A Passage I Love

Finishing up “UNTAMED” by Glennon Doyle this week.

Wanted to share my favorite passage as we creep up on a full year of so much sadness and dying.

The scary part of dying isn’t the dying itself…it’s the question it brings, and I find myself plagued by that question a lot lately as we lose so many humans.

This passage brings me so much comfort that I might just have it printed and folded up in my jewelry box for safe keeping and frequent reminder.

Now it will be here, too:

Tish has always understood metaphors best. (That thing you feel but can’t see, baby is like that thing you can see.)

…I told her that maybe when we were born, we were poured from our source into these tiny body buckets. When we die, we’ll be emptied back out and return to that big source and to each other. Maybe dying is just returning—back out from these tiny containers to where we belong. Maybe then all the achy separation we feel down here will disappear, because we’ll be mixed together again. No difference between you and me. No more buckets, no more skin…all sea.

“But for now,” I told her, “you are a bucket of sea. That’s why you feel so big and so small.”

“Untamed” by Glennon Doyle

Hope your week is off to a good start.

Love,

Jesse

Goldfish Weight

OMG Hi. I’m alive.

I survived the end of 2020 and the beginning of its twin, 2021.

I realize it’s been a minute since I last posted…I’ve been so bad.

Like, for real, it’s been two months, and I know, I know. You’re just now realizing what was missing from your year so far:

It’s not socializing with friends…

It’s not going to the theater…

It’s not a genuine feeling of safety and confidence that the world is gonna be okay and we aren’t going to continue being killed off one by one by disease, violence, and hate…

IT’S ME.

I was missing.

What was missing was me.

And if y0u’re wondering why I’m being so repetitive and blocky and short in my phrases, it is because I would literally rather stick a pen into my eye than write in this blog right now.

BTW guess what? I have over 100 gel pens.

I’ve been avoiding this first post back like the plague (too soon?) Cuz I feel bad that it’s been so long and I know that once I start again I have to keep in a good flow or else I’ll drop off again…

So here are my excuses for going MIA:

Before Christmas I was in kind of a sad, weird “Covid funk” where I ate lots of rainbow goldfish and contemplated the meaning of life all day until my boyfriend—I’m just gonna start calling him “Matt” because I feel like a thirteen year-old every time I say “my boyfriend”—came home from work and I cried because all I did all day was eat rainbow goldfish and feel sorry for myself and he has a job.

You can ask him. It’s true.

I’m currently working to shed the goldfish weight.

Then right after Christmas we got a puppy and he’s a dream, but he’s also very needy…because he is a puppy. If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen him. A lot. You probably unfollowed me to get away, and are only reading this new post because you forgot you’re on my mailing list, and now you’re gonna unsubscribe, and then I’m gonna get a notice that you unsubscribed and I’m gonna wonder if I was mean to you in high school or in Target last week, and it’s gonna be a whole thing.

Speaking of high school, I was thinking about my senior year the other day on “World Cancer Day”…where the whole world comes together to…celebrate? Cancer?

I dunno, I’m not really sure what you do on that day so I just posted a pic of me looking pathetic and sh** during treatment and was like “this is me I am strong.”

(And like, don’t worry, you don’t have to be like, “awww Jesse is making fun of herself because at heart she doesn’t truly believe she’s strong”. That’s not the case, though. I know I am strong—I’m a proud carrier of my “cancer card” and I will always lord it over your psoriasis and seasonal allergies).

What the actual f**k was I talking about, though…

Oh. High school. Yeah I was remembering how I heard that this kid, who shall remain nameless—BUT YES, I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND I KNOW THAT YOU DID THIS—

This kid sold fancy lollipops in the cafeteria to “raise money for Jesse.” But I dunno, it must’ve paid for prom or some sh** because I didn’t see any of that money.

However, I am very, very patient. And you—-you know who you are—whenever you would like to a) apologize for using me and get right with God or b) pay the f**k up, I’m back in the 315 watching Cobra Kai, and anxiously awaiting your call.

**(I’m also aware of a similar ruse in the Syracuse community theater scene, although with that one, I don’t have names or specifics)

Also, guess what? I am learning self-defense. Matt is a black belt and is teaching me, even though every 30 seconds I go “owww, my ankle” in a really annoying voice.

Cobra Kai!!!

Cobra. Kai.

2021 has given me a lot of things I didn’t need, but am happy to take.

For example, I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER. Thought. “I wonder what happened to every single character in the ‘Karate Kid’ movies.”

But I discovered the answer in 2021. (I know it is technically a 2018 series. I just found it this year, k?)

And I found Russell Stover sugar free peanut butter cups, too.

Didn’t need ‘em. Happy to have ‘em!

Oh. Oh. OH. And this song about dinosaurs in love that I just heard yesterday and almost cried?

YEAH I DIDN’T NEED THESE THINGS.

BUT I LIKE THEM. I’LL TAKE THEM.

Alright, I’m gonna wrap this up because it’s not really going anywhere. I gotta go watch Sopranos. (Tony just whacked Ralphie for setting his horse on fire, and now he’s trying to pin it on New York.)

So yeah, I’ve been avoiding this post because it is the “band aid post.” It’s the “I’m sorry, I’ve been bad about posting, so now that I’m posting again, I’m gonna be better about posting” post.

Band aid ripped.

I’m back.

And maybe…just maybe

My next post will have a clear, concise beginning, middle and end.

And a point.

HERE’S DEWEY:

Dear Old Friend,

You’ll never read this, which begs the question: what is the point? 

And I suppose there is no point.  

My head has just been swirling since I heard the news this afternoon, and I thought that maybe I’d feel better getting my thoughts on a page.

Maybe I’ll light a candle and read it aloud, later.

Just this past week a friend sent me a silly meme.  He wrote, along with it, “Jess, why do I feel like this will resonate with you?

It was two of the Powerpuff Girls, their hair sopping wet, pouting at each other.  The caption: me at age 9 saying goodbye to the girl I met on the beach that I would never see again.

I laughed because it was true.  I’ve always been a sentimental person, and I remember all of my friends, however long or short our friendships—even though, many of them, I’d have no idea where to find, even with social media at my fingertips. 

The 1-day beach friends.  The McDonald’s PLAYPLACE friends.  The theater camp friend who made me snort Dr. Pepper out of my nose…my best friend from children’s choir, who loathed choir practice as much as I did.

And you, of course.  My first “boyfriend.”

Well…I suppose you never were my boyfriend—at least not knowingly. 

After learning, at age five, that it would be illegal for me to marry my cousin, Sammy, I decided to marry you, instead.

That was why I followed you around at our parents’ boring parties.  You were fun, and intelligent, and, of course, my future husband.  

You were a year older than I was, a full six years old, and so very mature in my eyes.  I considered myself lucky to have you!  I’d pick out my best and most twirliest dress to wear when I knew I was going to see you.  I had to make the perfect impression.

You knew how to pop the Pepsi can tabs at the parties without cutting your fingers, which was most impressive.  You opened mine for me, and listened to me dawdle on and on about how I was going to be the head majorette in the 4th of July parade even though I didn’t know how to twirl a baton and was a goddamned liar. 

And when I’d stop talking for a few minutes, you would teach me things about math and science and we’d run around until the adults inevitably said “slow down, you two!”

I was so sad when you moved away.  Over the next few years, whenever I got dragged to a party, I’d ask if you were going to come, and the answer became “no” more often than not.  

On rare occasion, usually in the summer time, the answer would be “yes.”  One summer, at the lake, we rode in a boat, and you showed me how to fish.  You liked a band called “Slipknot,” and at the end of the day, you gave me your screen name. I remember it by heart, to this very day.  

Then lots of years went by.  You got into a school in the city.  I got very sick.  

During my recovery, I looked you up on Facebook and sent you a message.  I wasn’t sure if you’d remember me, but you said “of course I do!  How are you, little Jesse!”

I thought to myself, maybe I’ll become a Broadway actress next year and we will reunite in the city, and fall in love, and my five year old self would’ve been right all along.

But we didn’t.  Fate had other plans.

Last I knew, you were living overseas.  Multi-lingual and as intelligent as I always knew you to be.

I live in our hometown again, since the pandemic, and I have thought of you from time to time—I’ve had so much time to peel back the pages of my childhood memories.  

You don’t have social media anymore, but I found you on LinkedIn about two months ago.  Your face is more mature, but it is still quite the same face from my memory.

I’ve only just started monkeying around with LinkedIn, and I thought, “shall I add him? Send him a message and say, ‘I know this is strange, but it’s me: Jesse.  You used to open my Pepsi cans, and I was in love with you!’”

But I didn’t.  The fragile ego in me thought “better not.  He looks awfully professional and awfully important.  He’d be far too busy.” 

I’m very sorry that I didn’t.  I had no idea you, too, were drowning in the sea of unemployment that this violent pandemic has sunk us in.

I don’t pretend that my reaching out would have changed what happened.  I just know that I’ve felt so hopeless and purposeless and just plain sad through all this, and now I know you were, too.

Maybe our commiseration would’ve brought you some comfort.

Maybe just the realization that your long lost “girlfriend” across the sea still remembers our talks and our memories.  Still remembers your screen name, and your favorite band.  

Maybe knowing, even in your darkest, most loneliest moments, that someone so long gone from your life now, still held you in such high regard…maybe for a moment, you would’ve felt better.  The smallest moment can sometimes cause the biggest shifts in perspective.

Your childhood friend loves you very much.  Even though it’s been so long, she wishes she could still reach out.  Even if it was just to say “thank you for teaching me to fish.”  

When I look back on the people in my life, you are one of my favorites.  

You’ll always be one of my favorite people.  

My heart breaks. I hope this pandemic is over soon.

Love,

Jesse

Introduction {To My Insanity}

About a month or so ago I had “Hamilton” playing in the car. And while I drove with Lin Manuel rapping on and on about “legacy, legacy, legacy,” I started thinking about what that means for all the lay-people like myself who aren’t fighting a revolution or dueling in Weehawken. Or like, writing the American Constitution.

I was struck by the idea that I don’t really know what I have to leave behind, and I’m due to be 30 years old in March.

Now, I don’t mean to be morbid. I know it’s not typical to really have a legacy until later in your life–but when you’ve been as far out on the diving board of life as I have, you start thinking about that earlier (and, of course, 2020 hasn’t really made us feel like we’re gonna live forever).

I realized, yes, I’d have friends and family who would tell stories about how smart and charming and witty I was.

And I’d have this blog (until the website bill stopped getting paid–more on this later).

But what could I have to truly commemorate my being here on this sad little planet?

Many of you have told me you think I ought to write a book, and it’s always been my intention to do so at some point in my life. I’d always imagined “at some point in my life” being “at some point when the world has discovered my genius and Simon and Shuster are offering me a million dollars for my autobiography.”

And then I thought…

Books. Internet. Electronics.

E-books.

Oh, my god, I could write and self-publish an E-Book.

And so that is what I’m going to do to commemorate my 30th birthday! Not necessarily for you, the reader. More for me, so I can die knowing I left a true legacy of “whiny white girl” behind me.

I am writing an E-Book, and you can expect it sometime mid-spring, likely on Amazon.

I’ll keep you abreast of all the deets.

“Breast.”

Ha.

So anyway, I’ve been working on it, and I decided to share today the introduction to my Untitled E-Book! I am censoring the swear words for this website because this is a family friendly blog (kind of?).

But the book is going to be uncensored and probably a bit SAUCY.

Like, the first chapter so far is mostly me musing about how the first 5 years of my life I associate with getting yelled at by my mom for having my hands down my pants.

Jesse Rose, where are your hands, young lady!?

I’m sure Freud would have something very sexy to say about this, but in all honesty, it was just very warm down there, and I found it comforting.

But I digress.

After this little sneak peak to my E-Book project, I am going to have a button that makes me very uncomfortable.

But, alas, I started this website two years ago when I had a very well-paying job, and now it is “the worst of times” and it’s time to renew my website…which costs a pretty penny.

If you enjoy my writing and find yourself financially capable of kicking in a dollar to help me renew my website, I would be forever grateful, and would honor you with a “thank you” in my E-Book, entirely separate from the page about baby Jesse putting her hands in her pants.

If you are unemployed like me, or having trouble making ends meet, please do not donate.

If you can only afford to help one cause this holiday season, please DON’T make it this one.

End of begging. I promise to never ask again. My shenanigans will always be free.

Until my E-Book is done. That’ll cost ya.

BUT, ALAS, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO:

__*__

Introduction (Jesse’s Untitled E-Book Insanity)

I’ve dreaded my 30th birthday since the day I turned 25.  

It’s, like, the “thing” you do.  

You act like you’re so ashamed to turn 30 because I guess it’s officially when you start being considered “old” by “young people.”

“Ew, don’t invite Stacie…she’s, like…30.”

You know what I mean, right?  As if Stacie had a choice in the matter?

Stacie had ZERO choice.  Stacie is still the same person she’s always been, except she’s probably just BETTER and wiser and OVER your 22 year-old BS because she remembers when she was 22 and stupid. 

But I digress.

I don’t actually know who Stacie is, I made her up and I’m a little irritated with myself for spelling it “ie” and not just “y”.  Something about “a-c-i-e” bothers my eye.  

STOP, STOP, IT’S NOT ABOUT STACY OR STACIE.

It’s about how somewhere along the line, getting older stopped being cool, and we’ve just accepted it as, like, a “rite of passage.”  It’s when you start getting birthday cards that say, “WOW, ANOTHER BIRTHDAY!?” on the front.

It used to be cool to get older.  Like, remember when we WANTED to be the older kids, and go to the school dances, and touch butts under the bleachers and shit?

And like, we couldn’t wait to be old enough to walk around the mall by ourselves and buy copious amounts of thongs even though they’re about as comfortable as a bicycle seat to the vagina? (I have personal experience in this matter and it is not a pleasing sensation).

But then, seemingly out of nowhere, we get this sure sense that it’d be best to just not have anymore birthdays…

I certainly did.  As I said, from 25 on, I felt like a ticking time bomb.  Like I only had 4 more years to become “successful” and “perfect” and “beloved among my peers” before I’d turn back into a pumpkin.

Like, at age 30 I would immediately become fat and matronly and unf***able and dried up  (sorry, Ma).  

Basically, I can only describe it as this overwhelming feeling that I’d better be successful before I start the next decade of my life, because after that, I was no longer going to be beautiful and physically desirable , and therefore, I’d have trouble getting ahead in life.

Really, truly.  That is what I’ve boiled the feeling down to. It’s an old societal belief that runs so deep it’s encoded into our female DNA.

And, of course, there are a slew of other paranoias and psychological traumas that feed into it–and we’ll get to that.  

But what I’m starting to come around to–what I’m really only just starting to grasp…is that I think perhaps my entire twenties were an intricate obstacle course designed specifically to exorcise the demons of my childhood and teenage years.  

Because I started my twenties under the impression that my biggest demon was the cancer that ravaged my body for a year and a half in my late teens, and once I “got over” that, I’d be a fully formed person!  But you know what I keep hearing?

I keep hearing that illness manifests from something else.  Something psychological or intrinsic.  Something often unfelt and lying dormant.  

Like, that cancer demon?  He showed up because some smaller demons were already there, and they were like, “hey cancer, we’ve been haunting this b***h for years, and she still hasn’t caught on, so you should come check her out.  She’s got big tits and no spine–she’ll def let you take over for a bit.”

Yeah…I’m starting to think my biggest demon was propped up by a bunch of little crony demons doing Jets/Sharks dances all over my f***ing cerebellum.

But enough about demons.  Instead of falsely psychoanalyzing your own mind, grasping at straws in an attempt to put together the puzzle of your true “self,” it is widely accepted that therapy is the best course of action to work through the ash-heap of your past.

You should do this.  You should 100% go to therapy because it is amazing and even if you don’t feel less crazy when you’re done, you’ll at least feel like someone else held up the weight of your “crazy” for an hour or so.

I, however, have decided to write this book.  

This book is my new therapy.  This book is me exorcising the demons of my first thirty years, so that I may be reborn like a f***ing phoenix or some sh**, and be a sick-nasty thirty year-old BAMF (preferably one who never wrinkles and stays young-looking forever).

This book is me making it “cool” to be older and wiser again. 

It is me, giving you the weight of my crazy for 200 pages or so.  

Hope ya been liftin,’ betch.

__*__

When “What Are the Chances” Means Nothing

This week alone, I’ve diagnosed myself with three cancers: brain cancer, melanoma of the eye, and cervical cancer.

I get this way whenever I have doctors appointments. I had an eye exam yesterday, and during my last two eye exams I was diagnosed with a pseudo-tumor and a nevus of the eye, consecutively.

The latter is simply a freckle on the eye that one has keep out of the sunlight and generally keep an ‘eye’ on (ha) so that it doesn’t progress into melanoma.

The former, the pseudo-tumor, was a bit more…daunting? It presented as swelling of my optic nerve (we later learned this was likely an effect of chemo, as it occurred a month after my last treatment).

But, of course, to save the asses of the PHDs, I endured a brain MRI (LOUD AF), a spinal tap (which I strangely enjoyed), an awful medication called “acetozolomide” that made the simple task of walking up a slight hill nearly impossible, and the “Maleficent” of all neuro-opthamologists.

But brain-tumor testing yielded no brain tumor…thus, a “pseudo-tumor.” A term I only wish I had made up.

I am guilty of letting a few too many years go by without going to the eye doctor. I don’t like doctors, and I try to limit my visits to the ones that seem the most important (don’t even ask me the last time I went to the dentist). And with a make-up caboodle’s-worth of free contact lenses from my ex-boyfriends mother who worked for an eye doctor, I stretched those lenses to last until now. So…four years.

Which means, yes. The only reason I even entertained going to the eye doctor again was because I ran out of contact lenses from my ex-boyfriend’s mom. Irresponsible, I know. But I’m getting better and better about going to the doctor, and that’s all I can do.

Regardless, I was certain I was about to head into news of either a brain tumor, a pseudo tumor, or melanoma of the eye. None of which, it turns out, I have.

What were the chances anyway?

Next week I have to go to the gynecologist. Always fun. Always delightful.

And having received abnormal pap results in the past–although very common in women–I’ve been prepping myself for cervical cancer.

Silly? Yes, probably.

What are the chances?

Hmm. That’s often the phrase I’m presented with when I express on any given Monday that I believe I have a brain tumor, melanoma of the eye, and cervical cancer.

“Those chances are slim. Those cancers are rare. Besides, what are the chances you get struck with another cancer?

But that is entirely the point.

I have had cancer. And one day in 2008 I whispered to myself, “what are the chances this is nothing more than a sore hip?

The chances were slim.

But it was more than a sore hip.

Ask any cancer survivor and I’m sure they’ll agree. One of the only things worse than living with the fact that you have cancer is the feeling you had when the rug was pulled out from underneath your feet. When you’d been preparing yourself for the likelier chance, and you were granted the unlikely.

When you became the “slim” in “slim to none.”

You remember that always because it was the exact moment you lost control. You never want to lose control again. And “What are the chances” means nothing.

So, you try (however silly it may seem) to prepare for the worst in all cases. You ready yourself for brain cancer, and melanoma, and cervical cancer. Because what are the chances?

It doesn’t matter. There is a chance. And you will not lose control again.

Which brings me, finally, to the proper point of this post: you.

I’d like to ask you the question, that you–specifically those of you who’ve never faced debilitating disease before–often ask me.

What are your chances?

What are the chances that you or your loved ones will get coronavirus in the coming months?

I’ll tell you, they are a lot more likely than my chances of being diagnosed with cervical cancer next week, and yet here I sit mentally preparing myself for the worst.

And there many of you sit at the pub, or at brunch, or preparing your normal Thanksgiving feast for twenty.

I’ve mostly held back my “cancer survivor’s view” of the coronavirus pandemic in favor of the more typical one: do your part, wear a mask, rah, rah, rah, stay at home.

But now I’m here to say this. I say it not as a Democrat. I say it not as a Republican. I say it without deference or feeling for Donald Trump or Joe Biden or Queen Elizabeth or Joe the Plumber: the control you might feel you’re having exerted upon you by being asked to wear a mask is absolutely nothing compared to the control you will LOSE in the midst of serious disease.

It’s the same loss of control we, as cancer survivors, felt in the moment of our diagnosis. The same loss of control we fear so vehemently that instead of looking forward to getting a new pair of glasses, we try to be mentally prepared for melanoma of the eye.

That loss of control then gives way to a loss of dignity.

Your bodily functions, however personal or embarrassing, are now charted and monitored and are more than just your own business.

Not being honest about your last bowel movement could possibly kill you.

The color of your pee is now of utmost importance and a matter of life and death.

At least you are in isolation, so the only people exposed/interested in the consistency of your bile are the nurses risking their lives to care for you.

It’s disgusting. Yes, disgusting. And humiliating. So disgusting and humiliating in fact that you can’t help but feel as though you’re nothing more than the sum of your creatnine and bilirubin count.

You’re a biology project.

At least when I reached this point, I had my mother and father there in the room to hug me and remind me who I was.

I can’t say this would’ve been as effective via Zoom.

I’m not trying to find out.

I’m going to stay inside. I’m going to wear my mask when I can’t. I’m not going to have a big holiday celebration.

So that my chances decrease.

I have control. Of those chances.

Not total control. But some control.

I’m not an influencer. I don’t believe my little rant here will reach millions. I have a nice little following here, of which I’m grateful. No matter the walk of life you come from.

But I have no delusions of how many people I can reach with this message. I do hope, however, that some of you will pass this on.

I don’t want you to die from coronavirus. I don’t want your loved ones to die from coronavirus.

When this is all over, those who still believe that masks did nothing to help, that social distancing was meaningless…I welcome your opinions. I welcome your “those masks were stupid” messages.

And if somehow, someday, it’s proven that these precautions were without effect, I will gladly listen to your ‘I told you so’s” and I’ll even respond by telling you how right you were, but how glad I am that we were careful anyway.

Please be responsible. Please be careful. Please wear a mask even if you think it’s pointless. Please reconsider your holiday gatherings.

There is more “loss of control” at stake than just the feeling of the wind on your chin in a public place.

And your chances of knowing this greater loss grow increasingly likely each day.

I Am A Staple in the Nose Hole of America

Yesterday I had a staple in my nose because the night before while I was wiping my face my nose ring popped out and fell into the sink where the water was running…

…and I just kinda stared off into space for a minute or two instead of springing into action and trying to save it. I think I was just so exhausted from literally sitting on my a$$ watching the news all week that I was just like..oh well...if you love something, let it go. Goodbye, nose ring.

And then I said well, better get the stapler. Naturally. As one does.

It’s not the first time I’ve put a staple in my nose hole and it will not be the last.

And no, I didn’t have a back up nose ring.

And yes, my nose hole WOULD start closing up IMMEDIATELY over night if I did not put said staple in said nose hole. (I bruise easily, bruises that take WEEKS to heal, but take out my nose ring for one night and my body is like “REPAIR!!!! CLOSE UP THAT NOSE HOLE ASAP this b**ch too OLD for a nose ring.”)

But I’m not giving up on my nose hole yet, so I put a staple in it overnight as a placeholder. You just clean it and slip it in the hole and then, like, bend the sides around to make a kind of boxy loop and voila! Staple nose!

The next day I went to get a new nose ring and it occurred to me just how funny this world is. Like how funny is it that somewhere in DC or Virginia an exasperated immigrant woman is pleading with the President of the United States to concede an election AT THE VERY SAME MOMENT when, in a mall parking lot in Upstate New York, a 29 year old woman is trying to force a wire hoop through her nose hole while her boyfriend pleads “JUST STOP, THE STEM IS MISSHAPEN AND YOU’RE BLEEDING, IT’S LIKE TRYING TO FORCE A SQUARE INTO A CIRCLE” and she cries—literal crying—“NO I PAID TWENTY DOLLARS FOR THIS AND IT’S “NO-SPEND NOVEMBER!”

One woman’s problem is a little bit more important than the others’ on a more GLOBAL scale, but in our two separate moments, they are both equally real, palpable, and very painful experiences.

I don’t know. Just…how very strange life is. How peculiar. As OMC says,

How Bizarre, How Bizarre.

I promise I’m not high, although I wish I was. I don’t allow myself to get high anymore since the tootsie roll incident of 2019 when I convinced myself Chris Cuomo blamed me for global warming and the aliens were coming for me because I knew too much.

It was just a funny little thought that occurred to me in the midst of chaos and nose bleeding.

I’m sure you’re all wondering, DID YOU GET THE NEW NOSE RING IN YOUR NOSE HOLE?

And you can rest assured, I did. I put the earring from my ear hole in my nose hole until we got home. Then my boyfriend used tools or science or magic or something to fix the shape of the stem. We had to lube the stem up with Bath and Body Works lotion and I can’t say I DIDN’T have pliers unsettlingly close to my eyeballs, but we DID get it into my nose hole.

That’ll teach me to buy a nose ring at a place that sells Jo Jo with a Bow Bow face masks. (Lookin’ at YOU, Claire’s).

In my defense, I was unable to go to Spencers because they (SHOCKINGLY) had reported cases of Covid-19.

This is how I know I could never be an investigative reporter. I cannot simply report to you that Spencer’s Gifts had Covid. I had to pass judgement.

“Whether someone coughed on the dildos or sucked on the edible panties, we cannot be sure. We just know we are not surprised. Back to you Stacey.”

But I digress.

So that’s where I’m at. New prez. New nose ring. Same me.

I think as 2020 goes on, my metaphors get weaker and weaker, but, alas, I am quite like that little staple.

I am a staple in the nose hole of America: misshapen and practically useless, but I’ll make it through somehow.

Fin.

The last photo before we lost this little nose ring down the drain. It was an honor to wear you.

can you point me toward the self-help books for people who read too many self-help books

AwWwWwwWWWw sh***********************t….

I didn’t post last week. You’ve all been flooding my inbox and text messages and sliding into my DMs like “omgggg Jesse where you been, girl, what have you been up to you’re so fascinating I need to know what series you finished on Netlix and if you solved world hunger and what you’re listening tooooooooooooo.”

And the answers are Bates Motel, No, and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman.”

Also nobody asked those things.

Nobody even noticed I was gone.

Not one of you.

And so I was like “f**k them they don’t even miss me.”

But then yesterday I got an email from a total stranger via my contact page saying “hey I found your website you’re really funny” and I was like:

So I decided to forgive you all.

I’m still chillin’ over here restyling and re-imagining myself every single day. Last week I thought it might be nice to look for work on a Christmas tree farm, but then I remembered “hard labor” and “cold” and “outside” and “people” and “axes”.

This week I might be a paralegal and next week could be anything from lunch lady to literally Kristin Wiig’s “Target Lady.”

But actually I’ve been thinking “hey, Jess, maybe the rest of fun-employment should be dedicated to establishing good habits and undoing bad ones so that when you DO go back to work you can be the bestest, most functional d**n lunch lady or Target lady or Christmas-tree-cutter-downer that ever lived.

And then I was like “ooooh, that’s good. Write it down in your diary.”

And then I was like “omg you don’t KEEP a diary.”

And then I was like “I’ll START with keeping a diary.”

So I started keeping a diary, and my next goal is to maximize the time I’m awake between 6:45am and 7:45am.

So my boyfriend wakes us up at 5:45am (for his “j0b”, EYEROLL) and then I fall back to sleep until 6:30am, when he insists on waking me up to “chat” for a few minutes before he leaves (for his “j0b”, EYEROLL). Even though sometimes I can be cruel and hurtful and say things like “I want to punch you in the face with pointy blood-diamonds on every finger.

I am very protective of my sleep.

So anyway, he leaves at like 6:45am, and I always decide that while I’m conscious, I might as well check my email JUST in case, overnight, like, someone found my website and wants to give me a book deal…or I’ve been discovered on YouTube and Casey Nicholaw thinks I’m the only actress who can relaunch Broadway…or like, @vintagespadefashion wants me to collab on Instagram to sell their repurposed fiberglass watches (?).

You never know.

And SOMETIMES…

SOMETIMES! I even GET OUT OF BED, GET A GLASS OF GREEN JUICE, SIT ON THE COUCH, AND PUT ON MORNING JOE.

However, from there…I just end up falling back to sleep. I need to find something to do–something enticing to groggy-wake-up-Jesse–that will keep me awake and keep up the momentum.

Momentum (n) the quantity of motion of a moving body, as measured as a product of its mass and velocity

WHOA. Sorry. Dating a physics teacher.

K, so, like, this morning instead of making a cup of coffee and free-writing, I cuddled up on the couch and checked in on the Ryan Phillippe/Ellen Degeneres feud, of which I am obviously Team Ryan because of the escalator in Cruel Intentions.

Then I decided I should follow him on Instagram.

Then I realized he doesn’t have Instagram.

Then I stalked a bunch of Ryan Phillippe fan accounts.

Then I watched the Cruel Intentions escalator scene on YouTube.

Then nssssglkjlrilsdfkglfdjsgo[rwehgowprh….

It was not a process conducive to starting a productive day. That 6:45am-7:45am hour is CRITICAL for me.

So that’s one habit I’m working on.

Or, rather, it’s a habit I’m wishing to change. I don’t know if I can necessarily say I’m “working” very hard on it.

I’m also trying to work on just staying in the present. Mindfulness. Appreciating the fall colors. Appreciating the people around me, the things I have, yadda yadda yadda…

And, see, the thing is, I know that having a stricter meditation schedule would really help with that.

But instead of meditating and focusing on my breath and all that jazz, I seem to prefer READING about mediation and focusing on the breath.

I have read so many books on meditation, mindfulness, and even on habit forming. But instead of finishing the books and then putting the subject matter into practice, I prefer to just read ANOTHER book about the same thing.

Which got me thinking….

MAYBE READING ABOUT MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS IS MY FORM OF MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS.

AND THEN I WENT LIKE

OR! OR! OR! I’m ADDICTED TO SELF-HELP BOOKS AND IT’S WHAT THE SELF-HELP BOOK PEOPLE WANT SO THAT I’LL BUY MORE BOOKS!!!!!!!!

AaaaaAAAAaAaaaAAhhhhhhhhhhhh

aslfkdjslf;hg;jhkjtlsr;mfkdlv;zkvsl;nfkmg;hnbskrt;hjs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

__________________________________________________________

And in conclusion:

I should prolly just focus on getting a job.

PS. I voted! And if Joe Biden gets elected, I might just write us all a self-help book for the end of the Trump Era titled“What the F**K Did I Just Watch”

Also, don’t forget you can SUBSCRIBE to my blog on my HOME PAGE! WHOAAAAA then you’ll never miss a SECOND of the EXCITEMENT!!!

PPS:

Sephora Called Me Old

Last week I went to the mall to just kinda like wander around and kill an hour or so of my life.

So I wandered in to Sephora because this summer when I was blonde I read an article on the internet that said blondes should try wearing brown mascara, and if an article on the internet says I should do something, I usually do it which is why I’ve joined QAnon (kidding. Obviously).

So anyway all summer I wore brown mascara but now that I’m a brunette again I felt it was the right time to return to black mascara, (I know, the story is really getting good).

Well, I was a little upset because online it said that Sephora carried Givenchy Phenomeneyes Mascara but I wandered around for at least fifteen minutes and didn’t find it anywhere. ALL of the employees working asked me at some point if I was “finding everything okay”, and it was very awkward because although it was quite obvious I was not “finding everything okay,” I wasn’t going to actually ask for help. Like, what if they laughed at my choice of mascara? Or tried to help me find a better mascara for me?

My womanhood would be challenged.

So I decided to just go with Anastasia brand mascara because that’s the brand the winner of Rupaul’s Drag Race gets.

Duh.

But all of this is just extraneous detail that is entirely beside the point.

So…sorry about that.

THE POINT IS, when I went to pay for my purchase, the cashier asked for my email address to look up my Sephora account. I was V excited to hear what my account would yield because I KNEW it had accumulated a LOT of points because once upon a time in days of yore, I was making bank in the city and would go to Sephora at least twice a week for some made up reason such as “this work event calls for a dark purple lip color” or “this weekend I’m going to see if I can look like a Snapchat filter“.

I knew I must have some serious points.

So imagine my surprise when the cashier’s Kat von D mouth opened wide in surprise, and instead of “congratulations, you have ten million points, your purchase is free and you now own all of Sephora” she said…

“Ah! It’s time to collect your birthday gift!”

My entire life flashed before my eyes.

My day of birth is March 25th.

I tried to mirror her excitement, and then winced….

Oh my god, I’ve been unemployed so long that I don’t even know what month or season it is…

Or…or I’ve gone into mental hibernation…a protective mode to shield me from the chaos of the world.

It must’ve been triggered by the “debate” the previous evening. My senses were on overload and I couldn’t cope. So much yelling, so much “old white man,” so much peanutbutter whiskey consumed…

My true consciousness went to sleep and my body and brain had continued on auto-pilot until the chaos was over and it sensed a safe place to wake me back up…

…like Sephora!

How much had I missed?

Was Donald still the president?

Was Amy Coney Barrett a Supreme Court Justice?

Can women and people of color still vote?

Can gays still marry?

Did I miss the last Christmas where women can sit at the same table as men?

Is it “Handmaid’s Tale” now? Is Britney okay? Did she get any freedom before we all had to don our “Maid” apparel?

WHEN WILL THE NEW BATMAN WITH ROBERT PATTINSON COME OUT AND WHY DO I CARE!?!?

All these thoughts…all at once…

The cashier was looking at me. It was now or never.

Do I tell her its not my birth month? Do I do the honest thing so they don’t run out of birthday gifts for people who actually have October birthdays?

“Y-yeah…ohh…er…yay! My birthday!”

Wow, Jesse.

Just….just wow. Some poor Libra isn’t gonna get their free body cream or free mascara because you are the worst.

Wait…this could not be my fault…she didn’t even ask me! She just…said it. She told me it was time to collect my birthday gift…and I’m not trying to argue in the Sephora store, that’s not part of my zen.

But now I was feeling rushed. Rushed to turn thirty. The pressure and doom I’d associated with that number sent a chill up my spine.

It’s the bags…the bags under my eyes.

She took one look at me and she was like….”this b—h just turned thirty, look at those lines. You can see the young person she was yesterday just being devoured by an old witch with osteoporosis and New Balance sneakers!”

She looked at me impatiently and said, with an evil smirk, “do you want the body cream or the mascara?”

And what I wanted to say was “B***H I JUST BOUGHT MASCARA WTF DO YOU THINK?” and then just RUN OUT OF THE STORE CRYING.

Breathe.

Breathe…

Deep, deep, “Harry-Styles-Calm-App” Breaths.

How could she be this cruel on my birthday!

IT’S NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY YOU PSYCHO!

“I’ll go with the body-cream.” And I’ll rub it all over my hot, young, wrinkle-free twenty-nine-year old body.

Smile. Nod. Thank you. No bag necessary, I’m saving the planet.

So I have this dishonest Sephora birthday gift now, and I can’t bear to open it because I wonder what it means.

What it means about who I’ve become and who I’m becoming.

I wonder if this means no Sephora Birthday Gift in March…

I wonder if it is possible to hibernate my consciousness until after November 3rd, or possibly even until 2024.

I wonder if Sephora is really a safe space or if they’re pushing me to grow up too fast.

And I wonder if maybe they accidentally pulled up my mom’s account who’s birthday is in October, and now my mom will be Sephora Birthday Gift-less…

The world may never know.

Save me from myself.

I’m Losing It Because: A Poem Kind Of

I’m losing it.

I. AM. LOSING. IT.

I am losing it because I flung my Apple watch against the backseat window of the car because it “keeps bossing me around.”

Because it doesn’t count the bike at the gym toward my exercise ring, and my RINGS are my PURPOSE.

I AM losing it because my last Google search was “is it acceptable to eat straight up steak seasoning”

Because the answer was “yes.” And so I did.

I am LOSING it because I’ve gone to Michael’s or Marshalls every weekend since September 1st to buy festive fall decor for an apartment I don’t technically live in or pay rent on.

While the apartment I AM paying rent on sits DECOR-LESS and FESTIVE-LESS four hours away.

I am losing it because I spend, like, 70% of my time sitting at stoplights trying to make eye contact with people.

One of them was “penny nips” from high school. She was called “penny nips” because the rumor was she had penny-sized nipple. Obv.

I am losing it because I’ve wandered aimlessly around Barnes and Noble multiple times in the last month without buying anything.

And have pooped in their bathroom on each occasion.

I am losing it because I almost bought a Tamagotchi at Urban Outfitters the other day.

Because I want something to rely on me.

I am losing it because I almost shouted “NICE MASKS, LADIES” at a woman and her daughter who came to the grocery store without masks even though its state mandated that we wear masks.

Although, I actually kind of wish I had followed through on that one.

I am losing it because I know the solution to “losing it” is to get a job.

But the available jobs pay less than what I receive through unemployment and pandemic assistance, and instead of saying “why don’t employers pay their employees enough“, people say “they are getting too much on unemployment.

This morning I spent 20 minutes in my car examining the differences between (You Drive Me) Crazy on Britney’s original album and (You Drive Me) Crazy on Britney’s greatest hits.

I am losing it.

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The Peak of My Creepy

Seneca Falls, New York is the home of the first US Women’s Rights Convention. We all memorized that somewhere along the line. Declaration of Sentiments, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, et cetera, et cetera. You probably wrote a shi**y essay about it or had to dress up as Lucretia Mott and give a “suffrage talk” about Women’s Rights to your third grade class who chuckled every time you said the word “sex.”

Fans of the holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life probably know a bit more about Seneca Falls. Frank Capra, the film’s director, spent time there while writing the script, and although the film was entirely made in California, it is said there are plenty of reasons to believe that he had Seneca Falls in mind when he created “Bedford Falls.” The tiny, doll-like train station, the references to Buffalo, Rochester, and Elmira, NY…

This sign hangs from a lamp post on the now-famous bridge in Seneca Falls, NY

…a bridge that runs over the sleepy canal in the middle of town that is now referred to as the “George Bailey Bridge.” Legend, of course, being that this is the bridge Capra recreated in the movie where George jumps to save Clarence the angel.

I’ve had the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life House’ pointed out to me many times throughout my life. “You want the moon, Mary?”

Downtown Seneca Falls is a picture of holiday cheer come Christmas-time, as you can probably imagine. Even a crotchity millennial like me can admit that when the “George Bailey Bridge” is all lit up, and the town twinkles red and green beside the water, it looks like a kind of “dream America.” A picturesque town ripped right out of the same history book you plagiarized your sh**ty paper from.

For me, Seneca Falls feels as much a part of my childhood as Syracuse does. I recently drove my boyfriend down ONE street in the middle of the town (slowly and creepily, of course), and narrated for him:

this house was my aunt’s, then this one my grandmother’s. Across over there is a cousin, that house another aunt, then a great aunt, another cousin…and (as a woman emerges from a car parked up ahead) that’s actually some sort of cousin of mine crossing the street right now. Second, third, removed…I couldn’t tell you.”

My grandmother’s house in the middle of town was a weekly gathering place of the big Italian family every Sunday for pasta and meatballs and homemade sauce. Holidays would sometimes take place at a different family house on the same street, but her’s was always the home base. She was always the star of the show, and she held court from her rocking chair watching Judge Judy, a Stephanie Plum novel dog-eared on the coffee table.

An artist’s rendering of Gram’s house as it was.

I know losing grandparents is essentially a part of life. They are a privilege while they’re here, and they’re oftentimes our first experience with loss and death, (that is, if we’re lucky enough to have our immediate families around throughout the whole of childhood.)

I’m not gonna make this about cancer, because it’s not really about that, per se. The last year of my grandmother’s life was the year of my illness, and I don’t think I’ll ever truly know how it impacted her. I know it took a toll on everyone in the family, if not because they felt close with me, then because my diagnosis was an eerie reminder that none of us are safe from life’s unwelcome surprises, regardless of age.

But my grandmother was already battling a slew of health problems on her own, even before I upstaged her.

She died a week after I was declared in remission.

She never got to see me “being okay.”

Seneca Falls has never been the same since she passed, and I hadn’t spent more than two hours there in years, let alone two whole days.

There are too many ghosts.

But a few weeks back, my cousin needed a dog sitter while her family went camping for the weekend. Me, the “unemployed job-casualty” that I am, said, “Why not?”

I wrote last week about how I’ve been creepin’ around my hometown, scoping out locations of odd memories that stick out in my brain.

It’s muy, muy creepy…this I know. But I have no nefarious intentions and because I’m white I have the privilege of not really raising alarm bells. A sad but true reality that is not at all lost on me.

But my creepin’ reached an all-time high in Seneca Falls that weekend.

I arrived around six-thirty on Friday, tended to the dog, and ordered take-out from a restaurant on Fall Street (Seneca Falls’ aptly named version of Main Street). When I parked in front of the restaurant my dinner wasn’t ready yet, so I found myself wandering to the site of a canal-side bar, previously owned by two of my uncles (one of whom, my godfather, passed away in 2014).

I stood outside the glass door, and peered inside. The space is still a bar, but a different one now. I spied the corner where my Dad and godfather had been seated when I flung open the doors, twelve years old, to announce the arrival of my first period.

It had happened at my grandmother’s, naturally, where everything happened.

My dad covered his face with his hands.

My godfather set me up on the bar stool beside him and toasted my womanhood with a Shirley Temple.

Here, now, in 2020, sat two strangers, socially distant from the rest of the bar patrons. Someone made eye contact with me, and I scurried back up the leaf-covered stairs to Fall Street.

Later, I lay awake on my cousin’s couch, her dog snoring beside me. Twelve o’clock. One AM. Two AM. I had not slept a night in Seneca Falls since 2013.

I felt unsettled, something amiss even with all the doors locked and this giant black lab at my feet.

At two thirty I sprang up and threw on a hoodie and sneaks. The grass outside was already wet with dew, and the crunching of leaves underfoot scared me sh*tless when it cut through the silence.

I jumped into my mom’s CRV, (now my infamous “creepin” vehicle of choice) and drove out across the “George Bailey Bridge,” past the old video store where my cousins and I had hiked to rent tapes, past the pretty fountain in the middle of town, beyond the Women’s Rights Convention Memorial Park where I’d walked my aunt’s dog, Dexter, and begged him not to poop.

I parked myself on the street in front of my grandmother’s house.

Turned off the car lights.

Sat in silence.

I dream about this house all the time. Dreams where I’m fumbling around looking for something, ascending the staircase, or looking out the upstairs window.

In most of the dreams I’m by myself, but every now and then my grandmother appears and I tell her we thought she had died. I tell her I’m so happy we were wrong, but that we should be very careful so she doesn’t die again.

I have never had a dream about my grandmother that doesn’t take place in the house. She never appears anywhere else.

So now I stare at the dark house in the middle of the night and wonder if maybe she’s in there somehow. I know it sounds weird but…I dunno…residual energies, that kind of thing? Possible?

A television flickers in the window of the tiny house next door. I’ve only been sitting here three minutes but I know I should leave. I know I’m being a total creep. I know this is weird.

Stars splash across the sky over the tiny garage at the back of the driveway where my grandfather used to grow grapes. Where he’d taken me once to show me the grapes, but told me not to pick any.

I picture myself sitting on the porch ledge in my navy blue bathing suit with the mesh top that always made me afraid my nipples were showing.

Gram tells me to be careful up there.

I try to feel like me at 5.

Me at 5, wanting to pick the grapes.

Me at 9, sun-kissed.

Me at 12, pimply.

Me at 18, bald.

I watch “ghost me” rip a big green leaf off the vines that had covered the house. I hear my Mom tell me to stop messing with them.

“Sauce is ready.”

“Set the table.”

“Movie’s starting.”

“Is everyone here?”

I know I need to leave, but I whisper into the stale air, “what the hell are we doing down here, Gram?”

She didn’t get to see me being okay.

Am I okay?

The stars, again, distract me with a wink.

“Don’t pick the grapes, don’t touch, just look.”

I feel like Pierre at the end of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, wondering how I got here, wondering what it all comes to in the end.

‘…and there in the middle above Prechistensky Boulevard, surrounded and sprinkled on all sides by stars shines the Great Comet…

I feel better now, and I don’t know why.

I dry my tears and head back.

When my cousin returns, I ask if she’s seen how different the house looks now, although I know she must. She lives in the small town, after all.

My cousin says ‘yes.’

She says she knows the woman who lives in the house now. The third owner since my grandmother.

I told her that was our grandparents’ house, and she asked me if they’d died in the house. I told her they had. She said she could hear and feel things sometimes in the house. Energies. She said it feels friendly.”

“Energies.” Dreams.

Grapes. Sauce. Bathing suit. House. Mom. Period. Bar stool. Shirley Temple. Grandma. Judge Judy. Rocking chair. Bald. Friendly.

All this creepy driving. Past-channeling.

Soul searching.

I’m either going to leave 2020 a haunted soul or a fully realized person.

I’m done creepin’ for a while.