I Can’t, Vol. 48

I wish I could churn out “I Can’ts” all the time, because I know you guys love them. However, sometimes the lag between them is necessary in order to give myself time to get really perturbed by various things before I realize, “OMG, all these annoyances would be perfect ‘I Can’ts’!” In short, I feel this latest batch were worth waiting for so enjoy.

I can’t…

when you have those days that are overrun by OCD and you end up purging as much excess as possible from your life and it’s pretty much the best feeling ever. That was yesterday for me. I spent MLK day ridding myself of shit I don’t need, which I feel is something he’d approve of. I started with my closet, wiping out so many cheap XXI dresses and shoes I haven’t let grace my feet since I can’t remember when and ended up filling five bags. I then made stops at two different second-hand stores, made enough money to cover lunch & a mustache wax and had an extra $50 leftover for my thirsty bank account. I then proceeded to empty out my car’s glove box and middle console, tearing up about 100 random receipts and bullshit. Next were my bar’s drawers, which were chockfull of toothpicks (???), dead batteries, greeting cards, and about 600 koozies. I changed the air filter via my attic (which I always hate doing), purged my desk drawer (also full of greeting cards and various notebooks I’ve never written in), and ended my day of OCD productivity by filing (literally filing) some things away. I feel alive, y’all. Alive and in order.

I can’t…

with how fucking accurate this is. It describes 3/4 of the men I’ve romantically encountered in my life. And Trump. Yes, the two share this description. SAD!

I can’t…

and I know some of you may hate me for this, but I CAN’T with Emma Stone right now. Maybe later, but not right now. Not with where she’s at or how she looks. I used to love this girl. Like, a lot. “Super Bad” Emma and “Crazy Stupid Love” Emma were the best Emmas. But, y’all — methinks she’s turning into my next Anne Hathaway and it’s really disconcerting. She’s becoming Hollywood’s sweetheart, theatre nerd who seems to be just a bit too affected. And I’m not trying to hate on my own gender, I’m really not. But have y’all seen “La La Land”? Did you see Emma? Probably not because she’s so thin, she completely evaporates if she turns to the side. I’m not saying that makes her a shitty person — it’s genuinely concerning and freaks me out. Truly, it distracted me for almost the entirety of “La La Land” (but not enough to notice that Ryan is perfect and the ultimate scene-stealer). I need someone to hook her up to a cheeseburger IV, feed her bottomless milkshakes, give her Kalteen bars, and call me in the morning (but not before 9. I can’t talk until I’ve had my coffee).

I can’t…

tell whether or not the amount of times I switch positions in my chair at work is normal. Has anyone taken note of how often they’re shifting around because I’m a little worried my count is abnormal. It feels like I’m moving from two feet on the ground to legs crossed to right leg tucked up under my left thigh to both legs criss-crossed to spread eagle 50x every hour. WHAT’S GOING ON? AM I OKAY?

I can’t…

say enough about this dish from Inspiralized. It’s a sweet potato noodle and brussel sprouts “bowl,” and it. is. DELICIOUS. It’s one of my weeknight go-tos because it’s incredibly fast and simple. Pseudo-chef’s notes: I add ground turkey along with the sweet potato noodles for protein, I have never used sesame seeds or pomegranates, and I realized while making it last night that I didn’t have maple syrup but the sauce was still SO GOOD. Maybe even better without? If you like super healthy dishes that tastes like Asian fusion in your mouth — this is the dish for you.

I can’t…

with this one grey hair that I just noticed sticking STRAIGHT UP, right in front of everything. Awesome.

I can’t…

productively work to anything but jazz and if you’re the same, my reco to you would be the Oscar Peterson station via Spotify radio. Lemme know if you dig it.

I can’t…

seem to stop rewatching The Office, and it’s beocming a problem. I think I’m on my third go-round now? I do this with shows. I find an older one I didn’t really watch when it was live and end up obsessing over it to the point of restarting it over and over and over. Don’t get me wrong — having Angela and Dwight and Jim and Pam and Michael and Andy and everyone in my life, in my living room at all times is a dream. I just don’t know what I’m going to do once I grow tired of it, and I need suggestions. HELP! Also this.

I can’t…

figure out if this little attachable aerator makes that much of a difference with my glass of wine, but it’s fun to pretend it does and it creates the illusion that I actually know what I’m doing re: wine. It’s cheap and works great and easy to use, so if you are into this sort of thing, here. P.S. That’s not my hand. 

I can’t…

and am not sure when I’ll able to stop singing Hamilton. Guys, it’s a problem. A big one. Because not only does it make me want to see it 100 more times, but it also makes me that annoying, white, theatre-loving girl who can’t stop talking about Hamilton. The good news is I don’t offer up that I got to see it unless it comes up naturally. I keep that humble brag to myself in conversation. The bad news is that, during the big game on Sunday when the entire bar was cheering, I took those moments as my chance to sing lyrics like “THOMAS JEFFERSON’S COMING HOMEEEEE” or “WHY DO YOU WRITE LIKE YOU’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME?” loudly because no one could hear me. To my fellow Hamilton-obsessed: when does it end? Does it ever end or is it… NON-STOP?



My 6 Takeaways From 2016

Typically, I try to write these Year in Review posts before the New Year, but collating my 2016 takeaways took more concentration than usual this go round. Blame it on being off work for a week and change or spending most of my downtime watching the last two seasons of The Office, but I just haven’t been able to find the focus necessary to mentally review my year piece-by-piece. Until now. 

In thinking about it, I realized my year wasn’t half bad. Sure, I met a BEVY of horrible gentleman who brought me closer to the edge of the ledge than I’ve ever been, I got gum graft surgery which wasn’t terrible but mostly just super inconvenient (and expensive), my precious savings took a big hit upon finding out I owed a lot of money to the IRS because of unreported freelance earnings all the way back in 2014, and the election set me back emotionally in a way I hadn’t predicted it would. But putting all that aside, it was what most would probably consider a fine year with some solid takeaways. 

Takeaway 1: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on you again because most everyone deserves a second chance. Fool me three-four times, I’m an idiot but you’re a terrible human.

My romantic year started with being jerked around by, well, a jerk. I was blind to the fact that he was in no way wanting to commit to anything more than hooking up and split meals, but that may be because he drunkenly said “I love you” three dates in so I reasonably figured there was something more there that maybe he was just too scared to let out. But nah. Just an asshole douche. It took me a solid four months and four chances given to finally see it for what it was, which makes me want to kick early 2016 Emma in the cooter, but you live and you learn. Whether you choose to take those learnings and apply them as you move forward in life is what matters, but I’ll tell you this much — if someone fucks up a third chance, stop being dumb. Just stop it.

Takeaway 2: I love oysters.

It only took me 29 years to figure that one out. You see, my very worrisome and alarmist mother warned me against trying them since one bad oyster will supposedly either kill you or ruin your life forever. And since I’m such an obedient daughter (and intensely neurotic), I heeded her words and steered clear. However, this year I was presented with the mollusk on a few occasions and decided FUCK IT. TRUMP IS GONNA BE PRESIDENT SO WHY NOT. And, surprise surprise — I loved them. Thanks for nothing, Mom (JK, if you’re reading this. Thank you for [mostly] everything).

Takeaway 3: Sometimes, the uncomfortable choice is the better choice.

We are a people who love convenience. We take pleasure in playing it safe and sticking to what we know. Who can blame us? The unknown is debilitatingly terrifying. However, at the risk of sounding corny and cliche, sometimes the road less traveled is the smarter one to take. I learned this back in March when I started talking to Match.com about maybe coming on as their copywriter. I was happy where I was. In fact, I had just made the statement out loud and to myself that, as long as I was in Dallas, I would stay with the company I was with. Then I got a phone call that presented an opportunity I hadn’t seen coming nor was prepared to consider. It was a scary decision to make. I had grown so comfortable where I was, had just started feeling like an integral part of the company, and had met so many stellar humans I had no desire to leave. However, I knew not taking this position could possibly be the dumbest move to make. So I did. I left what I knew for something I had no idea about and it turned out to be a very good decision. Not to say it always works out like that, but when it does, it’s a validating feeling. All this coming from a person who isn’t super fond of change, too. So. Take that for what it’s worth.

Takeaway 4: Sticking to your non-negotiables is harder than it looks.

I’ve preached before about having a zero-tolerance list of non-negotiables when it comes to dating. In all reality, making lists is easy and fun to do. It’s actually sticking to those lists that’s hard. Rationalizations and excuses are my bread and butter, so when my steadfast list of non-negotiables was put to the test this summer within a relationship I was very happy about, it SUCKED. It was one of those moments you just want to scream “REALLY?! REALLY.” Everything’s going great. Everything is checking out so far. You’re pacing along well. Then BAM! You get hit with an irrefutable strike against one of your non-negotiables and it’s devastating. This was the first year after many years of dating around that I decided to actually be a stickler, and y’all — it was hard. You have countless moments of self-combat: “Am I really going to end it over this one thing?” “Sure, it seems ridiculous but it’s not. You know it’s not. Your friends have told you it’s not.” “But what if it can change?” “It definitely can’t. And won’t. He’s made that much clear.” “Can I learn to live with it?” “Are you high?” “Nah, I don’t smoke.” “You probably should start.” I’ll say this though – breaking up with someone because you have the foresight and ability to know they’re not going to make you as happy as you want and deserve to be is somewhat empowering. Even when they handle it like an asshole. No worries, though — I got the oft sought-after but rarely received repentant texts MONTHS later, which took the sting down just a bit. Anyway, stick to your non-negotiables. That’s what I’m saying.

Takeaway 5: Don’t be such a narcissist.

Yeah, the girl who posts OOTDs, selfies, and other self-indulgent junk on the daily is telling you to not be so egocentric. But hear me out. This may be my most important takeaway from last year. I am a paranoid person. Mix that with also being incredibly sensitive, and you get someone who worries way too much about others and why they are or aren’t behaving toward you in a certain way. But guess THE FUCK what? 9 times out of 10, it’s not about you because most things aren’t. You may be the center of your own world, but people are complicated and just as much in their own little worlds as you are in yours. To be honest, they most likely don’t give a shit about you (or they do but not enough to be thinking about you constantly). You have no real affect on them. They most likely didn’t even think twice about whatever it is you’re worrying about. I know I’m writing this with conviction, but don’t be fooled — I’m still working on this every day of my life. That is, learning to understand that just because someone isn’t talking to you or is but isn’t as talkative as usual or that one coworker looked at you weird or your boss is acting a bit more resigned today, IT PROBABLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. And if you think it does, ASK. Don’t just sit there convincing yourself otherwise, you narcissistic idiot (I’m saying this to myself as much as I’m saying it to y’all). 

Takeaway 6: These are the two best GIFs ever.

You’re welcome. And Happy New Year. May you survive the first year of the Trump House, seek comfort in discomfort, eat some oysters, stand strong with your non-negotiables, stop being so self-involved, and don’t get fooled again.


There Are 42 Types Of People In The World

People can be broken down into one of two categories out of millions of categories. This is an exercise in doing so.

There are two types of people in the world…

Girls who wall squat over a toilet seat and girls who slam their ass down like they own the place without a second thought.

And, on that note: those who use one of those flimsy, pointless toilet seat protectors and those who recognize just how odd and worthless they truly are.

Those who wear coats when it’s cold outside and those who can’t be bothered and are always half-sprinting from the car to the door.

Those who have Spotify and fucking weirdos.

Those who hit snooze at least a few times each morning and MONSTERS.

Those who watched Friends and those who watched Seinfeld (even if you watched both, you loved one more and I think we ALL KNOW which one makes you a better human).

Those who love Hamilton and those who haven’t given in… yet. But you will. Trust me. I am NOT throwing away my SHOT.

Those who do well on Twitter and the rest of us (Seriously, it’s the most difficult social media platform to be heard on. It’s like standing in a room full of pretty girls when you felt like you looked semi decent that night and just getting lost in the sea of attractive) (That was a weird example) (But, hey. Follow me on Twitter?)

Those who religiously check Snapchat every hour on the hour and those who wait until the very end of the day when they’re snuggled in bed to sift through all the entertaining bullshit in one, fell swoop that ends up taking up 20 minutes of their precious life. Or those who don’t check it but once every few days. I see you and I know who you are.

Those who pack a lunch in an effort to be responsible and frugal and actually eat it and those who pack a lunch in an effort to be responsible and frugal, but when the time comes for lunch, they hate everything about the thought of it and end up getting Chipotle (…hi).

Men who respond to you being on your period like this: “So?” and men who respond like this: “Oh, ugh. NVM.”

Those who migrate toward candle scents like “Marshmellow Covered Cookie Cake” and “Butternut Brownie Pie” and those who aren’t trying to be tempted by a fucking candle and just buy normal scents.

Those who started thinking about Christmas presents a month ago and those who are going to be panic-shopping over the next few days.

Those who understand how hilarious this is and other, subpar humans.

Those who let their dried laundry sit in the dryer for days on end and those who I guess have their lives together and unwrinkled clothing to speak to, but I wouldn’t know what that’s like.

Those who are already planning a blowout NYE complete with sparkly clothing, tons of champagne, and inflated cover costs and those who are 28+ (I would say 25+, but 26 and 27 are still pretty stupid years).

Those who walk with purpose in a crowded mall setting and those who NEED TO GTFO OF MY WAY NOW. OMG MOVE.

Those who shower every day and those who have learned the equation of a subtle yet very effective whore’s bath (baby wipes + dry shampoo + enough perfume so you can smell it but aren’t suffocating from it, otherwise it’s a dead giveaway).

Those who make it a point to wish you a politically correct “Happy Holidays” and those (including my Jewish self) who are like “🙄. MERRY. CHRISTMAS. Because we all know it reigns. Why are we trying to pretend otherwise?”

Those who watch “Atlanta” and understand the depth of genius the BAN episode was and will understand the below picture and those who need to GET ON IT.

Those who are going home for the holidays and excited about it and normal, cynical, somewhat dark but always funny humans who come from somewhat dysfunctional families that tend to try their patience after two days. Godspeed, everyone. AND MERRY CHRISTMAS.


The Art Of Not Settling

I’m 29 and, in a mere 6 months, I’ll be 30. For the past (almost) six years, I’ve dated A LOT. I’ve had a few legitimate boyfriends, countless almost-boyfriends, and enough werecasualbutwhatthefuckwaitwhatarewethough situations to last me a lifetime. Seriously, if I never find myself in another one of those situations, I will know I’ve made it and am going to be okay.

Suffice it to say, I’ve been through and seen a lot. The stories I’ve accumulated over the past six years are some of my best because they create a personal archive of some of my cringe-worthy, unbelievable, WTF-inducing worst. Day after day, month after month, year after year, I’ve done what I could to keep my head up, as they say. But some days, my head is way harder to keep afloat than others. Some days, it weighs 100 pounds and all I want to do is feel pathetically sorry for myself. To curl up in my bed in a robe in the fetal position for the entire day and let the onslaught of new couple/engaged/married/pregnancy announcements fill my newsfeed and fragile, vulnerable head with depressing thoughts and weep. Not cry. Weep (weeping’s more Scarlett O’Hara). Weep about how shitty past guys were, how shitty future ones will be, how shitty present ones are, why I keep running into these situations, why I haven’t found IT yet, why everyone else seems to have what I want, why I attract all the wrong dudes, why something that feels so close to what I want turns out not to be, why why why why why WHY. Ultimately, during those really down days, I question myself and my worth as a partner until I wear myself down, close my eyes, and pass out (much like a toddler after having a tantrum). 

And all this is hard to admit because I want to uphold my label as the quirky, outspoken, funny girl who can make any nightmare of a dating story something to laugh about with a light heart. I want to be strong; an independent, I-don’t-need-no-man, “I’m amazing and perfectly content on my own” representative for all single womenkind. I don’t want to let it all get to me like it can. It makes me feel weak and vulnerable. But I’m only human — a human with a pretty big heart full of affection that wants to dump that affection into someone’s deserving lap for keeps and, when that enthusiastic affection backfires, I get sad.

This has been the pattern for the past six years — these let downs followed by short-lived pits of despair out of which I can’t find my way and, finally rising like a Phoenix from the ashes (dramatic) and doing it all over again. And you know why?

Because I refuse to settle.

That’s the thing. When I sit back and really think about all the men (more appropriate term would be boys/children) that have come and gone (pun intended?), I realize how many of them I could still be dating if I was willing to settle for less than what I know I want. I mean, it’s not always them calling things off. In fact, most of the time it’s me. Because I see something about them or about us that doesn’t sit right, and my gut sends up about 52 flares and some Russian submarine captain frantically screams “ABORT! ABORT!” in my head until I can no longer ignore him. 

The fact of the matter is that not settling is actually the harder road to travel.

I don’t want to keep calling things off. I don’t want to continue to sit back and wait for the inevitable red flags to show their faces. It’s awful. I hate it. It sucks. I want to settle — really, I do. I want to be able to say “You know what? This is good enough and he’s fine enough and we’ll have a good enough life and I love him enough and we’ve been together long enough and sex is good enough and he’s nice enough and this’ll do.” I want to just decide on someone, make the call, and be done with it. I want to look past the crimson-colored flags, sweep them aggressively under a rug, and lie to myself about them until I actually believe the lies. I want to make excuses for shitty behavior and get past it. I want to not care so much and overthink and overanalyze. I want to tell myself I can put up with something I know I can’t. 

I want to be able to say “I don’t need a guy who fully gets my humor or I his. I don’t need to be made to feel special and unique. I don’t need to be treated like a prize; I’m fine feeling like any girl to this guy. I don’t need to be made a priority; I’m fine being an option. I don’t need to be courted; “hanging out” is the new dating and I’m okay with that. I don’t need real dates that are planned at least a few days in advance; last minute requests that showcase a total disregard for my time and lack any sense of urgency are just fine. I don’t need to have an understanding between the two of us, a mutual respect. I don’t need to be fully sexually satisfied or exceptionally intimate; it’s not that important and him getting off is way more vital anyway. I don’t need to be cherished. I don’t need to be someone thoughtful. I don’t need to be in love in a way I’ve never been; that’s not even real anyway. I don’t need flowers or thoughtful cards or any of the cutesy things females pretend not to care about but live by. I don’t need doors opened for me or to be treated like a lady; I can get my own doors. I don’t need to feel a crazy connection; just liking him enough will suffice.”

But I can’t. I literally cannot bring myself to do or say any of that because, at this point, I will be damned if I settle. I haven’t gone through what I’ve gone through just to settle; I haven’t called guys on the carpet for their less-than-stellar behavior or treatment of me to ultimately roll over like a dog and say “Ya know what? Nevermind. It’s fine. I’ll shut up now and take whoever and deal with whatever.” HELL NO. But because I refuse to settle, it makes this entire process harder, longer, more strenuous, and often unbearable. Because I’m a girl with expectations and standards in a generation that has enabled ghosting, fuckboys, and the refusal to commit to anything more than a boozy Sunday brunch, I’m having a really hard time out here.

And please do not take me for a girl with unrealistic standards, because I can assure you I am very much not that. I know probably more than anyone how imperfect people are. In fact, even after all the ugly situations I’ve experienced, my natural inclination is to still give people the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. I am well aware that I am nowhere close to flawless (although, admittedly, Queen B can make me feel like I am most days). I am willingly willing to put up with a long list of a lot as long as the most important things (what I like to refer to as the “non-negotiables”) are undeniably met and everything feels “right.” And because it’s theoretically only supposed to be “right” with ONE person, I will not settle for wrong after wrong after wrong. 

So I’ll continue to keep a small guard up, pay attention for warning signs, question questionable behavior, and trust my gut when it’s frantically trying to tell me something. That’s the one thing the past six years has gifted me with — a credible gut and the ability to actually listen to it. Like any good young 20something, I used to be an expert in ignoring it, but the wait time has steadily decreased over the years. Slowly but surely I started to chip away at the amount of time I would consciously discount my gut — it’s gone from literal years, to several months, to only a few months, to mere weeks and I’m proud of that. The goal is to get it down to one week, then five days, then three days, then, hopefully never because, finally, all it’s telling me is, “I’m good. You good? Good.”

Here’s to holding out.