Dealbreakers

9ae2f602caecade40cc8a2e93da6c62a

Nope. Just, nope.

A few months in to our relationship, Scott and I were walking to his car in a parking lot. We passed one of those Volkswagen beetles with the eyelashes above the headlights. Scott stopped in his tracks, turned to me, and said gravely, “If I found out that you had a car with eyelashes on it, I would dump you. Seriously. Dealbreaker.”

I laughed about it, but as we continued dating and even into our engagement and our marriage, we learned things about each other that were shocking and made us question the foundation of our relationship. Things like:

  • not loving Lord of the Rings enough
  • thinking Emma Stone is overrated
  • liking LL Cool J more than Jamie Foxx
  • liking Parks & Rec more than 30 Rock
  • thinking that raspberry jam is better than strawberry
  • drinking Diet Coke at 8:30 AM
  • loving Larry Fitzgerald too much
  • hating Larry Fitzgerald because your husband loves him more than you
  • not remembering the names of all Game of Thrones characters
  • knowing “too much” about Game of Thrones
  • never using lotion
  • hogging the covers
  • having too many shoes
  • bugging me about having too many shoes
  • avoiding emptying the dishwasher
  • avoiding emptying the dishwasher

(In case you’re curious, Scott’s atrocities are in pink and mine are in blue, because DISMANTLE THE PATRIARCHY!)

relationshipdealbreakers30rock

The best show ever…WAY BETTER THAN PARKS & REC

Despite us screaming, “DEALBREAKER!” as we discovered these troubling beliefs and habits, obviously, none of these things are a big deal. So why do so many people–both in real life and in the media–end relationships over these petty “dealbreakers”? I once had a friend who broke up with a guy because she “couldn’t picture him playing football with their kids.” I just watched an episode of a TV show where a guy broke up with an otherwise completely unobjectionable girl because she used a different type of coding software than he did. WTF? No wonder the divorce rate is 50%.

Before I got married, I just kind of assumed that I would meet someone that I have things in common with, and since we liked the same things we’d like being around each other and then we’d stay together. I dated several people before meeting my husband and eventually one of us would end it for one reason or another, but I never really thought about why. Was it really because he didn’t like Billy Madison? Or because he was too short? Or because he had a dumb tattoo? No…there were deeper issues going on in all those relationships that caused them to end.

Ever since my decision to get married, I started thinking about what my actual dealbreakers would be. Things I could not see past in a partner. Things that Scott did not possess to any degree, which is why I married him:

  • believing that women are not equal to men
  • insecure about masculinity; tendency to be irrationally possessive or jealous
  • not supporting me in my career or education
  • wanting kids right away
  • wanting a ton of kids
  • being anti-religion
  • being over-religious
  • abusive in any way
  • dependence on drugs and/or alcohol
  • infidelity

Honestly, that was all I could think of. Anything else I could probably deal with. And when looking at the reasons I ended some of my past relationships: distance, timing, “I really need to focus on school,” participating in Occupy Wall Street, or possible gingivitis, it’s really because they showed signs of one of these actual dealbreakers above.

I think we expect all too much from our partners. One of these irrational expectations is that they will enjoy all the same things we enjoy or share the same opinions on entertainment, politics, family, you name it. Anyone who expects this from their partner may be very disappointed. I fully expect to spend the rest of my life watching Lord of the Rings while my husband rolls his eyes on the couch next to me, and he will watch Arizona Cardinals games while I loudly object to all the nice things he says about Larry Fitzgerald. But we chose each other not because of our jam preferences or opinions on NBC comedies, we chose each other because we measured up to the list that really matters.

Now this is the part where you say “Aaaaawwwwwwwwww!”

Advertisements

Adulthood: Being Tired Forever

My first week of graduate school is now in the books. I’m happy to say that I love my program so far. I feel some relief in knowing that after two years, three graduate placement exams, and changing my mind over and over and over again, I’m in a program that’s right for me.

That’s not to say that I haven’t experienced drawbacks as well. I can’t remember another time in my life when I’ve been so tired. But the point of this post is not to brag about how busy I am, which is, as we’ve established, stupid. I’ve recently realized, as the product of a conversation with my “work bae” Jenna (who is infinitely more dedicated to her schoolwork, workout regimen, and many volunteer activities than I can ever dream to be), that this fatigue I’m feeling will never end. At the rate I’m going, it’ll take me three years to graduate from my program because six credits a semester is all I can afford to do. Once I graduate, Scott and I will probably try to have kids. And if I find working full-time while in a graduate program to be exhausting, I can’t imagine how exhausting it will be to have kids: sleepless nights filled with crying and bed-wetting and nightmares. And then there’s all the stuff that the kids will do at night!

The older and busier I get in my career, the older and busier the kids will get in their lives too. And while I’m sure all the things I will be invested in in my life–both personally and professionally–will be fulfilling and worthwhile, I can’t help but think: “Wow. This run-down, exhausted feeling I have? It’s never going to go away. Not while I’m a productive member of society, that is. In fact, it will probably just get worse.”

Sometimes the physical limitations of being human really frustrate me. There are so many things I would do with my time and energy if I just had more of it! And while I harp on people who make excuses for not doing the things they should, in reality, I understand. We all do, to an extent. My alarm rings at 5 AM on Tuesday morning prompting me to get up and go to the gym, but I was in class until 10 PM the night before. It just seems impossible to get up, even though I know other people do it every day. My body is crying out for rest. How do I draw the line between giving my body what it craves, or forcing myself to postpone it and do something good for me like exercise? Are we all taking on too much, or am I just lazy?

In reality, the answer is this: If you are an adult, you’re going to be tired all the time. Forever. Might as well get used to it. You’re never going to want to do anything worthwhile–get up and put on your best face at work, spend time with your significant other/children/family members, socialize, get an education, get out of your comfort zone, get and stay healthy–but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Fatigue is what it is, a byproduct of anything that is worth doing. Don’t try to fight it. Embrace it, and know that if you’re tired it means you’re at least doing something.

P.S. Here is a link to where they sell 5-Hour Energy in bulk.

Weird Olympic Events

Like most Americans, I love watching the Olympics, because I am not a communist. Scott and I turn on NBC every day after work. There’s my favorites: swimming, track & field, gymnastics, diving, beach volleyball, etc., but every now and then when handball or trampoline or modern pentathlon comes on, I’m like “WTF? How is this a thing and why is it an Olympic sport?” And then on the other end of the spectrum you have sports like baseball, which is played all across the world, that are not in the Olympics for some reason.

I started thinking about who makes these decisions and why. I found it helpful to picture myself in whatever board room full of international sport executives and imagine their reasoning as to why the Olympics are the way they are:

151144519420km and 50km Race Walk: “Well, we have events for running. But what about people who are sorta good at running but are really good at almost running?”

“Yes! Finally, the world will know who is the best at not-running!”

*the Committee erupts into cheers*

Steeplechase: “Let’s have them run around the track a buncha times. And sometimes, there’s a giant hurdle, and they hafta go over it and sometimes there’s water at the bottom.”

“…Why water?”

“I dunno, it would just be cool. They’d get all wet.”

*everyone murmurs in agreement*

Discus, Hammer, and Javelin Throw: “I think we should have an event where people throw things.”

“Just one thing? I think we could do better.”

“What about…three different things? One skinny thing, one round thing, and one heavy thing? We could call it: ‘How Far Can People Throw Things?'”

“Nah, let’s split it into three different events so we can get higher ratings.”

Olympics+Day+2+Canoe+Slalom+EJe1tvsehnplCanoe Slalom: “What is a slalom?”

“Nobody knows.”

“I just like the way it sounds. Let’s make it a thing.”

Cycling BMX: “Guys, I feel like we don’t have any events for the Douchebag populations across the world. We need to address this.”

*everyone nods righteously*

Equestrian: “I just had a GREAT IDEA: The Olympics, but for horses!”

“Well…why don’t we just have white people ride the horses and then take credit for all the work they do?”

“That is what white people do best, after all.”

*applause*

gymnastics14_1720458iRhythmic Gymnastics: “What if we had gymnastics, but there were props involved?”

“Like what sort of props?”

“I dunno…like, a ball? A ribbon? Batons?”

“Wow, Carrot Top is gonna DOMINATE this event.”

Handball: “What if we had a sport that was basically soccer, but the exact opposite?”

American delegate: “TELL ME MORE!”

17vcpg0ot0y65jpgModern Pentathlon: “This tradition is not stupid at all. We should continue doing it.”

“Wouldn’t it make more sense to have separate events for pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding, and running? Why do we need an event that combines all five of them?”

*the former delegate pulls out a pistol and shoots the latter delegate in the chest*

“Any other objections?”

*everyone shakes their heads furiously*

Trampoline: “So, our other ‘Suburban Backyard Sports’ events haven’t tested so well: Croquet, Slip ‘n’ Slide, Synchronized Swingsets, and Rolly Polly Catching were all flops. Trampoline is the only possibility at this point.”

“Ugh. I was really hoping Olympic Slip ‘n’ Slide would become a thing.”

***

Note: If you are an Olympic athlete competing in any of these events, please, please, do not beat me up.

Snapchat Pet Peeves

It took me a while to get in to Snapchat. At first I thought it was only for NBA players to accidentally post nudes and thought it was dumb that the posts disappear after 24 hours. However, I soon realized that the fact that posts disappear is THE BEST THING about Snapchat. Why? Because, if you’re anything like me, you post stuff on social media that you think is cool at the time but actually just ends up sounding dumb–as I am constantly reminded by my Timehop app. (“Ugh, why did I tweet random Frank Ocean lyrics twice a day in 2011?! Oh, right, I was trying to seem sexy.”)

Snapchat is a great way to get a literal glimpse of peoples’ lives and not necessarily have to interact with them if you don’t want to.If you’re not interested in something, you can just tap through it and your feed goes straight to the next post. It’s way less time to check your Snapchat feed than it is to check your Facebook or Twitter feeds. Facebook is for major life events, Instagram is for photos that you’re proud of and want to memorialize, and Twitter is for commentary on news/sports games/award shows/other live events. But what about all the rest? What about the mildly interesting or quirky occasions that don’t necessarily need to be remembered? That is visceral, fleeting Snapchat territory.

But now that I’ve used it enough, just like other social media platforms, there is behavior I see almost daily on Snapchat that really busts my balls and is sure to result in an “unfollow”…eventually. But first, I’m gonna complain about it.

  1. Filters. They can be fun, but it’s very easy to abuse them. Before you post a selfie of yourself as a dog or a bumblebee or a deceivingly prettier version of yourself with a crown of flowers, think to yourself: “Would I be annoyed if I had to tap through 26 of my friends with dog and bumblebee and flower crown faces every day?” Because the answer, if you can’t guess, is YES. Everybody please, please cool it with the filters–if I’m following you, that I means I already know what you look like. I can probably stretch my imagination to envision what your face looks like with the dog or bumblebee or flower crown filter, because guess what? It’s the exact same as everyone else’s.

    CdkJxe_UEAASbQd

    I found this on the internet and it perfectly encapsulates my feelings about the dog filter.

  2. Driving. WHAT ARE YOU DOING SNAPPING WHILE DRIVING?!!! You’re gonna kill someone! Every time I see a shot of the Strip or L.A. or the Utah countryside taken from the driver’s seat, I die a little inside. These snaps are not interesting enough to warrant vehicular manslaughter.
  3. Sending people snaps that are the same as your Story. If I’m following you and you posted a Story, I’m probably going to look at it anyway. You don’t need to send it directly to me too. Unless it specifically is for me, then just put it on your Story and I will see it like everyone else.
  4. Excessive chatting. FYI, the chat function on Snapchat is not a good venue for “keeping in touch.” Send me a Facebook message where you can actually fit all the words you want to type if you want to catch up.
  5. Volume. Video snaps can be way cool and there are a lot of people I follow who are really good at them. But the occasions when I’m around people looking at snaps with the volume on are SUPER annoying. If you’re on Snapchat in a public place, do everyone a favor and either set it to mute or check it later when you’re by yourself.
  6. Floating head videos. Don’t take snaps of yourself talking, because half of your followers don’t have the sound on if they’re not tryna be RUDE and commit Annoying Snapchat Violation #5. If you want to have a video diary, there’s another app for that, and it’s called YouTube.
  7. Snaps of THE SAME THING, OVER AND OVER in succession. “You’re at a concert! That looks fun! Oh, it’s a man playing a song on his guitar. That’s cool. Oh! There’s another snap…of the same man. Playing a different song this time. (Maybe? All country music sounds the same to me.) Oh, and now there he is playing another–well, screw this, ain’t nobody got time for 37 Garth Brooks songs in a row!”
  8. Snaps of things that are also on other social media sites. I already saw this exact photo on your Instagram, which is also linked to your Facebook and your Twitter. You just REALLY wanted me to see your nephew and his dog in the grass, didn’t you?
  9. Dick pics. UGH stop sending me nudes, Draymond! I’m a married woman!

What’s In A Name

If you’ve known me for longer than three years, you know that I didn’t always go by Kate. Long story short, my parents gave me a beautiful name and I ruined it.

I’m writing this post as an apology to my friends but mostly my family to account for the years of confusion over my name.

***

When I was born, I was called by my middle name, as is the custom for some in my family. Everyone called me “Misha” until the first grade. I love my middle name and the great woman that I am named after, and I love being unique–as an adult. However, one thing that kids hate is being different from their peers. There weren’t any other Misha’s at my school, and I had recently found out that my legal first name was Kathryn (nobody called me that, so how was I to know?). So, I told my teacher that I wanted to be called Kathryn instead of Misha.

IMG_1147

Misha with the good hair

Other people recall this story differently. They say that it was a moment of me asserting my independence, of taking control of my young life. Maybe it was like that and I just don’t remember because I was so young, but I don’t see why I would have made that decision unless I wanted to fit in more. Or maybe I was just bored and wanted a change–which, come to think of it, is actually a big reason why I do a lot of the things I do.

But the story doesn’t end there. For a lot of traditional English names such as mine, there are plenty of nicknames and abbreviations. And if a person doesn’t choose a nickname on their own, one will often be given to them. Apparently “Kathryn” is just way too long of a name and people feel compelled to shorten it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people my first name, and they follow up with: “Well yeah, but what do you go by?”

I was twelve when a boy in my class started calling me “Kat.” It was as a joke–he was messing with me, but it stuck. Instead of trying to resist it and giving him what he wanted, which was to get a rise out of me, I embraced it instead. By eighth grade, everyone was calling me Kat. I HATE BEING CALLED KAT. I hate it so much! I think I hated it then, too, but it was too late to change it. I went all the way through high school known as Kat, and every time I pictured a hypothetical woman named “Kat Snow,” she was everything I didn’t want to be. I didn’t feel feminine, I didn’t feel taken seriously, and I didn’t feel like myself when I was called Kat. (No offense to any Kats out there–I know some genuinely lovely people with that name. It’s just not for me.)

As soon as I got to college, I tried to make it easy and revert back to Kathryn. The only problem is that EVERYBODY MY AGE is named Kathryn or some variation of it. I actually did some research and confirmed that Katherine was the #26 most popular baby name of 1989 (when I was born), and combined with the Kathryn’s and Catherine’s, we have to be at least 3rd to the Amandas and Jessicas. Sure enough, when I moved into my freshman dorm there were FOUR other(K)(C)ath(ryn)(erine)s on my floor alone. So, at least three of us had to make compromises, or else it would be too confusing. My neighbor already went by Katie, so again I was stuck with “Kat” once more for my first year of college. The other three years, I cracked down and only introduced myself as Kathryn.

Then, I got accepted to the Peace Corps. I arrived at our Staging event in Philadelphia with a bunch of strangers that would later become my close friends. And that was part of the appeal of that experience: none of these people knew me. They didn’t remember me as little permed-haired Misha or awkward, surly high school Kat or confrontational college student Kathryn. I was immediately faced with a familiar situation: there was more than one (K)(C)ath(ryn)(erine) in our group. I soon found out that one of them went by Kat.

I was free! For the first time in my life, I could decide what I wanted to be called. When people came up to me and asked my name, I told them: “Kate. My name’s Kate.” I had always liked that name. And it stuck, not just with everyone else, but with me too; I finally felt like myself. And I embraced this name way more than I had the others. Nobody asked me what I “go by,” and I felt feminine and taken seriously at the same time. So when I came back from Peace Corps 18 months later, I had a new name to match the new person I was.

***

People who know me as Misha, Kathryn, or Kat are very considerate and ask me things like, “What should I call you now?” I always tell them the same thing: Call me whatever you know me as. I love being called Misha by my family and oldest friends. I know who my college friends are because I’m Kathryn to them. And I always have the high school memories of when I was Kat to keep me humble.

So, in summary, sorry that I keep changing my name. I PROMISE I won’t do it again. But I do like being Kate, mostly because she is a product of Misha and Kat and Kathryn.

And now, just for fun, a list of ALL the nicknames I’ve ever had:

  • Butch (after I got my hair cut short when I was 4–thanks a lot, Dad)
  • Katty
  • Kitty Kat
  • Kat Dog
  • Katty Kat Kat Kat (shout out to Hillary at Girls Camp 2004)
  • Katinka (shout out to Coach Sefcheck)
  • Kiki (shout out to Ron)
  • K-Swiss (shout out to Courtney, a.k.a. C-Unit)
  • Kath (shout out to my Saudi friends junior year who couldn’t pronounce my full name)
  • Kathy (shout out to Ari, Cara, and Kim)
  • You Know Nothing, Kate Snow (shout out to Xhemzi and Jon Snow himself)
  • Katerina (my Albanian name)
  • Katja
  • Kejti
  • Boo (shout out to my Boo)

And there will probably be more.

Shut Up, You’re Not Moving to Canada

Every four years, America reluctantly chooses between an egomaniac who has been bought and paid for by special interests and another egomaniac who has been bought and paid for by different special interests. Everyone hates both of them but they’re the only two guys (well, now there’s a lady in the mix) who are narcissistic enough to believe that they can actually BE THE BOSS OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY.

This time around, everyone is losing their minds about Trump. Half the country loves him because he is an exception to the standard “bought and paid for by special interests” profile of a typical political candidate. (He has, however, made up for that by doubling up on the “egomaniac” description.) The other half of the country hates him and the orangutan that lives on his head and says things like:

“I can’t believe it has come to this!”

“We’re truly doomed if we elect him.”

“I’m so worried about what’s happening to this country. I’m moving to Canada!”

“I’m SCARED!”

I heard similar things from my conservative friends when Obama was elected. And re-elected. And me (back when I didn’t know any better) and my liberal friends said the same stuff when Bush was elected. And re-elected. I was a baby when [Bill] Clinton was elected, but I’m sure my conservative baby friends were like, “Waaaaaaah!”

It doesn’t matter who wins; half of the country is going to be upset that they didn’t get their way. They’ll be embarrassed because their guy (or lady) didn’t win and that the other guy (or lady) is now going to RUIN EVERYTHING. Half of the country will be “scared” and start stockpiling canned peas in their basements because they’re convinced the world is coming to an end because someone they disagree with is in control of things…sorta.

I’m sure that presidential policies affect peoples’ lives. People lost their lives in Iraq because of Bush and people lost their jobs because of Obamacare and people lost their virginities because of Clinton. I know that it does matter who is president…to an extent. It’s not completely irrelevant. But what all these “scared” people are going to have a harder time convincing me of is that I should be “scared” too. Because although politics may have some impact on my life, I’m not going to lose my mind over it and fool myself into thinking that either of those egomaniacs is actually going to make my life better, just as I don’t believe they’re going to destroy it. ‘Cuz you know who alone has the power to do that? ME! I am the one who ruins my life!

If Trump gets elected it will suck because I hate that man and I don’t think he represents our country’s values. If Hillary gets elected it will suck because I don’t think she has a single ethical bone in her body. They might make some poor decisions and get blowback for it from the opposing party; but hell, they might make some good decisions too. Either way, I refuse to blame any problems I might have on who happens to be the president. It’s fine to express genuine disapproval. It’s really annoying and immature to pretend that things are so bad that you’re going to abandon your homeland even though there are legitimately dysfunctional governments in many parts of the world.

So in conclusion: Shut up, you’re not “moving to Canada.” You will deal with a president you don’t like just like everyone else, and you’ll move on with your life, which isn’t actually that bad. Because dammit, this is a great country, and although we’re not perfect I love it and wouldn’t rather live anywhere else.

open-uri20141208-14818-1guzyp9

Stupid Baby Names

I’m not sure if this is a recent trend because I’m at the point in my life where a lot of my peers are having children, or if this has always been the case, but I’ve noticed that it’s become super cool to give your babies “unique” names–Viking princesses, Spanish noblemen, the Swahili word for “hope,” etc. It’s also super cool to give your kid a traditional name but spell it all weird, like Avary or Jaxon or Holleigh. It’s even more cool to give your kid the name of an inanimate object like Aqueduct or Chamomile or Zamboni.

And it makes me SO ANGRY. It makes a lot of other people angry too. I have frequent negative conversations with my co-workers and loved ones about the weird names we encounter.

But I’m not going to be a Trump and spend the remainder of this post bashing on parents who choose names like this. I’m going to use critical thinking to try to figure out why these non-traditional names bother me so much, because it doesn’t really make sense. After all, I certainly don’t adhere to tradition when it comes to anything else. In fact, I maintain the belief that traditions can often be silly or even dangerous. So why do all the Astrids and Jayssons and Xanthippes out there elicit such irrational rage inside me? There are at least three possibilities:

  1. Unusual names slightly inconvenience me. One thing for parents to seriously consider is that people your child encounters will have difficulty pronouncing and spelling their names. They might even be taken less seriously if their employers or professors hold certain biases. (There is probably data on this but I’m too lazy to look it up.) Ultimately, when Holleigh Martin comes in to my office and I search for “Holly Martin” a dozen times to try to find her student account, it’s annoying, but she won’t be denied admission because her dad was tripping on acid when he filled out her birth certificate.
  2. I’m getting old. I regularly use the phrase “kids these days.” I don’t know how to use Snapchat. My little brother had to teach me how to type in ALL CAPS ON MY IPHONE AND NOW I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TURN IT OFF. The idea of staying out past 10:00 intimidates me. I use a cane and I shake it at people when I catch them on my front lawn. Bottom line, maybe I just don’t know what’s cool anymore and I’m not as progressive as I think I am so my opinion is obsolete.
  3. It’s all relative. Other people will probably think my kids’ names are stupid too. Scott and I have already picked out our baby names because we’re lame like that. I used to share them with other people but have now stopped because I get bummed out by their reactions. If we have a girl, she’ll be Avery. (“Avery?! Like the envelope label company?”) If we have a boy, he’ll be Charles but will go by Chip. (“…Wow. Uh, have you thought about Charlie or Chuck instead?”) These are the same types of reactions I give to my peers who introduce me to their kids Reks and Brandee. People even give me a hard time for being Kathryn instead of Katherine or Catherine. (But I love being Kathryn with a Y!) So, as with everything, the best way to do things is your own way and ignore people like me who will complain about it.

And I sincerely hope Chip’s younger brother will enjoy living his life as Tyrion Lannister Rogers-Snow, ‘cuz that is totally happening.