Cleaning Up With Damn, Girl

Woman climbing into a dryer

Growing up, cleanliness and order were never priorities in my house. My family of five lived in a van until I was about four, my siblings and I sharing a chest of drawers for a bed. As fucked up as that is, it’s still a little bit adorable, admit it.

Once we settled into a bit more space, that space was decorated in the classic “insane petting zoo from hell” style. At one point, I shared my bedroom with seven chickens.

With thirty-seven cats, three dogs, five screaming peacocks, two horses, an angry little pony, six goats, and a very energetic hoarder to manage them all, my childhood home could turn the strongest of stomachs.

I have fond memories of our unneutered male pygmy goat “Bill” rising proudly from the open trunk of one of our many broken down cars and chasing the school bus. Every morning, with his little goat beard full of urine and a stiff twelve-inch erection, he would charge the driver as the bus screeched out of the driveway. Needless to say, I wasn’t the fucking prom queen.

A goat in a mailbox

Keeping a house up properly was definitely a skill I had to learn. Today I wanted to tackle the mindset and habits that keep so many people’s homes in disarray.

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The Skinny Confidential

Lauryn Evarts, The Skinny Confidential

Here at Damn, Girl, I talk a lot about taking risks and asking others for the things that you need.

And I follow my own advice… mostly.

I get anxiety about pursuing the things that truly matter to me, just like every other creative.

While I am sure this is true for every person, I feel there is a larger stigma for women when it comes to pursuing their goals with the direct, relentless passion it takes to actually get shit done.

This is in part due to to the fact that in order to achieve our goals, we need to ask for support. We are made to feel that by asking for support, we are admitting our lives are not perfect. And there is nothing if not a great pressure to make our lives seem perfect.

Not just perfect, but completely self-achieved. Like we are some glorious island that has its own oil, the best mangos in the world, and a thriving, self-sustaining economy. We have entire platforms for this illusion: they’re called WordPress, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Don’t get me wrong; I love stalking celebrities’ sandwiches on Instagram as much as the next person, but the popularity of the “perfect life illusion” kept me from even considering blogging or talking about my experiences at all. They just weren’t that shiny.

That’s when I read The Skinny Confidential.

Lauryn Evarts was seemingly the same: perfectly blonde, fit, put together, drinking rosé in France and glowing for some damn reason (seriously, how the hell do you all just glow? Is there some switch I don’t know about? Is that what nipples are actually for? Have I been using them wrong?).

But then I came across a post of hers called “I Hate You Anxiety” and for the first time, I saw one of these perfect people talking about something real. I continued reading her blog. She dished on jaw swelling, constipation, all the nasty stuff that I thought never touched these people.

The more I read, the more I grew to love her voice. Lauryn was sweet, she loved and supported women, she talked about real things. It was The Skinny Confidential that inspired me to start this blog.

I knew that I wanted Lauryn in my corner, so I decided to take my own advice and reach out to her. To ask for the support that I needed.

Sure, I had some wine first. Psyched myself up. Waited for the inevitable “Please do not contact me, loser” message I was sure to get at any moment.

Turns out asking for the things that I needed turned out to be ok. Lauryn was sweet and supportive and was kind enough to pass on her blogging tips to the readers here at Damn, Girl. So tuck in, and enjoy some tips from the master:

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Dehumanizing Your Future Self

Woman in a hoodie

I thought growing old would take longer.
-Old guy’s shirt at the grocery store

As many of you know, I teach ballroom dancing. I spend a lot of my day with people in their 50s-80s, recently retired, looking to fill their work-free days or reconnect with their spouses.

I love spending time with the older demographic. They come in for their lessons, doze off to sleep, wake up, knit a scarf, make a stew, find a quarter behind my ear…and off they go.

No, actually. That doesn’t happen at all.

The Metzgers grab at each others asses and play Candy Crush in the waiting room. The Sanchezes bring me in beers they brew at home and share photos on their iPhone of the trips they took to China or Mexico. The Watsons…well yeah, I mean, Mrs Watson does in fact bring in her knitting, but she has been knitting since she was like fifteen. And yeah, her chicken and dumplings are really good. And Mr. Watson has found almost four dollars in quarters behind my ears. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the Watsons as an example. My point is…

They are all totally unique individuals and when I talk to them about their pasts I find something truly astonishing:

They aren’t anything like us, they are exactly like themselves.

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DG Fall Essentials

Girl with a scarf holding a cup of coffee.

Things have been getting a little heavy around here at Damn, Girl. From declaring war on happiness to shitting on Lifetime movies, it may be time to take a walk on the lighter side.

This week I couldn’t decide between writing about “Why Your Grandma is Kind Of a Slut” or “The Surprising Health Benefits of Puppy Blood,” so I opted for a third option. A classic: Damn, Girl Fall Essentials.

Cat GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Today, Be Anything but Happy

A pineapple on the beach

Sometimes I read stuff like this article called “Why Pursuing Happiness is the Greatest Goal” and wonder why traditional advice doesn’t seem to apply to me.

I just absently blink at 90 percent of the “awesome truths” that “change people’s lives.” When I try to apply them to my own life, I end up totally dissatisfied, living in a yurt with a mouthful of chia seeds dribbling down my face, yelling positive affirmations into the mirror.

I’m pretty sure if there is anything that makes humans miserable, it’s chasing happiness.

Knowing that it’s The Goal of almost everyone I know is so tragic I can’t. Hardly. Even.

Before you get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with happiness…It’s just not a goal. And exalting one emotion doesn’t sit well with me

Nothing GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Minimalism? Oh Fuck It, Let’s Buy Stuff.

Empty room

I grew up poor. Like…in conditions that you don’t even associate with being possible in a first world country.

Abandoned building in Detroit poor. “Running water? What the hell is it running from?” poor. Three siblings glued together on a dirty mattress in front of an open oven in the kitchen in December CAUSE WE GONNA DIE! poor.

It has given me an appreciation of things. Physical things. Amazing, tangible things.

I swear to God, for the first five years I had a dryer, I legit used to take out all the clean towels and just lay in the pile, purring. “Where’s DGGYST?” “She fell asleep in the towels again.”

Cats cuddling in a towel

I’m firmly out of my towel fixation. (That’s a dirty lie. May I never become so jaded as to not appreciate warm clean towels.) My love of creature comforts continues, but I am trying put that aside. After all, happiness is an inside job. I’m going to try forest bathing, a vow of silence, a retreat of the spiri…oh fuck it let’s buy stuff!

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The Art of Parting

Woman putting out a fire with an extinguisher

This is going to come as a huge shock to you: I’m a fairly saucy woman. Spicy. A firecracker. A real pistol. An over-eater…wait, no, that doesn’t belong there.

I enjoy myself very much. I kick ass, take names, make sure those names are kicking ass, and make sure those asses are kicking names. What can I say, I’m thorough.

Being this way has its benefits. I set my mind to something and just…go. If there is something I want on the other side of a mountain, give me a shallow spoon and watch me tunnel, baby.

There is, however, a dark side to combining ambition, intense love, and brutal honesty.

The arson in me recognizes the arson in you

This post is for my warrior women. My Xenas. My tough mothers. Damn, you are sexy AF. I love powerful women. You bitches aren’t to be trifled with, and I couldn’t be a bigger fan. But chances are you aren’t being nearly as effective an ass-kicker as you could be because of one thing that often befalls the feisty:

Homer Simpson GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Meal Prep for When You Just Can’t Even

Sleeping girl

I have two versions of myself: the one that kicks ass and takes names, and the one that just. can’t. even.

It’s a hormonal thing. I can’t be expected to clean my house and cook dinner and defeat my enemies when I am downing wolfsbane and transitioning into a she-beast. I ride those energy waves just like most women, but I feel like we aren’t allowed to admit that we ride them. Because that makes us “less-better than men,” or “hormonal,” or “crazy,” or “lazy,” or my favorite: “witches.”

Maybe you are that elusive super woman who has consistent mood, energy, and awesomeness all month long, who kicks ass from sun up to sundown 365 days a year and runs and wins marathons on the first day of her period. In which case, Hi Gwyneth! Thank you so much for reading, girl! I loved you in “Duets”!

Gwyneth Paltrow GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

For the rest of us, learning to navigate those waves, whether they be from hormones, or depression, or balancing a job and a family is key to master the art of adulting.

I’m a bit of an extremist by nature. I get these grand ideas of preparing surf and turf on a Wednesday, duck a l’orange on a Thursday, tackling a vegan dish worthy of the cover of Bon Appétit on a Friday, and ringing in the weekend with Eggs Benedict and homemade apple crisp.

In reality, I have surf and turf on a Wednesday and then the fridge is empty for the rest of the week and I bounce a check cause that shit is expensive and by the time the weekend comes around, I can be found half naked, squatting in front of the fridge eating the last remnants of a block of cheese.

I’m better now. I’ve discovered “attainable goals” and “pajamas” and something called “meal prep.”

These tips may seem over-simplistic, but that’s the point. We all spend 45 minutes on Pinterest, get these crazy ideas in our head about “30 meals in 3 hours” and 30 hours later, we have 3 meals and are shitfaced and covered in peanut butter. So, here’s to attainable goals and to meal prep for when you just can’t even.

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Fuck High Heels

A woman in high heel shoes

I’ve made a pretty revolutionary decision. I’ve decided to never wear anything uncomfortable ever again. Like. Ever….

Bridget Jones holding up a pair of large panties.

I’m doing a whole series on this shit. It’s about self-care and feminism and honor! …Or possibly me just being fed up with being fucking uncomfortable. I’ll be hurling all of my itchy, too tight, too high-necked, too-anything out of my closet and into a pile where I will urinate on them and light it all on fire and dance naked around the smelly polyester bonfire….Oh, like you have anything better to do on a Friday night.

I’ll be starting this purge with my shoes, because no itchy sweater, no tight pant, no binding dress can compare to the mass discomfort and mass destruction of high heels.

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Shit You Might Not Know Because No One Tells Millennials Anything

Girl in a dryer at a laundomat

Let me preempt this post by saying: maybe you had awesome boomer parents who were wise and gave you guidance and provided you with endless opportunities and pearls of wisdom. In which case, ask them if they are up for adopting a 29-year-old blogger who sometimes only pretends to wash her hands for the comfort of others and is not above eating things out of the garbage.

George Costanza eating out of the trash

But this post is for the rest of my contemporaries who, in our guidance-free lives, use #adulting and call all of our other millennial friends when we discover how to load a fucking dishwasher.

Our general cluelessness and enthusiasm for life hacks has been on my mind a lot and has led me to conduct a very unscientific poll. This week I have been asking all my millennial friends, “What is the best piece of advice you ever got from your parents?”

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