Happy Thanksgiving! Eat whatever the fuck you want.

Eagle tears taste like liberty.

Seriously. It’s a free goddamn country.

Here’s a friendly reminder for the holidays: eat whatever the fuck you want.

Skinny? Eat whatever the fuck you want. Fat? Eat whatever the fuck you want. Somewhere in between? Maybe you should watch it — just kidding. Eat whatever the fuck you want.*

(*Provided it won’t kill you. If you’re violently lactose intolerant, this ain’t the time for milk guzzling contests. If you have diabetes, you probably shouldn’t dive face-first into a swimming pool of emptied pixie sticks. Especially if the pool is too shallow for diving. THERE. DON’T LET ANYONE SAY I DON’T CARE ABOUT HEALTH.)

And the day after Thanksgiving? Eat whatever the fuck you want. The day after that? Fuck yea. Eat whatever the fuck you want every single day of your life.

Seriously.

Now, holidays are often times when we deal with people we’re obligated by birth to deal with, and would never choose to interact with otherwise. We might also deal with people who are generally pretty cool, but suck in very specific ways — for example, they may be concern trolls who think that your adipose deposits are their business.

If anyone gives you shit — tells you that you “shouldn’t be” eating this or that, that they’re “just concerned about your health” — refer to this sweet post by Ragen Chastain: Dealing with Unwanted Concern. She offers a handy list of responses to such concern trolls.

If anyone tells me this year that I “don’t need” a third or fourth helping of turkey, I will tell them that I also “don’t need” to take a fistful of mashed potatoes and rub it all over my breasts, but I’ll do it anyway, and I’ll stare wildly into their eyes the entire time.

This is a free country. Eat whatever the fuck you want. If you don’t, the terrorists win.

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10 signs you’re in your 20s

A cute tabby cat coiled into himself

Cats love list posts.

  1. You see a bunch of lists about being in your twenties. Yup, everyone from Buzzfeed to HuffPo (and now, Stretchmarklandia!) has a new SEXY, EXCITING list to make you feel less like a lonely outcast freak. Look at all these things you have in common with people your age!
  2. These lists assume you’re a straight middle-class white person. You’re totally stoked to get married — you know, IF IT WERE LEGAL IN YOUR STATE. You have SO MANY college loans to pay off because you totally had the opportunity and encouragement to go to some expensive-ass private college! SHOPPING. LOOK AT ALL THE SHOPPING YOU’RE DOING WITH ALL THE MONEY YOU NOW HAVE. Because you totally have a better job than you did when you were a teenager, amirite? You never see 20-somethings in retail.
  3. These lists also assume they know how you feel about babies. Babies, right? So, uh, cute. I mean, look at them! They have TINY FEET! And colic. Sometimes they also have colic.
  4. You also see a bunch of lists waxing nostalgic about the decade in which you were a child. Sure, your 11-year-old little shit neighbor has an iPad Air and an XBox Live Gold membership, but when you were a kid, you had slap bracelets and Furbies! Who cares if that kid regularly schools you in COD? NOT YOU, THAT’S WHO. *gently weeps*
  5. The first digit of your age is 2. If you’re 35, this article is not for you, unless you’re feeling nostalgic. If you’re nine, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog. There’s a lot of bad words. Drink your milk. Stay in school.
  6. You can legally drink in the United States. Yup, put your gray wig, fake wrinkles, and walker in storage, because you don’t need the old lady costume to get served at bars anymore.
  7. Your body is totally different than when you were a teenager. You’re probably fatter or thinner. You might even be taller! Your stomach might have developed a sudden aversion to cumin! Taco nights may no longer be the only real source of joy in your empty, miserable life. Now you have nothing — nothing! Except for this sexy list. You’re welcome.
  8. You’ve voted at least a handful of times. Wait, you didn’t vote? Dude, did you forget that this is a DEMOCRACY? FREEDOM AIN’T GONNA VOTE FOR ITSELF.
  9. Many of your friends are also in their twenties. They were the same age as you ten years ago, and they still are.
  10. You actually don’t need anyone to remind you how old you are. Least of all, The Huffington Post. Not that I’m dissing you, HuffPo. If you want to pay me handsomely for some sweet articles, I ain’t turnin’ that down.

I am risk-averse and also I hate danger: The NaNoWriMo Files

Like my cat, I like to hide from things that scare me.

Cat hiding in a grocery bag

In this day and age of deregulation and trail-blazing venture capitalists and sink-or-swim tech start-ups and SILICON VALLEY IS TOTALLY THE NORTH STAR OF OUR NATION, I am the least sexy or trendy thing a young 20-something could possibly be: risk averse.

In all areas of my life, really. I live right outside of Philadelphia, known for its craft brew beer snobs and foodies. I eat a plain, bland diet and drink almost never, because though I am young, I know my organs aren’t necessarily the best!

I don’t party on weeknights, or even on weekends. I rarely stay up past 11PM. I am risk averse. I do not like taking risks.

Even creatively.

Now hold the phone, you’re saying. You write a highly profane and also kind of radical blog, full of social justice and whatnot! You write music in weird time signatures and genres nobody wants to listen to! You named your band something stupid like Badger Everglade! You take creative risks!

Well, sort of. This brings me back to NaNoWriMo.

I first learned about National Novel Writing Month in my junior year of high school, when my amazing Physics teacher told me about it. She was the kind of teacher we all remember — took a special interest in me, would pull me aside after class to show me neat things like a newspaper article about a local Dali exhibit, or some drawings she was doing in an art class she was taking. Man, while I’m digressing, this teacher was talented not only in getting me jazzed about physics, but also in playing piano and making art. A renaissance woman. My hero. ANYWAY…

Every subsequent year, November would go by and I would consider it for a moment. After all, I’d been told before that I was a good writer, and I eventually became an English major, and I eventually eventually became a professional writer and editor of small-form copy, and I eventually eventually eventually became a modestly successful blogger (I mean, people other than my friends read Stretchmarklandia), so why not write a novel?

Because I was scared as shit. Because novels are, like, hundreds of pages, and that’s a lot to commit to if you’re unsure of your own talent, or the worth of your ideas.

Let’s take a trip back to seventh grade. By that time, I’d been playing piano for nine years, because I’m somehow a mediocre music prodigy. I started figuring out songs by ear on piano when I was 3, but I was never committed enough to be a good pianist. Just, ya know, decent.

By seventh grade, I’d tossed around the idea of writing music plenty of times. After all, I’d been hearing music in my head for years, and I knew a thing or two about theory and what sounds pretty and whatever. I’d also been writing shitty child poetry for years, having published a bunch in my fourth grade student newspaper. So I was pretty serious about the whole creative process thing.

I was scared, though. Writing music was scary! How would I come up with new and worthwhile sounds when Beethoven had already lived and died? Shit, I wasn’t up to the task.

Until some other kid — an eighth grader — showed me some of his own original tunes on piano.

I heard them and thought, “I could do better than that,” because I’ve always been an egotistical prick. In fact, I went home that day and figured out that kid’s songs by ear, adding my own embellishments. “Shit, I’m Mozart showing up Salieri,” I thought. “I need to write my own music.”

And that’s when I started songwriting. I just needed to see that somebody else wasn’t too chicken shit to do it.

My fiance is a writer. He’s been encouraging me to write something long-form since we started dating, but I kept insisting that I couldn’t — “I just can’t do fiction,” I said. “I’m too much of an editor. I write too slowly.” “You just want me to become famous so that you can be my Real Housewife of New Jersey.” You know, the usual round of excuses.

But Chris is sitting on a 300-page manuscript that he started writing one NaNoWriMo two years ago — at the same time he was applying to grad school, finishing up a tough semester, freelancing at an insane rate, and not even dating me to feel better about all the stress. And I’m not going to lie — it’s made me jealous as all hell.

So, among many other romance cliches, my fiance has inspired me to do NaNoWriMo this year. Unlike with the kid who spurred me to start writing music, I’m not trying to outdo Chris — dude’s way too talented. But Chris finished his 50,000 words during a tough period of his life, and dammit, I’m going to do the same. Despite the stresses of purchasing a home, moving, dealing with annoying health problems, etc., I’m going to write those goddamn words.

Because somebody showed my risk-averse ass that it is possible.

Sometimes, insulin resistance makes me bitter

Wikipedia | Insulin Molecule

Apparently, this is what insulin looks like. Kind of festive. Source: Wikipedia

I’m insulin resistant.

That doesn’t make me diabetic — nope, Suspect #1 is my ovaries, not my pancreas. Insulin resistance is a common symptom of PCOS, and basically means that sugar and carbohydrates jack my shit up, namely by:

  • Going straight to my thighs — and butt, and arms, and tummy, and boobs (yay!), no matter how many calories I’m taking in. To see why THIS IS THE LEAST OF MY WORRIES, keep reading.
  • Putting me at high risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Raising my cholesterol and triglycerides, and thus my risk of heart disease.
  • Jacking up my hormones in general, making my PCOS worse, which in turn makes my insulin resistance worse, and — well, you get the idea.

If you find yourself with a case of insulin resistance and want to do something about it, there are a few things you can do, ACCORDING TO THE INTERNET (note: I have zero qualifications to dispense health advice). Metformin, or glucophage (Latin for “sugar eater”), is a diabetes medicine that is often prescribed to women with PCOS to treat insulin resistance by “suppressing glucose production by the liver” (Wikipedia). It can also cause pretty nasty gastointestinal side effects, and I decided not to risk that on my already quite vocal GI.

You can also bypass the problem by eating very few carbohydrates. That’s the path I’ve taken.

It’s okay, I guess.

I mean, it works. My triglycerides and cholesterol are all quite normal now, where once they were troublingly high. My blood work is perfect. I’m the picture of health in most respects.

But it also kind of sucks.

A diabetic friend of mine recently made a Facebook post complaining about a skinny lady she saw eating a meal replete with carbohydrates — waffles, french fries, etc. The underlying point was clear. If I ate that, she might have said, I’d get fat and die. I don’t pay too much attention to what other people eat, but I felt for her, because I’ve had that same thought.

Insulin resistance makes me bitter sometimes. It’s not my most attractive feeling, but it’s a feeling nonetheless.

I get so angry when people say things to the effect of, “Why can’t fat people just have some self control, forgo the third burger, and not be fat anymore?”

It makes me want to say, “Fucker, put that beer down and let me tell you what being fat means for a lot of people.”

I can eat as many burgers as I goddamn please — as long as I don’t eat the bun, or the ketchup. Or the soda and fries on the side. Oh, and that beer you’re drinking? Enjoy that, because I can’t have beer anymore. Do you know what giving up beer feels like? IT FEELS LIKE YOU NEED A BEER.

Oh, and if I don’t do these things? It doesn’t just mean I’m fat. It means I’m potentially dead, asshole. It means my liver takes a shit all over itself. Not because I’m some sort of glutton. Because I eat the way you do. You know why you’re thin, with low cholesterol? GENES, motherfucker.

So yes, my endocrine disorder makes me bitter sometimes. When it does that, I find the unnecessary rage can be treated effectively with a double bacon cheddar burger, wrapped in lettuce. Maybe two double bacon cheddar burgers. Maybe I’ll get on that right now.

Actually, marriage sort of is for me

One minute I'm this independent single lady, the next minute I'm fixing tummy aches with heart rays I shoot from my eyeballs

Pictured: Horrible pre-marital selfishness

A whole bunch of my friends have been linking to this article: Marriage Isn’t for You. The tl;dr is that this guy was considering marrying his partner, but started freaking out because marriage is a big goddamn decision that ostensibly lasts forever (or until one of you croaks), and he was hesitant to do it unless he was really certain.

The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

After asking himself these totally reasonable questions, he called his father, who told him his very legitimate concerns were actually a byproduct of selfishness, and that instead of thinking of his own happiness, he should think about his wife’s happiness, as well as that of his future kids.

So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children.

After noting that his wife’s happiness was more important than his own, and that nothing could make his wife happier than to spend the rest of her life with him, he decided to go ahead and wife her.

Yes, unselfish love is very romantic and all, but as a currently engaged lady, I’m going to go against the grain here: I’m totally getting married for me.

My happiness is actually pretty important to me, and my fiance makes me happy pretty much all the time. Last night, for example, we were playing Trine 2 together and it was a fucking blast.

Don’t get me wrong, my fiance’s happiness is equally, if not more, important to me than my own. I signed up to be his Primary Footrub Giver, Makeout Buddy, and Raw Chicken Cutter from now until death do us part, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I love making that boy smile. He is just cute as the dickens.

But dude? I would so not be marrying him if I weren’t convinced that he would make me happy forever. I want my daily cuddles, backrubs, and ego boosts too, dammit. This horrible selfishness of mine must be a side effect of my being a narcissistic millennial, but how about this? I wouldn’t want him marrying me for my happiness alone. I want him to marry me because I make him happy.

I mean, that’s just logical, isn’t it?

One more thing: we’re not having kids. So that whole “You’re getting married for your future children” thing doesn’t really apply to us. Guess what? Marriage still valid, kids or no. Nobody’s going to deny me a marriage license just because I don’t want to reproduce. (And finally, in my home state of NJ, they won’t deny other couples marriage licenses for stupid, arbitrary reasons either! Huzzah!)

You got your Body Acceptance in my NaNoWriMo!

“My word,” she continued, her voice becoming dreamy, “are you ever beautiful. You know, there are seven billion of you crawling the Earth right now, all from my designs, my rough sketches. I had no idea when I passed them through my fractometer that you would come out so magnificently lovely, every last one. You put these buildings to shame. I could stare at you all day.” Her voice became solemn, then. “Which is why your assignment rattles my sinews, Julia. You’ll be living here in paradise, with no pain, no fatigue, access to the surest pleasures in the Universe, but at what cost?”

While this was only about the third strangest job interview I’d ever had, I was still a bit spooked.

Boom! Natty doesn’t turn off the body acceptance even to write a novel!
So far, I’ve been successful meeting my daily goals — I hope I can keep this up! Have you ever embarked on what seemed like an impossible mission? Did you succeed? Tell me in the comments!