronomical fuckery was taking hold of my life), my luck would be improving near mid-January, with significant changes occurring during the last week which I should not question and just roll with.

Hmmm, continue thoroughly hating my life or let Star Jesus take the wheel? I opted to give it up to the universe. I really didn’t have much else to lose.

Well, Star Jesus stepped up, guys.

The first part of the month, as the horoscope outlined, was met with so many stressful situations that I almost completely empathized with 2007 Britney (didn’t shave my head, might’ve thrown an umbrella across my apartment).

In the middle of the month, I scored a phone interview. I took this interview in a secluded corner of Penn Station with a homeless man to my left cheering me on the whole time. He had several gold teeth, so I’d like to think he was a good luck charm.

I secured an in-person interview with this company the following week. It happened to fall on a day that I was planning to be out of the office anyway. Quite a convenient “improvement,” if you ask me.  

As if you couldn’t guess, the “significant change” that took place was me getting this new job. I also bought a new brand of mascara around this time, but I highly doubt that’s what the stars were referring to (Smashbox Full Exposure, by the way. Life changing).

And now, here we are.

I’m actually pleasant to be around again, something I appreciate more than anyone else because I had to live with me 24/7.

I get an extra hour of sleep every night.
Instead of spouting it off multiple times a day, I now reserve the phrase, “Are you fucking kidding me” for special occasions, like holidays with the fam.

Ultimately, though, I learned two tremendously important life lessons:

  1. It is extremely possible to be smarter and savvier than people twice your age. Stifling how smart you are so that someone else doesn’t feel bad about being awful at their job helps no one. Don’t be a smartass, but use your smart ass to get shit done in the best way.
  2. Paying your dues when you’re young is fine. Working hard to prove yourself is standard. Working harder than everyone else makes you look good. Working so hard that other aspects of your life suffer for it is not worth it. I don’t plan to ever make that mistake again.

So, am I at my dream job? No. Life doesn’t work that way.
Am I in a position that could lead me to my dream job? I have no idea, but maybe. Hopefully.

Am I excited again? Yes, about the jar of Cinnamon Swirl Peanut Butter I’m about to dive into headfirst. And everything else, too.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The 6 Things Every Woman Should Actually Have in Her Closet

Every woman’s magazine has published a list of all of the necessary items a lady needs in her closet to make it “complete.”

These lists typically include some kind of ballet flat, a trench coat, a little black dress, and well-fitting jeans. All of these classic pieces are supposed to give you a well-rounded selection that makes getting dressed “a breeze” and will keep your wardrobe “timeless.”

I’m all for it, but at the same time, these lists missed a few key pieces that real women need in their real closets for when real life goes down.

1. Black pants that look professional but feel/fit like sweats - You wake up on a Wednesday at 8:15 am hungover as shit because last night’s catch-up drinks with your friend Alexa got way out of hand, per usual. You have to leave for work in 15 minutes. After emerging from a cloud of dry shampoo, you will technically need pants (I don’t make the rules, girl). You’ve been trying to make leggings-as-business-casual happen, but it’s not going to happen, so you need another option.
Enter: the black jogger. Preferably high-waisted and a polyester-spandex blend, you can pair these with a button-down or any decent top and generally pull off looking like someone who’s not getting a little old to be fucked up on a Tuesday night.

2. Throwaway flats - Different from their timeless, structured variety, these life savers are the difference between strutting through the club crowd to the bathroom like a vixen, or bambi walking it out of the building at 12:30 because you literally can’t stand any longer. As a rule, you cannot have spent more than $9 on them at a Payless BOGO sale.
The key is to wear these until the last possible second before arriving at your destination, switch into your heels, and then immediately put them back on when you’re out of sight of anyone you’d like to bang. So, you’d walk to the train in the Throwaways, stash them in your clutch (yep, they’re typically pretty flexible) when you change into your sexy shoes, and whip them back out at the end of the night.
Sound lame? You’re not going to look any cooler hobbling along in the 4-inch heels you never learned how to properly walk in anyway. Take the advice.

3. An oversized, thick, long c...ardigan sweater - If you’re always cold but don’t have enough clout in the office to control the thermostat, an article of clothing that’s essentially a blanket is crucial. Sure, you’ve got the boho-hipster-chic thing working for you, but you could also curl up under your desk and take a nap at any moment. AT ANY MOMENT. That’s the kind of freedom we’re marching for next, ladies.

4. Red Pants - I’m not going to sit here and say, “Everyone looks great in a high waisted trouser cut!” because if you don’t feel good in that cut then what’s the fucking point. Go with whatever style makes you feel the most fabulous, I’m not Stacy London/God. The most important thing is that they’re bright red. Two reasons:
  1. If you’re having a bad day, these pants will help you fake it better. Bright colors have power. Red is a powerful color. You’re really just doubling up on your strength here. Like Dragon Ball Z.
  2. Everyone needs a pair of last-day-of-period pants after wearing black all week. You triumphed over your uterus yet again, you deserve to celebrate while still being aware that all bets are not off quite yet.

5. A Boob Shirt - Save it, feminists. Boobs are magical and make things happen. It’s science and history all wrapped into one (er, two).
Going on a third date and have already convinced the other person that you’re an intellectual with multi-faceted interests and ample artillery in the witticisms department? Well done. Unleash the money makers!
Seeing an ex after several months of not speaking to see if you guys can work things out? Remind them what they’ve been missing. Even if you don’t end up getting back together, you three made a very significant final impression.  
Boob shirts need be three things: extremely low cut, not a crop top (pace yourself), and able to tearfully bring a grown man or woman to their knees. Try Express.

6. Emergency “No It’s Part of My Outfit” Jacket - Your boyfriend invites you to dinner. Perfect! He forgot to mention that his parents whom you’ve only met once would be joining you. Not the right time to wear the sexiest LBD you own!
Luckily, you grabbed the “Just In Case” jacket on your way out. This can be conveniently left on and still look like an intentional element of your get-up. Leather jacket, army jacket, bomber, drape coat, all will work. I once misjudged the length of a skirt and worked in an office almost exclusively of middle-aged men. Didn’t plan on wearing my lightweight trench coat all day, but didn’t want to give Chet in Accounting another reason to corner me in the kitchen, either, so that was my outfit that day.
This jacket will also come in handy for beating your boyfriend with once you’ve “so nice to see you again!”’d the parentals away. Really? Not even a warning?

Hold on to your crisp white shirts and plain black turtlenecks, but add these items into the mix. A boob shirt with red pants? Are you a member of an early 2000s girl band? Try again.