Shopping malls sometimes have play areas for kids, like a less-exciting but just as dirty McDonald’s PlayPlace. My mom never let us play on those. I recall her once having an experience where she encountered poop in a public ball pit when one of my brothers was young. I could be making this up, but something significant happened and I don’t really remember.
One year for my grandpa’s birthday, my extended family went on a cruise that stopped in Florida and the Bahamas. I was in fifth grade and it was the first time I had kind of been out of the country, as the Bahamas half-counts.
My brother and I — the youngest was still in diapers — pleaded with my mom to take us to the kids’ club. I was much more fascinated by the architecture of it all than I was making friends or meeting cute boys to kiss in the corners behind giant, plastic water slides that resembled palm trees. My mom didn’t want to sign us up for the program. This is a family vacation, she’d insist. We claimed we wanted to play and begged and whined when we were denied the right to, but in reality, I don’t think we minded.
For the first thirteen years of my life, maybe even more, I made up the most fantastical love stories in my mind just by looking at ‘the boy over there.’ He was a million boys, he was always there, and I was always looking. He was even in the ball pit at the kids’ club! But I never, ever said a word. It’s likely that I am who I am today because I’m trying to live out the laundry list of my middle school dreams with boys who are now broader and have more armpit hair.
Now that I know how to talk to strangers about things like summer camp and college and who-do-you-know la di da, I’ve developed a theory for my childhood weakness and it is called the Vacation Friends Problem. Similarly to how there are two types of girls — those who are openly insane and those who hide their insanity — there are two types of people: those who make vacation friends, and those who don’t.
Having the ability to make vacation friends is one of the most determining characteristics of a person. You either have the chutzpah as a young, overweight fourth grader in a tie-dye tankini to walk over to that skinny blonde girl who’s not so afraid of the ocean and say “hi,” or you don’t. And instead, you just sit in the sand and dig holes to try and find hermit crabs because you’re too lazy to make a sand castle and you better relate to introverted creatures, anyway.
I’ve spoken to people about it before. “I always make friends on vacation.” “My sister makes vacation friends, but I never did when I was little.” “People think my brother and I are dating because we only ever speak to each other in public places.” (If you couldn’t tell, the last anecdote was mine.)
Eventually you just get so old that everywhere you go, you know everybody someway or somehow and it doesn’t matter if you can make vacation friends or not. I’m always jealous of the people who made vacations friends because I never really could. And I’m still waiting to see if my Vacation Friends Problem is going to haunt me in different ways for the rest of my life. I’m sure I will. Like one day when I don’t get the job promotion I want, I’m going to be like, “Fuck, I should have been the kind of child who made vacation friends.”
There is no such thing as a girl who is not insane. Rather, there are girls who are good at hiding insanity. You have those girls, and then girls who are outwardly insane, and that’s about it.
If you don’t think your girlfriend is insane, she is. If you love your best friend because she’s not insane like everyone else, then you really don’t know your best friend that well at all. Of course, the ones who are best at hiding their insanity are the most insane. You won’t know this, though, until their surface cracks and the insanity begins to absolutely gush out. This is why these girls are the best.
I am insane, which you can probably tell, but I’m not very insane. I’m just as insane as the next girl, but I’m not one who’s going to crack and gush like the bloody noses I had when I was younger. Unlike a bloody nose, you cannot cauterize an insane girl back into fruition. You can maybe give her some chocolate or some frozen yogurt, but depending on her type of insanity and the roots of it, that may make the issue a hell of a lot worse. So maybe don’t offer her chocolate (not even dark) because in cases like these, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Half of an insane girl likes being insane, and the other half doesn’t. Actually, I changed my mind. Half of an insane girl likes telling everyone how insane she is, while the other half must protect her identity at all times. The showy side is what girls give one another. The side where everything’s sunshine and roses is saved for the boys, who we must constantly prove to at all times that we aren’t insane.
Last year, I was sitting on the floor with four of my closest friends, drunk eating peanut butter, pretzels, dark chocolate covered pretzels, popcorn, and other things that I can’t really remember, around 11:45pm. (We didn’t make it out for that long, if you couldn’t tell.) Suddenly, everyone started complaining about all of their serious problems — you know, the problems that make us insane — until no one could barely get a word in edgewise because you were trying to tell your story that you never really told but fine, what the heck, you’ll tell it.
It got quiet really quickly, if you don’t count the loud chewing, and one of us looked up and said smiling, “Guys, isn’t it funny how fucked up we all are?” She was talking about the insanity, not about the BAC level. And then there was another, “We are all kind of really fucked up.” Before I knew it we were all looking around laughing hysterically at each other and at ourselves. I think we were all thinking, Wow, how great it is to finally have friends that are real and that understand me and aren’t shiny like plastic. I know I was. But at the very same time, I had this very strange out of body experience where I looked down at me, sitting there cross-legged in black leather pants, and said to myself, This is very weird and very screwed up. And I was sad, in that moment, for myself and for my friends.
Mind you, we aren’t drug addicts and none of us have tattoos and we all come from very loving families and even study at a very respectable university. I had a nose stud for a few months my senior year of high school, but no one really remembers that, anyway. We are great girls. We aren’t perfect, but we’re generally nice girls who are very fun and would be great to take home to Mom and Dad. We’re those girls, or at least that’s how you see us, but we are all most definitely also insane. That doesn’t make us any different from any other girls, though, and I can really promise you that.
Most people probably assume that my insanity is just part of my personality and isn’t really a ‘girl thing.’ I can only think of one person who thinks I’m truly insane — like, off the wall cooky crazy insane, like psycho girl insane — and that’s only because I always go to him when I’m at my most insane. He doesn’t realize that though, and he probably just thinks I’m like that all the time and not just the twice a year when we speak, when I am carrying all of my insanity in my arms very visibly.
But hey, what can a girl do?
On Sunday, I stated the following: “I’ve come to a point in my life where neither my overbearing Jewish mother nor I can control how included I am,” in reference to the assumption that I would be perpetually excluded from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for all of eternity.
Well, I was completely wrong, as it appears that I am one of the lucky few to have been nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge by none other than Mommy Dearest. This is embarrassing (no offense Mom) because it kind of makes me look like I don’t have other friends that would be willing to nominate me on their own. But c’est la vie, or whatever.
In that very same post, I wrote about how I imagined life under nomination of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I explained how I was at first skeptical to it, but found myself defeated by cold hard facts (read: all they see is signs, all they see is dolla signs). So, I decided my course of action as a nominee: I would accept the challenge and donate the money as to ensure I was both making a difference and succumbing to a Facebook trend.
The day after my post was written, my mom is nominated to and accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge. And as chains of events tend to unravel, she nominates me, which is how I was obviously nominated. So, I do as I previously promised: I got ice water dumped on my head and donated some ca$h to alsa.org (which you should, too). And afterwards, to be frank with y’all, I felt kind of shitty.
First of all, my video was not well-loved. I didn’t really want to do it when my mom nominated me, and I bet everyone on Facebook thinks I asked my mom to nominate me, which I did not. Because I, like most other people, have no-likes-phobia. I knew the trend was already on the decline, I knew my friends are the type of people who really are not into this sort of thing, and I knew that combination results in no likes. Hence, the brought on no-likes-phobia. Anyway, my mom pushed me to do it (because she’s a pusher, Cady) and so I did it. Also, my little brother wanted to do it together, and he’s very cute and sometimes is my favorite brother.
Second of all, I felt like my own victim. I had just penned a short essay making fun of the way everyone seems to take on the Challenge, and after watching my video, I realized I subconsciously did all of that stupid shit!!!!! I sounded really dumb, I was on the beach – which I really couldn’t help, because I’m here for eight days – my cousin insisted on pouring the water on me when I probably could have done it myself, the ice and water were in separate buckets, and I kind of counted on my fingers. I did not scream, because it wasn’t that cold, and I did realize through this experience that everyone else is kind of a chicken. I mean, you know the ice is coming.
Post-Challenge, I was in a very bad mood for several hours. I was completely exposed to my 1,000+ Facebook friends in a way I didn’t like. I wanted to take it down, I wished I had only donated, and my mom cooed, “Don’t worry, I didn’t receive most of my likes until nighttime. Most people don’t check Facebook during the day,” which is, in other words, the joke of the century.
One interesting thing did come out of this whole catastrophe, and it’s the elephant in the room that everyone thinks about but no one talks about. Obviously, when a girl posts a photo or video of herself half-naked, aka in a bikini, she is ‘asking’ for some sort of body feedback. In the event of the Ice Bucket Challenge, most ladies just don’t want to get their clothes wet, so they wear a bikini. When I posted my video, I did not feel extremely fat, and I did not feel extremely thin. I’ve been thinna, I’ve been fatta, whateva. Though my video was not embraced by the Facebook community, however, I did receive a good handful of texts from friends telling me how good I looked. Let me make it clear: I’m a bottom-heavy girl, and I don’t rock it quite as well as Kim K. I’m not obese, but I got legs and a tush, and I know how to use them.
These unnecessary comments could have been about anyone and I would have found it just as lovely and refreshing to hear people say that someone who didn’t have Gumbo legs looks good. I am the antithesis of the thigh gap, which I have been self-conscious of since kindergarten, but in the wake of feeling like a complete tool, I also felt kind of beautiful, which was great.
I’m sorry about my divergence from the topic of ALS, but when granted the opportunity, I have to take it by the reigns and soak it in and just be like, FUCK THE THIGH GAP!!!!!