Gregarious

Shannon sits across from me at a tiny table by the door. We’re talking about being pisces, and our experience with sex. Like me, she goes more for men. Like me, she leads first with her genitals. I’ve never done this before, and while I’ve not yet jumped in, I’m optimistically curious to the point of slight intrigue. I want her moves to be more direct but I’m also grateful she’s delicate.

When she calls me cute, I stall out, not knowing how to respond to a woman calling me that. I felt gayer before I started attaching myself to a sexuality. The word was supposed to ground me. The identifier was supposed to give me a name.

But if I don’t think about it so much, which is hard to do most times, I notice a capacity to love nagging at me. I know I’m opening. It could be with her, or with someone else, but the point is that it’s possible.

The easiest way to me is in me, and it’s also the easiest way out. It is the only way I have given anybody in a really long time. It is the only part of me that I’ve been historically comfortable with. The flaw here is that when you lead with your breasts, the heart gets hurt.

I cancel plans the night after to be alone. I’m almost miss how quiet the snow makes the city. Inside i hear the crackle of turkey cooking on the stove.

I wait for Gregarious to text me back so I can tell him that i’m done. I like it too much when we touch and that’s all he sees in me.

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Tangents

On January 21st, I had this silent memory of my mom’s heart monitor, right before it finally stopped.  I remember her knowing she was going to die, and how scared she was to finally do it. When I remember the last week of my mother’s life, I either pour myself a cup of coffee or wine depending what time of day it is.

I’ve pinned my hair just so that’s it’s corporate. No part of my pixie is rock and roll. Underneath, a borrowed studded belt hangs at my hips. The cars seem noiseless passing by. I walk by the bus stop I usually wait at. I look down the street and I see the fog hanging over the top third of the Sears Tower. I wonder what it’s like to be up that high, and look out your window to see nothing.

I have three guys texting me about platonic plans, but I’m anxiously waiting for the girl. I pour my first glass of the night. Dinner simmers slowly in the pot but it still sets off the fire alarm. I reach up to stop the beeping, with the added length from an empty bottle, pulled from its sisters on my kitchen table.

I hide in my bed, until an angry song awakes me. I hide in an office, equating my self esteem to the problems I keep solving. I hide in a bottle because it’s easier than speaking, even on paper. I want to be speechless for a while, though I’ve never had more to say.

You Remember Kyle Right?

Of course I remembered him. When I knew him he was lanky, and always had his boxers hanging out of his shorts. His dreads were just long enough that from far away his hair would look spiky. He would come out of the ether on his skateboard, and hang out with my friends and I at the bandstands, a spot I would frequent in a seaside town when I was a teenager. He was was a hugger, and happy to share a joint. His stories never came with a punchline, but he always laughed at the end of them.

We all saw him through his mother’s eyes. He was simple and kind. He was effortless, wise, and fun to be around.

When I learned of his death a few days ago, my friend Jamie texted me, asking me if I remembered the three or so summers I knew him best. Of course I did, Like at 17, I could forget a handsome guy that that scored me weed and would put his arms around me just so. He became dependent on pain killers after a back injury, and from there he graduated on to heroin. He was hardly 28 when he died.

With my phone in my hands and a million little tears lodged in the back of my throat, I sat in silence for the man, who as a boy was my friend. I thought of all those humid nights spent talking on car hoods with all kinds of punk rock music breaking out of the radio. I reminisced about passing round vodka poured into a Poland Spring bottle, and turning it down because the last thing I needed  as my dad to smell alcohol on my breath, especially if I was going to be late. My friends would give me shit about it, Kyle’s voice would get momentarily course while saying, “Let the lady do her thing!”

When he died, he was likely doing everything he could to stop the pain. In that he succeeded, but the hurt’s got to go somewhere, and so it went to us.

Everyone I know is too aware of their own mortality. They are either trying to die or fighting to live. They do not want their most recent bedfellow to be the last man they’ve fucked. They try to live every day like it’s their last, or live it hoping it will be. They spread their arms wide and walk into traffic, or will have conversations with themselves about how transient they are, to a point where they’re afraid to make any concrete choices. They’re too focused on where they might be going, that they forget that they’re still here. They are suffocated in the moment, by the moment, and too anxious for the future.

We leave, and we’re always leaving until we’re finally gone.

So I ask, can you at least stay, just long enough so that I really know what it’s like to know you. That way, even if all you end up being to most people you know is a memory of salty air and carousel lights, it’s still sweet, and it stays golden until those of us are gone. That should be enough. That should be the kind of transient one would aspire to be.

False Starts and a Lament About Dating

I’m lamenting on my roommate’s bed while she get’s ready to do a podcast. I hate lamenting, but on a day where I feel so externally crummy, I figured I’d indulge at least a little bit.

I’m complaining about the most recent “false start,” a dating pattern that’s been the bulk of my romantic life for the past 5 years or so. First few dates go great, sex is at worst decent, then he gets freaked out because he “likes me so much,” or completely loses interest when I show interest, or tosses me some line that he’s “not ready” only to be in bed with someone else quicker than he’s able to delete my number from his phone.

“I’m not mad that this particular one happened, I’m just mad that it keeps happening and I’m exhausted.” I tell her.

I’m the portrait of femininity, clad head to toe in black. At 27 I’m the portrait of “over it.” I’m over being under someone new every few weeks because date night turned into a 4 night stand. I’m over the awkward first dates, and having to tell different variations of my story over and over again to strangers. I’m over having to think about the underwear I have on, or if my vag has too much stubble or how much of my personality I can show at once without scaring people off because no one has stuck around long enough to be worth the extra consideration or effort. So the point turns out to be mute.

And it’s never about the guy personally. Never have I thought, “Oh I wish HE lasted.” It’s always, “I wish SOMETHING lasted,” which is an uncomfortable place to be. I’m at a point where I look at couples and I have no memory of what that feels like. I’ve become a total alien to something so standardized.

But on the other hand, should any other romantic situations arise, I know what I won’t do. I will not sit by any electronic device waiting. I will not be an option. I will not let a potential lover’s opinion affect my self esteem, and if I feel miserable at any point in the early stages, those will be the final stages.

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And that’s that.

Tired is Not an Emotion

One of my coworkers walks by my office, pokes his head in and says, “Why do you always look so sad?”

“I’m not sad,” I say back, “just tired.”

“Well then you’re always tired. You should get some sleep.”

If it only were that easy. I got a solid 8 hours of glorious, uninterrupted sleep last night but I still woke up feeling like I hadn’t gone to bed at all. I didn’t drink the night before or do any strenuous activity. I even made sure to appropriately hydrate myself throughout the day. Even still, the feeling of someone pushing down hard on my shoulders persisted, my legs felt heavy, my head restless from holding itself high.

But I’m not unhappy. I’m in actually quite content more or less, I still enjoy hanging out with my friends and writing. I’m excited about the clothes I’m editing and the scarf I’m knitting. I’m learning to cook healthy food in part so I can share meals with my roommate who has a gluten allergy. Work is going pretty well. It’d be going better if I had the energy.

If I had the energy to handle my customers and my department. If I had the energy to help quell my brother’s mental illness or to help my dad figure out how to handle it. If I had the energy to be present with all my friends who are grieving over loved ones passing, or to manage my own grief. If I had it in me to put out every fire, hold every hand, and solve every problem and still have enough gusto to engage in large social situations, so I’m not met with a “You never want to go out” anymore. If only I had enough in me to exceed expectations at work, so I’m not met with a “You’re prefect for this role, but something’s blocking you.”

How do I get that? And if I can’t get it, how do I know which vital thing to omit so I’m not fucking someone over, or leaving someone in the dark?

So when people ask how I’m feeling, and I say that I feel tired, when they reply back,

“Tired is not an emotion.”

I beg to differ.

2014 The Year Where All Kinds of Crazy Shit Happened, But I Learned A Lot So That’s Cool I Guess?

I’m curled up in the reading nook in my apartment, drinking coffee out of a mug that my department got me for a Christmas.

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Great find, right?

While I reckon that the next 365 days of my life, can start whenever I decide they’re going to, something about opening a crisp new calendar makes me feel like it’s a good time to sit and reflect on the past, and set some solid goals. So here I go! Below is a list of things that happened and stuff I learned in 2014. Drum roll please…

2014 The Year Where All Kinds of Crazy Shit Happened, But I Learned A Lot So That’s Cool I Guess?

1. I drove to and from Boston, twice. The first time, I got stuck in the polar vortex and ended up driving straight for 26 hours. Still not sure how I did that. The second time, I80 in PA iced over and I had to spend an evening at a truck stop motel. While there, I found myself one choice away from having an orgy. (Not even lying about that one. That story is one to follow.)

2. I met my niece for the first time, and got to hang out with her again a couple weeks before she turned one. I further realized that the auntie life is totally for me. The motherhood life? Not so much.

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Little one, I will one day teach you things, and sneak you sweets when you’re mother isn’t looking.

3. I followed my gut, left a job I hated and moved on to one I love- further proving my point: IF YOU ARE MISERABLE, FIX IT. I DON’T CARE HOW SCARED YOU ARE.

4. I had several adventures of the sexual variety, and I dated A LOT. One thing I realized from all those false starts and mini relationships is that no one is worth waiting by the phone for. That’s right, I didn’t move a thousand miles away from home, with no job, two suitcases, and 3 grand in savings just to be had by some fucking man child that doesn’t know how to communicate.

5.  I got to see two of my favorite bands, IN THE SAME SHOW.

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(Against Me and Gaslight Anthem. Still swooning pretty hard over this.)

6. I learned that attitude is everything. You know what improves attitude? Looking nice. Not even kidding. Put time into your appearance and you will feel much better than if you didn’t.

7. This in mind, I figured out that you get to a point in your adulthood where you can no longer do cheap beer or cheap shoes. That point happened three weeks ago for me. (Proceeds to cancel subscription to Just Fab.)

8. Going off of this, I graduated from liking beer, to preferring wine. This is something to make note of because I’ve been a beer snob for nearly half a decade, which is longer than most of the small children in my life have been alive. It’s a personal goal of mine in every memory my niece has of me, I will be holding a coffee mug or a wine glass.

9. I got to see my hockey team live, AND THEY WON. (Not something they’ve been doing a whole lot of lately.)

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9. I got to attend the much anticipated wedding of one of my friends, and got to hang out with this lady.

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10. I had a lot of my writing got published in places like Rebelle Society, Days of Y’Orr, Thought Catalog, and Hello Giggles. Through this, I was able to connect with people on a deeper level than I had originally thought.

11. My dad and my stepmom came to visit in August. This is what most of the trip looked like.

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11. I moved 3X. Not even going to get into that one, but I hope I’m in this current place for a while.

12. I lost a good friend to addiction and had a lot of mixed feelings about it.

13. I modled for my friend Claudia, designer of Neon Bomb.  (It’s DIY Punk fashion. You should totally check it out.)

14. I met Kate IRL for the first time and LOVED HER.

14. I finally accepted Lake Michigan as an adequate substitute for the ocean.

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15. I took up running, first to compensate for my lack of biking in the cold, then because it genuinely did wonders for me emotionally.

16. The biggest thing I learned this year, was to be alone without feeling lonely, and to cherish those few moments of goddamn peace and quiet because they don’t happen nearly enough.

And While I’m At It, Goals For 2015:

1. To run a 10K in the spring, and then a half marathon in the fall.

2. To knit some fucking scarves.

3. Continue to get better at my job.

4. Go on a vacation that doesn’t involve just visiting Boston.

5. Keep my momentum with my writing, and get paid to do it. Also, get a piece in print.

6. Upgrade my wardrobe to reflect my current fashion tastes.

7. Upgrade my food consumption to reflect my slowing metabolism.

Hopes for 2015:

1. Chris Kelly finally gets the respect he deserves.

2. More friends come to visit me in Chicago.

3. Sustainable romance happens, and if not, than I hope I don’t let it kill my confidence.

4. This actually happens.

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5. My readers have an amazing 2015!

I’ll keep you posted everything goes. Thanks for reading guys and gals. Be well, eat your vegetables, and try not to be jerks to each other, okay?

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