processing #bisc. probably part 1.

there’s a lot that i could or should be doing right now. the bouncer really tried with the housecleaning while i was gone, but there’s things i could touch up. i have barely any food in the fridge (but 15% off seamless today, so what up sushi!). i have work i’m lagging on. and really, i just want to stalk the shit out of the people i’ve just come back from. even if i knew them already. and i thought to myself, your thoughts on this are so disorganized, dominique, you shouldn’t write anything until they come together. forgetting that writing is how i organize my thoughts.

many people went up on the last day and talked about what bisc meant to them. through so many of their speeches, i nodded along. yes. yes. yes. me too. and afterwards i was sitting in a small group of people and someone else said how much they were nodding along as well, and i said, “it’s so funny when you think of how much we are all the same.” and we are, guys. we think we are special snowflakes, but we are humans, we are fallible, we are prone to insecurity, anxiety, depression. i think to myself all of the time, when i am in the valleys, i think, “you can’t tell anyone about this because they will hate you. they will judge you and they will scorn you.” and, just, no. the answer to that is no, they won’t. and when i think that again, because i inevitably will, i will remember watching everyone speak, and how much the same we really are.

i didn’t share my story out loud. i didn’t, to be honest, feel like i would contribute anything of value – it follows the same plot points that most other people laid out. but this is my space, so, here. i think i actually did hear rumblings of the 2009 or 2010 bisc – i was nobody on the internet at that point, and i’d designed it that way. i saw that people were forming a community and they seemed really amazing, but i was a hardcore lurker, and convinced i didn’t have anything to contribute (are you seeing a theme here?). besides, they all seemed to be friends already and i had no place joining them. when it rolled around again in 2011, i wrestled with it. i hated my job at that point, i was desperate to break free of something, but i gave myself the excuse of money. with a plane ticket and spending money, i couldn’t justify almost $1000 for a four day vacation.

by 2012 i was here, in brooklyn with the bouncer and sophie, and i told him about it. he’s not an internet person, really, and he doesn’t fully grasp how so many of my close relationships have come from this place and still exist mostly here. i told him all about it, and told him how much i wanted to go and how i’d met a potential roommate. and how much it costs. and after a day or so of vacillating, i gave myself the money excuse again. laying in bed late on friday night after registration opened, he was talking about something and i was obviously distracted and he asked why. i apologized, and i told him that there were very few spots left and i was really sad to miss it. “so go,” he said. “if it’s the money that’s really stopping you, i’ll pay for it. but it sounds like this is something you really want, and that’s worth it. take a chance.” so i whipped out my computer and my card and i signed up.

i didn’t consider not getting on the plane – i’m too neurotic about plans (and money) for that. i did obsess over every single detail (how many coats of glitter polish before people think i’m crazy? i have to wear a bathing suit in front of people i actually want to like me? i don’t have any sequins and no one likes the girl without sequins. i can’t find anything perfect for the theme party and everyone will hate me.) and then i realized that none of it mattered as much as i thought it did. so this year, i honey badgered. i wore my bikini because i love the way my skin feels crisping in the skin, and because i wanted to. i talked to people i’ve wanted to meet for years, people who intimidated the crap out of me. i went on the activities i wanted to, i slept when i had to, i took down time when i needed it.

neither of my bisc trips were perfect. nothing is perfect.  but i met incredible people. i danced my legs off. i felt fancy and beautiful. i made real, actual friends. i met people who give a fuck.  and i am so, so grateful.

this won’t be all that interesting.

that post title is not some kind of trick. this really won’t be all that interesting.

well, i broke the shit out of my blog.

i wanted to become an adult and get my own hosting, as my friend ed was hosting me since i graduated to big girl internet and bought a domain. so i did, and i was promptly mega confused by the hosting dashboard, but i digress (i am smart, guys, i swear). and ed told me to back up my site, and i did, using wordpress’ export function. and then he warned me that by transferring the hosting we’d be deleting the whole site and was i ok with that? and i said yes, because i did my export. hey guess what i learned? exports don’t include media, or your theme(s). LOLFUNTIMES.

what is even better is that this all happened on the eve of #BiSC registration. and i was already signed up, but, within 24 hours of me doing this, 50 new people were signing up for the most super mega fun best weekend ever, and they might be stumbling across my blog because you know, i’m listed. and there i was with the wordpress default theme, unstyled, no pictures, and a hello, world! post. HAHAHAHA.

i fixed all that tonight and pulled a theme together. i’m not in love but it’ll do the trick for the moment. don’t judge me too hard, ok?

in related news, #BiSC signups DID happen and i am really excited to see several of my faves from last year, have a sequin filled room of judgment with alana, and meet even more new people, and some who won’t be new, per se, but i’ll be really excited to hug and see in person for the first time (like tom). you can catch more on my feelings about #BiSC2012 from my posts from last year’s event: one on my feelings, and one on the events of the weekend. basically, i drank the kool-aid and joined the cult and it’s amazing. i’ll give you a tidbit that i left as a comment on nicole’s post on the 2013 registration opening:

 there were people whose internet personas i had judged or been intensely jealous of or determined they’d never like me so i shouldn’t even bother and YADA YADA, and hey guess what? we are friends and people are nice. LOOK AT THAT. there are people whose blogs still aren’t necessarily my deal but you know, i met them and they’re really cool and i will keep up with it because i care about THEM. the person behind the internet is SO important, and having kept myself behind the shield of an IP address for so long with so many preconceived notions (about myself and others), this was a revolutionary notion for me.

i’m also on my fifteenth day of eating paleo. it’s not awful, but it’s not great. about half of the recipes that i’ve made have been terrible, and that’s hard on my ego because usually, my food is delicious because butter. and cheese. i’m pretty bored of the things that i’m “allowed” to eat, i don’t think i’ve really lost weight* (which is a goal i have mixed feelings on anyway, so, i’m not crying over that), and my hunger cycles have changed so that i don’t think i’m actually eating enough, or a proper balance of nutrients to give me good energy. because i have very little energy. all of this to say i’ll be the one dissenting opinion on the internet and say paleo is not that awesome. however, i’m eating a ton of salad and veggies and i HAVE made a few really good recipes, and i’m glad to know those. i could also probably do a way better job of incorporating more salad and veggies into my life. i’m sticking with it through the month of january and we’ll see where i go from there.

* – please, dear readers, this is not an invitation to give me weight loss ideas. i know you are all lovely and well meaning but a) i have heard them and b) that’s just not a thing that goes nicely with my brain.

well, wait! i know where i’m going from there. i’m going on a cruise to the bahamas with tiff and nick, who i met during an in-n-out trip at last year’s #BiSC (we come full circle). i also shared a SUPER inappropriate cab ride with them and our friendship was cemented for life. the bouncer and i are heading down to florida, going to harry potter world (!!!. no, seriously. !!!!!!!), and heading off for four nights of cruising in the sun. i am REALLY excited, especially because we are already planning to get a private cabana with a manservant (the website says “server” but we know the truth), and go on the slides at atlantis. any tips for sneaking alcohol onto cruises? give ’em up.

and that’s where things stand, loves. tell me how your new year is going.



gratitude, volume 1

i was asked by amanda a few weeks ago to participate in #30daysofthanks, which is a thing that goes around these grand interwebs every november. i didn’t answer, for a few reasons. the first is that i was traveling, which is not my natural state and not all that easy for me (so much worry, so many things to do and take care of). the second is that i’m pretty bad at gratitude (but that’s probably all the more reason why i should practice it). the third is that i have been really deep in the hole of feelings. i have a whole post written about that, and we’ll see if it sees the light of day.

today, however, has been a blessed reprieve. i have had a glorious brooklyn autumnal morning and early afternoon, and since we are ten days into the gratitude project, i can come up with 10 things i am grateful for. also, i like lists.

1. my king size memory foam bed. yep. this is shallow. i’m ok with that. every single time i travel, i am super grateful to come home to my bed which is made of pure awesome. the bouncer is bouncer sized and in order to avoid nightly smotherings i demanded a king size bed. when we came up with a memory foam for $500 on amazon, we were sold. at least three times a week, we audibly sigh with relief and joy while sinking into the bed at the end of the night.

2. my work, and my coworkers. i’m fortunate enough to have a job i really like, most days, with people who make me smile and laugh, all of the days. i love that i work for a cause, i love that my natural talents are involved in my work. there are days, especially recently, where it is astonishingly difficult to make myself get out of bed. it’s a little easier knowing i’m about to spend 8 hours at a place that i’m usually really fond of.

3. lessons and realizations, even if they are old news. most of the time, i’m pretty sure no one likes me. and you know, i’m kind of safe and comfortable in that place – i would open myself to disappointment if i did think that i was likable and then no one liked me, so it’s just much easier to presume the worst and get on with life. but i forget that we are not robots, i especially am not a robot, and that kind of life, it hurts all of the time. so when i step outside of a bar, where a very sweet and cool and nice person is hosting a meetup with lots of other sweet, cool, and nice people, and i look down at myself and think, “remember, you are not like them. you are different and they will never appreciate you, because you’re not worthy,” and i can reverse that and answer myself and say, “no. you are all living, breathing humans who work to earn money and laugh and have dreams, and you are not all that different, and you know, everyone’s been really nice to you so maybe your bullshit self talk is exactly that, bullshit.” this, this is a good moment, if i can believe this for a second or a minute or maybe even an hour.

4. saying fuck it, and moving on. some things are not worth your time. some actions are inexplicable, some cruelties will never be explained. we all experience this world differently, and sometimes you just won’t get why person x did thing y. and you know what? when that thing is mean, when it hurts you, when you even suspect that you aren’t worthy of that treatment, when you try to handle it the mature way with communication and openness and vulnerability and it just doesn’t work, you are so allowed to say fuck it and move along. as a matter of fact, i encourage you to do so. it’s freeing.

5. tea. what the hell did i do before i was a tea drinker?

6. the circumstances that conspired to have me in a 2,500 square foot mansion in beverly hills for a week. i mean, it took a lot to make this happen. one of the bouncer’s friends was getting married near LA. he was a groomsman, and so were many of his/our friends. hotels nearer to the wedding were pricey. blahblity blah. at the end of the day, seven of us booked this giant, five bedroom, four bathroom, fancy ass house for a week. there was a pool and a hot tub and a full set of wine glasses and truly, this was all i needed. LA would never have been on my “places i need to go” list, and i can think of more desirable to me vacations to take with the money i spent on this trip, but really, i had an amazing time in a new and fascinating place with people i knew but had never gotten to bond with. really, that’s pretty awesome.

7. my boyfriend. this is sappy and you can feel free to skip it, and i will not blame you because other people’s sap is usually boring. i am never going to be accused of being the easiest person to love or live with or hell, spend more than an hour with. in the past three weeks, he has held me when i’ve been sobbing, probably past the point when his arms fell asleep. he’s dealt with me going from fine to really not fine in less than five seconds (i am not exaggerating). he has managed my intense and irrational frustration and anger with grace. he has never even raised his voice, at me. he tries every single day to let me know how much he cares, he asks me every morning how i am feeling, and that means how i am really feeling, and he pets my head every night until i fall asleep. we are not perfect and we have our hurdles but god, i can’t imagine how my heart would fare without him. i can’t. (and this is not an easy thing for me to admit to myself or you, so).


9. new york bagels. and maybe bacon cream cheese.

10. the internet.  fairly self explanatory, no? where else can i find new friends, buy household supplies and groceries, and look at cat videos?


why the “choose happiness” obsession makes me ragey.

i promised this post on twitter and i was shocked by how many people responded saying they’d like to hear my thoughts. i know several in my circle are fans of this idea, and i don’t begrudge anyone that. but try, for a second, to see it from another point of view.

three years ago, i was deeply sad. i was coming off the loss of two important friendships, and my romantic relationship was rocky and troubled. my visions of love and trust were shattered, and i thought the next step was accepting the cold wasteland that lay ahead, learning to live without any real connection ever. i practiced. i tried every day to disconnect further and further from anything that resembled warmth. i believed in my deepest heart that i’d come to the correct answer, finally, that this was how life was intended to be lived. i frequently fell into intense bouts of crying, lamenting, and just hurting. the bouncer would tell me over and over to try to be happy, to try to reach out to new friends, to have perspective. i fought him tooth and nail, insisting that these were my FEELINGS and i could not change them and how dare he invalidate them.

i learned after a while that i was wrong, and this is not a thing i say unless it’s really very true. i was, yes, so sad during that time, and with good reason. but i recognize, looking back, that i wallowed, on purpose, and i didn’t make any real effort to improve my situation. once i started trying a little, things got much better.

so, i understand the value of “choosing” happiness. i understand the value of logical perspective. i understand the futility of believing any circumstance or hurt is forever – the only constant is change. i understand that while you may not have direct control over all of your emotions, it’s good to try to steer them sometimes, and do-able. i do understand that you can play an active role in improving your mood, your circumstance, your life. that you are very often the one standing in your own way.

that said…

a phrase like “choose happiness” is glib. it makes it sound easy, and it’s not. often, it’s one of the hardest things to do. darkness can be so comfortable because when light shines brightly on you, you will be seen and for real, that’s scary as shit. it makes it sound as though when faced with something difficult, you can just “choose” happiness and the difficulty of the situation will just vanish. and just, no. this isn’t the way anything works.

and let’s talk for a second about feeling things that aren’t happiness…

i believe all emotions are valid. i believe we’re being taught to be chipper animatronic little robots all of the time, and i believe it’s bullshit. i believe when your best friend unceremoniously dumps you, when your boyfriend ignores you, when someone is out and out cruel to you, you should be sad about it. slapping on a grin and going for a drink under the guise of choosing happiness is a destructive and ultimately ineffective answer, because i promise you, your unresolved shit is coming back to bite you. i believe the choice of happiness as a panacea for the “problem” of feeling anything negative is troublesome and problematic. we have a spectrum of emotions for a reason – we’re supposed to use them.

and then, maybe most importantly, we’re brought to the times when there is no choice…

i believe there is a significant portion of the population that suffers from valid and varied levels of psychiatric illness, and it’s probably more than you think it is. even if you swear it isn’t the case, i promise you that every day, you encounter someone who had a legitimately difficult time leaving bed, or will be choked and crumbled from panic at some point in the day, or fought a self destructive urge. it is hard to be a human, guys. for all of the beauty we are given in this world we are also given terror. remember what I said last week? we are beings working in shadow and light, always. sometimes, the shadow is stronger.

i have a history of depression and anxiety and probably other things that i’ve never figured out. i have had traumatic shit happen, and because i know that i am not a special snowflake, i bet you have too. i promise you that when i am reeling, it isn’t because i just haven’t chosen happiness hard enough that day. the very best I can do on some of these days is leave bed. believe me, i feel guilty enough about my occasional inability to participate in the world – telling me to choose happiness is a slap in the face. it won’t do anything anf furthermore, it shows a complete lack of sympathy, or even an effort towards sympathy

sometimes, no, it’s not a choice.

i get it, the idea behind it, i do. finding joy is about a search and a conscious effort. sadness can be so easy, and escaping it requires bravery, requires a concrete decision. you’re in charge of your life, you’re in the driver’s seat and you’ve got to act it. perspective is valuable. all of that acknowledged, a phrase like “choose happiness” is overly simplistic, and to me, offensive on several levels.

how to manage your weekly foodstuffs

starting at the end of last year i made a fairly significant change in my food habits. i mean, i am not anywhere near perfect (as my foursquare checkins at wafels and dinges will tell you), but nearly every day, i eat a salad for lunch. and i bring it from home. and i pack one for the bouncer too. i also usually have a home cooked dinner – the bouncer’s idea of “dinner” is “pick up my phone and see what’s close by on grubhub” – and i am wise enough to know this is far from economical or healthy.

when we first moved in here i was a little obsessed with the idea of domesticity and i was trying to make magazine and pinterest meals every night. guys, this doesn’t work when you have a full time job. it just doesn’t. i’ve narrowed it down to a rotating standard of 4-5 easy and healthy things (including keeping salad ingredients at the ready), and if i want to do something fancier i’m saving it for a weekend. some of our faves are crockpot pulled pork, fajita night (i put mine in…you guessed it, a salad), roast chicken with veggies, whole wheat ravioli with chicken sausage. the theme to follow for these dinners is quick – i was burning out, walking in the door, hunkering down to prepare a meal, and scrubbing dishes until 10pm (because the bouncer is really poor at division of household labor and i don’t like having to ask for things). i’m open to other suggestions if you’ve got them too!

amy, a long time ago, gave us the hint of precutting your veggies and storing them for the week. oh, she was so right. do you know lettuce is pretty hearty? do you know you can chop it and store it in a bag for like, days? you can. as a matter of fact, you can cook chicken strips (seasoned with homemade fajita seasoning) and black beans (seasoned with s+p, garlic powder, and a freaking ton of cumin. cumin is the answer), precut lots of lettuce, red pepper, tomato, and other veggies of your choosing, and then it will only take you five minutes at night to make your salads. bonus points: packing blueberries, blackberries, raspberries in little baggies for grab and go purposes for snacks.

another thing i love to do for breakfast is make these pinterest egg muffins. jesus, what did i even do with my life before pinterest? i don’t know. anyway, if you make these in jumbo muffin tins, just one is a decent breakfast (i use 12 eggs for 10 “muffins”, with a hearty spoonful of sausage and peppers at the bottom of the tin). they keep for the full week in a tupperware in the fridge.

as i mentioned, i had this crazy cooking schedule going on, and i simplified it significantly. bonus to this is that i’ve pretty much memorized my grocery list. i’m lucky enough to have a grocery store right at the end of my block, a five minute walk, and i can be back to my house in 40 minutes having acquired everything i need for the week. mostly.

because i use a LOT of produce, and not everything keeps, and i have a two room apartment in nyc, i do sometimes need more than i have room to get on my first shot – even though lettuce keeps well, i do not have room for five heads of romaine. i am the kind of person who does not leave home after i’ve gotten home. as a matter of fact, once i come home, it is bra off and pajama pants on, and that is how it is until showertime the next morning. i used to be exhausted by simply THINKING that i would need to leave the house after i got home BUT i have found a solution. i have sort of a fruit stand/mini grocery store that is on my walk home and feels entirely less stressy than an entire grocery store. i often stop there mid-week and stock up on some fresh fruits and veggies. i make sure to carry my canvas bags with me that day, and i am set.

all of this frees me up to watch bunheads and fondly reminisce about stereo watching it at my house and declaring the dog (a husky/corgi mix) the cutest thing she’d ever seen and vowing she’ll get one and name it doughnut.

tips and tricks, friends? time and money saving maneuvers? hand’em over!

#augustbreak – days 7-10

i’m still behind, i know. but while i can fill in the gaps, i will. catching up to come, as always.

day 7

in the winter i caught a bitch of a sickness and i was in bed for days. i had been aching to go to the park and play with my camera in the cold light – it’s different in winter, thinner, trees bare and i wanted to capture it. i begged the bouncer for a walk through the park before i was really ready, and it was bitter cold, and i didn’t last long. but this was one of the shots i got.

probably my favorite from coney island day with tiff and nick, when they visited. i laid on the ground in a dress that was way too short for me to do so to grab this, and it could use some editing but i love it.

 here in brooklyn every year, there is a cherry blossom festival at the botanic gardens, which i can walk to if i so choose. i forget, sometimes, how lucky i am for this. the festival is always very crowded and neither the bouncer or i are fond of crowds, so i watched the little guide on the gardens’ website this year and we went when the first trees bloomed. i have better, clearer shots of the blossoms, but this one, i loved.

this one – it makes my heart smile. that is so cheesy, and i’m sorry. i don’t treat myself to random impulses often (except when onyi is in town and then all bets are obviously off), but while grocery shopping at the fancy supermarket in the better neighborhood in the spring, i fell in love with this tiny daffodil plant. tiny! daffodils! i think i was not using my macro setting here, but i remember being home from work one day alone, and knowing i needed to grab the light coming in the window. the true part that is happy, though, is that when the bouncer saw how giddy i was over this, he surprised me with three more plants. sometimes, he is the sweetest.


i have been tired.

that’s everyone though, right? yeah, mostly. i know.

it’s a common trait. we fix everything on the outside, we tidy, we make neat, we bake perfect things to make people happy, because other things, deeper things, are twisty, maybe broken. are hard. are better left unattended. well, that’s a big fat lie if there ever was one.

it’s a fucked up game though, the one between goals and tasks and healthy responsibility, and unhealthy obsession and guilt and the wearing down. they’re like the pieces of a rope all twisted together. it’s very hard for me to discern which is which.

i absorb myself in lists, i put myself in a pressure cooker. i judge myself on the amount of dog hair left on the couches and rug. i rarely feel successful, in these times. it’s a setup for failure. it’s a direct route to a breaking point.

and then, for three days after work, i do not pass go, i do not collect $200. i go immediately to bed after work. i get a migraine and i nearly sob with how badly it hurts, and i try not to sob because that scrunches my forehead and makes it all hurt worse. i rewind and i figure out a new way to handle this. because there isn’t really a choice anymore.

i spend a weekend rehashing the innards of everything, of the real things that deserve work and attention. i cry a whole hell of a lot through this, but i am relieved at honesty. i am still exhausted though.

i firmly, yet gently, tell myself that i am not a superhuman, i am not a robot, and i can only handle so much. i am not deficient because shit wears me out. i learn to break two or three things off of the long to do list and only handle those for the day. i learn reasonable time management. i fall asleep early. i wake up to exercise because it gives me energy and keeps me sane, starts my day on a bright note, but i do not fret if i decide i need to sleep. i do little things that make me happy, like drink chai and reorganize my email labels.

i remind myself that i am not fucking everything up in all moments. i remind myself of this a lot.

and then i land here. where i am, yes, still a little fragile, still a little worn. but where i can at least hold my head up and take comfort in addressing that which is genuine.