Babies are transportable.

When I look back at old posts, I sometimes think, “How many times am I going to come to the same conclusions?” Every time I think I’ve learned something about myself, it’s like I have to learn it again and again until it sticks. Every time I think I’ve come to love and accept myself for who I am, I find myself going out of my way to reaffirm it, explain it, justify it. I’ve gotten a bunch of hits on old posts lately, and whenever I see someone reading something I said two years ago, I can’t help but look back to see what I said two years ago. And what’s interesting is that it’s often exactly what I’m saying today. (Or, of course, knowing me, it’s sometimes the complete opposite.) In my first post from 2012, when I was still happy in my relationship, I had this unnerving feeling that I’d rather be single. In my most recent post, I went on and on about how I realized I wanted to be single all along. I knew it in June when I first recognized the feeling of true love, the fact that I’d never felt it before — and I also acknowledged that committed romantic relationships aren’t for everyone. But then I hop into a cab with a driver who lectures me that I shouldn’t buy a house because, *when* I get married, the man I marry will benefit, and I realize that not everyone lives in this modern world where women can define their lifestyles and have children without partners or even have same-sex partners or partners that they’ve chosen not to marry or any variety of family structures that doesn’t look like man + wife + babies. Or I get on an Amtrak train to New York, and a conductor asks me “Why are you traveling on your own?” — a question that would’ve never been posed to a man traveling alone with a child in the middle of the day on a Sunday, or probably at any time. Or I hang out with a guy who immediately assumes that “it must be hard to get out of the house, i’m sure you try” — and in trying to comfort me, you’re actually patronizing me. Because, actually, I do get out of the house quite. a. bit. As it turns out, babies are transportable, sir. And I know that no one means to be cruel or condescending; you’re speaking out of ignorance, or maybe out of some experience you’ve had with someone else, and you’re applying that mindset to every single mother you meet. Which, really, is still just ignorance. Here are the facts: Some people just want to be mothers, and some of us know deep down that we can do it best on our own. Would it be nice to have a second income around here? Sure! Would it be nice to win the lottery? IT SURE WOULD. But hey, for me, money isn’t a good enough reason to get married, and I can’t think of any others. I’m someone who has always forged my own path. I leap, and I go in my own direction. My past relationships have worked out best — or rather, most seamlessly — with people who have chosen to follow me. I know that’s not fair. I have credited myself with “improving” some of their lives — moving them in the direction of “better” careers, “better” educational opportunities. In other words, I imposed my values on them and made them “better” in my eyes. I pushed them to embrace things that made me happy, not giving worth to the things that they may have actually wanted. I know now that I was wrong. But I also know now that part of the problem was that I didn’t want a relationship that would force me to adjust my life in any way. I didn’t want anything that wasn’t incredibly convenient. To quote my drunk self breaking up with a college ex before falling asleep and telling him we’d talk about it in the morning, I just feel happier and more comfortable and more confident when I’m single. That still rings true for me. And that’s okay. What I will admit, though, is that there has been one point during which parenting has been particularly hard for me — and that’s while I’ve been dealing with seasonal depression. It usually starts around Thanksgiving and gets progressively worse until it peaks in February or March or whenever it’s really cold. It made it hard for me to follow through on all the things I wanted to do for Max’s birthday, and it made me disappointed in myself for failing to make the party as perfect as it should’ve been. It makes it hard for me to remember that I’ve ever been cheerful, that I’ve ever done anything right. It makes me question myself and question the people around me and push them away and pull them close and confuse them because I don’t know how I feel about them and I don’t even know how I feel about myself. It makes me self-conscious. It makes it hard to fall asleep at night and hard to wake up in the morning. It makes me less likely to go outside where I have to face people, and it makes me feel guilty for staying inside. It makes me eat more, and sometimes it makes me eat less. It makes me slack as a parent. I was so good about morning routines and bedtime routines and healthy dinners and reading together, and then I just fell off. I couldn’t keep up. I felt overwhelmed. I wanted to be better. I felt guilty for not being better. It was an endless cycle of feelings of insufficiency and self-hatred. Literally all because it got cold. And the cold is relative. I know because I faced the same seasonal depression in LA. It would rain for days in January, and it’d be 40 degrees, and I remember being stuck in bed playing “Robot Unicorn Attack,” telling myself I’ll just give myself a break today and tomorrow I’ll go outside. Tomorrow I’ll get something accomplished. When the sun came back this year, everything changed. Sure, it was followed up by a small snowstorm during which my son got pink eye and I got a sinus infection, but then the sun came back again, and everything was fine.

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I spring cleaned.

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We went to the greatest show on earth!

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and Max got to see the elephants before we start to acknowledge animal cruelty

I wonder if I can really settle and stay in DC when I know that I’ll feel this way just about every winter. I wonder sometimes if it’s worth it to stay for the sense of community and the incredible career opportunities available here. I built a community in LA, I built a community in DC, I can build a community in Honolulu. Maybe I really do need to get out of this place. It’s lucky babies are transportable. UPDATE: Everyday Feminism has published a few amazing articles on this subject — not specifically regarding single mothers but singledom in general:

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Getting older, looking forward.

I turned 25 this week. It’s funny — I remember when that seemed so old.

I’m exactly where I want to be right now. But I spent the week traveling, and as happy as I thought I was here, I’m starting to see that I will eventually need to leave.

I love DC. It’s a fun, family-friendly, pedestrian-friendly city where I’ve been able to find great jobs and advance in my career. I love my apartment, I love my neighborhood, I love my job and my friends and the connections I’ve made here. I love how easy it is to get around — a quick metro ride to the airport or a quick bus/train ride to New York, Boston, Philly, Maryland, Virginia, wherever I want to go on the east coast. I’ll have to visit the Carolinas while I’m living here, too.

I landed last night after a week-long adventure, and I thought I was so happy to be home. I was.

Then, I woke up. And it was cold outside. And I’ve been feeling distant from my friends.

I went to brunch today, and I overheard a conversation between two men that I didn’t want to hear. But it perfectly encapsulates the things I want to run away from.

These guys were educated, well-dressed, articulate. And yet they were total fucking chauvinist bros.

Bro #1 goes to Bro #2: “I offered to buy this girl a drink, and she goes, ‘Oh, I have a boyfriend,’ – I was like ‘And I have a goldfish. Why are we talking about shit that doesn’t matter and is not here?'” Bro #2 laughed at how absurd girl at bar was for rejecting a free drink. Bro #2 says, “You’re doing something for her,” as though stupid girl at bar should’ve just accepted the drink from Bro #1. The conversation went on that way — banging girls, etc. You’re so cool, bros. So very cool.

Maybe it’s just today, but I don’t want to live here anymore. I want to live in a place where people are friendly, where education is important but people are humble. I want to live in a place that’s diverse and easy to get around without a car. Ideally, this place is also warm, but that’s not as important anymore. Though I’m generally happier when it’s sunny and beautiful outside.

I want to buy a house soon, but it’s hard when I don’t know where I want to be.

I spent some time in LA, Austin, and Florida this week. It was amazing. It was perfect. It made me a little sad that I left so many wonderful friends behind. It’s strange how badly I wanted to leave, how I didn’t give it a second thought, how I left and barely said goodbye. I was so tired, but I was tired because I pushed myself to that point. I volunteered all the time, trying so hard to save the world. I loved how much my friends relied on me. I wanted to be everyone’s caretaker, everyone’s life counselor, everyone’s mother.

I bent over backwards for everyone, and I resented them for it.

When I was living in New York, I relied on my friends and the men in my life to feed me, house me, clothe me, and be there for me in every way. I was a taker; I had nothing to give. Once I had a stable life and a home, I wanted to help everyone else. But I give more than I have. Then I get worn out.

Or maybe it’s just cold outside, and I hate that.

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We got very comfortable on the plane.

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Max has gone swinging in three states, and he’s not even a year old.

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He’s smiling, but the sun was in his eyes. Because it was incredibly sunny and beautiful in LA.

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LA swingin’

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Beverly Hills pumpkin patchin’

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This was the cheesiest thing I could’ve possibly done for my 25th birthday, but it was free, the food wasn’t bad, and Max was amazed.

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Out late in Austin, waiting for the bats to come out.

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Santa Monica Pier — these photos are in no particular order.

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I also enjoyed free breakfast at my favorite restaurant, IHOP. (Red Lobster got demoted for the day because it would only offer me a free dessert.)

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We fit right in.

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Cowgirllll selfie #NotATourist

Little Guy’s first vacation

I am pretty much the luckiest lady in the whole wide world. Here’s a snapshot of my amazing week:

 

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Max testing the [ocean] waters

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Make way for ducklings!

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Blueberry beer at the Cheers bar

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…where everybody knows your name.

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Max’s first swing ride!

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It wasn’t until I saw this picture that I realized he’s pretty much eating the monkey bars.

I was a little worried about traveling with Max for the first time, but it was just perfect. We brought tons of books and toys, and I packed waaaay more than we needed (especially since we were showered with gifts in every place we went). Most importantly, though, vacationing with a new human is one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever had the opportunity to experience — if only because it gave me a renewed appreciation for little things I might’ve taken for granted before. It was so amazing to see him experience sand for the first time and splash in the ocean for the first time and enjoy his first ride in a swing.

What a perfect week. What a perfect little guy. What a perfect life I lead.

I am so ridiculously lucky.

One week in Beantown

So, is there really any way to go wrong with an all-expense paid trip to a new city? No. I’m gonna go with not at all.

But I can think of 100 things that can make such a trip even more unbeatable.

I’ll limit myself to 10 though.

10. The Cheers Bar: I did not eat here, nor did I drink here (obviously), but oh em gee, this is such a big deal for those of us who weren’t allowed to watch TV as kids and thus would sneak into the basement at night to get our fill, where we stayed up all night and enjoyed classics on Nick @ Nite because that was the only channel we knew existed. Classics like Cheers — where everybody knows your name.

9. Paul Revere’s House: Apparently, you can walk all the way through this house for just $3.50. There are some tour guides who tell you a little bit about Revere’s life and all his 16 [billion] children, like 2 of which survived to adulthood. The whole time, I couldn’t help but think that boy, was I making Mr. Malara* proud.

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*Mr. Malara was my 7th grade U.S. History teacher. You could not survive that class if you weren’t a loyal American patriot. He didn’t care where your parents immigrated from; you were born here, you’re an American.

8. Networking: I’m either terrible or amazing at this. I think everyone is my best friend, but it’s only recently that I’ve been able to determine when to add someone on Facebook and when to connect on LinkedIn. At the conference, I made like a gazillion Twiends (I’m up to 417 followers!). I’m not sure what that means on the best friend-business associate spectrum, but I assume it means I did well.

7. Hotel Life: One of the main reasons I didn’t have a TV (until today) is because I can’t trust myself to stop watching Law & Order for all time, always. OK, so there’s also the fact that I couldn’t justify the purchase, didn’t want to pay for cable, and never really saw the value of keeping a TV around the house when I can get the news on Twitter and the Thought Catalog (plus BuzzFeed and my subscription to TIME Magazine — in other words, everything I’d ever need in life). But every time I get to a hotel room, I immediately go for the remote. It feels like such a treat. So I watched A Time to Kill twice in a row (cried both times), and I wasted most of my nights away watching other random crime dramas. This probably would’ve gone down differently if my hotel room had WiFi. Regardless, I regret nothing.

6. I can officially say I went to Harvard Law!

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5. Bunker Hill: I climbed 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument… before I realized I would also probably have to climb 294 steps down. There should really be caution signs for pregnant women. But hey, it was awesome. It felt great. I collapsed into the Bunker Hill grass when I got back down, and I limped to the nearest T stop. In fact, I limped for days. But I limped with pride, bro.

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4. Arianna Huffington: For those of us who have dreamed for years about someday owning our own newspaper (back when the newspaper was a thing), it was so exciting to be in the presence of Arianna Huffington — a woman, an immigrant, and the founder/CEO of the Huffington Post. She spoke about… well, nothing I expected. She actually spent a lot of time discussing the value of sleep.

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“Sleep is a leadership tool; it’s a performance enhancement tool.”

3. Knowledge! People paid between $1200 and $1500 to attend sessions with marketing experts and other geniuses — learning how to optimize emails for clicks and conversions, learning how to nurture leads, learning to maximize the value of a blog, the list goes on. And me? Well, I paid nothing. I won a ticket and got to benefit from the same sessions as all of these folks who’d paid zillions. I even got a free headshot! One of the coolest things about being there was realizing that everyone else my age was either some kind of intern or student. It made me really proud of myself — just to see how far I’d gotten, especially having come from nothing. It’s exciting to see how far I’ve come and how far I’ll go.

2. Scott Harrison: I didn’t expect this guy to be so high on my list, but he was everything I’d ever dreamed and more. He was some sort of junkie club promoter in New York City who decided to turn his life around and now helps to bring clean water to millions of people across the world. Anything I write here won’t do him justice, but watch Rachel’s story. And just fall in love.

Besides bringing me to so many tears, this guy really taught me a lot.

1. Nate Silver: I genuinely don’t know why Nate was at a marketing conference. But I’m not complaining. The man is a genius.

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And now we’re engaged (pending confirmation…):

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Oh, there was also a One Republic concert. I don’t know where that fits into my list.

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Last, I literally can’t handle another article about Miley Cyrus. I really can’t, I promise. OK, so I actually liked this one — but only because it’s so Newsroomesque.

Real last thing: I think I could listen to this song 100x per day. Though I’m running out of sites to access it since the music police seems to keep taking it down.

Strokes my ego didn’t need & other great things.

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Teehee, I thought that was adorable. Because it’s true. I’m supposed to be immortal. But, foreals, my ego clearly needs no further stroking. I do enough of that myself.

In other news, I just won a ticket to INBOUND. This doesn’t even happen to people.  Not in real life. Tickets are only $1,200. I’m only going to be learning about inbound marketing from experts like Arianna Huffington, Seth Godin, Nate Silver, and Scott Harrison (the CEO of charity:water, AKA everything I aspire to be). The conference is in Boston, meaning I get to go to Boston for the first time in my life. This is all because of a tweet.

My life is so unreal. It’s literally a communications lady’s wet dream.

And after I learn all of that good stuff about inbound marketing, I get to see OneRepublic perform!! WHAT!

OK, in all honesty, I had no idea who OneRepublic was, but then I googled “top onerepublic songs” and came up with this list, and I still didn’t recognize anything, so I YouTubed some of these songs, aaand I’ve heard them! I can even sing along to the choruses of some. Sort of. I can hum along for sure.

So, that is my life. All good things happen to me. Always.

SO MUCH MORE HEARTBREAKINGLY GOOD NEWS IS ON ITS WAY. ❤

This has gotta be the good life.” – One Republic (favorite band? yeahsurewhynot)

If life is a party then I am its hostess.

I always feel at home at parties. This is probably why my life is a series of dinner parties, laundry parties, slumber parties, and the like. I’m so out of place behind a desk. But if I must sit behind a desk then I’m happy this is mine. It’s only appropriate. I had kind of an ahmazing weekend. Where do I even begin? Art with a Heart happened on Thursday, and oh em gee, what a smashing success! So successful that it deserves the adjective “smashing” to describe it. For serious. It raised more than any other year, ever: somewhere around $550,000. That included $124K+ from an auction item in which people just pledged donations to Bread, and — the most exciting part of the night — the final auction item (a last-minute add-on that wasn’t even originally included in the program), a dinner with Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck’s character in Argo) sold for $13,000. THIRTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. And, then it turned out that we had a second one to offer. That means $26K, baby birds. #nobigdeal Since this blog is 99% about tooting my own horn, I hear the communications surrounding the event were pretty impressive. Rumor has it, attendees particularly enjoyed the AWAH reminder email. Here’s a copy of my initial draft (“your highness” was regretfully cut in the review process): AWAH reminder email I particularly enjoyed live tweeting the event. Of course, I had no involvement in ticket sales or sponsorships or auction items, which raised, like, all of the money. Toot, toot on events gal Emily Schneider, board member Cynthia Krus, & development director Kristin Valentine’s horns for making all of that impressive stuff happen — as well as our hard-working development interns. But I’m happy to toot my own horn any chance I get (toot), so I’m gonna go back to patting myself on the back for effective event communications. Other favorite part of the night? Hands down, cheerleading and thanking donors with this guy:

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He’s sort of my favorite.

My weekend just got better and better as it went on. On Friday, I bar-hopped through Dupont Circle and Foggy Bottom with my friend Luis and a friend who just moved to DC from Cali (people from Cali hate it when I call it Cali; I lived there for like five years, so I’m pretty much a California girl, and I think that means I can get away with it). We almost ended up in a lesbian club that night, but the leather-clad crowd outside in addition to the professional “spanker” (and his set-up sidekick) kind of turned me off to the whole idea. I’ll have to pick up chicks elsewhere. I didn’t get home too late on Friday night because I had to wake up early on Saturday to go on an adventure. I visited Harpers Ferry, which is a cool little historical town in West Virginia that’s home to sites like John Brown’s fort (where abolitionist John Brown led a slave revolt in the mid-1800s).

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This is inside John Brown’s fort. Is it the place I’d choose to stage my slave revolt? Nay, but to each his own!

Defending the fort!

Perhaps JB’s revolt would’ve been successful had he been accompanied by this feisty lady! That’s right, I’m saying we could’ve ended slavery six years earlier if I’d been alive in that time period.

I also ate some epic banana pudding/cotton candy/fudge-topped ice cream and drank some delicious home-brewed peach cider. There were lots of museums to browse and a vintage shop where I bought these fabulous cat earrings. The people were kind of unusual — some even wore 19th century-style garb, which I’d typically find adorable except that their social skills suggested that incest/inbreeding was happening in this small town. Regardless, the whole thing was sort of a history major’s wet dream. IMG_0368After Harpers Ferry, I visited a vineyard for a wine tasting. I wasn’t planning on buying wine, but I discovered the most ahmazing BLUEBERRY wine called “Grandma’s Love Potion.” It was perfectly sweet and so unique, so I just couldn’t resist. I absolutely loved it and brought it along with me to Gaithersburg for the best slumber party ever on Earth, where we ate great food, drank great wine, and played MASH and that origami fortune-telling game (turns out I’m gonna have 4 kids, and we’re all moving to NYC!). Then, in the morning, we double-fisted coffee and mimosas while eating a spectacularly heavenly breakfast prepared by our wonderful host, Miss Stephanie.

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You’re looking at heaven in a plate: Trader Joe’s apple-smoked bacon, two waffles covered in nutella, and an avocado-covered omelet. What you can’t see? A side of homemade brie with crackers and apple slices dipped in cookie butter (kind of like peanut butter except made with COOKIES, AKA- the delightful invention of a culinary genius).

In other news, I’ve redecorated:

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My phone case matches my bedsheets, and they all kind of match my cat.
#nomakeup #littlesleep #stilladorbs

Don’t you love the little kitties dangling from my ears? The best thing about those earrings is that apparently the proceeds are funding some young lady’s education. It’s kind of the best thing ever. P.S. Fun fact: I’ve had “Party in the USA” on repeat all week.pink sink P.P.S. Other things that excite only me: DC’s about to go pink for breast cancer awareness. I’m kicking it off by pinking my sink. That’s right, baby birds. It’s soap that both washes your hands and also fights breast cancer. How’s that for killing saving two birds with one stone?

Missing Maui

So there’s a crazy little voice in my head that keeps telling me I should’ve stayed in Maui.

I thought about it briefly. I peeked at Craigslist for apartment listings. I thought about working remotely while I looked for a job there — maybe as a hula dancer or at a local nonprofit (meanwhile, I’d for sure still take hula lessons…). And, I knew it was crazy, but I also knew that I could make it work.

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As much as I feel like I’m a city girl who loves to keep moving and needs to have lots of activity and opportunities around me, there’s a part of me that feels like I just belong in Hawaii. I used to draw pictures of it in my journal when I was a kid; I’d always wanted to go. Then when I finally got the chance to go, I felt so at home and happy there in a way that I just never felt in any other place. People are so friendly and happy, and the food is so good. The great weather encourages you to swim and exercise and stay healthy and wear the pretty flowy skirts I like to wear. I dunno — I’m sure it was a combination of factors: my birthday, spending time with my friends, taking time away from work… oh, it might also have to do with the hurricane I just experienced on the East Coast. But, I just know I felt really happy there.

On the other hand, it makes me think I need to make a move on my Peace Corps application. I think that one of the things I like about Hawaii is that it feels somewhat like an escape from civilization. And, I think I want that a little bit.

Who knows? Maybe I’m just trying to run away again.