Black Friday: a great time to unsubscribe from everything

Nothing brings advertisers outta the woodwork like Black Friday/Cyber Monday. “Oh yeah, I bought one thing from that one company 11 months ago,” I realize, promptly tossing their postcard in my recycling. If only there was an “unsubscribe” link on catalogs, right dawg?

IS THERE A BETTER WAY? You bet your sweet pumpkin-cheesecake-lovin’ booty there is!

When I get paper junk mail (you know, in the ole mailbox from days of yore), I’ve gotten in the habit of googling “email [company name]” to find a contact form/address, then sending them this li’l template baby:

Hello there!
Please remove me from your marketing/catalog lists. I’d appreciate it very much! Here’s my info:
MY NAME
MY ADDRESS
Thank you so much!

I leave ’em as email drafts so they’re ready to copy-and-paste anytime.
And yesterday I realized I can proactively do this as soon as I buy something online! I don’t have to wait for their annoying (plus, tree-killing or whatever) mail! So I scribbled up this template too:

Hi! I just made a purchase with you (and I’m excited to get it)!
I’m trying to cut down on the paper mail I receive, so just in case you were going to add me to a physical mailing list (for catalogs or something), I would love it if you would remove me:
MY NAME
MY ADDRESS
I really appreciate it! Thank you so much!

Please take and customize to your heart’s content (obviously, you may be less into exclamation points than I am).
Happy Thanksgiving (almost)!
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yes you should get a buzz cut

women with buzz cuts

CUT 👏 IT 👏 OFF

WHY ✂ NOT

IT 💇 GROWS 💇 BACK

i’m holly, and i’m here to tell you it’s awesome

aesthetic: unemployed art teacher

After slowly starting to get my (fashion) groove back in July, I’ve been testing the waters of ~*~*waCkY dReSsInG*~*~ even more and found it to be A DELIGHTFUL BURBLY HOT TUB OF MAGICKZ, not unlike the strawberry jacuzzi milkshake machine in Good Burger:

Ahem. Anyway, the thing is, I can mix prints and mismatch stuff and–SHH–it turns out you won’t get fired for that shit! IN FACT, nobody really cares at all! (And sometimes strangers on the street are even complimentary!) Am considering banning black from my wardrobe, perhaps even all neutrals/solid colors forever (but let’s not get too wacky amirite). Newfound look hereby dubbed UNEMPLOYED ART TEACHER. Witness:

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Ignore the haters. Make your art.

Reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic (in my defense, my therapist raved about her podcast) and feeling thoroughly meh about it. It’s a less-good version of other classics for creative peeps like The War of Art and The Artist’s Way (she so desperately wants this book to be On That Level while pretending not to care; aggravating). Anyway, despite side-eyeing it a bit, I do like this part:

do your thing (or The Incredible Jessica James)

<< Just watched this (the movie, not the trailer) and it gave me all the feels.

First of all, it’s awesome. It’s like Bridesmaids meets Broad City meets…Frances Ha. Or something. Love + confusion + heartbreak + doing that thing you have to do, despite rejection.

As “pretentious white millennial” as it sounds, I’ve been having a mini existential crisis lately around writing, or my identity as a Writer. Main problem: comparing myself to other people. Specifically, other writers I’ve worked with whose careers have taken off. I quit Twitter because I couldn’t squelch the comparisons: They had more followers, more little public side-convos with Important People, more retweets, faster and wittier quips about current events. Just typing it makes me re-feel how sour and twisty (to borrow Shonda Rhimes’ word) I felt, like paper burning or a leaf curling in on itself. The opposite of expansive. When other writers were getting better and better writing gigs, getting book deals, I felt like I was floundering. I lack the backbone and financial independence to freelance full-time (the year I did was terrifying, although not bankrupt) and the confidence to relentlessly, constantly self-promote. It’s self-doubt, not humility.

So I withdrew. “Don’t play no game that I can’t win.” Best to give up on writing, to slink away from an over-crowded field stuffed with self-important megaphone-holders and become a plumber, right? I went to a career counselor, investigated different fields, thought interior design was a good fit (maybe it still is).

But if I’m honest, writing will always be my #1. It’s what I lose myself in, the only thing that can make me forget to eat lunch (LUNCH! glorious lunch), the thing I do for absolutely no reason other than I like it and I have to do it or I’ll go mad. Journaling keeps me sane. Typing this is my way of trying to make sense of life. If someone I knew was a mediocre musician in a random band, I wouldn’t tell them to give up and become an actuary; I’d respect that they were at least TRYING. Why can’t I extend that kindness, patience, and appreciation to myself?

Which brings me to The Incredible Jessica James. No spoilers, but at one point, Jessica is questioning herself, and her idol basically says, Well, you’re doing the thing, aren’t you? You NEVER really arrive as a creative person; you just have to do whatever it is you do. Like the cliché that a writer is someone who writes. I’m writing this blog post, therefore I’m a writer! Not that imma confuse myself with Shakespeare or Nora Ephron or Lindy West anytime soon. But doing the thing is how you get better at it. Trying and showing up is 90% of it, right? (End paragraph full of clichés.)

Anyway, that scene made me cry. I’ve felt like such a complete and utter FAILURE as a writer lately. But I can’t just give up because I found some people who’re better than I am. There will ALWAYS be people better than me. That’s a wack reason not to do something.

There’s no neat, tidy end here…I have no resolutions to pitch my stuff to XYZ website, or submit one thing a month. I have no goals. For right now, it’s enough to say to myself, You’re a writer. You write. You love writing. You aren’t the best–AND THAT DOESN’T MATTER ONE BIT. All I can do is be gentle and honest with myself and go from there.

stanning for taylor swift

Taylor Swift’s new single from her first album in three years (“Look What You Made Me Do“) is getting mixed reactions, to put it mildly. Taylor stans like myself (not sorry) are excited, if slightly let down by the repetitive lyrics, and Taylor haters have come outta the woodwork with everything from lulz-worthy memes (below) to downright vitriol.

I get it:

  1. Taylor Swift is not Beyonce and reputation will be no Lemonade. Do we really need to pit two female pop stars against each other, though? Isn’t there room for both? Beyonce is god and Taylor is…the unholy spirit, or something? OBVIOUSLY Tay’s new album is not going to be groundbreakingly insightful into the black American female experience.
  2. Taylor Swift is a privileged white cis thin able-bodied woman from a wealthy family. No denying that. You know who else is white, cis, able-bodied, privileged, and actually evil/taking people’s rights away? Trump. When’s the last time Taylor tried to limit abortion access?
  3. When the 2016 election prompted lots of pop stars to speak out in favor of Hillary (or just against Trump), Taylor didn’t. But who says she has to use her platform and influence to send messages outside of music? OH WAIT, by donating a quarter of a million dollars to Kesha and winning a sexual assault case for which she only wanted $1, Taylor isn’t doing enough. I see now. You have to admit this is pretty cool (and definite progress for her):

    “I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this. My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”

  4. Taytay appropriates other cultures. Yes, no one has forgotten the cringe-worthy video for “Shake It Off.” But why are people so much quicker to forgive Miley, Gwen Stefani, and Katy Perry for the same thing?
  5. Taylor–wait for it–wants to make money. She has corporate partnerships with brands like UPS. How dare she! She should be Joni Mitchell and only make music for shits ‘n’ giggles ‘n’ the odd feather that floats down from the tree under which she strums her guitar. Snort. I don’t have to love capitalism to get that some people DO.
  6. Taylor plays the victim. Yep! But can you really say “How dare she go after a black man” (Kanye) when HE’S the one who (inaccurately) rapped “I made that bitch famous,” featured a naked likeness of her in a video, and leaked a phone call of her taped and released without her consent?

So much of the Taylor hate seems to damn her simply for playing the game like everyone else. Celebrities HAVE to control and manage their image and choose their own narrative–otherwise the media will, with only an eye for whatever trash gets the most clicks. Taylor is smart, type A, and wants to make money–are those really reasons enough to call her the devil?

Yes, of COURSE I’d love it if she actually became an outspoken intersectional feminist icon and vocally supported, say, Black Lives Matter, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ rights. But no one asks that of Adele or Fergie or the gazillions of other pop stars out there. Taylor’s held to a higher, unattainable standard simply because of her success. She’s not “woke”–so what? Crucify someone else who actually deserves it, like the Republican party.

do agree with this:

People aren’t perfect and we as society shouldn’t expect people to be so. But that doesn’t mean that Swift or anyone else is free from critique. Nor does it mean that we should just ignore problematic behavior because of a few good actions.

Yes, Taylor Swift is one of my “problematic faves.” I’d rather enjoy TSwift fandom with caveats and my eyes wide open than write her off altogether. (There are plenty of other famous white feminists I side-eye, like Lena Dunham and Sofia Coppola.)

Oh no you didn’t, Serena Williams

Serena Williams on having a kid in a month:

I have so much respect for so many women [for giving birth]. I am about to be a real woman now, you know? It’s going to be something incredibly impressive to go through.

Oh NO hunty. Really? Childbirth makes you “a real woman”? NOPE. What about women who are infertile? What about trans women? What about those of us who simply don’t want kids?

Elsewhere in the interview she calls herself a feminist and says “I like to stick up for women and women’s rights.” Hopefully someone kindly clues her in that plenty of real women don’t have kids.