April 2019 Wrap Up

bookish, Writing

Wow I’m finally posting my April wrap up almost half way through May. I’m going to be honest with you, April was kind of a fail in terms of reading. I had a lot of books that I wanted to read and I ended up reading some completely different things, and not nearly as many as I had originally planned. That being said I did still get through 6, which puts me a little over halfway to my reading goal a month before the halfway point! Let’s get into it.

Envelope Poems – Emily Dickinson: Charming charming charming. Perhaps not Emily Dickinson’s greatest work since they were mostly unfinished and unintentional but entertaining all the same. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

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Bloom – Kevin Panetta: You guys this is just so damn precious. 5 out of 5 stars!

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The Sun Is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon: I always like Nicola Yoon’s books so much more than I think I will. I liked the whole fate theme in this one. Very well written. I can’t wait to see the movie! 4 out of 5 stars.

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Invisible Monsters – Chuck Palahniuk: Pretty typical Palahniuk. I definitely didn’t guess any of the twists which I always appreciate. However it was written in the 1990s and definitely a little trans/homophobic. Overall though an interesting story and a very intriguing unlikable main character, which is what Palahniuk always does best. 3 out of 5 stars.

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Where The Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens: I love a good southern novel, plus a thriller, plus a murder mystery!? It’s like this book was made for me. I had no intention of reading it, but am so grateful that a colleague recommended it to me, because it was fantastic. 5 out of 5 stars, and added to my all time favorites.

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Witch Hat Atelier Vol. 1 – Kamome Shiraham: So super cute! I don’t have a picture of the cover since this one wasn’t on my tbr to begin with, but it is a super adorable manga about little girl witches. What’s not to love. 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩

That’s it for April! Sorry for the very inconsistent posting schedule as of late. What books did you read in April?

May 2019 TBR

bookish, Writing

I know that I rarely post my tbr before my wrap up, but I was a mess in the month of April and have started May off a mess as well. Also this is a very special tbr that I like to call: May Favorite Murder! (it’s clever af okay.) In order to celebrate the release of Karen Kalgariff and Georgia Hardstark’s book on May 28th I have selected some books they recommend throughout the podcast series to read this month! Let’s get into it!

Shout out to my roommate Grace’s tbr for holding up the sign.

The Stranger Beside Me – Ann Rule: Perhaps the truest of true crime books, I will be kicking off this month with Ann Rule’s classic book about good old Ted Bundy. Coincidentally the Netflix film about the serial killer starring Zac Efron, just came out the other day, so I can watch that too!

My Sweet Audrina – V.C. Andrews: Remember that time when Karen and Georgia tried to start a book club? but then remembered how FUCKING WEIRD “My Sweet Audrina” was? And never talked about it again? Well I got my used bookstore copy and I am prepared for the weirdness.

Mindhunter – John Douglas and Mark Olshaker: I’ve wanted to read this book since I watched the Netflix series (where tf is season 2 netflix?) so it was convenient that they also talk about it on mfm, including that live episode where Cameron Britton, who plays Ed Kemper on the Netflix show, shared his hometown!

Let The Great World Spin – Colum McCann: In a special Q&A episode Karen and Georgia are asked “if they could only choose one book to read for the rest of their life, what would it be?” Georgia says Middlesex, which if you know me at all you know I have already read, and Karen says The Davinci Code…but then corrects it to Let The Great World Spin in the next episode. This worked out well for me because I conveniently already own this book and I also really didn’t want to read the Davinci code.

American Psycho – Brett Easton Ellis: Alright so this one is actually never mentioned in the podcast…BUT since another one of my reading goals is to finish the books on my shelf that I haven’t read I decided it was necessary to include at least one. This one fit the theme so it’s going to get read!

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup – John Carryrou: This one is currently on hold at my library and has also been on my tbr for quite some time. It’s Karen’s fucking hooray in one episode and also a super interesting story.

Whoever Fights Monsters – Robert K. Ressler: I’ve been trying to include one audio book per month so this is this month’s audio book! Karen has talked about it multiple times on the show, and I believe it is similar to Mindhunter so I’m sure it will be interesting

Chase Darkness With Me – Billy Jensen: Yay Billy Jensen! Everyone’s favorite true crime journalist, released an audio book exclusive for Audible.com and I would love to get to it this month! Also if you haven’t listened to Exactly Right’s “Jensen and Holes: Murder Squad” yet, I HIGHLY recommend.

March 2019 Wrap Up

bookish, Writing

Hello all! Sorry that I did such a crap job posting this month. I started a new job which took up a large portion of my time, and I haven’t been feeling great lately. I did however want to give you an update on what I read this month! If you read my tbr for this month, then you know that I planned to read nine whole books…and I did! I genuinely did not think I would get through them all but I did, and here’s what I thought of them

Deadman Wonderland Volume Two – Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou: As I mentioned in my tbr, I finished this one before the month even started. I always feel weird rating these since they have such little writing, but it is my favorite anime and manga so it of course gets a 5 out of 5 stars.

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We Are Okay – Nina Lacour: This book broke me and I was not prepared for it. I was very hesitant while reading this because l felt so deeply for Marin and her denial and loneliness. I felt like I was reading someone else’s description of myself. The ending had me sobbing. Such a hopeful and true testament to grief, pain, and taking steps to overcome it. I think if I had read this book at an earlier point in life I would have liked it but not considered it a new favorite however at this point in my life this was a book I needed. We are okay.  5 out of 5 stars.

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The Ask and the Answer and Monsters Of Men – Patrick Ness: There will be a full trilogy review of these and The Knife of Never Letting Go up on Friday so check that out if you’re curious! I gave them both 4 out of 5 stars.

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Circe – Madeline Miller: Okay, so I actually have a tiny bit of this left still but I wanted to get this up tonight. This book from what I’ve read is really good. It spans over thousands of years which is something I always like in books and it also centers around probably my favorite character in Greek mythology. A slightly preemptive 4 out of 5 stars.

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Tweak – Nic Sheff: Nic Sheff is a very powerful person and writer. Honestly if the writing hadn’t been so eloquent and moving I don’t think I would have made it through the book. It’s depressing as hell. And as a person who has a bit of a drug dependency and a hell of a lot of trauma it brought up a lot of shit for me. This is a moving look into living with addiction. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.

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Beautiful Boy – David Sheff: Overall I thought this book was good. I listened to the audiobook which had a horrible narrator but the story was good. This one is much more chronological than tweak so it’s a little easier to follow but it’s not as grungy and powerful as Nic’s. It mostly made me feel bad for my parents. I hope I don’t make them feel this way. 3 out of 5 stars as well.

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On A Sunbeam – Tillie Walden: This book was gorgeous. There were a lot of plot elements that I would have liked to know more about, but honestly the illustrations make the story not even matter. Absolutely beautiful. We love space lesbians. 4 out of 5 stars.

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Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman: A very strong yet realistic novel about passion and caring for another. The ending gave the whole book so much more meaning than it originally held at face value. 4 out of 5 stars.

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The Good and Evil of Makeup

Opinion, Writing

I remember the first day I was allowed to wear makeup. A day I had been waiting for, for what felt like so long. The day my mom would take me to Target, and help me pick out products to wear on the first day of seventh grade. I was more than excited, I was obsessive. Something about makeup had always appealed to me, and I remember being a little disappointed with all the neutral colors found at the drug store. I wanted bright colors, blues and pinks that I found in the Claire’s palette that I bought that same year. It was like a whole new world. That world only got bigger when I set up a Youtube account and began to watch people like, Zoella, Tanya Burr, and Bethany Mota. I remember making my mom drive me to the store so I could pick up a red lipstick that one of these Youtubers recommended for the fall season. I also remember my mom getting a lot of bullshit for the way my sister and I presented ourselves. We wore tiger tales and panda bear ears, with neon colors and bright lipstick and our freedom to look how we wanted to was often seen as irresponsible parenting. I think the opposite, because no matter how me and me sister ended up doing our makeup we never once did it to look pretty or attractive. We were raised to see fashion and cosmetics as an act of expression not an act of necessity, something that is often put to the side in the current world of cosmetics.

Having worked in cosmetics for one year and retail for six, I have had a really up close look at the modern consumer, as well as the companies that cater to them. With cosmetics it always starts with a problem. Someone doesn’t like something about their face and they need it fixed. This has always been funny to me because the people that work in cosmetics have the exact opposite mindset. Makeup can’t fix anything, only enhance what’s already there. We would know because we’ve tried almost every product out there. I’ve seen it all, from hickies covering a person’s entire neck to a bruise covering half of a woman’s face. For my friends and I makeup has always been more of an art form than a part of our daily routine, mostly because if I was to put the amount of effort I put into an Instagram look into my everyday I would be looking at tacking an extra two hours onto my morning routine. Ew. Who wants that.

If the rest of the world would get on the same page that makeup artists are on, society would have a much healthier look on the beauty world. For example, people that have an inner knowledge to this world know that makeup brands are often all owned by one Alpha brand (i.e. L’oreal owns Lancome, YSL, Armani, etc.) so it’s not always worth it to buy every new product that hits the scene. This knowledge means that you can shop for luxury products in a much smarter way than the average consumer.

Doing people’s makeup has always been a positive experience for me. Putting someone’s makeup on is an intimate act. You get up close and personal with people’s flaws. I have heard tons of amazing stories while working on people and also seen tons of women gain confidence, thanks to a little concealer or a better skincare routine. It’s something that’s entirely personal. Life is easier when you feel good about the way you look. Which I why I get so angry when I hear the arguments of people that think makeup is stupid.

On a semi daily basis I get the, “Oh why do you put all that stuff on your face?” or “you don’t need that to be pretty.” Thanks for your input, I know, that’s not why I put it on. People immediately assume that if you change something about your physical appearance you are doing it for the people that will be looking at you. I get a lot of comments on my piercings and tattoos as well, and those are all for me. I got them so I could look at them, and so I could be more myself, the same goes for my makeup.

People also assume things about you if you wear a lot of makeup. The number one thing being that you’re not smart. Almost every girl I know that wears a full face of makeup has a high IQ to go along with it, so that is completely false. Makeup is an art form that takes creativity. It is definitely more stimulating than it is mind numbing. Another thing that people often think is that if you wear makeup you have some kind of issue with the way you look. People that wear a lot of makeup…do not put that on their faces all the time. A lot of my coworkers, never wore makeup on our days off because it wasn’t worth the effort, and we didn’t feel the need to cover our faces. We did makeup because we love color, and individuality, and glitter. We like to try new mediums and use our faces as a canvas.

The other day I had a boy tell me I looked ugly without makeup. This comment made me laugh because I know for a fact that I don’t look that different without it. I told him that maybe he should try makeup because his natural face definitely wasn’t working for him either. You wouldn’t walk up to people with freckles and tell them the freckles are too much, so make sure you think next time before you tell a girl she doesn’t need anything on her face, because she most likely never wanted your opinion in the first place.

Playlist: Lucky

playlists, Writing

I was supposed to post this yesterday but recently my life has been overwhelmingly busy, So I was going to get it posted before 5 today…but that clearly didn’t happen either. Lucky for me, playlist posts are the easiest to make. Here’s the March playlist kids:

  1. Third Eye – Florence + The Machine
  2. Die Happy – DREAMERS
  3. Don’t Turn Around – Ace Of Bass
  4. The Promise – When In Rome
  5. Free At Last – PUP
  6. Black Magic Woman – Fleetwood Mac
  7. Lotus Eater – Foster The People
  8. Wolf – First Aid Kit
  9. Longshot – Catfish and the Bottlemen
  10. I Feel It All – Feist
  11. Something Good – alt-J
  12. Mess Me Around – The Babies
  13. Ready To Let Go – Cage The Elephant
  14. Tilted – Christine and the Queens
  15. Almost(Sweet Music) – Hozier

March tbr

bookish, Writing
Some books for March

It’s March people! Which means it’s time for a new tbr. I used January and February as warm up months just to get used to reading again, so I set some smaller goals for myself. Well not this month. I am going back to my elementary school days and although I have set my reading goal for the year at fifty books I am hopeful that I will reach one hundred. I did some math and that means I have to read nine books a month as well as working at my two jobs. So without further ado, here are the nine books I’m reading in March.

Deadman Wonderland Volume Two – Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou: This was set to be on March’s tbr but I ended up reading it between my wrap up post and this tbr. Whoops! Oh well, it puts me a little ahead for the month at least.

We Are Okay – Nina Lacour: Introducing another member of the “Ave just bought it for the cover club.” This his been on my shelf for ages. It’s a really small book and I have no idea what it’s about. I’ve only just started it and it seems like it revolves around this girl trying to cope with grief or trauma from something. It’s YA contemporary so my expectations aren’t that high. I’m just hoping it’s a little better than my last, “purchased because it was pretty;” Sad Girls.

The Ask And The Answer – Patrick Ness: I’m wrapping this series up this month so I have the second and third book on my tbr. I’m really excited to finish these

Monsters Of Men – Patrick Ness: See above

Circe – Madeline Miller: Yay! This is March’s Book Club Book! If you don’t know already, my friend Grace and I have started up an internet book club via Instagram. This is our first read ever! I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, and I used to be really into Greek mythology so I’m sure I’ll like this. If you are interested in joining our book club please get in touch with me on Instagram @avejam_

On A Sunbeam – Tillie Walden: I saw this while browsing at the bookstore awhile back and knew immediately that I needed this book. It’s a THICC graphic novel and I am so excited about it.

Tweak – Nic Sheff: Did you know that the film “Beautiful Boy” starring my favorite boy Timothee Chalamet is actually based on two memoirs? I sure didn’t but I’m glad I found this book at Barnes and Noble because now I do and I plan to read them both before watching the movie. Normally I wouldn’t care that much about reading the book before the movie if it was a memoir but this one is about drug addiction, which I love to read books about, so I figured I’d like it.

Beautiful Boy – David Sheff: Hey! It’s the second memoir! I think I’ll probably like this one less, because it seems less edgy. I think for these I’ll read both at the same time.

Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman: Timothee Chalamet more like Timothee chalaMARCH am I right!? Sorry that was bad. I decided to theme my reading because why the fuck not! I haven’t seen Call Me By Your Name yet either and I know it’s a pretty quick read so I decided to make it my ninth read. I’m always down for some good gay romance, lets be real. And Army Hammer in those athletic shorts. Yummy.

February Wrap Up

bookish, Writing

Hello! and welcome to my February reading wrap-up! This month contained some highs and some very low lows as far as reading is concerned. Here are my final ratings and thoughts on the books I read this month.

The Knife Of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness: This was really good! I love Patrick Ness’s writing and his use of metaphor. I remember reading “A Monster Calls,” as a teenager and just being blown away at the use of literary devices. The themes revolving around toxic masculinity, and loss of innocence are so well portrayed and refreshing to see in a YA post apocalyptic book. This book is very fast paced which I know some people really like, but I would have liked just a teeny bit more character development. Hopefully the second and third book deliver. If I was just judging it with other YA it would for sure be a 5/5. This is beyond amazing for its genre. I can’t wait to read the second one!

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Soppy – Philippa Rice: I just awwwwed the entire time I read this. It is truly precious. I will definitely keep it on my shelf for the rest of my life. 5/5 stars of course.

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 Love Poems – Pablo Neruda: You know, I might just be rating this one out of bitterness. I have never felt passion like that present in this book so I found it mostly annoying. I would like to reread this while I’m in love and see if I think differently. I mean he’s the Nobel Laureate so I really feel wrong for not loving this. Also I know nothing about Spanish but I think the translation was a bit crap?? Any who my favorite poem was “Forget Me.” I would like to read some of his poetry that’s not about love because I have heard really great things. I gave it 3/5 stars.

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 I’ll Be Gone In The Dark – Michelle McNamara: To see my full review click here! Loved this one. 5/5 stars and a new favorite.

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Snotgirl: California Screaming – Bryan Lee O’mally and Leslie Hung: I truly love the characters and the art style so much I almost want to give it 5 stars but the story line really loses me at points. I still can’t wait for the next one.

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 Sad Girls – Lang Leav: Oh man my first low review of the year. SPOILER ALERT on this one because I have a lot to say. I get it okay. The book is supposed to be this huge paradox that makes you question our standard set of morals and whether there are exceptions. But the execution was just. So. Bad. This book is dripping with pretension and had me rolling my eyes once per page. It’s horribly paced and read more like an episode of Pretty Little Liars, than a work of literary fiction. I love the cover of this book and I really wanted to like it, but poets are poets for a reason and Lang Leav should have never dipped her toe into novel writing. Poetry itself is pretentious which is why pretentious people make such good poets. I physically punched the book at least once. The only part I liked was the ending and that’s just because I love when shitty characters just become shittier people instead of better people. Audrey’s fall from Grace would have been a lot more poignant if she had ever been a good person to begin with but she wasn’t, so the meaning gets lost under incredibly poor character development. This was harsh I know, but I gotta call em how I see em.  

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We are now sitting at 11 books for the year with 9 on board for next month, a chunk of which have also been made into movies. Next month also includes the return of book club! If you have any interest in joining please get in contact with me on Instagram @avejam_ . What did you read this month?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65373656-avery-jamSupport me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/averyjamcom

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark Review

bookish, Writing

If you remember my tbr from earlier this month, you’ll remember how excited I was to read Michelle McNamara’s book, “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. Well I have read it and I am back now to review it for you. Let’s get started.

Okay, so before I even opened this book, I already had a huge emotional attachment to it. I had listened to multiple podcasts about the book, and I had also been following the fairly recent capture of “The Golden State Killer,” who was arrested shortly after the publication of “IBGITD” (that’s what I’m going to call it from here on out.) So like I said I had very high hopes. I usually go into my books knowing hardly anything but I went into this one with lots of prior knowledge about the crimes and also the author.

The book is split into three different sections. Part 1: information about the GSK (Golden State Killer), Part 2: Michelle’s experience working on the case, and Part 3: Information from Michelle’s research assistant who helped finish the book after McNamara’s death, an afterword from her husband, and a letter from Michelle to the GSK. This arrangement works well and despite having so many different pieces, flows with surprising ease. I love the fact that they decided not to try to recreate McNamara’s writing style to finish the book because it truly couldn’t have been done. McNamara writes with an emotion and style that is rarely found in true crime. It’s the perfect amount of detail without reading like a report. Her descriptions of California are incredible and she has just the right amount of bluntness in the sections that describe the actual killings. Billy Jensen and Paul Haynes did an incredible job piecing together her research and the parts of the book they had into a complete book of Michelle’s work.

I would not recommend this book if you are at all squeamish about murder. The GSK was a real horror show, and definitely not for the faint of heart. Any gory bits are written with tact and respect but if you are just beginning to delve into true crime, I wouldn’t start with this. It has a novel quality but is packed to the brim with information. The addition of maps, pictures, and a list of the detectives and criminologists that are present throughout the book, make the whole thing a real experience. This book took me the longest to read out of my books this month, and that was mostly because I felt I needed to absorb everything. I annotate all my books but if anyone tries to borrow this one, they might have a hard time reading the book under all my hand scribbled thoughts. I think that’s a sign that a book is good. If it takes up your whole brain.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I gave this book five out of five stars. It has been added to my list of all time favorites. I only had one grievance about the book and that is that it’s not really THE book. The whole time I read, I couldn’t stop asking myself if this was the book Michelle McNamara wanted me to read. I think it is definitely close. It was put together by people that knew her very well, but there was still so many things that she wanted to put in and unfortunately didn’t get to because of her untimely death. I wish she would have been alive to see how well it did, and see him get caught right after her book came out. I admit I teared up at the end when reading the afterword written by her late husband. In it he says she was “quietly, effortlessly, original,” and I think that shows in her writing and in her commitment to finding the GSK.

The GSK was a true monster. As Michelle states in one of my favorite lines, “the act…was arousal alchemized to hate, a vicious punishment meted out by one judge: his corroded brain.” In summary this is a book about a monster written by a hero. She helped so many victims through her work, and helped to solve one of the biggest unsolved cases in America. Although her time with us was short, she achieved more than a lot of people in this world ever will. I think this book is a treasure. It could have been lost to time, forever sitting on a dusty hard drive. I considered reading this a privilege and it is a book I will not soon forget.

If you want to see what I thought of the rest of the books I read this month, make sure to check back on Monday for my February wrap-up post!

More Self Care

Personal, Writing

About two years ago, I made a post with my favorite things to do for self care. That post mostly included fun relaxation things. This is part two of that post but with more practical things, for when it’s not so much “treat yourself” but more “I’m living in a dark hell pit and need to find a way to climb out of it.” (What? No, I’m fine. Things are totally fine over here.)

  1. Clean your space: I know it’s not fun and I know you don’t want to do it, but I guarantee that if you do you will feel much better. I clean my whole apartment once a week. I put on a podcast (usually My Favorite Murder) and just fully absorb myself in scrubbing gunk off the walls. Anyone else ever just walked around their house scrubbing every mark off the wall with those magic eraser sponges? If not you should, it’s incredibly therapeutic. (And if you’re lucky you might get high off the weird cleaner fumes.)
  2. Eat a piece of fruit: Sometimes I forget to eat for a day or so and I feel sick and awful. Then I eat a fruit cup and boom bam, I feel like I can take on the world. Or at least like I can get out of bed for an hour.
  3. Write a list: List making is an underappreciated art form. Make a good list and you will feel less stressed and angry. Just make lists for everything.
  4. Learn something: I always feel better if I feel like I am developing. So google a topic you’re interested about, or read a wiki page about a historical event. It’s a good way to feel productive without having to put in much effort.
  5. Go on a walk: When my counselor used to tell me to go on walks when I got angry I used to think “yea right that doesn’t help.” It does. It really really does. In fact it’s the only anger management technique that has ever worked for me. I’m sure other exercise is helpful to, but walking is very steady which is why I like it.
  6. Buy new underwear/socks/dishes: If something you own is getting old THEN REPLACE IT GODDAMNIT. It will make your life feel more put together and if it’s something you need then don’t put it off.
  7. Hit your pillows not your car: If you need to hit something that’s fine, but do yourself a favor and make it something soft. I can tell you from personal experience, if you punch start a fist fight with a car, you will lose.
  8. Go to the movies alone: It’s a little weird to sit alone in the dark, and stare at a wall for two hours while shoving food in your face—But not in a movie theater it’s not!
  9. Make a meal: Sometimes being a housewife makes you feel like you have your life together. Also eating food is good for you.
  10. Go to bed early: Sleep is seriously important. Get enough sleep.

Crushed

Personal, Writing

So Valentines Day was on Thursday, as I’m sure you were made aware by the thousands of posts of your friends bragging about how great their significant other is and how many Valentines Days they have shared up until this one. It is both the sweetest and most lonely day of the year depending on what your relationship status is.

I for one have always liked Valentines Day. Mostly because my favorite color combination is pink and red, (if you couldn’t tell from this websites theme) but also because I like stationary and any excuse to complain about how sad I am. I could be writing a very negative post about love and how big of a scam it is, but the thing is relationships are work and I think it’s good that there is a day where people can share the amount of work they put into being with another human. Due to my lack of hostility towards the holiday, I have decided to share with you a few stories about crushes I’ve had from childhood up until now. Please prepare for second hand embarrassment. I’ve changed these boys’ names for the sake of their privacy.

Fifth Grade: I’m sure I had crushes before this one, but this is the first one I have any real memory of. Let me set the scene. Fifth grade Avery was the kind of kid who cried when she forgot her homework, and volunteered to read out loud in class. I wore hot pink on an almost daily basis and pretty much thought I was the shit. I’m sure this was due to constantly being told I was “gifted” by my teachers I was a quiet kid and generally avoided other kids besides my group of close friends. I remember the day he walked into our class. He was a new student and I thought he was beautiful. Looking back on it, that was probably just because he wasn’t one of the boys I had known since Kindergarten. He was also Hispanic which was only the second highest minority in our school. He was special. We’ll call him Anthony. Anthony got sat next to me because he would never shut up, so my teacher decided to put him at the shy kid’s table. I also think my teacher knew I had a crush on him. I was never good at being subtle. Nothing ever happened between us because he was dating one of the more popular girls in our class. I remember the pain I felt when I saw him holding her hand at recess. I thought she was much more mature than I was because she was allowed to wear spaghetti strap tank tops. He moved away when we started middle school and I never saw him again. Well, until my friend sent me an article with his mugshot saying he was going to jail for robbing a casino… I did always like the bad boys. I talked to another boy that I went to elementary school with a while back that visits him, and he says he’s doing alright.

Eight Grade: Literally the worst year for teenagers going through puberty. I was heavily into “the theatre” at this point in my life. I was still riding that smart kid wave, and was just starting to realize maybe wearing gummy bear earrings wasn’t cool. I had a crush on this boy named Max. I’ll use his real name because we became actual friends after all this and I know he won’t care. Nobody is cool in eighth grade okay! He was a huge nerd, but we were in a play together and he was just the first non-gay boy to talk to me, which my brain equated to him being the cutest thing ever. I think he somehow got talked into liking me back and he asked me out on a date. We went and saw the Hunger Games (how 2011 of us) and my parents had to drive us. My sister and her friends sat right behind us and he left in the middle of it to answer a call from our other friend. We held very clammy hands and his parents dropped me off. Still the only actual first date I ever went on. Scarred me for life apparently. After that I stopped talking to him at school because I was too shy and two weeks later, we tragically broke up. I cringe every time I think about it. Two years later he told me he never liked me at all and started dating one of my best friends probably a year after that. Now our only real connection is that we probably speak the same level of French. He turned out good I think. His girlfriend now is very pretty and nice, and I think they live in Seattle or something.

Ninth Grade: Get ready for the cringiest story of all. I was a freshman in high school, developing a serious mental disorder, and had maybe two friends total. I had lost the gummy bear earrings but was still decidedly weird to most other students. I was paired up with a boy in French class, (that Max was also in) we’ll call him…Billy. Billy was probably as tall as me and I was only 5′ tall at the time. He was a wrestler, very disruptive in class, and also always grumpy because he couldn’t eat in order to stay in his weight class or something. DEFINITELY NOT MY TYPE but I didn’t have a type then (or standards apparently) so I decided I liked him. Our first ever winter formal was coming up and it was also a TWERP so the girls had to ask the guys. I was much too shy to ask him but my extroverted theater friend wasn’t! So she walked up to him at lunch and said, “If Avery asked you to formal would you go with her?” and I kid you not, he said “ew, no.” Then I had to go to French right after and pretend I didn’t know she asked him and that my heart was not shattered. I didn’t go to the formal…or any school dance ever. Except some alternative dance that took place in a kid’s parent’s airplane hanger, and now that I think about it I’m pretty sure I went to that with Max and his then girlfriend. Billings is a small town okay.

Tenth Grade: This crush was probably the defining crush for my current (horrible) taste in men which is the only reason I’m including it. We’ll call him David. He was and still is the prettiest boy I’ve ever seen. He was endearing and charming. He was also really nice to me which I appreciated and at this point in my life really needed. I would see him everyday at lunch with our mutual friends and then again when I walked home past the smoking alley. I was completely sober then and he had been addicted to drugs for years. He really liked Futurama, Kid Cudi, and he held a sadness inside him that a lot of people never saw. I was pretty open about the fact that I hated my life at this point, so I saw right past it but I think a lot of people never saw how bad he was getting. I only knew him for a year before he disappeared. I found out later that he had ended up in rehab and was completely clean. He showed up at a Halloween party, I was having years later, and he seemed really good. I think he lives in the mountains now with a dog.

There you go, those are four of my most memorable crushes. Of course there are way more, and I only talked about one of my actual boyfriends but these are the ones that make me laugh when I think about them. It’s strange how much people change and how many times they pop up in your life without you even thinking of it. Happy Valentines Day.