Season Four, Episode One: Learning to Love That Bass

I am in love with the Meghan Trainor song, “All About That Bass”.  It’s so catchy.

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

I’m 5’1″, 137-140 pounds, and I am definitely all about the bass.  I have an hourglass shape, with curves for days–I wish that being a 34DD with a big butt had been on trend when I was a teenager.  I don’t think I actually accepted myself for the awesome and sexy person I am until the past few months or so.  And I find that incredibly sad.  I’ve averaged a size 8 in pants since I was twelve, surrounded by girls who were stick thin and were proud of their size 0/00 status…I felt fat for years and unattractive and just disgusting.

It’s probably no surprise then, that I developed an eating disorder when I was in seventh grade.

I remember feeling like I went to bed a 14/16 in the girls’ section of the clothing department, flat chested and shapeless, and waking up this curvaceous woman with boobs and hips and thighs and a butt.  Ohmigod, a butt.  I am multiracial, a beautiful combination of Cherokee-American, Creole, German, Irish, and Italian–but it seemed that I was the curviest white girl I had ever seen.  I’m sure I was exaggerating in the dramatic way that teenagers often do, but I was ashamed of my body and all the unwanted attention that came with it.  I retreated in baggy boys’ jeans and way-too-big tee shirts and loose sweatpants.  I walked with my shoulders hunched over so that no one would focus on my chest.  I hated walking down the street and being honked at by men my mother’s age.  I felt like a piece of meat, and all I wanted was to make all that attention and ugly feelings I had inside go away.

So I stopped eating, here and there.  I’d skip breakfast, maybe lunch.  I ate dinner and would break down after a few days of self-imposed semi-starvation and endless, stupid bouts of exercise–I’d eat until my stomach hurt.  I would feel disgusted with myself immediately after, but I could never make myself vomit.  I tried many times, sticking my finger down my throat, trying a toothbrush because I’d heard the bristles would make you gag…I was vain, I suppose, and didn’t want the acid from my stomach to erode my teeth and I didn’t want broken blood vessels in my eyes from the pressure of throwing up.  I liked the power that came with telling myself I wasn’t hungry, even though my stomach was rumbling and my blood sugar was so low that I would shake until I downed sugary sodas or wolfed down a candy bar.  It was a vicious cycle.

I was careful, though.  My mom would get suspicious of my eating habits, so I remained around 128-130 for most of my teenage years.  When I got pregnant with my son when I was 18, I was terrified of getting fat.  I barely ate, I was constantly sick (to this day I wonder if my nine month bout with severe morning sickness was mostly in my head)…I only gained 16 pounds, and weighed five pounds less than what I weighed pre-pregnancy the day after I had my son.  I hovered at my size 8 status, but things were good, with the exception of a brief stint of not eating for two weeks when I broke up with his father.  I was eating, I was happy, and life was pretty good.  I abused diet pills here and there, but nothing that would really call for concerned attention.

At my last job, I gained a lot of weight.  I was a receptionist, and I sat for hours upon hours a day, six days a week.  I hated my job, and drowned my sorrows and frustrations in milkshakes and junk food.  I wound up gaining roughly forty pounds over four years.  I had ballooned to 165 pounds by February 2012.  I remember hearing that number and all of the old thoughts and feeling came rushing back like a runaway freight train.  I was living with my parents still at that time, and we had no scale at our house because my mom knew I had eating issues, and she said a scale would encourage unhealthy behavior.  My boyfriend at the time was overweight, and he suggested that we try losing weight together–I bought a scale, and kept it in my room.  Naturally the act of weighing myself became an obsessive act that I went through several times a day, and pretty soon it was a rush to see the numbers go down.  I was disgusted with myself, especially when my size 12/13 pants wouldn’t go up over my thighs.  I remember bursting into tears in my boyfriend’s hotel room.

I stopped eating, slowly at first–eating disorders creep up on you like falling asleep, slowly at first and then all at once.  It’s crazy how much food and hunger occupied my thoughts.  Once the casino opened, it was easy to drop the weight.  I worked the graveyard shift, so I slept all day and barely ate when I was awake.  Fifteen pounds melted away in the span of mid-May to the end of June.  People began commenting on how great I looked, which was like crack.  I loved hearing how skinny I was getting, so I cut back on food even more.  I lived on a steady diet of Mountain Dew, Red Bull, and carefully rationed out junk food.  I got back into the habit of lying to everyone around me, and the scale showed that I was losing an average of a pound to three pounds a week.  For the first time in my life, I was an actual anorexic.  I had finally fallen over the thin line I’d walked since 1997.  The scariest thing wasn’t the actual act of starving myself, rather it was how incredibly easy it had been to starve myself.

I have always said that it takes a strong mind to have an eating disorder.  It takes a lot of self-control to deny yourself the basic need of food.  I remember being able to tell myself to shut the fuck up because I wasn’t hungry, and if I ate, I might lose my boyfriend–he had made a comment, probably innocuous, about how he had only dated like one or two other curvy girls in his life, and that he usually dated slender, athletic women.  I was secretly and quietly threatened by his ex-wife–he had shown me pictures of her from their wedding and honeymoon, and she was this thin, fit, pretty monster that terrified me.  I knew deep down that he wasn’t over her, and I didn’t want him to leave me for her (even though he did eventually).  I think that was a huge factor that kept me from breaking down and eating everything in sight–and the thought of him not being attracted to me because I was fat made it that much easier to starve myself.  The smell of food made me nauseous, the thought of eating made me panic.  It felt so good to be hungry, to be lightheaded.  It was sick, twisted, and disgusting, but God did it feel good.

I remember one night at work the air conditioning went out.  It was mid-July, and in Cleveland, summers are humid and unforgiving.  The casino was packed with bodies, and I hadn’t eaten in three days.  I’d felt weird, almost tingly, when I had clocked out my previous shift and I had ignored it, even when my legs felt like jelly when I woke up that night.  I had been on the roulette table when I got extremely light headed and my legs went to spaghetti and I almost collapsed twice on the live game.  I had to be tapped out and went down to the break room, where I drank Gatorade and blamed the entire thing on the heat.  I was really good at being in denial.

By the end of September, I was nearly down thirty pounds and lied my ass off to everyone around me.  2013 proved a bad year for me, and I fell even deeper into my vicious cycle.  I lived on my own and no longer had my mother’s watchful eye over me, making sure I didn’t get too skinny.  The combination of losing my boyfriend and the anxiety of work and living alone was a terrible one, causing me to drop to 120 pounds.  All I did was lie about my weight loss and brag about how thin I was.  I was in denial about my terrible migraines and the fact that I was constantly freezing cold and how my brain seemed to be wrapped in a thick fog.  My thoughts were slower and my heart pounded like a tribal drum instead of a normal heartbeat.  You could see my ribs and faintly my sternum.  My collarbone protruded, and I thought I looked great.  I was skinny, and I was miserable, but I was skinny, goddamn it.  If I couldn’t have control over anything else in my life, I sure as hell would have control over my weight.

I’m not really sure what made me take a step back and look at how fucked up I was.  I would like to say my son, but I would be lying.  I’m not really sure what was the deciding factor was–I remember looking at a picture of myself from my 28th birthday and thinking I looked like a bobblehead doll.  My best friend ran her first marathon.  My dad was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.  I think perhaps it was all of those things.  I wanted to be happy, I wanted to stop being so miserable, to stop thinking about food and about all the pain I carried around inside of me.

I started eating again.  I started going to the gym, and I started running and doing strength training.  I remember looking in the mirror one day and thinking Oh my god, I have muscles.  I’ve never had muscles before, and I look great.  I embraced my butt, my hips, my thighs.  Without them, I wouldn’t be able to run, or fill out a pair of jeans or leggings.  I like what I see in the mirror.  I still panic at the 137-140 that I see on the scale at the gym.  I probably always will.  I still have the tendency to skip meals and lie about if I’ve eaten or not, but I’m improving.  I’ll never be a size 2, and I think I’m okay with that.  For the first time in my life, I’m okay with how I look for the most part.

And that’s why I love that song.  It’s the song that I should have heard as a teenage girl.  Maybe if I had known that I was beautiful no matter what dress size I was, maybe I wouldn’t have fallen so far down the rabbit hole.  I’m thankful that with the rise of multiracial children in our country, the notion of beauty has changed.  Curves are celebrated and even envied.  A big butt is coveted.  It’s perfectly fine to be bigger than a size 4.  It’s fine to be all about the bass, even the treble.  You can be thin or curvy, just as long as you are happy and healthy.  Girls, you are beautiful.  Stop fat shaming each other.  Stop skinny shaming.  Embrace the fact that we are all different, and that we shouldn’t want to look like Barbie or a stick thin skeleton.  Healthiness is all that should matter–fuck what society says is acceptable.

I know you think you’re fat
But I’m here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

Yeah my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along

Because you know I’m
All about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass

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Season Two, Episode Five: Of Quarterlife Crises and New Starts

I turned 27 this past December.  At the end of the year, I will be 28.

And in 2015, I will be 30.

I know it sounds stupid, but the thought of turning 30 never really was one that I entertained myself with.  I was always busy with the hopes and dreams that I had in my teens and early twenties, always thinking of where I would be by 30.  It seemed like a magical age that I’d reach in what seemed like decades–at 17, 30 seemed like light years away.  I had so many things that I wanted to do and see “when I grew up”…I’ll share a few with you:

*Graduate from college

*Have a fabulous career where I make lots of money and am happy

*Become a singer on the side and become famous

*Fall in love with someone who loves me for me

*Get married and stay married

*Have kids

*Travel the world

*Move to NYC and live a wonderfully trendy and fabulous life that everyone back in Cleveland would be envious of

*Write a novel and get it published and have it sell very successfully…and hopefully write a few more that have the same success

*Buy a beautiful house to live in with my husband and kids

*Be happy and content

High school Me, the end of sophomore year, 2002.

High school Me, the end of sophomore year, 2002.

I guess I’ve attained a few of those things, but for the most part I have not.  I’m not married.  I don’t live in NYC.  I rent a house with my beautiful and funny son.  I’ve traveled to a few places, but certainly not the world–more or less the eastern half of the United States and a bit of Canada.  I have never finished a single story I have written, so I very well haven’t had a novel published.  I haven’t even finished my freshman year of college…or become a famous singer.  I suppose I have a lot of time to achieve these goals and dreams, but all this dreaming of the future all these years reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite novels, Looking for Alaska:

“Jesus, I’m not going to be one of those people who sits around talking about what they’re gonna do.  I’m just going to do it.  Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia…You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it.  You just use the future to escape the present.”

Alaska was so right.  You spend all of your teenage years dreaming about what you’re going to do after high school, and then you spend your college years thinking about what you are going to do after college…and then when plans don’t go the way you wanted them to, you think up a new future to try to strive toward, but you actually never achieve all the things you’ve planned.  You spend so much time dreaming about what you are going to do/be when you grow up that when you actually grow up, all your expectations don’t get met the way you planned and your dream life is yanked out from under you.  I think that usually you start to realize that life isn’t going to be everything you hoped when you are in your mid-twenties.  You aren’t going to achieve all your dreams and holy shit, you’re an actual fucking adult.  It’s weird to think of myself as an adult.  I’ve never really thought about that until recently.  I mean…I know that I’m an adult.  I became a legal adult at 18.  But in the actual physical/mental sense…it’s weird.

I guess I was forced to become an adult when I had Nicky at 19, but even though I worked full time to support him as a single mom, I wasn’t an actual real adult, in the sense of the word.  I still lived at home, still relied on my parents for a ton of things.  But one could also argue that living on your own doesn’t make you an adult either.  I think it’s just the sum of the parts that you experience over time that become the whole…like the heartache and the growing pains and the separation anxiety and the ripping off of the metaphorical Band-Aid of Life and the new beginnings and the jobs you love and the jobs you hate and the friends you make and the ones you leave behind and falling in love and just every little thing that you go through that shapes you into who you are that makes you an adult.  You are constantly always growing up.  I think that becoming an adult is a life-long, ever-changing process–you are never fully “grown up”.  You never fully stop experiencing life until the day you die.

I’ve also realized that I am growing older.  I’m aging.  I will one day die.  It’s a scary thing to think of…it’s scary to think that this body that has carried me through 27 years of bumps and scrapes and fabulous memories is slowly falling apart.  I looked in the mirror the other day and noticed that I am beginning to get fine lines under my eyes.  I have a sunspot from my many years of disregarding the use of sunscreen as a youth…I always read about sun damage as a teenager and wasn’t worried because that happened to “old people”.  Well, Stupid Teenage Lashawn, I am not old and I’ve had this stupid sunspot since I was 25.  I’ve been trying to lighten it with over the counter stuff, but I think I will eventually get Fraxel to remove it.  I’m starting to pay for the sins that I made out of ignorance as a teenager.  I’m getting a few gray hairs.  I get tired more easily than I did when I was 17.  I’m beginning to realize that I am not invincible, I am not immortal.  I don’t get a “do over”.  There is no reset button.  I can’t rewind back and try to change the things I did, the mistakes I made.  I’m realizing that my parents are getting older.  My dad will be 70 next year, my mom 50.  They won’t be around forever.  It’s terrifying to think of them growing old.  I can’t imagine them dying, and I know that it is a reality that I will face in the next quarter century, possibly sooner.  There’s nothing I can do to stop any of this from happening.  I can’t press pause and slow life down.  Time goes forward, constantly pressing onward, with or without me.

But even through all of the fears and where the hell am I going and what the hell am I doing, there is happiness.  My son is growing up.  We live on our own.  I’ve fallen on my face and gotten back up again.  I’ve had my heart broken by men who didn’t deserve it, and it made me stronger.  I’ve felt incredibly lonely.  I’ve been surrounded by my family.  I have loved with all my heart and made friends with people who I truly care about.  I have a job I enjoy.  I am happy with my small successes.  I am still hopeful that I will make some kind of positive impact on the world, even if it is just a small one.

But I still don’t know what I want or where exactly I’m going or what I intend to do with the rest of my life.  I don’t have any of the answers.  Ask me again when I’m 30.  Maybe I’ll have an idea then.

“I rent a room and I fill the spaces with / Wood in places to make it feel like home / But all I feel’s alone / It might be a quarter life crisis / Or just the stirring in my soul / Either way I wonder sometimes / About the outcome / Of a still verdictless life

Am I living it right? / Am I living it right? / Am I living it right? / Why, why, Georgia, why?”

                                                                                                          –“Why Georgia”, John Mayer

Season Two, Episode Two: I <3 NYC.

I went to NYC like almost a month ago.

I know. I suck. I am a procrastinating fool, and have kept my pictures to myself for nearly a month. In that month, however, life had been lived, tears had been shed, misunderstandings made, and Hurricane Sandy decided to be a bitch to pretty much everyone in somewhat close proximity to the East Coast. It was my first brush with a hurricane, and although it wasn’t actually a hurricane per se when it came ashore (Pfft to those guys at TWC–no one cares that it lost tropical characteristics right before landfall. That shit was a hurricane to me. I’m from Ohio. Trust me.), there was a lot of havoc that was wreaked and shit got crazy. Lake Erie was all over the place and I dealt roulette in the midst of a superstorm. Things may have been forgotten in the course of time. My bad.

But anyway, I went to NYC. And it was fantastic…well…kinda. it probably would have been fantastic if I hadn’t been all touristed out. So many tourists. I have never heard so many people speaking French in my life…and I live across the lake from Canada. Plus I’m short and navigating successfully through large crowds of tourists is particularly awful, especially when said tourists are rude–the actual New Yorkers that I came into contact with were actually pretty nice and I liked them a lot. Gold stars all around, Mayor Bloomberg 🙂

I’m probably going to get some shit for this, but NYC felt a lot like Chicago…and a lot like home. I know, I know, NYC is the greatest city in the world, how the hell can I even begin to compare it to CLE? How can I even say “meh” to the glorious glittery concrete jungle that is New York City? Well…Cleveland is actually kind of architecturally similar to the Big Apple. We used to be called the Plum or something back in the day when people didn’t really make fun of us for burning rivers or shitty sports teams. They film movies here and trick you into thinking it was actually filmed in NYC. So it kind of felt like home. And Chicago. Because of the urban chicness of it all and the vastness. I don’t know…maybe I am blind. Or jaded. Or both. I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong though. I loved a lot of it. I loved most of it. Our hotel was in Hell’s Kitchen, and I loved the area around it. We were right down the street from the Port Authority Terminal. And Papaya Dog’s papaya juice was delicious. Cornerstone Cafe in the East Village was quaint and the penne bolognese was so good. The hot dogs at Crif Dog were amazing. I loved the random $0.99 pizza shops sprinkled throughout the city, and the seemingly hundreds of delicatessens on every block. I adored the East Village and I loved that Times Square was literally a ten minute walk from our room. The Forever 21 store at Times Square was the biggest Forever 21 I’ve ever been in and the clothes were fabulous. MoMa was breathtaking. I could have spent all day at the Met. The 9/11 memorial was beautiful and silently tragic and I recommend that every American should try to go to Ground Zero and just absorb the magnitude of horror that happened there. It’s silly but I loved the sidewalks and how the concrete literally sparkled in the sunlight–I remember reading somewhere that glass was ground up into the cement so that it would sparkle. Central Park was everything I’ve ever imagined. Uniqlo was quirky, I’m so glad they have an online store now…SoHo was eclectic. The raspberry swirl cheesecake from Junior’s was so good. I did so much walking that my calves and feet were on fire by the time Sunday morning came around–I ate so much good food that even with all the walking I did, I still gained five pounds in four days. It was great. I really enjoyed myself and the time away with my boyfriend…my only regret is that we did so much touristy stuff that we didn’t get to see the city for all the brilliant little facets that make up the entire jewel of NYC, and in that we didn’t get to truly enjoy all the time we had together. I would love to go back again and see everything that we didn’t have time to see 🙂

On to the photos!

Hahaha…I was walking through the airport terminal and I just couldn’t resist.

You may laugh, but I was completely blown away by this little contraption that was in the cab. It’s a TV/GPS/sorcerer in a box–AND you can pay your fare with a freaking credit card. Sorry. I’m from the Midwest 😛

Times Square at dusk. Loved it!

I was sitting on a bench across from the Ed Sullivan Theater when I took this picture. I didn’t really notice the guy with the flowers until later…I wonder if he was heading to a first date or the hospital to see a sick loved one or if he was bringing those flowers to his girlfriend/wife as an anniversary surprise or as an apology…or if he’d brought those flowers and had been rejected and was out walking to clear his head. Only me, haha.

My boyfriend took this in front of the Chase Fountain…I think somewhere near Rockefeller Center? I love this picture of me <;3

Love this one too…This was taken in front of a piano jazz place on Restaurant Row.

Our hotel, as seen from the outside.

Part of one of the memorial fountains at the 9/11 Memorial.

The 9/11 Survivor Tree.

A real life subway performer. Our train came before I got to hear him perform.

Central Park West. So pretty!

A Belgian waffle cart in Central Park. “No delicious waffles for me” said Lashawn not ever.

Omffffff….Dulce de leche, Belgian hot fudge, whipped cream, and powdered sugar all on one delicious little waffle. No wonder I gained five pounds.

I loved this sculpture for some reason. Maybe it’s because she was falling into a pond? Don’t know.

The NYC skyline at night from seen from Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center.

Hahahaha…I totally thought of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs when I saw this. Gummi bears!!!!

A Saturday afternoon street fair in SoHo.

A street view of Little Italy.

This guy was golfing with milk cartons. I f’ing LOVE it!

Part of the East Village. I really loved this neighborhood…if I were to hypothetically live in NYC, I think I’d live in the East Village.

Oh, Papaya Dog on 42nd…You and your delicious papaya juice. So smooth, so refreshing. How I miss you.

Season One, Episode Nineteen: Rocking the Boat

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
                                                                                                                                                                         —Oscar Wilde

I love that quote.

And how true it is.  Our entire lives, from the moment we can comprehend human speech all the way through young adulthood, we are told we are special.  We are told that there is no one else in the world that is exactly like us.  No one has the exact same fingerprints, no one has the exact same DNA, even identical twins.  We’re all different.

Except we’re not.

Especially now.  We live in a generation where it’s all already been done.  Hollywood, books, music, fashion, life…all been done.  So we try to recycle and remake our society‘s culture, try to recreate the past in a collective mash-up of old and what we think to be new.  We strive so hard to be that special kind of different that we ultimately lose touch with reality.  Our desire for uniqueness has bred a generation of narcissists who are more interested in their imagined self-importance.  And yet…Most of us don’t live a single unique moment in our lives.

We spend most of our time mirroring others, gauging others’ opinions of us and striving to be liked.  How many women follow the actions of the Kardashians and other “reality” shows with rapt attention?  How many of us spend painstaking hours following the latest trends and fashions in Hollywood, so that we can all look like generic re-creations of our favorite celebrities?  How many of us regurgitate what we read in the newspaper or saw on the news and try to pass off as our own intellect?  How many of us hide behind others’ words and try to make them our own, either through repetition or through our daily actions?

We all do.  We mimic each other as a way of safely assimilating into society, because we all want to belong.  It’s part of what makes us inherently human.  We need company, and we need to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of community.  The ones that think outside of the metaphorical box are thought of as weird, that there must be something wrong with the way they are wired because society doesn’t behave like that.  We blend seamlessly into the background and let the ones who are “weird” really do all the living.  We would rather be a community of muted shades of gray rather than change the world with our own brightness.  We all tread lightly on the surface of life just so that we have a full table surrounding us on Dollar Draft Night.

My parting thought to you this morning is this:  I want you, after reading this post, to ask yourself what you’ve done lately to break out of that metaphorical box of sameness and positively rock the boat.  I want you to think of one positive thing that you can do today to live a life not of mimicry, not of quotations, but of your own thoughts, your own actions.  What is one thing that you want to do for you, and not for the other seven billion lives on this planet?  And once you think of it, please do it…because, well, we are all different, and it’s in rocking the societal boat that we can celebrate our uniqueness.

The world was changed by those who thought outside of the box.

Season One, Episode Six: Through The Looking Glass

I was on the site 20 Something Bloggers earlier, and one blogger, Andrea Regueria, posted in one forum a great topic to blog about–writing your teenage self a letter.  I did a lot of stupid stuff towards the end of my teen years–goofing off my junior and senior years, failing a few classes that I had no business failing, not walking with my class, getting pregnant at 18 and becoming a mom at 19, getting dumped by Nicky’s idiot father at 20, failing horribly at two (count them, two!) universities and ultimately losing financial aid at both schools–some of which made me into the person that I am today, the rest just stuff that I wish I could go back in time and kick my teenage ass over.  Instead of writing a letter, which would be too time consuming, and let’s face it, Teenage Me wouldn’t have bothered to read it because I thought I knew every damn thing back then, I am going to give Teenage Me just a little advice and a heads up on the consequences that lurk ahead in the years to come.

Christ...This is probably from between 2002 and 2004, making me anywhere from 16 to 18. I'm leaning more towards 16, but anyway, I'm the girl in the middle. I look pretty much exactly the same.

*You won’t believe me now, you won’t see it until you’re about 25, but you are absolutely beautiful.  I know you think you are ugly and you want plastic surgery on the nose you think is too big and you hate your high forehead and all your curves and features that don’t exactly blend in with all your friends, but you are so, so beautiful.  I wish you would see it for yourself at 16 because that would stem the tide of bad decisions that you make in the next few years.

*Don’t worry so much about having a boyfriend.  You’ll learn that you’re completely fine without one.  I know you think you are a loser because you haven’t been kissed yet, but you aren’t a loser.  You aren’t ugly or hideous or gross.  You just go to an all girls’ school and you are insanely sheltered.  In a year’s time, you will kiss a stupid boy at Burger King who just wants to get in your pants and since you won’t give it up, pretty much ignores you forever.  You won’t even like him.  You will feel like an idiot, and I wish that you would listen to Jari, but I know you think that there is something wrong with you if you don’t kiss him.  Please don’t kiss him.  Save that kiss for someone who deserves it.  That kiss leads to a long line of stupid mistakes with guys that you still will have a hard time with when you are nearly 26.

*School is so important.  So much more important that the kids you are going to meet at Burger King, the same kids that you try to fit in so badly with because they think you are stuck up because you go to a Catholic school and this Burger King thing is the first time in your life that you feel like you don’t exactly fit in at all.  Don’t blow your 3.5 GPA over these kids.  It’s not worth it.  You are going to screw up so bad in the next two years and everything you worked for since Kindergarten is going to go down the drain.  You never get to join NHS, you never get to graduate with honors.  Remember that you wanted to graduate with honors.  Please, please do your homework and get up and go to class.  And please stop thinking your SJA friends are lame.  They are not lame.  They all go on to four year universities while you become a teen mom who is struggling to pay her bills.  And 10 years from now you will be a receptionist who makes $10.25 an hour and is still a freshman in college.  Please just focus on school.

*You have no idea how much that postcard from Yale will still mean to you at 25.

*Stop being such a bitch.  You will regret some of the things you did and the way you treated people when you lay in bed at night years and years down the road.

*After you get pregnant, which you will do because you will become a mom to the most beautiful and amazing boy you’ll ever lay eyes upon, please just ditch his dad and do it alone.  Because you are going to do it alone anyway, and it’s easier to get rid of him before you talk yourself into falling in love with him.  You can do better, please remember that you are beautiful and you can do so much better than him.  Please don’t waste two years of your life on him.  It will take you years to finally let go and you will never trust a man with your heart ever again.  And if you don’t let go of him after you get pregnant, please don’t take him back.  He leaves you when Nicholas is 10 months old.

*Follow your dreams.  Try to become a singer.  Keep writing those stories and poems.  Don’t ever give up.

I’m sure there’s more that I could say, but I think that I covered the things that matter the most.  I think I might do another episode before my birthday in December, but please feel free to share a few things you’d share with yourself if you could 🙂

XOXO