Mawage

The Impressive Clergyman: Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.

I’ll admit…when I was younger, I dreamed often and deeply of my one perfect, future wedding day. A day surrounded by friends and families and pretty colors. A day I’d have lost all the unwanted weight for. A day I’d driven all my bridesmaids crazy to get to. A day where my groom might reconsider the whole endeavor, but ultimately go through with it, cause no one calls off a wedding on the day of a wedding. It’s quite rude, you know! Ok, I didn’t actually dream of all that.

My dream wedding looked a lot more like this:

I’m not even joking! I had this “Doglass Fairbanks and Catrina Meowford” Lisa Frank design on a trapper keeper and I carried it around all the time and referenced it anytime the discussion of weddings came up. It was part of little Lizzie’s recipe for her perfect wedding day.

Ah yes…that one perfect day. Some say it’s the “happiest day of their lives.” Which used to make sense and now seems incredibly strange. I don’t think I have a “happiest day of my life.” Not because there haven’t been a plethora of happy days or because I am unmarried female. Only because I think that’s a statement best saved for the twilight of life. Lots of people get married at a young age. My parents were married when they were 22 and a lot can happen in 36+ years of marriage (including but not limited to, having a rather fantastic daughter. And also a son who is almost, but not quite as cool as said daughter. *wink!) Seeing as a wedding is only the starting point, isn’t it safe to say that a bride and groom might just be starting a life full of different sized happy days? Maybe I’m overthinking it.

But things like this lead me to think that there is too much hype about the wedding day and not enough hype about the marriage…Do you have that friend that just keeps posting her wedding photo over and over again, even though it’s, like…10 years later? And it isn’t even her anniversary or anything? We get it, JOAN! You’re unhappy and want to remember the good times! Find a recent picture of your happiness already or make a new memory. Cause…it’s getting sad!

Ok…cause all the “cool” kids are doing it. Here it is…the only living picture of me in a wedding dress…

From the years 2007 – 2012 I worked at Kleinfeld Bridal. You may not know the name of the store, but you might know the show that is filmed there, “Say Yes to the Dress.” After that I went on to work at Pronovias for a summer, another wedding atelier. I was in 14 weddings and I moonlighted as a wedding planner for a while. When you work with brides and plan their big days and hear their stories and peddle shiny, poufy, lacy concoctions…you dream of your own wedding. So little Lizzie wasn’t the only one who was planning ahead. It was as recent as 2012 when I could be caught in a wedding daydream. Goes to show how much a person can change in 5 years.

I guess I need to say this, cause there could be plenty of evidence to the contrary…but, I don’t hate weddings. I actually really enjoy them. Free food? Check! Free drinks? Check! All night dance party? CHECK!! All things I love! Add getting dressed up and great hair and you’ve got yourself a recipe for fun. And I have found enjoyment in every wedding I’ve ever been to/in. Whether I’ve been the wedding coordinator on purpose or by accident. Whether I’ve been the one lacing up the bride’s corset. Whether I’ve just gotten to sit back and watch one play out, like a holiday special of Boy Meets World. Or whether I’ve been standing right next to the bride in the dressing room, at the altar, in the bathroom 3 hours later. It’s all been a ride.

I’m just not entirely sure it’s a ride I want to take for myself. Does that get me a lot of strange looks from a lot of little old ladies…yep! Does that mean I never want to get married…nope! It just means that if I do it, it probably won’t be the “happiest day of my life.” It means that it will probably look nothing like I ever wanted it to look like when I was a kid, or when I was in my 20’s, or hell…5 years ago.

But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, gentle reader…I still think Lisa Frank designs a helluva wedding dress…

Used Cows and Crumpled Flowers

Let’s talk about sex.

A very personal topic, to be sure.

And I’ll be straight with you, internet. I’ve never had it. I didn’t have it on prom night or experiment in college. I didn’t have a Bradshaw-esque one night stand in New York City or make a really bad drunken decision. (Well, that’s not true. Bad decisions were made and alcohol was involved, but still…no sex.) I didn’t have a long term boyfriend who I wanted to share that with. And through a series of events, romantic missteps and my own personal choices I have kept my V-card. Sometimes not for lack of trying to change that status, to be even more honest with you (why stop now.)

Most of the time it’s been a decisive choice I’ve made not to share that with another person. But I have to tell you…the literature out there (Bible notwithstanding) is quite poor on reasons why a man or woman may choose to not have sex before they’re ready, interested, married, old enough, smart enough…the list of reasons goes on. And the advice about having it isn’t any better!

Let’s start with the worst advice out there and work our way through it!

“If he’s tastes the milk, he won’t buy the cow.”

Let’s keep being honest here…boys aren’t being told that they are cows that have to protect their milk. The double standard surrounding sex has been around for a very long time. Women wear white on their wedding day to signal the purity coming to the marriage bed…where’s that declaration from the groom? Not only is it nowhere to be found…it’s frowned upon for a young man to be sexually pure after a “certain age.” And women? Well, we cows have to protect our milk or no respectable man will want to…buy us? Who thought this was a healthy narrative regarding sexuality? I’m not sure when this phrase was born, but I know it’s long past time for this one to die out! And yep, I’ve had had someone tell me this before!!

“If you have sex your ‘flower’ will get crumpled.”

I think the TV show ‘Jane the Virgin’ handled this one really well. But for real…virginity is not a flower. It is not something that can be trampled or crumpled by consensual sex with another human being. There are plenty of ways that sex can go wrong. But deciding to have it is not the end of your world and you certainly shouldn’t be made to feel like a tossed gardenia after making such a choice. And what about people who didn’t make a choice to have sex…are they damaged goods too? Think about how harmful that phrase is to someone who has been raped!!

“You should wait because of the other person.”

This has always been one of my least favorite reasons to wait. Personally, I don’t want a pregnancy scare…I don’t want STD’s…and I don’t want the emotional attachment that comes with having sex (no matter what anyone says to the contrary) and all that has nothing to do with some imaginary future partner that I am definitely not waiting around to find. So the idea that a pivotal life decision should be made for anyone other than me, myself and I is just as absurd as the idea that I’m a prized cow with precious milk that needs protecting.

“Lady in the street, freak in the bed.”

Let’s not pretend that conservatives who believe in waiting for marriage are the only ones who’ve mishandled information about sex. The liberal side hasn’t done a great job either. The idea that a women should be one thing when you meet her and another thing when you sleep with her is ludicrous. And are men supposed to be gentlemen in streets, but turn into animals in the sack? This one is silly at best and dangerous at worst. If I’m a lady in the street, then you take me home and I Fatal Attraction you…is that supposed to be sexy? And what about those of us who are what you see? Yeah…I say no to this one!!

Look…sex is a messy topic. (This much we can all agree on.) And parents, pastors, teachers, politicians, news anchors, celebrities, liberals, conservatives…everyone has a hard time talking about it. I can’t blame them for that. I have a hard time talking about it too. Writing this post about sex on a blog that my friends and family read…uncomfortable. But it’s important and what I want to do is share with you what I wish had been shared with me when I was younger.

Here’s the really personal part…another reason I’ve never had sex is because it terrifies me. Can you blame me? I can’t let my flower wilt! I can’t let the milk spoil! I can’t lose my purity because that scares the “good guys” away! And even if I decided I wanted to have sex, I have to be one thing when a guy meets me and another thing when it gets intimate.

Here’s what I think…since you came all the way over here to my mind palace…Sex is good, great, exciting, WONDERFUL! I believe God made sex. I think it’s ok to want to have sex. The when, the why, the how… that changes from person to person. And if you are religious, then your beliefs may play a very important role in your decision making process (mine do!) One of the most important parts is that the people involved in the decision to have it are on the same page and should agree about having it. And above all else, we as a society should stop using phrases involving cows, flowers and freaks to describe it. Enough already!

For the love of all that is good…we have to change the way we talk about sex for future generations. We just have to!

Fitness

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “fitness” I immediately think of physical fitness. Working out, doing yoga, going for a run, doing planks, going to spin class, eating quinoa and kale and flax seed paste. (Ok…ok, I never ate flax seed paste!) Even when you Google fitness, it’s pictures of gyms and weights and really well-muscled human beings that show up. But what about mental, emotional and spiritual fitness.

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We, as a culture, need to adjust how we think about a person’s fitness. If someone is overweight and looking to lose a few pounds, we know just what to recommend. We share our favorite recipes and the tricks and tips that worked for us. But try and talk about mental or emotional fitness and…crickets! Not a lot of people offering their favorite prayers or the therapist that really helped them through a crisis.

What a disconnect from how the human body functions. Again, I don’t know about you, but when my mind isn’t right it throws everything else into a tailspin. And not the good kind of Tailspin!

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Let me tell you about 2016. I was the heaviest I’d ever been. Weighing in at over 200 pounds, which for my body frame and height is not the worst I could be, but it was the worst I’d ever felt physically. Guess what was going on mentally…spoiler alert, it wasn’t rainbows and puppies!! It was a difficult year and there were times when I prayed God would just release me from my life. Yeah…you read that right.

My mind was not in a good place. My emotional and mental fitness took a toll and it was very apparent in my physical fitness as well. My smile had disappeared and there was no way I could get up and care about myself enough to go for a run or cook myself a healthy, balanced meal.

The people in my life tried the best they could. But I was embarrassed and thought I should be more “grown up” and able to handle the stress that seemed to be piling up on me. Guess what…I couldn’t. And no amount of “suck it up, kid” mentality could fix it! I was sinking and the world had little to offer in the way of help.

Ultimately, I am a woman of faith, so my reliance on God and His plan for me is what brought me back to who I truly am. Not everyone has that. And not everyone can see clearly in those moments. How are we working to make things easier for people struggling with the darker corners of their mind? How are we showing that we care just as much about mental health as we do about the physical?

I gotta say, I think we’re getting better as a society at “allowing” mental illness to be something important and something to not be ashamed of. But don’t get me wrong…we still have a long way to go!

If you feel like the stress of the world is piling up and the hope you have seems to be waning, reach out!! Reach out to me, your local church, a mentor or someone you trust or call this hotline: 1‑877‑SAMHSA7 to figure out some next steps you can take toward mental fitness! It’s important! And someone cares!!

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Starry Night

Starry Nights Web Series So...This Happened Nerd in the City blog post

Starry Nights Web Series So...This Happened Nerd in the City blog post

When I think of starry nights, I think of one in particular. There was a girl and a boy and a perfect date.

A date so memorable that I made an episode about it in my web series a few years ago. Take a look…

You know what’s funny? Well, maybe funny is the wrong word. Tragic may be more appropriate! Back then I used to blame everything that happened on dates on myself. How I acted, what I wore, what I said, if I was nice enough, if I smiled enough. Maybe we ended up “just friends” because I didn’t let him kiss me that night.

Or hey…maybe it wasn’t me at all. Maybe the circumstance of his life left him unable to move onto someone new and I came around at exactly the wrong moment. Or maybe it was bad timing all around. Maybe I did nothing wrong at all and it was exactly what it was!

The older I get the more I find myself exonerating…myself from past “sins.” I think that’s called getting wiser.

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PS, this is the first gif that comes up when you Google “wiser.”

No matter what I did in my past, I learned from it. I grew and became a better person. Hell, I love who I am today and I had to get here by going through ALL THAT SH*T!!! By doing stupid things like sharing starry nights with boys who just wanted to be friends with me. Starry nights are something very special. Don’t waste them!

Moral of the story is…don’t stop dreaming because of one “perfect” night under the stars. I did. I changed when that weird, non-lationship ended the way it was always going to end. I put romance and dating and boyfriends and falling in love in a little box marked “DO NOT OPEN.” And why? Because one boy wasn’t someone I had a future with. Silly, Lizzie!

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I don’t blame him. It wasn’t his fault. And now I finally know, in my heart, that it wasn’t mine either. Maybe now I can stop putting that night on a damned pedestal and move the hell on! It’s time!!

From now on, I’m saving my starry nights for someone who deserves them!

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& The City

It’s been almost 2 years since I moved away from New York City. Some days it feels like just yesterday that I was walking the concrete jungle and trying to find my way in the city of dreams. And other days, the whole 8+ years I lived there feel themselves, like a dream. I haven’t been back since a whirlwind visit last year for a friend’s wedding.

Not for lack of wanting too, it’s just the timing hasn’t worked out. And to be honest, I feel like a part of me never wants to go back. What if I remember how much I loved it and I want to stay? What if I have another anxiety attack like my first time back after moving? New York was such a roller coaster city for me. I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

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No matter how I feel about the Big Apple or why I had to move away, I still consider it home. I’ve blogged about this before, but I found myself in New York City. I became a writer. I started this blog there. I created my web series there. I was bold and I was creative and the thing that makes New York…NEW YORK, somehow ended up making me…ME!!

You can’t deny that there’s something about New York that can bring out our inner angels…or demons. New York forces you to be yourself…”after all, everyone else is taken.” Isn’t that how the quote goes?

The truth is…I miss New York. Maybe not the winters…I’ll always be happier in the sun. But I miss the pace. I miss walking 47 blocks after work on a Wednesday, just because. I miss sushi delivered at midnight and brunching all day with friends. I miss cab rides (who thought that would happen.) I miss my friends. Sometimes, when I’m delirious, I even miss dating in New York…though not too much!

I’m excited to return to the City. I want to see how it’s changed. I want to see how I’ve changed. I want to see if it still feels, even a little bit, like home. We’ll see what happens.

New York is unpredictable by nature. The only thing you can rely on is that it’s unreliable! As a hurricane, I can relate.

Today, I feel like this:2.jpg

I hope I find that who I was back then and who I am today are working together to make me who I’ll be tomorrow.

After all, I wouldn’t be me without New York or Florida or California. So…New York, I’m coming back for ya! Please be kind, I’m a little rusty!!

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Stilettos

I spent the better part of my 00’s teetering around in the highest of heels. In fact, I was a firm believer that the higher the better! And I didn’t even know who Carrie Bradshaw was back then. So, it wasn’t from a desire to live the Sex and the City lifestyle.

There’s just something about wearing stilettos that is empowering AF!! Maybe it’s that “anything you can do, I can do better” mentality. It reminds of that quote about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire:

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Heels make you taller obviously! They make you walk with confidence, unless you don’t know how to walk in them…then they make you look like this:

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Ladies, back me up on this! We’ve all had those shoes that just made us feel like we could rule the planet, if we chose to. But we’ve also had those shoes that we immediately regretted wearing.

And…I will confess, my desire to play baby giraffe at the office, on a Friday night, at brunch with my girlfriends or on a date has waned. I won’t blame my age for it. Those “the older I get…” statements make me cringe. And I don’t actually think it’s about being older. Plenty of women and hell, men my age and older are still rocking stilettos that even strippers would think twice about wearing. So let’s not blame age here.

I think I’ve just experienced the high heel lifestyle. Been there…worn them, and in New York City no less. That’s living the Carrie Bradshaw dream life right there!

And look…I still love a great pair of heels, I just prefer them to be a little more comfortable, a little less sky high. Like these kitten heels I rescued from Goodwill. They are just my height.

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So, to all the ladies out there doing everything that men do, but backwards and in high heels. No matter how high your heels are today, just know that you are strong, powerful and a freaking bad-ass!

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