Sometimes I think my life is funny.

Monday, April 17, 2017

30 things I am going to do before I'm 30

      1. Take 30 pictures with 30 giant animals
For no other reason than this sounds both challenging and fun. Statues, mascots, and real animals all count in my mind.

This would count. 

2. Give 30 $30 tips on bills that are less than $30
I come from a family where almost every person worked in the service industry. I remember eating breakfast at the restaurant my mom waitressed at before school every day. I know that people who serve others are often undervalued, and I’d like to make 30 people feel a bit more valued over the next year.

3. Find out if I have abs
Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you that I don’t believe in working out. I just don’t see the appeal. But as a girl who sits in a wheelchair all day long, I think it’d be nice to see abs instead of my beautiful food baby when I hit 30. Let’s see if I can make that happen!

*see first picture for example of my food baby as it is prominently displayed. 

4. Dress as a cat all day. Go in public.
We all know I am a cat. It’s time I be proud of my identity and show the world who I really am. Meow.

Like this. ALL. DAY. LONG. 

5. Go on vacation alone.
I travel alone all of the time for work. And I vacation with others pretty regularly. But the idea of vacationing alone makes me nervous. I like company. I also hate the idea of people stereotyping me as a poor “wheelchair girl” who couldn’t find a friend to vacation with her. But screw that. I have friends that I know would vacation with me. It’s time I be comfortable with me, and be comfortable with me in front of other people and stop caring if they’re judging me.

6. Karaoke Jagged Edge/Rev Run’s “Let’s Get Married”
Because, well, this has always been a dream of mine and it’s time to fulfill it.

7. Try 30 different burgers and rate them.
      *Bonus if I can get 30 different people to buy me the burgers.
My friend from high school suggested this because, if you’ve read this blog, you know I live for burgers. I’ve sat through some rough dates because I was committed to the burger I was eating. I think eating and rating 30 different burgers is a fantastic goal to meet before my 30th birthday. I am going to give myself bonus points if I can get 30 other people to buy me the burgers because the only thing that tastes better than a burger is a free burger!
8. Unplug for an entire day.
My life revolves around my email. I’m trying to stop that. When I’m not emailing, I’m taking pictures of my cats and posting them. While that might not be the worst way to spend my time, I’m hoping spending a day unplugged will help me to discover even better ways to spend my time.

9. Give 30 things away.
As the youngest of three kids, I always had hand me downs. As a result, now that I am an adult with a paycheck, I buy way too much just because I can. I own too much and I just don’t need it all. It’s time to share my cool stuff with others.

10. Spend a whole weekend with my mom
My family is not your typical sitcom family. Far from it. My mother and I haven’t always had the most loving relationship, but that’s no reason we can’t try to get to a good place now. I am going to spend a whole weekend with her and I am hoping we will both survive. First I need to convince her to do this with me…

Usually my sister is there if I'm hanging out with my mom. She serves as a great buffer. 

11. Bake something without a mix
We all know cooking is a struggle for me. As is baking. Once I made burnt raw cookies. I am determined that this is the year I am going to bake something without a recipe and have it come out at least slightly edible. I am hoping it will be pie.

12. Pay off 3 big debts
It would be nice to go into 30 with a little less debt. While I know I won’t be able to pay off my law school loans in a year, I am hoping I can tackle some smaller big debts, like my credit card or car. I think future Stephanie will appreciate this.

13. Do a headstand
I’ve just started hatha yoga. I thought yoga would help me find zen, but it’s also helping me find different ways to tangle my body. This lady on youtube makes headstands look like a typical afternoon activity (I’m looking at you, Leslie Fightmaster) and I’m over here falling all over my living room while my cats stare at me. I am going to do a headstand before I turn 30. Hopefully I’ll find my zen too.

Damn you Leslie. 

14. Keep a plant alive for 6 months
Every plant I’ve ever had has died a tragic death under my watch. If I’m ever going to have kids, I feel like I should start with keeping a plant alive for at least 6 months first, just to show I can keep something alive. I mean, I keep cats alive, but they’re pretty low maintenance. I imagine kids and plants are more needy than cats, so I’ll start with a plant. I am open to suggestions on hardy plants that can survive my travel schedule and general forgetful nature.

15. Build something
I don’t think I’m going to suddenly become a master craftsman and build a couch, but I’d like to build something with my hands. I don’t know what yet, but something.

16. Go to a bar alone
Just the thought of this is freaking me out. As I mentioned above, I have a fear of people judging me as a poor crip who has no friends. I need to stop caring so much about what people may be thinking. By the time I hit 30, I need to stop giving a fuck about what other people think of me. This is going to help me get there…I hope.

17. Take a class on something creative, like cooking or knitting
I used to have a creative side. I think it left in law school. I’m going to get it back by taking a class in something creative. Who knows, maybe I’ll make new friends in that class!

18. Learn a new skill and show it off on my 30th Birthday!
This was a suggestion from my niece’s mom and I really liked it. Maybe my new skill will be from a class. Maybe I’ll learn something on youtube. I don’t know. But I do know I am going to learn to do something awesome and show it off on my 30th birthday.

19. Complete 30 acts of kindness to show my appreciation for others
This was another suggestion from a friend (thanks Sarah!) and I love it. While I try to show others my appreciation, I think I can be more intentional about both being kind and showing my appreciation to others. I’m excited to get started on this one and hopefully brighten other people’s days!

20. Throw a dinner party
When I googled “30 under 30 goals” this came up on a ton of lists. Apparently people are really into dinner parties and I’m not sure why. At first I wasn’t going to add this to my list because (1) I can’t cook, and (2) I have a genuine fear that no one would show up if I invited them to a dinner party. I can’t keep avoiding things because I’m afraid of the outcome though, so I will be throwing a dinner party within the next year. Pizza rolls will likely be on the menu. Let me know if you want to come!

This is what a dinner party at my place looks like. 
21. Go to a country that I’ve never been to
I’ve been able to travel to many places throughout my life, and for that I count myself as very lucky. But why stop now? I’d like to fit in at least one more country I’ve never been to before. And then after I hit 30, I’d like to fit in even more!

22. Get a facial
This seems like a thing adults do. My best friend had a facial once and she said it was terrible and she felt like she couldn’t breathe. Others have told me they’re magical. I tend to believe my best friend over others, but I’m going to try it myself, if for no other reason than to confirm that my bestie is right.

23. Learn how to change a tire
I feel like this is the kind of basic skill I should have. I am going to learn. Hopefully I’ll never need this knowledge.

24. Buy a crop top. Wear it in public.
As previously discussed, I have a food baby and I’m more than slightly self conscious about it. I want to buy a crop top and have the confidence to wear it in public.

25. Cook a meal without a recipe and buy all the ingredients myself.
This goal was suggested by my sister and she has full confidence that I can do this one. I have been getting Home Chef for a few weeks and have been pretty successful with the meals they send, but my sister wants me to take it a step further by buying my own ingredients, measuring the ingredients myself, and not even using a recipe! Let’s see how this goes. I might just invite my sister for dinner when I attempt this one.

26. Learn to meditate without falling asleep.
I have tried meditating a few times since 2014, but I always end up just falling asleep. I’d like to be able to meditate without falling asleep, and perhaps this will help me on my quest to get my zen on.

27. Help someone else check off something on their list.
Whether it’s a 30 before 30 or 40 before 40 or just a general bucket list, I want to help someone else check something off their own list.

28. Make a list of 1095 things I am grateful for (or 3 things per day for 365 days!).
My life is full of so many wonderful cats, humans, and experiences. I have so much to be grateful for and I want to take the time to truly reflect on all that I appreciate in my life.

29. Go on an incredible 30th birthday best friend vacation.
My best friend and I go on an annual Best Friend Vacation, and it generally falls around our birthdays (mine in April, hers in May). For our 30th birthdays, we need to go ALL OUT. We’ve previously done a cruise from Miami to Mexico, an 8 day road trip in Ireland, and an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, so those will be hard to beat, but I think we can do it!

Katie and me in Punta Cana!
30. Throw a fabulous 30th birthday party!
Again with my fear that no one will show up to a party I throw. Let’s hope by 30 I get over this fear. Please keep April 21 and April 28 of 2018 open and plan on attending.

To keep myself on track, I plan to chronicle my quest to complete this list in this very blog. Please feel free to help me along my way or just pester me to keep me on track! Also feel free to attend my parties and buy me cheeseburgers J

Sunday, April 2, 2017

That Time I Went to an Old People Club & Remembered Why I Hate People

Hello there! It's been a while, and while I thought I might never revive this blog, due to the popular demand (and by "popular" I mean 3 people), I thought I'd try to bring this back to life. Let’s get a few things out of the way up front: this blog is not about a date and does not include any cheeseburgers. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but moreover, I’m sorry I didn’t get a cheeseburger.

Last week my amazing best friend, Katie, was stressed from work, and frankly, so was I. Then I went to D.C. for a protest in the middle of the week to fight against the American Health Care Act, and on that Friday the bill was pulled. So between the stress and the urgent need to celebrate a big win, my bestie and I decided we needed to go dancing.

Now, as a woman in a wheelchair, I need some space on the dance floor to bring out my good moves. For this reason, we automatically nixed all the clubs that allowed 18 year olds, because there’s nothing sexy about being smashed against other humans on a packed dance floor and feeling their sweat drip on you. Instead, we decided to go to what Katie described to me as “the old people club” called Taylors.

I figured we’d have plenty of space on the dance floor and no one would bother us because I assumed all the old guys there would be going for the old ladies. Awesome.

So I throw on my sparkle tights (yep, I have sparkle tights. More than one pair, actually!), and hit the club with my supermodel looking best friend. And I gotta be honest, it takes a lot of self confidence to dance next to Katie because she’s tall, gorgeous, and a great dancer. I’m short, slightly pudgy, and most of my dance moves come from the 80s and my Zumba class. So I break out my self-confidence and dance next to her. 

I wasn't kidding.
Here we are just casually chilling with parrots
and she looks like a supermodel
while I look like... well, not a supermodel. 

However, I had to take pause when we entered the club because I thought we had gone to a dance club, but it looked like we were in a strip club or an aerobics studio from all the mirrors on the walls. Even in my Zumba class I refuse to watch myself dance in the mirror because I’m painfully awkward and offbeat, so why the fuck would I want to watch myself pretend to be sexy while dancing to Pitbull at a club? I don’t.

This is the actual club. However, we did not get light up hula hoops.
That may have changed my opinions about the mirrors. 

But here’s where it gets weird: NO ONE ELSE THOUGHT THE MIRRORS WERE AWKWARD.

No, these girls were literally dancing with themselves in the mirror. A group of five women walked in the club together and instead of dancing in a circle with each other, THEY LINED UP AND DANCED WITH THEMSELVES IN THE MIRROR. Is this normal? Am I the only one that thinks it’s weird to dance with myself?

Whatever. I kept dancing because I wasn’t about to let these weirdos ruin my night of fun. I’m dancing and no one is going to stop me.

But then, people actually started stopping me.

One guy stopped me to tell me he likes my tights. Great bro, but I’m trying to dance here. Admire the sparkle tights from afar, k?

Then the next guy stops me to tell me he loves my red lips. Super, want to borrow my lip crayon? No? Then don’t interrupt me while I’m breaking out my sweet moves.

The next guy asks my friend if he can dance with me. She tells him to ask me. I tell him to fuck off because how dare he ask someone else if he can dance with me instead of asking me. He ignores my “fuck no” and grabs my hands and starts spinning me around like he knows what he’s doing, but every time I twirl, this winner forgets that he needs to move his damn feet and I roll over his toes. 

After 20 seconds, I cut the dance off. He leans over and gets really close to my ear just to yell “You’re a great dancer!!!” Thanks for yelling in my ear, good sir. “You could improve” I respond as I rolled to the dance floor in the next room to get away from him.

People, I’m just here to dance. I’m not here to dance with you, I’m here to dance. I’m certainly not here to TALK to you. I’m not giving these guys any “come hither” looks, in fact, I’m not looking at anyone! My eye level is basically at everyone’s crotch, so half the time I’m closing my eyes and dancing in my own world. If I look at anyone, it’s by accident when I get super excited about a good song and start swinging my head violently.

I cannot be more clear: I came here to dance! I am not here to get a man. If I wanted that, I would go on Tinder where I can quickly swipe left until I see a guy with a cat in his picture, and then finally swipe right.

100% right swipe. 

Despite the fact that I make no invitation for anyone to speak to me, a charming man comes up to me, puts his hands on my legs, and leans over to say “I wonder what you would look like if you weren’t hobbled.”

Now mind you, I've started yoga to get my Zen on, so instead of my natural response of flipping the fuck out, I simply said “That’s incredibly rude, get away from me." 

“It’s not rude! I just meant I thought this was a temporary thing and I want to know what you look like when you’re not like that” the charmer replied.

How many people with temporary disabilities have sparkling, hot pink wheelchairs? Seriously, I want to know. Also, do people really look much different when they’re standing v. sitting? Want to know what I would look like if I wasn’t in a chair? A short, semi pudgy girl with awkward dance moves and sparkle tights.

“Bye” I told him as I went back to dancing to what sounded like all the songs from the NOW! CD from 2000.

I thought that guy would be the winner of Douche of the Night, but no. I clearly underestimated the crowd.

Next a guy with a gold grill approaches me. My first thought was “Are grillz still a thing?” In his world they are. He asked to dance. I said no. He asks Katie to dance, shockingly, she says no. We continue to dance.

Does anyone in the world actually think this is attractive? 

Later, as Katie is off calling us a taxi, Grill Guy comes up to me and tries to hug me. I push him away. His friend comes up to me and says “He’s a good guy, I know him. And I want you to know that even though you’re in a wheelchair, I still think you’re human.”

Wait, even though I use a wheelchair, you still THINK I’m a human?

I didn't realize my status as a human was in jeopardy because I use a wheelchair. 

I have absolutely no patience for this shit, so I say “That’s so fucking rude, get away from me.”

Friend of Grillz pulls me back and says “I’M A GOOD GUY!” and then tries to enlist the people around him to vouch for his good-guyness. The people around him say “I don’t know you.”

So Friend of Grillz decides to grab me and pull me really close as I try to pry him off of me so he can shout in my war “ALL I’M SAYING IS IF YOU COULD GET OUT OF THAT CHAIR I WOULD FUCK YOU SO HARD!” Thankfully, that is when a group of women I don’t know pull this guy off of me and push him away.

Thankfully, that’s also the same time Katie finished calling us a cab and we left.

Abbreviated version:

Went to a club where I thought I would be able to dance uninterrupted. Ended up at a stripclub/aerobics studio where the DJ played his hottest NOW! CD’s from the early 2000’s most of the night. Even though I gave no indication to ANYONE that I wanted to be interrupted to dance or talk with another human, men kept interrupting me to tell me things that I didn’t want or need to hear, including confirming that even though I’m in a chair I’m still a human (thanks for that affirmation) and that IF I could get out of my chair, a completely creepy stranger would fuck me so hard. Awesome.

Lessons Learned:

1. No matter how much yoga I do, I still hate humans.
2. I don’t think it’s my fault I hate humans. Its humans' fault. 
3. Awkward dance moves and refusal to make eye contact will not prevent men from approaching me at stripclubs/aerobic studios.