A Visit from the Goon Squad

Once in a while I come across a book or an essay or a poem or a sprawl of graffiti on an abandoned building that reminds me of why I love words. Why reading stories and writing stories and sharing stories is so fulfilling.

A Visit from the Goon Squad. Read this book. It’s kind of a hybrid novel/short story collection. I don’t know what the hell it is. All I know is it made me FEEL SHIT.

There’s nothing I can say that can equate to the experience of reading it, so just go and do it and then we’ll talk.

Time’s a goon.

Bodies

Double standards. They exist everywhere. For everyone. Life’s not fair. Get the fuck over it. Yes. But.
I’ve been all over the weight spectrum. Growing up, I was always smaller than my classmates. Not necessarily skinny, just small. I didn’t break five feet until like the eighth grade. I hated it. HATED. I shed many a tear over my child size 10’s hanging in my closet through middle school. Then that bitch puberty came and all of a sudden I wasn’t the tiniest one in school anymore. NOPE. I gained approximately 20 pounds in the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. And then I gained the dreaded freshman fifteen (twice). At my heaviest, I was a wreck. Emotionally and physically. I was disgusted with myself and developed a mean obsession with my weight. I binged like I’d never binged before. And kept gaining.
 
But then I lost it. I guess we can get to that story later, because it wasn’t really that simple. I did a lot of…finding myself (oh dear God I know, gag me with a fucking SPOON). It wasn’t just eating less and moving more. It was mental. I became more comfortable with who I was as a person. Focused on things besides my weight.
 
Over time, my weight has settled on the low end of normal. But still. NORMAL. I am at a healthy weight for my frame. This doesn’t stop people from telling me I’m too skinny. I need to eat a sandwich. I must be anorexic. Oh, excuse? Would you say such things to someone who is on the slightly chubby end of the spectrum? METHINKS NOT.
 
Honestly, I love my body. I can wear whatever the hell I want and I don’t have to struggle to maintain my weight. I eat what I want. And a lot of it. Granted, I eat mostly (very) healthy foods, but still. I’m not slavishly counting calories or nibbling rice cakes
 
So why should I be made to feel like my body is somehow less than?
 
I don’t know where I’m going with this, really. Maybe it’s this: my body is my own. I am comfortable where I am. And I should be allowed to take pride in a body that has allowed me to do so much. It’s climbed mountains and swam in oceans and built an entire apartment’s worth of IKEA furniture and sprinted to catch the last Metro home. I guess sometimes I just need to remind myself of that.

And Now This is My Life

I’ve been an official DC resident for over a month. I have my own apartment. New responsibilities at work. A steady income (!!!). Friends. A DC library card. A life?

It’s all just strange. This is the first time I’ve lived on my own. Actually on my own. I love having my own place. I get to decorate how I want. I don’t have to worry about other people leaving their dishes in the sink for days on end. Everything is always right where I left it.

BUT. I don’t have my parents around to pick me up if I miss the last train home. No roommates to vent to after a truly heinous day at the office. No one to wake up in the middle of the night when the bathroom ceiling starts gushing water (unless you count emergency maintenance, but they’ll just tell you to calm the fuck down because there’s no way they’re coming all the way from Maryland unless someone’s life is on the line).

At first I missed everything. And I still miss a lot of things. My family. My best friends are strewn across the country, and it sucks that I can’t share every aspect of my life with them. I’ll say it–it’s kind of lonely.

Intimidating, this whole growing up thing. I have to put myself out there. Get out of my comfort zone. And I have. I mean, I’ve tried, at the very least. It has paid off, for the most part. Meeting new people, learning new things. But I’m making a lot of mistakes. Yes, this is part of growing up. Becoming who I am, finding out who my true friends are, blah blah blah. It’s hard though, you know? I don’t know when the fuck I’ll have things figured out. I’m trying to learn to be okay with that. It’ll happen eventually. Or it won’t. Whatever.

I meant for this to be my triumphant return to “regular” (LOLZ) blogging. But DEAR GOD, it’s become borderline depressing. I’ll be more fun soon, I promise. It has been A DAY. Wine helps. Always.

Something I Wish I Would Have Realized Two Months Ago

Before landing my new job in Alexandria, I was unemployed for three months. Looking back, my situation wasn’t bad. I was able to live with my parents, and my expenses were minimal. But I felt like I was falling behind every second. Like I would never find a job and never get my shit together.

Now that I have a job secured, I realize how absolutely ridiculous that was. People don’t have everything figured out at 22 years old. It’s just not possible. Sure, I have a source of income. One less thing to worry about. But did finding a job make everything else in my life fall into place? Nope. It’s going to be a long fucking time before I get my shit together. And that’s okay.

D.C.

When I started considering colleges in my junior year of high school, my only real criteria was an urban campus. I thought I’d wind up at NYU, but the visit was traumatizing. New York was not for me. Let’s state the obvious here: that city is fucking enormous. I wanted something in a city, but, as a girl from the suburbs, I wasn’t ready for something quite so different. D.C. was my next stop, and it was kind of perfect. I mean, sure, it’s a city, but it’s a pretty small one. It just felt so much more comfortable than New York.

So I chose to go to GW based mostly on the location. Yes, it’s a great university that has other things to offer, but I didn’t really care about those things. As long as it had decent academics and was in the D.C. area, I was good.

I came to school incredibly sheltered. Suburbia will do that to you. I grew up in D.C., and I left a different person. GW played a big part in that. So did my friends. And my professors. But, mostly? It was living in that city. On my own. For the first time ever.

I moved back home after I graduated, and had no intention of going back to D.C. Really. I loved the city, but after four years I thought I’d soaked up all I could.

Well, I changed my mind. I found myself strangely nostalgic. Being back home was different. I didn’t want to live with my parents for the rest of my life (for obvious reasons), and, as much as I like Philly, I was craving something else. Plus, it was springtime, aka cherry blossom season. No, I’m serious, that was kind of the impetus for this whole thing. I added D.C. Craigslist to my job search rotation, and applied for (and received) a position that sounded amazing.

So, yeah, long story short, I’m going back to my old stomping grounds. It’ll be fun to experience the city in a completely different situation. And if I do eventually decide that D.C isn’t for me after all, that’s fine too. Nothing’s permanent. If this doesn’t work out, so what? I’m young, I can do whatever and try whatever I want. And I’m so excited to see what happens.