Oops, I Did It Again

Can you guess where this is going? No, it has nothing to do with relationships, and no, I didn’t meet Britney Spears over the weekend.

I missed a post, AGAIN.

I’m sorry guys, but when it rains, it pours. (Unless you live in LA, and then when it rains, it’s just a few sprinkles.)

Actually, I have a very good excuse for last week’s oversight. I was on the road to South Dakota, for a last-minute, unplanned visit to see my grandmother, who has been sick and in the hospital. I even extended my trip home (I was supposed to be back in LA two days ago, but then life happened) because I wasn’t sure what the outcome of this week was going to be. But for now, it looks as though nothing is going to change, including the number of living grandparents I have.

That week sitting in the hospital got me thinking, though. How many of us actually think about death, or near-death illness at our age? It’s not an easy topic to think about. It’s heavy. Sure, we see it on TV and in the news all the time. We’re desensitized to fictional death and death on screen. I’ll admit, I’m still not sure I’ve fully aged out of the phase of feeling invincible.

But dwelling on our own, eventual, (hopefully) far-off deaths doesn’t really do us any good. Sure, there’s that well-used concept of living like you’re dying, but no one in their right mind would fully dive into that idea, when the hope is that you have several decades of future life to plan for.

**I would like to take a moment here to side-note that at this point in typing this post I had a sneezing fit, which has never happened to me before, convincing me that I am indeed allergic to death**

Instead, I spent most of the week thinking about my mother and how she dropped everything and ran to my grandmother’s bedside when my grandmother needed her most, without a second thought or care to her job, prior commitments, or responsibilities (she’s got a classroom full of animals and she instructed my dad on how to feed/take care of them after she was already on the road). This isn’t to condemn anyone who, for whatever reason, can’t do that. Even my mother acknowledged how lucky she is to have a job that will not only give her the paid time off, but also guarantee her job for up to two years, if something would keep her from going back for that long (not that they would pay her for those two years, but that’s besides the point).

But while my mom sat in there, with a real job and responsibilities on the side burner, I was the one feeling strangely anxious. I say strangely because while I’ve been between production jobs, I’ve been freelancing remotely to pay the bills. This means that as long as I have wifi, it really doesn’t matter where I am–I could do my job in Siberia if I needed/wanted to. Yet, instead of giving my full, undivided concern and attention to my loved ones sitting with me, I was anxious about the strange pull I felt towards LA, as though I needed to hurry back. Which is ridiculous. Why was I worrying about rushing back to nothing, when my grandmother was sick and needed my love right in front of me?

I think the real question we should be asking ourselves about death lies in that scenario right there. Where are our priorities, and why? If your loved one was on their deathbed tomorrow, would you drop everything–your job, your apartment, your pets–to go be with them? If it was going to take days, weeks, months, maybe years, would you stand by their side and help them through illness and/or death? Or is there something holding you back? Do you care more about your job and career than you do your loved ones? Concerned more for the health of your dog than your mom, dad, sibling, etc?

Why is that? Why do we care more about materialistic things than our families, relationships, and friendships? In Hollywood, it’s very easy to see the successful people at the top who have pushed away everyone they’ve ever loved, or who has ever loved them. And it’s even easier to see how miserable they are. And the saddest part? I see the super wealthy people in their later years and think, why? What’s the point of having all of that money when you certainly only have maybe a decade–two at most–left to live?

So, no matter where you go or what you do in life, I hope you find success. But I hope you also realize, as I did this week, that’s it’s more important to find people. So I also hope that no matter how much success you find, that you’re able to drop everything to be with your loved ones, should they ever need you.

Because money can’t buy you happiness when you’re dead.

-tlc

Be Ambitious

So as most of you know by now (I’m not sure how any of you wouldn’t know–I’ve only posted about it a gazillion times already on Facebook) I just cut my hair. DRASTICALLY cut my hair. To be specific, I went from probably close to three feet of hair to a pixie cut without rocking a mid-length ‘do in between. And honestly? I FEEL GREAT.

Without contest, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in relation to my appearance and I don’t regret it one bit. But then again, I had been thinking about making the change for well over a year, and had begun mentally preparing myself a long time ago. Still, before cutting my hair, there was no way I could fully prepare myself for the person I would be looking at in the mirror afterwards. I had gotten so used to my reflection with long hair, I hadn’t realized that the person I was looking at wasn’t really me.

Now when I see myself in the mirror, it’s not that I’m like, “Ahh, here I am, finally.” This ain’t no Mulan, Who-is-that-girl-I-see moment (That’s going to be stuck in my head forever, thanks self), though I do love this hairstyle and the fact that I can style it with my simpleton hair skills gives me great confidence. No, in fact, this isn’t really about having long hair vs. short hair at all. This is really about change.

So many of us (women in particular, though men do it, too!) get attached to the way we look. We get attached to our clothes, the length of our hair, the certain brands of beauty and cleaning products we use, etc. We get so attached that we grow uncomfortable with change. Our hair, or sense of style, or piece of clothing, or whatever starts to become sentimental; it turns into something that we invest emotion in. We do this because we grow comfortable with the way we look and the certain way things are, and then we find it difficult to change.

We find it difficult to change our looks or our hair once we’ve grown attached to it because we’re uncertain. We don’t know if we will still look good with the change–we aren’t sure that we’ll be comfortable with it. And this sentiment expands beyond our looks. We find routine and become afraid of change. That’s why graduating college and entering the real world is such a point of anxiety; that’s why so many of us feel the pressure to find a stable job and start our lifetime-long careers at 22 years old. That’s why many of us get married, settle down, and start a family before we even hit 30 (which, in coastal culture, aka NYC and LA, is outrageously young).

We’re scared to take a risk, take a chance, make a change (thank you Kelly Clarkson, that’s still one of my favorite songs) because we can’t see the future in that decision. We ignore our “wilder” fantasies because we view them as that: wild, uncontrollable. We crave routine and comfort, but do we really find satisfaction in that?

I loved my long hair; it was a point of pride to have such long locks, and (despite what it might of looked like in pictures) my hair was really healthy. I loved pulling it up into long sideways french braids like I was Katniss Everdeen about to go kick some ass. But when I really thought about it, I was just tired. I was tired of my hair, bored with it, and ready for a change. Braiding it was the only way I knew how to style it. It was heavy, a hassle, and always got in the way. And almost immediately after I cut it, I realized that it really wasn’t me. I’m the type of person who loves to take leaps, who loves to bound into new adventures, even though they might be terrifying. And short hair was a new adventure for me. It’s not that I am inherently a pixie-cut type of person (though I do think I look better in short hair than I did in long hair) but it’s the significant change that really expresses who I am. I like to dance to the beat of my own drum, and I think my hair represents that now.

So I guess my long-winded point is this: be ambitious. Let yourself dream, and go for those dreams. No one ever got any where good without taking some risks. And even if you fail, you’re not really failing, because you’re learning something about yourself and the world around you along the way. You know what I said to myself right before I cut my hair?

It’s just hair. It’ll grow back.

So take a chance on yourself. Get out of your routine and comfort zone and figure out how to do what you love–figure out what it is that you love doing!! You will have so much more confidence in yourself, and ultimately find yourself in a happier place if you do.

-tlc

A Sad Truth I’m Slowly Discovering About The World

I think this is something that I’ve noticed as a reigning quality in a lot of people ever since I was old enough to have any sort of insight on people and their characteristics. However, up until very recently, I had always chalked this quality up to growing pains; something that most, if not all, people would someday grow out of. Moving to LA, and finally living outside of the structured confines of school, it’s becoming increasingly hard to ignore the obvious self-absorption that rules people’s lives.

I’m not saying that I, too, am not guilty of this. Many times in a single day I have to stop and check myself. Make sure that I am taking others into consideration. And often there is still oversight because I don’t see things through others’ eyes, so I’m not going to automatically know what bothers them, to what extent it bothers them, or what they’re thinking. But the difference is that I recognize this rampant problem, make a conscious effort to consider my actions, and to understand where others are coming from. And I think this is sadly where most of the world falls short.

We get so wrapped up in our own minds, our own ways of thinking and living that we begin to mistake the “truth” and what is “right” and what is “wrong” as being black and white, something that operates very clearly in our favor and justifies our own motivations, actions, and beliefs. We do not take the time to consider other points of view, or give those points of view validation. Other people simply become that, “Other,” and are wrong, or crazy, or evil. No one suffers as much as we do, gives as much as we do, or considers us. In essence, the world around us becomes a “me” game. How does this effect “me,” why aren’t others thinking about “me,” I’m the only one looking out for “me,” why don’t others agree with “me.”

This is a dangerous spiral that we all fall into at one point or another, and if we don’t take a step back and really examine ourselves, we can become obsessed with the idea that there is malicious intention behind anything that doesn’t go our way. We don’t stop to think about the fact that most people out there don’t want conflict, don’t want to stir the boat anymore than you do. Or, we let the stressors in our lives get to us, and we take those emotions out on others, because we can’t handle the idea of being the problem. Because we are good people, and it’s those others who are bad.

People are always going to look out for #1, that’s just a sad fact of reality. There are too many selfish goals and dreams, too much greed driving most of us away from being selfless. And those who choose to be selfless, who attempt to care for others and make the world a better place, often find that day-to-day life becomes a struggle simply trying to stay alive, make ends meet, or simply find genuine companionship because someone will see an opportunity to create a shortcut for their own selfish purpose by taking advantage of that selfless person. Lately I’ve become exhausted to the point of illness because of people who cannot see past their own reasoning to understand how their words, actions, and requests come across and affect others.

It’s sad that there aren’t more genuine people out there. Those who embrace empathy as a top priority. But the longer I live in LA, the more I realize that truly, what you do in life, what you accomplish, is a drop in the bucket to the way you make others feel and the people you surround yourself with. Let’s all practice being a little more genuine, and getting out of our own frames of mind to better understand others. One of the many reasons I find myself often drawn to people of different walks of life from my own is that I want to understand them and their take on life. I write because I want others to hear those POV as well. I want to know how their background, their history, shades their view of the world and how they interpret others. I believe that the only truly stupid people out there are the ones so stuck in their own belief systems, their own opinions and view points, that they cannot hold any empathy for people who disagree with them. Those are the horrible people who call others names, accuse them of ruining the world, and let hate dictate their thoughts, words, and actions.

Don’t let hate dictate your thoughts, words, and actions. Love others more, and love yourself enough to let go.

-tlc

DATING.

I have aptly given this post the one-word moniker accompanied by the end-all, be-all period punctuation because this is the best way to describe how this aspect of human interaction fits into a twenty-something’s life: Abrupt, obnoxious all caps with no context and a quick finish.

Okay, no to explain myself and make a little more sense…probably.

Unless you found your life partner in high school or college, dating is a giant gray cloud that hangs over all of our heads as twenty-somethings. We want to meet people, and most of us dream of meeting that one person we’ll enjoy being with more than any other, and frankly, most of us are impatient. We don’t want to have to wade through a bunch of duds to find “the one”. We want to just find “the one” and enjoy the perks of having someone who is always obligated to go to brunch with you.

At the same time, we’re not ready for commitment. We think about marriage and the first words that come to mind are “not now.” So we shy away from really, seriously dating or pursuing anyone. It’s a vicious cycle, though, because then we spend any down time we have thinking about how much we wish we had someone–but not just any random loser, “the one”–to do something exciting with, instead of being bored, sitting at home because all of our friends have plans and we don’t have any hobbies because this is the digital age and let’s face it, any time you could have learned a how to do something cool with your hands you were scrolling through Facebook and Twitter.

So then we turn to online dating because that’s easy, impersonal, and you don’t have to put pants or make-up on.

I held out for a long, long time on trying the online dating realm. I just didn’t like the idea of it–it seemed to me that you wouldn’t be able to find genuine people via dating sites because the only people (in my mind) who used online dating were weirdos who couldn’t make conversation with people in real life. And then one day, it dawned on me: I’m one of those weirdos. So I gave it a try. And I realized that it wasn’t just for weirdos, it is honestly the way that people are meeting these days. It’s the new bar. And let me tell ya, don’t go to a bar to meet people now days unless you really, really want absolutely zero commitment or investment in your time, because all people are looking for now days when they go to a bar is to get drunk with their friends.

I had a misconception about online dating, though. I thought–and here I have no idea why, maybe simply because I had zero familiarity with it–that dating apps were either for hookups, or serious daters (depending on which app you were using). And I figured that the dating app for serious daters would make meeting people extremely easy, because they’re basically handed to you on a plate, and there’s no question of whether or not their interested, because they’ve liked your profile. All you have to do is have a conversation.

Oh, was I wrong. Within the first week of having this dating app on my phone, I realized that online dating is really no different from meeting people in person, except that you know ahead of time that whoever it is you might be talking to finds you attractive, or at least, thinks there’s potential for attraction. Dozens of people will express “interest” by liking your profile, yet, for every dozen that “likes” you, only one or two will actually initiate conversation with you. And out of those one or two, maybe, MAYBE, one will respond more than once and keep the conversation going. And the likelihood of someone asking you to even meet for casual coffee or ice cream is slim. And if they do, it’s usually the person that you’ve already realized you’re not compatible with via your online conversation.

All of this simply to say that my stint with online dating has taught me one thing: There’s no easy solution or shortcut when it comes to meeting genuine people that you want to spend time with. And I still think that meeting people and making connections in person is the best way to live your life. It’s definitely difficult, because people hide behind their screens so much these days. But maybe, if we all try to get out a little bit more, and stop staring into our computers and phones 24/7, we’ll be able to make it a little bit easier on ourselves.

So go forth, my twenty-somethings, and make friends.

-tlc

Learning To Be A Good Person

As a twenty-something trying to navigate her way through the mud of work, career, and relationships, I find myself observing the human species on a larger whole more often than entirely desired. Why do I say that I would desire to observe less about human beings? Because it’s often a depressing topic, and far too complicated to provide any useful information.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t any relevant or enlightening information to be gained, it simply means that the information isn’t useful. Why, if it’s relevant and enlightening? Because people are stubborn, and harbor enough self-conceit to think themselves above the habitual nature of animals.

It’s one of the more frustrating things about studying faucets of anthropology in college; you learn all these things about the nature of the way that people think and interact–and you even see it acted out before you in strangers, friends, and family–and yet, the second you try to point out this almost instinctual habit of reaction and interaction and explain it, said person(s) become defensive or irritable. It’s because no one likes to be told they’re wrong, and certainly more so do people hate their opinions being discounted for reasons beyond their decision-making conscious.

Even I’m guilty of it. Why, I practically spelled out in my last post how much I hate being told I’m wrong, because I obviously think very highly of my own opinions. Why else would I put them out there for the world to see?  And it’s certainly not that I feel I am the end-all-be-all of opinions and what is wrong and what is right, but rather my goal is to use this platform to explain in depth POVs that I’ve reasoned as logical, and which I don’t feel get heard enough. (Granted, this may only be because my Facebook newsfeed is largely made up of residents of Kansas, which means a large portion of my newsfeed is devoted to conservative, Christian, and Republican opinions/values.)

So, when faced with wading through all this muck on top of the already thick mud of adulthood I sludge through every day, I’ve come up with what I think is a very good suggestion on how to be a good person:

1) Don’t be a dick.

That’s it! It’s that simple. Stop being a jerk, and life will get better for you and the people around you!

But Tasha, what does this entail? How do I know whether or not I’m being an overwhelming jerk?

Great question!

The tell-tale signs of being someone that no one likes are as follows:

Making bigoted or ignorant comments or actions against someone else because you don’t understand their lifestyle or choices.
A great, topical example of this is Caitlyn Jenner. By this point, I know I’m being repetitive when I point out that the crass, judgmental comments about Caitlyn and her bravery–though few in comparison to the welcoming and positive response she has received–are completely uncalled for. Even those with religious views against a transgender lifestyle who actually have hearts are disgusted by those posts. (I’m looking at you, Drake Bell.)

Not saying what you mean.

This is why all politicians are universally hated by all. Yes, I know that everyone needs to choose their battles. I agree that if everyone lit a fire under everyone else’s asses for every little thing, we’d all be scorched bottomless. (Actually, an ass-less world might not be a bad thing…though the terrible constipation the world would suffer might not be worth it.) But the truth of the matter is, people don’t like to be duped. They don’t like to be pushed around, they don’t want to be lied to. Things become far more complicated and frustrating when you cause more work, which is what always invariable happens when you don’t just come out and say whatever the heck it is you mean to say the first time. Don’t make us drag it out of you. This is why being extremely passive is the most irritating thing in the world. Be a nice person and find a way to say things nicely, and people will forgive you, even if you tell them that their mother is a fat witch.

Dumping your emotional baggage on others.

Yes, I know life is hard and sometimes you need help carrying the load. That’s fine. But if you find yourself feeding like a vampire off of the emotional response you can drum up in others, then that’s not okay. Creating emotional chaos does not lead to a good home, or a good person. Everyone gets emotional, everyone needs support, but once you find that support and fix the problem, drop it and move on. Do not dwell on the issue and continue to bring it up to your friends, roommates, and family like a festering wound that won’t heal. Festering wounds are disgusting and full of puss. Don’t be full of puss.
But Tasha! I do all of these things! I’m a huge, horrible asshole! Is there no hope for me?
Don’t fear! Here’s what you need to do to stop being a terrible person:

Love.

Now listen up, because it’s important that you make a distinction here: we’re not talking about lust–that love-like feeling that makes you a cuddle-monster–we’re not even talking about loyalty–that love-like feeling you get around your closest friends and makes you want to spend your whole paycheck on greeting cards for them–we’re talking about full-on, self-sacrificing love. The kind that is hard–maybe even sometimes painful–that means putting every being, including those annoying people you think you hate, before yourself without expecting a damn thing in return. Sound impossible? Well, you might be right. I know I’m not perfect enough to get that kind of love right all the time. In fact, I can’t even get it right 95% of the time. But I’m working on it. And if you want to be a good person, you should too. This kind of love is generous, understanding, and forgiving. This kind of love doesn’t post stupid judgmental comments on Facebook or Twitter. This kind of love doesn’t make a person feel like they are a bad person for living differently than you. This kind of love accepts all and lives by example.
So live by example. Learn to be a good person. Stop being a dick.
-tlc

My Origin Story

I had to put the soundtrack from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on in order to write this post.

So on the day that I am writing this, I just found out–thanks to the interwebs and this new-fangled thing called Facebook news–that Taylor Swift’s mother has been diagnosed with cancer. And because all of the decisions in my life are based on celebrities, I decided I needed to write this blog post.

You’re probably a little confused right now. How does my origin story tie into Taylor Swift’s mother having cancer? And, more importantly, why do people “need” to know my origin story? How is my “origin” story any different from anyone else’s? We were all conceived and born pretty much the same way, right? Nothing too impactful there.

Well, maybe (though the story of my birth is pretty interesting), but when I say “origin story” I’m not talking about my birth. Yes, technically, my birth would be the story of where I began. But where I really began life? No, that came almost a whole decade later.

When I think back to it, I feel pretty lucky to have started life so earlier into my *ahem* life. As I observe the world I realize that most people don’t really start living their lives until well into their 20’s and 30’s. Some people never start living their lives. Me, though? Living my life started the day my mother was diagnosed with cancer.

I was nine years old, and it was September 11, 2001.

I was absolutely terrified. My parents and I had just moved to a new town, my only brother and sibling had just started college, and I thought the world was ending. No one was safe, outside–and even inside–of our bodies and homes. The year that followed was the most difficult year I’ve ever lived through emotionally.  I honestly don’t remember a lot of it.

Flash-forward almost fourteen years in the future, and my mother is alive and kickin’. I’m one of the lucky ones, thank God. However, that year down the rabbit hole, with death on our door step, taught me a lot of things. It taught me humility and the futility of our efforts to run away and hide from life. It taught me how brief life is. It taught me how precious our time spent together on this earth truly is.

I felt I needed to write this post because the year my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and survived, is the year that I learned to really live my life. It was the year I realized that every moment, every person, and every memory is precious and important. It’s the year that I learned that our actions and our decisions ripple through out our lives, and though they might feel insignificant now, our choices will forever affect who we are and how we live. It’s the year that I learned that loving others with your entire being, and letting them know that you love them that much, is the only reason to live, and will be the most important thing you do in your life time.

So, if you or a loved one is waging a battle for health and life, I just want you to know that you are not alone. We are in this together. And you are loved. You are loved so very much. Cherish every ‘now’ that you get to share with those around you. As the saying goes, there’s a reason the present is called the present.

And start living your life, now.

-tlc

 

Warm Bodies: Two Beating Hearts Up

Because I have the best roommate in the world, I got a ‘coupon’ (so to speak) for Christmas simply saying, “This note entitles you to a roommate-bonding activity, on me. Tell me when and where, and I’ll make sure that I’m there!”  This is particularly sweet seeing as we are both flat broke and never find time to hang out, just the two of us.  So, a week ago we decided we needed a Girls Night Out. Of course, as is defined by the rules of a Girls Night Out, we went to see a movie.  A romantic comedy, if you will. A zombie flick.

Now, I’m not normally one to go for anything involving any depiction of blood and guts, even the movie-makeup kind. Actually, I’m not really one for romantic comedies or romance movies, either.  In fact, I’m not sure why I wanted to see this movie.  Probably just because I was certain it was entirely too bizarre a concept to actually pull off.  Man, I was wrong.

Warm Bodies was actually a good movie. A good movie!  I liked it so much I think I might actually buy it when it comes out on dvd/bluray–whatever the kids are calling it these days.  But, because I feel slightly hipster in my obligation to justify why I liked this movie so much, especially coming from the same studio responsible for the entire Twilight headache people are calling ‘film’, here are a few reasons to go see the movie and decide for yourself:

1) This film makes a way better Valentines date than any sappy old romance movie. Not only is the movie funny–helping to ease those awkward date jitters–it has well-balanced action from the get-go and doesn’t overwhelm with the ‘romantic whims’ of the storyline.  Basically, in the entire film, there is only one kiss scene, and it lasts for all of, like, eight seconds.

2) Nicholas Hoult is just fascinating to look at. I don’t want to give anything away, but there is a moment in the movie where Hoult’s character, R, has to wear makeup (a guy wearing cosmetics, whaaat?) Anyways, while indeed adding to the hilarity and presenting an almost uncomfortable resemblance to David Bowie, Hoult actually wears that blush and lipstick well.  If I had any authority on the subject, I might even venture to say he’d make an attractive Drag Queen. This is a particularly interesting picture of him wearing sunglasses and accessorizing ravens. You get three ‘Poes’ up, Mr. Hoult, one for each Raven. 

3) I’m a little sad to say that my pre-med roommate had to point this out to me, an English major and self-proclaimed literature-junkie, but the film actually made a nod to honest, good, classic literature (or, rather, Shakespearean play).  ‘R’, and ‘Julie’ are star-crossed lovers whose societies don’t allow them to be together, literally because, well, R is a zombie and eats people, and Julie is the daughter of the man trying to protect the remnants of the human race.  Got the reference yet? No? Yeah, took me a moment, too.  Would it help if I mentioned there is a balcony scene that plays out almost exactly like the one in the play, except obviously there was not sunrise similes, or wistful yearning, or comparisons to roses.  Got it now? Okay.  

I was a little worried after that that the ending would not bode well for R and Julie, seeing as how successful *coughcough* their Shakespearean counterparts are, and I really don’t want to give away the ending, so let’s just say I walked away happy.  I think the ending was well done, and though I’m sure a lot of people will have objections to the way the film went about concluding, I will just say that every once in a while you need a movie like that. It’s almost a relief. 

So there you have it. My three-reasons-to-go-see-this-movie-because-I-liked-it-and-am-hyped-up-on-chai-tea-and-decided-to-blog-about-it.  

Now, go watch it. Or don’t, that’s fine too. More Hoult for me.

Yours truly,

tlc

P.S. If you want to check out the trailer, I’ve posted that on here, as well! Just check my other posts!