Slow

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So I’ve been working on taking things slowly with this new guy. Which is pretty much completely new to me and to be honest I feel like a giddy middle schooler who’s dealing with her first crush. We’ve been hanging out for about a month and a half now and last night was the first kiss showdown.

I can’t even believe how fast my heart was beating just because he was holding me on the couch. Normally, I’m the one who isn’t nervous and the guy is the one with the hammering chest. I can always tell because I roll my eyes when I feel it pounding and now It was strangely my turn.

It didn’t feel awkward and I didn’t want to push it because I thought he would do it when he felt like he should and I’m not in a rush because I’m enjoying this exploration regardless of the outcome. I asked him if he’d get weird after this and he kind of laughed it off and we’re still talking regularly and I’ve never had a guy act this genuine. He’s already told his friends about me and I’m even tagged in a photo on his instagram. He’s met my friends which made me oddly nervous and they all really like him too.

And today this guy in the gynecologist’s office asked me for my number which I thought was really odd and all I could say was that was that I was already getting kind of serious with someone and didn’t really think I’d end up out on a date with him. Which is really remarkable to me considering I haven’t done more than get a little frisky with this new guy.

I might’ve been flattered or even kind of inclined to go on this random date (forgetting the strangeness of the circumstances) but really I’m beginning to see all the little steps I used to miss out on unfolding and even if I just get a taste of a real relationship with someone, that’s more important to me than some random guy’s validation. That was really cool for me and I’m thinking about making a mix tape and giving it to him which would be kind of a big deal.

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Take a step back

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           Due to my unconventional upbringing, I’ve had to overcome a lot of emotions on my own. I’ve had to learn how to talk to my feelings to find out what I’m experiencing and how to handle them. I’ve had to make myself feel better by myself. When my sister or my dad tried to help me out when I was younger, I brushed them off. I couldn’t have them near me or help me. I had to be able to do it myself.

            Which I can’t say is a good or a bad thing because I know it worked for me. And over time, I’ve found it easier to reach out and embrace someone when I feel like I need a hug to feel better. But in the end, I know how to bring the peace out from within.

            So it’s hard for me to have patience with people sometimes. There are people in my life that I care for dearly because I have compassion for their oddities, the parts of their personalities that other people cross off as weird or unacceptable. I find those parts endearing. But there are times when those same people I’ve defended so much in the past just push me over the edge. They try and use the times that people have written them off as excuses to never have to change or adapt. They prey on my sympathies and compassion.

            I can’t handle when people don’t want to help themselves. There’s nothing wrong with feeling out of control. There’s nothing wrong with feeling like the walls are crushing you. There’s nothing wrong with the bad feelings because I’ve learned that those are the feelings that let me know when I’m about to come out on the other end a little bit stronger, a little more prepared to handle something worse in the future. And soon enough those little troubles are squashed against my stronger armor. They don’t bother me anymore and that’s the kind of feeling I can’t live without. Knowing I can control myself and my emotions is really important to me even when I feel like I’m spiraling out of control.

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            I had a friend today who was rude to me. When I called him out on it, he reacted defensively and immediately said I was overreacting. Apologies aren’t meant to be debates over the validity of emotion. I’m entitled to feel however I feel. I wasn’t rude, I wasn’t mean, I said nothing out of turn. But he went on to say he was going through an antidepressant withdrawal and he was now experiencing a full-blown panic attack and all that jazz, that he was crying in the parking lot because of me.

            I snapped a little. And I feel kind of bad about it but he quite literally said he had no control over what he’d said to me or how he’d reacted because of something I should have been more sympathetic about. And sure, that’s all fine and dandy and I acknowledge that but I also know he turned a very simple apology into a conversation about his feelings and his reactions to my words. Which ironically enough, was quite the overreaction. If someone offends me, I need to be able to say that without worrying if they’re going to go hurt themselves because of it. I shouldn’t have to apologize for being honest. I shouldn’t feel trapped by my words.

            When it’s time to own up to something, there’s no excuse or justification. It’s just time to be real and accepting of others. And as accepting as I am of him, I’m pretty upset that he keyed a car last time we hung out and was able to chalk it up to his own rationalizations. My sympathies can only be stretched so far before I look at you and want nothing more than to walk away from the anger and find my peace somewhere at the beach or in a great song I blast as I drive along the highway. Because that’s what I have to do when I get angry or sad or just feel out of control, I deal with it in the only ways I know how.

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Bare

 

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     Dealing with my sexuality has always been a struggle for me. My dad has never been a helpful source for that kind of thing and I just never really felt comfortable with anyone else to talk to them about it when I was younger. So it took a long time for me to come to terms with myself.

     When I was younger, I found myself afraid to touch people. But I’m learning that physical contact is a very important aspect of any kind of relationship. Yeah, just people in general. I’m not overly touchy and I don’t really warm up to people right away who are very touchy but I like spending time around them because it helps me get over my own weird stuff. Affection is not a bad thing.

When it comes to sexuality and communicating my desires and concerns and all that jazz, I really knew nothing. I watched porn and learned how to masturbate from movies and really I only ever got off from reading online erotica. I played the sims because those relationships made sense; there were only so many interactions available when you first got to know someone. You couldn’t have two characters have sex if they just met.

But real life is not a video game and there really aren’t many rules to stop you from trying things out.

Without sounding in any way narcissistic, I’ve been modeling for a couple people in my classes lately. Nude modeling. Which is really frickin scary at first and considering I don’t really understand my body, totally new. Sex is rarely so confrontational. I don’t really stand in front of my partners and say hey, put my hands somewhere so I look good photographed. It feels kind of like dancing. It’s all about confidence and eye contact and no eye contact, relaxation and purpose. Removing the awkwardness. And I am so very awkward in front of a camera. You can ask anyone, I was not born to model.

But today I took my top off and got into a shower with another girl, who went fully nude, and tried to act natural. For me, there is nothing natural about that scenario. But after a while, it was. Once my body stopped twitching and the photographer got the water to a normal temperature, I was fine. I felt as close to clothed as I ever have.

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     I know I’m not the only one without a mom around, there are tons of people who get on just fine without them. But the really astonishing part for me is seeing a woman naked. I’ve seen plenty of guys but that’s not the same because I never got to compare my body with someone else, to understand that hairy toes and feet aren’t uncommon or that nipples naturally get all soft and don’t stay permanently rock-hard. That sometimes one boob is different from another and body acne isn’t a cause for alarm. In the end, it’s just skin and hair and we really do all have it too.

     It was a profound experience to see another woman and it not be a sexual encounter. Because she was worried about her body in the same ways I’d always resented mine and she thought I was beautiful when I thought she was beautiful and it really just kind of changed my entire point of view on nudity.

From a girl who used to flinch away when a guy friend changed his shirt, or a girl friend walked around in just a bra, that was mind blowing. The water was dirty and gross and tepid by the time we finished and when we left I felt no different from the person I was when we started.

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Impersonalities

        It’s taken me quite some time to understand that I have no personal relationships. Which is really sad considering. The ones I have with family are different. I have about a dozen of my cousins living in my neighborhood, two of which have been sleeping on my couch for the past three weeks. We all played in each other’s yards and houses since birth.

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         I live in my grandma’s old house. It used to be the family hub, all holiday dinners and special events went down in my dining room. When she died there was a lull and quite a bit of drama over family central. The only times we ever saw each other was at funerals which we had a lot of for a while. You could find us gathered around the graves picnicking and taking photos.

         When it comes to relationships and romantic partners, I’m a frigid bitch. And I really didn’t want to think that but honestly if I deny it, I’m a big fat liar too. I sleep with people when I don’t even really know them and it always turns into this awkward and unexplainable kind of relationship. I never know where I stand, what’s acceptable in public, or how they feel about me. I never wait to find out who they are because we either part ways long before that or we spend our time together as strangers. I heard about a couple who’ve been together for twelve years, got married, had kids and yet they still don’t know each other. And that kind of scares the crap out of me.

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         The last guy I was with for an extended period of time, I thought I knew him. Until about a year after things ended my younger sister broke down and told me he touched her. Right under my nose. In my house. On the pullout couch we shared.

         That fucked me up a little bit. She’s pressing charges but only because I kind of coerced her into doing so, which is really messed up considering the circumstances. But there’s no way she’s going to let this hide in the closet like all the other women in my family who never spoke up for themselves. It’s happened to me, my sister, my mother, my aunt, etc. For whatever reason, it doesn’t skip a generation like one would really hope it might.        

         With these new dating apps and websites, social media, texting, all that jazz, come new rules for communication. These strange regulations for expressing yourself, emojis and emoticons that are supposed to do part of the work for you. But there’s just so much deception and miscommunication that I honestly don’t understand. I follow the code but it still has no meaning to me. It’s empty, a lot like the relationships I find myself in.

         Where do you find love in a world where everyone just wants to keep on walking, straight through to the next person? I was in love with my best friend for a long time and I had no idea. I was that girl, so oblivious. And it’s so bittersweet to think about. We talk every now and again but we don’t get to know each other anymore. We’d been friends for a couple years before this but it took me overhearing he and his girlfriend talking about me from the other room that I actually understood what all the late night talks and sleepovers were about. It was my eighteenth birthday.

         Thinking about it now, I’m really stupid. I’m just so stupid. But to be honest I’m really grateful too that I understand this lesson. It’s saved me from making a couple more mistakes in the meantime. He’s got a new girlfriend now and I think he’s pretty much the same.

         So now, I flit from one sexual partner to the next, searching for a guy who sees me how I see myself. And part of me knows that most guys in their early twenties are douche bags and not worth a damn but there’s a part of me that still has hope in the male population. Even after all the burns and bumps.

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