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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Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hi Heather, Just wanted to send a note letting you know I LOVED your LA Affairs essay. I have read these religiously each week and yours, with the exception of maybe one other, is the absolute best, most enjoyable I've had the pleasure to read. I'm in my mid-40s, but it didn't matter. Your words spoke to me and had me hooked from the beginning. I do hope you're working on something bigger that I might read soon? Keep it up, such a promising future!
terribletwenties terribletwenties Said:

I choose to believe in the Internet.

Today was an important day for me, a milestone really. Having a piece of my writing featured in the LA Times was the first time I felt like a writer, like, a real writer. It was surreal to see my byline in newspaper print, and I know that I will never look at my work in the same way. I feel more serious, more grown up. 

Today is an important day for my ex boyfriend. He is getting married, or maybe he already did at the time I’m writing this. After today, he will never look at his life the same. He is more serious, and more grown up.

How serendipitous that today is so happy, memorable and meaningful for the two of us in such different ways. 

I’m where I want to be and my success today encourages me to keep going. I’m on the right track. He is where he wants to be and today brings him someone to always keep him on his chosen path.

Even though we aren’t meant to be in each other’s lives, it’s nice to think that the time we spent together still links us in small ways, hopefully the best ways. 

I’m glad today will always be special, for both of us.

It’s very important to have something to show for yourself at the end of the day.

New haircut. No blow dry. If only I could go back to 1998 and tell myself it gets better.

There is nothing scarier than a blank word doc. NOTHING.

I’m just going to stare at it masochistically until something profound over 140 characters appears. Or until I lay on the couch long enough for someone to give me a book deal.

Good plan!

This is how I roll.

I really used to light up the stage back then. Literally. There was tremendous glare from my glasses. #tbt

Asker Anonymous Asks:
so what happens to this when you inevitably turn 30?
terribletwenties terribletwenties Said:

It turns to dust because nothing matters after 30!

Just kiiiiiidding. I’m going to have to change the name! I already have some contenders…

(Me at 21 contemplating bad life choices, including this hair cut and boot cut jeans.)

I shouldn’t have continued dating Jason once I found out he sold weed. I probably should have just called it quits when he angrily threw a small McDonald’s French fry at me because I didn’t read his mind and buy a burger. And, I definitely shouldn’t have loaned him $1,000 over the course of the few months we dated.

At 21 years old, deciding to date a prop master/weed dealer seven years my senior—whom I met while doing background work on the set of a Dick Van Dyke Lifetime movie—was not a good idea. But, I’m not going to tell you about this sad unhealthy mistake I made in my early twenties. It’s a trite story that’s not very interesting. However, how I got back the money I loaned him definitely is.

Once I came to my senses and rid myself of emotionally volatile Jason, I realized that my meager savings, created and given to me by my grandparents was severely dented. At this point, I was a senior in college without any real bills. So, even though I was angry with myself for lending my money to a man who made hash on his gas stove in front of my face, and took me on runs before dinner, it was easy to cut my losses and put it out of mind.

And, that I did for the next year, until I received a MySpace message from Jason telling me how amazing I was, that he was sorry how things had ended, that he missed being in my “world,” and that “truth is worth more than pride.” The subject line read, “I would love to catch up with you.”

I was blown away by this reemergence of an embarrassing moment. Truth? He wanted the truth? I told him I would be happy to catch up only if he was interested in repaying my money.

And because this whole thing was starting to play out like the bad TV movie where we met, he agreed. He admitted that his financial situation only allowed him to pay me a little less than half of what he owed. I was just glad to be seeing any of the grand I’d lost, so I agreed to meet him.

I wasn’t comfortable with him coming to my home and knowing where I lived because, as I’ve already mentioned: French fries to the face. So we set a date to meet in the weird no man’s land parking lot across from the Farmer’s Market at The Grove in Los Angeles.

I was nervous on the day I met up with him. Old, traumatic feelings infiltrated my blood stream, leaving me feeling vulnerable.

“Get it together Heather!” I said to myself, as I sat in the parking lot waiting for the familiar sight of his Toyota truck.

He pulled up next to my car, and opened the passenger door and sidled in. He handed me a wad of cash. I counted it out, confirming that he had given me $400, and shoved the money into the black hoodie pocket I had worn, as if it was a real drug deal. At least he had trained me well.

Jason and I made small talk for a few more minutes, awkwardly side hugged, and then he left my car. Before he left, he promised that he would be in touch about returning the rest of the loan. I didn’t expect to hear from him again, and I didn’t—until almost three years later.

Being that it was 2010, MySpace was no longer a viable way for Jason to contact me. Instead, I received a friend request from Jason on Facebook. I accepted because I’m a real life Internet troll, and because I suddenly thought about how nice $600 would be at that moment.

He immediately messaged me. No small talk, no missing me. He wanted to repay me the money he owed, and, he asked, would I accept a Western Union money transfer? Jason was working on a shoot in Oklahoma and couldn’t give it to me in person. I was flabbergasted that this was actually happening, and had zero understanding of the urgency to pay off a four-year-old untraceable debt. But, I had never used Western Union, and from the looks of every commercial and movie I’d seen, money transfers were shady and only used under duress. I was skeptical but agreed because, hey, 600 bones is enough to put yourself in a slightly strange position.

I had to look up a Western Union location nearby for him to wire the money. I ended up choosing my local CVS pharmacy, which was a veritable parade of crazy 24/7. It felt both appropriate and convenient for the occasion. Jason said he would let me know when I could pick it up.

Once I received notice with a confirmation number, I got on my bike and rode the few blocks to the CVS. I had to ask where the hell I was supposed to pick up my money, and was directed to the deserted photo station in the back. I gave the man my information and he returned with my second and final wad of cash. He counted out $600, which I quickly buried in my backpack. Jason had made me a pro at weird cash deals at this point.

I sent Jason a message, thanking him for honoring his promises. And, that was the end—for real this time. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to stand up for myself, turn a MySpace message into my own personal justice, and right the wrong I had made as an impulsive young adult.

Originally posted on The Billfold

Oh hey guys. Want to hear me be awkward?

Watch this video of me telling a story about showing up to school without my uniform and being mortified to death when I was in seventh grade.