I don’t do small talk.

I’m not good at smiling and talking about myself,

I don’t ask how strangers met their spouse,

or what college their child is going to,

because quite frankly,

I don’t care.

The pretty smile on my face is fake,

and my stomach turns every time someone asks me about my life,

where I’m going,

what I want,

where I came from,

who my family is.

It’s not a name they’d know,

I’m not from a town they’ve heard of,

I’m not anything that is remotely on their radar.

But it’s the polite way to exist in society,

and it makes me want to crawl out of my skin when I go home at night.

I wash the mask off of my face,

and I see the woman in the mirror.

The woman who got to where she is not by following her heart,

but by falling down,

over

and over.

After listening to older white men tell her how to live her life,

only to realize far too late that they didn’t want what’s best for her.

It’s almost hypocritical,

that I don’t like talking about myself,

but it’s all I can write about.

The pain,

and the trauma,

and the heartbreak,

and the breakdown.

I shattered.

There is who I was before,

and I’m still figuring out who the hell I am after.

It’s odd,

knowing that who I once was would adore to be where I am.

My younger self would think I was crazy to think about leaving,

to give up the glamour,

the labels,

the parties.

To be able to be in the same room as some of the wealthiest people in the midwest,

my younger self wouldn’t ever want to walk away from it.

But I just look around the crowded room,

filled with furs and fine jewelry,

and all I can think is,

I don’t belong here.

 

-I’m not sure what I want but I know it isn’t this

Pokémon: Let’s Go!

Oh boy, you know it’s good when I’m writing game reviews again. Not that I haven’t been playing lately, but after Breath of the Wild it’s hard to be really captivated by a game to the point where I feel the need to tell people about it. That is, until I heard that my twenty-six year old self was about to be playing Pokémon again.

I was a diehard first generation fan. My sister played Pokémon Red, I played Pokémon Blue, and then we both had copies of Yellow. I also played Crystal. After that, not much. Chalk it up to getting older and busier, but I felt attached to the first generation after watching the anime, and it was hard to keep up with the generations that followed. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that the franchise keeps evolving for new generations of players and the original 151 is now accompanied by so many more Pokémon, but I didn’t personally get into it.

I wasn’t a huge Game Boy player. I could do it for awhile, but it was always much easier for me to park my ass in front of a TV and stay there for hours with a controller in my hand than to stare down at a tiny screen and log the same amount of time. Pokémon: Let’s Go got my attention because it was being released for the Nintendo Switch. Then I heard it was the OG first generation, and I was like “I know what I’m doing this weekend,”

I went with the Eevee version. I love Pikachu, but I love Eevee more. Sue me.

I had a brief moment of being annoyed when I discovered that I can’t use my pro controller with this game. The same thing happened to me when I downloaded Mario Party. What the fuck do you mean I can only use ONE joy-con? I have adult size hands, I can’t do this.

However, it’s not that bad. And last night I THOROUGHLY enjoyed being able to play Pokémon with my right hand and hold my wine glass with my left. It was great.

Let’s get to the real question though,

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Yes. Yes, it is. I don’t think I’ve ever played a Pokémon game for this long before. It’s so comfortable to play on the TV. I’m really into it. The graphics are beautiful, I actually squealed in delight when I saw how ADORABLE my Eevee is, and the battle graphics are fun and fresh. It all feels so new and exciting while still being classic. It’s amazing.

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Since I haven’t been a diehard Pokémon player over the years, forgive me if any of the features I’m about to talk about were added in later generation games. To me, this is the first time I’m experiencing them, or I completely forgot that it was like that.

I LOVE that you can actually see what wild Pokémon are around you. I’m so used to just being interrupted while exploring to find Pokémon, and in this game, you can see them. You can avoid them. It’s fantastic.

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If you want to bump into the Zubat, Geodude, or Clefairy and catch them, you can. If you don’t, you can avoid them and keep walking. Although I will point out that I finally discovered that catching Pokémon is a great way to level up your team. You don’t battle them, just catch them, but your entire equipped team earns EXP. I’ve always hated having duplicates in my PokéBox, so I’d usually avoid catching more than one. Then I realized it was a great way to level my team so I probably have about twenty Venonats now.

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There are some wonderfully familiar faces.

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Fighting both Jessie and James at the same time was really exciting to me for some reason. You decide your attacks, obviously, and can decide which one to attack as well.

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I’m really enjoying this game so far. While it was downloading on my Switch I also discovered that I still know the entire anime theme song by heart, which I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of that. I don’t remember half the shit I learned in college but I can still sing the Pokémon theme song.

And now for some screenshots, and then I’m going back to Kanto.

I WANNA BE THE VERY BEST…

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LIKE NO ONE EVER WAAAAAS…

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TO CATCH THEM IS MY REAL TEST…

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TO TRAIN THEM IS MY CAUUUUUSE…

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I WILL TRAVEL ACROSS THE LAND…

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SEARCHING FAR AND WIIIIIDE…

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TEACH POKÉMON TO UNDERSTAND…

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THE POWER THAT’S INSIIIIDE…

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Alright, I’m done. About to board the S.S. Anne!

10/10 would recommend. I’m having way too much fun playing this game.

Gotta catch ’em all!

Election Day, 2018

Maybe I am such a nasty woman,

because I believe that we all deserve to feel safe living our lives to the fullest,

regardless of race or gender identity.

Because I believe that we all deserve equal opportunities,

regardless of what kind of family you were born into.

Because I believe that we all should have the right to marry whomever we want,

regardless of what they identify as.

Because I believe in a woman’s right to choose,

no matter what the circumstances are.

Because I’ve witness firsthand the effects of toxic masculinity,

and the double standards applied to women.

This nasty woman will take a stand,

because my whiteness makes it easier than some to do so.

This nasty woman will fight.

And most importantly,

this nasty woman will vote.

Part two.

I’d ripped you out from under my skin,
purged myself of every ounce,
every drop of what I felt for you.
The cravings had finally stopped,
my heart no longer hurt,
and your memory was fading.
But here I am,
with wide amber eyes,
right back at the beginning.
Another taste of being understood,
of talking in circles,
and making perfect sense.
Another taste of your thick sarcasm accent,
paralyzing eyes,
and thoughtful wit.
My soul has been reignited,
but I can’t help but wonder,
how long until you leave again?

If you’re my worst addiction, then this relapse might kill me.

Single and Fabulous. Exclamation Point.

I keep having these moments where the actions of others, or the lives they chose to live, stop me in my tracks and make me question what I’m doing.

It’s mostly guys I used to date, finding their way into my timelines and forcing me to notice that they’re married. Or living with their girlfriend. Or engaged. And these are the guys that I’ve filed into the category of “Ugh, I can’t believe that chapter of my life actually happened,” and yet my stomach turns a little, because if they’ve found their happiness, I can’t help but wonder why I haven’t found mine.

It’s a twinge of self-doubt that makes me put social media down and keep going. I know realistically, I’m not exactly out of time. I’m twenty-six. I’m so young. I know that. But it’s hard to not feel the pressure when you are surrounded by happy people with their happy spouse or fiancé buying their happy house, and it makes me look at my life like I’ve somehow screwed everything up.

When in reality, I have never been this happy, ever. I love my job. I just got back from four days in NYC for work that was an absolute dream (see last post) and I know that my career is just going to grow from here. I also know that even if I did meet someone who could potentially “be the one,” I’m not entirely sure I could give them my full attention right now. I’m not sure I’m capable of giving someone my full attention, and even if I could, I don’t think I’d like myself that way.

I had a lot of good talks in NYC over bottles of wine with my boss, a woman eighteen years my senior, about relationships and what I’m looking for, and she suggested I stop dating men in their twenties because I’m already ahead of them. She told me I’m too mature for twenty-six, and while that’s not a bad thing, men in their twenties are probably just going to disappoint me with their immaturity. She’s right, I am really over the idea of just “hanging out” with someone. And guys my age don’t seem to grasp that there is a difference between dating and being in a relationship. Although the couple of guys I’ve gone out with in their thirties haven’t exactly been what I was looking for either.

I just don’t think it’s my time yet. I’ve always pictured myself getting married in my thirties, and I still have three and a half years until I hit the beginning of that decade. I just hate that I occasionally feel like something is wrong with me, but on the flip side, you couldn’t pay me to be married right now. I’m having way too much damn fun building my own life. I just need to find a guy who’s doing the same.

So this is what I keep telling myself in these moments:

You do you. Stick to your guns. And if you occasionally have a meltdown about dying alone, then so be it. Freak out, get it out of your system, and then pick yourself up and get back to business, because this ladder that you’re climbing isn’t going to climb itself.

NYC.

I had been a mess of anxiety leading up to the trip. This was all about work, and packing the day before sent me into a spiral. I’d purchased one great blazer, the most expensive piece of clothing I owned, and it was going with me, but the rest was just part of my everyday rotation. None of it felt good enough for New York. None of it was chic enough or special enough. It wasn’t Forever 21 by any means, but in my mind, where I was going, it might as well have been.

I somehow managed to pack a decent amount of clothes. Outfits were perfectly planned. Everything was folded neatly and tucked away in the suitcase, ready to be pulled out in an entirely different timezone. I didn’t think I would sleep. I laid in bed and thought about what this trip COULD be like. The voice in my head continued to go on and on about how I’m not worthy of the city I was going to. I had no idea what to expect so my anxiety ran wild.

After about maybe four hours of sleep, I woke up to my Lady Gaga alarm tone. It was the beginning of the song “Applause,” and I stared at my ceiling for a minute while it played, and it hit me.

I’m going to New York City today.

I actually felt the anxiety melt away from my body. I got up, showered, finished packing, called an uber, locked my front door, and didn’t look back.

Once the plane took off, I shuffled through my cheesy playlist of New York related songs (I’m fully convinced that if you don’t listen to Empire State of Mind at least once on a NYC trip, you didn’t do it right) and was glued to the window. As the descent into LaGuardia began, I basically had my forehead pressed to the window, waiting patiently for a glimpse of Manhattan to come into view.

When it finally did, I got chills. I could make out the Statue of Liberty. There’s something about seeing insanely famous landmarks in person that just gives you chills. And I was in an airplane. I couldn’t help but think about what Lady Liberty stood for, and who our country was currently being led by.

We landed. My boss was in first class, and she waited for me to finally get out of coach, and we were off power-walking to the baggage claim while discussing the game plan for the day. She’d warned me: as soon as we got off the plane, it was show time. And she had been right. We had a lot of boxes to check for the day and a short amount of time to do it. I found my silver luggage bag and helped her with her Louis Vuitton bags. We loaded ourselves into a cab and headed to The Palace.

I’d had my head in the clouds since Manhattan had come into view, but let me tell you, that cab ride woke me up. Traffic lanes mean nothing in NYC. If there are two marked lanes, but three cars can fit across, then three cars are going to fit. It was terrifying and exhilarating. I could have stuck my arm out the window and touched the vehicle next to me. I’m convinced none of these people passed a legitimate drivers test, but it was so classic New York that I couldn’t even be upset. It was the perfect welcome to the city.

The Palace is stunning. I was a diehard Gossip Girl fan as a teenager so stepping into that iconic courtyard was a very cool feeling, and of course it’s right across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Midtown is just… awesome. I don’t know how else to describe it.

The four days that followed were a complete whirlwind that you couldn’t pay me to forget. I have never worked so hard, and then turned around and gone out for dinner or drinks or just to explore a city that never sleeps. I wasn’t ever tired. I’m a girl that enjoys her solid eight hours of sleep during the normal week, but somehow I managed to not only exist on four hours of sleep, but I thrived. I was on my A game at work, made sure to see one of my best college friends who recently moved to NYC, dressed fabulous (with that B game wardrobe of mine) for dinner or drinks and networked my ass off.  The day I had the most free time, I walked over nine miles, and then got cleaned up, threw on high heels and went to dinner downtown. I met people so high up in my company that if they ever remembered my name, it would change my life.

It was like something out of a movie.

‘Oh we’re meeting X from Z company for drinks tonight’

And we did, and we’d order a bottle of wine and someone would swipe a corporate card because it was technically business and we’d sit and discuss said business.  It was the sort of thing that I always thought would be kind of boring but it wasn’t. It wasn’t at all. I was engaged and even when I was just listening, I was doing my best to absorb every bit of information about this industry that I could, because it was only going to help me in the future. I felt, and still currently feel, like I am standing on the beginning steps of a very promising career climb.

New York was a dream, start to finish. My mom made the comment that the photo of me (see below) on the steps of the Met is her new favorite photo because I look so truly happy. I know that smile. I know how it feels on my face. That’s the genuine one. The one where I’m so overwhelmed with happiness that it might actually physically pour out of me. I felt like that the entire trip. It was an absolute dream. 

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It was an exhausting dream that left me dozing off against the window on the flight from LaGuardia back to STL, but it was a dream nonetheless. I’m grateful that I was able to go and be a part of it, and I’m truly grateful for where I am right now. I love my job. I wake up every morning and I’m excited to go to work.  Everyone told me that I should enjoy college while it lasts because the real world sucks, and I’d just like to say, No, it doesn’t. It’s so much better.

Cannot wait to go back to NYC in a couple months. I’m completely head over heels in love with that city. The biggest question we kept asking each other was if we would ever live there, and I finally decided my answer. I wouldn’t just move there to move there. I wouldn’t live there with four roommates and no closet space and no AC and $1500 rent. But for the right promotion… a true career changing position?

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Back in February, I wrote one of my personal favorite pieces that I’ve ever written, and I never shared it. I wrote a series about a specific encounter (I.e. breakup) and I loved them all. They all flowed right out of me and it was so cathartic. But I didn’t share them because the ex was still in my friend circle and I didn’t want to cause drama. Our mutual friends didn’t need to know how ugly it got between us, and we were trying to stay friendly.

Our friendship recently ended, and although I’m not proud of the things I said (when are you ever proud of telling someone they can fuck right off?), I realized that I can now share this and be proud of it. I haven’t been writing a lot of poetry lately so it was disappointing to finally have new material that I liked and yet I was afraid to share.

Recently stumbled across that famous quote by Anne Lamott:

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

So while I’m not trying to cause more drama by sharing this, I am no longer afraid, and I want to share my work. Enjoy.