Thursday, July 2, 2015

My Super Mean 16!


I pride myself on my theories. In fact, I’m known for my theories. I’m the Einstein of dumb theories, you might say. Need a theory about the unknown human diarrhea sac? I’ve got it for you. Longing for a theory about how the internet is a passing fad? Come at me, bro. Desire a theory about how test tube babies are really made in a lab and fed with fish food until they are ready to be “born” and then are popped out of their test tubes into a crib? There it is. 

My latest theory: I believe that most people don’t emotionally mature past the age of 16. 

My therapist once told me that people don’t truly “know themselves” until their mid-70s. That we are spending our whole lives getting to know this human brain and soul we were given, and then reach some Maya Angelou-esque enlightenment when we head on up to our seventh decade. While Dr. “Madde stopped going to you after you gave her a lecture about dating comedians” might have been convincing in his argument, I believe a certain percentage of people just decide to stop evolving and getting to know themselves after they’ve gotten their driver’s license and smoked pot in the back of their parent’s caravan. 

Take for example Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise. King Andy Cohen has made millions of dollars off of filming grown ass women who agree that screaming at each other in restaurants, pulling out the weaves of their neighbor, and coining phrases like “I’m Gone with the Wind fabulous, bitch!!” are appropriate and suitable ways to handle human interactions with their peers.  And America watches. Well--I watch...And my mom...And most people I trust. We all watch and say, “Can you believe it? Can you believe these women? How juvenile!” and convince ourselves that we don’t partake in the some version of this in our lives--albeit with less diamond rings and our own lines of Pinot Grigio. 

When I was 16, I had a high tolerance and thirst for petty arguments about boys, gossip rings about who did what to who’s what, and most things 16 year olds spend their days chatting away about. At 27, my tolerance has evolved. Now I silently feel rage when girl in women’s clothing steals a man from my clutches. I still gossip* about who did what to who’s what, but now in closed circles with my gal pals over someone else’s line of Pinot Grigio, we have a laugh, and then move on.

(*A side note on gossip: anyone who says they don’t gossip is a filthy liar. We all share stories and are interested in what is going on in the beds, homes, cars, side cars, and mopeds of the people around us. It is a matter of whether you share this information KNOWING it will hurt someone’s feelings (BAD GOSSIP..don’t do it!!), or whether you are being a human being who observes out loud (STILL NOT GREAT GOSSIP...but we’ve all done it! So don’t try and cast stones at others when you have done it yourself, toots. Mmmmk?). Ok. Gossip tangent over.) 

What I DO NOT have tolerance for is the thoughtless and unkind behavior that one might forgive a 16 year old for, but in your mid 20s-90s is unacceptable. I recently had an experience in which someone was incredibly unkind to me. As an adult woman, I thought that surely this was an unintentional act of unkindness that I could honestly and earnestly come to this person about, we would chat it over, they would apologize, there might even be a hug or two, and we could move on. Oh, no, no, no, no...no. I was shocked to hear that all of the unkind behavior had actually been calculated, they did not feel badly for what they had done, and they weren’t planning on being kind any time soon. Cooooooool.

This situation got me thinking. If someone ever approached me and asked me to be kind to them, what would my answer be? Well, turns out my answer would never be NO. Great news! This might be the sign that I’m on my way to emotionally evolving past the age of 16. 

Do I gossip? Yes, I do. It’s not vicious gossip. I never set out to hurt people, but I do observe humanity out loud, which would be put into the category of “gossip.” So ya, I do it. Stone me. Think the worst of me, if you’d like... 

Do I spend an unusual amount of time staring at my nose pores? Sure. 

Do I still struggle with parallel parking? Of course. It’s an inhumane activity to ask me to do while I’m holding my Cappuccino. 

Do I have crushes on boys, and weirdly giggle if they are around, then lose capacity to work my mouth when talking is required? Kind of, and I promise I’ll see a doctor about it soon. 

Does my mother still pay my cell phone bill? .....no comment..(..but I will say that we are on a family plan, and Mama Gibba has invited me many times to pay my share, and my schedule has made me unavailable for negotiations on this. No further comments will be offered at this time). 

My point? I’m in my mid-to-late-20s and yes, I certainly behave like a teenage girl sometimes, but I am proud to say that emotionally, I might have gained perspective on how to treat others with respect, kindness, love, and thoughtfulness. I’m certainly not at Maya Angelou status, but I am proud to say I want to be better and I have gained a perspective on my capacity for compassion.

When I’m treated poorly as an adult, I try to figure out why my first instinct is to feel compassion for the shit head who shit all over my head. I was never bullied as a teenager, but, like most teenagers, I certainly didn’t always feel like I fit in. It didn’t feel great, it made me second guess who I was, why I was, and if I was worth it. And you know what that experience taught me? I am me, I was put on this Earth to be the best version of me, I am good enough, and I am more than worth it. 

Strangely enough, it wasn’t until I became an adult that I faced actual bullying. People who are perceived me in a certain way and think negatively of me for whatever that reason is. People who believe if they break me, it will give them strength. Or, you know, just some assholes who don’t feel too great about themselves. I don’t think these things are reserved just for teenagers. People don’t always grow out of feeling shitty about themselves. The teenage bully becomes the 27 year old bully who calculates how to make their peers feel sadness. The bullied 16 year old becomes the 32 year old with a superiority complex and alarming high self-esteem that is really masking the damage they endured in their teens by talking down to others and making you feel less. They resort to their tactics they used as a youth, or the tactics that were used against them when they were younger to make them feel less than. We don’t grow out of that unless we make a conscious choice to want to be better. 


So this is what I’m asking. Let’s all try to do better. Gossiping about boys, smoking weed in vans, and stuffing our bras is in good fun. That stuff can stay, but what if we all try to show kindness and compassion to those around us? After all, wasn’t being a teenager hard enough? Nobody wants to go through round two, we’ll all just get acne again. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

26 and 1/2 a Boyfriend



Three of my best friends got engaged within a month of each other---before I even had a boyfriend. I am two months shy of my 27th birthday and I, Madde Gibba, have never had a boyfriend. Sure I've dated quite a bit. Certainly kissed my fair share of frogs, but never a boyfriend have I had. I've loved and been genuinely loved back. I've gotten Valentines and sweet text messages telling me I'm the best thing since that one time they tried poutine, but none of them have dared call me their girlfriend. Heck, I've even done the math and I have been infatuated with at least 44 man-boys between the ages of 11 to 26, and I would say a solid 3/4 of them were mutually infatuated and the other fourth consisted of Hugh Grant characters from various RomComs. But no boyfriends*.  Not one. Nada. Zip.

(*Actually, if you count my 7th grade "boyfriend" of 36 hours, we could say I had one boyfriend. This is a questionable addition, as after 36 hours of "dating" me--after asking me to be his girlfriend on AOL Instant Messenger--he realized, and I'm not kidding here, that he was gay. So let's say I've had 1/2 a boyfriend.)

A therapist would say this is because I don't love myself enough or value my worth, but I would argue I love myself too much and think I'm worth way more than the market value of a standard Madde Gibba. I routinely Google myself and can be found gently grazing my hands on my jawline to ensure I have no wild old lady hairs popping up. A therapist who's also a mom might say I'm dating the wrong man-boys, but I would argue the wrong man-boys are dating me. I don't ask to date man-boys who fear being seen with me in public, or have some PTSD from their own mothers not loving them enough to come to their childhood science fairs or whatever they are so sad about now that causes them to run in the other direction the moment I share an opinion on how they could spend their time smoking less weed and maybe reading one book. So if I like myself and I'm not actively choosing crazy people, what could be the problem?

When I was kid we would play the game "M.A.S.H." For anyone over 40, it's a game preteens play to predict their future and dream of their perfect husbands, suburban lives, and ultimately unattainable goals of adult perfection that will come crashing down in a few years time. Listing 3 crushes was never hard for me to do. I'm the Queen of Crushes. If you make me laugh at a party, I probably have a crush on you halfway through my first snort laugh. If you put eggs gently into my grocery bag while bagging my groceries, I probably will think of you the whole drive home. If you have "trouble" literally written all over your face with magic markers, I will look past it, and swoon over you for many minutes. So there I was, listing off my crushes for a game of M.A.S.H, but when it came time to figure out which one I would marry--I freaked out. The thought of having to choose just Colin Firth, Andrew from the football game, or the cute Pete from "Pete and Pete" was far too much for me to bear. Why couldn't I have them all? Would Pete be sad if I picked Colin? Would Colin rub it in Andrew's face, forcing him take a harsh look at his own sexuality and come out of the closet after the Homecoming football game? Choosing. Making a choice. It was too much. In improvisation we say that just making a choice is the greatest choice you can make. Sticking to it and boldly committing to the choice you made, saying YES to yourself. Am I not making bold choices? Am I stuck in the headspace of my adolescent self? Is cute Pete still cute? Is he available? Do I not know how to make a choice? Is this my problem? 

.....Then I realized something huge, maybe the real problem is that everyone thinks this is a problem. 

.....Being boyfriend-less is NOT a problem.

There is no flaw inside of me for being 26 and having no boyfriend. There is no need to speak in whispered tones around me when discussing how your other guests got a "plus one" to your wedding and I did not because you just assumed I still wouldn't have a boyfriend by November of 2016. Best friends, I don't feel sad when you go on double dates together while I stay at home and catch up on "Broad City," but it would be nice if you would call me back for our overdue lunch date that you keep rescheduling because your boyfriend "might have a thing" you have to go to. I am not a leper, I am a single. Do not proceed with caution or forced compassion for my "ailment".  I am single and for the first time in my life, I am actually making the choice to be so. 

I didn't choose the heartbreaks I have felt in my life, but I always had a hand in them. I played a major role in facilitating them in college by going out on dates with boys who were the saddest at the party and then lured me back to their disgusting apartments to read me their poetry about how they were always too skinny as a kid. I was the leading lady in the love catastrophes of my early 20s in which I allowed boys to sext message me while sitting at a table full of our friends, and then secretly going to make out by a lake in between his original songs about how his clowning career never took off and his mother never supported his dreams of big shoes. And so to learn from my mistakes, I have a choice. Continue down the path of being surprised by yet another sad male slam poetry session, or take a moment, step back, and choose something better. 

I'm not sad that I don't have a boyfriend and I know that bothers people. I know people don't believe me when I say it, but it's true. It's taken 26 years for me to figure out that I get to choose how this story goes. I'm excited for the day when I find someone who is as proud to be with me as I am to be with them. I value myself enough to not be treated any less than I deserve. I've kissed a lot of frogs, but it's time to wash that weird pond water out of my mouth and be more discerning in the lily pads I settle into. So there. M.A.S.H. loses, M.A.D.D.E wins. 



Friday, December 20, 2013

Pepe Le Pew School for the Smooches



Christmas is usually a time of charitable giving. My recent transition to New York City has left me with cash that can only be used for $1 pizza and rent. In an effort to be more charitable and give back to the community this season, I decided to offer my heart and time by doing some volunteer work. Finding a volunteer position that would accentuate my unique skills proved to be a challenge. I surely would burn my hands on chowder at the soup kitchens. I've WebMd'd myself enough to know that I'm probably susceptible to carpel tunnel, so bell ringing for the Salvation Army is out. (Also, they hate gay people and they can go Fa-la-la-la themselves.) So what did I decide to do??

This Christmas I have clocked a lot of volunteer hours...

Kissing boys who kind of don't deserve kisses because they don't kinda know how to give kisses, so I've been kissing them in hopes that they kinda learn how to give kisses to other girls who actually kinda like them a lot more than I kinda like them...ya know? But I'm super nice about it because I'm doing charity work and that's nice of me. I'm not mean. I promise. It sounds like I'm super mean, but I'm not. It's charity. I'm writing it off on my taxes. I'm super nice. Stop judging me. Kisses. 

I've yet to finish my Christmas shopping because I've been changing lives around the country one kiss at a time. I don't want to brag, but if Santa were bringing kisses around the world on Christmas night, he would be as exhausted as I am right now. No disrespect to Santa for what he does, but honestly---he has no idea what hard work my Christmas charitable acts have been. Thanks for making Jack-In-The-Boxes, KrissyKring-sicorns, but we all have had to work this Christmas. I don't get cookies, I get chapped lips and a sense of sadness and empathy that can't be cured by extra calories. 

I'm sure my efforts have already inspired you to do your own charitable kissy-faced acts, so allow me to  answer some of your burning questions. 



Q: How can you tell a charitable-worthy tragic kisser from a kissy face champion? 

A: It is with greatest sadness that I inform you--you can't. Unfortunately you must wander the world in search of those in need. If you kiss them, you will know. 

Q: Someone has approached me with fish lips, what do I do?

GO (far away from the) FISH!

A: Great question. Firstly, I want you to know that you are safe. You are not about to kiss a fish, you are about to kiss a human (I hope. It might be a fish, check for gills). Tell the fish-human that they are not a fish. Avoid water. Just give a simple kiss. Also, wear a life vest. 

Q: My kissing charity case comes at me with a lot of open eye action. What do I do?


A: Open eye kissers come from a place of fear that they will miss all of beauty if they close their eyes. Carry a blind fold with you at all times. Put it on open eye kissers and don't give them a choice about it. It creeps us all out to be watched during kissy times, but they are not in a place to hear it right now. 


Q: They make their lips look like a butthole. Help. 


A: Understandably, many people think this is a butt face move. My work with this population has expanded my knowledge on this particular move. Kissers who use (what is known on the street as) "butt hole mouth,"  were usually trained in the school of Pepe Le Pew School for the Smooches. 
Without continued education, most kissers will only know what they learned in PLPSS. Direct them to the University of Phoenix. There they will find many resources, such as the opportunity to major in "Kissing Normal". 


Q: Someone bit my nostril. I let it happen. Is this ok?

A: It's certainly not appropriate, but quite normal. Gently take their teeth off your nose-hole and tell them in no way, shape, or form is this sanitary or sexy. Use your new nose hole to put in a fun nose piercing. 


So I shall leave you with this, charitable kissing humans. 
Kissing is fun. Kissing is great. 
But with kisses, comes great kiss responsibility. 
Kisses can be tragic. Kisses can be awkward. 
Don't let it happen to you. 
If you stumble upon someone who needs some kiss help, 
just say it. 
No one wants their face licked, nostril bitten, or lip sucked off their face forever. 
They will thank you in the end. 
Plus, who doesn't love kisses! 


Now go out there and kiss a friend! 

Bring Chapstick!


SMOOCHES! 




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Magic of the MistleWOAH


"Should I use my elf tongue?"

Well, well, well--look who it is. 
Hello there, Christmas!

That's right, our beloved Christmastime is upon us. As I sit and write this blog, I can't help but gaze out the window at the falling snow. While sipping my berry tea and listening to lil' Johnny Mathis serenade me with some "White Christmas," I think---Gosh darnit, I love Christmastime. No matter your religion, your beliefs, your bank account, Christmas is a time of hope, giving, hugs, giving of hugs, endless cookie consumption, and of course, a time for love, love, love. And this season, like many of you, I'm sure, you can find me at all Christmas parties, patiently waiting underneath the mistletoe.



What is it about Christmas and love? For me, it always seems to go hand and hand. No Christmas is complete without the little hope that perhaps this is the year Santa will leave me a handsome, funny, kind, patient, and emotionally-stable human man creature underneath my tree. You know, right next to my "My Little Pony" box set and novelty days of the week underwear. And every year--no box set, no undies, no human man creature. I comfort myself by saying, "Santa couldn't get him down the chimney. He's probably up on the roof pining for me. I love that about him."

Perhaps those of us in cold climates simply want another warm body to place itself upon us and provide us the heat we so rightfully deserve, but I'm pretty sure people in all climates look for love this time of year. I believe it is what I shall call the " 'Love Actually' Complex." The idea that any of us could find love under the glow of Christmas candles from the street windows and snag ourselves a Hugh Grant-level handsome Prime Minister of England. Why? Because it's Christmas--- and those things happen at Christmas. We believe that the magic of Christmas will put love magic into our hearts and bring us sledding right into each other's arms. 

In a crazy twist of doomed fate, I fell in love last Christmas. Real love. Head over heels, "Oh my god! I can't focus on trimming this tree!", "This is what Mariah Carey Christmas albums are talking about!!" kind of love. Truth be told I had fallen in love with him years before, but surely it was the magic of Christmas that brought us together. Holding mittens, jingling bells in an adorable manner with promise that the other one won't get mad for overzealous jingling, sipping cocoa, excitedly wrapping his specially ordered Batman footie pajamas, but one thing never happened last Christmas when I gave him my heart---we never kissed underneath the mistletoe. I blame THIS for our demise. 


According to the very reliable Wikipedia, the tradition of mistletoe dates back to the ancient Babylonian-Assyrian Empire. While women back in the Baby-Ass Empsicorns would stand patiently underneath the mistletoe outside the temples of the goddesses of beauty and love, the modern woman can be found underneath plastic mistletoe at an office party, clutching room temperature egg nog, and wondering why her Spanks seem to have teeth and are eating away at her belly fat. Back in the Baby-Ass Empsicorns, a kiss underneath the mistletoe ensured that the woman would be filled fertility and was betrothed to the man forever.  Either way, ladies and dude ladies continue to wait for that magical Christmas smooch-a-roo, with hopes that it means FOREVER.

So this Christmas requires a change. Everyone get ready to stand under that mistletoe and have your Christmas game faces on because this Christmas we will all find love. We have to. We must. Santa has let us down too many times, it is up to us now. Allow me to share some of my...

CHRISTMAS MISTLETOE 
DO's AND DON'Ts!
  • DO stand under the mistletoe with an inviting smile on your face. 
  • DON'T look like a crazy person freshly off a Christmas bender.
  • DO make sure you have an Altoid tin handy. Holiday cased meats can make for an unsavory kissing mouth igloo environment. 
  • DON'T yell at potential kissing partners to "GET OVER UNDERNEATH THIS MISTLETOE AND PUT YOUR CANDY CANE IN MY MOUTH, YOU SON OF AN ELF!!!!"
  • DO giggle coyly when you notice "Oh gosh--looks like we are underneath the mistletoe. I don't know what we should do...(giggle giggle)"
  • DON'T say the above line if you are gonna be super awkward about it. 
  • DO let the magic of Christmas overcome you underneath the mistletoe. 
  • DON'T carry your mistletoe around with you on a stick and wave it around in crowds. 
  • DON'T make a sign and place it on your chest that says, "I'm single. Let's do this. Jingle Jingle, bitches."
  • DON'T YOU DARE ask your poor kissing partner to marry you after a drunken mistletoe debacle that one of you thinks is funny and the other one thinks is love. It's not love. I'm almost positive it won't be. Unless it is, in which case--mazel! But unless it is that magical Christmas moment of true mistletoe magic love--don't be a fucking crazy person about it. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY KISSING! xoxox





Thursday, November 7, 2013

BARBRA STREISAND, TAKE THE WHEEL.

HELLO BROOKLYN!! 



I arrived at JFK International Airpot at 10:02 am. A midwestern bumpkin, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and dressed in an outfit fit for a Lower East Side, New York street goddess circa 1965. So many bangles, rings on every finger, at least 13 scarves, and a teal turban wrapped around my head. New York City?? I'm Madde Gibba and I have arrived!

Everything I knew about my new home in Brooklyn I had learned from Barbra Streisand retrospectives I had seen on Kennedy Center Honors, PBS documentaries, or the legendary movie "Funny Girl." Surely it would be streets filled with apple salesmen, children on wooden boxes shouting the daily news, and street dancing--lots of street dancing.

I knew my neighborhood was going to be different from the world of St. Paul, Minnesota that I had grown so accustomed to over my 25 years on this earth, but there was no doubt in my mind that it was to be magical. I was headed to historic Crown Heights, Brooklyn. An up and coming neighborhood described to me as a charming "Hacidican" neighborhood--Hacidic Jews and Jamaicans living in a beautiful melting pot of harmony.

The buildings were beautiful on that cab ride in. The streets lined with all those trees I had always heard kept growing in Brooklyn. And then the cab driver stopped in front of a historic grey stone. I looked around, not a single tree in sight. "Well, here goes nothing," I mumbled to myself, the cab driver rolling his eyes as this over-accesorised 20-something gave herself a pep talk in the middle of Crown Heights, "Barbra Streisand, take the wheel!"


I rang the bell. A man answered the door wearing tiny green underpants, with nothing more than his back hair sweater to keep him warm. As I carried my bags into my new unknown home, I couldn't help but steal a sniff of his comforting back hair. "Hmmm...he smells like bacon," I thought. "I fucking hate this place already."

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the panic attack started, but the overwhelming wafts of bacon back and street trash sent me into a tail spin that would last an entire 48 hours.


Throwing myself on basement futon that would now serve as my temporary cocoon of comfort, I took in the gravity of this decision I had made to move all the way across the country-seemingly on a whim. Outside my window children played and screamed in the schoolyard one block over. "There are kids here," I thought, "I bet they rarely get murdered." My assumptions were wrong as I pulled up my phone to read an article about the local 1 year old child who had been out walking with his parents weeks before and had been shot through the head by some of his father's gang co-workers. Then the shrill barks of dogs started, followed by the terrifying screams of children--sending me into a full blown spiral. "There is an elementary school next door-for dogs, rabid fucking dogs."

Running up the spiral staircase to the ground level kitchen, I knew it was surely the darkness of the basement that had sent me panicking. Yes, all I needed was some air from the kitchen windows, light from the sunshine outside, and maybe even a granola bar. Yes, this was probably a low-blood sugar situation. As I stared out into the street, feeling the blood inside of me begin to cool, the two men appeared on my front stoop. Exchanging shouts as they threw a tool box at each other and screamed "Drugs. Drugs. Drugs. In this toolbox. Drugs." Great, a drug deal! No sooner had the most subtle drug dealers in the world departed for the hardware store, that a man appeared at my window wearing a plastic bag for a hat. "Hey bitch." he said as sweetly as a man calling you bitch can say, "You wanna piece of this, momma? I bet you have a sweet pink (I'M NOT EVEN GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT HE SAID BECAUSE THE WORDS MAKE ME SAD INSIDE....) You want me to pound your ass?" I slowly turned my head to the window, granola bar hanging from my mouth, "You know what? No. No, I don't think so. Thank you." Promptly closing the curtains and beginning my second descent into the darkness down the spiral staircase of doom.

As I slow-motioned crumbled into the floor in a puddle of my bangles and culturally-insensitive turban, I mumbled over and over "Barbra Streisand never dealt with this bullshit in HER Brooklyn."

Hours passed as I stayed in that ball on that cold, hard floor, quietly sobbing so Bacon Back upstairs didn't hear me crumble into a million broken dreams, as I listened to the sweet sounds of Rabid Dog Elementary outside.

I don't remember regaining the strength to order those fried wontons, but there they were being stuffed into my mouth for hours as I lay like a beached whale on the basement floor asking Tina Fey Netflix to take the wheel.




Day 2: 

It was the lights of the cop cars outside the kitchen window that woke me from my slumber the next morning. Surely a fire alarm had gone off or something by accident next door. It certainly wasn't probably, most likely, oh jeeze, it certainly maybe had something to do with the fight I heard last night--probably. You see the neighbors next door didn't seem to be getting along last night. Two people shouted all night saying "Bitch, you don't know how lucky you are to have this sac.", he said. "Oh, I'll leave you and you can go fuck your own Red Lobster" she shouted back. And so I had fallen asleep to the sweet lullaby of Red Lobster fucking.

In and out all day, cops, detectives, medical examiners. "Law and Order" was probably, most likely, oh geeze, it certainly maybe was being filmed outside my apartment building. Hours passed with more and more people passing through. I sat at my kitchen table, chewing on a granola bar, and hoping for Jerry Orbach and Ice-T to appear from around the corner and saying something witty, when there it was. Being wheeled into a medical examimners van--a black body bag. I'll just assume they tripped and had fallen on a heart attack. "Welcome to the neighborhood" the dead body in the bag DIDN'T say to me.



I live in Brooklyn now. Madde Gibba's Brooklyn--not Barbra Streisand's, Madde Gibba's.

(PLEASE NOTE THAT SINCE THIS PIECE WAS WRITTEN, MADDE HAS MOVED TO WILLIAMSBURG WITH SOME OF THE MOST CHARMING LADIES SHE HAS EVER MET. SHE LOVES HER APARTMENT, HER NEIGHBORHOOD, HER LIFE. THINGS ARE FINE. CALM DOWN. SHE'S FINE. SHE JUST WAS GOING THROUGH A TIME. SHE'S FINE NOW. SUPER FINE. LIKE TOTALLY FINE. FINE. F-I-N-E.)