FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: It’s Almost My Birthday And I’ll Freak Out If I Want To

Hello, chipmunks carrying acorns up a tree! Welcome to this week’s Friday Open Thread, in which we unrepentently share paparazzi photos of our favorite celebrities and fundamentally destroy their right to privacy. JK! This is a weekly space in which we laugh, cry, live, breathe, y’know, all those words from The L Word, and then share photos of our cats / girlfriends / dogs to make everything okay again.

This is what a Friday Open Thread looks like

This is what a Friday Open Thread looks like

What’s left of this summer is gonna be a super big deal for me. I’m shaking things up! But in the midst of all my planning and dreaming, I completely forgot to sit down and plan a celebration for my 25th birthday, which is on Monday, and also forgot to go through the emotions of turning 25 alone before my long-distance girlfriend Geneva arrived in town. And now, I’m almost 25 and I think I’m gonna have a heart attaaaa-AAA-aa-AAA-ck!

It feels like being alive for a quarter-century should be a big deal, and thus I feel like I’ve completely failed at really turning 25, y’know? Like, I’m not an A-List celebrity (yet), nor have I saved / changed the world in a truly historic way (yet), and I have yet to learn how to make more than the same five kinds of meals over and over again. This can’t possibly be adulthood, right. Like, I just cannot handle if this is adulthood. I NEED MORE TIME, WORLD. I NEED SO MUCH MORE TIME.

But I digress.

DSC_03672

via oohlaloveevents.com

Have you ever turned 25? If you come here and tell me how scared you are to turn 20 I will weep openly. But if you have ideas for what I can do for my birthday or how I could best ring in this occasion besides having an anxiety attack at a bar in which I watch my entire life flash before my eyes, send ’em along in the comments! And if you have some sort of wisdom to keep me warm in these next few days as I suffer in my old age, please do feel free to send those along, too. I will also accept Marilyn Monroe-inspired birthday serenade videos, GIFs of dogs in party hats, and hilarious ecards as gifts in the comments if you feel so inclined.

And if you don’t care that I’m turning 25, well, whatever, cool, I don’t care. But you know what I do care about? Your aforementioned pets / girlfriend / life stuff! Tell me everything. Tell me about your new haircut, how much your project at school annoys you, what color you’re dying your hair next, etc. I care deeply about everything that’s happening in your life, so bring it on!

Here’s one more puppy party photo for the road because I love you.

via oohlaloveevents.com

via oohlaloveevents.com


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Carmen is the Managing Digital Editor at Ms. , host of Bitch Media's POPAGANDA podcast and co-founder and Contributing Editor at Argot magazine. She previously served as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director at Autostraddle. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 926 articles for us.

286 Comments

  1. I can’t exactly remember turning 25 (too long ago), but I think it was the year that I celebrated by cooking bananas with coconut and orange in foil on a fire in some remote location that we cycled to without adequate bike lights. Apart from the bike light situation, WHICH I DO NOT RECOMMEND, bananas and fire are a rather great way to celebrate becoming older. But my vote is for 27 as the best age to be. It’s also the last time you’ll ever be n^n years old (where n is an integer).

  2. Happy almost birthday, Carmen! I validate your feelings of trepidation–growing up is hard and it so easily goes off-script from what you’d thought would happen!–but I think you’ll be fine. Being able to cook 5 meals is pretty impressive already!

    25 has been a good year for me. It started off strong with the most debilitating straight girl crush I’ve ever experienced. I’d avoid that part if possible. But I’ve got a month of 25 left, and I’ve moved to a new city and I’m getting excited about starting a new job, and my dog’s super happy with our new city lifestyle, and I’m making new friends, and I’m in the early stages of what might become a relationship that I’m feeling really positively about! So, if it’s helpful to see a model of a 25 year old whose life is not over, I can provide that. :P

  3. hello hugging meerkats and high-fiving prarie dogs and just-a-wave-thanks dormouses!

    happy birthday carmen!

    25! I think I remember 25? No, maybe I don’t. If I remember correctly, my friends and I went and got ice cream and then we went and hung out in my hot tub and it was totally pleasant.

    No, I think actually that was the year before, the year I turned 25 I had been dating my gf for like three weeks and had all my grad school friends over (and sat in the hot tub) and drank SO MUCH WINE and at some point everybody left and I was like “……………maybe I will be your girlfriend in three months” and gf was like “ok? not now? why three months?” because I was used to scaring people off by wanting a gf who I could sent to work with lunches made of leftovers who would text me more than once every three days, so I developed this strategy of being like “Maybe want me to be your gf in three months?” after dating for a few weeks, and a couple folks were like “I do not want a girlfriend thank you” which was disappointing but instructive.

    anyway, she is still my girlfriend. and that was a pretty good party! though having a hot tub got old eventually because people would be like “can I have a party at your house, oops I invited twice the number of people, oops, nobody remembered a towel can we borrow yours etc” and I was like RUB YOURSELF ON THE BATHMAT JESUS I DON’T HAVE 12 EXTRA TOWELS.

    but for awhile when it was new it was like “teerex we are coming over to sit in your hot tub but we refuse to wear swimsuits” and I was not sad about that but I had to be like “hey roommate do you care if a bunch of naked girls hang out in our backyard” and she was like “haha of course not! I did that one time! When I was soooooooo drunk!” and I was like “yeah…..we probably won’t be super drunk but uh….good, thanks, let us know if you’re going to bed and we’re being too loud.”

    so anyway. that was a good couple years in a house with a hot tub.

    lifewise I am fine, getting down to the wire with wedding planning, I have decided to just hand the phone to my gf when I call my mom to be like “this technical thing, can you help us? what is your preference?” because when I talk to her my mom gets all weird and riled up and I cry, and when girlfriend talks to her she is like,”ah, yes, I see, that is an interesting point.” which is annoying, but I am also not the details person.

    and I am grinding out three more weeks of work and then off to wider pastures, which will be great.

    • okay this was the best story ever, also i love hot tubs so now i definitely need to go find one for the occasion. what are your wider pastures! glad you’ve got something awesome to look forward to while you bang on the drum all day <3

      • it was a super fun time! I don’t 100% know what my wider pastures will be, it goes job ending, weddingtimes, and then great unknown balanced on my previous freelance obligations. But I feel pretty confident that I am eminently hireable and will find something that is a good fit.

  4. I turned 25 almost 3 years ago (Libras representing, woot woot!)and who I was then, is certainly not who I am now. At the time, I was recently uprooted from my home of 6 years in Philadelphia to move to where my parents retired in Orlando. My dad suffered a stroke and I came down to help him and my mom out. It was a hard birthday, because I realized that the first half of my 20s were now over. The first half of my 20s were (at this point) the best years of my life, and here I was at 25 looking at the future with bleak eyes. I was in a place where I had no friends, I barely had a job despite my extensive formal education, and life just plain sucked. I remember crying on the floor in my bathroom on my birthday feeling like total shit. It was the lowest point of my life. Now, almost 3 years later, the second half of my 20s are looking pretty fucking amazing. I finally embraced Orlando, I started a business, I left said business due to a partner being a slimeball, I did a lot of traveling, made a lot of friends, lost friends who were negative, added people in my life who mean so much to me, recently started a new career, really focused on my writing and film making, and FINALLY came into my own sexually and embraced the tomboy soft butch side that I was hiding since junior high. I’m nowhere near being a “true adult” yet, but I don’t want to be either!

    Anyway, a few weeks ago I told all of you fine Straddlers that I connected with my best guy friend’s ex on a weekend trip and we hit it off. Well I’m pretty much living in a Rom-Com that I need to start writing. We went on a date last week and it was AMAZING. I want to take it as slow as possible and I’m not taking things seriously, but WOW. I can honestly say I have never felt this way for a woman before. We connect on such a level that it’s somewhere beyond. We can literally talk for HOURS and it seems like no time has passed. We’re going out again next weekend when she comes back from Portland to a burlesque show at a women’s night at a gay bar…so…yeah, things will get hot. lol

  5. First off happy birthday!! Hopefully, it’s filled with love and passivity.

    I already turned 30 this year. My 29th was the one I went a bit depressed cause I was in my last year of being in the 20s(not to mention still kind of newly queer & had a fun weekend at Dinah). When I 30 it was less of a big deal, I went to dinner with a cousin and then a speak easy, it was simple yet good(also in a buzzed+medicated stupor I came out as agender to the relative, I think it went okay?). I don’t remember what I did for my 25th, but I think I went to a vodka lounge down the street from my house and had dinner drinks with friends.

    You could always throw a bash somewhere outdoors, like the beach, woods, or anywhere out doors with some nature? If not that have friends come over to make mixed drinks. Maybe something like this?
    http://www.aspicyperspective.com/vodka-gummy-bears-pops/

    Or this? http://www.bustle.com/articles/45956-toasted-marshmallow-shot-glasses-are-a-thing-because-life-is-wonderful-heres-how-to-make?pp=0

    If not those, there is always going to a burlesque show.

    As days go by I am slowly giving up on my parents trying to accept me. Like I tried to tell them again I’m gednerqueer/agender, but they didn’t get it. They are like one is either man or woman. And since I’m amab, I must identify with my birth gender. I tried to explain it to them, but they think it’s some bs I learned through the net. Fuck.

    Oh and today I tapped a car while parking(nothing happened), and my father was cool with it(the other car did park awful in my defense). I also had a person point a sharp object at me before seeing others walking by and started to run. But, on the plus side Sunday I am going to the beach to hang out with fellow straddlers, and relax. I may tomorrow after work get a new bikini top. Any suggestions on something neutral?

    I was finally near this art piece as it was down during work hours this week. I really like the colors.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post.

  6. Well Happy early Birthday!!!!! Cheers to us queers!! I turned 25 last year and I had a Corona. That counts right? We might’ve done something else but IDR.

    So…how are you guys? Anyone get an A+ membership from all the comments last week? =D If so, CONGRATS!!!! I’m doing great! I’m getting the car a performance chip tomorrow for more vroom vroom. My sister and her fam are back from vacation so I have my nieces here who lovingly call me ‘frittata’ The story involves eggs obvs and Google. HAHA. Anyway!! I’m excited cause on Sunday my co workers and I are going to have a bonfire at the beach.

    This is the High Bicycle I made. Isn’t it neat? It’s one of the newer models of Metal Earth that came out.

    This is how I make ships. With new tools!! I love that cutter.

    Final product a few hours later. Queen Anne’s Revenge

    Look at this BIG BIG GULP my co worker gave me. It has A DEER ON IT. #klubdeer5ever

    Little Kitty babies. Jessy’s babies omg. That little orange one is basically his carbon copy LOL

  7. HAPPY ALMOST BIRTHDAY CARMEN!!! You already know how I not-so-secretly love you, so this is a very genuine birthday wish, sans a bday GIF, because I do not know how to insert said GIF into a comment. But just imagine a good one if you will.

    This “adulthood” thing is strange to me as well. Aren’t I supposed to be married off and living independently and earning money and have knowledge of how to do taxes and what life insurance is or some shit? (only some of those things, maybe). I feel like mid-20s is when these thoughts get REAL. And girrrl, are they ever.

    • wait, will i never understand taxes is this what you’re telling me. like, i keep thinking that knowledge will sort come to me, naturally, with little effort on my part, and yet it isn’t working out? weird.

      also, thank you for the birthday wishes. yes! things are getting real! but i always know i can count on you, rones.

    • Adulthood is a learning process. I’ve learned some of it at 26, but it still feels like I’m clueless a lot (most) of the time. I learned to do taxes properly in 2014, when my hard drive crashed a few days before they were due and I was waiting on some w2s that I never got and had the added confusion of having worked in 3 different states. I finally submitted my return at 5 am April 15. Never again will taxes ever be procrastinated…

  8. Happy Birthday! I’m terrible at birthdays so I suppose I’ll tell you about my life?

    I died my hair teal and green last week and it’s already starting to fade so I am going to TRY AGAIN this weekend. But probably not til Sunday because tonight I’m going on a date with my partner of almost six months so I’m pretty darn excited about that. Pasta is amazing, my partner is amazing, you’re amazing.

  9. Tip: If you settle on one place to do birthday stuff every year, then you never have to admit that you don’t remember what happened on a previous birthday.

    On my 25th birthday (and 23rd-27th), I went drinking with my friends at Hofbrauhaus. My memory of the day is fuzzy, more due to liter-sized beer steins than anything else.

    • truth time: this was 100% my strategy for a few years, but then my fave brunch spot just up and STOPPED SERVING BRUNCH! like, who does that? was it personal? (probably.) will my life ever be the same / be okay? (probably not.)

      i will raise a liter-sized stein to you on my birthday, perhaps in reality but most likely just in spirit. but it’s the fuzzy thoughts that count!

  10. Happy almost birthday!!! I hope it goes wonderfully and it is so nice that your long-distance Geneva gets to be there! I will definitely eat cake in your honor this weekend. I’m all over any excuse to eat cake, to be honest.
    So speaking of dogs, I’ve been doing all sorts of different little jobs since my career path got shattered, and one of those jobs is dogwalking. So I have this one awesome misandrist dog who absolutely hates men and today we were playing in the park and a man came over and she went right through a tiny gap in the fence and ran away! So I raced frantically around the neighborhood with 5 other dogs in tow and ended up tangled up in leashes wrapped around a street sign. It was super classy. I finally found her snuffling around in a trash can with a chip bag on her nose looking extremely pleased with herself.

  11. Hello, fellow July birthday! I just had my birthday on the 22nd. I turned 26 and went through another small existential crisis, similar to the one I had when I turned 25.i want to stay in my early 20s forever – an adult, but still kinda a kid. I think my most memorable birthday was my 15th, when I got chicken pox!

    This year, I worked an 11 h shift, so my birthday was unexciting. But the Monday before was fun. I went hiking up by a place called Rattlesnake Ledge. It’s a misnomer – there are no rattlesnakes in the area. It overlooks Rattlesnake Lake, which we walked around afterwards (I went with my mom, also an avid hiker. I hope when I’m in my 50s I’m as fit as she is). The water was so blue, and there were bare stumps along the muddy edges, standing on spindly “legs” because the water level was so low. There were notches (perhaps cut by loggers years ago?), and one had carved a face into one of them.

    Photos:

    The view of the lake from Rattlesnake Ledge

    Me looking up at Rattlesnake Ledge from Rattlesnake Lake

    (Side note: I’m wearing my favorite eddie bauer backpack in this photo. I have a special relationship with this backpack. Maybe eddie bauer is expensive, but their stuff is high quality. I’ve had for nearly a decade and it’s still in solid shape. It has been on top of 14ers and crammed full of organic chemistry textbooks and sat at my feet on a u-haul.That backpack has traveled through more years and states and mountains with me than any living being. I don’t do purses; I do backpacks. But I digress…)

    In other news (sorry if this is too personal), I saw my psychiatrist last week, and I think my ssri is actually kind of working. It’s more for anxiety than depression. I find I’m able to redirect my anxious/obsessive/ruminative thoughts better. Not forget about them, just be less controlled by them. It’s making me feel really hopeful. Life is good right now, and when I feel discouraged, I will refer back to yesterday’s Bob Ross post and think about happy trees.

  12. I’m half way through with year 25 and I can say that before my birthday I was also freaking out. And to be honest, sometimes I still am. All the things that I expected to be doing at 25 but hadn’t accomplished yet and all the things that others would have expected me to be doing by now were (and are) creeping at the back of my head. But you learn to live with those thoughts and live with being 25. It’s only an age after all and not so different from 24 or 26. So far this year has been pretty great! I definitely don’t feel like an adult but, in the end, what is adulthood? Just another series of numbers. So you have every right to be freaking out, but just think of how much time you still have to learn to cook more than 5 meals and save the world!

    On another note, I’m spending the next five hours on a bus to the lake house with the girlfriend so I’m looking forward to being entertained by this thread. If my battery doesn’t die first…

    Oh and happy birthday in advance!

  13. /continues to slide in sideways

    Hello, my tiny bagels.

    Carmen, if it makes you feel any better, I’m 26 going on 27,and I’ve done…. fuck all with my life hahA. It’s hard to feel ok with that, so while you’ve accomplished way more than me, I understand the feeling of like, “what have I really done?” I would give you lots of gifs, but im on my phone : x But yeah, it’s not a cool feeling; I know I personally wish I had my life figured out and that I was a bad ass, haha.

    But! I am not. I can’t even figure out if I should stay with my therapist (I know, still), and how to even broach that subject.

    I did, however, meet up with Straddlers yesterday :D We watched Labyrinth outside with a bunch of people on a hill, and it was really fun. :) Audra and Mik, hiiiiiiiii~~ c: hehe.

    Pride is finally this weekend! Tomorrow! Aaaaaa.

  14. Turning 25 was awful. I was and still am not prepared to be an adult. To help with the pain, here’s (hopefully) a picture of my dogs being really excited about birthdays. Their joy is unreal.

  15. Happy almost birthday! If I may suggest a way to celebrate it, I HIGHLY recommend having a make-a-mess party, in which you tie-dye every white thing you own, decorate cupcakes, do all sorts of arts and crafts, abd generally just make a really big mess. It’s how I celebrated my 5th and 20th birthdays, and it’s a lot of fun!

  16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARMEN!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!

    Oh man, 25 was my favorite birthday to date. That calendar year was maybe the best year also. No it was definitely the best year. I wound up in Key West with my gal pal at the time and my bffs. For some reason I had told them I wanted to be “throwing up drunk” which I do NOT recommend. At all. Ever. They succeeded. We had to evacuate the island the next day because hurricane. But, the gal pal and I decided that we were so not done with each other so we got a hotel room on the mainland for the rest of the weekend while my bffs went home. It was an adventure.

  17. Carmen! Happy Birthday. You can now rent a car!

    I’m 31, which is like ugggh ooooh huhhhhh just how much longer before I have to grow up? And you are six whole years away from that! Which is great news.

    Everyone tells me that your twenties are basically a write-off. They make you what you are, and hopefully, you have some good times, but no pressure. You’ve got all of your thirties to become an “adult” or whatever. (I’ll never be an adult TBH. Maybe when I have my kids! Oh god, how long until I’m too old to have kids?)

    1. Breathe. You will have exactly as much time as you need.

    2. You are already changing the world. You just can’t tell because you’re too close to you.

    3. Tequila shots.

    • you are such a dear, thank you! i will definitely keep in mind that i can live wild and free (for now) as i ring in the day and omg i totally am excited about not paying that fee on rental cars, because that fee is a KILLER.

      1. can do
      2. you’re too kind
      3. YES PEAS

    • Total write-off. Dear gay god the things i did at twenty…all 10 years of twenty. I don’t even expect twenty year olds to be decent people. But most of them are. Cheers to 30! Dirty 30, dirty from all the bad shit you did at twenty.

  18. Thanks for the hair compliment. I’m still in the process of growing it out (for the first time ever). Some days (today) it’s pretty good, other days it looks like I’m wearing a Cthulhu wig.

    My 25th birthday was half a lifetime ago. Mostly I remember that it came in one of the darker sections of the long dark tunnel that extended, for me, from the onset of puberty up to a little over a year ago. So I’m prolly not much help with the advice here.

    More like a birthday is this: this coming Wednesday will be the 1-year anniversary of my starting HRT. (Related, obvs, to emerging into sunlight out of a long dark tunnel.) This weekend or next, I’m going to celebrate by going out clothes shopping. Also brunch, I hope.

  19. Happy Birthday!!! I moved to a 1100km away from everyone I knew 6 days before my 25th birthday and spent it watching Netflix on my laptop and an air mattress because my furniture hadn’t arrived yet. Eating a cake that my landlord got for me. It was great!

  20. I turned 25 a couple months after coming out and getting divorced and while I was in the middle of taking extra undergrad classes so I could start grad school for the 2nd time. It all worked out for the best and I’m really happy now, but I still have a lot of days of being really upset that my life is not more organized. I’m going to be in my 30s before I have an actual job that will (please dear god) let me survive and pay my student loans.

  21. Happy almost birthday, Carmen!! We’re almost birthday buddies! Today is my 22nd birthday and I’m probably going to get wine drunk and cry a little bit (as I so often do). It’s also apparently National Tequila Day which is arguably more important than my birthday.

    I’m feeling pretty good about turning 22 because I still have one more year of school and I don’t have to be a real adult yet. I’m a huge fan of not being a real adult.

    I think the best part about turning 22 is that all my friends are FINALLY going to be 21 in the next few months so they’ll be able to go to bars with me.

    The worst part about being 22 is knowing that I need to find a full-time job before I’m 23. Eeeeeeeeeeek.

  22. 25 didn’t feel like a big thing for me, but I am aware of getting closer to 30. 30 might feel big.

    Today, my class of 13-year-olds used their 10-minute break to draw a giant version of the poop emoji on my whiteboard (complete with flies and baby poops) and I was unable to fully clean it off due to my ineffective board rubber, so there is now a visible outline of poop still on my board at school. I was secretly amused by this, but also hope it goes unnoticed by the higher-ups…

  23. When I turned 25, I had just gotten my first full time job and I was preparing to fly to New Jersey to defend my Master’s thesis. I think I celebrated it by having an anxiety attack and eating an entire red velvet cake. It was pretty solid, considering the next year I was too exhausted/depressed to handle my birthday, and slept through the whole thing.

    The best part about being out of your early twenties is that you can now make jokes about being old and use it as an excuse to take all of the naps. I actually took one today, and this is how I woke up.

    In other news, Watson hates his harness. Absolutely hates it. He had to wear it the other day so I could take him to get a new collar, and he made sure to let me know that he was displeased.

    I also told him to make his best happy birthday face, and this was it. Apparently happy birthday faces involve dog toys. The more you know, right?

  24. For my 25th birthday (which occurred ~6 months ago), I went out to dinner with a bunch of people, including family and friends from out of town who I have invited as an “I love you and feel weird not inviting you just because you live 2 hours away,” who ended up surprising me and showing up, which was super rad and then we all went out to the bar and I got nice and toasty wasted, which was good because it was February.

    For your birthday, just do what makes you happy, because it’s your birthday and your life. IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU’LL DO WHAT YOU WANT TO, DO WHAT YOU WANT TO, but hopefully, it’s not crying because you should be happy, not sad about getting older.

    This weekend, there will (hopefully) by similar shindiggery as I celebrate my move to Maine with my local friends. Not so much as a goodbye party as a “come love me, because I’ll inevitably be back at the very least for visits” party. Very exciting stuff.

  25. I turned 25 in February, and so far, it’s been the greatest year of my life. I hope 25 is equally amazing for you, Carmen!!!

    Shameless promotion: If any of you are in NYC and enjoy a good lesbian solo show or enjoy the musical Fun Home, I’m producing Beth Malone (she plays Alison)’s solo show at Joe’s Pub on Monday, August 31st. The 7:30 show sold out in less than 24 hours, so we’ve added a 9:30! Get tickets while you can! http://publictheater.org/reserve/index.aspx?performanceNumber=29027

    In more personal news, I went on an amazing date on Wednesday with an amazing girl, and it was amazing. Probably the best date I’ve ever been on…ever. Send me songs to listen to that pertain to my feelings! I’ve been listening to “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None The Richer on repeat, plus a lot of Bridges of Madison County. So like, if you have any other songs to suggest (this is for everyone) about a beautiful first date with a beautiful girl that ended in a beautiful kiss, please send them my way! :)

  26. Well, I don’t have a story for when I turned 25 because in a few months I’ll be turning 20.
    It’s exciting to finally be leaving the teens but also terrifying. I kind of feel like someone pushed me out of a plane and told me I may or may not have a working parachute….
    It’s so cool to read everyone else’s stories from when they turned 25 because it seems like everyone seems to have had the same apprehensions, hopes, and anxieties at that age.
    My junior year of college is upon me and I’m having to make a lot of tough choices and start to put my grown-up pants on which is TERRIFYING. I got audited by my school and basically everything has gone wrong in the process so I may or may not be able to go back to school next month due to a bajillion clerical errors. I may also have to quit one of my jobs, because working two jobs while being a full time student killed me mental-health wise last year. Also, college is expensive and I have so much anxiety about paying my bills on time/having enough money to pay said bills that I’m getting worked up over it like a month before I need to.
    It’s definitely hitting me that being an adult isn’t as fabulous as I thought it would be when I was in high school.

  27. Happy Birthday Carmen – as one of Autostraddle’s resident 40-somethings, I feel like I should share some wisdom with you about growing older, but honestly, all I can say is I hope you really enjoy being 25 (and all the ages that come after). It’s supposed to be the age when your brain matures, and looking back, 25 seems more like the beginning of my adulthood than say 21.

    Ok Straddlers, I need your virtual support. As part of Operation Find Community, I am going to my first ever queer book discussion tonight. It’s specifically a BTQ themed group and I read the book and everything (Recognize: an anthology of the voices of bi men). All I have to do is be brave enough to go tonight. And maybe even talk.

  28. Happy birthday Carmen!!! I don’t have any advice on turning 25 and I’ll do that later this year… So all I can say is enjoy it and have fun! Maybe get lots of puppy cuddles from Eli… Yeah that should make it all better!

    I’m in the countdown to my moving in August. Which means packing, partying a lot with friends, and kinda-sorta dating (or going on dates? Idk exactly what’s going on other that I’m having fun with and kissing) this one girl I’ve had the hots for a while now. It’s interesting how i don’t wanna leave but at the same time I’m SO looking forward to DC. Gah.

    • you’re coming to dc as i leave dc! i feel you one hundred percent on the packing, partying, and also i’m assuming the unspoken incredible weight of nostalgia. i will cuddle eli and also cuddle him in advance for your own 25th, because i feel like you’d appreciate it. sending you good vibes!

  29. Happy Birthday Carmen! Being 25 was awesome. For real.

    Okay, actually, parts of it really sucked. BUT there’s this nice settled feeling to it. Like, ‘I’m 25’ has an adult ring to it that all the other early 20s are missing (but not the terror factor of ‘I’m 29’ which just brings up a lot of questions choices made over the course of the past decade and THE FUTURE). And I don’t just mean societal norms and shit, like I actually felt more settled just being 25 even though it was not in the least a settled year.

    I’m no longer freaking out about my age (because whatever) but I had an interview for a job this morning for a job I convinced myself that I didn’t want, but now I really do want it, and I’m trying to write a follow up/thank you note and I hate writing those, and I decided to have a drink before eating lunch while writing this note BUT now I’m too tipsy to write a professional note.

    And that is the story of why I posted this comment.

  30. Happy early birthday! As for turning 25, I did that almost 9.5 years ago. I was going to try saying that 25 hadn’t been a big age for me (I certainly didn’t celebrate, but there are reasons for that), but then I started thinking about things and realized that 2006 was one of the biggest years of my life (no pressure, please don’t have a panic attack!). I had just gotten off active duty in the USAF the year before, and I was living at with my parents again while I worked out what to do next. In the summer of that year, I finally admitted to myself that I am transgender. I came out to my parents several months later (story time: I didn’t even speak to them for several weeks after my realization, or leave my room to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom unless the only family member awake was our dog or everyone else was out of the house. During this period I wrote a short story about the emotions going through my mind at the time. I’d share it here, but the dialog is wooden, the ending is rubbish, and I’ve never gotten around to revising it.). After that, I moved to Colorado to start culinary school that fall (that later turned into an aborted career, and now I’m at a new school studying a whole new subject). I really hope this story of mine hasn’t made you more nervous about your impending birthday (truly sorry if it has).

    As for my life today: I am STILL looking for a second job. Businesses in this town seem to either hate me, or their ears simply switch off the moment they here a prospective employee is a student.

  31. When I turned 25, I had just lived through the worst year of my life to date. No joke; I still refer to 2008 as “The Year We Shall Not Mention.” 6 years and a bunch of twists and turns later, I couldn’t be happier. Things have finally started to fall into place, and I can finally say “Yup. THIS is who I am.”

    I truly laughed out loud when you said, “If you come here and tell me how scared you are to turn 20 I will weep openly.” Trust me, that’s how I felt when I read how scared you were at turning 25! And 20 IS young to me…But I promise you – when you’re 30, you’ll think 25 is young. And when you’re 35, you’ll think 30 is young. I don’t think it ever stops!

    While I’m wishing you the happiest of 25th birthdays ever and hoping you have a wonderful year, I’m also excited for you to see what life will bring in the next 5 years! 25 to 30, while the most challenging, was when I learned the most about myself. I’m just so excited for you, it’s such an amazing time.

    But for now, enjoy 25! You’re truly doing great – I mean, you have people you don’t know wishing you happy birthday – how many people get to say that? You’re a celebrity in your own right!

    I don’t have any great suggestions for a birthday party, other than celebrating the fact that you were born in the 90’s and some kick ass music was happening (also some terrible stuff but we will ignore that for now) so you should incorporate that somehow. Here’s a playlist – I’ll officially be listening to this for the rest of the night in honor or your birthday and my oldness. Happy Birthday!! :)

  32. Happy almost birthday! I had a good ol’ fashioned quarter life crisis at 25, lamented doing nothing with my life, probably had cake? It probably doesn’t help right now, but you are doing amazing shit with your life, such cool stuff and lots of people think you are an inspiration, so…try not to be too hard on yourself.

    Hope Eli gets you a heartfelt present!

  33. Hello again Queer Internet chat!

    HOTDOG!!! IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!

    My moms dog Sweet dressed up for Halloween

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    Feeling the quarter life crisis? I totally did that. That feeling goes away. Unless you have ‘someone’ or ‘yourself’ who continually instills a sense of guilt for all the things you are not. That’s not me, my family has almost burdened me with low expectations. But if that’s you, tell ‘someone’ or ‘yourself’ to shove off. If that doesn’t work, just put them or yourself  in a triangle head lock. Works EVER time. I’m 32 and usually forget my age. I always remember my birthday, usually the week before. Birthdays are a great way to get people to drive out and take time off work. Last birthday i had two days of celebration. 1st folks came out for a night in Hollywood to visit my old stomping ground and a $5 comedy show. Jane and i also went to an art museum and met a friend for Korean BBQ and a Berlin concert at Totally 80s bar and grill.

    Our 1st trip to Totally 80s in the old photo booth

    Photo booth from my birthday

    I don’t really worry about professional achievements beyond my 2 rules,

    1. I should always be learning.

    2. SHOW ME THE MONEY!

    Two days ago i presented a training initiative for my department. I work as a dispatcher in transportation.

    A picture of me dispatching

    All of our information resources are from 2006. We dont have any of the same staff or operating systems from 2006. Training is on the job and i usually work alone. My roommate is a rank higher and has been a great help but i have something to say! After i made my presentation i saw a new job posting. Yesterday i told my boss i have decided to apply for the promotion of warehouse supervisor in our distribution department. I have her support. Fast times at Vons Pavilions a division of Safeway Albertsons. I’ll miss my job but i’ll feel a sense of relief making more money to do less work. Most importantly i’ll have a greater ability to land on my feet if someone pulls out the rug during the consolidation of the merger.

    Living the dream

    Home life is awesome! Had chinese food with mom and dad and made the best chicken bowl ever for Jane and roommate. I had missed a lot of my jiu jitsu training, which is not great. I missed some traveling to a destination gay wedding. Last week i was sick and highly contagious with viral pink eye. This week i got back on track. On Tuesday Jane joined me for the 1st time at jiu jitsu class. Jane has this magical way of making each and every joint-lock and chokehold feel heavenly. Not the most effective self-defense tactic but i had a good time. My favorite hold from Jane is choke from side control. If not properly executed you get a face full of…  ;D  

    Jane’s execution of choke from side control

    I also enjoy rear naked choke, which is fun to say but not nearly as fun as it sounds.

    Jane’s execution of rear naked choke

    For the rest of the week Jane has been sending me photos of stairs with the caption “i’m dying.

    Until next time!

  34. Carmen, baby, happy birthday! You are so sweet, I wanna slap a wrapper on you and call you tootsie! ….and then slowly, slowly unwrap you? ahem Happy Birthday!

    Race has been on my mind. Pride has been on my mind. My city’s Pride is a month away, and it’s called “30 years together.” Someone pointed out to me that this is a lie, and it’s kinda blowing my mind. Trans history gets erased from LGBT history. POC were frequently removed from lesbian feminist movements, because the “race cause” “might overlap the issues.” There’s a special kind of hate that was fostered towards bi folks. Not only have we not had 30 years together, I’m not even sure that we can say we’ve had many if any years together at all. And without acknowledging it, aren’t we just whitewashing all those painful issues? Anybody have ideas of how to acknowledge this and be inclusive while celebrating what presently exists and is worth celebrating?

    • I think we move forward. We celebrate the unity we have and grow together. We acknowledge all of our challenges, similarities and differences. These are all social movements in the making. When i canvassed for marriage right the center brought in data analysis professionals to research what works and what doesn’t in the making of a social movement. Being relatable and approachable changed hearts and minds. we make up for lost time. We support each other. I appreciate the canvassing and organizational support we had from allies on marriage rights. Feeling victorious and ready to fight another day. Lately i’ve been following the group black lives matter. I’ve seen a few speakers and really admire the tactics of this group. The group was found by queer women of color.

  35. Happy Birthday Carmen (:

    I had the most awesome experience last night. I hung out w my mom and her friends and had a real heart to heart about feminism. My mom never thought feminism and racism was relevant and I assumed her friends were like minded. But we had the greatest talk, and I think my mom has changed her mind. The oldest of the bunch was this awesome lady who had worked in an inner city women’s clinic during the Detroit race riots. She had so many stories to share. I am creating this zine as my senior thesis and was having trouble find women of political power that I could get an interview with, but now I think I may have found many (:

  36. Sweet! I’m turning 25 this year too (in October). My friend Krystle (who’s a full-fledged lez, unlike me @[email protected]) turned 25 earlier this year and we had a ’20s Murder Masquerade Party and dressed up and drank Shirley Temples and the birthday gal got her legs written on with pen because she was wearing this slinky, short flapper dress that I couldn’t stop staring at (*blush*) and I want to do something similarly spectacular and significant for mine but coordinating a birthday party is a pain and I can’t make up my mind on a theme or anything. Still, its a while away so I guess I have time to think about it.

    What have I been doing? Mostly reading and playing “Shining Force 2” on a XBOX 360 compilation of old SEGA games. I’ve been doing some odd sketches and plotting out this eight page comic I want to do as a dry run for a longer one that I’m devoting August to working on.

    Today, I woke up at about 6 in the morning to look at the morning glories in the backyard and it was really beautiful, like a velvety purple blanket. I was going to go back to sleep but ~nature~

    Me and the fam went to Westmoreland Park to take my youngest brother swimming at the beach, since none of us can swim that well or brought our swimsuits. Me and my Dad climbed out onto the jetty and almost all of us besides my brother waded into the shallows to get our feet wet. My other brother took all the pictures so I can’t show you but my Dad make a sand skeleton (because of course he did :P ) and we collected rocks, which I haven’t done in ages. (Collect ALL the quartz!) We had lunch and walked along the shoreline and it was just really nice and relaxing. :)

  37. So I just turned 25 last week and I’m still having mixed feelings. I mean, I kept forgetting about my birthday, but apparently they happen with or without you, so I’ve officially lived a quarter of a century. Mostly, I just ate with my parents. Good food always makes things nice.

    And I just found out today that I have stay with my parents for three days longer than I was planning and I’m less than pleased. Been here for over a month and I’m ready to go back to my apartment and get my own space back.

  38. Carmen Happy Birthday!

    I turned 40 a few weeks ago; I had waffles which was a great decision.

    I think a lot of ppl say that their 30s were even better / less terrible than their 20s, so you can look forward to things just getting better and better for quite a time to come. I’ll get back to you on how 40s compares in a few years.

    My bdays usually feel anticlimactic when they’re over; this year a friend and I donated to a homeless shelter and it felt less anticlimactic because of that, fwiw. Can recommend.

    I hope you have a wonderful b-day! I hope you and Eli wear festive hats and post pictures!

  39. Happy birthday Carmen, if I wasn’t too annoyed with Photobucket I’d be offering pictures of the Gordita and Legs.
    But here’s a schipperke instead:
    http://blog.bestbullysticks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/22813-Schipperke.jpg

    They’re kinda what I’d expect Eli would look like if he were a superhero Lion-Dog like Peter Parker is Spider-man, this totally unrelated to the fact I think you’d make a great fem Peter Parker.
    Pierrette Parker? But maybe end up getting called Perry as a short tomboyish nickname.

    Straddlers I need halp.
    Since I was last wearing button up shirts from the mens or boys department styles have slimmed considerably and I’m a not rich bitch who can pay for bespoke or even a tailor for shirts I can button and don’t have the darts ect for cupped bra silhouette that I don’t do.
    Also ladies dept. shirts are even thinner than I remember and in addition to not being the appropriate silhouette my undergarments are rarely the appropriate colour and layering is annoying.
    Some sort of 101 of button up shirt shopping for a masculine leaning AFAB person, somebody please?

  40. Happy (almost) birthday, Carmen!!

    I don’t remeber 25 being very notable, except that I think it was the year I started to be unable to remember how old I was. The mid-twenties seem kind of blurry because you’re so far from 30… until you aren’t.

  41. In other news, I desperately needed a nap today, but my girlfriend’s college friend/our houseguest tonight showed up way earlier than expected. So I’ve lost all my afternoon to madly cleaning up the house and then having really awkward conversations with this guy and I’m actually starting to fantasize about curling up in a corner on the floor and just closing my eyes. (He’s out of the house for a moment, but due back any second, so I can’t actually do that.)

  42. Carmen, you are an inspiration, just by turning 25. I’m turning 24 in three weeks and am like, “but how?” So knowing that at one point during your 24th year, you hosted a dating game and put Emily Gigler in a high chair for no apparent reason, I feel like something good can work. For both of us.

    Aside from that — I spent the day at Disneyland yesterday with Riese, Abby, Courtney, Chelsea, and Erin. Look at these goons.

    Somehow, the only other pictures I took from yesterday are just like, pictures of Abby walking? I don’t know how, and I also don’t know why. Secondly, I would love to share that while Abby and I were sitting next to each other on thunder mountain, we passed by a little shack that said Gold Nugget. We both said “gold nugget” to each other in weird voices, and then Abby went to pronounce it again but in a fancy way, but she pronounced it “gold new-gay” and I don’t think either of us expected it to sound like she was just literally saying “gold new gay” and we both turned to each other at the exact same time and did the exact same laugh, which made us laugh even harder, which made us cry.

    So maybe for your 25th birthday can be like — Carmen’s Birthday: Gold New Gay Edition.

  43. Happy Birthday! I (think) my 25th involved dressing up like Beryl Markham, wearing a pith helmet, and being subsequently very sweaty – I was living on the Kenyan coast at the time. I dressed my dog up as a light aircraft, specifically a Cessna 172. His wing said 5Y-DOG on it. He gave no fucks about this situation and was snubbed by his canine friends for looking like an idiot. Haters gonna hate.

    He once came to a “queens” themed party wearing a sequinned ballet tutu. He was the fairy queen. He was totally obliterating gender roles too – what a legend.

    My woman and I have booked a holiday! We are spending a week in Norway in a 1960’s avocado green caravan. I am hoping for walks in fjords, forests and beaches, and potentially swimming. I swam in the Baltic a couple of weeks ago. It was warmer than anticipated and very beautiful. I am keeping fingers crossed for the northern lights too as this is her dream, to see the northern lights with me. I am imagining starry nights laying in the forest staring up at the northern lights. I have an overactive imagination.

    And I’m trying not to get too overwhelmed by the fact that I have flying lesson #3 on Sunday, plus a whole bunch of work to do before it, and try to get my head around the physics of flight. Brain explosion imminent!

  44. So I turned 25 in May, and I think the thing that gives me the most perspective on getting older is my 20-year-old brother, who is basically the same person as me if I were a gay cis dude. I think he’s pretty sure I have most of it All Figured Out even if I hit a rough spot and that he will (or needs to ) have it All Figured Out by the time he’s my age. I don’t, but I know I’ve learned and grown a WHOLE LOT from the person I was when I was 20.

    So I think it’s like we all have rough spots in our twenties but maybe looking at how you learned and grew from 5 years ago feels better/ like less pressure?

    This is totally way easier advice to give to someone else who is Not Me, but thanks for making me think about it. Happy birthday!!!

  45. So the best thing ever and worst thing ever both happened to me this week. The best thing ever is that I officially have a full time, year round job! That’s right, this girl is officially a contributing member of society. The worst thing ever is that I got in my first car accident ever. It wasn’t my fault, but I’m still bummed because I’ve had my license for 5 (almost 6!) years, and hadn’t ever been in an accident before. (I’d never even been pulled over!)
    And I really hate celebrating my birthday, because it usually ends in me crying, so I’m sorry that I don’t have any birthday suggestions!

  46. happy b-day, carmen. this is a silly question, but autostraddle’s the only site i could think of that could help me in my search, so i’m posting it anyway. i am looking for examples of the haircut in this drawing:

    not just a simple undercut, but something also resembling the shape of the longer hair and bangs. pictures could be of dudes or girls. maybe someone’s seen a similar haircut on their tumblr feed? help?

  47. Ugh, I’m turning 25 a week from Wednesday, and I’m also having anxiety attacks. I never expected to have anything figured out by this time, but I also expected life to be less complicated. 24 was big–moving out of my parents house after having to move back after college, coming out to most of my friends and my sister, starting graduate school, making a wonderful group of friends, dating for the first time, my grandmother’s death, car trouble, stepping on glass (those last three within a week), and now moving on to a new person who I like and who likes me, but is not single (but is acting like she is single). Can year 25 please be slightly less intense? kthanksbye?!!?

  48. At 25, I wore a wedding dress to a concert, which ended in me meeting my wife-to-be.

    At 25, I spent a week eating toast and coconut icecream, because we never made it out of bed before the stores closed.

    At 25, my heart expanded exploded expounded to me a reality more fantastical than I could ever have imagined.

    25….it’s awesome, and every year afterwards is even better.

    Happy birthday Carmen ~ you’re going to have a blast! You’re going to be astonished at what you discover and become <3.

    • Holly totally texted me: Someone posted “At 25, I spent a week eating toast and coconut icecream, because we never made it out of bed before the stores closed.” WE SHOULD DO THAT!

      And I replied that I would totally eat coconut ice cream for every meal, but I did not mention the staying in bed all week part and she was VERY OFFENDED and has been accusing me of being in love with coconut ice cream A+

  49. I hardly remember 25. That was four whole years ago! And I can never remember anything in terms of the years that they happened especially now that I’m out of school for good. But I’m sure it was wonderful and amazing and nothing bad ever happened to me and that it will be exactly the same for you!

  50. First, happy birthday Carmen!

    via animalstalkinginallcaps.tumblr.com

    Okay sugar gliders, I’m going to weigh in as one of those thirtysomethings who tells you your 30s are better than your 20s because for me that’s absolutely true. I remember 25 as being weird because yes, halfway through a decade and not that long out of college and I was freelancing and driving back and forth across half the country. But it was also the year I was offered my dream job (or so I thought at the time).

    Also, the secret to becoming an adult: I don’t think it ever happens. This week I started my ninth (!) year at my job, I have retirement accounts and shit, and I stopped counting once I knew more than 25 friends’ babies under the age of 5. But I still sleep with stuffed animals on my bed and regularly feed myself “meals” I would be embarrassed to eat in front of another human being and get way, way too excited when I see a cute dog.

    Try not to sweat it. You have so much more time.
    Or have a good cathartic cry into the beverage of your choice, it’s your damn birthday and we won’t judge you.

  51. Oh god, I’m turning 23 in a few weeks and freaking out about it. Twenty-three just seems so much older than twenty-two! It’s like I’ll be in mid-twenties and not my early twenties! Dear god. But anyway, I hate birthdays no matter what age I’m turning.
    I’m the youngest person at my work by a few years, except for one research assistant who is 8 days older but he leaves next week. It’s given me a complex because everyone (I mean that literally) is married or engaged or has been married and they all have children and SUVs and white picket fences and Golden Retrievers. It kind of makes you feel like a spinster/forever alone even though you know logically that you are younger than them and also, you know, a gay.
    Which, what happened to the 1 in 10 statistic?! In my decently sized workplace, there’s just me. One of the GAs is gay, but his GA year ends next week and he’s leaving. One of the incoming GAs is bisexual, but closeted. There is quite literally only one other non-student at my work who is in the same category as I am (never been married, not engaged), and I kind of think she’s gay. Maybe that’s stereotypes speaking. Someone asked me if I was kind of crushing on her and to be honest I have no idea. How does one differentiate between pining after someone because you want in their pants and pining after someone because you’re so goddamn desperate for representation and community in such a white heteronormative environment? Regardless, there is no way in hell I’d EVER do ANYTHING with a coworker. So many ways it could go horribly wrong, even if it was “just” casual sex. Nope nope nope nope.
    I’ll just be over here spinstering with my wolf—who I’ve decided doesn’t look like a wolf, but I get asked daily when I take her on runs if she is. DAILY. I appreciate her, though; we’ve been going on runs at 5 am every morning and somehow this leads to me looking more presentable at work. Hmmm. She’s a weirdo. She likes dunking her head in water and she never, ever barks. Just howls and makes weird noises.
    Last thing: when losing weight, does anybody else get frustrated when you’re at that part where none of your clothes fit but when you go shopping for more clothes nothing you find fits, either? After hitting up Gap, Old Navy, Target, and H&M, I’ve discovered that I don’t have a pant size. Like, one size is way too big on me, the next size down is too tight. The fuck is that about. I JUST WANT CLOTHES THAT FIT ME.
    Here are some gratuitous pictures of my dog, Amaguq (called Ama, or The Wolf). You can decide for yourself if she looks like a wolf.


    • I love your dogwolf. I believe I read that only dogs bark; wolves do not.

      One time I was trying on women’s jeans and the attendant had to spell out for me that the odd-numbered sizes (5, 7, 9) were juniors and the even sizes (2,4, 6) were adult. I was really confused why a 7 was smaller than a 6. You’re probably way more up to speed on this stupid numbering system than I was though.

      You might try men’s pants if you don’t mind wearing them. They use a much more useful system, in that you can get almost any waist size / leg length combination.

    • Oh wow, Amaguq is gorgeous! *A* I don’t think she looks enough like a wolf for me to mistake her for one, but she definitely looks a lot more wolfy than a lot of dogs.

      My weight loss plateaued between sizes for a couple of months now so I feel you on the shopping frustration. At this point I wouldn’t even mind if I gained some weight back as long as I could fit clothes nicely for a while!

  52. …WHAT DO YOU MEAN I’M OLDER THAN CARMEN.

    My dreams of growing up to be as cool as Carmen fkking Rios (or at least cool enough to also be granted the title ‘fkking’ as a middle name), gone forever <\3

    I think for my 25th I had a fancy dinner date with my parents and a $60 steak, then met and partied with the Outsiders for the first time about two weeks after that. Personally I'd say wake up Monday, check the birthday fb & straddler explosion of love, then do whatever you feel like with whomever you feel like doing it with. 25 can be scary, or the start/continuation of something fkking epic.

  53. hello again, fellow carmen.
    i have never turned 25 (i actually just turned 19 about 2 weeks ago) but something fun you could do to celebrate all 25 years so far is do twenty five things on your 25th birthday that you’ve never done before. It could be a good distraction from freaking out over being twenty five, because instead you’ll be very occupied doing 25 new things. and then this could be the birthday where you did 25 new things instead of the birthday where you freaked out over reaching a milestone.
    idk its just an idea.
    happy birthday, fellow carmen!

  54. Happy happy birthday! I think making a big deal out of birthdays is kind of lame because it leads to disappointment often. Just do a thing that makes you happy! Drink good beer, pet dogs, simple stuff. If you’re looking for an adventure, you could pull a Grace & Frankie and have a “yes” night (in which you say yes to just practically everything). I’m dubious towards whether or not this is actually a plausible way to spend an evening, but it could be worth a try, if not just to honor Lily Tomlin.

    As far as turning 25, I don’t have much experience in that. But I will say, life seems to continue to go on and mostly everyone seems okay with it even if the initial increase in age is daunting. That makes me feel hopeful for the future of all of us (which includes you :D)

    I got you this for your birthday. It’s a throw back, but it’s still pure gold– in which we watch dogs who are afraid to walk past cats:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7znI_Kpzbs&w=560&h=315%5D

    You will be a magnificent 25 year old! Fucking rock it.

  55. P.S., I love friday open thread because it feels like coming home after a really long day at work, to my queer online family, and I get to read about how everyone is doing and it feels all home-y and stuff. The meerkat photo is painfully (wonderfully) accurate.

  56. I’m about to have a birthday – August 1st woot woot! I’m super excited and ready for this year, I think it’s gonna be good but also it means just over a year of super intense work left before it eases up and I think I might explode already.

    Anyway, I hope your birthday is super great! I’m going to a sing-along Rocky Horror Picture Show screening which is super cool, and I hope you do even cooler and exciting things, though of course I would also recommend seeing Rocky Horror!

  57. Ok turning 25 seems so long ago as I just turned 32. My mother kept harping on about me getting old (*wagging finger* “quarter of a century” *guffaw*). I went to London for a long weekend and saw Avenue Q and loads of galleries and museums with my Missus then started my Bachelors Degree…for the 2nd time. 25 was a turning point in my life slingshotting me towards a future I’m not done building. Don’t freak out, it’s just the beginning :)
    In other news this week I went to the Barbers for an undercut tidy up (hairdresser is away) which was pretty cool, felt super butch, we talked cars. I made some more components for my MA show…and lost my mind a little because it’s in 3 weeks.
    Pic of undercut whilst working on art- let’s pretend we can’t see my grey sparkles!

    The most bizarre, but possibly positive, thing that’s happened this week though was at the petrol station. The guy at the counter was asking the big manly bearded dude paying if he or his wife/gf read a particular tabloid newspaper because blah blah get it free blah. I rock up to the counter and he says “The same applies to you” I was only half listening so I said sorry what? He then said. “Do either you or your…*slight pause as he takes a good look at me* partner read the *insert tabloid name*.” I was honestly super pleased that he didn’t assume straightness. He was a nice lad and we passed the time of day it seemed like a genuine moment of him not wanting to get it wrong. The world is changing folks.

  58. Happy birthday, Carmen! I’ve been looking for an excuse to use this party sloth photo somewhere because it’s JUST SO CUTE :

    I turned 25 back in April and I’ve felt really strange about it, honestly. It’s like excuse me, ME? WHY DO YOU NOT HAVE YOUR SHIT TOGETHER YET? And also, I keep telling people I feel old, and they laugh and say “you’re not OLD”…which practically speaking I know, of course, but I think it has more to do with feeling like I got to this age so *quickly*, you know? Anyway, Carmen, it’s impossible for one person to single-handedly change the entire world by age 25, but you have made so many straddlers'(and not straddlers, undoubtedly) days and worlds brighter with what you do here! You’re like a cute, shiny comet-person that is putting more light into the world..and that’s a pretty big deal! Also, as an expert in Reasons to Eat Pie and Drink Alcohol, I have to say that birthdays are a damn fine reason, so have fun!

  59. I haven’t turned 25 yet so I’m going to digress and tell that last night (this isn’t a story about my sad life being home on a Friday night while not even being 25 yet) my neighbour sat in front of her window and just stared at me for like half an hour. Never tried harder to come across as an uplifting, active person, which I’m clearly not. But I sort of been watching her as well (we’re one of the few people too poor for blinds our the street and there is something relaxing about watching someone live their life), so now that she noticed me we’re definitely going to get into a staring competition. What I’m basically trying to say is: I found my soulmate.

  60. Happy-almost-Birthday! As I am going to be turning 25 in August, I have no advice for how to handle it because I am also a mess of ‘I AM AN ADULT? WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?’ feelings. I plan to deal with them on the day itself by being in a tent in Wales in that weird festival space that has its own special time zone, which mandates that cider-drinking at 10am is totally acceptable.

  61. Carmen! I feel like I’m arriving late to a (your?) bd party – when do fridays end and their open threads end, anyway? I say saturday be the new friday for us who cannot keep track of the days of the week. And happy birthday!

    I turned 25 last year, although most people still take me for around 17/18. On good days it’s fun. On less sos, getting asked what I’ll do after I finish high school or getting asked for id when buying beer in the store (18 legal age)? Not so much. Anyway, 25 has been turbulent. In the midst of it all, my relationship has kinda settled, I think? We got a cat together. That’s settled, right? I have high hopes for 26 though. Currently I am on an island in Sweden, doing daily discoveries on an old yellow bike. The place and time has allowed me to come up with the decision to study no more. I will go to Colombia and hang out with my partner until we can both hopefully move to my home country Norway. I plan on being the breadwinner, while partner does catsitting and cooking. It feels very wrong and very right.

    For my 25th I threw a party and told my friends I wanted home made cakes instead of gifts. There was A LOT of cake.

    Warm hugs from a far-away island (that could be both this specific island, Scandinavia or Europe – it’s up to you!)

  62. Happy Birthday, Carmen! As someone who will be turning 30 in less than a year, I have a lot of the same feelings as you regarding measurements of success/being an adult/knowing what I’m doing with my life. I moved back in with my parents after grad school, more than a year ago, and I don’t have a full-time “real job.” I meant this to sound reassuring, but realized it might also sound discouraging. Adulthood does not have to be measured according to a traditional rubric, nor is there an age at which one has to magically figure it all out or start feeling like an adult. Did you read Helen’s excellent open letter this week? http://www.autostraddle.com/an-open-letter-to-everyone-afraid-of-failure-296559/ If not, I highly recommend it. As for the day itself, celebrate however you want to. Birthdays are kind of arbitrary anyway, so if you want to throw yourself a party at a later date, when it’s convient for you and the people you’re celebrating with, go for it!

    Unfortunately, I feel like I missed the boat on this week’s FOT, because I had other stuff going on, and it’s a shame, because I had a lot I wanted to share… I went to a history conference in Raleigh (#SHEAR15) last week, and met so many brilliant, interesting people. I met made me realize just how much I miss academia and hardened my resolve to apply to history PhD programs this fall, even if the job market is terrible.

    I also decided I am going to make more of an effort to maintain an active online presence, because community matters! I’m sorry I missed out on “Tell Us Everything” week due to intense conference prep and travelling. Hopefully I will be a regular participant around here from now on.

    Also, here’s a picture of my cats being cute. Oliver is the gray one, and Benny is the black/brown one.

  63. Carmen! Getting old isn’t too bad–basically you still feel like yourself, you just have to remember how old you are. I’m 26, but I regularly forget. “uh, I’m like 25? Right? No wait 26!”

    Here are all the party hat wearing dog gifs I could find:

    Also found this?????? Slightly terrifying. Happy Birthday!

    My birthday has been basically the same since I was like ten? People seem to think that having December 23rd as your birthday means you get a bunch of double presents, but for me it means all of my oldest friends are always in town, which I love!
    My family always gets there a bit earlier, my friends get there a bit later, everyone hangs out and has dinner and I get to be with people I love!
    When people were old enough we a dded a bar crawl around laguna afterwards–we have a usual circuit and everything is walkable, so we always end up stumbling home at 2 once the bars close!
    My high school friends call it Armistice Day, because ALL of my friends, even the ones who have exes there/aren’t speaking/hate each other, come and tolerate each other for the night. At this point it’s practically a holiday tradition–everyone just knows it’s happening an the only people I really have to invite are the ones who haven’t been before! I love love love it.


    pretty weather, even with the crazy humidity!

    This week, as Holly wrote, I joined her for BJJ class! It was really really fun, but also my thighs still hurt. Yesterday my abs started hurting. I am weak!! But then Holly siad she’d go shopping with me and so I paid her back by going to Forever 21 for an hour and trying on half the store.
    So obviously I have to again at some point, and probably work some cardio into my regular routine :/ But I’ve been swimming this week too, which is always lovely! I’ve been lazy and busy these last few weeks, so it feels good to be getting back into my swimming routine!


    so many good textures at the flower market ft my polkadot shoes

    Currently work is kicking into high gear (my mum and I’ve been calling the coming weeks armaweddon/wedageddon), I’m obsessed with Fringe (just finished season 2), and I can’t stop eating at Lee’s Sandwiches(Milk tea with boba and a #4 grilled chicken baguette with the jalapenos picked off). Also I got a couple more jumpsuits, bringing my current jumpsuit count to 6? I think? A lot, is what I’m saying. They are the best, and I’m cheap so I’ve managed to get them each for under $30, except for my fancy jumpsuit which was like $40. JUMPSUITS ALL DAY ERRY DAY


    trying to go up stairs after BJJ workout, wearing a jumpsuit

    This week I was commissioned to make a paper flower crown for a friend of a friend’s girlfriend, to be given to her when he proposed! It turned out really well, and I can’t wait to see pictures and hear what happened! I’ve been toying with the idea of putting together an actual etsy shop to sell them? Seems like a lot of work for uncertain results (they’re expensive, flower crowns are eventually going to go out of style, etc etc) so I don’t know when/if that’ll happen. Buuut I can’t seem to stop thinking about it! Flower crownssssssss




    I’M SO PROUD OF THIS CROWN

    A college friend and her boyfriend moved to LA last month, and last weekend they had a little housewarming party! Holly even managed to make it out after work :) This happened:


    This picture got me a talk from my mum about “whats appropriate for facebook” and “this is just too weird” and also a text from my dad about how “your actions reflect on those you are related to”, so of course I’m showing it to all of you. I just think it’s hilarious!!


    POPPIES


    tuuulips


    Dahlias!!

    Now I’ve gotta go build another ikea shelf and finish reconfiguring all our work wedding shit in the garage. Wish me luck!

    LOVE YOU GUYS <3 <3 <3

  64. There is nothing I do not love about your posts.

    (Also, there is a Swype demon who puts “you’re” everytime I mean “your”, & vice versa ~ EVERY SINGLE TIME. It’s like my own personal grammar demon who is enacting revenge for every snarky comment I have ever made. Apparently there is an endless apple of revenge. Supply, not apple. Or apple. I think the endless apple of revenge would be sour, with too tough skin, and brown mush inside. I wish you a life sans revenge apples, unless you are doing the lobbying of them.
    Hmmmm…I think this was a parenthesized comment, so here goes).

  65. Kinda late to the party, buuuut:

    Happy 25th Birthday for tomorrow, Carmen! \o/

    I haven’t really done anything for my birthday since I was thirteen or so, but before that my Mum used to make us birthday posters and stick them on the front door! We’d also have a buffet sort of tea with all our favourite foods and stuff (mostly sweets). As an adult i feel I would massively appreciate something like that on my birthday, but maybe it’s just me? Either way, I hope you have a great day!

    My week was mostly okay until I got home from a day out with my brother and niece on Friday to find a bill for something I’d already paid in full. Apparently they have no record of my payment even though it’s definitely left my bank and also I have the reference number from their automated payment service, so now I have to wait until the 10th of next month to get a bank statement with said payment on to send to them as proof before they’ll do anything about it all. Suffice to say, it wasn’t what I wanted to spend the arse-end of my day ringing around about, and if I’d known it was going to be this much of a farce I wouldn’t have bothered paying in full while I had a bit of extra cash.

    My dogs are as pampered and happy as always. Bonnie’s got a vets appointment on Tuesday afternoon to get her nails clipped (unlike Mog she looooves car rides and getting a nice mani-pedi), then I’m thinking I might get my brother to take us up to the woods for a nice nature-y walk. I’ll have to remember to charge my phone so I can take some pictures of her while she’s too distracted by the AWESOMENESS of nature to freak out over having her photo taken, haha!

    • I was making digital copies of all our photo albums a while back (there’s tons so that project kinda took a backseat when I moved) but it looks like I managed to get at least one birthday poster photo, complete with bad clothes and haircut!!!!

  66. I love this post, thank you everyone who shared their stories! I am having my 19th in a few weeks, and will be having a kind of hybrid birthday/going away part, since I leave for my 9 month exchange MID-AUGUST! We’re going to this nice gay bar, and maybe a few friends will stay over at mine, and the next night is the uni Queer collective ball, so that should be fun.

    Anyways, I love you Carmen, and I hope you have a wonderful birthday! *insert Carmen by Lana Del Rey*

  67. Happy birthday, Carmen! You are changing the world in so many ways! You have reaching and helping so many people through this website and beyond!

    About six months before I turned 25, I challenged myself to accept my sexuality and start coming out to people. It was time to stop denying and hiding this very big part of me. I was determined to make my 25th year one positivity and acceptance, and I really tried to put my best foot forward in every situation. It was a tough year, but so worth it in the end. I met some of my best friends the summer I turned 25, and I worked through a very tough, ongoing situation with my boss, and looking back, I wouldn’t have done it another way.

    To borrow a cliche, each year of my 20s has been a different book in a series, with recurring characters, or people who fade out, experiences only meant for a particular time. Now that I’m just recently 28, I can look back at 20 year old me and remember the good times, the struggles, think about all the things I didn’t know then. Even better, I can remember the things and feelings I’ve forgotten. What was it like to have the security of being in college and only facing the real world when it was convenient for me? How did 22 year old me feel when I picked up and moved halfway across the country to a city where I knew no one and was truly on my own? How did that feel the next three times I did it at 25, 27, and 27 again? How does it compare? Remember that time I dated a guy in college to prove a point, and I didn’t get the actual point until three years later when I realized I was gay?

    Getting older can be scary, but it is also so exciting. You’re spending another writing your story, building your relationship with the person you’ve been with the longest, finding out who you are. It’s a great journey, and it’s truly yours.

    All the best wishes for your 25th year, Carmen!

  68. When I hear about age, I think of about this story I heard on The Moth Podcast 2-3 years ago about a guy who went to retirement home is visit his grandmother for an ice cream and Perry Como celebration. As I can remember it, everyone was just sort of sitting there not really saying much, listening to the music. One of the ladies in a wheelchair broke the silence and said she missed dancing. So, this guy asks her to dance and wheels her out onto the floor and starts dancing and gets the dance party started. He recalled, at an earlier time, his grandmother saying to him that she had this theory that a person really stays a certain age in their head but their body just doesn’t always work the way they wanted it to. So, this guy started to dance with his grandmother and looked into her eyes and saw a young woman on the floor, not the women in her 80’s or 90’s before him.

    So, you can be whatever age you feel and stick with it forever, really. You can even go dancing in your 90s to Perry Como or Bruno Mars (whatever you want!) and look like you feel!

    Happy birthday Carmen! I hope you have an amazing day!

  69. HEY MY BIRTHDAY WAS SUNDAY! Congrats, fellow Leo and almost birthday twin. I just turned 26 and it was fantastic, I spent it on a queer-owned farm with my partner. 25 was my best year of life and 26 is already even better. Don’t fret.

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