Joke Life

I'm Izzy. Writer. Optimist. College student. Traveler. This is my blog.
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The Crucial Thing We Are Getting Wrong About Single Life

Falling in love fucks you up. It seriously does. At one point in my life I was completely and totally happy with being single, in fact, I preferred it. I saw all of my other friends get into relationships, I saw them fall into the “relationship trap”, I saw how they changed and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. The single life, which I was living, was where it was at, and no boy was going to pull me away from it. In my mind, being able to go out all the time with my girlfriends, prowling the room for the hottest guy out there, having the freedom to make out with said guy right smack dab in the middle of the dance floor, that my friends, that was the life for me.

People in relationships always seemed so sad. At parties they would pretend to have fun, meanwhile checking the clock on their phone at 15-minute intervals, wondering when the appropriate time to dip out, while still seeming cool, would be. They would no longer have any interesting boy gossip to share during girl talk, unless it consisted of “my boyfriend and I had this fight today because he went out last night and came home really drunk and just started being super inconsiderate, blah, blah, blah”. Far less interesting than “I ripped his shirt off as he pushed me back against the wall, my heels digging into his calves, knocking picture frames onto the ground…” See what I mean. People in relationships, would always seem like they were missing their significant other when they weren’t around them, even if they were amongst their best friends, and that was something I just didn’t understand.

I liked my freedom, I liked being wanted by multiple different guys, playing the field, teasing some, at the same time getting teased by others. I liked the chase; in fact the chase was what it was really all about for me. I liked spotting a guy from across the room, someone totally new and making them fall in love with me, maybe just for the night, but for me, a night was enough. I know what you’re thinking: slut. But it wasn’t always about sex, in fact, sex didn’t even need to factor into the evening at all. Because guess what, guys like the chase too, if you know what I mean.

I remember the first time I truly felt lonely. The first time I felt like maybe I did want someone who cared about me, for more than just my appearance. I was looking at my legs, I had just taken a shower and they were so soft. As I was looking at them I suddenly felt this painful sadness build up within me. No one has ever really looked at my legs before, I thought to myself. They’ve seen them, sure, they’ve touched them, maybe, but no one has ever really looked at them. No one has noticed the freckles placed upon them, no one has asked about the small scars on my knees and consequently heard the story of my drunken fall the summer before, no one has traced the lines there, no one has loved my legs, and no one has loved me.

I was shocked by my sadness and there was no going back from it. I felt as if maybe it was time to turn over a new leaf. I had learned to love myself, now I wanted someone who would love me; someone to love me passionately, simply, completely, and in return someone who I could love in just the same way.

People say that you can’t find love if you are searching for it, and in some ways I believe that is true. It wasn’t as if I was on the hunt after my little realization, but my
eyes were more open than they once had been…no that’s a lie, I was looking for it. So perhaps it is true, the more I searched for love, the more unattainable it seemed to become. But in one fateful moment, when the road to love had beaten me down and I was ready to throw in the towel, I found it. And it was fucking unbelievable.

This is not, however, a love story.

The problem with falling in love is that when it’s over, it’s already too late. You have had a bite of the forbidden fruit and going back is not an option. Once you’ve experienced what it is like to lay in bed with someone who you are completely comfortable with, someone who knows every curve of your body, someone who wants to know the things that make you tick and has a desire to learn the reason your smile gets a little bit sad sometimes, it’s hard to forget. Once you know what it is like to have someone who will be there to squeeze you tight and kiss you like they mean it, when work has knocked you flat on your ass. Once you know what it’s like to be completely and totally caught up in another human being, so much so that the thought of being without them for even a second makes your heart hurt. Once you know what it’s like to be in love, strangers in the night become a lot less appealing.

Certain aspects of being single will never not be fun, don’t get me wrong. That feeling of having a new crush, those butterflies you get in your stomach, the adrenalin rush that occurs when you kiss someone for the first time. But one day, once you know what it is like to have loved and lost, and you look across the pillow at a guy you just met, who doesn’t know your middle name let alone the importance of clitoral stimulation for a woman before sex (uh hello!), the single life becomes a lot less charming.

There is so much importance placed upon the ‘single life’ when you are in college. No one wants to miss out on all these supposed hot hook-ups that everyone assumes everyone else is having. Isn’t that the number one reason people usually break off relationships in college, because they don’t want to be “tied-down”? But when it comes down to it, hooking up with someone for the first time isn’t always that hot, my “knocking picture frames onto the ground” example is a rare case in a sea of awkward encounters. A recent article in Huffington Post reports that only 48% of Americans are sexually satisfied, in Spain that number is 90%, apparently we need to step up our game. The thing I think people get wrong about sex in America is that it takes time with another human being to get it right. Maybe for guys it’s a little easier, but for women at least, it takes a little bit of finesse, a little bit of time, and a little bit of understanding.

Being in a relationship, or falling in love, allows for this kind of understanding of another, one night stands, not so much. Falling in love allows for a deeper understanding of the human body and is what takes an “eh” experience and turns it into an “oh my fucking god” experience. So maybe the guys who have no interest in being “tied-down” or the girls who run from every nice guy they meet, have simply never been in love. They don’t understand how good it can be, how satisfying it can feel. Or maybe it isn’t about love at all. Maybe it is a changing of the times. Maybe it is a growing acceptance that the single life means one night stands and a general indifference to who ever is in your bed. Or maybe I just need better taste in men.

But what if we looked at single life through a new lens. What if we decided to incorporate a little more love into our random hookups, don’t freak out, I don’t mean you need to fall in love with them, but what if we acted like we cared about each other a little bit more. What if we spent a little bit more time to get to know each other, to become comfortable with each other? What if we took the time to ask about each other’s bodies; what if we held each other a little bit closer, for the simple reason that everyone needs closeness sometimes; what if we were more interested in each other? What if we were more honest with each other about what kind of relationships we were looking for right off the bat? What if it wasn’t pre-determined that the girl you are hooking up with wouldn’t be hearing anymore from you after a 24 hour window, maybe you would find a person whom you actually really enjoy, and maybe not; but like all things, only time would be able to tell. What if we looked at every person we were sexually attracted to and expanded our minds to new possibilities? If we practiced love a little bit more within our single lives, than maybe, just maybe, even one-night stands would be something worth bragging about.

By Izzy Martens

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It’s hard to describe your relationship with someone when you have known them forever. When you have grown up together, watched each other’s personalities form, witnessed their transition from youth to adulthood. My relationship with one of my best friends, Marnie, is just this way.

The thing is I can’t even really remember the first time I met Marnie, in my mind we have always just been friends. Some of my earliest memories involve playing in my room with Marnie, pretending we were working as baristas at Vic’s coffee shop, where Marnie eventually got a job later in life; or making up dances and plays, showcasing our loud personalities. The cool thing about growing up with someone is that you go from pretending what your life is going to be like, to experiencing what life is actually like. The countless sleepovers and play dates, the countless conversations about life, love, boys, sex, relationships, parents, friends, hardships and joy, that I have experienced with Marnie is what makes her a person whom I truly cherish.

There were times in our lives, as is with most friends, when Marnie and I have butted heads. Marnie and I are very similar in many ways, when we were growing up we both liked to be in the spotlight. We loved to dance and act, perform in any way we could. We were both loud, we thought we were hilarious (oh wait that’s because we are hilarious), and we liked to look good; raccoon eyeliner all the way baby. From the start we had some issues with going for the same men, our elementary school boyfriend list has some overlap. But we quickly realized that a best friend is better than a boy ever could be.  

Marnie is one of the bravest and strongest people I know, which she has proved time and again to me throughout our lives. She is the only person I know who, when she didn’t know what to do after high school, decided to pack up all her things, get in the car, and move to a brand new city across the country from where she was raised, just to see what would happen. When I went with Marnie to move her out to Oregon, in all honesty I thought she would be back within the month. She had only one friend out there, no job lined up, and no real game plan. I was scared and I wasn’t even the one doing it. But almost three years have gone by and my wonderful friend Marnie has proved everyone wrong. She has a great new life, she goes to school at U of O, and she has new friends and new experiences each day.

Marnie is still that loud, crazy, beautiful person who I know from my childhood. She has an intoxicating personality, which draws people in from all directions. She is sweet and polite, but she also doesn’t stand up for people’s shit. She is a fiercely loyal friend and even though she’s kind of small, she stands heads above the rest.

Although we live in different states now and sometimes have too long of breaks in between catching up, we will never loose the connection that we have with each other and that is something unbelievably special. It is hard to describe my relationship with Marnie, and to describe Marnie in general, because she truly is indescribable.

Happy 21st birthday to you my friend and cheers to 21 + 21 + 21 + 21(?) more.

Understand the Hangover, Beat the Hangover

The thing about a hangover is you can’t just run away from it. Oh my god if you could…If getting wasted and laughing and having a crazy awesome time with your friends had no consequences than we’d do it all the time. Oh. Wait. We already do it all the time…

But that is not the case, like most wonderful things in the world, drinking comes with a price. Being hungover sucks and supposedly it gets worse (we can’t just black out anymore?) but I believe if you understand the steps you can understand the hangover.

1. Wake up and desperately search around yourself for water. If you’ve found some, success. Enjoy your nice, cold, gorgeous, amazing few gulps of water and go back to sleep. If not, you have two options; zombie walk to the kitchen and stick your head under the faucet or go back to sleep and hope that things will get better.

2. The next time you wake up is when you stumble from your room onto the couch, to await your friends and laugh about the ridiculousness of the night before. If you’re still recovering from the poison of last night, odds are you may be, kind of, still a little drunk. Which of course is even better and results in tumultuous amounts of laughing.

3. You then hit a wall in the hangover process. You are either too hungover to eat or ready to eat a mountain of hash browns. Of course you choose the hash browns but this does not always make you feel better, in fact this will inevitably lead you to part 4…

4. Your breakfast has either made you feel worse or better, if it is worse then you must now return to the couch. If you are lucky you can smoke a few bowls and spend the next few hours watching TV, trying to ignore your self-induced trauma. If your breakfast has made you feel better, congrats! You are on the road to recovery. Continue drinking water and perhaps have a productive day.

5. If you are still feeling shitty and sitting on the couch has not made you feel much better then a shower could be your saving grace. Turn the heat up high, hop on in and let those toxins float from your pores.

6. Step number 5 is a crucial one, if that didn’t help you then you are out of luck. Head back to the couch or maybe to your bed, bury your head under the pillow and wish that tomorrow would come a little sooner. However, if the shower did the trick but you are not quite there, it’s time for meal number two. Meal number two is really what brings it all home. By the time you get to meal number two you should be ravenous and this time instead of the food making you feel nauseous, you should be able to feel those nutrients revitalizing your soul.

7. By this point your hangover process is almost complete, you may have a headache, in which case pop some Advil (not Tylenol that shit is bad for you) and think critically about your next move. If you are in college, chances are it will involve a little black dress and a few shots of Fireball.

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Because we all love, love.

I got a question the other day on my “Ask” page on Tumblr. It said, “why do you write about your ex so much if you are really over him. Like you write about him a lot…a lot, a lot.” Well my first response was a mix between “well fuck you then, I can write about whoever I want to write about!” and “…awkward.” But the truth of it is I do write about him a lot and there is a reason for that…he is the only real love I’ve ever had. Everyone has heard the theory that the best artistic works are inspired by love; well I believe that’s true. I believe that the powerful, world-shaking, knee buckling emotion that you feel when you fall in or out of love is what makes artistic works go round.

Man, if lust could create that same inspiration, if lust would allow my words to flow onto the page in the same way that experiences of love can, then I would be set. Because I have experienced my fair share of lust. I’m good at lust. I get it. I understand how it works.

But lust, unlike love, is fleeting. And the story of meeting someone at a bar, having so much sexual tension that you could rip your clothes off right there, acting on those desires, only to realize a little bit down the road that you’d rather talk to Siri then talk to him…well that’s not much of a story at all. And even if it is, well, everyone has experienced that story before.

The thing about love is that it is unique in every instance. Each person experiences love in a different way, and no one person could ever understand the way in which two others love each other. And that is what makes it so wonderful. It is also what makes it so interesting to others.

Because we are interested in the love of other people. In fact, we aren’t just interested we are fascinated. That is why we watch movies all the time. That is why movies usually have an end result of two people in love, not two people who are, eh, probably kinda into each other. That is why we spend hours talking to our friends about love or the act of pursuing it. That is why when love falls apart we need to dissect every bit of it, figuring out what went wrong. Like many people before me have said, it is one of the most powerful forces in the world.

And that’s fucking cool. It is amazing that we have such a force in this world. It is amazing that as humans we have figured out how to capture it and share it and enjoy it and learn from it. It is amazing that such a magical thing can exist. Because even when love isn’t perfect, it never looses the power to knock you off your feet.

I had a thought after I got the comment, “Oh my god no one is ever going to want to date me again, they are going to think I will just write it all down and publish it, I am going to be like the Taylor Swift of the writing world.” But here’s the thing, I don’t write about every little detail, just the details that matter. The ones that are worth sharing, the lessons and truths that I find, because what is the point of being interested in other peoples love if we can’t learn from it. If we can’t take notes. If we can’t see what happens when love fails and try not to repeat those mistakes or look at really successful, great love and attempt to emulate what makes that love work.

Everyone shares their love stories, just in different ways. Some ways are more obvious, like through music, dance, and writing. And some are hidden, hidden behind the sad smile on the woman walking past or in the way someone chooses to dress on a particular day.

And so I write about love, and sometimes my first and so far only love, because within that story, and within all love stories, is a story worth telling.

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Instagram Ruined my Relationship

Instagram ruined my relationship.

Well I guess not completely, but it played a role, and kind of a big one. You see Instagram unleashed a beast within me. And that beast is named jealousy.

I suppose that naturally humans are jealous people. Or maybe it’s just Americans. We thrive on comparing ourselves to others. Now this isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes it motivates you, sometimes it pushes you to get higher than anyone else can. But sometimes it can bring you real low.

You see I had been away from my boyfriend for three months; he was my first love, the first guy that actually showed me that I deserved to be loved. I met him and a month later purchased a plane ticket that would take me away from him, to go travel the world, for half a year. Maybe we were young and delusional, or maybe we really did love each other, but we decided to try to make it work throughout the time apart.

Now, I don’t think I need to explain to you what happens to a relationship when you don’t spend enough time together. When you can’t kiss each other after an argument, when you can’t feel the weight of each other’s stare. The cracks start to deepen.

So after three months of being away from each other I began to notice a girl popping up on his Instagram pictures…frequently. She wasn’t in the pictures, no if she was in them than that would make me sane. She had simply started ‘liking’ his pictures. Sometimes she commented, said something cute about work (through Instagram I could tell they worked together).

And so I got jealous. My mind began whirring with thoughts about what could be going on between the two of them, what they might be up to while I was 14,000 miles away in fucking Vietnam. I started to ask him about her every once in a while. I would try to make casual comments in order to suck some knowledge out about her. It created tension between us and through those cracks the light was starting to dim.

Before I go much further I have to tell you that there were many more things working against our relationship then just her. He was planning on moving away two weeks after my return, we had been fighting for months, we still had months to go and finally we had just had enough. We broke up. One month before I was going to come home and we just couldn’t do it anymore.

Naturally I blocked him on Instagram. But here’s the tricky thing about I-Gram, you can block someone, but you can’t stop yourself from looking at their page unless it’s private. His wasn’t. It had to be sheer will power that prevented me from seeing what he was up to. She started to make more and more cute comments, I could tell that they had begun to do things together.

I started to feel another powerful emotion build up inside me and that emotion was hate. I hated this girl. I hated this girl so much, and I had never even seen her in person. It made me feel crazy. I was convinced that she was making such a show of them hanging out on purpose, that she knew I could see what was going on, and that she liked it.

The pain of imagining this guy that I loved, this guy who I had just fought so long and hard for, receiving happiness from another girl was just too much for my stomach to take. It gave me that awful, queasy, sick to your stomach with no cure kind of feeling, eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and I deleted the app.

Pure idiocy compelled me to look at his Instagram on Hazel’s phone, while she was showering, one day before our return to the states. When I saw the picture of him smiling, sun shining on his face, with her name tagged in the caption as the photographer, my heart burst into a million and one tiny tiny pieces.

Now I’d like to tell you how the rest of our relationship progressed but it might be a whole other chapter for another day. The short version is, I got home, we decided to talk, we fell in love all over again, but now something was different.

Now I could see this girl popping up on his text messages. Now I could be jealous in the very same town as her, now I could really let my imagination run wild. And she created fights. She created our big fights, our only fights. She created the fights that made it almost not seem worth it anymore.

I wasn’t even that surprised when a month or so later Instagram let me know that he had cheated on me with her. At the time we both kind of knew it was the end, but Instagram, Instagram really brought it all home.

It threw me for a while. The sad truth is all guys have cheated on me. It makes it hard to be trustworthy, that’s for damn sure. It makes it hard to have faith. I don’t think it helps that we can see what each other are up to all the time. I don’t think it’s healthy that we can make stories up in our heads about what we see through social media, that we can make ourselves believe we are less than someone else by what they post on the internet. I believe it takes a little bit of trust from the world, you can’t just accept something, you have to make sure Facebook accepts it too. And that is just the way our world works now, so I guess now the task is to learn to trust and avoid jealousy, even when our world makes it seem like you should be doing just the opposite.

I can finally say that I am over what happened. The reason I know that I am over it is this; today I accepted my ex’s Snapchat request. When I looked at his “best friends” she was at the top of his list.

I shut it off right away, took a deep breath and was a little sad, for a little while. But after that little while had passed, I realized that if our relationship was going to end by someone else’s hand, than at least it was a hand that ended up being important to him.

Instagram ruined my relationship, but Snapchat let me know that maybe there was a reason for it all.



Brandon Calano Photography

Brandon Calano Photography

Beautiful Clarity

People who do yoga are beautiful. I don’t mean physically beautiful, although many who do yoga are that as well. I mean beautiful within their soul.

It would be friendly, I suppose, to say that everyone is beautiful. But I’m not sure if that’s true yet. There is evil lurking in this world, people with tainted souls and dark hearts. But I have yet to meet an evil yogi.

I think it has something to do with the way yogis look at life. This amazing blending of philosophies, ideas, and notions which many yoga-doers seem to possess. The yoga practice is not, however, designed to teach you to be a good person versus a bad person. It does not give you the answers on how to live. Rather it gives you the tools, through breath and movement, to focus your mind, and through that breath and movement somehow you are granted clarity.

Clarity is something we are all lacking, whether we know it or not. It is so easy for us to allow our minds to be fogged by the insignificant frustrations in our everyday lives. We get worked up about the asshole on the road who hit his brakes right when the light turned yellow, or the teacher who pretends like they are a nice grader and then fucks you on your essay. It is easy for us to think too much about our hair, or about how buff that one guy is or how nicely dressed that bitch in your class is. It is easy for our minds to get wrapped-up in these negative thoughts, which then build and fester within us. These evil thoughts, about how sucky other people are and how shitty we look only do exactly what they aim to, they makes us see the world as a sucky place and in turn cause us to be less beautiful people.

There is a gorgeous yoga studio at my school, with giant windows looking out to campus and lights that dim to allow for a serene space. There are even mats, blocks and blankets so that there is no need to lug your own from home. When I first stumbled upon this studio I felt like I had won the jackpot. For the first few months I would do my practice in some of the other studios in the gym, the ones designed for more hard-core workouts. I thought even these were pretty cool, despite that fact that people would always be coming in and out, staring strangely at me as I Chuturanga’d. One day I decided to take a walk further back on the top floor of the gym and to my surprise there was a beautiful yoga studio, waiting it seemed, just for me.

I was in my little studio the other night, doing my flow, when to my surprise someone walked through the door. He was tall and blonde, probably a few years older than me and my very first thought was, “fuck”. I had no interested in making small talk with another person, or perhaps awkwardly ignoring them as they did some work out of their own. But this guy opened his mouth in a wide smile and said;

“Oh are you doing yoga? Do you mind if I join you?” I was immediately taken a-back.

“Uh yeah sure, I can lead you through my little flow.” I timidly replied and we began.

A million thoughts passed through my head as I was in the room with this stranger. Is this creepy? Is this guy going to try and hit on me? What’s his agenda? What’s his game?

In my mind there had to be strings attached, and on top of that, those strings were most likely negative ones. When I finished my flow he turned to me,

“That was awesome! I can lead us through abs if you want.”

This random human and I spent 45 minutes in that room alone together, we went through an entire Vinyasa flow, abs and arms, even savasana. When we were finished, we walked out the door together; he put out his hand, gave me a huge smile, thanked me for the class, and walked away.

In that moment I felt like an asshole. I had assumed the worst about this person; I had assumed that he wanted something from me, when in the end all he really wanted was yoga. When I told my guy friends about this later that night they all laughed,

“Yeah sure, until he tracks you down at the gym every week.”

Even after the fact they refused to believe that this guy wasn’t hitting on me. Perhaps this is because we are pre-conditioned to see the evil in others. We assume that guys only talk to girls because they want to sleep with them, or that girls are only nice to other girls if they are secretly being bitchy. We let ourselves be ruled by our judgments and assumptions and in the end we are really only hurting ourselves.

This stranger I met did yoga, and to this day I believe he was a beautiful person. I do yoga as well and in that moment I was as ugly as can be. I didn’t allow for clarity to be part of my thought-process that day. I focused only on the negative and not at all on the positive; good company, free motivation, killer abs session, and as a result I didn’t truly enjoy what could have been a wonderful hour of yoga.