How to be confident

Why am I so confident?

I want to analyze this, make a formula, spread the wealth.  Confidence is amazing and also useful at parties; I want you to have it.

I'm confident enough to wear a bunch of beanie babies I hot glued together as a garment.

I’m confident enough to wear a bunch of beanie babies I hot glued together as a garment.

Maybe it’s because…

  • I was a perfectionist from age 8 to age… 15.  This may have helped me develop the skills to perform under pressure and avoid messy mistakes like it’s second nature.  Somehow, though, I spent very little time criticizing myself as perfectionists are wont to do, and more time trying to get better and better. Crazy shit like making lists of attributes I’d like to have (“eloquence, uniqueness, compassion”) and breaking down the steps to attain them…
  • …But then I gave myself permission at some point to not be a perfectionist.  Some mistakes still send me into an anxious fit.  I hate making driving mistakes (like hitting a curb, cutting off someone).  I think that’s fair – driving is probably the most dangerous activity I participate in day to day.
  • I grew up an arrogant little bastard.  A few years spent thinking I’m better than everyone else may have wired my neurons firmly to the confidence centers in my brain. I’ve changed my ways, though, and really don’t care if anyone is better than me or I better than them. This happened when I went to England and was surrounded by fantastic people. I realized it was much more enjoyable to be in awe of them than to compete…
  • …And I’m not really competitive at all. I am self-competitive, trying to get better at things for my own satisfaction.  But I will surrender quickly if I realize it’s not worth my trouble to battle with someone. I’ve learned how to enjoy other people’s wins.
  • I am bloody good at some things.  It’s easy to feel great when people are complimenting me on skills I’ve acquired over the years.
  • I’m kind of a braggart. This creates a cycle in which I show off, receive praise, and want to show off more. Somehow I have avoided the whole “I neeeeeeed people’s approval” bit and just taken away a shamelessness when it comes to displaying myself. It’s easy to feel confident when I’m waving around my peacock tail and hearing sweet oohs and ahhs…
  • …And I don’t just show off my good side.  Everything is out there.  I’m an over-sharer, ridiculously honest.  It’s easy to feel confident when I’ve got nothing to hide.
  • I dealt with mind-numbing depression for a good many years.  (Still boggled and exhilarated every time I realize I’m better now.)  It’s hard for the small hurdles in life to seem significant when my biggest drain was my own personal hell. Yes, I had phases of hating myself, but for the most part that wasn’t the route my depression took.  In my backbreaking effort to get better, I worked out little checkpoints with myself. Instead of focusing on how horrible I was for not getting better, I focused on how horrible I felt.  It’s as if my self-preserving instincts saved me.  I also made it a point to keep functioning in society, so I learned how to fake it despite the depression.  It’s easy to feel confident when I’ve gone through the wringer and come out a better person.
  • I am (usually) good at empathizing.  This makes it easier to understand other people’s actions and motivations and avoid blaming myself for things that aren’t my fault.
  • I was in an emotionally manipulative relationship for 4 years.  I came out of that with the determination to not let someone make me feel like that ever again.  And I’ve managed to reconcile with my ex, be friendly with him, and have closure.
  • I have anxiety, but I fend it off pretty well.  I redirected it early on (subconsciously) to things that didn’t matter.  Instead of worrying about tangible things – school, friendships, my appearance – I would worry about strange things like the way colors seemed to jump at me or by imagining my depth perception was failing. I use my imagination to help me not take my anxiety seriously, make it somewhat of a game.
  • I decided it would be advantageous/attractive/fun to be fearless during my “self-improvement” phase.  So I made sure to practice not being afraid and taking risks to impress people.  I still do that a bit like the unblushing boaster that I am.
  • I surrounded myself with people who are good for me, and made it a point to always be grateful for them.  I have supportive close buddies, an amazing girlfriend, and friends who inspire me.  I try to figure out how to make people feel good, and in return they give me kind and appreciative friendships.  I also make sure to let people know what I want, and they happily oblige me since I made things easy for them.   (i.e. I tend to tell people what a sucker I am for verbal affirmations, and which kinds.)

So, I’m sure I could think of other things, but now I want to hear what the community has to say.  What makes you feel confident?  How confident are you?  How confident do you perceive others to be?

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This is how you rave, babies

Rave Review

“Enter the Tech” by Rock the Discotek
March 1st

Rating: 3.5 pieces of candy
How-to-catch-James-Woods-ooh-piece-of-candy-family-guy

Negatives:

  • 18+ …still weirds me out no matter how nice the kids are
  • Some DJs were obviously underprepared
  • Too much publicity = too crowded
  • Too crowded = long ass lines
  • Too crowded = vandalism & early shut down, apparently

Positives:

  • Several projectors with visuals
  • Great sound system in both rooms
  • Most DJs were creative
  • Being able to dress up to get in for free
  • 2 rooms = less overwhelming
  • Bathrooms weren’t bad at all, if that matters
  • Casual atmosphere (e.g. friendly security)

Overall, I’d go again as long as they continue to keep the entry cost low.

I think a lot of us have been hoping for the “rave” scene to expand in SD. I’m no veteran raver but I’ve been tracking underground EDM events around town for the past couple of years and I can speak for everyone when I say we were all bummed when Gage’s warehouse basically shut down.

Since then, there hasn’t been much in the way of conveniently located regular underground events (that aren’t hyper-commercialized trash…No thanks “Somewhere Loud”) so driving to Mira Mesa actually sounded like a cinch. Event page said: “dress like Bruce Lee, get in free” which is a dumb and impossible, but Katelyn confidently put me in a cheongsam-inspired top and a tutu and said it would count.

tutu rave fishnets furry legwarmers

I did NOT know it was an 18+ event, so I was a bit stunned to see so many youngins in the line and probably accidentally gave some of my pre-party Ancient Age to a child. And it was a line. The event was over-publicized, and they invited teenagers, so it was no surprise it took at least an hour to get through. Nevertheless, I ran back to the car to grab my whiskey and made fun out of the time.

Our dedication to dressing up was rewarded when an organizer strafed the queue, shot fingers at us with a big smile and, “You are getting in for free and you are getting in for free.” Pretty much at these things if you look the slightest bit fun say to the gatekeepers “I was told I would get in free because of my costume” and gesture emphatically. It’s worth a shot. There were tons of dudes in gray sweatshirts and jeans without even a speck of adornment, not even Mardi Gras beads, which is beyond disappointing. Again, teenagers.

The neat thing about partying with kids is that it makes you feel like you can reach out and indoctrinate them while they’re still young and impressionable. I felt like I needed to “community build” or some sappy shit so I ran off and collected glow sticks to put on a guy’s crutches and broken foot. It really did help people stop tripping all over him. Then I found some girl who could barely cope with reality and tried to entertain her for awhile, until I realized I was probably over-enthusiastic to the point of being scary and dropped her off with her friends.

The gig did get shut down early at 3am. Yes it was fully permitted and the noise wasn’t an issue (sounded good and loud from the inside, yet barely audible from the street), but some asshole tagged and broke windows of the surrounding businesses. I would say that’s what happens when you invite teenagers to raves, but I suspect it was the 30-something guy I saw trying to sneak in, pissed he couldn’t trick his way into the over-packed venue.

It didn’t occur to me that shutting down was what was happening, so when the music stopped I sat in the middle of the floor and shouted, “MASSAGE CIRCLE.” I was going to save this rave. 2 people joined me. “C’mon babies, this is how you rave,” I yelled. Soon we had about 10 people and next thing I knew we were playing some sort of crowdsurfing leapfrog hybrid.

crowd-surfing-leapfrog

Katelyn had seen the cops, so she came in and told me it was time to leave. “Do we have to?” I said. Boy, I would have liked to see that thing go til 6am.

Last-Minute Halloween Costumes … & a last minute blog post

(Costume ideas below the picture.)

Hey San Diegans,

I spent my prime blog writing time at Disneyland! I learned that Blue Bayou really does have “the best” Monte Cristo, it’s not an overstatement, and at California Adventure I learned that the silly swings are seriously fucked up. I will never go on those again. I only ever want to feel that sideways if I earned it through copious alcohol consumption, not a undulating suspension ride.

disneyland arthur stone sword

I’m down to 15 minutes before I need to start assembling my own costume, and I realized if I really do want to provide a service through this blog, I can at least share some last-minute, cheap and lazy, DIY Halloween Costumes that I found / imagined. Enjoy, and see you out at the bars tonight!

Movie Theater Floor
Wear black and stick on popcorn and empty candy wrappers.

Road to Nowhere
All black + white tape dotted line, then make an attachment or sign for your belt or hat that says “nowhere”

Fork in the Road
Road costume from above and dangle a fork on a necklace

Deviled egg
White shirt + yellow circle + devil horns

Error 404 costume not found
(print this and tape it to your clothes)

Aircraft carrier
Carry around a toy airplane

Operation (board game)
Use a thick red marker to draw the outlines of “adam’s apple,” “wishbone,” “funny bone,” etc. on white paper. Cut just outside the red lines and tape all the pieces on to yellow or nude colored clothing (or your naked body if it’s that kind of party). Wear a red clown nose or paint your nose red, or find one of those light-up Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer noses (I happen to have one..somewhere….)

Blackmail
All black clothes + print out oversized postage stamps and affix to the left side of your chest.  (Google image search stamps and put on a “large” size filter)

Cactus
Green clothes dotted with those page markers/stickies from office supply store or stolen from work

(Can you tell I’m just looking around my desk at this point?)

Any of the rage comics
Print out one of the rage faces as a mask, use black tape on white clothes to make a stick figure body.

Happy Halloween!

Theme party ideas for adults

Of course, the first week I miss a scheduled post, 6 people at a party make a point to tell me they enjoy my writing/blog. Did you all work together to guilt trip me? Because it worked. You crazy kids made me a little weepy, d’aww.

Also, I got a slew of nonsensical comments from the interwebs, which the WordPress spam robot completely missed. Probably skipped ’em because they aren’t linking to Christian Loubouton shoes or Gucci handbags. Instead they just link to facebook profiles of attractive people. I’m keeping some of them, because look at this one:

Your website has to be the eltcreonic Swiss army knife for this topic. (from Pocket Cheese)

I don’t know if a bunch of drunks found one of my business cards or I’m just being punished by the blog gremlins.

So, I’ll set aside the part of my Saturday generally reserved to pretending if I lie still in bed I can fall back asleep and my hangover will go away and Katelyn might wake up and I can ask her to bring me a water…and instead I’ll write a make-up post. But don’t ask me to say sorry. Yes, I prioritized getting laid over writing in my blog, and no one can make me apologize for that.

This is what I look like right now.

This is what I look like right now.

Choosing a theme for your party

I have been throwing theme parties since I was 7. I would plan for my next birthday just as soon as the last one passed, brainstorming ideas in my journal. I found that two key ingredients made for a notable party — the type of party people talked about for days after — and that was a carefully chosen guest list and, of course, a well-executed theme.

Historical themes included (and feel free to steal them)…

Teeny Tiny Party – Miniature everything. Cupcakes turned upside down and decorated like cakes. Those toothpicks with tiny pinwheels on them. Half-sized gel pens. Mini skirts encouraged. Palm-sized pizzas. Custard cups of “spaghetti” made from angel hair pasta and the littlest hand-rolled meatballs. Even the invitations were itty bitty.

Under the Sea – If you make ocean-themed blue jello cups, don’t put gummy sharks in them. Don’t put gummy anything in them. The sugar gets all sucked out and the gummy engorges with water and you end up with floppy tasteless shark blobs. Actually, this was entertainingly gross. I also made sea-shell pasta and hot dog “octopuses” (slice the hot dog vertically just past the halfway point, and the dangly hot dog “legs” will curl when you boil them).

Image from Taste of Home, click for recipe.

Casino Royale – Invitations in black envelopes included cut-up card confetti and fake money. I made a roulette table out of a lazy Susan and card-stock. Keno board out of a white board and painters tape. Poker table. Poker chips scattered everywhere. A paper-mache golden egg, covered in a thick layer of glitter, contained prizes for the winner with the most counterfeit cash.

Sweet 16 – Candyland. I found a freaking candyland VHS tape + floor game and left it playing downstairs to add to the ambiance. Giant lollipops made out of balloons and cellophane. Smarties necklaces. Decorations and food were strictly pink, orange, and white. Those little sticky white pork buns.

Murder Mystery Dinner – I wanted to throw one regardless and was willing to write my own script, but I lucked out and found a boxed murder mystery at the thrift store. Aw yis, vintage. Each invitee received a wax-sealed manila envelope stuffed with a packet of instructions, including period costume ideas and character breakdowns so they knew in advance how to play their roles. My mom helped me put on a 5 course meal, and each ring of the dinner bell both signified when to bring out the next dish and to advance the game one round. The murderer ended up being a surprise porn star from the film, “Stiff Upper Lip.”

Image from Vintagegameworld.com

I’m a Big Kid Now – For my 18th birthday I encouraged guests to dress up as 5-year-olds. One boy came in a Spiderman costume. Everyone brought baby pictures and we had a guessing contest. Bubbles. Crayons. Finger-painting. At the end of the party, I had a bead-giving ceremony à la YMCA summer camp, where I gave out plastic beads on safety pins to each person in turn, explaining what the color of the bead signified and what each person meant to me. I cried. A lot.

And, of course, with any of those themes you need only add alcohol and they become adult parties. That’s really what I do; throw a kid-worthy party with over-the top decorations and at least one craft activity and/or game, and tack on a BYOB.

The Mashup Formula

I’ve also recently discovered a sort of formula, and that’s the mashup. Take a style (such as a genre or pop culture meme) and mash it with a type of event or holiday. And then throw it on your birthday because, yes, you can have Halloween in February (Sami says it’s OK).  I did “Ravemas,” which was actually kind of temporally relevant because my birthday is two days after Christmas.gingerbread-cookie-club-kids

  • Rave + Christmas = Ravemas:
  • Fishnets, glittery Santa Hats (Claire’s had the best ones), fuzzy leg warmers, antler ears, big black boots
  • Mistletoe & cuddle puddles
  • Egg nog and spiked hot chocolate
  • Twinkle string lights every-the-fuck-where, plus rave-y lights
  • My friend brought his DJ gear and played a house set
  • Cookie club kids decorating sesh

Using this formula, I can think up a mint of other themes for ya:

  • Tim Burton Easter
  • Death Metal Valentine’s
  • German-style Wake (for the passing of your 20s). Ziggy zaggy ziggy zaggy. Oi oi oi!
  • Walking Dead Prom
  • Office Party Halloween (put on some bunny ears and pretend you’re in the conference room trying to get a sexual harassment suit)
  • Sci-fi Speed-dating
  • Dexter Pool Party

Get creative, because no one wants to go to yet another Mad Hatter Tea Party this year.

P.S. If you’re asking why I don’t throw more parties, why don’t you offer to host a location for me?

Dayglow San Diego 2013 (a.k.a. Life in Color)

Dayglow San Diego pissed off about 3,000* people last year who couldn’t get down to the over-packed floor, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when it got re-branded as “Life in Color” this year with noticeably restricted ticket sales.  I didn’t comprehend this at first. I walked in past a dude shouting “is anyone selling tickets,” I didn’t wait in line, and I walked in to what felt like a very empty San Diego Sports Arena Valley View Casino Center. I thought to myself, where is everyone?

I think they did right. Security felt relaxed throughout the night. I didn’t really get patted down; a tired-looking woman whisked her hands on my sides while avoiding eye contact. So much for the sticks of Stride I hid in my crotch (wasn’t sure if they’d be confiscating gum and I really wanted to have it, don’t judge me)…  I heard about 30 people bum-rushed the event fences, so for awhile they checked tickets in and out of the smoking patio.  Later, I helpfully asked a zoned-out yellow-shirter if he’d be checking my ticket. He laughed, said “yah” before ushering me through the door without even a glance. Ok, saucer-eyes, I guess not.

Or, maybe, you know, security didn't spend a lot of time patting me down because I didn't wear very much clothing.

Or, maybe, you know, security didn’t spend a lot of time patting me down because I didn’t wear very much clothing. Picture stolen from Mel Marcelo, who photographs like 90% of the event pictures in this town.

Later I jumped up on my lesbro’s shoulders for a better view of the stage because I felt like being TALL. I made eye-contact with one of the guards. ‘Want me to get down?’ I mouthed. He shrugged and let me stay. Kids sat all over the floor, enjoying light shows and massage trains. At Beyond Wonderland last year they did not allow anything like this. It felt like being in a kindergarten where you’re allowed to eat the crayons. I got down from my perch and said, “I’m looking for people to adopt as my rave children.”

I enjoyed the relative emptiness of the venue. We saw the same faces, had space to burst around the halls, could find friends again we made an hour ago.  A skinny, solo guy shook and jittered next to me. His eyes pointed in different directions. Overcome with empathy, I asked if he needed a hug, and squeezed him like I could make his pupils point forward again.  Later I spotted him looking much happier, and much less cock-eyed.

Another picture by Mel Marcado. I wasn't too sure about my decision to wear braids until a girl ran up to me, touched them, and told me I looked "so cute, like an anime character."

Another picture by Mel Marcelo. I wasn’t too sure about my decision to wear braids until a girl ran up to me, touched them, and told me I looked “so cute, like an anime character.”

I had a major moment of skeptism when they unleashed the confetti. I hadn’t even made it down to the floor yet; I sat in the darkened stands at the far end. A cloud blasted into the paint smothered bodies below us. “Great,” Katelyn said, “Let’s make paper mache. Wow.” She insisted that it was paper, but the pieces fluttered like wings and shimmered like mylar. They floated upward (turns out it was the rising heat) and really did look like live butterflies. I imagined insect antennae and legs sticking to wet skin and grimaced. Yet the whole night all I saw was a single square of tissue paper stuck to Mel Marcelo’s clavicle — the only evidence that the thick sparkling swarm had ever existed.

_____________________________

Visit this article for photos of a similar confetti cloud effect @ a paint party in Dallas last year – it’s a good read too.

*Ok, rough estimate. I had a difficult time tracking down actual numbers. Google Fu is weak today. I blame hangover. When do I ever not blame stuff on my hangovers?