RANT: Women VS. Women

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I don’t understand why some women feel the need to put other women down, specifically when it comes to beauty/weight/body images. Is the media to blame for a lot of the bullshit that women see everyday that depicts society’s definition of beauty? Sure it is. But let’s parse that for a bit–media is a function (…or product? I don’t know if that’s the right word, but you know what I mean) of society, and society is made up PEOPLE. So as much as some women like to put the blame on the media or society for allowing airbrushed pictures of models and celebrities dictate what is considered beautiful, I feel the need to also point out that women are a part of the vicious cycle too.

Like, why do some women have to say nasty shit and put another woman down about her appearance if she is thinner than they are or more attractive? If I see a hot girl on the street, do I want to be her? Of course! But am I saying to myself in a nasty way that she’s dressed like a whore (no judgment though; let’s not be the pot calling the kettle black–I like to get all whored up when I go out, too!) or that she probably had work done? No! In fact, it’s the opposite! If I see a hot girl on the street or in a magazine, I’m like, “WERK YOUR SHIT, GIRL!!! GET IT!!!” I think it’s great and lucky for whoever that badass bitch is, and I don’t like to spread the hate. So I don’t understand why some women can’t just recognize another beautiful woman and give her her props without making it about their own self-image. You don’t know what Hot Girl’s story is–maybe she’s naturally lean/built, in which case you can’t do nothin’ about it; maybe she got work done…so the fuck what?! Save your money and get your own work done, or if you’re not down with that and are all about being au naturale, then don’t hate on other women who aren’t, because it’s a lifestyle choice that ISN’T yours; maybe Hot Girl is so skinny because she has an eating disorder, in which case you shouldn’t ridicule her for it, but support your fellow chick because eating disorders are a serious thing; or maybe your girl just WORKS HER ASS OFF working out and dieting in efforts to take care of herself, and if that’s the case, then show some respect because that shit is HARD! I try to work out and eat healthy, and even I feel like I am nowhere near where some women are with their routines, and I give mad respect! Anyone that tells you that shit is easy is selling you a crash diet and doesn’t know what the fuck they are talking about because if it was easy, everyone would be fit!

And on the opposite side of that argument, why do some skinny girls (’cause let’s be real, a lot of the locker room cattiness that we all remember from high school came from the skinny girls in the “cool” clique that thought their shit didn’t stink) feel it’s ok to perpetuate negativity towards girls that don’t have that same self-confidence (although really in their case it’s more like arrogance) or aren’t as skinny as they are? As I said before, some women are genetically a certain size/shape/weight. Some women are happy and confident in their own skin, working with and loving what they’ve got, and don’t have insecurities that they need to push off on other people. Some women recognize their own beauty as something that doesn’t have to be defined by a number on a scale and realize that their own happiness is what matters most. And some women might want to make a change and need help, but instead of helping your fellow chick and being a workout or support buddy, you’re over there with the fuckin’ Mean Girls calling her fat. It’s amazing to me how some women can complain about how deeply a man can hurt their self-esteem, and yet unfortunately they are sometimes the same women who don’t realize they did the same thing to another woman when they were just girls in that high school locker room. They’re just as bad as the magazines.

So all that being said, I find it sad and shameful that some women feel the need to raise themselves up by putting other women down. That kind of behavior is a reflection on YOU and not on the person you are criticizing. At the end of the day (to loosely quote The Art of Racing in the Rain), your failures and successes are controlled by none other than yourself. So if you have things about yourself (physically or otherwise) that you are unhappy about, the solution is to take steps to fix it and make a change, NOT to judge others who don’t have the same issues. Yes, making changes of any sort is hard, but no one is gonna do it for you but you. Don’t complain about the things you’re not willing to do anything about or accept, and don’t put that shit on other people. That shit’s just not right.

On the flip side, I think that part of gaining confidence and finding happiness with yourself is learning to recognize and accept the things about ourselves (our bodies, our personalities, our lives) that we CANNOT change. If you spend your life focusing on what you can’t change, not only do you fail to see the beauty in other parts of your life (or yourself, literally), but you will always be miserable. And who wants that mojo?

Another thing I want to point out: the double standard of fat vs. skinny bitches. And I use these terms lovingly and jokingly to add some light-hearted irreverence to what I’m about to say because I know some people might take it the wrong way. Please know I don’t mean it in any kind of way, and that I’m just trying to bring up something I’ve observed: if a skinny girl says anything remotely negative about another girl being overweight (or god forbid, say the “F” [FAT] word), in the words of Shahs of Sunset‘s Lilly Ghalichi, she’s killed. But if an overweight girl (note, I’m even leery of using the “F” word now) says a skinny girl doesn’t eat, is anorexic, has an eating disorder, etc., it’s fine. No one says shit about it. But you know what? It’s not fine. It’s an unfair double standard first of all, and again, things like eating disorders are no laughing matter. So again I ask, why’s it gotta be dat way?

I’m definitely not long and lean and leggy, but yes, I am petite. I am 5 feet tall and about 98 pounds. But 1.) I’ve always been petite and 2.) I work out and try to watch my diet as best I can. I mean, you can flip it around because the grass is always greener: yeah, I’m small, but I’m Asian so I have no ass, and (unlike the rest of my family) I have no boobs. I could probably go into Aerie right now and buy a training bra. These are just some of the things that I know I can and can’t control, and so I focus on what I got. So guess what? It FUCKIN’ HURTS when you say I need to eat a cheeseburger (I do on occasion, thank-you-very-much). It’s FUCKIN’ INSULTING when you say I don’t eat. And it’s FUCKIN’ ANNOYING when you write off my workouts and say I’m a nut (although admittedly, I can be). Don’t like it? Don’t like what I post? Then don’t read it! Don’t go out to eat with me! Don’t follow me on social media! My point is, I’m doing my own thing and I’m not criticizing YOU, so why you gotta spread your hate to me? You don’t know my story, and you don’t know my body; just like I don’t know yours or pretend to.

Earlier I quoted Lilly Ghalichi from Shahs of Sunset. If you know who she is, then you know she’s rail thin. And if you follow her Instagram, you also know she gets mad hate for being so thin. People–mostly women, of course–comment on her page how she’s anoroxic, she needs to eat, and they call her all sorts of horrible names. But if you watch the Bravo series (which clearly a lot of these people don’t), you’d see that Lilly is actually one of the only ones on the show that is always eating. First of all, she is one of those people who has always been skinny; its just her body type. Her sister is like that, too. She has her cheat days like everyone else (she likes to go to In-N-Out!), but for the most part, she eats healthy, and she is always working out with a personal trainer. Anyway, my point is that the grass may seem greener on the other side, but you don’t always know what goes into keeping that grass green.

But let’s not just talk about skinny bitches. Let’s talk about some curvy ones. Now, I know a lot of people hate Kim K, but whatever, I like her and she’s perfect for my next example. Kim has curves for dayyyyyssss. Would I want to have to deal with the drama of finding jeans that fit my ass if I had a big one like she did? Probably not. But on the flip side, as someone sans curves, I have a hard time finding clothes that fit me overall because I’m small (I have been known to buy children’s clothes–true story). But would I love to have a big ass that looks bangin’ in a tight dress and be able to motorboat somebody?! Fuck, yeah! There’s an episode of Kim and Kourtney Take Miami where Kim tells Kourtney (who was concerned about losing her baby weight since Scott had been making comments about it) while they are working out that what matters is just being happy with yourself. And I totally agree! I think it’s horrible that people are so quick to call her fat, especially now when she’s pregnant. She’s not fat; she’s carrying life and growing and she is happy! I think she’s beautiful no matter what size she is, and that all women are and that we all should feel that way, pregnant or not! If anything, I think that any criticisms about her look now (because even I admit she’s had many a fashion faux pas lately) come from the fact that she’s trying too hard to be something she’s not–ie, dressing for her old, pre-pregnancy shape–which is a result of her not accepting that which she can’t control at the moment. You’re pregnant, girl! This is the one time you can wear a moo-moo and say it’s couture! You don’t need to try to squeeze into the shit you wore pre-knock up! Just be yourself, embrace where you’re at, and be happy like you said! I mean, didn’t Audrey say that happy girls are the prettiest?

…which brings me to my last point: skinny, fat, tall, short, black, yellow, purple–you are only ugly if you have an ugly personality. If you’re full of haterade or self-loathing coupled with a refusal to change your life, lifestyle, or thinking, then your heart’s ugliness and unhappiness will show in everything you do…including how you perceive and treat other people. So don’t blame it on the media; you’re part of the problem. The second you bring someone else down, you allow for that person or people like that person to perpetuate the same hate in your direction. And that’s bullshit. Instead of being catty and putting our unhappiness with ourselves on other people, we as women should support each other and encourage either! We should point out the beauty in each other both inside and out, and accept and respect each other’s individual life choices about how we treat our bodies and view ourselves. We are our own worst critics really; you can’t blame the dudes all the time, let’s be real. So instead of pointing out each other’s flaws, we should celebrate our individuality and support one another. Because it’s hard enough just being woman as it is, isn’t it?

Learn to love yourself, and you will be able to truly love others.

End rant.

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So Now What?

The original list that I wrote last year and kept on my fridge until everything was crossed off:

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A lot of people have been asking me what I plan to do with the blog now that I’ve completed my 30/30 list and my birthday has passed. I have no idea!

I originally started this blog because it was on my list of things to do, and the primary goal was to chronicle my adventures and experiences as I crossed things off. But now that I’ve done everything I planned to do, I don’t know what to do or write about next.

I did leave it open to write/rant about unrelated things with my title, but I also don’t have any immediate things to share, so I suspect any writing and ranting would be sporadic and everyone would lose interest. But that’s ok, since I never really expected anyone to really read this except for close friends and family who knew about it. My list of things to do was part of a personal journey, and so were the things I wrote about it; I had no expectations.

However, a good number of people did read and enjoy my blog, both inside and outside of my known circle, and so I’d like to thank everyone for taking the time to read my posts; I appreciate it more than you know! Your thoughts, comments, and support made it more fun for me to share my experiences. I hope you enjoyed it and have a good laugh!

Overall–and as a 30/30 summation of sorts–I am so glad I decided to do this. My list if things to do might not have been as daring as some other people’s (swim with sharks, sky dive, etc), but each thing on my list helped me grow or experience something new in some way. In particular, I’m most proud of completing the half-marathon because I really learned to push myself and I learned what I am capable of if I really put my mind to something and am dedicated. I also learned the most from those things having to do with relationships and changing things about myself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–2012 was a rough year for me. I had to really change the way I looked at and thought about certain things and people, and my list helped me refocus on the best way for me to be happy.

I guess in a way, the timing couldn’t have been better to go through all of these changes and to learn all of these things about myself before beginning a new phase of my life as I enter my 30s. I’m sad about a lot of things I had to realize or face, but happy to have less drama and heartache in my life. I know 30 is still young and that nothing about me has fundamentally changed since my birthday, but at the same time I feel like I’m in such a different place after doing all the things I did this year. In hindsight I never thought that I’d feel as changed as I do just from doing a bunch of things on a stupid list; but knowing what I know now, I can definitely say that I don’t think I’d be as happy or as proud or as at peace as I am now if I hadn’t made that list and done everything on it in the first place. As I said before, it might not have seemed like much to other people, but the things I set out to do were exactly the kind of little changes I needed to make for myself…and sometimes all it takes is a little change. :)

#30. Have a Big 30th Birthday Party!

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So it’s been exactly one week since my 30th birthday, and it’s taken me this long to write this post about my party because it’s taken me this long to recover. The morning after (the next two days after, actually) was rough, especially with my husband’s birthday following three days after with more indulgences. My birthday weekend stretched into a birthday week, and once it all died down, I had a messy apartment, laundry that reeked of booze, and I gained at least 5 pounds’ worth of cake and scotch. Turning 30 has been pretty awesome so far, lol.

So it was kiiiiinda a big deal for me to have a party for my 30th not just because 30 is a milestone birthday, but also because I generally don’t do anything for my birthday. I’m normally a fan of intimate dinners with friends and family, or sometimes I’m just happy with takeout (cheat meal!). The last “party” I had was getting together with friends and fam at a dive bar (I love a good dive bar as much as I love the bourgie places!) for my 26th, and even for my 21st I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary but go to a local place with my college roommates. That being said, my 30th birthday party, aka my DIRTY THIRTY, was all about go big or go home!

I want to say a special thank you here to my husband. He really hooked it up and put a lot of effort into make this the best, most fun, and most memorable birthday for me. Not only did he give me a new Chanel bag first thing that morning (much better than coffee!), but he went through a lot of trouble setting up the party at the venue and ordering my favorite cake from one of my favorite bakeries in the city. He took care of everything from start to finish, and basically all I had to do was show up, lol. Thank you so much baby, I love you! I was just saying to him again last night that it was one of the best nights of my life and that I’m still thinking of how much fun it was. People that attended that I spoke to recently are similarly still talking about how crazy it was. Yeah, that shit was epic!

So we went to Atlantic City and stayed for two nights at the new resort there, Revel. Ironically, Revel just filed for bankruptcy a few days prior to my birthday, and after having stayed and partied there, I can see why. Without getting into a critique of Revel’s financials and business model, I’ll just say that the resort is fucking awesome and every single thing you can think of is top notch. So they’re not losing money because the place sucks; they’re losing money because everything is so fucking expensive and it’s not casino-centric (they’re more about nightlife, concerts, and luxury experiences) and so people aren’t coming for the gambling, which should really be the main source of revenue.

Aaaaaanyway.

I was so excited and thankful to be celebrating my birthday with some of the people I love most. Our friends and family all took the time to go down and book rooms for the crazy weekend, and one of my bestest friends in the world even flew in from Boston! Once there, we checked in to our kickass room and got ready before meeting up at Village Whiskey, a sweet bar/pub that boasts an extensive whiskey menu (and we love our scotch whisky!) and bar food that includes things like fries fried in duck fat (yeah, think about that). I started off my DIRTY THIRY with a Lagavulin 16 and a Macallan 12, took some sober-looking “nice” pictures with everyone, and then we headed over to the club where shit got real.

Of the two clubs at Revel, I particularly wanted to go to Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub. I’ve been wanting to go to a legit burlesque performance for a while now (there’s one in the city I can never get tickets to), so a burlesque-themed nightclub was close enough. I think burlesque is an amazing art form and I’m so fascinated by it, so I was definitely looking forward to the club’s famed midnight performance. We had a roped off VIP section to ourselves near the front of the stage, equipped with our own stripper pole! As soon as I saw it, I tried to climb it in attempts to utilize what I had learned from the pole dancing classes I took (#4. Take a Pole Dancing Class). However, I was wearing a super tight and super short Hervé Léger (hot pink, of course) dress, and I didn’t want the cuca to make an appearance at my party so I avoided climbing it. I was able to spin though, which was still fun, but my spinning became less graceful as the night wore on and the drinks got heavier, lol.

And speaking of drinks, we had top notch bottle service! The hubs ordered two bottles of Moët, two Johnnie Blacks, (yeah, when Johnnie is part of the bottle service you know it’s gonna be bad), Absolut, and Patron, and our waitress slash stripper was heavy handed with the booze when adding the mixers. I know she was working for her tip, but I’d just like to add here that she was the nicest stripper I had ever met. She even held my hair back at the end of the night–now that’s quality service!

So this is the point at which I have to end the story. I don’t wanna blow up spots so I’m not gonna go into detail. All I have to say is there were a couple of incriminating photos that needed to be deleted, someone got kicked out, we almost broke the pole, we never got around to the cake, and the phrase coming out of everyone’s mouths the next day was “wheelchair wasted!” Yeah, there was a wheelchair involved. I’ll leave it at that. And a lot of people made messy, ugly love to the porcelain gods that night and were hungover into Monday. The morning after was like that scene in The Hangover, only we remembered everything for the most part and just didn’t want to. It was one of the best nights of my life, and the perfect way to end this 30/30 journey. I’m sad that my 20s are over, but starting off my third decade of life like this totally softened the blow!

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30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30

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“For any woman turning thirty, remembering thirty, or looking forward to thirty.”
From The Editors of Glamour and Pamela Redmond Satran

So apparently during the dark ages of the Information Age when people connected with one another via dial-up modems, Pamela Redmond Satran (a columnist for Glamour magazine at the time) found herself turning thirty and reflecting on her life. As a result, she made this list of “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s Thirty,” which was composed of things that she wished she had had or had known by the time she entered her third decade of life. Glamour published it, and over time the list’s popularity and resonance with women everywhere made it a sort of gold standard of personal before-you-turn-30 goals. The list went viral before viral was even a thing and has now been published into a book with comments and insight from some very notable women. I enjoyed this book thoroughly and found that my own 30/30 list echoed a lot of the same themes as the Glamour list. I can’t say I can check off everything from Glamour‘s list, but I think I’m good on most of them. How about you?

BY 30, YOU SHOULD HAVE…

1. ONE OLD BOYFRIEND YOU CAN IMAGINE GOING BACK TO AND ONE WHO REMINDS YOU OF HOW FAR YOU’VE COME.
Although I can’t say I have an old boyfriend I want to imagine going back to, there are definitely a few that I feel bad about with regard to how I treated them. If anything I would just want to make things right so we could have ended on better terms. On the other hand, there’s definitely one old boyfriend with whom I had such a fucked up relationship…and I have to admit that although I hate the version of myself that I was while I was with him (God, I was so stupid), I learned so much about myself during the time we were together. From that shameful experience, I learned what a healthy relationship is NOT, how NOT to act, and what NOT to allow. Most importantly, I learned how to respect and value myself and how to love and appreciate the good man I’m with now.

2. A DECENT PIECE OF FURNITURE NOT PREVIOUSLY OWNED BY ANYONE ELSE IN YOUR FAMILY.
Well this one is easy–I wasn’t allowed to take anything out of my mom’s house when I moved so we had to buy everything new, lol.

3. SOMETHING PERFECT TO WEAR IF THE EMPLOYER OR MAN OF YOUR DREAMS WANTS TO SEE YOU IN AN HOUR.
Um, hello. It’s called the LBD. Shouldn’t that be a mandatory fashion staple regardless of age? If anything I have too many of them! I have more than enough LBDs that can be classed up or whored down in a moment’s notice, lol.

4. A PURSE, A SUITCASE, AND AN UMBRELLA YOU’RE NOT ASHAMED TO BE SEEN CARRYING.
Once I realized that I had the same exact leopard print suitcase as Teresa Guidice on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, I knew it was time to retire that shit. I’ve got an old red Samsonite that’s kinda torn up, but I’m less ashamed to walk around JFK with that now than I would be if I were to walk around looking like I take after Teresa. I ain’t got time for flippin’ tables. Oh, and I’ve got the purse and umbrella covered (of course I’ve got the purse covered, honey!).

5. A YOUTH YOU’RE CONTENT TO MOVE BEYOND.
Keep it movin’, I always like to say. I did a lot of things in my youth that I’m embarrassed to admit to now (who hasn’t?), but that’s what those years are for, right? I take what lessons I can from them and never look back.

6. A PAST JUICY ENOUGH THAT YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO RETELLING IT IN YOUR OLD AGE.
I don’t know if it counts as “juicy,” but there are definitely some jaw-dropping moments from my past (apart from the embarrassing and stupid already mentioned in #1 & #5) that I can’t believe I did and lived through myself! I just hope I remember it in my old age so I can laugh at myself because my memory is already shit!

7. THE REALIZATION THAT YOU ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO HAVE AN OLD AGE–AND SOME MONEY SET ASIDE TO HELP FUND IT.
Oh, I realize that shit everyday when I put on my arsenal of anti-wrinkle and anti-aging products, trust! And as for the money side of it, well, that was goal #27 on my 30/30 list. My IRA is all set, bitch! Now to get more money into it is the problem, lol.

8. AN EMAIL ADDRESS, A VOICE MAILBOX, AND A BANK ACCOUNT–ALL OF WHICH NOBODY HAS ACCESS TO BUT YOU.
Ok well, I’m good on the first two, but my bank account is joint with the hubs. Although I see and agree with the importance of this in the life of an independent woman, I do not see the need for it in my current circumstances. Unless this man decides to leave my ass, then I’ll kinda need a separate one, lol.

9. A RÉSUMÉ THAT IS NOT EVEN THE SLIGHTEST BIT PADDED.
Although I’ve only worked at a couple of different companies thus far, I definitely learned a lot and did a lot that would easily get me two pages worth of résumé if I needed it to. I think I did a lot of growing up career-wise…when I think of the kinds of shit I used to think was ok when I started working right out of school, smh! Man, I was so naive! But you live and learn, right? I still have a lot to learn! I admire professionalism and hard work, and likewise I appreciate it from hard working, professional people. I believe that doing good honest work is a reflection of self, and so if you have a solid résumé, no matter how simple, it’s something to be proud of.

10. ONE FRIEND WHO ALWAYS MAKES YOU LAUGH AND ONE WHO LETS YOU CRY.
Although this year I’ve lost two good friendships (or at the very least, they are irreparably altered), I’m lucky and glad to say that the closest and most important friendships I’ve ever had remain strong. Although I have two fewer friends this year, I have an abundance of love, trust, and support from those who remain. I’m laughing to myself right now just thinking of the one who always makes me laugh and thinking with fondness about the one who is there when I need to cry, even at odd hours. I thank God all the time for them and for the other good friends I have in my life; I am so blessed. :*-)

11. A SET OF SCREWDRIVERS, A CORDLESS DRILL, AND A BLACK LACE BRA.
Check, check, and check. BOOM.

12. SOMETHING RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE THAT YOU BOUGHT FOR YOURSELF, JUST BECAUSE YOU DESERVE IT.
I’ll never forget the first big thing I bought for myself once I started working after college and got my first Christmas bonus: a new laptop. It wasn’t anything fancy and it wasn’t anything sexy like a new Gucci or Louis, but it was a lot of money for me at the time, so it felt good to know it was mine and that I earned it on my own. And yeah, I fuckin’ deserve that shit! I deserve Gucci and Louis, too, lol!

13. THE BELIEF THAT YOU DESERVE IT.
Without getting too deep or being brazenly irreverent about self-love: I know I deserve it, dammit. I work hard at whatever I do, I try to be fair, and I do my share. I’m a good person, or I try to be anyway, and I deserve good things to happen to/for me. You can read more on my humbling analysis of self-worth in my previous post about going to confession…I am a good person and I deserve good things. #mantra

14. A SKIN-CARE REGIMEN, AN EXERCISE ROUTINE, AND A PLAN FOR DEALING WITH THOSE FEW OTHER FACETS OF LIFE THAT DON’T GET BETTER AFTER 30.
I’m a Kiehl’s addict, a workout whore, and I believe in retail therapy and plastic surgery. I think I’m covered. Ha!

15. A SOLID START ON A SATISFYING CAREER, A SATISFYING RELATIONSHIP, AND ALL THOSE OTHER FACETS OF LIFE THAT DO GET BETTER.
Ok, so I’m not necessarily on a satisfying career path, but if I were to continue to work in finance, I know that I can do the job and do it well, and contribute to my company’s goals. But to be honest, I was never the type of person to say “I want to be a doctor/lawyer when I grow up,” or “I want to be a CEO or own my own company.” I’m more of what I call a “job” person. I don’t care what it is, I’ll do it to the best of my ability and focus on my needs. If I was dead broke and I needed to work at McDonald’s, then I’m working at McDonalds to pay my bills. No doubt I’m an educated woman with a degree from a respected university that I would want to put to good use, but I’m also not afraid to get my hands dirty when push comes to shove. As for the satisfying relationship part? I’m the happiest and most humbled that I’ve ever been. Marriage ain’t easy, no matter how you slice it. Life happens and shit gets real. But my husband is my best friend and we push and pull each other in every direction to learn from one another, to love, and to grow; we do what we can, through the good and through the bad, because that’s what we promised each other we’d try to do to the best of our abilities. And besides, ain’t nobody else gonna put up with my shit but him, lol.

BY 30 YOU SHOULD KNOW…

1. HOW TO FALL IN LOVE WITHOUT LOSING YOURSELF.
Easier said than done, but SO important nonetheless. I’ve been there (#1 under what you should HAVE), and it is so bad for your relationship and for yourself. It took a long time for me to learn to love myself and to realize that loving and respecting myself is the only way to fully love someone else…because you cannot completely give to others that which you cannot give to yourself.

2. HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT HAVING KIDS.
Thank God the hubs and I are on the same page…and that’s all I’m gonna say about that!

3. HOW TO QUIT A JOB, BREAK UP WITH A MAN, AND CONFRONT A FRIEND WITHOUT RUINING THE FRIENDSHIP.
Well, I’ve successfully done the first and the third, but the second has always been ugly. So…I guess I didn’t hit the mark on that one, lol.

4. WHEN TO TRY HARDER AND WHEN TO WALK AWAY.
It was like a slap in the face to try harder and be rejected, but I learned the hard way. I lost a good friendship but at least I know I tried to make it work before walking away. Going forward, I know how to act.

5. HOW TO KISS IN A WAY THAT COMMUNICATES PERFECTLY WHAT YOU WOULD AND WOULDN’T LIKE TO HAPPEN NEXT.
I think that this is just a nice way of saying that by 30, you should know when and when not to act like a whore. I figured that out in college, although I know many a ratchet chick that don’t know otherwise. But hey, it’s all good! No judgment! Do you, boos! Lol.

6. THE NAMES OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE, YOUR GREAT GRANDMOTHERS, AND THE BEST TAILOR IN TOWN.
John Kerry, Toribía on my dad’s side and Veronica and Donata on my mom’s side (my dad doesn’t remember his other grandmother’s name, so that’s on him and not me!), and I live in New York…there are world-class tailors everywhere in Manhattan!

7. HOW TO LIVE ALONE, EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE TO.
As an only child born to conservative, relatively strict parents, I mastered the skill of solitude at an early age. When I was a kid (ie, not old enough to know what rebellion was), there was only study-piano lesson-repeat for a period of my life, and so I spent a lot of time alone. So I guess it’s engrained in me. Don’t get me wrong, I can be very social and I love getting together to spend time with my nearest and dearest. But I still love my “alone time.” As a matter of fact, I go a little nuts when I don’t have enough “me time” to mentally unwind or regroup now and then. It is not uncommon to find me alone at a movie theater or at a restaurant. That all being said I’m sure I wouldn’t mind it; I enjoy the guilt-free autonomy to spend some time to focus only on myself.

8. WHERE TO GO–BE IT YOUR BEST FRIEND’S KITCHEN TABLE OR A YOGA MAT–WHEN YOUR SOUL NEEDS SOOTHING.
For me it’s home to mom and dad’s house. Bloomingdale’s is good, too, though.

9. THAT YOU CAN’T CHANGE THE LENGTH OF YOUR LEGS, THE WIDTH OF YOUR HIPS, OR THE NATURE OF YOUR PARENTS.
Yeah, I learned that about my parents a long time ago–you learn that quickly if you’re a first generation kid growing up in the states with immigrant parents that totally act like you’re still “back home.” And I may not be able to change my legs or hips, but for everything else there’s plastic surgery and I live in one of the best places in the country for it, thank goodness!

10. THAT YOUR CHILDHOOD MAY NOT HAVE BEEN PERFECT, BUT IT’S OVER.
No, it might not have been perfect, but it was beautiful and charming. For all the things my childhood might have lacked, my parents’ love and the many blessings and opportunities they worked so hard to give me more than made up for anything deemed as a shortcoming. I am so lucky to have had the kind of childhood they gave me, and I only look back on it in nostalgia and with gratitude…but yeah, I’m glad that shit’s over too…you can’t make me make my bed if I don’t want to, mom! :::makes bed anyway:::

11. WHAT YOU WOULD AND WOULDN’T DO FOR MONEY OR LOVE.
As I said earlier, I don’t have a problem getting my hands dirty or think certain jobs are beneath me if I gotta pay the bills. But as with love, I’m not willing to compromise myself or my self-respect. I’ll give 100%, provided I get that in return.

12. THAT NOBODY GETS AWAY WITH SMOKING, DRINKING, DOING DRUGS, OR NOT FLOSSING FOR VERY LONG.
Why else did I became a gymrat/workout whore? I don’t wanna be on Crestor and die of a heart attack before I’m 40 and I wanna be strong enough to be able to fight off an attacker (or at least run away from one with all the running I do). I like life, thankyouverymuch. I don’t judge other people’s lifestyle choices, but trying to focus on my health right now is mine.

13. WHO YOU CAN TRUST, WHO YOU CAN’T, AND WHY YOU SHOULDN’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY.
I admit I have trouble with this one. It takes me a long time to truly trust someone, and I’m a Pisces, so I’m predisposed to being highly sensitive. “Don’t take it personal,” my ass. I’m still working on my anger issues!…although seriously, I know it’s important in order to live a less stressful and drama-free life and all that jazz…sigh. Working on it.

14. NOT TO APOLOGIZE FOR SOMETHING THAT ISN’T YOUR FAULT.
On the one hand I’d like to say I never do this because I’m proud and stubborn as fuck anyway. But on the other hand, I know there have been occasions where I did so to people I really care about so as not to make them feel bad or to keep the peace in the relationship. But you know what? Fuck that noise, because in every case it got me nowhere, and I am so exhausted from being a consummate people pleaser and taking the blame for other people’s shit! You know what? As hard as it can be, I swallow my pride and apologize when I’m wrong, and it shouldn’t always be me, so THERE. Get your shit together people, because I’m not apologizing for it anymore!

15. WHY THEY SAY LIFE BEGINS AT 30!
I’m assuming it’s because by then you should have (hopefully) gotten over yourself and any stupid shit going on in life to hold you back. Or, it could just be another thing that people in their 30s say, like “30 is the new 20,” (ok, HOV says that too and he’s in his 40s, but he can do that…so I just hope he’s right, lol). I guess I’ll find out after this weekend!

#18. Play the Lotto.

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Ok, so don’t laugh. I’ve NEVER played the lotto.

I’ve done the scratch off kinds before, sure; I’m talking the random numbers kind. When I think of playing the lotto, my mind’s eye sees the red and white (or were they pink and white?) old school sheets that said “L-O-T-T-O” spelled out in mini boxed numbers that my dad used to fill in with a pencil when I was a kid. At the time, I thought they were some sort of boring coloring book for adults. Come to think of it, do they even make those anymore?

Anyway. That being my memory of the lotto, I assumed that playing would involve this whole foreign process that only the regulars knew about and that I’d look like an asshole asking how to play. But luckily for my ego, it was stupidly easy. I literally just said the word “Powerball” to the bodega owner, handed over my two bucks, and out came my ticket. Long story short, I may not have looked like an asshole, but I definitely felt like one when I realized how easy it was. Well, at least when the guy carded me he said he was “very surprised” at my age because I didn’t look it, so that was a plus. I’m sure I have a losing ticket though, lol.

#17. Go to Confession.

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First let me insert a little disclaimer here that the things I’m about to say in this post are strictly reflections of the personal experiences that I have with my own faith; I am not looking to begin a debate about religion (and/or possibly politics). I respect the faiths and religious convictions of others that may or may not be different from my own, and anything I say here is not meant to be offensive.

***

I’m not a good practicing Catholic, despite being part of a very religious family and having attended Catholic school my entire academic career from kindergarten through college. As a kid, I went to mass every Saturday at 5pm with my dad, and my grandma is extremely devout–I’m talking little-old-lady-in-the-front-pew-with-veil-and-praying-the-rosary-every-day devout. Instead of calling the kids to come inside from playing for dinner, my grandma called my dad and the rest of the family in for 3pm Novena. She wanted my dad to be a priest and she hangs out with nuns…get the picture?

In any case, I guess I became lazy about my faith over time and am now quite the polar opposite to my grandma–let’s call it what it is. I grew up (meaning I got too old for my parents to have the power to drag me to mass) and let life happen, and rationalized that none of my peers practice like my parents and grandparents do; that they’re old school and nobody believes like they do “back home” anymore. I guess I also let the world and current events question my judgment and my faith. It’s so easy to pick apart that which we don’t understand, or to cling to things we like and disregard that which we don’t…about ourselves, about others, about religion. And so, I suppose for these and for other various reasons, I became a “cafeteria” Catholic. To traditional and conservative dames like my grandma, that’s a hypocrisy–either you’re with it or you’re not; you can’t pick and choose. But to me, I think that’s how I have to be right now. There are a lot of things that the Catholic church supports or doesn’t support that I disagree with. Partly because I think some things are outdated and unrealistic for today’s world, and partly because something inside me makes me feel like some things are not right or are unfair. I also (sorry Mama) am a bit of a skeptic. I don’t know if I necessarily believe in things like saintly miracles, and I don’t know if I truly feel that telling my sins to a man in a booth behind a curtain (Wizard of Oz, anyone??) absolves me of that for which I am most ashamed. I really just don’t know. In the end though, I think what is most important is that I have faith and know that there is a God somewhere out there that has faith in me…that I’m worthy of this gift of life I’ve been given, that I’m not a bad person, and that I’m deserving of love.

I had a harder time than I ever anticipated I would with this particular thing-to-do. As I said in my last post, I put it off thinking it wasn’t a big deal and that it would be one of the easier things for me to cross off of my list. But as the time for me to go came closer, I realized that I was very hesitant to go to confession. It had been at least thirteen years since the last time I’d gone. I don’t know why–maybe because it had been so long, maybe because I’m PMS-ing (is that TMI?), or maybe because I’m a serial killer this whole time and you don’t know it–but I felt like I was going to have a breakdown as I sat in church waiting my turn and thinking about what I would say. I found myself fighting back tears while waiting in the pews, and when it finally came to it, I sobbed through my entire confession and then cried while saying my penance. I don’t know what came over me; I just felt so suddenly overwhelmed. But as embarrassing as it might have been (my husband would have been like, “…stop making a scene!”), I didn’t care; it felt good in a strange way to let it all out, and so I let the tears flow. It was an emotional and spiritual purging.

I think I was just very hard on myself; I’m like that in general. I tend to chastise myself over the slightest things, and so preparing a summation of every misdeed I had done in the last thirteen years made me feel like a real fucking scumbag. Even now, I’m wondering how many times I’ve cursed here despite having just gotten back from church a few hours ago, but I digress. Anyway, I guess over time all that bad spiritual mojo finally caught up with me. Drastic reaction and all though, I think going to confession was primarily about me coming to terms with the things about myself of which I am most ashamed and for which I seek forgiveness. No matter how big or how small my sins may be (and despite going through this past year being acutely introspective and trying to make positive changes in my life accordingly) it is one thing to be aware of that which I have done in error, and another to admit to it–no matter to whom. So regardless of whether or not I believe that a priest can speak on God’s authority and absolve me of my sins, going to confession allowed me to admit my wrongdoings to myself, to accept accountability, and to come to terms with it. I can preach love and happiness and puppies and shit all I want, and think that my attempts to live a good life make me a good person, but I also need to remember that I’m human. And humans fuck up. I can be selfish and proud, quick to anger, impatient and judgmental. I lie like the rest of ‘em, even though I’m not good at it and often get caught! I’m not perfect–and that’s ok. It doesn’t make me unworthy of good things or deserving of bad things to happen to me. And as much as I joke about having earned prime real estate in Hell at the rate I’m going, I know that that’s not true. And that’s what I had to learn from this.

I still question a lot of things and have my doubts, but when I take a moment to realize that something as simple as waking up to a new day will one day never happen again…well, that sobering thought alone keeps me connected (as strained as that connection may sometimes be) to my faith and to what I believe. I believe that our time here is a gift. I believe that God is out there, somewhere, and I believe that He has been there for me when I needed Him most, even without praying for His help. I see His goodness in the good things and people around me, as well as in the bad. I think everything happens for a reason, and that those reasons are known only to Him.

I don’t want to start sounding super religious (since obviously I’m not) with a bunch of capital-H “Hims” going around, but you get the idea. I can’t say that this was one of my favorite things to-do on my 30/30 list, but I think it’s one of the things that has benefitted me most in this self-discovery/wish/life-fulfillment process. Regardless of what I think or believe about Catholicism at present, going to confession today has at the very least rekindled my faith in myself. And isn’t that where it should start?

I just had a mini panic attack.

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I know it’s my birthday month, but without checking the countdown clock on the blog everyday (I usually post via the WordPress app on my iPhone and rarely look at the site proper), I really hadn’t realized until now how close my birthday is! 17 Days!

I only have three things left to do on my 30-Before-30 (or 30/30) list and they are not very difficult, but they are important nonetheless. I’m in the middle of planning the big DIRTY THIRTY bash, which is a bit logistically difficult due to creating an agenda for multiple venues with about 20 people. I don’t even know what I’m going to wear! This is the last time I can have a big, drunken, scandalous birthday party since I don’t know if I can still rock what I’ve got when I’m 40, and I don’t think I’d want to party like this at 50, lol. I also never really do anything for my birthday in general (I’m usually happy with dinner with the fam and close friends, or a slice of pizza…I’m not kidding), so this is the ONE TIME I can do it big, and I want everything to go smoothly and for my friends and family to have a fun and stress-free time. So, I’ve been a little low key worried about it…but I’m a big worrier in general.

Playing the lotto isn’t a big deal, but because it’s so easy to do, (I mean, I could literally just go up the block to the bodega), I just keep putting it off; this is probably why I’ve still never played, lol.

Going to confession though…I think I told myself that going to confession is just as easy as playing the lotto, and so I didn’t think it was a big deal to let it get pushed to the last minute, too. But as my deadline draws nearer (and I realized this as I was looking for a date in my calendar to make time to go to the church) and I’m starting to think about what I want to say, I’m getting kinda freaked out. I’ll save the details of my anxiety for the actual post, but suffice it to say (or “suffice to say,” depending on which school of grammar you belong to) that going to confession is going to be more difficult than I anticipated. I’m actually dreading it now…

…BUT, more on mixed feelings and debates on Catholicism later. I’m just as anxious now about getting everything done in time as I am about turning 30 in a little over 2 weeks. I’m freaaaaakin’ outttttt man!!!!

(NOT SO) FUNNY STORY:
I went to Sephora last Saturday and as the cashier was ringing me up, she confirmed my birthday in order to give me my free birthday gift. When I said I was turning 30, both she and the cashier ringing up the woman next to me practically scream out with smiles on their faces, “You’re turning 30?! You look amazing! You look so young! You’re like a baby!” At which point the woman next to me says, “I’m turning 30 this Saturday…”

Now, I’m not one to call another woman ugly (we are all beautiful inside and out! …unless you got a shit attitude, but more on my opinions on that later), but as soon as she turned her head and said that–I felt so bad–the two cashiers each made a face that was a visible mix of disgust and pity (they made that “ew…” face; you know the one I’m talking about), and were both like, “…oh…” And then there were crickets.

The woman wasn’t ugly though, she just clearly didn’t take care of herself: her hair wasn’t washed, her lips were chapped and as dry as the Sahara like there was no lip balm sample to be found in the entire store, etc., so the overall effect I think just made her look older, but I wouldn’t have made the kind of faces these two cashiers made at her with their trendy coiffures and hot pink lips.

In any case, it was funny to me the way it went down, but in the end I felt bad because the woman noticed the faces that the cashiers were making. Which I thought was sad and a little fucked up. So in an effort to break the awkward silence I said something about how many February birthdays there are and I wished her a very happy birthday.

You know what? Now that I think about it (as I’m typing this story out), it’s only funny objectively…like if it were a scene in a sitcom. But now I feel like that’s the kind of behavior (the cashiers’ I mean) that makes insecure women feel even more insecure. It was like a flashback to high school or a scene from Mean Girls where the “pretty people” are always judging everyone else (“That is the UGLIEST fucking skirt I’ve ever seen.”). That’s some real fucked up shit. I hope that woman has a fucking awesome birthday, and I bet she’s probably more emotionally secure and loves herself more than most people.

Ok, end rant and social/psychoanalysis. I don’t know how this post turned into that!