Random Thought: Augmented

Current Jam: “Family and Genus,” Shakey Graves

If,
If I,
If I ever wander on by
Could,
Could you,
Flag me down and beg me to
Drop what I’m doing and sit beside you

Few things matter more to me, than
when you send a song my way,
something you heard in passing that
made you think of me.

or, even better, the moment it cued on
your pandora or
your spotify or
your google play –
perhaps a spark lit, a twinkle nicked, and I came
smiling into view.
Maybe a slight skip dropped into your step, because
you thought of us suddenly sharing the same strip of sidewalk.
Sharing a memory as it’s born before us.

I’d do the same – connect to you,
wave across that tight rope of time and space and
bring you closer to me, even if it’s only for 3:23.

 

Sunday Morning

“You are the leaves at my feet.
You are the hum of electric heat.”

Current Jam: “Hum,” Tigers Jaw

I’ve been craving attention. Emotional, yes, but physical too. I’m not even talking about sex, per se (though that would be nice). I’m talking about intimacy. Lying on the couch with an arm slung around me. Someone to come up behind me while I’m poring over whatever, to rub my shoulders and ask how my day went. Watching shitty TV together. I miss those little moments.

So I dunno here’s a poem about mornings and breakfast:

Wake me up gently,
quietly.
Whisper my name with your
fingertips
sliding
leisurely
down
powdered slopes.

Smile into my neck,
make me stretch.
Lengthen my limbs, pull until they
push into yours.

Skate through my hair.
Stare
at that freckle, the one
you love. The one that’s always
flirting with you,
coyly catching your eye,
winking.

Slowly sink,
drink me in.
Make a river out of me.
Make me
rush –
Gush –
Eruptme –

Good morning, my love.
How did you sleep what did you dream?
Tell me as we
come back to earth.

I’ll make us breakfast hot coffee pressed
black just how you like it,
black as that night that snuck past us,
left us unawares, tucked, until the sunny side eggs sizzle up.

What was that?
Oh of course I recall
what you like and how.
Tit for tat, mon deux,
you give to me I’ll give to you.

BEST. WEEK. EVER. And Horoscope stuff – DEAL WITH IT.

Last week…. damn y’all, last week was fucking AWESOME. I had all the bases covered: feeling good, looking good. Kicking ass at work, social butterflying for days, making some money. Got lots of positive attention. The only downside is I’ve barely carved out any time to write… which sucks, because when I don’t do that I end up ADD as hell. My ability to focus is thrust into hyper-difficult-drive, and I can’t keep a thought in my head, let alone follow a conversation. So tonight, god dammit, I said to myself, “SELF. GO. GO WRITE NOW.” And here we are guyz…. ok so,

I know, I know, I’m new age-y and dumb. I *KNOW*, now let’s move on. I treat horoscopes kinda like Tarot: no, they don’t tell the future. Yes, they are incredibly, ridiculously vague. But they give me shit to think about. They provide entrees into brain trains, brain trains which force necessary introspection, and in my personal opinion introspection is a good thing. It fosters self-awareness, and occasionally, change. So. Two things:

1: My horoscope for today read like this: “Do you see yourself the same way others do? At today’s deceptive Sun-Neptune opposition, you may want to borrow someone else’s high opinion of you. Your so-called flaws can seem distorted and magnified—yet they are virtually invisible to others. So why the heck are you fixating on them, Pisces? Be stern with yourself and stop this time-wasting habit. It’s just a way of procrastinating so you don’t have to own your greatness. You’ve been busted. Now cut it out! The world needs your compassionate heart to shine.” (Aaaand obligatory plug: See yours here).

Yeah: despite coming off a stellar week, I felt a little low today, a little off. I was distracted, frustrated that I was so distracted, and I felt anxious… and since I’ve successfully kept that anxiety at bay since I’ve been in PA (like a victorious lion tamer, giddily keeping that lion (Baby?) in the corner (oh wait no, I’m not supposed to do that)), I felt even more anxious. I was scared it was coming back… but eventually it passed. Running helps. I guess that’s something I’ll just have to continue to deal with. Like any stubborn disease it may never ever truly go away… Ugh, anyways…

2: For all you with way better things to do than read up on astrology stuff, Venus has been in retrograde lately (specifically, from July 25 through September 8). Ok so, what the eff does that mean, L’s? Well, you can read extensively about it here, but the gist is this: Venus retrogrades, supposedly, are periods of intense reflection, specifically regarding the worth of your relationships, past, present, even new ones. As my buddy Fran would argue, this can cause exes to come back in droves, for better or worse. Everyone’s wrapped up in their own shit, re-analyzing how they’ve acted, how they’re acting, and sometimes that manifests in people from your past making a re-appearance, even ones you never thought you’d hear from again.

And so, tonight I got an apology… one that I needed. One that I had been waiting for, for a very, very long time. Tears ran down my cheeks before I was finished reading it… because… well, because that particular person hurt me so badly… and I had resigned myself to never, ever getting closure. I had finally, finally, released that aching need. And now, here it was, completely unexpected and without any pretense, no preamble. I won’t relay the entirety of the convo, out of respect for privacy, but the one line that stuck with me was, “I hope you find a really cool person, because you were really that cool.”

*Takes bow.*

Thanks, man. I hope so, too.

Current Quote: “Everything will be ok, whether you like it or not.”  -My new PA uncle, Chip

Current Jam: “Whatcha got?” Red City Radio

Oh, and this: (Because my friends have the best senses of humor)

IMG_5875 (1)

Guest Post: Tinder Lyfe 3 – The Nuances of Messaging

Time for Tinder Round 3, everyone! My clever, hilarious wyfe V is back, this time with some nuggets of wisdom related to two of the most pressing issues facing our society today: harnessing our self-worth as we swim through that sea of fish; and, what to say when we’ve encountered a flounder worth falling for… or at least, a flounder worth texting:

I love learning about other people’s perspectives on online dating and its myriad platforms. OkTrends, Vice’s online dating horror stories, and especially this lady’s Ted Talk. I love them all. It seems like nothing brings out an author’s voice like discussion of the successes and foibles of their romantic (and anti-romantic) gestures into this electronically-enabled wormhole.

Representing yourself in a flattering-yet-accurate way is not something that comes naturally to most people, especially when all you have to work with are snapshots and a paragraph or less. Words and images can seem suddenly inadequate when tasked with recreating a right-swipeable version of a human being.

It’s really not surprising, then, that we Tinder-ers see so many profiles that seem like parodies of each other, and in turn, the profiled. I’m talking here about profile pictures that involve posing with fish or sedated tigers or vacation shots that show the (Potential Tinderella) P.T. from a distance, with their hands raised in awe of a sunset on a Tibetan mountain. Or captions that tell the reader that the P.T. is AMAZING, so you BETTER be just as amazing if you want to slime up your dick in her pussy. See also: likes; hanging out with friends, family, dog/cat, dislikes; “fake people,” “short people,” “fat people,” “poor people.”

Traditional wisdom asserts that an individual is not the best candidate to judge how others conceptualize them. This may be why it’s generally considered bad taste to write your own eulogy. Our personal bias is an automatic disqualification. When dating, however, we must project a relatively flattering version of ourselves while slowly revealing our vulnerabilities. There is no Tinder profile that will perfectly represent the other complicated human on the other side of the wormhole.

As I wrote in my last post, some P.T.s may reveal their vulnerabilities too quickly for my or your particular taste. (See: How To Tinder, Part Deux: Self-Description)  From my perspective, a P.T.’s use of a cliché on their profile is both the exposure of a vulnerability—maybe they’ve internalized the cliché—and a way to hide one’s vulnerability. A commitment to individualism can be lonely.

Maybe you really love fishing, and you’re proud of that catch. Maybe that stock inspirational quote really DOES sum up your current worldview. Perhaps you are medically unable to even consider being seen with anyone whose height is not measured at 6’2” or more. If you’re on Tinder, you’re going to see a lot of people who you think are boring, or who you don’t think are tall enough, well-traveled enough, or artfully tousled enough to warrant a right-swipe.

Don’t worry about it.

Take comfort in knowing that there is something about everyone that someone else in this world will find absolutely distasteful, revolting, morally reprehensible, or—worst of all—hopelessly, shamelessly uncool.

These people who resent you without knowing you, and those who you resent without knowing are not your P.T.s.

After eliminating the absolute NOs, there are a still a lot of people in the world, and while I encourage razor’s-edge-of-cool, established-neural-pathway-searing originality at every turn, no one is that well-read, creative, and flawlessly styled at every moment of their lives. Neither a perfect personality nor symmetrical facial features are necessary passcodes to romantic success. I personally subscribe to the (clichéd) philosophy that you can’t help who you love.  Seen from the other direction, there is likely someone in the world who can’t help but love you.

Have I convinced you of the value of being yourself—your flawed, fascinating, sometimes-hokey self? Great.

I want you to be equally convinced that there are people in the world who aren’t right for you, and be totally ok with this.

This is the hard part, though: its up to you (and your P.T.s) to decide who is right for you, and who isn’t right for you. It’s also up to you to initiate conversation with your matches who you WISH would start the conversation with you.

The reason for this extensive preamble is two-fold:

  1. I am solidly on the side of a charitable attitude toward other Tinder users’ self-representations. I recognize the difficulties, both technical/aesthetic and emotional in crafting a digital self that is truthful without over-sharing, confident but accurate, and flattering yet comfortable. The point is to swipe right on people who intrigue you, and to swipe left on people who don’t do it for you. And always remember you can change your mind and un-match anyone anytime.
  2. After we’ve painstakingly built these profiles, it is necessary to engage in the crapshoot that is actually messaging other humans.

I think that other writers have thoroughly covered that some people are creeps, and that they will act in unpleasant ways when P.T.s try to interact with them. Other writers have also thoroughly covered what NOT to say to P.T.s. See Example 1.  Example 2. I will reiterate that harassment of any kind is never alright, nor should it be tolerated.

If you are a straight lady: message dudes first. They love that.

If you are a straight dude: message chicks first. They love that.

If you are any variety of queer, or potentia-queer, message P.T.s first. They love that.

If you are a dog or a cat, I think it’s cool that you can read. I’m impressed by your ability and honored that you chose to squander your groundbreaking talent and valuable time reading my writing.

As a reward for the hassle of initiating conversation, know that your P.T. is grateful that they no longer have to overcome their shyness, insecurity, and inability to think of “something to say” in order to begin interacting with you.

But what do you say? What is “something to say”?

I don’t know. I rarely remember the first thing I’ve said to someone. It doesn’t matter that much. What matters is saying SOMETHING. “Hi,” “hello,” “nice tits,” and “;)” are nothing.

Since you’re saying something, you might as well go ahead and reference something that you think the other person would like to talk about that also interests you.

That’s all I’ve got. I’m sorry. I don’t know you. And I don’t know your P.T.

I don’t have an algorithm that can vanquish false starts or eliminate small talk. Maybe you could start by mentioning something topical you’ve read lately. Like a blog post about Tinder and why I think we shouldn’t prejudge imperfect people with imperfect profiles.

PS, Did you know that every time you open up your Tinder app, the first few people you will swipe through have already swiped right on your profile?

If you want to take a better selfie, take a 10-second video of yourself “selfie-ing” and then screenshot the instant where you look the best. I still don’t recommend too heavy of a reliance on selfies.

Time to grow the fuck up

I jokingly said that to a neighbor at my going-away dinner. We were talking about the impending move, and how I was actually excited (mostly), to get outta town. I’d been wading in immaturity for too long, and it was time to move on…

I thought about that today as I looked back at the changes I’ve fostered since I’ve been in PA: my drinking and smoking have dropped substantially, I’m exercising at a pre-graduate school level, and I’m eating pretty damn healthy. I’m engaged in my health at an unparalleled level. I joke with my friends that the culprit is ennui: I have nothing better to do! Not enough work, no friends here, what else but perfect my smoothie game and craft those abs I haven’t had since 22? (and! so far so good: I got into a pair of shorts that have been a liiiiiittle too tight for about 2 years… and gasp! This time, they *weren’t*! WOOT!)

I’m making an unprecedented effort at my mental health too. It helps that I’m not (as) bat-shit crazy, but beyond that milestone, I’ve thrust all those creative or self-fulfilling pursuits I’ve felt too busy to pursue – wanting to read more, to write more, to practice photography more, to (finally) learn another instrument – to the front of the priority line (second fiddle only to finding that second job). I still get a bit scatterbrained when the evening arrives, when I’ve exercised and eaten, and then… well… then what? I still have to take a breath, and remind myself that there is no rush to pick up one c(h)ord or another. I have nothing but time… at least for the time being… ha. I’ve become preoccupied with a self-betterment program (I literally just started calling it that, at this moment), because I realized I was neglecting those parts of myself for so long, mostly because I was trying to find that satisfaction in other people and things.

The exclamation recurred to me yet again while I was perusing my email this morning and came across a message from my lovely grad school wifey, V. She was forwarding me an article called, “How to Spot an Emotional Grown-up.” Her synopsis read thusly:

“Sometimes I read goop, even though it is often pointless and/or classist. But I like this article on emotional maturity in relationships. It made me think of relationship bingo and my upcoming blog post on tinder messaging.” (Coming soon, gentle readers).

I had some time to kill… literally, I was in a waiting room, so I took a gander. The hosting interface and the debate over it’s intrinsic value aside, this piece was well written, informative, and thoughtful. Naturally it gave me stuff to ponder, an additional level-up on the emotional health: it made me aware that I was very emotionally immature until just recently (I hope and pray). I spent too long agonizing over my breakups, picking them apart like carrion. I was a pendulum of extreme reactions. I would swing from a self-deprecating “it was all my fault” melancholy, to enraged, bitter, shoving all the blame onto them. They weren’t blameless, exactly, but neither was I. I participated in a level of behavior that I abhor in other people: refusing to acknowledge when you’re wrong. And, according to this article, “emotional grown ups own their shit.” So I’m trying to do that these days…

All in all, there were several components to this article that I had gleaned already: EGU’s use language thoughtfully (learned that one from watching my parents: they always fought fair. There was no name calling, no keeping score, no hitting below the belt), EGU’s have empathy for others (I seriously don’t understand people that can’t do this. It’s like, the first thing you learn in kindergarten, the golden fuckin’ rule, ya know?), and there were some nuggets that I needed reminding of, specifically, EGU’s love and care for themselves:

“In the end, people need to be responsible for their own well-being.” Historically I have been pretty selfless, and pretty needy in my romantic relationships. I blame it on a constantly wavering sense of self-worth and a fear of feeling lonely… I think I will always battle with those emotional landmines. I will always struggle a little bit, navigating my social needs with self-preservation, reminding myself that I am worthy of a committed relationship, that I deserve unconditional love. But one of the things that PA has done for me is forcing me to be independent again, and to be content with my own company. The journey began before I got here, but my routine has really solidified it lately. I have a hard time getting myself out there, not being reclusive. I’m not sure why. I like going out and doing shit. I think, sometimes going out and doing shit, though, amplifies the thought that I am alone, and that, right now, I have no one to share those experiences with. And that kind of sucks.

The silver lining, is these days the healthy mind and body changes keep me stable, and they keep things in perspective for me. I kind of look at it like, by devoting this time period to myself, I’m effectively distancing myself from those emotional immaturities. It’s like weening off an addiction; sometimes you gotta go cold turkey. Plus, (and I don’t think this belies my previous statement) I think of it as making myself that much better, that much more deserving, for the next relationship, whenever it comes about…. ‘Cause, ya know, I can’t have a healthy, adult relationship until… well… until I grow the fuck up.

On a lighter, warm and happy note, here’s a whimsical nugget of an article I came across the other day, that made my heart smile: “I Want to be Single – But With You,” by Isabelle Tessier. I felt like it was the heart to the previous article’s head approach to an emotionally healthy relationship. Love and logic, two sides of the same coin.

 

Current Jam: Still obsessed with new Death Cab: “No Room in Frame” (and still “Little Wanderer,” let’s be real).

How to Move from FLA to PA

The short version: It takes a little bit of moxie and a lot of rope.

And now, the Long version: Finally, the time had come. After two months at home, I had to pick up the truck, load it, and set off to the wilderness of central PA. I was apprehensive, to say the least. This would be the second major move of my life, the farthest away from home I’d even been (with the exception of a summer study abroad). I didn’t feel particularly “ready,” but I doubt I ever would have felt that way. The change was imminent, whether I liked it or not.

Despite the evident anxiety, part of me was relieved. As I anticipated, I was back in a routine that wasn’t good for me; too much drinking, not enough healthy living. It’s not that I want to completely leave that part of me behind, exactly… Gainesville is a wonderful place, with wonderful people, and I will never believe otherwise. But it’s also a kind of Neverneverland. You float on in a happy bubble of Sunday Fundays and nightly pool crashing, the accompanying white noise the crush of a beer can or the clink of a bottle as it jostles around in your messenger bag. I don’t have the liver, the metabolism, or the psychological stamina for it, and part of me is thankful for that. As much as I love my time at home, I also waste too much time, too much of myself there.

Well…. it wasn’t all wasted….

Anyways, I tried to stay awake through my last night, since Ed and I were headed out bright and early. I didn’t make it, and fell into a fitful sleep at 2 am… awakening with a panicked start at 6. I had one last hour. It wasn’t enough time. It wasn’t enough… but then it never would be, because it never is. Not when you must pull away from your home, and your family, and your friends… and those who occupy that exciting, and exhilarating, and precarious place between friend and more.

The final embrace, the first time Ed hit the gas, the first turn onto the highway…. all those moments came and went with sudden, painful pulls deep in my rib cage, the dual sadness of loss and the encroaching fear of the unknown. I struggled the first leg of the trip, trying to stay upbeat and positive as Ed and I navigated through a plethora of topics, our conversation bouncing back and forth as it does when best friends are left in sweet solitude to their own dialogic devices.

In totality the drive was beautiful, and fun, and eventful. I was nervous about driving, not so much about the size of the truck itself, but the size of the truck with Greta attached, via a shoddy tow dolly. I kept looking in the rear view mirrors, utterly paranoid that the next time I checked, there just wouldn’t be a car there anymore. Before we even got out of Florida we were accosted by a horn blast and a trucker in the lane next to us, gesticulating wildly. We pulled over, to discover the pin holding in one of the metal ramps to the dolly was gone and the ramp grated against the asphalt….. and in comes the rope I mentioned earlier:

 

 

This is why you keep a length of rope in your car, kids.

Surprisingly, that held strong for the rest of the trip.

We rolled in to Lewisburg around 4 p.m. on July 4th. Amidst the sporadic bursts of firecrackers (which never failed to startle me), we unloaded the truck, hit Target for the essentials, and celebrated the holiday at the closest open bar, as only we Gainesvillians can. The night ended with Community, eating eggs and sausage out of the one clean pan we could find, the stretch of open windows in my living room keeping us connected to the drunken revelry below (reminded me of home right away! I could have been outside of Loosey’s or Boca).

The next day I dropped Ed off at the airport… and continued on solo….

It’s been about two weeks now. I love the job, but my bank account is suffering greatly without a second means of income. I’ve been applying for additional work, but this being a college town, business in the summer slows, so I may not find anything until classes start again… oof… my wallet, it burns!

Aside from the stress associated with my hazardous financial situation, I’ve managed to build a relatively healthy routine. I don’t drink during the week, and I’m working out regularly. I’ve lost 5 lbs already! (Thank goodness, because holy GOD I was a lil’ chunkster when I left; yet another downside to the party-girl lifestyle I indulge in at home). I’ve got some social plans arranged over the next few weekends, which I’m thankful for. This is the second weekend I’ve had to myself. I can’t spend money (duh), which trickles down and creates problems with my normal, tried-and-true people-meeting techniques… well… my main people-meeting technique: bars. As a result, I’ve been very reclusive when I’m not at work.

Two years ago, this scenario would make me an anxious mess, battling crippling panic attacks, popping medication like tic tacs in a futile effort to cope…. this time… I’m still lonely, but for some reason I’m also not as interested in forging new ties. I’ve been trying to articulate why I feel the way I feel, trying to understand why I’m actively isolating myself. I think there’s a few reasons, which seem to converge around the lifestyle I want to lead, versus the lifestyle I usually end up with…. the same old tune I always sing, about wanting to drink less, mostly. I guess I’m hoping I can build new relationships that aren’t centered around that insidious activity…

Even that explanation though, seems incomplete…. I’m still depressed…. but it’s not over the whole picture. Like I said, the job is great; it’s a pivotal puzzle piece for my future. I’m confident that I’ll learn a lot, and it will prove a huge growth in my career aspirations and professional confidence. Perhaps what I’m struggling with is coming to terms with the way my life is, at 29, and how it differs from the way I imagined it when I was younger…. bear with me for a second, ok?    

…so, I was on Pinterest the other day, absent-mindedly looking over the boards I had, when I came one that I’m sure is nearly ubiquitous to every female on this interface: the future wedding board (mine happens to be called, ‘One day…’). I must have started it years ago, because as I perused it, I saw subtle changes occur in my taste. Not that surprising, when I considered the board’s age. That small variance, though, stuck with me through the rest of the day. I thought about how (maybe this is too pessimistic, but somehow I don’t think so), that life event may have passed me by. At least, the way in which I first envisioned it. If I ever do get married, it will never be how a younger me pictured it, because that time has simply passed. Things change as you grow older; things you used to like no longer retain that same shimmer of appeal. Activities, people, even cocktails you once adored fade in fascination. These changes are necessary and inevitable, of course, and some of them I gladly dismiss as they pass into memory. But at the same time, I feel like I’ve missed out on some of these rites of passage, and I’ll never have that opportunity again, because time, at least as we conceive of it now, is linear. There’s no way to move but forward, and that constant affects every aspect of your life, whether you want it to or not.

That sentiment gives me comfort sometimes, especially when I think about the choices I’ve made regarding my career. I’ve been ambitious, to a degree, and it seems to be paying off (in experience and opportunity, if not in greenbacks yet, haha). My family is proud of me, and I’m proud of me, too. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for certain aspects of my personal life. I know I sound like a broken record; I’m sure several of you roll your eyes, thinking, “oy, not this sob story again. We get it, you’re lonely.” Well, you naysayers can just deal with it, because this is my soapbox and I’ll say what I damn well please.

Anyway, in a roundabout way, what I’m trying to convey, is that my depression probably stems from the very fact that I’m choosing to isolate myself. Historically, I would be obsessed with finding the next guy to fill that emotional void, which is no good, I know. Now, it’s as if I’ve resigned myself to the seclusion. And that resignation is what depresses me. It feels like I’m giving up, like I’ve finally dropped the romantic ideal that I’ve clung to for so long, that he’s out there. That my *best* best friend exists. That timing doesn’t matter; if it’s meant to be, it’ll be. I’ve lost my faith in those meaningless platitudes. Timing is shit. Timing sucks, and I don’t inherently trust that he exists anymore. Even if he does, I’m so jaded, and I’m so distrusting of my intuition now, that I probably wouldn’t even recognize him if he was standing right in front of me. So, instead of putting myself through yet another heartbreak, I’m trying to just… focus on other things… but see, that’s what depresses me, if that makes sense. I’m depressed because I’ve lost that idealistic aspect of my personality, that innate trust in the universe, that it will give me what I desire if I’m a good enough person, if I try hard enough, if I trust, and continue to hope. Time is linear, right? I’ve shed the skin of that optimistic young girl. She’s quickly fading into memory. The pragmatic me that has taken her place has decided, apparently, that staying in and watching Downton Abbey, a peppermint tea by my side, is as good as it’s gonna get, and I might as well get used to it.

Hahahaha. I’m re-reading this, and I have to say sorry, gentle readers. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer as fuck right now. But these are the thoughts I’ve been mulling over lately. I promise, next time, I’ll post beautiful pics of my new ‘hood (because silver lining, it is actually quite beautiful).

Current Jam: I finally started listening to the new Death Cab album, which I am now obsessed with. Combo of “Little Wanderer” and “Good help (is hard to find)”