This year, I rang in the New Year at a pub called Pour House (probably some sort of a sign).
I took a weekend class on Tarentino, built a bar out of snow and saw a friend nearly break his neck expressing himself on ecstasy some Sunday afternoon. I saw Swedish House Mafia from 100 stories up at the Barclays Center less than a week before boarding a plane to Puerto Rico, leaving my morals behind at a bar called El Taquito and going straight from JFK to NYC for Saint Patrick’s day on three hours of sleep, a hangover and a prayer.
I graduated college. I found a job. I got my press pass.
I made it to 22 and Chicago, though one Ohio local and a deer on its back almost stopped us from making it home. My boy friends twerked over the Windy City skyline and I made out with a townie. I washed Pineapple-infused-vodka-induced vomit out of the hair of a stranger before celebrating a bartender’s birthday/becoming friends for life through thick, thin and Everclear.
It was the summer of dollar pizza, 35 cent checking account balances, Third Eye Blind and Brendan sleeping on my stoop in a beach-chair.
I lost my best friend in the fall but, since then, have strengthened every other tie holding together this caricature of normalcy. I found solace in the friends, family and strangers that celebrated her taste for Coors, perms and chicken pot-pies with me.
We’ll welcome our group’s first baby this February.
I spent Halloween dressed as a bottle of Fireball and welcomed the winter by inviting someone I met on OKCupid to “meet me at the Ratchet Pussy Party” (a totally real, semi-threatening annual event we attend for the story). He came. He saw. He deleted my number as I remained remorseful and surprisingly sweaty, trapped behind the barricade as he looked for me. We never got in (and we haven’t spoken since).
I signed a lease and dove headfirst into living with two straight guys above a store-for-rent. I’m making lists, drawing maps, clipping coupons and buying mouse traps. We move in New Year’s day.
I finally started a blog and sat back in awe as it harvested views in Paraguay, Honduras, Germany and India. I gained 30 followers that aren’t my friends and only lost one (probably for posting about Molly, masturbation and KFC). I came up with a name for the book I’ll start writing this New Year — just one long-term goal amidst 24 short-term ones I’ll likely give up mid-March. Take each one with a grain of salt as this commitment-phobe throws back a shot of tequila for every failed attempt at the following:
- I will not hit snooze and sacrifice a shower for ten more minutes of sleep.
- I will not leave the house with wet hair unless our Con-Ed bill is overdue.
- I will not touch my friends’ tits (unless they ask me to).
- I will not opt for the $8.99 shampoo because it’s prettier and/or coconut when there’s a two-in-one conditioner/shampoo on sale for $3.99.
- I will not Google Maps the nearest Chipotle every time I’m in the city.
- I will not stare so hard at children on the subway.
- I will not Snapchat my ex and/or mass Snapchat just because I went the extra mile and did my makeup on a Monday.
- I will not laugh at Craigslist Missed Connections because, one day, it will happen to me and I will cry/write/obsess about it for months.
- I will not backslide/throw myself at my ex in front of our mutual friends.
- I will call out that guy at the bar for the “just passing by” lower back graze.
- I will not make sandwiches because I’m bored.
- I will read the books I buy and not just use them as bookends for older books.
- I will say more to men I meet than “hello” and “I like your watch.”
- I will not text anymore strangers to “meet me at the Ratchet Pussy Party.”
- I will swallow my pride and buy an unlimited Metrocard instead of throwing tens at the machine once a week like its a stripper.
- I will eat more apples and less cake.
- I will still eat some cake (and stop playing with the fat on my face).
- I will not scowl at every engagement Instagram. Only some of them.
- I will choose Netflix over Bowflex only once a week.
- I will not drunk-cry unless seriously provoked or someone mentions Castaway.
- I will do things when I say I’m going to do them (like laundry or the gynecologist).
- I will only eat pie during the holiday season and/or if I ever get fired.
- I will not hail a cab. I will not hail a cab. I WILL NOT HAIL A CAB.
- I will do more. I will sleep less. I will not be a pussy.
Special shout-out to all the people still willing to be photographed with me.
To another year, with or without a filter.
I wonder if my mom had made it if I’d ever let her read my blog. Sure, my entire extended family reads it (thank you, Facebook) but there’s something about me grappling with my own sexuality and temperament that says she wouldn’t approve (or at least be fairly itchy). I’m not sure I would’ve wanted her to know I lost my virginity at eighteen under the influence of Bud Light to a playlist of the Used and Lost Prophets, years later to learn that the Prophets’ lead singer would be arrested for baby rape. Literally. Baby rape.
Then there’s my dad.
Luckily, he was around for my teenage-dating prime. Long, romantic walks home from drinking Mike’s Hard in the park at 9 p.m. Late night calls on house phones about MySpace and math class. Saying “I love you” and only thinking we meant it. He survived my first two break-ups and the corresponding weeks of wailing that came from the bedroom next-door only to wonder why none of my guy friends played any sports but nearly all of them played the guitar.
Mom was around for more of those but I eventually spared her the monotonous details (and breakup playlists feat. Taking Back Sunday). Five years later, I’m sure that the two of them wouldn’t want to read about the soon-to-be-convicted child rapist that set the stage for years of awkward sexual encounters and I’m certain my father wouldn’t appreciate my (very public) call-to-arms for eye contact post-one-night-stand.
Which leads me to wonder, what’s on the other side and what’s the view like from their window? Can they see me sleep through six alarms?
Can they see me masturbate? Did dad tell mom about that time I took the last train out of New Rochelle to take Molly at a club in a blizzard? Hi, family. Sorry about that. Can they see me well up somewhere on the subway because it’s raining and Bon Iver is playing? Can they see me sleep in beds with boys and steal their socks?
Can they read this?
Is there wi-fi in heaven and do they have the password? Let’s assume there is, they do and Jesus taught them how to type.
Hey guys. It’s me, Meaghan.
Sorry in advance for wearing the clothes you wore seriously in the 80’s to future ugly sweater parties. Sorry I get too drunk sometimes and spend half my paycheck on Starbucks. Sorry it took so long to clean out the house and for leaving the cat’s ashes behind by mistake. Don’t worry, we went back for them. They rode shotgun of mom’s shopping cart home in the rain Monday night.
Sorry I post about sex and drugs and Bud Light Platinum so much. I’ll try to write more about work and assignments and that time I got to see the president speak at P-TECH.
Michael, Neil and I just signed our first lease. I’m not counting college because you held my hand and paid my rent/bar tabs. Mom would remember Michael. He bummed cigarettes on Saint Patrick’s Day and sent texts you tried hard to understand like “Cannon” and “Swag.”
Dad, they don’t play sports but they’re definitely in a band.
I think you’d like the place. Both of you. Can you see it up there/can you make sure the Egyptian family is out by the first? I hope you had front-row seats to the lease-signing. The management company hasn’t redecorated since ’75, Neil rang six doorbells that weren’t really doorbells and Michael accidentally awoke a sleeping parrot whose cage was draped by a 101 Dalmatians comforter.
I’d say it went well.
Now that I’m an adult with an apartment and a credit score, who knows what 2014 will bring (besides probably mice). I’ll be sure to write about move-in and housewarming and what happens when we drink all the free wine our friends bring us. I’ll write about the new year and our new neighbors but most importantly, I’ll keep writing.
For my reader in Azerbaijan, and for you.
The young adult you (somehow) raised.
P.S. Are there KFCs in heaven and do they still sell boneless BBQ wings?
“Currently doing snow angels in my bed to Chariot by Gavin DeGraw.”
“Taking that as a yes”
“If I had a choice of you puking on my lap every morning this year rather
than not being in bonerville with me I’d prab do it”
“I will lick you soon.”
“Oh perfect six hours of sleep thanks meg you inconsiderate floozy.
God writers are so inconsiderate”
“I told a big black bouncer to go fist himself”
En route to Santacon:
“Denis said to look for him he’ll be wearing a Santa suit”
“I’d rather meet a loose woman with commitment issues at a bar than a psycho
Christian bitch who kills abortion clinicians online.”
“I recently discovered my spirit animal: Bill Cosby”
“What kind of outfit says ‘I’m actually ok'”
“PA RUM PA PUM WASTED”
“‘U wana fuck?’ Uh like at least throw me a second n in the wanna I feel like a degenerate”
“Have some respect for my vagina”
“by myself spexs puzzeria about t o go to specsbecause im vial”
“We’re center empty dance floor”
“COMING. LIKE NOW”
“What song is playing”
“Picture this: attempting to break down the door with a loko in one hand and a knife in the other, as jameson vomits in the bathroom, katies having a crisis and hearing the police bang on the door above breaking up the party my friends are in, all while denis ryan and brendan are jumping from a fire escape. the most bizarre five minutes of my life. Then your neighbor had water running from under the door as I was leaving and alessia walks out in the middle of all of this, horrified at everything going on around her”
Live from Lollapalooza, 9:57 p.m.:
“my phone is going to or I’m in single fdigts and next to the perry’s sign on the curb”
“Bacc we Are the worst”
“Me and my first-grade class”
I almost used this platform to post a video produced in January of 2009 complete with Comic Sans, Sum 41 and Smirnoff Ice. Instead, I went with a more recent project that actually means something to me (aw, feelings). Cheers to public debauchery, flipping each other off and (somehow) never getting arrested.
Special shout-out to my bangs, Beatles bag and leg cast. Extra special shout-out to Eddie’s flip-phone.
Check out this killer digital collage print my girlfriend made out of my old MRIs and X-Rays.
Who knew something worthwhile would come from jumping feet-first into a three-foot pool, underage drinking a handle of Svedka and spending senior year of high school in a wheelchair. Click here to see more insides of people/crazy good art/her pretty face.
“Luv ya, myself” gets me every time (and I have no idea who Rita is).
Sunday night, my childhood friend-turned-college friend-turned-forever friend and I rode the subway home from a weekend spent keeping up with college. Revisiting our old stomping grounds and senior friends coming up on their last semesters, we were met by rain, snow and shame as everyone around us celebrated some semi-formal/the last full weekend before finals. We, on the other (old) hand, were just basking in a much-needed break from the “real world” and Fireball’s year-long reign as Iona’s drink of choice.
Somewhere in between the Danza Kuduro dining room dance session, a shot of rum/paint-thinner from somewhere un-American and two visits from the cops (one of which placed more cops in the house than there were actual people), we felt at home. Sure, it hurts a little more waking up on a couch at 22 with just your jacket as a blanket but at least we weren’t this guy:
Reminiscent of October’s Homecoming blackout, we spent the weekend double-fisting Bud Light Platinums and mixed drinks that dance along the line of legal limits, Saturday morning reserved for bougie brunch. We pieced together our Fridays sipping sangria as Shannon told us all about the throat she said she’d slit and the girl who called her basic by calling out her center-part. That night we took an oath to be the oldest in the bar (not counting the townies), put our backs against the rape-wall and danced like the world was ending. Unlike Homecoming’s 4 a.m. phone-in order to the diner from bed and the barefoot trip out the door, in the car and up the stairs into the diner that followed, I ended up housing a cold slice of Specs pizza while a townie two tables down called us poor.
“Yo, we’re fighting about hopscotch here,” said one random to our complete confusion and Ryan’s complete lack of self-restraint. We were busy having our own fight about a Jamaican beef patty.
The weekend gets weirder.
Rewind to Friday, post-drunken family photos at the first bar, mid-bathroom trip at the second as we’re scolded by our favorite bartender for breaking her number one rule about bathrooms.
“NO MORE THAN ONE IN THE BATHROOM AT A TIME,” she yelled six or seven times, my girlfriend’s ass still pants-down and firmly planted on the seat – door wide open. Like a disappointed parent, she promised she still loved us and swore she’d never send us packing. We were given a “get out of jail free” card so she could see how far she could push our livers, Instagram our reckless rendition of “American Pie” and ban Brendan for (likely) life. What started as a pregame-party called “family cookies” with one too many games of “Fuck You Pyramid feat. wine” (everyone fucking Jen) had led us here — and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. This was a signature senior Saturday with friends turned family (best friend-bartender/seductress Silkie included).
We left long before closing time but friends that braved the bar a little longer say her parting words at 3 a.m. were, “You know, one pubic hair is stronger than the Brooklyn Bridge.”
They all agreed and called a cab. They’ll be back next Saturday.
Fast forward to Sunday night, my girlfriend and I en route to reality. The R-train doors opened wide at Atlantic Avenue as we silently regrouped to welcome a wary train guitarist with dirty hair and perfect timing. Cue the acoustic cover of Green Day’s “Time of Your Life.” We looked up, glancing first at him, then at each other. We broke our five-stop silence only to ask, “Is he fucking kidding?”
Originally published by IonianNews.com on December 5, 2012. One year and one day later, these life lessons still strongly apply (although I’d also suggest wearing flats to senior formal).
Mazel tov, high school is over. Somehow you managed to make it four long years in gray man-pants and itchy knee socks. Congratulations, you survived an all girls’ high school and years of awkward pre and post-pubescence. Now you’re off to college.
It’s early August and in a few days your six or so bags will be drastically over-packed and you’ll be en route to New Rochelle. Don’t be scared. It looks a lot like Brooklyn, minus the brownstone stoops and the ethnic dollar stores. The streets aren’t numbered so just remember Chauncey comes before Coligni and if you hit KFC, you’ve gone too far.
You over-packed because you’re overcompensating for years of uniform. Don’t worry; you’ll get the hang of dressing yourself—and your roommate is on her way from Albany with a full-sized wardrobe.
That same roommate will become your sister and you’ll be forever thankful your childhood best friend chose Iona too. The suite of three you’re placed with freshman year will quickly evolve into a pack of ten girls you brave sketchy frat parties with and call your best friends. You’re going to fight about cleaning and clothes and things that don’t matter, but you’re going to love each other unconditionally. Try not to let that fight you have over Red Mango get to you. They’re still your best friends come senior year (and everyone ends up fitting in the car).
Take your finals seriously, especially second semester. Your first-semester grades are going to scare the living hell out of you. Consider this a lesson learned that studying doesn’t equal up to the amount of trips you take to Deli Mart in a one-hour cram session. Be grateful. Deli Mart won’t be 24-hours forever.
You’re going to get an awful haircut prompted by a boy across the hall telling you “you won’t.” Try not to panic. It grows in pretty nicely. Remember not to jump at every “you won’t” because sometimes you just shouldn’t.
Sophomore year you will date a nice, tall boy on the Pipe Band and you will fall head over heels in lust and love. He’ll introduce you to new music, the movie “Elf” and his family. Brace yourself. You will break up, think the world is ending and sit back and watch as all of your roommates fall in love and stuff. You’ll find refuge in the school’s gym you never really knew was there and you’ll write more. You’ll find a new love in yourself (and Verizon DVR).
You will make it to 21, and you will be happy. You’ll meet plenty of boys and make more friends than you know what to do with.
When you’re 20, I’ll thank you for never going to Tropicana. There will be one night you almost go but you’ll be halted by a $40 cover charge because the “Jay Z of mariachi bands” is playing. The friend you’re with will try to haggle the bouncer but he’ll lose with only half the shame you felt agreeing to go to Tropicana in the first place.
I’ll also thank you for never dropping out, setting fire to your apartment or losing your debit card. You will chip your front tooth at Beechmont and run out of off-campus money every single semester.
Call your mom. Every day. She misses you and she misses dad. Sophomore year, she’ll learn to text. Look past the all-caps, she gets the hang of it junior year. Save her voicemails and always say you love her more.
Don’t forget your Brooklyn roots. People are going to ask you if you’ve ever shot a gun and why you don’t sound like Steve Buscemi. That will keep happening. Chin up, you’re in Westchester now.
Remember your friends back home. They’re the ones who loved you even when your hair was pink and you quit Girl Scouts to pursue your “acting career.”
Most importantly, keep writing. That pit in your stomach when you declare your journalism major will disappear once you see your name in print. You want to spend your life writing, trust me on this one.
The next four years will be spent questioning your talents, your religion and yourself. Trust your instincts. Take a mental health day, or week when you need to. Befriend the boys across the hall. Go on scavenger hunts and take late night trips to the diner. Miss the 1:52 train and sleep on the floor of Grand Central Station.
Make it count. You’ll be fine.
Because the Internet said so. According to Shapeways, this hip conversation piece comes in sizes “little sad” and “itty bitty sad.” Both promise to be equally upset.
Also this R2-D2 Soy Sauce Dispenser.
Amidst the papers, the photos, the holiday themed snow globes and a lone Hilary Duff caricature, my childhood home left behind a bevy of sentimental offerings when the second of my two parents passed away. From birthday cards and divorce papers to love notes — handwritten on computer paper from one parent to another, not a stone was left uncovered and not another memory told to wait ’till I’m older.
Buried five feet below full sets of golf clubs, high-end sports coats and unwrapped pleural catheters was one department store envelope of developed disposables. Inside that silver sleeve were 30-something photos taken from the floor of Ground Zero on (what I can only assume were) the days, weeks and months following 9/11. I can only figure that my father was the man behind the $13 dollar lens, but I never got the chance to ask.*
Butchie, as all of the borough knew (and loved) him, was one of thousands of iron-workers willingly placed in the line of duty that day. Scared of snakes but not of heights, Butchie was forever grateful to serve Brooklyn Locals 40 and 361 (as long as he could still get his 18 holes in on Sunday). But for the days, weeks and months following 9/11, tee-off waited. Day in and day out, my father pulled from rubble twice, three times and ten times his size, looking for bodies. Looking for the floor. Looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Just 12, I never stopped to ask about it and, even in the years that followed, I rarely even stopped to think about it.
And yet, I still remember what I saw that day.
I saw a classmate, peering out from our fifth floor window at the New York City skyline, instead of at his SIMS math test. I saw teachers fight to keep their composure and students choke back tears as they discerned that this classmate wasn’t crying wolf. I saw the panic in my mother’s eyes as she struggled to keep tabs on my father (though, only years later would it truly register). I saw the aftermath from the old-school television set in my upstairs bedroom, my best friend to my right and her younger sister to my left. I saw that same friend’s mother hold mine in her arms, both with one eye on the cordless phone.
I didn’t see dad ’till the next morning and, only years later would I know just how much he saw.
It was this very day and the x number of months to come that left my father gasping for air and draining his lungs anywhere from two to four times a day. It was his work at Ground Zero that left him clinging to life just seven years later. Like thousands in his shoes (or beat up work-boots, rather), he succumbed to asbestos-triggered Mesothelioma in August of 2008.
If I’ve learned anything in the years since 9/11 (seven of them I was lucky enough to still have my father for), it’s the weight of an “I love you,” and the importance of “How was your day?”
Also, that he wouldn’t have regretted a thing.
* From what I remember, photography was never his forte. If anybody has any additional information about these photos or the people in them, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also featured on Huffington Post Women