Guest Spot: Being the Single Friend

This is a guest post written by our overseas HTLYT babe, Elodie McClean. It’s the first of her contributions but won’t be the last, so get hyped. Do your best making sense of her weird English spellings and please don’t send us emails correcting the ‘s’ she used in ‘realising’ since we know it’s there and yes, it hurts out patriotic little souls too.

Until recently I hadn’t been that bothered by my single status. Despite my mum, with the best of intentions, telling me I shouldn’t let myself get left behind while my friends moved in with their boyfriends, I was quite content with my lot in life: I have a steady and very sociable job in London, see my friends pretty regularly, and am lucky to have enough disposable income to allow me to do whatever I want (within reason). Pretty sweet, right?

Well, it is and it isn’t. As with everything, there are pros and there are cons but it only seems to be lately that I think about the cons more – or rather, they are thrown into sharper relief.

My first relationship as a teenager was very long-term and lasted well into my first year at university. Even though it ended on my terms, it was a hard thing to move on from. I didn’t want to be a rebound girl and I took a measured step back from anything remotely close to a proper relationship for the next couple of years. He, on the other hand, despite being apparently blindsided and heartbroken, got a new girlfriend within two months – boys, right?

Combine that experience with a rocky time navigating university and realising I actually had to study to pass exams, and before I knew it four years had passed and I was graduating without ever having really dipped a toe back into the relationship game. And, tragically, technology and social media and all that jazz had taken over the world while I hadn’t been paying attention. Thankfully, I had other focuses like finding myself a job post-graduation and figuring out my next steps for me, so I was in no rush.

image (2)Hahahahahah I’m not crying, you’re crying.

But yet again, time got away from me. Now here I am, another four years later and still not settled with anyone. And now I’m the only one. (Not ever in the world, obviously, but for the point of this post let’s allow me some exaggeration, okay?)

I’ve got a great close group of girlfriends and we have always been pretty evenly split between being comfortably coupled up and being single. But then 2016 happened and suddenly us single gals were down to two and the previously fun meet-ups where ‘partners are invited, of course!’ were slightly less appealing.

In a bit of a resigned panic after being a fifth wheel on New Year’s Eve, Tinder was suddenly re-downloaded onto my phone. I once again began the laborious task of judging guys on appearance alone to try and get myself more pro-actively into the dating scene.

I hate ‘dating’, I always have, but my circumstances being what they are (graduate of an all-girls secondary school and then graduate of a 90% female degree course with my only extra-curricular interest being the very “girly” world of horse-riding) I can’t really afford to be too disparaging of app-dating when my ‘pool’ is so shallow. Besides, where else do people find each other these days?

(Don’t even get me started on the ‘eligible men’ in my workplace – I use ‘eligible’ and ‘men’ as very loose terms for what my options are here. They’re great for a fun night out and some cheeky banter, but not the kind of guys you wanna take home to your mum. The fact that I have also witnessed up close just how complicated it can get when you quite literally mix work with pleasure makes me even less inclined to dip my pen in the company ink.)

But the main problem with the whole Tinder thing, which I’m resigned to now that I’m forced to wade in on it, is that first dates are the worst.

The. Worst.

Trust me on this – I’ve been on plenty, more than my fair share probably. Having the same inane ‘getting to know you’ conversation over and over again with the added pressure of trying to impress the other party is tough. To be fair to myself, it’s no wonder I give up every few months.

Unfortunately, those already loved-up couples don’t get it, and probably never will unless they’re some of the lucky ones who found their soulmate on Tinder after being on it for a grand total of three weeks (true story), so it is far too easy for them to keep on asking if I’m ‘having any luck’ on there.

image (1)Three little words I simultaneously yearn for and dread. Hooray, self-validation! Oh, you mean I have to make small talk with a stranger now? Great.

Being asked ‘but don’t you want a boyfriend??’ on a semi-regular basis by well meaning family and being told that I ought not to be so picky (like they’re lining up down the street and I’m saying ‘nah, thanks’) does get tedious in an eye-rolling, dismissive kind of way, but it also has an annoying tendency to wheedle under my skin and linger there despite my general ‘it’ll happen when it happens’ attitude. I find myself thinking negatively about being the one turning up solo to a friend’s engagement party, or receiving an invitation to a wedding with no option for a plus one and wavering between resenting the implication of ‘what’s the point, she’ll be on her own’ and just shrugging it off because that’s fair enough and I am indeed Chronically Single.

Don’t get me wrong, this does not make me any less made-up for my newly engaged friends or my really-soon-to-be married ones. It just magnifies the introspection as to exactly why I am still single, and probably explains why I hit the pub at lunchtimes more often these days. (That’s a joke, please don’t tell my mum.)

Let’s take a break for a moment from the crybaby stuff and think about the pros I mentioned way up there. There are a few but here are the best:

  • I don’t have to factor anyone else into my decision making – Want to up and leave for a spontaneous night out? Can do! Want to eat an entire tub of Sainsbury’s Onion & Garlic dip with some BBQ Kettle Chips? Done! What about delaying that hair-wash that’s already a day overdue? A-OK! Ain’t nobody else to impress (thanks Bey).
  • I can binge watch an entire Netflix series as and when I want – Watching a series with someone in the same room is tough enough for a TV-aficionado like me, since I can’t bear interruptions. And what if your schedules don’t match up? What if there’s nothing else on and all you want/need is one more intense fix of Broadchurch or some comic relief with Parks & Rec? Bite the bullet and watch it anyway, I say, as I let Netflix autoplay all remaining episodes.
  • Maybe best of all, actually, is that I can starfish across my double bed and not kick anyone – There is so much space to fling my arms and legs about (except when my ‘little’ dog Django comes to share with me) and honestly I think that’s what I will find the hardest to adapt to when (!) my singledom ends.
imageAn actual live picture of what I was snacking on while I wrote this.

I’m not pessimistic, in general, and fully expect Prince Charming (yah, sure) to be right around the corner lying in wait. But it definitely can be hard to be the only one – or feel like the only one – without a fella, and it can be a real rollercoaster; sometimes it barely feels like an issue at all, and even makes you feel freer and grateful to not have any reliance or obligation to include someone else in your decision making (see above re: Netflix binges).

But sometimes it feels a little isolating, especially when you watch the group Whatsapp fill with invitations to events where everyone else’s boyfriends get invited by name. It definitely makes you wish you had someone else there with whom to share some private jokes, someone who doesn’t mind listening to you whine about your tedious day at the office.

Or at, the very least, someone to attend all those engagement parties with.


Elodie McClean is a blue-lipstick wearing business bitch living in London, England. She’s learning her twenties the same as the rest of us: slowly, and with a heavy injection of gin and tonics. If you want to see entirely too many pictures of her dogs, check out her instagram at @elodiehope.

Planner Series: Week Five and I’m A Convert

“Seeing as I have an addictive personality, I fully expect [my foray into planning] to snowball into something egregiously offensive, a habit where I have a monthly ‘sticker budget’ and I lock myself in a room for 45 minutes every Sunday to plan out the week ahead. That might seem like overkill to you because you are still a rational being who is not seduced by the very idea of being able to justify buying stickers at the age of 24.”

That’s an excerpt from the very first piece I did on the planner subculture, back when I was a sweet summer child with no knowledge of things like ‘flat lays’ and ‘spread photography’ and ‘high end washi.’ I wrote the above paragraph as a joke, since of course I wasn’t going to do any of those things.

BQqHtcXlnE5.jpgI think this is a flat lay. Maybe? God, I don’t know. Either way, Life is Sweet kit available at Labelled with Love Co, under $10 with code GRACEGETS30

And now I am coming to you from the comfort of my bedroom, the chaos of my new planner life strewn out on my bed behind me, trying not to think too hard about how at one point, $50/month on planner supplies had seemed like such hyperbolic overkill that it was funny.

I have stickers for every occasion: pregnancy tracker stickers, list checkmark stickers, little chilly emoti stickers where the cute cartoon guy is frozen in a block of ice because I live in Maine and it’s frickin cold. I have stickers to track my sticker orders, and other stickers that say ‘NO SPEND’ since I apparently lack the self control to manage my money without the help of a tiny lil Terra.

Don’t even get me started on deco stickers.

BQi-q0RjbDkActually, please do. I love deco stickers. My faves are currently from It’s Paper Dear. Just look at these suckers. February is For Girls deco sheet, $3.30

I even recently dropped the cost of a cocktail on a sticker book, since I’ve reached the point where I need to buy unnecessary stuff to store my  other unnecessary stuff. If that seemed like a weird way of measuring cost, I agree. But it’s the way I rationalize the expenses of this new hobby in my brain, since I haven’t had a drink in nine months and I could really go for a Bloody Mary. Maybe they make stickers for those…?

il_570xN.1046142279_74fp.jpgA quick Etsy search has produced this. Of fucking course they do. God bless. Beverage sticker sheet from PearTeaStickers, $2.75

But the sticker life hasn’t been all fun and games. There have been some moments of intense adrenaline and subsequent crushing disappointment, since a lot of the popular shops like to release limited amounts of stock and cause a sticker feeding frenzy. I admit that there have been some 8 PM’s where I’ve waited with my phone clutched in my sweaty little hand, mouth-breathing heavily as I hit refresh, my dopamine spiking into a critical high as I hastily added the precious, limited stickers to my cart and went to hit pay –

– only for it to read ‘SOLD OUT’ the moment I try to sign into paypal.

woman-laying-in-money-pile.jpgI’m lookin at you, Two Lil Bees. This is how I envision Maria, the owner, as her loyal sycophant followers (of which I am one) passive aggressively congratulate one another in the Facebook group while simultaneously vowing to get that goddamn Oops Grab Bag next time.

Pretty sure the moral of this story is ‘don’t laugh at things that look ridiculous and dumb, because karma will hypnotize you into falling in love with it and you’ll have to eat your words.’ … Or the more simplified version, ‘Don’t be a jerk.’

Either way, I am happy in this quiet, weird world of excessive Instagram giveaways and adhesive backing. It’s true that the Facebook groups are hilariously intense collections of women with severe opinions on everyone else’s planning habits and lifestyle choices. Just last week a girl found a typo in her Erin Condren (fancy fancy) planner that had ‘Passover Begins’ written as ‘Passover Beings’, and her caption of the image was along the lines of ‘I’m a grammar nazi so this bothered me…’ Immediately the comments erupted with people calling her offensive and other nasty things for being so calloused as to use the phrase ‘grammar Nazi’ so closely in junction with a Jewish holiday, and I got to see it all unfold. It was an excellent way to wile away a lunch break. I think I will find a sticker to commemorate it.

But you get a handful of zealots with every hobby, and that’s all part of the fun. And it’s certainly not like I’m above it. Judging by how quickly I fell down into this rabbit hole, I’d say it’s only a matter of months before I’m at rock bottom, calling people ‘sweetie’ and offering trades for scraps of The Planner Society kits.

In the meantime, I’m going to chill atop my bed of vintage floral stickers and cling to what little self-control I have left as I scroll through Labelled with Love Co’s new releases. … Lolol who am I kidding I already ordered two kits.

 

 

How to Nest When You Can’t Nest

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You’re pregnant. It’s real now, you’ve accepted it, you can feel the fruit of your loins flipping around in your belly like a happy little goldfish. You’ve been doing everything the doctor’s told you: prenatal vitamins, stretches, light exercise, more veggies. You’re basically a kickass mom already, and the baby isn’t even here yet.

So why do you still feel so antsy?

If you’re like me, you might be suffering from an inability to ‘nest’ adequately. To carry on with the bird metaphor, your wings might be clipped. Maybe, in your case, you don’t have the extra room to set up a Pinterest-worthy nursery draped in buttery yellows and dotted with more throw pillows than the rest of your house combined. Maybe it’s budgetary tightness. Maybe you’re about to move house, and the idea of setting up a whole nursery just to pack it all up in a few weeks’ or months’ time makes you want to cry.

Whatever the reason, I get it. I’ve been there. In fact, I’m there now, and it’s maddening. I am totally convinced that even just looking at a fully-built, ready-for-baby crib would knock off a good chunk of my anxiety, but it’s not happening. So, instead, I’m suffering silently from pent-up nesting needs, feeling this baby swimming around and hoping that he doesn’t exceed the length of our dresser drawers. Here are a few ways I’ve discovered to combat my mommy-to-be (again) mania.

1. Make Personalized Décor

688ab420301ce9f8e460e2e42910f191Mine did not look this good. Click for credit and a tutorial!

I used this tactic on my first pregnancy go-round, and it helped tremendously. Cheap, simple DIY projects that I swiped from various places on the Internet all contributed to a sense of productivity, that I was ‘doing something’ for my impending baby. It was a way to ease my need to nest without having to spend a lot of money or worry about where to put the end results, since the things I crafted were simple and small and fit in the tiny makeshift space we had as the designated baby area.

I’m a crafting idiot, so I only made some simple garlands by sewing cut-outs of hearts onto burlap ribbon, and painting the letters of her name to hang on her wall. I also made sure I took my time making each project perfect so that in the end, I’d feel like I did more than I had. Tricking yourself into feeling productive is basically as good as real productivity.

2. Have a Baby Space (Not Necessarily a Nursery)

Speaking of storing decor, it might help to designate a specific ‘Baby Area.’ If you can’t dedicate an entire room to your baby, don’t sweat it. Babies have turned out great with far less – I still regularly hear the story of a friend’s mother letting her sleep in a nicely padded Tupperware tub for her first few months, and she turned out fine! (Mostly.)

It will probably calm your nerves to pick one spot to think of as the ‘baby spot,’ which can be where you keep and organize all of the baby necessities you’re slowly accumulating. For us, we have a corner of our daughter’s room cordoned off as the ‘Baby Space,’ and just seeing a changing pad and a basket of newborn diapers on top of her dresser makes me feel a bit more prepared and soothes frazzled nerves.

3. Talk to Your Baby

This might seem like a weird suggestion, but a lot of stress about baby-having stems from your own self-doubts and insecurities rather than actual unpreparedness. Even if you’ve had a baby before, this baby is new, and your life is going to change drastically. It’s easy to focus on that aspect of it and to forget that there’s a tiny person inside of you, at least actively; subconsciously, however, you’re unable to forget, since your body is constantly reminding you in the forms of all sorts of aches and weird emissions.

Ease these quiet fears by setting aside some time to talk to your baby, whether aloud or simply in your head. Even if it’s just fifteen minutes in the car while waiting in the daycare pick-up line, that’s something. Tell Baby hello, that you’re ready to meet her. Or maybe tell Baby hello, and to please stay in there for as long as he wants, since you’re nowhere near ready and you’re still freaking out. Whatever feels right.

4. Wash Baby’s Linens

3a4cffe1fa18bb4fea30b34a137411cf.jpgOh, do you not dress in unbuttoned size XS shirts that accentuate your weird bellybutton? Photo belongs to About.com

It’s suggested that you pre-wash any fabric that could come into contact with Baby’s skin, since it’s sensitive and certain things can cause him to break out. Now is a good time to start a few loads of laundry with whichever detergent you feel comfortable using. Some parents spring for Dreft, others for off-brand baby detergent, and others still (me) use regular detergent but keep the laundered items well out of reach of their sticky-handed toddler. This is a light, easy activity that doesn’t just simulate productivity, it is productive!

5. Be Sweet to You

My biggest panic-factor when it comes to being unable to properly nest is the crushing feeling of inadequacy that I experience when I think of this baby. “With the first one, I did so much more! I was able to do x and y and also z, and now I’m barely able to walk in a straight line without crying from pelvic pain! Why am I such a failure?!”

Even rereading that sentence, I know I’m being too hard on me. Every pregnancy is different, and to compare them – even to a previous one of your own – is a study in frustration and fruitlessness. This might be your first pregnancy and you’re scouring blogs feeling down because you didn’t hand-sew your daughter’s bedskirt, or sour because of all of the pro/anti-breastfeeding rhetoric. Maybe you’re frustrated because you’ve got no bassinet and haven’t been to the gym in months. I get it; we all do it.

Just remember that you are doing enough. Even if some days you do nothing but lie on the couch watching Netflix and stress-eating Cheese Nips, you’ve still had a productive day. That’s because you’re growing a human in your guts. Sure, you’re not constructing it with your bare hands, and it’s difficult to quantify how much work you’ve done that day. But guess what? You don’t need to! Because no matter how much growing your baby/belly/uterus/cankles did, you did enough.

Remember this when you stare at the basket of freshly-laundered onesies. Instead of stressing, just leave them unfolded; it’s not like you can bend over anyway. Reach for those Cheese Nips instead.

 

In Memoriam

It’s been a year since a very good friend of mine decided he’d had enough, and that year has been a long, weird time. It’s strange – he left us on February 29th, so I wasn’t sure which day was really the anniversary of his loss. In the end it didn’t matter, since the entire week has felt like a fresh bruise. He’s woven into everything; he doesn’t need a specific date. But it’s fitting, I think, that the anniversary of his loss is the rarest date there is, since he was the rarest kind of person.

In an effort to showcase David’s talent and to hopefully ease some of this blue haze, I’ve decided to use this week’s main post to rank my favorite ten works of art by him and give a reason why they mean so much to me.

I also wanted to take a moment to point out that what you’ll see in these photographs is talent; raw, bleeding talent. David never struck me as someone who was so troubled that he might quit altogether; he was an effervescent, gorgeous human being, with a heart so big it had room for everyone and countless plans for what was sure to be a bright future. His death was unexpected to those who were privileged to know and love him, and it’s left a crack in the foundations of many lives.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts, even if only in the abstract, please reach out. The National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is a 24/7 service that costs nothing but could save a life – and trust me, no matter who you are, your life matters.

Now let’s delve right in.

#10

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Because it taught me that even just a flat image on a computer screen can make you want to puke. Thanks, David, for the unsettled guts!

#9

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Because he made Whitney look like the Mad Hatter’s more subdued but arguably more insane paramour, and I really love her eye makeup and cool nest-hat.

#8

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Because everything about this photograph is soft and feminine and ethereal and angelic… Which, actually, isn’t too far from how Christina is in real life, so maybe I shouldn’t give David so much credit??

#7

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Because this makes me feel like life sometimes can be like a fairy tale, which is secretly all I ever really want out of it.

#6

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Because I don’t understand high fashion but David did and he assured me that this was ‘so McQueen.’ He did not like it when I asked if he meant Lightning. I miss him a lot.

#5

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Because I remember him showing me the trick to getting Rocky Horror lips – pulling the tip of your nose upward with the tip of your finger. “It accentuates the sex hole” was, I believe, the direct quote. #genius

#4

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Because Chase, as gorgeous as he is, is not a rough and tough looking guy. Trust. I have seen him up close. He is a precious fragile baby. But in this picture, he looks like James Dean joined the mafia.

#3

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Because this picture reminds me of a time when I trusted people implicitly, and the start of the homoerotic undertones that would come to color my life. Also, the hats. What were those hats. David made them work.

#2

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Because I remember how excited he was to be working with Blythe. Every shoot, he would show me the results, and tell me how beautiful and receptive she was. He didn’t seem to realize that it was just as much his talent as it was hers.

#1

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Because he had a way of finding beauty in absolutely everything, even the smallest things. He was like no one else.

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I miss you very, very much, David Thermostat Willoughby. And I know I’m not the only one. You are loved still.

Grace & Jess in the Wild: Grace Praises Buffy

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I work as a copywriter, which means at least forty hours of my week are consumed with content strategy and writing. On my off time, I like to write some more. This piece is about the history of crybaby characters in the media and why the 2010’s have been a boon for crybabies everywhere.

Go check it out, and pick up a crybaby membership card while you’re at it, or a sweet piece of flair. Make sure if you grab anything that you scrawl ‘How to Learn your Twenties sent me,’ since I’m trying to convince them that I would make an amazing t-shirt & pin model/shill once I pop this baby out.

 

Social Media and the Illusion of Friendship

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am obsessively into following cute little indie shops in Instagram, especially ones with motivational and empowering messages. It’s sort of like a pastime at this point, curating my Instagram feed with quality content and keeping clued in to the makers and masterminds behind the stuff I love. It’s the easiest way to find out about shop updates and follow the trends of brand changes, which (much as I loathe to admit) is relevant to me and my professional goals.

Personal-Branding-Brand.jpgA hasty sketch of my literal worst nightmare. © Primal Digital Marketing

But what happens when social media makes you too accessible?

I had a moment today when I was watching a shop’s live story, hosted by the founder of the shop. She was showing off the new swag they had in their store and there was a handful of people commenting, a few of whom I recognized as contributors to the store’s designs and products. I got excited – I felt like I knew these girls, since I follow them all on social media. I know their faces, their senses of humor, their passion projects, all because they put them online and make themselves accessible to their followers. It was genuinely like hanging out with friends, and I quickly sent in a few cracked jokes between the two members of the shop.

And then the second-guessing kicked in.

What the hell was I doing?

I didn’t really know these people. I felt like I did, since I follow them on some social media platforms and support their business, but they don’t know me. Holy crap, I thought, I must look so lame. I can’t make in-jokes like I’m ‘one of the girls’ because I’m not one of the girls, I’m one of thousands of faceless followers. Social media is oftentimes a two-way mirror, and in this case, I was the one looking voyeuristically through the glass.

A_sad-looking_woma_3160300b.jpgActual photograph of me, waiting on acceptance.  © Telegraph

Yet… is it voyeuristic?

If you put something on a public social media account, you’re giving it to the world. While it’s still your content, you have no control over its reception. It’s a part of yourself that you willingly share, a little piece of yourself that you give out, and understandably people latch onto and relate to these fragments of self.

It’s why celebrity culture has only grown with the advent of social media. Fans feel like they are getting insight into the private lives of these people they admire, and it creates a false sense of kinship without any real connection. It’s not my fault that I feel like Chrissy Teigen and I are best friends, and that Luna and Lucy would make an adorable baby duo. It’s sort of hers, for throwing up all those details of her perfect family online and making it seem like she’s just a DM away.

12063117_176055682736268_2040162239_n_0.jpgJust look at her, draped over a multi-thousand dollar couch and a multi-racial Grammy winner! Our lives are so alike. © Instagram

So in my scenario, I honestly can’t decide if I was the weirdo or not. I definitely looked like a dork, probably, the kid on the fringes excitedly elbowing my way into the circle of Established Friends, making a joke and then waiting excitedly for my validation. But I’m used to being a dork. I’ve long been a dork. I can hardly expect that to change now.

I think the moral of this HTLYT life lesson is simply: don’t feel embarrassed for caring about people you haven’t even met. It’s a sign of empathy, and public figures know what they’re getting into. That being said, probably also remember that they likely don’t know you, and play it cool when commenting on live stories.

Stuff We Love: The Crybaby Club

“Grace cries every time the wind blows.”

That was a common refrain during my childhood, usually delivered with an affectionate eye-roll as my amazing, overworked mom would dismiss another fresh wave of my tears. I don’t fault her for saying it; my dad did, too, as did my brothers, since I did cry a lot. I was a tearful, sensitive kid, and it didn’t take much to set me off. Once, when I was twelve, my older brother teasingly called me a ‘freak’ for liking (okay, loving) Jesse McCartney on the way home from school, and I was inconsolable until dinner time. Preteen girls, right?

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Look at that smooth, undefined chest and sly nipple reveal. Worth every single shame-tear.

Except I didn’t grow out of it as I aged into teenagerhood. Throughout high school, it was always especially humiliating when I would get emotional about something – anything, really, though relationships and friendships and grades were all hair triggers – and I would feel the tears welling up. I’d blink furiously, excuse myself to the restroom, cheeks blazing as I slowly died inside from the shame of it all. No other girls were like that; no one else cried with so little provocation. God, I couldn’t wait to be an adult, when such petty things wouldn’t impact me so acutely!

Silly, naïve teenage cry baby. Phasing into adulthood was no escape. I still cried when I was emotionally hurt, when I was angry, when I was overwhelmed. I cried at every single movie I watched including the Robin Williams classic Flubber. I cried when I was very excited, I cried when I was exasperated, and sometimes I cried for no reason at all save for the fact that it felt like I needed a good cry. And god, did I hate that about myself.

It automatically made me feel inferior, made me feel ‘hysterical,’ undermined any argument or point I was trying to make. The moment I felt my eyes glassing up, I could see the annoyance in everyone else’s eyes. ‘There goes Grace again,’ I was all so sure they were thinking. ‘She cries anytime the wind blows.’ I had a boyfriend admit to me outright that he thought of me as “weak” when I cried, since he was trying to have a rational discussion and I would “dissolve into tears.” It stung, and I tried harder than ever to bury this part of myself.

Having a baby did not help.

It’s scientific fact that women cry more easily than men, and that’s because we have considerably more of the hormone prolactin in our bodies, since prolactin is the hormone that stimulates milk production. It’s also the hormone that stimulates emotional tears. So, imagine what happens when an already hyper-emotional girl adds even more prolactin to the mix?

It’s a wonder I didn’t drown in my own salty sadness.

Needless to say, I was pretty miserable with this new development. It was one of (in my opinion) my absolute worst traits and it was being magnified by something I had absolutely no control of. I hated it, but I’d begrudgingly accepted that there was nothing I could do about it. This was my life. This was my fate. I was a stupid cry baby adult who couldn’t watch a full episode of M*A*S*H without thinking too hard about the atrocities of war and getting all sniffly. I’d just have to suffer through it.

And then I saw this little guy on Instagram, posted by user called only ‘The Crybaby Club.’

FullSizeRender_13__96081.1477976754.jpgI May Cry Enamel Pin, $10, TheCrybabyClub.com

First of all, I love glitter. I don’t care how many times I’m told it’s ‘out,’ I will forever incorporate glitter into my life as much as I can. Second of all, I love pink. Third of all, holy shit, did that hit home. I May Cry But I Can Still Get Things Done. How accurate was that?! Yeah, I was a total cry baby – every time the wind blows, thank you very much– but I was also kind of awesome. I worked hard, I loved harder, I was passionate about the people in my life and my new role as mother. Sure, I teared up when I stared too long at Lucy’s tiny nose or when someone cut me off in traffic, but suddenly that felt less like a shortcoming and more like an inevitable part of who I was.

Since that small epiphany over a year ago, I have become quietly obsessed with The Crybaby Club. I say quietly because I am not a vocal member of their growing, creative community, a team comprised of genius artists and designers who make cool stuff that empowers the sensitive. I’ve showed my support by slowly gathering pins and ordering Crybaby Boxes, always standing in silent solidarity whenever a new post goes up calling for the fellow Crybaby Girl Gang members to take pride in their tears. I carry my Crybaby Club membership card in my wallet, and while I sometimes wish I had it displayed somewhere more prominent, whenever I see it, it makes me feel good.

img_0033__46741-1477953324Crybaby Club Membership Card, FREE, TheCrybabyClub.com. Put ‘HTLYT sent me’ in the comments for extra love 💕

I am a total cry baby. That doesn’t make me any less of a force to be reckoned with.

Now, at 24, I’m not uncomfortable when I cry. I indulge in it, let it happen, and then move right along. I worry less about making others uncomfortable when I cry, and the boyfriend who once called my tears a ‘weakness’ is now my husband. I’ve managed to change his thinking about tears, too; we’re expecting a son in April, and we’ve agreed unanimously that we won’t tell our son not to cry. Instead, we’ll teach him the exact same thing we taught our daughter: that it’s okay to cry, and even okay to be a total cry baby. Because you may cry, but you can still get things done.

Thanks, Crybaby Club ❤

Keep an eye out for an upcoming Femme Friday feature on Natalie, the founder of The Crybaby Club and one of my personal girl crushes, only in part because she has a dog called Cheese.