Me

“They say it fits, if you let it.”

I’m the girl who does her best writing in the dark. On her phone, in a crowd, with plenty of distractions.
I’m the girl who doubts herself, every day, every single step of the way.
I’m the girl who will laugh too much at your corny joke, the girl who will spend 20 minutes in the dressing room for no reason, the girl who will listen to that one song on repeat 30 times without pause. Because I can’t stop singing it.

I’m the girl who will drink 3 beers and eat 3 slices of pizza in an hour and still want more. I’m the girl who doesn’t know what she wants, despite knowing herself better than most. I’m the girl who will make you feel welcome seemingly without reason, just because you make me feel calm. I’m the girl who drives too fast, takes the corner too short, doesn’t exactly come to a full stop. I’m the girl whose attention you don’t realize you want until you don’t have it.

I’m the girl who will hug you in a public space without consideration for the strangers about. The girl who will buy you what you want when you least expect it. The girl who will remember your birthday and your middle name and your sister’s dog’s best friend’s name. I’m the girl who will forget the one thing you wanted me to remember. I’m the girl who writes the words because the words are important to me. I’m the girl who will seek you out and present you with yourself when you’d rather I didn’t. The girl who will call you in the middle of the night for the simplest reason. The girl who will do a cannonball in the pool just because you’re near. I’m the girl who will let you down when you least expect it. When you need me to do a solid this one time.

I’m the girl you think you don’t know, but you know me all to well. I put the words in your mouth and take the thoughts out of your head. It’s like icing on the cake, and I’m just layering it.

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Brain Lead

You turn all the lead sleeping in my head to gold.

This weekend I felt something other than this apathy. Other than this lead that settles in behind my eyes. Had it really been so long? Yes, I guess so.

I’ve gotten to the age where I realize that some people are permanent. Some people, despite the odds, will stick around. Which is a great trick of life, I think. There are so many of us, and we are lucky to have the option to choose our people.

One of my best allies is half way across the world away from me, and I thought I was prepared for that. I really thought it wouldn’t be any different, but it has been vastly, incredibly different. And I’m left feeling…like I can’t express parts of myself as often as I’d like. I feel this more than I’d like to admit. I bottle up the parts of me that I think aren’t appropriate for everyone, and then as a result they are jumping around inside of me like mexican jumping beans, clawing their way to the surface. “letmeout letmeout” It’s why I count down the days to my Tucson flight, where I can drown in tortillas and drink mild beer in the evenings with my pops.

It’s why I spend two-four hours on Skype with Taryn once or twice a week. Why the things I live don’t seem as real if I can’t share them with her.

The world doesn’t make any god damn sense. I stood in the midst of a mass of young drunk twentysomethings this weekend and thought about how nonsensical it was, that we were consuming beer and mixed vodka drinks at 9am. How maybe some of them came from full-time jobs and health insurance like me, and how some of them would be hungover and finishing their homework tomorrow, and how strange it all is. How ugly those high-waisted shorts are and how stupid boys look in gingham shorts. The whole fucking thing. The zombie apocalypse has already hit and we are living it. It’s consuming us.

So I spent the rest of the weekend cracking really bad jokes and chugging beers and eating cheesy sandwiches with french fries. And I danced. By myself, with another, in a group, on a pole. And it was like, everyone is golden.

I met someone this weekend who let me be me. I tell myself that’s silly. I always have the choice to be me. I can always be me. But it’s not. Sometimes being me creates an uncomfortable environment. A vacuum. Sometimes being me doesn’t let the other person be them. Sometimes it’s a battle of personalities. A battle of wits. But sometimes you meet someone and their me pulls your me right out. Sometimes all the levels align and this happens.

I’m doing it so wrong. This is supposed to be fun. I used to have more fun than this. I have to get my fun back.

I heard he’s trying to write himself, out of a hole he’d dug.
I heard his new mantra is “the more I kill, the more I love.”
I heard he spends most his time, staring at the lock on the door.
Well some people never change, even if change is what they’re wishing for.
-Cass McCombs

Are you there, God? It’s me, Morales

I think about you a lot. I thought about you today, at my new employee orientation, as we stood in the chapel, with the stained glass windows that told the story of the Old Testament and mass.

I remember thinking of you often as a child: at church with Aunt Frieda (remember the doughnuts and the chocolate milk in the basement after? Oh, man. Sometimes she would take us to Hardees for biscuits and gravy before. Oh, wowza.)

I remember contemplating you in the living room of the Tolivers’, as the Mormon missionaries talked to me about their heaven and hell and drew me pictures on papers I got to keep.

I remember whispering to you at Catholic mass when I would go with Raley Myers, when I couldn’t accept the body of Christ. I am damned.

I remember worrying about you at the back of the Cornerstone church, when I was 12 and sweaty and sitting in the pew with my then boyfriend and best friend. I only came for the cookies and the kool-aid and to make some cool shit with arts and crafts.

I remember laughing at you as I read my niece’s religion textbook. As I contemplated her education.

As I played Hebrew Alphabet bingo with Billy and contemplated the lack of hell.

I don’t think you’re a white man in the sky. I don’t think you care if I drink in excess, if I covet my neighbor’s car, if I don’t make eye contact with the homeless man on the street. I don’t think you’ve forgotten my father because he divorced.

Richard was swept away by the waves 4 months ago on this very day, as I was living a typical Saturday afternoon, and I don’t think he’s with you in a great golden chariot in the clouds.

[As sure as the sun will rise, the sun will set, You taste the salt the closer you get. Waves, Picking you up, pushing you down, They’re always around. They can carry you all the way to me, They can pull you out to the deep blue sea. Oh waves, there are waves. Empires will crumble to the sand, All that you love can slip through your hand, But you must face the ocean once again. Follow the tides, wherever you’ve been. -Blondfire]

I don’t think Aunt Frieda is there either. I don’t even think grandma Julia is up there, despite her utter devotion expressed through her Our Lady of Guadalupe candles and her St. Jude.

My father kept Jesus on the Cross hanging in our bedroom. He wears his St. Christopher every day. What does this mean to him? What does it mean to me? The symbols I saw on the daily. I have spent a surprisingly large part of my life reading about you, suspending my disbelief in the strangest moments.

I’ve had moments of clarity. I dreamt about Richard the night I learned of his disappearance. He was wearing a red hoodie; his face was all fucked up. He was tired, exhausted, in shock, but he was fine. He gave me the corner of his face smile, reassured me that he was fine, but that he wasn’t coming back. He stood outside the room he was waiting to enter, and that was it. When I was 11 my grandma died of emphysema. I was sitting in my classroom in Illinois. She was wasting away in a hospital in Arizona. I smelled her that afternoon. That strange spicy smell of her.

I’m sorry, but I don’t think you had anything to do with that. I don’t think you care about abortions, or our health insurance policies, or if a man marries a man. In or around or outside of a church.

I think innocent men go to prison; nice people do bad things; accidents happen. Children die; dogs go missing; bread doesn’t rise; streets flood; tornadoes destroy. I don’t think you have anything to do with that, either. I’m sorry.

Everything matters because it’s just us here, now. Isn’t that right? The world is what we make it, because we are made of it.

And I carry on, wasting time, what a privilege it is.

Amen.

Fall is better in Wisco

“Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

The drive up from Northern Illinois through the center of Wisconsin reminded me: fall is better in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has the rolling hills and these lush red trees. Lush.

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I dunno dude, I’m a floater. As much as I think about myself, I don’t really get myself. I still am unsure of the triggers and the motivations of me. I kind of float around until I land on something that interests me. I had this post semi worked out in my mind, and I keep sitting down to write what I thought was fairly well mapped out and ready to go, only to find I’m unsatisfied with the prospective post. So I ramble.

My weekend was like a movie. Weird. I had this feeling all weekend of being outside of myself–of looking in, looking down, rather than living the experience. I am the wizard behind the curtain.

I had dinner with two couples on Friday. I got lost in the dark lighting of the restaurant (why do they do that? It makes me sleepy.), deeply distracted by the risotto and goat cheese on my plate and the dark glasses of beer I consumed named “Autumn solstice.” (The waiter was totes offended I didn’t take his recommendations…) And I realized, I can’t befriend a married couple. Something happens when you get married and you become part of a functioning unit. You are two. Maybe I can get in good with one spouse, individually, on their own, but you can’t establish yourself with an established couple, not while I’m a single lady. It’s almost discriminatory. The coupled world versus the single world. Like we’re so different. Ugh, and the questions about being single. “We have some friends with broad shoulders we could introduce you to. But they mostly are into sex without commitment. Are you into that now, too?”

In Juno, Allison Janney has a line to Juno where she says something about how she can’t be friends with a married dude. Couples love having other couple friends. I especially can’t be friends with married people who are Midwest natives. When I’m visiting family in Arizona, I often go out with my married sister and her married friends. It’s different than this. It’s…rowdier? Louder. Less polite. People get drunk and start yelling. We end up at the Village Inn or the McDonalds/Whataburger drive thru. In the Midwest I’m home by midnight, eating ice cream out of the container at the kitchen table.

Saturday I drove to T’s parents’. They rushed from their living room to the kitchen to greet me, after caging their rabid dachshund. People in my family just don’t express that kind of emotion. Except for my dad, but even he has his limits.

I ate foods and swallowed all of the alcohol Cecil excitedly presented to me: Oktoberfest beer, vodka shots, apple cider spiked with salted caramel apple vodka, cranberry vodka, apple pie shots topped with whipped cream (“You like whipped cream, don’t ya?”) One of their friends went on to tell a story, much later when we were standing around the fire, about when the cans of whipped cream first came out, and he couldn’t get enough. He pumped so much in his mouth he got sick, much to his mother’s dismay. “I love whipped cream,” he repeated, as he angled the spout towards his mouth and filled it as full as he could.

I met Annie Peters, a small spunky woman with more good spirit than I knew what to do with. She’s one of those who shakes your hand, then holds it as she tells you something endearing about you that she remembers. She’s one of those that makes a joke out of every sentence she utters. Who bounced around and spoke to every body at the party. I liked her immediately, and couldn’t name the person she reminded me of, until it hit me: she’s exactly like my doctor. Isn’t that strange? How long do we go around thinking we are incredibly one of a kind individuals, only to find that there’s another you out there in the world. Maybe doing you better than you do you…

I went on two hay rack rides, much to the delight of Cecil the driver, and between forced conversations with adults who know me by sight, I stared up at the stars and let myself float in that cold fall air. I’m a floater, and I wandered about this party smiling and commenting when necessary, but I also just watched. I don’t mind being in a room full of strangers, as long as they don’t mind me watching them. As long as I have the space to do so. At one point, early in the night, Debby went up to one guest and said, “oh, I’m so sorry I left you alone.” And I felt myself shirk, hoping she wouldn’t say or think that about me. I don’t need to be entertained, but people oftentimes take my alone-ness as a silent request for company. It’s morbid, but the whole time I was at this party, I was thinking how it would be like this if something happened to Taryn. Her absence was so noticeable, and my presence almost seemed insulting to that shape. A mere shadow of what should have been. I would hold a special spot in their minds because I’m her friend. Everyone had a Taryn anecdote to share with me. Everyone wanted to know how I knew her; maybe they already knew of me from her blog. It was a weird feeling I can’t quite name. All these people I feel nothing for, but I’m connected to them all by a woman thousands of miles away.

Sunday I was thinking a lot about my own family, and how I don’t particularly miss them. I can go months without seeing them, without having a real conversation with them. When I do see them, it’s simple catch up chat. My sisters and my niece are the only ones I have meaningful talks with. But that doesn’t make it any less good. I guess I felt that I appreciate them despite not missing them. Despite having other company that I prefer, I still appreciate my family and who they are as people and how they’ve shaped me. They’re not especially polite or polished or social. They twang or they curse or they make inappropriate jokes. They drink in excess, they smoke cigarettes, they eat processed foods. They haven’t seen much of the world beyond their front door. They’re not particularly interested in making new friends or what I’m learning as I travel. But they’re mine and they’re me. They are my go to for understanding sarcasm and politics and what’s messy about the world.

I also started thinking a lot about geography. Wisconsin is rolling and expansive. Northern Illinois, in the river valley, is similar. I imagined La Salle county as being the city man’s version of the country. It’s not as depressed (as Cecil would say) as the country I grew up in. It’s cleaner. The roads are paved and smooth (so the surrounding area isn’t covered in road dust) and the weeds are mowed down on either side. Even the dilapidated houses seem safe in their yards, protected by the community and their tree line. My country is flat, dirty, insecure. Wisconsin seems wholesome and fat. Arizona is urban and brown and so sandy it is shiny.

This weekend I was reminded how people want me. But I was too busy staring at the grass and the leaves to be.

 

Things i do now

Adulthood. It just happens. It’s expected of each and every one of us, and you see it on the daily, every day, but to watch it and feel it actually happening to you– is freakish. It’s a fucking weird experience. And you kind of realize that the world you created in your mind when you were a young, naive, pimple-free child is a complete farce. The lies we tell ourselves to put us to sleep at night. The lies we tell ourselves to get through primary school. Oh my, how those dreams come crashing down as we transform into dysfunctional adults with zero fux.

The things I do now as an adult:
1) I say “mom points” on the daily. I work with all moms. So whenever I hear a good mom story like, “I was kind of a dick to her so I took her to the mall and bought her some shoes.” or “She has to get shots today so I brought fruit snacks.” My response is usually a thumbs up and “mom points!” The vocabulary you adapt is nonsensical. The jokes you make are strange. Your sense of humor morphs in almost unrecognizable ways.

2) I coordinate. Today I look like a fucking horse jockey. Skinny jeans, tall boots, blazer. Casual Friday is only semi-casual. I feel like a child in anything less when I’m at work. Lookatme lookatme, I care about how I look. I was king of jeans and tshirts growing up. I don’t know how this happened. But it’s true, people react to what they see. And every second I can stall the “how old are you question” is a win in my book. Not that I’m keeping points.

3) Everyone is keeping points. Oh, you have a mortgage? a dog? a significant other? a partner? a baby on the way? a promotion? a new car? a marathon you’re training for? a vacation coming up? a wedding to stand up in? friends visiting from out of town? YOU’RE SO ADULT. tally, tally, you are in the running.

4) What the hell are we in the running for? Death? Achievement leads to death.

5) I make rash decisions financially. Not…not well thought out. I think about it from every angle, but when I was younger I was a tight ass with my money. Every penny. I got by somehow on <$500 a month. $500 now doesn’t even pay my rent. So, I do what any sane, rational person would do. I buy clothes I really like, if the price doesn’t make me instantly vomit; I buy nice shoes; I buy good beer and quality food; I take trips when I have the free time.

6) The years aren’t slowing down. I finally understand that phrase, “I ain’t getting any younger.” I’m not gaining time. I’m losing it. Sure, I have to be responsible and consider the time ahead of me, but I am realizing how important the time just in front of me is. Like walking through a doorway. Today is the door in front of me. Next week is the room down the hall. Next year is across the street. I’ll look for cars when I get there, not a day ahead. I realize that planning for all those years is what got me here now, but suddenly, I am tired of the planning. I don’t know. I don’t know and I won’t know. I’d rather wait and see what happens. A little uncertainty is a good thing. It used to freak me the fuck out.

Those songs

If the Internet can post pics of sideboobs, I can surely write about this…

I had the genius idea to make a spotify playlist entitled “throwback” featuring such bands as Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Dashboard Confessional, The Mars Volta, Genesis, and single artists like Gwen Stefani and Pitbull. Basically, the tunes that kept me motivated pre-adulthood.

I’ve always relied on music, but clicking through the playlist seriously was a throwback. That mindset of me age 15-21 comes rushing back. Not that I had the same mindset for 6 years, cause that would be craaazzzzyyyy. I developed. Kinda.

But was I a teenage boy? What are my testosterone levels? Was I a horny teenage boy? I think it’s good; the music allowed me to act out my frustrations with the world, or you know, explore sexuality with music.

I’m reminded too of the chasm I faced growing up. Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G. pop up and those are songs I obviously picked up in Tucson with access to MTV and my older cousins who snuck tequila to the basketball court and my oldest brother who would play Mase and Puff Daddy on repeat in the afternoons when he got home from work. One thing that was not happening in southeastern Illinois: black music.

I liked that girl, for what it’s worth. She was confused and def a little emo (before that was a thing). Back in the day, it wasn’t cool to not give any fux. Now, all the kids are doing it, but back then, it was an idiosyncrasy. Back then, it wasn’t cool to wear a lot of bracelets and converse, that was also reserved for a special population. I’d like to think we’ve really evolved as a society, so that all of those things that used to make you a delinquent now make you acceptable. Or not. We’ve just switched our preferences for delinquent behavior.

My music taste growing up was eclectic at best in my mind. Then I grew up and got out of that town and found others who could listen to TBS and Coldplay in the same mixed CD. Who know all the words to Notorious Thugs and Disney theme songs. So turns out, I’m just like everyone else. But I like to be reminded of angsty Morales. She was such an asshole, and I really liked that about her. It’s harder for me now to be an asshole, which is sometimes good and sometimes bad. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

If you’re curious: 

Things to read

Just a dose of some interesting things on the internet today:

T sent me this: “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers.”
“It’s fall, fuckfaces. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not.”
–Cause we all take fall a little too seriously, amirite?

This I found via the TwitterVerse…or the Facebook Feed. Who knows, really.
I’m not a Cosmo fan. Most of the time I’m gagging on my eye-rolling reaction, but…Joanna Coles said some shit, and I gotta praise her for that.

“And, for a woman, when she has a child is the single most important economic decision she’ll ever make in her life, and we want her to have a choice over that.”
–Who wouldn’t want to have a say in that? You’re going to grow an entire human being with your own body. For fuck’s sake, we should have options.

“I have no problem understanding that women are interested in mascara and the Middle East. Men are allowed to talk about sports relentlessly, and yet we still take them seriously. I don’t understand why women can’t talk about fashion, or sex, or love, or wanting more money and not be taken as seriously as men.”
–Right? So, I have to listen to you recap the strength and weaknesses of every player in your fantasy football league and pause my life so you can sit in front of the TV and wring your hands and pace back and forth due to the progress of a game, but god forbid I ask you about a J.Crew outfit that would make me look fucking terrific? Or tell you about an emotional reaction I had to a movie?

“I’m not saying everybody has to run a boardroom, of course not. But if you want to run your own business, you should be able to. We want to give you the tools and the psychological kind of input to be able to do that.”
–I’m tired of feeling like I can’t. When for every reason and no reason, I can.

Now, listen to Midnight City and fist pump because it’s Wednesday and it’s October and soon you’ll be ancient with wrinkly skin and no hair and you’ll feel sillier when you fist pump.