Words of Romance from an Aspiring Recluse

“…Maybe the point shouldn’t be ‘what chicks like,’ but more importantly, ‘what genuine, sane, cool chicks like.’ My advice to young men would be thus: Don’t be a d-bag.

Honestly, if there’s anything to learn from the popularity of the ‘Twilight’ book series, it’s that chivalry still semi-matters. I grew up with an older sister who bestowed this wisdom upon me when I was 12. She said, “Mat, you’re a nice kid. Please don’t become an asshole like everyone else. Be original.” It took me too long to realize how right she was.

It’s essential to make a differentiation though. If your mission is simply to con insecure stripper lunatics into fucking you once, then I recommend visiting a speed seduction forum and renting ‘Roger Dodger.’ If, however, your pursuits are more noble, and you want to woo the ONE girl in the whole school that matters, the ‘pearl before swine’ as they say, then maybe try rising above the swine. Develop your taste for great music and books. Be naturally confident and most of all, interesting. Don’t be a puss, but be a good person and be thoughtful. In the process you may discover that your entire class is chasing a mirage, while the truly deep girls of substance are off the radar.

I used to have this bright red cardinal that hung out alone in the tree outside my apartment. I often wondered, in a city full of dull, average, forgettable birds, how will this unique one ever find another? The answer and the metaphor I think is: just be who you are. It didn’t seem to mind being alone, just ate the bugs it liked, hung out in the trees it liked, flew around and did whatever made it happy. A month later, another cardinal showed up, and the rest is history. They’re probably still banging right now.

Once you have your priorities straight, then be brave. Goethe said, “Seize this very minute; what you can do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” And Basil King said, “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

In my high school, the most gorgeous, intimidating girl ended up dating a seemingly average transfer student doofus named Florian. Why? Because he was French Canadian and didn’t give a fuck. He just went over to her house uninvited one night and put the mack on. No one else had the courage.

Oh also: to the aspiring gentlemen suitors out there, it doesn’t hurt to do your homework. Subscribe to Esquire, learn to smoke, buy some Burberry cologne, and vitally: master both the piano and a foreign language. Get wise. Think long term. While your future date-raping classmates are choking on beer bongs, you could be expanding your skill set. Oh, and I almost forgot: learn how to kiss. Most guys suck at it.”

-Mat Devine (Broadway actor, author, vox of the Chicago band, Kill Hannah)

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AWESOME!

Running into old friends!

In my attempt of having the most positive week in existence (which is actually going really well), I started reading “1000 Awesome Things” by Neil Pasricha. In his book, Pasricha talks about all the little things in life we often take advantage of and overlook. I decided to make a list of my own awesomeness this past week and started taking note of all the beauty that every day offers me…

Tuesday: My roommate, Lindy. I wake up almost every morning to the sounds of Lindy, embodying Martha Stewart, as she bakes goodies for the whole household. Really- I ate 12 of her pumpkin spice chocolate-chip cookies for breakfast this morning. Why does she do this? “Just because,” she says. She’s amazing. AWESOME!

Wednesday: Driving with the windows down and the music up. I don’t drive so I relish in giddiness when my friends offer me a ride somewhere. I feel like a dog; I hang my head out the window and smile at the passerbys. There’s nothing like coasting your hand along the wind and singing loud and out of tune to a Nicki Minaj song. AWESOME!

Thursday: Dance parties. Solo, in your bedroom, wearing nothing but a t-shirt and undies or with friends in your office after signing a rendition of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” there nothing like a dance party. I’m all for them- seriously. The world’s problems would end if just everyone put down their guns and started doing the hokey-pokey. Or maybe moves from “Thriller.” AWESOME!

Friday: Blue Moon Gourmet Pizza on California Avenue. I love working here. Sure, it can get a little crazy sometimes but my co-workers are warm and wonderful and I can eat free pizza whenever I want (which is especially nice since I’m broke all the time). Did I mention that I can get free beer, too? I’m so grateful to have this place in my life. AWESOME!

Saturday: Sweaty hugs. During the summer, I try to spend as much time indoors as possible. As much as I love being out in the sunshine, I sweat like a man, stinking up whatever room I’m with perspiration. I rather not have people touch me but in some moments, I just need a hug. I love people who don’t care about the droplets running down my face and the yellowed arm pit stains. They just want to show some love and that’s AWESOME!

Sunday: Puppy lovin’. I love my house but I’m a little sad that my lease doesn’t allow animals. Thank goodness for friends with dogs. My friend, Brittney, let me ‘borrow’ her Yorkie, Tiffany, and we had a grand adventure, taking a long walk along the Truckee River and having a picnic under the warm sunshine. Tiffany’s excitement of being outside and the affection she showed me brought up my spirits and for a moment, I thought about how kidnapping her and smuggling her in my bedroom. AWESOME!

Monday: Hearing from someone you haven’t spoken with in a long time. I’m a sucker for letters. Snail mail beats email hands down, especially when receiving postcards from loved ones across the country. Better yet, running into an old friend, someone you thought you would never see again. It’s all hugs, grins and shared memories- nothing but warm feelings and good times. AWESOME!

Get Out of this Funk!

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Low. Low. Low. Like the Kelly Clarkson song. That’s how this past week has been; how this entire month has been. With working three jobs, I’m still not making enough money to afford much. My body has gotten used to the air mattress I spend the night on and the lack of sheets covering my frame. I respect that my friends have lives of their own and far better things to do than to keep me company but I’m incredibly lonely and am drained of reaching out. It depresses me deeply to look at other’s Facebook pages and see pictures and postings of them doing excited things with their lives. Sure, I don’t want a baby right now but I know there is more to my living then being home alone with a couple of old DVDs.

Poo. Poo. Poo. I’m tired of complaining. All the unhappiness. The desolate. The solitude.  Everyone keeps asking me what’s wrong and all the negativity is affecting every aspect of my life. School. Work (embarrassingly enough. Your boss should never sit you down to talk about your attitude.) My social life. My head is throbbing because of it. My body feels heavy all the time and honestly, crying every night is getting old. (I’m quite surprised my tear ducts produce that much fluid, though.) I’ve been trying my best to figure out how to get out of this funk but I’m fresh out of ideas. Good thing for StumbleUpon. Used first in my life as place to find creative cookie recipes, I started to browse through their ‘QUOTES’ section. I’d read a piece and if it spoke to be, I’d write it on my arm and reflect on it throughout the day. My left arm was inked with permanent marker stains to a good week as I thought how my attitude is really everything and about getting out of my funk.

I keep reminding myself about the reason why I moved back West (to finish school and get my undergraduate degree) who says that I can’t have any fun in the meanwhile? Things do happen in the meanwhile. I know that I work a lot so I can afford school in the fall- there’s that reason. Maybe I’m supposed to spending this time alone to be writing something brilliant (like my memoirs) or to be sewing together the next trend in fashion. Maybe I’m supposed to be braver and walk up to a stranger to expand my social circle.

It’s time to turn over a new leaf. I’m going to use this time wisely. Waste it on nothing. Nothing is stopping me now- I can see that now. No need to get sad or fearful.  Being broke and alone is terrible but I know I that I will survive. I want to be so happy that when others look at me, they’re happy, too. I want to wake up smiling from ear to ear as I make each day productive and fulfilling. And I can be.

In middle school, my principal would come on the loud speaker and give the school its daily announcements. She closed with, “Thank you, students. Each day is a gift, whether or not you see it. The choice is yours.” The choice is mine.

I Worry.

Too much worries!

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world…” -Prime Minister David (played by Hugh Grant) in Love Actually

Change can be sometimes for the better but at the same time, change is tough. When I moved to Reno from Brooklyn, I knew that things would change drastically and be amazingly different; the sunny weather, people’s attitude, the fact that I don’t need quarters for laundry. I’m going to embrace this change and use it to my advantage, to start over and be nothing but my quirky, maniac-pixie-dream-girl self. With this new change, I have persevered and experienced success- finding a room to rent in a great house, a part-time job on campus and an internship I’m excited about. As great as these last three weeks have been, the happiness that should have resonated from these events just isn’t there. Instead, my brain is clotted with worry and this worry leads me intense gloominess.

What is there to worry about, you ask me. As far as we we see it, you, Andrea, have the world at your feet. ‘Tis your oyster. You’re finishing up school; have finally realized a decent career path; a got a good handful of friends who give you nothing but love. Let me be the one to tell you that anxiety can be a messy, horrible thing. It’s the number one mental illness in the United States, affecting 1 out of every 2 people. Though, it’s highly treatable, a lot of people don’t get help for it. I have recognized the matter within myself and have been trying to come up with solutions other than sleepless nights and over-eating. Nothing could be done about the worrying as long as you keep on trying your best to fix your problems (which I am. Sure, it still isn’t the best time to job hunt but I’m applying at somewhere new everyday). Sometimes, there’s nothing to do but wait it out. Fill your time with something else. Get lost in a book. Have a dance party with yourself to an old Kings of Leon record. Spend the afternoon on a swing set. So-and-so will eventually call with good news. Your bank account will eventually get out of the negative red. You will eventually stop sleeping on your bedroom floor. Perhaps you’ve been given this time, this “waiting period,” to learn a new lesson or to do something special. See the beauty in this downfall; discover new things (like I need to learn how to budget my money better and there’s nothing like spending the afternoon using new crayons in a coloring book).

It’s time to dump your head. Remind yourself that things are rough now but in five years, you’ll look back at this and hopefully, laugh. No need to stress. Remember to be kind to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone’s mean to you all the time.