Somehow, I've gone from a person who found herself filled with resentment and rage while cleaning to someone who actually (get this) enjoys doing my chores. Somehow, I now understand the concept of "domestic bliss." I genuinely don't know when this happened. Somehow, I'm that asshole who shouts "LAUNDRY ZERO!!" with a sense of genuine accomplishment once all hampers are empty and all clothes are folded. I don't know how or why this happened, but in the interest of bottling it and sharing it, here are a few of my theories…
This is Offbeat Home's archive of posts by Ariel Meadow Stallings.
Author of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives, loves, and dorks out hard in Seattle, WA. You can gossip with her on twitter: @offbeatariel
A aging nightlife colleague posted this online recently: "Really need to work on the whole "being fun" thing a little more. It's too easy to just sit around being comfortable and old."
I see these kinds of things a LOT from my peer group of aging freaks — right around 30. It seems like all of a sudden it's staring you right there in the face: the stuff that we spent our 20s doing (in my specific case, dancing all night while intoxicated) suddenly doesn't have quite the same pull, and there's part of you that screams NOOOOOOO! I'm getting OOOOOOLD! And then there's this reflex of MUST FIGHT IT MUST FIGHT IT.
I have a birthmark.
As the name suggests, it's always been there. This red mark between my lip and my left nostril, a permanent wound needing to be kissed. Apparently, when I was born, my mother thought it was cute. My aunt commented that I would surely hate it.
I don't, really. I often forget it's there.
My late night snacks always leaned towards the darkest sides of stoner food: quesadillas, cracker dipped in cream cheese, during more desperate moments, cheese melted on a plate scraped off with my own fingernails. On a whim last winter, I bought my husband a gift: a Whirlypop, which is a stovetop popcorn popper.
This is mildly embarrassing because I like to think I have better things to think/write about, but whatever. I like playing dress-up. I like street-wear costumes. It’s fun. I come from deeply humble fashion roots. My parents are hippies for godsake, and I grew up in a mix of dirty hand-me-downs my parents dug up, cheap stuff from Sears, and frilly dresses gifted from my grandma. I preferred the frilly dresses, and my mom had to bribe me to wear pants by telling me that they made me look tall.
This distinction between cooking and preparing is one that always comes up when I talk to Megan about her inability to cook. I'm always like, Bitch, I don't cook either! That still doesn't mean you have to eat frozen pizzas for every meal Megan defaults to packaged food (which puts her in good company with the majority of Americans), while I default to cutting up produce and cheese and setting them on a plate. Megan's food might taste better, but my food is infinitely cheaper and definitely healthier.
A couple years ago, my father gave me a trunk that had been gathering dust in his storage shed.
"I think this is yours," he said. I wasn't sure, but I took it because I'm a pack rat and even if it wasn't mine, doubtless there was something interesting inside.
And there was! Under my entire childhood collection of ElfQuest comics (!!!), I found a relic of my high school theater days — a vintage CABOODLES makeup case. It still had two yellow post-its taped onto the top that said "ARIEL'S MAKE-UP" and "RUM-TUM-TUGGER IN CATS," relics from the last high school play I was in.
Back in 2006 when I was working a full-time corporate job, while also trying to write what would become Offbeat Bride the book, I almost had a nervous breakdown. Desperate for some guidance and inspiration, I sent an email to my local hero, Dan Savage. His advice was basically that he owed it all to his partner. His then-partner? Terry Miller, who is now (thanks to Washington's marriage laws) Dan's husband. In the 10 years since I had this exchange, I've basically built my het marriage to emulate their gay marriage, and I'm convinced it's been the secret to everything being happy.