Your Forgotten New Year’s Resolutions Are Basically Mean Teenage Girls

“Hey girl hey! It’s me, the manifestation of your New Year’s resolution from 2017. What happened to your hair? It looks weird.”

By Gabrielle Sierra

You are relaxing on your couch enjoying the last of the eggnog and your eighth episode of “The Crown.” Suddenly the door swings open. In walks a perfectly coiffed teenage girl. She looks around your apartment with a faint air of disgust and disappointment. You freeze and are transported right back to high school, suddenly self conscious and far too aware of your paint-splattered sweatpants. The teen floats over to you in a cloud of Victoria’s Secret perfume and air kisses the space around your face before beginning to speak.

“Hey girl hey! It’s me, the manifestation of your New Year’s resolution from 2017. What happened to your hair? It looks weird.”

She flops into a chair.

“Anyway, I’m here to inform you that you have already abandoned and completely failed to achieve this year’s resolution, just as you failed to achieve me last year. It is a real drag.”

She pauses.

“Do you have any seltzer?”

You remain frozen and speechless as she continues to talk.

“Why are you looking at me like that? Ohmygod, do you even remember me? Here let me pinch your thigh. (She does.) That’s right, “Go To The Gym”. That’s me! Oh stop it, I didn’t pinch you that hard.

Anyway, you gave up on me about a week into March and never looked back. And no, going to Soul Cycle once every few weeks does not count.

Now, I am sure you are wondering, ‘how could I have already failed at this year’s resolution when we are only a week or two into 2018?’

Well, let me call in “Drink Less Alcohol”, your 2018 goal.”

You cringe. In walks an equally beautiful teen girl. This one looks slightly more menacing. They greet one another with a perfectly executed windmill high-five.

“Hey bitch.”

“You look so skinny, I hate you.”

The teen girl manifestation of your forgotten 2017 resolution returns to leading the conversation as the new teen hands over her notes and sits, eyeing your sweatpants.  

“So let’s see, according to her notes you drank on New Year’s Eve. Well, we’ll let that one slide because it was the holiday and we aren’t monsters.”

She pauses and leans in towards you with meaning.

“We are on your side, so stop trying to make this out to be an attack on you.

You also drank during New Year’s Day brunch. Five mimosas as part of a bottomless booze special. You sure tried hard to find that bottom, maybe that should have been your resolution.”

The two teens giggle and your failed 2017 resolution turns back to you.

“I’m not being mean I am just being honest.

Continuing on, the day after that you went to a dinner party and had a glass of red wine. And, okay, you skipped this day but you drank that weekend and last Tuesday you had a few beers after work and right now you are about to finish a container of eggnog that may or may not expire tomorrow.”

The teens stare at your hand, frozen around the glass of eggnog that may or may not expire tomorrow.

“Look, I care about you. We care about you. What you do has an effect on all of the Resolutions. 2016’s ‘Finish Your Novel’ and 2013’s ‘Stop Taking Your Mother’s Comments So Personally’ were too embarrassed to even come here today.”

She pauses and rises from her seat, crouching down by the couch and taking your free hand.

“What I want you to do is start making achievable resolutions. Resolutions that are realistic for your level of commitment.

So maybe instead of ‘Go To The Gym,’ you can resolve to go for a short walk around the apartment. And instead of ‘Drink Less Alcohol’, you can resolve to just ‘Drink Less’ – that could include water, juice, anything really. Instead of 2014’s ‘Meet Someone Special’, just resolve to ‘Meet Someone’. Go vague with goals like, ‘Travel More,’ because that could just mean taking the train a few stops further every morning and then backtracking so you get to work on time.”

Both teens rise and stand over the couch. “Drink Less Alcohol” reapplies her lip gloss.

“Don’t think of these as loopholes or half-assed resolutions, think of them as sensible goals. Reachable finish lines. Things someone like you could be proud of.”

The girls zip up their coats and begin heading to the door.

“We are just trying to be helpful – we just want to see you succeed. Anyway, we have somewhere to be. We’d invite you but you look so comfy there on the couch in those pants. Bye beeb!”

The door slams behind them. You unfreeze and sit up. You think for a few minutes. Eventually you decide to never make another New Year’s resolution again. From now on it is birthday goals all the way. Resolved, you polish off your eggnog and go to bed.


We, Too: A Callout on Harassment

We asked you to share your stories of sexual harassment and assault with us. Here they are.

If you’ve experienced the power dynamics inherent in most workplaces and in our society at large, then the allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein may come as no surprise. Our bodies have always been subjected to the whims of men at the top. They’ve also been subjected to the whims of men at the bottom and anywhere in between — a stranger exposing himself to you on the street, your creepy uncle, your friends, your clients, your colleagues, your lovers, your mentors. We asked you to share your stories with us. Here they are.

About a year or so ago man exposed himself to me and several other women across a subway platform. Emboldened and encouraged by the female rage around me, I went upstairs to alert the police. I relayed my story to the officer on duty and was told that there was nothing he could do since he couldn’t leave his post. He asked if the flasher was being aggressive and said he would file a report. I returned back to the platform to inform the rest of the women around me, and we stood there helplessly while the flasher continued exposing himself. Eventually our train came and we got on, leaving him behind to do this to the next group of women. I felt shame in this moment, because I thought I did what I was supposed to do, that I alerted who I was supposed to. I felt ashamed for how briefly empowered I felt representing the women on that platform, and how helpless I felt returning to them empty-handed.

I once let a boy I never met grope me on a bus. I was young, maybe junior high school age. I was so mixed with emotions – I wanted to gain sexual experience like many of the girls around me (at this point I had never even been kissed) but simultaneously I knew this was not the way it should happen. I eventually stopped him and he was angry and I apologized. He changed his seat. The feelings of shame stayed with me for at least another year or so, until I realized that I had nothing to be sorry for. I don’t think I even knew his name.

While at my sister in laws house helping care for her 3 children while she recovered upstairs from having their 4th child that morning, my brother in law grabs my ass and finds every excuse to rub his crotch against me. When I told him to please stop and reminded him that his wife was upstairs recovering from having a 10lb baby, he tells me to shut up and that I “like it”. I tell him no forcibly again and try to keep myself surrounded by my nieces and nephews or make excuses to be near my sil. Later, when we took the children out to dinner so their mom could rest, he moves my nephew aside to sit next to me. Then while the children are looking at their menus and are distracted, he grabs my hand and forces me to touch his hard penis through his pants and whispers to me that he’s hard for me and his pants are wet with precum and that he fantasizes about me. I couldn’t leave without causing a scene and didn’t have my car with me. My relationship with my nieces and nephews that I love is no longer close since I try to avoid all contact with their sleazy dad. I miss them.

I’d been hooking up with a male friend for a few months. It was very “when we’re both in the mood” and only happened every so often. One night, we went out and partied with friends. We came back to sleep on our friend’s couch. We were both really drunk. I was talking to someone new, and I didn’t want to hook up with my friend because I wasn’t feeling it anymore; I wanted to focus on the possible relationship I was building. He was drunk and kept pushing it. I was drunk and got tired of saying no over and over. I left him do stuff to me and I came, then we went to bed. I’ve never felt grosser about something, and I felt guilty and as though I had no right to complain since it was one sided toward me. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay. I never told anyone. I can’t tell my husband. So the story had just existed inside me. I am sharing it here in case it can help someone. Remember: It can be a friend you would have willingly hooked up with another time. In any situation, no means no. Drunk or sober. Friend or stranger. That word is enough.

I used to work at a school where I would respond to behavioral crises. Part of my job was to make sure all of the students got on and off their buses safely and were all accounted for. Several bus drivers would make frequent comments about how “sexy” I was, how much they enjoyed watching me, and one even told me that I “needed to be spanked”. I didn’t want to report any of this to my boss, because he had once let it slip that he had passed me over for a promotion before because I was a woman. I was afraid that he would feel justified for discriminating against me, because this wouldn’t have happened to a man. (And if you’re thinking that I should have gone to HR with my boss’s comment…..our HR representative had made flirtatious comments to me and several other female colleagues and had actually sexually harassed a woman who used to work there. Didn’t seem like a great source of support for issues facing women).

When I was in high school I had a boyfriend who clearly valued the sexual part of our relationship above all other aspects. I considered it normal; we were hormonal, sexually active high schoolers and he was the guy, the guy is always hornier than the girl, right? I really cared about him as a person and enjoyed being in a relationship, so I’d brush it off when all I wanted to do was cuddle and watch a movie but every five minutes I’d have to push his hands away from creeping up my shirt or down my pants. First it was laughingly, then more exasperatedly, but no matter what he persisted. Usually I’d give in and we’d fool around – he was my boyfriend, after all. Sometimes I wouldn’t and he’d get upset about it, the implication always being that it was owed as part of the pact of our being “boyfriend-girlfriend”. I fear that this is still typical, that we teach ourselves and our daughters that they owe something to men. It took many years for me to learn that we don’t.

I compartmentalize these moments so well that at first I thought I didn’t have any Weinstein-like stories to share. The worst has not yet happened to me. I’ve never been raped. But I’ve been made to feel unsafe. When I worked late night shifts, I would choose work shoes based on how well I could run in them to outpace men who followed me home from the subway. After one bad OkCupid date ended up with me reading up on state stalking laws, I bought mace. When dates invite me over for the first time, I remember their floor plans for exit strategies. These are all terribly ordinary calculations women walking home alone at night have to make. I barely realize I’m calculating the equation of how to have fun and live life without getting killed by a man over it, but it’s math I solve for constantly.

Most recently, I had someone I barely knew expose nudes of mine without my consent or knowledge. She gained access to my nudes by violating the rules of a sex pos group that’s full of survivors of assault (myself included), and she violated the trust of that group by exposing me to her friends at a bar, for fun, all while body shaming me. A friend of mine who was there when this happened told me what happened almost immediately, and I flipped out.

There was blowback, I was slut-shamed, threatened with a lawsuit for libel (typical attempt by an abuser to silence a victim), and half assed apologies were sent my way. Right now, I’m just furious. Furious because all of these “allies” I know are posting #metoo who KNOW what she did, yet they’re still vocal friends with her and the people complicit in my exposure. I feel fucking violated, and it’s traumatic seeing the constant reminder of what happened when I go online. It’s almost morbidly hilarious to me, making me feel like simultaneously laughing and crying.

How can these people talk such a big game about allyship and feminism and STILL be friends with this person, knowing what happened? It’s just so funny. It’s so goddamn easy to to drag someone that you don’t know for something like this, but then it’s your friend or best bud, the person you’re probably MOST responsible for holding accountable outside of family, and suddenly you’re making excuses for them. Hold your friends accountable. Don’t make posts about fake allies when you’re one yourself. Sorry if this is incoherent. I’m just disgusted out of my fucking mind right now.

I was a freshmen in college when I met a boy through my roommate’s boyfriend. We went out a couple times and one night I brought him back to my place. We were on the couch in the living and I was *very* clear that I only wanted to make out. As we were making out he started talking about wanting to have sex. I said absolutely. I think he thought I was a virgin because he started saying “don’t be scared, it won’t hurt.” I kept saying no. At this point he was on top of my and had me pinned down on the couch. As I was saying no and he was telling me not to be “scared,” he started undoing his belt buckle. I tried to push him off of me but I wasn’t strong enough. At that very moment, my roommate walked into our apartment with her boyfriend. Jose immediately got off of me and sat up straight. I made him leave. We never talked or hung out again. The most fucked up part of all of this is that while I was afraid in the moment it was happening, I laughingly brushed off the whole incident as “boys will be boys.” It wasn’t until years later that I not only remember what happened, but also realized how close I had been to being raped.

My ex decided to Photoshop me into nude pictures and send them to my family and friends and posted them online in an all male group. It has been a rocky road since then, i am blessed to have supportive parents and friends but the effect it has on my mind is irreparable.

I was abused by my mother’s father as a child. I didn’t say no because I was raised knowing you have to respect your elders…that good girls don’t disrespect their elders and do as they are told. Even though in my gut I knew what was happening was wrong – I didn’t know how to stop it. I didn’t think anyone would believe me. I finally turned to a guidance counselor at school. I have little to no memory of the few years immediately after that time in my life…its just a blank spot in my memory. In the days and years since I first spoke up, it was made clear to me that I needed to protect my secret – and my abuser – from others finding out. Who would want to marry me if they knew? From a young age, I learned people would judge me before they would judge my abuser.

On a trip overseas, I was shopping for jeans at the mall with my cousin. We went into a store and the shopkeeper asked me my size. I didn’t know what my size would be, so he said he would measure my waist. As he wrapped the tape measure around my waist his hands “jumped up” to caress my breasts. I was 14. I was so shocked and embarrassed, my cousin and I made eye contact and neither of us knew what to do. I paid for the jeans and we quickly left. I never stood up for myself. I didn’t know how to.

On the night of my college graduation, my alcoholic ex got extremely inebriated, as he often did. We were on the dance floor. As we were dancing, he kept getting more and more aggressive, trying to shove his hands up my dress. He assaulted me on the dance floor of the club we were at with his friends. No one stopped him. I’m sure they saw me trying to get him off of me. No one intervened.

Let’s Have a Realistic Sex Talk

A fictional “birds and bees” talk from an extremely honest parent.

By Gabrielle Sierra

Hello daughter,

Yep, it is me, your parent. Here I am, perched on the side of your bed. You look angry and mildly uncomfortable and I totally understand. It is because you know what is coming.

Don’t be disappointed in yourself, you put up a valiant effort to avoid me all week, knowing this conversation was bound to happen. But I got you good. Because I when I knocked I said I had your laundry and you still refuse to do your own laundry so you had no choice. A lesson learned for the future, perhaps?

Anyway, here we are, me holding your laundry hostage, and you staring out of your window wondering how easily you could toss yourself through it. (Not easily, your sister tried the whole defenestration thing years ago and I am lightning quick, so don’t bother.)

It is time we had THE TALK. You know the one, the talk about sex. S-E-X.

“Now, when two people love one another very much they have probably already had a lot of sex.”

I know you like to whine and complain that you already know all about this stuff, that your friends talk about it or you read it in a magazine or had a class at school. But I just wanted to make sure you had the truth down pat from an expert. A sexpert if you will. Get it?! Why are you covering your face with your hands?

Now, when two people love one another very much they have probably already had a lot of sex. With each other and with other people. Sometimes in groups or in a public bathroom or in a car while waiting for their kid’s indoor soccer game to end. This also goes for most people getting married, unless it is against their beliefs or religion. Personally, I had a ton of sex before I met the love of my life, Mitch. Yes, I know your father’s name is Bill. I meant to say Bill.

Anyway, you can wait until you are in college to have sex if you want to, but I would get it over with on the earlier side. Mid-way through high school is a good time, but, of course, you do what makes you comfortable.

Pick someone you trust or like or even love for your first time just so you can be open and honest about how awkward it is. Avoid cars or couches or waterbeds; the first time is hard enough without worrying about space issues or making waves or deflating cushions. Spoiler alert: men will orgasm, women won’t.

“Sex is great, but it isn’t always pretty.”

There is really no way to know if there will be any blood, but it won’t be a river, so don’t really worry about that. Why do you look grossed out? Sex is great, but it isn’t always pretty, my child.

Once you get through your first time you will feel better. The pressure will be off, and hopefully you will have a funny story to tell. Don’t worry, you will most likely have a lot more sex with a lot of people and have a lot more stories. And anyway, funny sex stories are the best ones to tell at parties.

College is a good time to experiment, and, as a woman, you will learn how to use sex as a weapon. This will be fun.

Sometimes someone may seem like a great person before sex and then be a jerk after. This does not reflect poorly on you, in fact it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

Anyone who ever calls you a slut or a tease isn’t a human you should care about. Also if you give me their name and address I can go egg their house.

No always means no. And never, ever, even for one second, be afraid to be honest about this.

“Foreplay is important.”

Casual sex is great and you should have it as often as you want. Be honest about your level of interest and commitment. Use protection and don’t be shy about discussing your sexual past. This isn’t something to be ashamed of, so if anyone ever gives you a hard time about it just tell them to fuck off. Or just give me their address and… well you know.

Foreplay is important. Why are you rolling your eyes? Also you should get some sort of vibrator, you can order one on Amazon. You could also just go to a sex shop in the city but why pay up when we have Prime?

If someone tells you you are “really good” at something sexual, it means they just want you to do it again. Avoid sex when you are really full or have to pee. Sometimes quickies are not that quick and someone will be late for work. Oral stimulation doesn’t always work for everyone, but sometimes it is the only thing that works for someone. Learn what works for you and be honest about it. Pets will watch you have sex, they just do. Don’t worry about it.

Well, I guess that is it. I hope you learned from this and that you will someday crawl out from under your desk and thank me for sharing my wisdom. Don’t forget we love you no matter who you choose to love, and anyone who doesn’t isn’t worth a moment of your anger or sadness.

And remember that the most important thing in the whole world is to love yourself for who you are.

Here are your clean clothes. Alright, I’m going I’m going.

Oh! I forgot to mention it, but most people you meet already have HPV.

See you at dinner.