Sunday, April 19, 2009

Outbound

Beyond the Horizon - Leonid Kozienko

Never did I think I’d have to take out my own garbage. Back home, my brother always did that! To me it was, and still is a man’s job. Every week I cross my fingers hoping my male roommate has taken care of it. I don’t know how to separate the recyclables!

A part of me embraces and relishes my freedom and independence, another part of me recoils at it. I love paying bills and sleeping whenever and leaving mugs on my nightstand. I hate cooking for one in a cramped kitchen, grocery shopping, setting up a day for laundry. I like sorting my piles when I feel like it, buying Starbucks and cheap jewelry with my last few dollars and organizing my shit the way I so desire. I hate setting up appointments, seeing doctors, managing a schedule, trying to budget. I like being on the phone whenever I want, sitting in the middle of my bed in underwear, coming home at 3am and crashing. I hate early mornings, job searching “selling myself”, and most of all; I hate the weight of it being ALL on my shoulders –because sometimes you just need a fucking break. [Imagine having kids? It would be like all that hate hate hate times two. Goodness.]

I don’t exactly know what made me rush into independence and how I’m even doing it. I believe I slowly got fed up of following others, and one day I suddenly got the urge to do things myself. I had had jobs before [my first paycheck bought me a diamond necklace and a pair of Antik Denim] but that was just the beginning. Moving out is what did it for me. I took some baby steps at 17 by moving in with my sister. Two years later, I was being overworked and underpaid as a nanny by a ladder-climbing Jewish couple. But nonetheless, the few hundred I made a week felt like gold. [Well liquid gold if you want to look at how fast I spent it.] I remember thinking “Wow. I am really doing it. I am on my own, making my own money and my own rules.” I was so SO proud of myself, and despite the lack of support from friends and family, I kept chugging! It was an amazing feeling.

Now it’s been almost two years since that summer, and I’m just farther along on that same path. I want to take that independence in another direction and own things, build things, run things. [We don’t run we run shit!]. I want to get out of debt, buy a home, get a prenup and live happily ever after.

Remember to be smart and that at the end of the day, you stand alone.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dutch

One night very long ago, after I had done the fake wallet reach at the end of our meal, my pseudo suitor muttered “I got you this time, and you get me next time a’ight?” He said it in such hushed tones it was almost like he knew how stupid he was to utter such words. My mind was like “WHAT?! Neverrrrrr.” I chuckled and wrote him off. I couldn’t believe the nerve this guy had, especially since I lived on my own [and he didn’t] and he made a lot more money than me [those days, everyone did]. So I just shook my head no and thought, “You poor little fool.” He was a notorious cheapskate though [see guy #1 in my “Clueless” post].

I was just reading an article titled “Should a man pay on the first date?” All I know is, Lady Blue does not pay for men. Especially ones that aren’t gentlemen!!!! I mean I’ll pay for myself, even though inside I’d be slightly disgruntled at how grimy it is for a man to invite me out and not pay for me. There are exceptions of course, but in general I am really not interested in paying for a man, because I am not his mother. If I'm going to pay for a man it's going to be out of my own inspiration and because he has gotten to that level with me ["that level" will be explored in further posts]. With my good friends, we can split the bill evenly, for acquaintances I think not. I’m paying for what I ordered and so will you; I don’t know you like that! I am not cheap, I am real! I would love to just wine and dine everyone to the point of swollen bellies and drunkenness but you have some people out there that I like to call ungrateful.

But I digress.

Frankly, I don’t really care about this feminist shit. I want my doors opened and to be paid for on dates, I am a lady! I just think it’s the gentlemanly and endearing thing to do. Now I don’t think all girls deserve this treatment because some girls [note: girls] are sheisters – but I do. I’m a classy little princess. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a little snobby. I want to marry a gentleman and in turn, I would cook for him and clean and maintain my home [not to mention giving him plenty of the unmentionables]. I guess I can at least thank feminists for giving me options.

Money makes me weird. To a degree I want my husband to provide for me, on the other hand I want my own money. Sometimes I want friends to spoil me with diamonds for my birthday, other times a card is just as touching. Sometimes I’ll treat a newfound friend, other times I’ll snatch that debit card right back thinking, “Don’t want them getting too used to it!” Some people say the asker should pay, which I guess works in my favor since I don't ask people out on dates. I am a lady. I will ask your name, number, your hand in a dance, I will hint, but I won't go that far out on a limb.

If a friend invites me out and I’m low on cash, I’ll make sure to mention it. Sometimes the reply is “Don’t worry about it” other times it’s “Maybe next time”. I had one guy friend who would never pay for me despite him expressing romantic interest in me. Would my opinion of him have changed if he had paid for me once or twice? Possibly. Does that make me shallow? Nope. It makes me real!

It’s probably my belief in gender roles that affects my thinking. I feel like men are the strong providers and protectors, and I feel like women are the cunning and skilled nurturers. Take the ability to provide and protect from a man and watch what happens. Do I believe all women should stay home and cook and clean and mind the children? Of course not. But if some want to do that, I’m not going to knock them. If someone wants to do the opposite, they just need to be aware of the sacrifices to be made and the consequences to be had. How did children get involved in this? They just get into everything don’t they?

Anyway, back to dating. I remember the first time a guy paid for me. I was in my teens, and a group of us were at 7-11. I guess I had money or something because I was grabbing a bunch of candy and before I could pull out my pennies to pay for it, a guy in the group was like “No no, I got it.” Let me tell ya, I swooned. Do I rate my friends based on what they do for me? If I told you the truth would you hold it against me? Exactly. So we’re moving forward on that one.

Besides the asshat mentioned in the beginning of my tale, I’ve only had minor interactions with cheap guys. One guy did an about-face at the entrance of a restaurant I’d chosen, and led me down the block to a Red Lobster instead. Needless to say, it was my first time eating there and one of my last times out with him [finding out he had two kids under 5 was the real kicker]. I once went out with a self-proclaimed millionaire who walked me 20 or so blocks to another theater to get some free tickets from an old co-worker. I remember finding it genius but also quite puzzling. Another guy, who was a chronic braggart; didn’t have enough money to buy us breakfast after I had begrudgingly stayed over one night. My roommate makes wine [and keeps it in our hall closet!] and does a number of other frugal things. Sometimes they redeem themselves and sometimes they don’t.

Luckily I don’t have to deal with dating wack ass bozos anymore. My current guy is quite the gentleman; he opens doors for me, says please and thank you, he even walks on the street side of the sidewalk! That's a well-behaved gent if I ever saw one.

Remember to be smart and never go on a date dead broke. You never know.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Essential

I’ve decided to go back to school this fall [depending on certain circumstances]. Mostly, I just figure it will give me something productive to do. I’m pretty against the idea of college being a must for all citizens of the world but I’ll go into that soon.

As I was trying to figure out what direction to take my life in [since I’ve recently been blessed with tons of free time due to the recession], I realized that the “expected” progression of our lives is pretty lame. We all need jobs to feed and house ourselves. To get a job [a decent paying one, because hey we all love luxuries] you need to go to college. But hold up - who likes working and who likes college?! Why are these the only two feasible options? Oh, I forgot there’s a third: marriage. And let’s not talk about what rich people can do straight out of High School that the rest of us can't. We already know that they are part of the high and mighty one percent, who fly from NYC to Long Island by helicopter and use Prada linens to wipe their ass. Fuckers.

The expected progression of our planned out lives sounds a little something like this: Birth. Woo your folks. Play tricks on your siblings and bully other kids [maybe that was just me?] Elementary school. Learn basic English, times tables and that’s about it. Junior High. Maybe some fights. Maybe a first kiss. Hormones begin to blare. Maybe a bit of fucking around. High School. DEFINITELY lots of fucking around and regrettable behavior. Work on finding yourself. Begin to prepare for the "real world". Graduation. Big decisions. [Career? University? Virginity?] College. Maybe some love, maybe a few mistakes, maybe more fucking around. Lots of partying, some all-nighters, some new friendships. Graduation. Quarter life crisis. Entry-level shit-paying first job. Move up the ladder. Love, maybe marriage? Work work work. Marriage. Work some more. Juggle two lives. Divorce? [Hopefully not]. Kids. Juggle work and family. Feel overwhelmed but feel all the love. Depression [haha just kidding!] Kids get older. Work gets more boring. Grown ass kids in your house getting on your nerves and spending all your money. Retirement. Florida. Kid’s Weddings. Grandchildren. Reminisce. Die. You know, to give you a general idea.

Why can’t we graduate High School and go off to a knitting institution? Piano Academy? Learn how to fly a damn plane? I guess you could run off and do those things, you’d just have to be prepare yourself for the verbal tomatoes that will be thrown at you on the way.

I hate the idea of college because it’s expensive and nerve wracking and competitive and worst of all, you don’t learn much that you can apply to the real world. With the exception of careers such as doctor, lawyer, architect, engineer, you know the real technical stuff… college doesn’t prepare you for real work or real life. I’m positive one would learn more from an underpaid internship than college. I hate the idea of paying my hard earned money to an institution so I could sit in long, drawn out classes; listening to professors reiterate what's already written in a pricey textbook that I'm barely using. It’s pretty much a more grown-up, more “serious”, pretentious High School. And if I sound bitter then perhaps I am. I'm bitter that attending college is expensive and that its positive effects are inflated. I am bitter that society jams down our throats how necessary an education is, forgetting the fact that most things that allow someone to appear educated, cannot be taught. And lastly, I think I'm too fucking brilliant for that shit and I like marching to the beat of own drum and doing whatever the hell I want. Despite what society may have you think, I am not homeless, with child[ren] or living in bad neighborhood. Alas, college didn't teach this lil young lady class.

I started blogging to express all my opinions that sometimes break away from the norm, and sometimes cradle the norm. I want to do so much: start my own accessory business, own [two] homes, throw dinner parties, learn French. I want to learn to play some lovely tunes on the piano. I want to travel to Santorini and Paris and Rio de Janeiro. I want to meet people and learn things from others that I could never learn sitting in a classroom somewhere in New York. I want to sing out loud, dance in the streets and live my fucking life. I want and need freedom, time and money to continue doing me. I guess I’d best get to work on the third.

I've decided that to live the life I want, college isn't necessary. Remember that your life's path is for you to decide, so be smart and keep in mind what's truly essential.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cronies

As a self-professed social butterfly, I have met many people and made many friends in my lifetime. Some have even managed to become close friends.

I prefer being friends with men. They are pretty no fuss, usually hilarious and great for favors! Some of them are also very protective [which I like] and fiercely loyal [because once a guy likes you, he likes you]. I can be pretty blunt and honest with them about situations or themselves, and not have to worry if I’ve offended. The downside, and really the ONLY downside involve sex and relationships. Things can easily go sour if a guy declares feelings for you [and they’re not mutual] or if he starts dating an insecure/jealous girl.

I find being friends with women a bit more exhausting. They are much more emotional and analytical, sensitive and high maintenance. Most women need lots of attention and lots of assuaging. On the flipside though, they can relate to whatever complex emotional drama you’re going through at the moment, are much more expressive and talkative, and they can find fun in shopping for shoes. I tend to befriend women who are the girl next door types, with brains and confidence. It eliminates a lot of the annoyances.

I have a few close friends, I know their general history and they know mine, I know their families and most know mine [I’m stingy]; but at the moment I can’t say I truly have a best friend. I’m not sure if I’ve ever really had one.

If I can think of one thing I’ve wanted my whole entire life, it has been a best friend. Someone to laugh with, someone to cry with, someone who knows all of my deepest secrets and all of my greatest faults but cherishes me enough to overlook them. Someone I could party with, be bored with, chat with until the morning. Someone who really knows me and someone who wants nothing from me but me.

Maybe seeking the perfect friend is akin to seeking the perfect man, they really don’t exist, and one will always have to settle to some degree. I wonder if there are any optimists voicing this opinion? I don’t think perfection exists, but I do believe that there exist connections and chemistry between two people so powerful, they seem otherworldly.

A few people from my past came close. We gelled like nothing I’d experienced before. They were all attractive and likable, we shared a lot of the same hobbies, dreams, and goals; and we had a mutual liking and respect for each other. Or so I thought.

After about 3 years of friendship, Girl A totally went Single White Female on me, everything from crushing on who I was crushing on, to becoming jealous of a new friend I’d made, to claiming my sister as her own. I found it pretty insane but brushed most of it off and continued giving her a chance. The shit hit the fan when I found out she had her eyes on an ex that I had just barely broken up with [who was shit by the way]. The kid was fresh meat, and she was feenin' so bad she couldn’t even wait till I was out of sight. I didn’t realize then that she was quite insecure and a little boy crazy. I’ll cut her some slack though because with a mother like hers I would have hung myself. That was my first real betrayal and it changed the way I saw and interacted with people for a long time.

Then there was Girl L who was pretty genuine with me despite being a smug and pretentious twat to everyone else. She collected “friends” like they were another pair of her designer gear. One day she decided she was feeling herself on another level because her narcissistic ass started barking at me about something. She must have thought I was going to do like her fans, lower my head and murmur “Yes Master” like an obedient minion. Instead, I told her what it was, called her shit out, and cut her out of my life. No turning back! I see her around now and find it laughable that she’s still where I left her, mingling closely with all the people she used to shit on, and dating a guy who’s an obvious downgrade from the stunner she had before. I hope she’s managed to fill the huge hole she has inside, but from what I’ve heard – she’s got a long way to go.

Me and these last two folks befriended each other back in HS.
Guy D and I always had a genuine like and respect for one another. Although our conversations and hang outs sometimes leaned toward the flirty-flirty, we never ever crossed the line and as far as I knew we didn’t plan to. He would meet me at my locker after school, flirt with me a bunch and hang around school with me while all our friends suspected more was going on. We’d walk through the halls and sometimes he’d grab my hand and I’d blush and think “What’s he doing?!” We’d ride in his car to the nearest fast food spot, stuff our faces and laugh and joke and talk. Those were some of my best High School memories.

Me and Girl B had a great friendship, very comfortable, very easy and very genuine. She was the tomboy and I was the sassy, pretty girl. Would we have become friends had we not been limited to such a small social circle? Probably not. But we were, and we hit it off and made it work. Her parents adored me, her brother was popular and swoon-worthy, and she and I were together all the time. Then shit got weird. She ended up running off with some junior, getting pregnant, and we didn’t talk for about a whole year. When I moved away a year or so later, my friendships with both of them were over.

I do have close friends now, from every race to every age to every background. Will I be friends with them in 5 years? Although I hope so, who knows? People are fickle, I’m a perfectionist, situations change, people die. All I know is that I will do my very best to appreciate and love the good friends that I have now. And if all else fails, I’ll drop their asses and make more.

Remember to love wholeheartedly and to share unselfishly, because true friendships are rare.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Money

Monster - Leah Mackin

“Money doesn’t buy happiness.” - Ivanka Trump in the HBO documentary Born Rich. How come only the rich say that?  If that’s the case I think they should allow the rest of us [via monetary donation] to become as unhappy as them. It’s only fair. Misery loves company!

Money is such a taboo topic. People will gladly tell you who they shucked and jived with last night but wouldn’t dare disclose their salary in the next breath. A lot of people's self worth is tied to how much money they're bringing home. But why?! Everybody wants money, and it’s the one thing everyone is least likely to share [either in figures or literal bills] with one another. If we all had it it would lose its “value”; if none of us had it, well, perhaps we’d all be rich.


I once heard someone say “Money doesn’t change you, it just allows you to be who you really are.”

Money, and the insatiable desire for it, brings out the ugly side in all of us. We all need it and want it, the world runs on it. We want enough to provide for ourselves and our families, but we also want more than the next person; to be millionaires, with six homes all with perfect picket fences, yachts galore, beach houses in exotic locations, and in sometimes, we just desire it as a means to show others that we are better than they are. Because that's all most people truly want anyway. To be special. To be revered. No doubt Donald Trump gets greeted differently than you or I would.

I’ve met many people who’ve told me that they want to and will become millionaires. And all I hear within that is a beautiful fallacy. We forget that with more money come more problems. [And inevitably more spending.] I remember getting a hefty lump sum a few years back, and I was so overwhelmed and terrified by it, I ended up putting the money aside until I could figure out what to do with it. Imagining receiving a windfall tomorrow or winning the lottery, or getting some grand inheritance you hadn't heard about until now? What would you really do with that money in that instant?

If you haven’t thought it out, it won’t be as simple as “Well, I’ll pay off my debt, I’ll buy a house.” No no no. People will come out the woodwork. People will ask to borrow or be gifted money. You may just blow it all on a Maserati. Shit will come up. Depending on who you associate with, perhaps lots of shit will. Things will undoubtedly change for you, but you also have to be prepared for the ways in which it will change the things and people around you. Windfalls and sudden money are totally different game than growing up wealthy. For one, you’re spared the lifestyle and the society in which a lot of rich kids grow up in. Stuffy, “tasteful”, and sheltered. Secondly, you may be the only “rich” individual in your circle. That’s pressure. I prefer the idea of earning your riches rather than just having them handed to you. There’s a gratitude and even a humility in the former that I find is usually missing in the latter.

Because I'm aware of how things would change [and also because I wouldn't want more money than I could spend in a lifetime], I have no desire to become excessively wealthy. It’s not that it’s far fetched or impossible but it's simply because I’m very aware of what I want. I want to own a brownstone or a loft in the city, I potentially want a second home elsewhere and I want four two-week vacations a year. And you might say, 'Well Lady Blue, that takes money.' Of course it does. But not billions of dollars. At least not according to my calculations. [Side note: If I did have a million trillion dollars, I would make sure my friends and family were taken care of  real well. No question.]

Plus, I have my tricks; nothing illegal and nothing shady. Just live small. People who are now making let’s say, $150,000 a year and saying that they can’t get by are insane. How did they get by before they were making that lofty amount? Were they dumpster diving? Lord, I hope not. If they can't "get by" they are probably living right near their means, indulging in things they don’t need and too busy keeping up with the Joneses to notice. You know what the Joneses are probably doing? Minding their business and giving no fucks about you and yours! Just like you should be doing! Personally, I don’t care what the Joneses are doing because the Joneses are not paying my bills.

Just because you got that raise doesn’t mean you should splurge on a new living-room set. Sure you can splurge, but if it's not planned out, you'll face the consequences. People trying to impress other people is one of the reasons why we’re in a recession. I’m not saying I’m faultless, but thankfully I’m very young and have quickly learned from my financial mistakes. I guess people don’t talk about money because it hits us at our core. At our weakest. We’re afraid that without money we’ll be seen as incompetent, boring, unimportant. And we believe that with it, we’ll be seen as intelligent, lofty, fulfilled. It connects to our spirits and fucks with our well-being. Our worship of money is due to the fact that it feeds many different feelings within us: power, greed, despair, comfort, respect, appreciation and more.

Remember that no matter who we are or what we have, we all arrive and say goodbye the same exact way: penniless.