Happy Endings?

I’m not sure if it’s because actual humans my age have started to get married. I’m not sure if it’s because I am starting to think that the astrologer I saw in August was full of shit. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve written and journaled and dated and obsessed about my romantic life, and for some reason, I still cannot find the relationship I want.

I recently turned to a book called Spinster by Kate Bolick to see if it had any answers for me, as I’m well on my way to becoming a twenty-something abuelita. In the end, I wanted to chuck it against a wall BECAUSE Bolick ends up in a relationship in the end. Also, she’s in several long-term relationships in the book, so I feel like that’s not a spinster.

I want real spinster stories. I want to see a story about a single woman who is not sure if her happy ending is coming to come through. I want to read more stories about women who prefer to eat popcorn in bed while watching Gilmore Girls instead of going on another mind-numbing date. I want to read about the women who never found that monogamous partner and what they do when it’s 10 PM and they really want a back rub. I want to know about the women whose fingers lack wedding rings and what they plan to do with their one and precious life.

 

At least, that’s the narrative I’ve lived so far. And, from where I’m standing, it’s a lot harder to savor the stretch in between the beginning and the happy ending when it’s your own life.

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Bad Yogi, Bad Feminist

I am a bad yogi. Though I’ve been attending classes for three years, I’ve only recently committed to mastering crow pose. I loathe inversions. I don’t breathe like Darth Vader. And my cynical side often asserts itself quite loudly during class. Once, when an instructor contemplated, “Why is it that we breathe?,” I decided not to answer, “Well, Becky, it’s a reflex.”

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Things That Are Easier Than Teaching Seventh Grade

Before Christmas, my boss and I joked that we were just slouching towards Bethlehem – simply focusing on getting our bodies in one piece to the holiday break. This year of teaching has been difficult and taxing due to the huge learning curve of first year teachers. In a fit of desperation, I made a list this year about all of the things that seemed easier than herding preteens into learning things:

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Paulina’s Guide to Podcasts

I really can’t say this gently, so I won’t even try: You have a problem with if you only consume media made by white people.

There is no way that your views on race, gender, class, ability, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, or ability will ever change if you live in an echo chamber. Instead, you must challenge yourself to listen to others’ experiences. The best way to do this is to make friends with people who are different than you in some way. Another great way to supplement your intersectional education is to listen to podcasts that are produced by people of color.

Though I certainly support reading works by diverse authors, and watching shows that tackle issues of identity, I think the podcast is a unique media form due to its aural nature. You hear folks telling their own stories in their own voices, and you often feel a stronger emotional pull than you would get from words on a page. The more you learn a show’s inside jokes, recurring segments, and host dynamics, the more you come to identify with the showrunners and love them as if they were your friends. Podcasts are a free way to become absorbed in someone else’s world, which is essential to breaking down prejudices.

Do not worry: I’m not saying you have to delete Radiolab, This American Life, Welcome to Night Vale, or How Stuff Works. Just consider adding a couple of my humble suggestions to your list.

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What is This Feeling?

Since November 8, I’ve felt a sense of low-level anxiety and dread every single day. Before Trump took office, I took each of his comments as further proof that we were headed straight for dictatorship. Now that he’s in office, I keep waiting for the worst to happen: Abortion has been banned. DACA has been revoked. International travel frozen. Gay marriage rescinded. A new war has begun. It’s as if I’ve illustrated a dystopian state in my mind, and every day, something happens to put us closer to that awful future.

Like the women of Wicked, I eventually had to put a name to this feeling: Loathing. Unadulterated loathing.

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Step One: March. Step Two: Take Action.

It takes a Trump presidency for strangers in Boston to smile at one another on public transportation. Don’t get too excited: it was still a New England grimace, not a warm Southern greeting. But as I entered the Red Line with my poster in tow, strangers bearing unfortunately shaped hats, plastic bags, and colorful signs all acknowledged each other as comrades on the way to the Boston Women’s March.

This Saturday, I joined my parents, friends, and millions of folks across the world to march in protest against the rigged election of Donald Trump. After meeting my parents, my mom’s colleague, her partner, and their young son for breakfast, our motley crew headed over to the Boston Common to join a sea of people.

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Note: the three year old also had a sign. His featured their dog, Stanley, biting Drumpf.

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If You Want to Be My Lover, Here’s a Reading List

Here’s the thing: if you want my future, I really, really, want you to take my past into account. Truly, the Spice Girls do not describe my philosophy on relationships in any way shape or form (except for the whole thing about getting along with my friends. Baby, Posh, Ginger, Sporty, Scary, and I can all agree on that). Just to show you how much this song won’t work, I’ve provided an annotated version for you:

If you want my future, forget my past duly noted that this statement is erroneous

If you wanna get with me, better make it fast actually, I’m ok with a slow burn

Now don’t go wasting my precious time is getting with someone ever a waste or just another learning experience? 

Get your act together and we’ll be just fine all applicants must have their act somewhat together in order to audition for the position of my lover

Now that we’ve determined that late nineties British pop songs are not an accurate instruction manual for loving me, let me provide you with a better sense of where I come from and what I need.

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