On having her Shhhhh Together.

Twice in the past couple months or so, in normal 20-something conversation, two friends nonchalantly referred to me as someone who has their shi*t together.  My inner monologue response went something like this:

You talkin ’to me? You…talkin’ to me?!  

Neither occasion did I ask them to expound on their opinion further; it was nice, nay astounding to hear those words from two people that I genuinely admire and respect.  I knew if I asked them why they thought this, I would then hear a list of ways in which I appear* to have my sh*t together.  And the gig would be up.

Our generation bears a great psychological burden that our foremothers and fathers certainly did not: social media.  Disguised as a mode of networking, social media (hereinafter referred to as “Facebook”) has become the official arena of emotional self-destruction.  It’s like driving past a car wreck on the highway: you don’t want to look at it, but you can’t tear your eyes away.  We use it to b*tch about our jobs, stalk our exes, post an excessive amount of Buzzfeed articles about how life was easier in the 90s, and compare ourselves to everyone else there is, like, all the freakin’ time.

But then there are those that know the secret:

Those particularly savvy among us that use Facebook primarily to promote themselves.  It’s a magical social device wherein one posts almost exclusively about the positive things happening in one’s life.  And depending on your personal flair for embellishments, actively promoting one’s self on Facebook may create the illusion that one does in fact have one’s sh*t together.

Full disclosure:  I, myself, employ this very social device.  Shamelessly.  It is likely your lovely eyes are only gracing this article because I posted it not once, but twice on Facebook.  I’m a freelance writer/production assistant–can you blame me? (Thank you for reading my work, by the way.  You have great taste.)

Last week someone asked me how things were going.  A simple question really.  I responded as honestly as I could:  I’m walking the line between overwhelmingly happy and horribly overwhelmed.  That complicated answer is the whole truth, and nothing but the truth behind my everyday.  I’m living the reality of a mid-late 20-something.

It can be grueling.

A few ways in which I’ve learned to handle the heat:

1. I read books written by female comedians for inspiration.

2. I watch The Walking Dead for a reminder that things could be worse.

3. I’ve become a regular at my local Pinkberry and all that implies.

Another thing I do to manage stress is hike fairly regularly.  It’s my official me time.  One day this past week, with the help of a power playlist, I was feeling particularly pumped up.  Suddenly, maneuvering my way up Runyon Canyon became so much more than a hike.  My legs were burning, I was sweating an ungodly amount, and there was even a moment I thought I might narf.  But every once in a while I would turn around to look out over my [smog-covered, cancer-causing] city, the endorphins would swell within me, and my inner fitness trainer (Dennis) would yell “KEEP GOING! IT’S WORTH IT! THIS JOURNEY UP RUNYON IS CLEARLY A METAPHOR FOR YOUR LIFE!”  And I’d trudge on, all the while thinking about how I am going to write the greatest, most inspirational blog post for my peers about how hiking is like 20-something life: horribly uncomfortable, but totally eye-opening and significant in the end.  It’s the journey, after all.

And then I would reach the summit (yep, “summit”), panting and dumping the contents of my water bottle over my face; and I’d think, “Hiking? An inspirational metaphor for your 20s?  You’re not writing that blog, you pretentious nitwit.  Now get home, I’m hungry.”

The two friends that made the observation of my appearing* to have my sh*t together are young artists like me.  They have big dreams and an “insufficient amount of real world experience” going head to head with an economy that has seen better days.  They are no less talented, no less driven than me.  They’re living the reality of  mid-late 20-somethings.

It’s grueling.

And so to them I say this:

Success is an optical illusion to a 20-something on Facebook.

Take it from a sister, and fake it ‘til ya make it; and then, come your 30s, revel in the fact that you reached the summit (wink).

 

Miles, I am your fairy godmother.

I was raised in the Catholic Church.

Well, obviously I wasn’t raised in the Catholic Church.  I grew up in a house, with a yard, a dog, and a heaping helping of dysfunctional drama; but we went to church [most] Sundays, did the Advent schpeel at Christmas, and always gave up something for Lent.  We were pretty normal.

Sometime in my late college days, I abandoned the whole church thing to explore my soul or some such nonsense.  Ugh, dogma was so not for me.  (Dirty Hippy, an old man grumbles somewhere.)  Nowadays, of course, I’m attempting to discover spirituality in my own more practical way.

But, I mean, once a Catholic, always a bit of a Catholic, right?

Recently, before boarding a plane to LA, my very Catholic grandmother handed me a small, ornate pouch.  I asked her what it was.  She just replied, “Open it.”  It was a rosary.  There was nothing else to say.  The rosary pouch has been living in my purse, untouched, for about a month.  I’m afraid to remove it.  It could be the reason God suddenly seems to like me.

As a kid, my vision of heaven was basically what a crafty set up looks like on a film set: a long table with snacks, and mini wieners, and dip, and Red Vines, and donuts and even apples.  And behind that table, sitting on a cloud, was God.  It was an epically awesome vision.  Let’s just say I try to be nice to everyone in case there really is a heaven and that’s really what it’s like.

On the fourth of July, while enjoying the evening’s celebration, I saw a man dressed like Jesus, standing under a street lamp, talking to some folks; and for minute, I actually thought, sh*t is this it?  I thought it might be the Apocalypse. (In my defense, the man had an uncanny resemblance to the white guy who plays Jesus in that Good Friday movie my mom used to make us watch as kids.)

One of my dearest gal pals gave birth to her first son Miles Aaron on that same fourth of July night (although, as she’s a Michigander, it was 1:30am on the fifth).  I am not this baby’s godmother; however, as my gal pal and I are creative types, we came up with an alternate title.  I am the fairy godmother.  (Weirdo, an old lady whispers somewhere.)

The role of a godparent in the Catholic Church is a very important one.   They’re basically entrusted with the safety of their godchild’s soul.  It can be a truly beautiful relationship when done right.  Like I said, however, I am not Miles’ official Catholic godmother.  He’s Jewish, anyway.  But since I’m a dirty hippy, weirdo creative type with Catholic guilt that resurfaces at strange times, I plan to take the role of fairy godmother just as seriously.

The following is a small list of fairy godmother vows I make to my fairy godson Miles:

1. I promise that we will always eat dessert first at my house.  Every kid deserves an aunt that has an unhealthy relationship with candy.  It’s only fair.

2. I promise to secretly, but severely judge your first two (2) serious girlfriends.  They won’t be good enough for you.  Sorry.  But, as a counter-offer, I further promise to convince your mother to give them a chance (because she will be judging them far more severely and out rightly).

3. I promise to hold hands and skip through a sunny, open, flower-filled field with you one day.  Okay, let me explain.  Before you were born, I was convinced you were a girl.  And, just like my vision of heaven, I had dreams that she and I would one day skip through a sunny, flower-filled open field.  Don’t worry–I’ll do it when you’re old enough to run, but still young enough to block it from your memory.

4. I promise to introduce you to one of the most influential and flawless films ever made: Hocus Pocus.

5. I promise to convert to memory at least one magic trick so you can tell your friends you have a magical fairy godmother.  (But only until you’re like 10.  Stupid mean kids might start making fun of you past that point.)  (Better yet, maybe we should keep this one between us.)

6.  Finally, I promise to never stay away too long.  And if for some reason I should, promise to send lots of weird, mushy letters in the actual mail.  Signed with love, from your weird Aunt Fairy Godmother KK.

If we think of any more fairy godmother promises along the way, we’ll tack them on.  Our adventures will be epically awesome.  After all, a crazy guy dressed like Jesus appeared before me on the night of your birth.

You don’t get a clearer sign than that.