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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  • Watched a Hallmark Christmas movie in July.
  • Fell into a trance looking at an online sale.
  • Bought hot rollers for voluminous hair.
  • Not currently reading a book.
  • Frustrated over uncooperative bangs.
  • Regret trying to cut my own bangs a month ago.
  • Spent a good ten minutes looking at Hugh Hefner’s Instagram profile.
  • Intermittently using anti-aging eye-cream when I remember.
  • Made the adult decision to spend $400 on new retainers to preserve the $10k + investment in my mouth my parents made in the 90’s.
  • Had a very earnest and difficult time choosing colors for said retainers.
  • Ultimately chose rainbow retainers. 
  • Surprised Dad at his office when I was in the area.
  • Bought large quantities of La Croix sparkling water even though I was given a Soda Stream for my birthday.
  • Purchased a shirt with text without reading it because I just wanted a white t-shirt.
  • Procured two pretentious notebooks with really pretentious intentions.
  • Have only used one notebook for a to-do list so far.
  • Felt slightly superior over gluten free granola.
  • Spent $50 on hair accessories two days ago.image
  • Decided that I needed to spend $20 a pair of novelty sunglasses with plastic pink roses hot glued to the frames. *immediate regret*
  • Started Undeclared for the first time.
  • Have managed to keep car clean on trash, old receipts, and gum wrappers since I got it washed two weeks ago..
  • Purchased adult lady purse on sale. *Got an extra 15% off for flashing my decade old student ID with no date on it. 
  • Took the time to slice up mushrooms for a salad.
  • Oh, and I washed them first too.
  • Met all my deadlines, kind of.
  • Attempted to not torment the cat.
  • Couldn’t help tormenting the cat.
  • Helped facilitate an engagement. 
  • Designed and ordered new business cards because PERSONAL BRAND.
  • Managed to remember to choose “Request” and not “Pay” on my last few Venmo transactions.
  • Purchased wedding gift for a friend.
  • Went to yoga at least once at some point.
  • Was smart enough to only buy a series of yoga classes instead of the monthly unlimited because ….pipe dreams.
  • Did not manage to eat all the bananas purchased.

Oh boy, let’s end this on a high note…

  • Got the new Bridget Jones book. ALL IS RIGHT IN MY LIFE.
  • Double bonus: I supported an independent bookstore.
  • Sort of shitty: felt smug about it.

Shit, I said I’d end it on a high note…

  • Remembered to replace old gross mascara. WIN!

Proof of how nosey I am. Just spent a solid ten minutes with my face pressed against the window screen watching a chopper with a search light on my street. IT RULED.

Just because you put red lipstick on a troll doesn’t make her act like a lady.

I impulse buy notebooks like packs of gum.

Asker tugboatsss Asks:
I recently turned 22, I'm still in college and I'm home, at my parents house, for a summer job as a server and aquatic instructor and I feel completely for the most part lost in life. When was the point that you really felt comfortable or content with growing up and figuring things out?
terribletwenties terribletwenties Said:

Honestly, from the looks of things, I’m not sure any of us ever feels truly comfortable or has it all figured out.

Yes, there are many things that get easier with age, most of which have to do with more money and less caring about what other people think.

I’ve been where you are. I had a whole year and a half where I was interning and waitressing…at 25, still figuring out what the hell I was doing. Four years later and I am able to work for myself, I live with my boyfriend, and I am able to not kill the cat (the succulents were not so lucky).

But these things don’t happen over night. Everything changes slowly, so you can’t always see it. Just trust me that whatever you’re experiencing is temporary, and the cool thing about your twenties is that your entire life can radically change in an instant with one decision, one phone call, or one freaking tweet.

And it will. MANY MANY TIMES. Be excited for your roller coaster.

At what point did things stop feeling like emotional motion sickness though? When did it at least slow down? I think 27 was a turning point for me personally. I feel like I had a moment where everything became clear and I thought, “Oh, this is who I am! I make sense now. I can stop trying to be everybody else.” 

At 29, things feel much more stable, but I still have unfulfilled dreams and near future worries and fears. I don’t necessarily worry about paying my rent, whether a text means something or not, or if I like my job. But I still worry; it’s just different.

I worry about marriage, IRAs, having kids, buying a house, stress levels, why my knees hurt, flossing, finding time to write…And although those seem like much bigger concerns, they feel the same as how scared I was to go to college, or how much it hurt when my high school boyfriend broke up with me.

It’s all relative. Things change and evolve, but they feel the same. A worry is a worry, and something really awesome is something really awesome no matter how old you are.

I’m at a point in my life where I ask for new hiking shoes for my birthday. I’m also at the point in my life where I can buy my own impulse socks and not lie to my Dad and sneak them into the cost when he reimburses me.

Baby grown up steps. (at Griffith Park)

Currently: Stuck in traffic wearing way too much makeup for a pool party in an impossibly cool shirt hand picked by my personal stylist @tinilatini and feeling super #blessed that I figured out how to not over pluck my eyebrows as an adult.


(Rusty Maples at Sofar Sounds LA)

I was at a concert last night — a low key performance in a stranger’s backyard — when my peripheral vision caught a boy in a beanie. My heart stopped for an instant. Was it THAT boy? The one boy who once took up all the space in my brain, but has remained a literal after thought since he told me he couldn’t see me anymore because his girlfriend was on to him.

Scenarios ran through my head like splitting hairs, detailing the different ways our encounter would play out. As the band of cute boys from Vegas played their stripped down set, I imagined what I would say if I took the high road, the low road, or maybe even no road at all. Did I need more lipstick or a new stick of gum? Who would be the bigger person and nonchalantly say hello? Would we just ignore the elephant of our aged affair?

And then, I looked again, and I realized it wasn’t him. I felt a little crestfallen, disappointed that I wouldn’t have the chance to let my cool breezy attitude make him feel remorse for the way he had treated me seven years ago. Because, of course, that’s exactly what would happen; I’m sure of it.  

I hadn’t thought about this person, who’d made me feel a little less than when I was twenty-two years old, in so long, but suddenly this phantom sighting erupted dormant resentment.

I kept shooting side glances at this, albeit better looking, impostor, squinting my shitty vision just to make sure it wasn’t him. And, just to be mean to my own brain, for a few masochistic moments, I pretended it was him for no other reason than to childishly poke a weird little immature beast inside me. 


(Summer of bad decisions)

Maybe the inner dialogue I had with myself was a form of closure I didn’t know that I needed. I thought I had taken care of all that many years and many boys ago. 

And, really, it wasn’t closure with him. It was closure with myself.

He didn’t actually reek havoc on my emotional life; it was me who created it, indulged in it, and let him crawl in and nest under my skin. It was illicit, exciting, and a gross way to kill my time.

I think, even at such a young age, I knew that sleeping with the decidedly unattractive, yet appealing, bartender with a girlfriend was entirely my responsibility. Any sour feelings that arose as a result were my fault.

It’s always a little harder to gain that closure with yourself, forcing you to face your own little personal demons. I thought I had squashed them, made peace with them, and even made up for them with mature good deeds in the years that followed. 

But, if that boy in beanie last night proved anything to me, it’s that those little bad decisions, those people you let affect your emotional — they’re always going to be there.

No matter how old I am, where I go, if I think I see I ghost, I’ll probably pretend that I really saw the walking emotional dead, internally tell him how great I am, let him know what a blip on my life he was, and give myself just a little more closure.

Tonight, in my improv practice, I said something in a scene. Like most things said in improv scenes, it was an organic, straight from the gut response said without much thought.

I said, “I’m desperate for a narrative.”

It struck a chord as only a genuine truth can. Aren’t we all just looking for a narrative to claim? A story, an arc, a thread to call our own. A defining thesis that makes sense of all of our missteps, accidental wins, mistakes, and lessons?

Aren’t we all trying to find the “this is me,” wrapped up in a nice witty play on words bow to present to the world?

Something to tell strangers in bars, first dates, parents, prospective employers, and maybe even the nice Trader Joe’s cashier you seem to get every time.

We’re all desperate for a narrative that’s unique, special, and possibly profound, but at the same a universally relatable experience that begs for slow nods and praises in the form of double tapped hearts.

Everyone wants to share their story one square-cropped photo at a time. A feed brimming with well-crafted filtered photos of bottomless mimosa brunch, perfect skies seen from a picnic blanket in the park, new expensive shoes with a bird’s eye perspective, and a row of lipstick smiles from faces of friends pressed together.

We’ve all got a story, but it’s never the one we want to tell.

It may have only been for an hour, but I left the house today.