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How Southern Have I Become?

I’ve been scaring myself lately. I’ve had many moments where I stopped and said, “That was awfully Southern, Jess.” I’ve actually thoroughly enjoyed my time here in the South. The only section in America I haven’t lived in is the Midwest and no thank you. There have been certain aspects to the South I’ve experienced over the last six months that you can only experience in the South. Kind of like New England with their Autumn – apple picking, cider donuts, jumping in the leaves, and oh my god I think I might cry. (You can experience those things outside of New England but it’s not the same.)

So here are some Southerner things I’ve dealt with that is so Southernly Southern that I now feel the need to rate myself on a scale of 1(Southern) to 10 (Northern).

The Food

I ordered Chicken and Waffles the other day for breakfast. I was ashamed as I was ordering it, and I felt the button on my shorts ripping at the seams. Chicken and Waffles is still a completely weird and foreign meal to consume but I’ve heard nothing but good things and decided to try it.

It was disgustingly delicious. For those of you unfamiliar with this meal, it’s a giant waffle with a piece of fried chicken on top. And yes, you dip both the chicken and the waffle in maple syrup. How the hell do they come up with this? And we wonder why the South contains the fattest population in America.

Scale – 1 (Dude…that was so Southern.)

The Pace

It’s very, verrrrrryyyyy, verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyy slow down here. Some mornings, it takes me fifteen minutes just to get my coffee. Nearly every coffee shop I enter, even the Starbucks, there’s no more than two people working the counter, even on the busiest mornings. And they take one order at a time.

They take the order. Spend five minutes making the order. Give the order to the customer. And then so on. They for some reason don’t take multiple orders and try to do everything at once. AMATEURS. 

But I’ve learned to buy myself some time. I wake up earlier, skip down the street and order my coffee, which the place I typically go to now knows my order by heart, and we will make small talk as I’m waiting. The pace down here has been bearable if I allow it.

Scale – 5 (You’re adapting…)

The People

Southerners have a certain quality in them that’s erie. Ever seen Fargo? All of the characters are so wonderfully nice and jolly while they’re trying to solve a murder.

This might be a better example: You can automatically tell when a New Yorker or a Bostonian is angry just by making eye contact. They will get up in your face with a rage you’ve never seen, all because why? You didn’t put the cream in their coffee like they asked. They’ve got places to be man!

But Southerners, they are all about the passive aggressive banter. Take my landlady for example. I got a voicemail from her last week and she said, “I was just driving by y’all’s place and noticed the recycling bin isn’t out, and I just can’t help but wonder…why???” And then she hung up. Bitchy, right? Yet her tone was so charming. She then texted me and Colleen asking about it, and I apologized and said we just aren’t used to taking the bins out because we’ve never had to anywhere else we’ve lived, but we can work with the girls next door to figure out some alternating schedule.

Her response was, “I completely understand and I know I clumsily forget as well. But that’s just part of being an adult living in a city. I’m putting money into making your home feel special and it would be nice if you appreciated it.”

I completely lost it. This woman tends to act like she’s my mother scolding me. I already have a mom. I don’t need another one. And then to accuse me of not having my shit together like a normal adult was downright insulting. However, if there’s one thing I learned about Southerners and they’re clever passive aggressive banter, it’s that it doesn’t usually last very long when you bite back because they hate confrontation. So I said, “I’ve lived in many cities larger than Charleston, so I’m aware that it works differently everywhere.”

Her response, “Alternating weeks sounds like a great idea! *Inserts smiley face*”

Scale – 10 (NORTHERNER! ALERT! ALERT!)

As long as my northernness never leaves me entirely, I’ll live. I don’t think it’s possible, honestly.

 

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How to Fend People Off

I had an attractive evening last night, I say with sarcasm. I met up with my new friend, Felicia, who I met on Bumble BFF (yes, that’s a real thing. Bumble isn’t just for dating). Since Felicia and her boyfriend, Larry, are also new to Charleston, they join these MeetUp groups in various locations to meet other new young people. It’s kind of a nice way of making new friends and breaking the ice since you’re both there for the same thing. So, I gathered with a MeetUp group last night and it was all kinds of shenanigans.

I turned into Miss Sassenfrass, probably from the tequila shot I took. THEY MADE ME DO IT. Peer pressure at its finest. So I’m going to give you four solid examples on how to shoo unwanted people away, Jess style.

1.) The Cute Comment

A guy I had just met with the MeetUp group decided to flirt with me by asking if anyone has ever said how cute I am.

I wasn’t even sure how to answer such a stupid question. Now, it’s not stupid because I think highly of myself. It’s stupid because I’m a girl, so when I go out with my friends and a man comes up to me, 9 times out of 10, it’s the first thing he says. I’m 5’1”. That’s usually a straight shot towards the cute comment.

So I stared at him and said, “Um…yes. All the fucking time.”

In which he said, “Oh, so you think you’re hot shit?”

WELL THAT TOOK A TURN.

In which I said, “No, not at all. But that comment isn’t exactly bizarre either.” Which I think was my way of hinting that I was not impressed by any means.

2. ) The Tough Guy

Larry was joking around with Felicia and he pushed her. They were both pushing each other in a playful way, so the whole thing really was innocent. All of a sudden, some guy jumped out and shoved Larry up against the wall yelling, “You think you can touch a female like that!?”

^^^ By the way, why did he have to say “female”?

Felicia and I were a bit surprised and we had to grab the guy off of Larry and explain that they were just joking around. However, the tough (and drunk) guy decided to follow us and heckle Larry down the street, accusing him of beating girls. After about 15 seconds of him following us, I whipped around and yelled, “Can you fuck off!?” (I think that was the tequila talking.)

My lady bark was big enough that the tough guy quickly walked away.

I may be small, but don’t underestimate my barking capabilities.

3.) The Guy Who Rubs the Seat Next to Him Like a Creep

In one of the bars we were in, there was a giant swing that can fit about four or five people. A few of our friends decided to sit on the swing and I pushed it out of friendliness. For some reason, the guy sitting on the end kept motioning me to sit next to him like we were in a Marvin Gaye music video. It was weird and uncomfortable. So, I pretended not to hear him, and continued pushing the swing.

Now, this is just a simple Ignore-Him-Until-He-Gives-Up-Because-He-Will-Eventually-Give-Up.

4.) When Everyone Wants Your Pizza

Felicia, Larry and I (Third Wheel for Lyfe) decided to get pizza. Naturally. I got my pizza (I will not tell you how much pizza I got because I’m still thinking about how disgusting of a human I am), and walked all the way home. However, the drunks on King Street tried to take my pizza. Every ten seconds I’d walk by someone yelling, “Can I have some?” So, I put on my good old New England gremlin face that says, “Don’t talk to me” and walked as fast as I could to get away from the leeches. Once I turned a corner onto a quiet street, I happily dug in.

I hope this post serves you well. If you have any suggestions on how to fend people off, please share them in the comments. I will be taking vigorous notes. As vigorous as the man rubbing the seat next to him.

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Miscellaneous

Moving is such a horrible concept. I have moved a lot since 2009. I moved from dorm to dorm on campus, and then apartment to apartment in various states such as New Hampshire, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and now South Carolina. I have to say, moving to South Carolina has been the worst by far.

Moving is never a smooth transition. Something always goes wrong, but it’s usually fixable and not a giant headache in the end. If you lose a coffee mug or two, you just buy a new one. If your sheets rip during the drive, you just buy some new ones. However, my move to South Carolina has been absolutely terrible that I would rather the earth opened up, swallowed me hole, and spit me back up as a demon torturing myself in order to justify the reality of my situation(s).

At first, everything was hunky-dory. I drove down with Mumford in one piece. The movers arrived to the apartment before I did with my mattress, bed frame, and cabinet, which I was happy about. I unloaded everything from my car rather quickly with the help of Colleen. I was ready to somewhat relax and put my bed back together until I realized some of the pieces to my bed were missing. I texted the mover who apologized and checked his truck and did in fact find the rather small and annoying pieces that were preventing me from sleeping on a firm surface other than a floor. He said he was in Florida already and would be back in my area the following afternoon. But then the following afternoon came and went, and after reaching out, he told me first thing in the morning he would arrive. And then “first thing in the morning” came and went, and yet I was still here, sleeping on my mattress on the floor like a drug addict in an abandoned house in the woods. My room is pretty tiny, so not being able to put my bed together kind of stalls me from putting everything else together. Once the bed is together and placed in the right spot, I can then sort through all of my other things.

I finally texted the mover again, and after several hours, he told me he would be by with my pieces in “about nine days”.

200-13

NINE DAYS.

I can’t put anything anywhere. I have more stuff arriving this week. I live in a pile of clothes on my mattress with a useless bed frame exploding my tiny bedroom. I. Am. Not. A. Happy. Lady. Right. Meow.

I informed him immediately like the princess that I was behaving as that that arrangement did not work for me at all. I need a bed. It’s only been three days and I’m already throwing crap around because I have no placement for them yet. I still have no idea what’s happening with the bed so I’m just going to shove issue #1 aside for now.

Now onto issue #2 – I bought a brand new bookcase that arrived today. We go to unload the heavy pieces from the box only to find that they did not include any of the nails to actually put said pieces together, leaving me once again with another piece of useless furniture I cannot assemble at this point in time.

200-14

It’s official. South Carolina does not want me to put my furniture together. It has not welcomed me with open arms. I just want a bedroom that wouldn’t make Jesse Pinkman cry.

So I’m just going to go in my room now and huddle in the corner to look at what’s left of my belongings in hopes nothing else happens.

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Little Black Book – a ghost story

I realized I’ve never really discussed the idea of ghosts on my blog. What has prompted this inspiration is an article I asked Tierney to send to me because it was spooking her out so I thought, “Hey Jess, let’s not sleep tonight.” You can find the article here: Read at your own risk.

So now, I’m a Nervous Nelly and the only thing I can do to calm myself down is doing what I’m doing now: blogging and joking around. *insert nervous laugh*

200-12

I love ghost stories. That doesn’t necessarily mean I believe in them, but I’m not entirely skeptical either. I know weird and unexplainable things happen. I’ve known plenty of people who have strange stories to tell, including myself. Like this one time, the stereo in the basement of my house turned on by itself in the middle of the night. The damn thing woke everyone up. We never used that stereo, so there was no set alarm either. And no, I was not the first person to walk into my dark, creepy basement to find the source of the noise. I’m smarter than that. Or that other time in college when I went to go wash my face and brush my teeth before bed and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a girl walk in and head for the stalls. After I was done brushing my teeth, I realized how silent the bathroom was, and when I went to check the stalls, nobody was in there except for me. I ran out and hid under my blankets.

But the first time I started to kind of sort of believe these things was after my dad passed away. Several strange and possibly coincidental things happened after his death, but that is for you to decide.

My dad died only a few months after my college graduation. As soon as I was in the “real world” he informed me that he wanted to send a hundred dollars every month. I told him it wasn’t necessary but he insisted. He said, “I don’t want you to ever be without.” He sent me $100 for July and August, and then he died in September. A day or two after he passed, I flew down to Texas to help my mom with some things around the house. We had an emotional morning after picking up his belongings at the hospital, and then the funeral home allowing me to view the body for a few seconds before cremating him later that week, so my mother and I decided to take a long nap. I don’t know how long we were both asleep for, but I eventually woke up and felt anxious. I slipped out of bed, tip toed over our German Shepherd, and sat in the kitchen for a few minutes in silence. My dad’s art studio was all the way down the hallway with the door closed and I felt compelled to go inside and look around. It wasn’t just out of curiosity. It was more of a, “I have to do it now!” kind of feeling.

I began going through his things. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for but I kept digging through the drawers and closets, hoping to find something. He had a tiny book collection on his shelf and I noticed there was a little black book tucked away and it looked like a journal. I pulled it out and opened the first page. It was dated two weeks before he died and he wrote one sentence, “I don’t remember much of my life or where it went, so this is going to be tough to write.” That is all.

I fanned through the pages hoping to find more and then a hundred dollar bill fell onto my lap. After I showed my mom, we tore apart the rest of the house, wondering if he hid any other hundred dollar bills but we found nothing. Just the single bill inside his blank journal. Now, some of you might think that it was just a coincidence. However, what if I hadn’t gone through his things and found the little black book? There really wasn’t anything special about it. It was a small, blank book tucked in between about a dozen books by Stephen King and a few of my Sarah Dessen novels I enjoyed when I was younger. The little black book could have easily been thrown away along with some of his other belongings before my mom packed up the house and moved. Finding that hundred dollar bill was like finding a needle in a haystack —> not an original analogy but whatever.

Flash forward a few weeks and my mom was telling me about the weird and unexplainable things.

Grief messes with you. You start noticing things you never noticed before, and then you feel guilty for not noticing them when you should have. My mom walked by the refrigerator and found a note that said, “I love you!” and when she turned it over, it read, “Just because.” She walked outside one day and stumbled across the row of cement blocks. The day my dad passed away, he was moving them around the yard in the heat, which could be an easy explanation for his heart attack. One of the cement blocks had their initials written on it with a heart. These moments are not considered weird, but instead are happy reminders of the person they were before they are gone. I think this happens with every person once they have died. It’s like that song from The Band Perry when they say, “Funny when you’re dead and people start listening.” But one day, my mom woke up from a nap because it felt like someone pushed her. She felt the hand shove her awake and she looked up and found my dad standing there staring at her. She told me this story and a part of me thought, “She’s grieving. This is natural.” And then another part of me was jealous. Other than the mysterious hundred dollar bill, I hadn’t experienced anything except a number of sleepless nights.

My mom told me a few other stories like that one and I just nodded my head silently. For weeks, I wanted something to happen whether it was my grief talking or something real. I know it was just a desperate plea to see him one last time, and I couldn’t understand why my mom could see him and I couldn’t.

And then one fine evening I had a very strange dream. I was standing across the street from my old house in New Hampshire. Everything was set up exactly as I remembered. From across the street, I could see my dad pacing back and forth in the window of my house. I wasn’t trying to get his attention, but I was just watching him. He noticed me from the big window and waved vigorously with a huge smile on his face. And then I woke up.

Weird? Maybe. Coincidence? Possibly. But I’d rather just keep it as a way of him saying, “hello”.

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The Underwear Story

My story begins Saturday, February 11th. After a tearful goodbye to some of my pants, I ventured off to the mall with Tierney to hunt down some newbies. The first store we stumbled upon I was hesitant to enter. The overwhelming stench of perfume screamed, “You’re about to get a headache!” and the dungeon lighting left me uneasy. I hadn’t shopped in this store I will not name since I was a teenager, when I was much more brave and alive. But they were having a sale on jeans, so I took the risk and stepped in.

I dug through the layers and layers of folded jeans, unsure of my new size and feeling like an ass for not folding them back up properly. I pulled out a few pairs, and after some grunting, moaning, and sweating, I finally found the size that fits best. Out of breath and removing my upper lip sweat, I reassured Tierney I was in fact fine by yelling, “They zipped! They have zipped up! And I only had to fight them a little tiny bit.”

Accurate depiction of me trying to put on the jeans:

200-6

Once I made my careful selections, we walked up to the cashier, a young man possibly in his late teens or early twenties. I was not at all prepared for what was about to happen next.

“Since you are purchasing over $50 worth of merchandise, you get a free pair of underwear,” he said.

That’s kind of weird, but okay.

200-7

I was bit alarmed by this statement. The cashier and I stared at each other until I realized I actually had to respond.

“Oh…” was about all I could muster at that point.

“Do you know your *cough*…underwear…size?” He asked. I could feel the awkwardness intensify. I’ve never actually had a man, or any person, male or female, ask me for my underwear size. I don’t even let the pestering employees of Victoria’s Secret help me out. I’ve always been pretty confident in what I’m looking for when it comes to bras and underwear. And honestly, I don’t want them measuring my breasts in the middle of the store and then relaying the size to another employee through their headset like they’re on a mission to Mars.

Of course I know my size. But I made the situation even more awkward by painfully looking around, feeling my face turn fifteens shades of red, and hoping maybe the wall would answer for me.

200-8

After making a few babbling noises and trying my hardest not to burst out laughing, I whispered, “Uhhhhhhhhhhh….small. I’m a small…I guess.” He grabbed a random pair from the buckets behind him and held them out for me to inspect, except he fumbled them around nervously with his fingers because I honestly believe he was thinking, this horrific place doesn’t pay me enough to do this. I wanted to vomit. He stood there waiting for me to approve of the underwear he had chosen and I felt upper lip sweat forming once again and the desire to pass out in the middle of the store.

I looked at Tierney, who very conveniently picked a spot on the counter to stare at while waiting for this situation to be over. I think I even nudged her as a way of asking, “What do you think of this pair?” But then I realized she is not the one expected to wear them. I am.

The cashier waited patiently for my response, so I started throwing my arms around as a way of indicating I approve.

200-9

All I wanted in that moment was to pay for my stuff and run out of there. But of course, the card slider was taking an obnoxiously long time. I tapped my fingers and used my telekinesis abilities on the machine to approve my card at a more rapid pace than it was currently working in. Once the transaction was complete, I sprinted out of the store, removing my sweater since I’m sure my body sweat leaked through all of my clothes.

Tierney looked traumatized.

The underwear is still sitting in the bag, untouched. They will be forever untouched. Yes, I realize they were free and I should be thankful but I will not be able to slip into them without thinking of the guy who picked them out for me. I can’t do it.

I CAN’T.

200-11

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I Need to Learn How to Say No – UPDATE

I got a lot of wonderful feedback from you friends on my post from yesterday, and I want to thank all of you. Since I never responded to Maybe Cory’s text from the other night and he’s been silent since, I figured that was the end of that. I was thankful he didn’t turn out to be a psycho stalker who would eventually become scarier and scarier with each unanswered text.

But, I woke up this morning to a text from Maybe Cory saying, “Don’t want to chat?”

Oh boy. It’s official. I have to answer him. The text was slightly passive aggressive, filled with annoyance and perhaps regret. I immediately felt bad and tried to think of what to say without hurting his feelings. I kept thinking this morning about how aggravated I’ve been in the past when my messages had gone unanswered. I tend to overthink things way too much and I didn’t necessarily want to do that to him or anybody else. He seems perfectly nice.

I apologized for not getting back to him due to the stress of moving to South Carolina. <– I had to remind him of this very important fact.

He said he understood and then the light bulb went off. “You live in Connecticut?”

I said yes.

“Ohhhh. I missed that part. *insert sweaty smiley emoji*”

And that was the end of the conversation. I have a feeling I won’t be hearing from Maybe Cory again.

So I realized many things from this very small experience.

1.) Maybe Cory was probably too drunk to comprehend what I was saying to him that evening.

2.) Maybe Cory wasn’t actually listening to anything I was saying to him that evening.

3.) It’s more than likely a mix of both 1 and 2.

4.) I need to take a chill pill.

So even though I didn’t get a chance to actually turn him down, it makes me feel a little bit better that I sorta kinda tried. Until next time.

fdgfdgdf

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I Need to Learn How to Say No

Why is it so hard to say no?

I read an advice column a few weeks ago and the reader asked, “How do you say no to people?” The advice columnist put it very simply – just say no. However, for people like myself, it’s a lot easier said than done. And I’m not talking about drastic situations like, your best friend wants your help committing a murder. If my best friend asked me to participate in murder, I would very easily say no and then run away/go to the police.

Here’s my example from this past weekend:

I was out with my mom, aunt, and two older sisters in a small downtown area in New Hampshire. Since it was my last weekend visiting them before I leave for South Carolina, it was kind of a big blow out. My oldest sister just had a baby back in October, so she was shaking her little mom self the whole evening. My second oldest sister was handing me Jello shots while my mom and my aunt took videos of me and my sisters reenacting the rap scene from Teen Witch. We are a close-knit family, as you can tell.

I ran off to the ladies room and on my way back, my arm was tugged ever so lightly by some guy with thick-rimmed glasses. I was wearing my glasses as well (long story short – I put my contact in my eye and it just disappeared without a trace. I looked like Jessica Day all weekend). He pulled me aside and said, “Hey, you seem interesting to talk to.”

Now here’s where I tend to ruin things. In an overly sarcastic tone I asked, “Is it because I’m wearing and you’reeeee wearing glasses?” But then he started laughing and asked for my name. Our conversation was going smooth and I knew it was going to be brief. After all, I was just being polite. And if I really thought about it, this guy had some balls to just pull me aside and strike up a conversation. Bonus points for him. He will go far in life. I told him that I was out with my family because I’m moving to South Carolina. He thought that was cool and congratulated me. And then I started looking at his face and realized he seemed pretty young. Perhaps even younger than myself.

So I did what any obnoxious older woman would normally do in this situation and I asked, “How old are you anyway?”

He was twenty-two.

And then the grandma side of me kicked in and I began reminiscing my college graduation.

200w

He was still a senior in college. I informed him that I will be twenty-six next month. He didn’t seem to give a shit. I got nervous because of the situation I was in and began spewing out advice like I’m his career counselor and he needed help on his resume. I then quickly ended the conversation and told him I needed to get back to my mother, which we both looked over and I’m fairly certain she was holding a Jello shot. But he still asked for my phone number.

Now, a few key points popped into my head at this point.

1.) I just informed him that I’m moving to South Carolina.

2.) I’m nearly four years older than him. That doesn’t seem like a lot but when I realized that he was a freshman in college while I was graduating and stressing about my student loans, it wigged me out a little.

3.) I don’t even currently live in New Hampshire, which he knew.

4.) Our conversation really wasn’t all that interesting to be honest. It felt like we were speed dating – what was your major? What do you do? Where do you live? Where did you grow up? —> How on earth can you tell if you like someone by asking these basic questions? I want someone to ask me what my favorite episode of Doug is, and if I thought Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears should have worked things out.

So I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth this guy wanted my phone number. For what purpose? I think it was pretty obvious we were never going to see each other again. I’m sure some of you are like, Oh Jess, you’re so naive. You’re right. You’re 100% right.

But I panicked and said, “Sure” and inserted my number into his phone. I had zero intention of speaking to him after our encounter. Some of you might think, Wow you’re an asshole. I wasn’t trying to be. I just don’t know how to say no. He was perfectly nice and polite.

My oldest sister yelled, “Why didn’t you give him a fake number? I did that all the time before I was married.”

“Because I’m not a jerk. How horrible would that be if you got the balls to ask a girl for her phone number only to find out that it’s not her phone number? If I were to do that, what’s the point of giving him a number at all?” I said.

“You could have said you have a boyfriend,” my mom suggested.

“I don’t think that quickly on my feet.”

Flash forward to the following night, and I received a text that my iPhone very cleverly labeled, “Maybe Cory?” It took me a second to realize it was senior-in-college-guy.

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I never answered the text.

It’s so easy saying no to people who are just not very friendly, or if it’s someone asking to do something for you. Whenever a guy asks to buy me a drink, I always say, “No, thank you” unless I know them. I don’t like feeling as though I owe them something in return, if you know what I mean. I know plenty of girls who go out and get free drinks from gentlemen all night, and they have no intention of actually conversing with them after. I’d feel like a dick by doing that. I’m a working woman and I can pay for myself. Also, there’s an unspoken fear among females that we don’t want to get roofied, so shout out to guys, if you’re wondering why some girls turn down your drink offer, just know the roofie thing is like, half the reason. But if someone asks for my phone number, it sounds kind of weird saying, “No, thank you”.

In the end, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Turning them down from the start is the exact same thing as ignoring their messages. Sure, it might hurt their feelings, which I don’t like doing, but if I have no intention of speaking to them anyway, then it’s a web I can’t break free of. Eventually, I just have to grow a pair and say “No” so that I can stop getting messages from people I don’t want to talk to.

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Welcome Tierney to WordPress

I had a sleepover last night with my best friend, Tierney. We get together at least twice a month and watch movies or stand-up specials on Netflix. Sometimes it’s in Connecticut, sometimes it’s in New Jersey. We like to go to this little diner in New Jersey the next morning and chat over coffee, tea and pancakes. We melt over beautiful men we see on the TV, our love lives, who we feel we can trust or not trust, and anything else that comes to mind.

I met Tierney during my first week at grad school on Enders Island in Mystic, Connecticut. She was my roommate for the whole nine days we were on the island with other potential writers. I always luck out when it comes to being randomly assigned a roommate. We instantly clicked. I could tell she was nervous, and so was I. We are both introverts, which lucked out because while other writers sat outside until 4am drinking with the professors and getting rowdy, Tierney and I were reading in bed by 11pm. She has a loud and infectious laugh, which got us in trouble one evening when we were laughing about God-knows-what, and a girl in our hallway knocked on the door loudly and told us to pipe down. It was funny then and it’s still funny now. When the professors told us to leave our windows closed during our winter workshop even though the heat wasn’t working properly and it was 90 degrees in our room, Tierney cracked the window open and said, “No ragrets.”

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A piece of our conversation last night went a little something like this:

Tierney: I wrote a blog post last week for the first time.

Me: What do you mean? On tumblr?

Tierney: WordPress.

Me: 200-3

 

Tierney: Yeah…I started a blog on WordPress.

Me: But…I’m on WordPress.

Tierney: Yeah I know.

Me: WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?

Tierney: I followed you!

Me: Hogwash! When?!

Tierney: Last week!

Me: I think I would have noticed…

Tierney: I swear I did.

Me: Mmmm…no.

Tierney: Well I thought I did.

Me: But that doesn’t answer my question. WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU STARTED A BLOG ON WORDPRESS?

Tierney: I DON’T KNOW.

Me: 200-2

Tierney: I’M SORRY!


So, right now, even though I’m mad at her for not informing me of such news, I begrudgingly tell all of you to follow her. Despite the events from last night, she’s pretty cool. Let’s encourage her to blog more and more. Keep pestering her in the comments until she writes another post.

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Anecdote, Home, I Wasn't Worried, Thoughts, Travel, You're Fine

I’m Fine I’m Fine I’m Fine

The year 2016, for me, started on January 12th. It didn’t start when the ball dropped in New York City, or when everyone cheered with their champagne glasses. At that point in time, I believe I was in a bathroom of a New Year’s Eve party crying while my friend wiped the mascara off my face, telling me everything was going to be okay.

Many people have complained that 2016 was one of the worst years we have seen in a long time. It was definitely one of the more bizarre years considering the amount of celebrity deaths and America’s recent election. But I don’t review my year based on things like pop culture and politics. I think about the past year and wonder if I became a better version of myself, and if I actually have learned something from my accomplishments and failures.

On January 12th of last year, my car was packed, I said goodbye to my neighbors in California, and I set off back to New Hampshire by myself. As soon as I got out of Orange County and realized I was entering the dusty mountains of Arizona, where gas stations appear once every 45 miles, cell service is scarce, and it seemed as though I was the only person left on the planet driving through the desert, I started to worry. I kept repeating, “I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine.” A little tune similar to Sylvia Plath’s “I am I am I am.” I ignored my morbid thoughts and put on my brave face. For years, I was meant to believe that I couldn’t handle life in general. I was meant to believe that my sense of direction was terrible, mostly because I’m a girl. I was meant to believe that I couldn’t take care of myself, and I was made to feel stupid at times. I’d say it was natural of me to have those thoughts as I started driving thousands of miles alone to places unfamiliar to me. Every town I stopped in for gas, or grabbed food, or just simply needed to use the bathroom, I held tightly onto the mace in my pocket and kept a straight face.

A friend once asked me what my favorite part of the road trip was, and she expected something grand like the skyline of Chicago or New York City. But my favorite part was in the middle of nowhere in northern Texas seeping into Oklahoma. For what seemed like hundreds of miles are fields of giant white windmills. It doesn’t sound exciting but they are hypnotizing. It was in that moment, I felt safe. I felt in control, comfortable, and for the first time, relaxed. I wanted so badly to stop and sit on the hood of my car and watch them turn, but I decided I needed to keep moving.

2016 was one of my better years. I learned a lot about myself that I can either accept or change – I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I’m a naturally impulsive person. I don’t like receiving help unless specifically asked. I’m stubborn. I don’t always speak my mind. I overthink and read too much into almost everything. I rarely take my own advice. I’m independent, yet I rely too heavily on other people. I value my friendships more. I’m able to love unconditionally. I’m okay with rejection because that just means another door opens. I’m a little more optimistic.

I’m looking forward to 2017 not just because it’s a new year. Time is merely an illusion. I’m excited and open for whatever may come. There are still many places to see, people to meet, friends to grow closer with, along with many more accomplishments and failures. I’m a little bit happier with myself than I was a year ago. I will have fantastic days, decent days, and terrible days. But I keep reminding myself that it will be like this for the rest of my life. What really matters is how I look at it.

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Anecdote, Family, Home, Humor, Hyperbole, I'm not a mommy blogger, Out of the Ordinary, Thoughts, Writing

Pet Fish

I had a strange fascination with death as a child. I’ve been trying to figure out when it all started. My mom says that when I was about four or five, a handful of people in my life died and it really screwed with me. “People were dropping like flies!” so my mom says. This could have been the foundation of my death fear, but I recently remembered a brief moment in my history that certainly didn’t help the situation.

I got my first pet fish when I was six years old. I named her after my best friend Megan. She was a bronze fish with black polka dots, and she swam around her tank with elegance and grace.

She was the first pet I really learned how to take care of. I woke up each morning, and the first thing I did was grab my step stool and feed Megan. She was everything I could have hoped for.

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I would sometimes pull up a chair and watch her swim around. I would do homework next to her, draw pictures next to her, and eat dinner next to her. She was my pal. I told her my deepest six-year-old secrets like which boy I was crushing on that hour, and how much I hated P.E.

Fast forward two years when I was eight-years-old and Megan was still alive.

She kept growing and growing to the point where we had to buy a bigger tank. It took up most of the counter in our kitchen. We also had a dog and a cat at the time. I recall my cat jumping on the counter and knocking over a plate of cookies. Needless to say, we lived in Animal House, minus the frat brothers. While I still enjoyed Megan’s company, I found myself outside with my new scooter, or in my room reading big girl books as opposed to chatting it up with my pet fish for an hour.

It got so bad that eventually we were living around Megan rather than Megan living around us. One day, my mom snapped.

gdh

My mom probably thought buying me a pet fish was the perfect plan. It would teach me to take care of something else, and to learn about responsibility. But I don’t think she expected the fish to live longer than a month, tops.

“This is ridiculous!” she yelled. We both stared at Megan, who seemed jolly in her tank, not giving a shit.

dfg

My mom started hatching a plan. I don’t think she was aware that I was fully aware that her plan was to kill Megan.

It first started off small. When I fed her in the morning, my mother grabbed the food can, dumping most of it’s contents into the tank.

“She looks extra hungry today. Don’t you think?” she asked.

Then, she stopped cleaning the tank. After weeks, perhaps months of overfeeding and neglecting poor Megan, we could barely see her continuously and obliviously swimming around. My mom looked like she was going mad.

fdgdfg

It would have made sense to just flush Megan down the toilet instead of slowly torturing her in her poop-colored tank, but perhaps my mom didn’t want me in on the plan. Simply tossing her into the toilet would have been too easy, and too obvious even for eight-year-old me.

Megan eventually died from “unknown causes”.

“Finally,” my mom whispered.

erew

I knew what my mom had done, but I didn’t want to face it.

Instead, I lashed out on living creatures. When I say living creatures, I actually mean insects because I’m not a monster.

I purposely tapped on ant hills to get the family of ants out of the hole just so I could kill them. They would all pile out of their tiny hole and onto the pavement, and I lavishly stomped on every single one of them. Even the ones suffering and squirming, I would kneel down and watch as they slowly stopped moving. I eventually shared this new hobby of mine at school. It quickly turned into a contest as to who could kill the most ants.

The rest of this story is a little fuzzy so I will try and feel my way through to the truth. I’m sure one of my teachers saw our little torture corner of the playground and lectured us on the idea of living creatures having a valuable life of some sorts. I eventually learned that ants are so unbelievably strong, that they could certainly take over the world by coming together and carrying human beings away. I actually don’t know how true that statement is but I remember someone telling me about it in school and I wanted to cry at the thought. All the more reason to kill them, I thought.

Eventually, I stopped my little killing spree of insects. I either grew out of it, or a teacher made me feel bad. Even now, unless there is an ant in my apartment, I don’t touch them. But part of me really, really, really wants to.

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Anecdote, Awkward, Humor, You're Fine

4 Methods On How to Handle a Fight You Weren’t Originally a Part Of

I’m in a bit of a predicament that I’ve haven’t been entwined in since my middle school days, so I’m a bit rusty when it comes to handling the situation. Let me do my best to paint the picture for you while brainstorming some methods I learned from catty middle school girls.

A couple of months ago, I was part of a group chat with four other co-workers. We mostly goofed off, sent each other silly gifs, and discussed the next after-work cocktails night we should have. It was all fun and games until something extraordinarily awkward happened.

Meet Don. He’s a bit of a grump with some serious mood swings. He acts like he hates you, and then the next day, says “Good Morning” and asks about your weekend. He’s a confusing, angsty soul.

Meet Katie. She’s sassy, firey, and has no problem letting you know how much she hates her job.

Katie said something sassy in the group chat, and Don fired back. With my clear eyes, it seemed like he was being sarcastic, which that is a language Katie doesn’t speak. Katie took offense to his comment, which started a very short mini argument between the two of them. The other two chatters were silent, and so was I. What do the kids call it? Ghosting? Yes. I did my best to ghost the conversation.

Within minutes, Don left the group chat. Since then, Katie hasn’t really spoken to him. Nothing has changed on my part because I barely spoke to him before the group chat anyway. Fast forward a few weeks, and one of the silent chatters mentioned how Don wanted to go out for after-work drinks, but without Katie…and apparently me. Fast forward to last night, and I found that Don unfollowed me on Instagram, along with Katie.

Needless to say, this guy doesn’t like me, and it’s clear that it’s by association. I’m friends with Katie. I talk to her, and eat lunch with her everyday. Therefore, since Don doesn’t like Katie, he MUST not like me too.

I’ve never dealt with something like this in “adult world”. Especially by a thirty-something-year-old man. What bothers me about this situation is that 1. Katie and I are nothing alike, and 2. this person has made up his mind about me without actually getting to know me, and 3. I’ve done absolutely nothing.

And now I’m left wondering how on earth I got dragged into a fight I was never originally a part of.

So here are some petty mean girl tactics that I haven’t pulled out of my closet since 2005.

1. The Silent Treatment

As adults, we have learned the art of keeping a straight face, smiling, and acting like nothing is wrong, especially in front of someone we don’t particularly like. In teenage girl world, you test out the silent treatment. The person you are in a brawl with asks for a pencil, you stare straight ahead without even a head nod to acknowledge the slight breeze in the air.

dsfsdfs2. The Stink-Eye

Any time they make eye contact with you, just act like they have a booger on their face.

gfdgg

3. Be Overly and Obnoxiously Nice

I don’t mean hold the door open for him or offer the last office doughnut. I mean being so nice that he knows everything about it is sarcastic.

“HEY DON. HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND? I LOVE THAT SHIRT ON YOU. YOUR WIFE IS SO NICE. LIKE OMG.” – Valley Girl Voice

erew4. Take the High Road

Raise your hand if you’re over the age of eighteen and simply have other things to worry about? SAME.

Ignore methods 1-3 and just “take the high road”. I simply unfollowed him and will continue to move on from this invigorating friendship we once shared.

Feel free to share your methods on handling catty situations as an adult. I could use all the help I can get.

*Names have been changed to protect the semi-innocent.

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Anecdote, Awkward, Home, Humor, Hyperbole, I Wasn't Worried, Out of the Ordinary, Sarcasm, You're Fine

Stale Reptar Cereal

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I received the hot pink and glittery invitation in the mail. I can’t remember my exact age, but it was a time when sleepovers consisted of crafts, a pinata, and watching Beauty and the Beast. I was officially invited to Kristie’s birthday party. Kristie was a girl from my class, and I really did like her company. However, I couldn’t stand her mother.

I looked at my mom for some guidance on whether or not to attend. She was adamant on the fact that if I RSVP’d “Yes”, I had to go. There was no backing out allowed. I called up my best friend Melanie and asked if she was going. Even at such a young age, we developed this girl code of sticking together, early signs of the “Come to the bathroom with me!”

She said she was thinking of going, only if I will. Of course, we both could have easily just said “No, I can’t” and moved on, but our brains were still developing. We both agreed that we would go to the party.

Kristie’s mother scared me. She was constantly angry about something. The wind didn’t blow right and she’d wreak havoc around town, cursing the gods, asking why the entire world was against her. I was afraid to sneeze around her just in case she’d decapitate me and stick my head on a stick and present it to the neighborhood. I often found myself in Kristie’s closet eating my own hair. She closely resembled Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. I’m sure you can see now why I wasn’t keen on the idea of spending close to 15 hours in their home.

My mother dropped me off at Kristie’s house and I internally cried as I watched her slowly, or rather quickly, drive off.

I carried my sleeping bag inside while her mother yelled, “Hurry up!” She fashioned a dirty ripped t-shirt and sweatpants, which means she dressed for the occasion. I found the rest of the girls sitting on the couch, quietly staring at their hands. We were all just waiting for some direction in case she were to tase us for reaching for a party hat. Melanie finally showed up and I felt an ounce of relief. It was a long evening of Kristie opening presents and listening to her mother scream at her for grabbing a second cupcake. Not because she was health-conscious but because she felt her daughter was a tad overweight.

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She was a wretched woman.

The hour of sleep approached and we crammed ourselves into Kristie’s bedroom. To our surprise, Kristie needed a nightlight, and the radio playing. Is there anyone else who can’t fall asleep to “Hit Me Baby, One More Time”? I rolled towards Melanie and she had been just as uncomfortable as everyone else the entire day/evening. Suddenly, she sat up. She bolted from the bedroom and ran to Kristie’s mother, which I felt was a bold move, and she cried that she didn’t feel well and wanted to call her mom. Fifteen minutes later, Melanie’s mom showed up at the front door to bring her home.

My first thought was, “That sneaky bitch…”

200w

I knew damn well that Melanie wasn’t sick.

And then there was one.

Of course, my little brain thought, “I’ll do the same thing.” I began faking ill, holding my forehead like I got the black plague. I asked to call my mom. I can’t remember if I actually did, or if Kristie’s mother knew what I was up to and said “no”. Either way, I got stuck at the house listening to N’Sync and the other girls snoring.

We woke up, not fresh and not dapper, and piled into her kitchen to have breakfast. Kristie was lucky enough to have Reptar cereal.

dfgds

Her mother grudgingly tossed the cereal and milk in our direction. Kristie noticed the expiration date on BOTH the cereal and milk. The cereal expired months ago. The milk had reached it’s due date by almost a week. Kristie informed her mother.

“Well, too bad! You get what you get!” she screamed from her reclining chair.

I felt like a prisoner of war sticking that expired breakfast into my mouth.

I got home and hugged my mom for seven hours.

But a few life lessons I learned along the way:

Don’t attend a party you don’t actually want to go to.

Be wary of your friends.

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Anecdote, Girls, Home, Humor, Memories, News, Things I Should Have Solved A Year Ago

My College Soulmate

I had a strange feeling come over me yesterday as I was fiddling with my hair. I missed my college soulmate. I texted Miss Colleen and asked if she was interested in me barging in on her life in a couple of weeks because I missed her. Her response was, “FUCK YES.”

I just bought my round trip ticket to Washington D.C. and I’m freaking out. It was an impulsive decision, but worth every penny.

I call Colleen my college soulmate because we hit it off right away. We were randomly selected to room together in dorm room #360. I believe her immediate response was texting me the lyrics to the “Circle of Life”. Perfect! She was a nerd who cracked geometry jokes.

The first time I met Colleen, I carried my bags and my pet frog (yes, I had a pet frog and he lived for a freakishly long time), and banged on the door with my foot and she opened it with such enthusiasm and jazz hands. She hugged me so tightly that I almost dropped Finch the frog.

erewrew

Colleen brought the weird out in me. Some of you find this weird quality endearing, so please, clap for Colleen. Here are some Colleen stories I’d like to share with you:

  • I once walked into our room and found her bed in the middle of the room with her mumbling about watching the first snow fall while hugging a half empty bottle of tequila and an open bag of Doritos.
  • Her dad left me a sympathy card in my desk when I first arrived at school with an entire poem dedicated to Colleen.
  • She taught me how to properly tweeze my eyebrows.
  • When a couple of boys played a prank on their friend by leaving his phone number on our door saying, “I have a big penis”, Colleen decided to call him and asked him to elaborate.
  • She nearly convinced me to adopt several animals to hide in our room such as a dog, hedgehog, and a sloth type animal that I can’t remember the name of until we realized that they had this weird poisonous goo come out of its elbows and decided against it.
  • We both watched Kristen Wiig’s SNL skit “Surprise Party” and determined that was Colleen every single day.

sad

dfddsdf

After sophomore year, she transferred to a different school, and since then, I’ve seen her once which was in the spring of 2013. It’s been more than three years and I’m upset about it. But when I do see her, we just pick up right where we left off. I know in my last post I said I was kind of like Jessica Day, but she’s the real Jessica Day. And I get to hang with her and Mr. Abe Lincoln!

#somanyemotions

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#DescribeYourselfin3FictionalCharacters

I did a twitter thing this morning and participated in a hashtag game. I don’t know who starts these daily hashtag trends but there’s always one particular hashtag other than the recent #Brangelina that people like to play along with. For instance, #WhatWouldMillenialsDo and #TheUSin3Words.

Anyways, I decided to play with the #DescribeYourselfin3FictionalCharacters bit this morning but I wanted to back up my claims with a few real-life examples as to why I fit these fictional characters.

1. April Ludgate

5c948297f52371f71f87872f1e763d5a-12-april-ludgateApril always looks like she’s about to slice and dice someone. I’ve only seen the first few episodes of Parks and Recreation, but from what I’ve learned, April is a bit of a grump mostly because she has zero patience for stupid people and stupid things.

My example: A few years ago, I got called into a meeting at work. A meeting that I had absolutely nothing to do with, but my manager at the time felt like I needed to listen into the conversation. It was a property management company, and the maintenance man named Stan discussed the possibility of power washing the buildings. My manager, Jill, looked up from her iPhone with her perfectly painted ruby red nails with enthusiasm.

“OH! Can you please power wash the trees?” she asked. I stopped taking notes and grabbed a handful of peanut butter pretzels, shoving all of them into my mouth to prevent me from snorting.

Stan stopped for a moment and stared.

“Uh…yeah, sure. I can…power wash the trees,” he answered. What a doll, I thought.

“Oh, good. I hate dirty trees,” Jill said.

200w

2. Pam Beasley

7824721ae4e29abb475109893a3dc265You might think that I’m tooting my own horn by saying I’m like Pam Beasley. Everyone wants to be Pam Beasley. She ends up with Jim Halpert for crying out loud! But I truly believe everyone has a little bit of Pam Beasley in them. She’s a pushover who loves a good laugh. She’s also incredibly awkward.

My example: I’ve been working at my current job for six months now, and some people still don’t know my name. There is one woman I work with who tends to spew out sentences that come off as…not so nice. Only she doesn’t realize that it’s not so nice. One day, she popped her head up from her computer and glanced at me. When I caught her staring, I jumped, startled by her presence for just an instant.

“I just really hate looking at you…” she said.

*long pause*

“….oh,” I answered. After what felt like 20 years, she finally continued this not-so-nice sentence.

“You’re just so young…”

sd3. Jessica Day

jess-new-girl-hair

Just like Jessica Day, I sing when not asked to sing, I dance when not asked to dance, I break for birds and squirrels and basically any animal I would consider hugging, I make cat noises when I feel it’s appropriate, and I basically just want to be your friend. She’s also really terrible at flirting.

My example: I have too many so I’m just going to list them all.

  • If you’re in close proximity of me, there’s a 99% chance I will smack you in the face by accident.
  • I wear a lot of dresses.
  • If I try to be “sexy”, I look like an idiot.
  • While my friends were flirting with guys in a bar, I somehow struck up a conversation with a sixty-something-year-old former Red Sox player. And it was an awesome evening.
  • I once got stuck in an elevator for two hours.
  • I think pick-up lines are hilarious and I wish guys used them more.
  • I like to bake cookies and cupcakes, and bedazzle them.
  • Any scene where Jessica Day makes a fool of herself, just think of me.

ghdffgdfgdgf

gfghfh

ghftgh

Please share your fictional characters with me.

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Anecdote, Awkward, Books, Humor, Things I Should Have Solved A Year Ago, Writing

Voice Control

There is this stereotype that writer’s are depressing, sad, lonely creatures who do nothing but drink and wallow at their computer. It’s amazing to me that some writers actually believe this stereotype too, as if those are the qualities they must possess in order to succeed. When I was editor-in-chief for my graduate literary journal, we all gathered together to brainstorm ideas for our upcoming issue and the theme we wanted to use. Picking a theme is hard because you want something vague enough that will allow writers to be creative and submit something unique. The previous issue dealt with the theme “Memory”, and majority of the nonfiction submissions were about Dementia/Alzheimer’s. It made the decision process rather difficult because we couldn’t narrow any of them down.

One editor suggested the theme “Joy”. I loved it. And many of the other editors did too. It was challenging and unique compared to the other journals out there.

There were a couple of editors who were not thrilled with it. They both suggested, “Sorrow”.

“I just feel like not many writers will be able to relate to joy,” one of them said. I had a really hard time digesting this.

During that same residency in my MFA program, I had submitted a humorous piece as my workshop sample. I wanted it to be part of my memoir/final thesis, and the topic was dating, among other things. I had written about my very first boyfriend in the seventh grade, and I had meant for the whole piece to be funny because looking back on it now, it’s funny to me. I’m a naturally sarcastic person who loves comedy, so I figured I would take a stab at being funny in my writing. I had a blast writing it compared to my other writing experiences. My workshop teacher seemed to love it, and many of the students did as well except for one. He had no idea that it was meant to be funny, and didn’t find one comical thing about the entire piece. In fact, he was saddened by it if anything. I was really confused by this and wondered if maybe I wasn’t all that great at writing funny material.

I had many workshop teachers and mentors who didn’t typically write funny things. Therefore, I shut that part of my brain off completely, and since then I’ve struggled. When I don’t add humor to my writing, I feel like a fake and a phony. I don’t feel myself, and everything that spills out of my fingertips makes me want to vomit a little bit. It feels as though I’m screaming from the rooftops, “Boohoo! Poor me! Everyone should feel sorry for me!” Personally, if my memoir is ever published, I don’t want people to finish the book and be consumed with pity and sympathy. I want people to walk away relaxed, calm, and amused. I want them to laugh, cry, yell, scream, and cringe because those are all the things I’ve been doing when writing this damn thing.

dfdI’m reaching the end of Amy Poehler’s memoir Yes Please, and I’m finally getting my funny bone back. Within the first twenty pages, Amy reminded me of things I’ve forgotten about, and I’ve added quite a bit of new material to my memoir that I actually feel proud of. She made me feel good about adding humor to my writing, and the different ways I could approach it without it being displaced.

It’s hard as a writer to please everyone, and you have to remember that you can’t. Some people are going to love your writing and others will not. So stop listening to others and how they think your writing should sound. Don’t be afraid to write as if you are talking to your best friend in the whole world. Screw the rest.

Now that the tone of my memoir has shifted drastically, the titles have been a lot more fun to come up with:

I Wasn’t Invited to the Party

My Balloon’s Deflated

Picked Last in P.E.

Personally, I Wasn’t Invited to the Party is my current favorite because it’s true. I was never invited to any parties.

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