I am such a bibliophile. Take a look at my Instagram feed and it’s easy to see my love for books runs deep. I have a stack of books, an alphabet monogram, and a quill tattooed on my body. I love, love, loveeee books. However, the biggest problem I’ve experienced as a bookish girl ( okay, that is already a gross hyperbole; uncomfortable reading positions, a great series that ends poorly, bad film adaptations…I could go on for ages) is the ever less romantic “adulthood”.
I used to read 800 page books in less than 24 hours. I used to preorder the last book in a killer series just so I could read it as soon as possible and then discuss it with my friends. I used to be satisfied with a main character having one dimension and their greatest life obstacle being which hot guy they were going to pick to love them! Okay, maybe I’m glad I’m over that. I really do miss the easier days of reading, though. Back when I felt confident I could get required reading and pleasure reading done at the same time. Now I have to weigh my options when I buy books. Mostly, “will I ever really read this book?” and “should I buy this book or should I get something to eat?”
There has been one nice side effect of adulthood ruining my book reading streak (again, hyperbole…I’m really just first-world-problem complaining, but it’s about to get better). Books are more precious now. They are time consuming, so reading one feels like an active spending of my time on a good friend or a meditative contemplation. Also, I understand things I might not have gotten as a teen. I recently read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and I loved it in a way I don’t think I could have truly appreciated (at least not before surviving a Trump election, right). I saw the logic of “civilised” breeding, the appeal of Soma, and even the politics of their hierarchy system in a critical lens that came from my 20-odd years of life.
I love reading in a new way. I take my time, like a slow bite into dark chocolate as opposed to gobbling handfuls of milk chocolate buttons. Everything is different. I almost want to reread my old favorites. Adulthood should be good for something.
Who remembers when there was no such thing as a hashtag? I remember using the pound sign when I was done entering my PIN over the phone. Pound pound pound. The feel of my finger crushing the small plastic key. Who remembers buttons on phones?
I remember when I didn’t care about follows and photo editing tools. Now I Snapseed; VSCO; filter my way into the Top Posts. It’s twisting my world through the lens of a kaleidoscope and I love it–superficial, rose-coloured, pixilated. I love it.
It makes everything fit into small squares. It simplifies. Beautifies. Angle the camera. Add a lens flare. Birds-eye view. Folded clothes. Books on the shelf. Follow me. #selfie #art #truelove
Is it my obsession with perfection that keeps adding hashtags? My fear of failure condenses everything into structured, streamlined, sanitised, satisfying, sensational photos. It keeps slathering tiny blue hypersensitive hyperlinks, anxiously awaiting a K beside my numbers. 5K. 15K. 35.7K. Stats. Photos. Edits.
It isn’t real. But it’s so beautiful. I don’t have to wait hours on a plane to fly off to Thailand.
He loves me. He loves me not. Relationship goals. Actors. Models. Sex.
Shop til you drop. What should I buy next? Ask a Kardashian.
Couldn’t I live like this, always? Why ever leave my room, lol. Meme.
O Brave New World, that has such #people in it!
My Dad is a great guy. I talked a little about him and the superhero complex I have when it comes to him in my previous post. He’s not all great, though. Last time I checked, Superman doesn’t out and out call women tramps. I don’t mean to villainize him. It’s just his ideals are sometimes antiquated. Though he grew up in the free-loving 60s and 70s, he probably identifies more with the gender constructs and roles of the 1950s. So where does that leave his 90s baby daughter? Confused.
The concept of things being “too sexy” or “too grown” was a common opinion in my households. My Dad explained away things like pornography, crude humour, and sexual appetites as things Men (capital M intended) liked. He has a love for artistry, but has trivialised every artist-type boy I eventually flocked to as a “Nancy boy” or “gay”. Likewise, my Mum was always frank about her sexuality, but only after many glasses of wine or in the comfort of the hushed giggles of her girl friends. I’m sure both of my parents would say they did better than their parents at giving me “The Talk”. What they might not realise, is A. They didn’t give me “The Talk” so much as they gave me a fear of ever having children out of wedlock and B. I never felt safe enough to talk to either of them about my own sexual nature in a way that wasn’t either sneered at or laughed at.
My learning curve was cemented in the things they objected to. Both had opinions on various Disney Channel stars becoming sexual in the public eye. They had lots of opinions on the rare appearance of my bare midriff. They had telling facial expressions in the face of my freer friends. I knew, just by the tone in their voice, that the things I felt whenever I saw a shirtless fragrance ad dart across the TV screen or a candle lit sex scene in a film was wrong somehow. I began silently feeling that I was wrong.
I’ve never mentioned this to them, even as an adult. I haven’t told my parents what I’m oddly comfortable confessing on digital paper. I’m the child of two kids who had unprotected sex one too many times. A child like that grows up feeling unwanted, a mistake, no matter how many times they try to tell you you were a blessing. Sex was something to be feared, when I was growing up; it brought unwanted children into the world. Desire was fearful, too. It was for men, not women. Only loose women were open about desiring sex.
Well guess what:
I’m 26. I’ve never been in a real relationship. I am heterosexual. I enjoy watching porn occasionally. I like crop tops and bralettes. Bondage makes me uncomfortable, but biting doesn’t. I have a thing for pretty boys. I am falling in love with my body, and I would love for someone to love it, too. I’m not afraid of sex. I’m not afraid to be sexy. I’m only afraid of letting fear of judgement hold me back.
I guess I’ll tackle that first.
I’m on this Paleo diet.
I’ve never done dieting before. In fact, anything that drew attention to my weight would send my mind into a tailspin that resulted in unhealthy eating habits. I literally haven’t weighed myself since middle school. I turn my head away at the doctors. I don’t keep track of what size I wear. I just try on clothes til they fit. On the one hand, this refusal to track my life by how much I weigh has been mentally helpful. On the other, being purposely ignorant of my body and my health had caused my weight to get out of control.
So I started Paleo. Well, we did. My Dad–my personal Italian 6’3″ super hero–was also over 400lbs and couldn’t be weighted on average bathroom scales. He first learned about Paleo on the good ole internet. He told me about it near New Years and I was eager to keep him on track for his health. So we started dieting. I didn’t have to give up bacon, so I was pretty much game.
Now I’m 3 months into the first diet of my life, and I’ve literally never felt better. I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost. I still don’t weight myself. I also don’t know my new trouser size. What I do know is how I feel, and I feel great.
Six days out of the week, I eat to Paleo restrictions. On the seventh day, like God, I rest. That’s a joke, of course. The point is, I’m proud of who I’ve become and I’m eager to see where I go. I love myself in a way I never really have. It’s not because I’m losing weight. It’s because I’m paying attention to myself–in a healthy way. I care about my body and about what goes in it. I’ve had over 20 years of cheat days. It’s officially time focus on loving myself.
So worth it.
Just a few quick lines
Dusted off my
With my tablet at 10% battery
I’ve got to write fast
Need to spew the digital ink to page
Some stolen peace
Full moon blinks from
Behind the swift clouds
Insecurity crowds my mind
As dark funnels in
Why why why why why
My mind spins
And there the moon
Luminous against the blue-black
Soft, still goes the mind
Why why why
Shh shh shh
Gentle, at ease
I’m sitting here watching Catfish. It’s one of those mindless but interesting things you keep on in the background while you surf the internet, or–as in my case–you swipe semi-aimlessly on Bumble. I’ll talk about my decision to online date another day, but right now let’s just talk about that horrible thing everyone who has ever online dated (literally from my grandmother to my best friend) has experienced: the ghost.
What’s a ghosting? It’s that moment when you matched, you thought a conversation was going well, then out of the blue they disappear. No more messages. And it’s not like you were properly dating, right? Are you allowed to be offended? Concerned? It doesn’t feel like it. It actually feels like there wasn’t enough commitment riding on this to feel…anything. You’re just expected to move on, try again. Better luck next time.
That’s what I hate absolutely about this whole situation the modern dater finds themselves forced into by society and loneliness. There’s a feeling of detachment that hopeless romantics like myself were not made for. So where’s the dating app for us, for the people so ready to fall in love?
I’ll keep swiping, I guess. That’s romantic, right?
I’m not a master yogi (I will forever think ‘bear’ after that word, and if you don’t get that reference you’re too young). What I am is over 25 and achey first thing when I wake up in the morning. At least I was. I started doing nightly yoga stretches before bed and first thing in the morning maybe two months ago. I’ll admit, I was initially disappointed when I couldn’t master every single pose flawlessly. I took gymnastics and ballet as a kid. I literally just assumed my body would know what to do. It did not. I spent weeks practically graceless, feeling my body scream of bad posture, serial couch sitting, and Netflix binging on my tablet. My knees, in particular were not fans.
Then one day (sorta just yesterday), I realised I could bend further forward, I could hold position backwards, I could kneel for more than three seconds! Don’t laugh, that was a huge accomplishment for me. And that’s the point, I guess. Yoga is addictive. It’s not all hot instructors, aroma therapy, and cute lounge clothes. Yoga challenges what you knew about your body and to some extent can heal it. I now wake up without the stiff soreness I usually equated the morning with. I’m excited to see where more of this takes me. I didn’t get it before, but now I see there’s a kind of peace that comes with being nice to your body and letting it love you back. It’s like making a new friend and finding yourself all at the same time. Namaste.
I just graduated with my B.A. in Literature & Culture in December. I wanted that to be the end. I’m tired of school, tired of being surrounded by other people reeking of stress, tired of professors and their idiosyncratic methods of grading. I’m tired of playing the game called “Surviving Anxiety is just as good as Higher Education”. So why do my eyes burn from looking up Creative Writing M.F.A. Programmes for the past several hours?
I want to go home. I’ve moved my whole life. When I lived in Ireland, that finally felt like home. Currently I’m in America and all I can think of is the land I left in January and how to get back. This method looks like the easiest way, but it comes with a price tag far surpassing my post-grad pocketbook. I’m scared. There’s nothing else to it. What if I don’t get in? What if I do get in and I can’t afford it? What if I get in, can afford it, but can’t afford a house or food? What if I can’t remember how to play the school game? What if I fail?
Yay, welcome back anxiety. It’s been a whole three seconds. I was starting to miss you.
My Mum has been married twice. My Dad never has. Do the math. Yes, I was born out of wedlock. That’s not such a big deal now as it felt some of the time in my childhood. I don’t recall ever wanting them back together, though my parents assure me that three-year-old-Lauren was a one woman parent trapper. I do recall the men in my mother’s life. There wasn’t a steady string of them and I don’t have too many horror stories, but I never liked her dating. I can recall that for a fact. It was more than the selfish wish to stay the soul object of attention, an only child of single parents. It was a full hatred of watching my mother–the rival to Aphrodite and Wonder Woman at the same time–cry in bed over a dumb guy. It hurt me, and I never quite recovered. My Dad, on the other hand, didn’t allow his dates to meet me until they were full, move-in ready sorts of relationships. When they broke up, I never saw him upset by it. He didn’t show me. His protection kept my hero-worship intact. The awe never faded.
Now I’m older; 26. Somehow, unbeknownst to me, I’ve crossed some barrier between protected child to unguarded adult. Suddenly I know things about my parents I didn’t really want to know. I liked what little illusion I had left that they were special, almost supernatural beings and wells of wisdom that I couldn’t understand and never would. My Mum got married a second time, had two beautiful babies that give my life meaning with a title I never thought would be mine: big sister. My Dad is still dating. Recently a woman broke his heart, and it was as if I had witnessed Superman being shot with kryptonite bullets. I’m trying to be there for him. I understand heartbreak. I’ve been there. So why can’t I say anything? Why does it only make me angry watching him cry? Why do I wish he would stop telling me all about their relationship and just move on already? Why am I so callous?
I’m afraid. That’s all it is. Your parents are supposed to be your first real heroes, your first glimpse of something like a god. I worshiped my parents when I was three. No wonder I wanted them to stay together. More than twenty years later, I still just want them to be a model of success that I can follow. Their heartbreak echoes into the lonely caverns of my practically non-existent love life. Their weaknesses highlight the inevitability of my own failings, and I hate them for it.
I don’t know how to reconcile my feelings of anger and pity. I feel betrayed, but only by my unrealistic expectations. I feel I’ve read the Grimm Brother’s version of a favorite Disney movie. Still, there’s a part of me that feels sympathy for these two humans that accidentally became my parents. All they really want is to be loved, just like me.
I’m a writer. It took me a long time to feel comfortable declaring such a title. Despite my love of typewriters, cats, and occasionally rum, I’m no Hemingway. That is, not yet. I love novels. I’ve been writing them since I was twelve. However, the simplest non-fiction tasks never really seemed to pour forth as easily as the many fantasy worlds I can create for myself and my readers. I finally had to put aside the insecurities flooding in from several other failures and decide that I really am going to go for it. I’m going to blog. I never really kept diaries (my Mum liked to read them), and my previous experience was essentially a blend of freelance writing and editing for friends or friends of friends, but I refuse to give up. Even Hemingway wasn’t really Hemingway at the start, right? He was just some kid with a notebook. Seems like a decent place to start.