Does anybody read these?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Katy Perry kissed a girl...and no one cared

This is probably the most real that you will ever see me be.

And I am scared to death, but I firmly believe that the ability to tell your story makes you a better writer. And sometimes you have to bare your soul to do that.

A few months ago, a friend mentioned that her life was going too well and it was making it difficult to write. I chuckled, but she’s probably on to something. Hemingway was a raging alcoholic (sadly, many writers are), F. Scott Fitzgerald probably gaslighted his beloved Zelda, and Sylvia Plath stuck her head in an oven. Tortured souls are not few in writing. And, while I would never have the balls to compare my writing or life experiences to theirs, I guess maybe angst and writing go hand-in-hand. Or, maybe it’s something in our personalities that make us writers in the first place. I’ve said many times that I have no idea what I would do if I couldn’t write anymore.

But this story isn’t about writing. This story is about a recent stop on my life’s journey. I almost said “detour,” but I think detour implies that it was a path you didn’t want to take. While it wasn’t a path I ever thought I would choose, I am glad that I took it. And even though part of me feels colossally stupid right now, I know that I will look back later on and realize that this was all part of the route my life was supposed to take.

I debated whether or not I should tell you all. After all, my heart was completely and totally ripped out of my chest this past weekend, so it doesn’t even matter anymore.

Except maybe it does. I could say that I am doing it to help just one other person who is struggling with the same situation, and that would be all nice and make us all feel good. But really, I think that no one should have to be ashamed of the person they love, and I am pretty sure that if I ever find out why I got dumped, that will be the reason.

I will never forget the first time I saw her. She had the most beautiful, big brown eyes, and the most perfect smile you will ever see, even with the gap between her two front teeth. She was with her grandson, although I found it very hard to believe that she was old enough to be a grandmother. While I was instantly struck by her beauty, I was also smitten with her intelligence, her kindness, and her sense of humor. She also has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met, and maybe that’s a good thing and a bad thing. She was someone I wanted to be friends with, but I instantly felt like we connected on a deeper level.

I will spare you all the details, but I will tell you this was very new territory and I never felt scared with her. In fact, I’ve never felt safer than when I was with her. Have you ever kissed someone and not known where your body ended and the other person’s began? That’s how it was. We were both wild about each other, and we had to keep pinching ourselves to make sure we weren’t dreaming. We did a lot of romantic stuff, but we did a lot of stuff that friends would do like going shopping for shoes in the middle of the night on Black Friday.

It was complicated. She had a husband, and I understood that he came first. I liked him, and he liked me. We both wanted her to be happy. I had no illusions that we would live happily ever after, although I did ask her one night if something happened to him would she want to get married, and she didn’t even have to think about it.

So, maybe I was foolish to think it could go anywhere. All I know is that being in this situation turned my life upside down. Was I OK with this, and what would I do if people found out? I decided, also perhaps quite naively, that I didn’t care. The only thing that was important to me was having her in my life.

I don’t know what went wrong. She got a new job, and she was working insane hours. She was stressed out, and she told me that she pushes people away when she gets stressed. But at some point, I realized that she was shutting me out for whatever reason. And now, things aren’t good anymore. In fact, they’re about as awful as they could be. We had a horrible fight on a few weeks ago, and I’m pretty sure that she’ll never talk to me again. So, if I wasn’t sure what I’d done to make her stop loving me before, I guess I know now. Maybe it’s better, because now I have a reason for her to hate me.

While it’s over and only about four people in the whole world even knew about it (although there may have been more because my roommate says we were incapable of looking like straight people when we hugged), I feel like I need to share this part of my journey. Am I gay now? No, I still like men. Very much so. I don’t even know that I would call myself bi, because don’t think that I would ever seek out another woman to date. What I realized was that no matter whether you call yourself gay, straight, bi, whatever – you don’t choose the person you love. If you do, you’re doing it wrong, and you’re probably missing out.

I don’t even know at this point if my friendship with this amazing woman can be salvaged. I hope that it can, but I apologized for being an asshole and left that ball firmly in her court. Ironically, now that she’s told me that she just wants to be friends and stopped sending me mixed signals (which has been our dance for the last month or so), I would be OK with just being friends. In fact, I told a friend last week that I think I just do better when I only have platonic relationships anyhow. However, I was not nice, and I won’t be surprised if I never hear from her again.

Would I go back and take a different path if I had the chance? Not anything except when she started to shut me out, I would have had more of a conversation about it (because I didn’t realize she was friendzoning me; I thought she was just pushing me away to deal with stress), and I never, ever would have fought with her last weekend. I wouldn’t have never met her, or never gone out with her, or never fallen in love with her. I treasure every minute that we’ve had, even if we never see each other again.

Maybe someone will read this and have the courage to look for love in unexpected places. Maybe someone will read this and have the courage to come out. Maybe someone will read this and have the courage to deal with their own issues about their sexuality instead of hurting his or her partner. Maybe someone will just have the courage to talk to his or her partner instead of running away. After all, who would better know what you're going through?

And, maybe just maybe, someone will read this and realize that no one really chooses who they fall in love with and that it’s not our place to speculate or judge about what happens behind closed doors.

Whatever your journey, I hope it’s the ride of your life.

Song of the day: “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

(Sidebar: The title of this post comes from the fact that Katy Perry kissed Miley Cyrus this past weekend. On the lips. In front of tens of thousands of people in the Staples Center. And no one seemed to care. The times they are a' changin', folks.)

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Worth repeating

Even though I am a writer, I have never been much for poetry. I'm more of a prose person, and I tend to prefer nonfiction over fiction.

However, about seven years ago, I wrote this poem. A guy I liked totally shot me down, partly because we were too different. Here I sit now, in a different time and in a different situation, and this time no one will tell me what I did wrong, just "I wasn't feeling it anymore. I don't know what to tell you."

I have always been the type of person who wants to be friends with someone first. So my attempts at dating always end up going horribly wrong because most people aren't wired like me. And then I take it poorly because I have lost a friend that I would do anything for.

This time it wasn't just me falling for a friend, I was pretty sure the friend fell for me too. I guess not enough to stop "feeling it" at some point. Regardless, right now I feel hurt, stupid and embarrassed because I totally got mixed signals and made a complete and total ass of myself. Plus, I am losing someone who had been my rock and was there for me more times than you can even imagine. I would probably still be sitting in Orlando crying about the Disney thing if she hadn't called to check on me.

That was a lot of lead in to revisit this poem. After eight years and a lot of different experiences, we could probably change the lines a little bit here and there. But I didn't. The main message is still the same. I'll keep praying that some day I'll find someone who thinks I'm worth keeping around.

Maybe someday ...

I'll be thin enough.
I'll be pretty enough.
I'll be funny enough.
I'll be smart enough.
I won't be too young.
I won't be too old.
I won't be too liberal.
Or maybe I'll be liberal enough.

Maybe I won't be too loud.
Maybe I won't talk too much.
Maybe I'll speak up when I need to say something.
Maybe I won't be flaky.
Maybe I'll take myself less seriously.
Maybe I won't drink too much.
Maybe I'll cuss less.
Maybe I'll go to church more.
Maybe I'll be in the right place at the right time.

Maybe I'll just take life by the balls.
Maybe someone else will, just in case I can't.

Maybe, just once, I'll be worth it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sidenote

Just a quick sidenote to let you that it appears I may have been hasty in predicting 2014 to be "the best year yet." So far, it's failing miserably to live up to that proclamation.

I might tell you more later. I focused on the Disney thing today because that's the only thing that made me cry at therapy today. I also tried a new hot dog next door, so that was awesome.

Song of the day: Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus. (No, I am not linking to it because the video frightens me. It also frightens me that my life this week can best be summed up by a Miley Cyrus song, but sometimes bad things happen to good people.)

The Run Disney Fiasco

(This is officially the longest post ever in the history of a blog. It's also something that I am really mostly writing to be cathartic. God bless you if you attempt to read it, but please don't think any less of me if you do. Thanks.)

I am not sure if I mentioned it here, but my running trip to Walt Disney World in October ended up being a giant fiasco, and I ended up not getting to complete the race. Only a few folks in the whole world knew the whole story because it was embarrassing. Until now. I really feel like I need to share my story because I really need to get all of the information out there about what happened. This week, as I was planning a non-running trip to Disney later in the year, I started to have anxiety about it. Even though I am not running, I still have negative feelings associated with what happened, and I still worry that The Happiest Place on Earth just might not meet my expectations on future visits.

I don't want to bad-mouth Disney. For the most part, their customer service always exceeds expectations. They do so much to make sure each and every guest to their properties has an exceptional experience. But, that can be a blessing and a curse, because that is why I am so pissed off about the whole situation.

A few days after the fiasco happened, I sent this letter to Disney. A few weeks after that, I received a package in the mail with a race shirt that I will probably never be able to fit into, a necklace and a pin. I never did get my medal, but the biggest issue with this package was that there was no accompanying documentation. No letter, no note, nothing. I'm assuming I was given some swag because they felt bad for me after the fiasco, but there wasn't even a post-it note with a frowny face to let me know that anyone cared.

I needed someone to let me know that they heard my concerns. I would've preferred that person apologize, maybe have offered me a discount to try another race later. That doesn't cost them anything. After all, they got my $130 registration fee, not to mention hundreds of dollars in souvenirs, tickets, freaking waters all day long on race day, etc., for a race that never happened. But, perhaps most importantly, I want to know that nothing like this will ever happen to me again at Walt Disney World, and that nothing like this will ever happen to another human being at Walt Disney World. No one should have to go through what I did.

I am not going to rehash what happened. I hope no one will judge me for what you are about to read. I have made my peace with what I did in this story. I am sharing it so you can see my account and the information that was relayed to Disney. Perhaps you'll even think that I am justified in being upset that I didn't receive any feedback from what I told them.

I think that's my biggest issue here. Companies all over the world train their employees to be more like Disney. If you've ever been to a Disney park, you know that it is a well-choreographed spectacle designed to provide exceptional customer service. It isn't even really the actions of the original employee who yelled at me and intimidated me that bother me at this point, it's the fact that I feel like this company that is known for it's top-notch customer service has completely and totally dropped the ball on guest relations here.




Oct. 10, 2013
RunDisney
Walt Disney World
P.O. Box 10000
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
To whom it may concern:
On Saturday, I was scheduled to run in the Tower of Terror 10-miler, but I was unable to participate. I wanted to share some feedback from the event in hopes that changes can be made in the future so that what happened to me does not occur again. And while my situation was disappointing and embarrassing, most Disney cast members did what they could to ensure that my visit to Walt Disney World met my expectations. A few even went above and beyond and deserve to be commended, which I will do later in this letter.
We started our trip at the Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports. While it was busy, the lines moved more quickly than I expected and I made some new friends while waiting for my bib and official merchandise. All of the cast members and volunteers at the Expo were great, and the experience even convinced my family members who were with me – my brother, aunt and four-year-old nephew -- to try a Run Disney race in the future! I also appreciated the tips to get ready for the race the next day, and I tried to follow them as religiously as possible.
Unfortunately, that is where I ran into trouble. Because of the race-day heat advisory, I took special care to remain properly hydrated for the race. This might have been OK had there not been traffic that turned the normal 11-minute commute from the hotel to ESPN WWOS into over an hour commute. This might have been OK if I had known there would be no restroom facilities available at ESPN or if at least six people – including cast members, volunteers and the bus driver – hadn’t told me that I would be allowed to use the bathroom on the bus. Because after drinking all that water and being stuck in traffic, I really needed a bathroom break, and the bathrooms on the bus were locked. When I got to Hollywood Studios and spotted the lines for the porta-potties (at least 40 people in each line), I knew there was no way I could make it, so I went up to the first cast member I saw (whose name I did not get). I told her that I had to use the restroom emergently and that everyone at ESPN had told me I could go on the bus and it was locked and if I didn’t get to a bathroom very soon, I was going to have an accident and not be able to race.
That cast member pointed at two porta-potties behind a tent and told me just to go over and use them because there was no wait and I wouldn’t miss the race. I took off as quickly as I could and headed over to those restrooms. However, as I am on my way over there I hear someone yelling and realize he is yelling at me. A cast member named Pat from North Miami stopped me and told me that I could not be in this area because it was only for cast members and volunteers. I then explained my situation and told him that a cast member sent me over here to use the restroom.
I will be the first to admit that I was not behaving as the ideal Disney guest at this point. I was in the throes of having a panic attack and I know I yelled at him and probably used poor language. I was desperate and upset and on the verge of having an accident right there in the parking lot. I had been training for eight months and all I could see was the failure and disappointment of not completing this race. He got upset with me and wouldn’t let me through. He told me I had to wait in the line with everyone else, not understanding that I didn’t have time to do that. When he got upset with me and raised his voice, it scared me and because I already had to go to the bathroom, I wet myself. No way could I run with wet pants for ten miles, so I just asked a team member to put me on a bus that would take me back to ESPN and gave up on my dream to complete the race.
 I know he was just doing his job, but every single other cast member went out of their way to make sure I that I was able to participate in the race. After I had my accident and went back on the bus to ESPN so my brother could pick me up, the cast members there even offered to get me a shower and find some shorts so that I could run, but by then I was so upset that I didn’t have the mental energy to run. When you look at that example, what would it have hurt for him to escort me over to the restroom so that I wouldn’t have wet myself and been unable to complete the race, especially after another cast member had sent me over there to use the restroom?
After spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars and dragging my family to Orlando, not to mention logging months of training, so I could do this race, it was very disheartening that this happened. First of all, I felt like Pat could have had a little more compassion. It didn’t hurt any of the other team members to be kind. They all understood how hard I worked and wanted me to complete the race as much as I did. But mostly, I think it is important in the future to have a few porta-potties at ESPN before people get on the bus, as well. Honestly, if so many people hadn’t told me that I could use the bathroom on the bus, I would have found a way to go beforehand, because completing this race meant a lot to me. I also probably would’ve stopped somewhere to go if I would have realized that a) there were no restroom facilities until the starting-line porta-potties (those always have lines) or b) that the last bus didn’t really leave at 8 p.m. sharp. In fact, when I left ESPN at 9 p.m., there were still people boarding the buses.
The whole situation was a comedy of errors and fraught with miscommunication. Like I said, there were some cast members who did hate to see me miss out and did want to make the situation right, including an ESPN cast member named Jamie and a Run Disney cast member named Megan (Jamie said Megan was the onsite manager for the event). Megan tried to find whatever solution she could so that I could run and even offered to mail me my medal when I told her that I just didn’t think I could mentally regroup in time. Except for being unable to run the race (which was a huge negative), our trip went well and so many great cast members provided us with a stellar experience. But I know that lots of folks participate in the races and I feel like I need to offer feedback that can help you improve in the future.
Most likely, I will be back for another Run Disney race. It is a big expense, and I am not sure when I will have the money to do it again, but it is something that I hope to experience in my lifetime. I am very sad that I missed the whole thing when I see the photos on the RunDisney website and when I saw everyone walking around Sunday in their medals and shirts. I should’ve been there with them! While I did not get the whole experience, which was unfortunate because Hollywood Studios is my favorite park and I really was looking forward to running there, Jamie and Megan did work hard to make sure that I didn’t go home with hurt feelings and I truly appreciate that. I just wish that all cast members had been so understanding so that the situation never happened in the first place.
Hopefully you will take this letter to heart and use my feedback when planning future RunDisney events.
Thank you for your time. If you would like to contact me to follow up or with any questions, my information is below.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Blocked

So, I have pages and pages of notes and, not surprisingly, I do not have pages and pages of a magazine feature article. I do not have pages at all. What I have is writer's block. Even with my deadline in less than two hours (although not really, because my boss is out until Tuesday), I have writer's block. Maybe the illusion of an extended deadline has not caused the fear and panic to set in. (Sidebar: remind me sometime to tell you about the new Bridget Jones book, which is, of course, just more proof that I am a Darcy-less, American version of Bridget Jones.)

When writers are blocked, we're supposed to go find a prompt and just write about something. Just write and see if anything worth saving comes out. I'll apologize in advance because that's what you're -- as we say here in the South -- fixin' to read. I have a book of prompts shaped like a square called The Writer's Block (how clever) that used to sit on my desk for such occasions, but I took it home a few years ago when our former boss went on a tear and we all cleaned out our offices out of fear that we were about to be canned. Thank god for the internet.

So, thanks to our new friends at a website for bloggers called The Daily Post (with an assist from our pals at Google), here is the prompt I am going to write about.

Truth or Dare

Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?

For those of you who are not new here, you know that I don't lie. I don't have the energy to navigate the webs that are woven when folks start telling lies and covering their tracks. I don't have the brainpower to negotiate alternate versions of reality in my mind. What you see with me is 100 percent what you get. No fibs. No lies. No alternate realities.

I don't believe you can be too honest, but I do believe that folks can be too direct with their candor. There is always a way to be tactful and respectful even when telling the truth. I don't believe in being deliberately hurtful, but I do believe that honesty is the best policy.

Sometimes you might ask me a hard question, and it might take me a while to answer. I won't lie (duh). If the truth is unpleasant, I might try to find a way to avoid sharing it. Or I might be slowing down so I can minimize the collateral damage of what I'm about to say as much as possible. Other times, though, I can be a total straight-shooter and almost honest to a fault. I guess being honest and valuing honesty is a blessing and a curse.

I just don't like lies. When I catch someone lying (and news to those who like to fib: you almost always get caught, even if you don't get called out on it), I lose a little bit of respect for them. Sometimes, the lie is big enough that I am just done. But often, because I am a good person, I will give the person a second chance. But every single time I catch someone in a lie, it erodes our friendship just a little bit more. And a lot of times, I wake up one day and they say something that I know isn't true and it's just it. And because I hate breaking up with anyone -- even on a friend level -- I either just disappear or just start fading them out little by little.

So yes, in my world -- if you'd like to be in my world, that is -- it's best not to lie. Of course, sometimes I wonder if this is why my world seems to get smaller on a daily basis. But you'll have that, I guess.

And seriously, if you do like to fib, make shit up, lie pathologically, whatever the kids are calling it these days, how do you even keep up with all that? I would be exhausted.

In fact, I am just thinking about it.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Exhausting

Life has been exhausting lately.

Explaining myself. Explaining stupid shit that grown adults with half a brain should know. Running around like a lunatic, literally spending about four waking hours per week at my home. Dealing with things in my life that are all kinds of new. Having a sleep disorder. Christmas in Toyland.

It's all very exhausting.

My mind never stops. Work is wearing on me. Life is wearing on me.

I don't even have time to sign up for the gym, let alone actually go there and get on a treadmill.

Yet, in some ways, I really am putting myself first. I know that sounds hard to believe.

Despite the exhaustion, I am happy. For the first time in a really long time, I feel safe and loved.

I get to spend Christmas with my entire family -- all my brothers and their wives and children. I am beyond excited, and fully expect flames to come out of my Toys R Us credit card sometime between now and Dec. 24.

I keep saying that the year coming up will be my year. This time I might actually be serious.

At this rate, I have a feeling that might be even more exhausting.

Stay tuned, folks. I promise that it will be great.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Scarlet Letter

Somewhere along the way, women are taught (actually, young girls are taught) that it's impolite to talk about our periods. We call it stupid names like "the curse" or the oh-so-dreaded "Aunt Flo."

(Seriously, "Aunt Flo" makes me want to punch people in the face. I'm 37 years old, and I'm 99.9999 percent sure the only person I "know" named Flo is that annoying chick from the Progressive commercials. More annoying, I might add than my period. Perhaps that was intentional.)

The only thing more insulting to women than calling our menstrual periods by stupid names like "Aunt Flo" are period commercials. We don't ride bikes in white shorts. We're not walking along the beach with our moms because tampons are so awesome. And that whole "Have a Happy Period" campaign from a few years ago? That guy better hope I don't meet him in a dark alley.

When I was in grade school, I was pretty much down for the count when I got my period every month. I would sit in the school office, drinking hot tea and eating children's Tylenol for three days every month. It was pretty much hell. In high school, it was not much different.

At the beginning of my college career, there were still days when I couldn't leave bed to go to class. You can't miss several days in a row of college before it seems like you are flushing thousand-dollar bills down the toilet. Luckily, a girl in my dorm told me about her recent trip to the health center. She'd gotten on birth control pills and she had no cramps and her period was only three days long. Where did I sign up for this?

Needless to say, I completed the women's sexual health seminar, went to see the doctor and left with my little plastic packet of pills. I had no intentions of having sex; I was just sick of ruining all my clothes and crying while curled up in a ball watching Days of Our Lives. For most of my adult life, I took my little pills almost faithfully everyday. When I started having trouble with my blood pressure, my doctors switched me to the NuvaRing (also known as the most glorious pharmaceutical ever made) and I took that for several years.

Until I didn't anymore. Three years ago, I was having some health issues and my doctor told me to stop using my NuvaRing until they got cleared up.

After many years of delightfully balanced hormones, I was back to being a 12-year-old girl. And since my teens were the most glorious time of my life, it was so much fun. Acne (acne!), cramps, periods that last half my life and ruin all my clothes. And the mood swings...Oh, the mood swings. I am pretty sure I'd kill a man dead once a month for a Coke Zero and a Twix bar. Throw in some migraines, and it's such a wonderful time every month.

When my medical issues cleared up just shy of my 35th birthday, I asked for my NuvaRing back, only to be told that I am too old. When I went to the doctor last month (at 37), I asked if I could have it back if I lost weight because I would seriously starve myself to get my glorious hormones back, only to be told that women over 35 just can't have hormonal birth control. Why on God's green earth do we get our period until age 50 if birth control isn't safe after 35? In my next life, I'll be a chemist and save the world...for women, at least.

So, here I am utterly miserable. My body aches. I have a mid-grade fever. I want to kill people for candy and potato chips. I am getting ready to leave work to drink tea and watch Lifetime Movies while I'm curled up in a little ball. I wonder if everyone notices that every 28 days I miss the first Tuesday of the month. At least you could set your watch by it. I have to get home soon before my new tan dress pants are ruined.

I know this has all been TMI and you're all sitting at home wondering why the eff I've shared all this. I could blame my hormones and punch you in the face, but I did it for two reasons. 1) We should all talk about our periods so we don't all feel alone about it. and 2) I need to talk to someone because both by OB/GYN and my PCP just discount my problems. A grown woman cannot waste all her sick days to have her period. I'm sure it's why women are less respected in the workplace. My problems are totally real and they are scary and it bothers me that not only does no one care, but no one seems to have any type of solution.

I remember when I first got my period I asked what women did before there were pads and tampons and I was told that they just stood over a clump of mud and grass (no idea if this is true or not, and my 20+ year memory could be fuzzy). But really, even with an entire aisle of feminine protection items at our disposal, we haven't made much progress in the discussion and treatment of hormone-related illnesses. I just refuse to believe that this is my lot in life because I have two X chromosomes.

Happy period. Ha.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hot diggity dog!

Once a month, I go to my therapist and we talk about how people judge me about my weight and how I feel about that.

And after I leave there, I go next door to the best hotdog place in the world and get a hotdog and onion rings. Then the next day, I get back to my fruit smoothies and breakfast burritos.

Why am I telling you this? I am not exactly sure. Not only is not any of your damn business, but I would think that these mundane details of my life would bore people. I also know from losing an hour of my life and a $59 copay that it's OK to eat whatever you want and it's not doing you any favors to be terrified of food.

I don't know why I am bitching about this except that every freaking month I go and have a great hour at therapy and then it's always less than hour when I get back to real life and someone undoes everything I was just feeling great about. Every. Single. Time.

I'm not sure what the point of bitching about it is except that this is my blog and I'm allowed to bitch about whatever I want. Nothing's ever going to change so there's no point in saying anything. Even when I recently did have a weight-related incident that was so inappropriate that I felt the urge to say something to my boss, it didn't change the overwhelmingly negative attitude of all the fat-haters in this office. Basically it was just chalked up to some people are mean girls and they aren't going to change.

While I was enjoying my smoothie (no, seriously, it was quite good), I read my little Overeaters Anonymous daily meditation. I wish I could say that it has given me some sort of inner peace, but it hasn't. I'm going to just wrap up with this and cry for a little bit.

 Life would probably be awesome if people didn't try their damnedest to get me down at every corner.