In One Year I’ve Had 99 Problems, But A Bitch Was Not One


In the last 365 days a lot of problems have come my way and many more things changed for me this year than in the 26 years that preceded it. These range from petty annoyances to real life “FUCK” moments but overall they’ve come together to form a really great Jay-Z song. I want to preface everything and say I’m not trying to complain or say that I’m unhappy because I’m actually in a really good place in life. I just wanted to document a year of my personal life that was unique.

I figured out this week that in one year I might have accumulated 99 problems. It started when I developed (1) plantar fasciitis in my left heel from too much long distance running which caused me to have to (2) quit training for a marathon. I’ve been relatively healthy my whole life so this was new. Around the same time I had received an email that I had (3) not passed into the advanced improv program but all my friends got the greenlight. It sounds dumb to outsiders but it gutted me at the time. However I did get a great internship with the theatre but it was one week before my improv team started our own weekly show. I was now (4) paying almost $80 a month for a show I couldn’t attend.

Again all this was pretty petty nonsense, right? In April I had to have my (5-6) wisdom teeth taken out and (7) gum-lengthening surgery to fix the fact that I was born with (7) incredibly small teeth and (8) the crown on my molar kept falling out. Well, technically I (9) swallowed it in a bite of lemon chicken but it brought to life my small teeth crisis. I was lucky enough to have good dental insurance but that still only covered (10) half.

Then that same weekend my younger brother had a (11) breakdown causing him to be (12) hospitalized for 3 days. My brother started showing signs of bi-polar disorder and has been diagnosed with so many different mental diseases it’s now impossible to (13) place him anywhere so he (14) lives with my older parents. Between drug and alcohol abuse and his mental state, he snapped one day and almost overdosed. He also became (15) violently aggressive to my parents and they had to hospitalize him under orders from the state of Florida for three days. My whole life I knew my brother was different but coming to terms with understanding that your own family member can be dangerous and you have to just let go is the toughest fucking thing you can imagine. After his hospitalization, he got clean and started knitting with the church ladies at the local Lutheran church but he still struggles everyday.

As the summer approached, things were starting to look up and staffing season here in L.A. was beginning. I had made many important connections and was hoping this would be the year they would pay off. (16-20) They did not. But I still decided to (21) quit my live-in nanny position to move closer to where I needed to be for my career. I found the perfect apartment with the best roommates. However, in two weeks I would have (22) depleted my savings accounts, (23-28) sold some pretty personal things (including an expensive camera that only garnered me back a quarter of what it was worth), (29-32) bought a bunch of faulty furniture from Craigslist and (33) slept on an air mattress for two months. But I was at least happy at the time. I was happy with my decision to quit and live where I needed to be. I was happy with being closer to friends and not have to drive 300 miles a week like I was doing.

I had also come to the realization at that time that I would finally leave my Christian background. It was something weighing on me for a while so I stopped going to church and worrying about the negative stigma I would receive from that community. That’s not a problem, right? Wrong. Having to tell all your loved ones you don’t believe in something that they believe is going to ruin your life is terrible. The looks and emails and calls of concern were many but again I finally felt myself. Yet this still caused (34-45) of my problems.

Other summer problems included: (46) my family moved out of my childhood home to relocate to Salt Lake (we’re not Mormons, just insane). (47) I took a production job and spilled trash all over me on the first day and (48) let down my production coordinator by buying too many black shirts for the crew. (49-50) I had two court dates for two different traffic violations -one red light and one because my windows were tinted too dark. Also, (51) I lost my mother’s favorite ring, (52) I failed at a three day juice cleanse on day one, (53) I didn’t finish a very important spec script in time for the deadline, (54) I broke an expensive watch and (55) I killed a cactus. Oh and here was a big one- I had dreamt about an ex and that I was babysitting for his baby. In the dream I lost the baby so I texted my friend about it the next morning including an “isn’t that crazy, HAHA?” at the end. I ended up sending the text to the guy and not the friend. Isn’t that crazy, HAHA? (56-58)

The fall started and I turned 27. That was relatively painless except for a (59) flat tire on my birthday and the whole (60) “still unemployed” thing. I spent most of the month babysitting for random families and (61-63) staining my cream-colored leatherette car seats with children’s dirty footprints and blue slushies. I also ordered a really cool Bill Murray shirt and they sent me two which- hey two for the price of one!- but when I told them about the mistake they asked me to send one back. I hate mailing things and now this extra Bill Murray shirt just stares at me in disdain (64) for not making good on my mail-back promise.

As we got closer to all things pumpkin spice, I secured a steadier nanny job and money was okay. I was finding my stride in my new neighborhood and making new friends. Things were good again! Then I got a (65) spider bite that wouldn’t leave for two months and figured out my (66) lactose intolerance was not something I could dismiss anymore. I stopped eating (67-75) everything that was good in life for one month. But I did start seeing someone so I went on birth control, which was fine except getting used to it while taking care of children can be emotional. I found myself (76) crying one day because one of the kids had a stomachache. Hormones!

Around this time, theatre auditions for the house improv teams started and I knew their house writing team submissions would be around the corner. Obviously I made them both! No, no (77-79) I did not. But I knew fall and Christmas would be that magical time where friends and family are all cheerful and things are great and winterland wonderful.

I went home for Thanksgiving where I quickly realized that my mom wasn’t settling into living in Salt Lake. They had moved from warm Miami and now were dealing with actual cold temperatures. My brother’s issues were weighing hard on her. My mom’s always been this optimistic and happy person and to see her barely getting out of bed or wanting to talk was heartbreaking. It made me realize just how real depression can be and completely change a person. We tried to make her happy the entire time I was there but she (80) just stayed in her dark place. Happy Turkey Day! But I did get to almost go skiing for the first time.

December was actually really good for me. Things were just happy and for once Christmas was going to be cozy because it would be the first time my whole family would be together in one place. Then my older brother decided to take his family to Chile (81) on Christmas day leaving just my parents, younger brother and I to make awkward small talk over leftovers and watching (82-83) Red and Red 2 multiple times for my dad’s viewing pleasure. Overall though, Christmas was pretty good and quiet and my mom’s depression was finally letting go a little bit. I came back to L.A. feeling great about 2014 like every other fun young woman in their 20’s.

NYE I spent with the best of friends and was probably one of the best nights I have had in awhile. No problems! Just some minor (84) throwing up and a hangover. My nanny job sucked but I was still dating someone and improv was going well. I was writing more and I even lost some weight. Then I got (85) dumped a few weeks shy of (86) Valentines Day. I’m not big on that day but it is a great talking point. Also my plantar fasciitis came back to bookend this year of Jay-Z.

Other general problems to make 99: (87) spending the year scared to park at my local grocery store, (88) using too much coffee creamer and making (89) too much coffee in the morning, (90) not using 3 different Groupons I bought over the year, (91) breaking three backpacks and (92) two pairs of headphones, (93) never using that last Cardio Barre class, (94) still not seeing Book of Mormon, (95) re-using scripts as printer paper because I was out, (96) spending 9 months without a wall charger for my iPhone, (97) needing contacts, (98) being too scared to run at because of murderers and finally (99) I still have yet to give away my The Wire virginity to someone.

All this to point out that I made it. You can have 99 problems but it doesn’t matter as long as your support system is solid, which it was for me. There were no b$tche$ or drama, just plain old real life FUCK, THE FUCK problems for 365 days. I’m just ready for my 100th problem to be all the great Internet comments that spawn from a 20-something white girl sharing about all their woes. Go!

image – Flickr / ellenm1