The most wonderful time of the year, your girl's birthday! And it's not just any ole birthday. My 21st birthday. On August 21st.
I believe this phenomenon is called a Golden Birthday, so I won't only be celebrating that I can legally drink and gamble and go to the club and also legally adopt a child (sounds fun, but no thanks), I'll be partying it up a little extra because I will never be the age of my birthday date again! I'll take anything I can get, and I will make up any excuse, to be the birthday princess with a little extra flair.
So, for this week's post:
21 Questions and 21 Answers for my 21st Birthday on the 21st of August. Happy reading!
1. What is the last book you read?
Shrill by Lindy West. I identify with her so heavily, literally. And the Hulu adaptation is coming out soon, and my girl Aidy Bryant is going to be amazing.
2. What has been your favorite vacation?
So, backstory. Tyler and I had a very complicated relationship/friendship. While I was in the friendzone (for over 2 years), we planned a friendly little trip to Washington DC with our other bud, Sam. Then, about a week before we were to leave for the trip, we finally, in the spur of the moment, decided to give it a try. In order to avoid all of the craziness of admitting to our friends that we were dating yet again, and in order to avoid making Sam a third wheel on a trip that we all paid a decent amount of money for, we decided to keep it under wraps until the plane landed back in sunny Florida. We spent the trip sneaking pecks on the cheek behind Smithsonian exhibits, resisting the urge to hold hands as we walked the National Mall, until we couldn't take it anymore and decided to tell Sam, who had already guessed. We then spent the vacation having the time of our lives, trying our best to not make things weird, but leaving Sam behind in the hotel one night to eat pizza and watch The Walking Dead while we went on our first fancy date in a fancy city.
3. What are you passionate about?
Body positivity. Everyone deserves to feel like they have a beach body, like they have a body that is worthy of every ounce of love that you or a significant other can muster.
Mental health. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember and I still don't understand my brain and how it works. With this in mind, I have had to navigate poor mental health with insurance and healthcare issues on top of it all. I can't count the times I have skipped out on a medication or on a doctor's visit that I desperately was in need of due to the money I couldn't hash out or the hassle that comes with crappy insurance, and that's shitty. So. I am very passionate about universal healthcare and trying my best to squeeze as much as I can out of free resources, like my college clinic where I can see my amazing psychiatrist whenever I need to for medication or just to check in.
Women empowerment/education. Every since reading Malala Yousafzai's account as an advocate for girl's education that opposed Taliban rule, I feel extremely convicted and forever responsible in my career field to encourage young women to take their academic life into their own hands, recognizing that not all young women are as lucky and education is truly the only tool that can dig you out of poverty, war, and oppression.
Reading. Reading teaches empathy by placing you in the shoes of a new person. Reading leads to empathy, empathy leads to peace.
I'm also very passionate about mozzarella sticks.
4. What is your guilty pleasure?
So much ABBA. I talk to my cats way more often that I probably should. I love reality TV. I always sing through Waitress or Funny Girl on my way to my internship to practice for my inevitable Broadway debut if this whole teaching thing doesn't work out.
5. What is your go to period food?
Ready Rice with so much butter, it's kinda like soup.
6. Who was your first crush?
A boy from elementary school. Our moms worked together, we bought each other stuff for Valentines Day (but yet again, I was still in the friendzone?) (One time he got me a pair of gold earrings???), and I recently found a handwritten note of mine while I was packing up my room at my parents house that was to confess my love, but thankfully was never delivered. It began with some funny jokes, but then stated, "Let's talk serious for a moment". Actual photo from the Lindsey archives:
7. Are you superstitious?
I'm not superstitious, but I am a little stitious. But really though, I will always cross out a black cat and I will never walk under a ladder. I used to play basketball during PE in high school and I would always set up at the 3 point line, say, "if I make this shot, Tyler thinks I'm hot", and then go on to miss the shot and brood all day long in my misfortune. I'm crazy. I also still avoid stepping on cracks because I love my mom too much.
8. What is your drink of choice?
Diet Coke > everything. Alcohol is for grown ups.
9. How do you relax after work?
Shower. PJs. Fuzzy socks. Maybe some Zelda. Maybe some Shane Dawson. Since starting my new internship at a high school, which means leaving my house by 6:15 AM every morning, I have been so dead when I walk back through the door. I was feeling stressed the other night after work so I took a hot shower, got in my Christmas pajamas, and decided to listen to a guided meditation to decompress. Within the first five minutes or so, I was snoring. Tyler woke me up almost an hour later and I didn't even realize that I had zonked out. I ended up going to bed at 6:30 PM and didn't wake up until 5 AM the next morning.
10. Favorite TPA spots?
The Hip Room. Foundation. Tampa Theater. Old Tampa Book Company. WaterWorks Park.
11. What song could you listen to on repeat forever?
SZA x Calvin Harris - The Weekend Funk Wave Remix
12. What is your favorite memory from high school?
My friend Shaun and I planned to go to prom together. Someone told him I had a crush on him (I didn't tho). He got worried that it was turning into a romantic thing so he said he had to work that night and stood me up (I already had a dress tho). I was devastated and cried a whole bunch. My mom felt bad and bought my other friend, and now Fiancè, Tyler and I Disney passes for the night, so I ended up going to anti-prom with my husband! We ate hot dogs with mac and cheese on them, spun in the tea cups until I couldn't walk (don't worry it was before the mac and cheese hot dogs), watched the fireworks, and walked the entirety of the Disney World parking lot because I didn't write down which lot we parked in. So, I guess, thanks for being an asshole Shaun! Love you buddy. In a friend way.
13. What do you regret?
Feeling any less than stunning in the past. I look back at photos of myself and I remember being so convinced that I was always the chubby friend, or one of the boys. I never saw myself as a girl with a nice body, a girl with a nice smile, I just thought I had a bang up personality. It can be so easy to look back at old photos and think about all the weight you have gained or how those clothes don't go over your hips anymore but I am just now learning to use those instances as an exercise of self love. I look back and tell my old self that she was perfect just the way she was, and somehow, that extends to my current self as well no matter how intense the self doubt can be. It just takes practice and willingness to give yourself the compliments you deserve. It took me until I was 20 to understand that I can feel confident and not conceited, I can have self worth and self love without being self centered, and honestly, it doesn't hurt to be a little self centered. I look back at my middle school and high school self and just wish I would see through my distortions of myself that were clouded and muddy with insecurity and self doubt.
14. If you could go back to anytime in history, minus the racism or the sexism or whatever, where would you go?
Well, if it was a perfect world, I absolutely love Paris in the 1920's, much like Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris. The artists, the musicians, but especially the writers. Hemingway, The Fitzgeralds, T.S. Elliot, Gertrude Stein. That is the company I want to keep and the people I love to learn about. Cuba with Hemingway wouldn't be so bad either. I have a huge crush on him, can you tell?
15. If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?
I have seen pretty much every episode of any Gordon Ramsay show and I think that's worth something.
16. How different was your life one year ago?
I was moving out of my 400 sq. ft. one bedroom apartment, saying goodbye to my drug dealer neighbor who drank 3 cans of 4 Loco before 8 AM (that's 12 Loco, you guys). I wasn't engaged. I was far from graduation. I hated exercise because it made me feel self conscious and defeated. Weekends were for sleeping and Netflix. My cat, Walter, was a lonely grumpy blob. And now, I have found my dream apartment, over 1000 sq. ft., a kitchen big enough for busy baking and an upstairs loft with spiral stairs, no drug dealer neighbors, just older women who sell Mary Kay. I'm getting married in a barn just days before this coming Christmas. I am in my final internship for Secondary Ed and I graduate in December. I go to Hip Hop dance class twice a week and I stay active because it makes me feel invincible and on top of the world. Weekends are now for experiencing life and exercising my whimsy, whether it be kayaking, or exploring my favorite cities. Walter is still a grumpy blob but he is no longer lonely, because little baby Lou, our new kitten, is now his bestie and sometimes enemy.
17. What do you really want but can’t afford?
Gucci slides. Gucci everything.
18. What are you really good at, but kind of embarrassed that you are good at it?
I can do a pretty impressive Louis Armstrong impression. No one has ever heard it, besides my closest girlfriend MOH Sierra and I trust her with my life.
19. What’s the last adventure you went on?
Tyler and I kayaked to the Chassahowitzka River Caves from my family's river house. We are just now becoming outdoor people every since Tyler has traveled back to his Boy Scout roots and has confronted his fear of the sun. There was a moment when we went to the springs around the underwater caves and both of us were pretty hesitant to get in the water, even though a ton of people were already swimming and exploring and cave diving. I am always so afraid of water, besides like pools and stuff, because fish are scary and seaweed is slimy, but this time, I put on my big girl water shoes and jumped right in. Cave diving is a bit of a stretch for me, but who knows? Maybe next time!
20. What do you strongly suspect but have no proof of?
Lorde is a witch. But, like, in a good way.
21. What do you look forward to?
The day I say, "Oh my god, I hit 5k monthly readers". The day I say, "Hi, I'm Mrs. Balkcom and I'll be your English teacher this year". The day I say, "I yabba-dabba do".