Thawing

When the long winter ends, and the first really nice warm day arrives, you ache to be outside. So when you’re finally released from your day of work, you acquire provisions and drive to your favorite field.

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It’s a simple pleasure to sit in a sun-filled field on a warm evening, a breeze caressing shoulders that have finally been able to shed their cardigan exoskeleton. The sun slowly sinks toward sleep behind the trees as the air is filled with the scents of warm grass and the cigar that a stranger is smoking a ways away from you. You’re not even sure if your grandfather smoked cigars, but somehow the scent reminds you of him, which in turn reminds you of how he loved taking you on your childhood Disney trip so much that he talked about it until he died. But the bittersweet sadness of this memory is whisked away on the wind before it can properly take root and ruin everything, thank god.

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You lie on the old soft blanket you keep in the trunk of your car, reading a good book, and feel real deep peace steal over you for the first time since the long season of storms began. There is sweet music around you — someone calling their dog, the breeze shaking the still leafless tree limbs, and yes, actual music, Latin rhythms softly coming from the radio of the stranger with the cigar.

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You’ve experienced all of these individual sensations before, but somehow taken as a whole, all at once, it feels lovely and new. You can’t remember the last time your heart felt so light, but as your skin warms up, you feel part of yourself blossoming like the yellow flowers on the bushes by your office. The cold times have passed, and it feels like this is actually the proper start of the year, that enchanted time when everything feels possible.

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The world is coming alive around you, and it perks you up to no end.

(I hope you all are getting to enjoy nice weather too, where ever you are!
— Krys)

 

 

Review: Netgear WiFi Extender!

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Hello, friends! This week I am here to tell you about a product that has massively improved my technological life — the Netgear N300 WiFi Range Extender (EX2700), purchased here. Probably I shouldn’t kill the suspense by telling you it’s good in the first paragraph, but screw the rules, I have WiFi.

In this day and age I definitely feel very fortunate that I live in a populated area where good internet is not hard to come by. My family even got a new router from our provider in 2016 which fixed some WiFi problems we’d been having (the router we had was quite old). However, this past summer, I discovered an issue thanks to one fun little device.

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This is my Nintendo Switch. I bought it in the summer, because I’d bought Splatoon 2 for my friend’s Switch, but decided I wanted to be able to play it at home and had the finances to make that happen. There was just one little problem. It had a very hard time picking up WiFi consistently. I could download games, extremely slowly, but Splatoon decreed that my connection wasn’t good enough for me to play online. I suspected that this was a problem with the distance between the Switch and our router, as when I brought my Switch to my friend’s small apartment I was able to easily connect to Splatoon’s servers. This was odd to me, as none of my other numerous devices were having internet issues. But I did some research and found that the Switch apparently just has a really shitty, weak WiFi receiver inside of it. Great!

So I scoured the internet, trying to figure out something to do, and stumbled upon the concept of a WiFi extender. I compared a few models, concerned about getting the most quality while spending no more than thirty or forty dollars. I’d rather only be able to use the Switch for offline games than spend a ton of money to make one device work better. That idea was just nuts to me!

I settled on this model from Netgear.

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It had (has) four stars on Amazon after 25,000 reviews, so I figured it’d probably be fine for my uses. I don’t want to extend the WiFi to the moon, I just need it to reach a few extra feet so my Switch can function online just as well as my PS4 does.

Setting it up was very simple. I’m pretty tech savvy so it easy for me, but Netgear’s extender comes with an instruction book that is easy enough to understand that I’d say my far less technologically inclined mom could probably figure it out. I had it up and running probably within five to ten minutes, and it only took that long because the encryption on our router meant I had to fuss with Netgear’s website instead of just pushing the buttons on the side.

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It lives unobtrusively in this corner, with my camera equipment. I need the room to be really dark when I sleep, and I was worried that the bright green lights on the extender were going to bother me even though it’s kind of tucked behind my dresser. I even turned it off at night initially! But it’s actually not bothersome at all.

I bought this extender for my Switch, but it’s actually improved the overall quality of my at home internet life! I’d never had any problems playing online with my PS3 or 4, but it sometimes did feel like downloading games or large patches took a really long time, way longer than I’d like. One day it occurred to me that I could swap them over to the extender’s connection, and it’s really made a big difference! Downloading games no longer takes a bajillion years! It’s great!

So, like I said at the top of this post, I definitely would really recommend this WiFi extender from Netgear. I’m not sponsored, obvs, because who would sponsor me? But I like this device so much that I wanted to let you guys know it existed!

I hope you’re all doing well.

–Krys

Anime Boston 2018!

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This year I spent my Easter weekend up in New England, at a very special event — Anime Boston (hereafter referred to as AB). This is a convention held in Boston that is devoted to the appreciation of Japanese media and pop culture. It’s run by the New England Anime Society, and has been held annually since 2003 and it. is. HUGE. It’s not quite big enough to fill the massive convention center where the famous PAX East is held, but in 2017 there were nearly 26,000 attendees throughout the whole weekend.

It’s crazy to think that it’s been eight years since my first AB in 2011. I missed a few years between then and now, but this year was my fifth time attending. Some people, like some of my friends, go to multiple conventions in a year, but AB is the only one I go to. There are other conventions that look cool (like MAGFest!), but they’re either super far away and have hotels that get booked up super fast, or are waaaay larger than I’m comfortable with (coughNYComicConcough).

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The view from our hotel room!

AB is large enough that there’s almost always something interesting going on, or cool things to go look at. I really enjoy going to panels and getting my education on. They always schedule a wide variety of topics, and as soon as I get the convention schedule I fill it up with circles to highlight the panels that have caught my eye. I keep an eye out for panels about things I already really love. For instance, Revolutionary Girl Utena is my favorite anime, and Froborr’s panel about it this year was FANTASTIC. I’ve been to other panels of hers in past years, and her analysis is always really good and enlightening!

I also always circle panels about things that I know nothing, or only a little about, but which sound interesting. This year in this area of things, I went to a panel talking about the different types of visual kei bands, one about various Japanese composers (beyond just anime composers), and one about the history of ninjas and how media gets them wrong. This panel was a major highlight for me — the presenter was really animated and entertaining, on top of really knowing their shit!

I’d also marked up my schedule with panels about Japanese folklore, history, and culture; panels about famous creators like Studio Ghibli and Osamu Tezuka (one of my favorite guys); and panels hosted by voice actors. And also a panel on Japanese professional wrestling leagues, which I was super intrigued by when I saw it on the schedule. But I obviously didn’t get to go to all of these panels — sometimes multiple cool things are scheduled at the same time (or at weirdly early or late times), and also in the last couple of years I’ve found that something that really helps my happiness and energy level over the course of the weekend is making sure to take plenty of breaks.

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As Ariel on Friday, sitting on the floor to rest and eat my lunch.

These breaks were most often in the form of sitting on the floor in some corner to scroll Twitter on my phone, but this year I also found myself going back to my room every day at around 3pm to have a rest from all the crowds and noise. This is one of the two big things that made me feel super elderly during the weekend. The other one was overhearing two girls talk about my first anime like it was one of the oldest things ever; I originally watched it around 13 years ago. I have rarely felt so ancient in all of my 27 years, lol.

 

When I go to AB, I also spend a good chunk of time wandering around the Dealer’s Hall and Artist Alley to fritter my spending money away. If you’re unfamiliar with the terms — the Dealer’s Hall is where vendors sell various official merchandise, while the Artist Alley is filled with fan artists and other small scale craftspeople. I didn’t buy too many things for myself this year, mostly just birthday presents for my friends. But I did get this nice notebook from Maya Kern, and this gorgeous Utena print from Etherelle. I also splurged just a tiny bit on this Rise figure because my love for Persona 4: Dancing All Night knows no bounds.

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Sorry the lighting is bad — I don’t plan ahead and took this picture at 9pm when I was writing this post, lol.

But more important than what I get to learn or see at AB is who I get to experience it with. AB is the one guaranteed time of year that I get to see my New England friends! I met some of these friends in college, while others are convention friends that I made through my college friends. We all chip in money to get a hotel room together. All things considered we don’t really spend that much time together during the weekend because we all have different interests when it comes to panels, but it’s nice to have friendly faces to go to dinner with at the end of the day and talk about the things we’ve seen and done at the con in between catching up on our lives at home like we’ve spent no time apart. They’re all very good people. ❤

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The only picture I took with a friend all weekend. She looks cute cosplaying a casual, grungy Keith from Voltron! I look a slightly less cute tired mess, lol.

There are a couple of other convention-related things that I’d like to talk about, like my history with cosplay, or what I consider to be convention essentials, but this post is already starting to get a little long, so I’ll mark those down as post ideas for later!

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I absolutely -had- to take a selfie with this adorable giant plush in the Dealer’s Hall.

 

Do you have any events like this that you enjoy going to? Or would you be interested in going to a convention like this? (I bet a lot of you would say you’d want to go to NYCC or SDCC, but I have the opposite of interest in those just based on their size, lol.)

–Krys

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(PS: These didn’t really fit in anywhere else in the post, but I just really wanted to share these hilarious Gakuen Handsome keychains I found in the Dealer’s Hall. It’s a media property where the characters are intentionally drawn horribly, lmao. Here’s a trailer!)

Bring Me the Sun!

Hello, as I write this it is the first week of spring, and where I live in New Jersey is about to get slammed with our THIRD Nor’easter this month. (My posts go live on Thursdays, so by the time you read this, it’ll be over.) One of the storms was only rain, but it was the heaviest, windiest rain I’ve witnessed in a long time. It broke my umbrella!

As much as I’d like to get a snow day, I have to say, I am fucking tired of snow and cold. I want to have the choice to spend time outside, to feel the sun on my face, to drive with the windows down. So here’s a photostream post of the kind of weather I’m missing. All photos were taken by me at various points, I’ll be sure to write in proper informative captions!

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Taken in my backyard in Spring 2011.

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A view from up high, taken on my Summer 2012 trip to Germany.

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On a trail at the Cape May Lighthouse, trying out my camera remote for the first time, September 2017.

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This was a fun time! In 2015 the New Jersey Renaissance Faire came to visit my town, and my friends and I spent the day there. (These are the Lords of Adventure, and they are amazingly funny, fyi.)

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Taken in 2014 at a picnic with my friends in a local park.

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Rainbow over Cape May Beach in 2015.

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Beautiful sunset sky at Pt. Pleasant Beach, 2013.

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And let’s end on a bit of as self-indulgent note — I found this cute selfie in the same folder as the previous sunset sky photo, and wanted to share it!

This post is basically a wish I’m putting out into the universe for better, warmer weather! I hope it gets here soon!

–Krys

Desk Tour!

Since I’m not in a financial position to move out of my family home, something I’ve been working on is making my room as nice a place as possible. A big part of that was having a functioning work space. I had a desk, but it was the desk I’d had since I was a child, and the space for the chair was so low that the worktop was at an uncomfortably high level. My desk was basically unworkable, so I was using my laptop on my bed all the time, which was awful for both my back and my mattress.

Getting a new desk was complicated, because the locations of the electrical outlets in my room means that basically all my furniture has to stay where it is. So any replacement desk would have to go in a very narrow space. I looked for months and months, even considering long skinny tables instead of desks, until I stumbled upon the perfect solution. And now I have a work area that I really love!

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My desk is Ikea’s Lisabo. When I first spotted it in the store I thought it was a skinny table, but when I realized it was an actual desk, I was even more excited. The drawer is very small, which is mildly annoying, but I am still able to keep a few essentials right at hand (headphones, hand cream, other assorted wires and things). I’m not sure where my chair came from, but my mom kindly bought it for me a few years ago when I still had my old desk. It’s not very comfortable (note the makeshift cushion I’ve made by stuffing a fleece blanket into a pillowcase). I’d like to get a new chair, but good desk chairs are surprisingly expensive, so I’m waiting for now. It’s good enough. I got that little rug at Target to muffle my wheels, and keep the chair from sliding so much. (It was on clearance when I bought it, so I can’t link it, sorry!)

Another thing I’d like to point out while we’re on this picture is the black wire dangling from the side of my desk. I was tired of leaning over to pick up my laptop cable whenever it was time to charge, so I stuck up a Command hook to hold the wire when I don’t need it. I love Command products (strips, hooks, etc.), I’m pretty sure everything on my wall is held up by them. (Not spon, but 3M, please spon? lol.)

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Here’s what that little Ikea lamp looks like turned on. It was daytime when I snapped this, but it still looks very pretty. I love this lamp so much that when I accidentally smashed it this summer, I cried really hard (summer was a low time for my mental health, fyi). As soon as I was able to make a trip out to Ikea (which wasn’t for more than a week) I went and bought a replacement. It’s a Knubbig, but for some reason they don’t sell this version (or its silver counterpart) online.

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Here you can see my workaround for having a tiny desk drawer: bins! Like many of my other organizational things, I picked them up at Target. I keep the things I want most often in the top bin, and the rest of my desk stuff in the bottom one. I also occasionally pull the stack out and use the flat top as an extra surface to put stuff on, like when I’m doing my makeup or something. I’ll also store bills/papers on top of the stack when it’s pushed in, just so the desktop feels tidier.

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Speaking of my desktop….

There’s a lot to unpack here. My laptop is a several year old big boy from HP’s Envy line. It runs Windows 8 and has a touch screen that I don’t really use that much. When I was shopping I told the guy at the store that I wanted to edit video and play games, because my previous laptop struggled with both (so much lag with games!), and this is what he suggested. I’m still using the same wired mouse I got for my first laptop in 2009, because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Also along the lines of technology is the Blue Yeti microphone folded up in the corner there. I asked for it for Christmas when I was in my songwriting phase with the intention of recording my songs and doing YouTube voiceovers, and I haven’t really done either of those very much, but I find it pretty easy to use, a very plug and play device.

My makeup is all stacked up on the left hand side. Basically everything is from Target. The white bin on top is holding my brushes, mirrors, pens, and a few other miscellaneous things. Target sells this bin in various colors and sizes, and I use others throughout my room. Those stacked boxes with the green latches are where I keep most of my makeup — eyes on top, face in the middle, lips on the bottom. The blue fabric pouch on the side is where I keep eyeshadow palettes. Chocolate is mandatory to keep on hand, lol.

I’ve also got that magnet board/white board, purchased at Target (but unavailable on their website). I’ve got a bunch of random things stuck up there with these cute little magnets I found on Amazon. Some of my favorite things on this board are the magnet on the upper right that my friend made me after I played the Doctor’s route of Hatoful Boyfriend; the baby picture of my old cat Kitty, who I still miss; and the picture of my friends and I in the bottom right where we posed “family photo” style. I also keep track of how many of my yearly days off from work I still have left.

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This is my calendar. I had a dry erase marker calendar for a long time, but I finally got rid of it over the summer. I like this style better, because I can flip ahead and fill in things happening in coming months, which isn’t possible with a whiteboard. I bought this in the summer, and tearing off each month has been satisfying. It’s by the brand Blue Sky and I found it at Target. When I see Blue Sky stationary stuff at Target, it’s usually pretty cute! I like the design of this calendar a lot.

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I like pins, but I’m afraid to put them on bags, jackets, etc. because I’m afraid to lose them. I saw a craft like this online a long time ago, and finally made one of my own. I bought and embroidery hoop and super cheap boring fabric at a craft store, in case it didn’t work nicely. But it worked out well, so I aim to someday get around to changing out the fabric and also making a second hoop so the pins aren’t so crowded. I can’t tell you the artists for most of these pins, but the mermaid pin in the middle is Maya Kern’s Sea Bitch pin, and the humanized Pinkie Pie is a very old design done by my close IRL friend, the moderately Tumblr famous artist kingsdarga. The Bioshock Infinite Vigors are a gift from a few years ago (actually, coincidentally, from kingsdarga), and are official merch, but don’t seem to be available anymore.

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I also have this pinboard, another Target find. I bought this because I had too many things to fit on my whiteboard. I don’t know the artists of a lot of this stuff, because much of it is gifts. Up top, I have some cards — on the left is the holiday card my friend Sam from the blog Pretty Thoughtful sent me, middle is a card kingsdarga wrote me in the summer when I was having super bad mental health times, and on the right is a joke-y Christmas card another friend drew after being super impressed by this mashup of Mariah Carey and My Chemical Romance. (Fun Fact: I am the only one of my friends incapable of producing excellent art, lol.)

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The final, latest addition to my desk area is this puzzle. My friend who drew the My Chem card got everyone in our friend group puzzles for Christmas, printed up on Shutterfly of different images pertaining to things that we liked. She also gave us frames and glue, so we could preserve them once we’d finished. My picture is from Journey, my favorite video game of all time. It’s a beautiful picture to look at. I hung this frame, as well as my whiteboard and pinboard, with these particular Command strips.

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So that’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little peek into my room, and seeing where the “magic” of this blog happens! What sorts of interesting things do y’all have in your office spaces?

–Krys

CD Organization!

As the world has become increasingly digitized, I’ve become increasingly uneasy. Yes, it’s convenient in a sense to have my media collected in a computer instead of taking up space in my house. However the idea of my favorite movies, music, or video games existing only on hard drives, where something can go wrong and everything can disappear at basically any time is terrifying.

Enter my CD collection.

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I was given my first CDs when I was in elementary school, and as far as I know I still have every CD I’ve ever bought, and I still have many (if not all) of the mix CDs I made back before iPod times. Needless to say, this all takes up a lot of space. You might be alarmed, but actually one of those two disc cylinders is actually mostly filled with blank CDs. But maybe you should be alarmed, bc after dragging all of this out of its shelf I remembered something.

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In the spare room I had stored two more boxes of CDs. Whoops. It hit me all at once a few weeks ago, that I should probably do something to organize this mess. I wasn’t even fully sure of all the CDs I had, and whenever I wanted to find something in particular (like when I loaned my My Chemical Romance albums to a friend this winter) it was a huge hassle. Enter my new best friend.

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This is a 136 slot Case Logic CD Wallet, which I bought from Amazon. My plan was to put all of my CDs in here (except for mix CDs) and then send all the plastic cases that were clogging up my life off to the recycling bin. I put the CDs in alphabetical order by artist (or play name for Broadway soundtracks). Artists with multiple albums were arranged in chronological order.

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Alphabetized from left to right, up to down, but not chronolized yet because that was too much of a hassle at this stage.

I also went off my rocker and decided that I would also tear up the album booklets and put the covers into the CD slots, which greatly increased the amount of time the whole task took. An wrinkle in this plan were the cardboard CD cases that have become a bit of a trend — those required a bit more cutting to size, and in a couple of places, I couldn’t get them to fit without totally ruining the album art. But I was able to preserve the album art for almost all the CDs. Nearly every disc has a cover in front of it, except for a few where I didn’t have the booklets anymore, and the second disc of any album that has two discs.

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There was no way this was going to fit.

Even when I got tired and didn’t feel like doing it anymore, I kept going because I was afraid if I didn’t do it all on one sitting I wouldn’t finish it at all. Altogether, from alphabetizing to slotting in all the CDs and covers, the process took about 4 hours. I threw on a couple of Harry Potter movies to entertain me, and got the job done.

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I did wind up leaving a few CDs out. I couldn’t bring myself to tear up these two signed albums, and The Light in the Piazza is super special to me, so I didn’t want to take it apart. I knew I had a lot of CDs, but didn’t think it was quite as many as it is. Towards the end I started to get scared I was going to run out of space. I only have 28 more spaces for CDs!

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I’m glad I got this little task done. It’ll definitely make my life easier in the future. I’d been meaning to do it for awhile, so now that it’s done it’s like a little weight off of me. And it’s definitely very aesthetically pleasing when I flip through and see all the album covers instead of just the discs.

My next big project will probably be to print up some photo albums of my favorite pictures I’ve taken because I’m super worried about them disappearing too, even though I do have a backup made. Also, probably I should finally sort out my iTunes library on my iTouch, because god is it an unholy mess because of some weird choices Apple made.

How to Break Up With Me

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I don’t have any Valentines-related pictures, but here’s one I took in 2013 of some very pink sunset clouds down the shore.

(This blog post started its life as the last video script I ever wrote for my YouTube channel, shortly before I started blogging and accidentally stopped YouTubing. But I still enjoy this piece of writing, and it’s currently seasonally appropriate, so I polished it up a bit for the blog! Since I originally wrote this with speaking in mind, I thought it might be fun to do a little audio recording so y’all can read along audiobook style! So hit the play button below, if you’re interested!)

I can’t seem to get a man to date me for more than 4 or 5 months at a time, so you could say I have a lot of experience with getting dumped. I don’t know what it is about me that makes boys eventually decide I’m repellent, but there’s gotta be something. This isn’t something that I obsess over; after all, I currently like myself more than I ever have, flaws and all. But after 10 years or so of dating, I’ve been able to develop a pretty clear idea of exactly how I would like it to go down when someone decides they don’t want to date me anymore. So I’ve got some tips here that I’ve organized into a guide called How to Break Up With Me.

1: ACTUALLY BREAK UP WITH ME YOURSELF.
When you’ve decided you want to break up with me, just fucking do it! Don’t mess with my head to the point that I get fed up and do it myself. When I broke up with the guy I dated my freshman year of college, it was because he started saying weird things like, “oh, we should break up before summer break because I don’t want a girlfriend for my senior year, and we hardly see each other now and it’s only gonna get worse with my senior work,” but then when I would ask him if he wanted to stay together he’d say he didn’t know. Just own your feelings, or lack thereof, and do it yourself or I will call you a coward for the rest of your life. You don’t have to be afraid of confrontation with me. I’m not someone who’s gonna try to convince you to stay when you’ve got one foot out the door.

2: DON’T BREAK UP WITH ME IN PERSON.
I know, usually you hear that you should always break up with someone in person, but not me. Even if we’ve only been dating for about a month and I’m not really that attached to you yet, I -will- probably cry when you tell me you’ve decided you’re not interested because sometimes I don’t handle disappointment well, especially if I’ve been under the impression that everything is just fine. I’d prefer to not embarrass myself in public, if that’s alright with you. (There is one exception to this rule, which is that if we’ve been dating an exceptionally long time, like, say, over a year, and I’ve, you know, introduced you multiple times to all my family and friends, then you owe it to me to tell me to my face.)

3: DO BREAK UP WITH ME ON THE TELEPHONE.
If we’ve been seeing each other for, say, a month or more then telling me we’re through in a text message is simply unacceptable, especially if I have permitted you to touch my boobs. Text message breakups, or instant messenger breakups if you’re internet old like I am, are just incredibly impersonal and passive. You don’t have to deal with the fallout of what you’ve done in real time. In the past when I’ve been dumped via text, my responses have tended to come off super reasonable and tended not to convey my true emotions because that’s how texts are. Like I said, I won’t fight to keep you if you’re going, but if you’re going to do this thing that hurts me, then you deserve to hurt a little too, by hearing any raw, off the cuff reaction I have, which could range anywhere from me saying “ok ok ok” to get off the phone quickly before I start to cry to instantly breaking into massive sobs. It isn’t right for you to just shoot your message off into the void and disappear without any repercussions. It just fucking isn’t.

4: DON’T BULLSHIT ME. JUST BE HONEST.
A thing that I’ve been told multiple times when I’ve been dumped is, “you’re a great girl, I know you’ll find someone for you.” If you’re breaking up with me, don’t tell me any trite shit like that. I know I’m a cool person, and I know I’ll find someone who appreciates it enough to stay. If you really thought I was so great, you’d be staying, but you’re not, so apparently you don’t. However, do feel free to mention any character flaws you think I have, especially if they’re fixable ones, like “hey maybe reel back the sarcasm a little because you come across like a huge asshole.” And if you’ve also got any specific reason you’re dumping me, feel free to mention it. My feelings are probably already hurt just from hearing that you’re leaving me, so just lay it all out there, whatever, feel free, honesty hour.

I’m currently on a bit of a break from trying to date, because I can only handle one frustrating disheartening search right now, and job hunting definitely takes priority over the irritating fuckboys that are all over the dating apps. But if you happen to be a future partner of mine that has come across this post, now you know how to dump me when the time comes. Hell, maybe I’ll even start sending this link to boys if I sense things are starting to go south?

(What’re your opinions on this topic? And what did you think of my little audioblog concept? Lemme know — I love chatting in the comments!)