Acting Like an Adult via Twitter

Maybe I’m old or just bad at social networking, but I don’t get Twitter. The only time I’ve come in contact with it is on Tweet Beat, and from what I’ve seen it seems that the main purposes of Twitter are to confirm my suspicion that celebrities are illiterate and to broadcast Coco’s ass. And while I thoroughly appreciate gratuitous booty shots, I can’t justify signing up with yet another social media outlet in order to view them (and I get more than my daily dose of ass from Tumblr, thank you very much). I’ve already unsubscribed from so many of my friend’s posts on Facebook that it feels like I don’t have Facebook anymore (which is, of course, ideal). I think people are annoying and I get annoyed really easily and I just think that Twitter is a bad idea for me. That’s simple enough, isn’t it?

As it turns out, nothing is as simple as it seems because today I made a Twitter account. I did it because I had to. Apparently if you want to be involved in the publishing industry you need to be “connected” via Twitter, so as soon as I made my account I started following all of the comedians I could think of, Hunx, my favorite blogger (Karley Sciortino of Slutever), and Ru Paul. I threw Powell’s in for good measure (and hopefully coupons or something) but all the publishing-related Twitter accounts I’ve seen are pretty boring. So I basically got into Twitter for school and career reasons but thus far have not used it for any productive purposes whatsoever. 

So check me out on Twitter and/or help me understand it!


I Swear I'm Not an Alcoholic!

Zach and I are kindred spirits.

Ben Franklin once said that “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” and I totally agree with the man. I don’t believe in God but I believe in alcohol. I know it’s bad to start out a sentence with, “I’m not an alcoholic, but...,” but I’m not an alcoholic, but booze makes everything better. Everything. Better.

Figuring out how much alcohol you should consume in order to improve certain situations is definitely an art form and takes years of fine-tuning. I now know that drinking a Bud 40 improves my academic essay-writing skills tenfold and taking upwards of ten shots of tequila over a 3-hour period gives me superpowers like the ability to twerk. Of course I can’t twerk it, but damn does it feel like I can. That’s the whole point of alcohol, anyway. There’s a reason why social anxiety medication makes you feel a little tipsy. Inhibitions are important and necessary but very boring, and sometimes they stand in the way of your ability to have fun. Knowing how to rid yourself of certain inhibitions while retaining crucial motor skills and basic abilities (aka not acting like anyone on the Jersey Shore when you’re drunk) is key. I’m not telling you to become an alcoholic, I’m telling you how to put your already latent alcoholism to your advantage. You’re welcome.

There are so many things that a drink or two can vastly improve. This includes but is not limited to grocery shopping, working out, having coffee with someone you haven’t seen in years, waiting at the DMV, work (if you work a shitty service industry job), and getting dressed/ready to go somewhere. I’m such a huge advocate of the latter. Picking out an outfit or putting on makeup whilst tipsy is the best idea ever because everything looks awesome when you’re buzzed. I like to think of a shot or a tallboy as a mini ego-boost and a few drinks more than that as a skill-improver. Being legitimately drunk turns everyone into a better dancer, singer, conversationalist, and cook. It’s just the truth. But once you pass the threshold of being awesomely drunk to hopelessly wasted, you’re done for. The only thing that being black-out drunk helps is your ability to lose all of your belongings and sleep like a heavily sedated zombie. Know your limits! Never take shots upon shots in a row because you’re desperate to be drunk as soon as possible; you’ll just end up puking on the dance floor at your high school formal. I’m speaking from experience, guys. Be safe, have fun, and don't be a douchebag.


You Really Don’t Have to Give Him Your Number

Plenty of girls are too nice. They apologize when something isn’t their fault and they feel bad about stuff they shouldn’t. For example, they for some reason feel obligated to give out their phone number to every dude that asks for it. We’ve all been there – you’re at a bar or a party talking to a guy who you’re not particularly interested in and when he asks for your number you begrudgingly give it to him. Then you put his number in your contacts as “DO NOT ANSWER,” block his calls, ignore his texts, and wish you had originally told him that you were already in a relationship or a lesbian or a leprechaun. We go through a lot of trouble because we don’t want to be honest and reject the guy to his face. For some reason it’s much more easy to offer a piece of personal information to a stranger than admitting that you’re just not interested, and I think that should change.

Some people might say that women give their phone numbers to guys that don’t stand a chance because they like “leading men on.” I hate that term. Waking up to 8 text messages from a clueless guy is not something that most women relish. Women don’t give out their numbers because they like the (unwanted) attention, they do it because they feel like they don’t have a choice in the matter. And they’re just too nice so they’d feel bad for saying no. Fuck that! Just say no! Tell the dude that he’s creepy or not your type or that you have a boyfriend, and then walk away. Put an end to the awkward situation right then. You can even tell him “you’re welcome” for not wasting his time. You’re doing both parties involved a huge favor. Promise me you won’t give out a fake phone number again. And if your courage wavers, just remember the wise words of TLC: “No, I don’t want your number. No, I don’t want to give you mine.”


On Faking It and Making It

I’m a pretty big advocate of the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it,” mostly because that’s what I’ve been doing for years now and it seems to be working pretty well for me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not fooling anyone on a daily basis in order to get ahead in life; I’m fooling myself every second of the day so that I can go about normal everyday things without succumbing to an anxiety attack. Hi, I’m Miranda and I’m painfully awkward (with a little bit of social anxiety on the side).

I know many people feel awkward as often as I do, and most of them have an anxiety disorder like me. Many of them completely avoid social situations because they can’t handle the jitters or can’t bear to face the impending discomfort of interacting with other people. Sure, it can be rewarding to meet people and connect, but those fuzzy feelings are bound to go to shit as soon as they say something that’s met with an awkward silence. Those with anxiety are the flakiest people on the planet, and for good reason. The burn of humiliation is one of the worst feelings a person can experience. I mean, can you really blame them?

I’m not perfect, but I pride myself in being a pretty un-flaky human being. You see, I’m better at lying to myself than to other people, which technically should be pretty tragic, but in the spirit of “fake it ‘til you make it,” I really rock the shit out of it. Instead of dwelling on an embarrassingly awkward conversation I had with a coworker, or that time I accidentally threw a full can of beer at someone’s head at a party, I convince myself that these things didn’t happen. You can’t feel shitty about something that never happened, dummy! I can tell myself that I’m a confident, interesting person and then act like one. It’s pretty cool. It might be an indicator of some other underlying psychological disorder, but it’s cool.


That's Racist: Excuses Are For Noobs

Meeting people is a pain in the ass. Whoever first said “just be yourself” deserves a punch in the face because that shit’s impossible when you’re trying to make new friends. You usually can’t crack the same jokes that make your best friends laugh to a stranger because different people have different boundaries, and you can never be sure of those boundaries until you get to know the person. This seems like a simple fact to me, but it’s surprising how often people you’ve just met cross the line and say something that makes you uncomfortable. It especially sucks when they say something prejudiced. If you happen to find yourself in the awkward position of deciding to whether or not to address the situation and point out the bigotry in an acquaintance’s statement, I encourage you to say something. Be concise, straightforward, and non-judgmental, and if you’re met with any of the following excuses, be prepared to debunk and demolish them.

“It was only a joke!” The thing is that jokes are supposed to be funny and racism is not funny. Period. Anyone who relies on offensive and ill-informed statements to get a laugh isn’t worth listening to.

“But its true!” It’s amazing that some people actually believe stereotypes, but that’s because they don’t know about self-fulfilling prophecies. Any given stereotype doesn’t exist because it’s a truth, it exists because some idiot made it up and patted himself on the back every time a person did something the reinforce the stereotype. Every time you see a woman get into a car accident, it will remind you of the stereotype that women are bad drivers, but you won’t think anything when you see a man get into a car accident because that stereotype doesn’t exist. Generalizing groups of people through stereotyping is just really uncreative and boring, to be honest.

“I work with/am friends with said group of people!” This is an embarrassingly tired excuse for racism, but people still rely on it. There just isn’t any logic behind it. Being around people whom you are prejudiced against does not qualify you for the Nobel Peace Prize or some shit. It’s called life and it would be a whole lot easier for you if abolished your bigoted views.

“But I identify as said group of people!” The bottom line is that women can be misogynists, minorities can be racist, homosexuals can be homophobic, and the list goes on. Being prejudiced against yourself is extremely harmful.

“You’re just too sensitive!” This is a great way to shut a person down, and it’s a bigot’s knee-jerk reaction to criticism. Many people who are prejudiced consider themselves to be hardened and knowledgeable in ways that other people (ie you) are not. When you criticize something that they say, they will divert the blame to you, saying that it’s your fault that their racist comments hurt or disturb you. That’s bullshit and they know it. Speaking up against prejudice doesn’t make you overly sensitive and therefore not worth listening to; it makes you a logical and rational human being. It’s not your other people are such idiots.  


That's Racist: Friends Are Family That You Choose

Today’s installment of That’s Racist is about responding to prejudice in your friends. Friends are people that you presumably know well and have willingly chosen to surround and associate yourself with. Your friends are a reflection of the beliefs, values, and passions that you all have in common, but what often makes friendships so fulfilling are the nuanced perspectives that each person has to offer due to his or her upbringing and personal experiences. This is why so many friends can be so different and yet so alike. Because your friends are a reflection of what you believe in, it can be shocking and disturbing when one of them slips something discriminatory or intolerant into a conversation. Instead of backhanding your buddy, take a deep breath and follow these steps. 

This form of addressing prejudice is not condoned by Mean Bones, unless she's talking shit about your cat.

See if she checks herself before she wrecks herself. Shit happens, and sometimes people say awful things on accident. If this is the case with your friend, she’ll hopefully be as shocked as you are as to what just came out of her mouth and she’ll swallow her words. A mere “Whoah, there!” on your part will suffice. Don’t harangue her for an innocent mistake that she probably regrets.

If she’s completely oblivious, holla atcha girl. See if she meant what she said, and tell her that you’re not comfortable with that kind of talk. Instead of calling your friend a transphobic whore, try saying something like, “girl, you did not just call that person a tranny in front of me.” Then drop some knowledge! Prejudice stems from ignorance, and the most valuable thing you can do for your friend is educate her on the matter. Many people aren’t aware of the etymology of the word “faggot” when they throw it into conversations. Plenty of young people grew up saying the word “retard” without considering it ableist or offensive. And, unfortunately, many people consider racial stereotypes to be truths instead of the self-fulfilling prophecies that they are. Since people like talking about themselves a whole lot more than being lectured, ask her about her upbringing. Was prejudiced language allowed or encouraged in the household she grew up in? If you try to understand her experiences, it’ll help her understand your beliefs. Chances are she’s not an evil closet-racist, just confused and maybe a little brainwashed.

If all else fails, tell her to get a clue or get lost. If your friend can’t respect your beliefs enough to abstain from using prejudice language around you, she’s not a friend worth having. Remember that your friends are a reflection of what you believe, and if you’re with one person who has narrow-minded views, that can reflect badly on you to someone who may not know you. Take a break from the friendship. When you’re ready to try hanging out with her again, maybe she’ll have missed your company enough to rethink her worldview.  

That's Racist: If All Else Fails, Give Grandma the Finger

This is the first segment of a several-part series I'm working on titled That's Racist: How to Respond to Prejudice Without Loosing Your Cool. We've all experienced an uncomfortable situation when a family member, friend, acquaintance, coworker, or schoolmate says something racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, or just plain offensive. And we've all had to make the decision to pursue the issue or simply drop it. It's a shitty position to be in for sure, and hopefully the next time it happens to you you're able to fight the good fight without popping a vein. 

It's important to remember that at the root of prejudice is ignorance, not pure wickedness. All the worst -isms you can think of are merely the knee-jerk response and defense mechanism of a person who is confused and wishes to assume a false sense of superiority. But prejudice is also physically, emotionally, and socially harmful to all people, and needs to be addressed. Pointing out the flaws in other people's thought processes can be enlightening and beneficial to everyone, but not all people are receptive to criticism. You need to choose your approach and words wisely in order to avoid coming across as a critical asshole, so I've divided this series according to the difference groups of people you know. Today we'll look at those who hit closest to home: family.

Your family is made up of people that you don’t necessarily have to be around and enjoy the company of all the time, but sometimes, maybe even for just a short amount of time (if you’re lucky), you do. And that can really suck if a family member (or all of them) harbors prejudiced views and feels the need to share them. Nothing can ruin the mood like grandma throwing around a racist term or Uncle Don ranting about “queers” and “faggots” at a family gathering. Trust me, we’ve all been there at some point, and it can be one of the most infuriating and frustrating things to have to sit through. You don’t want to ignore that kind of intolerance while passive-aggressively shoveling your mashed potatoes, but you also don’t want to ignite an all-out family feud at the dinner table. So how does one stand up for her beliefs while respecting her elders and her kin? 

Say something, but choose your words wisely. Instead of saying, “That’s racist, grandma!,” try to tell her that not everyone would agree with her views, and neither do you. Tell her that that sort of language is offensive, and ask her to try not to say it around you or other people in the future. If you’re greeted with hostility, confusion, or apologist language, assert yourself and then simply try to change the subject. Seriously. I know it’s hard, but sometimes the most you can do with family members is just try to avoid talking about certain things (ie most things) with them. It sucks, and it’s boring, but if it gets you through Passover or a 4th of July BBQ, just take one for the team and talk about your job or a funny cat video you saw online. You can do no wrong with cat videos (unless you decide to read the YouTube comments, which never fail to be as offensive and asinine as possible). 

Ultimately, remember that friends are family that you choose. Some people are just stubborn, especially people who feel that they have superiority over you due to age, or due to the fact that they raised you. That’s why family time can really suck sometimes. Although they may not have an ounce of tolerance, you kind of have to tolerate them, but don’t feel bad for ranting about the fiasco with a friend or significant other, or giving your family the finger behind their backs. Honestly, just flip them off when they aren’t looking. It feels really good.


The Problem with Boobs, or Why Being a Teenage Girl Sucks

Middle school wasn't the best time for me. I spent half of it lanky, awkward, and unpopular, and that wasn't even the worst half. I didn't care about other people's opinions of me because nobody had an opinion of me to begin with. I was invisible but I was happy. But then I grew boobs. I grew boobs overnight and they changed everything for me. 

Having boobs gave me a self-image for the first time in my life. I had never looked at my reflection with scrutiny before. It was like a revelation. I couldn't believe that I had looked in the mirror my whole life without noticing everything that was wrong with me. And I couldn't un-see any of it. I was getting wider and rounder and softer and I wanted it to stop. So I did something that I had never once thought of doing before in my life: I stopped eating. 

Having an eating disorder in middle school while going through puberty is just the worst idea ever. I lost what should have been an innocent and care-free time to a mental illness that I wouldn't recover from until the middle of high school. I would throw away the lunches my mom packed for me right after my dad dropped me off at school. I stole laxatives and diet pills from the grocery store. I told so many lies so that I could control my body, which had started growing and changing and fucking up without my permission. I can remember one of my happiest memories at the time was after I had gone a week-long fast and a boy I had a crush on told me that I had a "hot body." I think I wrote my name with his last name about 800 times in my math notebook right after that happened. 

That's the other thing that came with having boobs: in addition to seeing myself in the mirror for the first time, other people started seeing me as well. I was suddenly popular. Boys started talking to me for the first time ever, and girls invited me to hangout out the mall and sit with them at lunch. I was freaking out. But getting boobs and popularity overnight was a really tiring combination. There was so much going on that I thought I needed to maintain. It was fucking stressful, and anorexia eats stress for dinner. I wasn't lanky, awkward, or unpopular anymore, but I was miserable and mentally ill. And let me tell you, I much prefer the former to the latter. 

About ten years have passed and I am completely recovered from my eating disorder. Luckily, my shitty experiences in middle school haven't followed me -- they've stayed put in a period of time that I consider to be the worst time of my life. I still have the boobs, however, and they still give me trouble. Honestly, I think I'm bitter at them for coming during a time when I just wasn't ready for that kind of commitment. Because, in case you didn't know, boobs are a fucking huge commitment. Especially big ones. It takes fucking guts to walk around with gazungas the size of your head, and I just wasn't ready for that at 13. I don't think any 13-year old is. Being a focal point, a target for the male gaze, is a shitty task, and I hope that young girls realize that it's one that they don't have to take on. I wish I had given the middle finger to the concepts of "normal," "acceptable," "contained," "stable" bodies, but the desire to conform was ingrained in my brain and subsequently controlled (and ruined) my life. I can't blame myself, and I won't. I won't blame my boobs either, because they kind of rule.


Love, Hate, and Tavi

I love Tavi Gevinson. Sure, I went through a weird stage of coming home drunk and leaving ambiguously rude comments on her blog, but I’m over that. Which is good, since, you know, our age-difference is roughly 8 years and I really should know by now not to pick on people on the internet, especially when drunk. I truly enjoy reading her blog, The Style Rookie. It’s one of the few blogs I follow that I’m actually excited to see updated, and it’s been fun to watch it evolve and grow over the past few years. I checked it out for the first time a couple years ago when Tavi’s name began floating around the internet in connection to “13-year-old fashion blogger.” I checked it out because, as I said to myself, “holy shit, a middle schooler has a blog that isn’t Blingee’d out* or resembles the Expage I made when I was a pre-teen? What has the world come to?” When I realized that Tavi was actually smart and obviously rich, I added The Style Rookie to the roster of mindless fashion blogs that I was into following at the time, because that’s kind of what it was. And that’s what I was into for some shitty reason. But right about when I started getting over fashion and style blogs, Tavi did too. (This post is seriously awesome and marks the moment when I began truly respecting this girl). And she started hanging out with Kathleen Hanna, and stopped posting runway photos. She got into ouija, My So-Called Life, The Virgin Suicides, The Heathers, and Sassy. I mean, she’s me when I was a pre-teen/teenager, but with a better vocabulary, better hair, more money, internet access, and, you know, experiencing these things nearly ten years later in 2010 or whatever. Tavi reminds me of my boyfriend’s 15-year old sister who is so much cooler than all of her stupid tiny friends. Sure, there are a lot of things about Tavi that can be criticized (this article has some good points, and there’s a lot more criticism that can be found online that’s actually pretty lame), but who is truly perfect on the internet? Basically, I like Tavi because she’s smart and writes things that I enjoy reading, and I dislike her because Courtney Love sends her awesome dresses and Kathleen Hanna gives her awesome sweaters and she’ll never have to have a shitty service industry job and struggle to pay for her rent and schooling. Yeah, I’m jealous of a 15-year old. And that’s silly, but that’s not what this post is about. 

* Tavi's blog does have some Blingee's, but they're not immature because they're IRONIC, OKAY?

Yesterday the website Rookie was launched, edited by Tavi and featuring pieces written by famous indie-boners like Zooey Deschanel, JD Samson, Fred Armisan, and Miranda July, and a bunch of hip-looking young people from the only cool cities in the US (aka N.Y.C. and L.A.). It’s an online magazine for high school girls, which is great because young people need more websites that aren’t flooded with weight-loss ads and hair-removal tips, but it also sucks because I’m not a fucking teenager any more. I wish Tavi would tell me how to be a “back-to-school beauty” for my first day of grad school, which is quickly approaching. I really was born a decade too early. Regardless, you should know that I’m going to hit up Tavi’s new site like I’m still in high school, partly because I kind of wish I still was, and partly because I’m curious as to when the whole “back to school vibes” thing is finally going to die. I really am done criticizing Tavi, though. I’m sure there are a bunch of English majors complaining about how they got a college degree, spent years in the publishing industry, and still haven’t edited anything that has gotten to a larger audience than Rookie will, but they’re just old and whiny.
Having an online presence doesn’t mean the same thing to me now that it did fifteen years ago. In middle school, when the concept of the internet was mysterious and exciting due to both its novelty and my never-ending boredom as an only-child, my ultimate goal was to become e-famous via my Expage called Tabby Kat’s Hideaway (R.I.P.) and my “website”/“company” on which I “sold” (to no one) pixilated fairies created with MS Paint and customized Html codes. As I became more angsty, internet stardom meant having over ten friends on Livejournal whom I didn’t know in real life. Now, my online presence primarily involves untagging pictures of myself on Facebook and reblogging vintage smut on Tumblr in hopes of gaining over than 50 followers (I’m almost there guys...ALMOST E-FAMOUS). Having just graduated from college and now beginning to pursue a career in publishing, I have finally decided to go through with creating and maintaining a blog featuring my own writing. Writing has always been an important activity for me, whether it’s in the form of journaling, poetry, or academic papers, and blogging has been something that I repeatedly take up and eventually neglect every few years or so. I blame partying, my own laziness, and Netflix streaming. But now I guess I’m finally growing up, and being an adult includes getting dressed before 3 pm and sticking with creative projects longer than just a couple months. (I also just moved to a new city where I know very few people, so my social life is currently nil.)  

I’ll be writing here, and maybe you’ll read it. I have a penchant for all-caps interjections, parentheses (lots of them), and downing a forty of Bud Light before sitting down to write. I’m not a classy lady but I do have impeccable grammar. I don’t claim the rights to any of the images I post, unless they’re my own, and I try to link the source if I can. Anyway, I think firsts are super awkward, don't you?