I’ve always liked contests. The rush you get from putting your name in a hat and waiting ever so impatiently for your name to be called. I remember one day when I was in middle school I cut out all the giveaway forms from my J-14 magazine and glued them to index cards for my mother to mail. I cut out tons of them and filled out each line. I remember getting excited when gimmicky fake car keys came in the mail, and I’d ask my parents if we could see if we won a new car.
I loved entering raffles and holding onto my ticket with great expectations. I remember in elementary school at our fall festival I played the moonwalk game (is that just a southern game?) and won a 2-liter of orange soda. I was pretty darn proud of that orange soda. Last summer my friend Julia found a dollar on the street so we bought a lottery ticket. We lost, but it was still fun to imagine our dollar turning into a million. Or just $2. Last summer I also entered all sorts of Broadway contests that I never won (but my friends did, so it all worked out).
I think I love contests so much not because of the prize, but because of the hope, the thrill. Waiting is not a chore with contests; it’s a gift. The time between entering a contest and when the announce the winners is a great time. The thing is, even if I win, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s all over. There’s no more guessing, there’s no more hoping. It’s like climbing to the top of a mountain – once you’re there, going back down seems pointless (to me anyways, obviously if you love hiking it’s probably still fun). I lose this hope not just in contests, but in other areas in my life. When I finally meet up with someone. When I finally get the job I wanted. When I finally finish that class.
I love the thrill of the chase, but I always yearn for the next opportunity, the next big thing. I’m a doer, a never sit still-er. I will never be happy with waiting around. I will constantly enter contests and play the moonwalk game. Okay, I won’t play the moonwalk game, because I not entirely certain if that’s a thing anymore. I also won’t gamble because my roommates all say that I’d go millions in debt, to which I concur. But maybe I wasn’t meant to be content. Maybe there’s so much more for me out there. There’s more than a 2-liter of orange soda and some free earrings from Instagram (although I appreciate both). So I’ll continue the chase and enjoy the thrill, because maybe some people aren’t meant to stop.
When I was six or seven I went to summer care at the YWCA. I learned how to play mancala and swim to the bottom of the pool. I convinced myself the graveyard visible from the playground had a ghost who wore a hat (it was a nice hat). I made a friend named Greyson or Bailey or something and we both agreed we hated it.
So we came up with a plan to break the monotony – we would get sent home. We had to come up with a way that would get us sent home without getting us in trouble. We decided the easiest way was to pretend that we had peed our pants. So we did, and were sent to the office of the summer care manager lady. She was very nice to us and called our parents, who picked us up. I think Greyson (Bailey?) and I were able to do this trick one more time before they made us bring a change of clothes with us everyday. By that point we were a good bit through the summer and didn’t feel like fighting it anymore, so we threw in the towel and played another round of mancala.
Now I’m not telling you to pee your pants to get out of summer care, but just hear me out. Going home was the “dream” of my seven year old brain, and I fulfilled it twice, but let a change of clothes stop me from pursuing that “dream” further. That may sound silly, but a lot of us get so close to our dreams and stop short because of something little, something like a change of clothes. Your change of clothes might be money or time or motivation or stress or whatever. But let’s make it a goal to get out of that YWCA building and leave our change of clothes behind (but please wear clothes) so that we can fulfill our dreams – even if that dream is just to go home and drink a juice box.
*Just to be clear, I know I was a very naughty child, and I did tell my parents about this…a few months ago.
They say the more you change your hair, the more issues you have. Another way of putting it, which I learned through my mother who read it online, is that people who change their hair a lot do so because they feel it is one of the only things they can control in their lives. I have changed my hair about 16 times, only including hair color switches and one major cut. Oops.
I don’t know if these theories are true, but I do know that I love changing my hair. If I could I’d get extensions and then switch to a bob the week after. I’ve had red, blue, purple, pink, and bleached ends before. I’ve had red, purple, blonde, brown, and now dark burgundy colored hair. I didn’t do anything with my hair last summer so I spent around $200 to get purple hair in the fall…which turned into fried white blonde. So at this point my hair has about 1/3 recovered and my mother is about 50% less mad.
But can I say, “Hair, Voltaire? I’d rather discuss Voltaire” (hello Princess Diaries!). I change my hair for me, for fun, for la joie de vivre! It’s cool if you don’t like my hair – sometimes I don’t like my hair. And that’s life yall. Sometimes my hair reflects a change in my life, sometimes it means I’m bored, sometimes it means absolutely nothing. So yeah, last week I cut my own bangs that I don’t even wear today. C’est la vie!
Today is laundry day, which means I ran out of underwear. Today I’ve thought about all the places I’ve done laundry.
Whenever I’m home with my family I get to do laundry inside, at my house, without having to drive or walk to the washer and dryer, which is honestly a super big privilege.
My first years at college I did laundry in our dorms. During freshmen year I overloaded a washer and housekeeping left me a mean note. Last year my roommate and I would move guys’ laundry after it sat in the washers for hours.
Two summers ago I did laundry with my friends from all over the world at a rinky dink laundromat near the camp we were working at in upstate NY. We all crammed into the staff van and rode down the hill to the town below that included a Walmart and our hangout diner.
Last summer I did laundry a block down from my apartment in the West Village in Manhattan. I would walk with my students, or with my coworkers/friends, or by myself. It was a beautiful one minute walk, and I miss it.
This year I walk for a couple of minutes from my apartment to a huge community laundry room that I rarely have to wait around in.
Perhaps during my year in Paris I’ll find another laundromat to call home. The washers probably won’t bang around like my washer at home. I’m sure it won’t be free like it has been for me here at school. It won’t be full of middle school ballerinas or camp counselors. But it will be a constant in my new world, a little piece of home away from home.
I’m disappointed in you. You used to tell me you dreamt of working with girls like me, showing them how to be strong and kind. You used to hold me accountable and teach me lessons. You used to say you weren’t dating, you said you’d take a year off, you’d focus on yourself. You promised a lot and didn’t come through. You used to text me daily, now you won’t answer me at all.
I’m disappointed in you too. You used to drive me around and tell me about yourself. You helped me live here, and now you’re gone. You used to send me updates and laugh at my silliness. You helped me through dark times. You supported my crazy ideas.
I’m also disappointed in you. You have it all together, and that together doesn’t include me anymore. You used to meet up with me and let me tell you funny stories. You tried to set me up with a guy, and I was so happy, but it fell through. You let me volunteer in your office, and now I don’t know where your office is.
But I’m not really disappointed in any of you; I just miss you all. I can’t send you my writing, I can’t talk to you about my selfish desires, I can’t text you when I’m lonely and want a shoulder to lean on. You all grew up. You moved, you started a business, you had a kid. I didn’t want you to grow up and move on. I wanted to keep reading with you, eating with you, talking with you.
So I guess I’m not actually disappointed in you; I’m disappointed in me. I guess I have some growing up to do.