tales of the orient: the great language debacle

I affixed my bike to the rack, my metal lock stiff in the cold, and tried to quell the butterflies dancing in my empty stomach. As an emotional eater, the fasting required by this particular excursion was proving challenging.

I wove between buildings and through the parking lot, following the little red dot on my navigation app. I trusted that it wouldn’t steer me wrong, in spite of all the times that trust was ultimately misplaced.

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I’ve never really been one for making New Year’s Resolutions, at least not of my own accord. Sure, I filled in those “My New Year’s Resolutions” worksheets in grade school with things like “I will be on time” or “I will stop procrastinating,” yet here I am, approaching 26, still a minimum of five minutes late for everything and still up till 4am the night before deadlines. Even the easiest of resolutions – “I will acquire as many velour tracksuits as possible,” ie. my goal for 2018 – seem doomed to fail. I’m exiting 2018 with the exact same number of velour tracksuits I had entering it, that is, two. Resolutions always seemed a little silly to me; time is an arbitrary concept with no real meaning outside human definition. If we really wanted to make a change, why wait for a specific day?

But this year, I’m determined to follow through. My 2019 New Year’s Resolution is to finally make peace with my body. 

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the time i accidentally went on a date with a 40-year-old

I know what you’re thinking; how does one “accidentally” go on a date with a 40-year-old? Well, children, I’m about to tell you. So grab your popcorn and gather ’round while I spin this sordid tale…

(Side note: It wasn’t actually that sordid, a word which means, as defined by the dictionary, “involving ignoble actions and motives; arousing moral distaste and contempt” or “dirty or squalid,” depending on context; “sordid tale” just has a nice ring to it.)

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an open letter to my former classmates

Dear classmates,

I’ve been wanting to write this for a long time. Yet, somehow, despite my love of angry words and yelling at and about men, I just couldn’t bring myself to put fingers to keyboard. And now, I’ve finally decided to throw caution to the wind. Especially in our post-Weinstein world, this conversation has never felt so necessary. So, as scared as I am to pen (pixelify?) these words, there’s no better time than the present to burn some high school bridges. Let’s dive right into the fire.

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an open letter to the random old man i passed on the street-corner one morning

Dear random old man I passed on the street-corner one morning,

The morning began like many others: I woke up, ruing the three glasses of wine and four gin and sodas I’d consumed the night before, not to mention the chicken nuggets I’d subsequently drunkenly shame-eaten in my bed. The empty ripped-apart McDonald’s bag lay on the floor, eliciting as much regret as a used condom beside a college girl’s bed the morning after a questionable Tinder date. I pulled myself together best I could and mentally prepared myself for the long day of peddling mediocre vegan food that lay ahead.

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an open letter to the human embodiment of a yeast infection

Dear human embodiment of a yeast infection,

Coming home after a long day at work to a party that isn’t yours is rarely ideal, and this particular Friday evening was no exception.  I arrived home from my shift selling mediocre vegan food to find my house filled with strangers.  I’d had enough interacting with strangers for one evening, so I promptly shut myself in my bedroom, ready to enjoy a wild night of folding laundry.

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the most awkward date ever

About a year ago, while hanging out with a friend of a friend, I was complaining about how emotionally exhausted I was by online dating and seeking romance in general.  She mentioned how she’d been speaking to a couple guys herself, and that she’d be happy to pass one along to me.  She gave me the guy’s number and let him know someone would be contacting him.  Thus began one of the most confusing experiences of my life.

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letters to my younger selves

Sometimes even I need a break from feminist rants and the horrors of the world.  Shocking, I know.  So, in light of this, I thought I’d copy the idea of a much greater blogger than I: Allie of Hyperbole and a Half.  In her 2013 book of the same name, one of the segments consists of her writing letters to her past selves of various ages to question their decisions and to offer advice.  It is hilarious.  Go read it now.

In the same vein, I thought I would also write letters to Past Sam, because Past Sam was pretty dumb and I question her motivations every day.  Not to say that Present Sam isn’t also kind of dumb, but I digress…

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in re: “trump won because leftist political correctness inspired terrifying backlash”

In the days since the Earth-shattering victory of sentient Cheeto Donald Trump in this year’s US presidential election, the swirl of, well…things happening has been constant.  Thinkpieces galore, Facebook and IRL friendships crumbling, protests, and the rise of hate crimes against racial minorities.  Overwhelming media and celebrity support made it seem like Hillary was a shoo-in for Prez.  Thus, many of us were left devastated and reeling from the results, leading us to all collectively shout, what the fuck happened?

Really, there’s a million and one reasons why Hillary missed the long overdue title of First Female President.  Sexism, racism, general bigotry, a (misguided, IMO) desire for someone outside the system to enter the system, the DNC shut-out of Bernie Sanders (side note: remember when we had an inkling of hope that Bernie might be our next president? Ah, the follies of early 2016), media that misled us to believe Hillary was going to win regardless so not voting or voting third party wouldn’t doom us to a Trump presidency…the list goes on.  But in the process of trying to untangle this very complicated web, one man places the blame almost solely on one thing: Political Correctness. Continue reading “in re: “trump won because leftist political correctness inspired terrifying backlash””

one year

Circa 2003, when denim maxi skirts were apparently all the rage.

One year ago today, we suffered the devastating loss of Deb Burr, studio director of The Dance Exchange and second mom to myself and dozens of other girls.

Deb, we think of you and miss you every day. It’s still so weird not to hear your hoots and hollers from backstage as your girls continue to kill it at every performance. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

But, because I know she’d tell us to stop crying about it if she were here, I wanted to share a couple of my personal Deb memories:

  • When I was 16, I borrowed someone else’s costume for my solo. It was at least a size too small and was thus incredibly unflattering, but I didn’t notice until I saw pictures of my performance from one of the competitions.  I looked like a stuffed sausage.  Horrified, I went out and bought something else to wear.  I told Deb that I’d gotten a new costume for myself because the original one made me look disgusting, and, immediately putting on her Protective Mom Voice, she demanded, “Who told you that?”  Deb was fully ready to clap whatever bitch called me fat.  Of course, I had called me fat, but I’ll always remember how she was ready to defend my honour at a moment’s notice.
  • My final year competing, to Deb’s exasperation, I insisted upon doing a musical theatre solo. The number required me to wear a floor-length feather tail.  Deb (and everyone else) knew that I was (and still am) incredibly clumsy, and she was skeptical that I would get through it unscathed.  Before I went on stage with it for the first time, she said, “Sam, don’t trip on your tail.”  I made it through the whole dance without tripping, and, feeling like the baddest bitch on the block, I hit my ending pose and strutted offstage.  I saw Deb cheering in the wing, ready to give me her customary post-performance hug.  About two steps away from the curtain, disaster struck.  I somehow caught one foot on the other and went tumbling forward, almost face-planting into the wing.  I just barely caught myself on my hands and knees.  I was momentarily horrified by what Deb would say, but I looked up to see her doubled over laughing.  I started laughing too as I crawled out of the wing, and she helped me up, both of us now teary-eyed with laughter.

These two memories demonstrate just a couple of the many wonderful facets of Deb; she was fiercely protective of her girls and her studio, and she was always good for a laugh.  She was tough on us at the studio, but as long as we tried our best in our performances, even if we bombed it, she was always still so proud.  She was passionate about her craft and her kids, and more than anything, she was one of the strongest women I’ve ever had the privilege to know.

Rest in peace, Dancin’ Deb.