Category Archives: musings

The Roaring Twenties

girls-season-5-hbo

When I was nine, I couldn’t wait to be in my twenties and all the question marks that entailed. At that point, most of my ideas around being an adult came from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Adventures in Babysitting. People did real-life things in their twenties, like had boyfriends and jobs and cars and stayed up way past 8pm. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I knew I wanted to get there fast. Freedom of choice, late nights, making memories, finding trouble; I couldn’t wait for the future adventures of awesome adult me.

In my thirties, I referenced my twenties like they lived next door. I’d start a story with “A few years’ back…” and later realize it had been ten. I had my first real ma’am in my thirties, where a pimply-faced worker bee scanned my face for way too long before deciding I was old enough to be ma’am-ed. I considered slashing his tires to prove how young and dumb I was, but I wasn’t that young and dumb, so I didn’t. I worried about 40 for the first time and I guess being somebody in what was now a shrinking time frame. Girls at parties said, “Oh my god, I didn’t know you were [whatever age], I thought you were [a much younger age]!” It flattered and annoyed me, these plucky young women who thought 38 was ancient and 25 was some kind of prize. I wouldn’t do 25 again, not for a lifetime supply of cheese. Was age even really that important?

In my forties, I started wondering out loud if age was really that important, and was met with mostly silence and eyerolls. I talked about my twenties with part-awe (how am I still alive after so many bad choices?? oh, me!) and part-wistfulness (remember when I could wear heels?) for all the things I thought would happen but never actually did. No older French lovers, no artist retreats, no picking up at a moment’s notice to travel the world and have adventures or explore the countryside, wherever that was. I never did – not once –  ayahuasca in the jungle with Tom Robbins or some other literary giant. None of these things happened because 1) I’m not a blond chick in a movie and 2) I was too busy barely surviving. I was broke and also broken, or at least in the process of breaking, and not for the first time. I bumbled my way through that decade, making lovely people cringe and simple things harder, never knowing what direction to go in. So far, this is what I remember most about my twenties.

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So Many Syndromes

imposter

There’s a bigshot intellectual at this party, some internet tech celeb I’m supposed to know. Everyone’s credentials are impressive here, or rather, I’m the least impressive person in the room. I stand up straighter and try looking smarter, like the kind of person who uses the word amalgam instead of mixed or combination.

There’s a cake in the kitchen, where the internet celeb is holding court. I excuse my way through the entire room, which I estimate is approximately 50 cakes wide, apologizing to every single person I touch — I guess to say sorry for touching them or wanting cake or being a moving person. I apologize for being in front of their faces, next to their faces, behind their faces, pretty much anywhere a face could look and I might inhabit. Sorry for existing, everyone! But I need that fucking life preserver — I mean chocolate cake.

Wherever I go, someone says hello and introduces me as such: “This is Marika, she’s the most [adjective-iest] person I know!” Hilarious, brilliant, creative, talented. Each compliment feels like I’m being doused in buckets of ice water. All I hear is “Marika is the most,” which is something I’m used to navigating. You are so extra, everything about you is just too much.

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Solar Eclipse of The Heart

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Me

I have never been friends with the sun. We’ve made our peace over the years with the help of things like sunscreen, hats, day drinking, and shade, but we both know it’s a tenuous truce at best. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try – tropical vacations, air-conditioning, designer sunglasses – the sun is still an oversized heater that makes sweating a competition. I don’t know how people in the South do it, or Africa, or cats. My sun bunny friends are usually from places like Florida, California, Texas, Mars. They have a tote bag with sun-friendly items ready to go by their front door – sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottle, chick lit, snacks – instead of the haphazardly thrown-together grocery sack I take to the beach with a bunch of middle fingers inside.

Because of this, the eclipse just didn’t hit my radar last week. Of course it was all over my social media feeds, but I willfully ignored it. I know it’s happening and that people spent hours in their cars waiting in traffic to get to some field so they can indirectly look at the same thing for ten minutes together, but that journey to Middle Earth just did not appeal to me. You could’ve said the sun was going to sing Jose Carreras’ buttery part in the Misa Criolla with Beyoncé while tossing down hundred dollar bills and fresh-baked bread (all of my favorite things), and I still would’ve been like “But I have this Game of Thrones recap to write.” Sorry.

Say hi to the sun for me. Tell him I bought two sweaters this week and can’t wait to see less of him this fall.

I do like the idea of the moon – a longtime cohort of mine and partner in darkness – blocking out the obnoxious radiance of our solar system’s biggest star, but not enough to do anything besides type ‘best solar eclipse photos of 2017’ into Google.

Most of what I’ve seen online are frenzied travelers and eclipse enthusiasts and What Not To Do infographics – How To Avoid Going Blind Forever By An Asshole Called ‘The Sun’ – and that put me off, too. If there’s an awesome thing going on that everyone is into, but it comes with dubious instructions like “Look at the sun but don’t look at the sun” and “the safest way to see the eclipse is through these non-prescription paper glasses your first grader made in school,” I’m going to take a hard pass. I’m glad it’s special for other people, but watching the sun turn into a blistering NuvaRing while it travels The Path of Totality (a path I think Tolkien would have appreciated) is not in the cards. Speaking of: a lot of my tarot card-loving friends and astrology peeps have been Dark Side of The Moon-ing over this solar eclipse, and bemoaning whatever planetary retrograde side effects it will have on our useless human forms. I look forward to that, as well as Bonnie Tyler singing Total Eclipse of The Heart during the eclipse. I always love a commitment to theme.

To check out photos of the eclipse throughout the day, the New York Times will hook you up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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