A Day in Unemployment Land

Wake up late.

Make the prettiest peanut butter and banana toast. Sip coffee. Text friends.

Look for jobs. Think about applying to a few. Actually apply to one.

Edit for twenty minutes. Check Facebook. Think seriously about becoming an actor.

Take a lunch break. Make Mom laugh on lunch break.

Talk to your sister on the phone for an hour.

Clean out the closet while watching a Nora Ephron documentary.

Get serious about writing for the day, but first let the dogs out.

Let the dogs out and get asked to help clean the pool.

Clean the pool and get gross leaves all over your clothes and hair.

Tackle a dead tree to the ground and drag it to the burn pile. Feel like a badass. Almost text everyone you know about how badass you are.

Drink water. Actually get serious about writing for an hour. It’s the same hour the entire family has decided to talk to each other.

Eat delicious enchiladas made by someone else. Argue politics.

Shower. Realize it’s only been two days and you’re already rewashing your hair. Hygiene hath returned.

Rush to the UPS store.

Return DVD rentals.

Purchase donuts and drive them to your sister at work. Marvel at Indianapolis and how little time you spend there.

Drive home crying (in a good way).

Eat a donut and talk to Mom.

Brush your teeth. Say your prayers. Think about how lovely lovely lovely this day is.

Home

My mind has gone in a million different directions the past two months.

Actually, scratch that. My mind has toggled between two opposite directions the past several months, maybe years.

Which path? I cry. Which path which path which path.

I don’t want to regret it, I wail.

I want to love it, I say.

I have this idea for how my life should go. And this year—well, it’s been a hard year. I don’t say that like I’ve had much outside stress. There are many people in this world, in this country, in my own circles, who have had much harder years. I’m just saying, for me, it’s been a hard year.

This year I didn’t laugh enough. I didn’t get outside enough. I didn’t hug enough. I hate those feelings because it’s like I’m not enough. My life isn’t enough.

So instead of focusing on the realities of my situation or, you know, doing anything about it, I went into daydream land. I’m very good at daydream land. In daydream land, I can give you a beautiful interview after I’ve just won an Oscar. It’s very humble and giggly and full of phrases like “why yes, I did happen to get engaged on the same day I was nominated!” (I know.)

I like to daydream. I don’t want to stop daydreaming either. Daydreaming can be magical and creative and immensely helpful to writing.

But I don’t want daydreams dictating my life. I feel like I’ve buried myself under layers of okays and fines and talk laters. I’ve covered myself with interviews on Conan and sappy acceptance speeches (for awards and proposals) and Pinterest boards (the secret kind).

Maybe this is too painfully honest. Maybe this seems pathetic. Maybe it really is.

For once in my life, I’m okay with being pathetic if it means looking it reality right in the face. I don’t want to be lost in daydream land anymore. I want to be grounded in reality, but still be able to daydream. I think that’s called being happy.

The thing that I’m realizing though is that this kind of happiness has very little to do with where I am or what I’m doing or any external factor. Those things are important. I’m not denying that I actually want success as I define it for myself: writing full-time, performing, getting married to a good guy, becoming a mom, showering my ageing parents in love, laughing until I pee my pants at game night with my siblings. I want those things so badly my chest physically hurts when I think about them.

But here, in this moment? I can choose success too. I can choose to be happy and to laugh and to face my dirty room and weird thing smelling up my fridge and facial hair and unsolved problems and still say that I like myself.

I can choose to coax my sensitive heart out from under the covers. It likes to sleep in these days. I made it that way. I let it believe it wasn’t cool enough or smart enough or famous enough or pretty enough or just enough. I let it believe it was stupid and ugly and unimportant.

But I choose to be gentle to it now. I will protect it from well-meaning harsh words and not-so-well-meaning ones. I choose to tell it to have fun, stay awake awhile, love on people, and love on me.

Tell me your thoughts, little heart, I say. I will still love you no matter what, you know?

Funny, I find that the most precious phrase in the world, but I never say it to myself. Today I do. I’ll still love you, I whisper.

Home or here? Home or here? I ask it. I’ll still love you.

My little heart opens its scratchy throat; it hasn’t been used in a while.

Home, it whispers. Home, please.

Okay, I say. I still love you.

Giggles Abound

I’m in a giggly mood.

I get in those, especially when tired. In my masters program, I had to step out of the room more than once to get the giggles under control.

Today I’m giggling at myself over two things.

One:

Last night I was lying in bed in complete silence, willing myself to stay in one spot. I’ve been having trouble falling asleep lately, so my strategy was to lay still with my eyes closed. (It’s a brilliant strategy.) My mind was wandering, as it often does, and I was thinking about Regis Philbin. (Yes.)

In particular, I was thinking of this episode of Regis and Kelly when during their early casual conversation Regis mentioned that one of his strategies to stay fit is to ask for a box with the meal when dining out. Before he would eat any of it, he’d put half of the meal in the box for later. I was thinking about this last night and becoming enraged.

Okay, Regis, maybe the reason you can eat only half of your meal is because you’re a miniature-sized person?

Do I want to take health tips from the Daniel Radcliffe’s of the world? No. No, I do not!

You don’t know about my body, Regis. How dare you try to tell my how I should eat on those special nights when I go to a restaurant!

This is when I started giggling. Regis Philbin. Regis Philbin has been retired from Live! for almost five years. This was a comment he made once, and I’m guessing it was close to ten years ago.

Yesterday wasn’t a great day. It was a little low. I had a headache. I hadn’t slept well the past few nights.

But just when I thought that this is the new normal, this sort of low, sour, frustrated mood, I get mad over Regis Philbin.

And then alone in the dark, I shake and laugh until I’m crying because life has returned. Laughter is back, and I have Regis Philbin to thank for that.

Two (because I promised two giggly things):

The Property Brothers are appearing at Bookfest this year. (I went two years ago, and it was incredible.) Jill mentioned the Property Brothers the other day when she was watching House Hunters, and I was the epitome of class when I didn’t say a word about them. This time, in our group text with Katie, she mentioned they’d be coming to Bookfest. I went on a rampage that was a very truncated version of this:

I hate Property Brothers. I’m not sure why. They rub me the wrong way. They’re like the HGTV version of the Kardashians without the intriguing family dynamics.

I don’t like that they’re so schmoozy.

I don’t like that one has a beard in an effort to distinguish himself. You’re not fooling us. We know you’re twins, and we still can’t tell you apart, okay?

I don’t like that they’ve written a book because it seems like a money grab. They’re sooooo into fame.

I don’t like that one of them is in a made-for-TV Christmas movie. Can’t I have anything that’s my own?!

I hate that they go over budget every time!! Like, these are supposed to be experts in their field. They usher in the trusting buyer. It’ll be great, they say. We’ll fix it up for this price, they say. Buy it, they say.

And then…

“There’s unexpected mold.” “Uh, these pipes just won’t work anymore.” “You know what, all the wood in your house needs to be replaced. Let’s just go ahead and burn this place to the ground and start over.”

Hate these guys.

Then I realized how ridiculous this hatred is. I really dislike them because they go over budget on a TV show?? Really??

Cue the giggles. Cue the life-giving power of laughter.

I figuratively put my feelings about the Property Brothers in a bubble and watched it float away.

Just kidding. I still irrationally dislike them, but at least I’m able to laugh about it, right?

March Madness

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March Madness. I know the term well. You don’t grow up in a basketball state with the NCAA headquarters 15 miles from your house and not know about March Madness.

I remember going on a roadtrip during Spring break when I was probably ten. IU had made the final four. It was game day, and we pulled over for gas. A stranger looked down the line of six family members wearing red IU-gear, and said, “I guess you guys are from Indiana, huh?” Later that day, my dad checked us into a hotel several hours before planned, so he (we) could watch the game.

The point is, I can get into March Madness.

However, I usually don’t get into the bar scene or the strangers scene, and I especially don’t get into a combination of the two.

But last Friday, I found myself doing just that.

I heard about the event the day before on Facebook. It was a viewing party for the IU-NC game at a bar in Santa Monica. I didn’t think much of it, but the next morning, I had a random thought: I should check out that bar. I almost laughed at myself. I don’t go to bars even with my friends. I don’t do late nights very often either. That means I’m definitely not one for late nights at bars with strangers. I said I’d go, but I had every intention of changing my mind.

But then I didn’t.

I kept thinking something would turn me around. I’d “accidentally” leave late, and then just decide it wasn’t worth it. I wouldn’t be able to find parking. Parking would be too expensive. None of these things happened. (Parking was a dollar.) (A single dollar!)

I made it into the bar, tugging on my IU sweatshirt. And then I smiled because I saw red and white peppered around the bar. Friends!

I made my way to the “fan” section, and on the way a stranger gave me a high five. Ah, bars.

Now, the whole day, I had this crazy thought—don’t tell me you’ve never had this—where I was fairly certain I’d find my soulmate that night. After all, I was going to an IU game. I’d probably meet someone who went to school the same time I did. What are the chances?! We’d kind of hit it off:

“Did you take that awful abnormal psych class?”

“Yes, it killed my GPA!”

“Mine, too!”

“Marry me?”

“Okay!”

In reality, I sat with two very happy couples and a woman in her fifties.

In reality, I still loved it.

I ate cheese sticks and yelled at the TV and made small talk and yelled at the TV more. (It wasn’t a very good game.)

I said bye to my new “friends.” (I didn’t even Facebook friend them after.) And I drove away.

Then I took inventory. Did I just have a good time at a bar with strangers? Yes. Really? Yes, I did.

I don’t know where to take this story at this point.

I think I’d just like to document that I can still surprise myself. I like that.

Maybe going to a bar isn’t that big for you. I don’t think it was that big for me really. I don’t have a sudden interest to hang out in bars or do a bunch of meet-up groups.

But on my way home, I was just struck by how strange it was that I had just spent an evening like that and enjoyed myself. Surprising. I like surprises.

I couldn’t help but feel that even though my team had lost, I could still be a winner.

(That was all sorts of mozzarella cheesy.)

Writing Blackouts

My foot

Last night I went looking through the documents on my computer. To be perfectly honest, I was looking for something I could pass as a blog post. I’m trying to blog more, and apparently I thought the best way to do that was to find something already written. Har har har har

I have a collection of essays on my computer. They’re just for me, and I usually don’t reread them because they’re of an embarrassing nature. They’re letters I’ll never send or angry thoughts or bad songs, and they’re always passionate. That’s the thing about these essays: they’re little collections of those rare late nights when I decided to get up and write for thirty minutes instead of turning on TV.

So I was looking through these documents to see if there was something I could edit and post on my blog to pass as a fresh new thought, and instead, I found something very interesting. In the recesses of my computer, I discovered a very early, incomplete draft of a novel. Here’s the kicker: I have almost no memory of writing it.

I remember having the idea, though I can’t recall what the actual idea was other than a mid to high fantasy, but I remember the moment of the idea. And now, like magic, on my computer, last saved in December 2014, is a file containing 20,000 words I can’t remember writing.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had selective memory when it comes to writing. Once, I finished a screenplay to great relief. I was talking over the end of act two with Jill, and I told her that a very important character died.

“How’d he die?” Jill asked.

I looked at her—I had JUST finished this screenplay—and I… couldn’t remember. I paused for a moment, thinking my brain needed to process the question, but the moment passed AND I STILL COULDN’T REMEMBER. “I think it was his heart?”

She was flabbergasted. I was flabbergasted. “Flabbergasted” is an underutilized word IMO.

How could I not remember how one of the main characters died?! I was the one who killed him! I had just written it! And on top of that, he was my favorite character in this story, but I had no memory of his death.

There’s a chance that this is evidence of some sort of psychological disorder. To add evidence to that case, I also sometimes refer to myself as “we.” (I’m a little worried about that.)

But there’s a chance that this is just how my brain works. When I was in college, my creative writing professor said that you write first drafts with the child in your head, locking everyone else out. It’s only in the editing stages that you let a parent come in. Well, I’m not sure he meant it quite so literally as not remembering anything you write, but it could be that I’m less something in the DSM-5 and more something like what he was talking about.

So, I decided to read this incomplete novel, and GUESS WHAT?! I found a bit of an answer to this whole blackout thing. I take you to a scene where the main character is in art class:

“It was my haven, a place where I was free to make a fool of myself. Well, without anyone but myself to pass judgment, but I usually locked myself out of my head anyway and just did. Just was. Just made.”

There you go. I honestly can’t believe this was in there. If that’s not magic, I don’t what is.

Maybe this is a weird way to approach writing: not letting myself comment on it, not even letting myself hold onto any of it. But that’s when writing’s good. When it’s just doing, just is, just making. I want more of that stuff. That’s the good stuff.

And as a special inclusion. Here are some of my favorite passages from Hatch: An Incomplete Fantasy Epic:

“I could hear him in my room, but I couldn’t convince my eyes to open. This is what happens when you spend your entire winter break playing in any of the leftover snow with the neighbor’s kids, the ones that are at least four years too young to be considered any sort of lasting friends. No, instead, someday I’ll be the person who first used a cuss word or made a dirty joke. What a reputation. “

What does that even mean?? I’m so confused, Hilary. Like, really, what do we mean?

“There are some mothers who are quite good at gently waking up their children (or so I hear), and there are teenagers who actually wake up much like a cartoon version of optimism, smiling before fully opening their eyes, and sometimes not needing another person to be involved with the whole process (or so I hear). I am not that kind of teenager, and my mother is not that kind of mother.”

This is a total lesson in writing yourself. Why did I try to write someone so far away from me? I’m a morning person. In high school, I woke myself up 3 hours before school started so I could watch yesterday’s Young and the Restless alone. The only time I remember my mom going in my room during that time was when I forgot to set my clock back and was taking a bath at 3 am, and she was worried. Now, which is more interesting: the grump teenager who won’t wake up (and I know nothing about) or the 4:00 am bath taker?

“Elmer’s glue Mohawk”

DID YOU GUYS HAVE KIDS IN SCHOOL WHO WOULD DO THAT?!

“Some schools have football or swimming or basketball. We have show choir. (We also have basketball; this is still Indiana.)”

#SoTrue

“I think Mr. Harrington had a couple of inches on him, but this boy looked like he could pull the skin right off of a face or something really gross like that. “

Brilliant literature.

“Overreact much? Nothing. It’s just. I guess I sort of had this feeling that someone was watching me earlier. I know. Dumb. I’ve already decided it was just some hold-over paranoia from watching The Truman Show last week. I guess you could say I got Carrey-ed away.”

Holy cow. I’m packing my bags and giving up writing.

Rom Com Thoughts: The Wedding Date

Hello! This is where I’ll be putting a collection of thoughts on rom coms: the good, the bad, and the Ephron. I don’t even know if it will make sense or if anyone will care, so it sounds like a good idea, right? Okay, then.

Debra Messing looks so good in powdered blue. (Update: There’s powdered blue in every scene. Seriously, look at her apartment.)

the wedding date apartment

Why is Debra Messing—or the hairdresser—fighting this hair texture, huh? Free the curls!

Confession: I really wanted a matching luggage set because of this movie.

the wedding date luggage

Does anyone else always associate Dermot with My Best Friend’s Wedding? Like, he is that character, which is so sad because that means things didn’t work out with Kim, and he became a prostitute instead.

the wedding date

Amy Adams is blonde! Amy Adams is brilliant! Honestly, she has the performance of this film. She does it broadly, but it’s all so genuine. Favorite Amy line: “Did Kat tell you she dumped you because of your funky breath?”

the wedding date amy adams

Here’s where the movie goes awry. Jeffrey? That man? That’s the one you can’t get over? They have no chemistry, and by “they” I mean Jeffrey and me.

Debra Messing is so darn funny.

It just hit me that this is the male version of Pretty Woman, but in this version the male prostitute is smooth and rich and writing being interviewed in national newspapers instead of using a safety pins to hold up his pleather boots. That’s an essay.

England has the cutest cars.

My favorite part of this movie:

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It took me almost an hour to make that GIF, and it’s awful.

EYESHADOW!

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I’m not a prude, but Woody grosses me out. And he only has two lines. That’s acting.

MICHAEL BUBLÉ!

I know this is like a B- rom com, but man, I do enjoy this dance scene. (Maybe because it’s our one moment of emotional development between the main characters?)

the wedding date dance

So Dermot’s character studied Comparative Literature at Brown University, and now he’s a prostitute. Is this movie a commentary on the realities of student debt and getting a job with a liberal arts degree?

Dinner party scene! Finally, we get to see the family in action. Why does this only come in once and an hour into the movie? Aside from the sister drama, we never really get to the bottom of why Kat feels so negative about her family. What’s that about? I don’t even know her parents, but who cares because it’s time for more MICHAEL BUBLÉ!

I want to live in this town.

the wedding date town

Here’s where this movie goes awfully, awfully wrong for me. The big “get together” scene is totally blown. First of all, you have two minor characters running after each other (the sister’s fiancé and the ex-fiancé). I don’t care about them. At all. We haven’t even spent time with them! Second, Debra’s “movie dad” quotes the same article Dermot’s character quoted to her; it comes off as very coincidental. This is the one moment a rom com should earn, and this one doesn’t. Dad: “Here, let me bring up this line when mentioned before *winks to audience.” Lastly, what does Dermot say when he finally gets to his girl?

“I realized I’d rather fight with you than make love with anyone else.”

Umm what? Did you guys even fight? If we rewind the tape I think we’ll see that about two lines were exchanged and then they separated. Also, he’s a prostitute, right? Basically he said, “I’d rather you yell at me for two minutes than work, i.e. have sex with a stranger for money.” Wow. Romance. There’s no “I wanted it to be you so badly” or “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy” or “I was looking up.” Nope. No. No. The movie is ruined because of one line.

But then it ends in a wedding, so I find myself being okay with it again. Almost.

Amy ends up with the best guy in this movie. You know Ed is never going to hurt her even though she cheated. It doesn’t seem fair. (Inner voice: Life isn’t fair.)

Is Dermot out of a job?

Sister Discovers Brother Drinks Starbucks

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MALIBU — Calling it one of the biggest deceptions in family history, twenty-four-year-old Agatha Hilsbottom was stunned to find that the culprit for the six Starbucks coffee cups tossed behind the passenger seat of her car was her very own older brother. Hilsbottom discovered the empty cups one week after her brother completed his stay with her in California. “I knew they weren’t mine,” said Hilsbottom, adding that she always saves her cups for the next morning when she brews coffee at home. “I pretend I’m drinking Starbucks, but it’s really just my generic brand.” It was only after hours of reasoning that Hilsbottom discovered the only individuals who had been in her car in the past month were her brother and her Labrador retriever. “The dog seemed unlikely,” she said. Hilsbottom claims that the cups must have come from her brother, a man she says didn’t used to drink coffee from Starbucks. “I should have known something was off when he ordered a ‘grande’ at Coffee Bean.” We were unable to reach Agatha’s brother for comment at this time. Hilsbottom did confirm that she plans to clean the old cups from her car to use for pretend purposes.

 

Image via

What’s Good:

FullSizeRenderThis selfie. I really like it. Probably more than I should.

My parents visited and left spearmint toothpaste in my cabinet. I would never buy this for myself, and I think it tastes like root beer. I keep meaning to look up whether spearmint is in root beer.

They also left root beer in my fridge.

My desk space is gorgeous. I have a place to put my computer and notebook, and I have a real desk chair.

I have fabric and a pattern to make a chair cover for that chair. Stay tuned for riveting DIY piece that shows my craft capabilities. I may start a crafting blog. Title option: I’m Not a Stay-at-Home Mom, But You Wouldn’t Know It From This Blog: It’s Just That Good.

Should “from” be capitalized in that blog title? It’s too long, isn’t it? It is.

Is it also slightly offensive? Like only stay-at-home moms can be crafty? And like stay-at-home moms have to be crafty?

Scrap the title, okay. I’m over it.

I got ten hours of sleep last night. Lord, I lift your name on high

I’m starting to think my dog actually likes me.

My nails are currently a very pretty length. All of them. At the same time. Lord, I love to sing your praises…

My car headlights are working. All of them. At the same time. You came from Heaven to earth…

My toenails have somehow looked mostly decent for oh a month or so as I just repaint the big toe with the same color. I’m currently out of nail polish remover and keep forgetting to replace it.

Have my toenails stopped growing? Am I mad about that?

Does anyone wonder if vampires or other immortal beings grow hair and/or toenails? Don’t our noses grow our entire lives. Does that apply here? Should we be skeptical of the large-nosed people?

Scrap the nose comments. They feel offensive, too.

Last point about vampires. Edward and menstrual cycles. Do we all wonder? Stephenie Meyer, you had an opportunity to address period stigma and you missed it. #Regrets

Jill introduced me to a Pizookie. Life will never be the same.

I have not purchased a container of ice cream in two months because I just haven’t craved it. Who am I?

I’ve eaten ice cream in this time period. I’m not a saint.

I’m hosting these movie screenings for church, and I had four people attend last week’s. This is up from the previous party of one. They really like me.

I was very upset the other day when I realized I had no t-shirts from high school. Old t-shirts are the best thing in the world. That thin, soft cotton that’s practically ready to shred under your fingertips is the stuff dreams are made of. Last month, a duffel bag appeared in my old closet, and t-shirts overfloweth. Mooresville High School Girls Soccer 2007, here we go.

I swam last week and liked it too. Also, there was a guy who was obviously quite good–you could tell by his abs and obvious height advantage–and even though he was doing an hour of continuous, marathon swimming, I felt good about sprinting and beating him on my single laps.

A very elderly woman walked by me today, and we own the same dress.

I’m watching the rest of Velvet. It’s time. Alberto y Ana para siempre.

I had two salads today without realizing it. Veggie Express!

“Veggie Express” needs to be a catch phrase for healthy decisions. It sounds awfully convenient, happy, and like you’re putting things in motion.

I’m awake again. Truly awake. I feel like life has been muddled the past couple months. I’ve been in a half-sleeping state. In the morning, I don’t know what’s happening for the day, and not in a really cool, mysterious adventure sort of way. But it’s more like I’m super unorganized and chaotic and stressed and sleep deprived, so instead of trying to be present, I just go into this semi-stupor where I don’t have to feel so much. But not today. Today I was awake, and I don’t want to go back to sleep.

I discovered Prize Candle. My first ring is not expensive and does not fit me, but I’m learning to enjoy the Prize Candle process and it’s not their fault they don’t know my ring size. Don’t be surprised if I start selling them.

Why doesn’t every product come with a prize? We’d all buy more. Have you bought your Prize Candle yet? How about now?

I beat a personal record of mine. I’ve worn this “monthly” pair of contacts for 5 months, and I’m still going strong. Thank you. Thank you.

I’m blogging again. I feel good about this.

Dear Writing

Hey Writing,

I’m not going to apologize. I feel like I finally need to give up that tick.

I guess I’ll just start with this: I miss you. I miss you a lot.

We’ve been together for a while, with some good stretches and the bad ones. This was a bad stretch.

But here’s what I want, okay? I want to fall in love with you again.

Not in love with what you can do, not in love with how you are with others, not in love with what you were to me once.

I want to fall in love. With YOU. Again.

You and me. Because you’re always there, aren’t you? In the morning’s dark hours, I look at you with the dog still warming my feet. I whisper to you in the middle of work. I walk with you. I drive with you.

I’ve been pushing you out of those moments. Keeping you away. Telling myself that I don’t have time. Telling myself that life is really okay without you.

And life really is okay without you.

But I’m not okay without you.

Remember in the early days when it was easy? When you’d wake me up in the middle of the night? When you filled my head with dreams about where we could go together? When I was satisfied to call you an indulgence.

Things are different now. We know each other. You’re difficult. You won’t leave me alone, and when I do give you time, you’re stagnant.

I’m difficult too. I know. I don’t know what it is that makes me want to stir up strife between us, but if you’re good for me, that automatically means I don’t like you.

Right now I don’t have butterflies in my stomach when I think about you. Right now I’m groaning that we even have to talk. And I’m a little afraid. Afraid that we aren’t right for each other. Because what if we aren’t right for each other? What if I just let you go? Loosen the grasp and let you float away, total Jack-style. (Or would it be Rose-style?)

But then I remember. We’re tethered, you and I. We’re tied together, and I can either run and keep running or I can embrace that every morning you’ll be staring me in the face. I have that choice, and I could run.

But I love you. I love you, and we’ll get through this bad stretch, won’t we? I think we will.

My New Obsession

I’m in the thick of it. That’s what I realized last night as I stood at my computer.

I’m trying to do the standing desk thing because I work from home. I work from home now. Did I tell you? Well, I do. And sometimes I watch Netflix on my computer at my standup desk after work because I work at home. In case that wasn’t as confusing as possible, my standup desk is actually a normal desk with a pile of books and a cardboard box on top. No, really. Look.

diy stand up desk

That is a sad picture.

Anyway, I was standing at my makeshift, standup desk at my home, and it happened. I crumbled. Me crumbling looks a lot like me stomping my feet and throwing imaginary chairs and sobbing, “¡Noooo! ¿Por qué, Ana? ¡Estúpido Ana! ¡Estúpido Velvet!”

Why am I speaking Spanish? It’s because I think I know Spanish.

Why do I think I know Spanish, and why am I crumbling at my computer? It’s because I’m addicted to the tv show,Velvet, a Spanish drama.

Velvet is like Mad Men meets The Notebook meets The Paradise meets the total fulfillment of my heart.

At first I was just looking for a new show. I wanted to see what Netflix had to offer. I bypassed The West Wing again–it’s been in my queue since the “Playlist” was called a “Queue”–and there it was. My beauty. My Velvet.

Netflix told me I’d give it a full five stars, but I was skeptical. After all, Netflix thought I’d give My Father the Hero 3 1/2, and that movie is a solid 0-how-did-this-movie-get-made stars for me. And I’m the Katherine Heigl fan!

But I took a chance. The show started, and it’s full of Castilian Spanish. I’m not a subtitles person, so I was just about to hit Back to Browse.

And then Alberto entered.

And life will never be the same. Alberto and I had a connection immediately.

Each episode pulled me more into the tragic and gripping story of Ana and Alberto, two people who just want to be together without ruining everything and everyone in their way. Is that too much to ask? Come on, Madrid department store investors and the entire Marquez family!

I didn’t realize I cared so much. I mean, it’s just a show. Sure, after two episodes I was saying my prayers in Spanish. (They were very basic. Lots of “gracias por” action.) And sure, I was searching for more information online. (Spain, do you have fan sites or what? Are they like speakeasies?! DO I HAVE TO BE ON THE INTERNET IN SPAIN AND GIVE YOU A PASSWORD?! TELL ME WHERE I CAN FIND THE ANA/ALBERTO GIFS, NOW! Please.)

So yeah, I was being totally normal.

And then, halfway through Season One, when Alberto finally puts everything aside and decides to marry his love, Ana runs out of the church in her (gorgeous) lace wedding dress, and my world fell apart.

No, that’s not right.

My universe fell apart.

That’s accurate.

¡No, Ana! ¿Por qué, Ana? ¡Estúpido Ana! ¡Estúpido Velvet! ¿Por qué??????

It was kind of like the real life version of this awful high school video project I did.

It put me in a real funk, guys. I didn’t want to watch more of the show. I didn’t want to be a part of a world where Ana and Alberto didn’t end up together. Cristina, you’re nice, BUT YOU’RE NOT HIS SOULMATE, SO BACK OFF RIGHT NOW.

Deep breath.

As this blog post shows, I’m so over it now. I mean, her dress was not even that pretty, okay. And Rita certainly isn’t funny, and I don’t identify with her at all. And that little paper airplane thing that Ana and Alberto do for each other is like so noooot cute.

But actually it’s really cute.

Okay, I’m still there, in the thick of it, trying not to go insane. Trying to take a little space to remind myself that I have a life outside of the Velvet department store and that I don’t live in the 1950s and that Spanish is not my native language.

But then… Alberto.

I told my Italian Rachel that I think this is what I’m supposed to feel about a future spouse. Look, everyone has their own idea of what is most attractive. I love that there’s someone for everyone. My someone just happens to look like this:

miguel velvetAm I insane? Yes. Yes. Okay. Immature and insane. And I know this, and part of me never wants to post something like this because it feels awfully close to my fifth grade diary.

But you know what? This is real life sometimes. This is real life when I’m consumed by unreal life.

Don’t worry. I’m taking a breath. I’m not watching Velvet today. I will not let this turn into the six-month I Love Lucy hole. (Someday I’ll talk about that very dark, but very happy, time.)

I will not go into a hole this time. This time I will keep the crazy under slight control. I will take a break, and realize that there is a sun shining outside. Real life has its incredible moments (and its Alberto) too. I will know this truth… and then I will watch the rest of the season and see if Ana can possibly make this thing work because she HAS to for everyone’s sake. He’ll never be happy with Cristina, not in the same way. And what would Ana do? Be a seamstress forever? Never open her own store or live in Paris or be a designer? She can’t bear to leave him, so she’s just stuck watching him complain about being a tycoon while he makes a family with his investor’s daughter. Gah! ¡No, Ana! ¡No, Alberto!

Breathing. Breathing.

I don’t want to blow this out of proportion. I really don’t. I’m just casually putting it out there that if anyone sees an Ana/Alberto pillow on Etsy, don’t be afraid to send me the link… unless I’m the one making the pillow because that could be on the horizon.

velvet cast