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Why Sending Your Daughter To A Private All-Girls High School Isn’t The Absolute Worst Thing You Can Do For Her – But It’s Still Not That Great

29 Jul

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No one has had an “easy” high school experience, probably in the history of all people ever, but most notably for young women. As a previously-young woman, I can attest to the massive amounts of bullshittery that amasses in a girl’s adolescent years. I faced lots of personal image problems, academic inadequacies, social retardation, and many other common dilemmas that still face teenagers today. The plot twist? I attended an all-girls, private high school. It was a good fit for me, but only because it was hell on earth, and I knew I got to leave someday.

——

Community

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The only “community” experience I gained from high school was my experience in the community outside my school. I lived in the suburbs, but my school was in the city; and centrally located near two big college campuses. This lucky scenario landed me opportunities to get involved with museums, libraries, and cool local musicians. Actually, the community within the walls of the school was so unpleasant, it actually made me explore my other options more so than if I had been more comfortable at school. I didn’t take AP courses. I didn’t play soccer. I didn’t go to more than one Spanish club meeting. All the communities I tried to fit in with figured me out pretty quickly. I was so. Weird.

 

Community Service

A typical day.

                       A typical day.

I actually never realized this until just now, but my school never really did any community service. My youth group did, but it was based out of my hometown and had zero affiliation with my school. I think there was a club for service projects, but that generally meant going to the old folks’ home next door and having a “prom” for them, which generally freaked me out anyway. Most of the students’ volunteering efforts were put towards raising more money for the school. During my time there, they built a new cafeteria, a new gym, and started work on a new chapel. The cafeteria went from costing $3.00/day to “a la carte”, which meant you had to pay for everything on your tray individually. A full meal ended up costing about $7. I lived off of soft pretzels. 

And I have seen that new chapel, and it is ugly as hell.

 

Academics

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             U.S. Government 201

Freshman year, 2001, I was automatically enrolled into “Honors” English based on my entrance exam scores. After freshman year, I achieved lower than an A-, so I was bumped down to “Regular” English. After sophomore year, I was deemed “too smart” for “Regular” English, so I went back to “Honors” my junior year. And then – surprise! – I was back in “Regular” English for my senior year. This web of contradiction says very little about my academic prowess, and much more about the school’s standards for what “honorable” means. From what I can discern, it means more way more pointless work and more strict scoring. It has no bearing on comprehension, aptitude, or skill. The “Regular” classes were all cake-walks. The “Honors” classes held unrealistic standards. In neither situation did I feel like I was surrounded by like-minded individuals.

 

Makeup

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Lots of girls wore makeup in high school. It didn’t matter that we spent 80% of the day away from boys. If I didn’t wear makeup, the cool girls would be able to see my acne, and then they would torment me more than regularly. Even the uncool girls wore makeup. It was one of the only ways to express yourself outside of changing your hairstyle (within reasonable confines). It wasn’t until I graduated that I stopped wearing makeup, because once I was in the real world, I realized that nobody caked that shit on more than catholic schoolgirls. 

 

Uniforms

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In retrospect, uniforms made it really difficult to adapt to normal job attire later in life. I had to teach myself how to coordinate clothes together. I WISH the real world had a uniform. The only real thing uniforms in high school taught me was how to dress like a complete bum when not in school. 

 

Self-Esteem

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Some of my actual high school friends.

I was only trying to be different! In a private, single-gender school, being different is the last thing you wanna do. I wasn’t trying to cause problems. I wasn’t trying to stand out. I was just trying to figure out how to be myself! And yes, my high school environment did help with this; by making me realize that the only people who understood me were my very close friends. 

 

Lack of the Male Species

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We didn’t even get a real health class to teach us about sex. Our health class talked about goiters and used calipers to measure our BMIs. Boys were not extra-excited to us. Creepy, much-older, much dirtier boys were excited. The guys from our “sister” school were just as mentally fucked as the girls in our school. And shouldn’t all-female institutions be trying to disassociate themselves from things like “needing a male prom date”? Getting a date to the dance wasn’t easier because “the girl is the one asking”. In fact, it was much harder.

But don’t worry, guys! I made it out!

I did it!

                                              I did it!

Man, that was a great day.

-P

________________________

This is an article written in response to the “Thought Catalog” post, titled “Why Sending Your Daughter To A Private All-Girls High School Is One Of The Best Things You Can Do For Her”, written by Laura Lapham. 

Hitchbro: A reflection

23 Mar

Yesterday afternoon, as I browsed Reddit for mortician AMAs and stoner comics, I recalled the words of my friend Graham. Just last night, he excitedly told me about his recent and slightly-illegal adventure with HitchBro; the cross-country traveling redditor. According to the internet, HitchBro (Seth, IRL) was still hanging out in Pittsburgh and likely looking for sustenance, companionship and a nice couch to sleep on.

“OH MY GOD,” I thought, “I HAVE ALL OF THOSE THINGS!”. Without hesitation, I shot him a text inviting him to my office for a drink and conversation. Upon receipt of my text, I immediately got a call from him. The outright joy in the tone of his voice was a great indicator of the hours to come. I knew from the get-go that Seth (aka Dudebro and Dudemanbro) was relying entirely on the kindness of strangers for all of his vital necessities. This included, but was not limited to: friendly conversation, tourist information, someone to tell stories to, pizza, hygiene, etc.

No one should ever agree to house a traveler if they are not prepared to be slightly inconvenienced, which I am hardly ever prepared for. I’ve been lucky enough to live pretty comfortably the last several months. Honestly, a little too comfortably. I miss being out of my comfort zone. So when HitchBro reluctantly asked if I knew of a place he could crash for the night (while repeatedly assuring me it was okay if I could not), I happily offered my couch without hesitation!

Anyone who is willing to brave blind uncertainty for months at a time just to see the world is a good guy in my book. Upon out meeting, I grabbed cigarettes for us both — he prefers Marlboro Smooths because he’s classy. We hopped on the bus and made it to “Pittsburgh’s Little Italy” – Bloomfield – and arrived safely at my house.

Unfortunately I had a lot of cleaning to do in my room due to potential renters visiting the next day, so I felt bad telling HitchBro that I had to leave him alone for awhile. He didn’t care. All he needed was my wifi password and a stoop to sit on, which were both easily accessible.

I’m happy to say that I wasn’t inconvenienced by HitchBro in the slightest. He actually bought me a beer and shared lots of interesting stories and insights with me. I honestly feel like I got more out of the experience than he did! I got to dish about some Pittsburgh quirks and history, which I don’t get to do much these days without traveling myself.

I had plans to go to see some friends’ bands play down the street after we got some kickin’ buffalo chicken pizza, but HitchBro was feeling understandably exhausted and the bar scene was not his first choice for hangouts. I made sure he had everything he needed (directions to the bathroom, glass of water, cigarette lighter) before I departed to the bar by myself. I was only gone for about an hour, in which he grabbed a shower. I felt really bad because I didn’t have any towels for him 😦 but he managed to MacGyver it somehow.

In the spirit of sleepovers, I invited another friend back to my house after the show and we chilled with Dudebro – sorry, HITCHbro, I keep forgetting – for another hour or so before heading to bed. We were all equally exhausted. I left for work at about 8:30 this morning and my friend was conveniently headed in the same direction as Seth was to catch his Megabus, so I was able to leave my house knowing Dudemanbro would be safe and secure.

Housing a worldly (or east-coastly) traveler isn’t a daunting task unless you make it one. People often talk about their faith in humanity needing restoration, but it takes generosity and cooperation on both ends to work.

So please, take a chance on HitchBro if you get the chance. AND GODSPEED TO YOU, DUDE! 🙂

MAYBE I’M THE NEW MESSIAH

27 Feb

You get yourself a bottle and say “I don’t love anything anymore”.

20 Feb

2011: A Year in Pamview

30 Dec

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Pam’s Weird Lyfe year-end roundup! Whether you loved it or hated it, 2011 proved to be a monumental year for everybody in one way or another. Personally, I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet. Maybe I will by the end of this post – LET’S FIND OUT.

January 

Snow was actually on the ground. The Steelers went to the Super Bowl and embarrassed themselves. Cee Lo’s “Fuck You” was merely a viral sensation, and had not yet usurped itself into every facet of pop culture. I was giving piggy-back rides in Barnes & Noble.

weeeeee

January was boring.

February

I think I went to a Pens game. I also became obsessed with Shark Tank. That’s all. No picture necessary.

March

According to my Facebook timeline, I was very sick this month. Somehow I got to see Bomb The Music Industry in Cleveland. But most importantly, the world lost a really really great person, whom I miss very much—

Patrick

Patrick Gilbert

April

April was full of more punk rawk shows, Based God and really nice weather. Peoples became my official Favorite Restaurant. Koala T had his first solo show!! And many great times were had playing BATTLETOADS.

Battlejerks!

May 

Osama Bin Laden was killed, and it left many people feeling…okay? I guess? The Weird Paul Rock Band melted faces off of marathon runners at the break of dawn. Bushido Blade became the retro-game-of-choice (but NOT Bushido Blade 2), and Koala T released my favorite song ever (and it happens to mention Bushido Blade in it!). Suddenly, a wild Craigslist ad appeared! It used “ACQUIRE NEW APARTMENT”. It was super effective!!

Little Italy Haze

June

Summertime! My sights were set pretty high, and they were set on adventure. I told HR Screening Services to take their job and re-staff it. To celebrate, I went to two amazing shows – DEVO and PEELANDER-Z!!!

Peelander-Z

Taco-taco-taco-taco-taco-say yeah!!

July 

STARTED MY VERY AWESOME JOB on the very first day of this month. With a newfound confidence, I started hitting up local karaoke joints with friends. U-Hauls were at a premium, but we somehow managed to get Lily & Chris’s old couch into my apartment – much to the dismay of Street Elmo.

Elmo

D:

August

We all thought summer was coming to an end – who would have guessed it would stretch into December? “Lopez Tonight” got canceled and the world rejoiced. And MY BEST FRIEND GOT MARRIED.

Pam and Lily!

"Ah-ooooooooo!"

September

Many things happened this month, but none more important than my musical accomplishments! I wrote and recorded my first song, and played my very very very first show!

Like I give a fuck.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

October

Saw many hockey games, occupied some things, and dressed up like Fox McCloud for Halloween. Unfortunately, I accidently went “full-furry” and nobody thought my costume was cool. Only embarassing. I also went to the dentist for the first time in like 50 years!

Dentist

"I went to the dennnnnnntiiiist!"

November

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii turned tweeeeeeenty-fiiiiiiiiiiiive! But I still act like I’m 10!

 

December

Oh crap, I caught up with my present-day self. This is going to cause all kinds of space-time problems. Uh.

no need

Okay.

Happy 2012 everyone! 

If your life sucks say “hoooooo-ohhhh”

11 Aug

Look around you.

What do you see?

Interesting, interesting…now, what would you have been looking at if it were exactly one year ago today?

In my case, I was probably looking at this guy:

"You okay, dawg?"

But work-wise, I was definitely looking at this:

DONUTSSSSSSSSSSS

But when I look around today, I see  a lot of this:

Dahntahn

And my paycheck looks like this:

PAPER

And more often than not, I look like this:

:D

Just a reminder – IT GETS BETTER.

Time is a thing that happens daily

3 May

In elementary school, teachers were obsessed with the ideas of timelines. It felt like we were forever sketching timelines of famous peoples’ lives, or particularly interesting periods in history, or a day in the life of a pet. Personally, I never tried to apply that logic to my own life; at least, not beyond college.

Life didn’t exist beyond college, at least not in a realistic sense. I planned on marriage, kids, milestones or whatever, but not in any great detail. Or even a little detail. But as soon as I earned the last of my college credits, I had the strangest feeling. It’s like when Wile E. Coyote walks off the edge of a cliff, but doesn’t fall until he realizes where he is – a good five seconds after the fact.

In real life, my cliff was college. The five seconds felt more like…a year. I looked down, realized it was all over, and hilarity ensued.

Actually, it was poop for awhile. My first couple of months post-graduating were…less than enthused. Like the genius I’ve always been, I willingly agreed to work mornings at Dunkin’ Donuts. I lived in my parents’ attic. When I wasn’t pouring coffee, I was slouched in front of the computer in my pajamas, scouring the internet for anything that slightly resembled a job; personal assistant, dog-walker, freelance porn editor…on second thought, why did I never pursue freelance porn editor?!

But my life has made a major shift in that one year. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my past – a thing which I’ve held onto dearly for, well, forever. If I’ve ever snapped a photo of you and smiled, then you know that I have a hard time letting go of the past. If you’ve seen my ticket stub and random-box-of-memories collections, you know I have a really hard time letting go of the past. I want to remember everything exactly as it happened. As I’ve found, though, it seems like I’ve remembered a lot of unnecessary bullshit. Case in point:

The green-tiled floor looked like it was moving from how many dust bunnies had accumulated on it. They danced around with ease, thanks to the open windows behind me. It was the fourth grade, and I was sitting in class with my class and our teacher, Mrs. Strawoet. I sat, uncomfortably, in a stiff and prickly wooden chair while she lectured on about math or verbs or something. When all of a sudden…

“Mrs. Strawoet…”

An interruption. Finally, something to free me from this horribly boring and detestably lulling cl-

“…my nose is bleeding…”

EWWWWW. I switched my gaze to see a dark red stream of blood seeping from Sean Pierce’s left nostril. Fucking sick.

“Oh my! Children, just stay in your seats, we’ll take care of this,” Mrs. Strawoet so politely explained as she hurried Sean over to the garbage can. I guess the garbage can doubles as Nosebleed Station when you’re in the fourth grade.

The seconds ticked by like hours. How long does a nosebleed take to heal? Are they just going to stand there and wait for it to be done? I wonder if it’s just blood coming out, or maybe part of his BRAINS are coming out? I can just look in the garbage can when they’re done, just to make sure there’s no brains… man, I wish I could see that blood up close, though, like, right now. There’s gotta be brains or something worthwhile in there to make them freak out so much over this nosebleed. I just need an excuse to go up there…”

Without hesitation, I rolled up a piece of paper and stood up to toss it into the garbage can. I guess I just really wanted to be involved in all the commotion. What a mistake.

“PAM! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? DO YOU SERIOUSLY NEED TO THROW THAT AWAY RIGHT NOW? DON’T YOU SEE SEAN’S NOSE IS BLEEDING? GO SIT DOWN!”

For 15 years, that day has haunted me. Tons of things from my childhood haunt me. I was an idiot. Like this one time during a orchestra concert, when I put a bunch of little toys on my music stand because I had seen other little girls do it. Only they put one or two little trinkets on there. I put my entire Littlest Pet Shop collection on it. And of course, when I turned a page too quickly…

Oh, God...no...

Woopsie!

…my instructor was super-pissed. I can’t remember her name at the moment…Mrs…Scanley? Scanlon? Scantron? Oh well. Regardless, she screamed at me for awhile about embarrassing her and making a fool out of the whole production, yadda yadda yadda, and I never played a flute again!

Just kidding. THE POINT IS, no matter what has gone on in my life, however mortifying or life-ending it seemed at the time, I’m glad I’ve remembered it. I didn’t worry about my future when I was a kid. I’m not saying I don’t need to worry about it now, but I definitely don’t need to feel guilty for not worrying about it.

If I make minimum wage for the rest of my life, time will still exist.

If I never get married and never have a family, time will still exist.

Even if I die tomorrow in a deliciously-tragic ice cream accident; time will still exist. Life will go on. The world will be okay. The people I love and care about will be okay.

Meow!

C:

And that is why I’m not going to worry about it anymore.