I was quiet, and not part of the solution.

I saw something bad today, and I should have said something. And I didn’t.

I was on public transpo. I’m always on public transpo, parking in any major city is too expensive, I should have my mail sent to the train. I was busy with Sudoku because I’m a nerd, and sitting across the aisle from two ladies with frosted hair and Talbots outfits. Basically, what I’ll end up looking like in 5 years no matter how many times I try to avoid it by painting my nails black or wearing obnoxious leopard print clothing . In front of me was a lady in a business suit and a hijab. And one frosted lady looked at the other frosted lady and said, audibly, “The head thing – that’s so sad. Those people. So oppressive.”

I’ve been hearing this more and more lately. A whisper on the train, people giggling and averting their eyes at the supermarket. Is it just me?

Maybe I was sheltered because I grew up in a town where the African-American girl or the Indian kid had parents that were your parents’ coworkers, or maybe their bosses. Everybody was at your pre-dance nonsense, taking photos; your parents picked your friends of different races up from soccer practice; and your dad talked to their dads about whatever boringass township issue was going on…about the sprinklers… or who wasn’t allowed to build a fence because of regulations. Nobody was any different than you because there was no class difference – everybody had at least two bathrooms and went on vacation in June. My prom photo looked like a United Colors of Benetton ad – four kids of four different races, all wearing clothes from the same store, all pretending we hadn’t been drinking beer while my dad took a photo in my front yard.

I think we were lucky. I don’t honestly think I ever encountered actual, tangible, audible racism until I went to college. I can’t speak for everyone, but that was my experience. My father told me once, when I was in high school, “I don’t care if the guy you marry is Japanese or black or purple. Or I guess a woman. Or I don’t know. If they’re good people with a job. Ok, I’m going upstairs.”

He was German. He short-circuited. But the sentiment was there.

Even after college, I don’t remember ever hearing talk like this, openly, until recently. It used to be something assholes said at Christmas in front of their family that you ended up hearing by accident and then left, twitching. It wasn’t something you heard on the train. I’ve been hearing it on the train.

Anyway, I heard this and I think I should have said something, but I didn’t, I just sat there, for some reason feeling embarrassed. I think people underestimate American Muslim women. I’ve only met two who wore a hijab after they were adults, but they’re both RNs and RNs make a pretty decent living. They’re not dumb bunnies, not dependent and helpless, suffering under anyone’s thumb. They’re college graduates, successful ladies with careers, who choose to cover because they friggin want to. No one is forcing them to do it, neither have family here and one actually has a Catholic Irish husband from Boston who certainly isn’t making her wear a headscarf. His name is Sean and he has freckles like me and can drink like me so I assume he’s also Catholic like me. Well, that, and the giant Blessed Virgin tattooed on his arm. I’m fairly certain he isn’t making his wife wear anything she doesn’t want to.

Amish girls and nuns cover their heads. This is America, you can put whatever you damn well please on your head. Bunny ears, a hijab, tin foil.

I should have said something. I think if I flashed my tattoos and made a scary face, I’d look unhinged. Unhinged enough that they wouldn’t have said anything back.

I should have said something. Next time I will.

Posted in guilt, racism, social issues, Uncategorized, understanding | Leave a comment

I review a crappy movie for you.

double daddy

I don’t watch a lot of television. I don’t have any good cable channels, I have a job and college classes, and I generally would rather my spend my time staring at the wall or cleaning my cat’s ears than watch anything on regular TV. But tonight, I am ill and propped up in front of the boob tube with some hot broth and a cold compress, and I’m ashamed to say I just watched a movie on Lifetime. It was called ‘Double Daddy.” Have you seen it? I’m assuming no, because you’re reading this and that means you can read so you probably have better things to do. I get a hall pass because I’m sick and can’t get off the couch.

Ok, first off, this movie was a supposedly scandalous drama about…16-year-olds. So I assume it’s geared toward that age group because generally, no one finds teenage problems interesting except teenagers. However, it was on til 11:00 on a Thursday night so I’m not sure. I never equated Lifetime Television with a teenage target audience since it seems to be mostly low budget films about middle aged women getting raped, stalked and tied up and is probably not as interesting as Pornhub or gossiping on the phone…plus you’d think if those little whippersnappers were up half late-ish on a school night they’d be doing homework or hiding in their rooms pretending to be 25 on Tinder… or whatever 16-year-olds do. I don’t remember, I haven’t been 16 for a while.

So I’m going to recap for you. In case you’re ever tempted to watch it. You don’t have to, I did it for you. Save your brain cells.

RECAP:

Ok, here we have two characters. A perky blonde girl who is working at a counselor at a camp. She has a big smile, bright white teeth and a baggy polo shirt. Very little makeup. She’s very wholesome and obviously a virgin; I can tell because the perky, wholesome blondes in these movies are always virgins. And also because she said so in the first five minutes. We see her call her rich douchebaggy boyfriend whom we’ll call him Rich Douchebaggy Boyfriend, or RDB for short. He’s having a party while his parents are away doing some rich people activity. Tsk tsk, and while she’s working so hard, knitting sweaters and reading to orphans at Camp Wholesome. He lies to her about it. We feel sorry for Perky Blonde. We’ll call her Stale Vanilla.

RDB has sex with a random partygoer in his dad’s Mercedes after chugging a bunch of his parents’ liquor. He doesn’t look very badass  so I’m assuming it was Peach Schnapps but they don’t say. The random partygoer is bad news. She has brown hair and large breasts and her shirt is NOT baggy. She’s wearing mascara AND eyeliner. That’s how you know she’s bad news. You look at the haircolor.

The plot thickens: RDB has sex with Stale Vanilla. She ends up pregnant and so does Bad News Brunette! Pregnant at the same time! At the same time! Oh no! Double Daddy!

Bad News Brunette, it turns out, lives in some roach-infested trailer with her creepy father who wears a pit-stained wife beater t-shirt and says inappropriate things to her. Apparently her mother abandoned her and now she’s all messed up in the head. She’s a nutcase. You see her talking to herself. Which I do too, sometimes, so it takes me a second to realize this is suppose to signify she’s a lunatic.

The parents of RDB and Stale Vanilla have an argument. Some creepy thuggish guy comes to threaten Bad News Brunette and shoves her in her trailer. Apparently they were in some kind of scheme together. It’s getting hard for me to pay attention. This is not a good movie.

RDB’s mom tries to bribe Bad News Brunette to stay away from her son, who is ruining his future and won’t be able to go to Law and Order SVU’s Hudson College or wherever people on Lifetime go to college. Bad News’ dad steals the money and she has to move into RDB’s family house with his family. Bad News Brunette throws a plate at RDB’s mom and takes pictures of him when he’s sleeping. I think she’s supposed to be the villain but I can’t tell. Personally I dislike her less than RDB.

I’m now very bored. I’m trying really hard to figure this out and I think I’m supposed to be rooting for Stale Vanilla, who is jealous and cries a lot, yet punches her pregnant archnemesis in the hallway of school. None of these characters are likeable. I don’t think I’d pee on any of them if they were on fire, even if I really had to pee. I’d hold it, just to be spiteful. 

It’s nearing the end. Bad News Brunette tries to kill Stale Vanilla on a school trip. It doesn’t work. I’m honestly kind of disappointed. Bad News Brunette gives birth on a pile of sticks and ends up in jail.

RDB and Stale Vanilla are supposed to give their baby up for adoption to Stale Vanilla’s bitter, barren older sister, but at the last minute, after their baby is born, they decide Baby Vanilla should stay with its mother. They now have this baby, and Bad News Brunette’s baby, because she is in jail. Everyone’s happy and grinning ear to ear in the hospital. Two teenage idiots who would be lucky if they could score working papers to get jobs at McDonald’s and a bunch of smiling parents.

The end. You’re welcome.

Good job, Lifetime. 50 gazillion screenwriters waiting tables in Hollywood and this is what you come up with. Bravo.

Posted in Lifetime television, movies, television, Uncategorized, wasting time | Leave a comment

The Doormat Diaries.

doormattwordpress

Not a good look.

I don’t know the secret to happiness or the meaning of life, perhaps I never will, but I’ve figured something out. I have learned the most glorious word in the English language. It’s not “joy” or “love.” Or even “puppies.”

It’s “No.”

It took me thirty years to learn this one, folks.

I don’t have a degree in gender studies or psychology, and I certainly can’t speak for all women. I know many men have this problem too, but it seems to be more prevalent amongst the fairer sex. In the course of my travels through this lifetime I’ve always wondered why we girls are so concerned with being “nice” that we’re completely willing to fall all over ourselves performing tasks for others while we neglect ourselves. Honestly, sometimes we do the most ridiculous things for people we barely even know, often to the point of being blatantly taken advantage of, because we feel uncomfortable saying no. It seems for the most part, at least from my experience, most men want to be respected. They want to be the smart, successful badass that everyone looks up to. Girls want to be “nice.” We want to be liked.

I don’t know if it’s primarily due to nature or nurture, but looking back I realized I’ve engaged in this monkey nonsense since I was a small child. I was encouraged to be sweet, generous, helpful and quiet, while my brother was admired for being outgoing and boisterous and making snarky comments under his breath. Once, I sat and watched helplessly while a little asshole neighbor boy drew all over my favorite dollbaby with permanent marker… and didn’t tell on him because I didn’t want to be a ‘tattletale.” Tattletales weren’t nice. I let other kids cheat at games of ‘Mr. Pop’ and ‘Candyland’ and pretended I didn’t notice. I vaguely remember some older girls in the neighborhood convincing me to eat a bunch of acorns from the yard. I’m serious – fricking acorns, dude. Which I did, I actually ate them.  Not because they threatened me with any kind of violence, which is probably the only reason a little boy would eat acorns, but because I wanted them to like me.

sillyselfies

Okay, well I was only about six, so it was probably because I was too young to know any better, right? Nah.

This didn’t end in childhood. As a teenager and a young adult, I didn’t walk around chewing on a handful of acorns, but I was still constantly doing favors for people for no reason whatsoever except that I was afraid of being looked at as selfish. Sure, you can copy my homework. Yeah, I guess you can borrow my new sweater. Oh, you want my Doritos? Ok, I’m on a diet anyway. When I was a little more observant of such things, I noticed that it wasn’t just me – I saw patterns in behavior that seemed to vastly differ between males and females. One situation that I think provides a perfect example is the time I spent working as a server and bartender in various restaurants. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you know these establishments are basically terrariums for every questionable aspect of human nature that exists on this planet. People are generally exhausted, grouchy and frustrated with their lives in general, and everyone is constantly trying to finagle their way out of a shift so they can go to a party or find someone to take over their section and sidework so they can duck out early and go get wasted down the street. The thing that struck me as odd, though, was that whenever a fellow employee would ask one of their female coworkers for a favor, she’d either begrudgingly do it, or feel compelled to make up some detailed story about why exactly she couldn’t do it, whereas the boys would just say no and leave it at that. I started to pay attention to this. Time and time again, over and over, the same thing happened:

“Hey Sarah, can you cover my shift tomorrow?”
“Ummm…I wish I could, I’m so sorry, but I have to take my grandma to the doctor. I’m so sorry. I wish I could, but she’s really sick. Did you ask Amy?”

“Hey Bob, can you cover my shift tomorrow?”
“Nah.”

Once I transitioned into a different type of career, one where certain people had certain jobs and the passing back and forth of responsibilities wasn’t considered acceptable or productive, I didn’t notice this so much in the workplace, but it still crept up in my social life. By this point I was aware of it, but for some reason I still kept doing it.

Sure, I’ll watch your dog. Again. Oh, you need a designated driver? A ride to the airport? Blood? My left arm?

I think one of the most comical examples I can remember that pertains to this story is the Saturday I was recruited to dig rocks out of someone’s yard. I’m not even quite sure how it happened, but I’m glad it did. Not only does it make for an entertaining story, now that time has passed and I’m no longer seething with bitterness about it, but I think it was actually a pivotal moment in my career as a professional doormat.

I love to garden, and I’m actually pretty handy for a tiny woman. I have my own little set of tools and a small truck, so I was the one people would come to when they needed to retrieve an Uber-de-flooberdoober sofa from Ikea or move boxes from one apartment to the other. This particular Saturday someone asked me to assist them with their garden. I didn’t really feel like it, but they needed to pick up some things from Home Depot that wouldn’t fit in their Honda Civic, as well as borrow my rake and shovel, so I said okay. I figured I would transport some bushes and maybe help dig a hole or two.

Turns out this person didn’t actually have a garden yet. What they had was a plot of land filled with huge rocks, which they assumed I would be pleased as punch to spend all day excavating while they puttered around deciding where the flowers were going to go once I was done digging. This wasn’t someone I was particularly close to or owed any favors, either. This wasn’t my sick grandma or an elderly neighbor who needed someone to rake their leaves. This was a perfectly able-bodied person who had more than enough money to hire someone to complete this monstrous task.

What. The. Fuck.

It’s something I can laugh about now, but at the time, it was not. Once I realized what this “favor” entailed, I was flabbergasted I had actually been asked to do such a thing. I think my jaw dropped for about a half hour. These were huge blocks of dirty concrete, buried under rotten leaves, worms, and roots. I mean, huge, like 40-60 lbs a pop which I was supposed to dig out with a shovel and haul across the yard into a pile. The kind of rocks people on chain gangs were asked to deal with as punishment in old black and white movies starring Steve McQueen. I don’t remember murdering anyone in the 1920s so for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why I was in this situation. And then I realized why: because I always said yes to everything. I was asked to do it because I was the only person within state lines that would possibly be dumb enough to agree to it.

And for once, I was not concerned about being nice. I was pissed. And I went home.

I wish I had learned the importance of setting boundaries in my younger years, I know it would have saved me a lot of heartache. Being ‘too nice’ can be a vicious cycle. The more you do for certain people, the more they expect. You feel worse about yourself. You do more favors.

Sometimes you end up gravitating toward people who seem to possess the quality you’re so desperately lacking – a healthy dose of good old “I give no fucks” – style self-esteem…and sometimes those people turn out to be rather unpleasant characters. It can be easy to confuse a healthy self-respecting person with an entitled, cocky one when you don’t have a healthy sense of self.

And last but not least, sometimes when you don’t have firm boundaries with friends or loved ones, when you don’t speak up and say, “Hey, I don’t feel like doing that” and do whatever they ask anyway, they have no idea they’re putting you out. You end up resenting them when it never had to be that way. You’re not helping them in the long run, and you’re not helping yourself. Someone who really cares about you doesn’t want you to be silently angry with them because you felt obligated to do something for them. Believe me, they’d rather rake their own yard.

I still do favors for people. I’ll pick up friends who I know would do the same for me, I’ll walk my elderly neighbor’s dog and spend the weekend cleaning out my grandma’s attic. But I say no a lot more now.

No, you can not borrow my truck. I need it.
No, I will not pick you up at the airport when you haven’t returned my calls for six months.
No, I will not dig rocks out of your yard.

 

No. It’s a beautiful word.




Posted in boundaries, friendships, relationships, self love, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Brief Adventure in Online Dating: A Campfire Horror Story

This morning on the train to work, I was absentmindedly finishing a crossword puzzle that a previous commuter had started and then abandoned on the seat, when I happened to glance at the horoscope section. I usually pay no attention to this section, it’s not my cup of tea. I prefer the puzzles. But this one was ironically pertinent to something that’s been on my mind a lot lately: online dating. Once upon a time I was briefly introduced to this bizarre and awkward phenomenon and honestly, I don’t know how people do it. God bless you if you have the patience for it, I gave up after two dates.

horoscope
Here’s today’s horoscope. File under “Duh.”

I have nothing against online dating, I know several people who’ve had some luck with it, and it was at their suggestion that I eventually decided to give it a shot. A college friend recently became engaged to a wonderful woman he met on a dating site, and my brother found his current partner the same way. And let’s face it, I wasn’t doing all that well going about it the old-fashioned way. I hadn’t had any interest whatsoever in anyone who had asked me out in person in months, except for one, and he had apparently decided I was an unbearable waste of time after one date.

So I decided to give it a shot. College Friend gave me some pointers. “People use old pictures of themselves and exaggerate.” he said. “And sometimes men have a tendency to get nasty and aggressive if you don’t respond to them.” Oh okay, so it’s like real life, I thought. “Oh, and don’t expect to find somebody right away. I literally went on like 40 dates before I met my lady.”

40 dates? I was stunned, this endeavor seemed like it would require more time and effort on my part than any hobby I had ever had. That was a college degree’s amount of time. I asked my brother if this had been his experience. He said no, but there were only a handful of gay guys in his area on the site he had signed up for, and he “just picked the best looking one and ended up lucking out.”

Still, I figured there was no harm in trying. I signed up. I filled out my little profile and uploaded some recent selfies. I had no idea what I was in for. This is in no way designed to discourage anyone from giving it a shot…it might work for you. But it certainly didn’t work for me, and I figure after the nervous tic I’ve developed as a result of the experience, at least maybe someone out there will get a good laugh out of it.

When you first sign up for these things, and you’re a female with all her teeth and no visible oozing boils, you get a lot of responses. Within minutes. The majority of them were standard and boring, probably a generic inquiry that had been copied, pasted and sent to every new woman who popped up on the site. But a couple were downright disturbing. One person sent me a message, asking I was a ‘sub’ or a ‘dom’…and I had to google that because I had no idea what he was talking about. Oh! Excuse my French, but DaFuq you asking me about that for, sir? Was there something about my choice of outfits or hairstyle that made you think I was into such business? I was not happy.

I eventually ended up going out on two dates. I’ll leave out certain identifying details and names because I don’t want to be mean, even though these men will ever see this blog, or know anyone else who will see it.

DATE #1

First date I accepted was a man who appeared pretty normal. He was about my age, attractive, and seemed intelligent. We chatted for a while online and then texted. He said he lived in my town and asked if I’d be interested in meeting up for a drink at one of the local restaurants nearby. I went, we had a few drinks and we were have having a pleasant time, discussing how weird online dating was for a first-timer. He kept saying, “I’m so glad you look like your picture. Oh wow, you look like your pictures. The last couple women I went out with looked nothing like their pictures, they were beasts.”

Of course I look like my pictures. They’re pictures of me, dummy. And you’re starting to sound a bit douchey.

He appeared to be getting a little drunk. Then he said something odd. He asked if I wanted to meet up with a few of his neighbors at a party that was three towns away. Now, I’m obviously not going to get in a car and drive to an undisclosed location with a stranger; I’m not trying to end up hogtied in someone’s trunk. I watch Lifetime, I know what’s up. But it wasn’t the fact that he asked that caught my attention, it was that his neighbors lived three towns away, and he supposedly lived here. “Don’t you live here?” I asked, confused.

You know that look someone gets when they let something slip and have to come up with a quick response to rectify the boo-boo they just made? Except they’ve been drinking and their brain isn’t working correctly?

Him: Errr. I live here sometimes, off and on. I’ve been…umm.. staying with my friend.
Me: Why? I thought you had a house in town.
Him: Well, I’m divorced and my wife is in the house right now.
Me: You’re divorced and you still live with your ex-wife?
Him: Well, we’re technically not divorced, we’re separated but you know how that goes.

I wondered if his wife knew they were separated.

Now, maybe this guy was separated, maybe he was just going through an unfortunate breakup where mutual property had to be divvied up. I don’t know. Anything’s possible. But if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. As far as I was concerned, he may as well have been wearing a nametag that said, “Hello, I’m a damn duck.”

DATE #2


This man was a little bit younger than I was, but only a couple years. I figured at the very least that meant he wasn’t married. And he was really funny. I like funny. He asked if I wanted to meet up for a drink after work. I said okay.

He seemed to be getting a lot of calls while we were sitting at the bar. I mean, A LOT. He had said he worked in a certain sales profession that I had also worked in, one which requires you to constantly be on the phone if you want to make any money. I assumed that was why, but these calls were coming with an irate Baby-Mama frequency, and he wasn’t answering any of them. “You can answer that,” I said, and I excused myself to go to the bathroom. And kind of took my time lurking around the corner. As soon as I was out of sight, he picked up the 587th call he had received in a two hour period.

“Jesus, Mom. I’m on a date! God! I’ll be home later.”

Well, I guess living with your mom is better than living with your wife, and while there are a few legitimate reasons one might end up temporarily residing with a parent at our age…perhaps they’re ill, or you’re ill, or you move out of one apartment and can’t move into the next one for a month…I know that shit sometimes happens in life, but he had said that he lived alone. I smelled a fibber. This was not starting off well. 

He Facebook messaged me about a week later and asked if I wanted to meet him and his friends at some 2$ pitcher night at a dive bar. I thought that was odd because he had my phone number. I said thank you for asking, but I have plans already. He then proceeded to FB message me several times in succession asking if I wanted him to come out and meet me instead, but I would have to call him an Uber because he had gotten really drunk and smashed his phone several nights before. I again said no thank you, I already had plans. About a week later he texted me and said he had finally gotten his phone fixed. How are you in sales, yet you manage to be sans phone for over a week? Quack quack. Quack.

At this point I was done with online dating. Maybe I don’t mind being alone enough to put in the effort, but I just didn’t feel like I had it in me to repeat this 40 times. First dates are awkward enough, they sometimes feel like job interviews. Job interviews you have to do on a Friday night, over and over again. And you don’t even know if you want the job to begin with. Maybe there is no job to be had. Maybe someone else already has the job you’re interviewing for.

College Friend said I gave up too quickly. “You can’t get all bitter and throw in the towel that easily!” he scolded. But the way I look at it, it’s the exact opposite. I’m throwing in the towel so I don’t become bitter.

Happy dating.

Posted in dating, online dating, relationships, single life, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Spring Cleaning: a short poem

I’m done spring cleaning, more or less
I’m left with one concern:
Your memory haunts my favorite dress,
And rayon’s hard to burn.

Posted in catharsis, new beginnings, poetry, single life | Leave a comment

The Shelf Life of Phones…and Friendships.

I’ve had the same cellphone for over a year. It has remained unscratched, unscathed, so I’ve had no need to replace it. This tiny device held a year’s worth of phone numbers, over 3,000 random photos, a novel’s worth of text messages I had never bothered to delete. Like a tiny electronic time capsule.

Last week I went to retrieve it, along with my keys, from their usual place on my bureau. Neither were there. Confused, I looked around, and noticed my keys on the floor by the wastebasket. I bent down to retrieve them and noticed my phone IN the wastebasket. The empty, antique, wrought iron wastebasket. The hard wastebasket. The screen completely shattered as though it had been in a 10-car pileup.

I love photography and am overly Instagrammy, so my phone is set to jump to camera mode when it’s jostled. You know, so I can instantly snap a picture of a bird flying by or my dog making a funny face when he pees on something. Upon its being pushed off the wall into the dark oblivion, a photo was snapped. This was the last photo in my gallery.

buckywordpress

Mystery solved. My cat’s an asshole. Anyway…

I ordered a new phone online, it was delivered. The pamphlet enclosed prompted me to backup my photos and contacts via the company’s cloud. I have a computer science background, and I know things can go wrong during this process. I don’t trust tech support unless I’m the one doing it. I transferred my photos to my computer. Then I sat down to manually write down the phone numbers of my contacts in case there was some “issue.”

Friends, family, work. Doo doo doo, writing numbers over and over, whistling while I worked. Then I came across a number. Ten digits that hit me in the stomach like a sledgehammer.

I’m not special, this isn’t a special story. We all have one of these stories.

It’s a boring story, so I’ll make it brief. I knew a boy. I knew of him for years, because we had grown up in the same town and had mutual friends. I got to actually know him through a shared love of art which turned into lengthy Facebook conversations, then text.  After a few weeks he invited me up to see him. I was hesitant. I’m kind of a lone wolf and to be honest, I almost didn’t go, I actually contemplated saying I was sick halfway up the NJ turnpike. I’m the anti-romantic and I really wasn’t trying to date anyone at that current time. Plus, I had on weird sweatsocks underneath my dress and I had missed a spot while shaving my legs. I really wasn’t expecting anything and was wondering how soon I could get home if I left at midnight. I didn’t even think it was a date. But for some reason I went, and within the hour I was giggling and blushing like a schoolgirl. I won’t say it was love at first sight, but to say I was smitten is an understatement. Which doesn’t ever happen to me. Ever.

We stayed up until dawn. I didn’t go home til the morning, I drove home singing with a big, stupid smile on my face. I was so embarrassingly giddy.

And he liked me too…for that night.

No more soup for you, girl. Thanks for playing.

I guess you could say I’m lucky that’s never happened to me before, but it doesn’t matter if it’s happened to you once or 50 times, it still stings like a bitch. Nobody likes rejection to begin with, but add that to the fact that I have a tendency to be a little sensitive and this was someone I really admired, on both an artistic and an intellectual level. Was I not smart enough? Not pretty enough?. Not funny enough? It took me a while to stop overanalyzing what exactly was so wrong with me. All because this one random person did not fancy me. One little person in a city full of people. In a world full of people.

Why do we spend so much time trying to repair broken friendships instead of using that time and energy to make new ones? For me, I think it had less to do with how interesting and smart I had thought this person was and more to do with the fact I did not want to admit to myself that I had been so brutally rejected. I plummeted to a fiery death, no two ways about it. I don’t know why I kept his number in my phone, I guess I was hoping at some point we could be friends again. I texted him a few times regarding an art exhibit that reminded me of him and a trip I had taken to a destination I thought he’d enjoy. He always replied. With lame three word responses. And that made me feel even worse..

So here I was, writing down my contacts, coming across his number. And something shifted inside me. It wasn’t anything dramatic, as though I felt a major organ bursting into flames. I just felt a sort of calm, as though a constant buzzing that had somehow become white noise over the past couple months had just stopped…like a motor that finally gave up. I didn’t care anymore. I felt nothing. And it was nice.

Not everyone in this world is going to like me. And one requirement of any kind of friendship is that the other person has to participate.

I didn’t write down his number. I transferred my service to my new phone.

And my contacts were lost in the process. Maybe it was the universe trying to tell me something. Unfixable phone, unfixable friendship.

Good riddance.


Posted in being alone, dating, depression, rejection, relationships, single life, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sojournin’. Solo.

“Goin’ places that I’ve never been,
Seein’ things that I may never see again…
I can’t wait to get on the road again.”
-Willie Nelson

I travelled solo for the first time in my life this year. And it was glorious.

I love to travel, yet I seldom do. I’d been on a few trips with family or boyfriends before, and several with friends, but mostly when I was a bit younger and the vacation was to somewhere Spring-breaky and centered around being drunk half the time and lying out slathered in tanning lotion the other half. At that age, that was a-okay with me, but I’m a bit older now. Not old, but a little older. I’ve taken a few trips once I became a “grown-up” but while my friends are amazing people and awesome company, they don’t have the same interests I do. If there was a museum I wanted to see or a scenic walk I wanted to take, I generally broke off and did it myself. I knew this was the case ahead of time so I wasn’t surprised or disappointed, and everyone was okay with it…they went to the pool while I went to the monkey sanctuary or the local historic ruin, and we met up at the bar later. On each and every trip, though, I was making a list in the back of my brain, of all the things I would do when I came back to this place with a suitable travelling partner, with a kindred spirit if I ever found one, if one existed.

I always thought a vacation was something you did with somebody else. There were places I wanted to go, but the process of planning a trip around the work schedules and budgets of two or more people can put a serious damper on one’s motivation to get the ball rolling. That’s if you even have someone interested in going with you, which I sometimes did not.

The last non-solo vacation I took was the one that caused me to question why I felt the need to travel with another person instead of just going by myself. I went to California for the first time last year, with someone I was dating. We’d been dating casually for a couple weeks. It wasn’t as though I had met him at the Wal-Mart the previous Friday or anything, I knew the guy well enough to feel comfortable going out of town with him. The thing is, we had never spent an extended period of time alone together. What I knew about his interests weren’t based on observation, just on what he had told me. And wow, he seemed to like everything that I liked. I’m sure you can see where this is going….I liked animals, he liked animals! I liked hiking, surfing, the ocean. Well, so did he! I liked art and photography…well golly, he did too! So when he asked me to go on vacation I thought okay, this is a little soon but it sounds like we’d have fun engaging in our mutual interests. Besides, it was domestic travel, I could always come back early if things didn’t work out. We weren’t going to some foreign country where he could push me off a cliff and take advantage of their non-extradition laws, or steal my passport and sell me to a brothel. I said yes, I was excited. I bought some pretty sundresses and a new bikini and packed my little suitcase. I was dumb.

To to make a long story short, it became evident after our arrival that he didn’t actually enjoy any of my preferred activities at all. He had merely been parroting back everything I had expressed interest in. To woo me I guess, I don’t know.  He had an entire itinerary planned that included one thing I would enjoy for every 9 things he wanted to do.  I honestly thought we were going to go hiking, visit a museum or two, and spend time walking around on the beach enjoying the beautiful weather and change of scenery. My idea of a beautiful night would have been a picnic on the beach with a bottle of cheap wine and the moon, the reflection of the stars off the ocean. The sound of nothing. My perfect night basically costs 20$ and the company of somebody I like. He wanted to go shopping on Rodeo Drive, eat in expensive restaurants and sit by the hotel pool drinking 20$ beers.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that if that’s how you enjoy spending your vacation, but that’s not me. I didn’t want to do any of that. I did do it, with a smile on my face, trying to make the best of things and waiting for the time slots he had scheduled for my activities. Eventually we did go hiking and to the beach, but with his constant looking at his watch, talking on the phone, and complaining about how hot it was the whole time. He was behaving like a gloomy, fart-scented cloud. Here I was, in this beautiful place, not enjoying myself. I didn’t have the balls to say anything, so I just endured it and counted the days until it was time to go home.

It made me sad. I would have had so much more fun had I been there alone. And then I realized I didn’t need a travelling companion. Why did I wait for someone to ask me to visit a destination that interested me instead of just going by myself? I’m a grownup, I have airplane miles. I have an okay job and a couple bucks in the bank and a credit card. I can’t go to Wales or Monaco and live in a castle but I can get a cheap coach flight to Cali if I watch my money for a few months. So this year, I took my first solo vacation. I went to California for the first time…again. Alone.

I went hiking alone.

 

I woke up and watched the sun rise alone. Ate breakfast alone. Except for my koi buddies at the hotel.

 

I went to the beach every day. Alone.

 

 

I went to the Getty Museum and their amazing gardens. Alone.

 

 

I got fancypantsed up and went to a beach bar. Alone. And then took weird pictures of myself in the hotel elevator.
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I went to Catalina, Hollywood, Santa Monica. Took photos, walked aimlessly about, ate a Korean taco off of a food truck, stared at the birds. Alone.

 


And I had the best vacation of my life.

Posted in photography, single life, travel, Uncategorized, vacation | 2 Comments