A Glee binge was just what I needed.

I spent an unreasonable amount of time last weekend sobbing on the couch.

I watched Glee as a casual fan, catching it here and there and basically losing interest when it got super weird in Season 5.

But the news of Naya Rivera’s death last week sent me on a downward spiral bingeing every episode of Santana Lopez’s coming out story. I was already in my thirties at the time, but I recognized how significant Santana’s storyline was for people half my age—my coming out timeline was peppered with pioneering roles by Ellen DeGeneres, Alyson Hannigan and Karyn Dwyer.

Lesbian Latina characters did not exist on prime-time, network television until Naya Rivera played one. It was 2010. Glee always leaned hard into humor—and Santana’s quips are some of the best—but Rivera was honest and nuanced with a role originally intended to be nothing more than the mean, slutty cheerleader in the back of the choir room. She seemed to know how big of a deal it was to get it right. She knew how much it mattered.

Honestly, I hadn’t thought about Glee or Santana Lopez or Naya Rivera since the show ended in 2015. I didn’t think about it all that much when it was on the air. But for some reason, I felt compelled to cry on the couch for hours, fast-forwarding to get to the sad parts, grieving three actors who lives ended tragically and at a young age. If I had to fashion a guess why, I think watching fictional teenagers with their whole lives ahead of them understand themselves and the world through Adele mash-ups and Fleetwood Mac hits somehow gave me a concrete (if not super productive) way to process all the trauma in the world right now.

Mourning Naya Rivera felt uncomplicated and allowed me to shut out the world for a little while. Somewhere in America, there’s a teenage girl sitting in her room wondering if she’s gay. She’s just as consumed by it and confused as I was a couple decades ago. I had the luxury of coming out in a world that wasn’t on Facebook. I don’t have to grapple with my identity while simultaneously grieving the loss of 140,000 Americans, and counting, as unidentified militia provoke riots and the President bumbles on about Goya beans and confederate statues.

What we’re going through would be ridiculous if it wasn’t so heartbreaking.

Naya helped me. Maybe she helps you, too.

 

I’m researching how to get off the grid on my iPad

Simplicity is elusive, but oft sought by us humans, particularly the overworked, underpaid, overtired generations who rely on the technology of incredibly complex devices to do the simplifying for us. I go back and forth between a desire for and abjection of technology, craving life off the grid in the middle of nowhere, meanwhile blogging about it and managing it with online budgeting tools.

I’ve always had an affinity for old things. I love vintage appliances, Aqua Net, and Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. My tastes are at odds – I’m drawn to a time period that was intensely focused on convenience, but today feels like a simpler time in which kids went out to play, Mom cooked dinner, and astronauts did math by hand. Lately I’ve been wondering: if I was an adult in the 50’s, instead of the 10’s, would I be nostalgic for a “simpler time,” before cars, refrigeration, and lightbulbs? If I lived in the 1910s instead of the 2010s, would I tout indoor plumbing as an extravagant, unnecessary construct built by a generation seeking only to protect its own interests and indulge a desire for convenience? Continue reading I’m researching how to get off the grid on my iPad

Your life is probably more complicated than it has to be. Cut it out, already.

This post is not a self-help book, but an attempt at justifying life choices that have uncomplicated and improved the past few months compared to whatever I was doing before.

Think of this like an entry from Chicken Soup for the Burnt Out Soul. Continue reading Your life is probably more complicated than it has to be. Cut it out, already.

I’m Joining January.

Happy 2016!

The time has come for an obligatory blog post about a fresh new year, and making resolutions about how I’m going to drink less and exercise more, have fewer typos and see friends more, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

For me, 2015 wasn’t a bad year – quite good, actually – but it was a year of extreme highs and extreme lows. I’m craving a bit more consistency, so I made some pretty drastic life changes to better serve my personal and professional goals. While it’s just a coincidence these changes are lining up with the new year, like a January Joiner at the gym I’m going all in – starting now (or, Monday). Continue reading I’m Joining January.

Old School

The other day I bought an address book. It’s a tiny one that fits in my handbag and has a few notes pages in the back for important dates.

The thing is, I kept losing all my contacts when updating my phone. And, it’s annoying to try to give someone contact information in a text or over the phone when that contact information is, well, on your phone. So now I can just pull out my little address book, and bam. Everything is right there.

I know what you’re thinking… what if I lose my antiquated little address book? Well, I’ve managed to keep a passport, a set of keys, and a gaggle of cats within my grasp for 15 years, so I think I can handle an address book.

This was the most recent in a string of attempts to return to less electronic, slightly less complicated ways of doing things. Technology is great (I mean, this is a BLOG after all…), but I’ve been craving an increasingly unplugged life.

Ultimately, I’m preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Wait, that’s silly and probably not going to happen. Continue reading Old School

Call Me.

I’m having an internal debate about how technology might be hindering my social interactions. It’s probably hindering yours too.

I remember the first time I got a text: I was standing on Michigan Avenue looking down at my Nokia brick phone in wonderment. It seemed totally weird to type something that could take a fraction of the time to say over the phone. Fast forward about 15 years, and I’m talking to most of my friends through bitmoji’s… so, not, actually, saying anything at all. Continue reading Call Me.

John Oliver totally nails our food problems

In 17 minutes, John Oliver totally nailed everything that’s wrong with food in America:

When I was a barista, I set up a donation program for our morning pastries. After 2pm, whatever wasn’t sold went in the garbage, so I arranged for someone from a residential mental health facility to come and pick them up on a daily basis. Sandwiches and salads had a one-day shelf life, and for all the reasons John Oliver discussed, we couldn’t donate them. Our solution was to bag them and place the night’s sandwiches next to the trash bin on Michigan Ave., rather than out in the dumpster, thus unofficially “donating them” to the homeless in the area.

Our dorms here in Dublin have common kitchens, each consisting of four waste bins: glass, waste, plastic and paper, and food. That’s right, food and waste aren’t the same thing. It’s been really great to live in a place where composting isn’t weird, but also a little bit frustrating to watch my American flatmates try to adjust. Not to rat on them, but I’ve found spinach in the waste bin, and plastic bags in the food bin (bins with labels on them as to what you should and shouldn’t throw in). To me, it’s a sign that we’ve conditioned ourselves into thinking that once we’re done with something it doesn’t matter where it goes. Just stick it in a bin, and it’s not our problem anymore.

I could go on, but if seeing this gets one person to eat around the bruise on an apple and throw the core next to a tree rather than tossing the whole thing in the trash, then I feel pretty good about today.