Categories
Blather life Silly

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.

Categories
Blather cancer mindfulness

My Mom Thinks I’m a Difficult Person

The other day my mom told me that I remind her of “the red head on Difficult People.

And I was like…”sooo…the MAIN difficult person?”

And she was like, “not because I think you’re difficult, though!”

And I was all, “ew, eye roll emojiiiiiii”

And so you know what I told her today? I said, “Mom, you never showed me Hocus Pocus as a kid and that’s why I am the way I am.”

She laughed, but I did not.

Because can you imagine the utter humiliation I felt in college when my roommates skipped class to watch Hocus Pocus and drink pumpkin ale and I said “oh, is this Casper Meets Wendy?”

IS IT ANY WONDER I’M UNSUCCESSFUL AND UNEMPLOYED?

Well, I’ve had nothing but time during the pandemic to think about what has made me the way I am, and quarantining in the town where I grew up, I’ve been able to do some real investigating. If you live in the Syracuse area and have noticed a girl with a tiny topknot and sunglasses-even-though-it’s-overcast, driving a gray CRV slowly by your house, trying desperately to see over the steering wheel, it’s 100% me.

I’m driving by your house because

  • a) an old friend of mine used to live there and I used to go to her house and play, and I’m trying to get in touch with my inner child
  • b) I remember passing your house on the school bus and imagining whoever lived there was a sad old woman who’s husband drowned in the Erie Canal…(don’t ask, I was fascinated by the Erie Canal)
  • c) I stuck my head under the tiny waterfall of the creek that runs through your backyard (on a dare!)
  • or d) I lost my virginity in your house

I know, I know. This seems creepy and unsettling, but I promise it’s an important part of my healing process.

On some real sh–, though, I’ve found it quite therapeutic. Because ever since having cancer (yes, the cancer card! I know, you’re SHOCKED!) I’ve tried many times to remember what it felt like to not have that big black mark on my life. What it was like to be a real kid. And I think once I was well and it was time for me to go to college, I left Syracuse with the singular impression that I wouldn’t–couldn’t–ever spend more time than a summer’s vacation there ever again.

I guess I just figured it was because I had that typical, angsty, “I-HATE-MY-HOMETOWN-IT’S-SO-LAME-MAN” thing going on.

But in truth? I think it was because I was just afraid of being surrounded by history. Afraid of the memories of the “before” Jesse creeping up. The places she went, the things she did. Knowing how difficult it is sometimes to try and remember what it was like to be that girl…

Or, rather, maybe I DO remember what it was like to be that girl quite well…and what makes me sad is knowing how innocent she was, and how blindsided she would be by the darkness of the world…

Or honestly, it could’ve been the Hocus Pocus thing. IF YOU WEREN’T GONNA SHOW ME THAT MOVIE, MOM AND DAD, WHY DID YOU EVEN HAVE ME!?

Thus the road to self-discovery drones on…

Wow. I am difficult.

Categories
Blather Silly

Suburban Fall with an Unemployed Whiny Person

Just a small town girl livin’ in a lonely Syracuse, New Yooooork… she took her mom’s CRV goin’ to Marshaaaall’s Homegoooooooods

Oh, don’t mind me. My boyfriend just went back to work today to yell at kids to put on masks and not touch each other…and also to teach physics, I guess. And I’m still just a little candle in the wind…clinging to unemployment when the rains set in…

That’ll be my last song parody, that’s not what this is.

So anyway, my boyfriend went back to work as a teacher today, and I am still just chillin’, getting used to a new season in suburbia after 6 years of city life…

Man, suburbanites…THEY 👏🏻 LOVE 👏🏻FALL! They do NOT mess around with it. The Marshalls/Homegoods parking lot this past Saturday? SAVAGE.

And…it’s clearly contagious, seeing as I found myself in this parking lot, middle fingers flyin’ left and right trying to get a parking space to go look at ceramic pumpkins and talking skeletons.

Wanna know an actual quote from my mouth that I actually, actually, for real, for real said the other day?

I said…FROM MY OWN MOUTH…and I quote,

“I do love the pumpkin spice latte, but I MUCH prefer the pumpkin cream cold brew…it’s a few less calories and the foam is delicious.”

-MY ACTUAL FOR REAL VOCAL CORDS

So I’m a little…concerned.

I’m worried that with my boyfriend gone during the days, I am going to further morph into a fall-obsessed house-wife…which, ya know…there’s really nothing wrong with. I just always thought if I became a housewife it would be because I married one of the rich businessmen I used to take care of at the restaurant in New York City, and he would move me in to his penthouse and I would have maids and stuff and so while he worked I’d just go get pumpkin-Starbucks-anything and then go to the yoga studio and make myself throw up in the bathroom and then maybe actually do the yoga or maybe just go catch a matinee of Jersey Boys?

I never, ever thought I’d find myself at a place called “Witty Wicks” for the second time in one week buying a pumpkin scented candle and looking at pumpkin decorations.

(And, I’ll just point out, the visits to this gift shop are in ADDITION to the parking-lot-danger-filled Marshall’s Homegoods trip I took on Saturday.)

“Witty Wicks”, if you must know, has incredible candles.

HOWEVER.

The rest of the gifts are just…not my cup of tea because they basically all have quotes on them.

Quotes a-plenty, quotes galore.

Like, maybe you’re looking at a cute little pumpkin face and then your eyes scan downward and you realize it’s a little pumpkin-man-statue thing and he’s holding a sign that says “WELCOME TO OUR PUMPKIN PATCH.”

Sweet Jesus, the day I buy this kind of decoration is the day I just buy a sign that says LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE, have a kid, and sell Avon.

“FAMILY GATHERS HERE” on the front door.

“DANCE LIKE NO ONE’S WATCHING” over the fireplace.

“DREAM BIG” in the bathroom, so you don’t forget to keep dreamin’ while you take a piss.

I can’t guys. I just can NOT with quotes on decorations. It’s one thing to become a suburban fall enthusiast…it’s another to become a QUOTE person…then I’ll really know it’s the end of the line for me.

My soul is dead.

Might as well buy a crockpot while I’m at it.

Anyway, this is where I find myself, folks. My boyfriend went back to work and I’m over here drinkin’ pumpkin cream cold brew, alienating quote-lovers, and ordering big Snooki slippers.

Happy Halloween, I guess.

Categories
Blather Silly

5 Tips for Introducing Your Indifferent Girlfriend to Your Favorite Movie Franchise

Okay…so I’m on my second nerd now, folks (their word, not mine), and I think I’ve got some comprehensive tips on how to introduce your gal (or guy) to that Super-Hero/Space Themed/Action-y series you love, WITHOUT overwhelming them, making them feel like they’re watching a bunch of Hasbro toys blowing up, and then questioning whether they bit off more than they could chew in this relationship (giggity).

Done right, it IS possible for them to care just as much about the franchise, the universe, and the characters within them as you do. (Maybe not just as much, but they’ll care enough to watch them, anticipate new ones with you, and maybe also consider incorporating some quirky “insert franchise name here” art pieces into their own decorating, such as this adorable piece of bathroom art:

Click photo to view on Etsy

5) DO IT CHRONOLOGICALLY, PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

Here we go. You’ve gotten me to agree to sit down and give these movies a chance. You’ve told me they’re really amazing, beautiful commentaries on humanity and real life issues, and I have finally conceded that, yeah, I should probably see them since they are quite celebrated facets of pop culture and the zeitgeist, and I want to be hip to the jive.

And then you say…
“I’M JUST TRYING TO DECIDE IF I SHOULD SHOW THEM TO YOU IN THE ORDER THEY CAME OUT, OR IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER”

Dude. Please show them to me in chronological order. I KNOW THIS IS A HOT BUTTON ISSUE FOR DIE HARD FANS.

I get it. I understand they came out in a different order, and there might be some enigmatic, artistic reason to watch them in said order. BUT REMEMBER: I AM A NOOB (and not just a NOOB to the franchise—really, I’m a NOOB to these kinds of movies in general), and you are asking me to take on and accept an entirely new ‘universe’ with different rules and different species and languages and who knows what else!

I NEED something familiar, something reliable, to anchor me in this unfamiliar territory. If I can at least have a timeline…I have something I trust. So if your partner is like me, they’re gonna want you to show them the films in chronological order so they can attempt to keep things straight on this journey. If we finish ALL the movies, and I love them and would like to watch them again, we can always re-watch in whichever order you’d like!

4. WHO WE ARE “VS” ? IDENTIFY!!!!

Okay. I get that the “good” guys in one movie can become the “bad” guys in another or there can be a plot twist and at some point things change and up is down and left is right and good is bad…but let me get there myself. ESPECIALLY at the beginning….I NEED TO KNOW WHO WE ARE VERSUS.

I got half-way through Black Panther before I realized Michael B Jordan was technically the bad guy. (RIP CHADWICK BOSEMAN)

If you don’t want to identify them as “good guys” or “bad guys”, I at least need to know WHO WE ARE “VS” AT ALL TIMES.

3) CHECK IN WITH ME DURING PROLONGED ACTION/FIGHT SCENES

Because I’m zoning out…I promise. I think because there’s no dialogue going on that I’ve got a little bit of a break. And so my eyes kinda glaze over a bit and I start thinking about what I want for dinner and how I should try January Jones’s skin-care routine..and then all of a sudden I’ve missed a crucial space-ship crash, character death, kidnapping, or limb detachment.

CHECK IN WITH ME. MAKE SURE I SAW THE THING I WAS SUPPOSED TO SEE. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

2) PAUSE IT! WHENEVER! I! F—ING! WANT!

AND DON’T GET FRUSTRATED! I want to piece things together, and I want to make sure I’m piecing things together correctly. I want to make sure I’m understanding the rules of his super power. I want to make sure I know what planet we are on. I want to make sure I know which character is which when they’ve switched into their special outfits. I wanna know if they’re gonna bang. I want to know if that’s the guy from Game of Thrones. I want to know if Miley Cyrus’s ex-husband is in this movie. And maybe I want to know if you think Robert Downey, Jr. is nice in real life.

>>>>>(sidebar…Don’t get frustrated. Don’t be condescending. I’m not stupid…these movies just move with a pace that I’m not used to, and a lot of them run with the assumption that their viewer “just gets” certain things. But I’m new. NOT dumb.)<<<<<

If you want me to watch another one of these films, you will pause it whenever I ask, and you will do so PATIENTLY! How can I be interested in watching another one with you if I’m not making proper sense of the plot, the universe, and if I’m not also enjoying myself by learning that Queen Marjorie had a bit part in Captain America?

And finally…

Drumroll please…

….

….

1) YOU’RE NOT HAVING SEX TONIGHT.

You’re just not. That movie was EXHAUSTING.

FIN

Categories
Silly

I Stuck My Head Under A Waterfall One Time

I started writing about how I’ve been so bad at texting lately and I got, like, a good 4 paragraphs in before I realized I was forcing myself to talk about something that I really didn’t care to elaborate on because I’m not going to change.

In a nutshell, I hate that people can contact me whenever they f—ing want, especially in this pandemic because they KNOW I should text back right away because I’m not doing anything important, except maybe ordering a Bop-It on e-bay or watching old ‘DZ: Discovery Zone’ commercials on YouTube. But sometimes, I really just HAVE to have the control, and I just am NOT going to text you back right then and there, and you are going to HAVE to deal with it or don’t text me anymore, but please still extend me all the benefits and courtesies of being your friend like asking me to be in your wedding and occasionally sending me Blair Waldorf memes like this:

But anyway, I was having trouble focusing on writing this because my foot is throbbing and also today I finally found a waterfall I stuck my head under during a game of truth or dare when I was 12. And it was super exciting and nostalgic and cathartic because I have been on many-a-nature walk trying to find this stupid little waterfall and I even briefly considered walking into strangers’ backyards to do it, but it didn’t end up coming to that and I was too much of chicken—t anyway.

When I was 12, I stuck my head under this waterfall on a dare at a sleepover birthday party and it was really gross and scary because it was dark and loud and there was a shit ton of goopy, icky moss and an old Burger King cup under there:

THE WATERFALL I STUCK MY HEAD UNDER!

But I did it, and I was proud, and I guess it was some sort of defining moment in my adolescence because here I am dedicating all this time and blog space to it.

Was this the same birthday sleep-over party where I fell asleep first and they decided to put strawberry Hershey syrup all up and down my arms?

Probably.

Did I secretly cry in the bathroom?

Yes.

Was finding this waterfall worth the poison ivy I’m probably going to get?

You be the judge.

__________________________________________________________

PS. Forgot to talk about throbbing foot. Of CRUCIAL importance.

So the other day, out of nowhere, this one section of skin on my foot started itching like CRAZY and when s–t itches, I scratch it, because the cavemen didn’t have calamine lotion. And then before I knew it, I had scratched it raw and now it REALLY hurts, and no one believes that I was bit by something that left an invisible bite, they just say “JESSE YOU SCRATCHED YOUR SKIN OFF” which is TRUE but also NOT TRUE because it was just VERY ITCHY.

Fin.

Categories
mindfulness Silly

Forced

I told myself I would force myself to write something today. The problem is I have nothing to ‘say’ but I have, like, 3 billion things to SAY.

Like, for SAYING’s sake, I thought I had a blackhead on my upper lip because I felt something stinging it, and in retrospect it was probably just a cut or irritation, but once I decided it was a blackhead I just sat there and squeezed and picked and poked and stabbed at it and finally it became a giant wound that’s scabbed over and definitely looks like a giant herpe.

Which I guess…I GUESS…if I needed something to ‘say’…I could tie the previously described scenario into a great big beautiful metaphor about idle minds. Idle minds make trouble where there is none? Something like that?

Oh, oh, and Arnold Rothstein told Nucky Thompson on Boardwalk Empire that man’s greatest flaw is his inability to just sit quietly in a chair. Something like that. It blew my mind, because I’ve been very zen and contemplative lately because what the hell else do I have to do?

But like…do you get it? Like, why can’t we just sit still and shut up? Like birds and dogs and shit sit there for so long doing nothing and they seem way happier than us.

And like, a cactus? A cactus is alive, don’t forget!

I lost the point.

The point is, don’t pick at your skin because you are bored or you will give yourself a giant herpe-lookin’ thing. Don’t go looking for trouble where this is none.

Oh my, god f***ing BRILLIANT, Jesse, you SAID something AND you ‘said’ something.

TUNE IN FOR MORE ENTHRALLING HIJINX FROM THE RANKS OF THE UNEMPLOYED!

@itsmy_pardee

Categories
Silly

Understanding the Crock-pot

I’m here today to get something off my chest…something that’s been eating away at me through weeks of tedium, months of quarantine, and years on a presidential rollercoaster of which I cannot seem to get off.

Crock-pots.

I don’t get it. I don’t understand them. People love these things. People give them as gifts— wait, no—

PEOPLE WANT TO RECEIVE THEM AS GIFTS!

I think for a while I subconsciously blocked crock-pots out of my brain completely because they seemed like something everyone who turned thirty suddenly needed, and as I approached the big “three-oh” (now in monthly increments), they loomed omnipresent like a little dark cloud over my sad, misguided life, teetering ever more and more each day to a drone of domesticity and book-clubs and baby showers.

I could never let crock-pots in.

But as I look back on my crock-pot-less past, I believe it may go even deeper than this, if you can believe it.

“Turn the crock-pot on for me at four,” my mother would say. Or “I’ve got something in the crock-pot for dinner tonight.”

The word sent shudders up my spine.

I didn’t want to touch the crock-pot, let alone eat from it! So no, I will not turn the crock-pot on at four, and I shall make myself a P, B and J because I refuse to touch OR eat anything that comes out of a device titled CROCK-POT.

“Crock”=crocodile

“Crock”=imposter

“Crock”=just a few letters off from “crotch”

There are just so many awful word-associations, and I refuse to believe there isn’t a more suitable name at the ready besides “crock-pot.”

Imagine my dismay—my CHAGRIN, if I may be so obliged as to insert a ten-dollar SAT- word—when, as a bridesmaid to my dear friend at her bridal shower, it was my job to unwrap her gifts and hand them to her so that they may be showcased and photographed and fawned over by heavily Mimosa-ed middle-aged women as though they were something they had never before seen in their lives, and items which only the bride could ever deserve to possess.

Imagine my CHAGRIN, as I ripped off the shiny white foil to reveal a bulky, heavy, tasteless box that could only be home to one singular device: a dreaded, tacky crock-pot.

For joy! I thought, eyes a-rolling. A crock-pot for you to make a lazy, mushy, goopy dinner for your lazy, mushy, goopy new husband in your lazy, mushy, goopy new marriage!

A crinkle of disgust in my nose, I hauled the large box over my head and placed it in the arms of the bride, who held it high to be adored and fawned over by its adoring, undeserving fans.

Crock-pots…ha!

They’ll never take me alive. I’d sooner boil my own skin in a REGULAR pot of water on a REGULAR old stove than own a crock-pot.

You know what crock-pots are sometimes called?

Slow-cookers.

Slow-cookers.

I am a godd**n American and I want it NOW. FAST. NOT SLOW. FAST! FAST! FAST!

I’m more than happy with my Lean Cuisines and MSG-filled Ramen noodles. If they keep me from becoming one more statistic—one more bright young woman fallen prey to the domestication of the crock-pot…then by golly, I’ll eat them every day for the rest of my (probably-shorter-due-to-eating-Lean-Cuisines-and-Ramen-Noodles-every-day-for-the-rest-of- my-life) life.

I cannot tell you what a weight it is off my shoulders to have these feelings out in the open. And now that I’ve gotten them out there and cast light onto this demon, I can see for certain that I do NOT simply have an irrational anger toward a kitchen appliance stemming from my fear of turning thirty.

Obviously.

Because like, thirty is the new twenty, right?

Never mind.

Back to crock-pots.

The conclusion of crock-pots.

I do not like crock-pots. I do not support crock-pots. I do not condone crock-pots.

I do not like them hear nor there, I do not like them anywhere, such as in my kitchen, and at my friend’s bridal shower, and in catalogues, and ESPECIALLY…

Especially not in online ads that are clearly geared toward women approaching a certain age.

I rest my case.

Fin.

@itsmy_pardee

Categories
Uncategorized

It Kinda Sounds Like I Might Be Strange

The other day I was walking somewhere when all of a sudden I realized I was thirteen blocks further away from where I thought I was because “math” and so I hailed a cab that was stopped at a light and I was like ‘can you just drop me at 40th because I’m lazy’ and he was like “sure it’s OK” (when run-on sentences are a technique of your prose it’s OK).

So there I am in this cab just riding thirteen blocks because I’m a POS, and I’m just sitting there and I thought to myself “My God, Jesse…you are so cool.  I love you.” And it was a very, very genuine moment where I really did think I was very very cool in my lil cab being all New York, just like little 12-year old Jesse would have wanted. 

And then, of course, immediately I’m like “whoa whoa whoa you are NOT allowed to think you’re cool that is SELFISH.”  And so then I pondered briefly if I should ask the cabby if HE thought I was cool but then I was like “no…not only are you carrying a giant purse AND wearing a tiny backpack…you are weilding one of those opens-inside-out fancy pants umbrellas with f****n’ Starry Night Van Gogh on it. This cabby thinks you’re a priss and NOTTTTT cool for making him drive you thirteen blocks!”

And then I thought…ya know?  What even IS cool anyway? And when did I first start questioning my coolness?  (This really happened.  I really do ponder cliches in cars quite often).  

And I thought all the way back to Matilda Who Told Such Dreadful Lies by Hilaire Belloc, which was my favorite book as a kid until I realized that other children didn’t also love this hilarious tale of a girl who told so many lies that no one listened when her house was on fire and she was calling out “FIRE FIRE FIRE HELP ME PLEASE” and so she burned alive.  My favorite part of the book went a little something like this: 

You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,

And throw the window up and call

To People passing in the Street —

(The rapidly increasing Heat

Encouraging her to obtain

Their confidence) — but all in vain!

For every time she shouted ‘Fire!’

They only answered ‘Little Liar!’

THIS.

BOOK.

WAS.

BOMB DOT COM and I couldn’t wait to bring it in to school when it was my turn to share my favorite book…but the teacher was all

 “ummm where did you get this book.”  

And I said

 “ummm my AUNT who works for the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS!!!!!”

She didn’t care about my aunt who worked for the Library of Congress.  She said the book was too disturbing. And I said

 “Uhh, I think everybody already knows this story…”

And she said…

”No Jesse.  I really don’t think they do.”

As a matter of fact, everyone DID know this story…as the boy who cried wolf.  But as I soon learned in the cafeteria when I told my friends my book had been rejected, NONE of them had heard the cute story about Matilda who burns alive in her house while her family is at the theatre.

And it was at this moment that I took pause and said WAIT A MINUTE WAIT A MINUTE WAIT A MINUTE…am I strange?  Cause it kinda sounds like I might be strange.

So in case I lost you somewhere in that anecdote, the story about ‘Matilda who told such dreadful lies it made one gasp and stretch one’s eyes’ did NOT mess me up.  

Learning I was the ONLY ONE who loved this story messed me up.

If it wasn’t made abundantly clear by the fact that I liked such a f***ed up book that was given to me by my aunt who worked for the Library of Congress (JEAN), I was, and am strange.

And I don’t say this in a “Zooey Deschanel quirky girl, ironic shrug” kind of way.  No offense to that. That’s it’s own thing. She’s great. It’s great.

But I am just plain old strange. And I fought it for a long time, especially in my twenties.

In fact I think I spent most of my twenties in denial about it.  I tried for years to curb the things about me that are strange:

-I tried to post on Instagram what I thought you were supposed to post on Instagram, but it all felt so forced and dumb that I ultimately deleted it for six months and want to delete it again.  

-I tried to do the things in NYC that people think are fun like brunch, and drinking til you puke and black out, but I always end up back in my room in a kimono watching Serial Killer documentaries, drinking Diet Coke and diffusing peppermint oil.

-I tried to overcome my irrational fear of brushing my teeth in the same bathroom I poop in, but some days I’m just not strong enough and I have to brush my teeth when I get to work.

-I tried to keep that toothbrush/pooping thing a secret and succeeded until now.

-I stayed two years too long in a relationship with someone I knew was not my person because it seemed easier to just follow the “engaged by 25 married by 27” route the majority of friends were on.

-I stifled and ignored my OCD so badly it burst, and I lost two friends in the process. 

-I tried to talk less about cancer because I didn’t want to make people feel sad.

-I tried to hate a friend who actually faked cancer for years–tried hard to feel the hatred that everyone else involved was feeling toward her for doing such a terrible thing…but just couldn’t muster a hatred I didn’t feel. And she remains my close friend to this day.

-I tried to talk less about cancer because I didn’t want to make people feel sad.

-I TRIED TO TALK LESS ABOUT CANCER BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL SAD.

I MADE APOLOGIES FOR MY HAVING CANCER BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO MAKE YOU SAD.

Tsk tsk tsk.  Jesse, Jesse, Jesse.

But all those things…I tried and failed.  I’m just strange, and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about one of the strangest things that ever happened to me.

The day I found out about my tumor I had an incredible moment of clarity that I’ve never been able to forget.  I only ever shared it once, doing EMDR therapy for PTSD. Because before now, I thought it was crazy. Way too strange to be shared.  

But that day back in ‘08, we were waiting–had been waiting for hours, to see somebody. Outside the office building in the middle of a friggin Nor’easter, my dad had taken me to get some air.  He was trying to keep me calm, telling me we didn’t know anything for sure yet. Maybe whatever they saw on the MRI would be benign, maybe it was not what we were all hoping it wasn’t.  

He pulled me into a big hug and I buried my face in his chest…and in that moment, seemingly out of nowhere, this warmth came over me and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I did, indeed, have cancer.  It wasn’t just “a gut feeling” or “something I really felt in my heart.” It was like the universe was gifting me this knowledge, whether I wanted it or not.

And it made me smile.  I smiled there, in my dad’s arms in the snowstorm.  He couldn’t see me, but he’ll know now. I was smiling.  Because for that very brief moment it all made sense: This was strange.  I was strange.  Everything, everything in my life so far had lead me to this moment:  this was supposed to happen to me, and like it or not, this was part of the path. 

And I smiled.  This strange phenomenon was powerful enough to make me smile in the middle of a f*****g tragedy.  

And I say that with no sarcasm or dark humor or irony.  I guess I would say I consider it the closest I’ve ever been to feeling a psychic phenomenon.  

And just as quickly as it came…it passed.  Because we all know the story from there…I turn into an adolescent cancer monster. But I thought of that day all the time–that feeling I had.  I just could never quite harness it, and use it to help me gain perspective.  

Today I can harness it.

You hear people say all the time that you have to love yourself if you’re ever going to love somebody else.  You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of somebody else. I’ve pondered that cliche many times, in cars, as I’ve been known to do.   It never rang true for me. Up until this year, I rejected it because I was SURE I’d never love myself but I definitey didn’t plan on being alone for the rest of my life.

But this year I’ve been changing…mat-oo-ring, if you will. Because now I have a different take.  Now I have two issues with it, the main one being that you can’t view part one as a MEANS to part two.  Self love should be about loving yourself, period. NOT as a stepping stone to loving someone else…even if it DOES end up being that stepping stone.

I took a class a few weeks ago downtown at The Open Center and the teacher said something like ‘if everyone could really truly love themselves, they wouldn’t need love from others.  Any love we got from others would be a bonus.’ I’m paraphrasing. But you get the gist.

That’s what I want.  To love myself with the idea that if friends and family come and go…if I never get married…if I never have children…that I have enough love and respect for myself to still have a happy life.  

My other problem with that cliche is that as much as we throw around “self-love’ and post memes about self-confidence and being yourself and yada yada yada…we still live in a world where EXPRESSING confidence in yourself puts you at risk of being labeled “self-centered” or “selfish.”  And I know it’s a very very fine line between the two…but still…I know I should be able to think I’m cool in a cab without stopping myself and feeling guilty…RIGHT!?

Regardless, I have way more appreciation and love for my strangeness now.  And when I have my days of doubt…of which I still have many (don’t think this one little sermon means I’m traipsing around like Mary Sunshine in a crown of daisies all the time) I actually find comfort in thinking back to that one small moment on what was probably the worst day of my life…where some strange force in the universe told me I was precisely where I was supposed to be and it made me smile.  I remember that if this universe has enough humor in it’s ether to make me smile on the worst day of life, I can get through today.

I think maybe I’m not strange.  I’m just mad cool.  

And so is Matilda…may she rest in peace.