Friday, June 28, 2013

Real Honest/ Thelma & Louise

You know the first night when you finally see a movie that people can't believe you haven't already seen? I'm thinking The Breakfast Club, The Godfather, The Graduate, etc. And you know, how, after you've seen said movie, your life is forever changed and you can't remember how you ever lived without it? It's like the movie was made for your eyes only. Well, that is how I felt tonight as I finally watched Thelma & Louise, a film that made my eyes wet (that ending!!) and knees weak (cue Brad Pitt's butt), made me laugh and shout at the TV. Damn, what a good--no, GREAT--movie. And I had almost no idea what it was about going into it, just that it involved two gals causing trouble, which always sounds like a good time to me.

One thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is missed opportunities. Or things put off for far too long. I guess finally watching Thelma & Louise brought my mind to the same topic, because tonight I find myself thinking the same thing: why don't we ever do what we really want?

Let me elaborate on this, because that's a very broad statement. The other day as I rolled up to a coffee shop (okay, it was Starbucks), I saw a guy I knew from high school sitting outside, reading a book and sipping some joe. Now, mind you, it was past 9 at night, so I'm not entirely sure how he could even see the pages. Nevertheless, there he sat, and past him I walked. He barely glanced up, but I know he saw me and recognized me. This was a guy I talked to maybe twice in my whole 4 years at MHS, but someone I dug for quite some time. He was pretty quiet and kept to himself a lot, and he was totally kind of nerdy, but that's why I liked him...secretly, of course. I've always had this Lizzie McGuire complex, so since about age ten I've been hopelessly searching for my Gordo.

Here's the thing, though: this guy--who was a good-looking guy, and killer at the drums--totally turned into an asshole late into junior year. His parents had money, I guess, and he had a real nice house. So, what does he do? Starts throwing parties and inviting everyone in the class to come. I rejected all that nonsense for two reasons: one, I never drank in high school, and two, as soon as he started hanging out with the jerks and boners of my class, he became infinitely less quirky and cool to me. My absence at his parties was intended to convey my disapproval of his new self, although there is no doubt in my mind that he never noticed my presence, or lack thereof.

ANYWAY: traveling forward in time, back to Tuesday night at Starbucks, the importance of this memory is that I really wanted to know where he was at in his life now. "Are you still an asshole? Did you become nerdy (AKA actually cool) again? You're hanging out at Starbucks, reading and sipping coffee on a Tuesday evening, that's kind of hipster of you. That is definitely something a Gordo would do. TOO BAD I NOW HAVE A WONDERFUL BOYFRIEND AND YOU'RE NO LONGER A GORDO IN MY BOOK."

 I imagined telling him that. Or at least saying, hey, you know what? You were a really cool guy in high school and always looked completely badass playing the drums. But then you tried to be cool and be something you weren't, and it really made those who actually cared about you not care at all.

But did I say any of that? Of course I didn't. I grabbed my coffee, walked out that door, hopped in my car, and thought, I'll wait 'til the five-year reunion. Which, I can tell you right now I also won't do because it's NOT SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE. It's true. Speaking our minds and expressing our emotions or opinions always seems like the last thing anybody wants us to's always repeated by adults and counselors and friends ("speak your mind!", "just be you!"), but in reality, if what we want to say isn't something a majority of people want to hear, being "just you" isn't the popular option.

Watching Thelma & Louise tonight gave me that same feeling. Thelma's stupid, verbally abusive and degrading husband is a perfect example of people always wanting to shut other people up. I loved the part when Thelma finally held the phone to her mouth and just said, "Darryl, go fuck yourself."

Now I'm not saying we should all go out and say all the horrible truths we've been thinking about all the rude, ignorant, toxic people in our lives. I'm saying tell that guy at Starbucks that, yeah, you thought he was sweet in high school when he was a nerd, but he became an asshole senior year and started throwing parties every weekend, and that's when you stopped caring.

I'm saying sometimes, when someone treats you like dog poo, it is okay to tell them where they can shove it. I'm advocating for more honesty and openness about the way our minds really work. If your friend looks ugly in that shirt in the dressing room, tell her. You won't do her any good by lying.

When you have something you wanna say, share it. When there is a moment you want to happen, make it. I don't want to have feelings like that years later, when I see someone at a grocery store and remember that I hurt their feelings and never told them how sorry I was. My summer resolution is to be real. Real, and real honest.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Patience Is...

I don't know where the last two weeks have gone. I tell you, this summer is moving at the speed of light and I barely even have time to realize it. Working at day camp, so far, has been completely grueling. By the end of every day I just want to collapse into a pile of soft, fluffy towels and go to sleep for about 5 hours before I have to any talking, thinking, etc. Sometimes the kids are cute. Or sweet. Or (the older ones) will say something very smart and sophisticated that proves there is a brain in that tiny head, and I feel warm, like there is still a hope for posterity.

And then one of them makes a joke about weiners or stands on a table top or leaves their post-lunch trash all over the ground for me to clean up, and I want to smack them in the face but instead I take a Tylenol. Ooooh, if I was so-and-so's mother. I say that sometimes--"If I was your mother, I'd..."-- and then I stop, because I realize I can't threaten this kid 'cause I'm not his mother.

Being with these kids has definitely taught me a thing or two about patience. It's taught me that children aren't robots, and they aren't going to obey you when a.) they're doing something they're happy doing and you're telling them to stop, b.) everyone else is doing it, c.) they have a history of bending or breaking the rules (in other words they just don't give a f*ck), and/or d.) they aren't getting the discipline they need at home.

Children ignoring me and--on days I'm with the older ones--talking back to me has become a daily routine. And I don't mean after a couple times a day, we're good. I mean there is a nonstop, constant power struggle every day. I have to remind myself all the time that not all these kids have been taught to respect fact, in some of their homes, they have most likely been taught to ignore it, if not resist it.

That's where the patience comes in. I've always tried to be a cool counselor, the childcare worker who plays with the kids and earns their respect by being cool and relatable. The problem is that approach ain't gonna cut it for the next two months. Regardless of my desire to be loose with regulations, and despite these kids' innate desire to defy those regulations, I have to toughen up this summer. I can be a fun, kind, and interactive Jekyll, but when it's called for, I need to show them my toughest Hyde.

Sometimes my loudest yells are whispers when compared to 27 rowdy kids. Sometimes I let myself be walked over or fooled when I give a child the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes those kids take advantage of my sweetness and forget that back-talk is never an option. But every time, I learn something. Every sore throat at the end of the day urges me to find a simpler (but still successful) alternative to yelling. Every headache that makes me reach for my pills reminds me that I need to calm these kids before they push me to that level.

Patience is a virtue, and I've always considered myself a pretty strong person morally. I'm not going to let thirty middles-choolers change that, even if sometimes they are pretty huge brats that I wish I could smack upside the head and ground for a weekend. So this summer, readers, I encourage all of you to spend some time with a child, especially one who is rowdy and defiant like nobody's business. And just observe (hopefully you're not the one responsible for detaining this child). Watch how the parent or guardian of the obnoxious tiny human reacts to it, and that'll tell you right there what kind of person the child is going to grow up to be. If you want to raise a good human, be patient, be kind, be loving, be gentle, be supportive, be there. But also, do not be afraid to be a tough motherf*cker every once in a while. Patience is a virtue, but so is reasonable discipline.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Well, since last Saturday, I'm 20 years old. But let's not make a big deal out of it.

Let me clarify this title: I am not cheating on my spouse. But don't you think "adultery" is such a better word to describe being an adult than "adulthood"? I mean, adulthood seems to say, "Hey, just because I'm 40 doesn't mean I can't have fun...I golf with my boss; I wear fun ties!" (...yawn.) But adultery sounds evil (like larceny, perjury, treachery, etc). It sounds violating and heavy, which is exactly how I perceive it.

I see the end of childhood (aka turning 20) not so much as a celebration but more like the sweet innocence of those golden years going up in flames. I feel like there's so much I still needed to do as a I never wrote a book before I turned 20, which was my goal since probably age 8.

But I beat teen pregnancy, so that's something. And, my birthday wasn't as bad as I expected. I only cried once (not at my party though, and not because I wanted to). I went to the zoo with two great friends and we explored every corner of that place. I even saw two turtles making love and filmed it for a solid 30 seconds before realizing that's what was going on.

After the zoo, I got to spend the afternoon with my aunts, uncles & cousins at my grandma's house for a cookout. My parents brought cupcakes and a beautiful red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting (my favorite!) for everyone to share, and after we all had a water balloon fight. I felt like such a kid and I loved it. Next year on my birthday I can drink the night away like a "true adult", but I'm so glad I said goodbye to my teen years by being a kid again.

And speaking of kids, I started my summer job last Friday! Rather than spending 8 hours a night in a plastics factory, I'll be spending 8 hours a day with 60+ kids as a summer day camp counselor. I'll be there every Mon-Fri of June & July (when I'm not traveling the globe) and will be meeting new kiddos each week. These kids are wild as all get out, but they're also just so stinkin cute. And the best part? We take field trips with them every day! Last Friday we went bowling. I nearly ripped out my hair (and vocal cords) trying to single-handedly contain ten 5-year-old boys who were high on sugar and running around the lanes, but there was more laughter than tears, so it was a successful trip.

Tomorrow morning I wake up bright and early for my first full week of's hoping I still think they're so stinkin cute after 5 days of snot, scabs & tears.

P.S. I almost forgot, but guess what? Three days after my birthday, I got my first article in my hometown paper. In addition to working at day camp, I'm doing some freelance writing for the newspaper this summer. Not quite a book, but it's something besides this blog to keep my writer's mind working. The link's below if you'd like to check it out...just as proof that I can write about things other than myself. ;)