Long Lost


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a friend I used to have, a friend whose soul I just understood. We connected on a creative, spiritual level, and the friendship we shared was one of the closest, most meaningful ones I’ve ever experienced. I shared everything with her, and she became my biggest fan, biggest cheerleader, biggest love. It’s hard to have that deep of a friendship and then watch it slowly slip away.

The details matter very little, honestly. We drifted apart because we both had busy lives at separate colleges. We had boyfriends, friends, career choices to make. But lately I just can’t stop wishing I still knew her.

Because I don’t know her anymore. I know absolutely nothing about who she is, what she does, where she is. I have a draft of a novel she wrote shoved in my closet somewhere, and I remember what she said she wanted out of life, but I don’t know her. I don’t know if she changed her career plans and moved to Argentina, or if she’s engaged, or if her family is well. I don’t know how her brother’s doing or if he loves college as much as I hoped he would.

It’s a part of life, drifting away from someone, slowly and maybe a little bit purposefully. I should make some gorgeous statement here about how I know everything will be all right, how someday I’ll stop feeling so sad whenever I think of her. Or maybe how I’ll find her number and call her up  and we’ll chat about the old days. Everything will be fine.

But I don’t have her number. I have an extremely old email address, which I used a while back to contact her, to no reply. I don’t have an address. I don’t have Facebook. I can’t just intrude on her life like that anyway, because it’s just not possible. So there’s no hope. I’ll never know her, and it breaks my heart because she was my best friend. The best friend you could ever hope to have — passionate, loyal, protective, creative, beautiful. I miss her. I don’t know if she misses me.

Sometimes, there’s no hopeful statement to close with. Sometimes you just cry a little and wish you’d never said the things you said, wish you’d never done the things you did. Sometimes you just have to be an outsider, completely in the dark about the life of someone you were supposed to know until you grew old. Sometimes you have to crumple up the joking speech you were going to make at her wedding, because you were going to be her maid of honor, and your children were going to call each other cousins because you loved each other like sisters, like more than sisters because you chose each other’s friendship.

Sometimes you just disconnect, and there’s no way to fix it. Sometimes you just have to live with the regret.

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Lightness


I feel particularly wonderful today. You know when you feel like there’s light inside you and you’re laying in a field of soft grass and…everything is sunlight? I have that. I have renewed hope in the world, and it feels like the universe is balanced, and I could do math homework for 10 hours and be okay with it.

I have so much to do next week. So many tests and papers and outreaches for my job, and it doesn’t matter. I’m. Not. Stressed. It’s not like “I’m avoiding doing the work I have to do,” its like “I don’t need to be stressed — I can do this.” How did this happen?

It’s that mantra I wrote about a few months ago: gobinda hari. Appreciate your successes, and understand that you have the strength to do what it takes to continue succeeding. How did I not always do this? I’ve accomplished a lot, bounced back from a lot, and truly felt what it is to be alive. I should’ve always appreciated this.

But “should’ve” isn’t necessary anymore. I had a beautiful talk with a friend yesterday and he said he doesn’t regret anything, any of his past “mistakes” because all of that forms who he is  today. It’s not a particularly novel thought, but it meant a lot to me. I’ve done dumb stuff, stuff that’s hurt myself and the people around me, but every moment is a new beginning, and we can always turn our lives around. Besides, it’s hard not to appreciate life when at one point you didn’t want to live. I don’t wish that anything in my life had gone differently. Sure, I wish I hadn’t been a jerk to that guy I dated in high school, or I wish I hadn’t yelled at my dad a few times, but we learn from everything we do. And every crappy thing will bring good someday, if we work for it.

What struck me most was this, though: My friend said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that we need to understand each others’ suffering because then we can truly understand and connect with each other. And that got me thinking: why do we hide our suffering from others? Shouldn’t we be more open with one another and show each other how we truly feel? Instead, we hide our true selves from the world because we’re embarrassed that we suffer.

News flash, y’all. We all suffer. Suffering sucks, duh, but if we all show it, the playing field is level. Sometimes I want to scream out my window, frustrated, and tell everyone to stop faking it! The world isn’t as beautiful and bright if you haven’t seen darkness. You can’t feel bliss without hurting first. I truly believe that the farther down life pulls you, the higher you’ll eventually climb.

So today I feel light, feel sun streaming out my every pore, because I feel like life is going to be amazing. Every day is a gift, and I’m going to treat it as such. Whenever darkness falls, I’ll know that (gobinda hari) I can pull myself toward the light again. I’ve found purpose, and I feel love, and there’s no way I’m letting this lightness go.

Goodbye


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The view from Haylie’s apartment. Spectacular.

I’m leaving Seattle and I want to cry. This has never happened.

The Ice is Getting Thinner by Death Cab for Cutie came on my iPod, which doesn’t help since it’s full of tragedy and sadness and practically pulls the tears out of your eyeballs anyway.

I’ve never had a great experience in Seattle. I typically get shouted at by at least 3 people, or a cab driver tries to kidnap my suitcase, or the weather is depressing. This weekend, though, was my island. I visited my beautiful friend Haylie who is my spirit animal, and…the weekend was a dream.

We went to a cat show, y’all. There were so many Maine Coons I practically peed, and I watched a cat judging thing (weird–they’re all number one in my heart) and got stamped with a cat stamp. Every time a cat got loose they’d yell “CAT OUT, CLOSE THE DOORS, DO NOT TRY TO CATCH THE CAT” and it was weird and wonderful, just like the entire show.

Ate the best curry I’ve ever had. Bamboo shoots? Yes.

Pike Place Market: homemade latte flavored Greek yogurt? YES.

Got slightly accosted by a man who pretended to take a bite out of the pastry I was holding. He got way too close to my head and I screamed and jumped, and he laughed and said “I didn’t mean to scare you!” Really? Then he had the audacity to try to hit on me, so that’s apparently a thing that happens.

Saw Tegan and Sara live, which was actually incredible. I don’t know why I was kinda surprised, but I wasn’t really sure that I still liked them. My dad had randomly bought their album So Jealous at a record shop in Seattle and I might’ve fallen in love with them freshman year of high school, but it’s been at least 4 years since I actually listened to them much. They’re really good live, though, and even though Haylie and I sat basically behind the stage, it was still pretty brilliant.

Ra Ra Riot, however, sucks. A lot. They were technically a good band, and the singer has a nice voice, but he’s much too “oh-whoa-ho!”-y for my taste. I don’t particularly enjoy bands with no energy, and even though the violinist and cellist were both sassy and awesome, there wasn’t much that could save the lead singer from being incredibly lackluster. Also, I’m pretty sure the drummer was a wizard and possessed the crowd at one point. Nobody was really into it, and then suddenly everyone was screaming and twirling around in the stands and on the floor, and Haylie and I could only wonder what is this black magic? (I’m pretty sure that’s actually a thing, though, that everyone in the crowd knew about; when the singer sang a certain line, everyone knew to twirl. I definitely prefer to think that it’s black magic.)

And of course Death Cab was brilliant, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less. I saw them 5 years ago in my hometown, then saw The Postal Service over the summer (amazingamazingamazing) and now all I have to do is see Ben Gibbard solo before I can die happy (I mean, I’d love to see The Strokes, but that might never happen so I just have to dream).

I miss Haylie. I miss Seattle. I miss feeling free. Coming home was weird — I was in a coma for the entire flight, and came home and wanted to cry. I think this weekend sparked a bit of an existential crisis, so look forward to some moody “who am I, what am I doing, blah” posts in the future.

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Baby flower children frolic in fields and rainbows. Meow.

Watch the Sun Come Up


It did not look like this, but it did feel just as spectacular.

It did not look like this, but it did feel just as spectacular.

There’s nothing particularly novel about being awake early enough in the morning to watch the sun come up, but it was a rather new experience for me. I’ve only seen it a few times in my life, and none of those times have been after being awake all night talking about girl thangs with my girl frans.

I had a wonderful time yesterday, watching Brave with a couple girl friends (If you had a chance to change your fate, would ya?) and chatting about wonderful things until 4 in the morning. At that point, we decided that there was no point in going to bed, so we drove to the cliffs and watched the sunrise. Sort of. Mostly we looked at some clouds that we knew the sun was behind, but it was lovely all the same.

Y’all, birds are really lively at 5 a.m.

Then we went to a diner at 6, where we were the only customers under 50, and wished we were regulars so we could order “the usual.” Here’s something we came up with: Walk into a restaurant you’ve never been to, sit down, and say, “I’ll have my usual, Frank” to the waiter, whose name is probably Alex or something. Confusion and hilarity ensue, right?

Anyway, there’s too much awesome to explain about last night. Besides, I was so sleep deprived I honestly can’t remember some parts. And I’m still pretty sleep deprived, so as I type my body can’t decide whether I’m asleep or awake.

It was a really top night, followed by a really top morning, followed by an absolute crash and day-sleeping, followed by an evening shift at work that was surprisingly manageable. All in all, I’d say life’s pretty wonderful.

Forget It, Cappy. It’s Just Chi-Town.


Chloe and me at the Bean. Yay Chicago skyline!

Chloe and me at the Bean. Yay Chicago skyline!

“Do you wanna stop viiiiiiiolence?” sang a man with long black hair on the street corner, waving a pamphlet in my face and doing a little leap/jig. That’s Chicago, now characterized in my mind by amazing food and crazy people. And train travel.

I took the train across the country and visited my family north of the city before heading to Lincoln Park to visit my girlfriend (okay, best friend, but we might as well get married) Chloe, where I embarked on a culinary tour of The Windy City. Bagels. Noodles. Waffles. Repeat. (Lather and rinse if you’d like.) I don’t think I’ve eaten so well in my life.

Day 1: Got on a train from Arlington Park to Chicago, where the conductor (whose name was surely Marshal, though I have no proof of that) grumped at me about my suitcase, then whistled while he walked away. Who yells at someone to move their suitcase while it’s being moved, then cheerily whistles three seconds later? Were you a prison warden in a past life?

Arrived and was picked up by my ladylove, and we walked to the elevated train (kind of like the light rail, if you live in Seattle…we don’t have those where I come from). We jumped on and the train started moving before I was prepared, so I flew about a foot sideways and was thrown into a glass partition, yelling, “Blahhhhh!!” and then saying (awkwardly and loudly), “Welcome to Chicago!” because I’m a doofus. When we finally found a seat, I got mean mugged by a homeless woman for the entire ride. She wouldn’t even break her stare when I made eye contact with her, so I just sat (mostly) quietly for the rest of the ride while she murdered me in her mind.

Sat in the library while Chloe went to class and witnessed the most lovely foreign couple be in love and wished I went to DePaul, because library.
I can’t even remember what we did for the rest of the day, so that’s good.

Day 2: Woke at the crack of dawn (11) after Chloe got back from class and we took a train to some loop (the West Loop? Who knows. So many loops.) to eat at Little Goat Diner. We got on the wrong train, so we had to get off and walk through Sedgewick, which is super cute building-wise but super sketchy people-wise. Some scary man looked us up and down and said, “Mmm, I like that” or something. A guy sneezed on my face as he walked by. I’m not kidding. I honestly don’t how it happened because I have PTSD.

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Napkin holder at The Little Goat!

Finally got to the restaurant. First, it’s absolutely adorable and I love it and want it to be my personal restaurant. Second, GARLIC BREAD AND TOMATO SOUP. Third, Cinnamon roll, be my husband. That is all.
We moseyed back to her apartment before heading out once more to an amazing Italian restaurant that started with a Q (I’m so good at remembering this trip…I’ll bet it impresses you) where I tried veal for the first time (delicious) and fell in love with our waiter, who looked like Tony Parker.
Went home and watched an episode of Dance Moms because we’re awesome and Abby Lee Miller is scary.

Day 3: Ate at Jam & Honey. They have a jar of nutella on the table “just in case.” Needless to say, they are my kind of people. We ate waffles and bananas and yum. A little girl was eating with her mom next to us and she told me she was getting pancakes, and since I don’t know how to talk to children, I said, “Wow, you’re going crazy!” because that makes sense. I wanted to die a little, but she was preoccupied with her doll and children are weird anyway, so they don’t care when adults are. …I’m an adult.

Went to the Mac store because duh I love makeup and it was the professional store, so makeup artists go there to get their supplies. They have every pigment ever, so you can mix specific colors and…I died a little bit, I’m not going to lie. I could live in that store.
Then we went to Lush, which doesn’t exist where I live, and I bought soap that’s called Sexy Peel, because puns are the best. I also basically got high off one of their colognes because it smelled like man. Chloe and I were almost embarrassed, because we just wanted to get boyfriends and spray it on them. It smelled like a woodpile and man. Man man man. Also, it was called Breath of God, so that’s kind of amazing.

Ate noodles in curry sauce at Flat Top. Died inside because I was so happy.
It was raining, but all I’ve ever wanted to do was go to The Bean, so we trudged our way across the city (when I say trudged I mean walked and took a train, and when I say across the city I mean several blocks) to that cute little reflecting piece of awesome, and we took lots of pictures. We asked a couple sorority girls to take our picture with the city in the background, because I feel a strange connection to anyone wearing Greek letters. They cut The Bean out of one of the pictures…connection lost.
A homeless man asked us for change and when we kept walking, said, “You look wonderful today,” to me. I honestly couldn’t help but say, “Thank you” and laugh as I walked away. He chuckled heartily in the background. Very heartily. (Somehow that sounded foreboding…it wasn’t supposed to.)
Ate bagels for dinner because Barack Obama likes that bagel shop and it’s a few blocks from Chloe’s apartment. Besides, bagels are always acceptable, and they steam them there! Whaaaat?

I was so glazed and so infused.

I was so glazed and so infused.

Day 4: Woke up, put on my new makeup (yes yes yes yes) and went to Argo Tea, where I drank the most delightful black tea with honey and lemon, before heading to Glazed and Infused Donuts. Three words: Crème brulee donut. Once again, I died of food-induced happiness.
Then, as if donuts for breakfast didn’t make us want to have heart attacks, we got deep dish pizza. It’s Chicago, y’all, and apparently that means you have to eat pizza that immediately puts you in a coma.
I got on a plane today and headed home. I miss Chloe, and I miss Chicago (which is surprising because I don’t particularly like cities…but Chicago is delightful if you ignore the dirt).

A few random quotes/situations:

Chloe: You can be my wife but I don’t know if I can share you with all the black, homeless Chicago men that find you attractive.
Me: You noticed that? It happens to me in Seattle, too.
Chloe: They were responding to whatever you were putting out. At least you’ve found your niche market in the romance department.
(I don’t wanna brag, but I do have a way with the homeless fellas. Meow.)

Me every 5 minutes: Something gross just hit me in the face.

Chloe: Oh, there’s the skyline!
Me: Cuuute! …Wait, did I just say that?

A couple Bob Marley lookalikes in Sedgewick: Man, we can rent scooters and ride the shit around that place. (Because that sentence makes sense in English).

A very-nearly toothless, scrawny white man walked onto our train, but another guy was trying to get off and they shuffled around for a second trying to get around each other before Toothless in Chicago mumbled loudly “Fuck you, outta my fuckin’ way,” then sat down across from and staring at us the rest of our ride. He answered his cell phone at one point and just yelled, “mumble mumble fucking mumble” before hanging up and getting out a packet of cigarettes. He kept slapping it against his hand and I was just praying he wouldn’t light up (if he had, I may have been forced to murder him because I was tired and I don’t like cancer)…and then we got off. More like fled, really.

Everyone was dressed in green and at least slightly drunk by about 11:30 a.m. because they all think they’re Irish and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was today. Fun times ensued, but I am neither 21 nor still in Chicago.

Chloe sang a Mariah Carey song to me in a cupcake shop last night, so that memory will just have to stay in my mind until the next time I see her. I’ll miss you, boo!

Cheers, muffins, and Happy (almost) Saint Patrick’s Day to one and all! Apparently we’re all Irish at heart, or maybe everyone just likes to drink.

There Must Be Rehab for This


Some of you (none of you) have noticed that I no longer have a Facebook. Why, you ask? Oh, no reason.

Okay, there were lots of reasons:

1. Who cares about what happens on Facebook? I could care less that you went to a magic show and that it “blew your mind.” Or that it was the worst day ever until your “baby-boo-poobear” sent you a text.  Or that you’ve gotten your Gemini horoscope from lulu-the-enchantress.com. Or that you’re still playing Farmville (for goodness sake, stop already!). My real life is pretty removed from reality as it is (I swear I think about frogs and Thai food more than I pay attention to what’s going on around me) without Facebook getting in the way.

2. Why should I spend time in a “social” setting that is filled with antisocial people? Some of my “friends” in high school never actually spoke to me except on Facebook. It was really awkward seeing them in person, but somehow Facebook pulled down the barrier and made us close. I never valued those friendships the way I value personal (like, actually in person) friendships.

3. Facebook leads to me feeling crappy about myself. I already do that enough in real life, so there’s no reason to enhance it online. And I waste time on it anyway. I don’t need to look at people’s profile pictures for two hours instead of reading a book, or actually breathing outside air.

But…now that I’ve stopped using Facebook, I’ve realized I’ve grown very dependent on social media. I practically spew useless information. Here are some things I’ve wanted to tell people, but then didn’t because I knew it would only be considered acceptable conversation on Facebook, especially when phrased this way:

1. Chips and salsa at midnight = bad idea!
2. I watched a movie tonight! It was great.
3. I love George Harrison. Let’s all have a gush-fest about how dreamy he is.
4. The rain here is so annoying. My hair is so tangled! Boo.
5. Twilight? Puh-lease.
6. The dude behind me in the library is being really loud. Quiet! We’re in a library!
7. College rulez!
8. College sux.
9. Seriously though, library man. Shut up.
10. Read my blog! Look! My blog’s so great!

I’ve also noticed that other people freak out when they find out you’ve deleted your profile.

1. “You’ll be baaaaack. They always come baaaaack to Facebook. It’s beautiful and, mmm, it smells like heaven; no one can resist. Reeeeeer!”
2. “Oh. My. God. I heard from Mary who heard from Kathy that you deleted your profile. Why? Why? Why?”
3. “You’re a loser. Pttttbbbbtttt.”
4. “You’re a double-loser.”
5. “How are we gonna be friends without Facebook?! Oh noooo.”

And for the first couple of days, the moment I get on the internet, my fingers would automatically type in “facebook.co….” and I’d think to myself, “Oh God. Oh God, what have I become?! I. Will. Not. Cave. I. Will. Not. Go. Back. To. FACEBOOK! There must be rehab for this.”

It’s been almost two weeks now, and I’m still clean, man. Still clean after quitting cold turkey. Not many people thought I could do it, but I’ve proven them wrong. I’ve proven them all wrong!

*bows*

Mary Poppins Pockets


My boyfriend keeps everything in his pockets. I guess that’s not unusual, since most guys don’t carry purses etc. It’s just always so hilarious to me when he pulls his phone and wallet, a whole cake and a small elephant out of his pockets at the end of the day.

What? How? How was all that stuff in there? They didn’t seem full…you didn’t look like you’d had a poo incident in the front of your pants…then how? Your pants aren’t weird or anything, right? There’s no “false bottom” in them? Is that possible?

How have you been carting all that stuff around all day? And can I have some of your magical powers?

There's an elephant in there, I swear.

Of course, I laugh at him, because I have no tact. And he may or may not strangle me (or throw his pocket elephant at me) in anger for writing a stupid blog post about his deformity unusually spacious pockets.

I laugh about it because I think it’s cute. I will never get over the novelty of his Mary Poppins/Hermione bag pockets.  I laugh because honestly, there’s no reason to laugh. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore. I know what he keeps in there (elephants, I tell you!), so it shouldn’t be surprising.

I laugh because I laugh at everything, to be honest. I think the things I say are hilarious, I laugh at my own blog posts (way too hard), I laugh at people’s pockets…it’s just what I do.

It makes me wonder, does the novelty ever wear off? I hope not. I’d like to think that I will forever laugh at his pockets, and lots of other worn out and old jokes that we’ve formulated over the years we’ve known each other. Because it seems that as long as I can laugh at him, and he can tease me for it, we’ll always be in pretty good shape.

Leave it to me to turn a post about pockets into a lesson on keeping love alive, or some such rubbish.

But seriously, I always wanted to date someone like Mary Poppins.

How to Make Friends


Step One: See them around town.
You like what you see. They seem nice, always chatting with passersby or wearing something fun. Give them a little nod as you pass to show that you want to be best friends.
Follow them to their favorite lunch spot. Memorize their order so that one day you can be in front of them in line and order it, then hear them gasp delightedly behind you and say, “That’s my favorite!” I can practically hear the sound of friendship bracelets being made.

Step Two: Ask around.
Casually ask your friends (or any complete stranger within a 10 foot radius) “Who is that sassy lady wearing  a false ponytail and cowboy boots? I’d like to know her. What is her name? Birthday? Social security number?”

Step Three: Add on Facebook.
Because nothing’s more welcome than a random friend request from someone you may or may not have seen staring at your false ponytail.
If you’re feeling spunky, add a personal note. “Hey, I’ve seen you around and think you are the coolest thing since ice cubes. I would like to be your best friend…forever.”

Step Four: Find out where they work.
This information can be obtained in the same manner as in Step Two.

Step Five: “Bump” into them at work.
“Oh my goodness, you work here? I had no idea. I work across town at a pizza stand, which has nothing to do with your high-flying job as a trapeze artist so I really have no reason to be here…what a crazy coincidence! Wanna be best friends?!”

Step Six: Burn the restraining orders.
They were mistakes. Mistakes!
 Keep telling yourself that.

But really, Girl on the Contrary, Chivalry is NOT Dead.


There is a girl I love. She’s the only one for me, really. And no, I’m not lesbian, but I’m also not kidding. A little bit of my soul is inside of her, and a little of hers is probably in me (note the Harry Potter reference, please). Her name is Girl on the Contrary, and we’re friends. Ish.

This is my love letter to her.

Girl, you shine. (Aaron Carter reference for the win. Also, I can call you Girl without sounding ridiculous because technically it’s your first name.) I hope we can meet someday. I say this in “public” on my blog so you will know how serious I am about it. Also, I say this in public in case you turn out to be a 40-year-old creepy rapist and I meet you and then you try to rape me, as rapists are wont to do. People will know I was with you, “Girl on the Contrary.” Don’t try to fool them like you fooled me! You won’t get away with your rape scheme.

I think the point of this post, as the title indicates, was to tell you that chivalry is not dead. Because I know you lost faith in chivalry a few days back, and I want to restore it.

 Yesterday, as I was driving home from work, I saw this woman walking along the street. She seemed kinda normal at first, but as I watched (I was at a stop light like a million cars back – I swear I was being a safe driver!), I noticed she was probably pretty cracked out. She kept tugging at her clothes, and walking as if she really wanted to dance but couldn’t, and her legs were all wiggly. It was really heartbreaking, actually, and I watched her with sadness as she scratched at her neck, pulled at her clothes, and (probably) made weird noises. I don’t know how a person gets to be that hopeless, but there she was, a symbol of hopelessness, practically making me cry as I sat in my little car waiting for the light to turn green.

But all of a sudden, a man came up to her. Now, usually, I wouldn’t really be okay with a man approaching a cracked out woman, because of the usual possible rape consequences etc, but he seemed to know her, and as he walked toward her she seemed to calm down a little.

He seriously sat down with her on the sidewalk and held her. I was shocked, mainly because he was totally scary looking at first, but then I caught a glimpse of his face and he looked so nice and caring, and it completely broke my heart because chivalry, my dear friend, is not dead. That man has proven it.

The woman just sat there in his arms. There was no more clothes-tugging, no more dancy-pants legs. Just quiet stillness. I wish I could’ve just sat and stared, but I had to leave as the light turned green. It was tragic, sure, but also heartwarming. I like when my heart is warmed.

So there’s my letter to you. It isn’t really a love letter anymore, but it’s nice all the same, I think.

Cappy

P.S. Let’s actually do a blog collab. Sorry I’m dumb and haven’t been on top of my game!

Pregnancy Cravings


I’ve been eating like a pregnant woman (I swear I’m not joking – I’ve got the food baby to prove it), and my friends are totally fuelling my bad habit.

Here’s the deal: We’re the Cheetah Girls, and nothing, not even a food baby, can stand in the way of our happiness. Katie, Shannon, Maddie and I will eat our way to joy…and I’ll eat the leftovers. I feel like most outings (and nights in) with these girls end with me laying on the floor groaning because I’ve eaten so much. I’m beginning to be okay with that.

I guess what this all comes down to (in a terribly round-about and not entirely sensical way) is that it’s really great to be able to be yourself. Some people can do it no matter who they’re with, while others have to find that niche group. So really, happiness and friendship + self-love = being able to watch the movie Prom in a theatre with three other strangers, snort loudly, make terrible jokes, and just not care.

I’ve learned a lot this year. I’ve learned (and promptly forgotten) how convex lenses work, what happened during the 100 Years War, and what metonymy is. But I think the most important thing that I learned is that friendship and love are essential to happiness. But you have to be your own friend first.

I know, I know. It’s so corny. “Cappy, you need to shut up and start listing something semi-funny about how to not pee your pants at the zoo,” you shout (though why you’re shouting at your computer I don’t know). I know! I tell myself that every day. But I recently had a birthday and grew up a little, and I feel like y’all should get some of my grown-up wisdom. Be your friend. Because if you wouldn’t take the time to be friends with you, why the hell should you expect anyone else to? You should love yourself and your food baby the way I do. Because I’ve named my food baby Charlie. Can’t give much more love than that.

But really, I think the most important lesson here is this: don’t eat Doritos, barbecue chips, Girl Scout Cookies, lemonade, and candy and expect to feel normal afterward…