Step Zero

I am sitting in the Taco Bell drive thru ordering a week’s worth of caloric intake when it hits me: I am the exact age that my mother was when she married my father. At my age she was preparing to marry the love of her life, and I’m considering ordering two sodas so that they think the food is for two people.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. Well, shit. If those are steps to life consider me at Step 0.

Everyone seems to be getting married and having children and I’m just sitting here asking the waitress if happy hour ending at 6 is a rule or more of a guideline.  That stupid nursery rhyme never mentioned the part where you come home from work and ask your cat how her day was and shop in the “dinner for one” section at Target.

This is by no means a sob story. My life is marvelous. I have a kick ass job, the greatest group of friends, and spectacular abs. Well.. maybe two just of the three, but I’ll let you guess. With my feed constantly filled with joyous announcements of women moving their way through that nursery rhyme’s steps, I sometimes find myself forgetting the magic that is my life.

How is it that I am constantly asked if I am dating someone? Can they not see my bulging eyes that are dying to tell you of my design presentation to the regional creative director that I killed or how I finally mastered my pizza crust recipe? My answer of ‘no’ is greeted awkwardly as if being single is a thing to be pitied.

Single does not have to be a four letter word. Not all of us find love immediately and very few are lucky to find their spouse as young as my mother did. Love does not always come first. I am 24 and I have already done so many incredible things in my life. I wouldn’t trade any of it to get ahead. My life is more than a nursery rhyme. So far as I am concerned, I’m okay with being at Step 0.

college grad

Sooooo, what’s next?

I have always pictured an adult like a solved rubix cube: each little colored square is exactly where it’s supposed to be, masterfully maneuvered into its rightful place.

As a recent college graduate I am filled with a tremendous pressure to have all my colored squares in a row as I am constantly asked what my plans are. While opening my degree as it arrived in that crease-free envelope, all I could hear was the world telling me: “Congratulations here’s a piece of paper that cost you five years of your life and a 100k, now go be an adult.”

The playful question of “what do you wanna be when you grow up?” was no longer a kindergarten topic, but was now staring me directly in the face. Six-year-old me wanted to be a cowgirl but I don’t think the market for that is really good anymore and there’s no way it would cover dental. I am grown up, but what do I wanna be?

Hold up, I can barely return my movies on time let alone plan out my whole future. I just figured out how to broil something in the oven, so I think I have reached my “adult” level for the week. I am young and the world is supposedly at my fingertips, all I have to do is choose. Yet, how can I decide such a fate when I can’t even pick what to watch on Netflix in a reasonable amount of time?

Adulthood seemed so glamorous when I was a child. The freedom! The boyfriend that looks like Justin Timberlake! BOOBS!  Little did I know that the freedom gets you into trouble and the boyfriend (who probably doesn’t look like JT) comes with compromise and possible heartbreak. The boobs, I must admit, are actually pretty awesome.

Dictionary.com defines an adult as “a person who is fully grown or developed or of age.” I see nowhere in that definition telling me that I have to wear pantsuits and not eat pizza for breakfast.  So what is this obsession with constantly wanting to have your life together when it has merely begun? You cannot tie together a bouquet of flowers when they have just begun to bloom.

Just like the steps to solving a rubix cube, I am plagued with the trial and error process that is life. Hangovers (yes we get those now that we are not 19 anymore) teach you to stay away from whiskey, cell phone tickets teach you to not Snapchat while you’re driving, and your fire alarm teaches you to pay closer attention to the recipe. With each lesson learned, my path will become clearer. I don’t have it all figured out, and that is okay. To me, being an adult is accepting that and moving forward.

So call me an optimist, but I know that one day my rubix cube will be solved and I will look back on my messy cube of the past and wonder why I was so worried in the first place.




don't let your dirty dishes define your relationship

War is hell, especially when you share a bathroom with them


Don’t let your dirty dishes define your relationship. 

“This year things are going to be different. We’re going to all pull our weight. We’re only going to drink on the weekends and never run out of toilet paper.”  There is a beautiful glimmer of hope that surrounds a new roommate situation. Too often that promise of a tranquil home slowly turns into the situation that many of us know too well: the roommate war zone.

There’s that pot that has been “soaking” for maybe a week now, a slew of passive aggressive post-it notes and the ever delicate balancing game of “how much trash can I stack on the can before it falls.” I think my personal record was well over a foot before I caved and took it out.

Whether you live with your besties or the least sketchy person you could find on Craigslist, it’s all fun and games until someone got drunk and ate your leftovers.

They should have made room in the high school curriculum on how to be a good roommate. It’s a class I certainly did not take. My late night post-bar meals have often left our kitchen atrocious, I have to be reminded to put pants on when we have a guest and must take credit for a good percentage of the post-it notes.

I live with three other women, and not one of us is perfect. Imagine a small house with four very big personalities and only one bathroom. Patience gets tested, especially when your roommate is taking a shower and you really, really have to pee.

My mind wanders to a wonderful dream of having a place to myself where I don’t have to put my name on my groceries and have the freedom to recklessly watch crappy TLC shows without judgement. The grass is always greener on the other side, I just happen to not be able to pay the utilities by myself on that side.

As I stand proudly with all my medals from war, I realize just how pointless the entire thing is. When we lower our weapons, it becomes clear why we chose to live together in the first place. We saw something in each other that said, “yeah, I could totally see you at your worst and love you nonetheless,” and the biggest pile of dirty dishes in the world wouldn’t change that. Maybe its just that we got so caught up in the “war” that we never realized that we had been on the greener side of the entire time.

This is me on a Saturday night these days....

Living in Partyville, USA

Dear God, it’s a Tuesday!  Where’s my cat? Did I bolt the door?

As the sun goes down in this small college town, my anxieties grow as the anticipation of the night nears me. My hope of a good night’s sleep has now become a mere fantasy. I hear the sudden loud beat of a terrible song that’s probably degrading to women and it has begun. The overpowering grunts and groans echo into the early hours of the morning as the seemingly endless hoards pass my house and call out to each other.

Why the hell did I HAVE to live downtown?

It’s my fourth year of living in the downtown area of Chico, and the party is over.  It was all fun and games until my classes got harder, the hangovers became crippling, and my stomach could no longer handle the late night delicacies’ of Jack in the Box.  I now enjoy the finer things in life like Harry Potter movie marathons and telling drunken freshman to stop peeing on my house.

Chico, CA: AKA Partyville, USA. It’s the land of the dollar drinks where the streets glitter with the glass of discarded beer bottles. I wanted to be right in the middle of the action, to never miss a thing.  My search ended with a quaint place conveniently located in walking distance of the bars and all the late night pizza I could eat.   What more could a girl ask for?

The promise of a legendary college experience is so enticing; it can cloud the judgment of even the smartest of us. I never imagined passing the carcasses of burnt couches on my walk to class, the occasional chanting of “CHICO! CHICO! CHICO!” and rioting outside my window, or that blaring sirens would eventually turn into a nightly lullaby.  How could I? I just wanted to have an epic time.

Now I’m old, my bed is warm and those cheap bottles of vodka make me cringe. I once was one of the party zombies that plagued the downtown area, but now I long for a good night’s sleep and a front yard I can go barefoot in.

As I go out into to real world after graduation and search for a place to live, I will know to avoid places like Partyville, USA. No matter how much sleep I loose or how often I hear Ke$ha blaring at 3 am, I know that after I leave I will miss it in a way.  I will pass by a porch with a couch or beer pong table on it I will always remember the time I lived where the streets glittered with the glass of discarded beer bottles and smile.

That's me proudly holding the special section of the Orion that I designed, Illustrated, and wrote for.

Love the One You’re With.

Being single this time of year can be especially difficult. While Hallmark executives are stuffing their wallets with the dollars of those in cupid’s grasp, the singles of this world are left to drown.

I am 22 years old, and have never had a Valentine. On a scale of 1 to Jennifer Anniston, I’m pretty single. I watch Netflix in bed, the guy at the pizza place knows me by name, and I consider leggings appropriate attire for all situations. There is nothing wrong with not having a Valentine, I got my sweet self.

In the not so distant past, I did not have this pattern of thinking. I constantly scroll Instafacebooktwitterwhatever and see a feed of blissful couples doing couple-y things and coupling all over each other. To be honest, it can make a girl feel a little lonely. But, who can blame me? The world is always telling me to “love the one you’re with,” but I am not with anybody.

This year I have decided to do something different. If I am supposed to love the one I’m with, I’m going to love the one person who has been there for all of my 22 date-less Valentine’s Days: myself. I’m freaking awesome, and instead of spending Valentine’s Day elbow deep in some Ben and Jerry’s, I’m going to appreciate the single life for what it is and how I am so much more than single.

I am independent. I can change my own oil, pay for my own drinks, and stay out as late as I please. This is one of the best things about being in your early 20’s, making your own path. I may get a little too enthusiastic when “Independent Women” starts playing at the bar, but I regret nothing.

I am busy as hell. I work two jobs and have a full course load. If I am not making lattes, studying, or putting The Orion together, I’m usually thinking about how I should really be doing one of the previously mentioned activities. I barely can remember my own birthday, let alone someone else’s. It’s completely okay that with all the hats I wear, that one of them does not say “girlfriend.”

I am in college. Yes, many people marry their college sweethearts, but it is more than just a place to meet your mate. While I may despise the exams and papers, the acess to knowledge and opportunity to learn is something that I will eventually miss.

I am one of a kind. I drink too much coffee, I watch too many cat videos on the internet, I bake cookies when I’m stressed, and I’m wicked good with a pen and my sketchbook. I know all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody and I have read all of the Harry Potter books, twice. Everyone has their own crazy mixture going on, and I happen to love mine.

So maybe Ryan Gosling won’t come bursting through my door anytime soon with a heart-shaped pizza, but I know that someday there will be someone who can keep up with me. Until then I’m going to love the one I’m with.