The Ability to be Honest With Yourself Even When It Absolutely Sucks

I’ve never been a good liar. Rewind to freshmen year of high school when it surfaced in the Wilkins household that instead of spending my afternoons at the library working on a science project, I was spending them with my hormonal 14 year old boyfriend. This tid bit of information escaped from my loveable sister’s mouth. When confronted by my mother, I could only muster up a startled, “Um, no I didn’t!” That resulted in being banished to my room for a night where I plotted revenge and cursed my young adolescent life.

Moral of the story: I’m not a good liar.

But, it’s not other people I find myself lying to anymore. That never works and is a waste of everyone’s time and energy. No, now, I’m usually confronted with having to be completely honest with myself.

A few weeks ago upon my return to the East Coast, I dug through old Facebook messages and found the number to a guy I used to know. After spending many, many months riding solo dolo, I came back home hoping to plug my love life back in to its barely used electrical socket. So, I hit up this guy–let’s call him Stable Yet Boring Guy. SBG and I met where you meet stable and boring people–a work environment. Over the years, we chatted every now and again and it was always just nice. Nice is that word you use to describe someone when you don’t have shit else to say about them.

But, I thought it was time to give the entire situation a fair shot. I was here. He was here. Maybe it would just work.

And, then, I canceled our date three hours before the fireworks were set to explode.

Because, as much as I could tell myself the “maybes” or the “possiblys,” I knew it was a bold faced lie that I would ever, ever feel anything remotely fiery for SBG. I knew that we might have a decent conversation over a decent meal and could possibly go on to live a decent life. But, I don’t want decent or nice or mediocre. I want fucking amazing. So, it was time to leave good for great, as my TV wife Kim on Startups: Silicon Valley so eloquently put it.

And, then, I found great. Sorta.

I met a guy who we shall name Hottie With a Body. We embarked on a 5 day text binge and it was the most delicious thing I have experienced in awhile. Instantly, my “I really like this person” blinker went off. And, when that blinker goes off, I know I am in and I am in big with a capital B. I usually settle for tolerating people but every now and again, someone throws me off and completely fascinates me. HWAB did just that. We interlaced witty banter with chatter about our pasts and our ability to volleyball between the mundane and the not-so-mundane impressed me. But, HWAB was not shy about expressing a very complicated knot he was tied in regarding a muddy and unresolved past relationship. He was honest with me. In return, I had to be honest with myself.

I’m not here to expose another person’s circumstances or pour buckets of judgment on those circumstances. Instead, I had to look at myself and the progress I believe I have made when looking at my life from different vantage points. So, today ended the 5-day text binge and the start of a potentially yummy friendship/relationship/whateveryouwanttocallit. I couldn’t lie to myself about my patience or my ability to potentially play second string in someone’s life. I know how ex situations work. I’ve been in my own and I’ve been caught in others. Without one person’s absolute and unyielding resolve to walk away, they become a lifetime game of Russian Roulette.

So, I had to be honest and admit that I cannot be someone’s greatest silver medal. I have to be gold. I deserve to be gold. Goddamnit, I am gold. And, without requiring myself to walk away from situations where I am not treated as such, I will never be treated as such.

I have finally and fully admitted to myself that I want a relationship. That’s some scary ass shit. But, that is also me being 100% honest with myself. And at this point, nothing else will sate that. A full and real and wonderful relationship. One where I can love and be loved in the same way. One where my heart pitter patters when my phone rings and I know it’s him. One where we tell life stories in bed on Sunday morning. One where I open the door to my life’s library and let someone read the pages until they memorize the words. I want a relationship. And, that’s some scary ass shit.

But, at least I’m being honest.



You Don’t Need Monumental Reasons to Be Happy.

So, I’ve been a little womp womp all week. I knew it was bad when on two occasions, I sat down to blog and my energy fell so flat that I couldn’t even write.

A co-worker of mine who also did a stint in Texas warned me of what he deemed “reverse homesickness” also known as longing for a place that is not technically home. I started my new gig this week. I proudly wore the new girl sticker as I met lots of people and repeated elongated pronunciations of my phonetically fucked up name. By midweek, I was exhausted and the reverse homesickness had kicked in full throttle. I missed the 80 degree weather that I willingly traded in for a peacoat. I missed my team and wanted to burst in to 1,000 tiny little tears when I IMed my former senior manager with a simple, “Hi! I miss you guys!” I even hung up my Texas ornament in my cubicle, a gift from my former manager. And, during all of my new found nostalgia, I felt like a complete ass. This is what I wanted. Shouldn’t I be jumping up and down and baking cupcakes for all the boys and girls? Womp. Womp.

But, then, something shifted. Maybe it helped that it was Friday. It always helps when it’s Friday. After an unfortunate Thursday night spent trying to track down a washcloth in the hotel, I woke up on Friday and decided being sad was probably a gigantic waste of my time and energy.

Texas was like the best ex-boyfriend you ever had who gave you a forehead kiss, wished you well and wanted the best for you but just knew he wasn’t it. Texas was good to me, too good to me. But, that place was a sliver of my existence and now it’s time to put on my big girl panties and create a new life here.

So, I decided I was going to be happy. Some cool things happened at work and that helped. Then, after work, I finally bought the 5-shelf bookcase I have wanted and needed for an eternity to replace the 3-shelf bookcase that my library outgrew. And, then I decided I was going to indulge in one of my favorite introvert activities and go see a movie solo. And, on the way to that movie, I blasted horrible-but-catchy pop music including Nicki Minaj’s “Starships.” And, after the movie, I finally felt full enough to blog again.These are some of life’s tiniest, and arguably strangest, simple pleasures.

Because, I realized, I don’t need monumental reasons to be happy. No one does. We don’t need amazing jobs on the 50th floor of a NYC building. We don’t need boyfriends who are head over heels in love with us. We don’t need huge news of a promotion or some extravagant beach vacation. We don’t need monumental reasons to be happy. Because if we wait around for monumental reasons, they won’t ever happen. Or, maybe they’ll happen, but we will have been so womp womp during the interim that it will all be for naught. We wrongly assume big, wonderful, full lives are composed of an assortment of huge moments. But, I’d like to think a big life is spent relishing the tiny things. The inconsequential things. The things that aren’t worth a damn to anyone else except for you. 

 All we need are ourselves and the will to be happy.

Yes, I decided it was that simple. Because it is.



The 23rd Birthday Post: So Damn Young And It’s So Damn Great

Happy birthday to me.

In one of my favorite blog posts of all time entitled “The Future Has An Ancient Heart,” a sage by the name of Sugar writes, “You are so damn young. Which means about eight of the ten things you have decided about yourself will over time prove to be false. The other two things will prove to be so true that you’ll look back in twenty years and howl.”

So, according to Sugar, the things I write in this blog post could quite possibly not be true in the next 30 years. Maybe not even in the next 30 seconds. I’ll take responsibility for that.

Confession: I turned 23 on Friday, October 12, 2012, officially at 9:35 a.m. Twenty three is not a milestone age. I still can’t rent a car without some dumb ass underage driving fee attached. So, instead, last Friday, I cut some cake, donned a top hat with three candles (guess it’s tough to fit twenty more on it) and spent a cozy and amazing weekend with family and friends.

I guess this is the blog post where I’m supposed to mull over my life, contemplate its meaning, and use decayed words including but not limited to “reflect,” “grateful” and “dreams.” This is the blog post where I’m supposed to tell you how I’ve had to slay my demons over the past year and see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. This is the blog post that is supposed to be deep and dark and encapsulate the zillions of miniscule thoughts I have had since October 12, 2011.

Shall we skip that? Yes, let’s.

Instead, I say get that electric wine opener, let’s crack a bottle of red and celebrate a damn good year.

Because, as Sugar said, 23 is young. So young. So freaking young. When I was in kindergarten, I used to wear pretend plastic high heels from Rite Aid. When I was in elementary school, I pretended to be a teacher with teddy bears as my pupils (and later, imaginary students, but that’s neither here nor there.) When I was in high school, I only wanted to forego Advanced Placement classes and apply to college and when I was in college, I just wanted a salary and an apartment with real curtains. But now? Now, I am perfectly happy to be so damn young. Because while waiting for my flight back to Dallas on Sunday, it occured to me that I’m at the age where I can float or flounder or completely f*** up and hey, it’s still OK. I’m at the age where most of the pressure is self-inflicted and therefore invisible to everyone outside of the little fairies in my head. I am at the age where no one is pestering me about babies or deeming me a pariah for being unwed. Oh, I am perfectly happy being so damn young.

Because, despite being so damn young, I have learned a few things along the way. I’ve learned you need a good mechanic or a reliable man in your life to point you to one. (see “I’m Not Really a Grown Up Because When My Car Broke Down, I Called Dad”) I’ve learned nothing replaces a great book, particularly right before bed or in a waiting room where strained conversations with strangers are not pleasant. I’ve learned to keep a bottle of red wine for the good nights, the bad nights, and just the nights. I’ve learned why it’s important to have a hobby other than Facebook stalking and/or receiving self-validation through an endless string of Instagram posts in order to sustain you. I’ve gained the willpower to sit, squirm and wince through a wax. I’ve dug down deep and learned to appreciate my parents for the sacrifices they made to put my tired ass through undergrad. I’ve learned the pricelessness of platonic male friends and their ability to call BS when I say “I just want closure” in a feeble attempt to justify any and all interactions with ex-boyfriends, hook-ups, and low-lifes I placed on pedestals. I’ve learned how to appreciate a quiet Saturday night alone. And, I’ve learned how to appreciate my friends, my tribe, the people I lean on when I unravel the most. But, maybe what’s most important is that I’ve learned how to appreciate my life for the beauty and uncertainty and absolute mess that it is.

And, I’ve learned that being so damn young ain’t so damn bad.

Happy Birthday to me.



I Know I’m Not Really a Grown Up Because When My Car Broke Down, I Called Dad.

Yep. Dad. Also known as Daddy, Alex, bearer of all cliches known to mankind, and resident lecturer when I screw up.

The minute the hood of my car began to emit steam on Thursday afternoon, I knew 1) the entire fiasco would transform in to a blog post and 2) I was about be financially annihilated. As of this moment, both things have proven themselves to be true.

I know when a car is about to break down. I can bet a blind monkey knows when a car is about to break down. I’ve now had it happen on three occasions; twice in my current vehicle and once in the battered car I inherited from my sister during my senior year of high school (that time was because I didn’t exactly value putting gas in the car so, naturally, it stopped.) On Thursday, when my car started rumbling like a hungry tummy and all sorts of typically hidden lights began flashing on the dashboard, I knew I was on the cusp of an “Oh, shit” moment.

Isn’t it funny how even when your car is seconds away from croaking, you still think you’re invincible? I thought, “Ok, I’ll make it to the bank and Panera and then take it to that mechanic I always see on this road.” Just goes to show you how much I worship a grilled chicken caesar salad. I did make it to the bank where the steam began rising at a noticeable and much more rapid rate. Vroom vroom. To the mechanic we go.

It doesn’t really matter how much I paid (an exorbitant amount) to get the car fixed or what was wrong with the car (something about a water pump, a timing belt, and other automotive jargon that only translates in to ”let’s piss on your savings.”) No, none of that matters. But, you know what does matter? That I called my dad. This is not a story about my car at all. It’s a story about my dad and how kick ass he is.

Admittedly, my dad and I feuded a bit growing up, mainly because I was a feisty 17 year old determined to become a starving journalist who would take over the world and he was determined to convince me that bills were real and I would one day need to pay them. I recall a pre-college screaming match on the newly carpeted stairs of our basement where I vehemently declared how I was going to follow my dreams no matter what he thought.

I dropped out of journalism a semester in to college. Woops.

Over the years, particularly in college and now following, I’ve come to really appreciate my dad. My mom, too. My parents. Yeah, them.

Because, it’s nice to have a human resource right there on speed dial when you need to contemplate your career or sign a lease or do something else that scares the living daylights out of you. It’s nice to have a seasoned ear to listen to your early adulthood woes or tell you to man up or, on a rare occasion, say they are proud of you. It’s nice to wax poetic about the defense industry budget or predict who will win the NBA Finals or to just talk and feel like a person instead of a peon in this big, bad world. And, my parents are always the ones on the other end of those conversations. And, yes, even when my car breaks down and I am resourceful enough to figure out how not to end up in the middle of the street with beeping cars whizzing by, I still call them. Because, from 1800 miles away, they are my verbal rescue.

I don’t want that to change. Because if being an adult means not calling on your parents when the tides are high, well, then, adulthood is not for me.




If You’ve Ever Felt Like Your Life Is a Hot Mess, This Post is For You

My life has many guilty pleasures, one of which is xoJane (not to be confused with Mary Jane. Ok, Just wanted to make sure we cleared that up.) xoJane is a blog site dedicated to real women with raw stories and some really insane headlines, including but not limited to, “Why I’m Proudly a Drunk Mother” and “I Am an Asian Woman and I Think Asian Boyfriends are Superior.” These women are deep and dope and totally screwed up which is probably why I can’t stop reading their lexical gunshots. My second favorite writer on the site is Mandy; if you want to know my favorite, go read a little memoir by the name of Bitch is the New Black. So, last night, in the middle of another not-yet-quarterlife-crisis-I-am-moving-in-four-weeks-what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life meltdown, I sought some blog solace in xoJane–always a risk. Luckily Mandy had just posted something about trying to decide what to do with her life which almost prompted me to write this post right then and there but then I realized late night Golden Girls was calling my name. 

Confession: I feel like my life is, at times, completely out of control. I’ll be strolling along, everything will be fine, and then I’ll realize I should’ve gotten an oil change a gazillion and a half miles ago. Or I haven’t cooked a legitimate meal in six days. Or I’m wasting my gym membership if I only go once a week. Or I need to go to the dentist. And then there are the bigger things like, no, really, what am I doing with my life? Am I going to be 50 years old with a crackpot cat and only a blog to show for my existence? Because people keep telling me that I’m on some path to something but all I see are a bunch of scattered pebbles that are not in any sort of linear format whatsoever. Hey, WTF.

Yes, I worry. And, based on the many conversations with other twenty-somethings trying to build Noah’s Arc and escape the torrential downpour of adulthood, we’re all plagued with worry. Glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t feel like Santa forgot to drop off my ready-made life wrapped with a shiny bow. We’re all constantly flooded with dribble about being adults or accepting responsibility, or, my personal favorite, following our dreams, a directive to which I always want to shout, “Hey, imbecile, have you ever heard of Sallie Mae?”

There’s this inexplicable need to microwave our lives. Pop them in, follow the instructions, and watch them come out all yummy and ready to rock in a mere instant. While that may work for a TV dinner, I’m guessing it’s a little trickier when it comes to one’s livelihood. Our lives are these jigsaw pieces thrown astray. Some of them we find. Some of them we earn. Some of them are dropped from the sky without rhyme or reason. Some are stolen from us and others are bartered for better pieces. But, I don’t think we ever figure out a plan for connecting them. Maybe a life well-lived is a completely disconnected puzzle with dazzling pieces.

Sometimes, because my life experience is equal to that of a baby kangaroo, I feel as though my pieces are scarce. I wonder if I will get more or how long it will take to earn them. I’m worried that the fortuitous ones like love may not fall from the sky like they seem to do so freely for others.

But, then I think back to Mandy’s blog post last night, and more importantly, the comments section. Someone who likes to go by the name, “the cat’s pajamas” (I told you the xoJane audience consists predominantly of what most would qualify as emo chicks), wrote something that stuck. So adhesive in fact that I hastily erased my entire whiteboard of ideas and added this single quote:

“Let go of ‘should.’ There is no should, just things you might do and things you might not do. Because you want to. Or don’t want to.”

I almost titled this post “Let Go of Should” but quite frankly, I like hits and I know what makes you literate fools read. Nonetheless, maybe that’s it. Let go of should. Let go of where you should be or what you should do or whom you should do it with. Let go of should and let the pieces fall as they may.

Maybe that’s how we go from Hot Mess to Not Mess.