2018: A Better World (and better M.E.)

I know that New Year’s resolutions are getting kind of old and tired. But making a list of goals at the beginning of every year is pretty important to my general mental health and happiness. I’m a goal-oriented person and also an anxious and occasionally depressed one, so having a solid plan and a reason to get up every morning is key to my sanity. I’ve always been that way, ever since I was a kid. I make lists and then practically orgasm every time I cross something off. Inhale, check, exhale.

This year, I want to really focus on myself and on the world at large because I’m a hot mess and so is the damn planet. Seriously, what is happening? So, my goal for 2018 is to do whatever I can to make the world a better place and also really focus on my own health and happiness. Instead of “learning French,” I want this year to be more like, “be a beacon of mental health and kindness and save Orangutangs because THEY ARE DYING.” Why? Because if 2017 taught me anything, it’s that self-care is the cornerstone of being able to show up for others and it’s not something I’m good at (because I like to focus on others to avoid dealing with my own shit, let’s be honest). Plus, I feel like as a woman and as the oldest kid in my family, I was taught how to take care of others but I never really learned how to focus on myself. However, I’m learning because I kind of had to after I totally lost my shit a bit ago.

In the fall of 2016, I had a nervous breakdown (weee!) which made 2017 the Year of Self-Care by necessity (SO MUCH THERAPY, guys, SO MUCH). In 2017 I learned:

  • That self-care isn’t just something for my hippy friends. Taking care of yourself and meeting your own needs can mean the difference between a life riddled with anxiety and stress or a life that’s filled with happiness and only the occasional moment of stress or anxiety.
  • I can’t solve everyone else’s problems. I have a tendency to try to fix things for other people and in doing that I take on their stress, anxiety, fears, and an array of other negative emotions. I had to learn how to trust others to solve their own problems. Sure, I’ll offer advice when necessary or when I can, but then I have to back away and just be supportive without doing things for them.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is a real thing that works magic. Example? After 35 years of being afraid of the dark, I am no longer scared of the dark. Retraining your brain is hard and takes a ton of effort (it’s an all day thing) but it really does work and it’s kind of amazing when it does.
  • To trust my therapist. I’m not a trusting person by nature and it’s not unlike me to walk into a situation and look for reasons not to trust someone. This time, I promised myself that as soon as I connected with someone, I’d let myself be totally vulnerable and trust them. If my therapist tells me to do a thing, I do the thing. If she makes mistakes, I don’t hold it against her and use it as a reason to avoid therapy or come up with why she’s not right for me. While I have been to terrible therapists in the past and I know that shit providers exist, I also know that I’m really good at searching for flaws and I use it as some weird way to self-protect. My current therapist has basically guided me through a breakdown to a much more stable version of myself. It’s been weird to actually just let someone in and be okay with it. Terrifying, but really good.
  • To say what I want in my relationships. Especially in a marriage. My husband once told me, “I’m more selfish than you are, so if you don’t tell me what you want, you probably won’t get it because I won’t even realize it.” And I was like, well that’s a weird fucking thing to say, whacko. But I’ve realized that my relationships across the board are better when I’m just as open and blunt as possible. I went from, “Hey babe, it would be really nice if you cleaned the bathroom,” to, “Hey babe, I need you to clean the bathroom in the next few days and here’s why. If you choose not to, that’s fine but know that I will hire someone to do it because I don’t have the time to pick up the extra cleaning slack.” And then? Follow through mother fucker. Although follow through is not something I’ve ever struggled with. If I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. I’ve learned to be very careful with my threats because I’d hate to say, “I will stab you if you do that again,” and then be forced to fork my husband.
  • To not take on other people’s feelings. My husband is a pretty anxious person and I used to take on his anxieties and make them my own. Now, I’m a lot better at going, “this is your shit, dude,” and preventing him from spraying me with his anxiety cooties.

In 2018, I want to take the self-care up a notch by allowing myself to really dive into the things that make me happy like painting, writing, reading, and watching an endless stream of handicap goat videos.

Another thing that’s important? I feel like the world is ending. The air is polluted, there are dead zones in the sea, and a shocking number of animals are inching towards extinction, including adorable fuzzy ones that I spend hours stalking on Instagram every day and that infuriates me. We’re a smart species, we can figure out how to have all the things we want AND have fish in the ocean. I don’t want to live in a shithole because, well, I fucking love wildlife and uhm, air. So, in addition to taking care of my own ass, I want to do more to take care of my community and the people in it and the planet because we all kind of need each other to survive. Except for assholes. We don’t need assholes. They can hitch a ride to Mars.

My New Years Resolution: A Better World (and a better M.E.) 

Here’s a very general list of the things I want to achieve this year. It’s very general but my husband is pacing in the living room going, “baaaabe, I wanna go hiiiiiking,” and he’s distracting me.

  • Find a new husband
  • Self-Care
    • Meditate every day (Headspace is my fave app of all time)
    • Read 10 books on self-care and do what the books recommend
    • Have brunch or coffee with friends every week
    • Workout every day
    • Eat more clean (and also more chocolate)
    • Take notes in Therapy and make to-do lists that I follow through on so I can continue to work through my shit but more efficiently
    • Do what I want to do, not what I think I should do. This is something I really struggle with in terms of my career. I’m always trapped between what I love and what I think is “responsible.” The outcome is that I’m just not as happy as I could be
    • Write every day (essays, blog posts, screenplays, plays, lists, scribbles, all the things)
    • Tell people the nice things that I actually think about them. I’m not good at complimenting people I know. I’m way better at complimenting strangers (no, I don’t know why).
    • Bullet Journal every morning (bullet journals are the greatest thing since sliced bread. But also I don’t even know if I’m that impressed with sliced bread).
  • The World
    • Get involved in local politics so I can advocate for environmentally friendly policies and policies that build community trust
    • Eat local from local farms as much as possible
    • Buy more stuff from vintage stores instead of new
    • Make my house more sustainable by getting rid of paper napkins and paper towels
    • Donate money to a good cause every month by eating out less
    • Volunteer time every month and get on the board of a charity
    • Learn how to preserve veggies (I am terrified of botulism) this summer so I don’t waste my garden’s produce
    • Start composting and try to significantly reduce waste in our home
    • MAAAAYBE buy an electric car (Tesla Model 3?). Our second car is about to die and cars are the worst polluters.

What about you guys? What do you want to do better in 2018?


My Purse is Now a Trash Can For Un-Eaten Snacks

This morning my dad called and asked if F and I wanted to get coffee with him. I had work to finish, so F went ahead and met him at a nearby cafe and I’d join them after I finished. Waiting a bit would also give my dad a solid 45 minutes or so to get all of his conspiracy theory anxiety out of the way before I arrived. Because, “baby, you need to buy gold and silver,” for one hour can wear on the sanity. There’s nothing wrong with being prepared but I’m already anxious enough without “THE ECONOMY COULD COLLAPSE ANY DAY” hanging over my head.

When I walked in the cafe, my dad and F were seated in the far west corner in the sunlight in a few leather lounge chairs. “Hey baby,” my dad said. He stood up and kissed my face 456 times. F nodded to me and my dad joked, “looks like the boss is here, buddy!” I rolled my eyes and sat down in a lounge chair, “yeah, at ease,” I said. I asked my dad about his day a little, we chatted about my younger siblings and about some Zucchini Persian dish he wanted to make. Then he pulled out his phone and started texting and getting all smiley and I was all, “what are you up to?” And he showed me some text messages between himself and one of his friends that were really intensely affectionate and I was like, “so are you guys dating? Does he know you’re married?” And my dad laughed. But seriously because the messages were something like:

Friend: Hey wanna go to the gym?

Dad: Oh, sweetheart, I’d love that.

Friend: Great! See you there!

Dad: Oh, I’ll be looking forward to it, baby.

This is how my dad talks to everyone. Busboys, waitresses, best friends, his kids, everyone is “sweetheart,” “baby,” or “tiger.” When I was younger, it embarrassed the shit out of me to have my dad call the woman at the sandwich counter, “baby.” As in, “I’ll have the Torky (turkey) sandwich baby.” But, as an adult, it only slightly embarrasses me but I mostly just find it adorably weird. F got up to go to the bathroom and during a pause in the conversation with my dad, I reached into my bag to grab something. Apparently, I took too long and he got bored because out of nowhere he started blasting Persian music. I looked up and my dad was sitting there, in the sun, with his eyes closed and his iPhone turned up on the highest volume while he swayed back and forth. An older gentleman across from us lowered his newspaper to peer at my dad over the top of it. A young couple on the other side of the cafe turned to look, too. And my dad? Oblivious, because he was having the best time ever.

F came back from the bathroom. I stretched and felt my stomach rumble. “Are you guys hungry?” I asked. Being hungry is like the end of all things for ethnic families so I knew that both my husband (who is from Italy) and my dad (who is from Iran) would quickly rush me towards food. My dad stood up, “yeah baby, let’s go get you some Pho.” He shot Francesco a look like, “well, let’s go,” and F grabbed his coat. My dad began filling his pockets and then got this really bummed out look on his face. “What’s wrong?” I asked. My dad sighed, “I can’t find my trainers.”

“Trainers,” are little squares with a connecting band that my dad carries with him EVERY SINGLE DAY in case he needs to use chopsticks. Just in case. It’s not like as a Persian man living in Salt Lake City he eats Chinese food or Vietnamese food for every meal, but just in case, he’s fucking ready. The last time we hung out, I took him for Pho and he fished them out of his pocket and stuck them on his chopsticks and I was all, “what the hell?” and he looked at me like it was the most normal thing in the world and said, “it’s my cheaters, baby,” and I immediately took a picture of them.

Chopstick Trainers

I’m not making this shit up. LOOK AT THOSE THINGS!

So, anyway, he was sad that he didn’t have his trainers or “cheaters,” for Pho but I assured him that he probably mistakenly left them in his other jacket and he was all, “well I hope so,” in a very serious manner.

At the Pho place, as soon as F and I finished ordering my dad paid and went to find a seat. While F and I gathered napkins and things, Persian music started blasting from a corner of the restaurant. I looked up and there was my dad again, volume up, eyes closed, just having the time of his life. Mother’s turned around to stare, kids were wondering why the Pho restaurant had become a middle eastern dance club, and F and I just shrugged. Because, well, we’re used to it. My dad might be a total weirdo (and he is) but he’s our weirdo.

After lunch, my dad said goodbye and rushed off declaring himself “a very busy man” on the way out. On the way home, F magically ended up at a grocery store without telling me he was stopping anywhere and I was like, “don’t just go places when we’re together without mentioning it to me, dude. I’m not your purse.” He thought that was hilarious and he laughed and I fantasized about the many ways to choke him to death.

Inside the store, he beelined it for the bread counter and asked for 9,000 samples. I wandered away from the cart to buy succulents and cashew milk. We walked around the store for a while, argued about what kind of salad to make, and then decided it was time to leave. I reached into my bag to find my phone and my hand felt like I’d plunged it into a garbage can. There were dewy soft things wrapped in paper things and I was like WTF? Then I opened my bag wide for a good look and realized that F had asked for samples and instead of eating them, HE’D PUT THEM IN MY PURSE. ALL OF THEM.

“Babe,” I tapped him on the shoulder.

“Yeah?” He asked.

“Did you fill up my purse with bread samples?”

“Uhm, yes. Just leave them there, okay?”

“For what?”

Then he waved me off like I was being crazy by demanding to know why he’d turned my purse into a snack station for old food.

I shook my head and mumbled, “dude, between you and my dad. I swear to baby Jesus.”

And he laughed. And then I laughed.

Ah, family.

Headaches: Natures Little “Fuck You”

I’m 36 years old and up until yesterday, I could proudly declare that I’d never had a headache before. “Never?” people asked with a tinge of disbelief. “Never,” I’d silently gloat. But that all changed at about eight p.m. last night.

Out of nowhere, I got this weird chill and then BAM all of this pressure on both sides of my head. I laid down on the couch and pouted to my husband, “my head feels funny like there’s all of this weird pressure.” And he was like, “huh, that’s weird,” absently and not at all concerned because he’d binge-watched Peaky Blinders all day and was on episode 2,000. I glared at the side of his head and mumbled, “hopefully I don’t die,” before rolling over to watch the show with him and swoon ever so slightly over Cillian Murphy’s character, Tommy Shelby. I’m really into Cillian Murphy’s presence, he’s hard to look away from with his confusing eyes that are like terrifying but also charming. And I kind of get his character Tommy and like to shout advice at the t.v. as if we were having coffee together in a cafe somewhere in Birmingham. “Keep your eye on Michael! He didn’t grow up like you and he didn’t even flinch when someone got killed. He’s a sociopath! He’ll take over!”

I grew up very, very rough and tumble. As a kid, I had a group of friends who were not unlike the Shelby kids. They fought, they stole, and a few of them ended up in prison (although one became a cop, another a psychologist, one went to Stanford, and many of them are now successful business owners because nobody is better at running a business than little shithead street kids). And for whatever reason, there’s still a small part of me that gets an occasional lady boner over a bad boy with the big heart. Tommy Shelby is cool, he’s intelligent, and he’s a family man. What’s not to like? The answer: all that murder.

So, I’m mumbling advice to the t.v. when the pressure in my head suddenly turns to pain, like an invisible troll is bopping me on the head. It hurt. And I started to panic and grabbed my head and starting pushing on it like a ripe melon. My husband, F, noticed me cradling my head and finally got a little worried. “Babe? Are you okay?” he rubbed my arm. “No, dude,” I peaked out through my arms that were wrapped around my head, “I think I’m having a stroke or something.” F disappeared and came back with a thermometer because this little device is his answer to any and all sickness. When we were dating he once sprinted out of a hotel room to buy a thermometer because I had period cramps. I used to fight off the thermometer but we’ve been together for long enough that I know there’s no point, he’ll just keep trying to airplane the thing into my mouth until I give in any way. I begrudgingly held it in my mouth while my head pulsed like the treble in a speaker. My temperature was normal. He shrugged, “maybe you’re getting the flu?”

I laid back on the couch and grabbed my phone to google my symptoms. A tension Headache was the first thing to come up under WebMD. The second thing that came up was CERTAIN DEATH. A headache?

“Babe, do I have a headache?” I asked.

F’s face lit up, “does it feel like your head is in that one machine thing that squeezes you?”

I nodded.

“Yeah! That’s a headache babe!”

Then he laughed for ten minutes because I’d been panicking over essentially nothing. But that didn’t make my head stop hurting. It kept aching until about 5 a.m. this morning. I slept like shit and I feel totally drained today. How do people just get these all the time and still carry on normally? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE!?

I’ve decided that headaches are like natures little way of saying, “fuck you,” for absolutely no reason. Life was just a little bit better when I didn’t have them but I’m also pretty glad that I wasn’t having a stroke.

A Merry Christmas Face Plant

I’ve been limping since Christmas day.

A little backstory: As most of you know, my family is multicultural af. My husband is from Italy, my dad is from Iran, and that’s not even counting my grandparents who came from Wales, Ireland, New Zealand and the Netherlands. In that sense, I’m as American as it gets: A big fat melting pot of things. What does this have to do with my knee? I’ll explain.

On every holiday or weekend day, my husband Skypes his parents, sister, and our nieces. We also call our friends in Italy and Spain and sometimes my cousins in London. Also, my dad busts out his Facetime and calls every relative we have in Iran. Every. Single. One. On a day like Christmas, my family can easily spend HOURS staring at iPhone screen. I love talking with our friends and family, it’s like my favorite part of the holidays, but sometimes you need a break to eat or pee or just to let your eyes go back to normal or think of new things to say because there are only so many interesting things you can talk about after 4 hours.

My dad handed me his phone no less than 64 times by 11:00 a.m. on Christmas and after an hour of saying, “Hello! Merry Christmas! How are you? I’m great! You’re beautiful! I love you!” in Persian (because I only know about 100 words and the older I get the more I lose), I needed a break. So, I casually strolled up to my little brother, shoved the phone into his hand with my cousin on the screen, and sprinted away. He shook his fist at me but I was gone, gone, gone.

I peed, I had a snack, and I settled onto the couch to play with my parent’s dog. No less than 5 minutes later, I notice that my little brother was slowly making his way towards me. He was closing in and I panicked. I knew what he was doing. So I tried to nonchalantly do a little stand-squat thing so I could bend over the back of the couch to escape. My plan was to simply sit on the back of the couch so I could flip my legs around and hop down. I’d done it 1000 times in the past while wrestling with my younger siblings and fleeing from them. But it seems that as I’ve grown older, I am no longer a stealthy ninja, but instead a clumsy and uncoordinated lump of shit. Instead of  making a clean getaway, I sat on the back of the couch (which is a solid 4 feet high at least) and then FELL off sideways, belly flopping from the back of the couch onto the marble floor. The entire family screamed, “OMG!” And as I lay on my back laughing but also stifling a scream from the pain (I’d hit both of my knee caps HARD), my family peaked over the back of the couch at me with “did you die” expressions on their faces. Then, my little brother’s face popped into view from above my head. He shoved the iPhone into my face, and my aunt who I am obsessed with was all smiling at me, and I was forced to take the phone and try to explain in broken Persian why I was laying on the floor, all red-faced, and mangled. I heard my brother whisper, “look alive, sis,” as he made a run for it.

My knees are black and blue and I learned a valuable lesson: Next time I fall off of the couch while trying to evade my brother, play dead. Just fucking play dead. Also? Revenge.

Holiday Cheer: Am I Too Old For This?

When I was in my twenties, like most people, I partied it up. I could out-drink most of my friends and spent many a night playing air guitar on my knees in a club. When I met my husband, I aggressively hit on him while drunk and standing on top of a table.

Now? Not so much. At 36, my body isn’t great at handling all that booze, I get anxious a lot, and I have too much going on to even think about staying out late most of the time. I’m writing a book, own a business, have another blog that is established and am trying to get this one off of the ground. Plus, I write for a living as one of those elusive freelancer humans (then why isn’t my grammar better? I have no goddamn idea), the kind you hear about but never really meet (because we mostly live under rocks).

But, I love the idea of being festive for the holidays. So, this weekend my husband and I went all out. We threw a neighborhood mixer and invited everyone on our street over for mulled wine and snacks. My husband still doesn’t believe that “mixer” is a real thing and is convinced I made it up to fuck with him because he’s foreign. I WISH I had but no, no dude, it’s a thing. We stuck invites to all the doors and crossed our fingers that a human or two would show. Turns out, our street is full of boozers who you don’t have to convince to drink. This is what we like about them (not always easy to find in SLC). So, around 6:30 people start showing up and I’m shoving spiked eggnog and mulled wine into their hands (or hot chocolate for the kiddos). It’s around this time that my dog starts losing his shit, entirely, because he’s anxious and he doesn’t like strangers.

Forward to two hours later when our neighbor sets down her nine-month-old daughter to crawl. She managed to go about one foot before Oliver came flying 2,000 miles per hour out of nowhere and lept onto her back. To hump her. Horrified, I run over and try to pick him up but he’s managed to lock his front legs around her stomach. I’m trying to unlock his legs while lifting and he’s fighting me and for a second I was like, “Please dear lord kill me,” and I worried that I’d accidentally pick her up along with him and she’d be dangling midair while Oliver kept thrusting. But after a few seconds, I managed to pry him off. Then I put him in the back room with some chicken to bribe him to stop molesting the children. That only worked for a minute so then I had to give him a giant stuffed animal to hump instead so if you looked down the hall you could just see my dog going to town on a giant Pig toy, all panty and ew. Then someone was like, “how old was Oliver when you got him?” And I had to confess that we’ve had him since he was 12 weeks old, which meant that he was entirely our fault and I felt a slight pang of shame. Then I refilled my cup and the shame turned to laughter and I was like, “OMG, my dog is so fucked up,” giggle, giggle. I did vow to work harder on his training, though. Because he’s stressed af.

Most of the night involved me filling up drinks and telling Oliver to stop humping people.  One little boy sadly said, “for some reason, Oliver doesn’t want to hug my leg,” and his mom and I laughed because, awe, the innocents of children. And I was like, “He does love to give hugs,” because what else do you say? But it was a lot of fun because our neighbors are fantastic and thoroughly entertaining and PARTY ANIMALS. The mixer started at 6:00 p.m. and went until 2:00 a.m. And I was like, “OMG, HOW ARE YOU GUYS STILL AWAKE!?” I could have easily gone to bed at 10:00 p.m. But I couldn’t site my age (mid-thirties) because most of our guests were older than me and whatever they’re doing or eating I need in my life because they were lively and raging until all hours of the night.  And I love that.

I don’t want to be one of those people who turns forty and decides my life is over and completely stops socializing because I think it’s important for my own health and the health of the community. As humans, social interactions are critical to our mental health. Being social and putting yourself out there is a habit just like anything else and once you stop it’s so easy to brick yourself into your home and never leave again and pretty soon you have an entire city of people who don’t talk to one another. It’s especially easy for a writer because with Amazon and grocery delivery, I really don’t need to leave my house like ever and there have been many times in my life where I’ve gotten weirdly anti-social and developed bizarre habits like talking to myself for hours at a time. So, I’m going to keep it up with the holiday cheer and make this an annual mixer (hooray for starting new traditions that also increases social capital!) But I need to work on my stamina and Oliver’s training for the future.

Any tips on throwing a killer holiday party? Has your dog ever molested your guests? Let me know in the comments below!


Look Inside Your Vagina (or you’ll die)

I’ve had a mole on my face, next to my sideburn, for as long as I remember. It seemed innocuous enough, until recently when it started turning into some weird bumpy thing. Then, my sister who is a nursing student was all, “CANCER this and CANCER that,” and I got all panicky and went to the doctor. My family practitioner is a good doctor but she’s as emotional as sheetrock. She’s a very no-nonsense person and because of that not at all comforting. She looked at it, “it doesn’t seem to be anything to worry about,” she said, tucking her little magnifying glass into her front pocket, the way that doctors do. “Take a picture of it with your iPhone.  Every few months, take a new picture and compare it to the one before it. If it grows or changes then come back in.” I stared at her for a second, “hmmm, okay,” I said. But I actually thought, “OMG HOLY SHIT THAT SOUNDS SO STRESSFUL!” She must have noticed the panic in my eyes because she added, “if you want, I can refer you to a dermatologist just to be sure but it honestly doesn’t look like anything to worry about.”

I slowly nodded, “yes.”

I made an appointment with the dermatologist and waited for three months until my appointment, wondering all the while if I was going to die before I saw a doctor. I didn’t.

Yesterday, I went to my appointment. I walked into the office, filled out paperwork and after a few minutes, the receptionist called my name. I followed her to the back and she tried to whiz past the scale and I stopped abruptly, “wait, we aren’t doing the uhm,  thingy?” She tilted her head, “excuse me?” I shrugged, “I don’t have this thing at home so could I weight myself?” She nodded, “sure if you want.” I enthusiastically threw off my coat and purse and stepped onto the scale. “Oooh,” I gushed, “I lost five pounds since last time!” She looked at me like, I don’t give a rats ass lady. So I picked up my stuff and trotted behind her. In the room, she instructed me to put on a gown and hop up on the table. I changed and this time I even put the gown on right. Last time, I put it on  backward and my husband was like, “WHY ARE YOUR BOOBS OUT LIKE THAT?” I sat on the table and swung my legs until the doctor came in.

“Hi, I’m Doctor H,” he shook my hand.


“What am I seeing you for today?”

I turned my head and pointed, “am I going to die?”

He stepped closer to me and inspected my face for a minute with a light.

“Nope. That’s just some fatty cells clumped together an-”

“Ew,” I said.

He laughed, “anyway, they’re not dangerous at all. In fact, they might just go away on their own.”

“Oh, okay,” I smiled.

He grabbed my leg, “But while you’re here, let’s just look you over real quick.” He picked up both of my legs and started to inspect them. I blurted out, “my husband has been in Sweden for weeks and so I didn’t shave my legs so I apologize for that.”

“No worries,” he smiled, “women always worry about their leg hair for some reason. But, honestly, I don’t even notice.” The nurse in the room turned to me, “well, I’m just happy to hear that I’m not the only one who stops shaving when the husband leaves.”

“Oh, no, I go completely feral,” I told her.

The doctor grabbed his phone, “so listen, I’m going to show you some pictures of what you should look for and what should cause alarm be-”

“Ah! NO! I don’t want to see!” I recoiled from him and made an icky face.

“You need to see,” he said in a dad voice that he pulled from somewhere inside of himself. So I reluctantly looked at his screen where he’d pulled up a billion terrifying images. “Okay, so I’ll monitor for those and-”

Doctor H smiled, “good, good, do a skin check once per week. Also, make sure you check your vagina and anus. My neighbor got Melanoma in her vagina and she didn’t see it for a long time. She died.”

The room was quiet for a second, uncomfortably so. I took a deep breath, “okay, well that’s not terrifying or anything.”

“No big deal,” he smiled, “but skin checks are important and you should be thorough.” And I imagined myself walking down the street holding my vagina open like a skirt and asking everyone, “Notice anything a little off?”

Then, Doctor H began wrapping up and I remembered that he was a skin expert so I had to ask, “how can I look young forever? I’ve never seen a dermatologist before. What can I do to have vampire skin?”

“Well,” he smiled, “a retinoid cream, sunscreen always, and drink a lot of water.”

“What about chemical peels?”

“those are good to do a few times per year.”

“Mineral or chemical sunscreen? I’m sorry, I know you have other people to see but just need to know.”

“Mineral works well and has fewer chemicals so if you like the natural route, go with that.”

“Can I use oil to clean my skin? I do. Is it wrong? Am I ruining my face?”

He gathered up his papers and stared at me like he knew if he didn’t get away soon, I’d keep him there all day. And it was true. I had twenty years of fashion and beauty magazine consumption rattling around in the back of my head and I wanted, no, needed, to debunk everything I’d ever heard.

“Don’t use Olive Oil, turns out that’s actually very drying and not good for your skin for a number of reasons. Coconut oil, however, is great. If you don’t break out, then go for it.”

And then he escaped.

I learned how to take better care of my skin and that you need to aggressively monitor your vagina so it doesn’t kill you.

Ho Ho Whore Nuts

It’s that time again, where parents encourage an overweight stranger to touch their children and whore nuts are all the rage at Whole Foods. No, it’s not one night in Bangkok, it’s Christmas.


I read this as “Whorehouse Nuts” and I was like, I don’t know what this is but I need it.

I love Christmas. I hate it. I’m conflicted. Christmas is a struggle for me because I feel split between two different parts of myself: Little kid me and the jaded asshole I’ve become. On one hand, Christmas was a big holiday for me growing up. My mom loves it, more than loves it, she’s  essentially a Christmas elf, in both her physical size and joy. Every year, her home explodes into what can best be described as a Christmas cornucopia. When she’s not actively decorating her house to look exactly like Santa’s workshop, she maintains the Christmas spirit by blasting Manheim Steamroller in July. Honestly, the only thing she’s lacking is real Santa and a fleet of flying reindeer.

Because of my mom’s unbridled enthusiasm for the holidays, there’s a part of me that is filled to the brim with nostalgia come December. I love Jingle Bell Rock, holiday cheer, and decorating my tree. However, there’s an equal part of me that loathes the whole thing. I really struggle with the waste, consumerism, and the fact that it’s become a giant corporate clusterfuck. I’m also not religious. However, I’m positive that Jesus wouldn’t approve of us celebrating his B-day with 2 billion tons of wrapping paper in a landfill and a discounted Walmart Kitchenaid Mixer.

So how do I keep celebrating a holiday that I love while making it mean something more than psychotic sales at Target and feeling drained when everything is about gifts, gifts, gifts? I love gifts, like a lot, but I like gifts to mean something, not just, “here, I’m obligated to do this and try not to choke on it.”

The solution seems to be to reinvent the holiday altogether. What I like about it:

Celebrating the change of season from fall to winter.



Doing acts of service.

Being grateful for stuff.

Giving people I care about things that might make them happy.

The tree.


Time with friends and family.

Winter solstice. Look at me, the ice queen!

What I’d like to do is turn the holiday into what I think it was supposed to be in the first place: A jolly time for giving and being grateful while also being drunk among people you like. My new holiday will be a time for getting together with friends, making some kind of grateful list (also good for depression! double win!) drinking a ton of spiked eggnog, decorating a tree (yay to praising the environment! Thank symbolic tree for oxygen!), visiting relatives and bestowing gifts of locally bought goods or services  (local economies!) wrapped in some kid of eco-friendly bag (because wrapping paper just really pisses me off), donating to an important cause, forcing friends and family to also donate to cause and/or dragging them or guilting them into doing nonprofit work with me. And, eating so, so much food. Food is life.

It’s basically just about food. Booze and food.

What are some traditions that you do for the holidays? I want to hear how all of you will be celebrating this year (or every year).