portfolio

Portfolio

Here’s the highlight reel of articles I’ve written.

Product Reviews:

Swiffer Wet Jet

Pirelli Tires

Zombies, Run!

Home/Life Improvement:

5 Secrets to Living in a Terrible Apartment

Showing off Your Fake Culinary Skills: Pasta Sauce

Saying Yes

The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself

Running:

So You Want to Be Jon Snow

Will My Legs Ever Stop Hurting?

Pop Culture:

How To Get Away With Murder Recaps (He Deserved to Die & He Has a Wife)

Your Next Binge Watch: Teen Wolf

Diversity in Young Adult Lit: Why You Should Go See The Maze Runner

Growing Up:

Mistaken Identity

The Worst of Me

What is “Self?”

For more information please contact me at milesbehn@gmail.com.

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Mistaken Identity

Do you have one of those absolutes in your life about your identity? Like, one of mine is that I don’t enjoy winter sports. In the winters in New York we’d sometimes head north to Lake Placid, spend a day or two on Whiteface Mountain, skiing or snowboarding. And after several years of attempting—the ludicrous rental of snowblades, dozens of falls on the bunny hill, excessive frustration at ski pulls, and even the purchase of a snowboard (I wanted to be a snowboarder so badly, but I hated every minute of it), I finally came to the official conclusion: I don’t like winter sports. I have crossed it off on my to-do list, politely decline when people invite me to go skiing, ignore their suggestions that I “try it just one more time.” Nope. I’m done. I am 25 years old, and I have decided that not liking winter sports is a permanent part of my identity.

One of the things I’ve learned about being an adult is that locking into these identities feels like an accomplishment. As though stamping this activity or that dietary choice with approval somehow settles the ground beneath you. I am a vegetarian feminist who hates winter sports therefore… what, exactly? I’m more convinced of my identity? This extensive list of qualifiers (tattooed, writer, short-haired, procrastinator) gives me a sense of self. I suck at ceramics, therefore I am.

I’m not knocking these absolutes—I do think they are extremely valuable to establishing identity, confidence and self. But occasionally, they also prevent us from growing. Just because I’m becoming an adult doesn’t mean I’m becoming permanent. These absolutes, these pieces of my identity I’m writing in stone, lull me into a false sense of security. I am no more settled by saying “I hate green olives.” I am simply deciding to avoid something in my life.

There is nothing inherently wrong with making these decisions. Being the girl in the office who always says no to happy hour because she’s conscious of her budget isn’t really a bad thing. But sometimes, it’s difficult to see the trade-off. Making a decision always limits your options, making choices about who you want to be ultimately means that you aren’t something else. Sometimes I need to be reminded of what I’m giving up.

I will likely never go on a ski trip with friends. I won’t drink peppermint hot chocolate in the lodge, watch the frost crowd the corners of the giant windows, rub my sore hips through my snow pants. I won’t feel the biting chill of the wind against my cheeks, find clumps of snow in my boots when I pry them off, laugh up at the sky with my skis pointing in opposite directions, my tailbone throbbing.

I don’t have a strong desire to experience these things. For me, the trade-off has been evaluated, and I’m ok with what I’m missing out on. But I can’t deny that these missed opportunities, these hypothetical trips through fresh snow, prevent me from learning more about myself and others. I am deciding not to grow in this area. Is it the right decision?

I’ll tell you at the end.

Oh My Gosh, Look at Her Butt

Last Friday, after a optimistic Wednesday run, I dragged myself through another Couch to 5K regiment, landing at a miserable 11-minute mile pace. I rocked out, threw my fists around, mouthed the words to the song (as is now, apparently, my custom), and still my feet sort of slid along the pavement. My ankles hurt, my thighs hurt, my calves hurt. I did my favorite move, the is-she-running-at-all-or-just-kind-of-walking-and-moving-her-arms-awkwardly? Three minutes of running seemed like a feat initially, and after a nice, endorphin-filled Wednesday, Friday came like a sucker punch. Maybe the weather was too much, maybe I didn’t try hard enough. But when I got home and saw the 11:09 pace (after bragging about my 9:48 on Wednesday), I questioned just how useful this whole thing would be. If I’m running at a walking pace, what is the point?

Monday brought a regiment I audibly laughed at when I saw it. Run for three minutes, walk for one and half, run for five minutes, walk for two and a half. REPEAT.

Constance, babe, ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? I could barely drag my sad legs through two sets of three minutes, you want me to run for 16 minutes now? Ok, cool. Great. Can I do that thing in Mario Kart time trials where I just sort of watch my ghost do the race? Is that ok? I’ll cheer on the see-through version of myself from this curb.

I took the dance-run tactic to a new extreme. I put Nicki Minaj on shuffle, and let her angry, dirty raps kick me into gear. The first stop (no shame): Anaconda.

Have all the issues you want with Nicki, but as a running companion, her take-no-prisoners attitude was extremely useful. There is something hilarious, stupid and freeing about mouthing “oh my gosh, look at her butt, oh my gosh, look at her butt, look at her butt.” And when I’m running, I can totally live in the fantasy world that I am, in fact, talking about my own butt. Because my headphones are loud, and I’m alone, and I look ludicrous, and for a few seconds I can pretend to have a big butt. Really, is that the most embarrassing thing I’ve done today? Not likely.

Next in the playlist was Bang Bang.

The beat is fun and peppy (did I seriously just write that?), and there are several moments in the song where it builds up, psyching you up run a bit faster. Right before the chorus, I actually started sprinting. Not for long (maybe five seconds), but on the second rep of five minutes of running, I needed something to clear my head from the “you suck, you suck, we can’t breathe, we should just stop now,” and pushing myself to sprint the block did just that. Dear brain, our legs just pounded that pavement, so you can shut up, now. We can sprint in the middle of a run. So sit down.

Am I listening to these songs for their musical quality? Not so much. But is a powerhouse female playlist helpful? Is there something awesome about having these straight talking women as running partners? It certainly doesn’t hurt.

Monday’s 9:38 pace and today’s 9:41 pace prove there is something to their madness.

An Introduction

Let me get this straight. You’re a 20-something Millennial with an inflated sense of self, a messy apartment, two cats, a BA in English, and a penchant for self-deprecation? And you’re starting a blog?

YESSIREEBOB.

I’m not going to lie, there are probably many blogs out there that will be better than this one. They will be more focused, they’ll teach you things, they won’t wander into your kitchen at four in the morning and make fried eggs for no apparent reason. I recognize that this isn’t an original idea, and at 25 I really don’t have that much wisdom to impart on you. But, unlike some people, I LOVE to talk about when I screw up and make a fool of myself. And I’ve found, thus far, that there is no time more embarrassing than your 20s. So if you’re just starting this crazy adventure or are in the middle of it (or if you just want to relive the horrors of this time in your life), I’m here to remind you that you’re not alone. That I too have eaten a lot of things past their expiration date and I’m still alive. That I have a subscription to the New Yorker that just piles up in the corner of my bedroom because who I am and who I want to be are two very different people. That, yes, you can call it a successful week if you’ve swept your apartment once. Because even at 25 (the age that my middle-school self thought I’d have everything together), I’m still just staving off disaster.