Because I’m, like, a Good Person.

I love going to the movies.  I love eating popcorn out of a giant, greasy tub; I love sharing the experience with a bunch of strangers; and I love how I’m forced to carefully remove the plastic dome lid of my Icee so my straw doesn’t make that awful squeaking noise whenever I move it.  The movies bring you action that is literally bigger than you.  And sometimes, if you’re lucky, it’s figuratively bigger than you as well, and can really get you to thinkin’.  Recently, I saw such a film–one that really got me to thinkin’.

And that film was This is the End, the newest stoner action comedy from Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg.

No, but seriously.  For those of you who don’t know (and maybe don’t care) This is the End explores the behavior of a group of actors–each delightfully portraying their actual selves–as the world literally comes to an end.  It’s simple: if you’re a good person, you get sucked up into the sky by a blue ray of light, and if you’re anyone else, you’re likely going to be eaten by some giant, creepy monster.

So, as any hopelessly self-involved 20-something would do, I left the theatre contemplating the worth of my entire existence: I would totally get sucked up in that blue light. Yeah, totally. I mean I’m a good person.  I do good things.  Like, uh, you know, last week.  Yeah, last week, I…uh, you know, smiled at that old lady. Yeah, when she was looking at me like she wished she was still in her 20s.  I re-connected that old lady with her youth. Yeah, that was nice. That was really nice.  Shi*t.  Is that the only example I can think of?  That’s not a good example. That’s a horrible example.  I can think of another one. Wait. Oh my god, I’m a horrible person. Shi*t.  Oh my god.  I would NOT get sucked up in that blue light.  Seriously? Oh my god.

(For the record, that’s actually what it’s like inside my brain. Heavy sigh.)

I think we 20-somethings have a strange obsession with labeling people as good or bad.  He cheated on you?  He’s a bad person.  She sings in the church choir?  What a good person.  He told you your blog post was, like, epically funny?  He’s really an amazing soul.  Homegirl thinks Beyonce is untalented?! That is an example of a HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING.

I don’t remember doing much of said labeling when I was a kid.  But now?  Yeesh, do I ever.  As I stumble through my twenties, I seem to be outgrowing relationships like a toddler outgrows clothes­–awkwardly and often.  And I’m talking all sorts of relationships: with old friends, new friends, love buddies (sorry, but the word “lovers” creeps me out), family, employers, co-workers, health care providers, etc.  And I’ve found when things don’t go my way (as has been the case in every one of those previously mentioned sub-categories), it’s quite easy to label my opponent as a bad person.  If they’ve got a problem with me, then it’s absolutely, very much likely that said opponent is a bad person; because, just like that guy who thought my that girl’s blog was “epically funny,” I know that I am a good person.

And, I mean, because these bad people are bad people, that totally justifies the fact that I can judge their behavior and label them as such.  And I can constantly talk about how bad they are with my all the other people in my life.  And I can angrily flip through their Facebook photos (because it’s okay to stay Facebook friends with bad people) and practice, out loud, all of the mean things I would say to these bad, meanie-heads if I wasn’t oh so pre-occupied with being the bigger person.  I mean, can you blame me?

The answer is: yes.  Yes, we can blame you.  If you’re running around acting like that, chances are you are not getting sucked up the blue light tunnel to heaven.  The is the End offers some nice perspective on what makes us all good or bad; and they seem to be suggesting that we 20-somethings (and, well, pretty much everyone else) need to take a step back and foster some self-awareness.  And I think I agree with them.  For a generation that is completely obsessed with ourselves, we really could use some self-awareness.  Then you might notice that the a** hole who just aggressively cut you off on the highway did so because you were joy riding in the passing lane, swerving along to Taylor Swift.  Or, who knows, maybe you’d realize that it actually sort of was your fault that you were fired because no one forced you to publish all those very unprofessional, very graphic Facebook status updates about how much you hate your job and/or anything else in your life. (To the people doing that­–please stop. Trust me. I’m saying this because I love you, and you’ll thank me one day.)  And if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll realize that you used to think your ex-friend, -love buddy, -family member (you know, figuratively), -employer, -co-worker, and/or –healthcare provider was a good person.  Chances are, they’re still a good person and, if it ended, there was something you could have done differently, too.

So take Seth and Evan’s advice: start taking responsibility for yourself, say sorry if you need to, learn from your mistakes, and just move on.  If we’re inherently anything, it’s stupid, so it’d be wise to let others make mistakes as well.

Unless it’s that homegirl who hates Beyonce. I wasn’t kidding about that.

Will You Be My Friend?

One thing that happens often when you move to a new city is you get set up on many a Blind Friend Date (BFD). And no, I do not mean going on dates with blind friends. Rather, a BFD is an arranged meeting with a prospective new buddy in your new city.  Your loved ones back from whence you came worry about your [lack of a] social life so much that they go out of their way to set you up with people they think might be your next best friend forever. A BFD for a potential new BFF.

I very much enjoy making new friends. Honestly, I do. And I don’t know, maybe it’s the “blind” part or simply the fact that I’m not entirely sure that California Kirsten is ready to be released on the greater Los Angeles public just yet, but I can confidently say that the practice of platonic dating sends me into such an anxious tizzy that I become a straight up loon. I grossly over think the entire process: am I dressed okay? Am I smiling too much?  Am I using enough pop-culture reference to seem cool? How many text messages can I send before I seem desperate?  I become a social chameleon. And while that might seem like a positive thing, trust me when I say that it’s not. When trying to forge a new friendship, my main focus becomes impressing the other person.  I laugh way too hard at their jokes. I compliment them way too much. If they’re into a band I’ve never heard of, I’m googling song names on my phone while they’re in the bathroom to make it seem like I have. My social anxieties take hold, and I start selling myself as if I were a used car salesman, horrible checkered suit and all.

I’ve found that one’s 20s deals a heaping helping of perspective when it comes to the notion of friendship. And that, as I’m sure you know, is both a good and a bad thing. On one hand, you’re finally starting to find yourself and bask in your individuality (or, in my case, extreme quirkiness), and therefore you’re meeting new, interesting people who you may not have been friends with back before you were okay with admitting what a dork you are. On the other hand, it’s that really awesome, super fantastic time when some of your lady friends are getting married; and of course that means they have to rank their lady friends in order of importance to pick the beloved bridesmaids (which I am quite certain has ended a friendship or two). On the other hand, maybe you can finally understand what it means to be popular because you’re a starving artist like me, and you have 35 separate jobs and, consequently, many different groups of friends.  On the other hand, because one’s 20s are a time of doing something crazy like moving to a new city, that unfortunately means your old everyday friends cease to be a part of your everyday.  Up and down and up and down.

It would seem that, like everything else, 20-something friendship is just as much a roller coaster as our 20-something love lives, professional lives, self-confidence, and number beside the phrase “checking account.” And of course there will be moments when what’s left of your insecure, egotistical side will take over and you will entertain some unnecessary, drama-tastic fight with someone you actually do care about. (And, I promise you, the reason will likely be stupid, but you’ll be too stubborn to admit that to yourself until you’re 40.) And, of course, seeing as your love life, professional life, self-confidence and number beside the phrase “checking account” fluctuates the way that it does, you get all whiney and anxious about meeting new people and forging new emotional connections. Most nights you’d rather stay at home, stress eating and watching cat videos on YouTube. Especially in a new city (hypothetically speaking).

Well, guess what? My words of wisdom are these: you just have to stop over thinking it and get over yourself. Also, grow up and stop acting like you’re 80.

I’ve had a couple BFDs. They went well. I’m seeing one of them again soon. I’ll let you know how it goes.