All the feels
I was trying really hard to pull an Eat, Pray, Love during my massage today. No, I did not try to sneak in a sandwich (maybe next time). I tried to meditate and think of nothing. I tried the mindful practice strategies that I’ve taught to my students. I tried to concentrate only on my breath and the sensations of the stress being kneaded out of my body. I tried. But, as with most things in my life, I failed. Epically.
All I could do was think.
This past month has felt like a fucking nightmare. Parts of the nightmare I can get into, others I can’t and won’t divulge.
Obviously, if you’ve been following my blog, or you know me personally, you know I left my boyfriend. I will never publically bash the man I gave five years of my life to, but I will say that I had thought I had already grieved the end of our relationship. Before I ever even got out of it. Well, I hadn’t grieved. Not even fucking close. Finally cutting the cord was harder than I thought it would be. In fact, to date, it was/is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
I’ve never been the one to dump. I’ve always been the dumpee or the jackass who gets cheated on. I’ve always been the one beating the dead horse, holding on for dear life to something that had been long dead.
When I decided to decline the job offer in England, I knew that despite my not jetting off to change my life abroad, I would still need to make massive changes at home. You don’t always have to pull an Under the Tuscan Sun or EPL to change your life for the better.
Well, “for the better” has not appeared yet. In fact, almost daily I wish I can go back in time to when my life was a familiar pile of poo, because this new poo smells terrible.
Yeah, I know, time heals all wounds. And all of that garbage.
The most eye-opening thing I’ve realized lately, I thought of during my massage today.
Every single good thing that has happened this past year has turned to utter shit.
For ease of reading, I’ll just make a stinking pile of shit list:
1. The “writing” gig for Bliss Babe was a joke.
2. I epically failed my first Master’s class and am in the appeal process still.
3. While my decision to not go to England was based on logic and lack of cash money, it still sucks to think I could be drinking tea and eating crumpets right now (actually, I’d be asleep, because it’s 5 in the morning there as I write this).
4. Even though it was inevitable, the relationship I gave my all and five years of my best years to failed.
So, all of this to say, this is why I’ve been MIA on the blogging front.
Oh, I forgot one more:
5. After not blogging for a month, I’ve likely lost most of my followers.
OH BOY, GUYS. I thought I was good, but I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be to move into a new apartment without the guy I spent almost five years with. Alone. Just me.
The night before last I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and a late night trip to Home Depot was necessary. I almost starting crying in the pipe fittings isle. I felt alone, scared, and stressed.
I feel better off and on. One moment I’m excited for my new makeup table that used to be my entry table, and the next I’m feeling horribly heartbroken that I won’t be tripping over his behemoth shoes anymore (this is craziness, as who would miss this…).
Yesterday, my aunt, mom and good friend (plus her hubby) helped me move my new bed and couch into my apartment. The presence of loved ones in my new place helped immensely with making it feel more like home. It also helps as I put more and more of my things inside.
It’ll get better. It just takes time. Time is a bitch, though.
Here is a video I took the night I got my keys. I’ll video again when everything is in place.
I think most have surmised that there’s been some recent changes in my life. I almost went off to England. Alone. And now I’m apartment searching. Alone.
I’m single and ready to mingle.
Just kidding. I’m single and ready for some peace, and some much needed soul searching.
Right now my priority is finding a place to live.
It has not been easy due to some uncertainty surrounding the whens, hows, and the that-costs-how-muchs. The rental market where I live right now is slim and what you see is what you get. If you don’t jump right on the first half decent place you see, it’s gone the next day. I’m not exactly too picky, but I also don’t want to live in my city’s equivalent of Compton.
So, I’ll just say it’s been…interesting, the search for an apartment. I think I’ll add disappointing, scary, and fun, just to mix it up.
Yesterday, I got to tour a studio apartment in one of the oldest complexes in the city. The vintage charm was just oozing out of the Art Deco windows. There were even little milk delivery boxes. I couldn’t even.
The apparent charm and ideal location were the only two pros with this place. There were holes in the walls, the lobby and hallway carpets were filthy, and the wood was just being left to rot. It was sad.
The search for the perfect apartment is, of course, disappointing because $425 a month in one of the most coveted areas is, in fact, too good to be true.
Also, it’s scary to think that someone actually thinks anyone sane would want to rent a place that houses one of the seven gates of hell. There was a crawl space door located in the closest that went forever into the abyss of your worst nightmares. *NERP.
I love looking at houses and apartments, even when they end up being a big “nope”. I don’t know if it’s a woman thing, but every potential home I go into is an empty canvas that I can envision putting my mark on. Unless it’s scary and crack den-ish (I’ve never been in one, but I think it would be hard to work, decoratively, around the crack).
Here’s a video I took of the apartment from yesterday.
For some reason, my voice sounds kind of Valley Girl-ish. Forgive me.
Wish me luck on my continued search!
She ordered a plain hamburger, no bun, no cheese, with a pickle on the side. I glanced at the greasy chicken strips and fries, steaming in front of me, and felt instantly self-conscious. She smiled at me politely, but her arms, at her sides, were rigid, telling. Her watery blue eyes were judging when they scanned over my lip ring and tattooed skin. The mint-colored cashmere sweater hung on her tiny, strong body like a throw, lazily flung over the side of a worn chair. Expensive, but without much thought. Her dry hands shook slightly, and I instantly softened. She was nervous. She was more scared of me than I was of her. I knew then that she loved her son, and didn’t want to let him go to just anyone. I would have to prove I wasn’t just anyone.
I look back on that first meeting with my ex’s mom with amusement… and regret, because that tiny woman, sitting so resolutely, in a sticky vinyl booth, in Chili’s, quite simply terrified me. I regarded her as someone who I would never connect with, but simply deal with as a necessary evil. How utterly wrong I was. Had I known that day what she would soon mean to me, my 20 year-old wannabe-a-bad-ass-attitude would have cooled it’s jets. Had I known how much I’d love her, I would have been more humble, forgiving.
She stayed up far past her bedtime to greet us. Her hair was matted to one side of her head, but her eyes were awake, alert. She had a skip in her step as she brought plate and bowl after plate and bowl of delicious dips, cookies, huge, plump grapes, and meats and cheeses to the table. She wanted to know everything. How was our trip over? How was school going? Along with the many questions asked and answered, were the ones unspoken: Who are you? Who is my son now? Am I losing him?
In no time at all, visiting Elko and her, grew to be my most cherished moments. Over time, we grew to be friends, comrades, working towards one thing: loving one man. The way she treated me, you would think I were the Queen of England. She regarded me as her only son’s true love, beautiful, strong, intelligent, someone with so much potential. Her faith in me is the one driving force that contributed to my present success. Had she not been there, rooting for me, I don’t know where I’d be.
Tears filled my eyes as I drove the dusty highway further and further from my family, my friends, my life. As the miles grew longer from all that I had left, the only thing that kept my foot on the gas was her. Her warm, comfortable, shabby love. It would be okay when I saw her.
Sure enough, she was there, bouncing out to greet us, arms open, eyes smiling. Her boy was home. Her favorite girl was with him. It was her happiest day. Only briefly did she question her decision to welcome her son and his girlfriend into her home. Of course, that was when her son hauled a refrigerator-sized box filled with shoes into her humble abode.
The almost four years that I lived in Elko were some of the most life-altering, ugly, inspiring, beautiful, and memorable years I’ll ever have. Some days I wanted to drive off, in my beat-up Saturn, back home. Some days, ‘home’ was where she made fried chicken and biscuits, and always had a bowl of fresh fruit waiting.
Every first day, every accomplishment, and many times “just because”, she had flowers waiting. Cards praising my hard work, with gift cards for dinner or new clothes were a common show of love and pride. She kept me going. She was my biggest fan, always cheering me on. Always.
We laughed. We had engaging debates long into the night. We enjoyed discussing her son, my hopes and dreams, and the future. But…we also didn’t care much for each other some days. I think she had no clue what to do with a girly-girl, and I didn’t know how to relate to someone who wore tennis shoes with a skirt. We were polar opposites in so many ways.
Many of the days I endured living in her home were spent positively hating her. She wouldn’t buy a swamp cooler, so I was hot all summer. She was cheap, so I spent the winters freezing, wearing a ski mask inside, so my nose wouldn’t snap right off. She didn’t understand why it was necessary to take 20 minute showers. She didn’t use her dishwasher, so my hands got pruney. She was a pain in the ass. I was a pain in the ass. I was the biggest ass. I hang my head in shame over my ungratefulness, still.
Only when I thought I would lose her, did I realize the error of my ways. There are not enough days left in her life, nor mine to pay her back. To thank her. To have her.
When I drove that dusty highway away from Elko, this time, tears streamed down my face. I was leaving home. I never said ‘goodbye’ to her, too scared that she took his side, that she would reject me. I also was embarrassed, terrified I would cry, or look weak in front of her. So, I just left. Heartbreak is one thing, but nothing prepares you for the loss of family you grew to love. Nothing.
About a month after leaving Elko, a 7 year relationship, and my second mother, I received a package in the mail from her. It answered all of the questions I still had. Did she remember me? Did she still love me? Had I lost her too?
No. She was still there. She still loved me. I left, but she never did.
We never spoke of what happened, only of the future. Whenever I was at my wits end, frustrated with the teaching job search, she was there to vent to. Her belief in me was unwavering. She didn’t think I would succeed, she knew. She knows.
Anyone who has ever loved, knows it comes and it goes. Stronger and more meaningful are the relationships you build, unknowingly, while you think nothing is more sacred than the love you feel for your partner. Who is there forever are the people who loved you, quietly, in the background.
Two years after leaving Elko, we finally met while she was on a school trip in Reno.
Her thin gray curls shone like a beacon in the sun. I knew it was her. The familiar gait, the pantyhose and tennis shoes, the open smile, the light in her eyes.
She was there. She will always be there. So will I, repaying her with my love. How else can I show her how much she means to me?
My boyfriend is one of those guys who could really care less about celebrities, thus he knows very little about them. This is the direct opposite of me. I know celebrity’s faces, names, first born’s full name, and everything they have ever been in, ever. I am that person who even knows those obscure actors, the ones who aren’t on the cover of People all the time, the one-hit wonders and the uber private ones. I get my kicks by attempting to identify celebrities simply by their voices. Have I made it clear yet, how proficient I am with knowing who’s who in Hollywood? Are you super proud, or what?
My boyfriend is the kind of person who says things like:
That black-haired chick is going to be singing at the Super Bowl.
Because that’s so very specific, I usually have to ask clarifying questions:
That’s really interesting, babe. Do you happen to know the name of this black-haired mystery singer?
Because he has no clue what her name is, he really has to reach to attempt to remember any kind of identifying details that will allow me to guess correctly.
Um, she’s that chick who wears food. You know, the firecracker chick? You know who I’m talking about… I know you do. Oh shit, I know! It’s Kary Patty! That’s it!
Me: Kary Patty?! Who the fuck…you mean, Katy Perry?!
Boyfriend: Yeah, her.
I’m literally dying laughing at this point. Now, forever and ever, if Katy Perry comes up in conversation, she’s Kary Patty. Because Kary Patty is soooo much better. This happened more than a year ago, yet when it comes up, I laugh till I cry. Every time.
Another one of my favorite celebrities a la Wayne is Olson Wilson. Not Owen Wilson, but Olson Wilson. Every single time he is mentioned, Wayne says, “What is up with that Olson Wilson’s nose?”
I adore my boyfriend’s ineptness when it comes to celebrities. I adore it because he’s so smart and precise when it comes to literally everything else. Whether it’s Jeopardy, Trivial Pursuit, or just discussions about current events, Wayne knows more than me, guaranteed. But when it comes to meaningless, trivial celebrity knowledge, I rock that shit, hard.
I don’t really mind the fact that my boyfriend is more knowledgable than I am, because Kary Patty.
I can’t even.
Also, he buys me pretty underwear from Virginia Secret, so, I guess he’s a keeper.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore waking up to my boyfriend’s adorable sleeping face. Most days. Yes, I love feeling his warmth against me as he peacefully dreams, and all that mushy shit. But, let’s be real here. Those memes that paint the picture that love is sleeping like you’re one big romantic pretzel are bullshit.
Let’s be honest, here. I’m going to paint a true portrait of what it’s like to share the same bed with someone.
First, I’m going to break it down to how sleeping with your significant other changes during the different stages of your relationship.
In the beginning, during that fateful “first sleep”, you don’t actually sleep. Instead, you lay perfectly still so as to not wake the other person. You don’t want to portray, so early on, that you sleep like an epileptic Tasmanian Devil. Not yet. Additionally, you fail to sleep because you must concentrate on never opening your mouth. No one likes a mouth breather, especially after you’ve had chicken cesear salad for dinner.
Not only must you keep your mouth odor to yourself, you can’t, for a second, allow your body to relax. You don’t want your bowels to believe it’s “a go” to expel any gas. Farting on your first night together, especially if your fart smells like hot salad, would be the absolute worst thing to happen.
Eventually, you relax enough to actually sleep and you feel euphoric that you shared such an intimate, beautiful thing together. Cuddling sometimes occurs, as does morning kisses. Either you don’t smell each other’s breath, because you both secretly brushed your teeth prior to “waking up”, or you’re too happy to care your breath smells like something died.
Somehow, your communal sleeping habits move from nose-breathing picturesque statue and sickeningly romantic, to something so ugly. So scary.
When my boyfriend and I first started dating, I was so scared to pop the fart cherry. You know, getting past that first fart in front of the same person you don’t let know you pluck hairs from your chin? It was so scary, and so painful. If the gas was too intense, I would pretend I left something in my car, so that I could go outside to let them fly. I recall a time when he, too, used to be embarrassed to fart in my presence and would actually say, “Oh! Excuse me!” Gone are those days.
Like easing up on farting in each other’s presence, so has our sleeping-with-someone-new-rituals. Nose breathing all night long is just not realistic, so full-on-gaping-mouth breathing complete with drool is what’s happening now. You don’t really know someone until you’ve smelled breakfast, lunch, and dinner on their breath.
The idea to write on this topic came the other night when, while rolling over, I almost lost an eye to the corner of my boyfriend’s man-sized pillow. It’s this behemoth down pillow with really poky corners, sharp as tacks. I secretly think that’s how he’s going to do me in. Who will ever be charged with murder by pillow corner?
As I laid there, feeling grateful I still had two eyes, I pondered how the way we sleep is the direct opposite of how every “love meme” says its done. As I listened to his even breathing, mixed in with a fart here, and a fart there, I wondered how we got past that too-embarrassed-to-be-a-real-human stage. I figured it all comes down to the fact that it hurts to hold farts in, and breathing your morning breath into someone’s face, is just another way of saying, “I love you”.
When your relationship has made it past the first, surreal, romantic “get a room” months, sleeping gets real and it gets ugly. If you can honestly say you or your significant other has not farted in bed, laughed, and said, “I was just warming up the bed for you, because I’m romantic as shit”, you’re a fucking liar. If you don’t wake up looking like Amy Winehouse, after a binge, you’re an alien. If you still sleep with your mouth as far away from your lover as possible, give it up. Pretty sleep is no way to live. I don’t love my boyfriend any less because I recoil when his frigid toes touch me in the night. He doesn’t find me less attractive even when dried drool cakes my eye shut. We both understand we don’t have to sleep like horny teenagers to be in love. “Ugly sleep” wins over shitty “pretty sleep” every time.
We all wish we looked like Snow White while sleeping. Just like having Kylie Jenner “asshole lips” is unrealistic, so is looking pretty while snoring.