Sometime After 2 a.m.


They tell me nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m., and I agree. Nothing good ever happens after that time, but surely, sometimes glorious and golden things do. Sometimes in the gray hours, the ones where night bleeds into morning and sin blends into sleep, we are our truest selves. Our most unlatched selves. In the gray hours, we let down the guards and open the gates, reprimanding our inhibitions and shoving them into the corner for a long overdue timeout.

WYAO April general promoThis Write Your Ass Off April post was published as part of my Sunday Kind of Love newsletter. Read the full essay here

Write Your Ass Off April is a 10-day writing challenge to create your most naked, brave, and no holds barred writing. Ready to do this thing? Learn about the challenge here and share your work on social media using the hashtag #WYAOApril. 

Damn, I’m Getting Old(er).

While standing in line on Saturday evening to see “The Fault In Our Stars” with my sister, only one thought flooded my mind: shit, I’m getting old.

We stood in line surrounded by teenage girls clad in tiny denim shorts as they chattered away giddily about the movie. Because I have apparently lived under a rock, I didn’t realize how widely the book that the movie was based on had been read by young girls. I briefly considered whether or not we should have opted for the 9:50 p.m. show over the 7:30 p.m one in order to preserve our dignity and see it with an older crowd, but then I remembered I have a bedtime. Because…I’m old. Really late shows were cool at a time when you wanted an excuse to be out late but you weren’t old enough to drink yet, also known as your senior year of high school. But, 7:30 p.m. shows are perfect if you want to be cuddled up and en route to a night’s sleep by 11:00 p.m. I value sleep over looking cool; I guess it’s a byproduct of being in my twenties.

When the line finally started to trickle into the theater, I felt a quiet sense of relief that at least no one would see how much my sister and I stuck out like sore thumbs relative to the rest of the demographic. After all, we were the oldest people in the room aside from the parent chaperone for Some Teenage Girl’s 13th birthday party. We took our seats, but my relief was quickly short-circuited by the yell of Another Teenage Girl’s voice.

“What’s your iPhone password?” she shouted across the theater to her friend who was galloping down the stairs.

“Two thousand eighteen!” The Galloper yelled back.

My sister turned to me and whispered, “That’s probably her graduation year.”

“From high school?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she replied.

2018? I’m pretty sure the apocalypse may happen before then.

Most days, I’m reminded of how young I still am. Whether it’s a reference to an 80s movie in the office that leaves me blank or a motivational quote about how I can still change the world, I often believe that I am young relative to the rest of the universe. But, moments like those in the movie theater on Saturday remind me that I have gotten older. Getting older is this strange experience. I usually only realize I have gotten older as a result of one of three things: 1) seeing myself in old photographs 2) seeing other people (such as my nieces) get older or 3) reading my old writing. You do not suddenly feel older on your own birthdays, but you damn sure feel older

Me and my fiercely independent six-year-old niece.
Me and my fiercely independent six year old niece.

when your six-year-old niece exerts her independence and leaves the family at a shindig to go play with other little girls (also something I experienced this past weekend).

There’s no denying that the twenties are your high-water decade, as you’ve outgrown adolescence without fulling growing into adulthood. You choose happy hour over shots, consistency over uncertainty, and sleep over dignity (in the case of the 7:30 p.m. show alongside The Giddy Army Of Adolescent Girls). It’s a mindfuck of a decade as you’re bidding farewell to the kiddie section of the amusement park, but often times being told that you’re not yet tall enough to ride some of the other roller coasters.

I enjoy being in my twenties, or at least I’m coming to grips with the precariousness of it all. After all, I am building a blog centered around this decade, so I’m trying to make the most of it. As one of my Twitter followers recently mentioned, I don’t want to be one one of those people who gets older and bemoans what I did or didn’t accomplish during this time. In the same way I do not envy my 16-year-old self for the life she had, I do not want to later envy my 24-year-old self. I want to age with grace and confidence, not anxiety and regrets. I do not want to fear turning 30 or 40, or even 25 for that matter. Instead, I would rather trust that the places I have arrived at are a result of the decisions I made with the compass I had.




You Have To Start Taking Your Own Advice.

While I sat on the South Beach sand this past weekend, one of my friends said something that stuck out. I figured I’d grab a few writing gems while I was on vacation, whether it was from something someone said or from an experience I had. I’m not sure how we stumbled on the topic of giving and receiving advice, but my friend said, “Everyone is an expert on everyone else’s life.”

It was the kind of commented that elicited a “Yassss”, or at least it did in my head. Most of us usually find it easy to digest someone else’s circumstances and dish out what seems like the right solution, whether it’s a reappearing ex, a bothersome coworker or money woes. But, it’s much more difficult to take that same advice and apply it to our own lives.

When it comes to our own lives, we still usually know what we need to do. If you’re like me, you typically have an answer or solution in your head and then you go and vent to everyone and their grandmother in hopes that you’ll gain some reassurance about your solution. It’s a habit I’m trying to outgrow because [insert some quote about being your own person/not requiring acceptance/anything else that says you’re probably immortal in a world of insecure beings.] Usually, you already know what you’re going to do, but you still relish that chance to vent to the coterie of Important People In Your Life. Either that or spill it out in writing. Again, if you’re me, usually both.

Eventually you have to become the kind of person who takes your own advice. It’s a fact of life that I’ve had a head-on collision with since I’ve started this blog. I’ve learned that I have to embody my words, otherwise I’m just another vapid echo shouting through the paper towel roll that is the Internet. It doesn’t mean that I don’t fall flat on my ass in a lot of decisions I make. It doesn’t mean that sometimes it takes weeks or months for me to live out the very quotes that I blog, whether it means avoiding life’s low-hanging fruit, not explaining myself or whatever other hullabaloo I produce on any given day. It’s one thing to believe the words you write; it’s another thing to live them. But you have to do it. Because, if you’re the kind of person who says one thing and does another, you’re hard as all hell to trust or like or really even tolerate.

Someone brought it to my attention earlier today that it has been exactly three years today since I graduated college. That means a lot of things including, but not limited to, WHAT THE FUCK?! Beyond that, it also means I now have an inkling of what is good for me and what is not. And when I say “what”, that encapsulates all of the nouns–people, places and things. With each post grad year, I’m inching farther away from the island of “young, so I can play dumb” and crossing the bridge to “come on, son, you know better.”

But, as easy as it is to shell out advice to others, somehow the solutions seem a lot less black and white when we apply them to the sketches of our own lives. Somehow when it comes to what we want to do, we’re able to extract many more excuses. A lot more “buts.” A lot more “it’s complicated-s.” When we own the very bizarre page that is our mind, we suddenly add so many more footnotes to situations that do not merit much explanation.

But, it’s hardly ever complicated. It’s usually quite simple. We’re just masochistic creatures. We like to stick our heads really far up our asses and then feign confusion when all we have to show for ourselves is a pile of shit. Pun fully intended. So, no. It’s hardly ever complicated; we just like to complicate it. We are wired to make messes and mistakes more often than we are to get it right. But, eventually, what we know in our heads needs to align with what comes out of our mouths and what comes out of our mouths needs to align with how we act. I’m almost positive that if you can consistently accomplish this, you’ve reached self-actualization and we can all go home now. I would love to think that sort of consistent alignment in life is usually pretty simple. But, then you introduce your libido and heart to the equation and everything you ever knew melts to bullshit. I guess that’s a science lesson for a different day.



Doing Nothing Is A Decision.

Recently, a reader wrote to me about her boyfriend cheating. As I’ve said before, I’ve always deliberately strayed from writing about cheating on my blog. I’m not your life coach or any other bullshit title that entitles me to prescribe you advice for your life. I opted to first write this reader individually, but when I re-read my email to her the following day, it struck me as something that made sense as a blog post. It seemed like the kind of thing more than one person might want to hear. I asked her permission to reprint the response on my blog. So, here it is. It’s my hope that this isn’t a post about cheating; I think cheating was just the spring board for a lot of what I had to say.

After you tweeted me last week regarding the cheating situation, I thought about you and it a lot. I think that’s the territory that comes along with being a blogger; you become invested in your readers and want the best for them. I thought long and hard and opted to email you instead of writing a blog post about it because I’ve always been very intentional to not write about cheating on my blog. It’s a fragile topic and isn’t ever one I felt properly equipped to navigate in writing.

There’s a pretty blunt disclaimer on my blog that “This is not advice for how to live your life because, really, I don’t know shit about your life so I certainly can’t tell you how to live it.” It’s the disclaimer that I blanket over anything I tell people, especially people connected to me because of the blog. So, it’s the same disclaimer I would offer you. Take the bits of this that you want, trash the bits that you don’t, and ultimately do whatever it is you want to do.

I know you offered up the details of the situation, but I don’t need that. I know the basics: someone cheated on you. Someone you had feelings for in a major and monumental way lied to you. And, those details alone are facts that will permanently shift your perceptions, perspectives and paradigms about relationships.

When you told me you were 16, it was this incredibly strange moment because I know just how fucking annoying it is when people patronize anyone with the “Aw, you’re so young” mantra. I’m the youngest in my office and I hear that shit so much it makes me want to scream. So, I am not going to do that to you. Because, yes you are young, but you are still human. I remember being 16. I remember the guy I dated. I remember the day I sat in my living room two days before the end of the school year and he broke up with me. And, eight years later, I still know and respect that guy. I saw him just 6 months ago (on purpose.)  So, I know that you are at a formative stage when it comes to dating and the mayhem that your situation brought will leave an imprint.

I think it’s very easy, almost elementary, to pull the “That guy’s a douchebag/asshole/motherfucker” phrase out of your back pocket when someone cheats. And, while all of those descriptors would probably be fitting for him, I am going to try and say more than that. I am going to try and give you more than that. Because, that’s what you deserve.

A prominent theme in my writing is ownership–owning your life, your mistakes, the energy you project, and your place in the world. It’s about being proactive, not reactive, about what happens. It’s about being deliberate when it comes to what you allow people to bring into your life. And, that’s a theme that takes years to learn. Hell, I’m still learning it. And, I’m not sure if I even grasped an iota of it eight years ago. But, it is my sincere hope that you get that. Because, that will determine whether this situation sends your life bouncing off of resentment and ricocheting out of control or if you decide that you do not and will not quietly consume someone’s bullshit.

Because, that’s what cheating is. It’s bullshit. It is the lowest common denominator of disrespect. It erodes a bond between two people and puts someone (in this case, you), in the most precarious, rage-invoking and vulnerable space. And, that’s a nasty dungeon to be in. Especially with someone you love.

So, you have to decide. There is nothing I will say, nothing the Male Think Tank will say, that will decide for you. The Male Think Tank could come up with seven different explanations of why this happened. But, knowing the root cause doesn’t change the end result. Waxing poetic about why this man did what he did doesn’t change the fact that he did it. That’s what you have to concern yourself with–the end result. So, this is on you. You have to decide if and when you need to let go. You have to decide if and when you need to torch this bridge. You have to decide if it’s OK for someone to cheat on you and lie through their teeth. And, you have to decide just how unwavering you’ll be in those decisions.

But, know that passivity is a decision. Keeping him around is a decision. Turning a blind eye to what happened is a decision. People are quick to mistake doing nothing as indecisiveness. Doing nothing is a decision. Inertia is a decision.

I could tell you that you deserve better, but I trust you know that. I trust you know that you deserve the world, the moon and the stars. You deserve someone who doesn’t cheat; that is a basic fucking requirement. It is not an option. It is not a nice-to-have. It is not a standard. It is expected.

I would love to tell you that it stops here, but it probably doesn’t. You are green and you will pay more of your dues in dating. I’m still paying mine and I have an inkling I will for awhile. You will meet more shitheads. You will fall in and out of love. But, the more you pay your dues, the more you will learn just what you will and won’t accept. As time ebbs and flows, you’ll become so much more intentional about the men, and just people, you keep around. You’ll realize you don’t have to take anyone, their baggage and their bullshit on if you don’t feel like it. Self-respect is a decision, too.

Maybe this said what you needed to hear or maybe it didn’t. But, I hope you remember that this is your life and you are entitled, hell, you are required, to make the decisions that will keep your sanity, happiness and wholeness in tact.

I hope you’ll keep reading the blog. Glad we’ve connected.



Guest Post: Don’t Take Life Too Seriously; It Will Dumb You Down

By: Scarlett Clark

I have been called a geek many times. I am the one who reads English classics for pleasure, writes unremittingly during the weekends and who gets a kick out of drawing up mind maps and brain storms. Having said this, it will come as no surprise that I had a bucket list; a record of achievements to be completed before hitting 21. There were small ones such as passing my driving test and then well, let’s just say humongous ones; the book I was planning on writing hasn’t exactly been written, yet alone published.

I am pleased to announce though that my friends’ “bucket lists” have always been more realistic. Daisy has started looking for the one at 22 because she is determined to be married by 24 and April has already read up on the latest Tatler article on how to secure a place for your son at the prestigious institution; Eton. We have all been brainwashed into believing that twenties will be “the best time of our lives!” Seriously, how many times have you heard this? For some bizarre reason we have it installed in us that the twenties will ensure the perfect life. Well, I, Scarlett Clark am taking that idea, driving in on a classic FatBoy Harley Davidson and squashing that perception. I am announcing that this particular decade can suck.

Okay, maybe I am skeptical and my view is exaggerated but no doubt, you agreed. In order to fly high to the top to reach our chosen career paths we have to gain “experience.” We need to have internships and apprenticeships under our belt and the ability to speak dozens of languages and have grade 8 certificates in clarinet, the trumpet and piano to name a few (and I am just referring to my Chinese flatmate.) Rather than finding the one, we have this tendency to attract odd-balls and weirdoes. Being a student, champagne and caviar are reserved for when your parents come to stay because that student budget solely allows plums, porridge and tins of baked beans. We are ashamed to say that we are the generation whose iPhones hold the essence of our souls, we love puppies more than babies and Ben and Jerry’s in front of Girls is a lot more tempting than a daily salad and trip to the gym (even if in our heads we pride ourselves on resembling Miranda Kerr).

20 to 30 though quite conveniently is the time to make mistakes and have a ball whilst doing so. It is the time to have fun and enjoy the ride; I best stop before I come across as if I am about to break out into song. When did we start putting pressure on ourselves to achieve perfection during these ten years? Why do we all of a sudden strive to tick off our goals before we have grown as individuals? We go along at full speed presumptuous that we won’t crash rather than enjoy the ride and take detours. As William Shakespeare once wrote “joy’s soul lies in the living,” in fact what are we gaining if we are missing it and letting it pass on by? Qualms and meltdowns are regular occurrences in my household yet even I am learning to let my hair down. Don’t take life too seriously, it will dumb you down. Instead keep your head high and own your twenties. If nothing else has convinced you then remember this: puppies are just as cute as babies and don’t cost half as much, Ryan Gosling isn’t with you because he hasn’t met you yet and you can get around to writing that great novel when you’re old and grey.

Scarlett Clark is a twenty-something English journalist who has worked in the industry since she was only 14! She has gained experience in journalism, editorial and writing all over Europe and the States. Scarlett has a giggle rather than a laugh and wears heels on a daily basis yet she is a fearless blonde who enjoys informing the masses and whose mission in life has always been to have an impact on the world even if in a small way. Scarlett is the founder and editor of Scriptoersis. You can follow her on Twitter @Scarlett_C22.