WO: Weekly Obsessions

Courtesy of ThingLink.com

It’s the longest day of the year today, and it sure does feel like it! Not that it’s a bad thing — I am quite amazed at how we’re already well into June and don’t mind a day off feeling a bit longer.

Why am I off, you ask? Well, my HS bestie is in town for a visit and we’re taking on San Francisco like never before. We have tickets to a comedy show, a comedy drag show, wine country and more… a jam-packed 72 hours is in our future.

She even brought a little southern sunshine with her, as our temps climb into the 80s and SF residents freak the F out over the heat. I’m not immune to freakouts myself — life without central A/C is no joke.

So although it’s been a few weeks of less-than-stellar obsessions, I promise to be back at it again like Damn, Daniel next Wednesday.

In the meantime, please enjoy…

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
29. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.

In true Wittyburg fashion, I was going to start this post by apologizing for how late it is in the day (particularly for you East Coasters). The past week was a true roller coaster of highs and lows, and The List eluded me as I clung on for control.

Instead, I won’t apologize. As the editors of Glamour write, there are many situations in which we say “sorry,” when we’ve done absolutely nothing wrong at all.

They make a mild statement about how this may be because it’s “drilled into [women’s] heads to be sweet, accommodating and nurturing.” Ahem. Yes, that’s exactly the root of the issue. I know The List was written in 1997, but this edition was published in 2012. We can be more firm about how traditional gender roles and constructs shaped us all.

Courtesy of The Odyssey Online

Whether it’s someone bumping into us, manspreading on public transportation or cutting us in line, why do we feel the need to apologize? I’m guilty of it myself, don’t get me wrong — but I’ve made a conscious effort over the past few years to minimize my apologies.

Some would argue I’m failing at said effort, for which I have no apology. Feeling bad when others make us uncomfortable is a quality of most women I know. In the past, we haven’t wanted to inconvenience others by speaking up or arguing. Being a “feminist” is still a bad word, for fuck’s sake.

But what I’ve learned — particularly in the past year, and while working in tech — is you can’t apologize for everything. You can be vulnerable and empathetic, of course. But you can’t let others run you over and then say sorry to them.

The criteria where apologies are perfectly fitting? When you hurt someone’s feelings. When you inconvenience them. When you wrong them in any way. NOTE: This does not mean you had a difference of opinion or want them to correct their mistake.

In fact, the longer you accommodate someone and refuse to call them on their BS, the more a disservice you do to them both. If the office gossip is never told to cut it out, they’ll never see the hurt they’re causing. If the friend of family member is never corrected for their poor behavior, they’ll never think they’re doing anything wrong. The entitlement simply won’t end if people aren’t called on it — and most of the time, they don’t even realize they’re being disrespectful!

So while I haven’t banished “sorry” from my vocabulary altogether, I’m doing my best to be more conscious of using it thoughtfully, and when it truly applies. Otherwise, I’m the girl who cried sorry, which makes my actual mistakes and subsequent apologies feel less genuine and meaningful.

It’s a slippery slope from being the sorry girl to the doormat, and it’s one I hope we can all help each other overcome in my lifetime.

Courtesy of DailyHaha.com

WO: Weekly Obsessions

I’m running out of ways to say how messed up the world is. I read about the Virginia shooting on my way into work, only to learn around 9am (from my desk) about the UPS shooting in San Francisco, five blocks from my office. We were told to stay inside, and our security staff remained on high alert until the area was clear and the shooter was confirmed in custody.

Trying to make sense of these people’s motives feels futile: It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on, how you feel wronged by your employer — any of it. Lives are lost at the hands of others, who very clearly need help and healthy ways to express their anger.

Hot on the heels of the Pulse anniversary, my heart shattered today when I called my mom and heard her crying. I can’t imagine what these families are feeling, to know they aren’t able to hear their loved ones respond and say they’re OK.

I don’t have the answer to gun violence and/or control. It’s a complicated issue, obviously, and I don’t believe the answer is as simple as a sentence or two. What I do believe is that violence is not the answer. Hurting others doesn’t solve these problems. Pointing blame is pointless.

So it feels tone deaf to share about the week I’ve had, when others aren’t as lucky. Instead, I suggest you call your loved ones — for no reason at all, except to say hello — and to hug those you can a little tighter.

This playlist has been my inspiration all week, and it’s worth a listen if you’re in need of comfort. As always, if you need more than music, there are organizations to help.

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
28. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally.

Remember when The List covered such fluffy topics as umbrellas and makeup? Trust is far and away one of the most difficult topics for me to discuss on this blog — isn’t it ironic, Alanis?

I’ve been through all sorts of ups and downs in personal and professional relationships. I’ve trusted too much and been burned. I’ve been given too much trust and done the burning in a moment of anger. I’ve trusted too little and burned myself. Trusting and burning, trusting and burning, rinse and repeat.

Courtesy of JeremyChin.com

What does legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith say about trust? Well, she’s got more than 50 years of experience in the business, pissed off many — from Sinatra to Trump — and she’s lived to tell the tale.

Smith’s tips are as follows, with (you guessed it!) my own take below each:

You can usually trust a gal who says it like it is.
This may come in many forms, but I’ve personally tried to live by Maya Angelou’s words: “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” This opens up a debate of show versus tell, but I think the point is the same: Most people aren’t living double lives. How they treat a customer service agent, hired help, someone in need… it’s pretty telling of who they are as a human being.

When it comes to romance, heed these words: Trust and verify.
In today’s dating world, we have the ability to research a potential match before we even meet them. There’s the episode of “How I Met Your Mother” which explores the battle of mystery vs. history, i.e.,  wanting to know you’re not meeting up (or already dating) a psychopath, but wanting to keep some mystery alive. My take? It doesn’t hurt to know some basics, like their name, their age (range, at least), what industry they work in… and of course, their app bio says a lot about how much they value words and/or the English language. But some things can also be discovered on a real, live date — and make for a hell of a story after.

Never trust your instincts when you’re angry.
Remember how I said people show you who they are? This might be the one exception. Who hasn’t been frustrated with Comcast after 90 minutes on the phone with them? If you can recognize it in the moment, at least, you can mitigate any major faux pas and save yourself the embarrassment of feeling like a total A-hole. Same goes for traffic temper tantrums, though I think we’re all thankful I haven’t driven regularly in nearly five years.

Assume you can’t trust anyone who’s just handed you a contract.
I don’t have a mountain of personal experience with contractual obligations, aside from rental leases and a million Terms & Conditions I’ve toootally read through. But Smith’s point is 100% valid: Get legal advice before you sign anything! I’ve asked for second opinions on work contracts, and I’ve learned the hard way to get freelance agreements well-documented in writing. Feeling the burn? All right.

Life’s just too short to take every little betrayal personally.
This one may be the hardest of all, because it’s natural to feel like certain behaviors or responses are directed toward you. And with social media, Lord knows some of those are directed at you. Instead of getting into a Twitter feud or FB debate, I’ve learned to not engage. If it really irks me, I might privately message or call the person to try and talk it out. Yes, the trolls are real. But holding onto hatred for them only hurts you.

There are no real secrets, so you might as well tell the truth about things.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Public Relations 101. Only you can manage your story. If you’re not up front about certain things — whether it’s being a single mom on the dating scene or messing up at work — the truth will come out. Maybe not right away, and maybe not even with the person you’ve offended. But it will, so why not manage the message and take ownership from the start?

Truthfully, this entire post made me sweat 😅 But being open and vulnerable with you all is kind of the whole point of this series, right?

WO: Weekly Obsessions

Today was one of those days where it didn’t seem anything could go right. Let’s recap, shall we?

I tossed and turned all of last night from bad dreams. I don’t like calling them “nightmares,” because I’m not 5 years old, but I woke up multiple times and only got a few hours of actual sleep.

So obviously, I missed my workout class. Good thing I just bought a monthly membership — there goes my one free late cancellation.

It didn’t take long to get ready for work, since most of my stuff is in the women’s locker room at the office. I booked my Chariot ride (PS it’s a shuttle service; I’m fully aware how pretentious it sounds). So I left the house at 830am because I literally couldn’t sleep.

I realize a few minutes in, I’m on the wrong route. I booked the route to my gym, not to work. Stellar. I update my drop-off point to the last stop, because I know there’s yet another route that’ll take me from there to the office.

All morning, I worked on an upcoming presentation. I like independent work, but it’s a rare project where I feel like this:

Courtesy of HerCampus

On to lunchtime! Shoot… I signed up for a webinar, and since my Blue Apron delivery didn’t come last night (a story for another post), I didn’t bring lunch. Thankfully, we just installed a fancy vending machine so I could grab lentil samosas — tastier than they sound — and nosh while muted on the call.

All afternoon, I was in a marathon of meetings. Great when you want the day to go by faster. Not great when each meeting ends with action items and tight deadlines. Commence internal screams.

Courtesy of Giphy

To cap off the day, I had to reschedule plans with friends I haven’t seen in a while. I usually enjoy canceled plans, because I’m an over-scheduler, but was really looking forward to tonight. The next time we’re all available is mid-July LOL.

Suffice it to say, it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I won’t be coping with alcohol tonight — much as I may want to — and will instead enjoy the rest of the Warriors game in the background as I work.

Here’s hoping tomorrow will be better, and thanks for sticking with me ✌🏼


30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
27. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long.

This very well could be the thing that makes many feel like life is over at 30. Fun is done. Show is over. Throw in the towel now, grandma.

What Katie Crouch, this week’s author, emphasizes instead is all of the things she lost from focusing too much on booze and not enough on being present.

We’ll get to my perspective on it in a moment, but first, I’ll glaze over the other vices — just as Katie did.

My parents were smokers until my dad’s stroke at age 45, so my brother and I were kids who didn’t want to repeat the cycle. Have I ever smoked? Yes. And I do enjoy a celebratory cigar with my male relatives at weddings and big events. But I’ve never purchased a pack of cigarettes, and I still can’t stand the smell. I hated the clouds of smoke in NYC, and I hate them even more now on the rare occasion I smell one in SF. My brother, to this day, has never smoked a cigarette. So, smoking? Not an issue.

I won’t play Polly Perfect and tell you I’ve never tried drugs either. I will say, though, I’ve only ever experimented with marijuana and I have no desire to try anything else. It doesn’t matter if Molly is trending or cocaine will keep the party going. I want no part of it. And weed lost its luster after a bad trip years ago at a friend’s wedding weekend. It killed the mood and made me completely paranoid, a feeling I didn’t ever want to experience again. Since then, I find the skunky smell less inviting… even though it’s a daily feature of SF life.

Not flossing… talk about a buzzkill! I set a goal for myself just last year to commit regularly to the painful practice. I’ve had every dental issue under the sun, so why wouldn’t I prioritize something to help me be healthier? I still don’t floss every single day and night, but I did recently purchase an electric toothbrush to signal my acceptance of adulthood and help keep my chompers intact. And as much as I loathe threading floss through my permanent bottom retainer (TMI?), I’m not willing to give that up and risk having my paid-for pearly whites shift around.

Now, back to alcohol: the belle of the (high)ball. Crouch details some of her lowest lows from years of boozing, and while I haven’t missed a friend’s rehearsal dinner because of it, I’ve certainly been to work hungover (sometimes, yes, still drunk). I’ve flirted with guys I wouldn’t come within a mile of if I were sober. I’ve been vulnerable and in compromising situations and made stupid choices, because I realized too late I’d had too many.

It doesn’t help that my family history is littered with addiction, alcohol included. I’m fortunate to say we’ve had more triumphs than tragedy, but my childhood understanding of alcohol was seeing it used as a mechanism for coping, celebrations and everything in between. I thought it was normal to drink with family members at home when I was 14. I didn’t see the correlation between my incredibly high tolerance and predisposition for the disease.

You may recall my post from February, about being sober for a month. This conscious decision to refrain from drinking for 31 days brought a few things into laser focus for me. Have I indulged in alcohol since then? You betcha. But I’ve also found other ways to cope with a stressful or disappointing day. I don’t say nearly as often how much “I need a drink” and suggest socializing with workouts or other activities that won’t kill my liver.

And as fun as it might be in the moment, the hangovers that come with age are no joke. All the Pedialyte and breakfast sandwiches in the world won’t change that.

As Crouch says, setting some basic rules for yourself can help ease you into a life less fueled by alcohol. While I *barely* have crow’s feet, and certainly not lines that creep past my cheekbones, I can live with limiting nights out past midnight to one per week. “Slow[ing] down enough to build… relationships, career and a family” actually sounds like one heck of a party, if you ask me. Cheers to that.

Courtesy of FB

WO: Weekly Obsessions

In case you couldn’t tell from yesterday’s social media teaser, I’ve been on a bit of a high kick lately. It could be from binge-watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race” or because I am slowly losing all of my last fucks to give, but I’m all about “drag” this week. You’ll see.

Image Credits Listed Below

  1. Drag Queens of Comedy: A friend suggested this event a while ago, and the date finally came for us to enjoy these lovely ladies’ raunchy routines. I laughed so hard I cried, and I envied the hair and makeup I’ve never quite nailed myself. The singing, the dancing, the jokes, the SHADE of it all! Brava, queens… you slayed.
  2. Dragon Beaux: This iconic establishment is reported to have the best dim sum in SF, and I’m happy to report back how delicious it truly is. From the dumplings to the noodles and steamed buns, you really can’t go wrong. It’s worth making a reservation and avoiding the crazy-long line — you won’t be disappointed.
  3. A Draggggged Bachelor: • BACHELORETTE SPOILER ALERT • We’re only in Week 2, but there’s already more drama more than Nick’s entire season. DeMario’s ex showed up to tell Rachel he’d been running around on both of them. His face says it all… and Bachelor Nation didn’t hold back on Twitter. God bless this ridiculous reality show and the people it brings with it (like my hometown boy, the professional Tickle Monster).
  4. “Supermodel (You Better Work)” – RuPaul: Well, obviously. The queen of all queens, RuPaul, has brought both awareness and joy to millions through various platforms (and I’m not talking about the shoes). Her legendary hit single is extra ‘90s, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If loving Ru is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

Images courtesy of: Drag Queens of Comedy, Twitter, Wetpaint, Genius