Here are some things I just know for sure:

The “he’s a transvestite” line in Psycho will always get a laugh from my eighteen year old students because they think that word is funny and that it’s maybe kind of scandalous and kids of all ages get excited by things that veer anywhere towards the dirty.

My mornings that begin with the world tilted on an emotional axis happen because the dream I was trudging through the very moment before my alarm blared into my consciousness was not a very comforting dream.  It probably involved a person who stated to me directly all the things I’ve always been terrified to hear in real life – and in the dream, he speaks really clearly.

There are some mornings I swear I can hear a gaggle of bluebirds singing perfect melodies in the sunny distance and I look up at a crystal cobalt sky and I thank the actual heavens for my strength and my optimism and that coffee exists. 

There are a lot of ways to explain away somebody’s odd behavior, but the actual explanation is probably quite simple and exactly what you don’t want to hear, which is why you try to become a psychological explorer who is willing to excavate your entire sanity just to discover an answer you think you can better tolerate.

People who have dreams but don’t pursue them feel resentment.  That resentment can be bubbling or simmering or boiling over or maybe it could evaporate, but the scent of the dream will always permeate the air that surrounds you and you will always be a person who requires oxygen.

Making dreams come true can feel inconvenient when you have other things going on, responsibilities that are immediate, yoga to make your ass tight, and people surrounding you who don’t always believe.

Almost Famous is the second greatest movie of all time.  It contains a sequence – Penny Lane twirling to a Cat Stevens song in an empty concert hall that a few hours ago throbbed with the magic brought by music – that is perhaps the most glistening and gorgeous sequence ever caught on camera.

Pulp Fiction is the actual greatest movie of all time, but I can’t show the entire thing in a public school because I’d probably get canned.  If you’re wondering why, consider the extreme close-ups of heroin injection, the extended rape scene, Marvin getting shot with a bullet in the face and the entire frame being covered in bloody pulpy brain matter, and more frequent usage of the word “motherfucker” than is typically sanctioned in an environment reserved for learning.

My phone is my very best friend because it allows me to flirt and to shop.  My phone is also my absolute fucking nemesis because it allows me to flirt and to shop. 

I’m almost always too hot or too cold, but I try not to complain too much about any of it because I think there’s maybe nothing more dull than complaining about the weather.  I would, however, prefer to be way too cold than way too hot because there are always hoodies to pull around a shivering body and – let’s face it –my hair looks like shit when I’m sweaty.

I think it’s actually quite a good thing that I didn’t have so much technology available to me when I was younger.  I think about this issue a lot.  If I’d had access to thousands of movies on demand or online or had Netflix existed then, there’s an excellent chance I might have never left my house.  And if I was able to communicate with guys through text instead of having to talk to them on the phone where I always feel more exposed and inhibited, I probably would have turned into kind of a whore and I’m often pleased that I skipped the whore stage because the sex I’ve had is tinged with a lot of things, but rarely with regret.

There are some books I can read over and over and over again.  I like when someone’s outfit is described in perfect detail in a book.  I like knowing what song was on in a character’s house at a particular moment.  Sometimes I’ll put down the book for a minute and scroll through my own music to see if I have that song and I’ll put it on and then pick up the book again and it’s all of a sudden like I’m there, in that scene, in that home.  It’s almost like I have become someone else, but I can transport directly back to myself the moment the song ends.  It feels bizarre, like I’m taking a brief sojourn through time and space and self, and I enjoy it maybe more than I should.

Finding the perfect mascara – the one that will provide you with feathery, thick lashes and will go on without a single clump and will come off without making you look like someone strong hauled back and punched you right in the eye – is like searching for the holy grail.  I currently have five brand new mascaras in the Lucite makeup holder in my bathroom and I hate all of them and I’m rather certain that Goebbels came back to life as the head mascara-wand-maker at Dior.

Telling your mother, “I want to get so thin that people will start rumors that I might have a problem” are the kind of words that should maybe cause some concern even though you’re usually sarcastic enough to often be taken with a grain of salt.  But those words most definitely should not be followed with the sentence, “I’m so proud of you, Nell!” 

But then there’s also this:  learning to genuinely forgive your parents for their missteps will allow you to have a life bracketed by emotional freedom.  It might also stop you from cheering on your future daughter as she contemplates mastering a little something called starvation.

Watching people age is frightening far more than it is upsetting.  There’s the responsibility you don’t feel ready to handle and the barrage of concerns there’s no real way to shake.  There’s the new medical vernacular the family volleys back and forth and how you learn the differences between an MRI and a PET scan.  You hate yourself with a passion for getting frustrated that sometimes it takes someone longer to complete a simple task and you know right then – right as it’s all transpiring – that the frustration and annoyance is really just a cover for your own spiking levels of terror.

If you are going into a field where a graduate degree is required, where you get your Bachelor’s degree probably doesn’t matter as much as your Guidance Counselor once said that it would.  So the lesson probably is that you should go somewhere that has a dining hall with a ton of options because nothing else really matters, though if you can land at a school that has air conditioners inside of your dorm room, you’ll be a legitimately happier person on a minute to minute basis because there’s no kind of humidity that exists like dorm room humidity, especially when you’re in a room meant for two people but the university has chosen to cram in three.

Binge-watching television shows has changed the game and we’re not heading back to how it used to be, not ever.  And I am more than okay with that and I just heard that the new NBC series Aquarius is being released On Demand all at once and now I think I know how I plan to pass the time on the first rainy Sunday in mid-May.

It’s best to just stop trying to figure out how Mad Men will end and it’s better to expend that energy praying that the character Glenn – who is creepier than Gollum and Joaquin Phoenix mashed together – will never again grace my television screen because I’m actively still trying to figure out if it’s the character that’s meant to make me squirm or if it’s the actor who plays him that causes a reaction so visceral that I’m starting to wonder if either the actor or the character once killed me in a former life.

If you are a person who gets annoyed that new and potentially groundbreaking movies are not being made on a consistent basis, stop going to the movie theatre on opening night to see the seventh movie in a franchise.  Stay home.  Watch TV or have sex instead.  Don’t order the movie when it comes On Demand in three months.  Just like that wee little mystic instructs in Poltergeist about the white light, don’t even look at it.  Because when shit stops making money, that’s when shit goes away for good.

When you’re in a making-comparisons kind of mood, remember the following:  with few exceptions, sex should trump sleep; ice cream should trump sorbet; logic should trump blind emotion; loyalty should trump everything; and someone with large fists should beat up Donald Trump before he threatens to run for office again.

Drinking gallons of water actually does amazing things for your skin, your hair, and your weight – and I really hate that it’s true because I’d much prefer to get a glowing complexion from gulping down hot cocoa topped with real whipped cream.

Getting a present is great.  Giving a present is often even better.

When someone you don’t know says something particularly loathsome to or about you, ignore it.  When someone you thought you knew well says something you find particularly suspicious, pay very close attention.

Never cut your own bangs or your own jeans when you are a person your Kindergarten teacher once identified as “a remedial cutter.”  You will end up with uneven bangs that bunch up in a way that wouldn’t even be cute on a Lhasa Apso and you’ll be stuck with jeans so short that your labia will feel a breeze.

Celebrate the best of what you have and who you are.

See barriers you never set up as things you don’t need to halt in front of and instead go sailing over them all.

Congratulate yourself for and honor the good stuff and do your very best to mourn loss in a way that will not grind your life or your momentum to a screeching halt.

Believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny for as long as you can, even if you’re Jewish.

Do everything in your power to make sure Hostess never goes out of business again because a society without Sno Balls is nothing but bleak.

Don’t fight with friends over Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  Don’t believe you can change someone’s already made up mind about issues like racism and sexism and vaccinations with a hastily written post.  But please continue to put up videos of animals doing things like sneezing because watching a koala with an allergy attack brings me true joy and joy is important.

Surround yourself with funny people who make you think.  

Never stop trying to learn, even when the lessons bring you a pain worse than you thought you could ever survive.  

Listen hard.  Look closely.  Stand tall.  And, if you feel like you can’t stand tall, throw on some heels.

And know that dreams will no longer simply be dreams when they start coming true.