Terrible Twenties

Trials and tribulations of the modern twenty-something because no matter what adults say, your twenties are f*cking hard.
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Your gut says you might be dating a man baby, but how can you really be sure unless you read a bunch of Internet lists to confirm your rising suspicions? This handy guide will help you come to a rational conclusion on whether or not you are dating an adult male, a man child, or quite possibly, a five-year old boy.

  • Owns a toy box.
  • Throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way.
  • Owns gaming console.
  • Needs reminders about showering.
  • Puts hands in pants without showing any signs of self-awareness.
  • Picks nose and wipes it on the couch.
  • Doesn’t like food touching on his plate.
  • Starts crying out of exhaustion around 10pm.
  • Makes a gagging motion by pretending to put a finger down his throat at the sight of a side of vegetables.
  • Hides inside the clothing racks every time you take him shopping.
  • Insists on wearing a cape to the supermarket.
  • Watches the same DVD over and over again.
  • Sucks his thumb.
  • Wakes you up when he has a bad dream.
  • Is always slightly sticky.
  • Keeps asking when the next pizza party is.
  • Keeps asking for a pet tarantula.
  • Drinks milk from the carton.
  • Hates scary movies.
  • Needs a nightlight.
  • Gives you a ring box …with a dead cockroach in it.
  • Insists on being called, “The Dark Knight” in public.
  • Makes pillow forts on the reg.
  • Becomes very afraid if you leave him for a minute in the mall.
  • Puts “Miss” in front of your name when addressing you.
  • His mother loves you. Keeps calling you her, “savior.”

originally on The Gaggle!

Modern women can have it all.

It’s our indie movie; you’re just living in it.

I’m never going to be able to wear my sweaters again am I?

About once a year I try doing something that’s very difficult for me. In my life, I have yet to do it successfully. I’m pretty ashamed that after just about three decades I haven’t figured this out but…

Hi, I’m Heather and I cannot paint my own nails.

I am was an impetuous child with little tolerance for activities I couldn’t easily master on the first try. I was easily frustrated and fiercely independent, rarely wanting to do anything I couldn’t do without the help of others.

Ok, so I’m still all of those things. People don’t change.

As a result, I never figured out — no, took the time — how to paint my own nails because I was never able to do it right. 

When I was about ten years old, I remember someone gifting me a cool nail painting kit complete with nail polish and instructions on how to paint bumble bees, flowers, cherries, and other fun late-nineties clip art. The paint was super cheap, it peeled right off, and my cute little honeybee turned out like a weird yellow and black blog, ten coats thick.

In middle school, having *wacky* blue and green nail polish was very chic. I had both colors from Wet n’Wild and I tried several times during sixth grade to paint my nails to match my favorite tie-die shirt. Alas, I was left with a clumpy mess, which always ended up getting removed shortly after application.

And, by the time I entered high school, I discovered nail salons were a thing and that was sort of it for me. I started working at 15 years old and, with no bills to speak of, I had ample spending money for my pink and white tips.

So, for almost 15 years, that’s been my means to an end: paying other people to do the thing I can’t do.

And again, I keep trying, just like I keep trying to like salmon. In the past, one optimistic night dedicated to inevitable failure was enough to remind me that some people aren’t good at everything for the next year.

Maybe I just didn’t want it bad enough.

I say this because when I was in middle and high school, all I wanted was straight hair, and I got straight hair. I would spend hours in the bathroom with a fat round brush, painstakingly drying each section into perfection. I took the time to not only do it, but do it right. 

But today, I wanted it bad enough. I had been frustrated all week that I hadn’t found the time to go get a manicure, and decided that I had to take matters into my own hands — LITERALLY.

I am almost 30 years old. This, like knowing how to hand-wash a sweater, is a life skill I need. 

So, I went to CVS, bought myself $27 worth of new red polish and went home determined to make it work. Armed with over a decade’s worth of observing professionals and tips from far more skilled friends, I painted all 20 of my nails,

In the end, this was my best attempt. They aren’t perfect.

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(I was told to paint onto my skin and let the excess fall off in the shower, which worked! Also this was done with my left hand.)

The middle finger on my right hand has about two coats too many due to a shaky hand, my pointer finger has a mysterious chunk missing, and I accidentally smudged my big toe because I was brushing my teeth and looking and my closet to see what tops went with a new sweater and not thinking about how leaning on the top of my foot might be destructive. Overall, I woke up this morning with broad daylight exposing impatient and incriminating finger prints and dents.

OK, but despite all that, they look pretty decent (from far away).

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And I learned something (surprise!). Even though my dexterity leaves something to be desired, that’s not what’s been my problem all these years as I had always suspected and blamed. It’s patience. 

I’ve never been a patient person. Like I said, people don’t change. I love instant gratification, and a slow burn just isn’t for me. It’s not wonder that a task like painting your nails has eluded me all these years.

So, I’m going to keep practicing be patient. I’m going to try painting my nails again sooner than another year. And yes, I’m going to keep trying salmon, even though it tastes like rot.

My dad has being telling me this for years, “Don’t get old Heather. It really sucks.” He’s not the only one. Anyone five years or more my senior has doled out similar unsolicited advice throughout my entire life.

The vote is in. It’s unanimous; getting old is basically the worst.

I’m starting to understand that I inherited my super heightened age consciousness from dad, a man who has been giving himself trial face lifts with his hands for decades. 

"What if I just pull it up slightly right here," he says as he takes takes the corners of his neck skin, right by the jawline, into his thumbs and gently pulls upwards. The soft slightly sagging skin of his neck stands at taught attention.

"I dunno Dad, you’d look kind of weird," I’d always say as a kid, half my face scrunched up in confusion. Why would anyone ever want to be any different than they are today?

This is the man who has been counting down the birthdays until his Medicare benefits since he was forty-five and, now that he has his card, flashes it in his silly Vans wallet like it’s a black Amex, or an undercover badge. 

This man is why I spend a few minutes a day, my face centimeters away from the mirror because I’m not wearing glasses, staring at the very slow change happening. 

Candidly, I’ve actually never felt prettier than I do right now. Given the chance, I’m not sure I wouldn’t trade my twenty-two year old body for the one I’ve got right now. Maybe I’ve finally grown into myself. Maybe I’ve stopped caring.

But then I have days where my fingers hurt for no reason, my digestive system can’t handle once familiar foods, or I realize I don’t really understand Snapchat even though I thought I did. And I know there is no explanation for these things other than, I’m getting older. Maybe I still do care in some ways.

Maybe I should remember my childhood philosophy: Why would anyone ever want to be different than they are today?

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(Atonement #OOTD because insane LA heat is truly doing its part to help me feel miserable today.)

After having a grand time playing #MeanKippur (Mean Girls Day + Yom Kippur) on Twitter with a couple friends yesterday, it’s time to get serious — at least before I become delirious from hunger.

Yep, it’s Yom Kippur, and today is dedicated to reflection on past errors and foresight in setting intentions for the new year. For Jewish people, it’s an interesting stop in time, forcing us to simultaneously look back and forward, all in the present. It’s also about fasting, but that’s just a physical means to a mental and emotional end. 

I am not going to temple today, on the holiest day. I have gone intermittently my whole life. This is an off year. I am OK with this. However, I don’t think my absence should hinder me from feeling the weight of the day, or taking the opportunity to reflect in my own way. There is no right way to observe beliefs. 

For me, bludgeoning my brain with E! news, cleaning my makeup brushes, not eating, fighting the urge to go get my nails done and, yes, blogging/writing, is the way I am observing. And, that’s valid.

Last year I set goals and intentions for this year. Let’s see how well I did:

  • Make time for my mother.Not quite as much as I should, but more than before. 
  • Travel more.I went to NY twice, and Chicago!
  • Give work everything I have.And then some…maybe too much.
  • Don’t get frustrated easily.This might be on my list for a while.
  • Write. Write. Write. Something meaningful.Check! I had an essay published in the LA Times!
  • Read a novel. I can think of 3 off the top of my head: Gone Girl, We Are Water, This is Where I Leave You
  • Invest in new friendships. I made an effort to invest in different friends groups, and create new friendships through work.
  • Floss every day.Um…..
  • Give up cable.I TRIED on this one, but Time Warner has me in a choke hold. A for effort.
  • Save more money.I was able to save more money this year than I ever have in my life. This was a huge step for me.
  • Be proactive in fostering deeper relationships with old friends and family. This can’t be checked off a list. It’s an ongoing effort, but I really did focus on this one this past year.
  • Put my phone away. Still have a lot of work to do, but I’m working on it.
  • Feel less bad about how my nose is way more different than before my surgery four years ago. Eh…better.
  • Have trust in moving forward with big life decisions.  I trusted in myself to move in with my boyfriend and quit being full time to work for myself. I say I did good on this one.

Not bad! I’m pretty proud that I was able to accomplish many of my intentions from last year. But, a new year, new goals to publicly put on the Internet to keep me accountable.

This year is a big one for me, as I’ll be turning 30. And, even though I know it’s just a number, it means something to me. So, I’m going to do my damnedest to do it justice.

This year, I intend to:

  • Restore balance in my life. (Totally vague. Totally ambitious.)
  • Use the yoga series I bought several months ago.
  • Stop shopping as much as I do.
  • Travel more. (I can do better than NY and Chicago)
  • Read MORE novels.
  • Read MORE non-fiction essays.
  • Complete and submit my book proposal.
  • Write and perform a one-person show.
  • Use my museum membership.
  • Work less.
  • Relax more.
  • No seriously, have the strength to say no to more work.
  • Do more improv for funsies.
  • Floss every day…for real this time.
  • Clean my makeup brushes more often.
  • Spend more time with my parents.
  • Treat extended family like more than an extension.
  • Save more money than I did this year.
  • Get window treatments for the bedroom.
  • NEVER trim my own bangs.
  • Always remember to ask my boyfriend if he wants some of the food I am making. 
  • Read more long-form journalism.
  • Keep up with current events/politics.
  • Be more thoughtful. In every way possible.
  • And, as always, more sunscreen.

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As a teenager, I got off lucky in the acne department. Yes, of course, I was cursed with unbearable zits right before important life-changing events like PROM, or Brandon’s super awesome 16th birthday dance party, where even a new sparkly top couldn’t detract from the Mt. Vesuvius eruption on my chin.

In comparison to some people, it wasn’t bad. For the most part my skin was clear enough for strangers to compliment my complexion. But, before you go letting your eyes roll right out of your head, I want to disclose that what I lacked in whiteheads, I made up for in frizzy, unmanageable hair. 

Once I turned twelve, all hell broke loose in my follicles, and the war between me and my hair was on. Our nightly battled involved me spending two hours before bed pulling my hair straight with a round brush, punishing it into submission with the hair dryer set on high. Even with chemical straightening treatments, I dedicated an embarassing amount of time to the gentrification of my hair. Straight was in, and frizzy weird waves were just — Jewish.

In fact, I wrote my college entrance essay about my eternal struggle with my hair. It never did what I wanted, it had a mind of its own, and it could never sit still. My hair was me.

But here I am, more than a decade after penning that pathetic Orange County sob story about one girl’s struggle against pretty blonde hair that somehow always fell into a perfect ponytail, and my hair has changed. I have changed.

It’s still me, but different. Does that make sense?

I care less, natural waves are in, and my hair has physically chilled out of it’s hyperactive puberty phase. After fifteen years or more of being at odds with my mop, we’ve finally come to a truce. I no longer spend more than five minutes on my hair, and it feels great. It feels…deserved.

And yet, just as my hair and I are finding common ground, my face has decided to revolt. 

Zits. All. Over. My Chin.

I’m 7 months out from 30! 

Ok, to be fair, I should be, like, washing my face twice a day. I should have especially washed my face after being at Disneyland all day this weekend. I should remember to wear my old people eye cream. I should not, really should not, pick at my zits.

I am too old to not know better, but I don’t! I never had to do any of those things before because I didn’t have this problem when everyone else did. I’m going through it for the first time.

I’m 29, but I feel 14. I wish someone would remind me to wash my face, and not touch my zits. 

This is me. This is you. This is all of us all the time.

I’M ALMOST 30