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The Unicorn Club and The Babysitter’s Club Ruined My Life

February 6, 2012

Sweet Valley Twins and the Babysitter’s Club books gave me unrealistic expectations about young adult hood. According to these formulaic fiction serials, twelve and thirteen are when you officially become a teenager. I thought I would become a member of one of the most exclusive clubs at my rinky dink kindergarten through eighth grade elementary school, despite the fact that the popular girls had no such clubs. I imagined I would get weekly babysitting jobs, which would give me the money to buy all the clothing I coveted from Tommy Hilfiger and Maurice’s and all the accessories I could dream of from Claire’s. These books gave me the strange idea that once I reached this magical age, my life would officially begin.

I wanted to be hybrid of Jessica Wakefield and Stacey McGill. Together the two blonds of Sweet Valley, California and Stoneybrook, Connecticut were the perfect girls. Both were popular and gorgeous. Jessica was scheming and slightly manipulative, which were qualities I wanted along with Stacey’s intelligence and business smarts. Most importantly, lots of boys were interested in them.

However, I was the antithesis of everything I wanted to be. I had dark wavy hair that was almost black that I almost turned orange from a year of Sun-IN. I was a cheerleader, but I never transformed into the bouncy bubbly stereotype of a cheerleader. Instead of being a babysitter, my mother still hired a babysitter for my younger brother and I. The only part of my life that was going according to plan was the boy aspect.

Boys seemed to like me, mainly because I had huge breasts for a tween. Even random men would stare at me in the grocery store or other places. Being the object of boy’s lust didn’t fulfill me like I thought it would. I still didn’t have a boyfriend, or even get asked out on dates to the movies or the skating rink.

Why wasn’t my life as amazing and perfect as these girls? When I went to the beach, I never got my summer romance that Stacey and Jessica got multiple times, and even their less attractive and mousy friends had (Mary Ann Spier, anyone?). I was a cheerleader, but I was forever on the fringes of the in crowd, not really fitting in, but not a total outcast. Compared to the girls in the Unicorn Club and the Babysitter’s Club, I was a failure at thirteen.

Years later, I realized that these books were a shiny and happy aspiration of a teen in the 1980’s. Growing up in the Y2K era in suburban Tennessee, I never had a chance of carefree afternoons on the beach playing chicken with boys in my brand new bikini. Instead, I thought that my life should be like a teenage book series, where conflicts are wrapped up in 150 pages or less. I was miserable that I couldn’t have this unattainable life.

At thirteen, I had realized what many adults realize in the throes their midlife crisis – that my life was disappointing, and meaningless, and that things were only going to get worse.

Found Relics of Old Lovers

January 13, 2012

As a general rule, writing a love letter or a hate letter to a former significant other or lover is a good idea. Actually sending that letter to them is a bad idea. I’ve written hundreds of these letters, but I’ve never sent a single one. Instead I shove them into my desk drawer, and then have a good laugh when I find them months later. I can’t even imagine how much of a psychopath I would seem like if someone actually read one of my letters intended for them.

Do you want to know what’s even worse than recieving one of these letters? Receiving a mixed CD where your former boyfriend has recorded himself singing a slightly rewritten version of “I Will Survive” and Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.”  “I Will Survive” was a strange choice, especially since I never tried to get back together with him after we broke up. I took “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” to be a commentary on how I was going to be a loser, and I would never amount to anything without him. It seems like quite a bit of thought went into this compilation.

I was cleaning out my room and found a box of college stuff. In this box was a CD case, and I got really excited thinking it was my missing Tom Waits Closing Time CD. Instead it was a mix with my name carved very angrily into it. I popped it into my MacBook, and found it was a mix an old boyfriend had made with all of our songs. I was enjoying the nostalgia until the last two songs of him singing came on, and I realized he had spent time recording these songs and a piano accompaniment.

To up the creepy factor, I have absolutely no idea how this CD got into my possession. I haven’t seen him in almost two years. If he had mailed it to me, I would have listened to it the moment I received it. That only leaves two options:

1.  He was at Sewanee one day unbeknowst to me and several other of our mutual friends. He found out where I lived and slipped it into my desk, hoping I would find it later.

2. He gave it to one of his friends and had them put it in my room.  His friend’s girlfriend lived in the same building as me, so that could be another plausible solution.

The whole thing was really strange to me. It also didn’t help that I found it right before I was going on a date, which freaked me out as some sort of sign that I shouldn’t go on this date. (PS- the date went alright, but there was no chemistry, so I won’t be seeing him again.) It has been almost two years and according to mutual friends, this guy still isn’t over me. He still texts me on occasion, but I never respond. Any communication with him would be misconstrued as I still have feelings for him, so its best for me to never respond, not even to tell him to leave me alone.

Writing out your feelings about someone or singing them to cliched songs (Gloria Gaynor, anyone?) is a thereaputic way to heal. However, when you send these to former flames, you are opening yourself up to ridicule, especially if you have to go to devious lengths to do so.

Sparing Feelings

December 21, 2011

Remember this post about how I ended a three year friendship with Caroline? Unfortunately, the bitter memories of those events are still fresh in my mind. Caroline has reached a new low on the scale of what an awful person she has become. I don’t know if its apathy or general horridness, but there is no excuse for her behavior. A few days after our epic “non-fight” I sent her a pretty curt message asking her to mail me my BCBG bandage skirt that she had borrowed from me in May. Also in that message, I said to let me know if I had anything of hers and I would gladly return it.

Fast forward three weeks later. I haven’t received my skirt in the mail or a message from her. So I send another message coldly demanding my skirt back. It wasn’t even because it was an expensive skirt, it was because it was one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe. Unsurprisingly, she never sent my skirt back.

I think this is a testament to the type of person she is. If I had something of a former friend and they requested the item back, I would gladly mail it to them or drop it off at their house, regardless of how much I hated her or if I actually wanted to repair our friendship.  If I truly hated the girl, I would return her things so we would have no reason to ever contact each other again. If I wanted to try and fix things, I would have returned the skirt along with an apology and an acknowledgment of her anger/hurt, and said that I would call her in a month so we can talk.

I’ve noticed an alarming thing over the past few years. Unlike most people, I respect people’s boundaries and feelings. If I was invited to an event by someone else at a jilted lover’s house or fraternity, I would obviously decline out of respect for people’s feelings. Others seem to have no such qualms or sensibilities about things like that.  Other situations like this arise, and I often see others doing the wrong thing and they merely cause a spectacle or it leads to lots of drunken screaming or tears.

Obviously I don’t mean that we should avoid every event where former boyfriends or friends will be in attendance, just that we should have some decency and consideration. For some bizarre reason, some people like to invite former significant others to their wedding. Etiquette dictates you must decline; however, some people still show up to their ex’s wedding and cause tension and possibly cause problems.

It’s quite interesting how writing out feelings can take you on a journey. I started out to complain about Caroline, and show how to carry yourself with dignity in the midst of breakups or betrayls. Somehow it ended up on a rant about instead of sparing others’ feelings, instead some choose to spar with other’s feelings, almost in a strange mind game to hurt them even more than they already have.

Young Adult Musings

December 20, 2011

Confession – I like TV better than movies, because TV allows for better character development and growth throughout the series. I don’t get excited about too many movies, and I don’t often go to the movie theater, mainly because I hate watching a movie with 50 other people. That being said, I went to see Diablo Cody’s new movie Young Adult in theaters on opening weekend (it was a Sunday matinee, but it still counts!).

My brother and I loved the movie, and naturally our mother hated it. Strangely enough, I can relate to Charlize Theron’s character Mavis a lot, even though I hope someone would name their child Mavis. Cody’s use of a female anti-heroine (an unlikeable main character) was a bold choice, but it was a bold choice that worked. However, one of the most fascinating aspects of the movie was that it challenged the idea that “the cool kids peak in high school.”

This is a nationwide nerd mantra, and is a small town idea that those who were popular in high school will do nothing with their lives, while those who were unpopular and especially those who were bullied will leave their town and become wildly successful, much to the chagrin of their hometown peers. This idea was not seen in Young Adult.

Mavis was “the most popular girl in high school.” She dated the star of the football team and was homecoming queen. Based on the “peaked in high school theory,” Mavis should be stuck in Mercury, Minnesota and be fat and married with three kids and miserable. However, she is one of the most successful people to come out of Mercury, as a ghost writer for a popular young adult book series. She has what can be romanticized as the glamorous single girl life in Minneapolis.

Matt the “nerdy guy” who was a victim of a hate crime in high school did not become dashingly handsome and successful. He did not escape Mercury and he is still a nerd. He walks with a cane from this hate crime and works as an accountant/assistant manager at an Irish sports bar. Poor Matt, his life never took off.

Diablo Cody turns this theory of “peaking in high school” on its head. Arguably, the only character in the movie who peaked in high school was Mavis’s old flame Buddy, the former it guy of high school. He settled down in Mercury with a wife and a kid and works a low-level white collar job at the General Mills Factory. Despite his “peaking,” he is happy, while Mavis and Matt are both at the opposite ends of the peaking spectrum are obviously unhappy.

What does this say about us and our own happiness levels and former high school popularity? I’m a firm believer that we weave our own destiny. Mavis got out of town and got the ghost writing gig because she made it happen for herself. Despite having every reason to leave Mercury, for some reason Matt stayed in town and lives his miserable existence. Maybe if the jocks, cheerleaders, and homecoming queens have enough gumption, they won’t peak in high school and will continue to have success and popularity. Maybe the losers will become permanent losers because they don’t improve their situation.

Young Adult made me reflect about my own high school experience and subsequent life. Despite all the deep thoughts about high school and happiness, one of my favorite things about the movie was the usage of KenTacoHut – a combination KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut, which just so happens to be my all time favorite fast food restaurant.

Revenge and Forgiveness

November 18, 2011

For the longest time, I couldn’t accept the traditional idea of forgiveness. I couldn’t wipe the slate clean and start over with someone who hurt me. Instead, I held grudges and I ended friendships. I have trust issues, but once I let someone in my inner circle, I have a hard time letting go of them. I have high expectations of those that I’m close with, and often they cannot live up to my expectations, which ends in my own disappointment.

I have a list that is a mile long of people I would love to get revenge on, Emily Thorne style. The list includes the usual suspects, like Caroline, JB, Mark, and several other friends and lovers who have betrayed me over the years.

Surprisingly enough, that list also includes my father. He is a horrible man and a horrible father. He made my childhood and my brother’s childhood a living hell. Once, when I was 16, I put a hex on him, mainly that all his negative energy would come back and bite him in the ass. Karma helped me take him down. That man has had plenty of mishaps, but nothing will ever make up for the hell we’ve been through.

My mother can’t understand why I can’t forgive and forget. She has a very simplistic view of morality. She doesn’t understand that some things have psychological ramifications that can carry on for years.

I was poised for revenge. However, I was reading Martha Beck’s book Leaving the Saints, and I stumbled upon a thought provoking quote. “Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past.” I had a major epiphany from this quote. This is what the concept of forgiveness means to me. Finally, I realized that just need to give up all hope that my childhood would have been a happy one, with loving parents. I need to give up on the hope that my father will ever realize what a horrible person he is and get some therapy or medication to be a better person. I still hate him, but I realize now that nothing is ever going to change. I have accepted the past, which has allowed me to move on.

Before this, I could never grasp the antiquated Christian idea of forgiveness. As Emily Thorne says, “Sometimes, the betrayal runs too deep.” However, unlike Emily, I can move on because I have realized that nothing I could ever do will change the past, and nothing they can do will ever compensate for their evil. Destroying your enemies can be worthwhile, but it will never fill the void inside yourself from all the pain they have caused you.

I have learned to let go. By starting to get over the biggest hurdle in my life, I have been able to let a lot of the small things go. I embarked on a journey of revenge, but I found myself on the road to transcendence. Just like with Dante’s Divine Comedy, sometimes you have to travel through hell to find paradise. 

The Bucket List

October 26, 2011

Lately, everyone has been writing their bucket lists and posting them to their blogs. It seems to be a form of accountability. Normally, if you don’t accomplish your bucket list, who is going to know? However, if you post it online, your readers and friends may notice that you have barely accomplished anything on your life long bucket list.

For the longest time, I didn’t think I needed a bucket list. To be only 22, I’ve been blessed to do so much and to travel. I’ve been to 11 countries, 23 states, lived in Montana for a summer, interned for a fashion magazine, did an outreach trip in New Orleans, etc. Once I compiled a bucket list, I realized I was lacking the most in crafty adventures. I’m not artistic at all. When I was younger I avoided arts and crafts because I knew how ugly and misshapen mine would look compared to others’ projects.

I’m sure that I will constantly add to this list over the years, but without further ado, here is my bucket list (so far).

1. Visit Austraila

2. Go parasailing

3. Take a pottery class

4. Learn to use a sewing machine

5. Go to Canada (Hopefully Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, or Nova Scotia)

6. Write a novel

7. Read one literary classic  per year

8. Take some form of painting class, either a real class or a fun Sips and Strokes wine night with friends.

Wish me luck on my endeavors! Also on my immediate horizons – get a job, experiment with brow wax instead of an eyebrow pencil, kiss a boy, finish Atonement, volunteer (possibly tutoring kids), thrift something amazing, and refurbish this table I found in my garage.

What’s on your ineffable bucket list?

 

 

 

 

 

A Ramble in the Park

October 10, 2011

Top:  Gift from a boutique. Jeggings:  GAP, Flats: Lloeffler Randall. Cat’s Eye Sunglasses:  Target.

While this outfit is in no way innovative, it was a cute and functional outfit that transitioned from shopping to a walk in the park, to dinner, and to bowling. I met up with my dear friend Kari that I hadn’t seen in quite some time, and had a wonderful evening. We went to TJ Maxx to look at a chair Kari wanted, and while perusing the home section, I was officially bitten by the “home decor bug.” I’m getting excited just thinking about all the ways I can decorate my first home/apartment, and have a few DIY projects up my sleeve.

BFF and future roommate looking casual chic, as usual.

My favorites: Milton, my bag, and Arizona tea.

This post title is a derivative from Lord Rochester’s poem “A Ramble in St. James Park.” He was a very naughty Restoration poet, definitely now what you would expect from a 17th century poet. His word usage and subject matter could make most people blush. These random panties found on the dock along with all the beer cans we found throughout the trail fit in quite well with this poem. I dare you to read it….