I remember

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I like this time of year because I’ve always lived in the same place. Every time I smell the air and feel the chill or the wind picks up at just the right moment, it’s like this transportation back to random moments that smelled the same or felt the same. Depending on the music, it’s like I don’t even exist in this time or place.

I remember being very little, perched on the edge of the top of the staircase watching my mom vacuum the hallway to her room. There was this awful orange shag carpet throughout the whole house. It never got clean but she vacuumed it all the time. I used to hum to the sound of the vacuum, trying to harmonize with the loud sounds. I think it somehow soothed me. I was driving home today and remembered there were two closets in that hallway. I’d completely forgotten them there. One was for the vacuum the other one I don’t remember but I think they had wooden sliding doors. The vacuum closet makes the same sound closing as my vacuum closet does now. I never noticed that before.

I remember the smell of the carpet, the smell of the house. I remember sitting in the office and the smell would sort of build up in that room when all the doors were closed. My brothers room was next door. I don’t remember what we did with it once he moved out. I do remember it was a man cave for her ex husband at one point. Beyond that, I don’t know what happened to it.

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I remember the CDs my brother bought my before my first semester in middle school when he told me it was his job to make sure I was cool. He got me Sublime and Ima Robot. I remember being in the auditorium after violin or improv classes listening to those CDs as I jumped around the wooden fold down chairs. I remember the smell of that place too. Very cold and tall.

I remember when my first real love in high school came to my house and wore my favorite pajama bottoms even though they were too short, I have no idea what became of those either. I had another dog at that point. She drowned a couple years later.

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Facebook has this weird ability to remind me of all these people and the lives they still lead. I forget that time goes on for them too. My best friend in high school has been messaging with me and it’s kind of like a lot of things have come full circle lately. Weirdest part was remembering that was 8 years ago when we got high and sat on a neighbors lawn looking at their blow up Christmas lights. I remember the pants I wore not fitting properly and a rather unfortunate camel toe. I remember when I had no hair and hats helped me stay warm. I pity you short haired men during these months. You must have endless supplies of beanies.

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Weird places to find blessings

It’s been a while since I posted anything. Largely because school has completely taken over my life as it has for a long time. I never thought I would ever tire of learning and I haven’t really but I have tired of the bureaucracy of trying to get a diploma. Had you told me that it would take me this long to finish school even a couple years ago, I would’ve laughed. I’m not a patient person by nature (as much as I constantly attempt to hone this particular art form) and I don’t think I’ll be done with school until I’m well into my late 20s. Hurrah for education!

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I write because of something semi related but also completely unrelated. I decided when I started school that I wouldn’t become involved with anyone seeing as I really need to spend these next few years developing my skills as both an artist and as an individual. But of course, hormones have their own way of overpowering the spirit.

I found this guy in ceramics class who I’m not really sure why I became so intrigued by him, but I did. And this was definitely reciprocated. He walked me home after classes, texted me everyday, made plans for the days we didn’t see each other. He invited me camping post-election to escape the craziness of the whole debacle. I couldn’t go but I really wanted to. My sorority duties and friendship ones had taken up my entire weekend and I didn’t want to disappoint the three separate birthday girls I’d promised to celebrate with. Rightly so if you ask me. I’m learning how to be a reliable friend even if my every fiber wants to take a spontaneous camping trip to go shoot off rockets somewhere in the desert. Because yes, that was the event: amateur rocket launching in the desert whilst also camping with my crush to escape a republican dominated election. How much better does it get than that?

Suffice to say, I began developing feelings for this genuinely good man. He would spontaneously invite me over to make me dinner or try a new bottle of wine (which I knew he only bought for me because there’s always a ton of beer in the fridge). He picked romantic comedies when I suggested comedies or action movies (which I love so it wasn’t some sort of sacrifice or anything). We really only fooled around and kissed and I slept over a couple times just to be in his arms.

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It was really sweet and felt totally right.

But then he started getting distant, using distancing language and responding less and I couldn’t really understand what was going on. Yes, things had moved quickly in that short span of time where we started getting close but it also seemed like we were just kind of getting to know each other in a truly exciting and authentic way.

I started feeling like I was missing a big chunk of the picture and that’s when he called me his “friend”.

Nope.

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I’ve done the whole being strung-along for forever thing, I’ve done the unrequited thing, I’ve done the I-don’t-want-to-press-the-issue thing. I’ve done a lot of those and I discovered no matter the ending, they all fucking suck. My feelings are always hurt in the end and I’m not a doormat anymore. I have evolved.

So I built myself up and I totally asked him directly: “hey, so what is this?” I explained all the mixed signals and all the feelings and things I’d developed and I knew it was really early to ask these things but fuck the waiting bullshit and I sort of just became a I-press-the-issue sort of girl in that moment.

And then he told me he was emotionally unavailable and I should date someone else if they ever came around and were awesome and he apologized. I felt like a bag of crap and I definitely cried a little bit as I walked home, totally confused.

Being the gentleman that he is, he texted me when I got home (we’re neighbors by the way) and explained how he never meant to lead me on and that I wasn’t imagining things, we really did have a connection. He said we could still be friends and get to know each other better without all the intimacy because he’s still “finding himself” and all that crap.

What’s weird is I woke up the next morning, post-semi-break-up hangover and felt infinitely better. It was such a weird blessing to have that anxiety off my chest. I hadn’t realized how heavily it had begun to weigh on me. I felt all the little tendrils sort of disconnecting from my heart and even though it still stings, even today, I realized that I had taken back all the power and shoved the ball straight into his court. He wants to be friends? Fuck that noise. You want to be my friend? Prove it.

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Thus far, he’s still pursuing me on and off and it’s annoying because the second I stop thinking about him and refocusing on myself, he texts me or hits me up or snapchats or whatever bullshit friends do to let them know they haven’t forgotten about you. And everyday I think about him less and remember that my original goal had been to avoid this kind of heart hurt in the first place.


So this is my metaphorical pat on the back for standing up bravely against potential hurt and I implore you, if this ever happens to you, remember that it made me feel SO MUCH BETTER to lay all the cards on the table. Nothing can hurt you if you do everything you can. I hate reading between lines and playing bullshit games just to find out I could’ve saved myself so much energy had I spoken up sooner. Have courage! It totally pays off.

I traded cigarettes for friends

Last weekend I discovered a major dissatisfaction within my life: the inability to understand women both globally and individually. I’ve been missing out on a fundamental aspect of most girls’ lives. Growing up, my mother did not have any healthy relationships with women. I’m beginning to understand that even the few girlfriends she did have did not like her very much.

I’ve always felt like there was something missing in my life. I’ve tried filling the hole with a ton of different solutions and while they may work out temporarily, often times they fail and leave me with even more confusing questions than when I began.

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I’ve been going through this sort of reinvention phase of my life. I ended a failed relationship with my ex-boyfriend, moved into my own apartment, went pescatarian, quit smoking (finally!), changed my wardrobe, deleted all my social media (I’m back on it now), and really took stock of what my life contained. When classes started I knew I needed to join something, some sort of club or sports team or anything really that would get me involved with a bunch of people who enjoyed the same things I did. Only problem: I have a broken toe (the most annoying injury ever that’s likely going to take about 6 months to heal) and a torn rotator cuff. Suffice to say, my dreams of sports and activities were put on the back burner right around the same time I officially started classes at my new, four year university. Goodbye community college, hello student loans! Except, here I was completely stranded and totally alone. Although I wasn’t far from home, I wanted to taste that independence I’d dreamt about.

I think I called a few people crying during my latest meltdown. I spent the days questioning my decisions, terrified of the idea of failure and total loneliness. In the back of my mind I think I knew it would get better but it kind of felt like everything was falling down and all the hopes I’d prepared were doomed from the get go.

Part of my list of activities I’d wanted to investigate were the campus sororities. My brother was in a fraternity and loved it. The morning after my meltdown I figured, fuck it, why not just see what it was all about. I did the online training (anti hazing, anti drugs/drinking information), paid the $60 and headed off to the info seminar Friday afternoon. I think by the end of the info session I was pretty much sold. I saw how all the girls on the council flowed together.

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The most intriguing part was by far the organization itself. As I came to discover over the recruitment weekend, there were so many traditions, rituals, and rules set down to make the experience as unbiased as possible. I had no idea what any of the house reputations were, what the rumors were, anything. I just knew the women in lines around me. For those few days of uncertainty, before we received our bids and decided our chapters, we all timidly decided to be friendly to one another. We marveled at the decorations and each other’s outfits. We discussed make up and shoes and our nerves whenever we heard the clapping and chanting coming from behind the closed party doors. We lined up in alphabetical order and speculated what the reasons for it were. Come to find, the recruitment process had been so detail oriented, the chapters researched us in depth before we even entered the room. Our online applications had been thoroughly examined and pairs pre-made.

The first day I left and walked home, I felt so insanely connected with the mass of women I’d spent the previous hours with. I knew that I didn’t like all of them and yet it didn’t really matter because we were all experiencing similar thoughts and feelings. We all wanted the same thing: a place to belong, a home.

We weren’t allowed to talk to one another as all 400 of us waited in line to put our final bids into the computers; but we did. We weren’t allowed to call our parents and ask their opinions; but we did. We weren’t supposed to check our facebooks or anything; but we did. And we all rolled our eyes when we got yelled at and we all laughed when the group leaders walked away. We stood nervously, anticipating the end of the weekend and the ensuing festivities. 

When I walked to get my bid the next day, I forced myself to wait an hour before getting my final answer. I cried when I opened up my manila envelope. I cried when I ran down the aisle of screaming students, hoping I didn’t face plant. I cried as I hugged everyone. 

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Balthasar helped me out

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I can’t tell if I crave the feeling of being right or being liked. I can’t tell if my need to argue stems from a desire to correct wrongs and communicate my feelings or if it’s all so that I can go on feeling like no one hates me. If indeed I fall below the latter, does that make me fearful? Afraid to let others be angry? Or is it fuel for distance? This is sometimes a question of pride and sometimes a question of anger but in this case I am seriously torn.

I’ve been examining my relationships with others lately and what I’ve found is a bunch of needy people. I am no longer going to let myself be a mother to so many needy children. They all want my approval and attention so constantly that it interferes directly with my own needs.

But now I wonder, where do I draw the line? How do I undo a set precedent? How do I relearn how to communicate when I’ve so long prided myself on being a compassionate communicator? I have always been a go getter, the driver of my life. Now that I’ve taken a step back I can see how I have let myself be taken advantage of over and over again. My friends and family say I’ve “been short” but in reality, I’ve been irritated. I’m noticing how many times a day I am not allowed to choose when I engage with the world. This morning I was woken up by my cousin. Later, I was stopped mid-project to look at an Instagram video. Immediately after, shown another video by my sister.

When confronted about my behavior changes, I am unsure if my reaction was in defense of the moment in question (the Instagram video) or in defense of my newly discovered persona. I can’t tell which torch I carry. Am I just being mean and therefore building walls instead of bridges? Have I begun swirling downward into a firestorm? Or is this how people feel when they prioritize?

I went to one of my favorite philosophers and let fate decide where my eyes fell:

ccvii Be Moderate.

One has to consider the chance of a mischance. The impulses of the passions causes prudence to slip, and there is the risk of ruin. A moment of wrath or of pleasure carries you on farther than many hours of calm, and often a short diversion may put a whole life to shame. The cunning of others uses such moments of temptation to search the recesses of the mind: they use such thumbscrews as are wont to test the best caution. Moderation serves as a counterplot, especially in sudden emergencies. Much thought is needed to prevent a passion taking the bit in the teeth, and he is doubly wise who is wise on horseback. He who knows the danger may with care pursue his journey. Light as a word may appear to him who throws it out, it may import much to him that hears it and ponders on it.

I don’t know anymore how I feel when I’m “normal” so for the moment I’m going to take my vitamins and embrace the project I finished today (it’s about a year overdue) and go buy a swimsuit so I can learn how to surf in the morning. There are just so many damned baby steps I’m not sure if I’m moving forward or sideways.

And as I think back now, I wonder if it’s not so much a fear of angering others or being disliked but I think I’m so damned sentimental that I’m afraid one day when we’re old and looking back at our lives, the memories will be tainted with arguments and disconnects. Is that my fear of abandonment and loss coming into play? Is that the forever question?

Questions of confidence

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I went through a long period of bitterness when I turned sixteen. It was probably around the same time I began to realize that it would be another ten years before I got to go get ice cream or go shopping or eat a meal with my mother. I think that’s about the time I stopped doing drugs and getting into trouble. There were phases after that where I still did a little e and went to raves or got too drunk at a party; I tried shrooms and dropped acid in the desert, dancing in the light of campfires.

But I stopped needing to feed that empty feeling in my stomach, that part of me that felt like it could never be made whole. That piece that made me angry all the time and made me want to cry or fight or pretty much anything to get the space filled. I know people talk about the emptiness, I know it’s there.

And then a couple years ago, I got over it. I really got over it in the past year or so but I don’t think I blame myself for taking that long. I used to feel guilty when I processed my emotions and I still do sometimes but it gets easier as I grow older, laying down new foundations, brick by brick.

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There have been a lot of shitty guys and friends and even family that have helped pave my existence. Those lessons are very important to me. But even now, I worry that I’ve gotten so obsessed with trying to find good people in the world that I’ve almost chosen to ignore the questionable qualities that crop up just to support my theory. It’s like I’ve collected evidence to support it and I’ve unwittingly botched the results.

Because I can’t figure out why I keep getting involved with the same kinds of people that leave me with the same conclusions in the end. My friends aren’t very compassionate people. They enjoy conflict and harsh words said behind closed doors. They come to me when they need things, never to share. There’s an exclusivity amongst our group that many people outside of it recognize and address. I detest selfish, needy, exclusive people. That’s why I was so grateful to move from Hollywood to Santa Monica, people weren’t as vapid and skin deep.

Am I so wrong to believe that there might be people out there without a constant hidden agenda? Am I so naïve?

I’ve been seeing someone for around two months and I really do enjoy his company. We’ve moved slowly and for that I am grateful. Because today, I see this clearer picture of what the future would look like if we actually dated. And in my gut I know it wouldn’t work out. We are fundamentally different people. I like work, he likes play. I like quiet, he likes to go out. I like sleep, he could care less. And although I can agree that opposites attract, I know that he’d get bored at some point. My gut usually doesn’t lie to me when it finally kicks back hard enough for me to feel it.

To be fair, the last four guys I spent time to get to know were not worthy of my affections. The first attacked my sister and used me for all I was worth and the later three all left me for girls they had been seeing longer than me. So my track record kind of sucks.

And this guy is great, he’s sweet and smart and funny and I genuinely like him but I know he wouldn’t be happy in the end. I can see him wishing I was somebody different, someone who had more friends and enjoyed being out all the time but really I couldn’t think of a better end to an evening than a good book or a favorite tv series marathon. I may be a free spirit but I’m not the wild kind that he craves. And the crazy part is, I fear we’re both stupid enough to see this through, as I watch all the walls I’ve built be burned down and ravaged by tears and disagreements, simple miscommunications that escalate into pointless fighting. And I see resentment and bitterness and hurt words and maybe this is fear talking but I really think it’s just simple common sense.

Do I stay and ride it out, or do I leave before all of these things come into fruition? Because I know they will.

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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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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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