Scaling Dreams to Fit Reality Sucks

I’ve never really been able to grasp the idea of “all things in moderation.” If there’s ice cream around, I don’t just want a cone—I want all of it. If there’s a song I like, I don’t just listen to it once in a while—I listen to it over and over like it’s my new theme song.

My dreams for the future have also been affected by this all or nothing mentality. I have never said, “I just want a nice, modest job that pays the bills and lets me live a happy life with my family in Rhode Island.” The last 15 years of my life have basically been the same thing: “I want to live in California and write for a funny TV show. I also want to live a happy life with my family, but I would prefer if it occurred on the West Coast while I enjoyed my job creating things that appear on TV and make people laugh.”

I don’t want to write for some local New England comedy thing. I don’t want to be in your improv troupe. I don’t want to hear about your idea for a hilarious TV show.

I want to live in California and write for a funny TV show. Period. (Oh yeah, and I want to write a memoir-style book of funny essays.)

Life Doesn’t Care What You Want

I was laser-focused on this happening when I graduated college in 2005. I packed up my spec scripts and my best friend in January 2006 and knew I was going to make it. I got a job writing for a comedy website within 6 weeks of arriving in California. I thought I was awesome.

…and then we moved back to Rhode Island in July 2006.

Did I lose my nerve? Did I get fired? Did I not care about writing for TV anymore?

Worse—I fell in love.

Love makes you do crazy things. Like completely abandon your career aspirations and move back to the smallest state in our fine nation. But, do I regret it? No, not for a second.

I married that dude I left California for (Hi, Andy!) and I cannot imagine my life without him. I believe that if I had stayed in California, I would have “made it” because I don’t doubt my ability to get shit done. However, I’m also pretty sure I would also still be single and alone because I hate most guys. I would be regretting focusing on my career too closely and missing out on all that love and family stuff. (There’s also a chance I would have had it all, but I am pretending that wasn’t even an option because it’s too depressing to think about.)

Ignoring Your Dreams is Hard

Andy loves California just as much as I do, but it isn’t an option for us to live there right now. We have grownup obligations that require staying in Rhode Island until 2020 (the year, not the TV show). I am OK with this because we’re here for a damn good reason (my way cool stepson), and I have read enough woo-woo type books to know that everything happens for a reason, but this doesn’t make the job struggle any easier.

I have tried to create a more “realistic” career path that fits within the confines of what Rhode Island has to offer me. I started working in various marketing positions, thinking that at least I would have the opportunity to be relatively creative sometimes. I’ve worked my way up to being the Senior Copywriter at an ad agency like Don Draper’s next protege. And I’m still not happy. I try to tell myself it’s OK and I can just write my funny things in my spare time, but ignoring my real career dreams is HARD.

I feel like such a whiny baby about all this, and I know that everyone has to work jobs they don’t like until they “make it,” but ughhhhhh.

Does anyone have any legitimate advice? Anything other than “suck it up!”? Help me figure out what to do for the next 5 years to prepare for California. Bonus points if you can recommend an actual paying job that would be fulfilling on a daily basis. If you like weird MBTI stuff like me, I’m an XNFJ (the X means I’m an ambivert, basically 50/50 introvert and extrovert). 

Why I Don’t Regret My Ridiculous Tattoo

I always said I’d never get a tattoo. I felt like there was nothing I liked enough to honor with a permanent tribute on my body—not even cheese. (I prefer to honor cheese by eating it.)

Until the day I got a tattoo and it all made perfect sense to me.

The Tattoo’s Humble Beginnings

For Halloween 2005, I dressed up like pregnant Britney Spears (Cheetos, Kabbalah bracelet, and all) and my best friend Jillian dressed like a pregnant middle schooler.  Britney is about as smart as a middle schooler, so it’s sort of like we had the same costume.

Pregnant Britney SpearsHowever, while I drew on a fake dice tattoo (remember when Brit and K-Fed had matching tattoos? So fetch.) Jillian opted for a fake Chinese symbol that she decided would stand for “I do what I want.” She wanted it to be on the back of her neck, so I had the important job of making up the tattoo and drawing it on her. I know we took a picture of it, but I cannot for the life of me find it. Please just trust me when I tell you it was a work of art.

The Tattoo Makes Its Permanent Mark 

After Halloween was over, we kept talking about how boss that fake tattoo was. I wish I could remember the exact conversation and how we went from laughing about a funny tattoo to making the decision to have it permanently drawn on our bodies, but it seems like my early onset Alzheimer’s is kicking in right now.

I do remember that we rationalized it this way: We will always like to laugh and “I do what I want” will always be our motto for life. We knew that wasn’t going to change.

We ended up at the local tattoo parlor, picture of the fake Chinese symbol in-hand, and through our chuckles, encouraged the artist to make the tattoos as small as humanly possible. The purpose in getting the tattoos was to make ourselves laugh, but we didn’t actually want people to think we were lame and got real Chinese symbols tattooed on ourselves (sorry to all peeps with Chinese symbols tattoos, but come on). I hid my tattoo low on the left side of my back and Jillian hid her’s scary close to her lady parts.

After we got our tattoos, our friend Mellissa also got the same tattoo on the back on her neck because, duh, she is cool and also does what she wants. WE STARTED A REVOLUTION. (K, not really.)

full-1

This coming November 18th will mark the 10th anniversary of the “I do what I want” tattoo and I must say it’s one of the smarter things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s so hidden that I forget it’s even there 99% of the time, but the 1% of the time I remember is LOL central. I love knowing that even though my friends and I are all mad old now and have 5,000 kids, we still have this ridiculous tattoo that binds us together and reminds us to laugh and do what we want.

Personally, I think everyone should get this tattoo. If you want one, leave a comment or message me on Facebook and I will send you a picture to bring to the tattoo parlor. NOT KIDDING. I DO WHAT I WANT.

Deadspace

I just took a journey over to the social media wasteland known as “Myspace” and it was…interesting.

My page is this weird memorial to the early 20s version of me. Yes, I had to close my eyes and cringe a few times.

First of all, they completely changed the layout and it doesn’t even look like Myspace anymore. My profile use to have this sweet gun-themed background and my headline quote said “I have AIDS.” Those are all gone now. Actually, everything from my profile is gone except for all of the pictures I uploaded.

Good God, those effing pictures.

They’re all me after I lost 83lbs and thought I was so awesome. There are only a few photos of “Fat Mary” and I posted them to make fun of myself. I wish I could travel back to 2007 and bitch slap myself and be like, “Hi asshole! I’m you 8 years from now and I’m even fatter than the “Fat Mary” you’re making fun of. Shut up and just enjoy the limited months you have left wearing a size 8.”

Okay, I’m not really in the mood to get all philosophical about weight loss, so I’m going to do a total 180 and share the pictures from my Myspace that I forgot existed and particularly enjoyed:

Fully clothed in a hot tubThis is from November 2006 when we were in California for Andy’s cousin’s wedding. Kyle was playing in the hot tub and Andy and I were sitting at a table watching him. The hot tub had an elevated seating ledge around the circumference, and then it went deeper in the middle. Kyle was walking around the ledge because he was 5 and too small to stand in the center. Andy went inside for 2 seconds and left me on lifeguard patrol, which of course meant that over the course of those 2 seconds, Kyle fell into the center of the hot tub and I could not reach him from dry ground. I had the distinct pleasure of jumping in fully clothed to rescue my future stepson. If he’s ever mean to me when he gets older I am going to show him this picture and remind him of the day I SAVED HIS LIFE.
dead babiesI don’t always save the lives of small children. Sometimes I have picnics with them and hold guns to their heads. Don’t worry, James the Baby survived this assassination attempt and has grown into a fine young man who thinks highly of me. He introduced me to this TOTALLY inappropriate rap song this week (I legit laughed uncontrollably when those horrific lyrics started playing from his phone): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZaJYDPY-YQ
fake poemAndy used to be a middle school teacher and he sent me a picture of this poem, claiming that one of his students wrote it. I thought it was hilarious and could not believe a kid would hand that in at school. Andy could not believe I thought it was real. He had to come clean eventually and tell me it was a joke and that he made it. He’s so talented.
I encourage you to go look at your old Myspace profile. It will make you cringe, but that’s the fun part. Choose your weirdest/ugliest/funniest picture and post it on my Facebook page so I can laugh at you.

The Illest Halloween Costume

I shared this little #tbt on Facebook, but in case you missed it…

This is the Halloween I dressed like my 6th grade Social Studies teacher. You may not have known him, but please rest assured, I nailed every single detail of this costume. I didn’t want the outfit to go to waste, so I made sure to go trick or treating at his house. You know, at the address I looked up in the phone book like a totally sane 11-year-old.

11056080_10100384690030021_5756648719294278945_n

Fatdance

My wedding was about 3 1/2 years ago and I can count on one hand the amount of times that I have engaged in any sort of exercise since then. I bought a wedding dress that was slightly too small and then forced myself to fit into it, so when that ring went on my finger I was like, “YES!!! BRING ON THE PIZZA!” And that’s been my life motto since November 11, 2011. Because w00t someone loved me and three cheers for obesity!

Flash forward to a couple weeks ago when this post appeared in Facebook news feed:

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 9.12.00 AM

In case you were not aware, I like, LOVE dancing. Dancing is the one thing I can do at any weight because my desire to rock out will always be greater than my fatness. I’m not even that great at it, but damnit, I love it and I don’t care. I was fat* the entire time I was on my high school dance team, so while some of my former team members may have been nervous about rehearsing for this reunion show with their newly acquired mommy/post-wedding/I’m-not-16-anymore bodies, I was not quite as worried.

*The type of fat that wasn’t actually that fat and I would drown kittens now if it meant I could be that “fat” again (not puppies, though).

Okay, I was a little worried because while my passion for getting funky is always tops, that also makes me forget the “physical limitations” of my body. I have a tendency to jump right in, dance full-out, and die on the floor in a red-faced, sweaty haze. And then I get mad because the outstanding Britney Spears choreography in my head never comes out the way I want it to.

Anyway, I went to the first practice for this reunion show on Wednesday. I made my friend Mellissa go with me because I am awkward and needed her to be my social crutch. She also hates most people and it’s really funny. Here we are before the practice:

17919_10152649761607735_8362137992902868693_n

She tried to take a picture after the practice, but I pumped the brakes on that idea REALLY fast. I hadn’t looked in a mirror yet, but I knew the level of ug that was happening because I felt like my face was on fire and I could feel my ass sweat soaking through my pants.

We did this dance called the “Workout” that every member of the Rogers High School Performing Dance Team learned from 1983-2004. Most people were re-learning it because over the years, they made room in their brains for more important things. I, however, am Rain Man and still remembered the whole thing because my head can never be filled with enough dance moves.

I hid in the back row because although I was confident in my memory of the dance, I was not confident that I would not straight up die from a heart attack.

Hey! Want to play a fun game? It’s called “Find the Fat Girl Hiding in the Back”!

I think I ultimately did better than I expected (for example, I didn’t die). However, that practice was 2 1/2 days ago and I’m still walking like a newborn giraffe calf. Yesterday at work, I took the elevator from the 1st floor to the 2nd floor. It’s pretty pathetic.

That being said, I’m going back to practice next week. I’m probably even going to start exercising again outside of that once a week rehearsal. I’m OK with being fat, but I’m not OK with being fat and unable to dance like a rockstar. The reunion show isn’t until September, so I’ve got a little bit of time. My goals for the show are as follows:

  • Don’t hide in the back row.
  • Don’t turn a shade of red that makes it look like I colored my face in with Taylor Swift’s lipstick.
  • Don’t get tricked into wearing a unitard in public.
  • Don’t die.

I think these are pretty legit aspirations and I have high hopes for myself. The date for the show is probably September 26, but when it has been confirmed I will let you all know so you can come and take bets on whether or not I actually meet the above goals.