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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. 

Sick like Nixon was sick

4 Jan

I woke up this morning to a familiar feeling. That tingly feeling in the back of your throat that can only mean one thing—

Miserable

My life is in shambles.

I’m getting sick.

Waking up to that feeling just ruined my whole day, which sucks because this is likely my last mostly-healthy day for awhile. Commence juice-drinking and vegetable-eating. Now I’m halfway through my day, and the right side of my throat is all tender and swollen. Soon, cigarettes will taste worse than they ever have. Every meal will be an accomplishment. I’ll lay in bed, sweaty and delirious, wondering how I ended up in this sad state.

Every time I’m sick, I inevitably make some kind of pledge to myself about how I will never take my health for granted again! I will run and jump and dance and do everything I’ve always wanted, all day, everyday, forever. This persists for several days.

Cat Doctors

I wish I had cat doctors.

Then, I will be miraculously cured! And I won’t even remember how sick I was – which makes me wonder if trying to stop this sickness is even worth it. I kind of hate orange juice, anyway.

In other news, here’s how I spent my New Year’s Eve:

NYE pile

Not pictured: Giant bag of gluten

This may not look like much to you, but this pile of debris took nearly FORTY minutes and FIVE people to create. It also took a lot of music and screaming and beer and stuff. But I think it made for a pretty good last-minute offering to the Mayan gods of 2012.

Hm. I have some other recent moblie goodies, too – like this awesome rainbow!

Rainbow Connection!

Ooooo!

I could actually see the beginning and end of this giant rainbow – the end was down in Oakland. Hard to capture on a cell phone camera but I think a managed to get a decent shot. And here’s an even OLDER picture:

birthday

Thanks, mom!

The prettiest cake I ever did have! Only took me 25 years to get it.

Alright, I’m done.

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! 

There’s always a Dorito cooler than you

15 Dec

When you work downtown, it’s easy to get caught up in all the popular lunch spots around you. Even though Pittsburgh isn’t as much of a multicultural melting-pot as city council would like you to believe (you can’t even find decent bean thread dishes, COME ON) there are plenty of options to suit your fancy on any given day – Thai, Indian, Chinese, Greek, Mexican, Cajun, fast food atrocities, and plenty of diners. However, the daily $8.00-$15.00 holes being put in my bank account have drawn me to spend my lunch hours at the nearby arcade. I play pinball. I love it. But it results in a somewhat un-stellar diet.

Today, lunch was Cool Ranch Doritos and a donut.

When approaching this topic, I thought for a moment – “Wait, weren’t these called Cool-er Ranch? Am I crazy?”. A quick Google search was in order.

Cool? Cool-er?

Present-Day Doritos

As far as the internet can tell, ranch Doritos were originally “Cooler” – cooler than what? Nobody knows. But at some point the recipe was altered in order to save costs on ingredients. So as to not confuse distributors, the name was slightly altered. That is a pretty good theory. But I will always think of them as way, way “Cooler” than any other Dorito.

Coolest Doritos

"Cooler Ranch" of the past

Times, they are a-changin’. Check out this other cool picture I found of Doritos.

Dorito Beach

I can't tell if these people are trying to clean the beach or are just hungry.

The end.

P.S. The donut was very good, too.

A thing called “love”, not the one by The Darkness

6 Dec

What is it, exactly, about love? Why is love so special? Why does it seem to dominate my entire life?

Every moment of every day, I’m contemplating what I love the most. Like, “What restaurant am I most passionate about today?” or “Those flowers are okay, but I don’t love them.”

I cover my bedroom in little plastic hearts, and fill my headphones with quirky ballads about love gone sour. My life demands passion in everything I do.  So doesn’t it make sense that I’ve spent my whole adult life focused on relationships? Is that a bad thing?

:D

I love love love to love love you, love.

Lots of people have tried to define “love”, with little success. Webster’s defines “love” as “a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” There’s also stupid stuff on Facebook, like this:

ugh

Oh my God, shut up.

Whatever. The point is, love is great. I love being in love. Love makes people happy. I love being around people and places and things that I love.  And when I do things, it is always with the most amount of love possible. If you have ever sampled my peanut-butter-chocolate-thumbprint cookies, then you already know this.

The problem these days is that I’m in love with somebody who can’t decide if they want to be “with” me or not. And if I love myself at all, I should really quit holding on to this hope that he’ll love me back. In the same way that I love him. How long can I wait? Is it worth it? Was deleting my OkCupid account the best decision I ever made, or the worst? So many questions left unanswered. And so on a cold, foggy Tuesday night, my brain feels the same –cold, foggy.

dululululululdulululudululu

TIME FOR A FLASHBACK - DULULULULU

“I really like Dru a lot. He’s a flirty guy that could pick up any girl he wanted. I’m too insecure to ask for Splenda in my latte, because I don’t want the barista to get annoyed with me. In every other way, though, we’re a perfect match. He’s a sweet, loving and gentle person – would do just about anything for anybody if they really needed it. But he also has the alter-ego of a jerk, which just makes me more enamored. He’s a good listener, but he also can talk for a really long time about video games and doesn’t get pissed if I just say “mmmhmmm” and kiss him. He’s super smart, but not above anybody. He’s got the most cuddleable body and he’s sexy and his arms are just the nicest. He’s also in a pretty fucking talented band and has impeccable taste in music. He’s great.

I’m so worried I’m going to fuck this up somehow.” – LiveJournal, 7/25/10

OBSESS MUCH?

Okay, shut up, shut up. You know how I know I’m not a hopeless romantic?

Because all I’ve done for the last year-and-a-half is hope that I’m wrong about this. Hoping is all I have now. What else do I have?

Well, I still have my weird lyfe. I love it a whole lot. I have my friends. I have cats. I have those frozen Pepperidge Farm multi-layer cakes. Life will be okay regardless of if this man loves me back or not. But dammit, I don’t know if I’ll ever quit lovin’ him back. Ugh. Maybe I will just consult the internet on what I should do…

…fucking nevermind.

Pams are pretty!

3 May

ATTENTION: EVERYONE

 The year is 2011. Two-thousand-and-eleven. Twenty-eleven. Twenty-aught-eleven. Whatever way you pronounce it, it is the future! I am 24 years old (I originally typed “23”, and had to think about it for a minute; is this a sign of aging?) and livin’ this big ole’ weird lyfe to the fullest extent. I wake up every morning, look at myself in the mirror and say “Whoa! Look at you! You’re the prettiest lady!” just like the rest of you. Right, ladies? Right?

Ooh la la!

I'm the prettiest of ladies.

I wish it were that easy. Like a lot of women, unfortunately, I am more inclined to to look in the mirror and see –

”]”]Gwaaaah!(Damn it, even the model in the “ugly” picture is pretty.)

But sometimes I just feel like the ugliest girl in the whole world! Please hold your “you’re beautiful”s and “shut up, Pam”s until the end of the post. I know a lot of people feel the same way, probably more frequently than I do, so in no way is this a cry for people to tell me how gorgeous I am. Which I am. I’m the prettiest princess.

As if I’m the first person to say this – society/culture/friends/assholes are constantly setting people up to feel crappy about themselves. It’s not always intentional; actually, it usually isn’t intentional at all. Like when a co-worker says something about “well, that’s just the way you’re built!” or if a little kid asks what’s all over your face – never intentional. But people, like Pams, can be sensitive to statements about their appearance. Probably because they feel like their appearance has defined who they are their entire lives.

And in a lot of ways, I do feel like that. What’s more important than what someone looks like?

When you really think about it…there’s a whole lot that’s more important. Unless you’re trying to identify a body, there’s really no reason to absolutely know and examine how someone looks. I’ve spent my entire adult (and most of my adolescent) life comparing myself to the gorgeous girls who effortlessly have perfect complexions and can slip into weird tube top dress things. And then, something amazing happened.

I met this really really gorgeous girl. She took my breath away the first time I met her, honestly. Every time I saw her subsequently, it was like being in the same room as a movie star – I was being pretty gay about the whole thing.

My friends agreed. “Yeah, dude, she’s THE HOTTEST GIRL IN THE WUUUUURLD” [sic] they would sing! But as it turns out…

*cricket chirp*

…they don’t care. Nobody cares. My boyfriend doesn’t care. My JJ doesn’t care. You know what really matters in life? Being secure enough in the looks your parents gave to you, to the point that you can operate on a daily basis without thinking you’re a fat piece of, well, gross stuff.

Having friends that actually care about you is important!

(And I have one million of them!)

Spending time on things other than your looks is important!

(This includes actions and thoughts!)

Exploring more hobbies than naked hula hooping is important!

(Actually a real hobby, so I’ve found!)

This might sound like a lecture to you, but it’s really just a lecture to me. So that I stop worrying about my looks all the time 😀

I AM A PRETTY PAM.

temporary tatz

Even when I'm making this dumb face.


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.