Home > FTIAT, Guest blogger > FTIAT: Life is Like an Empty Box of Chocolates (Because I Ate Them All)

FTIAT: Life is Like an Empty Box of Chocolates (Because I Ate Them All)

Julie (goguiltypleasures) embraces and shares her guilty pleasures with such wholehearted zest that scientific studies have shown readers feel eleventy billion times happier after reading her blog than they were beforehand.

I caution you to follow the “recommended post” link below only when you have plenty of time to peruse. Like most of life’s sweetest offerings, it’s impossible to have just one bite of goguiltypleasures!

Recommended post: Sincerely Yours, Caring McCantYouSeeImTryingHere

Life is Like an Empty Box of Chocolates (Because I Ate Them All)

Er...I don't know what happened. One minute, there, and the next? Gone. It's the strangest thing, really.

Ten years ago, I attended a local community college in New Jersey, my sights set on transferring to a liberal arts university in Manhattan to study writing. I had a great group of older, witty, musically gifted, insanely intelligent friends, and when I wasn’t working or diligently studying, I spent my time with them. At that point, I’d been through some emotional turmoil (bullying and panic attacks) and had been home-schooled for high school. By 19, I had finally started to shed some of my old baggage, but conversations with this older crowd often left me feeling inadequate. I was always struggling to keep up with their knowledge of music, books, film, politics, religion, and hardest of all, their experience.

I liked to listen to ‘NSync and only read the newspaper if it was a class assignment. Rollerblading, baking, drawing and filmmaking were some of my hobbies. I loved fashion, Harry Potter and seeing pop rock concerts in New York City. I couldn’t get enough of my favorite television shows or juicy celebrity gossip. I was forced to admit the horrible truth: I was mainstream. Ordinary. I was doing something wrong, I thought; I needed to read those books I was “supposed” to read (but made me want to bang my head against a concrete wall), watch those films my friends said were best (but made my eyes droop with boredom), and visit museums “just for fun.”

It wasn’t just my friends who made me feel this way. Growing up, I always wanted to be The Smart One. The thing is, in my family, the bar is set extraordinarily high – I have a genius brother and an Ivy Leaguer father. To make a long story short, while I almost always got A’s in school, I never skipped a grade and never got into Princeton. I was The Artist (my brother had the coveted Smarty-Pants title, of course, while my sister had the Social Butterfly one). Even though I liked being called creative, I still felt the need to prove myself intellectually.

It wasn’t until 21, when I started dating my now-husband, that I realized how much time I was wasting on trying. Trying to be someone I wasn’t, to impress people who probably weren’t fooled to begin with or didn’t care much either way. My husband, more than anyone else, taught me to take the light-hearted road, and there is nothing I’m more grateful for. He’s shown me there’s no shame in liking what I like; the silly, self-indulgent girl I was trying to tame didn’t need stifling. Just because Clueless is my favorite movie of all-time and I’d rather listen to Britney Spears than jazz, doesn’t mean I’m any less interesting than the cerebral college mates I desperately wanted to win over. Those film snob friends who could talk for 45 minutes about the symbolism of Citizen Kane would be embarrassed to hear my husband get the same point across in one hilarious sentence.

Now when I have occasional lapses, and worry people will read my guilty pleasure blog and think I’m a shallow, one-trick pony, I laugh and say to myself, Who cares? Betcha I’m having more fun! What they might not realize is how difficult it was for me to get to this point. Luckily, I know if I start to get caught up in self-doubt, my husband will take my obnoxious words and repeat them in a ridiculous voice. Usually with a heavy lisp. You like using words like plethora, huh? Oh, you studied Nietzsche in college? Get the hell out of here, his teasing reminds me, you’re taking yourself too seriously.

My husband shows me, day in and day out, by his unwavering example, that there’s nothing better than being genuine. For this I am more thankful than champagne words can express. Even though I sometimes still have to force myself to share the goofy things [always] on my mind, it gets easier every day. And that’s like, you know, as the incomparable Miley Cyrus would say, pretty cool y’all.

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  1. December 2, 2011 at 6:26 am

    I went over to visit your site. It seems warm, welcoming and bright (no rhyme intended). This is a great post tracing your chocolate journey. Congratulations on eating a whole box of chocolates and finding the wisdom in doing that. I really enjoyed this.

    • December 2, 2011 at 6:31 am

      “warm, welcoming and bright”–these are the feelings that come to mind when I imagine Julie, whose blog was one of the first I followed. These things carry through into all her words, no matter where those words fall. ♥

      • December 2, 2011 at 7:43 am

        Thank you so much, Georgette and Deb! That really means a lot to me to hear. I think any journey that ends in an empty box of chocolate (and Miley Cyrus) is a worthwhile one. I expect my next to end with an empty case of champagne and Camp Rock.

  2. December 2, 2011 at 6:37 am

    “A Plethora of Nietzsche” was my favorite ‘N Sync song.

  3. December 2, 2011 at 6:50 am

    What a wonderful post, Julie. I’ve had similar aspirations–wanted to seem uber-intelligent (LOL) and creative, when just being myself is what mattered most all along. Thanks for that reminder. I look forward to checking out your blog.

    By the way, Deb, in my post today I announce new additions to my blogroll, and you made the list. (Hope you can tolerate the GLORY! LOL) Sorry I have not gotten around to adding you sooner.


    • December 2, 2011 at 7:44 am

      Thank you so much, Kathy! I think I’ve gotten to the point where I feel bad for people who DON’T indulge in frequent guilty pleasures. 🙂

  4. December 2, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Julie, I have shared your desire to be as in-the-know as some of my friends and colleagues. When I, like you, finally realized it was more fun just being me, I started to attract people who were smart but also down-to-earth and FU-nny! Life is WAY too short to worry about what other people think (though I still have a hard time admitting some of my guilty pleasures). My husband sometimes teases me for my boy-band, CW-watching, YA-reading, pop music pleasures. But then I just say, ‘Still playing Dragons and Dungeons with ‘the boys’ tonight, hon?” and he clams up pretty quick!

    • December 2, 2011 at 7:46 am

      You just made my guilty pleasure heart skip a beat with this, “…my boy-band, CW-watching, YA-reading, pop music pleasures.” I knew I liked you.

      And you’re right – letting your hair down attracts like-minded souls (like yourself!), and dang are they more fun 🙂

  5. December 2, 2011 at 7:44 am

    lovely Julie! and Deb. thanks for sharing and people who have to shove how smart they are down my throat makes me wanna gag. Yay for funny husbands! xoxo

    • December 2, 2011 at 7:47 am

      Thank you, Katy!! (My husband is a riot; he only gets jealous if I say another man is funny.)

  6. December 2, 2011 at 7:47 am

    What a great gift, to learn to appreciate your own gifts, Jules. It’s a wonderful thing to bring humor into other’s lives, and you really show it in your blog posts.

    BTW, your love of Clueless shows you’ve got the intelligentsia beat. Since the movie is basically Jane Austin’s novel Emma, it just shows you’re cultured with a dash of modern fun!

    • December 2, 2011 at 8:43 am

      Thank you, Peg, and right back’atcha! I couldn’t agree more that my love of Clueless indicates just how insanely bright I am. I am thinking of running for President, but can’t fit into my president-pants after all that chocolate.

  7. December 2, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I love your blog and personality. Although it stinks your high school experience wasn’t like your favorite movie, it made you the kind and compassionate woman you are today. In summary: you rock! Great post, and have a wonderful weekend!

    • December 2, 2011 at 8:44 am

      Thank you so much and the very same to you! I think you know by now much I adore your blog, photographs and writing!

  8. Tiffany
    December 2, 2011 at 8:39 am

    You’ve always rocked just the way you are…I’m glad you figured it out you insanely funny creative genius 🙂

    • December 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      Aw, thanks, Tiff! I wish there was a back cover on my blog so I could quote you.

  9. December 2, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Fabulous post! I love ordinary things. I remember considering myself quite an intellectual years ago. Then a friend tried to coax me to a Bergman film, by saying, “You’ll like it. They wear pretty clothes.” That friend certainly didn’t think I was an intellectual! So why was I trying so hard?

    • December 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you, Nancy! I love this comment almost as much as I love your blog.

  10. December 2, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I constantly feel overwhelmed by other writers this way. We all write differently and with so many brilliant writers out there, I always feel like I can’t “keep up with their knowledge of music, books, film, politics, religion, and hardest of all, their experience.” I used to try to change the way I write to sound more intellectual, or knowledgeable and I’ve even tried to invent experience through reading. I succeeded in writing a lot of stuff I threw away because it wasn’t me. I’m learning, but the temptation to “keep up” doesn’t really go away. I wish I had someone to rein me in and tell me I’m taking it all too seriously, but I don’t so guess what? It’s you (and Deb) I get to be thankful for today!

    • December 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks so much for reading and your kind words, Anne! I know exactly how you feel; the amount of talent out there can be overwhelming! Having said that…ANY time you need to justify a guilty pleasure (or laugh at mine), you let me know. I LIVE for ridiculousness! 🙂

  11. December 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Oh my – I love you! I have found a true soul mate. I love a bit of Take That (I don’t think you guys get them to the same extent as us Brits) I am totally mainstream. I tried to like all the “cool” bands at uni. I also did an Eng Lit degree and, as much as I dig Shakespeare, it was the crime fiction modules that I lapped up. Then I went and got a job as a journalist and covered all sorts of serious stories and read broadsheets like there was no tomorrow. Yes I care about important stuff, but give me some celeb news any day and I just can’t help my eyes lighting up. I’m due to start a new job in January as a co-presenter on an incredibly mainstream commercial radio station in the UK and you know what? I can’t bloody wait. Thank you for this FABULOUS post. And thank you Deb for the introduction! x

    • December 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      What an awesome comment!!! THANK YOU! You are definitely a kindred spirit, and your new job sounds a-ma-zing. I hope I get to hear all about it!

  12. December 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    This was fabulous! I know this comes as a complete shock, but I love your blog and you…your hilarious writing and your warm personality just shines through with every post. And, let’s be clear, I am from Maine and we invented “ordinary”. I am so down to earth, it’s frightening. The older I get, the less I care what people think of me. Kudos to you for embracing the real you and letting it glow for everyone else to appreciate. Like Sting says, “be yourself…no matter what they say…”

    • December 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you so much, Darla! That really means a lot coming from you, because you are such a talented writer and kind-hearted soul! And more like extra-ordinary (though that Maine comment did make me laugh)!

  13. December 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Jules, there is nothing worse than a “wanna-be” — that kid who wants to fit in but doesn’t. I’m so glad you have embraced your inner chipmunk. And you know I wanna go dancing with you, right? Just save me one caramel, wouldja?

    • December 3, 2011 at 4:58 am

      Amen, Renee! My inner chipmunk has lit up at reading this comment. I have the music in me!! I can’t get enough of that “Changing” song (Airborne Toxic Event) – I’ve been playing it and dancing around the room for the past two weeks. I think this means I can have more chocolate…

  14. December 2, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Delightful post. This grandma finds you refreshingly unaffected and unpretentious. Stay that way!

    • December 3, 2011 at 4:56 am

      Thank you very much! I am hopeful that by continuing to obsess, er, I mean, talk about Twilight and chipmunks, I can keep the pretension at bay. Oooh, that makes it sound so noble. Can I be noble and unpretentious at the same time?

      …This has been another round of Deep Thoughts by gojulesgo, brought to you by babies laughing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjXi6X-moxE

  15. December 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I loved this post! Definitely going to hop on over to your blog. You are totally interesting just as you are, so keep doing what you’re doing!

    • December 3, 2011 at 4:51 am

      Thank you so much! Deb certainly knows the finest bunch of bloggers I’ve ever seen!

  16. December 2, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Jules, you had me at “Guilty Pleasure Video Blog” and now this just seals it. Well, even more than all the other stuff I’ve read on your blog 😉 Funnily enough, I felt like I had a similar journey as you described, but in a sort of mirror image to your experience. I was the geeky girl who read books on the bus and thought she had to like popular things to avoid being teased, especially by my sister, who was Queen of All Things Popular. I don’t think I tried so hard that it came off as fake, but I definitely felt like I had to hide some of the things I liked or pretend that I didn’t despise Debbie Gibson or Poison. I came to terms with it fairly young, however, partly because I was never geeky enough to attract much teasing. Basically, I flew under the radar, so the lack of attention and the luck of finding like-minded friends helped me understand that I could just be who I am, like what I like and hate what I hate.

    So now I’m nothing other than my own hybrid self: Lada Gaga makes my ears bleed but as you know, I like to belt out some Cher or Fiona Apple when I’m in the car and no one else has to be subjected to my singing. I’ll be glued to a documentary about crossword puzzle competitions and the next day, I’ll watch 3 straight hours of America’s Next Top Model. I roll my eyes that the top story on a news website is when Beyonce announces the sex of her child, but I also find myself actually taking sides on the Jen vs. Angie debate (Team Jen, here. Angelina creeps me out.)

    It’s just who I am. And I have a lot of respect for you, for also just being who you are and nothing else 🙂

    • December 3, 2011 at 4:47 am

      Thank you so much, Leonore!! You always have the most thoughtful way of expressing yourself, even in comments; you’re such a gifted writer! I love that you can go from crossword puzzle competitions to America’s Next Top Model (I LOVE that show…and I was doing an actual puzzle while watching “Despicable Me” earlier this week, LOL). I was put at the Geek Table in middle school and can relate to a lot of what you’re saying, even though so many of my tastes are, erm…not so much on the intellectual side. Thank you again 😉

      P.S. – Team Jen all the way!!

  17. December 3, 2011 at 4:16 am

    What a fabulous post!! As one of 9 kids, and the second to last in the bunch, all the “good labels” were taken long before I got in line. I completely understand the feelings of trying to figure out who you are while also trying to fit in with friends and your own family.

    It was my husband who most helped me accept me as well. Going on 26 years down the road together, he still does.

    Your post made me smile and think. Most of all, it made me happy–for you and for me because I took the time to read your words here which lead me to a new blog to follow. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your great find, Deb!

    • December 3, 2011 at 4:38 am

      This comment got me all farklempt! You know, in a good way. 🙂 “All the ‘good labels’ were taken” – ha! I hope that means you got to make up your own.

      It makes me so so so happy to hear that people can relate – because they’ve found their own path to embracing their true selves. You rule!

  18. Sweet as Honey
    December 3, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Wow! Totally enjoyed the post. I, too, have had to learn the importance of being one’s self, and that other’s opinions are not important! Guess I was a bit of a late bloomer, so to speak, because it is still a fairly new concept to me at 36 yoa…BUT…better late than never, right?
    I am happy to hear that there are still good men out there that support their wives, especially through their insecurities and such. I don’t have the significant other, but I am very thankful for my friends that are my support system, and constant reminder.

    Great job! … And thanks for reminding me 😉

    • December 4, 2011 at 6:28 am

      Thank you so much! I think being genuine is one of those ongoing lessons, because I know I still struggle with it all the time, and I always want everyone to like me! I’m so happy to hear you have a support system, and if you happen to be looking for a good man, make sure you hold out! 🙂 No one should settle for less than someone who adores them, and there are wonderful men out there who want their partners to ‘be all that they can be’…annnd before this comment turns into a public service announcement, hee, I’ll say thank you again!! 🙂

  19. December 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Girl, you could never be “a shallow one-trick pony!” Never! And who in the heck bullied you in high school? Let me at them!!
    I’m married to a man with a genious IQ and I’m above average in the intelligence department. I may be able to engage in higher level thinking, but I’m silly to the core, love Harry Potter, and think bathroom humor is hilarious! I totally agree with you that genuine is the best way to be. Your way of being and your blog always make me smile! 🙂 Great post!

    • December 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm

      Sprinkles!! Of all the bloggers I’ve met so far, I feel like you might ‘get me’ the most. You are so talented, sweet and funny – I want to be like you!

  20. December 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    You couldn’t have said it better: “there’s nothing better than being genuine.” 🙂

    • December 10, 2011 at 5:20 am

      Thank you so much, and thank you for reading! 🙂

  21. December 9, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Great share – and post!

    • December 10, 2011 at 5:20 am

      Thanks very much, Hook! I really enjoyed writing this!

  22. December 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Knowing and accepting who we are as people continues through our lives and becomes more and more comfortable (if we’re searching for that) as we get older. For me, this process also began as an early twenty-something. I was an art major in school and as I got into my upper division painting classes, I realized I wasn’t going to be that money-making graphic artist, nor did I fall into the category of the wonderfully gifted starving artist painting future Picassos that would sell for thousands of dollars after I died! I started to accept that I was okay with having “talent”, but that I enjoy doing so many things in life I will probably always be a “jack of all trades, master of none” person. I love chocolates, too, and I have no problem eating a whole box (although, that creates another layer of acceptance when the extra few pounds go on, LOL). Thanks for sharing your perspective and providing an up-beat, fun post to read. Kudos, too, to your wonderful hubby!!

    • December 31, 2011 at 9:40 am

      I just saw this comment and wanted to say thank you! 🙂 I know exactly how you feel, and do sometimes wish I had one thing that I excelled at so the answer to ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ would be clear-cut! It makes me so happy to hear so many others are able to embrace their true selves…and with lots of chocolate, to boot! Thanks again 🙂

  1. December 2, 2011 at 5:55 am
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