Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The trouble with grief is ...

The trouble with grief is it never really lets you go. No matter how much you’ve moved on, or how many tears you’ve cried, grief will show up in the most unexpected places.

I lost my father nearly six years ago. Six years seems like a really long time. Even thinking about it now it feels like a lifetime ago. I should be over it, but the more days that accumulate between myself and his death the more I realize this grief will never really go away. I cry on his birthday, on Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every four years I cry during World Cups. I cry when Bill Wither’s “Lean on Me” plays in a restaurant as background music. I cry when I think of him missing my wedding. I cry at countless tiny things that remind me of him and the things that he loved. I cry when I am lying in bed at night simply because he’s gone and he’s never coming back. And sometimes I cry when I realize the few precious memories I have of him are fading. Which is why I hold onto them like a greatest hits album, replaying them over and over again in my head. But his face gets a little fuzzier, the feeling of him a little further and then I realize I can’t even remember the last conversation I had with him.

I lost my dad when I was 25, but the reality is, because he was so sick for so long I really lost him when I was in high school. No one told me at the time that his mind would go. That every poet, book, philosopher and scripture he had committed to memory would vanish. That his quick wit and dry tongue would be a thing of the past. That he’d live in a land of delusions, a walking nightmare filled with fire-starting leprechauns, alien creatures, and villainous monsters telling him to do bad things. After he was committed and placed in hospice he simply withered away. For eight long years he lived in a world that was not ours. A world that, from my perspective, seemed terrifying. One time we sat in the cafeteria of his hospital talking crazy. He told me about trips he never took to lands that weren't real with people who never lived. The rolling hills of Escondido stared back at us signifying a life he was no longer a part of. Then, the fog suddenly lifted from his eyes and in a brief moment of clarity he looked at me and said, “Taryn, what's wrong with me? Please, I don’t want to die.” His eyes pleaded for me to help him, but of course I couldn't. My heart shattered into a million pieces that never quite came back together.

That might be the last line he ever spoke to me. But who really knows if it was him or not? A couple years later, when he was especially bad off, I visited before leaving for a trip. I whispered into his ear “You were a good dad” and kissed him on the forehead. In retrospect it felt like a kiss goodbye -- and it was. I returned two weeks later and the morning I was to drive to the hospice center to see him, I got the call he had died. When I saw the body his face was contorted, mouth agape, like he was screaming. When I think of his pain and sorrow and struggle I can’t help but be overcome by sadness. And when I think of the dad I lost, the memories I try so hard to hold onto that just keep slipping through my fingers, I can’t help but grieve. I grieve for his pain and for mine. For his life and the life he missed.

This is not to say that grief has taken over. Oh, no. Life goes on and grief is aware of its unwelcome presence. Knowing this grief will often lie dormant for weeks, months, even years. But then, all of the sudden lying alone in my bedroom, staring at the ceiling I feel it come for me, for no reason at all. No birthday or holiday or special song. This is grief’s slippery speciality, showing up when you least expect it. And that’s when I cry the most. It’s a hard cry. The kind of cry where tears flood from your eyes as if you’ve never cried a day in your life. It’s in this moment that you realize death is final and grief is forever. But maybe that’s okay, because for someone to be grieved it means they were loved. And he was loved.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Can we stop with the bridesmaids are bitter, evil bitches narrative?

Buzzfeed just put out a video titled, “If bridesmaids were honest” which, you guessed it, is all about how terrible and bitter bridesmaids are. Not surprisingly it has almost one million views after just five days (why internet, why?).

I’ll admit I chuckled a couple times -- okay like one time -- when the girl said “I flew cross-country for this I am not getting you something from Crate & Barrel” mainly because Crate & Barrel is where money goes to die.

Usually I am a fan of theses videos, i.e. the formula  “If TK group” was “TK” -- like “If Asians said the stuff white people say” -- because it highlights how ridiculous we all are.

But the bridesmaid bit is tired and frankly, insulting to women.

All the jokes are the same and equate to bridesmaids being (1) bitter they’re still single, (2) catty and bitchy to other bridesmaids, (3) mad their best friend is getting married, (4) pissed at spending so much money on a “dress they’ll never wear again” and (5) feeling like the bride is making a mistake.

Essentially, since most women will be a bridesmaid at some point in their life, this means we as society believe women can’t be happy for each other even on “her most important day” -- which, um, I am calling BULLSHIT.

I have been a bridesmaid three times. So clearly I am an #expert. Although, one doesn’t really count because it was for my brother’s wedding, so it was more about my bond with him than her. But the other two were for two very good friends of mine and let me tell you, every minute of each experience was wonderful in its own special way (like a snowflake).

Never once did I think “Oh why is my best friend getting married and not me?!” As if somehow marriage was a zero sum game. Let me be clear: Her getting married to the freaking love of her life did not affect my marriage prospects in any way shape or form.

In fact, I was VERY single during my bridesmaids duties and frankly it restored my faith in romance to see two of my friends marrying really great, really fantastic guys. It gave me hope that despite all the assholes I had been dating at the time (it was my 20’s there were several) true love really did exist.

Rather than thinking “Why not me?” I thought “How great for her!” Yes, I was happy to see my friend so happy! I know that’s hard to believe because I am a female and there’s some rule that says women all have to hate each other. But call me crazy, seeing my friends light up with love and joy made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Honestly writing about it right now makes me feel happy all over again.

The other thing is, I made friends with the other bridesmaids. No I didn’t know all of them before the wedding (both weddings were on the east coast and I’ve spent the last 10 years in LA), but I got to know them through parties and showers and games. And it was great. The thing we had in common was love for an awesome lady, which is a great place to start. So no, I wasn’t like “Oh she’s a bitch” or “Her presence is ruining this for me”. In fact, I didn’t see any of that go on at all (unless they all thought that about me, but hell we’ll never know!).

Which brings me to the dress. One thing I will say is, no I have never worn any of my bridesmaids dresses again and probably never will. But, wearing a bridesmaid dress is not all bad. It’s kind of like wearing a VIP badge. Everyone knows you’re friends with the bride and groom, which at a wedding makes you cool. You get to sit at a cooler table, you get to make a speech, people come up to you to chat and ask you questions. It’s like being Prince Harry at a birthday party for Prince William. Sure you’re not the future king but really you get to have an awesome time and share none of the responsibility. 

I suppose my point is that all my bridesmaid experiences have been fantastic. I can’t wait until my other good girlfriends get married so I can be a part of their wedding too -- if they choose to have one (me I’ll probably elope because planning a wedding seems like a nightmare).

And I get it, it’s definitely a financial burden (I spent thousands flying back and forth across the country) but I know if I couldn’t afford it my friends would have understood and let me opt out. Or heck, probably even helped me out. When I say it was a privilege to be included I actually mean it.

So I just want to put it on record that most of us are happy when we get to see our best friends live out their dreams with the person they love -- and this ongoing joke that women are mad when other women get married is insulting. It insinuates that women are so desperate to tie the knot they can’t possibly be happy for anyone else. The video Buzzfeed should have made is “If we talked about groomsmen the way we talk about bridesmaids” … or like ... “We’re misogynists with very little comedic skills so we need to recycle old and tired stereotypes.” That works too.

Also, if your best friend is bitter you’re getting married, then you need to rethink your friends. Just sayin.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Why Women Are What’s Wrong With Women Today

I recently came across an article titled, “Ladies, Why You Need to Have Sex Appeal and Swagger to be Successful.” I clicked on it thinking, okay, I’m sure this is an article targeted towards empowering me to be all the woman I can be … while owning my awesome sexuality… a.k.a. my rockin' ass. 

It. Was. Not. 

Instead I was told that I need to learn about the four major sports. “Know your sports girls” (baseball, basketball, football and hockey), the article read, because men want to talk about it. 

Girl, you should wear that to work.
I was told I need to wear heels, "not two-inch pumps" (Really, is it 1987?) because men need to want me -- in the work place mind you -- and no man wants to work with frumpy mc-flats-wearer. 

Then I was told to NOT dip my “hoo ha in the company inkwell”. Okay, mixed signals. 

Next I was told my work outfit should look like it could transition straight into a date … I should never be overly aggressive … I shouldn’t speak my mind unless I’m 100% sure of what I am saying … and my favorite, “All men want to be around a woman who would go to a game with them.” 

This writer is a woman. She might be time traveling woman from 1955, I’m still looking into it.

Regardless, this is what’s wrong with women. It’s not that she was telling me to do all these ridiculous things -- maybe they would help my career -- it’s that somehow she was equating my success to men liking me.   

The entire prose of her opinion was based not on what kind of work I was doing, or how I should take charge in a meeting, or stand up for myself, or ask for the raise. NO it was all based on catering my look, my clothes, my conversation topics, hell my opinions … to what men want to hear.

In case you didn’t know, I am pretty big feminist (in that I am a woman and all women should support women's rights. Seriously). I see women struggle to get ahead, I know firsthand what it’s like to work in a male-only environment and the misogynistic bullshit that goes with it. I want women to stick together, to support each other, to do what men do and HELP RUN THE FUCKING WORLD. 

But rather than empowering ourselves WE are making ourselves look stupid, trying to get ahead by getting a man's approval. Being scared of the word feminist. I get it, men respond better when we play dumb, when we play cute, when we smile and flirt … but WHY do our lives and our careers need to be based around what men want? Especially if what they want is "cute, smiley, and non-assertive." 


Can you imagine the reverse, an article on Chive or Mandatory or Bro Bible – telling guys to know all the celebs on US Weekly and the major designer shoe brands … because women like to talk about it. Your career will go nowhere if you don’t guys. 

Or … “Hey guys, make sure to wear a tight shirt, but not too tight. You want her to know you work out, but not think you’re a slut.” Even though, you’re a slut of course. 

This would never happen because men don’t cater their lives to what women want. Men fuck girls, men hang out with their friends, men talk about what they want to talk about and when they go to work … they work. 

Why can’t we do the same?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Why never getting closure can be a real bitch

As we go through our dating lives we leave behind a trail of ghosts. People who came into our hearts for a hot second, only to leave us feeling cold and rejected with a slew of unanswered questions.

I like to say these are the people we half-breakup with. Half-breakup because we never really dated them, we only went out a couple times, or were strictly “in the sheets” kind of friends. When these relationships end it’s not a big hoopla, there are no tears, or wallowing sessions on the couch -- but worst of all there is no closure either. Often they just disappear, never to be heard from again.

I’ve had this happen to me a couple times. A guy in college strung me around for a couple years. He was hot, then cold, then hot, then I was yelling. I never really knew why, but in that instance I chalked it up to him being a crazy person and moved on. However, there is one guy, in which the situation was so weird, so out of the blue, and he cut me out so fast that it still irks me to this day. Here’s what happened.  

This is the tale of this guy who was a real asshole to me one time:

Over the course of two years I became very good friends with a guy I worked with, we became so close I would often crash at his house whenever we hung out and I drank too much, or was too tired to drive home. I always slept on the couch. (He had male roommates so often partying happened at their place).

I kind of had a crush on him, but never pursued it because he was a known womanizer, I actually liked being friends with him and he was friends with my friend. So incestual. However one night, I was crashing after a party and he told me his roommate was out of town and I could sleep in the guy’s bed. Great. Couches suck. So I did.

About ten minutes later, my friend comes in and climbs into bed too. Okay. He wanted to watch videos on his laptop and hangout. Okay. We chatted, laughed, the sexual tension was high. I went to sleep. Then he did too.

Then that moment happened, the one when two horny 20-somethings are lying in a bed, in the dark, so close they can feel each other’s body heat. I felt my heart pounding, I felt my skin inching toward his. At some point I felt his hand on my hip. I think. Then it happened -- we kissed.

Only this was not fireworks. This was the worst kiss of my life. It was awkward and clumsy and not to be TMI, it tasted bad. Researchers say kissing is how we find “the one” -- well our DNA was definitely rejecting each other. We fumbled around a bit, it was seriously so bad. Eventually we stopped. Still fully dressed, I went to the bathroom. Came back and went to sleep.

I thought the next day at work it would be fine. We’d have a laugh, be adults about it, make fun of ourselves. That sort of thing. Maybe our relationship was more brother, sister after all.


I went to talk to him and was completely iced out. I tried to text him, iced out. I tried calling, ICED OUT. Here was my “friend” treating me like the plague. I was very upset and very confused. What happened? Was I missing something.

Normally, if we had been “dating” or “hooking up” I never would have continued to try -- that would be pathetic -- but we were friends for years, so I didn’t understand. And I kept trying. I asked his friends, “What’s wrong?”. All they said is “He hates you.” Okay. Thanks. Eventually their tune changed to “Come on, you know what happened. You know why he hates you.” Um, no. Does awkward make-out really lead to full on I-hope-you-die hatred?  I didn’t think it did.

I was utterly confused, upset, broken, frustrated and genuinely sad to lose a friend.

This went on for about a year. Yes, a year! Eventually I stopped calling or talking to him. At work we ignored each other. He refused to make my drinks (he was the bartender) and I’d have to do it myself. I was disinvited from his snowboard trip. I stopped being asked to parties. Suffice to say, it sucked balls.

Later, after a long time had passed I asked my friend Joe (name has been changed) why Justin (named not changed) had been such an asshole.

“Come on T, you know why!!!” Said Joe.
“No, please tell me, it’s been over a year, just tell me!”.

Here it was, the moment of truth. “Justin said you went to his house, came on to him, tried to have sex with him and when he rejected you, you got all crazy and mad.”

Wait, what? He what … I what … with the sex … what????

Here’s the thing. If that happened, if I was rejected I would be embarrassed. I would be the one running, hiding, ignoring and avoiding. I wouldn’t ask all his friends to relive the moment with me, to find out what went wrong. I WOULD KNOW WHAT WENT WRONG.

I have no idea why this story was told, or why he iced me out. To this day I don’t. Because that version of events never happened.

I don’t know who listened to Serial, but in it Adnan says the worst thing about going to jail for murder is that people believed he was capable of murder.

With this, when I finally heard the so-called truth I looked at my friend Joe and said “And you believed him? All the guys believed him?” He said, “Well Justin’s a very good looking guy.” Okay, that doesn't mean I'd turn into a crazy rapist lady.

At the end of the day, I will never know what happened. Clearly something went wrong and I lost a friend. No closure will ever be given to me. That sucks.

This is what we all must deal with. And sadly the lack of closure comes down to ego, because the real question I am asking is “Why didn’t you want to be friends anymore? Why was losing me okay?” I mean, I am awesome right? …. right?

Here’s the thing, when we get faded out, or ghosted or dumped the real question we’re asking is “What’s wrong with me? What’s so wrong with me, you don’t want to see me anymore?

The real truth is, there is nothing wrong with you. Relationships go wrong and we don’t always get to know why. If someone doesn’t want to be with you, it’s their loss. Seriously.

And if all else fails, forget your ego and chalk it up to this steadfast fact: that dude was crazy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Here's What It's Like To Not Be Skinny ... Or Fat.

According to the media there are two types of bodies in this world: really skinny and really fat.

There is “Hollywood skinny”, in which women are meant to be a size zero, “fat” is Kim Kardashian (5’2” about 115 lbs) and “fit” is often used to describe “anorexic”. It’s then made worse by photoshop, a fun little process in which a hardly-attainable body morphs into a literally-unattainable body -- except on a computer screen -- and is broadcast out to women everywhere. Usually in an attempt to sell something: something that makes us skinner, prettier, younger, stupider*, whatever.

Of course this is not new, the female population has long been clamoring against the “skinny bitches” in La La Land for quite some time. Then, at some point, a response was created to make “us” all feel better about ourselves for not fitting into some silver screen bullshit. A small corner of the media fought back and claimed, “fat is beautiful”. Companies like Dove stood up to those bony bullies and featured “real women”. Hashtags were formed, #stopfatshamingnow. TV shows with titles like “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” were green-lit, and articles like this one  spread like wildfire across social media.

Still after all this ... I watch TV, I see the ads, I look at the art and none of these bodies look like mine. My thighs, my stomach, my boobs are nowhere to be found.

I am not a size zero or two or four -- but I am not a size 22 or 24. Almost none of my friends are either. In fact barely anyone I know fits into the “really skinny” or “really fat” category. So when can we actually celebrate regular?

I didn’t use the word “real”, because technically every body is “real”. I said regular, as in medium, as in “sometimes I look hot” and “sometimes I look bloated” and “sometimes these jeans fit” and “sometimes this dress looks good (minus my food baby)” and "sometimes dammit I need to wear sweatpants" bodies?

See, I am not on board with the amount of pressure placed on women in this country to be thin. Some of us are naturally curvier, thicker, and more muscular (we usually make the best athletes). But we are not celebrated in mass media, instead we are told that smaller is better. And let me tell you, waking up and hating yourself everyday because you don’t feel good enough because your pant size is not small enough is downright debilitating. Your waistline is not your worth.

However, in fighting against these pressures, I cannot get on board with my overweight, obese sisters-from-another-mister either. I don’t think morbidly obese is beautiful. I think the individuals within -- underneath layers of fat which are surely part of a much bigger problem -- can most definitely be beautiful and I would never shame someone for being obese, but I would not celebrate it either. Fat is not beautiful. Healthy is.

So where is our regular-body-celebration? Where are my size 5 to 12 women at? The femmes who can still rock a semi-tight dress, but freak out a little when it comes to bikini season.

For instance, it’s hard for me to buy pants because my butt is pretty big (like really big), but my stomach is actually flat (I work out). Apparently though you can't have a big butt in this world without some designer assuming you have a gut to match (it's called Native American dumb ass).

When I look around at the women in my boxing class, my dance class, my yoga class -- there are not a lot of “thigh gaps” but there are a lot of fit chicks. They are not Hollywood skinny. But they are all fit.

None look like Megan Fox or Emma Stone (seriously if you've met actresses in real life, they are super tiny), but none look like Melissa McCarthy either. It would be nice if “real body” didn’t have to mean “fat body”, if instead we could look at women who still look pretty good naked, and not shame them for that tiny roll of fat than happens when they sit down. (You know what I am talking about).

As Ronda Rousey -- an awesome MMA fighter and pretty hot chick who weighs about 140 lbs (fat by Hollywood standards) -- once, said “Skinny girls look good in clothes, but fit chicks look better naked."

Damn right.

UPDATE: This commercial was shared around the Internet right after I wrote this, so apparently I am not the only one who feels this way. Of course, it was not made in America.

*This refers to a show called "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" which no one should watch. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Yes, You Can Get High Through Your Vagina Now (If You Have One)

Hey ladies, ever find yourself relaxing with a little late-night cannabis and suddenly think "Man, you know what would make this even better? Getting high through my vagina."

Well your prayers have been answered.

The Aphrodite Group, a California based medical marijuana collective, has created a lubricant infused with cannabis oil "for her pleasure" called Foria. That's right, we already have weed brownies and weed chocolate so it's only natural we progress to weed lube as well, because nothing says Friday night like some brownies, Netflix and good old fashioned cannabis-soaked clitoris.

A single 30mL bottle runs $88 a pop -- that's about $80 more than your standard CVS version -- and requires a physicians letter to get your hands (or lips) on it.  Granted it's doing a lot more than simply making things slippery.

So what does it do exactly?

According to the website, Foria's blend of cannabis and coconut oil has the ability to "awaken arousal and heighten sensation, making orgasms more intense, fuller, or easier to access." In fact some women they tested the product on claimed to have 15 minute orgasms.



Not only that, the coconut oil -- which acts as the base of the lube -- keeps the pH of the vagina balanced, helping to prevent yeast infections. That's what you call a win win.

Foria contains 2 mg of THC per spray and the recommended serving size is about 6 sprays. The website says it should be applied directly on the clitoris, labia and inside the vagina about 30 minutes before having sex.  Then the magic happens. Don't believe me? Just watch this video from their website.

Did you see those waves? That was a metaphor for holy-crap-this-is-the-best-orgasm-I've-ever-had-in-my life.

Now, please excuse me while I go call my doctor  do something else that I can't explain right now.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Only Piece Of Relationship Advice You'll Ever Need (Seriously)

I spend a good portion of my day reading and writing about relationships. More specifically, reading and writing-up psychological studies about relationships. This entails everything from why men cheat, to how porn affects divorce rates, to exactly how many orgasms are women really having (apparently not enough ladies, get with it!).

Anyway all of this "scientific" research (is psychology science? We'll never know) combined with the fact that I live with and interact with humans on a daily basis has led me to consider myself an "expert" on relationships.

Side note: "expert" is in quotations because, come on, we all know relationship experts are a joke. However that will not stop me from imparting my wisdom onto you, my eager and willing audience.

So after dozens of studies read, countless of articles written, a slew of bad dates, thousands of OkCupid messages ignored, tens of thousands of Tinder swipes, and one honest-to-goodness love I can tell you I have found the one piece of dating / relationship / love / marriage advice you will ever need. Here it is:

Don't be a douchebag. 

1. Studies have shown that when a wife falls ill, her husband is more likely to divorce her -- you know because it puts a "stress" on the relationship. But if the husband falls ill, the wife will stick around to take care of him. Don't do this. If your S.O. is sick, help them. Don't be a douchebag. 

2. It is estimated that around 25 to 40% of people cheat on their spouse. Listen, I know views on monogamy are changing (Is it even natural? Did it really play a part in evolution? Why does no one know?!!!) but the reality is, if you made a commitment to be monogamous -- stick to it. Otherwise, don't commit. Don't be a douchebag. 

3. Experts agree that when one person has all the power, the relationship can become toxic -- because duh, one person is deciding everything and the other person feels worthless. Huge douchebag move. Don't do it.

4. If your S.O has friends of the opposite sex, don't get jealous all the time and try to sabotage their platonic relationships. It will force them into an ultimatum between you and them -- and that makes you a mean jelly belly douchebag. 

5. If your partner needs a ride to or from the airport, pick them up. If they need help on a project help them. If they need to complain about their mom listen to them. If they need space give it to them. If they need a hug, comfort them. If they need a shot, pour two. These are common human needs, be there for them, make them feel loved and don't be a douchebag.

6. Studies show that when wives get stuck doing all the housework they're really unhappy (yeah, no shit). In fact there's a phrase for this called "second shift" because women have to work "9 to 5" then come home and do more "work"-- putting them on a 24/7 schedule. So come on folks,  don't be a douchebag, share the labor. 

7. It is also estimated around 40 million people are in a sexless marriage (yikes!). While finding a source for that number is next to impossible, I'm still rewriting it here because, the number doesn't really matter. What matters is, if you aren't having sex with your S.O you're being a douchebag. Either that or your S.O. is a douchebag you don't want to have sex with. Either way someone is being a douchebag. 

8. Don't forget important dates like anniversaries and birthdays. On the flip side don't be that person that's like "OMG it's our sixteen-and-a-half month anniversary," because that's an equally douchebag move.

9. Don't criticize your S.O. all the time! It makes me cringe when I hear couples insult each other in front of other people (not in the joking way, but in the "we're so gonna have a talk about this later way"). You're supposed to be each other's biggest cheerleaders -- so don't be a douchebag, CHEER!

10. Don't lie to your parter. Lying sucks, it makes the person being lied to feel really stupid (trust me, I know). In fact, studies show that when cheaters come clean, their partners are more likely to forgive them. See, a lot of times it's less about the cheating and more about the lying, because once you lie all sense of trust is lost. Which makes you an untrustworthy douchebag and makes the relationship sit on thin ice for the rest of its most-likely-short existence.

11. Don't be mean to other people. Yeah I mean family members, friends, wait staff, bartenders, random other douchebags in bars. Being mean to those people is proof that at some point you can turn on your S.O. and be mean to them too. That makes you a douchebag in sheep's clothing. 

12. Just. Don't. Be. A douchebag. Be a human being. Be kind, considerate, loving and open. Recognize the fact that you chose to enter a relationship (or go on a date, or get married, or whatever). It was a choice you made -- so either enjoy it and be a wonderful, decent human being or get out because frankly you're doing the other person a favor ... saving them from yet another douchebag, YOU!