Friday, February 22, 2013

2012: Swag and the Magic of Tragedy

2012 via Twitter. Because vodka is a memory goblin. Or I'm just a busy girl.

It wasn't. They don't. We did.

If you have followed along for the past 3 years, you'll know already that at times I was downright feeling defeated. And yet, I picked up and carried on, looking forward to the day that Saturn moved out of my sign. If you didn't believe in astrology before - you probably won't now - but this is perhaps the most inarguable documentation of Saturn retrograding through your sign: The incessant teacher of life lessons and self awareness; making you grow from events that seem to almost break you. And then you come through it and - holy shit - you are stronger. More knowledgeable. Ready to root yourself through the next 29 years, sure of yourself as an individual, till she rolls around ruffling up shit again. I imagine, however, that if you learned what you needed to the first time you met this saucy minx, the second time around should be rather smooth sailing. With that said, I want to do a short review of the last year Saturn was moving through my sign this time around. As perhaps the busiest year of my life, it comes with a bit of irony in that I lacked much time to write about it. But it was an experience, for sure.

So let's take a stroll down memory experience lane, as I utilize the aid Twitter (and pics) to fill in the timeline:

(Click to enlarge)
January 2012. After a NYE separated from HG, wherein a kissed another guy at midnight, who actually was PE's roommate and from what I told was convinced he would and tried to take me home, I went back to my life with a guy I was seriously dating while trying not to be so serious. (See: Kissing another dude. We were never "official"; doesn't count.) Next I would go on a ski trip, I orchestrated, inspired by PE's trips he'd done but I was never invited to. (Only snow storm of the season: Weather. Genie.) I learned to stop relying on other people: If I wanted to do something the answer was to just do it. My life is not a waiting room for invitations. Three days before the end of the month, I would - against my own heart's desire - break it off with HG after the worst party bus experience of my life (and an awful hungover monster truck rally). I would hope for him to come back. (Spoiler: He was not coming back.) Swag Meter: 0%.

February 2012. I got my first Passport and booked my tickets to New Zealand within the week after my latest heart-bruiser. In the same day I requested these 18 days off for the trip, I also requested a promotion of sorts. I got both. Heartbreak gives me huge balls.

It's great. Girlfriend N (GFN) would be my Valentine's date. Other friends would judge me during this period for being a hot mess; the ones that didn't, understood my heartache. And I love them for that. Swag Meter 3%.

March 2012. My heart still broken, I was weirdly trying to navigate everything without completely understanding how I remained so crushed about a guy I knew for such a short amount of time. (I would later come to realize that his failed relationship and forced elation of the break (read: I was a distraction) killed my hope that love was real. And even later, come to realize that having jumped ship so quickly re-enforced that I had, in fact, learned and grown from my previous experience with PE - finding myself even referencing this post.) The week prior to St. Patrick's day I would get hit on by some fellers, including the  now infamous Football Guy.

I started to feel good again. For St. Patrick's day, I went to Chicago. It was 80 degrees and sunny. (Weather Genie!) Invited to bottle service: Nice!  Swag Meter: 25%.

(Click to enlarge)

April 2012. I ran the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, but not before dropping my phone in the middle of the  street while running to the metro at 6am, getting off the metro at the next stop once I realized and running back down to get it, and a cab, then cabbing to the start. As a side: finally started to get my old body back since before that whole Nuva debacle. Then, 2 days later, I went to New Zealand. I WENT TO NEW ZEALAND! Holy shit. (Crap, I still need to share a cute little recap with the Internets. Don't worry, I documented the whole thing in a journal. I shall never forget.) :) Swag Meter: 30%

(Click to enlarge)

May. 10 days after landing, I run a 5k and then a half marathon in Frederick, MD.  Still working through stuff with HG, confused as to why,  but also evaluating my friendships that have sustained or drowned in the latest round of heartstring WTFs. I declare myself ready for silliness. Started kickballing again. Meet the man who pees in my garbage can and saves me from feeling super awkward as I wake up naked. Swag Meter: 40%.

June. Wine fest. Kickball. Lost and recovered phone: Lost phone count: #4. Man memorizes my phone number. "Hey Guy" from March - AKA JSDC - still pings me. Starting to win my swag back. Swag Meter: 60%

July. July was busy. I'm not sure I was home (in DC) for one weekend. Mexico with the GBF; meet some amazing people; do amazing things: Swam with dolphins, snorkled with sea turtles, ziplined through the jungle. :) PA for the twins first birthday. I start training for my next half: Labor Day weekend. Swag Meter: 70%.

Caveat: Suddenly I notice, 1. how much less of detail I gave to twitter last year than 2011. As I know I was barely home, but can't recall where I was and 2. How time is seriously, seriously flying by: Like in 4th grade when I noticed that year went markedly faster than 3rd grade.

August. More training. Dewey! with single friends. We create the "Book Club". I start my short foray into online dating. I went home for my grandmother's 80th birthday; doesn't look a day past 65 (I hope I got those genes!).

I also learned I was going to pop my Las Vegas cherry for work to go to CES in January. Woo. Work makes a 180; starts going well, getting busy. Swag Meter: 75%.

Holy almost heatstroke, batman.
September.Virginia Beach. Ran the half-marathon whose humidity tried to kill me. I go home for four days,  unpack, repack for family vacation in Savannah. I come home - deal with the fact that someone threw a rock through my window - unpack/repack and head to PA for a weekend of friends and college football tailgating. Continue to train for Baltimore half in October. Continue to go on dates from the Internets. Oddly,  helps with swag and, moreover, getting over the awkwardness of (first) dates. Swag Meter: 85%.

(Click to enlarge)

Also, bucketlist check!

October. Celebrate my birthday, wherein I come to find my truest of friends. And realize how important they have really become to me over the years. I sprain my ankle at my birthday but run the half one week later anyway; deem myself tenacious. I begin to swim on account of the orthopedist going: Ya, don't run on that shit (while needing to continue to train for next half in November.) Halloween happens: I sleep in a bed that is not my own - expect nothing from it. Swag Meter: 95%.


November. GFN, GFC and the GBF head to Miami for the RnR Latin Music half marathon. Horrible course; still a sore ankle but a helluva good time in South Beach. Lost/recovered phone count: #5. Ha! This time it was left at a t-shirt shop. We went to a psychic: She said some stuff. Stayed in town for Thanksgiving; went to local aunt's house. Grandparents came down. My grandpap told me to stop going out to bars, that I was going to get in bar fights; not to try to meet a husband at a bar and to find a Jahovah's Witness and be saved. I asked my gram if he was serious "Yea I'm serious!" he said. "Ignore him, he's drunk," she told me. Ha. Alrighty. Swag (aka feeling like myself again) Meter 100%.

December. Insanely busy with work. Holiday partiesy (wherein I shared the same bed as halloween...and everybody knew it.). The flu - displacing my other holiday parties - while working 12 hour days. Got it all done in time for CES. Went home for Christmas for a week - realized 4 days is my family limit. Encountered the WORST NYE of my life and hoped it was just the last of the sadness leaving my body. Despite that: Swag Meter: 100%. :D Yay!

All in all, suppose that NYE was appropriate. The magical part of all the bad stuff is that it can lead to you becoming a better person with better stories and the side-effect of feeling more alive.
 So much sadness leaves room for joy. Here's to joy in 2013.   ::clink::  ::MAKES EYE CONTACT::

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Disco's great!"

"Disco's great! What's wrong with disco? First of all and also, I don't believe in guilty pleasures. If you fuckin' like something, LIKE IT! That's the problem with our generation is that residual punk-rock guilt. Like, you're not suppose to like that: That's not fuckin' cool. [...] Don't think it's not cool to like Britney Spears' 'Toxic'. It is cool to like Britney Spears' 'Toxic'. Why the fuck not?! Fuck you, that's who I am god-dammit!

-Dave Grohl, man of my heart

via this excellent podcast

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life is Not a Cage

I guess I'm still waiting on my other self to grab the screen shots of those tweets so I can post my already-written 2012 run-down entry, but for the moment I'm having a complete existential crisis. So instead of posting about old information, lets post about something new. Here I am, 29: Full Existential Crisis. Out of nowhere.

For a while I've been teetering on the edge of the do I, don't I front of falling in love. Oh, but you can't choose to fall in love, say the critics. STFU, critics, this is my life and I most certainly can choose when I'm ready, willing and open to love again.

All evidence of the past five years proving contrary to critics. However, I see their point in that you can decide you're ready again, but that doesn't mean cupid shows up and boop! you're poked in the butt with a penis heart. This, I have come to find - it having taken me many long years - is what they mean about "timing is everything". PE, HG, RH, MH, the guy who broke up with me I didn't even know I was actually dating (GWBUWMIDEKIWAD?!) and all the other acronyms I haven't even had a chance or interest to write about recently are all mistakes, but not really. I went into everything knowing full well they would be nothing. If one entertains her time with persons she knows won't ever work out, but they fill the vagina void, then she is absolutely guaranteed to not fall in love. (No, I didn't actually sleep with all of them; I just like sex jokes.) And this, my friends is how you fall out of love with love.

Congratulations, Window Shopper. 

The strange part of this new existential crisis is that it seems to have stemmed out of no where, but I'll give you a quick recap of the events leading up. It all started with the accidental dater (AD)...well, sorta. I mean, he started with the attack on my character (which I'm sure he didn't mean as an attack on my character, but such a self righteous "you're doing it wrong" sure comes off that way). After which I decided: One man's broken is another man's interesting. 

Write that down.

The second part happened this past weekend when a group of my friends and I rented a ski cabin for an extended weekend. A second annual thing; the first of which was the beginning of the end of HG and I's relationship. I don't think he liked how conversational I was about poop. But he went three times a day. THREE! That's envy-worthy: Do you know how thin I'd be?!...or how many Ho-Ho's I could eat?!?! ::moment of silence of Hostess, please:: But that was more of a coincidence than relevance.

I just fell into a vat of poop caveat.

ref: 3. [aww]
And I'm back: The relevance fell more in the form of 1. AD being there, which wasn't awkward so much as a reminder while 2. Instead of him, this other kid slept in my bed and the night after that 3. Some nice guys from Kentucky we'd met on a ski lift came over to play beer pong with us; they were funny, southern gentleman who were considerate of our other friends in the cabin. They reminded me of the kind of person I want to end up with. And then 4. When I got home I learned our lease may not be renewed when it ends in May.

So I went from complete panic, to pouting, to well if I have to move, I might as well leave this city. I went to bed anxious. So much change! I woke up confused; change is scary, but I don't want to become stagnant. And this seems like a push. A push timed with a trip that finally teetered me off the fence and onto the side of: I'm ready for love. And I'm still playing in the wheat of that field for the moment. Add to that a NYE that sent me flying into the seat of I come first: I can't plan my life around other people.

It is in the moment that I realize how important timing is: Not only in love, but how a series of small events can lead to a huge step in the direction of progress - or at the least a substantial change. I have no reason to go, but I can't choose family or friends or fear as a reason to stay. This time, it seems, a move might be real. Fate kept me here before, as I challenged it and it answered in the form of an unavoidable tailspin of almost-love with HG...just long enough to keep me from leaving. Now, I challenge it again...but I feel we're heading into wheels up territory. It's terrifying, but true.

I think.

Out of nowhere I'm in the eye of an existential crisis; in the calm of the storm I wonder: Is this what change feels like? Or am I just mad? Is this a blip on the radar of fleeting thoughts or real momentum? Moving across the country alone for no reason but for change; is it February that gives me balls? Or is it my life I need to rearrange?  I wait for answers; the fates decide.

Just breathe.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Defending Myself Against a Ghost

[Pandora goes random as I start the post: “The human heart is a scary part in fact. Cause I could break you and you could break me back.” (Nice song, though the rest is irrelevant.)]

I had a conversation last night stemming from some accidental dating that had occurred over the past few months. How does one “accidentally date” – honestly, I have no idea. It's winter and beds are cold? This is when regularly blogging comes in handy, instead of writing in retrospect.  But, oh well, here we are.

The bothersome bit of conversation was that he, essentially, told me to live like he lives: The life of your past is behind you, move forward and become a better person every day. Don't let it affect you now.

My response was: You must have had a good life.

At some point in time, telling a person that they've had a good life has apparently become an insult. I HAD NO IDEA. In my mind, a good life sounds like such a lovely thing. Kudos and optimism. No? We're not doing that now...great.

He added his “advice” which was, essentially: Believe that humans are innately good. Just trust them and if you get hurt, so what.

This immediately made me think back to what I had just said: You must have had a good life. 

Everything I can remember for a long, long time taught me to think the opposite way of that. Have I had a horrible life? No, absolutely not. Have I had a perfect life? No. Absolutely not. Can you take one person’s way of thinking and coping and moving on and trusting and apply to everyone. Fuck no.

And yet here's this person I barely know – and was coming to realize wasn't anything he’d pretended to be in the accidental months preceding – telling me that I just need to move on from my past: Don’t let the bad things bother you. But there is a big, big difference between things that happen around you and things that happen to you. And anyone close-minded enough to lend that kind of advice, to me, just must have had a good life where anything they had to deal with is easily left behind. No hard fought lessons; just lessons. So caught off-guard by this, I spent the time still attempting to defend my character and my own methods of self-preservation against someone who, essentially, knew nothing about me, but subjected me to the lessons of his life; a life I cannot relate to, as he cannot relate to mine.

"You don't even know me. You can't judge me," I said. (I don't like to be misunderstood or misjudged, if that hasn't been obvious up until now.)

And thus, attempting for anyone to understand my side, I started a conversation with PI earlier today, and, essentially, began to defend myself against a ghost. I guess I just wanted a friend to go: No, you’re not broken and you just keep on doing what you do. Whoever you are, I love you and you're perfect.

Instead, it went like: garble garble damn chat garble miscommunication I’m hurt, I’m confused garble garble and ending with garble I'm offended you said someone else had a good life because I suppose I have. Garble.

What?! Somehow a conversation that I had begun to discuss myself, turned into an attack on him - unbeknownst to me. As far as I knew, I was discussing my side of something that involved a third party he didn't even know. I had no idea how this got transposed onto him. I sat perplexed. Hurt...-er. Then I wondered: Is there ever a moment that we can put aside our own personal experience and just listen to perspective? I know we all have our own stories, but I feel like that unfiltered perspective would probably tell us more about other peoples' experiences than the telling of the experiences themselves.

My opinion or feelings towards another person’s experiences – especially ones I can’t relate to – have nothing to do with that person. Or their experience. It has everything to do with me. And mine. And how I function and process. Yes, I'm still learning. I admit it. For that curiosity and for who I was, am, and will become, I don’t want to be judged or made to feel like I am wrong. If I’m asking question, it’s because I don’t understand…and I want to. There are so many “normal” things that people take for granted that I have no idea about. Realistically, there is no normal, but sometimes I still feel like an outsider looking in; a child in the body of an adult; an alien in disguise figuring out how to fit in…sometimes failing at hiding the tentacles.

Ya. Aliens have tentacles. Haven't you seen Independence Day?

Even in my own family, at times, I feel as though I’m hiding in a shell spaceship of someone I’m not. My 2013 NYE was the worst of my life. In a tragic moment of sadness, with 90 minutes to the New Year, I wrote: In a house full of people, in a room with five, this is the loneliest meal of my life. Family is the saddest I find myself. I cried for nearly 11 hours that day, spanning into the new year. I hoped it was the last of sadness leaving me. I hoped for good things to come. I still do.

However, spending the ball drop crying alone with a friend (in my family's house and then in a car in a parking lot) who kept me from driving 220 miles in a snowstorm  through mountains – likely saving my life – challenges that hope. And it challenges the kind of progress forward that I've worked so hard for. The kind of progress that someone who says “leave it in the past” won’t ever understand: That is supposed to be my backbone when the world breaks me and I fall to pieces on the floor with a hood over my face hiding the tears that fall to my shoulder, not the part that breaks me for doing nothing wrong...or just not good enough.

It can be awful in a place where you hope for so much love.

The irony of it is that I find it hard now to realize that the only people that I could possibly talk to about experiences that haunt me are also the ones who can hurt me the most. By all accounts a functioning adult, I feel bullied in a suspended childhood. I try so hard – to be normal. To be loved. To be loving. And I feel punished for being something I was; for being a kid who had no way to cope or be heard but to speak cry out – because when everything around you is falling apart, how can you possibly develop the tools to learn how to pull yourself together? You can’t. And that affects you. Probably forever.

A “good” life is one you can walk away from and say, “It won’t affect me forever”. Then again, that’s just my opinion. Mine alone. And I think that opinions should be taken from heart for the person that says them and not towards the person they've opened up to. If what I say is bothersome, help me to understand. I shall do the same. Life isn't a competition - relationships aren't a what's-worse - but sometimes when you’re faced with the judgment and “advice” of others, it’s hard not to go: Okay, where have you been? Different places? Good, yours sounds easy. So glad you're perfect. Don’t tell me what I’m doing wrong; I’m doing the best I can.

Perhaps then, no matter what anyone else says, we have to believe we’re doing the best we can with what we’re given. I might not doing your version of right, but I’m doing it as right as I can with what I've got. I still fall down. And sometimes I’m a little broken. I've come far enough to know that I try to be better tomorrow than I am today. I don’t have to change who I trust, how I love, or when I self-preserve, because who I am is where I've been (motivational posters be damned) and there’s no changing that. I don’t think our opinions should ever become unsolicited advice; it hurts when you don't know what wound you're poking. Then again, that’s just the opinion of a wearily trusting, sometimes-broken, pig-tailed twenty-nine year old with take it for what you will.

Of this, I believe: There is peace in pieces. Broken isn't worthless; it's probably really wonderful. We all have our own stories and hurdles to overcome. In essence (puns!), we're all flowers: we just need time...and a little bit of water. And each flower comes with a different set of instructions; different elements to flourish. You know what, I can accept that. 

Analogy accepted. Advice denied.

[EDIT: 042313 -]