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Eight Things I Love About Adam Sandler’s Magnum Opus, The Wedding Singer

I was a bit too young to appreciate The Wedding Singer in all its glory when it premiered in 1998. Like many in my generation, I caught the film for the first time several years later, when VH1 started airing a safe-for-basic-cable edit in between reruns of I Love New York. Aside from 50 First Dates, I had kind of missed the Adam Sandler boat, and what I had seen of his films was a bit too crude for my taste. But something about The Wedding Singer grabbed me almost immediately. Maybe it was the familiar backdrop of suburban New Jersey. Maybe it was the bitchin’ 80s soundtrack. Or maybe it was the fact that I was, am, and will always be in love with Drew Barrymore.

Whatever it was, this film, despite its problematic moments, has remained a favorite of mine. I’m a huge fan of romantic comedies, but I rarely ever find them laugh-out-loud funny. This movie has moments that still get me, mostly involving Jon Lovitz’s face. It also made a fantastic musical, which does not get nearly the amount of love it deserves and should be revived immediately.

So, in honor of the 20th anniversary of The Wedding Singer’s release, here are ten things I love about what is possibly the only worthwhile Adam Sandler film (don’t @ me).

  • Eileen Albertini Dow, who plays Rosie the Rapping Grandma, was 85 when the film was released. Judging by her IMDb, her film career didn’t really start until she was in her 70s and she worked up until about two years before her death (at 101!). She is my hero and proof that it’s never too late. Also, we are unfortunately not related.
  • This scene and The Perks of Being a Wallflower are responsible for my love of The Smiths. Also, I know we’re supposed to hate her but Linda is a total babe.

3.

  • “Somebody Kill Me” kind of shreds and is also the official anthem of every sad twentysomething on Twitter

  • Extremely Bisexual Lighting at the first wedding.

  • There are so many valuable relationship lessons in this film. For example, if your partner won’t give you the window seat on the plane (or the aisle seat, I respect your lifestyle, Aisle Seat People), DUMP THEM IMMEDIATELY.

  • Drunk Steve Buscemi. We have all been Drunk Steve Buscemi at one point or another.

  • One time I saw Alexis Arquette at Hamburger Mary’s in West Hollywood, living her best life at drag karaoke. I’m very sad that she’s no longer with us.

  • I am aware that most of Adam Sandler’s brand of comedy is just yelling at people, but it does work very well in this film.

Anyway, Happy 20th, The Wedding Singer. Enjoy your prime rib or fish.

Princess Margaret: Patron Saint of Doing Whatever You Want

Looking back on my childhood, my obsession with the British royal family seems almost inevitable. I grew up on a steady diet of all things princess. This is typical trait of any young femme raised during the Disney Renaissance, but the basement of my childhood home was particularly chock-full of all things pink and sparkly. I dreamed of something more spectacular than my reality of multiplication tables and waiting for my parents to pick me up from after school programs. I wanted to wear fancy dresses and fall in love and save all of China.

As I grew older, I started to search out the stories of real royals in my elementary school’s library, desperate to find some way into a royal family myself. It wasn’t enough that I was already a privileged white girl living a comfortable life in suburbia. I needed a crown, too.

When I was 10 my parents took me on my first trip to London. Our trip was full of visits to historic sites, but I was particularly invested in any stop on our itinerary that happened to involve actual real life royalty. I stared up at the gates of Buckingham Palace, willing one of the Windsors to come out and invite me in for tea. I feigned disappointment when we learned that we couldn’t visit the royal apartments at Windsor Castle, as they were in use. The trip happened to coincide with Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee, and every gift shop in town offered some kind of commemorative trinket. My parents still have a small teapot commemorating the occasion.

My feelings on the royal family have shifted over time, and I often question their relevance in today’s society. But I can’t stop reading about them. They wear pretty things and hold lavish weddings and hang out with corgis and occasionally do some good in the world. The head of the family is a 91-year-old woman who a) still makes public appearances and b) still has all her own hair. I don’t know what kind of blood oath she made when she ascended the throne, but I want in.

I started watching The Crown on Netflix in the hope that I would learn that secret to longevity. Instead, I became hopelessly enamored with Princess Margaret, the queen’s younger sister, as portrayed by the gorgeous and talented Vanessa Kirby. Margaret, or at least The Crown’s version of her, is everything I’ve ever wanted out of a princess, real or animated. We see her fall in and out of love, chain smoke to her heart’s content, grow bored at stale parties, and listen to music written after 1900. Though she was free from the pressure of being the one chosen by God to be Britain’s head of state, she was still a Windsor and had to make several heartbreaking sacrifices in order to protect her family. Instead of just wiping away a single tear and moving on with her life, we see her react to heartbreak like a normal human being. I mean, who among us hasn’t gotten drunk and ugly cried while listening to Ella Fitzgerald after a bad breakup?

One thing I came across about real life Margaret has elevated her to icon status in my mind. It’s this photo of her truly indulgent morning routine circa 1955.

Now, it’s pretty easy to get away with a two-hour breakfast and one-hour bath when your job is, you know, just existing. I don’t know if a day that starts at noon is totally for me, as I’m someone who loves having things to fill up my day. But there’s something so aspirational about Margaret’s schedule. The woman knew how to take care of herself.

There were plenty of times when Margaret had to compromise for the sake of the Crown. She ended her relationship with divorced RAF Group Captain Peter Townsend to save her family from scrutiny (and her own spot in the line of succession). As a very public member of the royal family, her daily life prior to her marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones was fairly prescribed. But, within those confines, she did what she wanted. She smoked and drank and partied with artists. When her fiance, Billy Wallace, turned out to be a total fuckboi who used their engagement to get attention from other women, she dropped him like a hot plate (as portrayed in this stunning moment for which I hope Vanessa Kirby wins a million awards). She ended up marrying a bisexual (allegedly) polyamorous (allegedly) photographer, but wasn’t afraid to actually divorce him when the marriage fell apart in the 70s. And she actually, you know, expressed emotions on occasion.

We all have responsibilities. Even members of the most famous family in the world have limitations. I see Princess Margaret’s life not as an excuse to stay in the bath all day and start drinking vodka first thing in the morning, but more as inspiration to do things for myself. This year, I want to make more of a conscious effort to check in and ask myself if I’m doing a thing because I want to or because I think it’s what I’m supposed to do. When I’ve done this in the past, the answer is always a little murky – there’s always some sense of responsibility or social pressure driving my decisions, even if they’re things I’m very passionate about. What can I say, I’m an anxious Virgo. But I’m working on flipping that ratio this year. Because I deserve to do more stuff that makes me happy, even if it’s indulgent, or imperfect, or pisses off the Prime Minister.  

So did Princess Margaret. So do you.

Roaches are a Metaphor

A few months ago, my brilliant and talented friend Carl stayed at my apartment for a few days while visiting New York. Though we don’t see each other all that often, we have the kind of friendship where we can be honest with each other, even when things aren’t so pretty. It’s something I value and am incredibly grateful for. Most of the time.

On the last day of his stay, I had some errands to run, so I left him at the apartment to do his thing. A few minutes later, I got a Snapchat from him – it was a picture of a dead cockroach on its back, a few inches from my radiator.

“KILL IT WITH FIRE,” I responded, as any completely sane person would.

Roaches are just a fact of life in New York. No matter where you live or how long your apartment building has existed, you’re going to deal with them at some point. They’re gross, but I’ve kind of just accepted the fact that I am invading their turf. They were here first. And they’re probably not going to kill me. Probably.

Still, it’s embarrassing as hell to have a guest find one in your home.

I live alone, so when it comes to my apartment, I don’t really have anyone to answer to but myself. No one’s nagging me to wash my dishes, or take out the recycling, or clean my refrigerator (seriously, who has the time?). I keep the place as clean as possible for myself and try to get in a good deep cleaning session at least once a month. It’s not always easy, though. I’m a busy person – some weeks I’m only home long enough to get in a good night’s sleep. This was more or less the norm back when I was working 50 hours a week.

I let things pile up. I hide my messes when people come over. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes the cracks show.

Despite being a Virgo, I am far from a perfectionist. I know that I can’t control everything. I know that I can’t make everyone feel safe. And yet, when someone finds something off about my home – a leaky faucet, an unclean glass, a roach carcass – I feel like they’re seeing my truth. That I am a messy person who can’t take care of herself. Someone who enjoys living in filth. Someone who just doesn’t care.

If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that I can’t wallow in that feeling. I can listen to it and acknowledge its presence, but I can’t let it control me. That just leads to more hoarding, more ignoring, more surface-level cleaning. If anything, that Snap was a wake up call.

Last night, I finally had some time to investigate the problem further. It turns out that my sink has been leaking for…who even knows how long. One thing roaches love more than human food is damp spaces. And I gave them a nice place to play.

It feels shitty to acknowledge the fact that I’ve been ignoring this problem for so long. I feel like I lost all my “cool girl who lives alone” cred in that moment. My apartment can look cool as hell, but what’s even the point if things don’t work properly?

I took a second to wallow, and then called my super. He’s looking into it today. It may take a few days to fix, but we’ll find a solution. And who knows? Maybe someday it’ll start leaking again. At least I’ll know what to do.

Oops, I’m Addicted to Gel Manicures

My name is Charlotte Dow, and I’m addicted to gel manicures.

Now’s the time when you all say, “Hi, Charlotte.” That’s how these things go, right?

I honestly can’t remember my first manicure. I was probably way too young, and I probably messed it up two seconds later. Such is the way with children, particularly those with no fine motor skills. I do, however, remember hanging out in the local nail salon while my mom had a perfectly work-appropriate shade of beige applied to her tips. She’d chat with the manicurists and the other local ladies in the salon, listening to their family and work drama and sharing her own. I would sit in the corner and stack the Essie bottles like they were Legos.

As time went on and I became more interested in beauty, I’d join my mom in the salon every couple of weeks. Nail polish became my way of expressing myself without totally freaking out my parents. I’d try out bold colors – fire engine reds, deep navy blues, sparkly purples – in an attempt to show the world that I was edgy and cool. In truth, I didn’t know who the heck I was. Those nail colors were just another piece of the costumes I tried on while I tried to figure it out. Mom was always encouraging. She’d tell me when a shade didn’t quite match the dress I planned to wear to a bat mitzvah, or if it was too harsh on my essentially translucent skin. For the most part, though, she let me pick whatever I wanted. Nail polish comes off pretty easily – it wasn’t like I was dying my hair magenta.

Once I got to college and started managing my own money, I realized that I needed to learn how to do my own nails if I wanted to keep them colorful. Again, my fine motor skills leave something to be desired, and I don’t really have an eye for the visual arts. Manicure nights in my bunk at summer camp would usually end with Sally Hansen spilled all over the floor, my fingertips covered in black, chunky varnish. I was a mess when it came to the DIY manicure. But, with a little practice (and several bottles of $2 drugstore polish), I learned how to do a decent enough job of painting my own nails. My collection of (now dried out) colors aside, I managed to save myself a fair amount of money.

Trimming your nails over a trashcan in front of your TV just doesn’t quite compare to the real nail salon experience, though. There’s something comforting about the bright fluorescent lights, the TV that’s tuned into CNN at all hours of the day, and someone massaging your hand hard enough to pinch a nerve. In a way, it feels like home, which is probably the bougiest sentence I’ve ever written.

When I moved to New York, I started visiting the nail salon more often, when I had the time and money. They’re ubiquitous around here – there are literally three salons within steps of my apartment – which drives down the cost of a standard mani a bit. The New York manicure is famous for a reason. Our technicians will get you in and out and looking fresh in no time. This isn’t without controversy of course: a 2015 piece in the New York Times exposing harsh working conditions and underpayment of nail salon workers led to stronger government regulations of city salons.

Despite this, nail salons are more popular than ever, and one recent innovation has truly changed the manicure game: the gel manicure. I had heard about these longer lasting manicures when they first became popular a few years ago. They sounded perfect for me, but I was hesitant to try a $35 treatment I could more or less do at home with stuff from the drugstore. I also heeded the warnings of nearly every women’s magazine that the process could lead to premature wrinkles and weakened nails. I’m trying to live forever, y’all, and I want my nails to be nice and strong for the whole ride.

My mind changed when it came time for my first barbershop contest. My group has very clear guidelines of what we can and cannot wear onstage for contest, right down to the color of our nails. I wanted my nails to look polished and natural, and I wanted them to last throughout the contest weekend. With my habits, a regular manicure only lasts a few days before it starts to chip. Since I didn’t have much time right before the event to get my nails done, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and try gels.

Not every gel manicure I’ve had has been perfect. Some last longer than others, depending on the color, the salon, and what I’m doing that week. But I’m completely addicted to the feeling of having fully polished nails for more than a few days, without having to worry about chipping or peeling. Once the manicurist is done, I’m done – no sitting under a lamp for 20 minutes or more, constantly checking to see if my nails are actually dry. They’re goof proof. And I am very prone to goofs.

There’s also something very meditative about the nail salon experience. They’re not particularly relaxing by nature – they’re often crowded and blasting music, or the aforementioned constant feed from CNN. But it’s nice to just sit down and have someone take care of you for half an hour or so. It’s a time for me to sit still, which is something I’ve always had trouble with. I’ve gotten into the habit of going to the salon on my lunch break, when time and money allows, and it’s the perfect little break in my workday. I try to space out my manicures and give my nails some time to breathe. But I enjoy it as a little treat from time to time.

So here’s to you, fellow gel addicts. May your nails never chip, and may your wallets always be full.

My Post-Election Dive Into Astrology

Throughout much of high school, before 3G networks and touchscreens, I checked my horoscope every day through a primitive app on my flip phone. It probably cost my parents an arm and a leg in data charges, but they never said anything about it. I just had to know what the stars had in store for me, an awkward Virgo with bad skin and a crush on every boy.

Things seemed so uncertain back then. Despite the routine of school and extracurricular activities, I worried constantly about what the next day, week, or month might bring. Would I pass the math test I definitely didn’t study for? Did the boy I kissed several states away still think about me? Would I get into college? Were my parents really healthy? Would my Max Crumm win Grease: You’re the One that I Want?!

I now know that these questions stemmed from a greater anxiety that I did not yet know how to control, but it was easier to put my faith in something mystical than actually listen to my therapist. Those four or five line horoscopes gave me a bit of comfort and hope, enough to quiet my mind, at least for a little bit. Of course, if the stars called for more chaos, I’d dwell on this for for the rest of the day. I’d read and re-read each line, trying to interpret just how these vague predictions applied to my life. More often than not there was no correlation, but any hint at something negatively relevant would send me into a tailspin.

Once college rolled around, I stopped keeping up with my horoscopes. I started hanging out with skeptics who ridiculed the practice for being, you know, not real, and mostly a “women’s interest” thing. College wasn’t exactly a cakewalk for me, but I didn’t feel the need to rely on some astrologer with an internet connection and too many pashmina scarves to tell me what planets might throw a wrench in my month. Plus I just didn’t have time for anything that wasn’t schoolwork, theatre, or subtweeting people on Tumblr (sub-tumbling? Is that a thing?).

Suddenly it was 2016. I was in a new city with a job in my industry and some sense of stability in my personal life. I’d occasionally look to my horoscope when I had something big on the horizon or flip to the forecasts in the backs of women’s magazines while waiting for a train home to Philly. I was always a little curious, but careful not to put too much stock into things that may or may not happen because Mercury happened to be spinning in a different direction. But it made for a good way to pass the time.

And then the election happened.

Looking at the history of our country and the events leading up to the 2016 election cycle, I can’t say I was completely blindsided by the fact that America decided to give the nuclear codes to an anthropomorphized bag of Cheetos. But I had been optimistic. I was so excited to FINALLY have a capable, brave woman lead our country and I really believed it was going to happen. Nothing made sense after that night. I’ve been fearful for our future, for my own future since November 9th. At this point, that fear is part of my baseline. I’m getting used to it.

Around the same time I decided to kind of blow up my life. I figured I might as well stop ignoring the things that were bothering me while I still had time. My relationship ended. I started looking for a new job. I toyed with the idea of moving to LA. I got highlights.

With all this chaos, I once again turned to the stars. I now regularly read reports from three different astrologers, with others thrown in for good measure. Tweets from Poet Astrologers are regularly in the “While you were away” section of my timeline, because the algorithm knows what I want. I spent hours studying my birth chart, trying to figure out the intricacies of each planet and what my moon sign says about my personality. I still don’t fully understand it all, but I know that I’m a Scorpio moon with Libra rising. I’ll let you all dissect that information as you will.

The skeptical side of my brain that stores all my deep trust issues keeps screaming that all of this is fake and everything is just a big coincidence and nothing happens after we die. But the closer we inch towards nuclear winter, the more I want to tell that side to shut up and let me have fun for once. I’m not alone in this. I’ve seen more and more of my friends and Twitter acquaintances embrace astrology in the age of Trump. Sites like Bustle and Refinery29 are full of astrology-related content. We’re looking for comfort and guidance wherever we can find it. Maybe the planets aren’t pulling the strings and everything is just a random coincidence, but right now I’d rather blame the eclipses. Sure, I haven’t gone full woo-woo, and I probably only half-heartedly believe in every word written in my horoscope. But who am I to make fun of something essentially harmless that gives someone comfort?

We all need something to look forward to, and Mercury comes out of retrograde on September 5th.

On Island Time in Aruba

This past winter in New York just didn’t want to quit. As an East Coast native, you’d think I’d be used to our harsh and unpredictable winters by now, but this one just kept zagging on us. One weekend we were lounging in the park, enjoying the sunshine and 70 degree temperatures; the next we were huddled inside, braving our third major snowstorm of the year. Don’t let anyone tell you that climate change isn’t real, kids.

It kind of bums me out that Spring Break ceases to be a thing once you’ve exited the academic world. We could all use a break during the long months between the holidays and the first signs of summer. I try my darndest to get out of town at some point during the winter/early spring. As much as I love the city, a little sunshine is extremely beneficial to my mental health. So when my parents planned a late winter getaway to Aruba, I decided to tag along (with their permission, of course – as an only child I’m a pro third-wheeler, but I know my boundaries).

Beach 1

Most of our time on the island, just 18 miles north of Venezuela, was spent at the beach or pool at our resort. I was very grateful for the time to just chill out and actually read a book for once. I finished John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester and Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star, two very different but equally excellent reads, while enjoying the (surprisingly strong) Caribbean sun. Knowing my parents, of course, we weren’t content to just plop for the whole week. We needed to get out and see some of the island.

Natural Pool 2

We woke up early one morning to take a Jeep ride out Arikok National Park, which makes up a good chunk of the northeast part of the island. Arikok’s terrain and shoreline stand in stark contrast to the sandy beaches of the island’s south side. It’s much more rough around the edges, featuring huge limestone formations, cliffs, and fields of aloe plants. It’s cliche, but it honestly felt like we’d traveled to a completely different island in the 30 minute ride from our resort to the park.

Natural Pool 1

The tour guides drove us out to the Natural Pool, one of Arikok’s top attractions, for a bit of snorkeling. It was kind of amazing to get to swim in this one calm little pond, while the waves of the Caribbean crashed on the rocks around us. We saw some great local fish, and I only hit my head on the rocks once! From there, we got to check out the Natural Bridge, ate some delicious pastechi, and took in the view from the comfort of our Jeep.

 

One of the last stops on the tour was the Alto Vista Chapel, a tiny Catholic chapel in the hills just outside the town of Noord. The chapel stands on the site of the original church built by Venezuelan missionaries in 1750. The original church was abandoned in 1816 after a plague hit the area, but a schoolteacher raised funds to rebuild it in 1952. Though I’m not particularly religious, I was raised Catholic and something about this church resonated with me more than others I’ve visited. Maybe it was the warmth of yellow walls, or the striking statue of the Virgin Mary at the altar, or just the serenity of its location high above the ocean. The place almost demands that you take a moment to sit down and just be still. Whether you feel like praying is totally up to you.

Church 1

Later in our trip, we took a sunset catamaran cruise around the south side of the island. I’ll be real with you, I don’t have much to say about this part of the trip other than a) I love sunsets, b) I love boats, and c) I love taking pictures of myself with sunset lighting on a boat. Also drinks were included. So that’s cool.

Boat Selfie

I had a really lovely time in Aruba and would go back in a minute. This time with more cash for the casino, of course.


I’ve been hesitant to set up any kind of audience support page (a la Patreon) for this blog. For one thing, sometimes I don’t write anything for a year (again, sorry about that). And when it comes down to it, I do this for myself. But hosting costs money and a little support is always helpful. I do work in theatre after all.

So if you like what you see here (and you have the means), consider buying me a coffee! Ko-fi is a tool that allows people to support the content they love by making small contributions (roughly equal to the amount of a cup of coffee) to creators. There is absolutely zero pressure to contribute, but if you do I will love you forever. I really believe in supporting the content you love if you have the means. So help a girl out!

What It’s Like To Be An Adult with ADHD

It’s a lot of hiding. Dodging questions until you can’t dodge them anymore. “Why do you write everything down?” “Why do you drink decaf coffee?” “What’s with all the doctors appointments?” Eventually your tendency towards brutal honesty gets the best of you and the truth comes out. You pray that your latest confidant will understand. They do, more often than not.

A part of you wants the whole world to know, so that you don’t have to explain yourself over and over again. You want them to recognize when you’re having a Bad Brain Day, to know that you can’t always give 100%. It’s not an excuse. The volume in your head is just a little too high. You need a moment to breathe. To reorganize.

Work isn’t like school. There’s no letter from the disabilities office for you to hand to your professor at the beginning of the semester, explaining everything. There’s no parent-teacher conferences, no IEP meetings. Your mom can’t call your boss to tell him how your brain works. You have to advocate for yourself. But what if they don’t understand? What kind of accommodations can you even ask for? Will they see you differently? You replay nightmare scenarios over and over in your head and decide to just keep your mouth shut.

Some days you struggle, but you persist. You’ve accomplished so much and exceeded everyone’s expectations. You learned a language! You’ve starred in musicals! You earned a bachelor’s degree! You have a full-time job! And yet, you still feel like you’re fooling everyone. When you trip over a word. When something falls through the cracks. You have days where you allow the words from those first evaluations, from your third grade teacher, from the middle school Cool Girls, to make you feel small. Words from over a decade ago, when you were a totally different person.

Relationships are difficult. On the train to a party you fret over making the right impression, saying the right thing, not interrupting people when there’s something you just HAVE to say, not talking about yourself too much. Small talk is a drag. You’d rather discuss film theory or religion or how we’re all going to die some day but aren’t we so lucky to be alive at the same time as Patti LuPone? Or just look at your phone.

Some friendships move fast and furious while others get neglected. Old familiar faces of one-time best friends show up on your Facebook feed and you wonder what happened. Scheduling conflicts. You got busy. You forgot to text back. Things got too loud. You got distracted. Out of sight, out of mind.

It’s finding a community of wonderful, brilliant neurodiverse people in your travels and online. It’s those beautiful “No way, me too!” moments with coworkers and strangers at parties who know how to unlock your secrets. You compare diagnoses and medications and the alternative therapies your parents subjected you to before you turned 18. You start to get out of your head a little bit. You start to feel less alone.

Your Brain Brothers and Sisters show you that your diagnosis comes with superpowers and teach you how to unlock them. You teach yourself how to harness your hyperfocus and turn down the noise when you need it gets too loud. You learn how to multitask the right way, writing things down so you don’t drop any balls. You start a bullet journal. You buy a fidget cube. You lose it almost immediately.

You grow up. You gain perspective. It never goes away. But eventually, you learn how to be kind to yourself.


This is something I’ve wanted to talk/write about for a while, so it feels both great and scary to hit post. ADHD has been a part of my life since I was 9, so I have a lot to say on the matter. If you have questions/topic suggestions you’d like me to address in future posts, let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

I also recently got to talk ADHD with Zach Valenti on his podcast, focused.af. It was a really fun conversation and Zach is the bomb. Go check it out!

A Ghost Returns

EXT. YOUR HOUSE – EVENING

A dark late spring evening. The sound of crickets fills the air. It’s interrupted by a DOORBELL.

You open the door to reveal CHARLOTTE, 25, standing in the doorway with a bouquet of flowers and giant puppy-dog eyes.

CHARLOTTE

Hi. Please don’t close the door. I’m sorry I went away. I guess I ghosted you, as the kids say. And that’s not cool. There was a lot going on that I wanted to just process on my own. I couldn’t quite figure out how to put what I was feeling into words. I just felt that there were bigger issues, you know? The whole world is on fire. I felt powerless. So instead of making something, I drowned it all in wine and popcorn and reruns of Parks & Rec and trying to figure out the “next step” in my career. It’s not much of an excuse. A lot of good things have come out of this trash heap of an election. A lot of good writing at least. I guess it’s also easy to feel small when there are so many voices out there, voices that are more articulate and knowledgeable and passionate. I lost some of that last bit along the way. Passion. Anyway, I know that for this thing to work, I need to open up more. Not be so afraid of the words. And I’m ready to do that. There are always things I’ll hide away just for me, and you can understand that. But I don’t want to run away from this. That’s not fair to you, and it’s not fair to me.

A beat. You consider this.

CHARLOTTE (cont.)

Can I come in? This vase is really heavy and I’m getting chewed up by mosquitoes out here. You should probably empty that kiddie pool. Standing water leads to West Nile Virus. You’ve seen those ads.  

 

What I Learned From Blogging Every Day in April | BEDA Day 30

30 days, 30 posts. I actually freakin’ did it.

I started this project out as a way to get myself writing again, knowing full well that I would probably quit halfway through, as I have with almost every challenge I’ve started over the last few years. I thought that even if I made it halfway through, 15 posts in as many days is still quite a feat. 6,000+ words in two weeks is nothing to shake a stick at, unless you’re doing NaNoWriMo.

And yet, even on the days where I felt zapped of all creative energy, I wrote. I knew a 100 word post about my weekend was better than no post at all. I got the words down on the virtual page and sent those words out into the world. Sometimes I got 2 hits a day, sometimes I got hundreds. The traffic didn’t really matter to me. As long as I could cross “write a post” off my to-do list for the day, I was happy.

So what have I learned over the past 30 days? A few things, actually.

I can always find something to say.

I’ve always struggled with self-confidence (who hasn’t?), especially when it comes to meeting new people. I tend to hang back in conversations or not introduce myself to people, thinking I have nothing interesting to say. If anything, this project has shown me that I can always find something to add to the conversation. My thoughts are valuable and worth sharing. Even if I have some trouble translating what’s in my brain into conversational English, I’ll eventually figure it out. This is all easier said than done, but I’m working on it. It all takes practice, and I think BEDA was a great exercise.

I don’t always have to fit into a niche.

Everything I’ve read about “the business of blogging” encourages writers to stick to a genre of content and not stray too much, lest they lose precious eyeballs. That definitely works if you want to build your blog into something huge, but when it comes down to it, I’m writing for me. It’s easy for me to stick to travel content when I’m only posting a few times a month, but that gets a bit mundane when I have to post something every day. And when it comes down to it, I’m not a travel expert. I’ve traveled a lot, and it’s one of my favorite things to do, but I still don’t really know how to pack a carry-on. I’m allowed to write about the gender wage gap or tiny houses if I want. When it comes to this site, I’m my own boss. And that’s incredibly freeing.

I need structure.

Generally speaking, my writing output has gone way downhill since I graduated from college. When I was in school, I had deadlines every week and professors to hold me accountable for them. Now, when I want to write a new script, I have no one to answer to but myself. Being your own boss can be great, but I’m a pretty lax manager when it comes to deadlines. With this project, I knew I had to get something out every day, and if I didn’t, my inability to follow through would live on the internet forever. When I go back and watch videos from my failed VEDA attempts, I get pretty embarrassed. I didn’t want to feel that way again. Maybe letting my inner critic drive this project wasn’t the healthiest move, but it helped me get it done. For once I wanted to whole-ass something and throw myself into a creative project as much as I could with a full-time job. And that’s exactly what I did.

As for the future of this blog, I don’t really know what’s in store. I’m going to keep posting at least twice a month, but right now I want to focus on other writing projects. I dusted off an abandoned pilot script a few weeks ago and would like to at least finish a draft of that. Going back to the theme of structure, I’m also hoping to et back in the classroom this summer and start some new projects.

I think I’m coming out of this project with a better sense of who I am as writer and as a person. Sitting down to write every day forces you to reflect and spend some time in your own brain. Sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s terrifying, but it’s always worth it.

Of course I have to thank you all for reading and supporting me through this project. Whether you left a comment, favorited one of my Tweets, or said something to me in person, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only person reading these words. I hope you’ll all stick around for…whatever I have in store for the future.

BEDA 2016 completed. Someone buy me a drink.

Friday Link Round-Up | BEDA Day 29

We made it to another Friday, y’all! I’m very much looking forward to this weekend as I have very few plans. Open schedules make me a little nervous sometimes, but this is the last really free weekend I have for a while. I’m going to treat myself and…I don’t know, do laundry and clean my apartment or something. Tomorrow is also the LAST DAY OF BEDA! I honestly can’t believe I’ve actually made it this far. I’m pretty proud of myself, but I’ll save my real #reflections for tomorrow’s post.

Anywho, here are some of my favorite internet reads from this week. Happy Weekend!

“I Lived My Best Life For A Day And Wanted To Die” by Katie Heaney – Buzzfeed

“Why I Had A Breakdown Watching ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'” by Kelsey Miller – Refinery29

“‘Isn’t This Funnier?’ New Girl Creator Liz Meriwether Recalls the Making of the Prince Episode” – Vulture

 “Chyna Deserved Better” by Mairead Small Staid – Jezebel

“Broadway Shows Get the Point! Again!” by Eric Grode – New York Times

“The Brooklyn Getaway // A Gal’s Trip to NYC” – The Overseas Escape