growing out a pixie cut is the worst

I know you’re all dying for an update on my hair.

Last summer I trimmed my pixie for the “last” time. It was the last cut before the great grow out, the final feast before the epic quest. I braced myself for the days of graceless hair ahead, but I had no idea of the trials that would befall me in winter. No idea at all.

In my defense, I trimmed the mullet along the way. I knew that much from pinterest, but not even mullet trimming can prepare you for the ear-length-bob-now-I-look-like-a-Bob months. That’s right. Months. The hairs (all of them) beg to be pulled back into a half-updo, yet cannot reach the clip. The agony!

What they said–no idea who “they” are–is true: growing out a pixie cut is one of the worst experiences in the world. Growing out a pixie cut should warrant some sort of major award. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking automatic stellar hair-days forever or a year’s supply of Propel water. (Am I the only one still drinking those things?)

Growing out a pixie cut requires a six-month hiatus from mirrors.

Growing out a pixie is like carrying the One Ring across Middle Earth to be destroyed in Mordor. I took on this impossible mission and began the trek.

But then February came, and like Frodo, I failed. I got to the edge of the Cracks of Doom, but couldn’t complete my task.

In other words, I got my hair cut on Saturday.

I even had a stylist (Sauron? Gollum?) that said, “I wouldn’t keep your natural color. It’s kind of dead mouse brown,” and then she washed my hair. “What I’m putting on your hair is called shampoo. You should try it sometime.”

I’m not kidding. But I think she was?

Then I stepped out of the salon (Mount Doom) with cut hair. Short hair. Looks-like-I-never-beared-THE-ONE-RING hair.

Oh, well. The good thing about short hair (one of the many) is the reminder that it’s just hair.

Maybe next time I decide to grow it out I’ll keep that in mind. For now, I’ll just enjoy making it stick up in weird ways.


Never Been Dated

We’ve got bigger problems than kissing, folks.

I’m going to try to be very honest about this subject. You’ve been warned.

I’m not sure I get dating.

Let me put it this way. The closest thing I have had to a date was my prom. I went with a boy from my math class who was three years older. Need I even continue?

We went in a group, and I paid for my own meal at Panera Bread. You read that correctly. I went to Panera Bread in a prom dress and paid for my own soup in a bread bowl. Ah, to be sixteen! Ah, to be familiar with the sound of crinoline sliding into a vinyl booth!

This whole prom saga ended with me telling my “date” that yes, I liked him as a friend, but no, I didn’t like him as anything more and nothing would ever change my mind. Ever. In a million years. And that I was sorry that I could never love him. Ever. In a million years. He said he understood.

Then he gave me a song he wrote about how much he loved me.


Since then I’ve had a few minor crushes. The largest being on Hayden Christensen circa Episode II. (I told you I was going to be blatantly honest.)

And so, I’ve never really been on a date. I am Josie Grossie from Never Been Kissed. I even say, “culottes.”


These are the facts, but I want to know why. Why have I never really been on a date?

Here are ten hypotheses I’ve come up with so far. Let me know if you have further insights.

1. I don’t flirt. Well, I don’t flirt well. I mean, I don’t flirt in the way most girls do. I probably flirt the way some gross boys do. Any time I think a guy is attractive I try to do some sort of impressive (awkward) physical move, like jumping off of something really tall.

If I hold back from such impressive (awkward) moves, I usually do something like pull my pants up past my waist and pretend to use a monocle or make fart noises with my mouth or just immediately start walking away from the guy.

Why haven’t I been on dates again?

2. I’m marriage material, and boys my age aren’t ready for that. (Please ask my Italian Rachel for confirmation that I repeated this phrase throughout the entirety of high school. Josie Grossie, people. Josie Grossie.)

The problem here is that there are people my age who are married, so this excuse can no longer hold up.

3. I don’t see the point of dating.

I’m not trying to condemn anyone for dating here. I just don’t really see the point. A free meal? We already saw how the Panera thing worked out.

Getting to know someone just sounds exhausting.

4. An actual line on my bucket lists (all versions) says, “Make it to 30 without having been married.” That’s right, folks. I’m holding out until my golden years.

I like being alone. I see people my age who are married who are so happy, but I’m just not ready for that yet. And since I’m not ready for marriage, I won’t date (see point #3).

5. I look like a troll, but not in a way that would appeal to LARPers.

This could be accurate, but my mom doesn’t think so. (Thank you, Mom.)

6. I’m too beautiful for men to even approach me. I’m like that smouldering celebrity who says men are too intimidated by her to ask her out.

Considering the number of unibrow jokes I have endured over the years, this is just absolutely false.

7. I could be asexual. I don’t really have that many crushes. Maybe I’ll join a nunnery.

But wait…

**cue shirtless picture of Aaron Taylor Johnson that I could not, in good conscience, actually post**

Wrong. Not asexual. No nunneries.

8. Two weeks ago, when the drive-thru boy (child?) asked for my number, I said, “Uhhhh no.” Then he said I made him feel like a creepy drive-thru man, and I said, “Yeah.” Then he gave me his number on my receipt.

Not sure what this has to do with why I haven’t been on a date, but it’s a pretty funny true story, right? It’s also recent evidence that I am not without a bit of womanly charm (at least if you look at me through my driver’s side window).

I guess it also made me feel a little bit good.

Cosmo-Kramer-Laughing-in-Car-SeinfeldBut still, no dates.

9. I believe in true love.

This could be a fundamental dating hiccup, actually. Believing this means I usually go ahead and pick my wedgie in front of the cute guy in the supermarket. “He’s cute, but eh, he’s not ‘the one.'” Resume tasteful picking.

(“The one” is away, turning down a modeling career to backpack across Europe. Obviously.)

10. God has really protected me.

I think this is absolutely true. I have MANY friends with broken hearts, and it looks… rough. I also have a wincy bit of a miniscule tendency to go whole-hog crazy over things that I like, and I don’t need to be throwing that affection from person to person all willy-nilly.

I suppose if the right boy came along, I wouldn’t purposefully show him the door, but I’m also not inviting him in, ya know?

Bonus #11: I’ve never asked anyone out. It feels very necessary to state the obvious here.

CONCLUSION: I just don’t get this dating thing or why I don’t fit into it. Oh, well. Maybe I need to shout: “I’M NOT JOSIE GROSSIE ANYMORE!” or maybe I just need to work on my flirting game (i.e. look for taller things to jump off) or maybe the world needs to know that non-daters aren’t entirely off their rockers.

Off Their Rockers.

Betty White.

betty-white-valentine-etsy-photo-250x250Happy Valentine’s Day!

the world’s best window

I love the ocean, but let’s not start there.

When I was around eight I got my own room (for the second time).

My parents remodeled our upstairs floor to be a very cool loft split in two: one side for the brothers and one side for the sisters. I love my sister dearly, but this situation made things tense. We shared a waterbed. The bed was wonderful; it made that great sloshing sound, and you pushed up when someone else got in. The bed was also a point of contention. I liked to cuddle and Heather didn’t. The tension escalated when in the night I touched my foot to her sun-burned calf, and she immediately slapped me. I’m pretty sure that was the last night I slept there.

I moved back downstairs, and relationships were restored. When I had my own room (again), Mom gave me three framed artsy photos to put on the wall: two girls walking with their arms around each other (which I am realizing could have been a message), a girl standing in the rain, and a group of girls looking out a window. (You should know that I originally wrote “winder” for “window.” Hoosier-talk.)

In the third picture, the girls’ backs are facing us as they sit in a windowsill. Most of them are huddled together talking in a group, but there is one girl sitting on the end, staring out of the glass. Mom said I reminded her of that girl. Now, it could be that she had the same haircut and color as mine, but I think it had more to do with that feeling.

My whole life I’ve been staring out windows.

Life makes sense when I stare out a window. There’s so much going on, so much beyond whatever is happening inside.

I feel the same way about the ocean. Things make sense with the ocean. It’s on its own clock. The ocean is calm and powerful and incredible, and seeing its majesty makes whatever I’m worrying about seem pretty inconsequential. Watching the ocean is feeling a part of the miracles of every day, the ones that are all around.

The ocean is the world’s best window, and I never tire of looking because looking at life on the outside makes you see life on the inside that much more clearly.

“For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea”
-ee cummings
I love the ocean. Let’s end there.


A conversation…
Me: Okay, so I’m a writer, right?
Ardmore (my alternate personality): Yes, that’s correct.
Me: But I have a hard time calling myself an “artist.”
Ardmore (who’s also my therapist): And why is that?
Me: Well, it sounds awfully pretentious. Imagine me going around talking about “my art.”
Ardmore: I don’t understand.
Me: Of course you don’t. Your name is Ardmore.
Ardmore: Haha. You kill me.
Me: If only I could.
Ardmore: I think we’re getting off topic.
Me: You always say that… Anyway, artists. Why is it that I can’t loop myself in that group?
Ardmore: What does that group look like?
Me: Well, when I think of artists, I think of people who don’t shower…
Ardmore: So far I don’t see why you wouldn’t fit in.
Me: Hilarious. I guess I’d say they are also pretty poor…
Ardmore: Again, you seem to fit in just fine.
Me: They also have a fantastic sense of style…
Ardmore: …
Me: Really?!
Ardmore: What?
Me: Never mind. I don’t know. I think it’s just that maybe I can’t stand this whole attitude of artists. “I feeeeeeel more than you do.” I think I feel a lot, but I think other people do too.
Ardmore: Trust me, you feel twice as much as most people.
Me: I guess I’m just uncomfortable with the word.
Ardmore: I think you need to let that go. Remember how you felt about the word “cuddle” up until the eighth grade?
Me (shivers): Yes.
Ardmore: Well, now, you like cuddling. You even like the word. You liked cuddling with me the other day didn’t you?
Me: Sure, I guess.
Ardmore: That’s what you need to do with “artist.” You like art. You do creative work. You are an artist.
Me: I am an artist?
Ardmore: We are an artist.
Me: Ardmore?
Ardmore: Yes.
Me: How do I get rid of you?
Ardmore: Aaaand it looks like we’re out of time.

goodbye, 22

I was trying to come up with some sort of list for this final post as a twenty-two year old. I thought I could write about 22 people who I’m thankful for this year. To be honest, though, I’ve been blessed with more than 22 great people, and I don’t want to leave anyone out. I could talk about my 22 favorite moments from the past year, but I don’t have pictures to go with them, which would mean a super long, super boring post. I thought maybe I could write down what my goals are for my next year, but that quickly turned into writing things like “do 50 push-ups in a row.” Yes, that’s really on my goals for the next year (and has been for the past several years).

Then, I decided I would do a quasi-sentimental post on some revelation I’ve had about life this year, but then I decided I’d rather just do the list thing (perhaps because I didn’t have any earth-shattering revelations). I hope that’s okay. (It better be.)

Here are 22 songs, movies, and books that I went nuts over and/or taught me something during my 22nd year of life.

  1. “Restless,” Switchfoot
  2. “ROAR,” Katy Perry
  3. “Give Me Love,” Ed Sheeran
  4. “10,000 Reasons,” Matt Redman
  5. “Say Something,” A Great Big World
  6. “I Won’t Back Down,” Tom Petty
  7. “Explosions,” Ellie Goulding
  8. About Time
  9. Austenland
  10. Strictly Ballroom
  11. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  12. Star Trek: Into Darkness
  13. Frozen
  14. The Impossible
  15. Wonder, R.J. Palacio
  16. The Fault In Our Stars, John Green
  17. Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
  18. On Writing, Stephen King
  19. Surprised By Joy, C.S. Lewis
  20. NOS4A2, Joe Hill (This book taught me that it’s okay to quit reading a book, even when you’re 500 pages in.)
  21. Divergent, Veronica Roth
  22. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts, Nora Ephron

Here’s to 23!



When I was fifteen I played spring “club” soccer. I was by far the worst player on the team, and since this wasn’t a school sport, I pretty much sat on the bench for the whole game, every game.

After a few games, my fate became clear, and I couldn’t just sit on the bench any more. I was sick of telling the coach I was ready to go in whenever he needed; I was sick his eye rolling after I told him this multiple times per game. I wanted to be a part of the team.

So I began participating. No, I didn’t run out on the field, but good idea.

I cheered. I encouraged.

No, I didn’t suddenly become the screaming Mom in the stands who always brought apples and orange slices for our snack even through we explicitly said we would take fruit roll-ups and chocolate chip granola bars and nothing else.

I just took over the screaming part for her. I yelled a lot: “Good job! Way to run! You are trying so hard, and you’re only getting better!”

I even invented a name for the team’s mojo. Each time we were doing really well I shouted, “Reign of Fire!” It became a bit of a favorite around the field complex. (Did it have something to do with 2002 classic? More than probably so.)

This new cheering changed the team and my place on it. We became more positive. The girls didn’t sulk so much after missed shots. It’s hard to be mad when someone yells, “You took the shot! You’re so brave!”

The players started to like me. I was more than just the bench warmer. I was the bench caretaker. That’s right. I still didn’t ever get to play. (Although, I did get my coach back at the end of the season, in a game of “butts up.” I was the only player to hit him square on the rear. Take that!)

But I learned something from that Spring on the bench (and every other season I was placed firmly on that aluminum seat). I didn’t learn how to play soccer, but it was far more important. In fact, it was huge. It was encouragement.

Encouragement builds us up. It’s positive. It gives us confidence and warm fuzzies. It makes the day better. It makes life better, and we need more of it around.

That’s why I’d like to give encouragement to you.

I’ve set up an email for this blog:

If you send me an email (as short as your first name or as long as your entire memoir), I’d love to send you some words of positive encouragement back. Chances are that you haven’t heard how wonderful you are nearly enough.

And you are, you know. You are wonderful and capable and individually special, and you have to email me if you want a more personalized approach to these encouragements. (I should mention that this was Jill‘s idea.)

Make today great!