Category Archives: writing

Confessions of the Dashboard Variety

Sad music makes me happy. Most people can’t wrap their head around that notion, but it’s true.

I started listening to pop punk in high school. New Hampshire. Early 2000’s. Wearing studded belts and sneaking out to go see Taking Back Sunday. Absolutely losing it when I heard Something Corporate play “Konstantine” during their opener for Yellowcard. Posting Dashboard Confessional lyrics in 90% of my AIM away messages and drinking shitty beer in cul-de-sacs with my friends while “From Under The Cork Tree” blasted through someone’s equally shitty car speakers. It ruled.

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(16 year old, teen angst Madison in my sisters dorm room at Keene State College.)

After my first soul crushing heartbreak I found Chiodos. Woah. I remember seeing Craig and the boys play a tiny venue off Main Street in Nashua, NH. Feeling fucked up was the price of entry and every scream made my cold heart race and absolutely destroyed my ear drums.

When my parents decided to not be married anymore, I found Atreyu. Then came Senses Fail, Silverstein, The Used, Brand New, Thrice and my true love, UNDEROATH. My sister and I got sunburnt in parking lots every summer at Warped Tour and one time I wore a t-shirt that said “I Hate Myself and I Want to Die” to a Taste of Chaos which was… a bad look.

Then I met a boy who listened to Nirvana, The Shins, Led Zeppelin, Arcade Fire, The Stones, Radiohead… I fell in love with him and with Kurt Cobain and Thom Yorke and Elliott Smith and Stevie Nicks and all the rest. My musical taste shifted, but the sullen undertones never did.

I went through a hippie phase, a truly mortifying EDM-sunglasses-indoors phase and a whatever-my-then-current-boyfriend-was-listening-to-at-the-time phase.

And then I met Danae. Who I’m happy to report, is not a phase. I remember listening to Taking Back Sunday in her car and having it all come right back to me. I had stopped listening to pop punk, but just because I stopped listening didn’t mean all the bands I loved stopped making music. I was a poser and I had a lot to catch up on.

We got a job together at an ad agency, moved to Chicago in 2014 and discovered a little place called Beauty Bar and Emo vs. Pop Punk night every Sunday. Just like that, it was on.

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(Me and Danae at Emo vs. Pop Punk Night @ the most beautiful bar in all the land.)

The last bunch of years have been concert after concert. Warped Tour, Riot Fest. You name it, we’re there. I still love all the classics, but my playlist has expanded a bit.

We’ve got the Chicago scene: Real Friends & Knuckle Puck.

The up–and-comers: Capstan, Moose Blood, Boston Manor, Turnover, Northbound.

And the hot list: The Story So Far, Have Mercy, State Champs, Mayday Parade, Neck Deep, Bayside, Transit + way more. Check them out!

The pop punk scene is alive and well. I came back for nostalgia and stayed because Chris Carrabba is an absolute angel on earth and we don’t deserve him.

Sad girls forever.

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How to Cut the Shit and Be Happy Already

Sticks

Woahhhh, you guys. Big changes happening in my life this year. Lots of crazy energy and vibrations coming at me from every angle. While change is good and exciting, it’s also pretty scary and full of uncertainty. I’ve had to sit in a lot of fear, sadness, anger and confusion lately… you know, all the good stuff.

While all of that can be pretty uncomfortable, it means that I’m growing and growing is LIT. Life isn’t about feeling good all the time. Anyone that says they feel good all the time is absolutely full of shit. Sometimes it can be hard to shake some of the bullshit, but there are some simple ways to pick yourself up, let go of the things that aren’t serving you and feel a little better. This is what works for me. I hope it can work for you, too.

SWEATING HELPS– Feeling shitty? Want to not feel shitty? MOVE. YOUR. BODY. Try something fun like Soulcycle or yoga. I like to do group classes because I’m less likely to quit halfway through, although I cannot promise anything. Workout at least three times a week. Try for more. Endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t kill their husbands.  

TAME YOUR BRAIN– Can’t get someone off your mind? Every time they pop into your head, imagine them putting mayo on pizza and the thought will quickly evaporate out of your brain space because that’s fucking gross. 

EAT ICE CREAM– Ever heard of Halo Top? It’s 240 calories per pint and high in protein so you can eat the whole damn thing and still stay a skinny bitch. You’re welcome.

LISTEN TO THE MUSIC PLAY– I like sad music the most because it speaks to my dark sullen soul, but when I’m depressed as fuck, listening to “Videotape” on repeat on my bus ride home usually ends with me wanting to walk out in front of it. So maybe don’t do that. Backstreet Boys is always a good choice! Pick something with a beat and bop around. If people on the street look at you like you’re crazy, IT’S WORKING.

DON’T COMPARE– For the love of god, stop doing this! Acceptance is one of the many keys to feeling bouts of real happiness. It’s really fucking hard, but as soon as you can be at peace with what you have and how things are, right now in this very moment, you’ll breathe a little easier and feel a little lighter. You have everything you need.

CHANGE UP YOUR LOOK– Dye your hair blue! Rock some casual sequins! Wear purple lipstick! Dude? Grow a beard! Stop wearing cargo shorts!

GO THE FUCK OUTSIDE– Fly out to Park City and go on hikes with your mom. Skip around in the woods. Take your baby niece to the park and push her on a swing while she laughs. Take your dog out to play and let him take a shit on some flowers. Go to the beach and get sand literally everywhere. Go to a concert with friends. Go to a concert by yourself. Lay on some grass and look for dick shaped clouds in the sky. Whatever! Just get out there!

CALL YOUR FAMILY Talking on the phone blows, but hearing your grandma tell you that she’s proud of you and that she loves you is some kind of wonderful. Suck it up and pick up the phone. Beep, beep, boop: happiness.

FRIENDSHIP! Spend as much time as possible with the people who love and understand you. Old friends! New friends! All the friends! Go see obscure emo bands that you love so fucking much, go try out all the bowling alleys in your city, go eat so much pizza, Facetime friends who live far away, go out and dance until 2am, go to an amateur WWE match and throw tampons on the stage and laugh so hard that one of your friends collapses and smacks her head on the seat in front of her and it leaves a mark. Go let yourself have some fucking fun! Seriously, go!

EYE FUCK SOME LITERATURE– “Take a risk, take a chance, make a change and reeeeeaaaddd aaaa book.” -Kelly Clarkson  

SAY NO- *Occasionally* it is 100% okay to stay in, turn your phone off,  turn some music on, take a glorious bubble bath and then go to bed at 9pm. Treat yo self.

EAT/DRINK GREEN THINGS You’ll be fitter, happier, more productive and smoothies are delicious. 

BE YOURSELF Sometimes this can feel like the hardest thing to do. We adapt to our surroundings, it’s human nature, it’s a safety net, but when you act how you think other people want you to, you end up crushing your spirit. Never change yourself for someone else, don’t dull your sparkle. You are perfect exactly the way you are. You have permission to be yourself, always. But like, be nice.

FEEL YOUR FEELINGS If you want to move past a negative emotion, recognize it when it pops up, say hello, hang out with it for a little bit and see what it’s trying to tell you and then send it on it’s way. If you want to cry, let it out! Call your mom 6 times in one day, scream into a pillow, listen to a pop punk cover of “You Oughta Know” on repeat during an early morning flight. Sometimes certain feelings stay longer than others, but if you allow yourself to feel them instead of numbing out, they will always pass. Promise.

BREATHE In for 4 out for 4. In for 6 out for 8. Deep breaths. Inhale the good shit, exhale the bullshit. Ommmmmmmmm.

And when all else fails, go pet a puppy.

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How to Survive Life When You Hate the Sound of People Chewing

The-Incredible-Hulk-TV-Show-Writer

Picture this. You walk into a quiet conference room at your office for a lunchtime meeting and several more people shuffle in and fill the seats around you. The lunch cart rolls in and everyone grabs some food – a sandwich, salad, bag of chips, soda, maybe even a pickle or two- and then people return to their seats and start to eat as the meeting begins. Sounds normal, right? Well if you’re like me, it sounds like a goddamn nightmare, so hold on tight because this is gonna SUCK.

The sound of people chewing is a cruel and unusual form of torture that slowly loosens my screws and makes me want to Hulk Smash one crunch, smack, slurp at a time. Apparently, this is a diagnosable condition called Mesophonia, or a “hatred of sound.” Cool, so it’s not just me and also, I might be a creative genius? Noice.

Unfortunately, people have to eat and unless you plan on kickin’ it hermit style or surrounding yourself with people who only eat soft cheese and cake, you’ve gotta learn to deal with it. Because running away every time the person next to you opens a bag of chips or giving someone the death stare until they feel so awkward they get up and leave, while slightly gratifying, is not a good look. Trust me.

Here are some ways to make it through an arrival from the dreaded Chew Chew Train. You can do it, I believe in you.

1. Headphones are your friend– If you’re sitting on a bus or train or somewhere where it’s appropriate to pop your headphones on, DO IT. If you can’t hear the chewing it can’t make you twitch. However, If you’re around people who expect you to participate in a conversation, do not put your headphones on. That is rude.

2. Pray x repeat– Most of the time, you just have to take a deep breath and deal with it. Instead of focusing on the evil sounds permeating the room, pray for world peace, for the Spice Girls to announce a reunion tour, or for Donald Trump to slip on some Cheeto dust and fall off the side of a cruise ship, landing in a school of jellyfish who drag him to the bottom of the sea and then, in an unlikely turn of events, invite his toupee to enroll in their jellyfish school. Keep repeating said prayer until the eating has ended. It will always end.

3. Think of something nice- Find your happy place. Mine’s probably making my baby niece laugh, when my dog rolls on his back and his face looks like Fire Marshall Bill or hanging out at Rocky Pond in Hollis, NH. Figure out what yours is and think about that. Pretend you’re there, relax, really picture it and then that hate fire burning in your heart will start to subside.

4.  Eat something too!- An easy way to drown out the sound of someone chewing like a cow is to chew something, too. Fight fire with fire, chip with chip, gum with gum. Try and be casual about it though. Don’t hate crunch to make a point, that doesn’t solve anything.

5. Leave– Simple as that. If you don’t have to be where you are, get up and go somewhere else. You’re welcome.

6.  Stop being a little bitch– I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. The people chewing with their mouths open or crunching so loud that the earth is shaking may have been raised by wolves, but they are not the problem, you are the problem. It is not normal to freak out at people because they are doing something required to continue living. Humans literally have to eat or we die. So take a deep breath, and get the fuck over it. I know it sucks, it’s the WORST, but you can’t control everyone. That’s not how the world works which is v unfortunate.

These tricks have worked for me. I’m 27, haven’t murdered anyone, people like me at work and I still have most of my friends, so maybe, just maybe they can work for you too.

Phew, that felt good.

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