Thursday, September 25, 2014

#OMG #AreYouWearingABra?!?

They say everything happens for a reason.

Who exactly, is they? Is there like, a group who meets somewhere and creates these phrases? If so, I think that may be my dream job. Who from they can make that happen for me?

Regardless, whoever they is, they say everything happens for a reason. And I have never really bought into that; I mean, how does one trust that life plays out as it is intended to, no matter what I do in the meantime? I would like to believe that my choices and my decisions are what map the course of my life, not that there is some force of nature or some kind of fate directing me down a distinct path towards a specific finish. There are times when things are going really shitty, where it becomes a little easier to try and recite an everything happens for a reason mantra, but in reality, I just don't believe that to be true - everything happens the way it does, because of the way I make it happen.

At this time last year, the building I worked at was selling, and I was unsure of where I would be living or working. I was struggling financially, trying to take care of myself, and was unwilling to let anyone help me with anything; I needed to be one hundred percent in control of my life. I was in a mindset that accepting help or support from someone else - even my friends - meant I was weak, needy, and dependent. My mind was still recovering from three years of emotional turmoil and abuse, and I wasn't ready to let anyone in who could potentially cause me any pain or distress.

I should mention I was also just a few months from realizing how unhealthy this all was and finding an amazing therapist.

Between October and January of last year, I dealt with a property sale and the stress that comes from that as a property manager. I moved out of my apartment, I commuted three hours a day for two months, then moved into a new apartment and got a new property without the commute. I  had a flood in the new apartment, I lived on my best friend's couch, and then finally moved into another new apartment. I was in no place emotionally to not be mentally prepared to ask for help; I fucking needed help. I needed someone to take care of Juno, people to help me move four times, people to feed me dinner when traffic was so bad I couldn't leave the West side. I needed a place to crash, needed help with my car, with my apartment, with several rounds of dealing with moving companies. There was no getting around it. I needed help - a lot of it - all at once. Last winter was my shock therapy.

See how last winter would have made it kind of easy to shrug my shoulders and give in to the mantra?

But I didn't. Because things were happening due to my choices, my circumstance, not because of any it is what it is happenstance. These phrases that they (again, who the hell are they?!) create, are really more of a means of eliminating your own responsibility for your life. Had I decided to accept it for being whatever it was, that life was just happening to me for some mysterious Reason, I would not have had to scrape my way out of the wet paper bag to get back on my feet and find my footing; I would have just been able to float on.

At some point during my life madness, my girlfriend shared this blog I had written (my first real post, my first rant), about the reasons I hated dogs but loved cats, with one of her friends, because he had ironically posted on Facebook the same day, about how much he preferred cats to dogs. Clearly a mutual hatred of something living, fluffy, and cute is a reason for two people to meet, so it was decided that he and I needed to be introduced in real life. So we met. And I'd be lying if I said there wasn't an immediate connection - I mean, other than the dog thing. When we met, though, he was dating someone, and I was clearly having a mental meltdown, so there were no romantic sparks, no desire to immediately cash out our bar tab and get naked in the backseat of my car (I mean, at least not that either of us admitted to). The connection we had, while it didn't lead to a drunk hookup, did lead us to some great conversation - the kind of conversation you have with someone you've known a long time. We talked about books, about relationships, about our pasts, presents, and futures, and about feelings. And for a long time, we did a lot of talking over the internet, and a lot of not hanging out in real life. Somehow, though, through hours of typed conversation, we became friends. Good friends. And then great friends.


When I am uncomfortable with the way a conversation is going, I hide behind a hash tag. I know, nobody knows what that means. Because it's weird. When my heart is on my sleeve and it gets to be too much, I can say what I need to say much more confidently if I use a hash tag; that little pound sign makes it feel less serious, lighter, less overwhelming.

Earlier this week, I was talking to this same fella about feelings, about the way I feel and about the way he feels. And I hash tagged a statement, and got called out. Stop hiding behind the hash tags, V

#Shit. #Youcaughtme. #Youcantellmyemotionsarerealandnowyouarecallingmeoutonit. #Damnyou!

The conversation got real from there. And at some point I realized that through this real talk, I didn't have to hash tag anything. Here I was, admitting my feelings for someone, hearing his feelings for me, and I wasn't scared at all.

They say everything happens for a reason. But I call bull shit on that. Things happen because you want them to, because you work hard for them, because you do everything else in your life the right way to allow things to line up the way you want them to. After last winter, when my life flipped upside down, I worked hard to level things out, I went out of my way to make time to a therapy appointment every week, no matter what. I dealt with issues with my family, with my friends, with my job, and with myself. I learned to go after what I want. I practiced admitting and talking about my feelings. None of that was circumstance; it was all because I made choices and set goals.


#Nomorehidingbehindthehashtags. #Readyforsomethingreal. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I Want to Punch You in the Crotch

People seriously say the stupidest shit to each other.

I have written before - more than once - about all of the reasons you should never ask a single, childless woman, when she is going to settle down and start a family. It's unhealthy and inappropriate, and trust me when I say, she leaves the conversation wanting nothing more than to punch you in the crotch. I know because I am this single, childless woman, and whenever someone asks me when I intend to land a man, shoot a baby out of my vagina, and get my hypothetical shit in order, I want to punch them. Right in the crotch.

But what I have never explored before, is the things people say to the single, childless woman's mother, about when she's going to "convince" her daughter to start a family.

Let me just lay it out there for those of you who don't know me. My mother does not convince me of anything. She does not tell me what to do, nor has she attempted to in the last 15 years. I am an adult. Recently one of my ex-aunts suggested that my mother "make" me remove a blog post that she'd found offensive. My mom's response was along the lines of, what the fuck am I supposed to do, ground my thirty-year-old daughter from her laptop?! While I respect my mom's thoughts and opinions and (usually) allow her to give me some life input, she certainly does not convince me to do things - and no one is going to convince me to change my entire life plan and ruin my lady parts with a kid coming out of it.

Anyway, so I am at that age where it seems all of the women I know are having babies. Many of them actually are having their second babies. Which means my mom is at the age where all of the women she knows are becoming grandmothers. And while I am getting harassed by my peers about making babies, my mom is also getting harassed by her peers about her kids making babies. Because both my brother and I have chosen to enjoy our adulthood in other ways. You know, by selfishly spending all of our hard-earned money on ourselves and living our lives on our own schedules with no one else to worry about.

One of my girlfriends is in a similar life situation that I am - she is in a relationship, but she's not married and she doesn't have kids. She's currently planning a trip to Bolivia instead of waiting for her boyfriend to propose to her, and just like I post photos online of my cat, she posts photos of her pet rabbits. We've been friends since 4th grade, so our mothers are friends as well. My mom and her mom were recently having a conversation at a work function, and my mom's friend said "isn't it funny how all the other girls are posting photos of their houses and their babies...and our daughters are posting pictures of their pets??" And my mom just laughed. Yep, that's our girls...traveling, working, dating, and posting photos of cats & bunnies on the internet. Because we are awesome. And because fur babies are a sufficient amount of responsibility for us right now.

Fortunately for me - and also for my girlfriend - our moms are aware of appropriate boundaries and the respect their daughters deserve regarding our life choices. Would our mothers like for us to settle down, start a family, buy a home, and make some babies? Maybe. I really don't know, because my mother respects me and the choices I have made, and does not ever pry about when I intend to do such things. She understands that my decisions about children are my own business, and that her thoughts and opinions are not welcome or up for discussion.

Just so we are all clear: your mother cannot force you to have a child for her.

Apparently some people are not aware of that.

There are lines that people need to seriously stop crossing. This is one of them. At no point ever, is it appropriate to guilt or coerce your child into making you some grandbabies. At no point ever, is it appropriate to guilt your child into getting married, into buying a home, into really doing anything outside of what they want to be doing. And in addition, if you are at the age where you may be a grandparent, it is no appropriate to guilt your friends into trying to guilt their children into making you some grandbabies.

The big argument for people my mom's age wanting to make my mom force me to get pregnant, is that it is "so much better to be a grandma than a mom." Because as a grandma, you're not responsible for raising a happy, healthy, well-adjusted human, but rather just get to have all the fun parts of a child. Just so you know, all of you grandma-aged people who keep talking shit to my mom, you can also do that with a dog or a cat, or your husband, or a niece or nephew, or *mind blown* a child with a shitty family who needs some extra love and attention. My mom works in a daycare. I have, like, 21 cousins with young children. My mother has no shortage of small humans to love on when she gets needy. There are thousands of children out there who have benefited from my mother's amazing ability to connect with children; I don't need to pop one out for her to spoil rotten and ruin. And she knows that.

The other big argument against respecting your adult child's decision not to reproduce, is that you are somehow missing out on some huge important life milestone by not watching your kid writhe in pain in a hospital bed as she produces a tiny person "for you." Umm. If you want a tiny person, make yourself one. Don't rely on someone else - your child or otherwise - to make it for you. Oh, you don't want to have a baby? They're hard? You're too old for the responsibility? You want to enjoy your child-free life and do what you wanna do? US TOO!

What it comes down to - and I have spoken to this point repeatedly - is that people need to be about one thousand percent more respectful of personal boundaries involving reproduction and life choices. Just like my peers don't know all of the reasons I choose to stay childless, my mother's peers don't know all of those reasons either. What if I desperately wanted a baby and was physically unable to make one? What if my mom and I were at each other's throats over the fact that she wanted me to have a baby, and by bringing it up to her, you were making it worse? What if I had just chose to have an abortion or had just suffered a miscarriage? There is no shortage of reasons it is absolutely not even remotely a tiny bit okay to ask a woman why she is not making babies; it just isn't something you should be asking.

It's very simple: What I do with my vagina is no one's business but my own. If I choose to keep it in one piece, free of the dangers of vaginal delivery of something as large as a human child, that is my right as a woman. If I choose to have a baby later in my life, that's my business and no one else's. Hell, if I choose to line it with crystals, that's on me. Mind your own business about my body and what I do with it. And leave my mom alone too; she doesn't get to call and beg me to make her a baby, so you don't get to call her and make her feel bad about it either.

Call your own daughter and yell at her for being single, childless, and happy.

And then offer to pay her therapy bill while you have her on the phone.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Different Kind of Drunk

We all have that friend who gets mean when he drinks whiskey. Or know that girl who gets horny when she drinks tequila. Most of us know someone (or are someone) who gets emotional over wine and quick-drunk over champagne. And everyone knows at least one person who falls drunk in love overnight, more often than we can keep tabs on. There are different drunks for different drinks, and like most people, my drunk for the night depends on my beverage of choice.

Beer. A good, cold beer is my usual go-to. I don't get too drunk when I drink beer; if I'm at a sporting event, watching movies, or trying to stay out late, I go for beer because I can maintain a buzz without getting hammered and needing to check out too early. I like beer better in the summer than in the winter, and I always choose beer at outdoor events. Beer drunk is mellow, beer drunk is chill and relaxed. Beer drunk can carry me through several days of camping, a beach weekend, or an all-nighter. Like an old pair of sweat pants, beer drunk is just comfy.

Vodka. Vodka-cranberry is my first date drink. When I'm somewhere classy, like an upscale bar or a wedding, I like to get drunk on vodka. Vodka likes to dance. It likes to flirt and catch the bride's bouquet, and vodka keeps it a little classy. I can get drunk too fast with vodka, but vodka isn't usually sloppy - vodka usually just kicks my ass a little early and takes me home to bed by midnight. Vodka often leads me to the mornings where I find my earrings in the freezer or my shoes in a bathroom cabinet; what happens between me and vodka once I'm home, stays between me and vodka (and sometimes even I don't know about it).

Tequila. I am your token, tequila-makes-her-horny, tequila drinker. I get sloppy if I drink too much tequila, and tequila makes me forget large portions of a night out. Tequila makes me brave and tough, makes me defensive, makes me expressive, and tequila makes me hot. Margaritas make me want to make out, and shots of tequila make me black out. It's a love-hate relationship, mine with tequila. I tend to avoid tequila most days, since I do need to function in reality, but for vacations and bachelorette parties, tequila and I have a super-fun time together.

Champagne. My favorite. Champagne, sweet champagne. Champagne makes me bubbly. Giggly drunk, with a mad hangover every time. I feel like I'm at a fancy party whenever I drink champagne - even when I am chugging it from a bottle. Probably because the bottle is fancy.

Wine. I never knew I liked wine, until I started drinking wine. Wine drunk is so much more grown up than other drunks. I never feel a wine drunk coming until it's too late; wine takes me from sober to drunk in a quick minute. Wine drunk is honest and sappy, emotional and romantic. Wine drunk lets me always tell the truth, but especially the truth about my feelings. Wine also gives me a raging headache, whether I have one glass or one bottle. But it's worth it for all the happy sap I get from wine.

Love. Lovedrunk is hard to explain because lovedrunk makes you crazy. Lovedrunk is like beer mixed with wine mixed with champagne mixed with vodka, with a shot of tequila on the side. Being drunk on love is the same as being drunk - out of control, emotional, crazy, and yea, a little horny. Lovedrunk catches you off guard, when you're not ready for it, kinda like a vodka drunk - you're out, trying to just have a couple drinks, when BAM, love and vodka catch right up and knock you on your ass. When you're drunk on love, you do things like find your earrings in the freezer or your underwear under the couch, much like the vodka drunk. Lovedrunk also makes you an emotional, sappy hot mess, much line a good wine drunk. When you're drunk on love, you start getting gushy, telling people about your feelings, and then often wake up with a headache - just like wine drunk. But sometimes lovedrunk makes you feel a little fancy, like champagne. But don't forget the tequila - lovedrunk kicks you in the ass like a tequila drunk. Lovedrunk makes you crazy, hot, and horny, the same way tequila does, and it catches up to you fast if you let it.

There are different drunks for different drinks, and just like with booze, you have to be careful with love. It's easy to find yourself out of control, seeing the world through rose-colored beer goggles. Lovedrunk will let you get away from yourself, away from reality. It's important to remember to be safe - just like you don't drive when you're drunk, there are things you shouldn't do when you're lovedrunk either. You shouldn't act too crazy or get too out of control, you shouldn't get too creepster-status honest or send too many texts, and you certainly shouldn't make important decisions.

Falling in love is eerily similar to being wasted. Get your shit together, people.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Hope I Make You Anything But Happy

Let's play a game really quick...

What's the opposite of big?
What's the opposite of right?
(or left, if you think like I do).
What's the opposite of tall?
What's the opposite of happy?


Little is literally the absence of big-ness. Wrong is literally the absence of right-ness (or left-ness). And Short is literally the absence of tall-ness. However, the absence of happiness is not always sadness. So the opposite of happy, really, is unhappy - or the literal absence of happy. Unhappy is not synonymous with sad. Sometimes unhappy means angry, hurt, or just plain morose; hell it also just means, not feeling happy.

This fella and I played this game a couple days ago, in his efforts to express to me why he finds it annoying when people talk about how happy they feel so often. Because when you think about it, just because you're not sad, does not mean you're happy. And he made a valid point: are we really all walking around feeling happiness as often as we claim to me?

The writer in me (and also the emotional basket case), says no way. We are just lazy with our emotions, so we chunk our feelings together into happy, sad, and mad. What are we, three years old? We are lazy with how we feel; we don't stop and think about the actual emotion we're feeling, we just say we're happy/sad/mad and move on with it.

But, think about all of the times that you say I'm happy. What are you really feeling? Are you excited? Amorous? Enamored? Joyous? Are you proud? Are you mesmerized?

What exactly is happy, outside of the fact that happy is not sad? When I wake up next to someone after an awesome night together, I frequently think, I'm so happy right now. But what is it I am really feeling? Not plain old happy, that's for sure. I'm really feeling insatiable, sometimes excited, maybe a little ecstatic. Those words are so much more than happy, so much more energized. Those words describe an actual, real feeling. Those action and emotion packed words speak volumes to what I actually feel in that moment where I open my eyes and he's there, wrapped around me. You can write a story with those words. You can't write a story with I'm happy. At least not one anyone wants to read.

I have a tendency to hide from my own emotions. This is something I focus on, something I pay attention to, because expressing my emotions is something I believe is important in making me a better person with better relationships. I have finally moved beyond using I'm fine as a means of expressing that I'm upset; this was a truly irritating habit that I have finally kicked. It took years. When I am upset with someone, I am now able to say that, and can now express the hurt, anger, jealousy (my least favorite emotion ever) fairly well. I continue to focus on what my negative emotion really is in the moment, which has significantly reduced the amount of MAD I've felt in the past year. Because I know now that just because I want to yell, just because someone upset me, does not always mean I'm mad. Chances are, I am offended, wounded, or jealous.

But the same effort needs to be placed on my positive emotions as well. I can't always just say I'm happy. I'm not always just happy. And my true emotions should be the ones I am working to express. Think about it this way - how much more impact would you feel, if someone told you that you made them feel elated, as opposed to that you made them happy? Maybe it's the writing major in me, but the expressive words mean so much more. I would so much rather feel - and express - joy, thrill, or energy, than just basic happiness.

Unlike my friend, I would not go as far as to say happiness does not exist; I believe there are moments in which I do feel happy. But I do grasp his logic, in that I also cannot explain what it means to be happy. I can explain a feeling of calm, serenity, pleasure, excitement...but happy? What's that even mean? When you feel something that you can't describe, you probably need to do a little digging. Think about it. What are you really feeling? What emotion is actually running through your veins? And then express that. Feel it, show it, share it - be empowered by your emotions, don't hide behind them.

It just makes you a little more real, and a little more desirable, and a little more interesting, when you can truly express yourself.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Living in a Love Stain

When my ex and I broke up in 2011, he was expecting me to put up a fight for which of us was going to have to move out, and which one of us would stay in the house we owned together. I remember thinking at the time, are you out of your fucking mind, I would never stay in a house I shared with your dumb ass, and I also remember other people thinking it was really bizarre that I just wanted to wipe my hands of it, get my name off of the mortgage, and walk away. I didn't ask for any money, didn't try to make him move or sell, I just wanted to be done with it. But I could never really find the right way to explain it to anyone else either. I wanted to be done, gone, out. That was all.

My best friend and her boyfriend broke up a couple weeks ago, after living together for quite some time. He stayed in their place, and she moved. And it was the same thing - who wants to live somewhere that you used to share with someone else? At least for me, it has nothing to do with who can or cannot afford the rent, or with who owns what, or with who's life would be the most inconvenienced by having to move; for me, it's a I wanna get the fuck out of here feeling. I don't want to sleep in a bedroom I shared with someone I am no longer sharing a home with. I don't want to cook in the same kitchen where we used to eat together, or shower in the same bathroom we used to brush our teeth in together before bed. I guess for me, part of a break up is a fresh start. A chance to make a new apartment into a home of my own, to shop for girly decor and to hang my flowery paintings wherever I want. Part of breaking up, is saying goodbye to every part of that relationship, including the place we lived together. Continuing to live somewhere after a break up - and I imagine especially after a bad one - is like trying to fall asleep night after night in a love stain; an awkward and uncomfortable mess that makes you feel just a little bit gross.

Of course, there are times that it can't simply be a clean getaway. Maybe you're the only one on the lease, maybe she just lived there briefly and it's actually your apartment. Maybe you manage an apartment complex and you have to continue to receive that rent discount in order to continue to live comfortably. Moving out and away is not always a feasible option. And in those circumstances, there will be things that remind you of your break up, things in your house that make you think, reminisce, possibly regret a little. For one of my closest friends, who also broke up with someone not too long ago, that reminder was a partially painted accent wall. There is something about staring at something every day, something about it being the last thing you see on your way to bed at night, that has got to make you a little bit crazy. I painted a purple accent wall in my bathroom when the ex and I were living together, and I saw something on Facebook through a mutual friend just this year that said he had finally painted over it and was so glad to be done looking at it. Well yea, of course you don't want to look at a reminder of me - you never would have picked color crayon purple, only I would have.

My friend finally made the time to paint over his love stain last night. With a bottle of wine and a paintbrush (followed by some drunk chat and a shirtless selfie), he painted the wall the right way. It no longer looks like a child should be standing in front of it with a pointer finger going RED RUM, RED RUM; it looks like a well-done, freshly painted accent wall. It now looks like a room he'll want to be in, a room he'll gladly retreat to when his roommates get a little crazy in the living room, a room he'll be able to close his eyes in and not just be staring at regret all night long.

There are always emotional connections that stay with you a while after a breakup, whether the breakup was amicable or terrible. We refer to these emotional connections as baggage. However, when you are living in an apartment that you used to share with someone you were dating, baggage can be just as easily a visual connection. Painting over a love stain is a means of moving on, a way of eliminating a visual connecting, a way of reclaiming your home as your own after someone else leaves it. When I got my first apartment after my break up, I did everything I could to make it really soft and feminine, because my ex never let me do anything colorful or bright. When my best friend moved into her apartment last week, she was sure to buy new sheets and decorate in a way that looked nothing like her previous apartment. And when my friend was ready, he painted away part of what he shared with his ex. Those are the things you do when you're done, when you're healed, when you're ready. It's how you let it go and move on.

Baggage is a bitch, but the good news is, love stains aren't permanent.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When Spooning Leads to Forking

Let it be known: I am a snuggler.

I love to cuddle. I like to hold, and I like to be held. I sleep close, and I prefer to share one couch cushion when watching movies. It doesn't matter if I'm hot or cold, I prefer to be under the covers, legs entwined in someone else's. I crave physical closeness, with people I am dating, and really with my friends as well. I like to hug and to kiss, to have my back rubbed and to scratch shoulders. It has only been recently that I've learned the power of being the big spoon. I'm little; I don't spoon, I get spooned. Or at least I didn't before. Now I know that sometimes, everybody just needs to be held. And that being the big spoon feels just as good as being the little spoon. Snuggling is snuggling, and it feels good either way.

One of my girlfriends just recently started selling Pure Romance - for those of you who don't know, Pure Romance is a line of amazing body products and bedroom goodies - think Tupperware parties for the more sex-crazed woman. In helping get her business off the ground, I have hosted and attended several of these parties in the last couple months, and am enjoying the education, the girl time, and the products I take home - specifically the lotions and potions chalked full of pheromones.

Time out. You don't know what pheromones are? Pheromones are the natural body chemical that attracts someone to someone else, on an instinctive level. Your body naturally releases them and will draw people to you, but you can also purchase them in bottled form, to speed up the process. Like a bee to honey.

Anyway, I'm obsessed with products containing pheromones, not just because they help make me more attractive to other people, but also because they boost my positive energy as well. I wear a perfume that contains pheromones, as well as a body spray, and at the last party I attended I purchased some sheet spray - it essentially turns your bed into magic. So I am basically a walking, talking, happy little pheromone. I have a more positive aura about me, I smell good, and on a raw level, I am more attractive to those people that nature thinks should want to bone me. And I have a magic bed.

People want to argue that it's all in your head, but I tell you, it's science. No hoax, no gimmick, this is real, pure, sex attractant in a bottle. A little dab on the wrists, coupled with a smile (the kinda smile that lights up your whole face), and a walk to your car is all it takes for that handsome fella to decide that sharing a bed with you is more important than the laundry he so desperately needed to be doing, what with his wearing laundry-day jeans and all. And sharing a bed that has been turned to magic, will in fact, make for an amazing night, complete with the snuggle you just can't get away from; the kind that keeps you held close all night, even though your room is one thousand degrees and you almost desperately have to use the bathroom, the kind that lets you wiggle closer, despite your bad breath or his snoring.

Pheromones say, you're welcome little honey bee.

While walking to my truck last night after dinner, drinks, and board games with friends, the same handsome fella who taught me the nature of being the big spoon, explained to me that he thinks pheromones are a woman's equivalent to a roofy. Say what? I about died. Pheromones, said this fella, are a woman's way of making a man subconsciously want to fuck her. Okay so maybe not exactly like roofies, but you can see where he's going with the connection. He argued that wearing something hopped up with pheromones is the same as spiking someone's cocktail, because it lowers their inhibitions and messes with their head, getting them all riled up and wanting to bone. I of course, argued that a roofy is intended to lower a woman's inhibitions, but that a date rape drug does not make a woman want to have sex, rather just eliminates her ability to get away. But one can apparently argue that a man may not actually want to have sex with a woman either, but that her pheromones eliminate his conscious ability to say no. Because the pheromones apparently can take over your whole brain.

I think one of the most attractive qualities in a man, is how much he can make me laugh. This one makes me laugh...apparently being accused of smell-good date rape, can be funny. And leaving our friend's apartment last night, walking down the street in the dark, me and this handsome fella laughed together all the way to my truck, where he kissed me - me and all my happy little pheromones - because he wanted to, not because he was roofied. No matter what argument he may make for being subversively raped by me and my pheromone perfume, the truth is, he kisses me because he thinks my mind is sexy, because I smile with my whole face, because I fall for vulgar one-liners, and because of the inappropriate jokes I make about fake babies when we're alone. Pheromones or not, he likes me #justalittlebit.

It may have been roofies that got him all the way from Portland to Vancouver on a work night though.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When Harry Met Sally...and Changed Her Whole Life

For those of you who have never seen it, When Harry Met Sally is a movie that addresses the dynamic between men and women, and establishes that we can, in fact, not ever be friends with the opposite sex.

Billy Crystal explains to Meg Ryan in the beginning of the movie, "what I'm saying is - and this is not a come on in any way, shape, or form - is that men and women can't be friends, because the sex part always gets in the way." He goes on to explain to her that the men she thinks she is friends with, actually do want to have sex with her. And truth be told, that she probably wants to have sex with them too. While Meg Ryan argues that he is wrong, the two of them do, of course, end up falling in love with each other before the conclusion of the movie - sorry to ruin it for you, if you didn't see that coming.

Why do Harry and Sally end up falling in love with each other? Well, of course in part because it was a fictional movie, and that's what the audience wants. But also because the truth is, Billy Crystal is right; men and women (generally) can't be friends. Because in a friendship involving one man and one woman, at least one of those two people, is (usually) hiding how they really feel. And more often than not, both of those two people, would prefer to be having sex than being just friends.

I go back and forth, fairly often, on whether I agree or not with the basis of the movie. I mean, I'd like to believe that I don't secretly wish I was sleeping with all of my male friends. And I don't imagine that every one of them is harboring secret lust for me and just not mentioning it. But then when I really think about it...are these guys for whom I do not have feelings really my friends? Not really. They're my friends' boyfriends, so I hang out with them...but they're not really my friends. Initially I felt like I could make this long punch list of my guy friends, none of whom I have romantic feelings for...but then I started to think about it. These aren't my friends. These are guys I know, because they date my girlfriends, or because they're family friends, or something along those lines. Those guys don't count, because we're really not friends so much as casual acquaintances.

My real, true, honest to goodness, friends who are guys? Either I want to sleep with them, or they want to sleep with me, according to Billy Crystal. And when I really think about that (much shorter) list of guys, Billy Crystal is probably right. These are guys I am - or have been - attracted to, guys who get jealous or stop talking to me when I am in a relationship, guys I stop talking to when they are in a relationship, and guys I get jealous over. Jealousy really should be a key factor here - if I am jealous of someone else's girlfriend, it's because *duh* I want to be his girlfriend.

Last October, I wrote this blog about jealousy, and the fact that despite being otherwise pretty well put together, I had some jealous tendencies. I explained that I was in therapy and focusing on my own confidence and believed that I would eventually get over the hump, that I was working to eliminate those feelings of jealous insecurities.

And a year later, I am still the same jealous brat I was 12 months ago.

The difference is, I no longer believe that jealousy is directly related to a lack of confidence. I have spent the past year focused solely on myself, what I want, who I need in my life and who I don't, and have focused on building my own self confidence after it was so beat (for lack of a better word) out of me for three years. But, I still get jealous. And I hate feeling jealous. Feeling jealous makes me feel like I am a little bit crazy, and I hate feeling crazy. Feeling jealous also makes me feel insecure, and I hate feeling insecure. But feeling jealous also makes me feel out of control of my own emotion, and more than anything else I hate feeling out of control. And really, jealousy is just such an awkward feeling to have, and even more awkward to discuss with the people you are jealous of, or jealous over.

Of course, if you are jealous over a guy, there's your big clue - you're jealous because you don't want to be "just friends" with him, but rather want to sleep with him, or date him, or something in between. But something in between is certainly not platonic!

So truth be told, I think Billy Crystal was pretty spot on in his speech about sex getting in the way of any man and woman being strictly friends. It rarely happens. It even more rarely works. Because when it comes down to it, attraction, hormones, and sex will always trump platonic feelings, and that will complicate the relationship, and either you'll get together and fall in love like they always do in the movies, or you won't. But you probably won't be friends forever either.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What's Your Trigger?

I read an article yesterday about NFL player Ray Rice, and the fact that he recently punched his fiance in an elevator, totally knocking her out. Apparently the video of the incident was just released, so it's all over the news and Facebook today. I read a couple of articles in the morning, and watched a clipped version of the video, but it wasn't until later in the evening that I watched the full video, which was recorded from a security camera in the elevator.

There has clearly been a lot of opinion and speculation on the issue in the past 48 hours, as the Ravens fired Rice yesterday afternoon following the release of the footage. And initially, my thoughts were that, it's not up to someone's boss to terminate their employment due to domestic violence. But in reading more, and talking about it more, I have to say I am swaying the other direction at this point, as part of being a public figure is following a morals clause, which Rice did violate. And truth be told, the more I read and the more I listened to very valid points my friends were making, the more I realized I was probably mostly wrong.

BUT, this blog post is not intended to continue a debate about Ray Rice and the fact that he hit his then-fiance-now-wife hard enough to turn her into a limp rag doll on the floor of an elevator. This news article is simply a catalyst; this post is about triggers. Because while I was watching this incredibly disturbing video, as Rice picked his fiance up by her hair, I was instantly aware of my own trigger.

Everybody has emotional triggers. Whether or not we've experienced trauma, there will always be something leftover from a past relationship, a failure at something, a negative situation in the past, which will trigger an emotional response. Triggers are not to be confused with baggage. Baggage is something that you take with you from one relationship to the next, but that with the passing of enough time, or with meeting the right person, can be set down and unpacked, metaphorically speaking. Baggage is something you can rid yourself of, while triggers tend to become a permanent fixture.

My trigger, is hair pulling. In a prior relationship, my then-boyfriend would pull my hair to get me to stop and listen. I don't know how many of you reading this have had your hair pulled - and I am talking out of anger, not in a fun sexy manner - but it is the best way to bring a woman to her knees. Pulling someone's hair is one the most painful thing you can do to someone, especially if you know how to do it right. Not at the ends, but up by the scalp, around where she'd place a high ponytail, with your fingers intertwined in big chunks of hair. This will, every time, fucking hurt. And stop her in her tracks.

When I tried to get away from fights I didn't feel like having by walking away or running down the hall, he would grab my hair and pin it to the wall - or sometimes to the bed, and occasionally to a door - with his fist, then continue to scream in my face, and I couldn't do anything. When someone has you by the hair, you are literally stuck there, because it hurts so bad. And when you pull a woman's hair, in addition to the physical pain, we can't get away.

Cue the trigger.

I need to be able to get away from you; I don't like physical barriers, being held down, or having someone's hands in my hair...even in a romantically heated moment. It gives me anxiety and all of my passion is replaced with stress. And I have finally learned (thank you, therapist) that I do not need to apologize for this trigger. I'm not sorry about it, it isn't my fault. Someone else put that on me through physical violence in the privacy of our home, and in its place is now a trigger. While I am not at fault for my triggers, though, I am aware of them and open about them, and most importantly I communicate them to my current relationships.

It is important to your new and future relationships, as well as to your own well-being, that you can readily identify what your triggers are. It is also imperative that you be able to confront them, face them, and work through them, or they will continue to get in your way forever. It's okay that they're there, but in order to have a successful, healthy new relationship, you need to be able to share them openly - how unfair would it be to a guy, thinking we were just having fun, to pull my hair and have me radically freak out and totally ruin the moment? Not fair, and really not all that fun either.

I had this happen once last year. I was with a guy I was seeing at the time, and despite having said that I wasn't into being held down (probably weeks prior to this incident), he put one of his knees on my shoulder (sorry mom) while we were in his bedroom. He was much bigger and much heavier than me, and, enter trigger. I said, "get you knee off of me," and he didn't. What happened next? I lost my shit in a way that ruined any possibility of recovery for the night. There was yelling. There was shoving. There were tears. And mind you, this is someone I have known a long time, someone I have been great friends with for years, someone I have always trusted. But this is also someone who did not respect the pretty firm boundary I had in place when we first slept together. I need to be able to get away. It's an emotional response that I cannot eliminate, and you need to respect it.

The funny thing is, how much it changes when you encounter someone you trust. I was with someone else, much more recently, and we'd had a similar conversation about things that happened to me in the past, and the boundaries that I have because of it. And ironically, as things progressed with him, there was a pretty wild evening in which he grabbed my hair at the nape of my neck. I did not freak out or start crying; I did tense up and was instantly aware of almost nothing other than the feel of his fingers on my skin, but I was able to look him in the eye and still feel safe. Was I triggered by the initial action? Yes, absolutely. Could it have ended badly? Yep, of course. But I learned something that night about the difference between trusting that someone cares about you, and really believing that they would never hurt you. I have in no means let go of this emotional reaction to being held down or having my hair pulled; I am aware that it still scares me. But with someone who I have continued to trust, who has continued to value and respect me, I am able to consciously move past my initial run-and-hide-under-the-bed reaction.

Emotional triggers don't go away. You learn to live with them. You learn to have conversations and communicate them. You learn to cope with them. But most importantly, you learn to look for someone who understands and respects them, and who understands and respects you in spite of them. Take the time to listen to yourself, think about the ways you've been hurt or the ways you've been negatively impacted by something in the past, and be aware of those triggers. You'll be a much better person for it. A better person, with better, healthier, happier relationships.

And you may even eventually be able to have a passionate night of sex that does not end in tears.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Yes, My Vagina is Wet. No, You May Not Fuck Me

This is not my first, nor will it be my last, blog post about the way women are viewed, disrespected, and poorly treated in our society. I have written posts about the ways schools use dress codes as a means of blaming teenage girls for the natural changes taking place in their bodies and the hormones running rampant among the teenage boys in their classes. I have written about the ways that female sports are seen as less important, taking away their gym time and their chances at scholarships. I have written about the way society groups everything into pink or blue, and the damage it causes little girls to be told over and over that they are nothing but a pretty little princess.

And now, after reading some disturbing articles in this week's news, here I am - once again - writing about how hard women really do have it, in an America that slut shames, places blame, and does not protect its women.

Disturbing article read in this week's news: A female college student gets raped in her dorm room and there are no consequences to the male student from the school. The female student, in an effort to publicly put on blast the shame she carries around knowing that her perpetrator is still on campus, carries her twin mattress around school with her all day every day. This is happening, on a college campus in America, as I type this blog.

This story (and the thread of comments on social media, blaming the whole ordeal on her) made me sick.

No, it made me want to arrive on this campus, mattress in tow, and walk to classes with this chick so she's not alone in her crusade. How is it possible that in 2014 we are still even remotely suggesting that rape, in any form, falls on the fault of the victim?! Whether this young woman was drunk or high or out at night or dressed provocatively, did not give any young man any right to her body, did not give him any right to follow her home and attack her. This is an issue that seems to be all over social media forums recently, and I can't even grasp why it is a debatable question: if you put your dick in someone's vagina who did not ask you to do so, you are fully in the wrong.

I was - unfortunately - part of a conversation last Thanksgiving with a group of guys after dinner. We had been drinking, we'd had a huge meal, and they were yelling about the football game. Somehow the conversation shifted to the subject of rape (I think there was something in the news at that time as well, that brought it up). One of the guys at the table said, and I quote "if a chick is wet enough that you can even get it in, it's not rape...that means she's gotta be into it at least a little."


I'll assume you all just fell out of your chair, so I'll wait to go on.

Yes. A guy said this to me. And no, not a punk brainless teenager. A man, my age, who by the way I had never met before, looked me in the eye and argued with me that it was not a rape against a woman, if her vagina physically allowed a man's dick to enter it. Fucking what the fuck did you just say?! And don't make fucking excuses for him as you're reading this either, or you are contributing to the entire problem and should be ashamed of yourself. No he was not joking. Even if he was, that is not an okay joke to make to a woman you are in an apartment with, whom you have never met. And like I said, he wasn't joking.

Let's talk science for a second. Or anatomy, or whatever. It is, in fact, possible that a vagina might be a little bit wet at any given moment, for any given reason. A woman's vagina, despite what you read in the Science of Pornography, does not turn from a dry, dusty wasteland to a sopping puddle of pleasure just when she's about to have sex (and I mean consensual here). There is no standing room temperature of the vagina, nor is there any rhyme or reason behind how wet a vagina is throughout the day. And also, as many of us have learned from having (consensual) sex before we knew what the hell we were doing, a guy's penis can actually make it's way into a dry vagina, though it is certainly not a comfortable circumstance.

Scientifically speaking, it is in fact, physically possible for a woman to have sex that she does not want to be having in the slightest, with a man who is attacking her, even if her vagina is "wet enough to get it in." It worries me, for my entire generation and the lack of appropriate sex education, that you might actually believe otherwise.

Men like this guy are the reason that women are blamed for their own rapes, for their own attacks. They are the reason that when a woman is raped, the first questions she gets asked are, what was she wearing, and how drunk was she. They are reason that men are not expelled from school after they follow girls back to their bedrooms after parties. Men like this guy are the reason college girls are carrying their mattresses around campus.

When a man rapes a woman, it is one hundred percent his fault, and literally zero percent hers. It doesn't matter if she is drunk or dressed "like a whore," or whether she is out late at a party or a bar and walking to her car in the dark. The suggestion that a woman plays any role in her own rape is something that happens every day in America, something that reminds women every single day, that no one is looking out for us. It is something that reminds me that when I go out to a bar, I need to keep one hand on my beer at all times, and that I should choose what I wear based on whether I am meeting a friend or going alone to grab a bite. It is something that reminds me to wear shoes I can run in, to get my keys out of my bag before I go outside, to never get too drunk to drive - even at the neighborhood bar I could walk home from, because I can't be outside alone at night. Society's suggestion that should I be attacked, I can expect to be asked what I was wearing, is a reminder to check what I'm wearing for length and appropriateness, in case I have to answer that.

A woman should never be ashamed that she was raped. She. Was. Raped. Someone else raped her. Someone else attacked her. She did nothing wrong. Chances are, in fact, she did everything right. Most likely, she had her car keys in her hand before she walked outside. She probably wore something socially acceptable that made her feel like she looked pretty; she likely had her hair and makeup the way she felt made her look her best. She did nothing wrong. She watched her drink all night, never letting it out of her sight because she knew better. Most likely she was not alone, but with girlfriends, and maybe she got a little buzzed, but she never let herself become unaware of her surroundings. She did nothing wrong. And she was attacked. A man attacked her. A man followed her, or hit her, or drugged her, or in his own way, took her. And that is not her fault.

If you are raising a daughter in America, continue to teach her to be careful. Sadly, we need to be careful, no matter where we are. But also remember to teach her that should something horrible happen to her, that it did not happen because of her, but rather because of a man who chose to take what he wanted of her. She is not to blame. She is not a slut. She is not a whore. She is a woman who left the house and was violated. Don't let her feel shame or fault or guilt or remorse. Help her feel safe and secure and strong. Teach her to stand up for her girlfriends and to march with her mattress alongside her roommate should her roommate need the support. Make sure she has a voice that she is not afraid to use.

Even more importantly, if you are raising a son in America, teach him that he is not entitled or deserving of any part of any woman. Teach him that no means no, not maybe. Teach him that a short skirt or a low cut top does not give him right to a girl's body. He is not entitled. No woman is his. Don't let him grow up to be demanding or aggressive; help him instead to be aware and considerate. Teach him what it means to be a man, and what it means to be a woman. Make him aware that women are constantly afraid of what he and his friends may do to them at a party if they get to drunk, that they are constantly faced with the fear of walking home or to their cars in the dark. Make sure he understands the fear women feel, and teach him how to be a source of change.

That is the only way we will ever change this disgusting cycle of victim shaming in America. Do your homework. Read the hundreds of thousands of #yesallwomen tweets (if you don't know what that is, look it up). Read them and take them seriously. Read them with your sons and daughters. Educate yourself on what it means to be slut shamed, what it means to be a victim. Read, learn, and make a statement. And when no one listens, pick up your mattress, and carry it around town.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Shut Your Face

Warning: Word vomit coming.

I. Am. Mad.

At every person I encounter in my daily routine who is an entitled, self-proclaiming, egotistical shit bag.

The world does not revolve around any one person, so if you think the sun rose on your ass today, please do the rest of us a favor, and calm the fuck down. You are not special because you are old, or because you are young, or because you have kids, or because you don't. Your dog or cat or monkey or fish or bird does not give you any power, pull, or rights. The fact that you think you are better than me, does not make you actually better than me. The fact that you think you are better than other people, actually, makes you a fucking idiot.

I work in customer service. I deal with people all day every day, most of whom I (mostly) enjoy. I don't hate my job, most days. The people I encounter are probably 80% normal, functioning, polite members of society. Of that 80%, 40% are nice enough that I forget (most days) about the shit fucks who make up the other 20% of my day's encounters. When people come in to complain to me, half the time they warn me that they are about to vent, and then they say they don't need a solution, they just want to be heard. Super! Because I don't have a solution to "someone, but I don't know who, is not cleaning up after their dog." Carry on, vent away, thanks for the warning.

But the ones who are fucking entitled shit bags, are a constant reminder that people do actually suck.

When you go out to eat, in public, you need to fucking be nice to people. Say hello, say please and thank you. You know, act like a human. When you tour an apartment, make an appointment. And if you don't make one, don't get pissed that I prioritize the person standing behind you who DID make one. When you are driving, don't act like a fucking ass face or like somehow you are the only car on the road. At the grocery story, when the clerk  asks how your day is, GET OFF YOUR DAMN PHONE and answer them! This is not your show. You are not the only person on Earth. You are a rude, ignorant idiot, and you are in everyone else's way.

The next time you leave your house, stop and think for five seconds: how can I NOT be a shit bag today? Could I possibly let someone with one item go ahead of me in line? Could I possibly pay for someone's coffee order or hold the door open for them? If they are holding the door for me, could I stop texting long enough to thank them? Perhaps I could just go out into the universe with my phone on silent and see if my head explodes.

Trust me when I say that NO ONE in customer makes enough money to deal with your moronic ass. Stop being fucking rude. Look someone in the face. Be pleasant. Be accommodating. Say thank you. Hang up the phone. Stop being a dick face and then turning around to complain about shitty service...umm, bitch I could not even provide you with any service because you were up your own ass so far you didn't even see me talking to you!!

Customer service is hard. It's not hard because the job is hard. My job is actually quite simple. Answer the phone when it rings, show someone around, do some math, answer some emails, go home. If I never had another human sitting in front of me, the job I do would be super easy. And the same can be said for all forms of customer service. If a bartender didn't have a dumb fuck ass face sitting at the bar and could just pour drinks all night, he'd love his job. If a clerk could just scan groceries while you stood around the corner with a bag over your head, I bet that would be an alright living. It's people who make it hard. Because people are fucking dumb ass holes. YOU make my job hard. You make other people's jobs hard. In fact, some of you are such HUGE shit bags that you actually make my life hard, because I go home and think about you for the rest of the day, and then I blog about what a dick you are, and then my fingers start to hurt because I just typed so violently about what a dick you were to me.

So just be fucking nicer. Stop with the arrogant entitled ass hole thing. It annoys everyone. Stop being a life ruiner.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's All About the Bride(smaid)

I was asked to contribute a guest blog post to a friend's wedding website (which you should check out, by the way, as she is a top notch event coordinator) about what it's like to be in a wedding when you're not the bride. As I have been an attendant in *counting on fingers* four weddings, I would consider myself a resident expert in the field.

I mean, it's not 27, but it's not zero either. So here it is, my thoughts on what you can expect when you are invited to be a bridesmaid...

Let the record show, I am not married, nor have I ever been married. My experience with weddings has been on the side of attendant, not bride. I've twice been a bridesmaid, once a junior bridesmaid, and once a maid of honor. I've also manned the guest book & gift table, but I don't think that really counts. And then there are the approximately ten weddings I have attended as a drunk guest. I have a large family, and the majority of my fifteen cousins have gotten hitched in the past five years, most of them locally with family in attendance.

Most recently, I was one of five bridesmaids in my cousin Kitty's wedding. She married her now-husband last June, on a day that happened to be a record-breaking seven thousand degrees in Portland. The bridal party spent the morning in an air conditioned salon, being groomed and plucked and primped, as well as showered with fruit platters and champagne, before heading outside to melt en route to the church. Once inside, we suffered through the pulling on of corsets and girdles and bras and straps and all of those things that tuck you in and squeeze your belly up to your breasts. Being that it was seven thousand degrees, we then proceeded to stand in front of large industrial fans, with ice packs between our thighs & down the fronts of our dresses until it was go time.

The things women do, right? Meanwhile the groom and his men were drinking beers and relaxing in another room down the hall; I think the biggest stress in their day was that someone forgot his socks. I know, the horror!

Finally, after hours of prep, after pulling the bride into her gown and laughing our way through a champagne toast as a bridal party, after helping her to the restroom - a girl to hold her dress up, another to guard the door, another to threaten the life of any groomsman who let the groom out into the hallway - it was time to go. Through sweat and some tears, we stood together in front of the crowd and watched as one of our favorite couples finally said their vows. After five years of waiting - sometimes patiently, other times not so much - they had their first married kiss, clasped hands, and were announced to the room as Mr. and Mrs. Stu Holdren. They exited the church arm in arm, and then each of us in the wedding party followed closely behind, bridesmaids being escorted on the arm of a groomsmen.

From the church, we watched with envy as our families piled into air conditioned vehicles to make way to the reception hall, then we hurried to the back room, where layers of make-you-skinny undergarments were peeled off under dresses, shoved in bags, and tossed into cars. And then the walk. The dreadfully hot, but ultimately amazing, wedding walk from the church to the ballroom, where we were all secretly no longer wearing our panties under our dresses but grinning ear to ear at the cameramen every time a breeze hit our legs. It was hot. So hot. Sweaty, clammy, anything-but-sexy hot. But no matter how not-sexy we all felt, the photos that came from this half mile walk through the streets of downtown Portland, were stunning. Movie star stunning. We all looked amazing, albeit hot.

Somehow, despite the chiffon floor-grazing gowns breathing far less than what anyone else was wearing, and despite being unable to get a buzz before sweating out our champagne, and even despite the makeup we paid $60 to have applied melting down our cheekbones, I would have had it no other way. I would never have wanted to be seated in the church, wearing a short, sassy, light dress and reasonable heels, never would have been content doing my own hair and makeup for the day. The entire day was perfect, and I was delighted to be a part of it - I even caught the bouquet!

Being asked to be a bridesmaid is something you are not obligated to say yes to, just because you are asked. Being in a wedding is expensive; it's a time commitment and a promise to attend bridal showers and bachelorette weekends and dress fittings. Being a bridesmaid is the promise to help stuff favors and fold paper fans and also to be at a salon at 6 in the morning, where someone else will tell you how to wear your hair and what color to put on your lips. You may not like your dress, and it may be a hundred degrees on the day you have to wear taffeta and a push up bra. It also may end up being subzero degrees when you are expected to wear a strapless gown and stilettos. When a friend asks you to be in her wedding, it's okay to be flattered and graciously decline. If you choose to accept the invitation and the responsibility, know that it will be a year of wedding talk, wedding plans, wedding events, all which will culminate in standing next to your friend the moment she goes from Bride to Wife. Know that you are standing there because your friend believes you are among the most supportive of her relationship, and she also clearly trusts the longevity of your friendship enough to allow you into her forever photos.

In the end, the cost, the discomfort, the impending heat stroke, were all completely worth standing next to my cousin on the happiest day of her life. Here we are, 15 months after her wedding day, still laughing over the record high heat wave that weekend, as I snuggle her brand new baby girl on the sofa, while her husband does the dishes and paces nervously whenever the baby starts to fuss. I was there through their relationship, I am here for their marriage and their daughter, and I was lucky to have been part of her wedding.

I mean really, what's a little thigh sweat between friends??