On Being (Un)Assigned

I was sitting at the old wooden table my parents bought from the Spanish furniture store on Broadway listening to cars pass while the NFL Redzone was the main focus of everyone else’s attention. My brother said, “All of my siblings are completely different.”

And I knew this, but hearing him say that, made it real. He is entirely correct.

He continued to assign our siblings, one of them “this perfect thing,” another, “who fuckin’ knows,” and then there was a pause. “And I’m a complete degenerate.” Everyone laughed, myself including.

But there it was. He didn’t assign me. Or, he wouldn’t assign me. Was it because his friends were present? Was it because I was present? Did he know exactly what he wanted to say but was avoiding hurting my feelings? Or, rather, did he not know at all. Did he find me unassignable?

In high school, I moved about from group to group. Everyone worked, but also didn’t at all. Mainly because I knew they didn’t really like me. I just knew it. I’ve had this inkling feeling since kindergarten that all of my friends talked about me behind my back. And most of the time it was true. I wouldn’t be invited, or I’d be there and no one wanted to talk to me, or if they did they were teasing me for laughing too loud or talking about movies no one had seen. I floated from theater kids to jocks to geeks to “goths” (people who know the world is insufferable). I was outcasted at one point, rejected, yelled at from the bleachers, forgotten, cheated, and on and on. It seemed I was always just one step outside the circle.

College made more sense. The film department, or so I thought.

I have made this joke to my brother at least once a year:

“If we went to high school together, you wouldn’t have been friends with me.”

He’s sick of it, but I still laugh uncontrollably after a few glasses of sauvignon blanc, because it is so terribly true. And I will forever be trying to prove him wrong by finding people like my brother, falling madly in love with them, and never being loved back.

And I know what I just said. I know what it sounds like. It sounds like I just said I’m in love with my brother, but that isn’t what I meant. Come on. He’s just so cool and I want to be cool and I never will be.

People love to talk about “their type.” My type is latinos..well my type are sad blonde boys… my type are overweight red heads. Hilary, what is your type? 

I have no idea.

Because I’m unassignable.

I’ve liked them all, but no one has really liked me. I’ve liked nerds, jocks, punks, skaters, stoners, freaks, drunks, druggies, jokers, red heads, foreigners, artists, space cadets, hikers, fools, models, jerks, snowmen, dancers, signers, dog owners, actors, haters, gamers, oldies, gym rats, and so on (many more to come).

I have no idea what I want. I can’t pick a type. I’ve heard over and over again you can’t find love until you love yourself. And I believe that, but, it seems near impossible. Sure I love myself but I also detest the reflection in the mirror. Do you have any idea how tiring it is to simultaneously hate yourself and think you’re better than everyone else? It’s exhausting.

I’ll bet you, if I ever got one of those brother-a-likes to like me, I’d lose interest immediately.

On New Year’s Eve, I sat on the couch with a friend of mine, reading horoscope. It was then and there I found out that I was almost entirely incompatible. Aquarius. Only gets a long with two other types of people. That’s it. Out of all of the signs, I only get two.

But it makes sense. It makes so much sense.

And this is why it is so hard to make friends. I’m sick of everyone immediately, but I want everyone to like me. My brother and I can sit in silence for a frightening amount of time, while I think desperately of something to say to him that will make him laugh or catch his interest. I know we have things in common, like blood, parents, love of white wine and dancing, but most of the time I feel I am worlds away from my family. And I’m so aware of it i consciously perpetuate it.

When I return home, I’m like this moldy jewel, sitting on a stool, in the middle of the room. I’m not that pretty to look at, but everyone is still staring, waiting for me to do something weird.

And it’s because I’m funny.

But the only reason I’m funny is because I point out everything that is wrong with me, at least in comparison to them. And there’s a lot. And if I can’t think of something I’ll lie and say, “Oh god I’ll never have kids.” and everyone laughs.

I’m both a terrible liar and a terrible liar. I do it often and I don’t do it well. I say things and think to myself, “That is simply not true.” But I’m so desperate for approval, or maybe comradery, that I’ll agree with everything.

Oh yes, you’re right, I agree. (I do not agree).

Yes, I’ve seen it! (No I haven’t). 

Oh yeah, I’ve been there too (I’ve never even heard of that place). 

I know! (I don’t know.)

You didn’t know that? (Neither did I, but I sound like I did).

Because I can’t say who I am. I am utterly clueless.

I do know what I like. 

Movies
The Ephron Girls
Meg Ryan
Writing
Nail Polish
Labradors
Christmas Trees
Baths
Vinyl
Modest Mouse
Mysterious tattoos
Old photos
Snoopy
Family History
Laughing
Whiskey
Wine
Grilled Cheese
Tap shoes
Fitted dresses
Curly hair
San Francisco
Traffic lights
The ocean
Crying
Popcorn
Soy Chai Lattes (from Starbucks)
Fluffy socks
Judy Garland’s voice
Diet Coke with goldfish crackers
Sneezing
Homemade chex mix
My TV
Avocados
Fireplces
Erin, Jaclyn, Amanda, Anne, Katherine, Corie, Hannah, Elaine, Daryn, Simone, Allison
Minnesotan accents
And finally the fog, accompanied by coffee.

I was at a wrap party a couple of months ago when my boss said to me, “We need to find you a boyfriend.” and I shouted back over the music, “I’M TOO WEIRD.”

If you read this blog, you already know that, but it’s too perfect to use once. Because no one responded after I said it. They know it’s true. I had just spent the past week convincing everyone I was from Minnesota and laughing at myself to the point of tears.

And even worse than not knowing who I am, I don’t know where I want to be. Nothing adds up. People, places, careers, they’re all in different places. It’s a terrible thing to be in a place. I don’t want to be anywhere. And if I’m there I want to be somewhere else. Because, I don’t know what I want.

Besides attention. I will always want attention.

Every time I go home I think I want different things in my life. I want to marry someone I’ve known since kindergarten, I want to never want to make new friends, I want money and a big house and as always, I want all the cool kids to like me (you can imagine my lying streaks are off the wall). My unassigned behavior is off the wall, reassigning me with every new person standing in front of me. I start to believe I could actually be domesticated.

Until I hear people criticize my mother’s (un)organization skills and realize I’m worse than her.

“You guys are making me feel bad, I’m worse than Mom.”

“Well you better change.”

Oh dear.

Zero To Hero Day 3: Nora Ephron is My Spirit Animal, or At Least, I Like to Think So

Day 3: What’s on your mind?

When I first saw this question, why did I initially want to start writing this blog, I hadn’t a clue. I don’t know what I wanted my first post to be. I could go back and look now, but I’m pretty sure it’s something I had already written long before.

But then I remembered the real truth of it. I’m in love with Nora Ephron.

I slept in my parents’ bed until I was 10 or 11 years old. No one can remember the exact year, probably because it’s like some traumatized memory forced to the back of your mind. I think about it now and I don’t know how my parents put up with me. Pushing, shoving, crying, and undoubtedly peeing.

But I had nightmares. I had so many nightmares. My mother tried to get me to sleep in my own room in my own bed, numerous times and there was nothing more terrifying. Nothing more terrifying than being left with me and my imagination.

Near the end of it, my mom figured out that I would fall asleep in my own room with my own TV with a movie playing. I figured this out too, but it was one movie in particular. Sleepless in Seattle.

I watched Sleepless in Seattle almost every night to fall asleep for, well, I can’t say for how long because it’s still happening. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it. And sure now you’re panicking, your reading the blog of a crazy person. But hey, now I at least alter between different Nora movies, i.e. When Harry Met Sally, Michael, Hanging Up and well also Mermaids, but that has nothing to do with Ms. Ephron.

And now I must pause and note that I’m doing a terrible injustice to Delia Ephron, whom I love dearly but unfortunately didn’t realize she was a part of this until I was in college and have been desperately trying to make up for loss time. I’m currently reading Mother, Sister, Husband, Dog, etc. and enjoying every single word. 

I started to read Nora’s essays, stories, books in college and I fell in love even more. This woman who had lulled me to sleep (and I mean that as a high honor) for my entire life was now speaking even deeper into my soul. I couldn’t believe it. Everything she was saying taught me about myself, about life, made me laugh, made me cry, and made me realize I had to sit down and write everything I was thinking, everything that was happening to me, all of it.

I’d known I wanted “to be” a writer, yes, I’d been writing scripts and whatnot, but Nora taught me that we didn’t all have to be one type of writer. I could do whatever I wanted. If I wanted to write a book I could write a book (working now), if I wanted to write short stories, scripts, essays, even recipes, I could. They were all on my mind, rushing through, all the time. I’ve never felt that I truly fit in anywhere. Everyone seems to be having such a great time and I want to think I am too, but I’m not. And there you have it, Wallflower at the Orgy.

So when I graduated and moved to Los Angeles, to pursue a career in film and writing, I finally said, I’m writing a blog. For realsies this time. I hope you enjoy it, because it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Nora, you saved me, and I miss you, but you live on in your words every day. Image\

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Zero to Hero Day 2: I Used to Hate My Middle Name

Day 2: What’s Your Name?

Yes, I already have an about section, but now I’ve told myself I’m doing this whole challenge thing, so here I am again.

When I was younger my middle name frustrated me. It was so manly. I couldn’t spell it. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why my parents would assign such a wretched name to me. Fitzgerald. Fitz-gare-uld. The sound of it was revolting. I’ll never forget in grade school when I had an art assignment that involved writing my name. Afterwards Sammy noticed I spelled my middle name wrong and he laughed at me. “You can’t even spell your name?” It was so complicated! All those letters!

And my mom would tell me, your Great Great Uncle, your Great Grandmother’s older brother, your Grandmother’s Uncle, My Great Uncle, is an American Treasure.

Who was this man? Who cared? I was a girl! Other girl’s middle names were Lauren or Marie or even Anne. And here I am with this heap of letters.

So he wrote a book. Great. Books terrified me. I was convinced I was never going to be smart enough to understand books. What I was reading never seemed to be what other people were reading. Yes we had the same book, but it was as if they were getting completely different messages than I.

Eventually I understood. F. Scott Fitzgerald. His little sister Annabel married Clifton F. Sprague and had my grandmother Courtney Sprague who eventually married Daniel Vaughan, and then had my mother Laurie Vaughan, who married Stuart Douglas Campbell and here I stand, the youngest of four children, Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell.

Once I made it to high school I avoided AP English. I still found myself on a lower level than everyone else. We read The Great Gatsby junior year and I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t believe it. I was named after this guy. This guy who was an American Treasure. My middle name quickly became my favorite part of myself.

So I was sent off to college and of course, I became a writer. Every paper I wrote was pages longer than it should have been. People started to tell me I was good at this thing, writing. I still don’t believe them, but I know it’s what makes me happy.

So there it is, there’s the name. I don’t think that answered the Day 2 challenge really, but at least you learned something if you made it to the end of this. 

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Zero to Hero: Day 1

It’s probably the worst month to decide this but I’m participating in the Zero to Hero blogging challenge because WHAT THE HECK.

Day One: Who Are You & Why Are You Here

Hi. I’m Hilary. I can’t be trusted with my own legs (I fell down the stairs 3 times yesterday). I have absolutely terrible thoughts. And I’m completely obsessed with myself. I think I’m hilarious.

I don’t think I really need to say why I’m here. It feels utterly obvious (ahem, obsessed, funny, me).

No really, I’m here because of Nora Ephron.

Join me in the Zero to Hero challenge won’t you?

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22 Reasons You’re Not Ready To Be 23

  1. There’s no way Taylor Swift’s song doesn’t apply to you anymore. I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling 23.
  2. Student loans are due, so you decided to opt for the Income Based Payment system. You’re income is $0. You can’t be 23.
  3. You still go back to your college town twice a month because it was the greatest place of your life and you’re texting and driving along the way, you don’t know why you’re doing it, but you’re doing it AND YOU CAN’T BE 23 YET.
  4. Then you realize, last year you made fun of all the 23 year old post-grads who kept coming back to visit on the weekends. “Why would they even come here? Don’t they have a life?” You’re going to be 23 and you don’t have a life.
  5. When your Mom says on the phone, “Well I mean I’m assuming you aren’t drinking as much anymore…” you laugh and then after a long silence say, “Why would you think that?” You can still drink when you’re 23 right? RIGHT?
  6. You still have all the posters from your college house up in your apartment. When people come by they say, “it still has the college feel.” And you smile, despite the fact you have no friends. There’s no way you’re 23.
  7. Last time you went home your brother told you you were gonna have to grow up and probably find a job that isn’t really what you want out of life. It brought a tear to your eye. 23 year olds don’t cry this easily.
  8. Over Christmas when your entire high school was at the bar, you got so drunk you forgot you hated everyone and silenced your phone to ignore your mom and then she locked you out of the house, but you thought it was hilarious. 23 year olds listen to their mother.
  9. Jennifer Lawrence is 23. She’s won an Academy Award. You haven’t gotten out of bed today. You can’t be 23.
  10. You tell people you have 4 jobs, when you really have 4 internships. It’s called omitting the truth, but you’re not sure if 23 year olds are legally allowed to do that.
  11. You didn’t get anyone a Christmas present this year because you’re broke, but you said, “Definitely next year!” And you can’t say that again when you’re 23. You’re screwed.
  12. Someone just invited you to a dinner party and you asked if you could bring Fireball. They politely declined. You brought it anyway and no one over 22 drank it.
  13. The kid who you used to change their diapers for just followed you on Instagram and you actually vomited in your mouth. 23 year olds can at least control their upchuck reflex.
  14. The reason you’re actually upset about turning 23 is because it just doesn’t sound as fun. Threes are so boring! You can’t explain it, but they are. Here’s the thing, a 23 year old can at least explain themselves.
  15. You’ve been singing “What’s My Age Again?” all these years, and now you finally understand it, but you don’t want to understand it. So you tell people, you don’t really understand it.
  16. And now you’re realizing your sister had a baby when she was 23. If you had a baby right now, you’d make it watch Bob’s Burgers and scream at it for not laughing at all the same jokes.
  17. You got carded last night and you actually got scared because you forgot how old you were. Oh my god can I be here? Then the bartender smiled. What a relief! “Being 21 is great!” Wait now he looks confused. “I thought you were 22.”  Oh my god you’re right. You’re practically 23, get it together.
  18. You just realized you’re in that period  movies  typically montage over. Here’s Sally at 22 and here’s Sally at 26! You have no idea how you’re supposed to act in those in-between  years because you base literally everything you do on When Harry Met Sally. Normal 23 year olds aren’t doing that.
  19. The Regular Show is about two 23 year old friends, but, you don’t even watch The Regular Show, your nephew does. He knows more about being 23 than you do (better get Netflixin’).
  20. You’re still completely afraid of the dark. There’s no way Soulja Boy is afraid of the dark (you guessed it, he’s 23 and he dances in the dark like there’s no tomorrow). If you danced in the dark you’d fall over.
  21. You have no idea how to filter yourself at work, but everyone laughs and says, “Oh they’re 22, I remember what I was like when I was 22.” But no one ever says a thing about being 23. THE RULES, THEY CHANGE.
  22. When you realized you couldn’t have a raging birthday party in your studio apartment because you live above your landlord, you came to the conclusion you’ll never have fun again. Then you swore off fun entirely because what’s the point of half-fun, and furthermore, what’s the point of living if all your friends can’t get drunk in one room and blast LCD Soundsystem. So you contemplated suicide for awhile, but then were distracted by a new episode of Adventure Time and you laughed for awhile and then ordered some ice cream to be delivered straight to you door and when it was 5 minutes late you called the delivery guy and told him he might as well not bring it because you can’t handle the torture, and well yeah, 23 year olds don’t throw temper tantrums, and you just did.

And Now, a Tragic Story

It was Senior year of college. I was stressed, but we were all stressed. I’d like to say I was more stressed than you were, but who am I to say such a thing?

What I’m saying is I was stressed. And even more, I was getting fatter. It was terrible. I lived on the beach, but the thought of a bathing suit gave me more anxiety than the amount of shopping debt I’d gotten myself into. (I’m always in shopping debt, and now Chase keeps calling trying to offer me more credit cards, have they lost their minds?)

So, as it always goes with me, I got into the habit of exercising, again. I’ve never been in shape. I will never be in shape. I go through roughly 3 month periods where I think I’m going to get my life together, but it’s quickly followed be a longer period of being self destructive, i.e. avoiding the grocery store, convincing myself I’m actually saving money by eating gourmet grilled cheeses, drinking vanilla lattes every day, wearing my hair in a ponytail indefinitely, not shaving my legs, mixing alcohol, considering walking to my car a decent workout, picking at my face, and eating popcorn every single day, and constantly searching for some sort of entertainment that will make me cry.

But the exercising wasn’t doing a thing. Not one thing, I tell you. It was a mystery. I was barely eating. (When I go through my 3 month cycles, I’m on the verge of anorexia. Not really, but sort of, but not really).

Meanwhile, I had found a delicious drink at my favorite coffee shop, Caje, in Isla Vista. The Ice Blended Coffee. An absolute treat. And it was just coffee! I was struggling to get to class on the daily, and this, well this was the greatest drink to ever happen to me.

The ingredients? Coffee, ice, and ice milk. So harmless.

I had at least one a day. Large ones. Sometimes two, if someone on my festival committee failed me and I had to pick up the slack.

And I was running. I was doing things. I was swimming laps. Walking all the time. These were activities more than running to my car! Yet, the scale was showing no difference.

One day I was waiting in Caje for my Ice Blended Coffee when I peaked over the tall counter to watch them make it. Just then I saw it happened. They scooped ICE CREAM INTO THE BLENDER. ICE CREAM. I HAD BEEN DRINKING A MILKSHAKE A DAY FOR MONTHS.

If someone said to me, do you want a coffee every day of your life? I’d say, well why not. It’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever done. BUT A MILKSHAKE? Do you want a milkshake every day of your life? NO. THAT IS THE CRAZIEST THING I’VE EVER DONE.

Ice milk, you guys. Ice milk. It isn’t milk on ice, or whatever you want to tell yourself it is. It’s ice cream. The term “ice milk” should be illegal. It’s omitting the truth from the public. It’s a terrible wrong doing.

No wonder I was a cow.

I’ve never had an Ice Blended Coffee from Caje since and now when I hear people ordering them at that beautiful Caje counter I want to scream, “Do you know what you’re doing! I don’t think you do! Do you realize what ice milk is! There’s no way you could know! And it isn’t even your fault! THEY’RE OMITTING THE TRUTH!”

I can’t order ice blended coffees from anywhere else. Why? Because they don’t taste as good.

They don’t have ice cream in them.

Isn’t that so terribly tragic?