Since graduating from college in 2005, I have lived in eight different apartments. For a while, each year meant a nicer, fanicer apartment in a better location. We were moving on up.

Literally.

We eventually had to take an elevator to our apartment.

In many of these apartments, a nice person in a black suit accepted packages on our behalf while I was busy getting an MFA in Creative Writing and pretending it was normal for writers to live in buildings where you can send out your dry cleaning. As you can probably imagine, luxury buildings in a major metropolitan city, with their sparkly appliances and hotel amenities like pools and gyms, can be pricey.

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I’m not one to buy cutesy crochet pillows with quaint sayings, so I wouldn’t be the first believe something like, “People come in and out your life when you need them most.” But just because I wouldn’t buy an ugly pillow from the discount bin at Home Goods doesn’t mean I wouldn’t buy into the message. Like most things in life, from learning how to get over breakups to figuring out to communicate about a girl’s first major bodily event (or in pillow terms, “the journey from girlhood to womanhood”), I learn from experience and not from pillows. In the case of the bodily events, I learned from the Cosby Show, and I guess you could say that’s no better than a pillow, but that’s really besides the point.

Inspirational-pillow-owners probably do not pose with old stoves on the street:

Occasionally you find that life has gotten in your way, and not only are you leading a life you kind of hate, but you’ve also become someone you don’t really like. I’m fairly certain that happens to us more than we care to admit. I’ll be the first to admit that it has happened to me. It was during this time – when I ate a lot of animals, bought many expensive designer purses, and lived a much more high-class life – that I also lost touch with a few people (often on purpose).

Becoming a vegan has taught me a lot of things, and I’m not going to extol the virtues of veganism here at length because I do that enough and we’ll get to it eventually. Simply put: veganism taught me that I’m responsible for my actions above all else. You don’t have to become a vegan to realize this of course. Yet it’s a steadfast consciousness about the food you eat that really solidifies that sense of responsibility. If I don’t make the decision to eat ethically, no one will for me. The same thing goes for other aspects of my life.

Go ahead. You might as well write that on a pillow: You are responsible for your own happiness. Your own life. Your own destiny.

Sure, it sounds precious, seems quaint, and I may have just gagged a bit. So what?  Continue reading »

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Most of my high school lunches were spent at the same rectangular table, with the same girls, eating the same lunch, drinking the same yellow Powerade. And it was because I’d wanted a group of girlfriends who would totally be in my wedding (they weren’t) that this lunchtime situation was ideal. I knew exactly where I fit in, even when I felt like I didn’t.

But life went on, as it tends to do, and things got tough, and I no longer have lunch with most of those girls. In fact, I don’t have lunch with many girls period. I went from being someone with a ton of friends to someone with a few really fantastic friends, and I much preferred it that way.

While I was evolving into this solo eater, someone was inventing Facebook just so I could see how many of my girlfriends of yore still lunched together. OK, I’ve seen The Social Network, and I get that my misery wasn’t the sole reason for its invention, but you gotta admit that the movie (even if it’s based on mashup of mostly fiction muddled with some fact) does sort of suggest that the pain of former relationships spawned Facebook and keeps it going. C’mon! You know you spend at least some (if not half, if not all) of your Facebook time stalking old friends, former lovers, or the can-you-believe-she-looks-like-that-ers? Continue reading »

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