I Come Out of Retirement to Share This Ansel Elgort Music Video

Baby Driver was good. Unfortunately Ansel Elgort’s attempt at a music career was not:

I am not blogging anymore so I am going to let the video speak for itself. I promise you, it will not disappoint. I just felt like, if you were reading this blog, this is something you’re going to want to know about.

Also one time he cried over a peach:

 

Okay back to my hermit hole where I do nothing but Instagram books. Much love to you and your family. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity.

Posted in pop culture | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

#Goals + #ADHD

I’ve not been blogging, and that’s partially a conscious choice. I’m sort of in this phase now where I’m sick of oversharing everything with everybody, and I’ve been trying to take a step back and say that some things just belong to me. I think going off Facebook was a huge step in this direction, but it probably did lead to over-instagramming a lot over the past couple months. And of course, frequent texts to friends with my every thought. Which I guess before were Facebook messages, so not half bad! Anyway, I’m trying.

giphy

But there is a part of me that knows that sharing about my mental health on this blog has been actually helpful to people, and as tired as I am of walking around like an exposed wound, I do feel like there’s some value talking about what I’m going through.

So today I want to talk to you about something that’s on my mind right now and that is:

LIFE GOALS AND ADHD

Wow, what a nice header. You should do that more often, AC.

Okay so here is the trajectory of  my life goals over the past month: I had been working on writing in several creative courses and I really felt like (1) I have wanted to be a writer all my life, (2) I am happiest in my creative writing courses and (3) I enjoy teaching, so what if I applied for MFAs in Creative Writing and tried to teach it at schools? I talked it over with therapist and she was like, “Great,” but she was also like, “You tend to change your mind a lot about things, so if you want I can coax you in that direction.” And I was like, “Sure.”

So this was going great at first. I was writing like a motherfucker. I was writing short stories, I was writing plays, all of my energy every day was spent thinking, “What if I was writing right now? What could I be writing about right now? God, I’m so fucking excited to write.”

tumblr_nkrposf3gd1unigu6o1_500

Which is not the same thing as mania, even though it may have sort of resembled something like that. It wasn’t like I was super happy or convinced I was somehow special in my ability, it wasn’t like I had more energy or stopped hating myself all the damn day. It’s just like, I had a purpose. And I felt good about that purpose, and I felt like I could achieve it.

And then . . .

And then life got in the way! My class I was in ended, and I was working a bunch, and I stopped really having time to write. And I applied for a job that would have been very low-paying and probably terrible, but one which I really really wanted, and came close to getting, and I started to think, “Maybe I don’t need to get an MFA. Maybe I can do this and be happy.”

And then I started thinking about how good it would be to have a full-time job and some money, and how much I wanted to go to Edinburgh this summer, and I was like, “Maybe I just need a job right now to support myself. Maybe that’s the focus right now.”

strangers-on-a-train-gif-500

I don’t know if this gif really works here but I really like Strangers on a Train so deal.

And then tonight at dinner, my mom was telling me about her recent trip to Italy and she said casually, “You really have to move to Berlin. It’s obvious. It’s just a question of how.”

And I was like, “Yeah, I do. Yeah, I really miss Europe. And yeah, I was so excited about that plan before. And yeah, I really worry about spending my whole life in America, and want to see new things and hate D.C. basically all the time, and I really, really fucking want to get the fuck over to Germany.”

So naturally I sent like a gazillion texts to people being like, “I need your help.” Some explaining that I wanted to go to Berlin. Some asking me for help applying to freelance writing gigs because it’s easier to get a freelance workers’ visa. One person just telling her that Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is going to be adapting An Enemy of the People on Broadway, which okay, is not related, but I thought you should know.

I have been for the last few hours trying to stop myself from realizing short of just applying to dozens of freelance jobs late at night, I can’t do anything to move to Berlin right now. And I’m also really scared because I know myself and I know no matter how much I want this thing right now, I lack the capacity to follow through on it. I will change my mind before I do it. I want it so bad, and I know it will never happen.

So I’ve been trying to think of initiatives and rewards I could give myself to manufacture the dopamine rush that will inevitably fade from this idea, and I am so, so, so fucking angry at myself for not being able to just. Fucking. Commit.

And this is ADHD.

And I know that some of you are saying like, “That’s part of being a millennial in 2017, get over it.” Because we all get excited by new ideas and have trouble following through with them, and we all don’t know who we are yet, and are just doing the best we can.

ted20aviators

What I would say to you is this: Yes but–

ADHD is diagnosed only when it becomes a significant hindrance to your life. So it would be fine if I was trying out new ideas and learning as I went, and kind of haphazardly making my way through life. The problem is I can’t stick with an idea that interests me long enough to pursue it properly, and at job interviews when people ask me what my five year plan is I’m like:  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Which drives me crazy because it’s not that I don’t have ambition and motivation and it’s not that I won’t work super hard at anything I’m asked to do. And it’s not that I don’t have any consistent passions, because I’ve loved writing and literature since I knew how to write, and I loved theater since I was like 10 or younger. It’s because it’s hard for me to pick a path. So I’ll start to pursue one, and then change mind and pursue another, but never long enough to get anywhere. And this is part of, though not the complete story of why I am underemployed and living with my parents.

Which I disclose only to make it clear that it is a significant hindrance, but not to say, “Oh, woe is me.” Oh, woe is me because there was no Riverdale tonight, and I am almost out of herbal tea. And woe is you, because — unless you are one of two people who I believe are behind anyway — you have refused my repeated requests to watch Riverdale and so do not know about Betty/Jughead, the ship to end all ships.

tumblr_omm0pmurug1qzbvpro1_500

#iwillgodownwiththisship #iwillpokemyeyesoutandsurrender #idonot reallyknowthewordstothissong #becauseihateit #andalwayshave

Posted in personal stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

If You’re Happy and It Confuses You, Write a Blog (Write a Blog!)

I feel like lately with these posts, I’ve just been like, “What if I just tell people how I’m doing?” Like maybe I don’t need a theme or a lesson learned, maybe I can just talk about, like, what I’m up to and shit. Is that so self-involved to think that any of you care? You have shown a surprising capacity to care. This is such a one-sided conversation. Anyway.

I’m doing pretty good! I know, it’s crazy, but like . . . I’m kind of great? I’m still not making enough money to support myself, I’m still living at home, but like . . . I’m really feeling content? Which is not to say that I don’t have things I want to accomplish, or that I’m not feeling slightly discontent about certain things, but just like in general, happy of myself, which is weird but aight.

I went off Facebook three weeks and one day ago, and I am so happy about it. There are a lot of great things about Facebook, and I think any rejection of contemporary technology is going to involve setting yourself up for a kind of inconvenience, but overall, like, I gotta say: I’m doing great. No more seeing who’s online and feeling compelled to message people. No more comparing myself to vague acquaintances I know from high school who seem to be doing so great. No more clickbait-y headlines from specious sources that fuel my feelings of hopelessness and devastation while simultaneously keeping me too busy to act. Like, guys, it’s great.

harry styles water bottle.gif

Zadie Smith had this amazing review of The Social Network when it came out, where she talks about how commodifying yourself by putting yourself on Facebook is allowing yourself to view your own identity through a very specific worldview, and it’s that of a Harvard sophomore. What’s your relationship status? What have you been up to lately? Prove it with photos. And yes, she took a flip phone to the Met Ball once, but I gotta say, you know, she makes a compelling case.

I also have been reading and rereading George Saunders’ essay “The Braindead Megaphone” lately, which talks in a really compelling way about the way our brains have now been trained to interact with voices from faraway coming to us through high-tech sources. He uses an analogy of someone showing up to a dinner party with a megaphone: They don’t have to be the most intelligent or coherent, just entertaining and attention-grabbing, but they sway the conversation, and this is dangerous. And I don’t know I’m just really happy to log the fuck off.

tennant computer smiling.gif

Which I realize is kind of like writing, “Hey guys, I’ve decided to become a vegan now. Here are a few compelling essays on how you are killing living things with your blind hunger and also contributing to climate change. No judgment. K thx bye!” But anyway that’s what’s kind of been in my head lately.

In addition, I’ve been writing all the time every day, which is phenomenal. I have this blog (hello!), I have a writers’ group in Bethesda where I write short stories, and I have one more week left of this playwriting class I’ve been taking through my house managing. And surprise! It turns out I love writing. It turns out if I’m writing all the time, I’m really, really happy. Shocker, I know.

The biggest surprise for me is how much I’ve loved my playwriting class. I wanted to be a playwright when I was undergrad, but being AC, I was too ashamed to show anyone my writing. I kept one long Word doc of scenes I wrote every day and I took one intro class, for which wrote very sitcom-y scripts that I thought weren’t too embarrassing and then still agonized and hid under a rock after class each week.

But for this class I’ve been writing the darkest, weirdest thing, totally experimental and meta and embarrassing — last week, I included an interlude between me and my therapist, I am not even kidding, that is a real thing I did — but people actually have been kind of loving it? Like a lot. People have been so positive and supportive, and I don’t know, it’s kind of great. And I feel like rekindling an interest in playwriting in 2017 is like rediscovering your love of stonemasonry. I mean the idea that it will ever turn into anything other than an antiquated affectation is so ludicrous, but you know, maybe do it anyway?

mr-g-dance-1

So, like, how to parlay what I’m learning about myself and what I need to be happy and what I love into some kind of way to support myself and live is the real question. I don’t know, dudes, I don’t know. But you know, right now I am just fine and that in itself is very cool. Very cool indeed.

Posted in personal stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wow, girl, you are, like, so literate

I’ve taken to instagramming what I’m reading lately, and it is like so obnoxious, oh my God. Mostly because I was going along at about a book a week at a normal pace, and then this past week, I’ve been house managing a ton, so suddenly it’s like I’ve just got hours where I’m sitting there doing nothing and I read . . . a lot.

I read three books of short stories (well, one I have one more story left on, but almost) this past week, and Heleen commented on one of my instagrams asking if I could do a post about what I am reading. So like, okay, that’s what this is going to be.

30091914

Human Acts by Han Kang

Kang’s The Vegetarian was one of the best books I read last year. I think about it all the time. So when I saw she was going to have another book translated into English by the same translator, I preordered it. It was weird and I loved it. It’s about a student uprising in South Korea in the early 80s, and it begins with a boy who is volunteering to keep track of all of the bodies piling up. So like, if dark stuff freaks you out, probably not the book for you. But if you’re like me, and that makes you go, “Ooh, fuck yes,” perhaps you would like Human Acts. Each chapter is from a different perspective and written in a different style. I thought it was a really effective way of recounting a tragedy in all its parts.

920x920

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Everybody always is like, “Ooh Ann Patchett, so great,” so I was like, “Ooh okay, I will try her.” Here is what I thought: She is a masterful writer, no doubt. Sentences, descriptions: on point. What’s more, this book was a pleasure to read. Like, I devoured it. So great. My only thing is, the actual story itself to me felt like every literary fiction book I had ever read, and not really interesting or true enough to make me love it. I would definitely read another of her books, and I definitely enjoyed this one, but overall, I was not so into it.

ows_148728862680644

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

I urge all American readers of this blog to read The Sympathizer which is really, so important. If you are interested at in America, American foreign policy, race, capitalism, communism, Orientalism, the media, politics . . . really like we should all read that book. The Refugees is Nguyen’s second attempt at fiction, though much of it was written before The Sympathizer. It’s getting rave reviews, but I thought it was just alright. I didn’t feel like any of the stories really surprised me or blew me away like I like short stories to do, but I definitely think it’s important and necessary to tell these stories of Vietnamese Americans, and for that alone I would be like, “Job well done.” Personally I think The Sympathizer is what people should be reading though. (Also I met him and got him to sign it and he was lovely and I liked him a lot, so I apologize for saying I wasn’t so into his book. It was good! Just not as good as his other one.)

difficult-women-cover

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is lovely person whose cultural commentary and Outlander recaps we should all read. Everything she says I am like, “That is so true, Roxane, you are so right.” Unfortunately I personally think she is a better cultural commentator than hse is fiction writer. To me, the stories in this book felt too much like what I think of people submitting to some of the online webzine-y things I do sounds like. You know, like, a lot of rape and sexual assault stories, a lot of really awful men, and YES, these stories are important and valid and worth telling, but it didn’t feel like anything I hadn’t read before and at times I felt like a Republican reading it. (“Okay, but like not ALL men . . . “me reading this book) And again, I feel terrible writing that because if Roxane Gay called me up and was like, “AC, do you wanna hang out and be BFF?” I would be like, “Yeah girl,” but for me, this story collection didn’t impress me as much as I would like.

tenth_of_december

Tenth of December by George Saunders

A girl who I really hated worked on this book and she posted about it all over Facebook when it came out and I was like, “Ugh okay, I’m never reading that book.” But then in some short story courses I’ve been taking people have said my stories remind them of his work (obviously nowhere as good, let’s be clear) so I thought I’d look into it. I also felt prejudiced against Saunders because I was like, “Yuck white heterosexual male postmodernist yawn.” But in fact, this book — I have one story left — is really great. It actually is blowing me away. It is so funny and so clever and the writing is so tight. It is weird as hell, in the best way. And mostly, I started it being like, “George Saunders sounds like a man in a white suit who would call me young lady,” and now I’m like “George Saunders seems like the sweetest man, and I just want to hang out with him and smile, and knit friendship sweaters.” (Are friendship sweaters a thing? They are now.)

So that’s it. That’s what I’ve been reading. Peace out, y’all.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

I Ate Two Brownies for Breakfast Today and This Blog Is About Honesty, So You Should Know That Upfront

I talked in the penultimate post about how I was working on getting healthy number one, and waiting on getting a full-time job and moving out of my parents’ house and all the things I want to accomplish until I get right with myself. I kind of glossed over it, or noted it in one paragraph, but it’s a big deal and I think it’s worth talking about more in full.

So basically in December, Therapist pulled out a blank piece of computer paper. And she wrote in the center, “Priorities” and circled it. Then she talked to me about what my priorities were, and we drew a map. Mental health, being financially independent, moving out, writing, having a romantic relationship, being a global citizen, friendships . . .  all of the things that matter to me. And she was like, “So you may not be able to achieve all these things simultaneously. And you may in focusing on one of these things, have to compromise on others.” And then she said, “Right now, your mental health is out of balance and needs to take priority.”

giphy_59

It was very clarifying, but of course it took like two or three weeks before I came in and said, “So I guess it doesn’t make sense to be trying to get myself to apply to jobs right now when I’m not healthy enough to apply to more than like two or three jobs a week without getting seriously depressed.” So that’s what I’m doing right now is focusing all cylinders on taking care of myself and getting healthy. But it turns out, that’s really tricky.

I’ve been saying no electronics after 10pm, but what happens when Legion premieres right at 10? And then maybe at 10:15pm, I get a confusing text from a boy and decide that I need to hash it out with friends immediately or I will be up all night obsessing? Or if I’m house managing, and I don’t get back until after midnight, and I decide, “You know what? I’ve been working so hard at making healthy choices right now, I really need to buy myself a reward immediately before I go to bed and it should be this shirt that says, “Men aren’t funny” because, I mean, right?

k0r4p

Or I want to eat healthier, but then it’s also 1pm and I haven’t been out of my house all day, so maybe I should go out to eat and where is there to eat where it’s cheap and not awkward to sit alone but places that sell junk food? Or I didn’t realize the chicken tenders came with fries and now that they’re there it seems a shame not to eat them?

So basically I’ve been doing a shite job of it. Until the day before  yesterday I had gone on a 50 minute walk every day and that was great, but now, uh-oh, it’s hard to make that a priority. Also, it is so cold in Virginia right now. Geez.

anna_frozen

But I guess my comfort to myself is that we can’t all be Buddha overnight. How many days did he fast under the Bodhi tree before he received enlightenment again? Like, so many, right? And as much as I have truly, truly fucked it up many times, I also have done a pretty successful job many more times. I’m actually doing so well with the sleeping rules that I’m cutting back on medication to help me sleep, and it’s like, a very good thing.

Sometimes I feel like I know what the healthy thing to do is, and I know what the thing to do is that will make me feel better, but I’m not strong enough or I’m not there yet, you know? Like, yes, the right thing to do would be to go to sleep as soon as I get home from house managing, but ugh, that’s for squares and I’m a quirky loveable mess, right?

But I find that if I just say to myself, you know what, this version of you that’s weak and gross and can’t do anything is a lie, you are stronger than you think, that can be very helpful. So what I got to do right now is just believe that despite these recent slip-ups, I am perfectly capable of getting healthy. Ugh. I guess.

emma-stone-gifsigh

Posted in personal stuff | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Allow Me to Distract You From the Horrible World We Live In By Talking In Depth About Ed Sheeran Again

This is a pretty fucked up time in the world’s history. Everything is bleak and terrible except Beyoncé released a pregnancy announcement that looks like a scene out of the Czech movie Daisies and there is new Ed Sheeran.

I get it — the president wants to ban Muslims from the U.S., you are not excited about new Ed Sheeran. AC, you tell me again and again, he is a mediocre songwriter who writes mildly problematic songs about his quasi-famous and all-the-way famous ex-girlfriends. Why should we spend time listening to ginger Bilbo Baggins when many, many much more talented songwriters are making music?

Idk, like, I kind of enjoy him, I guess?

fcd7f77e-af03-4b5e-a4aa-0427decc36fe

He has two new songs, one of which is the classic Ed Sheeran Is A Nice Guy Who Wants Badly to Have a Lot of Sex With You song (“Shape of You”) and one of which is the classic Ed Sheeran is A Very Sentimental Guy Who Likes To Look at Old Pictures of Himself And Sigh song (“Castle on the Hill”). And both of them — get this — both of them have NEW VIDEOS.

My favorite Ed Sheeran video of all time is the one where he gets drunk and talks to his cat, obvs.* And my second favorite one is probably the one for “Photograph” that’s just like home videos of him as an awkward ginger youth. But I would rank the “Shape of You” video as like a solid third. Probably, unless there’s one I’m forgetting.

I linked to it earlier in this post, but you know here it is:

There are a lot of things to really enjoy here. First and foremost, we get to imagine a universe in which people who look like Ed Sheeran can be boxers. You might think that with the way the government is headed these days, it’s going to be harder and harder for people to achieve who they want to be, but if Ed Sheeran can be a boxer, trust me, you can be anything.

Also props for choosing a black girl with an athletic build instead of some twiggy white model, Ed. You truly love all women, or at least, pretend to on TV.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 4.58.19 PM.png

This girl is IN SHAPE.

One of my favorite parts of the video is when they are at a diner and she chooses a modest salad and Ed Sheeran orders fried chicken and French fries. He may have lost some weight, but Ed Sheeran still loves to eat! My only problem with this part of the video is that the lyrics he’s singing are about going to an All-You-Can-Eat place (which, yes, is my favorite part of the song) and this is clearly a more order-at-the-counter type place. I understand that music videos are not supposed to be a direct visual translation of songs, but this is too many mixed signifiers for me, and I wish I had been consulted.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 4.59.42 PM.png

Dream date, honestly, except in that scenario I am Ed and the person eating the modest salad is the dude from Outlander**

The real meat of this video is when she unexpectedly dumps him by leaving a present of a mouthguard in his locker (her mouthguard?) It has a division sign on it, but at first I thought it was a +, which is Ed Sheeran’s first album. In that scenario, Ed Sheeran would be  a popular singer-songwriter who later became a boxer, and she is giving him a mouthguard that references his first album as a sentimental gesture. This would be a more interesting narrative, and I repeat: I wish I had been consulted.

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-4-42-17-pm

What is the meaning of a division sign anyway?***

Ed Sheeran decides the only way to get her back is to fight a sumo wrestler, and like, sure. This doesn’t go well, as one would expect, but luckily she’s like there and saw the whole thing, so she gets to like jump and kick the sumo wrestler in the face, I think, it ends on a freeze frame.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 5.15.48 PM.png

I’m completely serious. This is how the video ends.

I have a lot of unanswered questions with this narrative, but ultimately I am satisfied. Ed Sheeran ate a lot of food at a diner and then got beat up. Liked it, enjoyed it, will probably watch again five more times today.

Now we can go back to watching the entire world fall apart.

* Also Nina Nesbitt plays this girl, so like . . . 

** Sam Heughan — I know his name! I was just being specific so that people could get the joke, GAWD.

*** THIS JUST IN — The division sign is the name of the new album. Jesus, AC, enough with the footnotes!

Posted in pop culture | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Let’s talk about healthy emotional boundaries, baby. Let’s talk about blog and me.

Oh blog. I wish I knew how to quit you.

tumblr_mnylyfd1kj1s9816mo1_500

I’ve been seriously thinking hard about quitting this blog over the last couple weeks and I’m undecided. There have been a lot of things I almost posted on. Disney World! Books I Loved in 2016! But I didn’t, because I’m kind of feeling like . . . ehhhh, should I still be doing this?

I love this blog, and it has helped me grow in a lot of ways, and I am forever grateful to you guys for reading it and supporting me.

But I’m also not the person I was when I started it, and I’m at a phase right now where I’m starting to learn more about healthy boundaries and how there are parts of me I’m willing to share with some people, and not everybody. And also my mom recently told her that sometimes people call her to see if I’m doing okay after they read this, and I don’t want to do that to her.

But then I know that to me breaking the stigma of this stuff is so important, and some of you who struggle with some of the same things (or don’t) have told me that this is helpful to you, or helpful to understanding others, and that’s great.

veronica-mars-oh-you-stop-it

I had a conversation with a new friend a moment ago where I felt like it was the right time to broach that I wasn’t working full-time right now because I’m working on getting healthier mentally, but I also felt like I’ve been down the road before where I do that, and then I start opening up about personal stuff to that person, and it’s not really appropriate. Since I started this blog I’ve tried to be really open with everybody, but it’s also like not healthy to just be walking around like an open wound opening up about your innermost insecurities to everyone you meet. Again, I’m working on it.

So I was trying to navigate like, “Hey, I have this issue I’m struggling with that I want to let you know about BUT ALSO it’s not something I want to talk to you further on.” Which was TRICKY! And it was messy and awkward but I think on the whole I’m feeling positive about it, like I didn’t fuck up nearly as bad as I thought I would. I HAVE WON AT BEING A DEPRESSED PERSON TODAY.

paltrowoscar-gif_234338

Real talk: I was in some dark places over the past month but I think not in spite of but because of these dark places, I am way healthier than I have been in awhile. I am not looking at jobs or temping, which I feel really guilty about all the time, but I am focusing 100% on getting healthy, which is good. I’m taking all my meds, including meds for health problems I’m having that are not mental! I’m going on a 45-minute walk every day! I’m waking up around 9 am! I’m getting work done for my side volunteer projects! I’m writing every day! I just started some bogus self-help book my therapist kept pushing on me, and I think it might be helpful! I’m trying to make healthier choices eating! I’m not using my computer or phone after 10pm! SOMEBODY GIVE ME A MEDAL PLEASE.

But in all honesty, I don’t so much feel happier so much as I feel, as a small child who just learned to ride a bike once said, happy of myself. I feel like I’m going to have to stick to these things a little bit longer before they become true habits, and I’m sure I’ll backslide eventually, but like, I’m heading in the right direction. We can at long last get back to talking about Harry Styles’ hair.

3fdd94d0e6304e81926eea418af1bcf8

(A dear friend recently sent me a message that she had just realized she was attracted to Harry Styles, and she didn’t want me to tell anyone because she was too embarrassed, but SHE KNOWS WHO SHE IS.)

Posted in personal stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments