A Conversation with Clarissa

I met Clarissa on my first day of college. 11 years ago, we sat together in Deidre Pike’s Journalism 101 class, trying to peer over other’s heads. Over the last decade, we’ve seen each other through major life milestones and personal victories: writing for our college paper, trying to come up with witty jokes for UNR’s first (and last) semester of “The Daily Show,” first boyfriends and difficult break ups, spontaneous dance parties by the river, moving across country to New York City, getting lost together in Brooklyn on route to the Botanical Gardens…
I believe that everyone needs someone like Clarissa in their life. She has been that one friend who always keeps it real with me and tells it to me straight. She knows when I’m being a dumbass and keeps me in check. Last week, we had good chat over Gmail. I wasn’t having the best day- I was feeling rather depressed- and Clarissa talked me through it, giving me the “tough it out, you got this” advice I needed. Below was a snippet of our conversation- I’m keeping it on file to read when I get stressed about turning 30… Do you, dear reader, have a friend like this?
Clarissa: …Better to have that busyness than not.
Andrea: Is it sad if I say I just want to lay in bed all day and watch “Dexter?”
Clarissa: Not really sad but I think you might be trying to hide from something and you might be depressed…
Andrea: That is true.
Clarissa: So, it is not sad but you might be sad.
Andrea: Both. I don’t want to be an adult.
 Clarissa: Oh really, why not? Why do you think that?
Andrea: I’m just tired of trying to the best thing and the right thing all the time…
Clarissa: Yeah, it’s an uphill battle being on your own but it does sound as if you’re putting unnecessary pressures on yourself. Your idea of being an adult doesn’t have to be a checklist of milestones from society’s standards. You can do what you want – that’s also being an adult. And you can also make sure you have fun, too.
Andrea: I don’t have a lot of fun. My fun is sleeping…
Clarissa: I think you need to take some time out for yourself -you know – go grab a cup of coffee for 15. It’s tough right now but I think you’re doing the things that will lead to greater happiness in the end.
Andrea: It’s not even that things are tough. My life isn’t particularly difficult right now. I’m just feeling lazy. Plus, I keep on thinking about all this other stuff I want to be doing with my time…
Clarissa: So you’re preoccupied with not experiencing something that isn’t even happening… and it’s bumming you out? I mean, I see that. But, you can’t focus on what’s NOT happening. You’ll drive yourself crazy – miserable – you got to enjoy what’s happening NOW and then make sure you are taking steps to get to that point later. External factors won’t really get you motivated – or happy – just internal ones because you control the internal.
Andrea: I just feel like being so close 30 without accomplishing much is such a let down.
Clarissa: Yeah, well, just get up and realize that the worst thing you can do right now is make yourself unhappy for something that’s not about to change. It is what it is, so fuck it – just get over yourself and see that you have another few decades to get what you want.
Andrea: You don’t think 30 feels/seems too old?
Clarissa: Um, of course I do but I’m not going to get myself all upset about it. Shit happened. I didn’t quite get what I wanted, oh well, try again.. took me a while to figure out that it’s only me that’s making me upset – not everybody else. Plus, we’re not 30 YET. Put on some happy music. And stop watching “Dexter.”

A Slice of Courage: Wesley Pentz (aka Diplo)

My boyfriend and I refer to the EDM DJ, Diplo (Wesley Pentz), as “my husband.” I’ve been a fan of him for years. Four years ago, when I worked at American Eagle, we cranked up Major Lazer (one of Diplo’s side project with DJ Switch) as we cleaned. His concerts are insane, filled with tumbling beats and twerking dancers. He runs his own label, Mad Decent, and shelters a host of promising artists under that umbrella, hosts a show on Sirus XM radio, as well as keeps a residency at the club, Surrender, in Las Vegas.

Diplo inspires me to be creative and try different things (despite my Jamaican background, I couldn’t stand reggae music until a couple of years ago).  His lifestyle reminds me that staying busy is a good thing and collaborations are key. Plus, he keeps me dancing and shaking it off… Keep it weird and fun, Diplo.

Birthday Blues… and the Dude

Remember when you were a kid and you thought your birthday was the best day on the planet? It was filled with candles and presents and special treatment. Well, birthdays can suck it. I don’t want to turn 29- I really don’t. Birthdays are the sad reminder that I haven’t accomplished much. I haven’t graduated from college. Still don’t know how to drive. I thought I’d be married by now, or have at least made some poor romantic choices and would be running after a kid now.

I get that everyone has their own path to follow and you shouldn’t compare yourself to others’ journeys. But I know I have strayed on my path, not taking opportunities I should have and being completely lazy about others. I regret a lot of things in my short life and I’m finding that the older I get, the harder it is to find change and be gifted with such opportunities, like driving lessons and advances in my career.

A few weeks ago, I sat down with my boyfriend and some friends to watch “The Big Lebowski.” I fell asleep within the first twenty minutes. This week, I’m nursing a cold and wanted something a little slow to watch to help me fall asleep. I ended up putting “Lebowski” but I stayed up, watching the entire film. If you’re not familiar with the movie, Jeff Bridges stars as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, a simple but cool-headed man who finds himself in the middle of a scandal. My fellow swears by “the Dude,” and his easygoingness. This guy is the epitome of keep calm and carry on. He is just happy to hang out in his slippers, while drinking his White Russians. The Dude abides– The Dude will take it easy. The Dude lives on.

While I’m not a fan of vodka and cream, I really admire The Dude and his attitude towards life. Last night, I thought about how The Dude would feel about turning 29… He would probably shrugged and help himself to another alcoholic beverage. He would tell himself that you still have time to accomplish things, whether its getting a license, graduating from school, becoming an editor or a mom or a professional bowler…

Bring it on, 29. Bring it on.