pubertytaketwo


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My Final Post

April 14, 2014

Puberty take two began on October 12, 2011. In the past couple years, I’ve written 97 blog posts. Through them, I rehashed super awkward middle and high school memories. I explored my feelings on religion, getting ahead in the workplace, having kids. and reality TV. I took time to reflect and remember school picture day, friends that passed away, summers at the beach, and where I was on September 11, 2001. For a year, I kept a report card on my personal goals. Many times over, I passively-aggressively tried to lure ex-boyfriends back into my life. I processed the present day and used my past as a compass.

For those of you that don’t know, this blog had been a long time coming. For years, I wanted to write a book about a girl in middle school seeking to better understand herself. The only problem was that I couldn’t think of a plot, but had all of these little vignettes pulled from my own life. My dream novel quickly turned into a collection of short stories.

The more I wrote, the more I wanted to share these stories in real time. At dinner parties, I would bust out my laptop to read the latest– hoping for everyone’s laughter and approval. I emailed my stories to friends for their required positive feedback and encouragement.

When puberty take two came to life as a blog, I desperately needed to do something that was just for me. I was still recovering from a relationship that had ended a year earlier– and since then, I had done little besides sulk and go through the motions of the day-to-day. My job sucked. I hated living in Alexandria. I was in such a rut. This blog was the beginning of reclaiming my voice and putting my dreams on paper. Through it, I explored creativity and allowed myself to be vulnerable.

As an extrovert, I never realized how valuable personal writing could be. Puberty take two forced alone-time into my life– and even inspired me to take a vacation all by myself. Even though this blog is a totally public forum, its allowed me to have better conversations with myself. It’s allowed me to connect with my friends in new ways, keep up with people in other parts of the country and world, and allow my old acquaintances to stalk me however they see fit.

You’ve probably noticed that I don’t write with the same frequency that I used to. Some of that is laziness and other excuse-making. But mostly, I’m just tired of comparing my present self to the past me. In many ways, I’m working really hard to shed the old Colleen that is sometimes self-deprecating and self-doubting. And, I’m about to turn 30. My friends are buying homes, getting married, and giving birth to children. I just recently got a major promotion and am feeling professionally challenged. Now is not the time to backpedal to “man, wasn’t 7th grade the worst?!”

Just before starting my new job, I took a trip to the beach and, without hesitance, had an obligatory reflective moment with the sound of the waves. I looked to my left: no one. I looked to my right: not a soul. Just me and the ocean. So I screamed: “2014 is the year of Colleen. It’s time to let go. It’s time to move forward. It’s time to be the woman I know I’m supposed to be.” Now, I recognize this is fairly melodramatic and cliche– but its exactly what I needed.

So, everyone…thank you so much. With the sincerest gratitude, I want you to know that your reading and commenting on my work has changed my life’s trajectory. Your encouragement has meant more to me than I can articulate. Onward and upward!


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Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

December 20, 2013

While my older brother and I are different in many, many ways– we do share one important thing: our deep, unconditional love for Christmas. Over the years, we’ve celebrated in a variety of ways. For the seventh year in a row, we’ve made an album– and this year’s edition, Christmas with Colleen Don’t Stop!, is our best yet. (Download it between now and Christmas Eve for unlimited enjoyment.)

CHRISTMAS WITH COLLEEN DON'T STOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The year before, we took a stab at an international affair.

christmas with colleen all around the world

And the year before that, we honored our Christian roots and our priestly mother with this totally sacrilegious classic:

the spirit of christmas with colleen

In 2010, shit got real– and we broke the sometimes false happiness associated with Christmas.

christmas with colleen ain't easy

In the years before, our album titles were a little less clever– but the passion was still clearly there. I also don’t have the album artwork on me– sorry.

But it’s not just about our hilarious, beautifully crafted albums that all of our friends and family enjoy. We’ve started a bunch of random traditions over the years. Two years ago, we decided to start a tradition where we would take a spontaneous trip every Christmas Eve. The first year, we stopped by the Great Wolf Lodge — which has a holiday show (sort of like Chuck-E-Cheese, very frightening).

great wolf lodge

 

 

The second year, we walked around singing carols in our old-timey voices in Colonial Williamsburg, VA. Here’s a quick video of a performance we saw to get you in the holiday spirit. One year, we had a chipotle burrito on Christmas Eve (because it was all my little brother could afford for us as gifts), and we thought we’d start a tradition of Christmas burritos– but that never picked up. We also recently started a tradition of making banana daiquiris every Christmas…in honor of Prince and his deceased girlfriend in the song, “Another Lonely Christmas.”

And now, as you all know– my brother has made a Christmas movie– a true testament to his love for the season and the idea of finding hope in the midst of life-altering sadness. If you haven’t already, please make sure to support White Reindeer by liking it on facebook and downloading a copy to watch this season.

I share all of this with you not just because its hilarious/amazing/inspiring, but because I want you to enjoy the season as much as I do. Friends, I hope that you’ll treat this holiday season as a new beginning. An opportunity to live a little more authentically, love a little more earnestly, and sing with a little more pep. I’ll be doing just that in the weeks ahead while I’m off work– and hoping it carries into the New Year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my family to yours!

merry xmas


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My Snow Days

December 10, 2013

For those of you that haven’t been obsessively checking facebook today, many of your friends– including moi– have been working from home today for a “snow day.” I put snow day in quotation marks because, frankly, it was a total joke. While it did snow this morning, nothing stuck to the ground– and this afternoon I considered going for a run. (Key word: considered.)

Luckily, the majority of snow days in the DC area are exactly like this– a quiet, totally-safe-to-drive opportunity to stay home, make some hot cocoa, and putz around the internet from my couch. Today was no different– I was super productive with work stuff and somehow made time to do a few rounds of laundry, whip-up a fully-balanced lunch, and drink a glass or two of wine. And, bonus– I never changed out of my pajamas.

Growing up, snow days (and fake sick days, for that matter) were a great opportunity to stay home, drink coke, and watch Jerry Springer. When my parents were upstairs or in another room, my brothers and I would sneak it on and turn the volume especially low. This was my first exposure to the ever-amazing reality TV– an important reminder that yes, at least I’m not that guy. Special episodes included “take charge, your baby is too large” and the classic “who’s the baby daddy?”

Snow-Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an indoor family, we never spent too much time playing outside in the snow– instead, I opted for phone calls with friends about yesterday’s gossip. When we did go outside, it very rarely included the classics of building snowmen or having snowball fights. We would pick the icicles off of gutters and eat them like candy canes. We’d point out the yellow patches of snow where a dog had just peed. We’d complain and ask my Dad to make us our winter favorite, “pizza pasta.”

There was one snow day, in January, where my family was stuck indoors and was going a little stir-crazy. So, we did what any normal family would do– we decided to have Fake Christmas. What is Fake Christmas, you ask? Its where you have 20 minutes to find items in your house, re-wrap them, and dole them out to your family as if they were newly purchased gifts. I gave my Dad a used pair of his Schol’s inserts. For Emily, my unfortunate friend snowed in during our family’s absurdity, I gifted a toy plastic machete with letter magnets on top that spelled out FRIEND. I’m sure that is a gift she still has and will cherish for years to come.

All in all, I’d say that snow days are god’s way of saying, “Hey middle class-America, you deserve a break from your cubicles.” I’ve been enjoying them for years, and will for years to come!

What do you typically do during snow days? 

 


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Thanks be to You

November 27, 2013

While Thanksgiving is a widespread tradition, there are no traditions in the Peacock Clark family. Growing up, my family spent most Thanksgivings at the beach. Yes, we were one of the 30% of Americans who opt out of turkey in favor of another meat or vegetarian option–in our case, fish. When my parents divorced, I heard two very similar conversations. First, my mom: “I haven’t had turkey for 30 years and so we’re going to buy a turkey, damn it” Then, my dad: “Well, my wife thinks its pure blasphemy that we don’t eat turkey.” So, to make up for lost time– we went from 0 to 2 turkeys every year. In between, my family has faded in and out between pure vegans and the people you catch eating leftover ham in the middle of the night.

There was one year we tried to start a tradition. It was the morning of thanksgiving, and my mom asked my brothers and I to each write 100 things that we were thankful for. We would share them at dinner. (A little excessive, right Mom?!?) We moaned and groaned, and went to our rooms to start the task at hand. Who knows what Jacob wrote— he was like 6, he probably couldn’t even count to 100. I wrote down as many friends and classmates as I could think of– and then I started repeating names in hopes that my parents wouldn’t notice. But Zach’s response was pure genius. He sat down at the dinner table, opened up his sheet of paper that seemed mostly blank and proclaimed, “I am thankful for the 101 Dalmatians…except for that damn Pongo.” Bravo Zach, bravo.

turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the years, I have traveled to spend thanksgiving with friends and family from all over. I made paper pilgrim hats for friendsgiving before it was a thing. Today, I travel to North Carolina to spend thanksgiving with my best friend since 7th grade, and I’m filled with gratitude for all of the people in my life. I am fortunate to be surrounded by some of the greatest Joe Schmo’s that walk this earth– and I am inspired by each of you everyday. Whether its my friends who are navigating newfound motherhood and balancing career, my colleagues who are filled with passion to end child hunger, or my family who follows their dreams to lead ministry, inspire others through video games and film, or simply scoop ice cream to happy tourists– each of you helps to shape who I am. And for that, I am grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


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I’m Gonna Be a Supermodel

November 17, 2013

Well, folks– it’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post. Thanks for checking back in!

Lately, I’ve been having some body image issues. Not in a depressing, melodramatic way. I haven’t falsely convinced myself that I’m morbidly obese or anything like that. I don’t cry while I watch The Biggest Loser. (Well, at least I don’t cry for me.) 

If I spent the amount of time working out that I talk about working out, I would be a supermodel. I mean, I am really good at discussing exercise. You love your personal trainer? Yeah, had one of those. You find yoga relaxing? Sure, me too. Unfortunately, at this point– I am totally sedentary and eat whatever I want, whenever I want. It’s a slippery slope to true slothdom– don’t say I didn’t warn you.

To motivate myself to get back on the horse (the horse being an elliptical machine), I figure I need a baseline of confidence. And where better to find inspiration than looking at photos of a younger, skinnier version of me?!? So I started looking through the photo albums and yearbooks for images of a smiling, adorable Colleen. And then…I came across a true gem from my past. Pictures that say a thousand words of beauty and….high school science?!?

That’s right, people. I used to model for a high school science magazine called Chem Matters. And here’s the evidence to prove it:

Image

 

Here’s me on the cover, looking at my friend Rachel’s totally hip mood necklace. And yes, I’m wearing rollerblades for no apparent reason.

Image

Hell if i know what this article is about, but the back of my head looks like a A+ student in chemistry.

Image

Last but not least, here is a blown up photo of me blowing bubbles. Unfortunately, the photographer did not tell me that expression on my face made me look like a monkey, or that I was somehow growing a mustache. You think he would’ve noticed or done something to edit that out.

Looking through these photos gave me a renewed sense of just how hot I am and have always been. In the words of songwriting genius, Jill Sobule, I don’t care what my teachers say. I’m young, and I’m hip, and so beautiful….I’m gonna be a supermodel.


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30 __________ before 30.

October 8, 2013

Soooooo….I’ve been freaking out a little bit about my 30th birthday. It’s about 7 months away, and that is 7 months too close.

Am I ready for real-live adulthood? Does this mean I can’t text my ex-boyfriends and eat unlimited amounts of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream? Does being 30 equate to actually needing to invest in retirement, or frankly understand the meaning of the words “invest” and “retirement”? Can I still wear hand-me-downs and let my mom take me shopping at Target?!?! So many questions.

To seize the day and carpe the diem like never before, I’ve decided to embark on some sort of personal-development social experiment. After reading the pop-self help book My Year with Eleanor, I came up with this genius idea to write a second blog… 30 things before I turned 30 that scared me, interested me, stretched me out of my comfort zone. Original, right? Wrong. When I told a group of four friends at dinner & drinks, three of them had a personal friend who had already done it. It’s actually been done like a million times.

OK, that’s fine. (Grrrr.) How can we do this Colleen style? The brainstorming got better with each glass of wine. What about 30 acts of kindness before 30? 30 delicious gourmet meals before 30? 30 selfies before 30? (Been there, done that.)

Then, we came upon it….if I wanted to embark on the journey of a lifetime, and also allow my life to become a famous movie where I am played by Tina Fey, I would need to go on 30 dates (with 30 different guys, potentially in 30 days) before I’m 30. 

30 days

 

 

 

 

This has been done, too, but not by a musical-loving, world-traveling lady like myself. Even better, as someone who can’t ride a bike, I will have to bike share to every one of these dates. This will culminate in the greatest birthday party of all time– where I have them meet, and I hand out roses and pretend to be the Bachelorette. (Potentially joking. Not sure.)

Also, this blog will clearly be anonymous. Please don’t tell my parents.

Here’s what I’m looking for in the comments section: questions, concerns, feedback, volunteers (for marketing help and men who’d like to go out with me once, seven months from now. Don’t line up all at once.) I mean, whaddaya think? What are 30 other things I could do besides date and bake? Oooh, maybe a cross-country trip– 30 cities before 30? 30 odd-jobs before I’m 30 (since I’ve always wanted to learn plumbing)? 30 DIY art projects before I’m 30? Please.

 

 


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My Imaginary Kid

September 22, 2013

In the past year, I’ve spent more of my life around babies than ever before. Many good friends have gotten knocked up, gave birth, and are now raising adorable little boys and girls. I’ve listened to them feel challenged by breast feeding, deciding not to breast feed, going back to work, deciding not to go back to work, losing sleep, and learning how to nap. I’ve listened to their joy as their babies started making “oohs” instead of “ahhs”, following their eyes with the movement of a finger, rolling over, and sitting up. I’ve listened to how having a baby has changed, for better or worse, their relationship with their spouses, parents, in-laws, and friends. Honestly, I have no idea how these women (and of course, their husbands) do it.  To oversimplify, they make the impossible possible on a day-to-day basis.

When I watch my friends parent, I am simultaneously in awe and super glad that my life isn’t there yet. For as much as I complain about not having my life together, that lends itself to a certain level of freedom. I, for instance, can split a bottle of wine and watch a few hours of TV without too many distractions. I can sleep in. I don’t frequently have conversations about the consistency of poop. I can (as I did today), spend way too much money on new shoes and a purse– and this won’t take away from my child’s college savings plan.

funny-baby

 

 

 

 

 

I’m happy to be “doin’ my own thang”, meeting new people as I travel, and having the flexibility to choose my life as it comes by the hour, but I thiiiiiink that one day, I’d like to have a kid. (Emphasis on the think.) The only problem (ok, there are lots of problems) is that as a foreign concept so far off in the future, I refuse to accept motherhood as anything but perfect. Here’s what I’m thinking:

1. Pregnancy will last no longer than six weeks. I’ll wake up, really cute and showing, and my closet will be magically filled with maternity clothes. (Maternity jeans, in particular, will become a regular part of my wardrobe– both comfortable and slimming!)

2. I will give birth to an 8-year old. While labor may be painful, my imaginary kid won’t need diaper changes, can cut their own chicken, and can have conversation in full sentences.

3. Like babysitting, I will get paid $20/an hour to order pizza and watch cable while my kid sleeps.

OK, I get it. Being a parent isn’t about perfection, or even finding happiness and joy in every moment– it’s about living a life that’s meaningful. It’s about creating a new family that extends beyond you. And while I’m really far from having the maturity or stability to raise a child, I like that idea.

I can picture my imaginary 8-year old, growing up to discover their passion in life, contributing to the world, and living their own life full of laughter, anxiety, ambition, and love– just like the rest of us. And while the thought of raising a kid is overwhelming, I’m learning from my friends that it’s a meaningful journey. Not always fun, not always cramping their style. My imaginary kid, of course named Colleen.