back-to-school essentials!

The main character in my new release, Blogger Girl, is twenty-eight, however, with her ten year high school reunion looming and a request to review her high school nemesis’ book waiting in her email inbox, she’s been thinking a lot more about her high school days than she probably should. Promoting the book so much over the past few weeks got me thinking about my days in school as well, especially in light of the Labor Day Weekend. When I was younger, the first day of school was always the Wednesday after Labor Day and so this day always makes me think of the first day of school and a new start of sorts. I used to approach the first day of school with a mixture of excitement and anxiety: I wondered who would be in my classes, if my teachers would be nice, if I would make new friends and still get along with my old ones and if I would have a boyfriend. Although I knew even back then that much of this was out of my control, I always tried to prepare as best as I could for a good year. My mom would take me to get all of my school supplies, like a new backpack, notebooks for each of my classes, pens and pencils etc. She’d also take me clothes shopping. My mom and stepdad could not afford to buy me a new wardrobe each year but I would always get a few new outfits in the latest fashion to mix with the clothes from the year before. I would study magazines like Seventeen, Mademoiselle and Sassy to see what was in style and I would spend hours contemplating what to wear on the first day. For instance, should I wear my favorite new outfit right away or should I wear something “summery” if it was still warm out? I would agonize as if my entire year would be decided based on what I wore the first day.

All of my school photos!

All of my school photos!

I don’t go to school anymore but I still think of coming back to work after the long Labor Day Weekend as a new beginning. Like a high school girl preparing for her new year of school, I also prepare for a new beginning at work and in life in general. These are some of the things I do:

  1. Hair – I got my hair cut last week – just a trim of the length and the layers. Although I am not due for highlights for another six weeks or so, my stylist also applied a layer of toner to my hair to keep the color from getting brassy from so much time in the sun.
  2. New clothes – Ok, I haven’t actually done any clothes shopping lately but I have begun to compile my coupons from Macy’s, Banana Republic, Anne Taylor etc. I am just not ready to start buying colder weather clothes when I’m still wearing shorts, tank tops and sandals on the weekends. Besides, I’m not really sure what is in fashion. I don’t pay too much attention to trends and basically wear clothes I like that flatter my figure. I assume if the dresses, skirts etc. are on the hangers at popular stores, they must be somewhat fashionable. But I’m not a label whore with the exception of bags. I will admit to fantasizing about the Christian Louboutin shoes worn by the main character in Blogger Girl and if the book does well, I might treat myself to them at some point but probably not. While purchasing a pair would not leave me homeless, I’m not sure my desire for the shoes would outweigh the guilt I would feel for spending that much money on a pair of shoes that are probably incredibly uncomfortable.
  3. Exercise – I have a very good workout ethic and always have. I run between six and ten miles four to five times a week; I take a weekly spin class and I do the stair climber. I’ve never enjoyed lifting weights. I have never wanted to be extremely sculpted and would prefer to be soft and feminine but not flabby but I know that soft can quickly turn to flab if I am not careful. Because of that and because I know it is important to keep my bones strong as I get older, I added a twice weekly strength training plan to my workout several months ago but I have been slacking. The days that I skip my workout tend to be the days I planned to lift weights. Or if it is beautiful out, I skip the weight lifting to go for an extra run. With the new beginning, I am going to try hard to stick to the weight training!
  4. Mean Girls – Back in high school, I faced more than my share of mean girls. My history with mean girls actually dates back to Elementary School and continues through Junior High. I didn’t really come into contact with any mean girls in High School although some of my friends weren’t actually all that nice. I am a much stronger person now than I was back then and definitely do not have the patience for bitches and so I do not bother with anyone I see as potentially “mean” –I do not socialize with anyone I would categorize as mean and thankfully all of my colleagues are nice people. However, there is definitely a mean-spirited person haunting me and some of my author friends on Amazon and Goodreads. There is a member of Goodreads who has left a two star rating on almost all of our book pages on Goodreads. Now, I do not expect everyone to love my books and I have come to terms with my negative ratings (for the most part). I will never please everyone. However, this person’s profile is private so we cannot see anything about her. All we know from her profile is that she has left over 19,000 ratings (not a single written review) and her average rating is 1.98 stars. She bombed Blogger Girl with a two star rating practically the first day it was published which struck me as odd since she didn’t have much time to actually read it. And she had also rated A State of Jane and Just Friends with Benefits two stars. If she hates my writing so much, why read all of my books? Because she didn’t! Seriously, the likelihood that she read and hated 19,000 books would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic. I have a feeling this is the same person who has marked most of my positive reviews on Amazon as “unhelpful” and my handful of negative reviews as “helpful.” Obviously, I cannot make this person stop being a complete wench so instead I will focus on the fact that nothing she does can take away from the enjoyment others will experience from reading my books and hopefully I will get enough positive reviews that no one will even notice her stupid 2 star rating or care if my negative reviews are marked helpful. She cannot control my success as a writer so I will continue to do what I am doing. And hopefully, she will get some therapy because God knows she needs it.
  5. Organization – In school, I was infamous for my messy notebooks. There were always papers falling out of my binders and nothing was ever organized. A classmate actually took one of my binders home with her one weekend because she couldn’t take how messy it was. Flash forward twenty years and I am equally disorganized in the office. My desk is a complete mess. I know where everything is but anyone else trying to locate something might get buried under the loose papers which occupy my office space. My apartment, while clean, is usually untidy as well. I live in 500 square feet and there just is not enough room to put everything away without accruing clutter. Well, I took several hours yesterday and tidied up my apartment. I am going to try to keep up with it to avoid things getting out of hand. Wish me luck!
  6. Boys (men) I am currently single and so of course I would like to meet someone I like as “more than friend” who feels the same way about me and who is intelligent, funny, nice, attractive and, of course, available. I did have a date a couple of weeks ago and it was the first date I actually looked forward to since ending my last relationship earlier this year. I had met the guy before but this was our first “date.” It went well, or so I thought. He was nice, cute, interesting and we spent several hours talking and laughing. I was pretty certain he was into me especially when he asked if he could walk me home at the end of the date but he hasn’t called me again. Although the date was good, it was not a slam dunk. We met at 7:30 and by the time I went inside my apartment, it was past midnight. Never during our time together did my date ask if I was hungry or wanted something to eat. Had I known the date would go so long, I might have mentioned something to him but I did not want to presume we would spend that much time together and figured if we just had a drink, I could eat when I got home. About half-way through the date, around 9pm, my stomach was literally growling and when he went to the bathroom, I dipped my hand in the snack bowl the bartender had brought over to avoid biting my hand. I probably should have brought up dinner at that point but I didn’t. I had been up since 6:30, went to the gym, worked all day and then met him straight from work with only a yogurt for breakfast and a salad for lunch as my fuel. As much as I enjoyed talking to him, and I did, I was exhausted from an entire day of work and no food. While I drank two glasses of wine, it was over the course of four hours so instead of getting tipsy, I felt tired and dehydrated. He nursed his one drink and it took all the self-control I could muster not to gulp mine for some sustenance. Despite the hunger pains and the cotton mouth, I knew I wanted to see this guy again. He was cute, interesting and had a very “soothing” quality to him which relaxed me, but it was getting late, I had work the next day, had to pack for a weekend getaway and, in case I haven’t mentioned it, I was starving. When we finally left the bar, my date offered to walk me home. On the one hand, I was excited because I figured that meant he liked me and wanted to spend a bit more time with me and kiss me goodnight. On the other hand, I was starving and thought to myself, “would he think I was weird if I asked him to walk me to the pizza place?” I decided I was too embarrassed to stop for pizza and I led him straight back to my apartment where we continued to talk and laugh and talk and laugh and talk. Each time one conversation ended, another started and I just wanted him to say “I definitely want to do this again” and kiss me so that I could go home, eat something, pack and go to bed. But he did neither of those things. We both said we had a great time and it was on the tip of my tongue to say “I would like to do this again” but I couldn’t do it. I am not opposed to being the aggressive one when the situation calls for it and my ex will attest to the fact that if I hadn’t said to him “are you going to kiss me already?” the night we met, we probably would not have dated for the next year and a half. However, I couldn’t bring myself to do that this time. I was too tired and too hungry and just wanted my date to take the reins, adjust his balls and be the man. So, after hemming and hawing outside of my building for close to a half hour, I finally walked inside without a kiss or the promise of another date. I toyed with reaching out to him but I decided against it. If a guy likes me enough, he will do the asking. (And mom, if you are reading, this is my final answer and, no, I don’t want to talk about it!) If the guy in question is reading this, my message to you is that if you ask, I DO want to go out with you again. Just make sure you feed me (I promise not to order mutton…) and kiss me goodnight next time! Of course, it is entirely possible that the guy only went out with me in the hopes of getting laid and expected an offer to walk me home would come with an invitation to come inside. I didn’t get that vibe but I’m not all that good at reading men these days so who knows? In any event, I don’t roll that way. I like to get to know someone in a less rushed way. There would have to be an intense physical attraction/connection for me to take a guy home on a first date. God, why are men so presumptuous these days?  Hmm, maybe because women are so easy. Thanks to my female sisters for being sluts. *sarcasm” Shrugging off the negativity NOW. With new beginnings comes new hope that I will meet another man I’d like to date soon. 🙂

So there you have it – my “back -to-school” list. What is on your list?

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Comments

  1. I so enjoyed reading your “back-to-school” list, Meredith. It had a lot of depth and got me thinking about a lot of things. The mean girl rater on Goodreads – infuriating! It’s just beyond me to even imagine why someone would do such a thing. Organization – as I read your blog post because it was so much more fun than organizing the messy desk I was sitting it, it was comforting to know I’m not alone. 🙂 The date… men! Ugh! You brought me back to my dating days and the frustration of how hard it is to figure out what they’re thinking. Your honesty about it all was so refreshing. And I can say that even after being married to one of “their kind” for many years, I still often can’t figure him out! GREAT POST!!!

  2. I loved this post! It feels like I haven’t been out of school for all that long but it’s been a few years and I still haven’t adjusted. My first grown up job started in September so I still had that back to school feeling. I’m kind of hoping for the same success with this round of job applications. I am totally the same way with the whole organization thing. I’d like to be organized but I’m just not. As for the mean girl…*shakes fist*. So frustrating. I hope you hear from that guy and things work out! 🙂

  3. First of all let me say, you were SO FREAKIN ADORABLE!! As for the rest, I think everybody can relate to the first day of school jitters, as if your whole life depends on the impression you make on the first day! Mean girls, well unfortunately they never really go away, I have “mean moms”, “mean coworkers” and “mean neighbors” now, but I just don’t give them the time of day. We live, we learn. And as for the date, I agree with how you handled it.. And yes, if he asks you out again you must be assertive enough to suggest a bite to eat. LOL.

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