My Inner Blake/Chad

You want to know who I think are some of the worst people in the world?

People who criticize how another person laughs.

If you criticize how another person laughs, you are a killjoy. Textbook definition, baby.

I got wound up the other night about these haters, and here’s why. I’ve noticed a discouraging trend in the comments section of the Barstool Sports Instagram page’s comments section. If someone laughs in a video on this page, you can bet there’s going to be some Chad or Blake yakking about how “the laugh kills it” or “that’s a gross laugh” in the comments section. Chad/Blake, can you just be positive for one second and enjoy the video of the guy getting nailed in the crotch with an exploding beer bottle?

I want my stance on ugly laughter to be crystal clear: I would rather you laugh like a Canadian Goose in heat while peeing your pants on my finest oriental rug than you hate on another person’s joy.

Last week, as I wrote my previous blog post, some major killjoy voices came out to ruin my fun. These were my inner Chad, my inner Blake. But instead than hating on the sound of my laugh, these voices were telling me how useless my writing was.

“Personal non-fiction? You’re so self-centered.”

“Right, because everyone wants to hear your takes on life.”

“Who do you think you are?”

I could go on, but it’s ugliness. It’s ickyness. It’s stuff I would never, ever say to another writer. I understand why Anne Lamott talked about shooting these voices in the head. They’re no fun. They’re judgmental. And you know what the worst part is? Even though I’d read about these voices in “Bird by Bird” and “The Artist’s Way” and I was warned they would do their best to stop me, I still haven’t always recognized them for what they are. But the other day, as I hesitated over “post,” two things clicked: my recognition of the mean voices, and my finger on the button.

If you’re a writer who has ever felt the same way, let me tell you what helped me, so hopefully it can help you a little too.

If I believed these voices, and telling personal stories was actually a waste of space, then we’d need to eliminate some of the books that have impacted me the most: “Educated” by Tara Westover, the entire canon of David Sedaris books, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love.” Frankly, a world where I don’t get to hear about Elizabeth Gilbert riding away on a jetski with her lover in Bali is not a world I’m interested in living in.

But on the real, stories build compassion and empathy, widen our perspective, and connect us with other human beings—three things absolutely critical to being a feeling, thinking, real, loving person. Whether that story is told poetry or prose, film or stand-up comedy, fiction or personal non-fiction, it is a brave attempt at connecting with other people. At least, that’s what I’m saying to myself now when my inner Chad and Blake emerge with their wet blanket the size of Siberia.

Yes, this writing is about myself, but my deepest hope is that it doesn’t stay about myself. The ultimate goal in my writing is to help others feel seen, less alone, and to hopefully make them laugh in the process—three things I know I need in all moments, but especially trying ones like these. My lesser goal is to attract the attention of Justin Timberlake, who will hopefully marry me (or at least let me live in his guesthouse).

The killjoys are out there, people. They’re in Barstool’s comments section, but even more importantly, they’re in our minds. I’ve found that if I listen to them, I won’t laugh, I won’t write, I won’t try to connect with people anymore because I’ll be too paralyzed by their critical comments.

I know Tamara Levitt of the Calm mindfulness meditation app would not approve of this, but if Chad and Blake come around my mind from here on out, I’m driving them out like the drunken pool stick-wielding banshee I was at Grandpa Al’s dive bar the night after my ever first parent-teacher conferences. If I’m going to thrive, if we’re all going to thrive, these guys need to get kicked out of the club. And that’s that.

Let’s Get Real

A quick note: This is a little different from my normal posts. You might be asking yourself “what’s a normal post here?” That would be a valid question, because my blog really runs the gamut. From odes to airport fruit cups to tales of travels gone awry, Hayley’s Bizarre is kind of like a mystery-flavored lollipop. It is bizarre, after all.

But this is like, really different. Because I’m going to get real. There’s no sarcasm here (although hopefully there’s still humor, because the last thing I want to be is a boring ol’ stick in the mud). I’m going to channel my inner Brene Brown and let y’all in on some soul-searching stuff.

Ready? Let’s go.

A couple years ago, my cousin Ingrid introduced me to a neat take on New Years resolutions. Rather than writing out a laundry list of goals for the year, she simply chose one word as her intention, the true north of her compass. In one word, she sought to encapsulate her ultimate goals for the year, the value she wished to develop, and the person she wanted to become. She told me that her word was “courage.”

Full disclosure, I’m a huge New Years resolutions person. As a naturally contemplative person, I relish listing the highlights from the past year and dreaming in bullet points about the year to come. As a lover of writing, my goals feel so much more real once I’ve seen them printed in my journal. At first, I wasn’t so sold on Ingrid’s idea. What would I do without my lists?

Like most people, I also rarely get around to checking off every resolution from my list. So this year, after reflecting on another half-completed list of aspirations and inspired by my cousin Ingrid, I decided to pick one word: honesty.

You might be thinking, “Gee Hayley, are you a pathological liar?” The answer is no, I am not. (Of course, I could be lying about that too, but I hope you’ll trust me.) When someone asks me a straight question, I tell the truth. Okay, I am known to exaggerate stories a little bit (like any good storyteller. Hello, Tim O’Brien!), but that’s it.

So if I don’t have a lying problem, why honesty?

As I’ve grown up, honesty has developed a much deeper meaning to me than it did when I was say, in high school. In high school, I viewed honesty as a means to not get in as much trouble. I knew that if I did something wrong, my dad would be much less mad if I fessed up to it than if I buried the truth and he found out anyway. Honesty didn’t flow purely from my heart as much as it lurched out from my deep desire to avoid unpleasant consequences (cough cough, getting grounded on my 16th birthday for crashing prom).

I picked honesty for my word because I noticed that I had a pesky habit of being dishonest with myself when the truth was inconvenient or painful. Unlike the prom crashing, this wasn’t dishonesty in a direct, flat-out lie type of way, but more in an insidious denial of my deepest needs. I judged my desires or believed they were flawed, just like me. So the truth got buried deeper and deeper and deeper. While the consequences of lying to myself weren’t as clear-cut as getting grounded, they were much more serious.

Of course, like Carl Jung said, “what you resist persists.” The truth never goes away. It will continue being true whether or not you accept it.

Here’s an example for you. I had a job that I felt absolutely “meh” about for a few years. Yes, years. I knew I didn’t love it. I knew I didn’t love living in a small town, or teaching, or being so isolated. I could admit that to my friends and family jokingly, but never in a serious way that demanded attention and action. So I remained stagnant for years. And why? Well, in a way I suppose I wanted to avoid the painful consequences just like in high school. Admitting the truth to myself would demand action. It could be difficult. Did I believe in myself enough to take action?

One day, I got the nerve to be honest with myself and admit that I wasn’t happy. Since making the decision to leave that job, I’ve felt more momentum in my life than ever before. My five-year plan is still nebulous, yet I feel more hopeful that I’m moving in the right direction. Honesty got me unstuck.

I picked honesty because I recognized the difference it made in my life. I knew that I wanted to do this more: to live on a deeper level, in tune with my real self and in deeper connection with others, especially when it was hard. (Okay, to be HONEST, I did not feel excited about being honest when it was hard, but I realized that was the only way it’d be meaningful.) I wanted to be real about whether or not I was living my values. I wanted to get honest about what I really want out of life, and not avert my eyes when I believe it’s too daunting, too spectacular an opportunity for disappointment or failure. Dear lord, I just wanted to not get stuck for years in a job I felt “meh” about like I’d allowed myself to do already!

Until at least the end of 2020, I’m going to be writing reflections on honesty. How it is truly the best policy. How it is hard. How it packs a ton of power. I’m not 100% sure what this will look like, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to involve storytelling, truth telling, and a healthy dose of philosophizing.

I hope these reflections will be encouraging to anyone who is on a similar journey.

P.S. Here’s a very on-theme, hilarious video about honesty that my friend Arisa showed me.

8 Things You Might Not Know About Life in Hawaii

When I went home for Christmas, one of the first things my parents asked was “what has surprised you the most about living in Hawaii?” I didn’t have a great answer then other than “the speed limit is 35 miles per hour on the highway and people follow it.”

Well, I’ve had 10 months to marinate on an answer, and now I think I’ve finally got some ideas, big and small. I hope this will allow you to see the surprising details of what it’s really like living in small town Oahu!

  1. There’s not a ton of wildlife here.

We’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Has anyone thought recently about just how far away Hawaii is from literally everywhere else in the world? Check it out:

We really out here. (Source: https://oliverandamandaineurope.com/2015/04/08/by-wind-water-or-wing-to-hawaii/)

Needless to say, it’d be a difficult trek for our animal friends to make. Which leaves us with these stunning creatures:

Mmmmm. Dinner!

When my principal and I stopped at McDonald’s on the first drive from the airport to campus, I saw at least 10 chickens in the parking lot and asked “so the nuggets are going to be super fresh?” I’m pretty sure McDonald’s doesn’t serve local chickens, but there ARE a ton of these guys here on the island.

I’ve seen nene (ducks), mongoose (scary-looking squirrels) and a couple of WILD HOGS (one on our campus!), but as far as wild mammals, that’s pretty much the list.

2. But the creepy crawlies are very creepy.

Like the cane spiders that will crawl out of your sink drain while you’re washing your hands. Speaking from experience here. They’re not poisonous, but they’re big and scary and for sure going to meet the bottom of my flip flop.

We also have centipedes, which are poisonous and unfortunately have a hard body casing that makes them difficult to kill. They for sure would have survived if that North Korean missile had actually been heading for Oahu. Nevertheless, in one of the opening faculty meetings, my assistant principal held up a foot-long dead centipede on a piece of paper towel and said “If you see one of these, kill it right away.”

And cockroaches are just a fact of life.

In other words, always keep a flip flop handy.

3. Geckos are guardians.

Who knew this list would be all about animals?? I promise we’ll get to other stuff soon. Geckos live in our homes here. The 6th grade boarding boys at school call them “guardians” because they eat the gross insects and mosquitoes. I have learned to love the the guardians, even though they poop on the walls and make a loud chirping noise that has definitely thrown me off my game while teaching.

4. Aloha doesn’t just mean hello and goodbye.

Fridays are Aloha Fridays, which means it’s time to bust out your Hawaiian shirt or most outrageous muumuu! My workplace might not be representative of all of Hawaii because we already have a more casual culture, but most people here make an effort to don their aloha apparel on Fridays. (In general, the dress code is wayyyyy more relaxed than in Minnesota. I have worn Birkenstocks to work every day here.)

I wear this little number every Friday.

Another place you’ll experience more aloha is on the roads. I live out in the country, where it is very much the norm to stop traffic to allow other cars to pull in ahead of you. When this happens, the car pulling in will often throw a shaka out the window to thank the person who stopped for them.

Spread aloha, not germs.

It’s a cool system. This doesn’t hold up quite as much in the city, where cars drive just as fast as they do in Minneapolis, but driving up here in Hau’ula is a pretty relaxed experience.

5. Outdoor recreation is on a new level of intense.

When I moved to Hawaii, my step-mom Kathy gave me three pieces of advice, one of which was “stay away from edges.” At the time, I wasn’t sure what she meant, but I learned quickly that outdoor recreation is a different beast in Hawaii.

Many of the hiking trails here are officially “illegal,” but you’d never know it based on how many people still go there. In fact, one of the most iconic trails, “Stairway to Heaven,” has a guard stationed to stop hikers. Like that’s going to stop anyone!

I learned how different the scale of difficulty was when we took the kids hiking one of the first weekends. My colleague, who has lived on the island for many years, took us to a trail she deemed “easy.” It was entirely uphill. I hiked the entire thing way behind everyone else with one of our boarders, pretending I was taking it slow just to help him. Secretly I was panting the whole way up.

Some locals RUN UP THIS TRAIL (an abandoned set of railroad tracks up the peak of a mountain) for their daily exercise. It took my friend and me 3 hours to go up and down.

Jellyfish stings are common here. Everyone has had their ass handed to them in the waves. Kathy was right–stay away from edges, and if someone tells you a hike “isn’t that bad,” assume they’re underselling it.

6. It rains a lot during the rainy season.

It’s absolutely gorgeous now, but from November-March, Hau’ula (and the whole windward side of Oahu) gets a ton of rain. Most days, it passes through quickly and the weather can go from flash-flooding to sunny in 2 minutes. However, there were days-long stretches where it rained constantly. That’s how we get such remarkable rainbows!

Seeing a waterspout in real life was exhilarating.

7. The good news–you can drive to a sunnier location!

While the windward side gets pounded with rain, it stays pretty sunny and dry on the leeward, or west side, of the island. And since it only takes an hour and a half to drive to the western tip of the island from where I live, it’s not unreasonable to seek out sunnier skies when it’s too gloomy here.

Yokohama Beach on the West Side.

8. There are truly no bars where I live.

Aside from Turtle Bay resort, which is 15 minutes up the road from our campus, there are no bars unless you drive the hour south to Kailua or Honolulu. Our campus is next to the town of Laie, where the majority of residents are members of the LDS church. So this year, I traded in thirsty Thursdays for Thursdays at the ice cream shop. It’s a wholesome life!

Before all the students left campus, this meant I had a very healthy sleep schedule, as we’d usually disband weekend festivities after we returned from a dinner out. We also found new ways to have fun–game nights, taking a bottle of wine to the beach, picking coconuts, bonfires. Nights out dancing are a rare occasion! It’s a huge difference from living in rural Minnesota, where dive bars were a common weekend gathering place.

Coconut hunting on Valentine’s Day.
Dancing the night away at Cuckoo Coconuts in Waikiki. Nights out were a rare occasion this year.

There you have it! I hope this gave you a drive-by, “realer” look at my life in this beautiful place.

Have you ever been to Hawaii? I’d love to hear if these ring true for your experience too.

10 STEPS TO GETTING YOUR MN REAL I.D.

Come 2020, all Minnesotans will need a MN REAL I.D. for domestic travel and entry to federal facilities. Obtaining this card is a bit more complicated than just driving to your local DMV and signing up. To simplify, here are the 10 easy steps to getting your MN Real I.D.

 

1. Go to the DMV two weeks before your license expires like an organized, responsible adult.

You’re so ahead of the game!

 

2. Realize that you don’t have the four additional documents necessary to prove your identity and obtain The Real I.D.

Shoot! Hey, you only sat down for five minutes. No biggie. Live and learn.

 

3. Carefully research The Real I.D. requirements.

DMV dot com, baby!

 

4. Return to the DMV, documentation in hand.

Like a boss.

 

5. Wait in line (boo) feeling pretty pleased with yourself (yay!).

You officially have your shit together, and it’s all folded up in this little ziplock bag.

 

6. Hold back tears as the DMV employee tells you that what you have is an F1004 form, not a W2.

“Oh, but my social security number is there at the top.”

 

7. Redirect anger feeling towards DMV employee to the bureaucratic state.

It’s not her fault, it’s not her fault, it’s not her fault.

 

8. Melt down in the DMV parking lot.

GAhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

 

9. Give up.






10. Eventually rise from the ashes a stronger person, humbled, patient, capable of distinguishing between a W2 and an F1004. Cry, this time happily, as the DMV employee hands you your substitute I.D. You haven’t felt so accomplished since your college graduation. Leave the DMV triumphant like Will Smith at the end of Pursuit of Happyness. You did it. And in the end, you have to thank the state for everything it put you through. The highs, the lows–they all made you a better person. Thank you, Minnesota.


My Morning Routine (Vacation Edition!!)

Hi everyone, and welcome back to my channel!!!!

I’ve been getting a TON of requests from you guys lately to talk about my Morning Routine, so I thought today I’d take you through what a typical morning looks like for me when I’m on break, because–surprise–I’m on break!!! (Insert champagne emojis here!!)  I try to strike a balance between productive and restful with my routine, especially after a stressful semester of classes. You guys know that I am all about Self Care, and that’s really what I’ve worked to implement here. This definitely isn’t as high-powered as my routine during the school year, but hopefully it’ll give you some ideas for building your own morning ritual. Let’s get into it!!!!!

 

Wakey Wakey

My alarm goes off at 7:00, but if you think I’m getting up then, think again!!!! It doesn’t matter if I went to bed at 9:00 or 1:30 AM, I am all about that #BeautySleep! I’ll either fall back asleep for two more hours, or on my more productive mornings, dive right into the following rituals. It’s the thought that counts, always.

 

Daily Dose of Inspiration

I usually try not to get on the internet, my email, or my social media accounts before noon, but as soon as I snuggle into my childhood bed, I embody the reckless abandon of my teen years and surf the web to my heart’s content!!! If I don’t fall back asleep after turning off my alarm, I’ll hop on YouTube and watch videos of meth-heads shopping at Walmart, or a newscast of the Joplin, Missouri tornado. I’ve earned it!!

 

Turning on the Lights

We’re getting closer to getting out of bed!!

 

Staring into Space

Arguably THE most essential phase of my vacation morning routine is lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking about that time freshman year when I was too shy and intimidated to participate in that one upper-level philosophy class I took. It’s essential that I comb over every painstaking memory and relive it in excruciating detail, never forgetting how lame it was that I didn’t share my ideas in class. Ugh!!!!

Once I’ve replayed that semester of class in my mind, pinpointing it as the moment when everything started to go downhill, I’m ready to get up and start my day. I feel rejuvenated, refreshed, and totally ready to take control of the remaining 5 hours of my day!!!!!!

#LETSGETTHISBREAD

 

Skincare and Hygiene

I’m running a little behind schedule, so all I do is rub my hand on my face to absorb any oil, throw my hair in a loose old ponytail holder, and swipe on some deodorant. We’re in it to win it now!!!!

 

Breakfast

It’s lunchtime!!!

 

Thanks so much for watching, you guys! I hope you all have enjoyed hearing about my morning routine as much as I have loved talking about it!!! Let me know in the comments below what the most important element of your morning routine is, and I’ll see you right here next time. Peace!!!!!!

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Area Woman Yells “OHHHH!” With Each New Song on Playlist

Grand Rapids, MI–Overcome with awe and nostalgic flashbacks to middle school dances, area woman Lizzy Banks yelled “OHHHH!” as each new song on Spotify’s “Guilty Pleasures” playlist pulsed through her friend’s car speakers while the two drove across town yesterday. Car driver and friend to Banks reported that he initially thought the yells were some indication of the song’s quality, but quickly realized that she reacted the same way to every song that started playing without exception, even to objectively bad songs like “London Bridge” by Fergie. “When she asked if she could DJ, I thought she might be taking requests,” Banks’ friend remarked. “She did not.” Sources confirmed that later that evening at the club, Banks yelled “OHHHH!” with each new song the DJ played, though when she didn’t hear her request, she drunkenly berated the DJ until he agreed to put on “Sk8er Boi.”

Opening Weekend of “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” Claims Lives of 1.2 Million Boyfriends

Families around the nation are reeling from a catastrophic weekend that claimed the lives of 1.2 million innocent boyfriends, and now victims’ loved ones are demanding that Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again answer for its crime.

“He told me before he left for the theater that he was confident enough in his masculinity to see it, so I am comforted to know that when his time came, he was not afraid, not in pain,” James Upton, who lost his brother to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, stated at a vigil to honor the fallen yesterday in New York City. His words echoed the refrain of so many who lost loved ones in the opening weekend: they tried to dissuade their loved ones from putting their lives in danger, but they soldiered on, eager to please their girlfriends.

Experts are stating that the combination of kaleidoscopic colors and sequins, feel-good sing-along tunes, and a sentimental, fairy tale story arc proved deathly: one of these on its own could trigger minor cardiac arrest, but combined, no mortal man stood a chance. Witnesses have reported that few men made it through the opening number, in which Lily James breaks out in a rousing rendition of “When I Kissed the Teacher” during her valedictorian speech at her Oxford graduation and leads her class, singing and dancing in their regalia, away on bicycles.

“Why the public wasn’t warned about this earlier I’ll never understand,” Upton said through tears, “But I only hope and pray that not one more family has to go through the pain of losing a loved one to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” Chants for Universal Studios to be brought to justice followed his speech as the crowd torched a giant disco ball. At press time, The Center for Disease Control issued a statement urging men not to view this summer flick, as it would almost certainly prove fatal.