HOW TO PROTEST EVEN THOUGH WE’VE HAD THESE RIGHTS FOR DECADES (IN YOUR THIRTIES!)

Well, here we are. I can’t say I’m surprised; pretty much everyone saw this coming. But it doesn’t make the blow any easier. And I definitely didn’t see it happening as fast as it did. It’s been less than two years since Barrett was sworn in, and already we are facing the gutting of Roe V Wade.

As we’ve seen reported in the news, and can verify with our own eyes, this draft has disturbing implications. Women ARE going to die. Miscarriages ARE going to become far more traumatic than they already are, with any woman suspected of inducing an abortion potentially being charged with homicide in some states. Women will avoid hospitals. Children are going to suffer. The poor are going to suffer. And once Pandora’s Box is opened, I fear our future will be very bleak indeed.

I am very angry today. I didn’t start out angry. First came the crippling anxiety and dread I’m sure we all felt when we read the leaked draft. I don’t think I’ve been able to think about anything else since the news dropped. Let’s just get to the point of this article.

This is about how to safely protest. I am assuming there are people planning on protesting who may have never marched before. I’m nowhere near the expert, but I’ve been to enough demonstrations to know what to do and what not to do. I also found some dope resources. Let’s get the fuck into it.

DO:

DRESS AND ACCESSORIZE CORRECTLY

No, this is not a joke. You’re going to be doing a lot of walking, and a lot of standing. You want to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. That means sneakers and breathable clothing. You’re also going to want to reach for a backpack rather than an off the shoulder tote or purse. It’s just more comfortable, and if for any reason you need to disperse quickly, it’s not going to hold you back. You also want to make sure you’re wearing clothing that covers your whole body. It’s going to protect you from the sun, but it’s also going to cover up any identifying tattoos. The latter benefit matters more in certain states than others. You should consider a face mask for the same reason. Depending on what state you’re in, you should consider protective eyewear, and remember: tear gas cans BURN when you touch them. Do NOT touch tear gas canisters.

BRING THESE ESSENTIALS

Put these items in your backpack: A water bottle, some cash (at least $40), your ID, clean socks (the socks are technically optional but I can’t recommend them enough), and a nutritious snack. You will also need emergency contact information in case you are arrested. Write the phone number of your emergency contact somewhere on your body in sharpie. If you wear any sort of medical bracelet, write that information somewhere on your body as well.

REMAIN PEACEFUL

You’re representing a movement when you attend a demonstration. It is imperative we remain peaceful, lest we lose credibility. That means no taunting counter protesters who have just as much a right to be there as we do. It also means absolutely no littering. Under no circumstances should a food wrapper be dropped on the street. If something is accidentally knocked over, like a traffic cone or a sign, pick it up.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

You’re safest protesting in public spaces – that’s parks, sidewalks, or in front of government buildings. Some private properties might allow for demonstrations under certain conditions or with certain limitations, but unless you’re the one who obtained the permit, I would play it safe and stay where you 100% have every right to be. You can read all about your rights here. Oh, and on the off chance you are arrested: do not say a word. Request a lawyer and don’t sign anything or say anything. Here’s an excellent explanation of why you should never, under ANY circumstances, talk to the police.

DON’T

DON’T FUCK WITH THE POLICE

Do not argue or cause conflict with the police. Not only does it give the opposing side the opportunity to discredit the movement, but you can get yourself into trouble too. If you are confronted by the police, remain respectful and make sure your hands are always visible. If you’re arrested, as stated above, zip the lips and call a lawyer.

DON’T BRING THE BLING

Do not bring any valuables with you. Take off your rings, your earrings, anything you wouldn’t want to lose.

DON’T LITTER

I mentioned this under the DOs, but I really want to drive this point home. DO NOT LITTER!! Take your signs home with you or dispose of them properly. On second thought – don’t fucking throw them away. You’re going to need them again.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ARE YOU TO GIVE UP

I swear to fucking God. This is the most important “Don’t.” Don’t stop. Don’t give up. This is about our AUTONOMY!!! This is about our rights as human beings. This is about NOT becoming incubators! I am NOT a fucking OVEN!! And neither are you!! Don’t let them turn us into second class citizens!

I’ll see you guys there. Let’s fucking go.

BEST PILLOWS TO CRY INTO (IN YOUR THIRTIES!)

If you’re anything like me, you cry a lot. If you’re nothing like me, you probably still cry a lot because the world is terrible. As I round the corner to 32, passing the “Dangerous Curve Ahead” sign with reckless abandon, I find myself wanting to improve my home essentials. You know, a sort of grown-upgrade, if you will (and you will).

Last year (or perhaps the year before, time is a social construct), I upgraded my bath towels to a 100% plush cotton style. One of the easiest ways to feel rich is to buy a nice towel from the clearance rack and walk out of your bathroom with it wrapped around your shoulders. Add fuzzy slippers and men are going to start assuming you run a magazine.

Anyway, with the towels already at their absolute peak, I knew it was time to finally upgrade the home accessory I use the most: Pillows!

HIGHS AND PILLOWS

I use my pillows for two different things: Sleeping, and crying. And, since I’m typically sleeping through the hours I spend asleep, I only really know which pillows I prefer to cry on. So, in my quest to upgrade my pillows, I thought I’d list some of my favorites for you!

I cry into my pillows for myriad reasons. Frustration, anger, sadness, anger, and frustration. I need a lot of cushion, and a lot of flexibility for when I fold my arms around it during a particularly strong sob. Not to mention, I need something sturdy. Pillows take punches almost as well as they take tears, and I’m taking that into consideration too.

I visited this website to begin my search, and boy oh boy, do I have thoughts. Let’s get into it!

Kittens cry too

DOWN WITH THE THICKNESS 

The best and thickest pillow on the site is called the Luxury Bamboo Pillow. Now, it got a really high rating for thickness, which is obviously important for absorbing tears. It’s also ideal for burying your face in it. According to the website, it’s also very flexible for maximum support. As I stated before, flexibility is important for those really bad days when your whole body is crying. I give it a solid 10/10.

Of course, not every pillow is a winner on this list. The Memory Foam Pillow seems to leave a lot to be desired. It doesn’t score very high on the softness list like the others do, and it apparently also sports a bad odor. Gross! Imagine taking a deep relaxing breath into something that smells bad. Not a good way to cry at all. Not to mention, the foam apparently gets hard over time. I need a soft surface to cry on, that’s why I use pillows. If I wanted to cry on something hard, I’d cry on my past choices. At least it boasts flexibility, but at this point, does it matter?

Lame

Okay, those are the two I’m talking about. You didn’t really expect me to talk about more than 2 pillows, did you? There’s one more piece to this puzzle. What, exactly, are you going to dress your number one cry pillow in?

SHEET TO CONSIDER

The answer is simple, and the answer is silk. We are women, after all, and we need to always be thinking about our skin and how to make it perfect. That’s why I choose to always cry on a silk pillow. I can cry safely on a pillow in a silk sheet because I know I won’t break out the next day. Not to mention, silk pillow cases are just another upgrade for my home goods. How rich am I?

CRY IT AT HOME!

Pick your favorite pillow, have a good cry, and let me know what you think! Good luck, everyone!

If you need me, I’ll be here

HOW TO APPEAR PUT TOGETHER (IN YOUR THIRTIES!)

So, there’s a big party coming up, and you’ve done it again: you’ve spiraled. Maybe it’s a new, cute spiral just budding its first spring bloom, or perhaps it’s the same spiral you’ve been nursing for months. No matter how you want to spin it, you’re not doing so hot. And now you’ve got to put yourself in the middle of a crowded space and actually engage socially. I’m sorry, what? 

If you’re anything like me, you need a sturdy emotional wall raised before you even attempt to meet a group of friends at the bar. Well, you’re in luck! I took a deep dive into my best tricks, and I can guarantee you that by the end of this article, you will feel empowered to face that crowd of people. Just follow these easy steps!

We can do this!

1. FEIGN EXASPERATION

Feigning exasperation is a fantastic way to make it sound like you’re deep in the grind, even when you spend your weekends sleeping until 1 PM and then digging into raw cookie dough until 2:30. The key to feigning exasperation is to not overdo it, lest you provoke questions from whoever you’re speaking with. Keep it light, keep it vague, and keep that wall up.

Someone asks you about your career? Give them a big sigh, throw your hands up and say, “Things have been crazy! I don’t know how I’ve been managing!” They don’t need to know the “thing” that’s been “crazy” is YOU.

So many spreadsheets!

This also works if you’re not dating anyone, but people won’t leave you alone about it. “So, you’re not seeing anyone?” Shake your hand dismissively and say, “Oh, I’ve about had it!” while giving a playful, conversation-ending laugh. No one needs to know you’ve about had it with people asking you this fucking question.

2. READ ONE NEWS HEADLINE

You don’t even need to read the article. No one does. All you need to do is mention one popular headline from that day or the day before and suddenly you’re a well read woman who is up to date on everything. And here’s the best part – if someone asks you your opinion of the article, see step one and just feign exasperation! “Don’t even get me started! I could talk about this all day.” And then laugh like an asshole and sip your drink. Try not to chug it. You’re in public, for God’s sake.

If you read two news headlines, get ready to look like you’ve really got your shit together. Especially if you can somehow tie those two headlines together into one cohesive thought: “The president doesn’t control gas prices, but with his approval rating dropping to a new low, it sounds like most people just don’t understand that.” Do you understand that? Does it even matter?

3. FEIGN EMPATHY

“Yes, of course, me too. “

You know that you do not understand the stress of a new baby, or home ownership, or grad school, but that doesn’t mean the person you’re talking to knows that. Try empathizing when they mention something grossly impressive: “So you waived the inspection and now you find you have to gut the heating system? Mmm, I hear ya.” If they ask you about your home improvement projects, you know what to do: That’s right, go right back to Step One and repeat!

4. KEEP IT (MOSTLY) ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE

Look, as long as you keep the conversation focused on other people (which is very easy to do because we are all ego maniacs who love to talk about ourselves), you’re going to avoid looking like a total dud. However, you do need to interject something, otherwise people are going to catch on. I mean, probably not, but you’ll have anxiety over it anyway. So, try and tell the person you’re talking to something about yourself, even one tiny thing. I like to go with: “I have a beautiful cat.” Then, I whip out my phone and show them pictures. Boom. Just like that, I’m a normal person with the wherewithal to spoil a cat.

5. BRING IT ALL TOGETHER

If you put all of these steps together, you might just come off as a well-rounded person. Interested in other people, not dominating the conversation, humble (vague), empathetic, and well-read. Look at you go! You must be so successful! Who cares if you had to put on extra makeup because you were crying before you got to the party? You did it! You look so put together.

SMALL LIGHTS FRIDAY

FIGHTING FOR UKRAINE

Well, well, well, if it isn’t me. Happy Friday, everyone! And most importantly, Happy Small Lights Friday! It’s been a while; I’ve dusted off my cobwebs and I am coming out the gate swinging today.

As some of you may have already noticed, the world is a little bit upside down right now. It’s painful to watch what is happening in Ukraine, almost a world away, unable to help. And it’s difficult to be a Small Light when you might feel like you aren’t making a real difference in the darkness.

However, we don’t have to be helpless. There are steps we can take, even from across the ocean. Let’s talk about the unmatched bravery of Ukrainians and how we can support them in their fight.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

I’m not going to sit here and attempt to explain the geopolitics of all of this. For one thing, I’m nowhere close to an expert, but beyond even that, any attempt to thoroughly go through the history of Russian aggression against Ukraine would keep us here all night. 

Ukraine has been under the threat of Russia for years now, with the annexation of Crimea happening way back in 2014. Putin’s main goal is to recover all of the countries that were once part of the Soviet Union, willingly or not. Ukraine is a developed nation with a budding democracy, and Putin is trying to squash it. How foolish of him to assume Ukraine is anything like a bug.

THE STRENGTH OF UKRAINE

Ukrainians have been reportedly making their own molotov cocktails, with guidance from their government, no less. Vitaly Skakun Volodymyrovych, a Ukrainian soldier, blew up a bridge and sacrificed his own life in order to halt the advancement of Russian troops. It appears as though every single able-bodied Ukranian is prepared to fight until the very end. In a completely unexpected feat, they have managed to maintain control of their capital city, Kyiv, for three weeks now. There’s no question the people of Ukraine are of a different caliber. A higher caliber. No one embodies this better than their president.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

We do our best to be Small Lights, but there is one specific person on this planet right now that is demonstrating leadership and bravery that proves him a full beacon. President Zelenskyy, comedian-turned-President, first piqued my interest during Trump’s* first impeachment trial in 2019. I’m embarrassed to admit, when I first learned about Zelenskyy, I actually felt bad for him. I thought to myself, this poor guy is in too deep with our bully of a president! I have never been so happy to have misjudged someone’s character.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been and continues to be an absolute pillar, not just for his country, but for the entire world. He has shown the world what it truly means to be a real leader and, in doing so, has somehow managed to bridge the toxic gap that’s been widening within our own country’s borders. I’m hesitant to recognize any silver lining in such a devastating, traumatic turn of events, but I do think it’s better for our mental health if we give it our best shot.

SO, HOW CAN WE HELP?

There are certainly organizations you can donate to that are aiding Ukraine in this conflict. Of course, we need to be careful here. There are some less scrupulous people out there who may want to take advantage of our bleeding hearts. Thankfully, the Ukraine subreddit has some legitimate organizations you can trust. The site does a good job advising what each charity’s specific goal is. I tried to take it one step further and pull up their scores on Charitynavigator.org so we could check out their overhead, but because they’re not based out of the US, the database did not bring anything up. 

Considering I cannot translate pages upon pages of financial information, I decided to donate directly to the Ukrainian army. I know exactly where my money is going – right to the armed forces! If you’re not comfortable donating to an organization with no rating or available financials, UNICEF and Amnesty International both have campaigns in support of Ukraine. You can even check out my past article about donating smart.

KEEP THE FAITH

What I’ve come to learn these past few weeks as we watch this madness unfold is that morale is everything in war. What we are seeing in Ukraine right now is nothing short of miraculous, a true David and Goliath. We must stay positive. We cannot have a defeatist attitude about this. Putin will not win. For everything he’s done these few short weeks, from claiming Ukrainians are Nazis to bombing maternity wards, the Ukrainian people have stood tall and strong. If they can be strong, we need to be strong with them.

Slava Ukraini!

Russian Warship, Go Fuck Yourself!

WE ARE COMING BACK!

We Are Coming Back!!

We are coming back, better and stronger than ever. I have missed this project SO much and I am so happy to be back in it! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Small Lights post!

I might even need to kick off a little contest!

It’s so great to be back! I hope you’re as excited as I am!

HOW TO BE CAREER DRIVEN WHEN THERE IS NO FUTURE FOR YOU OR YOUR CHILDREN (IN YOUR THIRTIES!)

*This article is satire. Do not attempt at home. See the end for resources that will actually help your health and wellness!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a hard time concentrating lately. I’m not sure if I can attribute this to the housing crisis that drove my husband and I into an overpriced 2 bedroom, or the not-so-subtle threat of nuclear war that has been hanging over our heads like some sort of dystopian mistletoe. Regardless of the reason, life just hasn’t been as cool and breezy as it’s meant to be and, if you’re anything like me, you’ve seen this translate into your careers. 

Let’s be totally honest with ourselves. No more beating around the bush: Our careers are all that matter, our jobs define who we are, and you’re totally worthless if you are not finding a way to monetize every free second of your one, sacred life. Your 401K is absolutely more important than whether or not you contribute love and joy to our Mother Gaia. So, let’s look at some great tips and tricks experts say can help numb you to what’s happening to our fellow humans around the world and allow you to focus on what really matters: Customer satisfaction and Profitability.

This cat needs you to explain your down trending numbers.

NEVER BE 100% SOBER

Knocking back a couple of brewskies in the middle of the workday is a great way to maintain productivity. If you can dull your senses just enough to where the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a mere afterthought, well, I’ll be damned if you can’t bang out those spreadsheets! Studies show* that one of the biggest drivers of low productivity is the crippling anxiety one feels over whether or not one will still have a home when the economy collapses.

The good news is that you are one simple bong rip away from being able to zone out and away from the fact that you will never be able to own a house. You will never retire. Your income may be low, but at least you’re high.

She’s in the bag, but she has such a positive attitude!

*There is no study. There was never any study.

VIEW EVERYTHING IN HYPOTHETICALS

Viewing everything in hypotheticals ensures you can keep a safe distance from reality, which in 2022 is the healthiest way to live.  “If I had children,” “If I owned a home,” “If there was a nuclear war,” “If the housing market ever stabilizes.” These are all really fun hypotheticals you can now think about and debate without ever having to commit to anything because you can’t fucking afford it. The best part about hypotheticals is that none of it is real, just like the illusion of choice. 

That face you make when you realize capitalism is a failed system

DAYDREAM ON COMPANY TIME

They can take your posture, your joint health, and definitely your dignity, but one thing Corporate America will never take away from you is your daydreaming. At least, of course, until we have the technology to track the imagination. Spend as much time as you can just staring into space. Why, you ask? The answer is simple: All of this is pointless anyway, and you’re accomplishing just as much for the greater good as if you did nothing all day. So, stare at the wall. At least if you’re just staring at the wall, you’re quietly sticking it to the old, white, male shareholders that keep you handcuffed there.

REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOU WILL EVENTUALLY DIE

Once you’re dead, you won’t have to think about any of this anymore.

HAVE FUN!

The most important thing you can do to ensure you remain career driven is to, of course, have fun with it! It’s fun to wake up earlier than your body clock dictates to sit in traffic for 45 minutes just to get to an office for a job you could easily do at home. It’s fun to work so hard that by the time you make it to Saturday, all you want to do is sleep. This is fun! This is all so, so fun.

SO FUN

HEALTH RESOURCES

SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

30 Ways to Stay Active at Your Sedentary/Desk Job (Buzzfeed)

Psychology Today: Mindfulness

AVOIDING MEN AT THE BAR (IN YOUR THIRTIES)

At 31 years old, I’m a little too old to stay out until 5 AM (as I learned the hard way last weekend), but I am still young enough to want to go out and have a really good time. There’s just one problem with going out – I’m sure we’re all on the same page with what that problem is.

PERSISTENT MEN

An unrelenting, annoying man (boy?) at a bar can make the difference between a banger of a night, and a night spent angry whispering to your girlfriends and playing an elaborate game of bar chess. Let’s face it: ignoring men who bother you at the bar rarely works. Men want to touch your cool earrings, men want to play with your gorgeous hair without permission, and men want to bring you an open drink. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite tactics for getting rid of overly persistent men who just will not leave you alone. 

Honestly, who messes with a DRAGON?!

Disclaimer: ONLY attempt these tactics when you are safely with your friends. Do not attempt these tactics with men who seem legitimately dangerous – that’s when you just want to get out.  It is always important to know your exits, too. Trust your judgment.

Disclaimer 2: These tactics are specifically for men who are crossing boundaries.

GO ALONG WITH HIM (A LITTLE TOO MUCH)

This tactic only works when the man who won’t leave you alone sees himself as a Casanova. He’s big and he’s strong, and he wants you to know he’s an alpha. This man will probably brag about the gym, or the sports he plays. Hell, he might even ask you to feel his muscles. 

This is where you shine. I like to act really impressed by these men. Really impressed. Give him your big doe eyes, your best fake smile, and tell them to “Prove it, stud.” Do not say anything else. Just, “Prove it.” If he tries to embellish or talk himself up without proving it, don’t let him. “Prove it, baby! Let’s see how many pushups you can do!”

He is going to try and laugh you off. Do. Not. Let. Him. “Oh, come on, baby, I wanna see that strong man!” Keep going. One of two things will happen: Either the Alpha Male will realize he has been bested and will slink off to the next unsuspecting woman or – and this is what we’re going for now – he will attempt to prove it. 

Pictured: Me, waiting for these men to Prove It

I’ve actually had men drop to the floor of a disgusting dive bar and start doing pushups. This is great because not only is it embarrassing and demeaning to be made to do pushups on a dirty floor, but you also get to walk away while he’s huffing and puffing and proving his ridiculous point. And speaking of ridiculous…

MAKE FUN OF HIM (RELENTLESSLY)

This one works when he is with his group of friends. Of course, while it goes without saying that many groups of men and women meet and have a great time together at the bar with no sinister motives, that kind of friendly connection is not what I am referring to. This particular tactic works best for someone who is using his friends as a way to almost overwhelm you. He approaches with his group, starts talking to you, and all of a sudden you find yourself surrounded. Now, it’s time to emasculate! Make it hurt. Seriously. So many women are afraid to speak up and stand up for themselves because we are expected to be people pleasing, accommodating, and most of all, polite. I used to be polite, and then someone spiked my drink. Now, I embrace my bad attitude. 

Make fun of his shirt. Bonus points if it’s a short sleeve button down. If they’re clean shaven, make fun of the fact that they can’t even grow a beard. If they do have a beard, ask them why they think looking like an indie folk singer is doing them any favors. Who cares if it’s true? We’re not trying to politely turn this guy down. We’re trying to humiliate him into leaving us alone. Maybe his hair has a lot of gel in it. Tell him you’ve seen more mousse in his hair than within the entire state of Maine. The goal is for him to leave you alone. Sure, he might call you a bitch, but that’s a compliment compared to whatever it was he wanted you to be for him. 

Make sure you embody this entire mood

HONESTLY…JUST BARK AT THEM

Bark. Bark like a dog. Not a little yippie dog, either. Bark like a bull mastiff. And before you ask, yes, I have barked at a man who would not leave me alone. This is my personal favorite of all my methods because not only are you scaring away the man who’s been bothering you, but you’re also scaring away any man within ear shot.

“DO YOU WANNA DANCE WITH ME?”

Barking should be a last resort, lest you scare off the guy you’ve really been eyeing.

SAFETY IN NUMBERS

Yes, this article has been fun, and goofy, but this really is a major issue for women, and I want to end on a very important point. No matter what method you choose to deflect unwanted male attention, you must be safe! Safety in numbers. Do not venture out alone in an unfamiliar place. Bring your gals with you to the bathroom. Keep an eye on each other. And if you hear your girlfriend bark, well, that just means it’s time to sound off with her.

HOW TO (SORT OF) HANDLE AN EXISTENTIAL CRISIS

The feeling is famous. That sneaky dread, working its way from the back of your skull down to your belly. Thoughts racing through your mind: What does all of this mean?

An existential crisis can take many forms. Maybe you see your friend’s “save the date” and it makes you burst into tears even though there’s nothing to be upset about (except, of course, the unrelenting passage of time). Perhaps you catch a glimpse of your profile in your bathroom mirror, and you can’t remember when you started looking so… old. And, of course, there’s the ever-popular dead-end job challenge to contend with. You’re 31, when do you “start doing what you love for work, so you never work a day in your life”?

I actually have no idea how to handle an existential crisis. So, instead, I’m going to outline advice that’s been given to me, along with my very appropriate responses. Maybe we’ll learn something together. Let’s go!

KEEP CALM

Don’t you love when people tell you to calm down? If there is any guaranteed method of cranking someone’s crisis lever from zero to sixty, it’s “calm down.” Oh, and another thing: Don’t tell me to keep calm and carry on. Don’t tell me to keep calm and drink wine, or pet a dog, etc. When was the last time you saw a calm woman win a triathlon? Oh, you haven’t? Because being calm is overrated? Exactly.

Pictured: Me being told to calm down

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Who do you think I am, Lou Vega? I already know what I have. I love it all so, so much. However – and this is a big however – my dope globe bar is not what defines me. My book collection, vast as it may be, does not define me. Even my family, my husband – these people do not define me. (If you are picking up on some veiled brags, you are correct, and I also have a classical Taylor that I am obsessed with). Humans are curious creatures. I want more, and I do not think that’s a bad thing to say. I want more for my husband, my cat, and everyone I love. Is it really selfish to want more if you want more for everyone?

LOOK HOW FAR YOU’VE COME

No.

KEEP WORKING HARD

I hate this one because it’s true, but only barely. “Keep working hard.” Telling a 31 year old to keep working hard to achieve their dreams in 2021 is like telling an 18 year old to go to college: You are filling their heads with false hope and costing them money. With income inequality reaching its highest level in over 50 years, our age bracket is, generally speaking, “effed.” My husband and I were preparing for homeownership back in 2019 and now, with the pandemic, we find ourselves pining for just a larger apartment.

“Keep working hard” really means work until you make the right connection. It sucks, but it’s true. If you’re a woman, it’s even harder. So, while this might be the best advice you can receive, it is also the most depressing. Because you have already been working so hard, haven’t you? You feel like you’ve been working hard since you were a kid and now you’re being asked to just hold on a little longer and work a little harder. Maybe you feel like it’s all carrot and no stick.

Me too.

GET DRUNK WITH A FRIEND

Always helpful.

I get by with a little help from my man

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

LGBT Hotline: 888-843-4564

Massachusetts Smash Room

HOW TO DEAL WITH CHILDREN

One of the most surprisingly baffling challenges I face in my thirties is how to deal with children. I’m not talking about the children you know – when I married my husband I also levelled up to Auntie status, and my three nieces are absolutely flawless. I am talking about the children you don’t know. Maybe you find yourself hosting a birthday party and the PTA President’s son has your cat in a vice grip. Perhaps at a pool party celebrating school’s end, you catch the host begging little Timmy to play soccer away from her vegetable garden. (It’s a losing battle, Jeanine). 

If you need tips and tricks for dealing with children, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s take a look at some tried and true ways of being kind of okay with kids:

Pictured: a nihilistic child

EVERYTHING IS AMAZING

Oh, the dog is fast? The dog is barking? Mother of god, call the goddamn governor.  That dog is fast and barking! You are just as shocked and excited as the children are! Perhaps you’re even genuinely reconsidering your opinion of dogs, adjusting for the fact that they can dictate their speed and speech – you had no idea! Maybe you like dogs less now, maybe more. The real issue is, as a child will surely ask: “Why is dog?” And therein lies the true question. 

Why is dog? Why, indeed.

Why is dog, you son of a bitch

PRETEND YOU’RE SHARING A SECRET (YOU’RE NOT)

This is a guaranteed ice breaker with kids. I would do this all the time with kids under three. If they’re under three, you can straight up pretend someone is spilling tea even if no one is talking. Babies don’t know anything, so they are perfect for deception. It is so easy to fool a child. Here’s the long and short of it: Whenever an adult says something  –  anything – look at the little kid, put a finger to your lips and go “Shhh.” I have no idea why, but babies love this. Those gossipy little rascals will go for the lowest hanging fruit, which in this case is literally nothing. 

Sometimes you can even get away with telling a baby real secrets. I once told a baby that, in my opinion, everyone considers themselves a film critic these days and if it weren’t for the internet, we wouldn’t have to entertain their trite and unnecessary critiques on The Dark Knight. Who’s that baby gonna tell? That baby is never going to rat me out as a pretentious piece of trash. Anyway, that’s why it’s cool to tell babies your secrets.

Me as an older baby with nothing to lose

REALITY IS SUBJECTIVE 

Okay, so I know that reality is subjective anyway, but for kids, you’ve got to multiply it to the tenth power. When you are dealing with kids, it is best to leave logic at the wayside. Kids haven’t experienced the cognitive limitations adults have: Kids believe shooting stars can grant wishes, that monsters can live under the bed, that when they grow up, they’ll eat candy for every meal of the day. When you’re just a kid, you have more than the world can offer ahead of you. Sometimes as an adult, it’s nice to get lost in that, even just for a moment. 

Honestly, you’re going to look at this photo and tell me you have all the answers?

ONE MOMENT

We covered the three major hurdles you need to overcome to relate to children: everything is amazing, secrets are privileged, and dreams do come true. An astonishingly incorrect summation of life if you were to ask anyone over the age of 25, but hey, even just for a moment: Let’s be kids again. I hope you hold your breath the next time you drive through a tunnel. I hope you make your partner take three guesses before revealing to them how your boss overstepped your boundaries today. Play rock, paper, scissors for laundry duties. 

The only real way to relate to kids is to remain relatable.

HOW TO LOOK GROWN UP

Don’t let my shock of gray hair fool you: I struggle every day with looking grown up. More specifically, I struggle with looking similar to a grown woman instead of the surly nihilist constantly hunting for the nearest roller disco that I truly am. At 31, I still embody Britney’s Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman persona, whether I want to or not. I’m sure I’m not the only person finding themselves stuck between Charlotte Russe and Ann Taylor. Fashion in your thirties is a tough tightrope to walk and today, I want to walk it with you. Hold my hand though, ok? We’re in this together. 

I took this picture in the early evening. We really are in this together.

GET A DAMN SKIN ROUTINE

Everything in life that is of any importance is something we need to “start early” on, and skin care is no different. Also, side note: I hate this fact. I do not want to start early on anything. I want to be fashionably late and yes, that does include my 401K (not really, please girls make sure you’re enrolled). 

Not only will a skin routine actually help your skin and make you look healthier, it’s also really important for the grown up in your head. When you’re diligent with your skin routine, other good habits begin to fall into place. Like, I do my daily skin routine and then there’s this voice in my head whispering eat more fruit. Wow, what a life hack. Fruit and moisturizer? Get Britney back on the phone, we’re feeling lucky

BUY ANKLE PANTS, YA GROWN UP

Look, just do it, ok? Ankle dress pants are flattering for every body type, they are professional without looking like you work for a car dealership, and you can pair myriad shoes with them. Get a navy pair before you buy a black pair. Navy matches everything (except black), works great with every skin tone, and is just a more exciting base to build your grown up outfit on. 

More than the pants, though, is the overall look. Can’t afford designer brands? I have excellent news: no one can! That’s why it’s important to remember these key few rules when shopping fast fashion: 

THE RULES

You want to make sure your clothes fit. It sounds obvious, but it seriously is not. Make sure the material you’re buying isn’t too stretchy. For example, I bought a pair of navy ankle pants that would stretch so significantly in the first 15 minutes of wear that I would have the infamous saggy butt by the time I entered the office. Wearing clothes that truly, correctly fit makes an immeasurable positive difference in your wardrobe, even if your fashion choices are slightly off base for the season.

You also want to shop contemporary and yes – before you start moaning – this does involve looking into current fashion trends. Please do not get too discouraged – oftentimes, learning the latest trends is as simple as a two minute google search. You can ask – what jeans are in? How should I wear my hair? Honestly – it’s really easy. And when in doubt, just call yourself avant-garde and soak up the compliments. But let’s remember, at the end of the day…

COMB YOUR HAIR

Honestly, just comb your goddamn hair. I cannot stress this enough. Just fucking brush it. It’s the biggest difference in your appearance you can make. Thank me later.

IT’S ALL ABOUT CONFIDENCE

At the end of the day, the most important part of looking like a grown up is being comfortable in your own skin. If my tips and tricks don’t work for you, do not use them. Make sure you are always staying true to yourself! Unless, of course, that involves not brushing your hair. Seriously. Brush your hair. Oh my god. Love you!