Last night, a friend and I went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. I always feel guilty about going out when I am supposed to be home studying hard for my upcoming oral Spanish exam, but, I mean, it WAS a Mexican restaurant. There was a Spanish menu, Spanish music was playing, and the ad libitum-menu we shared meant that our tortillas and tacos were served in a sombrero-looking basket. It smelled like Mexico, it tasted like Mexico, and when I took that first bite of my tortilla wrap I swear I heard the angelic voice of Enrique Iglesias in the back of my mind. To keep Enrique singing, I ate a sick amount of tacos and tortillas. Each bite was like a little piece of heaven. For that reason, I left the restaurant looking at least five months pregnant, and everything no longer felt so glorious. I then topped it off with a chai latte at a café and totally broke my Latino-theme. FUCK, shit, fuck. I consumed a delicious beverage and it had absolutely no educational purpose. I am the worst student.
My exam is six days away, and it scares me. I hope that my nerves won’t get the best of me. My problem is that I usually have so many words to choose from. My head is full of words. I probably write too much and talk too much, but I try to make up for it by being a really good and attentive listener. With this foreign language, my vocabulary is so limited. I am constantly told to simplify, simplify, simplify, because I always get myself tangled up in obscure and complicated sentences that I don’t know how to get out of. I also can’t listen well and respond appropriately, because there are so many words and phrases I still don’t understand. Basically, it’s a very different kind of communication; one where I have to drag myself through every single word, and I have these tables of tenses in my mind that I have to go through every time I want to say something. It’s normal, I am sure it is, but it’s still very new, very different, and very difficult.
What is wonderful, though, is that this exam is my very last one. That’s it, I am done. And even though I won’t get my diploma until a couple of days after, I will have graduated. Hopefully, that can lessen the blow of perhaps not doing that well at the exam.
A guilty pleasure is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The “guilt” involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes, such as campy styles of entertainment. Fashion, video games, music, films, and junk food can be examples of guilty pleasures.
That’s Wikipedia’s definition, and that has always been my definition as well. Here is the thing, though, and this occurred to me lately.
People never seem to mind sharing their guilty pleasures, as long as they make sure to refer to it as being a pleasure that they feel guilty about. But, if you feel embarrassed about liking x and y, and really don’t want people to know, then referring to to it as being something you feel guilty about will not change the fact that you like it. Embarrassing or not, you enjoy it. Whether it’s “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” (ho-hum) or donuts — if it’s something that brings happiness to your soul, why feel guilty? Isn’t life too short to feel guilty about every once in a while indulging in something that makes you happy? A pleasure implies that it’s something you do/consume every once in a while, and if it gets out of hand, then you still shouldn’t feel guilty –unless it’s making you neglect your responsibilities OR is hurting someone else. Instead, you should ask yourself why, and try to replace it with a healthier habit.
We live in a time where everything is SHAME SHAME SHAME sprinkled with more SHAME. You might feel guilty about liking something because you think people “expect more of you”, but fuck, we ALL do it. Those who expect more of you most likely also have something that would make one raise their eyebrow. It’s like we are so afraid of people finding out who we really are. Instead of feeling, we should get better at reflecting on WHY we like it. What is it doing for us? And then, when we tell people that we like x and y, we can tell them why.
I like to watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” because after a long day of school where my brain has been working overdrive focusing and trying to comprehend and memorize different things in an attempt to get smarter, it is nice to unwind by watching something that requires absolutely nothing of me. Everything I have learned that day will not be disturbed. It doesn’t require any thinking, and that is sometimes exactly what you need. Also, I love being outraged that these women, these grown-ass 40+ women, still fight like High Schoolers. It is so ridiculous that I just have to watch it and see what happens.
I also like to read Oh No They Didn’t. I have been reading it on and off since 2007, and, again, I love the outrage and the gossip. Sometimes the stupid things that celebrities do will spark really profound and interesting discussions between members, and from a sociological perspective, it’s gold. I also like to hear what celebrities name their children. That might be odd, but I am a name-freak, and I want to know what everyone named their kids.
I love Coca Cola Zero. It’s bad for my teeth and full of questionable bullshit, but I love it anyway.
And that’s only three of the countless things I like that I used to feel guilty about. But, dammit, as the sky is my witness, I will not feel guilty anymore. It’s me, it’s a part of me, and I will not feel guilty about every once in a while giving myself a little something something.
(Maybe this is the voice of the little Wannabe-Historian in my stomach, who can be heard yelling through my rolls of belly jelly, but I believe it is really important to every once in a while take a walk down memory lane — you know, to fully understand the present. I might like to do that more than the average person, but that is because I am sentimental and sometimes because I like to torture myself. Mostly, though, it’s because I think we can learn a lot from our past. History might be bound to repeat itself again and again, but I think we have more power than we think. Our ability to reflect on the past is one of the key factors that distinguishes human-beings from animals, right? So, pardon my french, why the hell not use it?
Today, I am going to take a look at my previous blogging endeavors. It dawned on me today that I have been a blogger for half of my life. Honestly, it’s the only really consistent hobby I have ever had. It has been a sort of life companion, and I think it will always be in my life, in one variation or another — it’s a little addictive. Now, I have composed a list of things I USED to do back in the 00′s, when I was young and naive and wrinkle-free and incredibly moody. I don’t think there is any risk of me EVER going back to this behavior, but looking back can never hurt.)
Designs featuring random celebrities
To be fair, the celebrities weren’t always that random. I mean, most of the time it was celebrities that I liked. And then there were slips sometimes where I really don’t know what I was thinking. Like, Tegan and Sara before I had even listened to Tegan and Sara, etc. Once, I made a collage of photos of the Kennedy’s and used it for my personal blog. I mean, I like the Kennedy’s, but I am not sure how that was supposed to represent my life and writing in any way. Unless, of course, I was like a hush-hush Kennedy baby that had been tucked away in Denmark. Yeah, I hope you would question that story.
Post-titles completely unrelated to the actual content of the post
Naming posts is often the hardest part of blogging for me. I can hammer out words just fine, but coming up with a title that sums up the content is hard. It was much easier when I was younger and totally oblivious to the fact that it would make a lot of sense for the title to somehow be related to the content. I think I missed that memo, or maybe we all lived in blissful ignorance in my corner of the Internet. As far as I remember, people didn’t really use feed-readers back then. You would miss out on all of those bitchin’ celebrity designs if you did.
Anyway, to me, giving a post a title was just a way to give a post that extra touch of “edgy” and “unique”, and a sprinkle of pretentiousness, perhaps? This leads me to my next point.
(Not always accurate) Song lyrics as post-titles
I first started blogging “for real” (as real as it’s going to get, when you are more concerned about the readers having 20 different celebrity themes to choose from when reading your gold than you are about writing said gold) in 2004, which unfortunately also happened to be the year where singer/song-writer Ashlee Simpson released her first record. Lip-syncing and hoedowns aside, the lyrics on this album were seriously written for pseudo-rebellious, slightly pressed budding teenage-bloggers with melodramatic tendencies – myself included.
I’m a bad ass girl in this messed up world
I’m a sexy girl in this crazy world
I’m a simple girl in a complex world
A nasty girl, you wanna get with me?
You wanna mess with me?
I laugh more than I cry
You piss me off, good-bye
That’s 7 post-titles right there.
Now, here’s another problem that is rarely spoken of. You see, when English isn’t your first language and you are using the media to better your English skills (but not with the aid of Google, and god forbid with the aid of a dictionary), you sometimes get the words wrong, especially the spelling, when all you have to go by are your ears. I sounded everything out, which meant that “apartment” became “aparkment” (nobody corrected me) and “nauseous” became “knoxious” (again nobody corrected me. Would you also neglect to tell me if I had toilet paper stuck in my shoe?).
Chat-speak and emoticons galore
See, this was cool back then. The occasional “lol” was perfectly accepted. As for the smilies, I can’t tell you how many hours I spent installing various smiley-plugins on whatever blogging platform I was using at the time. Greymatter, b2, WordPress — it was the first thing I did. It was like, screw everything else, if I can’t have mah smilies, how am I going to convey happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, love, etc? I mean, words are so clearly not enough.
Rules for commenting
Oh Child, this calls for a big LOL. Who the hell did I think I was? You have to feel pretty damn important to set up 38423 rules for commenting on your blog. In my opinion, let people comment, and then delete it if you think it’s spam (ala “Hi, cool site, visit mine!”. Having there be a bunch of rules creates a really negative energy around commenting, and it will scare people off. At the very least wait until it becomes an actual problem, rather than it just being a theoretical problem that might never occur.
What about you? Is there anything you used to do as a blogger that makes you cringe now?
I had the strangest dream last night. When I woke up this morning, I felt totally exhausted and not well-rested at all.
I dreamed that I was at a party at my old school, a going away party, and that our teachers had decided that it would be great fun for everybody went on an obstacle course. There would be climbing, golfing, playing football, etc, basically all things I can’t do. Well technically I could do golfing, but I opted out. So, as usual, I couldn’t go. I went, but I just stood on the sidelines, watching everyone participate.
As the course went on, it became a competition, and if you weren’t fast enough you were out.
The second to last challenge was to climb a ladder leading up to a platform while wearing a backpack with 20 pounds of baggage. I was like, “Yeah, you have fun with that”, but then the school therapist somehow managed to convince me that I could do it, too. She was like, “You can do anything you want, you can do this”, and I was like, “Chyeah, I don’t think that’s a great idea”, and then she said, “We really want you to come with us”. Then she left, and I stood there alone with this choice I had to make, and it felt really significant, like life or death. Either I could stay on the ground and be safe, and follow the rules for what I am allowed to do, OR I could go, participate, and possibly hurt myself — or have a great time.
So, I put on the backpack, and it wasn’t even that heavy. And then I started climbing the ladder. When I made it to the top, the school therapist was ecstatic to see me. I was told that so many hadn’t made it up the ladder, and that we were only five left, which made me feel super powerful. Except, I hadn’t participated in any of the other challenges, so technically it was kind of unfair… and I remember even thinking that in my dream. That it was seriously unjust.
When we were waiting for the last challenge to be revealed, I thought to myself, “God, wouldn’t it be nice if the last challenge was a non-physical one? A brainy one? Like, a quiz about the Beach Boys, or something?
And lo and behold, IT WAS a quiz about the Beach Boys. I was like, wow, I actually have a chance of winning! And then I thought, but it’s been so long since I have read all the books and listened to all the rarities! Everyone thinks I’m an expert, and now I am going to look like an idiot. I’m going to completely humiliate myself.
So, the quiz began. I could answer some of the questions, but a lot of them were totally obscure and not even Beach Boys-related. I was like, what is this bullshit. The final question was in Spanish and about Dion and The Belmonts and the Everly Brothers. It took me too long to translate the question to be able to answer (ho-hum, this is a totally new feeling).
And so I didn’t win — my archenemy did. That’s right; at my last school I had one of those. I don’t think anyone has ever annoyed me as much as him. He was the most unsympathetic character I have ever encountered in my entire life, and he would step on everyone to get to where he wanted to be. Even just thinking about him now is making my piss boil, so we better move on. But losing to him, ESPECIALLY HIM, really sucked.
When it was done, it was 3 o’clock in the morning, and I had makeup smeared all over my face. My grandfather came and picked me up, and I was sad that I forgot to say goodbye to everyone and wish them good luck and good life going forwards.
And then I woke up, sweaty and totally entangled in my bedsheets. I wasn’t sure where I was, or what I was doing, or how it could be 11:48 a.m.
Most of the “symbols” (or whatever I should call them) in my dream make sense. I mean, it’s not that cryptic. It’s just a dream that I want to remember, because it’s like a little peep-hole into how far along I am on my journey towards fully accepting my situation — the good and the bad.
Firstly, I may have mentioned this once or twice, but Danes are very appreciative of good weather.
According to Danish superstition, the weather on your birthday will reveal whether or not you have been good this year. Mother nature speaks the truth on this one –- she sees everything. Fortunately, my birthday is in the early days of summer, which means that I always, without fail, have eighty billion people thanking me for providing such great weather on June 6. And this year was no exception. I was treated like the sun was shooting right out of my rear, and thank god that I am such a levelheaded person or I might let it get to me. All I can say is: you are welcome, and I live to please.
Secondly, I had a pretty sweet birthday. The photo above is of me enjoying the view from the top of the ferries wheel in Tivoli Gardens, which provides the best overview of our beautiful city. I am a born and bred Copenhagener and have therefore ridden the ferries wheel in Tivoli many, many times before, but each time is like a rush. We’re a very flat country and have no mountains, and getting to be up so high is really thrilling.
Anyyway, Thank you for having shared my 23rd year on this planet with me. You have been there all the way, through good and bad, sickness and health. Here’s to a happy and healthy 24th, am I right?
It’s Wednesday and also the last day of my life as a 23-year-old.
The number 23 already feels passé, but I guess that’s because I have been referring to myself as being “almost 24” every time someone has asked my age. Now that I think about it, I have always done that. When your birthday is a couple of months away, it’s like I have to follow, “I’m x years old” up with, “but I’ll be turning y soon”.
And so now, I have already gotten used to the number “24”. It rolls off my tongue easily and doesn’t feel strange in my mouth. Sure, I have been a little “look at your life, look at your choices”-ish lately, but that’s only because I am surrounded with chubby babies and friends with graduate degrees.
The truth is that I am (almost) 24 and I am okay with where I am. I do feel sadness about the fact that Andrew and I are still living our lives 3000 miles apart, but that’s life – it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. The way my life has unfolded has meant that I have not been able to meet the expectations I had for myself at this age, and that’s OKAY, because life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. (Thank you, John Lennon, for summing up the story of everyone’s lives so eloquently in one sentence). I had some years where I went AWOL from the world, and then I had some years where I was sick (and my whole existence felt totally doomed), and the consequence of that is that I am now a late bloomer. But at least I am blooming.
Everyone’s journeys are different. Where I am now, compared to where I have been, is a miracle. I can’t hold myself to whatever unrealistic standard I had before I knew what kind of bumps I would meet on my way, and I have to remind myself of that sometimes. Everyone’s circumstances are different. My friends went one way and I followed for a while, and then I had to stop, step aside, and take a break. And then, I got back in the game.
I swear to god, I am going to walk down the aisle to this song. When I first heard it years ago, I thought it was the most romantic piece of music I had ever heard, and it has been my favorite song ever since. I just fell in love, I suppose.