These Woods

These woods are fucking me up.

Every time I walk into the forest, I’m afraid I might stick to the bark on the trees.

I sit by the campfire until the smoke sinks into every pore of my skin, into every fiber of my clothes, into every strand of my hair.

The mountain has become my prison.

There’s a puddle of stream water floating inside me.

It’s flooding all my feelings.

What am I supposed to care about besides these fucking woods?

I Hate Pants

It’s officially fall in four days: A major holiday in the land of white girls.

I could not be more excited. I’m really sick of the sweat dripping down my back every time I walk outside for more than five minutes, especially when there’s no ocean I can frolic into like the beach baby that I dream of being.

We(I’m talking to all you fall-loving girls) know why fall is by far the best season out of the year.

Can you say lattes?

Just kidding. I can’t even drink coffee.

But, when it starts to get a little chilly, it’s time to start eating those mashed potatoes and building up a layer of warmth. Layers, ladies, layers.

That little extra pudge of love that falls out of your swimsuit?

Well, it’s fall, so nobody is allowed to give a shit.

Put on your sweater proudly and work those leggings, girl. You’re killin’ it in those boots.

But, it’s not all colorful leaves and cuddling by campfires.

I don’t have any beef with fall specifically, since I’m not genetically allowed to…

But, I do have an issue with pants.

I fucking hate pants.

…Unless they start with yoga-, or sweat-, or pajama-.

Dress Pants: Absolute NO.

Jeans: Dependent, though finding a good pair of jeans is a nightmare.

In my personal experience, the stretchier the better…contemplating checking out the maternity section this year.

…Or the kind that are so high waisted, they almost touch your boobs. Find a pair that is both stretchy and high wasted, and you, my friend, have hit the jackpot.

Look, I know why pants are necessary. Nobody wants to see my overgrown leg hair for four months. Plus, I’m too single for that.

But, it doesn’t change the fact that I hate them. They’re so restricting.

They have buttons and zippers; an uncomfortable necessity that I will never understand.

I really do love fall. I love wearing sweatshirts and boots and the crispness in the air is basically magic.

But I hate pants.

Waking up to an Ugly Baby

I’ve been told that birth is a beautiful process.

…Not one that I’ve personally ever tried to imagine going through, but nonetheless, new life into the world is ok, I guess. As long at they don’t grow up to be assholes.

I woke up this morning to a picture that my mom sent me of my neighbor’s newly born baby girl. I should feel worse about writing down these words, but honestly, I’m still in shock.

It was the by far the most aggressively ugly baby photo I have ever seen; the rudest awakening I have ever recieved at 8 o’clock in the morning.

Hanging in front of some big hospital-looking machine was this baby, held up by two big purple-gloved hands.

The doctor was practically smashing the baby’s head, sort of shaping its face into a miniature Shrek-human.

GROUP TEXT BETWEEN ME, MOM, AND SISTER:

Me: Honestly, ew, didn’t need to wake up to that picture.

Mom: Be nice, grumpy.

Me: Mom, it’s like she has a little penis…at least send a clothed picture.

Mom: That’s an umbilical cord.Right out of the hopper. LOL.

Me: Obviously. Besides the point.

Mom: Ok, grumps. Love you.

Sister: hahahaha good morning to you too Lauren.

Me: Honestly, can we not agree on how ugly and disgusting this picture is?

Alex: not the most attractive specimen

Me: Hopefully they don’t show her this picture until after puberty because her self esteem is shot.

Sister: HAHAHA

Mom: (Sends clothed family photo) Her face already looks better. Beautiful family.

Me: (Puts down phone)

Birth is really beautiful.

The Integrity Test

I applied for a job recently at a Professional Home Health Care Center.

Basically, my job would’ve been visiting clients'(old peoples’) homes, and giving them professional health care, whatever that means. I think the last time I took a CPR test was in the 7th grade, so personally, I find the title slightly misleading.

I was told that my job was to basically help these old(er) people with the annoying household-type stuff that your parents made you do when you were little, like Clorox the bathroom and scrub your two-day old lasagna off your plate.

I won’t lie, though, I was actually pretty excited about this. Helping someone wash their delicates and make them dinner brings me a weird sense of pride and joy.

In exchange for helping out the elderly folk do their dishes, vacuum their carpets, organize their ancient book collections, water their 1,450 plants, I was also told that I may leave smelling like a marijuana dispensary because, “Remember, this is Colorado.”

My first interview went really well. I could tell that the woman who I met with liked me a lot because we talked about salt water taffy and the changing color of the Aspen trees in October. I feel bad that I don’t remember her name.

Following our 25-minute bonding session, she told me that I would be a great fit and so I was pretty sure that I had the job.

All that was left was for me to take an online integrity test, and pass a standard background check.

I’m not a criminal, I’ve never been fired or arrested, and I don’t think the government has anything on me, so I was pretty sure the second part was a no-brainer.

I’ve never had to take an “integrity test” online before, but I also assumed this was a no-brainer. No part of me was nervous about the invasive questions I was about to receive regarding my intergrity.

There were about 60 or so questions. Over 50 % of them said something along the lines of these:

“Have you ever hit a co-worker before?”

“Have you ever lashed out at your co-workers in a violent manner?”

“Have you ever been physically abusive?”

….and now, think of at least 15 other variations of those questions, and that was over half of the test.

The other questions asked me things like:

“Have you ever stolen money from the register at work before?”

“Have you ever yelled at anyone in the office?”

“Have you ever been verbally abusive to a co-worker or manager?”

“Have you ever gone behind your manger’s back and done something unprofessional?”

“Have you ever taken anything from the workplace that doesn’t belong to you?”

These questions were yes or no.

I literally laughed my way through the test at the absurdity of these inquires. Even if I had lashed out in violent rage at my co-worker, why would I ever say yes?

(Just for the record, I have never done this before).

There was one question out of the whole batch that I said “yes” to.

The question was this:

“Have you ever gotten frustrated at work before?”

First off….what kind of question is this? I am a human being…so yes, I have gotten frustrated at work before. How am I supposed to feel when the computer freezes seven times in an hour? Happy?

So, a week passes by, enough time for the background check to go through, and I give the company a call to find out the results.

Will I get to bond with 75-year old Martha who used to be a Go-Go dancer in New York City?

The anticipation was killing me.

24 hours later I receive a voicemail from the woman who I was initially supposed to interview with, though she never showed up.

“…blah blah blah…unfortunately we are unable to move forward with the hiring process because you did not pass the integrity test.”

I sat on the campus bench, shocked and confused, while my ego plummeted onto the ground and rolled onto the sidewalk where it got stepped on by several passing students.

I called my dad, crying hysterically, wondering where the hell my integrity went, and asked in between sobs- “Is it possible to buy a new one?”

I Can’t Talk Right Now

I am the queen of conversation. Give me a rock and I can come up with something interesting to say to it.

But I’m multi-dimensional, like most human beings, and sometimes, I don’t want to talk.

I don’t want to talk about anything, unless it’s really stupid shit that has no relevance to my own life.

Would it be acceptable to just hang a sign around my neck that says “Currently not speaking to anyone” or maybe, “I just lost my voice but I’d love some chocolate?”

Because, to whoever’s asking, you’re not going to like the answer.

The honesty may be too much, or the small talk will only bore you. You won’t even know that you’re being lied to.

And aren’t you sick of being lied to?

It’s all the little things that add up that turn your days of conversation into days of observation.

You start to convince yourself that your talking could only be a burden.

Until, one day, you’re lying in your bed late at night and you can’t sleep because your insides are aching so badly from all the words you left sitting inside of them.

Then, the moment comes; the moment when you realize that you should have dealt with all of this little stuff before it got so big.

And so, you text 15 people, even people who you know are horrible listeners, asking them “Are you awake?,” because now you NEED someone to talk to; paralyzed with fear that your organs might explode all over your freshly washed sheets.

…And nobody answers because they’re out drinking with their friends, or romancing with their lovers, or snoring away because they have a much better relationship with sleep than you do, as they should.

And so you put on a sad Coldplay song, and you cry until you realize that you’re sobbing so loud, you might scare the lady who’s always sitting on the street corner outside your house.

Cyber Addiction

Most of the time, I want to throw my phone against a wall and laugh as I watch it shatter into a million different pieces; like a cry-laugh, though, terrified and joyful all at the same time.

I want to delete all of my social media profiles and all the other apps that overstimulate my brain and leave my mind seizing with questions; that leave my ego left in this strange combination of arrogance and self-doubt.

These outlets make me feel like I’m on some sort of drug. I want to stop taking it when the withdrawal consumes me, when the longing fills my lungs and the aching for real human connection is almost too much to bear.

But, I just can’t get enough.

I am addicted to this drug.

I don’t want to feel jealous. I don’t want to feel like a spineless jellyfish, wishing I were those people; or being grateful that I am not.

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is check my phone to see the time. There on the screen sits a blurry list of notifications and emails to check.

I feel obligated to look, but my heart is screaming at me to just throw that phone against the wall; to pack my bag with only the things a person really could need to live off the land.

I want to vanish like a nomad, running into the trees until all I can see is green around me.

I don’t know if I would be very good at being a nomad. But, the idea is enticing.

Would the sound of the crickets chirping bring me peace? Would I finally get to see a brown bear?

But, then I worry, “What if the crickets don’t chirp?”

“What if the brown bears don’t come?”

“What if I trip down the mountain and there is nobody there to catch me?”

I think what the real problem is, is that I’m just much too good at being good at the thing I hate; uploading all the pictures, sending all the messages.

Sometimes, it’s the only way I know how to keep myself afloat.

So, I float along in cyberspace, with all the emojis and photo filters, the endless streaming of new information that I’m somehow supposed to absorb.

I hate it all so much sometimes, but I can’t stay away.

Maybe I hate it so much because I love it.

I’ve heard it’s not so easy to walk away from a thing that you love so much.

I’m not sure I know what that feels like yet, being the one who usually does the walking. But, I’m sure it’s not too easy.

When there are no fingers interlaced between mine, technology sits next to me and tells me that I’m not alone.

It stays there for me when I can’t find a job, when I face rejection after rejection, when that big red stop sign keeps slamming into my forehead.

And all these confusing thoughts keeping bubbling up in my mind, like,

“What am I doing wrong?”

“How can I make this work?”

“I can’t be that bad.”

But then, I get a notification, “11 people have liked your photo.”

Then, I feel a little better.

My relationship with technology is a toxic one.

But, I peer over the edge, sitting on the rim of that bucket of toxic waste and I see my friends; Reassurance, Self-absorption, Comfort, and I realize that I’m not quite ready to say goodbye.

BREAKING NEWS:

‘Courtney and Savannah just left for a backpacking trip in Europe.’

‘Dan and Sarah just broke up.’

‘Steve just got a new motorcycle.’

“UGH, LAUREN, WHO GIVES A SHIT,” I think.

“I’m going to go pour myself another glass of wine,” I think next.

And then, I’m going to grow the fuck up and put up a picture on Facebook, hoping that in the next four hours somebody likes it so that I can go to bed knowing that somebody, for just a second, thought I was worthy enough to like my photo.

To Stay or To Go

Sometimes, the toughest choice we have to make is whether to stay or to go.

Do I stay in this relationship?

Or do I go?

What happens when I realize that I was wrong about a person?

What happens, after so much time, when I realize that a person I adored so much isn’t actually the person I wanted them to be all along?

What if they are magnificent, though, and I left them standing there alone before I had the chance to find out?

Most of all, what happens on that day when I realize that a place is just a place?

I tell myself this mantra over and over, but when will that day come when I really believe it?

These are the questions I ask myself.

I’m always stuck between staying at going.

You always ask me why I keep running.

I guess maybe I’m just looking for a good enough reason to stay.