Friday, August 29, 2014

it's my yearversary

it's been a year since i moved to new york. that's twelve months. fifty two weeks. three hundred sixty five days. eight thousand seven hundred sixty five hours. five hundred twenty five thousand nine hundred ninety four minutes (rent LIES). which is just crazy.

if you had told me a year ago...
that i would live in harlem, dealing with five am ragers at the crazy asians upstairs and inebriated loiterers passed out, maybe (hopefully?) still breathing, on my front porch
that i would have my dream job where, yes, i can wear shorts and, yes, i can sleep in and, yes, i can read all day
that i would become obsessed with karaoke, spending probably hundreds of dollars on in and becoming such a regular that the owner recognizes me
that i would gain ten pounds (okay, maybe 15 on a bad day) from all the great food and literally (literally, i say!) irresistible treats and that i would feel pretty okay about it
that i would have countless friends come and countless friends go (interns are the worst)
that i would go to concerts and broadway shows and hipster JP-themed performances
that i would see the dc cherry blossoms and spend a weekend living large in the hamptons and get stuck in an elevator in philly aka the worst place on earth
that i would be going to malta because why the #$!!?@ not   
that i would meet Nick Offerman and Keenan and see BJ Novak and Al Roker and Nick Lachey and Tracy Morgan and Emma Stone and that one dude in pretty little liars
that i would meet--nay, hang out--nay, party with--nay, befriend TAYLOR FREAKIN SWIFT

...i would have called you crazy.

(still don't believe it.)

and yet, here we are.

i mean, a year ago in utah, finishing at byu, wondering what on earth to do, life was all...

and when i finally decided to just up and move, there were haters to deal with. naysayers to ignore. good-intentioned worriers to soothe. ignorant doubters to scoff at. incredulous disbelievers being all "but you're not even married yet" which was just like...

and to them (and that little part of me who doubted i could actually make it) there's only one thing to really say:
#nothingbutlove  #butseriously 

i remember being so scared last year. you know, so long ago. i wrote in my diary "growing up is weird. because you don't really feel it happening. it's just, one day you're looking back and you realize everything has just changed." and that was overwhelming, the openendedness. i was really scared of new york. of acting grown up. of leaving everything familiar for somewhere i'd never been before. and this has been the craziest, scariest, most stressful, hardest, and exhausting year of my life. but it has also been--and i'm not trying to be dramatic here--but it has been the most amazing and singularly happiest year of my life.

and i owe it all to...well, everyone.

for everyone back home who supported me and loved me and visited me (i try not to have favorites, but i mean...), i have to say thank you. i couldn't have done it without that pre-game pep talk (justin), or that first phone call where you pretended not to hear me sobbing (cait), or the proof of income (dad), or the panicked "are you alive?!" texts (mom), or the letters assuring me i had a pretty put-together life (lars), or that money for my fashion makeover (melbran), or the on-the-road-but-i-guess-i'll-talk-to-you phone calls (trav), or the t-rex et al photographic updates (abby), or the first visit just because that was everything awesome (ash). really, all i can say is thank heavens for FaceTime and group messages. you guys are the best and i love you (even if i still hate utah).

and to all my friends out here. thank you doesn't even begin to cover it. i could spend this whole blog giving shout outs (but that's not good edicut), so just know y'all are errythang.

this year has been...awesome? unforgettable? amazing? i mean, really, it comes down to the age-old question: how do you measure a year in the life?

how about .... karaoke, road trips--fruit snacks!, baked-by-tom cookies, seamless, donuts and dance parties, "all roads lead to molly's," mormon drunk, brooklyn we go hard, badminton, feminist plays, "just friends inviting friends," kiss marry kill, dough, institute (penis mascots?), subway leg lifts, brunch, "wall blasted with single air rifle pellet": art, cereal parties, shnugs!, "you're ducking worth it," tram rides and lighthouses, "it's not chocolate," waffles, the PPC, "does this feel like an old man gnawing on your knee?," just dance, CONFETTI, betelehemu, heads up, bad kisses, good cuddles, "i like the way you freestyle dance," tater tots, credit card!, the movie bag, "did he go deep?", tri-state hold em/three's a crowd/black diamond head/the loser game, MASH, "you have a really high metabolism," beyonce + golf = winning, crotch guitar, girl scout cookies, murals, 90s dance parties, sleepovers, "caesar...loves...humans," group messages, asian tourists, #tourguidetom, "let's keep in touch," puppy parades, nipply weather, "i didn't invite them i added them," linger longers, grouplove, movie screenings, "kaaaaate," teacups!, jesus count, reeses oreos, "you guys have a lot of inside jokes," sunday dinners, fork it all the way, nncce nnce nnce, TBH IMHO MRW, broken elevators, photo ops, ...more karaoke (#noshame)

if you can't tell....

so, yeah, it happened. one year older and wiser (maybe) too. this year has reminded me, again and again, that life is meant to be lived. hard and fast. because it's not the years in your life, but the life in your years that count. #preach

ya dig? i survived. i conquered. i KILLED it. ohh yeah.

TL;DR: i lasted a year, people. one whole year. so here's to another. i'm coming for you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

that time i met taylor

also known as "the greatest day of my life heretofore and ever after." cuz, frankly, that was the coolest experience of my life.

let me explain.

once upon a time, taylor was rumored to be releasing a new single at a yahoo live streaming event in nyc. i knew this and have been talking about it forever because, hello, i am human and i love everything taylor does. so when they announced the time and date, i definitely marked the calendar. and when they posted a contest for taylor's new york fans to see the show, it was definitely one of those things to make me go hmmm.

i read the terms of agreement (cuz i'm a super nerd like that) and saw that it wasn't a random drawing but that it would be based on your social media presence, enthusiam, and the general opinion of the judging board. whatever. (i didn't read it that closely) but it asked for your twitter account, instagram, and taylor nation account. and i'm like, lol, there's no chance i'm winning this because 1) i tweet about once a year 2) my instagram is much too self-obsessed to feature taylor and 3) wtf is taylor nation?

but it also asked for a 500 character essay. which, when it boils down to it, is about three sentences long. what did i say in this SPOILER ALERT award-winning essay?

...i have no idea. honestly, i don't remember. i wrote it in about five minutes, right there in the submissions form, so i never saved it. i remember saying something about being 23 just trying to grow up. i mentioned feminism and friendship. i made some snarky joke about how we wear the same clothes and have the same fabulous friends. i utilized ironic hashtags.

and i won.

cue epic fangirling.

so on monday, i left work early to go hang out with taylor. only i didn't know i'd be hanging out with taylor. all i knew was i was one of 89 people (chosen out of 5000) spending seven and a half hours together. what happened was seriously better than anything i could have imagined. 

we went to the abc studios for the yahoo live stream. i sat in the front row. err, couch. and i was four feet away from Taylor at any given time.

see here.
that's me in the background, generally freaking out.

yeah, that happened. do i look ridiculous? yes. do i care? nah.cuz, oh yeah, i met taylor swift.

she's gorgeous. it was awesome. the song was great. #FLAWLESS oh, and then we danced together. as in, she came up and we shimmied. there is photographic proof!
(thanks, laura) (though we can work on quality later)

and if you think that's enough to last a lifetime, you'd be right. i could have died and been happy. i could have been shepherded out and still raved about how great it was. but instead, the following happened. all of which is true, none of which is exaggerated, all of which i still don't believe.

so now let's start a segment i call according to taylor.

"this is the a-team right here."
referencing us on GMA. because she says she handpicked us as the ones who are at the forefront, championing her music without even knowing her. none of us had met her before and she wanted to bring us together. myself included. all i can say is...wut?

"i thought we could go somewhere and eat some pizza. how does that sound?"
she does some interviews (i'm on GMA, ma!) and we're shepherded onto buses headed to some undisclosed destination. at this point, we're all in breathless shock over what just happened. i get some sort of speaking disorder that won't let me say anything other than "i danced with taylor. i danced with taylor." which is, you know, fine by me.
and then we pull into TriBeCa. and we park in front of her house. and we all start freaking out. and we're standing in her hallway, climbing her stairwell and i'm like...there's no way this is happening.

"thank you so much for coming!"
oh, the pleasure's all mine, taylor.
she's standing barefoot in her gorgeous foyer, featuring huge mirrors and vintage birdcages and large black and white prints of her and her fabulous friends -- including one of ed sheeran managing to flip the camera off in such an adorable way.

she hugged me. and basic english escaped me. i was quiet and mesmerized and i just wanted to be close to her (#notacreep). it's just...everything. her cats make me want to be a cat person. her apartment makes me believe in the power of exposed beams and dark leather.

i used her bathroom. this is not a drill. the one with the gilded mirrors and red walls. the one hidden in a wall behind her piano. her piano! the one i almost played chopsticks on.

"did everyone gets something to eat?"
we stood in her kitchen and watcher her eat. like a Discovery Channel special, we just couldn't look away. and she pretended it was normal, 89 people pressed around her, like she was used to having an audience for everything.

"who wants a coke?" 
she looks straight into my soul. i just want to say yes. so i raise my hand, make eye contact. she asks me "diet or regular." and then she passes me one. as in, taylor swift handed me a coke.

the only thing going through my head at this moment: is this real life?

"is my song on the radio?"
we all heard it, the new, catchy, sugary, wonderful shake it off and she ran across the kitchen to turn the volume up. and then we danced. we had a dance party with taylor swift in her kitchen. and it was flawless.

"let's go take polaroids. grab the grammys"
she had four or five grammys scattered around her living room. along with a gma and a cma ("this one is just," eye roll "whatever"). we all press around her, too excited to act normal. and everyones pushing to hold a grammy and to get a picture we were promised would be emailed to us.

"thank you so much, kind soul who did that"
because, oh yeah, i fixed taylor swift's tag. why not, right? i mean, we're besties now and that's what besties do. so, yeah, when i was standing behind her and i saw her tag sticking out of her dress, i just reached out and fixed it. and she turned around to say thank you. and we made eye contact. and i smiled bashfully. and she thanked me. and i didn't know what to say. because basic manners escaped me.
i did hear someone behind me exclaim in sweet, flabbergasted jealousy "she just fixed her tag!"
i thought whoa, that was a special moment there.

"have you held my grammy yet?"
this is not a euphemism. she asks me directly -- immediately after the tongue-tied, tag-fixing debacle. and then she hands me her grammy like it's the most normal thing in the world and i almost die, hugging her again for a photo.

"well, see you around."
we were all saying goodbye as she gave us goodie bags filled with merchandise. she took the time to say bye one-by-one, hugging us one last time. and as she thanked me for coming and i giggling, thanked her for having me, i admitted it was my one-year anniversary in the city coming up. and she held my arms and made her classic shock-and-awe face and told me "oh my gosh i did not know that! that is so amazing!" we bonded over a love of fall and the promise of pumpkin spice lattes.
and as i finally started to leave (awkwardly, always awkwardly), she smiled and sort of shrugged and said "well, see you around."

there were finger guns fired. and i DIED.

so, there you have it. the absolutely 100% totally true story of my night with taylor swift. i have no idea how that happened, and i really still can't believe it did. but there we are, just me and taylor, kicking back since 2014. you know, nbd*.

*jk. bd. lol.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

whistle blower

i posted this video about street harassment the other day. unfortunately, i don't like facebook as a forum. all. so i'm sorry if that got out of hand. but i feel like i've got to say something. because i'm over it. quoting the great Batman Begins, "harassment! all i see is harassment!"

but seriously.  

i've faced harassment pretty much every day since moving here. it ranges from innocuous to terrifying. i've been cursed at, spit at, followed, called quite a lot of names. from things that have been seemingly sweet to skin-crawlingly vile. and it's something i live with. it's something i deal with. but i'd still like to draw attention to it. because it's wrong.

people try and play different angles. everyone has an explanation. a justification. an excuse.

she was asking for it. 
what did she expect? 
it's just a joke. 
she should be flattered. 

it's disgusting. i don't care about cause and effect; the bottom line is sexual harassment is wrong. period. and it's not about the women.

let me be clear. this is not me saying women's actions don't have consequences; this is me saying they shouldn't. where did the responsibility go?

when I'm wearing shorts and a guy comes up to whisper that he wants to f--- me both ways, that's not on me. when i'm wearing sweats and no makeup and a guy whistles, telling me to "work that ass," that's not on me. when i'm wearing a dress and a guy tries to get my attention, following me down the street to do it, that's not on me. when i'm wearing a long skirt or a baggy tee and a guy tells me "look at me, bitch," that's not on me.

it's not about what i wear. how i saunter. what i say. it's not about the color of my skin, my hair, my eyes. it's not about where i am, what culture i'm a part of or who i surround myself with. the terrifying truth is...they couldn't care less about me.  

those guys don't see me, they don't see what i'm wearing. they don't care about hemlines or dress sizes. they see a woman without a man and decide that they're allowed to comment. whether it's positive, flattering, creepy, simple, sexual--it demeans the women. because, honestly, it's not about us. it's never about us. catcalling and street harassment is about the men and what they're getting off on. it's a power play. it's them pushing boundaries and getting away with it. it's them assuming they have a right to us, that the way we dress or walk or act is for them.

and that's wrong.

when we put the responsibility or expectation on the woman to dress or act a certain way, it takes away any obligation for a man to act like a decent human being. regardless of what a woman is wearing or parading, no man has the right to feel entitled to it. but the sad truth is, guys feel justified in reacting to a woman as an object.

and before you go all #notallmen on me, please don't. because, yeah, sure. not all men are douchebags. not all men sit on corners or stare at girls or yell obscenities or whatever else you want to say.

sure, not all men, but yes all women.

all women have felt harassment--even if they don't want to recognize it. and it's something guys can't understand. i don't consider myself a victim, and i try hard not to have other people's actions dictate mine. but my entire life has been spent dealing with this issue. we're taught to keep our heads down, ignore them, accept it and move on. but i'm over it.

i don't like that i have to be careful where i go or when. i don't like having to cross the street to avoid a group of strangers. i don't like not being able to say "good morning" back in case that's not all he wants to say. i don't like seeing every stranger as a possible threat. i don't like keeping my finger on speed dial when i walk home at night. i don't like imagining what i'd have to do to fight my cab driver off if he took a wrong turn. i don't like pausing before entering a subway car with just one guy in it, wondering if it will end well. i don't like having to constantly have my guard up, my keys in hand, my bitch face on.

i don't like it. but most of all, i don't like that we try to normalize this. that we shrug it off and make excuses saying that's just the world we live in. we try and laugh it off. we try and lay blame or point fingers--usually at the women. but that's diluting the issue. 

because the truth is, i don't think there's any real solution. this isn't easy. it's not a quick-fix. it's frustrating and overwhelming and we can't just pass a law and be done. but i hope i can raise awareness. i hope i can open the eyes to it of those closest to me. because i want people to understand...this isn't about what a woman can or should do. this isn't about who's to blame or what to do. this is about convincing people of one very simple truth: street harassment is wrong.

cut. print. check the gate. moving on.

until we accept that it's an issue, until we stop trying to lay blame and justify, until we stop making excuses and just finally admit it's a problem...nothing will change. i care about this because i can't normalize it anymore. no more slut shaming, no more victim blaming. i will rant and rave and rage against the machine. because it's all i can do. and i'm done being quiet. something needs to change, even if that something is just public opinion. so face it. this isn't about who to blame or how to fix it; this is just about admitting there's a problem.