2015 Year in Review

13 Jan

Yeah, I know it has been 2016 for 12 days already, so what!  

10 Highlights… (In chronological order)

  1. The Patriots won the Superbowl!!

I tried so hard to get tickets for that game since it was outside of Phoenix, but quickly realized that is a longer term goal because Superbowl tickets are outrageous! I had to settle for watching at home, but the lead up to that event was fun, so many events happening in the city to explore. Then, my boys won and hat always makes me happy.

  1. Michigan moved to Arizona

The process was difficult and full of doubt and questions, but once it happened, it was one of he most exciting things to happen this year by far. Despite all the turmoil that has ensued, taking that huge step for the first time is one I would not undo no matter the eventual outcome.

  1. Moving to a new apartment

In tangent, with Ben moving, we moved into a place of our own. LP had taken care of most of my last three moves, so doing it on my own and getting to chose what I wanted instead of worrying about what someone else wanted (Michigan was not picky in the least and couldn’t do much choosing from so far away) was refreshing and fun for me.

  1. New Tattoo

With the upcoming departure of one of my closes friends, we decided to get tattoos together. They don’t match and each piece has individual significance, but it was nice to go get them together. Mine was a design on my right shoulder blade that outlines Hogwarts and has a Dumbledore quote inside the castle. It is by far the nerdiest tattoo I have or probably will put on my body…and I love it!!

  1. July trip to Massachusetts

This trip was actually really difficult for me. I had to grapple with a lot of disappointment and shame. I won’t go into detail, but it made it to the highlights because with that inner battle, I also managed to come to terms with some of my mistakes and by necessity, practiced acceptance of myself and my family. In addition, I still was able to sped quality time with my family and see some dear friends.

  1. Birthday shenanigans in Flagstaff

It was just a lovely weekend with two of my favorite people.

  1. RIOT Fest in Chicago

It was a crazy weekend and three days of mud, cold, and some crazy good music. I wanted never to leave. Plus, as a side note, it has been part of a growing closeness between myself and Anarchy. She is very much becoming one of my closest recent friends.

  1. Two whole years with Michigan

The last time I hit a two-year mark with someone, we broke up a month afterward. Officially my longest lasting relationship.

  1. Taking Michigan home to Massachusetts

I realize I have devoted way too much time talking about my relationship, but we hit a lot of milestones this year as a couple and for me personally. For Christmas, I took Michigan home. Crazy, I know. He hung out with my family, met my friends, did the holidays with us…all sorts of weird feelings, but pleasant overall.

  1. Discovering Cult Classics

Best theater series ever!! They have events once a month where they show cult classics (hence the name) in a real theater. I went to my first one at the end of the year to see Spaceballs and it was a blast.

10 Disappointments…(In no particular order)

  1. Rogers and the Viking moved to Wisconsin

It broke my heart losing two ladies who I had grown so close to and I spent many of my weekends with.

  1. So…many…relationship problems

I may have hit a lot of milestones this year in my relationship, but it certainly hasn’t been an easy road. The coming year needs to bring some changes for the good or for the ugly.

  1. The Patriots non-undefeaed season

This may seem like a silly one, but when they went so long without a loss I really thought we were going to pull it off…and then we lost…to the Broncos.

  1. Failing at my goal to be debt free

It felt like one thing after another kept happening and debt still looms above me…seemingly permanently.

  1. Not getting the promotion I so very much deserve…twice

I have been saying my boss has a grudge agains me for the longest time, and I am more convinced now than ever.

  1. Re-emergence of my cigarette habit

Getting close with Anarchy is so great in so many ways, except that she invites me for smoke breaks, and I often say yes.

  1. Weight gain

Despite my best (not really) efforts, I put on some pounds this year which brings in a whole slew of self-conscious thought processes.

  1. LP moved to Portland

After moving on from being roommates, our relationship seemed to improve…and then she moved to Portland which was hard to manage.

  1. Wasting a lot of time and money

That one is a bit self-explanatory.

  1. The evening of the sprained ankle

I went to stay with LP in her swanky downtown loft, got very very very drunk, walked home alone, sprained my ankle, and then continued to make poor life choices.

3 Game Changers…

  1. Michigan moving to Arizona

Challenging many of my assumptions about life, love, and roommates.

  1. My company hiring a new CEO

But more importantly getting rid of our previous tyrant. I still feel the need for new employment when that is an option, but this new fella gives me some hope.

  1. No longer being roommates with LP

And the vast array of new and different things that come with that.

3 Things I focused on…

  1. Paying off debts

Although unsuccessful, not entirely sagnant

  1. Reading

Did you see that book challenge post? Completed!

  1. Yoga and physical activity

Although not always successful, taking care of my body is a constant goal. I realized this year I need to focus on activities that get me moving instead of just relying on gym time or Jillian Miachaels to get the job done.

3 Things I forgot…

  1. Applying for Grad School

Again

  1. Figuring out a better solution for my student loan problem.

A forever battle that I love to avoid

  1. Self Care

I overworked and under-appreciated myself often this year. In addition, I still haven’t found a therapist.

Reflection…

As most years go, this one had its up and its downs. I made a lot of choices and changes and not all of them turned out the way I would have liked, but that does’ mean they weren’t worth my time. My brain has been preoccupied with relationship woes and wins more than anything else and a piece of that girl I never waned to be again is back in action. I have he ability to change that, but the upcoming year is going to come with its own set of challenges. Some I invite, others I am terrified to face. One can only hope for the best…and a good book to get you though the rough parts.

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Little Boys Playing Big Boy Games and Losing

6 Nov

As a woman I have never felt so disrespected in my life. This week has been a shit storm of disgusting, hateful, derogatory comments about sex, genitalia, and the use of women for the enjoyment of men….no, boys. I expect it to some extent, they are learning, but to this extreme, it has eaten at my heart and soul. No one, men, man or teen has the right or privilege to talk that way, no one. Yet I have been subjected to sit, listen, and put up with a string of commentation about my gender. Forced to keep my mouth shut because if I allowed the words I wished to say out of my mouth I would no longer be a desirable employee.

I lost it tonight on a young man who has the audacity to come into my program and discuss his male prowess in getting females into bed. If a woman, if any person, is giving you the gift of spending a night or even a moment with them, then the very LEAST you can do is give them the respect that action deserves. If you can’t even do that, you don’t deserve that gift from that person or any other. Your sexual partners are not locker room banter or a way to prove to your buddies that you are the god you think yourself to be. You are not a god, you are scum and should not for one second think otherwise.

No one is an object, whether they have slept with only you or with a hundred others. Notches on your belt don’t make you a more worthy person and they don’t make you worthy of love and affection. What DOES make you worthy of that precious event is when you are able to see it for what is is, and respect and worship the one allowing you into their most intimate spaces.

There are not enough showers to wash away the grime I feel coating every inch of my body. These are young boys and they shouldn’t already be so disenchanted with the world to treat it this way. The most unnerving thought I have is that they must have learned it somewhere. What role models do they have that they already believe the words coming out of their mouths and appropriate and acceptable? What state is our world in when from the very start, these boys are taught disrespect and fowl language are acceptable ways to address their counterparts?

To make it even worse, I have only discussed one small part of the bigger picture. Yes, their language about sex is concerning, but so is the language they use about sexual orientation and race. It is hateful language and I could preach for days about how wrong and misguided they are, but they aren’t going to change because it is coming from a 20-something white girl who in their mind doesn’t understand their generation or their communities.

I started by saying I was disgusted, but in reality maybe I am just sad.

The Slump (an all too reality based short story)

11 Oct

He fell asleep again. I can’t stop myself from staring at his prostrate form for a moment, listening to the half-snore, half-choking noise escaping his slack-jawed mouth. How many nights in a row is it now? Finding him in this state is starting to feel more normal than arriving home to him awake and erect. Is it normal to fall into such a stagnant state a mere six months after moving in with your significant other? Are we normal? Is normal even a term anyone can use with any degree of certainty anymore?

I used to try waking him up as seductively as I could manage. These days my confidence in the bedroom has waned and so instead I opt for one of two options. The first is noisily getting ready for bed then collapsing into my side opposite him, back turned, fighting for sleep in an anxiety-riddled mind. Tonight that feels too melodramatic so instead I head back out to the living room, grabbing my laptop off the desk on the way. I mull over how I might hunt for sleep tonight while debating how cold a shoulder he will receive come morning. Full on silent mode or just a simple downcast eye followed by terse responses to his attempts at civility?

As I plop down on the brown sectional sofa, I flip up the laptop’s screen and type in the password, one of four variations of the same letters I have used since college. I am still indecisive about whether I want to get off anyway in a secret display of spite or roam the halls of Netflix until I am too droopy-eyed to watch anything in its entirety.

Porn wins out and fifteen minutes later I realize it takes me just as long to find an adequate seven minute video as it does to find a full length cinematic feature. Oh the internet. Perhaps I am too picky in general. Perhaps that is the major flaw in my life as a whole. This isn’t the first time I have spent time with this exact series of thoughts in the stillness post sunset. It is easy to move on, however, since an Existential crisis isn’t exactly what I am looking for at the moment.

Settling for some odd mash up of bondage lesbianism, I get mine just before the firm-breasted starlette on my screen and close the window before she gets a chance. Poor girl, I wonder how may times someone has done that to her. I consider for the briefest moment sleeping on the couch, but every time I do that my neck hurts for two days, affecting me far more than it does him.

I trudge back to bed finding him in in the same position I left him in. He shifts some as I slide under the covers. I am sure his subconscious recognizes a familiar presence, but instead of rolling toward me he rolls away, and seconds later the drone of the half-snore returns.

The 5 Reasons I get Happier as I get Older…

4 Aug

JamesRadcliffe.com

Long past the grim-dark of midnight, in a loud and crowded bar somewhere in the red-brick old town of Edinburgh, I found myself talking with a friend who was well and truly down in her cups due to a recently ‘celebrated’ birthday.

As the conversation unfolded, she repeatedly invited me to commiserate with her on the general unfairness of aging and the perceived dearth of her bright glow youth; to which I replied that, in all honestly, as I have gotten older I have noticed myself becoming markedly happier.

Sitting up suddenly, alert, incredulous, (and swaying not a little) she blurted: ‘How is that even possible?’.

This post is my answer to that question.

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Tiny Little Voices

4 Jul

The last two weeks have been hard. I have felt vulnerable at best and worthless at worst. You wouldn’t think getting passed over for a promotion would do that to you, except that the insult was one in a string of many. Now this isn’t a post about how horrible my job is, although I could go on about that for ages, but about that tiny voice I really should listen to more often.

I call that voice God, but others may call it something else. Conscience. The universe. Reason. Tina Turner. Really to each his (or her) own.

I consider myself a spiritual person. I pray. I do yoga. I make an attempt at meditating. I like feeling connected to the world around me and spirituality is one way I achieve that. I grew up in the church and always found peace there. When I moved out of my parents’ place after college, I stopped going. Stopped as in not even the rare visit on holidays. I wouldn’t say my life has fallen apart because of it nor that I have stopped calling myself a Christian. However, I will say I consistently look back at that period of my life and miss the feeling of purpose I had. I was more fulfilled then than at ay other point of my life.

Now, back to the last two weeks. It seems that two thing coincided. My job became a sinkhole of despair and my relationship hit a giant fucking road block. They say bad things come in threes so I am waiting for one more big life failure like my parents dying on their way back from Canada or finding out I am pregnant…any day now. The first two, however, have been bad enough so I am ok if it is just a duo this time. My emotional health has been plummeting and I have had little motivation to fix it. Initially I was keeping up with little things like housework and my physical wellbeing, but even those are falling to the wayside.

How do all of these random ideas fit together, well let me tell you. Today Michigan went to the gym and I had no motivation to go to yoga so I was about to put on an episode (or 4) of the last season of Hart of Dixie when it occurred to me that I might find a more productive use of my time. I went to my book shelf to pick out one of the few self-help books I have purchased, and remembered I was in the middle of working through the Captivating companion journal/guide thing. I pulled out the book and the journal and plopped onto the couch. About halfway through, while tears were streaking my cheeks, a realization hit me that had I not listened to that tiny little voice I would not feel as good as I did in that moment.

I am not saying that I am all better and a miracle happened this morning, but sometimes that voice knows exactly what you need when you need it. What I needed this morning was that book and some self-analysis.

It happened earlier this week too. One night when I was full-on pity party and in bed before Michigan, I pulled out the Brene Brown book I keep on my bedside table. Her words were exactly what I needed to hear.

That voice is hard to hear sometimes through the cacophony that is our lives, but it is so so important to listen, to take time for ourselves; to find what we need and allow ourselves the time to be present and accepting of it. For me, this week, it has been books, but sometimes it is time with a friend, or making a detour for coffee, or just sitting in silence to find a snippet of peace. I don’t know what it is for you, but I encourage you to listen to it and take advantage of the things that make you feel connected to the world around you.

Morning

27 May

Mornings you wake up and have absolutely nothing to do are one of the greatest joys in my life. I lost the pleasure of them for a while. I still struggle to allow myself the few moments of nothingness. It is easiest when I happen to awaken before my alarm, when I feel I have stolen those moments somehow from time’s keeper.

When I was young it was easy, as most things are when you are young (even if you don’t write realize it at the time). I loved lying in bed until noon and beyond on the weekends, just being happy I didn’t have to catch a bus and make it through six hours of classes. College was more difficult with more pressure and to do lists clogging my relax function, but still manageable most Saturday mornings (or Wednesdays Mondays, sometimes despite a 9am class).

It was sometime after graduation I let adulthood taint something, let it gorilla glue my switch to “on.” I felt (feel) I always had to be accomplishing something, checking something off a list, bettering myself. All those things are true, I do always have a running “to do” list, something that needs attention, and it never feels like there is enough time to get to it all. However, recently I have begun allowing myself some time for myself. Not jumping out of bed right when the sun hits my eyes everyday doesn’t mean I am wasting time, it doesn’t mean I am missing an opportunity, and it doesn’t mean I am failing to meet my full potential (at least that is what I keep telling myself).

Bed is a treasured place. It is where I am most myself with no pressure to be anywhere or be anything else than what I am. I can read in peace and cuddle with my lover. It is where I am most often happy to throw all my cares out the window and just be. So why not steal a little extra time in the morning when the day is new and full of potential, when everything from the day or week before seems a little more distant. Why not?

Tethered Hearts

21 May

Friendship, a good, solid friendship, isn’t really about knowing the everyday tiny details of someone else’s life. Tiny details are windows, means to an end, a way of comprehending perspective and filling conversation. They are added bonuses to knowing someone; they create a path to becoming friends; and the more details someone feels comfortable sharing, the more comfortable you know they feel with you. Once the friendship is formed, however, I don’t believe details are necessarily necessary.

A friendship, a long-lasting, soul-expanding, feels-the-same-no-matter-how-much-time-goes-by friendship, is built on so much more than tiny snipets of work stories and social circle drama. That kind of friendship comes from connection, from seeing inside someone special who changes you and makes you want to be better, and them feeling the same about you. This kind of friendship touches you profoundly and ties two hearts together beyond time and space (insert Doctor Who parody here).

I have been lucky enough to find a few of these connections throughout my existence, each coming to me at times I needed them and staying with me despite all the turns and pitfalls that have defined them.

Monica was the first. She was unexpected because she found me when I felt unloveable and unwanted. I have talked about the person I was when I was younger-quiet, anxiety-ridden, lonely. She was the opposite (at least that is how I saw her). She was loud, boisterous, social, and unafraid, all the things I wished I could be. I met her in my church youth group and it didn’t take long for us to become inseparable. She helped me break down my shell I had been living in so that when I left for college I could finally shed it fully and leave the infinitesimal, insecure girl I had been in the past and eventually become the woman I am today. College was hard on us, however. We ended up going to different schools not that far away and it was hard finding a balance between our relationship and the new life I was creating. College changes people and that was true for both of us. It was hard to be who we had been in high school.

Miraculously, we held on and although after college wasn’t much easier and we fought a lot, there remains this tether that connects us to one another. Within the last year, for example, she sent me a message saying she didn’t want to be my friend anymore because it was so hard with me being so far away. A few months later she found me again. Time changes us and makes it hard, but you can’t not be friends with someone who shares a piece of who you are.

The second friend I want to talk about is TOGA. Unrequited love turned sour currently defines us I suppose, but before the bad, was a good, very good friendship. I met him when I was dating Mr. Wrong and despite the ugly ending to that relationship with his best friend, we managed to get closer instead of ceasing to exist. He was my escape, my exploration of thinking beyond my bubble of comfortability, my haven when shit got hard. He was always up for a fun adventure or to sit on the couch and watch mind-numbing television (Jersey Shore anybody). We were each other’s sanity and insanity and everything in between. Then things got weird and I couldn’t just be his friend anymore. I wish I had handled things differently, but I didn’t. Now, we are each dating other people and it is hard finding an “us” again that makes sense. Despite all this he still feels like home.

Finally, there is the newest addition to the bunch. Rogers. Rogers was the cool coworker when I started my job in Arizona. She was someone I wished I could get to know, but my residual shy-ness wouldn’t let me make the first move. I don’t entirely remember how it started, but I do know it was all her. She invited me over for the first time, she figured out our mutual love of football, she was the outgoing, talkative one that created the prepossessing thing that emerged. Less than a year, that is what took to become something I have a hard time living without. In that time I have seen her get married, reunite with her father, and move across the country to Wisconsin. I now know that love can grow quickly and sneak up on you, but it follows you and digs in. I think my friendship with Rogers is so strong because of all the others that have come before, taught me what mistakes to avoid and where to shore up and build on. We talk less now that she moved, I hear less of her details, but we still share what is bothering us, what is making us happy, and which emotions we are feeling on any given day. I can’t wait to visit to get a more extensive picture of how she is living now, but it is not entirely necessary.

Before she moved we got tattoos to commemorate the time we have had thus far…

tat

I don’t have a picture of hers, but it’s not as awesome lol.

There are others I considered mentioning in this post, because clearly there are others with echos in my life. SMC who was like a sister in college, but who I can’t see a future with right now. Sloth who is complicated in his own right. Wizard and RSCowboy who are just always around when I need them. Anarchy is in the infancy of being something great. Then, of course, Lucky Penny who has inspired and challenged me to live a life that is more than what I ever expected it could be. I love them all, but all their stories will just have to be saved for another day.