Heavy-Hitter; or, things they don’t tell you about teaching

When the intent is to cause harm, that is called assault.

Here is the deal- being a teacher is terrible. Yeah, sure, there good elements and all that, but really, it’s terrible.

We had a fundraiser the other day where students could pie a teacher in the face for $3. I agreed to do it because I LOVE shit like this. It’s silly and fun and for a good cause.

Until a kid with anger issues and a grudge takes it too far.

Despite being warned by literally every adult on the stage (about 6 of them), this kid reared back and slammed the paper plate of whipped cream so hard into my face that the cartilage in my nose crunched, causing every single adult to start yelling at the kid and/or ask me if I was ok.  The kid in question ran off, laughing.

When the intent is to cause harm, that is called assault.

I was physically assaulted by that student. No bones about it. He wanted to hurt me, and he did. My nose is still sore. Would you like to know what repercussions he received? A major referral. He is still on campus. He is still in my class (I am the only grade level teacher for my subject). And I am still angry. But it is an anger I don’t know what to do with.

I don’t really know where it’s directed. I don’t really know how to address this situation. I know the kid has a terrible, terrible home life. I know that when someone causes harm, it is usually because they have been harmed. I also know that this kid has nothing in his life that he cares about. And I mean NOTHING. He’s had an F average since 4th grade. Teachers (myself included) have attempted to form a relationship, figure out what makes him tick. Nada. I was honestly surprised that it was him who hurt me, as I don’t pick on him in class- I don’t call him out unnecessarily. I know that because of all that, the shitty-homelife, the borderline sociopathy, we should emphasize restorative justice and try to “reach” and “heal”; harm begets harm. I KNOW all this.

But where does that leave the victim?

[And if you are sitting there thinking to yourself, “what’s the big deal? So a kid hit you a little too hard?” then you have completely missed the point and are in fact part of the ever growing problem. I have been accidentally hit too hard. I know the difference. This kid wanted to HURT me.]

Where do they go when they have to face their abuser or the trauma all day every day? What do they do when it is frowned on for them to express the negativity that is bubbling up within them- negativity that was DIRECTLY caused by an outside force?

Let me tell you the negative things I have been holding on to while pretending to be “strong” and “ok”: 1) The sickening/saddening understanding that someone dislikes me so much that they want to cause me physical harm, 2) The realization that this incident is going to be ignored/swept under the rug/not properly handled, 3) The realization that this student, in particular, has something deeply wrong with him, 4) the remembering that there are people in the world who enjoy being actively cruel, 5) the understanding that the system has, is, and will continue to fail people ALL THE TIME, 6) The knowledge that this student will most likely cause future harm to a number of people, 7) the understanding that more likely than not, people will respond that I am over-reacting (I am not. I know when I am overreacting. This is not one of those times), 8) the notion that I, as an educator, have failed in some way because I don’t want to see that student again, 9) the fact that to some people, my pain was a joke, a sense of enjoyment,  10) that ugliness exists in so many ways that are completely unreachable and untreatable, 11) that this poor student lives in an environment where physical violence is not only accepted but expected, 12) that cycles of violence still exist, 13) that I have spent time second guessing my own reaction, 14) the fact that my emotionality is deemed a curse rather than the blessing of intuition it is, 15) the fact that, as an adult and as a teacher, I am expected to be completely compassionate and Jesus like in my forgiveness when all I really want is to be upset and allowed to delay forgiveness until I actually feel it, 16) the sheer feeling of isolation this whole thing has caused because it triggered my loneiness in ways that self-soothing can’t take care of [i.e., all I wanted- ALL I WANTED- was to be cuddled and held and told everything was ok and I would be fine. I haven’t been cuddled or held in a very long time and it’s beginning to feel like I won’t ever be again]

I could go on. I could give an extensive list of all the triggers and trickle downs this event caused. I could talk ad nauseum about the tail-spin this could have (and would have) caused to a younger version of me. But I clawed my way forward and up. I allowed myself to cry, but I tried not to dwell. I took a shower and tried to wash the experience off like so much dried whipped cream. I partially succeeded.

Trauma exists and is real. Victims exist and are not to be ignored or written off. There are levels and tiers and all that but you should NEVER compare one victim to another; one experience to another. If you have a tendency of doing that (and hey- let’s be honest, we have all inadvertently victim shamed or belittled at one time), then I hope you (like me) will pause and take a minute to check where that came from. It is time to start listening to our collective traumas. Our abuse-victims, our rape-victims, our survivors. It is time to stop laughing at them. It is time to stop worrying about how their experiences might mean you don’t get to make a lame joke anymore. It is time to start recognizing and realizing that these are OUR PEOPLE.

It’s hard enough being a teacher nowadays. It really is. There are so very many challenges we have to deal with, without adding fear of physical harm to the job description. And if that HAS to be added, then we at least deserve to be properly supported when it does.

This was a hard one, my peeps.

This was a hard one.

 

Resources; or, You Gotta Work BBs*

*BBs, for those of you not in the know (i.e., anyone over the age of 25) is short for “babys” or possibly “babes”. It is meant to be a pleasant, encouraging greeting or exclamation that I would argue is gender neutral so can be applied to all peoples (feel free to nicely correct me if I am wrong. NICELY. This blog is no place for rude peeps).

Let’s talk about resources y’all!

And by resources, I mean things you turn to when you can’t do it yourself. This can be a wide variety of things. There is no one RIGHT way to get the help you need, know what I mean? That said, personal circumstances heavily dictate all individual’s choices and access, so below you will find a number of things I turn to for assistance, whether it be for bopo (body positivity), amazing feminism, anti-diet culture, general laughs, and anti- fatphobia, and just a ton of other things.

BUT BEFORE I DO THAT HERE IS MY DISCLAIMER: I am in no way a professional at this. These resources are things I found and work with in order to make my life more well-rounded; in order to help myself heal and recover; in order to make myself change into a better human person. Some of you reading this may not be ready for any of that, and that’s totes fine! Some of you may check something out and feel HELLA uncomfortable, and that’s fine. All I ask is that you check in with yourself about the emotions you are feeling. Why are you feeling that way? What about it, exactly, causes you discomfort? Is it perhaps because it challenges a deep-rooted pre-conceived notion? Does that notion perhaps require challenging? Things to ponder…

Alrighty, now that’s outta the way, let’s start with:

#1- Instagram Feeds

Now, ya girl was late to the Instagram game, but I sure do love it now. That said, it can be a toxic ass thing. Scrolling through all the photos of people who are not me doing and having things I want and may never have…blah blah blah. That good ol’ comparison gremlin just SHINES sometimes on Instagram.

But.

You can always always always CHANGE YOUR STREAM. One more time, for those in the back.

CHANGE

YOUR

STREAM

You control what you see. Think about your stream. Who/what is in it? How many people of color are present? How many indigenous peoples? How about people of different abilities? Shapes? Sizes? How much of what you scroll through makes you feel absolutely shitty? Why would you continue to endure that when there are literal accounts devoted to making YOU feel special, loved, supported, enough? Here are some that I follow, that have opened my eyes in a bunch of different ways (and I won’t lie- made me feel real uncomfortable at times)(this is in now way comprehensive)(it’s just the ones I can think of off the top of my head):

@bodyposipanda (<—– Megan was my introduction into this whole crazy thing. She is positive, and supportive, and just…it’s easy to believe in recovery with her), @thefatsextherapist, @rachel.cargle, @themilitantbaker, @glitterandlazers, @theequalityinstitute, @effyourbeautystandards, @the_feeding_of_the_fox  (<— they tend to post awesome collections of other people you should be following), @pink_bits (<—this account routinely makes me question my sensitivity to female bodies and menstruation and the like, but in a very good and healthy way), @tessholliday, @mamacaxx, @lvernon2000

AND ALSO!!!! Follow some accounts that are hella supportive in a non-threatening, sweet way, like @littlearthlings. littlearthlings

Follow some accounts that make you laugh, that are about particular interests of yours (hellloooo books and archaeology), ANIMALS. If you aren’t following @weratedogs, what is your life even ABOUT?

Use that search function and find what makes you feel good. Reject anything that makes you feel unworthy or like you have to change anything in order to “be better”.

CHANGE YOUR FEED, BBs!!!

#2- Podcasts

Second to my Instagram, I use podcasts pretty routinely to help myself. Here are the casts in my library:

My Favorite Murder– I mean duh. Not only are these women funny and talking about true crime in all its macabre glory, but they ALSO advocate for mental health and wellness, equality across the board, and feminism. I literally can’t even with how much they have helped/influenced me to help myself. I am absolutely a Karen.

Food Psych- Ok real talk- this one can be dense, but if you are REALLY about changing yourself and your motivations and entering into a non- diet culture, recovered eating world, I cannot recommend this one highly enough. Listening to this podcast will give you a basic understanding of the language and philosophies of health at every size, and will introduce you to a ton of amazing people. She is ABOUT recovery, and that means the world to me. I just listened to one of the more recent episodes, #186, and I felt it was comprehensive without being overwhelming.

Therapist Uncensored- I go to this one rather sparingly, as it can be filled with technical jargon, and doesn’t always give me the sense of narrative I crave while listening to podcasts. That said, it is incredibly valuable as a resource.

On Being With Krista Tippett- When I felt/feel absolutely worthless, shattered, hopeless, etc., I turn to this podcast. Her interview style is graceful, calming, and open. The people she talks to are varied and fascinating. This podcast is a literal balm for the soul.

The Hilarious World of Depression- Love it. It makes living with depression/anxiety understandable, relatable, and less isolating. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I PROMISE.

The Dollop- US History narrated by two funny dudes who also seem pretty woke.

Last Podcast on the Left- For all your crime, cryptid, conspiracy theory needs.

Ologies- OH MY GOSH. Just do yourself a favor and listen to this one. Seriously.

Smart Mouth- Smart lady interviews awesome people about their favorite foods. Start with the Guy Branum one, then check out the Andrew Ti one.

Stuff You Missed in History Class– Because I just love history.

There’s more, too, but my point is, give yourself some variety for crying out loud.

#3- Literal Books

Get your read on. Through insta and podcasts, I have picked up some wonderful books to help myself. Books on intuitive eating (Evelyn Tribole), depression (“The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression” Andrew Solomon), religious matters (“The Good Book: Writers Reflect on Favorite Bible Passages” Andrew Blauner), memoirs (“Lit” and “The Liars’ Club” by Mary Karr, “My Life as a Goddess” Guy Branum), Essay Collections (Roxanne Gay, Heather Havrilesky, Michael Arcenaux), etc. etc.

Final Thoughts

Look, there are tons of resources out there, but you- yes YOU- absolutely have to do the work to find the ones that will suit you best. I have stumbled on some that work for other people but that made me feel icky or stupid. I have picked up things that I pre-judged, only to have my mind blown. I have started at one jumping off point, only to discover better things through them. Use my lists as a starting off point, but make it your own. That’s what I did. It’s what you HAVE to do. Think about the ways you want to grow, and allow yourself the opportunities to enhance that growth.

So there’s my brief rundown on resources I use. I hope some of them are useful to you, and I hope you make the most of the fabulous technology we live with.

Also, smash the patriarchy.

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Self-esteem; or, a Sisyphusean Activity?

Self-Esteem. Self- esteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeem.

What the actual hell, amirite?

Listen, do not for one second think I have excellent self-esteem because I do not. If you think I do, you are LYING TO YOURSELF, MY FRIEND. I am VERY much a product of hitting puberty in the 2000s. I’m talking low-rise jeans, belly-baring tops, and sheath

Image result for 2000s fashion

Why, tho

dresses. None of which I was comfortable partaking in, because society had done a damn good job telling me my body-type was not “desirable” or “attractive” in such styles. And because society’s message was constantly reinforced by those around me, either explicitly or implicitly, I started reinforcing it myself via just the cruelest negative self-talk you could imagine.

And if you thought low self-esteem is something I aged out of, again, YOU’D BE INCORRECT, MY FRIEND. For example, just last night I had a dream in which I was traveling abroad and flirting with a cute guy and things were going along well- I’m talking rom-com cute, and then what did my sub-conscious do? WHAT DID THAT SNEAKY LITTLE SHADOW SELF DO? It introduced a cuter, thinner, quirkier female who was petite and raven-haired and just the epitome of manic pixie dream girl and the stupid fictional dude started flirting with her and ENDED UP WITH HER.  IN MY OWN DAMN DREAM.

Image result for dreaming

So again, please understand that I speak from a place of deep knowing when I discuss low self-esteem.

All that fun stuff said- self-esteem and learning how to raise it myself is something I am focusing heavily on in 2019. Why? Because I’m tired of waiting for others to do it for me (probably because they can’t. WHATEVER). But yo, raising your self-esteem is HARD. I have never been more aware of just how much “society” [ do not make me give you a disclaimer or a rundown of what I mean by “society” because you are well aware of what I mean if you are reading this blog and if you want to be contrarian for its own sake, you can fuck right off :)] does NOT like a larger person being confident and displaying that assuredness in a non-self-deprecating way.

About six months ago, I decided to really invest time and energy into this idea of fostering a “Non-Diet Culture” way of life. For me, diet culture and everything it represents directly contributed to my low self-esteem. (Please note that I said for me. Don’t be a weirdo or a dick about it) This is after doing a deep dive into the body positivity movement (separate blog post about THAT too come) and noticing that many of these individuals whom I was leaning on, albeit from a distance, shared similar themes. Diet Culture gets rich off of making you think there is something inherently wrong with you (there isn’t); diet culture promotes fat-phobia all over the damn place; diet culture promotes restrictive eating, which in turn tends to lead to disordered eating of a kind; diet culture promotes ableism; diet culture promotes racism; diet culture could care less about you as an individual. I agree with all these things.

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I started practicing intuitive eating. I stopped turning to delicious, delicious wine as an unhealthy coping mechanism. I worked on listening to my body and it’s cravings and desires.

And I gained weight.

I would be absolutely lying if I said that I was totes fine with the weight gain. I wasn’t (in all honesty, I’m still not). I get that it is “fine”. I get that I am healthy and that this is my weight range. All that logical shit I understand. But man is this hard. I am angry because being larger makes me feel unlovable and undesirable. I am angry because I have to buy an XL and start shopping at “plus-size” stores. I am ANGRY about this division between me and “straight” sizes. I am ANGRY that my belly is just this thing that refuses to change. I am ANGRY that I am ANGRY about something that should not matter at all. Let me repeat for the people in the back: THIS. SHOULD. NOT. MATTER. And I am angry that I am also so, so, so deeply hurt by this. Growing larger means that I now face more challenges (granted, I am an able, white, cis-gendered, heterosexual middle-class female), but y’all are lying to yourselves if you think being larger is “easy”. Also, and here’s the kicker, most of these challenges are being set-up by myself.

Mic drop.

Yup. This is your girl’s low self-esteem at work. Just like in my dream. I sabotaged that ish and then just LET MYSELF sabotage it. It was my dream!! I could have been all, “nah, bro. He’s still into the larger, fiscally responsible me.” But I didn’t because fundamentally, I still don’t see myself as deserving the kind of love and relationship I want. So I am hell-bent on trying not to sabotage myself in this arena. I am hell-bent on embracing myself in this larger, yet healthier (because overall, it truly is healthier), body.

I purged my closet of those small (beautiful) dresses because I am reminding myself that chose those dresses. It then follows that I can also choose beautiful, larger dresses. Money is, of course, an issue- but I went on Amazon and allowed myself to buy a number of dresses I thought were pretty in XL or L (depending on the cut)(also- let’s be real- it’s Amazon so you KNOW some of those dresses are getting returned). I’m trying to casually date more, to remind myself that the world is literally filled with people. I follow accounts and listen to podcasts that remind me that I am a valuable resource. I am trying to do the things.

Look, I don’t really know what this post is about. I just know that I needed to talk about it. I needed to talk about how angry and hurt and betrayed I feel, but also how optimistic and positive I am that changes are being made for the better. I needed to talk about how this low self-esteem really gets in the way when it comes to dating, and how it seems unfair that by trying to address my low self-esteem (by refusing diet culture and allowing my body to eat), I have gained weight which is just making me feel super sure no one will be able to “look past” my weight (ok- even I want to punch myself for typing that obviously bullshit sentiment BUT IT’S A REAL FEELING) to love me romantically. Do you see? DO YOU SEE ALL THE CHALLENGES I SET UP FOR MYSELF? And also, I just wanted to share this feeling with people who maybe feel the same way, so they know (and I know) it’s NOT a unique feeling. The struggle is legitimate, and if you are fighting it, the battle is HARD. But I am here for you. So are a number of Instagram peeps, podcasts, and writers (again- different post to come). We just need to remember, whilst in the thick of it, that sometimes our brains lie to us (dicks), and that we are worthy of everything, exactly as we are.

Image result for corgi

Let his little butt remind you that you are awesome.

Also, can we talk about how I used “whilst”? I mean….come on. Amazing.

 

Back in the Saddle; or, the Worthless Wallow

I went on a Hinge date last night and I have some thoughts.

The date went well. He was cute, and he made me laugh (and I have a good laugh). I felt pretty, and I KNOW I smelled good.

Then the date ended awkwardly, which in and of itself isn’t bad. We both expressed our awkwardness at not really knowing how to end a first date, so it was truly the blind leading the blind.

Awkward isn’t bad, but lukewarm certainly is. And that’s the vibe I got. Very tepid at the end. He did that thing dudes do where they say, “I don’t really know what I’m looking for…I just want to meet people”…blah blah blah. Duh. That’s what literally EVERYONE ON A DATING APP WANTS. It’s a very thinly veiled, cowardly way of saying “I’m not interested in pursuing you.”

Why are people (men) so bad at that? It’s totes ok if you don’t want to see the person again. Just say, “I had a good time. It was nice meeting you,” maybe a handshake or a hug, and leave it at that. You are not obligated to get a number. You are not obligated to sugar coat things. I’m 32. My days of obsessively analyzing first dates are pretty much behind me. I will express interest in seeing you again, then the ball is in your court, bro. If you reach out cool, if not, equally cool (this may be surprising given some of my previous posts but I”VE GROWN AS A PERSON, DAMMIT. DEAL WITH IT).

Even though it was a tepid ending, I had some nice epiphanies. After the wallowing.

Oh, the wallowing.

Let’s back up a skooch. I feel absolutely blown open at this point in time. Shit has gone down and not in an easy, comfortable way. To call me a phoenix burning and re-emerging from the ashes is a nice, poetic way of describing everything caving in while also exploding out.

A long-term relationship that I thought was going somewhere imploded in the most spectacular and dramatic way, and then the person went on to another relationship almost immediately, thus sending me into a spiral of worthless wallowing. How could I be so easily replaced/forgotten/dismissed? Why was I unworthy of someone sticking around? What was it about me that was so unpalatable? I bet if I was just thinner; if I hadn’t gained so much weight; if I hadn’t minded feeling ignored and not prioritized; IF I WAS JUST A DIFFERENT PERSON…

On and on and on.

The worthless wallow. When you rip yourself apart by turning into the cruelest voice imaginable. Critiquing literally everything about yourself, while ignoring the nice and good. Pinching your belly fat because you feel like you should be able to control it and maybe that would make you worthy of love (this will be a whole other blog post because I HAVE THOUGHTS). Over analyzing how you’ve been “too” for so long to so many people: too big, too loud, too confident (only they used the word “bossy”), too emotional, etc. That particular worthless wallow began in July and lasted for about six months. My heart broke and the hurt is still there. Then again, all my hurts are still there. I retain. Most people do. There’s a lovely video that describes how healing actually works. And if I wasn’t so lazy, I’d find it and include a link.

Basically, it’s a drawing depicting a hurt heart. There’s a blot or crack or whatever. We used to think that healing meant the blot went away. But that’s not really true for most people. Those hurts, especially the really significant ones, will never truly go away. How the heart really heals is that it grows. Ima go ahead and use the analogy of scar tissue, but I think it’s an inept metaphor. The hurt just becomes a smaller part of the whole, because the whole gets larger.

Anywho. The worthless wallow lasted a long time.

Then I found out that my work didn’t want me back.

WORTHLESS WALLOW DOUBLE WHAMMY.

Let’s just call into question my entire existence, shall we, universe? I mean, ok- I might suck at romantic relationships, but I am a damn fine worker. I have a really strong work ethic and I am constantly innovating within my career. So to be told, yet again, “No, you aren’t enough” is just an absolutely devastating blow to an already crippled and gimpy ego. Also, let me just remind you of my crushingly low self-esteem. My therapist said to me that I needed to start patting myself on the back more; feeling proud of my accomplishments. But holy nuts is that hard to do when you’ve been laid flat.

Then one night, I called my friends crying yet again and talking about how I just felt like such a bitter, ugly person and I remember my lovely, drunk friend saying something to the effect of: “Yes it really sucks. And yes he really hurt you [I revert to being sad about romantic hurts more than anything else], but you need to GET OVER IT.” If he had expressed this sentiment even one day earlier, I would have spiraled out. Instead, it arrived at JUST the right time.

Because he was right.

2019 is a year of getting shit done. I genuinely feel this is the theme across the nation. I began the year ready; ready to try, ready to grow, ready to change as necessary. I hate online dating for many reasons. But if I want to go on dates, it’s literally the only option right now. To paraphrase a sports term, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” And so I started repeating this mantra to myself: You get what you give. I want dates? Well, that means I have to put myself out there and be open.

Back to the Hinge date- It was a solid “B” date. I was surprised that I found myself wanting him to be more “hell yeah” about me, but I’m starting to realize that isn’t really fair. Or reasonable. I used to hate (and still do) the idea that you shouldn’t have “high expectations” because I hate the idea of settling. But then last night, like a bolt from the blue, I understood what people were trying to say. Maybe they meant, get rid of those RIDICULOUS expectations. Those which have been created by an all-or-nothing, rom-com saturated society. Getting rid of those expectations cost me nothing and give me the ability to relax into dating more. Only time will tell, of course.

There’s a ton of work to do. But as long as I remember that I am enough as I am; I am already loved by many for being EXACTLY AS I AM, then I think it will all pan out. I’m excited, optimistic, and hopeful. I will still, of course, have crying jags in the tub because let’s be real…a person can only change so much.

 

 

 

So damned romantic; or, rejection just means you’re trying

I really, really wanted to kiss the plane of his cheek. Which is, suffice to say, a WEIRD desire. But there it was. Looking all…plane-y in tandem with his very straight, aquiline nose, and the fact that he had surprised me by being something I didn’t remember and I just really wanted to kiss it. Almost the corner of the mouth, but not quite.

I didn’t, though.

Because I am a giant weenie.

Let’s back up a skoch. It looks as though my last blog post was 10 months ago…dang. Sorry- but the romance has been…limited. I attempted another on-line dating site, only to be discouraged by the continued feeling of “hey that was a really fun date and the guy seemed into it oh wait he never contacted me again shoot”. I also attempted my own version of “casual” (it’s only casual because I didn’t IMMEDIATELY begin discussing wedding colors and what a combined Roth IRA would look like), and again, very disappointing.

Though, on the plus side, I had first hand experience with my very own “fuck boy”; which up until then had remained a mythical creature, like a unicorn, or a man my age with a savings account.

A “fuck boy” or “fuckboy”, as it is alternately spelled, is basically a sucky dude. I researched this extensively (no I did not, I googled two sites), and Urban Dictionary has a bevy of pretty awesome definitions; click Here if you would like to scroll through them. They range from aggressively pissed off to mildly amused at the idiocy. Pick your poison. Slate also has a nifty article on the many varieties and connotations the phrase has- clickity click on this bad boy to be directed there, if you are a fan of etymology.

For my purposes, however, “fuck boy” simply refers to someone who purposefully allows themselves to pretend that their selfishness is not a horrible thing. Now, I knew this particular person had this streak in them (and by all other accounts, this person is quite nice), but I had yet to experience it in full force. Then I did and it left me with that “huh” feeling. You know the one. It happens when you aren’t angry or especially hurt;  rather, mildly confused. Like eating spaghetti squash for the first time.

spaghettisquash

What the ever living fuck?

 

So that bummed me out, especially since I am so awesome. As in, legitimately awesome. I have a plaque (I don’t). But it was also ok that it happened, because real talk- I am busy as fuck over here. I started a new job, which is overwhelming. I am going to school at night, and I just wrapped up doing three plays in a row (again- I am super awesome). I mean- it’s cool that romance has been back-burner-ed for legitimate reasons, but it has also begun to feel like maybe I am just perpetually in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In one of my night classes there is a guy who appeals to my aesthetic sensibilities. He’s funny, mildly sarcastic (in that bemused way), has impressively nice handwriting, and seems quite intelligent. Also he has a beard.

Now, here’s the deal…I suck at interacting with people I find attractive. I do. I Just….suck at it. I’ve gone over this in previous blogs, I think. Like, I don’t even make eye contact with people I am attracted to, for fear that they’ll see that I am attracted, and then make fun of me, or WORSE, feel bad for me…”Aw, this poor pathetic girl…” Because again, a huge weenie. As I get older, I am coming to terms more and more with how ridiculous that sentiment is, but it’s still THERE.

eyecontact

LOL nope. 

So here is this attractive guy in my class, who had the AUDACITY to sit at my group’s table one night. Naturally, I didn’t make eye contact, even though he sat right across from me. I was all ready to avoid the situation, and sulk inwardly, when I recalled something which had happened only a few days prior. I had tarot card reading done at a cast party for the

sarcasti-tarot

Mr. T does, in fact, pity me

most recent show I was in (yet again- so awesome), and it was all about how I had to stop standing in my own damn way (I mean- it didn’t literally say that..but ya know). Reminding myself of this, and how technically it was true, I was like, “screw this- I am gonna look this bastard right in the face and he will just have to DEAL with the fact that I am not a model, hell, I’m not even the prettiest girl in the class, but I am awesome” (In case you haven’t yet noticed, I use aggression to mask my insecurity. suck it). So we made conversation, and he laughed at some of my whimsical sayings, and the world did not implode into the fire ball of negativity and rejection I had assumed it would.

Plus one, me.

Then, at the official cast-party where we went to a bowling alley to karaoke (because OBVIOUSLY), there was once again a rather attractive fellow. Surprising, given the venue, but there it was (unless he was a figment of my imagination- OH MY GOD GUYS WAS HE A FIGMENT?!). I was all ready to think negative things to myself, along the lines of “no way would some guy like that be interested in you, you weird tall goon who can’t NOT sing classic rock jams when given a microphone” but then I stopped myself. Because I realized it didn’t matter. It didn’t MATTER what this rando dude thought of me. Yes, everyone likes the ego boost of mutual attraction (see that word MUTUAL there? It’s important…), but I wasn’t there to hook-up with someone. I was there to celebrate the show and the awesome people who had been a part of it. And to sing some damn Bon Jovi, and I did, and it was awesome. At the end of the night, as we were wrapping up, no joke, I caught this guy looking at me. Like- LOOKING- at me. That tickled me, guys. I won’t lie. I mean- coming to the realization that I am someone people “look” at has been slow and is still a surprise. Like when you find $5 in your pocket, or an uneaten donut (also in your

donut

I’d still eat it

pocket)(not really). It’s not something I require to function, but it sure is nice when it happens.

[OBLIGATORY TANGENT] please please please do not misconstrue or misunderstand me when I say I like being “looked” at. I am merely stating my appreciation for when mutual attraction occurs, because it has been so rare in my own life. I do not support unsolicited advances, especially if one party has made it more than clear that it is unwanted. Don’t be a fuck boy. Respect each other. [OBLIGATORY TANGENT OVER]

Feeling pretty confident, I was. I mean- holy nuts, I’m the kind of girl who gets looked at by cute people. I’m the kind of girl who makes people laugh. I’m the kind of girl who absolutely crushes “More Than a Feeling” by Boston. I got this! I can TOTALLY Stop standing in my own way.

Except that I can’t. Not fully, not yet apparently.

An old friend, whom I haven’t seen in years, asked to catch up over drinks. Being an excitable goober, I said “Heck yes!” because who doesn’t like catching up with friends? Plus, I figured I could dress myself up and show off my new bangs in a bigger city with the possibility of getting “looked” at some more. Hooray! So we met up at a horribly pretentious and expensive cocktail bar (regrettably my choice- I did not know what other options the city had) and we started catching up. It was interesting and fun. It got even better when me moved to a sports bar. So much better, especially since a game was on, and lord knows I get invested real quick in sportsball games. During the game, the topic of dating came up; he mentioned tinder dates and responded to a text, while I mentioned the cute guy in my class and my crippling fear of rejection. My friend told me, “rejection means you’re doing it right. It means you’re trying.” I almost fell off my bar-stool. sportsball

Then the game ended, and we swapped locations AGAIN. There is something so unquestionably glorious about bar-hopping when one is in the mood. It gives you a bit of exercise and fresh air; gets the blood moving. All very healthy things to offset the destruction of your liver.

At our final location- some things started maybe getting a bit more romantic? No…that’s not what I mean…but the suggestion of it being a date- the nuance of that came out. Maybe? Again, I am so unsure of myself that I can’t even confidently type that out. But I think maybe he was feeling something out with me, and like an idiot, I immediately shut it down. Not explicitly- oh no. I have to go one step further and be insidious about it. Wall after wall came up; fear after fear mortared a nice barricade so that I would not have to face rejection. This perfectly nice, attractive, surprisingly intelligent guy  who wants to be a farmer and who has a romantic streak in him a mile wide may have been open to something, and I had to go and respond with a knee-jerk reaction that I am sure seemed harsh or at the least, the exact opposite of what I wanted it to seem like.

I had been so sure that there was no way I was attractive. I had been so sure for so long that I was nowhere near the type of girl this dude (or any of my guy friends from back then) wanted, and I was so good at projecting that onto them, that I blithely destroyed any of the fragile attempts being made. Which in hindsight, sucks. It sucks a lot. But it has been a healthy reminder that I am quite far from being good at this. Doesn’t matter how often I get “looked” at, I still respond similarly to how I did at 19.

So any of the nebulous chances were effectively crushed, but as we continued to hang out, I realized that I liked how he spoke, and I liked his hands, and his nose and the plane of his cheek, and I realized that I really did want to kiss that plane, and I wondered what that would be like, and how it would feel, and would it be worth the awkwardness that might occur; but I also remembered that I ruined that chance hours before. I did it to myself, and can only blame myself. Or rather, not blame, but use it to learn. Learn that time matters- sometimes you know right away, sometimes things have to soak, to percolate. Sometimes I will be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but at some point I will be in the absolute right place at the very right time. And I will be able to act on my impulse, fearlessly.

Because I would rather try and fail then live a life of blogs about what could have been.

 

It’s been a long time; or, alliteration for the win

Could it conceivably have been this long since my last romantic encounter? Yes. Shut up about it.

I’d like to say that the lack of woo-ing in my life was due to a cognizant choice- but it wasn’t. A heap ton of stuff has changed in my life since my last blog…I changed careers (read- quit my job), moved back to my ancestral home (read- back in with my parents), and basically threw my entire life into a certain amount of upheaval (read- existential crisis). I speak of this rather glibly, as is my nature, but the choice was actually given great consideration. So suck it.

moving

As I was saying, I wish this could be the explanation for my lack of romance, but the sad truth is, it isn’t. Up until the very end of my time in Portland, I was hoping for….what? A Mr. Right type to sweep me off my feet and make me re-think my carefully planned choices? Well- Thank GOD that didn’t happen. I value Portland as much as the next gal, but I also outgrew it. Not to mention it was turning into a hypocritical, xenophobic community that feared change. Oh- I’m sorry- did I type that out loud? Sorry- I know there is valid reason for being pissed about the rental market, but constantly berating transplants is absolutely NOT the way to go about expressing your concerns. Bashing someone because they moved there from, say, California, makes you sound like an uneducated fool. It also severely hampers what Portland claims is their forte, artistic weirdness. Art is a collaboration. Without new, fresh blood, it tends to stagnate. So, if my fellow artists living in Portland  (which is basically all of Portland) claim that they can’t stand any more people moving there (side note: MOST of the people of Portland are transplants….I don’t have specific data, as that would require actual research, and ain’t no one got time for that- but I would say the bulk of Portland “proper” came from somewhere else), then they are being woe-fully narrow minded.

Anywhoo- as I was saying, I was, in fact, hoping until the bitter end that some magical dude would enter my life. This strikes me as astonishingly stupid and dramatic now, a mere four months after the fact. Why on EARTH would I willingly hope for what would only have amounted to massive confusion and disappointment? What kind of a masochist AM I? Thank God the universe very politely batted me down like a cat toying with a mouse. So the element of romantic entanglement was kindly removed from my plate so I could focus on, oh I don’t know, the fact that I WAS CHANGING LITERALLY EVERYTHING ABOUT MY LIFE.

Therefore, I moved home. Literally. I moved back in with my folks. Which is a whole other blog. They have been fantastic and supportive, trust me. However, am I looking at this from the pragmatic, financially responsible angle which spurred me to make this change to begin with? OF COURSE NOT. Dummy. Instead, I am concerned with the “crimp” it may put on my “style”. Which is laughable, as my “style” consists of taking myself out to a public space, like a bar, only to isolate myself by journal-ling or reading;

Despair

I am THE WORST

then feeling morose that nobody has approached me. OR, worse, that the person who braved the lovely yet icy front was “not what I’m into”. Ew. I’m a dick. Yeah- so, there ain’t no “style” to speak of. And yet, here I am, concerned that my (very intelligent decision) to move in with my parents in order to save money while I figure out what to be as an adult would impede on my love life.

I make great choices.

The point is, this whole thing has forced me to dive further down into the muck and grime that is my…personality. It’s mainly a ton of back and forth dialogue in my head, with Casey A being the logical, rational, SENSIBLE entity, and Casey B being what I can only describe as an overly dramatic, un-medicated sorority girl who thinks Fireball and Fanta is a “classy” drink. It’s basically one part of me talking the other part down. CONSTANTLY. It’s flipping exhausting. Casey B: “Did he think I was hot?” Casey A: “It wouldn’t matter if he thought you were ‘hot’, you are super smart and awesome and are more than your body.” Casey B: “Yeah- but why didn’t he want to make out with me?” *Casey A weeps internally at the futility*  And this is all happening INSIDE MY BRAIN. It’s tough guys.

images (1)

The bright side of all this nonsense is that I am getting a MUCH better handle on myself. I don’t feel as bad for knowing what I want, and expressing it. I do still get extremely frustrated when the guys I meet seem to be hell-bent on lying not only to me, but to themselves about what they really want. Have courage, fellas. Be honest. I recently had a fella (finally) tell me what it was he really wanted, and it absolutely did NOT line up with my desires. For pretty good reasons, too. But it took, like, an hour of me flirting and thinking “Hey this guy really likes me” before he came clean. And yeah, I felt like an idiot. Of course I did. I allowed myself to feel invalidated by this poor sap, who was just trying to be a gentleman. Even though my pride was damaged, though, I think I handled the situation pretty well. He only needed five stitches (bad dum bum ch). I jest. It actually was ok- I mean, I cried for like, an hour, of course. It was ok  because he was up front and honest; after Casey B had her freak out, Casey A swooped in and was all, “Hold up…his thing had NOTHING to do with you…like…literally nothing. You can’t feel bad about it.” And here’s the kicker- I DIDN’T. Our wants were misaligned, and I was able to (fairly) clearly see that.  This makes it a helluva lot easier to feel better about what I want.

That’s the key, I suppose. Not feeling guilty or “bad” about what you actually want. When did this trend of being made to feel bad begin? Why on earth should I feel bad because I want a boyfriend who exhibits the qualities I respect and admire? It all boils down to accountability. No matter how hard I have tried to pretend to want whatever the guy I liked wanted…my real expectations and desires always came out in the end. Usually in a firework display of verbal haranguing and snot. Seriously- my ugly crying involves an abnormal amount of mucus.

Case in point (about the not feeling guilty…not about the snot): A few weeks ago, I met a charming fella, who got my phone number. Was I excited? You betcha. Until I started getting that distinct, “I don’t plan on making any effort, I just wanna bang you” vibe, perfectly epitomized in the ALWAYS CREEPY “send me a pic” text. Um…I JUST met you. Why on earth do you need a picture of me? Ew. EW. STAHP. After a few more leading texts from me trying to set up an actual date, all to no avail, I broke down and told him it seemed to me that he was just looking for a hook-up (which I respect, actually as long as both parties are honest and lol nopeupfront), and that wasn’t really my jam. Did he respond to my polite text with a “You know you are right! I am looking for a hook-up. Thanks for letting me know you weren’t into it. Have a good day!” text? OF COURSE NOT BECAUSE HE IS A LAME DUDE. He didn’t respond at all, actually, in a traditional, albeit cowardly, dude move. I refuse to lump all men into the same blase category, but dudes, come on. If you are one of the good ones, who respects human communication, please please please start holding your less aware buds accountable. It’s way more attractive.

In summation- I wonder if Fireball and Fanta is a real thing? If so, how gross is it?

Want vs. Need, or, Like a Boss

There have been a number of incarnations of this post. I can’t seem to organize my thoughts coherently with this one, so ima just jump in.

Friday....Get it??

Friday….Get it??

I met a fellow last Friday,and there are a million offshoot topics I want to touch on, but I’ll narrow it down to three (which I’m sure will have their own lovely tangents as we delve in): 1) HOW I met him, ‘cuz it was BOSS as all hell. 2) Why am I REALLY bummed that he hasn’t contacted me, and  3) Why is it still “inappropriate” for women to have and/or express the same sexual appetites as men.

Holy nuts guys. I feel so freaking cool about this. So last Friday- I did not really want to go out. It was an opening party for a show I had worked on, and while I adored the cast, I did not actually attend opening night, and there’s always some awkwardness in being single and coming to these events. Plus my hair was a little greasy and I didn’t have time to wash it. PLUS my hot rollers weren’t working for some reason, so I had to feebley attempt to use my curling iron, before giving up out of boredom and frustration. Now, when I “go out”, I like to really “go out”. If I am dragging my lazy tush to something, I have to make it worth my (and, really, everyone’s) while. It’s a full on pampering of my own senses. Bath, shave the legs (another thing I did not have time to do), makeup, ya know, general purtifying.

For some reason, even though I know I looked fine (er…great…hot….whatever), I certainly wasn’t feeling it. There was no fierceness to me, no strut. Usually the result of a good dollin’ up is an

who's gonna walk away from this?

who’s gonna walk away from this?

overall feeling of sassy “rocking it” Beyonce-inspired awesomeness. This was a little bit lacking when I headed out. Instead, I felt insecure and ugly (sooooo many stress zits) and hopeless (sooooo many crushes left unspoken and unrealized) and just generally frustrated with myself and the world. BUT- I would BE DAMNED if I didn’t at least try. Worst case scenario, I go, have one drink, am mainly ignored (not maliciously so…just…’meh’-ly so), then head home to the comforting embrace of Netflix and whatever there is to eat in my fridge (all the cheese its are gone).

I arrive at White Owl (already ominous, as that was the location of horrible OKC date 1), and strut in. I am a firm believer of fake it till you are it, and nothing puts pep in my step like knowing that when I walk into a room, people notice. Vain? Sure. But also remember, I am cripplingly insecure about my looks, soo….it balances out, right? right? whatever….I walk in, greasy roots and weird curls flying, dress amplifying my genetic assets (girls got cleavage for daaaaaaays), ready to find my crew, and see where the night takes me. First stop is to stand in “line” for the bar. Really, I’m standing in mass. Luckily, I situate myself next to some actors from the show, so i don’t have to just stand there, forcing an attitude of cool nonchalance. We stand there chit-chatting for a few moments, and peripherally, I notice a bearded dude is standing next to/behind-ish me; again, we are in a mass, so we are actually pretty parallel to eachother. After a few moments, a spot opens up at the bar, directly in front of bearded dude, and just to the left of me. We sort of look at each other, and he does the “after you” gesture, and I do a sort of curtsy, and almost- ALMOST- mime flipping my hair, mutter, “oh thanks” and sidle up to the space. That’s when I get the brilliant idea. I’m gonna buy that bearded fucker a DRINK. Not only that, I’m going to do it without saying one goddamned word to him, and be smooth as all hell. I glance and notice he’s holding a Rainier can, which is perfect, since those mothers are cheap. I order my gin, and the Rainier, turn around, hold out the can to the dude, who takes it, and looks super surprised, and says, “Is this for me?” I nod, say “yeah” and then hit that hot bearded dude with my million dollar smile, then I just WALK THE FUCK AWAY.

Aphrodisiac

Aphrodisiac

I myself cannot even believe how absolutely cool I was in that moment. I was the epitome of cool. Mainly because I was acting out of a true desire to reward a good deed (letting me go in front of him in a crowded ass bar), and because I had absolutely no stakes in the action. It’s not like I was looking to hit on anyone; nor was I seeking special attention (again-remember- greasy hair and 1′ long leg hair); but this was clearly my ONE opportunity to be balling as fuck, so I seized it. Not to mention, I had the wonderful knowledge that I there was a table full of people I knew, to which I was headed anyway. Having a direction, a goal per se, was very helpful.

After about fifteen, twenty minutes of standing around, feeling ever so slightly excluded (which is just to say that I was not in the mood to be outwardly gregarious, and really, I just wanted someone else to really want to start a conversation with me), I chatted a bit with our stage manager, telling her my awesome story about inside. I lingered awkwardly for a moment; just enough time to make myself feel really pointless, before deciding to head back in for a second (and last) drink. I walk in, and who should be standing at the water station, which you have to pass in order to get to the bar? Yes- it was indeed hot bearded dude to whom I suavely handed off a beer. He looks right at me, and I give him a small, acknowledging smile, and start to walk past him, when he stops me by saying, “Hey!” So I stop, half in line, half near him. “That was really awesome, you giving me that beer.” I smile again, and shrug, and say “Well, you let me in front of you. Tit for tat, right?” I immediately kicked myself for being the type of person who peppers modern conversation with antiquated sayings. He didn’t seem too phased by it, because he actually struck up a conversation. He asked me what I was doing there, and I said the play I had costume designed had just opened, so we were having a do. I noticed he was wearing a backpack, so I asked if he was going somewhere, and he said, “Oh yeah, I’m headed home.” I thought to myself Bummer. I finally get to have an honest to god interaction with a member of the opposite sex I find attractive, and dude is headed out. But I wasn’t giving it too much thought. Instead, I said, “Ok, well, I’m gonna get in line for a drink…” and then I drew a parallel to the situation of saying goodbye to someone, only to find that you are both walking the same way for like, another five blocks. It absolutely NEVER occurred to me that this viable specimen was perhaps trying to strike up a conversation with me. Until, that is,  I noticed that the dude wasn’t leaving. He was, in fact, seeking out more ways of having a conversation with me. He introduced himself, and we shook hands, and he stayed next to me, having a full blown conversation in which we both were delightful like_a_boss_500-500x500_zps5147fc46and charming. Then, as I got my drink, he said, “Come on. We are going to have a four minute conversation.” And he headed outside to a picnic table on the patio. “Four minutes? What, do you have to catch the bus or something?” “Will you just go with it?” I shrug, and decide, yeah- cute guy, fun conversation, Friday night? Hell yeah, I’ll go with it.

Four minutes swiftly and easily turns into an hour and a half. We touch on everything from literature, to travel, to the Trailblazers. A couple of times, some people (girls…YES I NOTICED AND DID MY DAMNEDEST NOT TO CARE) from the birthday party of a co-worker he had been attending came up and, without looking at me, let him know they were all headed to Dig a Pony (ew. Sorry! but ew) and was he coming. He looked at me, then said, “Nah, I think I’m gonna stay here.” BLUSH. I actually really like this conversation, and am enjoying spending time with this guy. Finally, our conversation dwindles down, and I say what we’re both thinking, “See, here’s the awkward part of the conversation, where we can’t think of anything else to say, because we both wish we were making out with each other.” This is half bravado, half truth, so imagine my astonishment when he says, in all seriousness, “exactly.” SOOOOOO we make out in my car and then go back to my place, where he spent the night.

This is such an obvious euphemism, I debated even using it, but I figured I needed to give any readers (ahem- MOM), the chance to ease into the idea that I, a healthy red-blooded woman nearing 29, would maybe actually desire to have sex now and again. Being one who is traditionally single, and apparently destined to be so for quite some time, I have very few options open to me with regards to obtaining sex:

A. Blatant promiscuity; to which I say, no thank you. I have a discerning palette when it comes to people I am willing to spend time with, little own let see me naked. I am not the type to just pick any

way better looking than ACTUAL promiscuity

way better looking than ACTUAL promiscuity

rando off the street with a penis. No. No, thank you. Not to mention, health class in high school pretty much did me in with fear of STD’s and babies and the like for me to be bangin’ strangers every weekend. But above and beyond all that, it is simply not in my nature to be super promiscuous. I am a Taurus, after all. So, if I’m not being promiscuous, how else could I get the physical attention most if not all humans crave and deserve?

B. Be in a steady, committed, loving relationship. Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…..see THIS ENTIRE FUCKING BLOG. The universe has, apparently, deemed me not ready to find my person yet. So this option is out.

C. Pay for it. That’s right. Find me a gigalo. But economically speaking- I simply couldn’t afford it. I can barely afford groceries.

I typed in 'male prostitution' and this came up and I can't stop laughing

I typed in ‘male prostitution’ and this came up and I can’t stop laughing

This leaves our final option:

D. Carefully weigh my options in a given circumstance and choose to do (haha) something safe-sexmoderately reckless; knowing that, fundamentally, I will be safer than most.

So, I chose option D. because at that point in time, in that situation, the stars had aligned for me. It was consensual, I wasn’t even tipsy, and after two hours in conversation, I felt I had a solid enough handle on this person’s character to rule out him being a sociopath (although let’s be honest….one never knows…). I figured this was my chance to pull a Beyonce, to go after something I wanted. And I did. Successfully! He spent the night, and seemed to genuinely enjoy my company. So much so that he asked me, the next morning, if I would want to get together and talk books again some time.

um.

OF COURSE I WOULD WANT THAT. I wish I could say I smiled seductively and coyly said, “I would really enjoy that.” but it’s me and I didn’t do that. Instead, I furrowed my brow, looked him square in the eye, and said, “I mean, I made it pretty clear that I am awkward at flirting, but I would very much like to see you again. You have your own opinions on that subject, though, so I’ll leave it up to you.” Because I SUCK AT ALL THE THINGS. Luckily, he sort of laughs, and asks for my number despite my awkwardness.

That was Saturday morning. It is now, as of this writing, Wednesday afternoon, and I have heard no word. There has been no tell-tale vibration, or exhilarating ding to notify me of a possible suitor. And I will not lie. That has been a HUGE bummer. Mainly because I actually quite liked this fellow and the conversation we had was promising (I mean we discussed books and travel for fuck’s sake….), so its a bit of a bummer to think that I won’t hear from him again. This silence has also stirred up some

this is actually me...no...it's not. I lied. sorry

this is actually me…no…it’s not. I lied. sorry

really deep seated and painful emotions in me; the same ones that happen with each and every new possible beau. I am not joking when I say that my reaction to men is pretty much always the same. I meet someone. They seem interested. They get my number. But they DO NOT OPERATE ON THE SAME TIME FRAME and instead of just shrugging it off, I look at it like it’s some personal insult. My ego starts to over-react BIG time, and before I know it, I have silently set myself up to sabotage any glimmer of a chance which may occur down the road. So this time around- I am determined to not follow my usual pattern of absolute self-deprecation and wallowing. Instead, I am doing my damnedest to reiterate the mantra that if I don’t hear from him, it has absolutely nothing to do with me, and that who knows what his life is like. I’m trying to be zen about it, but it is hard as fuck, guys. It’s hard not to accuse the universe of dangling a carrot. It’s hard not to call myself “idiot” or “fool” because I thought for once, a man would be interested enough to take a stab at getting to know me. It’s hard to learn to accept such uncomfortable emotions as frustration. I want him to want me. Do I need it? No. Here, the universe has provided me with a valuable learning opportunity. They gave me something I really wanted. Then, it went away, and now, the universe is challenging me to learn how to cope with the loss of something I wanted. Normally, I’d pitch a fit like a sugar crashing two year old. And since I am now very AWARE  that I behave thus, I did my best not to pitch that fit. Am doing my best. It’s tough. I’d still really like to hear from him; I want it, but I suppose the silence is the universe telling me I don’t need him (or what he would symbolize); not yet. Which is totes true, btw. My life is pretty fucking rad right now. Awesome, secure job, fabulous friends and fam, another costume design gig, AND I just got accepted into the Graduate program I wanted? Yeah- I’d say bearded dude was just the hairy chested icing on this awesomesuace cake.

Now, some of you may feel uncomfortable reading this, much like I felt uncomfortable writing it for a hot second. Then I sat myself down, and asked why, WHY was I so uncomfortable about it? I was worried about the kind of judgement which may happen. People thinking that I was being in some way inappropriate….but then I realized I really didn’t care. If I actually cared, i wouldn’t have had sex. I have nothing to be ashamed off. My body had a natural desire, one that women have been forced to hide for far too long. And honestly, the fact that anyone would look askance at me (or any fellow woman) for having sex on the “first date” actually pisses me right off. I have no idea how this moral superiority can still exist in this day and age, but it does, and it’s infuriating. If you, yourself, do not want to or believe in having sex on the first date/before marriage/ever, that is certainly YOUR prerogative. But to start condemning those who behave differently, especially those who are simply following natural, normal impulses, and still managing to be responsible? UGH I SAY. And while the thought did cross my mind that perhaps dude isn’t going to call me because we slept together, well, if that is truly the case (and I honestly don’t think it is, but if so) he can go suck a duck, because I have no time for judgey mcjudgersons in my life. So if you read this, and felt uncomfortable or judgemental, and you AREN’T my mother, then it may behoove you, like it did me, to sit down and reflect on why.

So, long post short: Bummer bearded dude didn’t try to see me again, Hooray for all the self-reflection and realization, and don’t be a sexist dickbag.

I love you all

I love you all

Feng Shui, or, A Bibliophile’s Dream

ohmygoshguys- I bought a chair.

YES. My apartment now has two items which were SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED WITH THE INTENT TO SIT in mind. Granted, this new one is an armchair- but still! It has the word “chair” in it! And it is amazing. I love it. Mainly, I love it for what it symbolizes….LIKE I WASN’T GONNA GET ALL METAPHORICAL ON YOUR ASS. But let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?

It began a while ago, when I went into the nap room at my work (what, your work doesn’t have  a nap room? Sucks to be you, I guess), and I curled up in the armchair there and I read on my break. It was so cozy, and awesome; and I realized that I really needed a devoted reading space of my own at home. I yearned for an armchair; something to tuck my knees up into, or drape my legs over; something to read cozily in, while up-right, and therefore awake, and able to read more than one paragraph at a time without the tell-tale dip and then inevitable drop of the book on to my face.

In case you weren’t aware (because, why would you be unless you stalk me in which case why don’t you bring me wine?!), I live in a studio apartment. It clocks in at a whopping 490 sq. ft., which is

LOOK AT HIM

LOOK AT HIM

shared with an exuberant Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix named Cowboy, who apparently has it out for any and all dust covers on my bed. Suffice to say, space is limited. BUT- I also noticed that if I just rearranged a little, I could totally provide myself with a reading nook of my very own, and it wouldn’t take up any extra space. It also, quite conveniently, would mean that

my new armchair would be located in the Love and Relationship gua, according to the feng shui of my apartment.

OH MAN GUYS- do you even know about feng shui, and how utterly cool it is? Because it is, and if you think otherwise, you are a cynical, jaded, empty person. Or you just don’t know about it. Without getting too in depth, as I am no master, feng shui is basically a way of harmonizing your environment in the most auspicious way possible (lyrical, no?). Basically, any space you are in, can be divided into 8 quadrants (which is the literal translation of the word “bagua”). Want to know what that looks like? BAM:

get yo qi flowin'

get yo qi flowin’

This image is pretty cool, in that it also gives you the corresponding “power” colors for each section. It corresponds to a physical space in the following way: Imagine you have come to my apartment (I hope you brought wine) and you have just walked through my front door. You are now smack dab in the middle of the “career” section. Regardless of where, or how your entrance is situated, it always falls on that southern perimeter.  But Casey, you may ask, how does this relate to an armchair; and why are you writing about it in your blog about romantic experiences? WHEN DO WE GET TO WHAT THE CHAIR SYMBOLIZES?! Well shut up a minute, and I’ll explain.

I bet you can guess which gua I have really been focused on? That’s right- LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS! Go ahead and pat yourself on the back for that one. I have done EVERYTHING to enhance this area. I wrote adorable love letters in pink ink and red paper with hearts and smiley

romantic shit

romantic shit

faces and all that shit. I have placed romantic imagery there. I have placed flowers and “sensuous items” like soft fabrics and cheeze its. I have done ALL THE THINGS suggested to enhance that area in order to attract my person to me. And none of it has worked. NONE OF IT. So, frustrated as all hell, I cleared out the area of any and all “romantic” gear. I was a petulant child throwing a tantrum because I wasn’t getting what I wanted. Which is great, because it opened me up to focus and receive the kind of loving relationship I NEEDED. Which was…..are you ready for this? This is where the symbol comes into play….get ready…..the kind of relationship I actually needed to be focusing on and enhancing was the loving relationship I had WITH MYSELF. Truth bomb dropped.

Almost immediately after I cleared out that space, this yearning for a reading nook arose. It arose because reading is one of my deepest loves. Reading has been with me since I was able to formulate words. I can remember crawling into my parents bed with a Little Critter book LITTLE CRITTER(Side note- OH MY GOD do you remember how AWESOME those books were/are?! So awesome…) and I would pretend to read to them. Reading has and will always be a soul soother of mine. So it makes sense that once I made space for it, that self-love and self-nurture would kick in. All it took was a little mysticism to get me going. Lord knows, I love me some new-age hippie shit. Anywhoo- I drove my tush to Ikea, where I purchased a magnificent and budget conscientious armchair, which, subsequently, did not fit in either the backseat of my car, or in the trunk. But I am nothing if not resourceful (not true…I am many things at many times, but you know what I mean). Thanks to a tow rope and some pretty wicked biceps, I managed to lash the thing to the top of my car and drive home, while gripping the rope through the window.

It was also super fucking windy.

It was also super fucking windy.

I managed to make it home and get my chair all set up. One of the main principles in feng shui is to work on any one area with purpose. For example, I assembled my chair and placed it with great love and calmness. I nestled it between a book case and my window. I purchased a magenta pink pillow to accent it. I thought of how many awesome books I was going to read in that chair and how much my soul would flourish. I thought of those cozy rainy afternoons and of those bright and sunny ones where I would gaze absentmindedly out over the trees and just let my mind be. I prayed that my heart would never confuse the feeling of loneliness with the feeling of being alone in that chair. I imagined me putting my feet up on the bed and relaxing into my natural state of contentment. I poured all the self-love I had into setting it up because I was really pouring all that love into myself. My hopes for that chair and that space was not just to have a kick-ass reading nook (although I totes do  now). It was to heal myself from within. Clearing all that old stuff out was a way of mentally releasing myself from relying on the validation of dudes. Don’t get me wrong- I still very much want to find that person, but this unhealthy obsession with finding him RIGHT THIS FUCKING INSTANT OR ELSE I AM A FAT HIDEOUS FAILURE had to go. And it did. The time had come to slough off arbitrary timelines and previous expectations. The time had come to embrace the self, MYself, for all it’s singular glory.

fucking magic

fucking magic

And, anyway, I have two chairs now. SOMEBODY needs to sit in the other one at some point.

V-Day, or, Goddamn Ego Deaths

Unless you live under a rock, you will recall that last Saturday was Valentine’s day. And here is a factoid that may come as a surprise to you- I freaking LOVE Valentine’s day. Love it- I love flowers, I love wine, I love candy, I love smiles, and I just LOVE THIS DAY.

True Love

True Love

Before you throw up all over your screen with disappointment in my overly-sentimental reaction to what many call a commercial holiday- just stop for a moment. Also- shut up, Judgey McJudgerson. Any day that takes the time to focus on celebrating those that fill you with love is a-okay in my book. Sure, it’s something that should be celebrated all the time, and not just on this one random day, but GUESS WHAT? More often than not, it isn’t. People get busy; people get taken for granted. So this is a nationally acceptable, self-imposed day to take a damn moment and tell those that matter to you that they matter. People who make it all about romantic love are missing the point. Not that I’m blameless in this. I will be the first person to admit that I liked this day for the wrong reasons for a very long time. I can’t recall ever having a really great Valentine’s Day…I’m sure I have…but the bulk of them have been either “meh” or absolutely horrible. Guess which category this last one fell under?!

Basically, a guy from my past, who should have, admittedly, stayed there, popped back up. After much thinking and deliberation and discussion- I decided to accept his invitation to “hang out”. MISTAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE (imagine the opera singer from that one episode of Scrubs.…).

uggggggggggghhhhhhh

uggggggggggghhhhhhh

But how was I to know? Ya know? I keep working so diligently on myself- and I keep hearing the same things over and over again, from different men, that I have to think maybe it IS me. Maybe I do come off too…I don’t even know anymore. So I figured, alright- let’s give this dude another shot; maybe I really did fuck it up last time, and this is the universe giving me another chance to be what I think I need to be (i.e.- relaxed and go with the flow and essentially a land mermaid).

Nope. nuh-uh. This was not the case. Not this time around. I can absolutely and definitively tell you that I did not fuck it up last time. He did. And he fucked it up again this time. Now- after we had been hanging out and canoodling and being sweet…he had the flat out audacity to tell me how he just doesn’t like the way I make him feel, and that I am always so negative toward him. This is said to me WHILE WE ARE MAKING OUT. So I, as is my right, sort of shut down. Because- I am actually NOT being mean to him. But he wanted mean. He wanted a shrew. He wanted to be the long-suffering, misunderstood hero, and boy-howdy, did he ever get it.

Mother Fucking Majestic

Mother Fucking Majestic

I unleashed the wolf goddess on this pathetic coward. He was such a small person, that he wouldn’t even have an actual conversation with me, deciding instead to hide behind the safety and anonymity of text. Well- that was a HUGE mistake on his part, because I am equally effective in writing words that will destroy you, as I am in saying them. I called him a coward. I called him selfish. I called him pathetic and a waste of time. I owned my own suckiness, while berating him for thinking he was anything but less than equal in suck-itude. I was angry. Mother FUCK was I ever angry. I was outraged that this douchecanoe inserted himself back into my life, only to pull the same accusatory, “martyr-me” bullshit he did last time. I told him I hope he ends up with someone he hates. I told him I hope he gets all the negativity he so desperately desires. I told him to enjoy his feeling of superiority, because I was watering the seed of doubt in his brain. I made damn sure he never thinks fondly of me- but he will recall the accuracy of my tongue lashing. I can only hope, that twenty years down the road, when he has grown the fuck up, he looks back on his behavior, and cringes with all his might.

And yeah- duh- I cried. Because for a split-second (er..maybe forty minutes…), I believed his cruelty. I believed his projection of his own shit onto me. I believed that I was mean, and that I was unworthy

My Ego

My Ego

of love (his exact words, mind you). I believed that I was destined to crave love but never know how to actually have it; destined to live in a world of awkward, misunderstood advances. Also, my pride was hurt, so my goddamned Ego was having a huge flare up. Captain Ego (who is very similar to Zapp Brannigan from Futurama in that he shouldn’t be in charge of ANYTHING) likes to make himself seem waaaaaaay more important than he is, which makes me get all huffy and absolutely shocked- SHOCKED I SAY- that someone would not like me. Essentially- I had to suffer through this ego-death, which is necessary in growth, but shitty feeling in application.

Despite the fact that, technically, this is another embarrassing and massive FAIL of a social experiment; I can’t help but secretly be grateful to this sniveling, pathetisad caricature of a man. His journey hasn’t even started- he’s so far from being self-aware, I feel for him. Because when those realizations hit, they hit hard (speaking from experience, here), and he is going to have to be so torn down before he is able to grow. I do not envy him that experience; and therefore I bless him. I bless him for allowing me to tap, unabashedly and without fear or guilt, into that deep well of power and knowledge and fundamental fearlessness. I bless him for helping me realize I am not one dimensional, and that when the wolf bitch comes out, it is for very good reason.

Here’s the other kicker, and the whole reason I am even sharing this tale- I LOVE when I turn all Mama Bear on people. I love that I have that capacity to put people in their place. I love that I will never call myself a victim. I love that I will own when I am being shitty, but that I will also demand in others that they own it, too. I love that I take action, and don’t suffer fools. I love that some people find me intimidating, because they are the types of people that should find me intimidating. And I love that despite all this- all the set-backs, and the humiliating experiences, and the frustrations- I am still so excited about meeting the person who won’t be intimidated. I bet he also enjoys eating cheese-its and binge watching Netflix in bed. I bet he will love my dog, and think I have the best smile. I hope he enjoys spirited conversation and cuddles. I hope he realizes how much I love flowers and sweetness. I hope I get to shower him with affection. I hope, come next Valentine’s Day, there is this opportunity for love, but if not, I hope I realize that’s ok too.

Science

Science

How I Flirt, or, I’m Talking To You , and Aren’t I?

It has been brought to my attention numerous times that, perhaps, I simply do not know how to flirt.

There was that one time, in Ashland, where I tried to seduce the concession attendant by saying something akin to “Hey…can I get a…muffin?”, while fondling said muffin. To be fair, I was 14 at the time, and surrounded by my giggling girlfriends.

Oh haaiiii.....

Oh haaiiii…..

There was that other time, when we were at an ice cream parlor, and I very coyly said to the attractive soda-jerk who was washing dishes, “You know…if your water isn’t hot enough…it won’t kill all the bacteria.” To be fair, I was 15 at the time, and socially awkward.

Romantic

Romantic

And who could forget that time I made that co-worker I had a huge crush on bleed because I misjudged my aim and accidentally threw the roll of masking tape at his face, instead of his chest, thereby splitting his lip open. To be fair- SHUT UP.

damn you!!

damn you!!

The point is, my “flirting” game has never been what one would call “traditional” or even “accurate”. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that I have never understood what society called “flirting”. I always just assumed attraction was evident because time and energy was being spent with the sole purpose of being around the other person more than would be deemed “standard” (I am going to be using a TON of air quotes in this blog…only written out…so…I guess just quotes).

In my mind, with my perspective, I have thought that “flirting”, according to modern society, with the stupid hair-flipping, and laughing at jokes that ARE NOT FUNNY NO MATTER HOW HOT THE GUY IS, was idiotic. It seemed like a game that had no real set of rules. It’d be like if golf and tennis hooked up, had a lovechild, gave it up for adoption, and it was adopted and raised in a Quidditch only household. Could you imagine the anxiety and tension?!

I recall talking with a guy friend about a recent encounter where I felt I had been honest and open, and I was wondering why I hadn’t heard back from the dude. My friend said, very matter-of-factly,

hell no

hell no

“Oh, no. You won’t hear back. You didn’t  play the game.” I stared at him, dumbfounded. “Whatgame?” “You know, the game you play with men.” Again- blank ass stare. “Seriously? There is seriously a GAME we are supposed to be playing?” My guy friend (who is a heterosexually oriented male identifier, in case you were wondering) nodded his head solemnly, and said, “Oh yes. Men like the game; they like the chase.” I let out a long sigh, before exclaiming dishearteningly, “Whelp, I’m fucked.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I want to be chased a little. I want to be wooed and courted. I want flowers and sweet texts, and dates. I want an expression of interest to be displayed on a slightly above average level. For example- if my lady friends make the effort to see me once a week, a dude who is interested in me should make the effort to see me more than that, or communicate with me more than that. I guess, for me, and my personality, THAT’S where the flirting is. The flirting is the in-between time, where attraction and interest have been mutually expressed, but solidification of what Lovethe hell is going on has not been established. So if a dude writes me a flirty text, and I respond, and then I don’t hear back for a week- well, in my mind, that just ain’t flirting. That’s “keeping your options open”, and I have no time for that….I mean, I do…but I get quickly irritated with the lackadaisical nature of that philosophy. Which means- if that’s all part of some grand tennis-golf-quidditch game of courtship- I am screwed, because that seems like a massive waste of time.

I also find it hard to believe that dudes out there are actually happy about game-playing. I thought that’s all you men-folk did, complain about how us women-folk played mind-games and were never honest about how we felt. Well, I say fuck that- because I am an extremely honest and up-front lady, and all it’s done is made you pansy-ass men tuck tail and run. It almost as if the notion of a woman who DIDN’T emotionally fuck with you, scares the ever living hell out of you (blanket statement- YEP- deal with it).

In order to be a well rounded blog-ist, I did some research (read- looked it up on wikipedia). This is how good ol’ wiki describes flirting:

Flirting or coquetry is a social and sometimes sexual activity involving verbal or written communication as well as body language by one person to another, suggesting an interest in a deeper relationship with the other person. In most cultures, it is socially disapproved for a person to make explicitly sexual advances, but indirect or suggestive advances (i.e., flirting) may at times be considered acceptable. On the other hand, some people flirt playfully, for amusement.

Basically- wikipedia just told me to stop being an old fuddy-duddy. Some people just want to have fun, and I suppose I shouldn’t infringe on their right to pursue what makes them happy by selfishly pointing out that their behavior is slightly malicious towards another (resentful? me? noooooooo….). And here’s the thing- I actually LOVE flirting when I know absolutely NOTHING will come of it. It IS fun. You get to banter freely, be as sassy and brassy as possible, and smile a lot. What’s not to like? So what does that mean for me? It means a couple things:

  1. I need to calm the hell down when it comes to other people’s actions. I tend to take things too Not My Circuspersonally (me? nooooo….), and I am constantly working on assessing my reaction to situations. There is a Polish proverb I really like, and recite to myself when other people start to behave in ways I find odd or hurtful: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” I don’t know what their life is like, nor can I ever truly know; so it’s best if I stop trying to guess why a dude did or did not do something, and just accept the moment and move on.
  2. I need to calm the hell down with myself. Knock it off with the arbitrary timelines and expectations. Stop berating myself for “not knowing how to flirt” (I totally know how to flirt, by the way- it’s just unique to me, is all), and “being too opinionated and strong”. Just calm the hell down, Ballard. Flirt if it’s an option and you want to, and feel free to be more serious and open if it’s an option and you want to. Which leads to…
  3. Being more powerful in my choices. This one is a doozy, that I just barely realized I have been struggling with. On the exterior, I seem like the type of person who makes her choice, and that’s that. And, technically, I am. But inside, in the brain and hearty space, there is a constant struggle and comparison act going on. “Did I do the right thing?”, “Because this happened right now, will it happen forevermore?” , “That person did the same thing and got different results; does that mean they are more worthwhile than I am?” etc., etc., and so on. Focusing more on the values supporting my choice, means I will be fundamentally more ok with the fact that when I make my hilarious club soda joke to the insanely attractive lumbersexual bartender at Free House Pub, and he thinks I literally mean I could drink him out of club soda, so he assures me that they have plenty of cases in the back, thereby causing my playful, “flirtatious” banter to come off as more of an economic inquisition- I’LL BE A-OK WITH THAT! Because at least I’ll know I was flirting, and that’s all that really matters.
got any AWESOME flirting stories of your own? Feel free to share in the comments!