Only 8 days left until I leave and the closer it gets the more I feel like I’m on the right path. Like I’m finally, finally moving in the right direction again. I want to take advantage of this new city, dance in the lights and explore the hills and meet strangers. And write. I want to write like I’ve never committed to writing before. I want to let myself burst out of my box and actually work for the life that I want. I crawled, on hands and knees to this decision, to make this move happen. With my last breath I reached for the edge, to the surface, and the fresh air is so close I can almost taste it. And I want it. No, I need it. This doesn’t even feel like a choice anymore. It feels like the next step in my evolution, a compulsion. It’s a survival instinct built in to ensure that I don’t stop growing, that I don’t keep myself locked in this tiny box of a life that will inevitably suffocate me and snuff out any light I had inside. I have a chance to make the first of many dreams come true and for the first time in so so long, they seem within reach again. So much is waiting for me. And I met someone, maybe someone great, but right now she lives in my phone. A phantom I can’t see or touch, just out of reach, until I make this jump. This jump across the border that I’m literally aching for. The more it sinks in that I’m leaving soon, the more I’m brought to tears of relief and excitement, and joy. I can’t wait to see what’s waiting for me.
All right people, it’s taken 10 years of intensive research and study, but I believe I have discovered the secrets to successfully sharing a bed with a cat (this could also probably apply to dogs, but I have more experience with cats so this is what the focus is).
- Claim blankets early.
It is important to secure the amount of bed coverings you will need to get through the night early on. This can be done by laying down, pulling up the covers as high as you want, and then getting comfortable. This way, even if you plan to stay up and read, the covers you need will be bunched up around you to be used later, while your pet picks a spot on the blanket that you won’t need to get through the night.
- Claim leg space early.
This sometimes means sacrificing immediate comfort. I like to read before I go to sleep and usually do so with my legs curled under me. However, when I sleep, I stretch out, or try to. Usually by that point my cat has made himself comfortable in a place that prevents me from moving at all. So, I recommend watching tv or reading with your legs out in a position that mimics your preferred sleeping pose. This way, when you do decide to relax, you will not have to move or disturb your adorable sleeping butthead/angel.
- Be careful.
A lot of people have this imagine in mind that their pet is going to sleep cozily at the end of their bed, for the whole night, and everyone will be comfortable. In my experience, this is completely unrealistic. My cat has to be touching me at all times, so I have to be extra careful when I move during the night or wake up screaming from a weird Freddy Kruger dream, not to startle him or accidentally kick him.
- Take pictures.
Screw those people that say you post two many pictures of your pets. THEY’RE ADORABLE, especially when they’re sleeping. So click away and don’t forget to share.
- What if your cat gets their first?
Many of you might be wondering what to do if your pet reaches the bed before you, making themselves comfortable before you can claim leg and blanket space. The answer is nothing. Give up and learn to sleep in a weird, twisted S shape. Or you can do what no one really wants to do and wake up your nugget and make them move out of their super comfy spot and end up feeling like a jackass. Up to you!
I haven’t been able to write for awhile. I mean, I haven’t been able to make myself sit down and write what was going on in my head for a long while. The very act of doing that opens you up to what you’re actually feeling and, in this case, broadcasts it to the world. I wasn’t ready for that because I barely understood what was happening….
but I think I’ve got it figured out. Not solved by any means, it’s going to take awhile to deal with and reprogram my thinking, but I know what it is now, and that makes all the difference.
See, I have kind of a shitty history with…people. I have abandonment issues that have caused me to learn how to control my emotions around others, how to shut myself down and be as cold as I need to be in order to protect myself. It’s a survival tactic, but it isn’t a good one. It’s something that has cost me friends and relationships, something that contributed to my abandonment issues because I didn’t yet realize that, in some cases, I was the reason things were ending as badly as they were.
Couple those issues with the devastating divorce of my parents, a complete loss of support system, and a sexual assault, and you’re left with what seems like, at the time, two choices. I could give up, let it all go, and let the world go on without me, or I could protect myself and make sure none of it ever happened again. I chose the latter.
Brick by brick, I built myself into this Rapunzel like tower, safe from anyone and everyone. I lived alone, I worked alone, I did everything alone. I thought there was a kind of stoic honor in that, in being able to survive without needing anyone else. But no matter how high I built the walls around me, I couldn’t keep my own depression out.
I was barely hanging on, ready to throw myself over the edge of the tower, when I decided that first, I would try moving the structure somewhere else. If I had a different environment, a different view, maybe I would get a second chance at life.
So, I made the plans for the move. Part of which meant that I would have to leave my tower for a little while to stay with my brother in his, occasionally smelly, castle. It was a sacrifice that not only was I willing to make, but one I was hesitant to admit that I really wanted.
As the weeks ticked by, I started to look forward to the times of day when I would see and interact with people I cared about. I wanted to be around them, even though I didn’t trust any of them not to leave at the drop of a hat. I was out of my tower, but still carried its bricks with me, buffering me from everyone I can in contact with. Something was still wrong, and I didn’t know what it was, or why I was still feeling this way.
It was one night, while I was sitting at the canal downtown, that all of this hit me. I was watching everyone walk by in pairs and groups, and feeling sorry for myself for being there alone, when I saw my life for what it was. I saw myself locked in a tower of my own making and I saw that it was killing me. It was then that I realized that having people come in and out of my life, whether they made it better or ripped my heart apart, wasn’t the problem. It was the solution.
I realized that I can’t survive by myself, and that I don’t want to try to anymore. Some people won’t like me for who I am, but others will, and I am just as deserving of friends as anyone else in this world. It is those very experiences that allow us to grow and shape who we are. Staying locked up in a tower, untouched by the world, will only keep you trapped, smothering you until you stop evolving, until you cease to exist.
So here’s to smashing those bricks with a hammer and burning all the rubble. Here’s to throwing my heart out there and seeing what comes back. Here’s to trusting my friends and working every day to be a better friend to them as well. Here’s to learning and growing again.
Here’s to living.
Pic credit: http://inkmonster.net/blog/tag/scructure
I remembered you,
and the look in your eyes,
and the way things maybe didn’t end so bad.
For days I remember you,
and catch myself thinking of how I let it all go,
dreaming of empty space I wish you would come back to.
I remember but years separate us,
and my fingers slip through time when I reach for you,
grasping nothing but air on the other side.
I remember you and hope floods me,
and I throw caution to the wind,
pleading for something I never really deserved.
My pride aside, I keep remembering,
and I shout at the moon to reach you, talk you,
into maybe remembering me too.
Today is International Women’s Day and despite the fact that there are many many writers and speakers who have talked about this subject in a better and smarter way than I ever could, I need to get some stuff off of my chest.
1. Feminist is not a bad word.
Just the other day I sat down to try and talk to my mom about feminism and why some women refuse to identify as such. “I don’t understand why a woman wouldn’t want gender equality,” I said. To my surprise, she didn’t agree. Instead, fear and caution clouded her eyes, and she simply said, “some people don’t believe in that stuff.” That stuff? But why? Who in their right mind doesn’t want gender equality? Or is it the word itself?
In my family, I think it’s the word, the label. I was raised by strong women, taught to never take shit from anyone, especially men, but yet I was never taught about feminism. Rather, that word was used to describe angry women who constantly yelled about politics, alienating themselves from all of the “normal” people who just dealt with the world and didn’t complain.
2. I am angry.
I was finally, gradually, introduced to feminism and what it means over the past ten years. Part of my awareness of it was brought about when I came out as lesbian. In the early days I was shocked by the things men would say, do, assume, when they found out I was gay. It was as if the fact that I’m attracted to women was a personal affront to their own life and ego, and I wanted to know why.
So I read and studied and listened to women who were smarter than me, who understood what I was just beginning to really see, and I learned. I’m still learning, honestly, which I think is something that never really stops. But when you start to become aware of the ways in which women are oppressed or taught to feel or perceive themselves, and how damn fragile some men’s egos are, you become more aware of sexism and its presence in your day to day life. You also become aware of the pressure to just let sexist jokes and comments slide at the risk of sounding like an angry feminist that hates men.
But that’s the thing….I AM angry. Not all the time of course, but when something keeps happening to you over and over again and you start to see not only how it has affected you and your life, but those of the women and young girls around you, it’s frustrating. We aren’t angry, hateful, people. But we’re pissed off that we still have to fight this shit, that we, somehow, still aren’t equal to men in so many ways.
Oh and by the way, your racist, sexist, misogynistic, ignorant, homophobic, ableist, jokes aren’t fucking funny.
3. I will keep fighting.
Many of the people around me have noticed the change in me over the past few years as I’ve become more aware of the world around me and the issues facing women. I think it really came into view for them after the election last year, and their reactions to me have been varied. Some are okay with it, willing to talk about things, but others have told me to keep quiet about those things, that people shouldn’t discuss politics or equal rights with each other. To be honest, it’s made me self conscious about it sometimes. I feel like by just bringing up the subject or adding to a conversation that’s already happening, that I am living up to what their idea of an angry feminist is. I can see that they don’t understand why I just can’t let it go and deal with it. Or why I can’t just be more like them. I don’t miss the cautionary, condescending look they throw my way when one of the subjects is broached.
But I’ve never been that person to just conform. Despite being soft spoken, introverted, and awkward as hell, I’ve also always been full of fire and passion. I don’t want to be like them. I don’t want to be quiet and sit back and hope that one day it all changes, especially when it has an impact on my life every single day. It changes when we start talking about it, when we don’t let those sexist comments or jokes pass us by unchecked. It changes when we fight and make ourselves heard and demand to be treated with the respect we deserve.
So maybe some of the people don’t like me as much anymore, but if they only liked me when I was quiet and uniformed, then maybe I need to evaluate our relationship.
Most of you know that I’m staying with my brother for a couple of months until the big move to ATX. We get along fairly well but I think it’s been at least 11 years since we slept under the same roof. Also in the house is our friend, Tyler, a guy we both know from work. It’s a full house but there’s plenty of room and it’s been a nice change from living alone.
We all get along but sometimes things get interesting…
Here’s an example of how our days generally go….
8:00am: House is silent. Seriously, everyone here is childless and under the age of 30…therefore, no one is awake this damn early.
11:00am: Tyler is still asleep (what a bum). Cameron’s in the garage smoking and drinking coffee because he thinks it makes him more of an adult. I sneak Cameron’s dog into my room and try to convince her to love me more than him.
12:00pm: Lunchtime..or breakfast depending on how you look at it. For the guys: frozen pizza and/or pizza rolls. For me: a sandwich. Cameron says something vaguely misogynistic in an effort to make me mad. Tyler encourages him. I flip them both off.
1:00pm: Cameron “plays game.” Seriously, that’s what he calls it. Whatever, he plays on his xbox before work and argues with my manager, our mutual friend, on speakerphone about whether or not “bike life” is a stupid thing to tattoo on your body (hint: it is). Tyler’s in his room and I’m on the couch reading a book and making fun of Cameron’s gaming character.
5:00pm: I also eat the rest of Cameron’s Cheez-its for good measure and give his dog an extra treat to reinforce the idea that I am way better than my brother. I think it’s working. Then I leave for work.
1:00am: I get home first, feed the cats, and make some dinner. Cameron gets home next, goes upstairs, uses the bathroom, and finds the saran wrap. There’s a lot of yelling on his part, but I can’t stop laughing. He gets all grumpy and goes upstairs to take a shower. I sit on the couch and watch Dance Moms with my dinner.
1:45am: Cameron comes back downstairs and I force him to watch the rest of Dance Moms while he complains the entire time. I throw a pizza roll at his head. It makes contact. His dog eats it and comes to sit next to me. Operation steal his dog is a success.
2:00am: Cameron makes his own damn pizza rolls because my projectile weapon make him hungry. We turn on It’s not always Sunny in Philadelphia and hang out until someone gets too tired to stay awake. At some point during the show, Tyler leans over the balcony on the second floor and tosses his rent down to Cameron…in singles…
Well, I’m officially out of my apartment and in my brother’s house with him and his roommate for the next couple of months. I’m not gonna lie, it feels pretty amazing to be out of that place. I’m grateful for that experience and the sense of accomplishment that came along with it, but towards the end it became a symbol of my own loneliness and I started to feel suffocated.
Things aren’t perfect now that I’m away from it of course, but being around other people most of the time helps. Even when no one is at the house, just knowing that later on they’ll be home or sitting down and watching a movie together when everyone is there, has done wonders. I don’t feel so alone. Most of the time.
For the other times, and to help give myself as much of a chance at success in TX as possible, I decided to go back to counseling. It’s only been one session so far and we don’t have a lot of time, being that I’m leaving towards the end of April, but already it is helping to challenge the thoughts ruminating in my mind. I’m hoping to get out from under this black cloud following me and I know so much of it has to do with the way I think and live day to day. So, here’s to hoping it helps and I’ll be able to move with my head just a little bit clearer.
So that’s that as far as updates, there isn’t much else going on right now.
Oh! Except that I saw Get Out the movie yesterday and it was fucking awesome. It was really smart and scary and also hilarious and everyone should go see it immediately. <3!