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PRETTY YOUNG FAIL

surviving a millennial world

We were not worthy of Hillary Clinton

I feel a sense of loss I’ve never felt before. At 23 I’ve never lost a parent or close relative yet who I was close to, but I feel certain this is what it must feel like.

I didn’t know it was possible to cry this much. My tears fall for not just me, but women everywhere, for people who have been sexually assaulted, for people of color, for the LGBTQ community, for Muslims, and for everyone who feels afraid, so afraid right now.

And my tears fall hardest of all for the strongest, most resilient, most amazing woman alive—Hillary. The woman who ran for president not once, but twice. The woman who knew what it was to stay poised when attacked, to stand tall in the face of a deeply misogynistic society, to brush off attacks on her hair or her cleavage, and to deliver the most poised speech of all time in the face of losing an election to a bigot, a racist, a rapist, an inexperienced man-handler.

She would have made history. I feel for her. I feel for us.

I don’t feel dramatic when I say this is one of the worst days of my life. I’m sure I’ve said it before, in high school perhaps, after failing a test or getting sick from bad Chinese take-out, or being bullied in that cruelly subtle way 13-year-olds are capable of.

No, today is the worst. Not only has the country told Hillary that her being experienced and qualified and well-mannered and whip-smart isn’t enough, they’ve told us—they’ve told women everywhere—that we don’t really matter, not that much.

We don’t deserve the right to have sexual assault victims taken seriously. We don’t deserve to own our bodies. We don’t deserve to have our accomplishments and our hard work rewarded. We certainly don’t deserve to be president.

But she did. Hillary deserved to be president and we were finally, finally ready to shatter that glass ceiling, and to shatter it hard, with our sore fists aching, blood dripping from our shorn knuckles.

My tears fall for all of us today. Tomorrow we will fight back.

 

 

 

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Thoughts I Had About Moving to NYC Last Week

Is this a good idea?

This isn’t. This is a terrible idea.

It’s too late now, though: I already bought the plane ticket.

One-way. So much more poetic that way.

What if no one hires me?

I mean, I haven’t been able to find full-time employment in Minneapolis. Why would New York be any different?

Because there are more writing jobs, remember?

Okay, but are there?

I need to get a comforter to sleep with.

And a mattress. And sheets.

How much rent does one pay when crashing on a friend’s floor? A third?

I am breaking out so much.

What if I’m never calm again?

Ok, but have I ever been calm?

Everyone who I say I’m moving to says, “Congrats! What job did you get?” And then I say, “no job!” and smile hugely, and they stare at me for six full seconds, then mutter something like: “Wow, so brave.”

Like I’m fighting a deadly disease.

Are there grocery stores in New York? There must be, right? Not just little corner stores?

I wonder how the subway works.

I need to find something to listen to or read on commutes. That’s what New Yorkers do. Well, if I have a job to commute to.

Please let me get a job to commute to.

Ok, this is gonna work. It’s gonna be great. Like Friends, or Sex and the City.

Without the money, or friends, or, um, apartment.

But hopefully with the sexy men.

Who eventually want to move back to Minnesota with me to live near my family.

With three dogs and two cats.

I bet New York has a lot of dogs, just like, walking around. There are a lot in movies.

Like…Must Love Dogs. And You’ve Got Mail.

Those are such terrible movies.

                                                            

                                                            

Why Your 20s Aren’t Like the Movies

I had finally come to terms with 22 when 23 hit. 22 matches the uncertainty that comes with graduating college and finding your place in the world. 22 can be immature or adventurous or wild or even a little bit broken, like a bird pushed out of its nest too soon. It can’t quite fly yet, but maybe it manages to hit a stable branch on the way down without breaking both wings.

But 23? There isn’t even a song for 23. 23 feels…foreign. Premature. Grown-up. 23-year-olds are supposed to have it together. Right?

When I picture a 23-year-old, I picture a thin brunette with an expensive haircut, dressed in a chic black blazer and pencil skirt with heels. She is spritzed with Chanel no. 5 and sporting a designer handbag, a cell phone pressed to her ear and coffee in her hands as she fields her powerful boss’ requests. She has a sexy chef boyfriend, but she leaves him to go to Paris even though Emily was supposed to go but she was hit by a cab anyway, so honestly is it that big of a deal…okay, this is the plot of The Devil Wears Prada.

What I don’t picture is an underemployed liberal arts grad who can’t quite afford to get her hair done and Skypes her friends more than she sees them in person. A girl who still cries at the ending of Anastasia, who asks her mom for advice every day, and who still wears her old sorority t-shirts while eating cookie dough she has not yet purchased in aisle 3 of the grocery store.

23 scares the sh@% out of me.

So, like many of you, I am forced to admit it: your 20s aren’t a damn thing like the movies.

1. Your first job won’t be the “perfect job”

I know, I know, you’ve heard this. So had I. But yet, here I am, juggling freelance writing jobs and struggling to work my way up in each of them, genuinely confused why I’m not Editorial Director at The New Yorker by now. I mean, Carrie Bradshaw got her sex column just like that and Elle Woods went straight from college to Harvard Law to working at a firm. While movies can be inspiring, we need to remember that this is about as realistic as making orange the new pink (aka seriously disturbed).

2. That girl squad may take awhile.

You had it in college, right? Just wait until your friends are scattered across the world like crumbled pieces of a Nature Valley bar, and you’re in a new city, alone. Or your old city, alone. Unless you went to college locally, you might struggle sorting it out right away. You might feel more than a little lonely. They don’t show this on TV, this first dose of loss as you navigate the world without your friends for the first time. You’ll stop complaining about those group texts—you’ll live for them.

3. That chic NY apartment? NOT affordable.

It’s not just New York, either. Chic is pretty unattainable in your early 20s, unless you’re a viral sensation, a Wall Street banker, Hailee Steinfeld, or a trust fund baby.

4. The same goes for Louboutins.

I own exactly one designer item, and it’s a Burberry scarf my grandmother gave me for Christmas one year. When it’s between those shoes and rent, rent tends to come first.

5. Dating in the real world is hard.

You know in Crazy Stupid Love when Emma Stone approaches Ryan Gosling, kisses him, says “let’s go,” and then they proceed to reenact the Dirty Dancing lift and talk all night about their interests and families? I’ve been waiting for this to happen, for, like, years. I’m serious. If anyone reads this and can do that lift, hit me up. My point is, dating in your 20s, while admittedly the time to find your “soul mate,” is anything but smooth.

Moreover, your 20s are anything but smooth. And while I am only 23, I expect six more years of chaos, uncertainty, and strangely exhilarating ambiguity. We’ve got nothing to lose, and everywhere to go.

appointments

When you’re unemployed and you go to doctor/dentist/dermatologist appointments, it kind of feels like these so-called professionals are coming at your life.

“So, what’s your job?”

“What do you do during the day?”

“What are your plans?”

Like, WHY DON’T YOU STEP OFF MA’AM AND LISTEN TO MY HEARTBEAT LIKE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO.

Embracing the “Real World”: How to Come to Terms with NOT Going Back to College this Fall

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August has come and gone, the back-to-school Target dorm sales are in full swing, and the snapchats and instagrams of upperclassmen back at college are sweeping into your phone with the speed and tenacity of a spindly freshman late to class. And you are not loving them. You are loving them about as much as the fact that your best friends are now scattered all over the country and the only class you’ve been to recently is yoga, defining “recently” as within the last three months.

But there are a few reasons the real world might not suck as much as we think. I am here to help you—and, more importantly, me—come to terms with the fact that we aren’t going back to campus this fall.

  1. Now you can get a pet. If you’re like me, and your mom is allergic to every animal that breathes except hermit crabs, then this is exciting. Especially if you were so afraid of said crabs that you may or may not have intentionally starved them to death, A tiny kitten to snuggle with while you work out the rest of your life? Yes, please. RIP Mr. Waternoose. It’s not your fault you were so creepy.
  1. No more school cafeterias. My college had a cafeteria with a distinct smell that actually clung to your clothes when you left, so you forever smelled like undercooked carrots and failed Asian-fusion.
  1. No more homework. I don’t feel like this warrants further explanation, especially if you ever took three English classes in one semester like I did.
  1. This is an opportunity to follow your dreams. This is the first time in our lives that we have had this much control, this much power. Have you always wanted to backpack through Bali? Be a ski instructor in Vail? Write a blog? Become a teacher? Learn how to play guitar, but you’ve never had the spare time to try? All you have to lose is your pride.
  1. You have time to figure it out. This is such a strange time, a time when we can really pause and think about our lives and the direction we want them to go in. And people are surprising themselves. My cousin, after four years studying nursing, called me yesterday from her nursing assistant job and said: “I don’t want to be a nurse anymore.” One of my closest friends who swore she hated kids is now teaching English to them in Vietnam. Another friend is respectably holding off on the whole career thing and took up a job studying wine, her true passion. And I, having known I wanted to write since I was seven, have the opportunity to strategize how best to go down this path.

We have a newfound freedom, freedom from our parents’ expectations and our professors’ suggestions—the freedom to really consider what it is we want to do with our lives. And, for once, we have the time to do it.

  1. Treat yo-self. I could not agree with this mantra more. Have you taken the time to really acknowledge your accomplishments in your life thus far, and celebrate your graduation and your four years at college? Buy that hat you keep thinking about, but your friend told you made you look like a low-class cowgirl confused about what season it is. Read that book that is below your reading-level, but brings you inexplicable pleasure anyway. Give yourself a moment to take in the clean, sweet scent of rain falling on a freshly mowed lawn. Smile. Relax. Breathe. Order a cocktail with dinner. Cheers to you. Cheers to the next chapter of our lives.

9 Life Lessons We Can Learn from ‘Broad City’

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Release your inner kween.

  1. We don’t live to work, we work to get Lil Wayne tickets.

Whatever means it takes to fulfill your fantasy of hanging with “Riri and Bebe,” that is what you need to do. Probably don’t clean Fred Armisen’s apartment in your underwear, but beyond that, recognize your job for the income supply that it is. It may not be perfect, especially not right away, but does it give you the means to stalk celebrities? That is the real question.

  1. Candy is for grown-ups.

You are an accomplished, intelligent, money-making woman, and even if you aren’t, if you want to go in the nearest candy store and buy that three-pound jawbreaker, damn it, you should.

  1. Sometimes your roommate is a menace.

Perfect rooming situations are about as common as getting the right ice-to-soda ratio at a restaurant. (Like, I understand that you refill it, but you wouldn’t have to six times if you gave me maybe 16 fewer ice cubes.) Your roomie may mean well, but if you don’t get along all that well—that’s okay. Your roommate does not have to be your best friend; sometimes they can just be the person who pays half the bills.

  1. It’s never too late to get that piercing.

When Abbi gets her nose pierced her co-workers make fun of her, but she couldn’t care less. If another earring or a spontaneous eyebrow piercing makes you feel bold and bad-ass, do it.

  1. Make good on promises.

People remember if you do. You want to be dependable, whether it’s to your friends, your neighbors, or your boss. If you say you will do something, go to any lengths to do it—even if it means prying a package from creepy yogurt-eating Garrol’s sweaty hands.

  1. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

As both the most common and silly job interview question, have your answer prepped. For example, Ilana’s biggest weakness is that she always loses her purse, but her biggest strength is that she always finds it again.

  1. New York apartments are not affordable.

Finding an apartment that has enough room to spin around in for less than a grand is not a thing. There will be no room for activities. “Where isn’t the bathroom?”

  1. Always be there for your friends.

Even when they have a drunk jazz-singing alter ego they aren’t aware of. Even when they take truth-or-dare ten steps too far. Even when they sing to get out of awkward encounters. When you find someone who gets you, they’re worth it.

And, finally…

  1. Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons NEVER expire.

Advice Tip #1

I have a friend who, when asked a question she didn’t know how to answer in a phone interview, hung up and pretended it was bad service.

How to Save “Gilmore Girls”

I am more excited about Gilmore Girls creating new episodes for Netflix than I was when my state legalized gay marriage, and yes, I am deeply ashamed about this. gg

Here’s what Amy Sherman-Palladino must do to redeem the show and revert it to all its former autumnal, quippy, and small-town glory:

  1. KILL APRIL. I don’t mean to sound harsh here, but it is the only way. It isn’t in Luke’s nature to give up visiting her, and it isn’t fair to viewers to keep this whiny little buzzkill around. Even though this new Gilmore Girls will be set many years later, April will still suck, and I never want to see her ever again.
  2. Reunite Rory and Jess. This isn’t even a matter of giving the viewers what they want (and yes, Amy, this is what they want) but more a matter of charisma. Complementing personalities. Attraction. Doing what is right for the world.
  3. Have Lorelai and Luke stay in Stars Hollow. Enough of this nonsense about selling her inn and traveling the world. Luke and Lorelai had better be married and dealing with no more drama than their daily banter about Lorelai’s health habits.
  4. Acknowledge Richard Gilmore’s passing. Don’t miss this opportunity to honor Edward Hermann for his steady hand in the show. Emily will be a mess without him, and unfortunately, this must be revealed.
  5. Let Michel come out. The show has always been careful to avoid any sort of outright statement about Michel’s sexuality, but it has hinted at it. Give Michel a tall, dark, and handsome french boyfriend.
  6. Give Christopher and Lorelai a relationship. I’m sure they are amicable, and that Rory and Gigi are quite close. Rory is probably a mentor to Gigi, inspiring her to apply to Chilton.
  7. Don’t have Rory live in Stars Hollow yet. It’s not realistic; she will be off working on campaigns or being a bad-ass journalist somewhere, but she won’t be in Connecticut, although she will visit often.
  8. KEEP THE THEME SONG.
  9. Don’t let David Rosenthal anywhere near the script.
  10. Don’t pretend things haven’t changed. A new Gilmore Girls is magical, but it will also be a little heartbreaking, a little sad, to see that our childhood is gone and that our favorite show cannot be everlasting. And this is true: we must adjust our expectations to acknowledge the time that has passed, and the seventh season that cannot be undone.

Not Ready to Make Nice: How a Word Overshadowed Me

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For the longest time, I was known as the “nice” girl. In my freshman dorm, I was referred to as “nice Molly” (there were two others: drunk Molly and crazy Molly, so I wasn’t complaining exactly) and I was always introduced to or referred to by others as “so sweet.”

Which was fine, I guess, except “nice” gradually became a placeholder for doormat. Boring. Passive. Spineless. Simple. I wanted to be the pretty girl, or the smart girl, or the creative girl, even the weird girl. But no—I was the “nice” girl.

And, also, if we’re being honest—I’m just not that nice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a bitch or anything, but I definitely am not one to refrain from judgment, or to defend someone who doesn’t deserve it. I expect a lot out of people, and while I will be happy to drag a dead corpse across a dark alley for a good friend without asking questions first, you have to do some work to get there.

“Nice” seemed like such an innocent, gentle, innocuous word. But my freshman and sophomore years of college I slowly began to see it compromising my identity, my spirit, and my sense of self-worth. I was no longer fiery, or passionate, or excitable, or moody, or bossy. No one had a problem with me and no one ever chastised or vehemently disagreed with me. How could they? I was nice.

I’m not nice, I tried to convince myself, after I was referred to as that yet again by someone who scarcely knew me. I knew what “nice” meant as an identifier. Nice meant you couldn’t fight your own battles, you had nothing to say, you never drew attention to yourself. That couldn’t be me.

Then I began to realize: somehow, it was. That was exactly who I had let myself become here. I hated confrontation. I played the innocent card. I didn’t draw attention to myself. I didn’t take sides. I was at a new school, with new people who all seemed prettier and stronger and more sure of themselves than me, and I was too insecure to even show them even a glimmer of who I was.

Which is a girl who cussed out a group of girls twice as tall as me at the mall in 7th grade for photobombing my photo booth picture. A girl who was appointed play director in 1st grade, but was so bossy that everyone quit. A girl who made her friends act out her movies with professional vigor, who raced varsity ski team with no racing experience, who has come up with more revenge plots against friends’ ex-boyfriends than I care to admit. A girl who loves Avril Lavigne still, at 22, and would rather pregame to musicals than hip hop, and not only is not embarrassed, but actively tries to make others do the same. A girl who has always been largely incapable of holding back her opinions and her values, even when she should.

A girl I’d somehow lost sight of.

In the next few months, a lot of people said I “changed.”

“Wait, she’s so funny! I never knew.”
“I feel like she’s really come into her own.”“She’s so different from who she was a year ago.”

I didn’t change. I just allowed myself to surface, really surface, for the first time. I stopped conforming to the society-taught mold that girls should be sweet and sugary and pure in all of their eye-fluttering helplessness. I relaxed enough to let the frenzied, buoyant, creative, honest, and loyal girl out.

Turns out I’m not so nice after all.

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