I Have a New Name!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I'd been waiting for this day for a looooong time - just under 33.5 years, to be precise.

Longtime readers & real-life friends will likely know: My legal first name for the past 33.5 years has been Sara. I've never gone by it - my parents always called me Katie or Katy or Kate - but there it was, all my life, taunting me at doctor's offices & in DMVs & the bank & every other formal legal situation wherein I was reminded that the name I've always gone by was not, in fact, my name.

Shortly after Mike & I got married, I started the process of changing my full name.

I always knew that, if I got married after my grandmother was gone (I'm named Sara in memory of her mother), I would legally drop my first name. Changing your full name, even after marriage, is a much longer & more expensive process than simply changing your last name, but I knew I wanted to do it. I've always wanted to do it. I submitted the online paperwork, including sending photos of my birth certificate, driver's license, & marriage license... & then I waited to be assigned a court date.

That date was yesterday.

I took off work & brought my mom with me to my appointment with a magistrate at the Cuyahoga County Probate Court. Thirty minutes, $65, & one swearing-in later, he approved my request to change my legal first name from Sara to Kate, to make my maiden name my middle name, & to take my married name as my last name.

So what does this mean? That means it's officially official: My name is my name! 

The magistrate was very helpful, explaining all the steps, & he was also very tolerant of my high levels of enthusiasm. I guess, in that job, you probably don't hear from a ton of people who are, like, thrilled to be in court. But when he said, "I'm approving your request," right in the middle of an ongoing sentence like it was no big deal, I interrupted him by blurting out, "Thank you!" with a huge smile on my face. I couldn't help it.

Then we were off, new name in tow (though I have to wait a few days to start legally changing everything, starting with my Social Security card, followed by my driver's license, followed by my birth certificate, followed by evvvvverything else). Afterward, my mom & I celebrated with pancakes at Jack Flaps Luncheonette downtown, an indulgent weekday brunch topped with lemon curds & blueberries (or, in her case, crème brûlée & lavender).

For the first time in my life, I can't wait to go to a doctor's office - because mostly, I just really, really can't wait to finally be called by a name that registers in my brain as being my name.

Happy New Name Day to me! 

10 Things You Didn't Know about Me

Monday, January 29, 2018

The "five things" meme has been making its way around Instagram Stories, & fellow Cleveland blogger Shibani of Bombay Taxi took it further with her recent blog post sharing 10 little-known facts about herself. I thought it might be fun to do the same, so I present you with these 10 randomly chosen facts that you may or may not already know, depending on how close we are.

1. I used to be an incredibly picky eater. 

While some people might still consider me to be one, I've come a really long way. I used to hate all vegetables & most meat; I wouldn't eat any foreign foods because I didn't trust their flavor profiles, the spices, etc. Thai was my gateway food, & now I love just about everything, though I still won't eat meat on bones, ketchup or mustard, or anything that I consider to have an unpleasant texture. I love foods I never imagined, though, like beef, Brussels sprouts, beets, balsamic... the list goes on.

2. I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up.

Inspired by the movie Newsies & my lifelong love of writing, my college acceptance essay was about how news coverage of 9/11 solified my journalism dreams. I majored in magazine journalism, & when I transferred to Kent State, I started writing for the school paper, an award-winning daily. I never imagined myself doing anything other than reporting - but after college, I never went into it professionally. Sometimes I'm still jealous of my classmates who did.

3. I've worked for the same nonprofit for 10+ years.

I secured a one-year fellowship out of college, working in D.C., & when the year was up, they hired me to do communications work. I've since changed jobs two more times but stayed within the same organization. It's pretty unusual these days to meet a 33-year-old who's worked for the same place for so long, but I love the work I do & the nonprofit I do it for, so I've seen no reason to move on.

4. I took dance lessons for nearly a decade.

I started at age 3 & took classes at a local studio until I was 12. I quit because, by that time, I had to wear a back brace, & I also just wasn't good enough to continue. There comes a time when your childhood hobbies only continue if you have true talent, & while I was a decent dancer, it didn't make sense for me to be in lessons with girls who were on the road to becoming pro ballerinas.

5. I was super involved in high school.

I was on Student Council for four years, I was the editor of the school paper, I sang in a cappella choir, I was in the show choir, & I performed in three  musicals. And yes, that was a competitive, Glee-style show choir that traveled the Midwest participating in huge competitions. It was so fun - but looking back on it, I recognize that, uh, we were no Glee. While a lot of people hated high school, I actually really enjoyed it. I even gave our commencement speech!

6. I used to be incredibly messy. 

I don't know when this changed, but over the past few years, I've become pretty neat; clutter makes me claustrophobic. Mike is very messy, so it's a difficult balance to strike, but basically, he cooks & I clean, which means I clean up after him quite a bit - but it's worth it for the peace of mind of a nice, neat apartment. I find it so soothing to be in a clean space.

7. I once got to ride in the Goodyear Blimp.

If you're from outside Northeast Ohio, maybe this sounds like an "OK, whatever" kind of thing. But if you're from this area, you know that this is so rare & amazing. When I was a kid, my dad's job was selling golf carts, not just to golf courses but to universities, airports, & anywhere else that used them to drive around large campuses - including the Goodyear plant. One of his clients gifted our whole family a blimp ride! All I remember is that it was really loud, so loud we couldn't really talk to one another - but that the view was awesome.

8. I don't really like dogs.

Don't get me wrong, I think dogs are adorable, & I regularly coo over Internet photos & real-life canines throughout my very dog-friendly neighborhood. I love my mom's two chihuahua mixes, Chyna & Jed (worst names ever, Mom), but I just... don't really care that much for interacting with dogs. They scare me a little, they're a ton of work., & I would just never want a dog of my own. I am very happy with my two kitties & will someday make the jump rights from cats to kids.

9. My first job was at an Italian bakery.

When I was 15, my friend Jenn got me a job at the bakery called Ninni's, well-known by the local Italian community for having the best local Italian desserts, including pignoli cookies, cassata cake, cannoli, & the like. I woke up every morning at 5am to stack cookies, press pizelles, stuff French horns & cream puffs, & just generally drool over everything we sold. The upside: I no longer really care for sweets because I pigged out too much during this gig.

10. I dream of someday becoming an author.

I guess this probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me and/or reads this blog. So why haven't I done it yet? Well... I have no good answer for that. I've always been more comfortable with short-form writing, like blog posts, & the idea of writing something longer, like a book, seems incredibly daunting. Still, I hope I'll make this happen someday - & I hope you'll read it when I do!

What about you? Share a fact or two in the comments! 

Here's What's Getting Me Through a High-Protein Diet

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Toward the end of 2017, Mike & I decided it was time for a change. I've never been one for diets - diets are temporary, diets are fads, diets are unsustainable - but my general attempts at healthy eating weren't working. Without a strict set of guidelines, I found myself doing what I always do: telling myself, "Oh, it's OK just this one time!" - where "it," of course, meant eating pizza, or pasta, or a bagel sandwich, or any other number of great-tasting but not-great-for-my-health foods.

Truth be told, I've never been great at healthy eating. In 2012, I lost 35 lbs. on Weight Watchers, but I've since gained it all back - & lost only my resolve to do it again.

Mike wanted to do the Four-Hour Body, a diet program that, yes, sounds absolutely scammy if you read about it on that terrible website I just linked to. (Yikes. Hadn't seen that one yet.) But Mike trusts it, & he's had success with it in the past, & because he does our cooking, I decided I'd try to follow it, too.

The rules, loosely, are that we've cut out carbs (including rice, corn, potatoes, & quinoa) along with fruit & dairy. That leaves meat, veggies, nuts, & seeds - the things I've always been the worst at eating.

It hasn't been easy, & I spent the first week hangry as hell (that's hungry + angry, of course), but I've since discovered a few hacks that have made it workable for me.

Roasted Chickpeas 

These are my new favorite snack, & I admittedly sometimes try to pass them off as a full meal. Just drain a can of garbanzo beans, rinse, & toss with olive oil & any spice, cooked at 450 for 40 minutes. They get so crispy, & the crunch helps fill the void that carbs have left behind. I like to cover them in cayenne or in rosemary & garlic powder... & then eat the entire batch. I'm sure that's very helpful.

Salami & Eggs

I'm not much of a cook, I don't cook raw meat, & I don't really like eggs. I can sort of bypass all three issues if I scramble the eggs hard & add chopped-up salami (the nice-ish kind, not, like, the lunch meat kind). Add onions & a little bit of salsa, & that's a passable meal that doesn't make me hate this diet. The secret? Garden Fresh Sweet Onion Salsa is so flavorful that it can make anything delicious!

Cauliflower Rice

First things first: This should be called "riced cauliflower," with "rice" as an adjective, because having "rice" in the noun spot indicates that this is a legitimate rice substitute, & it's just... not. Cauliflower doesn't soak up sauce, nor is it truly fulfilling, taste-wise. It is, however, worth it if you want to eat Thai food or Indian takeout without breaking the diet. It's also good in breakfast hash in lieu of potatoes.

P3 Portable Protein Packs

I discovered these Planters gems in the nut aisle at Target, like little protein-packed Lunchables without the gross fake ham rounds. I've stocked up on trios of honey roasted peanuts, teriyaki beef jerky, & salted sunflower seeds, which I eat for breakfast & whenever I'm feeling snacky. They've definitely kept me on the wagon.

Kale Chips with Vegan "Cheese"

I've yet to try to make these myself, but I'm trying to find an inexpensive variety to buy online (any suggestions?) They came on the side of a meal I ordered from The Root in Lakewood, & no joke, when I was done, I went back & ordered another side of them because when you're on a restrictive diet & you find something you actually want to eat? Go eat more of it. I'm going back this week, just for more kale chips... which is a ridiculous sentence that I never thought I'd say.


Mike has found all kinds of simple recipes that taste great with zucchini noodles - & luckily, we got a spiralizer as a wedding gift, which makes it easy for him to make them on the fly. My favorite zoodle dish so far is "pad Thai," zoodles topped with a homemade peanut sauce. Sure, it doesn't taste like real pad Thai - but it's not a terrible substitute. Peanut sauce makes everything taste great!

Red Wine

Mike is doing a dry January, but... I'm not! I don't drink much at home, anyway, so I haven't been drinking during the week, but on the weekends, it's been a bit of a lifesaver to be able to have a glass or two of red wine. This diet cuts out sweets & all things sugary, so wine - even a very dry wine - feels like a welcome change to my palate.

Restaurant Options

One of the reasons Weight Watchers has been so difficult for me to revisit is that I love going out to eat & do it with some frequently here in Cleveland. I've discovered, though, that I can still eat at a lot of the restaurants I love, so long as I make smart choices. I can still eat the pecan bacon from Lucky's & the beef lettuce wraps from The South Side & the chicken satay from Ty Fun, to  name a few, which makes me feel much less suffocated, food-wise, than a standard diet.


The best thing about the Four-Hour Body is that every Saturday, we get a major cheat day - like, an eat-whatever-we-want kind of cheat day. Apparently it jumpstarts your protein-saturated system, or something, & actually helps you lose weight? I don't know, guys, I'm not a scientist. All I know is that by Thursday, I'm jonesing for Saturday, planning out my entire meal - which usually involves a bagel & might involve a pizza.

We're a little more than three weeks into this diet, & I've lost about eight pounds - but beyond that, I feel great, which is why this diet has been easier than expected for me to stick to. I never thought I could make it on such a restrictive eating plan, but I'm finding that it's not actually that difficult - & feeling good makes it feel worth it.

Have you ever done a high-protein diet? I'd love your food recs & any other survival suggestions!

Walking Out of the Theater Mid-Movie & Not Feeling Bad about It

Thursday, January 25, 2018

We'd been planning it for awhile: A few friends I were going to see the 10pm showing of The Room at The Cedar Lee, a local indie theater, so that we'd have the background to see The Disaster Artist, for which James Franco (ew) just won a Golden Globe. 

I, for one, had never even heard of The Room. I had no idea it was a thing at all, much less a cult classic of a thing, despite the fact that it came out my freshman year of college. It's been widely panned & repeatedly named "the worst movie ever," & I was excited to give it a watch. I love me some terrible pop culture.

Before the show, eight of us met up at Boss Dog Brewing Co., a newish brewery on the East Side within walking distance of the theater. The food was decent enough but wildly overpriced; luckily, the beer & the company made up for it. 

The group split (only four of us headed to the show), & as we settled into our seats at the Cedar Lee, I remembered just how much I love going to the movies. I never seem to do it anymore, despite the fact that in my New Hampshire days, solo movie-going was one of my favorite activities. In fact, I think I only went to the movies one time in 2017!

We'd been told that this movie was a bit of a cult classic in the vein of Rock Horror Picture Show, but I'll be honest: I didn't believe it. Having never even heard of this one, I figured it couldn't be that popular. A stranger gave us plastic spoons upon our arrival - apparently some spoon-throwing occurs during the show - & before the lights went down, Mike whispered to me, "Do you think this is the kind of movie where people heckle?"

As soon as the credits started rolling, it became clear that it was. 

Every time actor/director Tommy Wiseau's name hit the screen, the crowd screamed - & it wasn't just during the credits. The audience yelled so loudly during the movie itself that we couldn't hear the (clearly terrible) dialogue, relying solely on the (clearly terrible) sex scenes to determine what was going on. But of course, the worst movie ever is unlikely to have an easy-to-follow plot, & so we just... had no idea what was happening, aside from some really bad acting.

More disturbingly, the crowd continued to yell some really vile things at the screen. There was a lot of "Slut!" & "Whore!" & "Tramp!" While the lead female character was, yes, of fairly loose sexuality, I was really uncomfortable with the sexual slurs being screamed throughout the theater. Heckling is one thing; misogynistic heckling is another.

The movie had been on for less than 15 minutes when I leaned over to Mike & asked if he wanted to leave; he said no. The movie had been on for less than 30 minutes when Mike leaned over to me & asked if I wanted to leave; I said yes. We apologized profusely to the other couple we were with, & then we ducked out, calling a Lyft before we'd even left the theater. 

The only thing we felt bad about was bailing on our friends & this long-planned evening. Otherwise? If I'm being being honest, we felt great about leaving. We got home before 11pm, & by the time the show got out, we'd already been home & in our pajamas for nearly an hour.

That night, we reclaimed our time

Society teaches us that there's little worse than being a quitter. We're taught we should push through, carry on, continue regardless of how it makes us feel or whether we're enjoying ourselves. It's why kids are pressured not to give up activities their parents have forced them into. It's the reason people have such guilt when they put down a book they aren't enjoying, even 100 pages in. 

When it comes to such trivial matters, though - in this case, a $7 movie ticket to sit through two hours of an agonizing experience, why bother? It's one thing to quit a job or a major project or something you have to do - but there are so many things that we have to do. Why force ourselves, in the rest of our time, to do things we don't want to do? 

If I watched The Room under different circumstances - maybe tipsy at a small gathering with friends - I bet I'd think it was hilarious. But I hated the experience of watching it in a public viewing, & I have zero guilt whatsoever about getting the hell out of there & doing something more enjoyable with that spare hour.

Have you ever walked out of a movie?

Soul Connect: Moving Wayyyy Outside My Comfort Zone

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

I'm generally a little bit of a skeptic, if you want the truth. 

I'm not a touchy-feely person. I have a lot of feelings, sure, but I'm not the kind of person who reads Brene Brown or puts stock in crystals or gets vulnerable in groups of strangers.

Until I do.

For the last few months, I've been following Soul Connect on social media, a movement to connect local women on a deep & meaningful level. Run by life coach/yogi/entrepreneur Katie Kurtz, who I met at a blogging event last year, Soul Connect hosts monthly events for Cleveland-area women. Some are yoga-centered, or focused on the new moon, or crafty, or food-based; they're all different.

Ever since I learned about Soul Connect, I've gone back & forth about whether to attend one of their events. Would they be too hippie-dippy for me? And would I ever dare to go alone? I decided to attend the January event knowing it would be way out of my comfort zone - & with vision boarding, no less.

But you know what? It turned out to be exactly what I needed.

I showed up alone & awkward & more than a little jaded. I literally paused in the hallway outside the room where others were gathered, & I considered leaving. I could hear people chatting & laughing, but I was too scared to go in by myself. When Katie spotted me peeking my head around the corner, though, I was caught. I had to go in.

I entered the room to find a dozen women sitting in a circle, cross-legged on yoga blankets, drinking tea & eating snacks. In the center of the circle were crafting supplies - paintbrushes, blank canvases, colorful paint - & a deck of "moon cards" with the word "ANGELS" emblazoned across the front.

Oh, God, what had I gotten myself into? 

But I took a deep breath, picked the first woman in the room who'd smiled my way, & pulled up a blanket next to her. OK, let's do this.

Katie introduced herself, the group, & the evening's activity, repeatedly reassuring us that we didn't have to do anything. We could paint whatever we wanted, however we wanted - we just had to commit to being open & honest & genuine in our intentions. We went around the circle & introduced ourselves, telling the group what we were giving ourselves "permission" to do for the evening. It felt like a hippie-dippy start, touchy-feely start, but I decided to be honest: I give myself permission not to be such a skeptic. 

Katie asked us not to look at one another's paintings or to feel bad about theirs as compared to our own - to just paint & talk & enjoy. As we painted, we talked about the new year - what we think about new beginnings, whether new year's resolutions are bullshit, what we wanted for ourselves in 2018. We talked about judgment - about whether it's a learned behavior, about how we can try to give other women the benefit of the doubt, about how social media makes it extra-difficult sometimes. Because I didn't know anyone, thought I wouldn't talk much - but I was wrong. I had plenty to say.

And you know what? I absolutely loved those two hours painting & talking about life with complete strangers. 

My painting turned out ugly, but so what? It was one of the nicest evenings I've had in a long time - & to I'd almost talked myself out of it entirely. It was such a relief to be in a safe space where, strangers or not, we'd all agreed to leave judgments & preconceptions at the door; to just be ourselves. I left feeling refreshed & reinvigorated & reassured. Hopeful.

Katie & Soul Connect are creating something truly incredible - & this skeptic, for one, is looking forward to continuing to be a part of it. I already bought my ticket to the next event! See you there?

Why I Marched (& Which Signs I Liked Best)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

"This is what democracy looks like!"

I was proud to march in the Cleveland Women's March on Saturday with three of my friends & 7,000 others Northeast Ohioans. We marched alongside sisters (& brothers & non-binary folks!) who were Black, white, Latinx, Asian, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, trans, gay, disabled, young, old, fat, thin...

I'll be honest: Based on some of what I'd read, I went into the event more than a little skeptical of the movement's commitment to diversity & inclusivity. I read that Black Lives Matter, in particular, was in disagreement with Women's March coordinators in a number of cities, including D.C. & Cincinnati. I also read a piece written by one of my dear friends, titled, "Getting intersectional means showing up when there are no pink hats," that had me questioning my motives for attending & wondering whether it was OK for me to participate.

Ultimately, I decided that participating in this march was just one piece of my broader activism efforts - & I need to remember that throughout the year! One march does not an activist make - so I've (we've!) got to keep it up.

Overall, I was really proud of our city's turnout & of the speakers on the docket, who spoke about everything from reproductive choice to violence against Black women to climate change to LGBTQ equality to education reform. The speakers themselves were diverse & representative of a variety of organizations across the Cleveland area. I did note that there were not nearly as women of color as I would've liked to have seen at an event in a Black-majority city - but I wonder if the aforementioned concerns kept potential participants of color away.

It seemed, to me at least, to be a day quite representative of the many issues & intersections that impact today's women - & indeed, all of us. (Side note: If you have a case against this, though, I'd love to know more, as I know there was a lot of discussion before the marches about whether they appropriately centered marginalized women.)

There were, of course, some incredible signs. A few of my favorites are rounded up here, but keep scrolling, because beneath the photos, i'm also sharing some important resources!

So, yes, it was a very powerful morning. But now what? Now let's keep it up! 

Whether or not you marched on Saturday, find ways to get involved this year. Figure out what matters to you, & take action. Looking for local organizations to support & get involved in? Here are just a few great ones:

May this be the year that we all choose how to become more involved - & may this be the year we trust women.

...that we listen to Black women.

...that we stand with trans women.

...that we support immigrant women.

...that we defend Muslim women.

May this be the year that we believe in women.

In 2018, the blue wave is coming. And next time, I'm bringing a damn sign to the rally.

10 Observations about Dawson's Creek on Its 20th Anniversary

Friday, January 19, 2018

It was a whopping 20 years ago tomorrow that Dawson's Creek aired on the WB (RIP). My best friend Christina & I were in eighth grade, & even before the first episode hit the airwaves, we knew from the commercials & articles in Seventeen that it was going to be our favorite show. Ever.

And it was. It is.

Do you remember watching your favorite show, as a kid, with no inkling that you would ever be able to watch it again? Back then, seasons of TV shows didn't really even come out on VHS. Unless you recorded the episodes on your own VCR, each viewing was likely to be your only.

And so I watched each episode of Dawson's Creek like it was my only chance - which is also why it's the one show I've been so reluctant to rewatch. This show is seared in my brain as perfect, the show that influenced me, that grew up with me, that educated me, that gave me half my vocabulary (truly, those kids' mental thesauruses are impressive as hell). Yes, with time, it's become critically panned & much maligned, but in my teenage mind, Dawson's Creek was - & still is - the best TV show of all time.

I haven't wanted to sully or in any way taint that memory - but recently, I've watched (for the first time) other celebrated teen angst-centric drama, including The O.C. & Gossip Girl (both great). As much as I enjoyed their glitz & glamour, I found that in watching them, I pined for the regular-kid normalcy of the Capeside kids, who weren't cool or popular or bad or beautiful. They were just... they were real, even with that damn overwrought dialog.

And so, last week, I started watching Dawson's Creek again. It's all right there for me, on Hulu, to be rewatched & relived & re-enjoyed. Why not now? Going back to Capeside feels like coming home - even without the Paula Cole intro.

In celebration of the show I've always loved most - & hopefully still will, when all of this is over - here are a few observations about the show based on episode one of season one, the pilot that aired 20 freaking years ago. Say goodnight, friends - not goodbye.

1. There's a lot of very frank body talk.

Off to the races! In the show's very first scene, Joey talks about "breasts & genitalia," & later, Jen tells her horrified, religious grandmother, "I'll go to church when you say the word penis. Clinical & technical: penis." And of course, when it comes to less clinical & technical terminology, there's that now-famous scene in which Joey asks Dawson when he "walks his dog," a new euphemism written just for the show because they couldn't technically discuss masturbation on the cable. (His answer, in case you're not familiar with the scene, is "Usually in the morning, with Katie Couric.")

2. This show was ahead of its time on a number of fronts.

Sure, Dawson's Creek was the first show to reference, you know... walking the dog. But it wasn't all sex & body talk. The show also featured a number of unusual-for-1998 themes, right off the bat, including Bessie & Bodey's interracial relationship & Jen's outspoken, unapologetic atheism. Later, it would also delve into other serious social issues, like Jack coming out as gay & Andi grappling with severe mental illness. As an adult liberal, I very much appreciate that Dawson's Creek just got into it.

3. I am deeply uncomfortable with the phrase "Mr. Man Meat."

Very early in S1E1, Dawson & Pacey walk in on Mr. & Mrs. Leery gettin' their freak on... on the coffee table. As the missus buttons up & leaves for work, she kisses Dawson's dad &, in front of her son & his teenage friend, refers to her husband as "Mr. Man Meat." As a now-married woman, I cannot think of a grosser nickname, truly.

4. Wait, what is Pacey short for, anyway?

I'm still dying for a backstory about how a main character ended up with a name that isn't even a name - but since we never meet Pacey's mom (& his dad really sucks), we never learn this detail. Inquiring minds want to know: Is anyone in the world actually named this?

5. Jen's arrival is very cliched &... billowy.

We first meet new-girl Jen Lindley when she climbs out of a yellow cab, blond hair blowing in the breeze & buttoned-up skater dress (ah, the '90s) clinging ever so lightly to her lithe frame. It's all very girl-in-a-music-video & very ridiculous.

6. Oh, yeah. Pacey & Dawson work in a freaking video store.

Long before the advent of Netflix or iTunes or online pirating, the boys worked in an old-fashioned video store, the kind with VHS tapes lining the walls - & it's no Blockbuster, either. It's that independently owned type that has long gone the way of the dodo.

7. This show gets right to it on the affair-with-a-teacher thing.

As a teen, I thought this story line was over-the-top but still kind of cool in a TV drama kind of way. As an adult, this story line  really bothers me - & it has since showed up in nearly every teen drama, from Pretty Little Liars to Riverdale. Tamara is so overtly sexual, right off the bat, from the day she waltzes into the video store & flirts with a smitten teenage boy as she requests The Graduate, of all movies. This lady has zero self-control, & her remorse feels absolutely disingenuous.

8. Pacey literally says, to his teacher, "I'm the best sex you'll never have."

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Just before a very brazen & ridiculous scene in which Tamara makes out with her young high school student on a public dock in full view of God-knows-who - in a small town, no less! - this swaggering 15-year-old manchild actually says this to his teacher. Again, as a now-33-year-old woman, I am deeply uncomfortable with his self-confident hotness because I do not think teacher/student scenes are hot. And yet... here I am, feeling 14 again & thinking Pacey is just so cool?! No. Stop.

9. "No" is a complete sentence.

What an underrated lesson from the first episode of this much-maligned show. How I wish I'd internalized this one long ago! It comes from a film teacher whose class Dawson wants to take; the teacher insists the class is full & that he can make no exceptions. "'No' is a complete sentence," he tells Dawson, a sentiment that would, in the late 2010s, become the mantra of anti-sexual assault activists & self-care advocates alike.

10. Nineties music was the best music, don't @ me.

The first episode alone includes Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping," The Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You," & "As I Lay Me Down To Sleep" by one-hit wonder Sophie B. Hawkins, which swells & booms as a lovestruck Dawson spots Jen sitting on the dock with her feet in the water & her hair blowing in the damn wind again. I also remember fondly the show's soundtrack, which featured nineties names like Sixpence None The Richer & Sophie B. Hawkins & introduced me to Jessica Simpson.

Bonus thoughts from episode two: Dawson wears a lot of vests; Jen has the cheesiest dialog of the whole cast; there's no way Tamara is not yet 40.

I am having a blast rewatching this show, & I can't wait until it makes me cry for the first time. Is that a weird thing to say? Bring it on, Capeside. I'm here to feel 15 again.

Did you watch Dawson's Creek? What's your all-time favorite teen-angst drama?
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