Thursday, April 16, 2015

Funny vs. Bully

Once upon a time, I was a new employee at a new job; as most people tend to be at some point in their lives.  I hadn’t worked a full-time schedule in a corporate setting for over two years and I was trying really hard to adjust and figure out what the hell I was doing.  I had just moved to California and felt completely displaced and insecure. Sort of the way a cat feels when they’re taken from their loving home and put into a new one.  Basically, there was a lot of hiding in the bathroom.

After a few months of what I considered “relatively decent performing”, a woman from the HR team came over to congratulate me on a job well done.   “You’re the new model assistant!” she said. “We aspire to find more people like you!” she said!   After months of feeling out of place, I finally regained my confidence.    

“Don’t tell her that we like her too much, then she won’t be afraid anymore and will stop doing everything we ask her to do and we all know I like to lead with fear!” responded my boss.

After a quiet pause from everyone, she followed her statement up with, “Just kidding!” 

I furrowed my brow and watched her while she rolled her head back in laughter and everyone else looked down at their computer screens with wide eyes and red faces.  It was at that moment I realized that it wasn’t, in fact, a joke and she DOES lead with fear.  It was incredibly awkward and I immediately went back to feeling clumsy and disoriented.      

As our work relationship grew, I continued to receive odd comments. There were jokes about my awkward personality, jokes about my lack of knowledge of the surrounding area and how it’s an inconvenience to her, jokes about me not attending company events and jokes about my sense of humor.

While these jokes were being made in front of everyone who sat with us, I was also simultaneously receiving feedback through email on a regular basis.  “It’d be helpful if you learned the restaurants around here so you can help me when I need to meet someone for lunch” or “Please be better about managing my schedule for the week on Sundays” or “your writing style reflects poorly on me and the other people you support.”  After a while, it was harder and harder to delineate between jokes, feedback and outright insults. 

While it was specifically odd to deal with when it came to my boss, I realized how often people try to veil their insults as jokes.  Whether it’s a friend jokingly saying, “I hate that you’re getting married first, just kidding!” or “That outfit looks like it was put together by a toddler… LOLOL JK.”    

I think it’d be helpful if more people took a second to process the following questions before speaking.   

How well do you know the person?   
If very well, continue. 
If not, do not proceed!   

Are you annoyed or frustrated with them? 
If yes, bite your tongue. 
Scream it into your pillow.
Write it on a piece of paper and then eat that piece of paper.  

Are you in a position of power, or their subordinate? 
If either is a yes, then stop!  What are you thinking?  Stop! 

How do they typically handle jokes at their expense?  
If well, proceed with caution. 
If not, they’re sensitive and you should say absolutely nothing and get out of there as soon as possible, in case it slips.  

Do they make jokes at their own expense?  
If yes, dip a toe in the water, but be careful. 

Do you have a playful rapport?  
Go for it.  

Truth be told, even in the best cases, there are going to be days when people aren’t ready to laugh at themselves.  Even though I'd like to pride myself on being able to dish it as much as I can take it, there are times when I just don’t feel like it… especially when it’s someone in a position of power of me.  It makes you feel totally defenseless.   It’s kind of hard to respond with a joke at your boss’ expense and not expect to get fired or at least a stern talking to.

There is always a time and a place for humor, but there ain't no time and no place for bullies.  There is a difference between being funny and being a downright terrible monster. At the end of the day, it's good to remember that I am rubber and you are glue and what bounces off me sticks to you. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Alcohol with Age

I drank a lot when I was younger.  Before I was even 21, there was a bar that I drank at all the time.  Unsurprisingly, yet sadly, that bar is now closed. I started doing comedy when I was 19 years old, and everyone in comedy was so much fun / borderline alcoholics, so I started joining them after classes at the bar.  Once I realized they’d serve me, I never stopped asking…  and here I am, ten years later.

It didn’t take me long to realize that drinking turned me into a stupid human being… but that also didn’t stop me.  I loved that feeling.  It's going to sound like I have a problem here, but it was so much fun to lose all that control.  There was a point in my life where I woke up with just a tiny little headache and enjoyed meeting up with friends and putting the pieces of our night back together.

But as I get older, that gets less and less fun.   Maybe it’s because as you get older, your actions become less forgivable and unfortunately (or, fortunately – depending on how you look at it), I care about that.  I care about what I say, I care about hurting people, and I care about the state of my body the next day.   I hate the tension in my neck and shoulders, the feeling when you go through your phone and seeing what you texted someone and what pictures you sent on Snapchat or posted to Instagram, and the throwing up!  Alcohol-based vomit in your late twenties is a real kick in the dick.

I recently spent a night at home with my boyfriend and our friend, drinking a lot of vodka and watching the movie Anastasia.  (As one does at 28.)   The next day, I woke up so incredibly hungover that I couldn’t even eat my HANGOVER BURGER while everyone else seemed just fine.  They’re both younger than me, I never felt so old in my life. So, in my opinion, I have a pretty complicated relationship with alcohol as I age.

Yet, every time I make huge declarations that I’m done with drinking, I end up going harder than I ever have.  Last Saturday, enough was enough and then I ended the day 3 bottles of Chardonnay deep with my friend Brian.  But don’t worry; it was a “bit.”  Sunday was spent in a cloud of self-deprecation. 

The way I see it, none of this is my fault. 

Just kidding. 

I guess my real problem here is that I have a specific personality that alcohol so inconveniently intensifies.  A post about drinking probably seems like a bad time to bring up Bill Cosby, but I’m going to bring up Bill Cosby.  In “Bill Cosby: Himself”, he makes the following joke:

“I said to a guy, ‘Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful,’ and he said, ‘Because it intensifies your personality.’ I said, ‘Yes, but what if you’re an asshole?’”

The more I drink, the more it heightens specific aspects of my personality.  I’m sensitive, guilty and emotional… and drinking heightens those traits, for good or bad. I love my friends so much and I need to let everyone know on every social media platform and through every text!  Or, someone says something kind of shitty and I get SO sad and sensitive that I say things I later regret.

I’m not saying that I’m going to stop drinking.  I don’t feel my life is spiraling out of control, nor do I drink enough to qualify it as a problem.  It’s just that I find it interesting that as I age, I feel so guilty all the time.  That happens whether I’m drinking or not, of course, but drinking heightens the guilt.  At one-month-from-29, that’s where my relationship with alcohol stands.  It’s a lot different from 19, 21, 26 or even 28. 

If you’re young, be happy you have a few carefree years left.   Most relationships get more complicated as you age… but none more complicated than one’s relationship with alcohol.

*This post has been sponsored by Irish Guilt, the Guilt That Keeps On Guilting. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Life Lately: February + March

February and March have been a crazy busy few months.  There was a promotion at work, friends in town, a trip to Disneyland, beach days, new tattoos, movies watched, nights spent in a hot tub, board games played and shows performed in. 

I performed at UCB LA for the first time on St. Patrick’s Day, during what they called a St Patrick’s Day parade featuring all sorts of performers – including pretty famous and well-known ones.  It was a bit overwhelming and awesome and fun.  It was 11 o’clock at night and I was smack dab in the middle of a BUSY couple of days and the last thing I wanted to do was improvise.  But then this funny thing happened – that always seems to happen – I showed up and I did it and I felt better for it.  

On top of that, I’ve been performing with my friends Erin and Kelsey and our shows have been really great.  As much as I don’t miss doing it constantly, I miss doing it in general.  It gets my brain working in ways nothing else does and makes me feel all the feels.  

I also helped a friend by acting in his pilot presentation for a production company.  It was fun to learn a script – it had been a while – and it was fun to act again.   It was also a nice reminder of the things you can do when you just get down to business and do them.  You don’t need to be an established professional to put together something that looks professional.  I’m lucky to work with someone like my friend Matt, who teaches me a whole lot because he dabbles in everything this industry has to offer.  He has his own equipment, taught himself how to do everything and he’s made himself completely indispensable.   That’s how to succeed in this business.  In life!  Do it yourself. 

On top of that, we started production for our web series, Our Two Minute Show.  And I’ve been working hard on a bunch of new projects at work.

I’m feeling pretty fulfilled these days.  Fucking exhausted, but fulfilled.

However, I can’t stop thinking about the future and I wish I could stop.  I wish I was the type of person who could sit still and enjoy, but I can’t stop thinking about the next step.  I have so many ideas and things that I want to do – here and elsewhere – and I just can’t stop thinking of them!  Which is funny, because I really don’t want to leave Los Angeles.  I have made friends here that I can’t imagine being without at this point in my life.  Eventually?  Sure.  But I’m not ready! 

So what’s a girl to do?  I’m content in my life, but there are so many parts of me that want to accomplish so many other things and just GET ON WITH IT.  It’s a good time, but a confusing time, and I’m just kind of along for the ride. 

Oh well.  We're almost a quarter way through the year.  My 29th birthday is coming up in two months. And Christmas is 280 days away.  We can do this, you guys.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Thoughts on Getting Older and Wiser, Maybe

In two months, I am turning 29 years old. 

One of my best friends from high school already hit the 29 mark and when I sent my “Happy Birthday!” text, she responded that it was depressing.  I thought, “Yeah, we’re getting old and it’s weird.”  We graduated high school over ten years ago… and it feels awkward to look back and see what we have, or have not, accomplished.

But you know what I realized recently?  I fucking love getting older.

I’m happy when I look back on the last ten years of my life.  I see a lot of life-changing moments and career goals that were successfully pursued.  I see a lot of people that came in and out – and some that stayed and will stay forever.  I see a whole lot of performing and confidence gaining.  I see a successful move across the country.  I see quality time with great people.  I was lucky, and not so lucky, in love.  I see a lot of mistakes and lessons learned.  It really wasn’t a bad set of ten years.

I work with a lot of people who are younger than me and it’s eye opening when I talk to them about work or life.  I see a great amount of curiosity and general lack of confidence and fear of making mistakes.  There is trouble figuring out relationships and if they’re single, they think they’re going to be single forever.  I’m not saying I’m over all of those things, because I’m certainly not.  Twenty-nine is hardly an age full of wisdom and I know that I have plenty more mistakes to make and areas where I lack confidence.  But it’s nice to think that I’ve made my way over some of those humps and at least feel a confidence and resilience that I definitely didn’t have when I was fresh out of college.

I’m ready for the last year of my twenties!  I’m ready to keep on trying new things, challenging myself and trying even harder to be confident and carefree.  Also, I’m getting like a shit ton of grey hair and I don’t plan on covering them up with any hair dye!  (I will, however, just add more and more blonde streaks that make the greys less noticeable.)  

I'm not planning on losing all of my immaturity though.  I still love doing dumb things and having fun with my friends.  One of my favorite activities is PUTTING OFF MATURITY.  I can get married and have kids when I'm 100 years old!  Procrastinating on aging is the best way to procrastinate, in my opinion! 

And yet, here’s to getting older and wiser and spending less time trying to make other people happy and more time working on yourself.  Also, less time drinking during the day and ruining your evenings.  It seems like a good idea in the morning… but is it?  Not for me not for me. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lettin' Shit Go

I have a tendency of taking things pretty personal.  I just have a hard time thinking rationally when I'm offended despite the fact that more often than not, it's not a personal jab.  Sometimes it is, but most times it's not.  And even when people do mean it personally… then who really cares, right?  

Whether it's hearing something shitty that someone said about me or seeing all my friends hanging out on Snapchat and I wasn't invited or seeing a vague status that someone puts up on Facebook that is kinda, maybe about me but probably is about someone else or people in general. 

It's all really stupid.  I'm almost at the ripe old age of 29 and I'm getting too old for this shit... is what I say! 

Last year was just a god damn challenge for me.   I was new to a city and my entire life was up in the air.  I was going through this phase where I didn't know who or what to trust.  I was confused about the last few years of my life and I didn't know what was ahead of me.  I felt a little bit lost and in situations like that, it's easy to become insecure. I had no control and I hate not having control. 

My way to combat that was by staying in my apartment and being as quiet as possible.  I withheld all honesty from mostly everyone.  Whenever asked, I'd say everything in California was great and I tried to keep everything surface level.  I was pretty insecure about people talking behind my back and I wanted to make sure that I controlled what was being put out there.  If I said everything was great in LA, then nobody could say that I wasn't doing well or that I made a mistake.  If I said I was super happy, then nobody could put me down. 

But, well, obviously that wasn't always the case.  I'm sure people had plenty of stuff to say, they always do, but then again - there were plenty of times where I had thoughts on other people's lives and careers, so if I was doing that about other people - then I had no right to get upset about it. 

After drunkenly putting a friend of mine down in front of a whole group of people (including him), I decided it was enough.  It was time to stop being bitter, stop talking shit, and stop making assumptions about other people's lives.  My two cents was unwarranted, nobody asked for it or needed it!  And spending time feeling bitter and resentful was a total waste.  Who am I to judge?  What if people are going through tough times and dealing with some shit?  What if people have legit reasons for the decisions they're making in life? 

I'm trying to just stop.  To take a breath.  To think before I speak (or judge).  We're all pretty insane in our own right, so we shouldn't be judging everyone else's insanity just because it's a little different than ours.  We shouldn't judge other people's paths because it's not the path we took.  We should just mind our own god damn business.  

That's not to say that I'm perfect all the time… I have my moments where I slip up and make assumptions and judgements before giving a second thought to the reasons behind people's decisions.  But I'm really trying to let things go.  I'm trying to just live in harmony with everyone in my life.  I'm just going with the flow, hanging out with everyone despite awkwardness or torrid pasts and not bringing negativity to the table and not letting their possible negativity affect me.  And so far, it's been great… and has reduced my anxiety ten fold.

This year in California is already a lot better.  Things are steady and much less scary and hectic, so hopefully that security will help me be more understanding and respectful of other people's lives and decisions.  At the end of the day, I love my friends (obviously) and I want to start doing my best and being a good friend to them and treating everyone with respect to their face, behind their backs and in vague Facebook statuses.

Monday, February 16, 2015

no. 5

So, I got a tattoo.  It's my fifth!  It was a Valentine's present to myself.  Beau also got one, so maybe we got them for each other… but really, we got them for ourselves.  Mine is a quote from The Muppets. 

"As long as there are singing frogs and joking bears, 
Swedish chefs and boomerang fish, 
the world can't be that bad of a place."  

I love the Muppets. I love this tattoo.  I loved this weekend. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

5 Non-Traditional Romantic Movies for Valentine's Day

This weekend is the weekend we wait for all year.  Where we get all gussied up in our best, sexiest outfits and role play our favorite scenarios as our favorite presidents.  That's right, it's President's Day weekend! 

Also, it's Valentine's Day.  The day we all meet our cuties at the local drive-in and make out in cars while simultaneously drinking milkshakes.  Ugh, I wish that was true.

As someone who doesn't celebrate Valentine's Day with more than a basic nod of acknowledgement, I thought I was the perfect person to help you pick something to watch with your guy, girl, friends or pet animal.

Here are 5 Non-Traditional Romantic Movies To Watch This Valentine's Day: 

1. Sleepless in Seattle.  The best romantic comedy of all time or THE BEST romantic comedy of all time?  I don't know what it is about this movie… but I'll TRY to sum up all the things I love about it!  For one, it's Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks who are an undeniable duo with undeniable chemistry.  But the non-traditional part about this movie?  They only have ONE scene together!  Well, if you're not counting the two scenes they were in the same vicinity where he was checking her out and following her (at the airport) where she was literally on her way to stalk him.  And when he eventually saw her across the road while stalking him.  But they only need that one scene together, those few words exchanged, those stares of longing… because that is impressive chemistry.  The other great part about this movie is obviously Rita Wilson and Victor Garber who make a really great couple and it's pretty cute when Rita Wilson cries explaining An Affair to Remember.  

Oh, also, the movie is about a woman who is best friends with Rosie O'Donnell and is marrying Bill Pullman.  He has a bunch of weird allergies.  He's a straight up nerd.  The woman, Meg Ryan, listens to a radio show where a young kid calls in to talk to the host about his dad's depression… because his WIFE DIED.  They used to live in Chicago but then after the wife died, they moved to the most adorable waterfront home in Seattle.  Anyway, the host asks the kid to put the dad on the phone and Tom Hanks is pisssssed.  Meg Ryan obviously becomes deeply obsessed with this man and his story and LEGIT STALKS HIM.  She even looks up his personal information on her 1980's computer.  She finds his address and with the approval of Rosie O, she FLIES TO SEATTLE AND STALKS HIM.  Then there are letters exchanged with the son.  And they make a plan to meet at the top of the Empire State Building (just like An Affair to Remember!) and stuff happens and then they do meet there.  Poor Bill Pullman.  But he's better with Sandra Bullock anyway, right?!

Ugh, it takes EVERYTHING I HAVE not to include While You Were Sleeping on this list.  But I already added it to my non-Christmas Classics list.  But, just know… it's a quality option.

2. Silver Linings Playbook.  This one is a little less "fluffy" than Sleepless in Seattle.  It's a really, really great movie actually.  Possibly one of my favorites.  Bradley Cooper gets out of mental institution that he was in for beating the shit out of a man who was sleeping with his wife in their shower.  He was there because he was delusional and bi-polar.  He gets out and thinks he's going to get his wife back and fix everything.  That seems like a nice, simple statement… but he is a very complicated, delusional human being that you really can't help but love.  His mother is the sweetest and Poppa Robert Deniro is an intense, superstitious gambler/football fan with OCD.  Brad's best friends, Spanish Guy and Julia Stiles, invite him over for dinner even though Julia Stiles hates him.  Julia Stiles' sister is there and it's Jennifer Lawrence who is also a little bit crazy and was fired from work for sleeping with a BUNCH of people. Like, A BUNCH OF PEOPLE.  Her husband died in a car accident while driving home from Victoria's Secret with a box of something something for Jennifer to wear so they could spice up their sex life.  (Less douchey than it sounds.)  Intense, right? Anyway, that's why she became such a whore.  Her words, not mine.

The two strike up a really weird friendship.  Mostly in the sense that she follows him when he goes running and basically harasses him.  She offers to help him get his wife back if he helps her out by entering a dance competition with him.  She took up dance to deal with her issues.  He says hell to the no but eventually comes around because he wants his wife back.

There are so many layers to this movie, it's unreal.  The cast is SO great.  The characters are complex and real and totally fucked up, but the way they get together in the end (spoiler alert!)(that should come before the spoiler, huh?) is really wonderful.  It's also a fact that any movie that culminates in a dance number is A+.  So watch it.

3. The Graduate. This one makes the list for hitting all the right notes: classic, unconventional and featuring Dustin Hoffman.  In a May-December romance where he was the young one!  The year: 1967.  A young D.Hoff had just graduated college and didn't know what to do with his life, hence the soundtrack heavy on Simon & Garfunkle.  Hello Darkness, my old friend is right!  He strikes up a romance with friend of the family, Mrs. Robinson.  Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson is right!  She is cool, calm, collected and decked out in leopard print and black lace and silk.  It's pretty hot.  But then, he falls in love with her daughter.  And Mrs. Robinson is not having it!  She gets very, very mad.  Her daughter is set to marry someone else and then Dustin Hoffman crashes the wedding.  They ride off in a bus together… laughing… smiling… and then DEADPAN faces while The Sound of Silence plays them out.  It's a strange and super interesting classic film.  The fashion and styling of the 1960's alone is good enough to get you through!

4. Mulan.  Is Mulan the best Disney movie?  No.  That would go to Emperor's New Groove or Aladdin, obviously.  But it does hold a special place in my heart.  Mulan is the daughter of a warrior.  She is supposed to be pretty and ladylike and bring honor to her family.  Instead, she is klutzy and tomboyish and hangs out with a dog named "Little Brother".  When the Huns invade China, warriors are called to action… but her father is disabled!  He tries to make it work but there's no way!  Then she becomes a man by taping her boobs down and cutting her hair and speaking in a fake deep voice.  Mushu (the talking dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy) is there.  And so is a cricket.  Donny Osmond sings "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" which is the best Disney song ever performed by an Osmond sibling.  They go to war, shit goes wrong and eventually Mulan gets figured out for being a woman.  But somehow, through all of that, the Head Warrior (I don't know what they're called) is OBVIOUSLY attracted to her.  Which means… he was originally attracted to a man and he's mad about that.  But he so loves Mulan.  She obviously saves the day and saves China from being taken over by the TERRIFYINGLY ANIMATED Huns.  Seriously, they are the scariest Disney villains ever drawn!  There's a party, 98 Degrees sings a song and then Head Warrior comes to Mulan's home to ask her out on a date and the funny grandmother says something funny.  It's cute, empowering and all around GREAT.

5. Good Will Hunting.  Do you like apples?  Then you're going to love Good Will Hunting!  Written and directed by two guys from Cambridge, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.  I don't think they've done much since, but man - what a one hit wonder.  We start out at a shitty house in Southie (that's creative slang for South Boston.)  Ben is picking up his best friend, Matt.  The accents are thick, the conversation is gritty and the punches are Hawaiian!  Matt is a janitor with a bad attitude and Ben is the designated driver who is definitely always drunk.  It's obvious these guys are your your average Boston trash (and I mean that in the best way possible.)(I love Boston trash.)(I am Boston trash.)  They go to Kelly's Roast Beef, aka the jewel of Revere Beach and start shit at a park. But there's a twist…

"MY BOY'S WICKED SMAHT" - Casey Affleck (brother of Ben Affleck)

That's right, Matt Damon is smart. A janitor? SMART? I know, that's what I thought! But yes. He's a janitor at MIT and solves a really difficult formula that was written on a blackboard by a really pretentious  professor.  The professor sees him fucking around with the blackboard and assumes he's being a jerk.  But he solved the riddle… eh, problem.  He chases him!  Matt throws him some serious shade and eventually hires him to work with him as long as he gets psychiatric help from a bunch of psychiatrists who can't deal with him until Robin Williams comes along.  Robin Williams works at Bunker Hill Community College, or as I like to lovingly refer to it: Bunks.

He gets Matt Damon.  And Matt has a hard time opening up to him and keeps fooling around and being weird and Robin Williams is like "DON'T FUCK WITH ME, DUDE."

Matt meets Minnie Driver in a bar while she's getting hit on by some Harvard douche.  He wins because he's the smartest and can recite an academic book BY HEART.  He ruins everything with Minnie Driver, fights with Robin Williams and cries when Robin tells him it's not his fault… it's not his fault… it's not his fault… and then he goes to see about a girl.

But really, this quote is why the movie makes it on my list of non-traditional romance movies:

Robin Williams: I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. 

It's a pretty sad movie.  But there is love… and a somewhat happy ending.

Until, of course, Robin Williams dies in the end… 17 years later.

Happy Valentine's Day! 


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