There Is More To Life Than Being Another Cog In The Machine.

cog in the machineMaybe we just haven’t found it yet.

It is 12:03 a.m. and I am lying in bed watching the ceiling fan whirl, wondering, for the 1,458th time, what I am doing with my life. I am wondering how many Monday mornings I have worked through. How many large cups of coffee I have imbibed. How many elevator rides I have endured looking at my shoes, the wall, my cell phone screen or anything else to safeguard me from conversation with the elevator’s other citizen. How many times I have asked, “How was your weekend?” or “What are your holiday plans?” I venture to guess I’ve uttered both phrases combined at least 100 times.

Sometimes, you feel uncomfortably wedged between your current state and the life you’ve always imagined. You look around and see people who are genuinely leading the very life you only dream of and you keep scratching your head wondering how the hell they got there. What is it about their background, their family, their finances, their sheer and utter luck that dealt them a royal flush? Some days all you do is look at a screen for seven, eight, nine consecutive hours, but when you get home, it feels like someone beat you over the head with a metal bat. Your life is damn near flat-lining, the weekends and evenings the only spikes that occur so that you do not require resuscitation.

But, there is more to life than being another cog in the machine.

There is the life you’ve always craved, a masterpiece that you could craft with your own hands if you were not afraid or drowning in student loan debt or a poisonous combination of the two. There is the life that you may have to build slowly, brick by brick, but you better fucking build it. It will not be handed to you on a silver platter complete with the trimmings. It will take more time than you think, more patience than you believe you have, and more work than you ever thought you could produce. But, you will build it. Otherwise, the machine will absorb you and eat you alive.

There is that very thing (not person) that drives you. That feeds you. There is that thing that makes you feel alive and meaningful and just plain good. For me, it’s writing. But, you’re not a blind monkey so you already knew that. I think in blog post titles. I itch to get home and plop myself in the middle of my futon, sweating out my thoughts one word at a time on to the screen. I wake up and think of new sentences. I jot down notes late at night before I go to sleep. Everything else seems periphery; writing is my life’s restoration. Wine is a close second.

If you want more than the insulated existence complete with 2.5 children, a white picket fence, a mate who loves you and a biweekly paycheck, the world will deem you selfish and spoiled. To not feel content with the status quo is to shit on everyone else who lives and breathes the status quo. You are a soured brat, your passions a magnifying glass peering over the chasms in other people’s lives that, perhaps, they never noticed. But, you are no less for wanting more.

It is 12:46 a.m. and I am staring at the ceiling fan whirl. I’ve made my lunch for tomorrow. I’ve ironed my clothes. I’ve fed myself a halfway decent meal and crawled into bed at a halfway decent time so that the 2 p.m. slump does not assassinate me. These are the cog-in-the-machine days. There are the days I grind, feeling like there’s no end in sight. There are the days I am making ends meet, my life’s trials an education in of themselves. But, I know these days will be limited because I will limit them. There is more to life than being another cog in the machine. Maybe I just haven’t found it yet.




Susan Patton Said Women Should Find Husbands In College, So I Guess I Screwed Up.

Not exactly looking for my husband at that moment.
Not exactly looking for my husband at that moment.

I was munching on a batch of Skittles yesterday afternoon when I saw something about Susan Patton pop up on my timeline. I didn’t know who Susan Patton was. I didn’t think I needed to know who she was. That is until I saw that she wrote a letter in the Daily Princetonian entitled, “Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had.” (Scroll to the bottom for the full text; I couldn’t link to the Daily Princetonian because that bitch crashed the site.)

The pillar of Patton’s argument? Women should find their husbands in college. Her exact words are: Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.

I shy away from responding to mainstream media frenzies on this sacred and sarcastic space. But, after three consecutive tweets about Patton’s letter, I knew I had more to say than what I could squeeze into 140 characters.

Patton goes on to write that college is the optimal time to be exposed to the highest concentration of men who will be “worthy of you” and it will “frustrate you to be with a man who isn’t as smart as you.” As compelled as I was to initially dismiss Susan Patton’s words for the flaming pile of shit they were, I had to admit that her manure was laced with those few gems.

It is true college provides the highest concentration of men who are perched on the same wavelength of your intellectual capacity. Not the only concentration, but certainly the highest. Yes. Ask any of us who are stumbling our way through Plenty of Fish and DC nightclubs trying to snag a date; we will attest to that. It is also true that being with someone who is not as smart as you, or worse, is a witless idiot, will frustrate you. Call me a pompous ass. You wouldn’t be the first.

Now that I’ve done my writerly duty of considering this from a different angle, it’s time to light some fire on Susan Patton. Recently, I went on one of my routine panties-in-a-twist rants so you already know how I feel about women and our many choices or non-choices.

Finding a husband wasn’t on my list in undergrad. It wasn’t on my radar. It wasn’t even a constellation floating around in my universe. By senior year, I was too busy teaching kids how to string together a sentence at the writing center, busting my ass to hold down at least one job and an internship simultaneously, and cramming in a weekly session of ESPN and 12am shenanigans with my then hookup. Looking for Prince Charming? The closest I got was reading Machiavelli.

Yes, I nurtured a serious relationship during my junior year. But, at 19, the concept of marriage felt faraway and fuzzy. Even now, most days it feels that way. Marriage is the roller coaster that I’m still not tall enough to ride so instead I stand in awe of the thrill seekers jumping on. For Patton to advise post adolescent women to search for a husband in college is to add a boulder to the weight already hoisted on our backs. The weight to be successful. To be smart. To be pretty. To be funny. To be demure. To be ambitious. To be subdued. To be coy. To be flirtacious. To be nurturing. And, of course, to be marriage material. To be a colorful and painfully impossible conglomeration of characteristics justified merely by what is hidden in between your thighs.

Susan Patton wrote a letter to the daughters she never had. Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief that two X chromosomes did not meet for her. Those girls would be fucked.




High Heels and Hyphenated Last Names: My Recent Qualms With Womanhood

high heels and hyphenated namesThis post is an excerpt from Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity. The full essay is available in the book, which is currently available for pre-sale here.


I’ve also been thinking about marriage and babies. That sounds so premature that it’s cringe-worthy. But, I haven’t exactly been thinking about marriage. I’ve been thinking about my last name. “W-I-L-K-I-N-S.” I’ve spelled it out to so many phone operators that it’s perfunctory at this point. I was spelling it out to a JetBlue sales representative earlier today in an effort to snag my $15.00 dollar voucher thanks to last week’s in-flight entertainment service not working. And, then I started to think, oh, shit, one day if I don’t wind up a spinster, this won’t be my last name. Oh, shit!  I don’t understand why I have to give up my name or why I have to compromise and hyphenate it. Or why I have to make my maiden name my middle name. Or, something like that. And, then, I think that thinking those things makes me some renegade bra-burning type of bitch who will ward off potential suitors. I just don’t understand why so many people gasp at the prospect of me not inheriting someone else’s name. This is my name, dammit. I don’t find it disrespectful or blasphemous in the least that I’d like to keep it. Maybe that’s why I’ll end up an old spinster.