Tag Archives: health

The Roaring Twenties


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


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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On Being A Turkey


I’m currently in the middle of my favorite annual meltdown: Thanksgiving Dinner perfectionism. My chef brother makes the actual dinner – along with my mother, also a former chef – so there’s no performance pressure there. Thanksgiving is like my brother’s Olympics, SuperBowl, Christmas and birthday rolled into one giant meal for 20 people, so he generally pulls out all the stops. Keeps it somewhat traditional but mixes it up; his cranberry compote has bacon in it, for example, and one year he did three different stuffings (one was straight-up Stove Top for Yours Truly – I WON’T APOLOGIZE FOR THE BUTTERY PROCESSED CRAP IN MY LIFE).

There’s a finesse to freaking out about nothing, but after 40 years of practice, I’m at the top of my game. While the hate crimes pile up in this country and children go hungry and cats fight dogs in the street, I’ve been on Pinterest, agonizing over recipes I will never make at parties we will never throw. Welcome to Thanksgiving Privilege 2016, Population: Me.

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When Your House Is On Fire


Everyone will have words today. You know it, I know it. Loud, angry, panicked, heartbreaking words of disbelief; triumphant, jeering, chaotic voices of hatred but also hope.

Today, these are the words I need to set free from the brown female body I live in so  I can move forward and turn the fear running through my body like electricity into action:

I’m going full-on Pollyanna.

If I have to play the fucking Glad Game to remind myself of what’s good in the world every goddamn day, well that’s what I’m gonna do. No complaining about the election (unless I have a really great joke) – not in public, anyway – no moping around, waiting for the worst to happen to this brown, female body. If shit goes down in this country – which is really the only direction it can go now – I have to be ready to spring into action and push the pendulum in the other direction. I can’t be one of those people who loses and then spends the next four years alienating everyone with my insufferable ire. In two years, campaigning for re-election begins, meaning we have work to do.

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“Health”: This Is Why You’re Fat

Here’s my list of reasons, ranging from ‘The Truth’ to ‘Biatch, Please’:

-Seven months of sitting around with a broken/healing/cyber arm. The daily effort of being positive about that arm has been my undoing. Add boredom and loneliness to that effort and you have a formulaic cheeseburger ripe for overeating.

-I’m cleared for physical therapy, but not heavy exercise. The doc said I could walk or use a stationary bike, but what is that even? A bike that goes nowhere? And walking is a young person’s game, everyone knows that. I dream of being in a pool, but visualize a frog with one leg cut off swimming in tiny, ineffective circles while his asshole frog friends laugh at him in his ill-fitting bathing suit. Nope — not projecting at all.

-Grimm, and other one-word TV shows like Revenge! Deception! Scandal! Homeland! Castle! Smash! Vikings! Nashville! And my favorite, Californication! All that fornicating (and the intensely good writing) felt like six seasons of exercise to me. It’s embarrassing how much TV I watched in the past seven months, but also a little bit thrilling to feel like A Real American from Mississippi.

-Fast food and a gaping maw. The most gapingest of maws, really. Pretty sure fast food gives you cancer, if not physically, then morally. Great, now I have moral food cancer.

-Feelings: OM NOM-inally delicious! So many feelings, so little time to eat them. Hey wait, all I have is time. I’ll bet feelings go great with chocolate sauce and pork belly sandwiches.

-The internet. More specifically, This Is Why You’re Fat (dot com!), which is like a dating site for overweight carbs looking to meet bad news carbs from the wrong side of the tracks. And much like The Smoking Man from X-Files always made me want to smoke, This Is Why You’re Fat inspires me to eat terrible food wrapped in terrible food, rolled in bacon and covered in donuts.

-Everything that’s awful for me tastes fucking rad (see above). Better Cheddars and fried chicken? My affinity for them knows no diabetic bounds.

Habits, laziness. All my habits and laziness lead to Rome. And Rome burned, so there’s something to think about.

I’m 37 now. Leave me alone so I can slide into my blobby-ass forties with dignity, asshole.


Reasons, man. It always comes down to reasons. And who cares what they are, as long as you get over them?

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