Really Real America

I love LA so much. Real live people live here. Every time I visit I feel like I'm getting a glimpse at "the REAL America." I know, I know, but stay with me here.

See, after living the past six years in Idaho, a place decidedly short on diversity, coming to LA and seeing actual diversity all around me is so beautiful. Boise likes to tout itself as a diverse city, but the vast majority of that diversity comes in the form of refugees. The refugee population absolutely adds to the culturally diverse footprint of Boise; however, I don't think it really helps actual Boiseans (or Idahoans) appreciate true diversity. Let me explain.

See, in Idaho, when you see someone who looks different from you, you get to put them in this "refugee" box, which never actually allows you to view them as Americans. This is problematic. When the only diversity you see is in the form of refugees, you get to remove yourself from the conversation - OTHER PEOPLE are diverse, whiteness is the norm. But when your community is truly diverse, whiteness becomes a PART of that diversity, not some starting point from which to judge all others. That's what perpetuates this stupid fucking idea that "Americans" are white. It's also what allows us to assume that anyone who deviates from white is foreign. Now that's not to say that I think refugee resettlement should stop in Boise or in Idaho, quite the contrary. In order for us to reach that true melting pot ideal, my community absolutely needs more people who look different from me. But it doesn't end there.

Boise (and especially Idaho ) also needs a whole bunch of people who believe different shit, too. Living in a place where the local and state government offices are dominated by white Mormon dudes is what perpetuates the  "American = White" idea. It also perpetuates that paternalistic, white savior bullshit. And that's the part that's got my panties in a twist this morning.

The election of Donald Fucking Drumpf has finally shed some light on the shitty voting habits of the so-called "Christians." For decades those "Christians" have touted themselves as the champions of families, the constitution, and most importantly, of Americans, all under the guise of caring compassion. Those "Christians" have systematically chipped away at health care, education, voting rights, women's rights, infrastructure, and immigration in the name of Christ. Those "Christians" have slammed America's door to the world's most destitute and needy at a time when the world needs us most. You want to talk about fake? Ask those "Christians." I have a feeling they know a lot more about what it means to be fake than any Angeleno.

So fuck that shit. I think I prefer the fake tans, tits, and brilliantly white teeth of LA. At least their fake shit looks good.


Mindy is a Social Weirdo, Part 3,841

Whew, y'all. So much has happened since Christmas, where do I start?

Let's see. Still not talking to racist grandparents, but I'm kinda ok with that for now. Still not talking to brother, but again, kinda ok with that one too. Graduation is a week away. DEFINITELY ok with that one. Hmm, feels like I'm forgetting something...

Ah yes, Shon Harris, the Middle-Aged Married Mormon Cliche. Welp. I wrote a whole blog post about what a scumbag he is and how he misled me for five, YES FIVE, months. How he claimed to be a champion of equality, a level-headed progressive in touch with his "feminine side," a single dude who respected and admired strong, smart women. A dude who wanted to be with me. The reality? He's just another Middle-Aged Married Mormon cliche looking for a side piece on the internet. SAD!

But that dude doesn't deserve an entire blog post, especially not after I spoke with his lovely wife...

Anyway, what I really want to talk about is a topic that keeps biting me in the ass over and over - this idea that I am somehow a social, outgoing person who enjoys spending copious amounts of time in the presence of others. Seems this shit won't stop following me around and honestly, I kinda don't know what to do about it.

See, two days ago a woman I know from Twitter and have met *very* briefly in real life tagged me in a post which suggested I might be a person in Boise to follow. On the one hand I'm flattered that she tagged me - SHE LIKES ME! It's always nice to be liked! But on the other hand, oh dear god, now she's exposed me to a whole bunch of people I don't know and who live in my city and fuck my city is very small and I might actually have to see them in real life or what if I run in to them at the bar and they recognize me and... You see where this is going.

For the past two days I have been terrorized. My Twitter mentions went up like 400%. I have had something like 1,000 notifications. The thread convos have touched on inane things like drinking, what to do for fun in Boise, and shit! my kid broke his thumb, etc. Totally normal topics that normal people talk about with other normal people in their normal lives. So what's my fucking problem? I don't know, but it's certainly not new.

At age five I was fucking terrified to start kindergarten. I remember clinging to my mom so tightly, hoping that if I just cried hard enough she'd take me home and the whole business could be over. I made one friend that year, Melissa Palmer, and I stuck to her like white on rice.

At age 12 I was fucking terrified to start junior high. How the hell was I supposed to navigate all those new social situations with people I didn't know while also trying to remember my class schedule and locker combo and teachers' names, and and and?? That year I made friends with a girl named Tiffany Watkins. She was entirely too cool for me and I spent every day of our friendship wondering why she even liked me.

At age 16 I was terrified to start my first job, even though half of my sophomore class applied for and was hired to work with me. It's not like I didn't already know everyone, it's just that this was a new setting to navigate and that filled me with so much anxiety I almost skipped orientation. That first year a girl named Stephanie McCallum forced me to be her friend. She was tall and beautiful and listened to a lot of shitty rap music. We were polar opposites, but she was witty and we had a similar sense of humor. She was my best friend throughout high school (and then some).

At age 19 I was fucking terrified to start college. I holed up in my dorm room for the first two weeks until Lisa Fucking O'Rourke knocked on my door and dragged me to a showing of The Wizard of Oz + Dark Side of the Moon (speaking of cliches). That year I managed to make friends with my suite-mates, but I never quite got the hang of making friends in my classes. It was a rough year, both emotionally and academically.

Somehow I managed to make it through college without making one single friend in any of my classes. Sure, I have friends I made while I was in college, but most of them were friendships forced on me by circumstance. That's not to say I don't love those friendships (Dawn, Vivi, Anji, Melissa!), but it would be wrong to say I *made* those friends. Mostly they were friends of friends who inexplicably picked me; I almost never picked them.

At age 28 I was terrified to move halfway across the world and start a new job in Korea. For three weeks I worked in an office where almost no one remembered my name because I almost never spoke to anyone other than my students. All that changed when I fell down the stairs and broke my face wide open. Nothing leaves a mark on your coworkers quite like a bloodied, wailing woman in the stairwell. When I came home from the hospital that night, Aura and Justin, Tim and Erica and Amanda were waiting to take me out drinking. That first year I made actual, real friends. Men and women with whom I laughed and cried and bitched. I think it might have been the first time I was part of a group of friends. Admittedly, I always felt like I was dancing on the periphery and I almost NEVER initiated, but we were all so close that it *almost* didn't matter. They were my friends and I was theirs.

I have so many more stories of me standing on the sidelines at parties or family dinners or work meetings feeling anxious and weird. I have skipped weddings and going away parties and birthday celebrations because I just couldn't find it in myself to socialize. I even toyed with the idea of skipping my own cohort graduation fiesta next weekend because the thought of mingling with a whole bunch of strangers makes me want to vomit. I have to attend four weddings this summer. This also kind of makes me want to vomit. One of them is tomorrow and I stocked up on Tylenol PM just so I can get some sleep tonight. I don't know why I'm like this. I don't know why people make me feel anxious and weird. But they do.

But that's not the whole story. Feeling anxious and weird around people is not really the problem.

THE PROBLEM is that for some reason, people (ALL the people) put me into the "fun, outgoing" category. That category comes with expectations - not just that you will attend all the social things, but that you actually *like* it. It always comes as a shock to acquaintances, especially classmates and new dudes I might be dating, that I do not, in fact, like doing this shit. Pat was especially caught off guard. He assumed because I was fun and outgoing one-on-one with him, that I had enough leftover in my reserves for others. Stephanie also made this mistake, as have many of my other girlfriends (although, to their credit, they usually come around much easier than the dudes and the ones who GET IT really GET IT). Scumbag Shon even told me, "People are your jam, Mindy." I literally fell off the bed laughing at this comment. It was just so off-base. People are decidedly *not* my jam. I think my Twitter friend may have also assumed I was a "the more, the merrier" type when she tagged me in that thread.

(Which, side note, was kind of a wake-up call for me, too. Seems I'm just as antisocial on the internets as I am in real life. Yay!)

So where do people get this idea that I might want to spend any of my free time socializing in large groups? And to be clear here, it's not just strangers. I don't really like to do *any* socializing with a group of more than, say, five people I know really well.

I like people. I like spending time with people. I like to laugh and joke and learn what makes people tick. I like thoughtful conversation and dirty conversation and trivial conversation. I like learning about others. And this is where the mismatch happens. I like all of these things and actually, I'm fairly good at it. (The socializing one-on-one, that is.) That's where others get this idea that I'm outgoing and social - that PEOPLE ARE MY JAM! They assume that because I do it well one-on-one, that surely those skills translate. BUT THEY DO NOT. When I'm forced to get to know someone quickly, or in a group, or surrounded by people I don't know it presents a huge problem for me. I clam up, I don't know what to say or who to say it to, and eventually I end up playing with the dog or the kid because they are known quantities.

(Which, again, side note, I am soooo sick of those memes about finding the dog at the party. That shit is real for some of us. Jesus.)

So what's a girl to do?

Figure out how to untag myself from that goddamn Twitter thread is step one.


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Christmas 2016, or The One with The Racist Grandparents and The Addict Brother

The last time I saw my brother at Christmas it was 2012. We unwrapped presents with dad and posed for pics in funny hats. His second son was born three months later.

Christmas 2013: my brother on the run, but a family of parents and step-parents, kids and grandkids united. A day tinged by sadness, but manageable.

Christmas 2014: my brother on the run again, presumably holed-up in a shack yakked out on meth. Again, parents and step-parents united. Brother was arrested two months later after a standoff with police. I found out via Facebook whilst on vacation.

Christmas 2015: my brother in jail, Cottonwood actually, getting clean. Parents and step-parents united, along with sis-in-law, her new husband and kids. One big happy family. My brother would be released two months later, only to fall off the wagon, steal a car, and alienate us all within a week. He returned to prison to serve a 7 month term.

Christmas 2016: my brother was released December 14, just in time for the holidays! He is not welcome at our dad's, he is not allowed to see his children, so our Christmas was fractured. He attended NA after dinner.

I have grown used to pretending I'm an only child, so a day with my dad, stepmom, and grandparents could have been lovely. And then grandpa had to go and start talking about the ni**ers. And the sand ni**ers. And his admiration of the KKK.

I hit my limit with Christmas this year, you guys.

I try really really hard to make happiness between Halloween and New Years. I cook, I bake, I craft. I listen to Christmas music and watch Christmas movies and craft Christmas cocktails. I donate money and gifts to those in need. I spend quality time with the people I love. I TRY.

But is it so wrong that I just want to spend this day alone, avoiding humanity, hoping the day passes without incident so that I can forget it for another 364?


February 9, 2016

UPDATE. I also hate being *potentially* homeless.


February 8, 2016

I hate everything about today. I hate coming home to an eerily empty house. I hate finding mom's cell phone absentmindedly left behind. I hate scrolling through text after text begging my brother to come home, to man up, to stay clean for the kids. I hate that burdensome feeling of guilt when I think it would be easier if he were dead. I hate that I think that. I hate even more that it's true. I hate hurting for my parents, people so good they were willing to believe this time would be different. I hate the "what if" game and the "what the fuck is he thinking?" game and the "how could he play me?" game. I hate that he is a sinker, not a swimmer. I hate that his son shares this trait. I hate talking to his ex-wife because she is trying so valiantly to move on. I hate watching my mother question EVERY. FUCKING. ACT. OF. LOVE. she offered. I hate knowing that my brother has robbed my dad of a son, a companion, a friend. I hate that locks and garage door codes had to be changed, that guns had to be retrieved. I hate that Facebook facilitates friendship and drug deals. I hate the cumbersome nature of the criminal justice system. I hate that in a fucking cruel twist of fate what has torn our family apart has also brought us together.

I hate meth.

I hate always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I hate being right.


All the Single Girls are Lesbians

I don't really have time for pleasantries y'all, so let's just dive right in.


Why? So many reasons, but this one thang in particular is stuck in my craw - has been since the beginning of summer. Two months ago I went on a camping trip to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday. I like camping - food's good, day drinking is one of my favorite activities, and peeing in the great outdoors is one of life's forgotten pleasures. But I had no idea what was in store for me.

It started with the car ride. I carpooled with an old friend, he of the married type. Seeing as how he was unattached for the weekend, he graciously took our two hour sojourn as the ideal opportunity to tell me ALL ABOUT the cracks in his marriage. No worries. We've known one another over a decade and I am a good friend. Lending a sympathetic ear is definitely in my wheelhouse, so I listened. And listened. And listened. Clearly homeboy needed to talk some shit out. By the time we reached camp, we both were ready for some beers. All was well.

Until Homeboy Number Two showed up. Let's call him The Wrench. The Wrench was shirtless, with shaggy hair inexplicably topped by a trucker cap - early aughts camping chic. And The Wrench was singularly focused on me. As soon as I cracked a beer and found a comfortable spot around the campfire, The Wrench sidled up to me.

"I remember you," he said pointedly.

I smiled politely, but apparently my look of confusion was clear. "You don't remember me? I'm hurt!" he exclaimed.

You guys, I panicked just a little. I have been single for a minute. And in the lull between worthy suitors I have slept with some dudes. Was The Wrench a drunken hookup?! A mistaken makeout?! A Tinder Roulette sexting slimeball?! FUUUUUUCCKKKK.

And then, BINGO! He was none of the above, thankfully, but some rando friend of a friend who crashed a drunken toga pool party I'd thrown for myself in 2009. (Yes, I am very good at being childless and single, don't be too jealous.)

I've helpfully circled The Wrench. Also, how cute was I?!

The Wrench was harmless. Or so I thought. For the next 10 hours I fended off his advances. He drunkenly crooned at me during campfire sing-along; he offered a massage when I jammed my finger at the swimming hole; and in a particularly egregious act of bravery, he reached out and tweaked my nipple whilst mid-conversation. Can't say he wasn't committed to the cause.

Thankfully Homeboy Number Three caught the nipple tweak and attempted a rescue of sorts. Let's call him The Hot One. I have known The Hot One for 10+ years. The Hot One had a girlfriend for many of those years. I was living abroad for some of those other years. But now The Hot One and I are living in the same city, unattached for the first time, and all I wanted was a good old-fashioned fireside makeout sesh. I was a damsel in distress, it was the least he could do. Unfortunately, The Hot One had something else in mind entirely. As soon as he swooped in and rescued me from the nipple-tweaking toga 'tard, he spilled his guts. And I do mean SPILLED. The Hot One proceeded to tell me some really heavy shit from his childhood that, frankly, I probably won't ever repeat, both because it was so fucked up, but also because I would never want to embarrass this dude. See, I *DO* have a heart.

Needless to say, The Hot One killed my vibe, and any buzz that was left over from eight hours of day drinking. Seeing as how I was apparently surrounded by emotional retards, I found a spot by the fire and attempted to tune out the noise.

Enter Homeboy Number Four.

Again, I have known Homeboy Number Four for a minute, probably close to 10 years. We've never been close, but in group social situations we always find something to chat about. Homeboy Number Four is harmless, so let's call him Dad. Dad showed up at camp fairly late in the day, as his car broke down on the drive and he hitched a ride with some other campers. Sometime late in the evening, after much drinking and smoking, Dad told me he left his tent in his car. I was already sharing a rather large tent with my carpool friend, so I offered him a spot in our tent - no harm, no foul. The night wore on, and everyone was pleasantly drunk and/or stoned. Around midnight I retired to my tent. Just as I was drifting off, I heard Dad unzip the door and throw in his sleeping bag.

"You awake?" he asked.

I mumbled something, probably about the possible wicked hangover that surely awaited me. He carried on quietly, and just as I was on the edge of sleep, I heard him roll over, sigh deeply, and ask, "Mindy, why don't you have a boyfriend?"


He went on, "You're so cute and smart. I mean, like intellectual. You're strong and smart and why don't you ever have a boyfriend?"

I just laid there.

He went on, "You remind me a lot of my ex-girlfriend. She was strong and smart like you. You're just really intellectual." He said that word, INTELLECTUAL, like a dozen times.

I let this shit go on for a minute, hoping he'd get the hint, but he just kept rambling. I finally snapped.

"I don' know dude, why don't you tell me?! You're a guy. Why don't I have a boyfriend? It's probably because I am emotionally unavailable and overly critical. Or maybe it's because I'm not helpless and needy. Guys seem to really like needy girls. Needy girls always have boyfriends!"

Not my finest moment.

He soldiered on, "Some people have thought that maybe you're a lesbian."

You guys, I just laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed. I didn't even know how to respond to such idiocy. Maybe it's because I'm soooo intellectual. At this point I was mentally and emotionally exhausted, plus the spins had set in. I rolled over and attempted to sleep. I don't know how long I was asleep or what time it was when I heard my name.

"Mindy! Mindy, is this your tent?!" The Wrench was drunkenly circling my tent, calling out my name. "It's cold out here. Can I come sleep with you?"

Are you fucking kidding me?! This guy just did not give up. I unzipped my tent, told him there was no room at the inn, and tossed him my car keys. "It's the blue Hyundai. Sleep there!" I shouted.

I slept fitfully the rest of the night, getting up just once to puke up a belly full of PBRs and half a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. By morning, I was feeling horrible and ready to never see any of these dudes again. My carpool friend and I quickly broke down camp, downed a cup of coffee each, and headed home.

And here I am, two months later, still salty about L'Affair. First, why did all four of these dudes see fit to use me as an emotional dumping ground? Admittedly I was the only single woman at camp, but is that really all dudes need? If I had come attached to some guy NONE of them would have been this emotionally inappropriate, guaranteed.

Secondjust because I don't announce every hookup/date/relationship via social media doesn't mean they aren't happening. Remember when I said Homeboy Number Four and I have known each other nearly a decade BUT WE AREN'T CLOSE? Apparently he thinks he knows all there is to know about me and if he isn't privy to my personal relationships then they must not exist.

Third, and this is the big one, why the fuck did he make the jump to lesbian? Is it because I cut all my hair off? Is it because I use social media platforms to proclaim my support for women's rights? Is it because I wear really cool Vans?

See? Cool, right?!

No. It's none of those. I could continue doing all of those things, so long as I had a boyfriend to call my own. It really truly is my lack of boyfriend that made him question my sexual preference. And that's the point that's stuck in my craw, not only because it's so shallow, but because it represents a cruel double standard. See, Homeboys One, Three, Four and I have a mutual friend, we'll call him The Boss. The Boss has been single as long as I've known him, something like 12 years. In that time he's had hookups and dates and flings, but nothing long term or meaningful (that I know of). Does that mean he's gay? Absolutely not. It might mean a whole host of *other* things, but to think he's gay simply because he does not have a girlfriend is ludicrous - SO NO ONE THINKS THIS. Literally no one questions The Boss's sexuality, even though he's been single FOR-EV-ER.

And that's why I'm salty.

Side note: I ran into The Hot One a couple weeks ago at the bar. He told me he and my carpool friend had had a bet going.

"Oh?" I questioned.

"Yeah. But we were both betting you'd sleep with [The Wrench]."

Guys are such idiots.



Holy hell how did two full weeks pass me by? Seems every year this Thanksgiving post gets less and less timely. Oh well, blame it on the universe. See, the current state of the world finds me struggling to conjure up feelings of joy and peace and, well, THANKFULNESS.

But even in this time of tumult I suppose there are a few things for which to be thankful, so let's get this bitch started.

Of course I'm thankful for my family. They are my rock. They are my support system, my cheerleading section, and sometimes my ATM. I really don't know where I'd be without them and I'm so thankful for their love, humor, and support.

I'm thankful for a car that works, and job that pays, a house that's warm, and a body that rarely fails me. This year (oh hell, ALL YEARS) found me reflecting on all the adult mile posts I have yet to reach -- marriage, house, kids -- you know, all that stuff we're *supposed* to want at 34? Taking inventory of all the things you don't have really has a deleterious effect on one's psyche. Like, "What the fuck was I doing in my twenties?!" kinda shit. But I'm slow. I take the long route, almost exclusively. If life's a journey, then I'm on the goddamn Mississippi Riverboat, meandering through muddy waters unsure of what the end will hold, but not entirely unhappy with the the twists and turns. This year was really a reminder to re-evaluate what I WANT, not what I'm supposed to want. And you know, there's a certain amount of freedom that comes with nonconformity, so I'm thankful for that.

In that same vein, I'm thankful for my freedom. I don't mean the so-called American variety of freedom, but specifically the kind that comes when you're unencumbered  - by children, by spouses, by finances. That freedom allowed me to fly across the world to visit my favorite Soko friendo, Jamie, for two fantastic weeks. That freedom allowed me to sip Vietnamese yogurt coffee, snorkel in the crystal blue pacific, and bitch and moan about shitty wifi whilst trekking through sweaty Vietnam on a 24 hour bus ride. Oh yeah, and that little trip to NYC. That's some shit to be thankful for, y'all.

I'm thankful for for my girlfriends. You guys, I have the BEST girlfriends. Collectively, they are the smartest, smarmiest, silliest, hardest-working, most loyal group of women any girl could ask for. My SLP girls are resilient (AMIRIGHT?!). My craft night ladies are often my oasis in a sea of weekly bullshit. And my Soko girls? Those women just GET me. They know the struggle is real and I'm so thankful I get to be their friend. And let's be honest, any woman willing to make dick jokes for 36 hours is a friend of mine.

So yeah, I'm thankful for some big stuff. But I'm also thankful some trivial shit, too. The devil's in the details, and sometimes it's the little things that make me laugh, or cry, or both.

This blogpost has been brought to you by Spotify's Throwback Thursday playlist, and I'm thankful for that, both because I love early aughts rap AND I was reminded this gem exists:

*Wasn't that some misogynistic fun?!

I'm thankful that I (mostly) learn from my mistakes.

I'm thankful for red lipstick, because even in my most disheveled state, a swipe fools everyone into thinking I put in some effort.

I'm thankful that I've still got it. As an educated, self-assured, adult woman I know I'm not supposed to hang my self-worth on what men think of me, but goddamnit that one hook-up did more for my self-esteem than any of that Stuart Smalley bullshit ever could.

I'm thankful for 63 degrees in mid-December.

I'm thankful for Dawson Taylor and The Flying M, without which I might never get any studying done.

I'm thankful for my two beautiful nephews. They are light and love and laughter.

I'm thankful for brunch and informative podcasts and Trader Joe's insanely cheap face serum. I'm thankful for John Oliver and Jessica Williams and Lena Dunham. I'm thankful Roxane Gay exists, and writes, and speaks out for women and minorities, AND gives me a free pass to date terrible men. I'm thankful that a retreat into nature, REAL nature, is just a quick road trip away.

I'm thankful to have surrounded myself with thoughtful, educated, empathetic people who show integrity, because goddamnit the world is seriously fucked up. Sometimes it's nice to know you're not the only one. I'm thankful for that.