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You Go, Girl: Or Advice I Wish I Would Have Given Myself


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It’s the New Year, which means it’s time to start going to the gym, cleaning out the cupboards of all the Christmas candy, and reflecting back on the year that’s passed. The year 2014 brought with it many highs and lows, and there’s any number of things I could reflect the crap out of, but today I want to talk about dating. And friendship. And FEELINGS.


Yep. It’s gonna be one of those blog posts.


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I was very lucky to have met my soul mate when I was 11 years old. She is tall dark and handsome, loves the Sound of Music more than anyone else I’ve ever met, and she makes me feel like the prettiest, smartest, most talented person on the planet. If she were a man or I were a lesbian, I would have never needed ask for anything else in my life, ever. Even after 18 years of friendship, we still text or call almost every day–who says you have to lose the magic? I literally thank God every day for sending a friend like Alicia into my life. She has taught me everything I know about being true and kind and loyal and the best friend a person could possibly be.

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My college soul mate Cheryl and I have rarely lived in the same state (and sometimes even country) since graduating, but we can still Skype and text and giggle for hours. This girl has seen me at my absolute weirdest and has often encouraged me to new and horrifyingly levels of bizarre behavior. We have cried but mostly laughed together, and eaten together, and then laughed some more. I don’t know how two people who were randomly put together by a university computer system could have been so absolutely perfect for each other, unless it was that it was not a random act at all but a divine intervention to bring me the person I’ve often needed the most throughout my lifetime. I love you, baby.

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There are countless other women who have meant so much to me in my life, and I could probably fill up an entire post just naming them and their finer qualities, but the point is, I love my lady friends. They are smart and funny and kind and fun and laugh at my fart jokes and love me unconditionally. I would sooner shave my head than willingly let any one of them get hurt, despite knowing it really would not flatter my bone structure (unlike this handsome devil…)


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I know I’ve already written a blog post where I gave advice to myself as a young girl. At the risk of repeating myself, I want to give advice to myself again, but this time as if I were talking to my friends, one of those ladies I love and respect so much[1]. I think we tend to be kinder to our friends than we are to ourselves—more forgiving of their faults and flaws, more willing to see the good. We know the people we love aren’t perfect, but we love them and laugh with them and believe in them anyway. We know how freakin’ fabulous they really are. And we believe that they deserve the best.


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I wish I could love myself as much as I love my friends. I wish I could be as assured of my deserving someone to be kind to me as I am for them. I wish I was as assertive about what is and isn’t okay in the way that people treat me as I would be if I were protecting one of my bosom friends instead of myself.

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But until then, here’s some advice for myself that I’d give if I were talking to one of these amazing, beautiful women instead of just to myself about what she should expect from the guy in her life. Brace yourself, folks. This is gonna get emotional.


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  1. On Scheduling:
    Advice I might give myself: It’s okay if you don’t hear from him that often. At least you hear from him!
    Advice I should give:
    Don’t invest in someone who fits you into his schedule at his convenience. Find someone who makes you as much of a priority as you make him.

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  1. On How You Feel:
    dvice I might give myself: He didn’t mean it when he did that thing that hurt your feelings. Remember all the other nice things he’s done, sometimes, occasionally?
    Advice I should give:
    Run away, as fast as you can, from someone who isn’t careful with your heart. Someone who blows you off or cuts you down or makes you feel like a burden or like he’s doing you a favor for spending time with you. Find someone who will protect your heart as much as you will safeguard his.


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  1. On Not Knowing:
    Advice I might give myself:
    It’s okay if he’s confused. Dating is confusing! If you wait around long enough, he will eventually realize how wonderful you are.
    Advice I should give:
    Don’t wait for someone who’s keeping his options open. You are smart. You are beautiful. You are weird and hilarious and talented and driven and kind. You are not someone to settle for if nothing better comes along. You are not second best. You are the girl he should fight tigers for, should the occasion require it.


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  1. On Red Flags:
    Advice I might give myself: 
    Yeah, that thing he said and that other thing he did made me nervous, but nobody’s perfect, and beggars can’t be choosers.
    Advice I should give: Don’t talk yourself out of seeing the red flags. Nobody’s perfect, but your instincts are correct. If you aren’t feeling loved and valued and respected, it’s because he isn’t loving, valuing, and respecting you. People make mistakes, but mistakes are sporadic and unintentional, not consistent and premeditated.


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  1. On Being Hurtful:
    Advice I might give myself:
    It wasn’t a big deal. It’s kind of funny in a way. Just be cool.
    Advice I should give:
    Don’t stay quiet when he does something hurtful. You don’t have to be rude, you don’t have to be unkind, but you also don’t have to put up with nobody’s crap. If it scares him off, fine. Someone who values you and is careful with your heart will want to actively avoid hurting you, not get offended that you dared to call him out on being a jerk.


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  1. On Giving:
    Advice I might give myself:
    If you do this and rearrange that and give him everything else then he will realize how wonderful you are; and anyway, you’re a giving person so you want to do it because it makes you feel good.
    Advice I should give:
    Don’t accept anything less than what you’re giving. You don’t have to do all the work. Find someone who is willing to work for you, too.


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  1. On Checking In:
    Advice I might give myself:
    Well, I’m sure he got busy with work and maybe a friend stopped by unannounced and sometimes I forget my phone in the other room on silent which is probably what happened to him…
    Advice I should give:
    If you have to track him down when he is supposed to be spending time with you, it’s time to cut your losses. We live in the day of 1000 different easy-breezy-beautiful forms of communication. He could easily let you know if he’s going to be late or can’t make it. The fact that he doesn’t? Indicates how much he values your time and his time with you.


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  1. On Making Up His Mind:
    Advice I might give myself:
    Sometimes he seems to like me and sometimes he doesn’t, but I’m sure I’m just being over-sensitive.
    Advice I should give:
    Don’t waste your time on someone who’s wishy-washy. If he likes you one minute but then doesn’t talk to you for days and picks things up again at his convenience, you are just that: convenient. Not special, not valued, just there.

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  1. On Being a Good Guy:
    Advice I might give myself:
    He has some rough edges and sometimes he makes me feel kind of bad about myself, but I’ve seen the way he is with (fill in the blank) and I know deep down he’s a good guy.
    Advice I should give:
    It doesn’t matter if he’s a “good guy.” Chances are, if you’ve let yourself care about this guy, he’s not a Neo-Nazi serial killer who kicks baby penguins for fun. But it doesn’t matter if he’s good to his friends, his mom, his dog, or his neighbor’s baby if he isn’t good to you.


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  1.  On Sucking It Up:

    Advice I might give myself:
    This may be your only chance.
    Advice I should give:
    You are worth being loved. You are not a waste of time. You are not a nuisance. You are not a bore. You are not too fat or ugly. You should not be more like that other girl. You are not just someone to pass the time until someone better comes along. You do not deserve to be ignored, or avoided, or made to feel like you’ve done something wrong for caring about someone. You should be allowed to be vulnerable without being afraid of being laughed at or having it turned against you. You are not someone to be belittled, or talked over, or down to, or told that the minimal amount of time you’re being given is too much. You deserve to be loved. The reason you’re feeling stressed out or neurotic is because you are not being treated as if the above fact is true, but it is. You deserve to be loved. I promise. I mean it. Everyone around you knows it. Now it’s time for you to believe it, too.


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I say good riddance to the people who won’t be kind to you or love you for who you are. I hope that I’ll be kind enough to myself to listen to this advice. I hope that the people I love will be kind enough to themselves to listen to it, too.


And in the meantime, there’s always chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

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And really, REALLY good friends to share it with.


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[1] To be clear, this advice is not strictly for women. I believe everyone deserves to be with someone who treats them well. I just happen to be especially sensitive to my fellow sisters at the moment.


How to Make Your Own Fantabulous Halloween Costume!: Or A Cautionary Tale of Loneliness and Regret

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Me and my big sis, kicking it back in the day. This was when she was still actually taller than me! That didn’t last long…

Happy Halloween!!!

It’s one of the best times of the year, when the leaves are changing, the air is getting cooler, you don’t have to vacuum up spiderwebs ‘cause suddenly they’re “atmospheric,” and it’s perfectly legitimate to eat candy for dinner. Is it any wonder that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays?

But the older you get, the more depressing the holiday can become. Suddenly it’s no longer socially acceptable to demand candy from strangers. You’re supposed to want to opt out of fun holiday fare like Hocus Pocus in favor of scary slasher films like Blood and Guts 2: Lost in New York. And instead of dressing up like your favorite TV show character/comic book hero/historical figure, you’re supposed to start wearing more generic costumes that show off less of your personality and more of your… oh, what’s the word I’m looking for?… cleavage.


Look, if getting crazy and wild on Halloween is your thing, more power to you. I just wish there were more costume options for those of us who are repressed and completely comfortable with that fact. Instead, I either have to go with the wonderful options sold in the store such as a risque girl scout (unfortunately, I’m not making that one up) or create my own getup.

And therein lies the real problem of the holiday. For some reason, despite massive evidence to the contrary, every year I seem to believe that I’ll be able to handcraft that awesome costume I have in my mind, when in actuality it’s pretty painfully obvious that I put together everything from Goodwill (which, by the way, I totally rocked before the hipsters ever got a hold of it).

To be fair, I come by it honestly. My mom always made our costumes when we were little, and they always looked awesome. (Coincidentally, I’m pretty sure this is also the reason I ended up being a theater major). No wonder I naively continue to believe that this talent will somehow magically  be passed down through the generations! Just take a look at some of the sweet stuff she’s put together over the years:

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Sarah as Snow White, me as Minnie, and Steven as the devil. Pretty fitting, I’d say.


Hey, Matt, that costume’s looking familiar. There’s my mom as a ref, Sarah as a pizza delivery girl, Steven as a …Mickey Mouse fan with crazy eyes?… and me as Cousin It. Note the bowler hat. It’s all about the details, people.

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Best friend Laura as Madonna (isn’t she cute??), Sarah as a ’50s girl, and me rocking the clown wig. Classic.

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Sarah as the Little Mermaid and me as the kangaroo from Zoobaleezoo. Don’t feel bad if you aren’t familiar with the reference. No one knew what it was then, either. But probably still my favorite Halloween costume I’ve ever worn! (She was a pink, ballet-dancing kangaroo! How cool is that?)

Look how freakin’ adorable I am. Is it any wonder that I keep trying to re-create that effect, but with dramatically less successful results?

So I thought I’d go on a little walk down memory lane to highlight some of my weirdest homemade costume attempts. Not all of these actually took place on Halloween—because, yes, I will put on a costume for pretty much any reason—but each has a story to tell. You know what they say: a picture is worth 1,000 painful memories. Or something like that…


I’ll Huff, and I’ll Puff…


Me as the Big Bad Wolf, circa 2006.

Oh, good grief. The worst part of this costume is I actually felt really sexy in it? Somehow? This was in college and I was in a stage makeup class at the time. So instead of putting any effort into the clothes I was actually going to put on, I decided to just wear all brown and mat some fur to my head to look like ears. Then I took a series of really weirdly posed photographs that I’m pretty sure I also thought were sexy. I think the lesson to take from this is that whenever I think I’m being sexy, it’s actually just really awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved. No wonder my brothers always call me Jan…



Expecto patronum!!!


Yep. This was happening in the middle of a crowded movie theater.


Clearly not bunny ears, am I right?



This was actually not for Halloween but rather for the premier of Harry Potter 7. Or maybe 6? I can’t remember. What I DO remember is that my cousin and friend and I thought it would be funny to dress up in really ridiculous costumes to poke fun at the other people who would inevitably be dressed up… only we were pretty much the only ones there who actually wore costumes. Unfortunately for me, my cousin who was dressed like a broom didn’t look all that much like a broom when she took off her hat, and my friend who dressed like a dementor didn’t look all that much like a dementor when she took off her hood, so they could go pretty incognito and pretend that they hadn’t dressed up like a couple of nerds. I, however, never stopped looking like a … well, that was part of the problem, too, because nobody could really seem to tell what I was. Instead of the stag patronus that I so CLEARLY am, people seemed to think I’d dressed up like a white bunny rabbit for some inexplicable reason. I was even asked by the people at the theater to remove my “ears.” I did, however, end the evening by driving around and half-lurching out of a truck at crowds of confused teenagers, screaming “Expecto patronum!” So, yeah. It’s clear who won that round.

And All That Jazz




What do you wear to a roarin’ ‘20s murder mystery party? Your dad’s bathrobe, of course. Somehow in the course of writing out the intricate plot of an entire murder mystery for a small group of friends, it never struck me that nothing in my closet actually resembled the fab 1920s look I was going for. So I cinched in my dad’s robe with a belt in the hopes that it would look like a fancy paisley dress, put on a head band, and called it good. Tres chic, no? (Actually, no, as it turns out. Not at all).


Down the Amish Rabbit Hole



This was also not for Halloween, but rather for a charity event in which we dressed up like Disney characters so people would shell out a couple bucks to take a picture with us that would all go toward cancer research. Great idea, right? Alice in Wonderland! I got the long blond hair. It seemed like a no brainer. Except my once again homemade costume looked less Disney, more Amish. Or maybe a Swiss maid? People were really confused, I got a lot of weird looks, and no one wanted to take their picture with me (just like my senior prom all over again…). But on the plus side, I ate a really good burrito that night. So I’d call that one even.


The Guys Your Girlfriends Wish You Were


My friends call me Eli, ’cause that’s my name.


This was once again not Halloween (actually, I’m beginning to wonder if I ever even dress up on Halloween, based on these pictures) but rather for a karaoke night in which my friends and I decided it would be funny to form a fake boy band called The Guys Your Girlfriends Wish You Were and be the boy versions of ourselves. In my defense, I think this is probably one of my better homemade costumes. I’m just so, so sad for the person wearing it. His name was Eli, by the way, and he was the pretty boy who liked to read. Naturally.



I’m A Love Pirate and I’m Here for Your Booty!


Yaarrr! I’m hanging out with the Doctor!


Ooh, here’s an actual Halloween costume! A pirate! Very original, I know. Actually, I’ve been a pirate for several Halloweens (and one very memorable Pirates vs. Ninja Turtles birthday party). And actually, I’ve worn almost this exact same outfit out of the house on just a normal, everyday Tuesday. Like most Halloween costumes, it came from materials I already had readily on hand in my closet. ‘Cause who doesn’t have a pair of weathered boots and a huge black belt, just in case? I had a friend tell me once that I don’t wear outfits in my day-to-day life so much as costumes, and I’ve found that to be very true. Nothing particularly embarrassing happened to me this evening, but… come on. Look at the lady bug. How adorable is she? There’s no way I was leaving with the best costume prize that night, no matter how expertly I wrapped that scarf around my head. At least I added another quirky outfit to my ensemble…


Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree…


Tinsel belt. Classy.


This was for an Ugly Christmas sweater party, the kind of party which is pretty self-explanatory, at least in theory. Only instead of wearing an ugly sweater as the title of the event so clearly instructs one to do, I decided to dress up like a human Christmas tree. Why not string ornaments and tinsel through a green tunic instead of just wearing a Cosby sweater like everybody else? Why not, I ask?

Well. The train ride home was a little uncomfortable, to say the least. Although one very drunk man did profess his undying love, so…there’s that.


I’m Too Sexy for this Shirt





In keeping with the apparent theme of this blog post, neither of the above costume choices occurred on Halloween. I’m blaming these ones on the two roommates in the pictures with me. Somehow when I’m around them it suddenly seems like a really good idea to dress up like a Russian model and parade through our neighbors’ apartments uninvited (the day that I was recovering from a terrible case of food poisoning, no less). Or to put on as much makeup as I could possibly fit on my face and pose for a series of very strange pictures, then eat out at Denny’s—where, true to form, we were not even close to being the weirdest customers present.

It was good times though, I’m not gonna lie.


I’m Dancing With My-Se-elf


Note to self: in attempting to mock the duck face, you actually took it to a strange and terrifying new level of awfulness.


And to round it all off, an actual Halloween costume. This was the year that I was living in New York City and decided to go out on the town with my super beautiful roommates and super beautiful sister (instead of staying in to watch the Landler scene from the Sound of Music for the thousandth time, as what normally constituted for my weekend plans). Instead of going with a hot costume like said roommates and sister (a Greek goddess, a police officer, and a lounge singer, respectively), I decided I was going to be a “warrior version of Marian from Robin Hood.” (Seriously. You can’t make these things up, people). Long story short, we ended up at a club, guys were swarming around the other girls, and I was dancing by myself in my homemade costume. Classic Elizabeth.


And yet… even knowing this, I am still making my own costume this year for Halloween. Because for me, it’s not about being the girl who’s the hottest (which, frankly, will never happen no matter how good my costume is). Or the person who wins the prize for best costume. Or the girl who leaves the night with all the guys’ phone numbers. I may end up dancing by myself at the end of the night, but dancing with yourself can be fun, and honestly, it’s probably safer for everyone involved (if you’ve ever seen me dance, this will need no explanation).


And dang it, someday I will make a costume that is actually as awesome in real life as it is in my head, and how those boys at the club will rue the day! Rue it, I say!




(In hindsight, I’m beginning to think this dancing by myself incident may have actually had nothing to do with my costume. Hmm…)


We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat: Or Why You Should Be Afraid. Very Afraid.


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It will come as a surprise to nobody who knows me well that I have what some may call an “irrational phobia” of sharks. Unfortunately over the years, many of you have used this weakness and turned it against me. Some of you have forced me to go into the Great White Shark exhibit at Sea World and laughed as the sharks banged against the glass, clearly intent on making me their prey. Some of you have wrongly informed me that there are no sharks in the Bahamas in order to convince me to ride the banana boat (which, for the record, was way more horrifying than fun). Some of you have rigged a plastic shark to the front door of my apartment to make it swing at my face every time I opened the door.


In short, some of you are monsters.



(feel the wrath of Liz Lemon’s disapproving glare)


What’s stranger to me, however, are the people who seem to take it upon themselves to explain to me why I shouldn’t be afraid of sharks. Apparently, you’re more likely to be attacked by a pig than a shark, or trampled by a cow, or struck by lightning. And somehow knowing this is supposed to make me feel better about my odds of getting attacked by a shark, but it doesn’t. It really doesn’t. All it does is make me paranoid about pigs. (Which was already kind of a problem due to Animal Farm, thank you very much)


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I guess I don’t really understand why so many of you feel the need to naysay my phobia. We’re talking sharks, here. SHARKS. Prehistoric monsters of the sea. Of course I live my life in fear. Maybe you should really be asking yourself why you don’t.


So let me take the opportunity to now explain to you why YOU should be afraid.


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For starters…and I cannot stress this enough…they’re sharks. They look like this, with their sharp, sharp teeth and soulless demon eyes.


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They are brainless, mindless, eating machines.


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It doesn’t matter if they don’t mean to eat you, or if they only bite you because they’ve mistaken you for something else. They will still be eating you, and you will still die.


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Your odds of fighting off one of these:


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Are way lower than fighting off one of these:


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Because, yes, maybe Babe is more likely to bite you, but Jaws is more likely to chomp you in half.


And for the record, JAWS is based on a true story. About a shark that killed people up and down the Atlantic shoreline before swimming into a freshwater river and killing a bunch more people—because here’s another horrifying fact: sharks can survive in fresh water, too. The moral of the story being? Nowhere is safe. Nowhere!


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Did you also know that sharks can swim in as little as three feet of water? And I’m not talking about just the little baby critters. We’re talking the mamas and the papas, with their adult-sized appetites, deciding that you look like the perfect h’orderve.


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Great white sharks can also jump up to 15 feet in the air, which means if you’re on a boat or a dock and it decides it wants you, it will have you. NOWHERE IS SAFE.


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You may have been told you can fight a shark off by punching it in the nose, but that’s incorrect. A shark’s nose is pure cartilage. Which means if you punch it, you will break your hand. And then it will eat you.


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If you’re being attacked by a shark, you’re actually supposed to punch its gills or its eyes, but good luck being coherent enough to remember to do that while this is happening:


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Some breeds of shark eat all of their siblings in the womb so they will be the only ones to survive. They are literally trained to kill from birth. If they don’t spare their own brothers and sisters, what makes you think they won’t come after you next?


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Sharks outlasted the dinosaurs. They survived a meteor that destroyed the biggest, baddest living creatures on the planet.  They are tougher than T-Rex. So what chance do you think you stand, huh?


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Sharks can manipulate tornados and ride them like a subway train. This is a fact proven by science. NOWHERE IS SAFE!


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So really, is it so weird that I won’t get in the ocean past my knees? Well, we’ll see who’s laughing when I’m standing safely on the shore, watching while this happens:


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And is it wrong for me to believe that great white sharks secretly occupy the deep end of the swimming pool? I’ve never seen conclusive evidence otherwise, so agree to disagree.


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And finally, is it really that weird that I can’t sleep with any part of my body hanging over the bed for fear that this will somehow trigger my mattress to transport to the middle of the ocean where I will wake up surrounded by the demons of the sea?


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…Okay, that one might be a little bit over the top. But the rest of my points still stand. Sharks are evil! And they’re just biding their time until they can make us their after-school snack.


So in conclusion, yes, maybe I’m afraid. But you should be, too. And there’s no way you’re ever going to talk me out of it.


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Join me on the safety of the seashore, my friends. It’s warm here, and the sunbathing is excellent.


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So Long, Utah: Or Hey, Turns Out This is Way Harder Than I Thought It Would Be


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Dear Utah,


We sure got off to a pretty bumpy start, didn’t we? In fact, our relationship sort of reminds me of the most romantic film of all time, The Empire Strikes Back. So much animosity. So much anger. I thought you were a tightly wound princess who needed to loosen the reins a little. You thought I was a devil-may-care cad who flounced authority and followed my own rules.


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(Okay, so nobody ever thought that about me, and yes it’s weird that I made myself Han Solo in this romantic fantasy of mine. Let’s just move on).


You put me through a lot of crap, Utah. A LOT of crap. But somehow, somewhere along the way, despite all the odds, I fell in love with you.


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There were no fireworks. No shooting stars. Once I got past all the bitter animosity, it was just like love is supposed to be. It started out slowly, with me noticing the little things about you, like how beautiful the mountains are with the sunlight right behind them, or the delightfully cool summer night breezes, or heaven help me, even how breathtaking the snow can be on a cold, crisp morning. You gave me the Shakespeare Festival and the Sundance Film Festival and Moab National Park and Mirror Lake. You let me reconnect with some of my favorite old friends and introduced me to some of the kindest, coolest, wonderfully weirdest new pals a gal could have.


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You also taught me a lot about myself, Utah. Like any good romance, there came those painful moments where you revealed to me some of my deepest character flaws that would need to be changed for me to find my happy ending. You taught me a lot about me, Utah, and I’ll never forget those lessons, including:


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I am more resilient than I ever believed was possible. Sometimes life can throw you curveballs, like getting laid off from the job I uprooted my life and moved here to do, three months to the day after I started working (Yep. You did that, Utah). Thus forcing me work four jobs (some of which I was wildly over-qualified for) to barely make ends meet. Sometimes I felt completely, utterly alone here, doubting myself and my ability to do anything right or to dare hope for the things that I wanted out of life. Man, it hurt. But I survived it. I found ways to laugh through even the worst things. I learned to like myself even through my ickiest, darkest, worst times. And that? That’s something I needed, Utah, more than I ever realized.


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Life can’t be lived by playing it safe. It’s all about taking chances. Those chances didn’t always pan out like I hoped they would. Sometimes I crashed and burned—the emotional equivalent of tripping down a flight of stairs in front of my crush, thus revealing my huge Little Mermaid panties—but I don’t regret it. Any of it. Because most of my life, I’ve been too afraid to take risks or put myself out there, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that regret comes not from the making of mistakes, but from the wondering what would have happened, if only.


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Approaching life with a terrible attitude is the recipe for unhappiness. I learned here not to judge a book by its cover. Not people, not places, not circumstances. Life has surprised me in wonderful ways when I let it.


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And then one day, I realized I loved you, Utah, more than I ever thought was possible. More than I ever thought I could. We both know it’s time for me to move on, but it’s harder than I thought it would be. I’m tossing and turning in my sleep. My appetite fades in and out. I burst into tears for no reason whatsoever. Because I love you, Utah. I didn’t mean to, but I do. No matter what adventures life holds for me, I won’t forget you.


But for now, so long. I won’t say goodbye because that sounds too permanent, and who knows what the future will hold? Maybe someday, years down the road, we’ll bump into each other. Our eyes will meet across the rain-drizzled pavement, and it will be like no time has passed at all. And oh, what a day that will be.




But until then, we’ll always have Café Rio. Here’s looking at you, kid.



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It’s Going to Be Okay: Or, Some Long Overdue Advice for My Prepubescent Self


role model



Dear 11-Year-Old Elizabeth,




Shortly after this picture is taken, you’re going to have a comb thrown at your head by a boy named Taylor, who will tell you to “learn how to use it, Ugly.” In all fairness, he isn’t entirely wrong—learning to actually brush and wash your hair is an invaluable skill that will help you out a lot over the years, especially since (as many people so kindly point out) it’s probably your only really nice feature.


Still, I think we can both agree that’s a really mean, uncool way to offer constructive criticism. Don’t worry though, 11-year-old me. You’ll get your chance to take your revenge in the future by writing down the story in a blog read by up to four people. And Taylor will RUE the day that he messed with you. RUE the day!




There are a lot of things going on in this stage of life that are awkward or confusing or mortifying beyond all reason. Believe it or not, in a lot of ways it’s actually going to get worse before it gets any better. Do the words “pizza face” mean anything to you now? They will. So will “chubby” and “weirdo” and “professional stalker.” But I also have some good news for you.


It’s going to be okay.


Truly. Seriously. I promise. Middle school is going to be as bad as it gets. Things only go up from there. Because someday, you’re going to look like this.


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And you’re going to marry this:


kit harington


(…I’m assuming…)


But until then, here are a few tips to get you through those rough pre-teen years.



tall girl


Someday, the boys will be taller than you. I know you had your growth spurt unusually early, but it’s true. They will catch up. And you will stop growing. In fact, you’re not even a particularly tall adult—cross my heart, hope to die. You’ll even wear heels sometimes. Heels!


socks with sandals


Don’t wear socks with sandals. Trust me on this one. It’s a bad idea. Especially burkenstocks. Which are probably just a bad idea in and of themselves.


hunky hugh


Two words: Hugh Jackman. Keep your eye out for this fellow roughly around the year 2000. He’s going to rock your tiny little world.


awkward girl

Embrace your weirdness. I know it gets a little bit tiring to always be the one with the “good personality,” but someday all of the things about you that make you feel like Queen of the Dorks will be the things you like best about yourself. I know that sounds like something that should be written on a motivational poster (and probably is), but it’s true.


Also, spoiler alert: nerds are cool in the 21st Century. You’re going to fit in just fine.




Don’t change yourself to make someone like you. There will be boys who like you when you’re chubby and when you’re thin and when you wear a lot of makeup and when you don’t wear any and when your hair is red (yeah, that happens—probably not your best idea) and when your hair is brown and when your hair is blonde and every shade in between.


(And yes, someday boys will actually like you. Promise).


The point being? Change those things if you want to, but don’t do it for some guy. “Some guy” comes and goes an awful lot, but you’re going to have to hang out with yourself for the rest of your life. So you better make sure you like whoever’s looking back at you in the mirror.


awkward running


Buy a sports bra. This is going to save you a lot of trouble when you have to run the mile every week in P.E. A LOT of trouble.



Don’t wear white shorts the first day of school in 7th Grade. I can’t really tell you why, but just…trust me on this one. Please.


buffy gif


There’s this show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I know the title sounds really lame but give it a try. I think you’ll enjoy it. It may or may not be the defining show of your teenage-hood. Whatever. No big deal.




You’re going to get really obsessed with cow paraphernalia. I doubt I can talk you out of it because you’re pretty hardcore. But maybe don’t wear the socks and the vest and the shorts all at the same time. Space them out a little bit.



Write down all the stupid things your siblings do. This is going to be fantastic ammo for years to come. But more importantly…

Spend time with your siblings. I know it seems impossible that you might someday get along with them (Steven in particular), but they’re some of the best friends you’re going to have. Even if they are still the biggest losers you know.


best friend


There’s this weirdly enthusiastic girl who’s going to tap you on the shoulder in student prep and ask you to an ice skating party. Talk to her. Go to her party. Embrace the fact that she bursts into The Sound of Music in the middle of the grocery store and draws badly proportioned stick figures with giant heads. She will still be one of the best friends you’ve ever had 18 years later.


dream big


Dream big. You’re going to get to travel Europe. And live in New York City. And London. It may not happen in the order you think it’s going to, or in the way that you think it should, but it will happen. And you are going to be super-pretentious about it and bring it up all time even when it has nothing to do with the conversation. And it’s going to be awesome.


writing gif


Keep writing. It’s not just a hobby, no matter how many people tell you it is, or how many times you claim the same thing to keep people from laughing at your dreams. It is the thing you’re going to do when you’re giddy beyond all reason and when everything hurts and there isn’t enough ice cream in the world to make things better. It will save your sanity and open up your horizons and take you places you couldn’t have imagined. Keep writing.


Get into trouble. Not too much. But a little bit. Because later on in life as you slowly start to de-mature, Benjamin-Button-style, you’re going to wish you could have gotten away with some things back when you still had the chance. And by the time you figure that out, you’ll probably be too grownup to still do them.




Do them anyway. Why not? Life is too short to fill up with regrets. Plus, it will make your diary a little more interesting to read (goodness knows, we need that).


bridesmaid gif


People will let you down sometimes. Not because they don’t love you. Not because they’re mean or cruel. But because they’re people. And chances are, you’re going to let some of them down, too. Give others the chances that you hope they would give to you in the same circumstances. Allow yourself the opportunity to love imperfect people, because that’s all you’re going to meet.


let you down


You will let yourself down sometimes, too. And that’s okay. Just do better the next time.


And if all else fails, just remember…


Trust me, I’m a doctor (well, someday). It’s going to be okay. Truly. Sincerely. It’ll be okay.

Go get ‘em, Tiger.


Lissa baseball





Who Who Who Has a Crush on You? Or The Mystery Man Who’s Clogging My Inbox


who who who 1


It will probably come as no surprise to any of you that I’m very popular. Sometimes I receive up to THREE texts a day. Most of them from my mom. (I’m kidding, of course—we all know my mom doesn’t return my texts anymore.)

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As a result, having what some might call an overabundance of minutes—I prefer to think of it as stockpiling for a near future in which I have to perform phone interviews with various members of the Hollywood Foreign Press—I tend to be less picky than I probably should be about answering phone calls from unknown numbers.


We all know the pitfalls of such a devil may care habit. It could be a terrorist! It could be a stalker! It could be a terrorist stalker who wants to know if you’re interested in donating to the BYU Alumni Association!


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But I’m a free spirit, you know? I like to live on the wild side. Sure, it might be a weirdo calling me, but it might also be a CUTE weirdo calling me. That’s what I like to call optimism! (Also, a measure of my increasingly declining standards as I inch closer and closer to 30.)


Over the years, I’ve had some great conversations with random oddballs. I’ve had strangers call me yelling and screaming about something I didn’t do. I received an anonymous text from someone claiming that I was overreacting to him verbally abusing me. And somehow I’ve gotten on the phone list of an apocalyptic prophet who calls me every Friday, like clockwork, to tell me the world is ending. It’s kinda nice.

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But by far, the most entertaining of my foray into anonymous-number-answering is Steve Rodriguez.

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I first “met” Steve about a week after I got back from living two years overseas (Have I mentioned before that I lived in England? Oh, I did? Within five seconds of meeting you before I even told you my name? How strange. That’s very unlike me). At that time, I had virtually no numbers saved into my phone because I’d accidentally washed my previous U.S. phone in the laundry (about two days before I moved to London. Have I mentioned that I lived in London…?) so I was even less picky about answering unknown numbers. How exciting! Who knew what friend this unknown number was going to reveal itself to be?


Unfortunately, it turned out that I had even less friends than that carnival fortune teller predicted I would! Almost all of my phone calls were for some guy named Steve Rodriguez. And man, had Steve been a naughty boy. The messages for him ranged from overdue bill notices, debt collectors, and angry ex-girlfriends. It took some serious sweet talking, but I finally managed to convince people that I was not Steve, that I did not know how Steve could be reached, and that I would under no circumstances be paying any of Steve’s bills. Slowly but surely, the calls dwindled down. The legend of Steve faded to a faint memory, ne’er to be heard from again.


Or did it…? (Spoiler alert: The answer is no!)

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A few weeks ago I started to receive voicemails for Steve from his friend Marvin. I’m sad to say I deleted most of them, but I did decide to preserve this gem for posterity’s sake:


“Steve this is Marvin. It’s past 10:00. I don’t know, where are you? What are you doing? You came last night then I’m waiting for you to be here at 9:00. So call me back and let me know what the hell is going on.”


Poor Marvin. On top of not paying his bills, accruing all kinds of debt, and breaking hearts right and left, Steve Rodriguez isn’t even punctual. In fact, Steve kinda sounds like a jerk.


Which naturally makes me wonder, is he single?

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Think about it. Steve is clearly in love with me. All the evidence is there! As a girl, I’m pretty adept at finding even the most obscure of signals. That guy who wouldn’t make eye contact with me on Trax when I sat across from him? Afraid of his love for me. The crazy homeless dude who chased me through a dark park at 4 in the morning? OBSESSED! The mailman who “accidentally” creases the top of all of my envelopes? Don’t even get me started.

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But I think I have a few pretty good reasons to be optimistic about Steve and me being meant for each other. Hear me out:


Reason A) He’s a resourceful con who can get out of all kinds of sticky situations. Which is perfect, because I couldn’t find my way out of a broom closet unless there was an arrow pointing to the door. Opposites attract! Just watch any romantic comedy!

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Reason B) He has a heart of gold. I know this must be true, because he’s a bad boy, and all bad boys secretly have a heart of gold. Just read any fanfiction ever written!

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Reason C) I used to babysit a little boy named Steve Rodriguez, and one day on the bus some kids gave him a flower and told him to give it to the girl he wanted to marry, and he gave it to me. Thus, by the laws of logic, all Steve Rodriguezes are in love with me.

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Reason D) He already has my phone number. Which, you know, will save some time.


Reason E) He’s clearly obsessed with me. Why else would he keep giving out a phone number he hasn’t owned for over two years? I think he wants me to keep tabs on him. I think he’s Sleepless in Seattle-ing me, so that when we finally meet on top of the Empire State Building and I find him holding the teddy bear that my heretofore unborn son left up there, it will be romantic, not creepy. Well-played, Steve. Well-played.

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So the moral of the story is… answer those unknown phone numbers. You never know when it just might be your soul mate!

Dear Roommate: Or, Don’t Touch My Stuff. Seriously. Don’t.


To The Roommate Who Has Been Home All Night But Decided to Shower Right as I Was Getting Back From a 12+ Hour Workday So I’m Now Forced to Wait While You Finish Blow Drying Your Hair and Who Also Moved All My Stuff in the Fridge To Make Room for Your Pizza Box Even Though You’re Already Taking Up Two Other Shelves and the Entire Produce Drawer and Almost the Entire Freezer and I Only Have One Measly, Tiny Corner:


I’m sorry, there seems to have been a miscommunication. You seem to be under the impression that your life and schedule are just as important as mine—nay, based on your actions, more important than mine. I hate to break this to you, but that simply isn’t the case. I’m not meaning to brag, but I’m a pretty big deal. I have up to twenty contacts in my phone address book. I won the spelling bee for three years in a row in grade school. I can type an average 99 words a minute. I’m impressive.

roommate 4

So I don’t know where you got this idea that you can just push me aside. Or worse, that you can push my food aside. My food! Admittedly, it is not all that impressive an assortment at the moment—some butter spread, half an onion, ¼ of a jar of pesto, and half a block of cheese—but still. That’s my food. That’s sacred. And to add insult to injury, you didn’t even offer me a slice from said pizza box that took over my space. Were you raised by wolves? Wolves?!!!


(I’m less concerned about the showering thing, to be honest. Frankly, there was only a 50/50 chance that I was actually going to take one anyway.)

Luckily for you, I am a deeply passive aggressive person. Rather than confronting you head on, I have moved the offending pizza box (to one of your multiple shelves that had PLENTY of room leftover, by the way) and put my own meager possessions firmly back in place, all without saying a word.  I may or may not have repeatedly turned on the kitchen sink knowing that it would significantly lower the water pressure during your uuber-long shower (I had to wash my dishes, okay? It was legitimate! Legitimate, I say!). And when next our paths should cross, I will smile and ask how you are—but oh, the narrowing of eyes when your back is turned. Oh, how they will narrow.


What you probably don’t understand is that when you aren’t around me, I go on to lead a life that is entirely separate to yours, but nonetheless fully rounded and real. It may be a sad, sheltered life full of Kraft macaroni and cheese and watching British television in bed, but it’s a life nonetheless. I know in the movie of your life, I’m probably played by Rebel Wilson, but in the movie of mine, I’m played by Tina Fey. My life has meaning and value! And so does my food!

So, in the wise words of Dog the Bounty Hunter– show some respect, brah. Use bathroom time sparingly if you know someone else is waiting. Don’t assume that my crap is worth less than yours just because it’s crap. And for goodness sake, offer me a slice of pizza!



Your Roommate

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**Addendum 1: The writer would like to make clear that her roommates are all lovely people. That being said, any resemblance to real persons is intentional and accurate, if maybe a little skewed. Kind of like when your friend gets a cartoon caricature made and asks if her forehead is really that big, and you say, “Of course not!” in that really nervous, high-pitched voice, but inside you’re thinking, Yes. Yes, it is.

**Addendum 2: The author would also like to make clear that she did, in fact, shower after the writing of this post. If never again.