Birthday weekend

Dear BJ Novak and Dev Flaherty,

I wish your app offered greater compatibility with non-mobile devices. What’s the technical term for computers again? I dunno, and as I said in the last post, I’m still high. Maybe it’s worn off by now. It probably has. It was only a few small puffs, an hour back, but then again, it’s 11pm and I’m about to eat Honey Nut Chex cereal, so I might still have some lingering effects. Apologies, I’m digressing a bit.

Anyway, if there was a way for me to write this post as a, I would do so. But alas, it’s too complicated to figure out, and perhaps the design was intentional, so I’ll just voice my complaint here, where you may never venture. I’m pretty invisible to the Internet gods, to the point my Weed Husband once googled “high mom” only to stumble upon some filthy porn, although I suppose anything is better than cake bukaki. Again, I digress.

I want to write about the past weekend, but I don’t know if I have it in me to weave one of my long-winded, non-epic epics. So, instead, here’s a list–to be edited, a million times, at leisure, on the comfort of my laptop–of observations, memories, quotes, etc. from my birthday weekend:

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What’s the word I’m looking for?

Nothing especially witchy happened last night, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a witch. I mean, I might not be a witch, but I don’t think it depends solely on yesterday. I feel like the witchyness emerges on more than a single day. Or maybe all women are born witches and they just choose to embrace their powers at 33. I haven’t really thought the theory through.

Also, I think it’s good to acknowledge here that I’m being fa·ce·tious. (Copied straight from a Google search, hence the dots). I can never remember how to spell facetious or what it means, but it’s defined as “treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.” Turning into a witch is not generally considered a serious issue, so perhaps there’s another word I should be using. I’m not sure. I’m also high.

There’s definitely a correlation between the witch thing and the weed thing. I feel like I connect on a deeper level with the universe and everything in it when I’m high. I also feel like I’ve been turning into more of a pothead lately, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Enrique and I were conversing over a bowl the other day when I asked if there was an acceptable frequency for getting fucked up. “One-third of your free time,” he said after a minute. “Well, pretty much, if you find yourself getting fucked up for more than 33 percent of your free time, then it probably controls you more than you control it.”

Thirty three. Point three.

Drugs are a powerful force in the universe, and they scare me. Everything in moderation, Mr. D’s dad used to tell him, but he was speaking broadly.

I interviewed Mr. D’s uncle back in December because I wanted to write about his father. That was going to be my Christmas present to him, but I never wrote it. I’ve had so many things I’ve wanted to write, and I haven’t written them. Simon and Garfunkle’s Concert in Central Park, and how it serves as the soundtrack to my childhood and my parent’s immigration experience. The love story for my bride-to-be friend. My next project at work. Is it simple enough to say I’m scared of falling short? Is that even the answer? I don’t know. “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

Enrique and I were stoned and looking through magazines the other day when we decided the best writing is subtle. It’s the kind that pulls you in slowly, seductively, so smoothly you don’t even realize how deeply entangled you’ve become. Writing takes you on this strange trip to faraway places in other people’s brains, lost not in the tunnels of a writer’s mind, but in the minds of the characters they create. How wild is that?

Writing is my favorite drug. Maybe that’s the anxiety I feel. That I’m not doing it enough. Dan Jones, the editor of the NYTimes Modern Love column says writing is about discovering what you don’t know, not showing what you do.

I don’t know enough to be a witch.

I know I’m grateful, that not a single day passes by where I don’t thank the universe for my girls and Mr. D, and my parents, and my job, and my health, and my life. Nothing magical happened on my birthday, except for the fact that I spent it with people I love. There’s no force in the universe more powerful than that.

What’s in a name?

I wasn’t dreading the bachelorette party. It’s just… drinking isn’t really my thing, and I didn’t know the majority of the other ladies, despite the fact that I’m in the wedding, and I’m really only in the wedding because I’m one-fourth of The Dinner Club, and two of the other Dinner Club members weren’t going to be there, and… I just don’t know. I love the bride-to-be. She’s sweet and fun and eternally charming, but she’s also part of a larger group of friends whose massive social circle often resembles Game of Thrones, where the relationships are deep and complex and almost impossible to comprehend at first glance.

I realized I didn’t belong when I forgot the name of the Bride’s aunt during dinner. “Aunt B,” she told me when I asked, and I—a woman who has defecated myself, twice, as an adult, and can relate that anecdote now, with zero shame—felt mortified that I thought she was Aunt J. That’s how out of the circle I am.

But the night was fine. It was better than that, actually. It was fantastic.

The Bride was like a beautiful, brunette Malibu Barbie. She danced and drank and relished in her much-deserved weekend of celebration. Her maid of honor, four months pregnant, showed me that some women are just destined to be great mothers, and that the life growing inside her has been blessed by this great universe to belong to someone so kind and selfless.

I ran into a dear friend from the short-lived “party days” of my 20s. Her presence reminded me of the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies from Insomnia. The first time I bit into one at the store’s Center City Philadelphia location, I asked the lady at the counter if the exotic flavor in my mouth was coconut. She nodded, and I gleefully devoured the remaining bites. “Oh Mr. Coconut,” I exclaimed with joy. “You’re like finding an unexpected friend at a party! Such a delightful surprise.” That’s how I felt about my long-lost bar friend, who I hadn’t seen since our wild Thursday nights in 2008. Ms. Coconut didn’t drink much either, but she danced and partied, and somewhere around 1am, she drove three hours home to spend some precious Time with her seven-month-old daughter before heading to work the following morning.

All of the girls were fabulous, and I felt silly for my earlier anxiety. It turned into a great night. Especially after I smoked up.

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Sober thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day

I’ve always viewed alcohol as the drug of the insecure. A way to shed inhibition and become a looser version of yourself. You, but askew. The You you want to be, but can’t quite get to on your own.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m all for a glass of wine. It’s just not my drug of choice.

I much prefer the introspection of marijuana. Of creeping into the weird and winding corners of my brain. Finding comfort there, along with other dear friends. Humor. Peace. Gratitude. Time. Always, Time. Where marijuana slows it down, alcohol speeds it up. Nights lost in darkness.

I’ve reached those blackout points myself on a handful of occasions, and they’ve always left me shaken. Horrified of the could-have beens. I could have been the victim of something awful. I could have driven home and killed someone. The possibilities are endless.

I say all this not to judge the drinkers. I get it. I’ve done it. I do it still.

I’d just prefer to spend my St. Patrick’s Day smoking green instead of wearing it at the bar.

Are you there, God? It’s me, High Mom.

I’m taking a stab at high writing, though it’s hard to tell how high I am or how it will affect the quality of the prose (for better or worse). I hit the bowl before putting the kids to bed, and now I’m trying to make sense of all the thoughts I had throughout the day. I know there were a few good ones in there…

When I’m high, I often find myself taking the same walks in my brain, down the same, familiar paths. Like, Oh, I’ve been here before. I know this place. The insecurities, the desires, the feelings of Anxiety and Gratitude and Contemplation, emerging like old friends from the murky shadows of my mind. Is this my religion, I wonder? I think about religion a lot when I’m high.

I met an expert in religious studies today. I’ll call him the Fox. He is shortish, with a slight paunch and an inscrutable expression. His Intro to World Religions course is one of the most popular courses at a nearby university, but never once in his 27-year tenure has he divulged his personal beliefs. Then again, he doesn’t really believe in beliefs. He’s an open-minded skeptic who thinks faith is a bit of a cop-out. He’s not all that interested in organized religion and much prefers the sacred texts of thousands of years before. The Secrets of the Universe. Man-made (“Because if God did it, you’d think it would be a little clearer.”). Ancient man, with ancient scrolls and ancient methods of communication, indecipherable to a Google search, so complex and esoteric that my head hurt hearing him explain how to read Buddhist poems (or something like that).

The Fox doesn’t share secrets with the lazy. He wants his kids to work for them, to unlock the mysteries for themselves. He wants his students to read. Original sources, preferably. To learn how to argue, to reason, to critique, to think. He’s paranoid of a conspiracy to “dumb down our young.” People are all too eager to be told what to think, and it terrifies him. After all, stupid people are easier to control.

The Fox loves the subversion of teaching college students critical thinking through religion. “Like taking a 2-by-4 to the head. Because it’s is the one thing you’re taught not to question.”

So what exactly is religion? He defined it as the connections we make to things larger than ourselves. He couldn’t define God. The problem, he said, is people think they can.

I told the Fox that I grew up without religion, but that I wish I better understood my Hindu roots, and that I think about religion more, now that I am a parent. “That often happens,” he said.

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I am not a witch

Remember when Christine O’Donnell went on national TV to say that? Why be so ashamed, Christine?! Embrace that shit!!

Except, of course, you spouted Tea Party nonsense, and I’m digressing completely. I might still be high.  Maybe I should do more high writing. Although I’m hesitant to, because my brain sometimes moves too fast for even me to keep up. Like Writer Me and Stoner Me and are having a weird confrontation.

Gah! See, right there. I’m high writing my thoughts. My dad told me today that my style of writing was “too conversational,” and I thought, “Whatever. It’s still good.” I get my arrogance from him.

But anyway…

Today. What a day. I think it was the Universe maybe rewarding me? I think Spiderman’s prophecy may have just come true. I’m still kinda like, whoa, wow, holy shit. In a good way.

All this time, I thought that if I worked really hard and poured my time and attention into the blog, then I’d get rewarded with an essay in the New York Times and a bunch of book deals in my inbox. As if that’s all it took. I was hustling without knowing the first fucking thing about the hustle.

The hustle starts with humility. If you want to be great, it begins by knowing that you aren’t, that greatness isn’t a state of being, but an existence that looms forever out of reach. The hustle is in rejection. It’s the job you thought you landed but didn’t get. It’s the “thanks, but no thanks” from the Times. It’s the 12-page project you completed overnight–the one that sat on your boss’ desk, unread, for weeks, as your dog died of cancer–only to be told that you never met a deadline in your performance appraisal the following year.

The hustle is nothing without the heart. The heart is honor and compassion and gratitude and kindness and all the good you aspire to be, even when you fail.

In two weeks, I’m going to have a new boss. I’m going to have everything I dreamed of happening at work, finally happen. (For the record, I didn’t just hope, I hustled.) Ms. Mahogany shook her head when she heard the news this afternoon.

“You strategic little bitch,” she said.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen,” I told her. “It’s new and crazy for me, too.”

“How are you feeling about it?”

“Excited. Nervous. I successfully orchestrated an office coup, and now I’m wondering if I did the right thing.”

“There’s a Bible verse you should remember: To whom much has been given, much is required.”

I don’t know if I fully understand what she meant, but I’m grateful for the words. I need the wisdom of her counsel and the goodness of her heart. I need to kick ass in this role. I need to hustle. I need to kill it unlike anything I’ve ever killed it before. And I probably need to start blogging less about work.

On that note, I hid the post about the time I thought I was turning into a witch and did that whole thing at the holiday party. I thought it was my $333 ticket to a book deal, but that may have been a bit foolish.

I am not a witch. Or maybe I am. Who the fuck knows.

(Note the change in Bitmoji attire… I’m dressing for the job I want and committing to be a more professional me!)