and how to survive, there’s no written guidelines

They warned me that the first year after graduation would be hard. Other people are successful: secure jobs, new apartments, and beautiful shoes. I’m back at home.

I’m very lucky in that I’ve always gotten along well with my parents. My mom was THAT mom, who drove me to school every morning and picked me up every afternoon, who never missed a class trip, who always made sure my PB&J was cut into a heart, and who put a hot dinner on the table every night. Then, when I was about 16 everything changed. Her memory had been poor for a long time, but we thought the absent-mindedness about the little things wasn’t a major cause for concern. We thought how easily she got tired was from a lack of exercise. By the time we finally got a diagnosis, the damage had been done. Multiple Sclerosis had already taken her ability to endure, to remember my college major, and even to empathize. It’s a nasty, progressive disease. I dealt with the repercussions for the tail end of high school and then left for college. I would call home every night and repeat myself 5 times over the course of a few minutes because she tried to care about how I was doing but couldn’t recall events from one day to the next. Or the names of my new friends, or what I was learning in class, or what I got on that paper I was so excited to talk about. It sucked. But I only had to face it on a few weekends, holidays, and phone calls.

Now I’m in her house, and it’s really, really hard. It’s hard to see people who have moms who can walk the boardwalk with them without having to maneuver a heavy power scooter, it’s hard to see moms who write heartfelt messages about their daughter’s accomplishments on Facebook, and it’s hard to know that I should appreciate the fact that I have a mom who gave it all for so much of my life, but who just can’t do it anymore. I was so fortunate to have a supermom during my childhood, but I wish that same woman were here for me now. She gets around with a walker and a scooter, she tells me she’s glad that I’m back home, and I know it could be way worse.

One of the lessons I’ve learned over the past year is that it’s okay to feel bad. The fact that it could be worse doesn’t invalidate that the situation you’re in causes you pain. Don’t wait to go to the mall with your mom, or take her out to lunch, or just sit on the porch and talk with her. You never know when those moments can change forever. Appreciate everything, and take lessons wherever you can. I hear these things build character.


Title: How to Return Home, Kerrigan-Lowdermilk, which encompasses my emotions perfectly 

on waiting

Patience is a virtue that I do not possess.

I leave exams and immediately consult my notes for those answers of which I was unsure.

I listen to Christmas music in September, and read the last page of the book first.

I wake up in the middle of the night and check my e-mail to see if that important person I contacted may have replied at 3 AM.

I pace, and write, and draw to try to ease the suffocating feeling of waiting for answers.

Did I get the job?

What letter will be written at the top of my essay?

How many likes will this picture get on Instagram?

When will I be good enough?

Smart enough?

Pretty enough?

Can I make my dreams come true?

I guess you’ll just have to wait to see.


A stranger with your door key, explaining that I’m just visiting 

This weekend I binge watched Chasing Life on Netflix. There’s an episode where this guy who’s dying of cancer talks about how it sucks to not attend your own funeral. So his friends from a support group spring him from the hospital and throw him a funeral, complete with flowers, eulogies, and an a Capella tribute. To everyone’s shock, I cried. 

Seriously though, how cool would it be to get to be a part of your own funeral?  I’ve been to far too many wakes and funerals for someone my age, so I’m used to the quiet rooms, soft prayers, and relived memories. If I die tomorrow, these would be the essentials for my last party. 

  • Index cards. We played this game at my sister’s bridal shower where all of her friends and family wrote down their favorite memory with her & she guessed who wrote each story. I would NEVER be above a touching eulogy, but if I have any say in my final send-off, this game will be played. That way every person is forced to remember something positive/funny/uplifting, and happy tears > sad tears.
  • Music. If there isn’t an a Capella group, I want a playlist heavy on Celine Dion, with some Christmas music thrown in for good measure, because it can always be the most wonderful time of the year.
  • Tequila. Everyone will get a margarita when they enter the funeral home, with the recommendation that they say “cheers, bitch” in the general direction of my coffin. 
  • Patterned pillows. Ugly chairs lined up in straight little rows give me anxiety so sit on the floor in a circle instead. And maybe we can string up some fairy lights, idk.

And please

  • Bury me in cheetah print shoes. 

Funerals should be celebrations. I want people to remember the dumb stuff I did in college, or the feminist rant I got into at a restaurant, and how much I loved shitty reality shows and frozen yogurt. 


Title is taken from The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by The Postal Service. It’s melancholic, beautiful, tear-worthy, etc. Go YouTube it.

Monday Musings – A Little Fall of Rain

Yesterday was my day off, and all I wanted to do was sleep past ten, in my dark room, with the rain falling on the roof – AKA the most soothing sound in the world. Alas, I woke up at 8 to sunshine. That’s okay universe, carpe diem, I’ll take this sunny day. So as usual, I make my coffee, scramble my eggs, and check my social media. Then around 11 I headed to the mall to buy some heavily discounted shoes, and as soon as I parked my Kia, the skies opened. Downpour. I laughed, walked into JC Penney [got some stares as I’m sure I looked like a drowned rat], bought hella cute loafers for $2.97, and walked outside to see the sun was shining once again.  Today, I had to be at work in a different town at 8:30, so I woke up at 7, in the dark room to the sound of rain. Ironic, huh?

Things that are beautiful during a thunderstorm – sleeping past ten, hot coffee, a lovely book (my current read is Paris in Love by Eloisa James – go buy it, it’s wonderful), Kerrigan-Lowdermilk Pandora, and fuzzy socks.

Things that are less beautiful during a thunderstorm – driving to work, actually going to work, and walking through the mall parking lot.

Things that will always be beautiful – waking up to a brand new day, and hella cute loafers marked $2.97.


Also, this title is taken from Les Miserables and is in the top 5 of the never-ending list of songs that make Gina cry every time.

Hold on to Sixteen as Long as You Can

I spent last week on a cruise to Bermuda. It was glorious. When I returned to America, land of cellular service and social media, Facebook informed me that marriage equality was made the law in Ireland, that Josh Duggar molested serveral underage girls and 19 Kids and Counting was promptly cancelled by TLC, and that my high school was closing due to low enrollment over the last several years. I’ve talked about attending Catholic school several times, and had a good high school experience. Not that I would EVER re-live those fours years, but I wouldn’t skip over them in another life either, ya know?

Anyway, the title of this post comes from a little song called Jack and Diane. This throwback graced this afternoon’s work playlist, and hearing “hold on to sixteen as long as you can” low-key made me want to cry. It also triggered a super vivid memory of watching Glee when I was actually 16 and in high school. I feel like there’s an episode where this particular line of this particular song are noted. Kurt was trying to relate to his dad who was super into Mellancamp songs but I can’t remember the rest of the plot for my life. You know what I’m talking about right? You also know I’m all about crying alone, so I sought out my yearbooks when I got home from work. The notes in the back of the book that documented my junior year, the year that began when I was sixteen, all had one common thread: everyone suddenly thought I was funny. I guess junior year was when I finally stopped giving so many fucks about what everyone thought of me, and let my sarcasm flow freely through the classrooms. I also had an amazing English teacher that year, and kept my mouth closed on only the rarest occasions because I had so many thoughts on The Joy Luck Club (which everyone should go read right now) & Frankenstein. At sixteen I started to find myself, speaking up in classes instead of putting all of my opinions into homework assignments and papers. Holding on to sixteen is holding onto the year I started to see who I would be when I grew up. Knowing that this building where I spent four years, where I was inspired by teachers who taught me more than they will ever know, and where I made some of the best friends I have in this life will soon close its doors forever is awful. But hoping that all those sixteen year old juniors get to have this feeling wherever they are, is almost enough to make that awful feeling go away.


Also, google the lyrics to Jack and Diane, because I had no idea how #scandalous it was until half an hour ago.

A future bright as the promise of tomorrow 

I hope she never feels what I feel at night 

I hope she’s never told that she shouldn’t have been walking alone,
Or that her dress was too tight and her heels too high.
That she doesn’t have to constantly call worried parents,
And lie about having a boyfriend to be left alone.
I hope she feels safe on her college campus, in her big city, or that little town where she’s still in high school.
I hope that her choices aren’t seen as the source of the problem.
I hope that she’s told she has a voice, and power, and that she can do anything. 

What I’m Thinking Wednesday

Thoughts that crossed my mind today included…

1. Angelina Jolie. As I watched the morning and evening news yesterday both shows took time to highlight Angelina’s decision to have her ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed to avoid getting a cancer that she found she was at an increased risk for through genetic testing. Genetic testing is awesome. You should go for a genetic screening because genetic counselors are medical professionals who do more than design babies and you can learn tons of valuable information about yourself. But I digress. She was quoted as having said that now her children will never have to say that their mother died of ovarian cancer. Call me morbid, but they will eventually say that their mother died of something else. Everybody will die, and your genetic panel cannot say with certainty what the cause of your death will be. Being proactive about your health as a woman is essential, and you must make your own preventive and reactive decisions. Don’t let people like Angelina Jolie, who can afford the best surgeons and genetic counselors around, make you feel inferior for making a different choice regarding your own body.

2. Speaking of ovaries…I always thought I wanted kids. That is, until I was actually around a kid for an extended period of time. I still love them and being around them, but having one of my own, full time, sounds pretty awful right now. You don’t get to sleep, but you still have to keep the same work schedule, if you want to afford day care. If you can afford day care, then you don’t actually get to see your kid because it’s their bedtime by the time you get home, feed, and bathe them. Then you get judgement from everyone about your parenting decisions. It’s just a hassle that I’m not about anymore. I think I can be perfectly content with a really cool job, lots of money, and maybe an equally successful husband. #goals

3. Speaking of kids…can we acknowledge how strange gender reveal parties are? Can we also acknowledge that gender is a social construct and it should be called a “sex reveal party” but that sounds hella creepy? Anyway, if you’re not familiar with this concept, it’s what it sounds like…your friends and family gather as you either cut into a cake or open a box of balloons and if whatever’s inside is pink, it’s a girl, and if it’s blue, it’s a boy. When my friends have kids they’re getting books, lots of oatmeal colored sweaters, and elephant stuffed animals because teaching small children the boxes they are supposed to squeeze themselves into from literally the womb is so weird and destructive.

4. Let’s change gears here and talk about nutrition. The granola bar aisle is always a struggle for me because they’re never actually healthy but sound really tasty. So, when out of sheer curiosity, I flipped the slim fast bar box over to read the ingredients, I legit laughed in the supermarket upon seeing the first ingredient was corn syrup. The next was soy protein isolate. GIRL. Go eat a banana. Or a piece of chicken. Or literally anything else. Meal replacement bars are a joke, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

5. I’ll hop off that high horse now to rave about how amazing those individually wrapped Russell Stover Easter eggs taste. Go buy some right now. Red velvet cake, wedding cake, CHOCOLATE wedding cake, cookie dough. There’s like 7 grams of fat in a piece of chocolate roughly half the size of my palm but #yolo #treatyoself.

6. iPhone needs to step up their emoji game. I need: a unicorn, a piece of cheese, and an avocado half to effectively relay my emotions about several important things in my life. As soon as possible. Thanks Apple.

7. The price of Anthropologie swimwear. I pinned this gorgeous one piece that I immediately needed in my life…until I saw the price and needed to wait at least one more paycheck. When I end up being super successful and childless I’m going to spend copious amounts of money on Anthro clothes and ridiculous art to display at my estate.

There’s a glimpse into my mind on a typical Wednesday.

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The Road Not Taken

Yesterday I took a break from being millenial trash and bought paper books. However, they were from Barnes & Noble, where I also purchased a Starbucks latte, so my capitalism/basic-ness is still at an all time high. Anyway, my favorite purchase was a tie between a collection of Robert Frost poems and a collection of American short stories. While contemplating what I want to be when I grow up with my best friend, I made a mental list of all the things I’ve wanted to be throughout my life but didn’t actually pursue. So, here’s a physical list.

1. High school English teacher. In case you couldn’t tell by the fact that I buy short story collections for fun, and write this blog, I LOVE ENGLISH. Inspiring the next generation of writers is no easy task, but I had a fabulous high school English teacher in my junior year AP class who did just that. She helped me realize that I was actually pretty good with words, and although my creative writing skills are literally negative on a scale of one to ten, my poetry analyses were closer to an 8. My favorite poems are Annabel Lee and The Road Not Taken (also featured in the Frost collection mentioned earlier, OBVIOUSLY, and the title of this post). I could go on about symbolism and literary devices for days, but I’ll spare you.

2. Nurse. My dad is still holding out hope that one day I will be an RN. Reason #1 I considered being a nurse- they are superheros. Working crazy hours, dealing with difficult patients and nasty family members, and keeping a smile on their face through everything. Reasons I could NEVER be a nurse – 1. my hands shake when I’m nervous. 2. I get really emotional when faced with sad situations, and don’t think I could find it in myself to be an uplifting or comforting presence for any kind of extended time period. Every nurse I’ve ever encountered just radiates the sense that they ADORE what they get to do for a living. Bottom line – I’m not cool enough to be a nurse.

3. Magazine Editor. Jenna Rinks of 13 Going on 30 inspired this one during that beautiful montage where she puts together her pitch to save the fate of the fictional Poise magazine. She basically makes collages and directs photo-shoots, which to 12-year-old me looked super fun and totally easy. This one did not work out for obvious reasons, however, I can make quite the scrapbook & have really nice penmanship – skills that are sure to take me places one day.

4. Food Stylist. This is code for “I still want to work for a magazine, but with food instead of fashion.” (It might also mean that I just want to be Instagram-famous for fabulous smoothie bowls & chia puddings.) Food stylists are under-appreciated artists who make chefs look even better, and can take home a real nice paycheck if they’re good.

5. Feminist Guru. I picked this title because I don’t actually know what I mean, other than I wish I majored in Gender Studies in college. I chose not to because I thought I wouldn’t be able to find a job. **Spoiler alert – there aren’t any jobs in nutrition either, so #chaseyourdreams~* The one Gender Studies class I was able to take required us to read Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, which is a wonderful book that examines the socialization of young men in Western countries. It also has the best title I have ever seen, and I hope to one day come up with a piece of literature that creative and informative.

My current dream is Master of Public Health, working on nutrition-related issues with under-served populations. Current status – waiting to hear back from schools.


Confessions of a Basic Bitch

Being a Basic Bitch is the worst, but having Basic Bitch moments is okay…right? I mean we all have them, at least I hope it’s not just me. Try to refrain from judgment while I list the ten most Basic things I have ever done, in no particular order. Let’s go.

1. Changing from yoga pants to leggings before going out. Because black stretch pants that don’t flare at the bottom are perfect for the bar, but black stretch pants that do flare are more conducive to pretending you just left a spin class.

2. Going vegetarian for a week. For no reason other than going vegetarian for a week.

3. Having a Pitch Perfect Pandora station, in a non-ironic way, that I blast while driving anywhere to get fro-yo.

4. Seeing “chia seed pudding” as a recent search on Pinterest…which brings us to

5. A semi-full wedding board complete with dresses, rings, and DIY projects…and no boyfriend in sight.

6. Watching every episode of Breaking Bad during my list finals week of college.

7. Being so hungover that I couldn’t get out of bed until 6 pm, then harnessing just enough energy (and $5) to get in the car to for spicy chicken sandwich and fries from the Wendy’s drive through while still in pajamas.

8. Practicing calligraphy by filling a notebook with ~inspirational~ quotes. Many of which have been titles of my other posts.

9.  Eating kale.

and finally,

10. Drunkenly ordering chicken sandwiches with my best friend on Good Friday and then waiting until midnight to actually eat them. #priorities