Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Holiday Pickle

This time of year, my roommates (boyfriend/cat) and I constantly argue about the importance our household will place on the holidays. I would like to place an extreme amount of importance by adding extra decorations, food, family, friends, and fun. They would like to place little (cat) to none (boyfriend.)

Nothing says "Christmas" like a Keanu Reeves meme. 

What my roommates don’t understand is that I am a girl who trick-or-treated until I was 19. Mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie run through my veins. I (honestly) thought Santa Clause was real well into my double digits. (I made it work somehow in my mind… i.e. He had helpers impersonate him. His sleigh was more like a rocket that had technology NASA didn’t yet.) Boyfriend says the holidays are used exploit us as consumers and “its disgusting” and all that. He also, as an agnostic, LOVES to call into question my religious beliefs whenever I’m like, “BUT IT’S CHRISTMAS!” I grew up religious, but it’s not those values that call to me around October. It’s the traditions. I’ll admit, I spend more money around this time of year, but it’s because I want to surround myself with the sights and sounds of the season and I want to give gifts that show people that I’m thinking about them. SOMETIMES, it gets a little stressful financially. And yes, people like Nicole Westbrook (See video below) happen and try to ruin Thanksgiving forever and it makes you sick. And yes, the ENDLESS car commercials where wife/husband receives car for Christmas but are disappointed because they REALLY wanted the car the commercial is advertising, are just the absolute worst and are a complete disconnect from most of the world.  AND Yes, Black Friday is a ploy to get us to spend more money than most of us planned and they’ve actually begun to mark prices back up (Best Buy) on Black Friday just to make even more money off of those who are “eager” enough to shop that day. BUT, some people actually enjoy the challenge and have made it a family activity and some people actually save a lot of money on an item they might not otherwise be able to afford. So…  hey, to each his own. I personally, will never participate because I don’t want to die being trampled by Wal-Mart Monkeys and because I like sleep and alcohol too much to wake up early/stay awake that long. And, quite frankly, I’ve never been asked to go.

"I didn't get the vintage day scarf I wanted."
Here’s what I’m saying: Religious or not and no matter what Holiday you celebrate, the weather’s cozy, the lights are pretty, the festivities are abundant, family time is at an all time high, eating is mandatory, and you get to give and RECEIVE presents! SO, all you critics better let the F up on all your “anti-establishment” research and learn to enjoy yourselves because if I am subject to one more story of an obscure example of extreme consumerism or anti-capitalist/anti-religious rants, I will personally rip the lensless, black-rimmed glasses right off your face and take that AND your ironic Elmo shirt, put it in my toilet, and I will take my morning shit on them.  And all you crazy consumers better not max out your credit cards for your ungrateful children or give a single gift card this year to take the easy route, because, guess what? That says, I had to get you a gift card because I didn’t care enough to think too hard about you. (That’s right. And no, not even if the gift card is for a massage. Do that shit yourself! It will mean more! Oh, a gift card for the movies? NOPE! Make a movie for someone and tell me they won’t talk about that for many, many Christmases to come!) Enjoy yourselves. Donate your time to someone. Do something nice for someone. Make something for someone. Make a special dinner. Watch a special movie. Do it all with the people you love and Fucking ENJOY YOURSELVES!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from all of us here at Andrea Chesley: Blogger. 

PS. Try not to be too upset this happened..... 

Just be happy these things did happen....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Planes, Trains, and Birth Control Pills

When you’re a baby and you throw a hissy fit, it’s usually because you’re hungry or tired and everybody gets it. When you’re a kid and you throw a hissy fit, it’s usually because you’re in trouble and are learning that you won’t get every toy you want and everybody gets it. When you’re a teenager and you throw a hissy fit, it’s usually chalked up to those pesky pubescent hormones and the need to defy authority and everybody gets it, they’re annoyed by it, but they get it. When you’re an adult and you throw a hissy fit, you’re a woman…. And it fucking sucks.

Ok, you’re not ALWAYS a woman, I know there are plenty of emotional males. Jason Mraz and Christain Bale are proof of that, but can’t we all agree it sucks to have lady hormones? I mean, lets face it, we all have our “crazy” story. Like that time we maxed out our credit card at Forever 21 because it was the only thing that felt right, or that time we ate pizza and drank Mountain Dew until we threw up and then ordered Chinese food because we were hungry, or that time you were mad at your boyfriend  for talking to his ex-girlfriend and so you searched through his phone, found her number, got drunk and called her to tell her about how great your lives are together, only she doesn’t answer so the only option is to show up where she works to SHOW her how great you’re doing and you accidentally slash ONE of her tires and the cops ruin everything!?  All our lives, men have called us crazy and irrational and the reality is, that’s not who we are. As humans, our brains all work the same. Women are even more logical and rational and intelligent than men….  UNLESS our hormones are involved, which unfortunately, seems to be at least ¼ of our lives.

This last week, (JUST before my period, of course) after 3 days of depression, outbursts, and the decision to move to Montana (that I later reneged on,) I sat my boyfriend down and explained to him, that I hated to admit it because I didn’t want this to be his victory for every future fight, but MAYBE we had been fighting the last few days and MAYBE I threatened to move his things out and MAYBE I threw the contents of my purse all over our living room in an outburst BECAUSE  I was……. PMS-ing. This was so hard for me to admit. I mean, I’ve known for a long time that other girls had PMS, but as you mature and try to gracefully enter your thirties, you start to really notice in yourself the difference between normal and bat-shit crazy and even YOU, as a strong and intelligent, talented woman,  start to run out of ways to defend your behavior. He smiled and smugly said, “I know.” ………… I went nuts. After a rant I don’t remember, I ran into my room and cried. 

My cat didn’t know what to do and neither did I.   There’s no talking yourself out of bat-shit. Your hormones have you convinced that life really isn’t what you thought it was yesterday…. Or 3 minutes ago. After I came to my senses (because, to my dis-credit, it happens quickly,) I came out and he laughed as he said, “I can’t believe that after all this time that we’ve been together that you think I don’t know what THIS is.”

“OK, but I don’t want you to think that every time I’m upset, it means I’m hormonal and you automatically have the upper-hand.” I said and then admitted, “I don’t know how to deal with how I feel sometimes. Today, I hate our bed sheets and I don’t know why. Today, I almost introduced myself to the neighbors just to ask if I could move all your things into their house while you were gone just to give you a good scare when you got home. You know? So you’d know I was serious about breaking up with you. I know that’s nuts, but it felt so right! I hate myself.”

“I don’t pretend to know what you go through. I bet it sucks because, right now, you really suck. But, I love you.” He said.

We left the conversation unresolved. And I’ve got news for you, there’ll never be resolution. We take "medicine" to "treat" the natural horror that is our period. We take pills and shots and insert strange springy devices directly into our vaginas to prevent our ovaries from doing what nature intended them. There are male politicians that are trying to make laws based on the things we do and don’t do to our bodies because we have been given the “oh so amazing” gift of child birth. And as women, we will spend the rest of our lives apologizing for our hormones because, let’s be honest, we do some really messed up shit. Well…. It fucking sucks. It really does. I’ve been a feminist since I could walk but I will not support a HILLARY 2016 ballot unless she can provide evidence that all her hormone producing lady parts have been removed or have stopped working!! (She’d have control over the drones for crying out loud! Imagine if she had been President back in 1992 instead of Bill.... Monica Lewinsky's "disappearance" would still be unresolved, meanwhile there's a very unhappy intern in a hole in Guantanamo Bay.)

Ok, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. Go Hillary! But, as I sit here, taking the first pill of yet, another month of birth control, I am sickened at even the name “birth control.” And, Quite frankly, I’m fet up. I know that ovaries are what make the world go ‘round. I know that our lady genetic make-up allows us to be the empathetic, emotionally aware, beautiful beings we are. It is, however, like being on a roller coaster ride that you weren’t quite tall enough for. You move around too much in the seat and are relieved, a little dizzy, and thankful for your life when the ride is over. But, you’re proud of yourself for doing it because at least half of the population will never know what it feels like. Being girl is never boring, but it makes our job as human beings a lot harder. If you've ever looked at yourself in the mirror and called yourself "a fat loser," you don't mean it. Its likely the opposite of the truth, so don't trust it.

I sometimes wish I was single and alone, with no family so I’d never have to apologize for my behavior, but that’s not a possibility (because, at least from what it sounds like, I’m so loveable) so for now, I apologetically and reluctantly deal with the repercussions of my “lady-like” behavior. You’re welcome for children, World.

And what does this post have to do with its namesake, the movie “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles?” Nothing, but I FUCKING LIKE HOLIDAY MOVIES, ALRIGHT?! J

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Junior High Mascot: A Tween Comedy

I coulda been somebody.... I coulda been this lady. 
My parents were great but could never afford to truly foster any of my talents. (This is not necessarily a complaint because it inspired me to work even harder and follow my dreams and blah, blah…) BUT… I started a lot of classes that I was successful in but inevitably had to quit because of financial reasons. It is my parents’ financial irresponsibility that is the reason I am not a Black belt in the art of Karate today. I taught myself the piano after only a month of lessons. I’ve KILLED it in some very popular LA Karaoke bars after only a few voice lessons when I was 12. I went on to dance in a professional dance company after only a couple tap classes when I was 5. I’m not bragging. This was after years of failure and lots practice later on in life. My pre-teen years were spent an awkward, talentless mess. So, it was really no surprise to anyone, including myself, when I didn’t make the Junior High Cheer team.

All of my friends made the team. It was awful. After a tearful inquiry, the cheer coach assured me I was very close to making the team. (Yeah, right. I’ve been a cheer coach. You can’t just say, “you really fucking suck, honey. Give it up.”) But I believed it. I was still devastated. The cheer team was my ticket to the “cool” table in the cafeteria. The cheer team would’ve prevented the REALLY vivid memories of being called things like, “Dyke” and “Orange Heels.” (“Orange Heels” came about after a combination of sweaty feet and a pair of cheap, imitation Birkenstocks. Long story, but my heels are fine now.) I would have to sit on the sidelines alone while all of my friends basked in the glory that is a “cheer uniform.”  What was I going to do? I was already grade A, 7th grade nerd and not making the cheer team made it official.

I mean, everyone thought this guy was cool. 
I went home that day really upset. My mom, being the great mom she was, dried my tears and told me that I had “more talent in my little finger than most kids had in their whole body,” etc. and that I should focus on something else. But I was too smart for that speech.  I wanted to be popular. That night, I conjured up a plan that would change my life forever. I figured out a way to be with my friends on the court and hang with the guys without actually being on the cheer team. I could be…… the MASCOT!...... Why not? We didn’t have one. We were the wildcats. We had school spirit. The other schools had mascots. I was convinced this was my ticket to cool. I was so….. so smart.

I brought my proposal to the cheer coach the next day. She looked at me with a furrowed eye-brow that, at the time, I thought it meant she was thoughtfully considering what the amazing benefits of having a mascot would be, but now I know she was showing great concern for my 12 year-old self-esteem. “Are you sure?” She asked. “We don’t even have a wildcat costume.”

The original pattern for the Tigerbear. I'm pretty sure. 
“My mom can make it!” I exclaimed. (MY MOM CAN MAKE IT? What the hell was I thinking? What kid pleads to be the mascot? Whatever. You live, you learn.) My coach reluctantly agreed.  I ran home to tell my mom the great news. She was incredibly supportive and so off we went to by the “wildcat” pattern and the fabric. We worked all weekend. We were so proud of the costume. It had a large furry belly and striped fabric. It had a cap with furry, short ears that exposed my face.  The mittens were made of fur entirely and the shoe covers had the stripes. In retrospect, it looked less like a Wildcat and more like a Tigerbear. (I invented that animal. Don’t take it.)  But I didn’t care. This was my ticket to the Cheer team. Everyone was going to think I was sooooo cool.

I was nervous at the first game. I realized that I really didn’t know how to be a mascot. Mascots did flips and lead cheers. I just sort of ran around and clapped a lot. I wasn’t asked to go to any of the practices, so I didn’t know any cheers.  It wasn’t until 4 games in I even began to clap over my head. You know, to get the crowd pumped. I didn’t care. I got to go to every game AND every away game. But then, I started to get made fun of…... A LOT. I started to realize that running around in front of your adolescent peers in a home-made Wildcat costume was kind of embarrassing. I thought about quitting, but at this point, I was committed and I was NOT a quitter. So, I embraced it. I made a couple younger kids laugh at the games and that felt pretty good. So, I started to get really silly in my classes. Wearing a costume AND being funny seemed to make more sense to everyone. My grades started to slip because I was more concerned about my next silly escapade than my next test. (As cliché as it sounds…)  I wasn’t even THAT funny. I just did silly stuff. People laughed. I wore a costume. This was now my thing. After two years of mascoting, I hadn’t really improved, but I got voted “Class Clown” my 8th grade year. (Of course I did, right? Tweens seem to really go for the obvious.) I would really have loved some title like, “Best Legs” or “Most Fashionable,” but, how could they see it underneath the costume?

The costume, I’ve realized, was just a mask for my insecurities. You know, “If you’re gonna make fun of me, I’ll give you something to make fun of me about!” I learned a lot though. It motivated me to work harder than everyone else to get what I wanted. I learned to be funny, to be myself, and that I never needed to settle for just being the “mascot.”

To this day, the sound of mittens clapping together makes me cringe a little and brings me right back to the court.

 Go TigerBears!