By Jen Pastiloff.
I am working on a book of essays called You, Of All People. Shitty Advice will be a chapter title as will I’m Sorry, But.
Anyway, I’m up early.
Me, of all people.
Ish is one of my favorite words. My sister and I always say we are more Jew-ish than Jewish. When I teach yoga and I ask my class to go into a dolphin pose or forearm balance or I always add or “ish.” It’s like 9 am-ish (okay, it is 9:59) but I was up real early at 2:45 when I couldn’t fall back asleep due to the heat (and maybe the one too many glasses of rosé I drank with my Irish friends at 4 p.m.)
I was in bed by 9 because this old lady can’t day-drink that much and continue it (it meaning staying awake) into the evening. So now I am up and thought maybe I should blog because it has been awhile and I always swear to myself that I will blog more frequently but apparently I am a big fat liar to myself. So. Anyway, happy Saturday.
Last weekend I was in Chicago. It was my first time and was a bit of a bucket list thing for me. Growing up on the east coast, it always amazed me that I had never been. Just like as a Jew(ish) person from Jersey, having never been to Florida until I was a grown ass adult was just plain weird. But I have fixed both things. I have been to Florida and now Chicago.
My workshop in Chicago was, as someone said in a note they left me, #fuckingawesome. It was hashtag worthy.
People drove from all over (Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Minnesota) and the room was light and bright and filled with beautiful people who trusted me (and themselves) enough to show up even though they had no flipping’ clue what the heck my workshop actually was. (Most still didn’t even after it ended and tears were streaming down their faces and they all stood clapping. They just nodded yes yes yes and This was everything even though they had no idea what to call what just happened.) It felt like an outer body experience for me in many ways and I truly felt grateful that I get to do this for a living. I have no idea what the future will hold, if I will have a baby, how I will continue on with this travel schedule, this site, bla bla bla but hey, I am here now and enjoying the ride and isn’t that something?
What if we stopped and just went, “Oh yea, this is great. Right now.” I may not know what next year will be like (who does?) but that is what usually gets us into trouble, isn’t it? Stopping ourselves from being in the moment by going, “What if this doesn’t last? What if the other shoe drops? What if?”
My friend Sarah (she came to my annual Mother’s day retreat in Ojai) was an incredible host and schlepped me all over the city. It’s amazing how my retreats and workshops cultivate such friendships. It’s because we bypass the bullshit.
After the workshop, we went to dinner with some of Chicago’s finest writers (and dear friends of mine.) Megan Stielstra, Zoe Zolbrod and Gina Frangello. We drank bourbon and ate octopus and shrimp at a place called Charlatan. I was like, “This is so Chicago of us,” even though I have no idea what that means. But really, these ladies can write their faces off so please check them all out.
The day I was leaving, Sarah took me to see into the city (she lives in the ‘burbs) so I could do a podcast with the lovely Ben Tanzer.
Ben and I have been casually talking about this for over a year so it was pretty exciting that we made it happen. Sarah sat at a separate table so Ben and I could chat. I cannot wait to share the podcast with you, once he posts it. (Ben! Post it! Post it!) Check him out here. It’s called This Podcast Will Change Your Life. He is doing good things in this world. We met at a cute little Italian sandwich shop where a waiter named Innocence wearing a sweatshirt that said “Good Vibes Only” (really was his name) spilled a cappucino on Sarah’s white blouse and told us how Americans did not like his name but how it really was his name. It wasn’t that they didn’t like it, he explained in a video we made, but that they didn’t understand it. He had this beautiful French accent and I would share the video except as he walked way to get Sarah a new coffee and some club soda to get the stain out, he said over his Good Vibes Only shoulder, “Do not put that on social media.”
Then Sarah took me to The Bean. Admittedly, I did not know what it was. I know. But my G-d. I vacillate with writing G-d and God. The Jew in me writes G-d but then I get taken over by the Ish part and just write God. I am so inconsistent.
My G-d, the bean. My God. My Bean.
We saw the bean and I was in awe, and the day, the beautiful day and the clouds and I thought, “I could live here,” but then I think that about everywhere and maybe we all do when we are on vacation because it doesn’t feel like home. It feels like other and other must be better and we aren’t stuck in the day to day grind of normal life at home and run-on sentences and grocery lists. Like how I did that with the run-on sentence? I love the run-on sentence. I love typos too, apparently. I got called out for having a bunch of typos on a blog last week. I did. I truly suck with that but I am a nice goddamned person who just has fat fingers and poor typing skills and is not an A-type personality. I will do my best to check for typos because I understand how that can throw one into a tailspin and ruin one’s day. When I get really rich I will hire an editor and a maid. My husband will be very happy.
My friend texted me this last night.
Her daughter Josey is 10. Everyone knows how I am. It’s sort of sad but also refreshing because I can just be a my sloppy typo-ed ass all the time. Freely.
The real reason I am writing to you on this sweltering day is for shitty advice. Think: You can rest when you are dead. Speak before you think. Stop writing because someone doesn’t like your work.
Sarah and I saw this dude on the sidewalk near The Bean with a sign that said “Shitty Advice.” See above photo. Classic.
I gave him a buck and Sarah asked him, “Should she have a baby?” while pointing at me. He looked at me like I had seven heads then said, “Yea, yea have a baby,” with perhaps the most sarcastic tone I have ever heard. I wanted to ask him, “Well, what do you mean by that?” but I was out of money and he started yelling obscenities at a man who took his picture without giving any money. So we walked on towards a bar where we had seared tuna and yes, rosé. I posted it on my social media (unlike Innocence, Shitty Advice Man said I could share his image.) I posted it and asked for your best shitty advice and dare I say, it was the best ting ever in the history of the internet. Ever. Please post your best shitty advice below. In the comments section.
Then someone sent me this. This rivals Shitty Advice sign.
Here are some examples of shitty advice left on my sosh (which is lazy talk for social media, duh.)
Kristin Conlon Said to me countless times, “everything happens for a reason, you weren’t able to have children, because you have a different purpose in life”.
Ppppshhhh. whatever. **eyeroll**
Amy Ouderkirk Do what everyone else wants you to do not what you want to do.
Ido Yoga (In reply to a miscarriage) God must have known something was going to be wrong, better to have it happen now.
Ronlyn Domingue Everything happens for a reason.
Please leave yours below.
I get shitty advice every single day. I find that people want to offer me advice all the time. Even. When. I. Don’t. Ask. Do you get that too? (Also, I am sure I have given my fair share of SA.) << Lazy talk for Shitty Advice. My favorite SA: Just get over it. Just think positive (in regards to depression.)
There’s so many. I want to hear yours.
Here’s some good advice though: Help me spread the word about Girl Power. My workshop launches next month. 13 and up in Princeton (Sep 19) and 16 and up NYC (Sep 20.) If you can’t afford, message me because I have a few tickets donated by women. Because I know rad women.
Also, more good advice. Sign up for Lenny Letter.
Lastly, I am giving away a $600 scholarship (donated by generous benefactors) to the retreat I am hosting with best-selling author Emily Rapp. It ends Sep 9th! Apply asap here.