Now that I can fit into my skinny jeans again, I'm ready to take my flat tummy out on a date with a hot dude. Know any? I've heard that you can perform miracles, I've seen all those Christmas movies where you do, so surely you can send me a kind, handsome man for Christmas.
I don't want one who stalks me with creepy text messages. Or one who's already engaged. Or who tells me way too much information about his previous sexual experiences. Ooo and also please not one who sleeps outside in the rain because he's a drunken idiot. So...pretty much he can't be anyone in DC. Ha.
He should be tall, I like that. And not bald. I don't do bald. I used to date an accountant. I told that to some co-workers who were shocked because they could never picture me with a square. That's actually what friends said when we dated. So what should he do? I like pediatricians. They're nice and smart. Or maybe some fancy environmental lawyer. Definitely someone who's job requires a high level of intelligence and somehow makes the world a better place. And something sexy. Like rock star. FBI agent. Investigative reporter! (I am such a nerd.)
Good taste in music. Great laugh. Loves animals and dancing. Is close to his parents. Reads the New York Times, likes to travel and see theater. Loves New York. Is a good eater, but not much of a cook. Ooo and he brings me daisies. I love daisies.
I could go on and on, Santa, but this should give you enough information to fulfill my request. He doesn't have to be wrapped up with a big bow for me to know he's a present from you to me. And he shouldn't come from the North Pole because I don't need a man who likes cold weather. Yick yick! Definitely shouldn't be an elf because their ears are kinda weird and all that singing and cheeriness would get old fast. Just send me a regular dude. After all, I'm just a regular girl. Who looks great in her size two jeans. Uhhh huh.
God speed, Santa. God speed.
P.S. If you do this for me, I'll leave extra milk and cookies this year and every year after. And you know I make the best chocolate chip.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Friday, December 8, 2006
We learn about the world as children. We watch and observe, listen and process everything that we see around us, the interactions we have, the feelings we feel, the way other people act. We do all this to construct and define our own individual understanding of the world, of human interactions. And we spend the rest of our life fighting against most of these early constructions of meaning, attempting to change them.
It's hard, though. It's a struggle against everything you know and what your insides tell you. How do you redefine what you know as truth?
You build upon these basic foundations, but you measure all new experiences with the rulers of the past, and it's impossible to separate the two. Every experience and every feeling is so interconnected with everything from your past, present and future. The present experience is a result of the past and in turn alters and affects the future. It's a cycle. And when there were misconceptions or unhealthy perceptions that took place in your childhood, well, those bad habits may never be fully broken.
For example, I know that because of my childhood, I don't trust people like I should. It can hurt someone's feelings because they say, "Why would you think I would do that?" And the answer has nothing to do with what I think of them or my interpretation of past experiences with that person. It's just because it's hard for me to trust anyone so because of that, I doubt everyone. I know that I do this. But think I can stop it.
I know that when I get hurt, I shut down and I shut out. I crawl down into myself. Just like I used to do as a child to feel safe. It's not good to do that, I can recognize that it's not a healthy way to deal with conflict or with situations. But I can't stop it.
I'm aware that I do it. I'm aware of why I do it. I'm aware that it's not right and not good. But it still feels good, feels safe. Old habits die hard. So can I stop it?
Posted by Penny Lane at 9:32 PM
Thursday, December 7, 2006
Every year has one. At least one. I was trying to figure out what day it would be for last year, and I came up with two. I finally narrowed it down, but there was a definite second place. So what is the blackest day? The day of the year that is the rock bottom. The valley for which the height of the rest are measured off of. And Monday was that day for me.
I've been so stressed and anxious and upset lately. But Monday something happened, and I was finally able to cry. It's hard for me to cry. It takes a lot sometimes. Once those floodgates open, it's tough to close them. I've been crying every day since. Which is good and bad. It's good because it's a relief, a release of all that blackness that's been bottled up inside. But it's bad because it's hard to stop so for those crying days, the pain is overwhelming. That's why we cry, right? Because the pain is too much, and it starts to gush out of our pores.
The good thing, I think, is that once you can identify when you've hit rock bottom, the only way out is up. So at the moment when you feel you have no hope left for whatever it is that's causing you all this pain, you can at least have hope that things will eventually start to feel better. The toughest struggle, though, is ahead - in between the blackest day and the brightest day (the day when you can finally feel the warmth of hope and light). And that space in between, that frozen beat of time, is when you really learn about yourself - your needs, your strengths, your weaknesses.
My mom always told me not to depend on anyone, that the only person you can ever really depend upon is yourself. I always thought that was a really pessimistic view and rolled my eyes that my mom was so jaded and cynical. But she's right. People are not reliable. You have to be strong enough on your own to survive when you're all alone. (Ok, that kinda rhymed, but that wasn't what I was going for.) That is a really big challenge for me. I depend on my friends so much that when things happen in their life that take them away from me in a some way, I feel hopeless. I start writing my heart out for perfect strangers! But is there really anyone who reads this little thing?
Anyway...the blackest day means that things have gotten as dark as they are going to get. Whenever I get really upset, I can't eat. It's not about control or image. It's about the fact that my stomach hurts so much that the thought of eating makes me want to vomit. So during the dark days, I lose weight. But then things feel better because I can fit into my skinny jeans again. And maybe that's the silly thing that gets me up the hill. I eventually gain the weight back, of course, but whatever gets you up the hill gets you up the hill. And now that I know I've had my blackest day, I know that the light and the hill aren't that far away.
Posted by Penny Lane at 1:41 PM
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
How do people make decisions? When I was young, sometimes I would pray really hard and flip a coin. Seriously. Not that I made any major decisions back then, but I always felt like God would control fate if I just prayed hard enough.
I think that God expects us to make our own decisions. As well He should. It's just so dang hard. Though I don't have any major life-altering decision to make right now, right this second, I feel one coming soon. Do I want to go back to school? I think yes.
But then I spend a weekend in New York and wonder why I don't live there anymore. That always happens when I go back to that city, and I wonder if it always will. I had so much fun there. I would be broker than broke, of course, if I ever moved back. But that reality rarely surfaces when I fantasize about moving back. In those fantasies, I'm well-paid, well-dressed and I'm the fun, saavy city girl I feel like on the inside. I forget so quickly what it was like not to have a closet or a washing machine or even a dishwasher. I had terrible apartments when I lived there, and I tell myself that if I lived in Williamsburg or even Hoboken, it would be better. But do I really have the energy for all that again?
And what about school? I've been thinking for a couple years now about going back and teaching. I think I'd be a good teacher, and since I graduated, I miss learning. I read textbooks just for fun now. But after my preliminary search, it seems that the most best matches for me are back in Georgia. Do I really want to move back there again? Athens I could do, but Atlanta, well, I still have a beef with that city. And I barely have friends left there. The closest friend I have in Atlanta has been trying to move up to DC for months. Is that really the best way to make a decision, though? Based upon the vibe I get from a city and whether or not I have enough close friends there? Especially when I should really be focusing on what SCHOOL is best, not what city.
But I really do looove DC. I love my job, my friends, my life up here is good. I'm happy. Do I really want to tempt fate and move back to that land of unhappy memories? Or tempt fate in any way by changing what's already working out so well? But the job won't last forever. And friends sometimes move. A few are already talking about it. My closest friends are with me no matter where I go, and the others sometimes feel like activities. That's a terrible thing to say, but I guess I mean that a lot of friends are just fun-friends, right? People that we hang out with and drink with maybe and laugh with? But not friends who know your soul. I'm getting off my point here.
How do you make decisions? How do I convince yourself that time is on my side with this one? I guess that in some ways, even when it's not true, I feel like I'm running out of time. Or that I'm playing against it. I think that the reason you can't flip a coin to make a decision when you're adult is that adult decisions just have too many sides.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Ok, people of DC, get it together. Watch a little of the Style Network or E! during the CNN or MSNBC commercial breaks. Read a fashion magazine every few months to keep up with the times. At least visit New York or Frace or Italy. Take a vacation to sunny California. I mean, I get that you're really busy and focused on saving the world, but can't you save it while lookin' good?
Don't wear white socks with your dress shoes or boots.
Throw away those nasty clogs - they went out of style in the 90's!
Don't wear hose with sandals.
Stop wearing pants that come up to your belly button.
Baggy clothes - yuck.
The same hairstyle for the past ten or twenty years? Yuck!
Suits come in more colors than blue.
I saw a woman today wearing a shirt with big huge bright blue and purple flowers. I felt like I was in Florida. And I'm really tired of seeing men with cell phones clipped to their belt. And women showing off their muffin tops. Ew.
And seriously, people, have you ever heard of a shoe store? Walk in one once a year, why don't ya?
Have a little fun, Capital! All those dudes back in the day knew how to cut loose. And I bet their big white wigs and goofy ass tights were all the rage. Some may think that those old guys were just portrayed in paintings wearing the fashions of the day, but were really on the hit list of the fashion police.
We may never know the truth, but I give them the benefit of the doubt. They spruced up this swamp and made a kickass city out of it so I think they had to be chic and stylish to give a wetland an extreme home makeover. Hollaback to our fashionable founding fathers, and go buy a balloon skirt, some leggings and knee boots. At least so I can have something more pleasing to the eyes on the Metro.
I feel as if I've been haunted lately. I spent a weekend in Athens and Atlanta. Then this past weekend, I was in New York. So many memories. Whenever I visit one of those cities (oh and add Knoxville to the list), I feel like I've traveled back in a time machine to observe the past. Everything is just as I remember it. Though sadly, some things have changed. Chelsea Espresso Bar is no longer, but the awning is still there.
It's as though I've lived different lives. And when I travel to one of those cities where I lived one of those past lives, I have to revisit those memories. I was so happy when I lived in Athens and when I lived in New York. Going back to one of those cities makes me happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I remember all the good times. And sad because my life seems so different now. I'm very happy here in DC too, though, which is good. Sometimes I'm very aware of the fact that I will not always be here. Someday, I will leave, and I will feel then about DC the way I feel now about Athens and New York.
Atlanta is a whole other story. I don't like the person I was when I lived there. That wasn't me. I've never been that person before that time, and I pray I never will be again. It was a bad time for me. So although I did have a lot of fun when I lived there, I find myself only able to feel the bad memories and a bad feeling overtakes me whenever I visit again.
The past is so funny. We have the power to recreate it. Our minds work in such subjective ways that we can manipulate the past, sometimes without even meaning to, and it takes over us and changes our reality. I had bad times in Athens surely and definitely bad times in New York, but both of those were such positive, life-changing and life-affirming times for me that I can't seem to see them for the-good-and-the-bad that they were. The past not only has the power to alter the truth, but it has the power to change our present.
But it really only has the power that we give it. I told a friend last weekend that he is never happy with what he has. I believe that's because he is afraid of the future, afraid of who he is in the present and always imagines that things in the past were better.
I can sometimes get lost in how good things were in the past also and have to remind myself of all the blessings in my present life. But for me, I think my real struggle is with the future. I see so many endless possibilities and opportunities and choices. I want so much to find in the future something better than the past and the present that it often makes me a little fickle. I think that's part of the reason I've moved around so much. I don't want to miss out on anything great. And I love the thrill of the adventure and the optimism that I feel when I facilitate change. Sometimes, when I'm dating someone, I think about the other guys out there. And I have even not commited to a relationship because I wondered if there was something better out there for me and didn't want to limit myself. That's awful, isn't it?
In the past year, I've done different things to stay focused on the present. It's challenging at times, but I think that because the previous year was so difficult, it's easier to realize what I have now. And I'm trying to channel that longing and curiosity for the future into a desire to improve myself in the present. We do learn a little along the way.
So I guess there's nothing wrong with nostalgia or ghosts. As long as we use them as fuel and don't let them derail us from the joy and magic of the present moment.
Posted by Penny Lane at 2:04 AM
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I had to write something to get this all out of me, but I don't know...I wanted to bury it. Maybe in a few weeks or months, I'll resurrect this post, but as for now, I'd rather it be one that people didn't see. It's too personal, too mucky.
I have bad days and good days. Today is a bad day. I've cried a few times today. I cried once on Sunday. Once last Tuesday at a gas station actually. I even choked up in class last Monday night. I'm not used to this whole crying thing. But it's been pretty hard to control, and I don't know...I don't even want to. I do just want to feel it and let myself feel it.
I hate it when people ask me if I'm okay. I know they're trying to be nice, they're showing they care, I know it comes from a good place, but I can still hate it. No. I'm not okay. I don't know when I will be okay, but I really hate repeating over and over again that I am not okay. I hurt. A lot. And it really seems like that should just be common sense. I lost my favorite person. I will never hug him or talk to him again or hear him laugh or hear him call me "precious." Never again. And I am not okay.
I'm afraid to sleep. I can't sleep. I toss and turn and stress all night. I think it makes me feel alone. So I surround myself with pillows and stuffed animals. I let my dog sleep with me. I try to trick myself into feeling safe and protected enough to sleep.
Every week, I go out of town. I have to surround myself with the people that love me. I have to see them and hug them and be around them. And all that makes me feel safe and loved. I have to be reminded that I'm not as alone as I feel, I guess that's part of it. I want to distract myself too. And I want to feel good and alive.
But then I leave and I go back to this little apartment I've been neglecting for weeks. I go back to this pain, and I go back to being alone. I am alone in this. I am loved and blessed and there is no end to the people that I could call, but at the end of the day, I am alone. I sleep alone. I eat alone. I cry alone. And I cannot help but feel like this is something I cannot handle alone.
In movies where someone dies, movies about hope and healing, the person grieving always finds love. They deal with their pain and their tragedy, but there's usually someone there with them to help them get through it all. Yes, I know life is not a movie. But sometimes I think it would be nice if it were.
I could really use you right now. I feel like you miss out on a lot of fun, fun weddings and parties, fun nights out on the town. You're missing all the big moments and the little ones too. But I hate that you're missing this. I need you now. I need hugs and love and affection. I need to know I am not alone.
I have to admit that I am a little shocked about how candid and open I'm being right now, but I take comfort in knowing this will be buried somewhere. I feel a little buried myself actually. It just helps to be honest and say what is hard to say.
Posted by Penny Lane at 8:53 PM
Thursday, September 28, 2006
DC and I have been together for more than a year now. Longer than any relationship I've ever had, but not even close to the average amount of time that I've known almost all of my friends. I still feel like we're slowly getting used to each other, still getting to know each other in many ways. And we're not yet in love.
Today, I looked at the people around me and started thinking about DC. What is DC? What is its personality? And the way to answer those questions is to examine the people. Standing next to me in Starbucks today, there was a girl about my age carrying a book on contract law. Walking through the streets, I'm struck by how diverse the people are. I stood on the corner with two men of Middle-Eastern decent wearing suits and speaking in their native language. Men in the traditional DC blue suit are everywhere, with occasional women in power suits as well.
At lunch, I walked past a large patio outside a very expensive posh steak restaurant and saw many people sharing bottles of wine and having intense conversations. At the takeout sushi restaurant where I got my lunch (lobster rolls and spicy scallop rolls), I heard two men about my age wearing suits and talking work. One was contemplating 'leaving to go to the prosecution side' while the other was hoping for an invitation to work for 6 months in Brussels.
Not to mention all those dressed in business casual, the hippies - some of whom are named thus for wearing political statements on their shirts and myself, dressed in one of the work outfits I have that could be sold with Professional Barbie.
DC is a city where people pass out business cards at bars. And in your first conversation with someone, you hear about their job (which they passionately love) and their political affiliation. DC is a city with a strong work ethic, fervor and intensity for instigating change. And all of that is invigorating and contagious. DC makes you a better person in a lot of ways - more focused, more confident, more serious.
In thinking about DC, I can't help but think about Atlanta - the city I left a year ago. Atlanta is a city of country comes to town, as the old saying goes. It's full of small town people who came to the big city to make it big. A lot of ambition in that town, and a lot of ego and self-importance oozing from those small towners who succeeded. There's not much diversity, not enough for my taste, or much sophistication. Or political activism or artistic awareness. It still just doesn't suit me quite right, despite the people, memories and places I love.
So DC and I may still be getting to know one another, deciding what kind of relationship this is, but I think I can safely say if DC were a person, he'd be gettin' lucky soon.
Friday, September 22, 2006
I like the Rolling Stones. I saw them in concert with my mother almost exactly a year ago. She dressed up. You know, just in case Mick Jagger saw her. I want to be kooky like her one day. Some might say I'm well on my way. Those who know me well.
Family is funny like that. There's family that is perfect for you that you didn't pick out, like my crazy momma. There's family that is perfect for you that you did pick out like my good friend Liz who I heard a lot about and kept thinking, 'That girl sounds cool. I want to meet her. I want to be her friend.' And then there are friends that you don't pick, but are still perfect for you. Like my sweet friend Kate who got married a few days ago. Kate and I met on the street in Athens, Georgia. I always tell her it's my favorite chance encounter.
So what about that other family? The family member that I haven't met yet. He's a pretty important guy. Not just because he gets to be with me, but because he will be the person I start a family with. Gotta pick out a good guy so my kids are good kids and are raised in a good environment. Maybe it'll be a chance encounter. But even so, there will be a lot of thinking involved in picking him.
Back to the Rolling Stones. 'You can't always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes you just might find, you get what you need.' A lot of thought goes into picking the right mate, the right partner. And I have put plenty of thought into what I want. There's a blurry line, though, between what you want and what you need. There's a silly list, longer than the one I've previously included here, and that's a good place to start.
But what do I need? That is a daily process. And some things overlap. A lesson I learned not too long ago is that I need to really want my man. It's a lesson that I can see surfacing up in the past several years, but not one I noticed until recently. I've always known that I need a man who is patient because I am not patient. I need a man not easily angered and one not quick to yell because I don't deal with anger very well and get very upset by it.
I need someone supportive, kind, appreciative, affectionate and someone who makes me laugh. I need someone who reads me when I'm holding back or holding in because what's in wants out. I need a man who is a good communicator and who is expressive and open with his thoughts and feelings. But there are so many other things I want and need that I don't even know about. It's a learning process. And always is, I'd say, even when you've found that someone because nothing in life is ever perfect.
Which brings me back to needs and wants. Wanting to be what I want and what I need is something I want and need but it isn't enough. Wanting to be with someone who isn't what I need is just as ineffectual as being with someone who is everything I need but still don't want.
You can't always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes you just might find, you get what you need. I think the point in there is the trying and the not knowing. I don't know, but I'm gonna try. And maybe, while I'm trying to figure it all out, another chance encounter will give me something wonderful and unexpected. Because, as the Stones say, 'I am waiting, waiting for someone to come out of somewhere.'
Posted by Penny Lane at 3:43 AM
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
I've said many times that I think this is a tough time period in life. I'm not sure when it ends. It seems like you get spit out of college into the real world and face so many new problems and are forced to make so many decisions. Maybe when I hit 30, I'll have it all figured out? I don't know.
As I've gone through my own individual changes - trying to figure out where I want to live, what I want to do, should I go back to school, what kind of guy should I date, etc. - I've also noticed my close friends' lives changing. Almost all of them are in serious relationships either planning their wedding or planning to wed one day. And that has altered some of the way that we interact. We obviously can't talk as often because when you're in a serious commited relationship, you have someone that you need to spend a lot of quality time with. And that's okay. Perfectly reasonable and understandable. One of my close friends had a baby, and for awhile, we hardly talked because she had this incredible new person who needed her time and attention. And what a gift that has been in her life, and also in mine by watching my friend grow and change in this way.
What I never expected, though, was in all these life changes that all of us are experiencing, we would grow apart. I feel like I've lost a few friends this year. It's hard. I don't know if I've done something wrong, and sometimes I worry that I have. But in the end, I think that we're all changing so much, it's hard to change with someone and not change in different ways that separate you from one another. How do you find friends (especially a spouse) who you can change with instead of change away from?
I really don't like the 20's. Growing pains are just that - pains, painful. I am grateful, though, for the good, close friends I do have that I have grown with through the years. And I look forward to the new friends that I will acquire as I move into new parts of life. Maybe there's a BFF just waiting for me out there, but we won't meet til we're neighbors in the same nursing home! I hope so. But I also hope I'm sharing that room with a good friend who's a part of my life now. Old friends, in my opinion, are still best as long as they're close.
Posted by Penny Lane at 7:33 PM
Friday, August 25, 2006
Sometimes I just can't sleep. I don't know what it is because God knows I'm always tired. I think sometimes all the worries and doubts and plans and memories and well, all that head mess, it all gets so wired up and energized from running round and round inside my mind that it can't calm down. I find this usually happens when I'm stressed or upset over something. Am I stressed or upset right now? Well, I don't know how to answer that, but I guess that's a yes, isn't it?
I had a bad boyfriend once. Ha. Actually, I had him three times over, but the first go at a relationship with him was really nice, which kept me comin back for more. He used to get me so upset. He's hurt me more than I care to admit, and I spent many a sleepless night worrying over our relationship or fretting about something he had said.
I used to get out of bed and lay on the couch when I felt so smothered by all that worry and fear and heartache. And as soon as I laid down on that couch, it was lights out. Like getting away from him set me free from all that unpleasantness and gave me the relief I needed to sleep. I used to tell him that sometimes the bed felt too crowded and suffocating with all those thoughts and the pair of us trying to fit in there too. I think that was a little bit of it too.
Right now, though. There's no bad boyfriend. There's no family tragedy, praise God. And there's no real personal crisis that I'm going through. I am, however, approaching my one year anniversary of when I decided to leave my old life behind and start a new one. And I have started that new life. And it's happier than the old one and more fulfilling and challenging too.
But it still seems like the old problems somehow don't all go away. There are still old worries and fears exercising in my mind. The characters have changed a bit. Even the problems themselves are different, but still pretty much the same. I can't solve them tonight, of course.
I do have a song in my head, though. That I think explains some of this, and I hope that by getting all of this out and into the world, there will be enough room in my bed again for lil ol me.
Danny and I spent another late night over pancakes,
Talkin' 'bout soccer
And how every man's just the same
We made speculation
On the who's and the when's of our futures
And how everyone's lonely
But still we just couldn't complain
And how we just hate being alone
Could I have missed my only chance
And now I'm just wasting my time
By looking around
But you know I know better
I'm not gonna worry 'bout nothing
Cause if the birds and the flowers survive
Then I'll make it okay
I'm given a chance and a rock
see which one breaks a window
See which one keeps me up all night and into the day
Because I'm so scared of being alone
That I forget what house I live in
But it's not my job to wait by the phone
For her to call
Well this day's been crazy
But everything's happened on schedule
from the rain and the cold
To the drink that I spilled on my shirt
'Cause You knew how You'd save me
before I fell dead in the garden
And You knew this day
long before You made me out of dirt
And You know the plans that You have for me
And You can't plan the end and not plan the means
And so I suppose I just need some peace
Just to get me to sleep.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Yesterday was My Independence Day. My Day. Mine. A year ago exactly yesterday, I was freed to go find myself a new life. I may not have more fresh-start opportunities like that, and I hope that one day I'll stop craving them. But I doubt if any previous opportunities such as that have produced as much growth as the past year has.
The year before the past year...uh, so that was like two years ago...anyway, that year was a really painful and difficult year. And I'm sure there was some growth in there somewhere, but mostly, I think that year was about hanging on. I learned survival skills, I realized the strength I have, I better understood the bonds I have with certain family members and I learned a little more about what I do and do not need and want. So that was an important year to crawl through.
But the past year. The past year, I have finally become proud of myself. I've realized and accepted (and set out to improve) some of my faults. That is hard work, let me tell you, and quite tough cuz I'm sensitive. More than anything, I feel like I've realized and developed my independence. I've always been independent. But the past year, I feel like for the first time, I truly was. And I finally have a job that is personally and professionally satisfying. One that makes me feel good because I am part of making the world a better place and because I am actually pretty good at what I do. I never understood how fulfilling all that could be.
There's more work to do next year, but it's good to exhale and realize how far I've come. I'm still very insecure about some things, still have major problems with intimacy, still have fears and doubts, still get nervous and anxious too much, still need to be more responsible. Ugh. When I think about all there is to do, though, I get lost in that and can't see what all I've done. Sometimes we get focused on the logistics and stats. We want to see numbers, evidence, quantification of progress, of accomplishment. But that's just not what life is all about. Life is about all the things you don't plan, all the things you have to look for to find, all the things you miss when you're focused on other things. And life is in the feelings.
Yesterday, I felt a lot of feelings. Proud because something amazing and historic happened at work. Peaceful because I remembered what I was going through at this time last year and all the pain during that time that I don't feel anymore. Happy because I feel like I'm on the right track finally. But also sad that there wasn't someone to truly share all of that with (why do you keep missing all my big moments?!?). And nervous and fearful for all that is still unknown.
But as I fell asleep last night, after finishing an empowering book, after talking to one of my most favorite people and after thinking about the past, I watched those silly red lights blink on the Washington Monument and realized where I am now. And I saw the Capitol dome and all the hope it inspires me with and remembered that the best is still yet to come.
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
Faith is a funny thing. It really comes with being a grown-up. We have to have faith all the time. So much so that it could make a person go insane.
They always say, 'Have childlike faith,' but children don't have to have faith in anything. Mommy drives them to all the places they need to be, she feeds them, she clothes them, she makes all their decisions for them and she buys them the Christmas presents they ask for. They don't have to think about any of that stuff or worry about it at all. There's no faith necessary in the life of a child.
But as adults, we constantly have to believe in things we cannot see and be certain of what we hope for. All that fancy talk just means that we have to appease ourselves constantly. We have worries and fears that would be scarier to any kid than even the monster under her bed. And all the while, we have to tell ourselves whatever works to assauge our nerves and anxieties so we can get through another day doing all the things that we have to do.
I want to go back to kindergarten. When even though I worried about how late my mom might be in picking me up from daycare, it didn't take any ounce of miracle to have faith that she would show. Why can't Mommy get rid of all of my fears and doubts now? It's hard out here for a girl on her own. But that's the tricky part, isn't it? I'm not really a girl anymore. (shut up, Britney Spears...) I'm an adult.
Yikes. Maybe that's scarier than all my fears and doubts and under-the-bed monsters.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Do we really need men at all anymore? Sperm banks, advanced reproductive technology, the increasing opportunities available to women.
My good friend, A., and I joke often about being heterosexual life partners. I tell her that she's the best boyfriend I've ever had, she tells me how there's no man as good to her as me. We've named our children and designed their personalities in great detail. She decided I could birth them because, to quote her, I'd be 'better at that.' Everyone will enjoy our company and stimulating conversation. Constantly telliing each other, 'everyone will want us at their parties.'
'Are you going to the party on Saturday?'
'Eh. I'm not sure. Are A. and D. gonna be there?'
We'd be a hit. Basking in our superior companionship, we'd use men only for sexual pleasure.
Though they're good for lots of stuff. Putting Ikea crap together, opening jars, taking general care of ya, fixing your car, picking you up from the airport, they pick you up when you're feeling down, get all protective of you, aw I love my man friends, and I love that they spoil me rotten. I am adored. Thank you, sweet boys.
I live with a lesbian. She says that women are more emotional than men, which, I think everyone can agree is true. And so she enjoys the love of a woman infinitely more than that of a man. Men are frequently detatched, 'emotionally unavailable,' as the saying goes, and had difficulty expressing complex thoughts or feelings.
But when that man who normally struggles with articulating his emotions suprises me by poetically declaring his love, I melt. There is nothing like it. When a guy who's been methodical and careful suddenly lets go and lets you in, ooo aw. Or a guy who's reserved opens up about his feelings. Not that they need to be emotionally stunted to surprise me or make me sigh. I truly prefer a man who's open, honest and expressive and can say, "I want you."
And maybe men need us in that way. To help them see life's beauty, to help them understand the complicated colors and shapes of human emotions. And we need them for something too. In addition to sexual pleasure, of course.
I had a dream last night of my soulmate. That sounds odd, yes, and difficult to describe, so you'll just have to trust me. The reciprocity, the equality, the balance and the understanding between two souls so different in form and composition is one of the great divine miracles humans are allowed to be part of.
Posted by Penny Lane at 5:24 PM
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
I just had a meeting with dignitaries from Saudi Arabia. It was my first meeting with international dignitaries and made me so happy that I came to DC! I was telling a friend about how cool it was to be a part of something like that and that it was one of the coolest things I've ever be able to do. And the friend said, "Really?"
I really thought it was cool to be part of a discussion about human rights with members of the government of an entire country.
I am tired of people not caring about politics or the world we live in. Because let me tell you something, they care about you! Politics and history might be boring, and it may seem they don't directly affect your life, but in fact, they do. We are part of a global economy. We are affected by what happens in other parts of the world. And as human beings, we should care about these happenings.
I saw 'An Inconvenient Truth' last week. I explained to someone who had not heard of it that it was a film Al Gore made about global warming. The friend said, "Oh cool. So was he for it or against it?" Wha-huh?
Another friend of mine who is homosexual said to me during the 2004 that she didn't care who won or lost. She voted for someone because a good friend of hers told her to. Recently, with two new Supreme Court Justices appointed, I reminded her of that conversation. And told her that as a homosexual, she should care who won the presidential election because that President was able to appoint two justices, possibly a third (don't die, Stevens!), and those individuals could determine whether or not she is able to marry a woman one day.
I am a feeling person. A person with a lot of passion, enthusiasm and a big heart. That is why I care about politics and the world I am living in. Why do you care?
Posted by Penny Lane at 9:27 PM
Monday, July 24, 2006
My mother used to nag me about marrying some guy who sat in front of her at church every Sunday. Some guy I've never had a conversation with or know at all. Nor has she. It broke her heart when he got a girlfriend. She said that his girlfriend and her mother started sitting with him in church every day and she said to me, "That could have been me!" Now, he's enaged. Aaron, I think, is his name. When I was talking to my mother this morning, she told me I shouldn't be so picky. Whereas I actually think that I shouldn't settle. That's something that has always been important to me. So in honor of Aaron the guy who sits in front of my mother at church getting engaged, I'd like to dedicate the following impossible list of perfection -
My boyfriend likes to watch bad scary movies on the couch with me at one in the morning.
My boyfriend likes to make cheese omelets for me for breakfast.
My boyfriend likes Tennessee football and at least watches baseball. He definitely says "Go Vols" and sings Rocky Top at games.
My boyfriend is nice to my dog and gives her all the attention she deserves.
My boyfriend likes the music in my iPod, and I like the music in his.
My boyfriend doesn't smoke. Ick.
My boyfriend thinks I'm cute when I'm drunk. "You're so cute when you're slurring your words, but they're closing the bar and they want us to leave..."
My boyfriend knows the band who sang the lyric I just quoted. And how awesome they are.
My boyfriend is not a Republican. Ick.
My boyfriend's a great kisser, and we really just can't keep our hands off each other.
My boyfriend reads the newspaper (ooo sometimes curled up with me!) and has intelligent things to say about it. And he absolutely knows what global warming is.
My boyfriend makes me laugh a lot.
My boyfriend loves my cooking. Maybe he likes to watch me cook, maybe he cooks with me, but he always helps with the dishes and sometimes has two helpings. Mmm!
My boyfriend is fun on road trips and always gets me Red Bull when we stop.
My boyfriend always makes time for me because he likes being near me.
My boyfriend and I do sexy things in fun, interesting places!
My boyfriend likes back scratches. And maybe head scratches too aw.
My boyfriend is not perfect, but he's perfect for me. And he is out there somewhere. Even if it's not on the pew in front of my mother at church. :P
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Getting older. Is that it? Sometimes I notice how jaded I've become, and it shocks me. Where did this come from? I don't recognize the person who has some of the thoughts that pop into my head. I've become so pessimistic, and it's involuntary. I do believe in love and magic and unicorns too (as my sweet friend Amanda always says!). I'm still idealistic and still believe that romance could be hiding just around the corner. But every once in awhile, I think about how impossible it seems to meet a person, go on a date and then years later, get married. How does that happen? And does it happen? It seems like such an impossible thing. Like ok, I 'could' win American Idol, but will I? No. It's possible, of course, but would never happen to me. Where did this ugly monster come from? And how do I get rid of it?
I don't spend as much time wondering about love and romance or other mystical creatures as I once did. I'm so happy now. I love my job, I feel like I matter. I love my friends and that I have so many. I love my apartment, my roommate, my new city home. And more importantly, I really love myself and have learned to stop trying to be someone else and stop making excuses. I like all the quirky things about me that I've been teased for in the past (affectionately and not so affectionately). And I'm just really enjoying my life right now.
Dating has become so complicated in the past few years. Everyone has so much baggage. And we're all starting to really hone in on what it is that we want, what we're looking for, and we've grown out of that 'putting up with crap' phase that lasted far too long.
I had the thought yesterday that launched me into this introspection. My cousin just got engaged, though, and maybe that's what led me to all this. I started thinking about how unrealistic it seemed that one date could ever lead to anything as huge and massive as marriage. They had a blind date. And two years later, they're engaged. It all seems almost hilarious to me. Like something I've seen on TV or in the movies. I mean, one day you have no idea that this person exists or maybe you do but you don't care, and then the next day, something happens and you never go another day without them. Isn't that just weird? And funny? Life is weird and funny.
So good for them. And good for everyone. I'll just sit by and enjoy playing 'the token single friend' role. I like who I am, and I like where I am in life. And in the end that's really what matters. And it's far from where I was this time last year. Besides, I'll know when I meet the guy I'm going to marry. Because he'll either be George from 'Grey's Anatomy' or Lloyd Dobbler from 'Say Anything.' And until that day comes, I'll enjoy the time I spend with them on the small screen in my living room. And enjoy every minute, I will!
Thursday, June 22, 2006
So the last entry was all sweet and lovely about our fine feathered friends and the peace, serenity and freedom they bring to mind. And this entry is about how mean and nasty and scary birds really are!!
I was walking to the Metro the other day. Basking in the sunshine and the optimism of my morning. When a businessman shouts out, "Watch out for the bird!" Thinking a bird is nearby, my eyes dart about looking for whatever I'm supposed to beware of. Seeing nothing, I turn to him, confused, and say, "What was that?" He laughs and repeats himself, "Watch out for the bird! Ha ha ha! Watch out for the attack bird!"
Now I'm thinking he's just weird and mentally disturbed so I roll my eyes and continue along my way. I reach the end of the block and look up into a tree. I see a cute, tiny, harmless looking little brown bird, and laugh to myself thinking, "Aw, you little thing! Are you the attack bird?"
The second that I take my eyes off of him, he swoops down and pecks my arm!! I shrieked and screamed. I heard the businessman chuckling. Then I see a woman walking towards me, and I say, "Oh my gosh! Did you see that?" She shrugs, unfazed and unimpressed, and says, "Yeah. The same thing happened to me a few days ago. It's amazing how close they'll get to you..."
Amazing how close they'll get? So close that they use their beaks as tiny little swords to pierce your skin and draw blood?!?
I take a few more steps and see a guy walking towards me, jammin' out to his IPod, and carrying a Starbucks coffee cup in each of his hands. I wonder if I should warn him about the attack bird, but then figure I'll let him fend for himself. After all, the warning didn't help me any.
SPLAT! The attack bird strikes again.
City birds can be violent, I guess, tired of all the people taking over their territory, not dropping enough crumbs and disturbing their sleep with drunken walks home. Either that or the aggressive homeless man on the corner of 7th and Penn has been harassing the birds for money too, and they're fighting back. "No I do not want a copy of Street Sense! I'm a bird! I can't read!"
I'm not sure what their problem is, but I know one thing - I'm on the lookout for attack birds. And you should be too. Those little weapons on their faces masquerading as beaks hurt like the devil.
Friday, May 12, 2006
I took the subway to work today. I walked up the same blocks to the same station that I walk up every day. Then I sat on the train for the same amount of time that I do every day. And got off at the same station I get off at every day. I suddenly felt bored. The monotony of the day, the doldrum, sunk in as I realized that I walk the same walk every day.
And for some reason, I remembered when I was a wide-eyed, bushy-tailed intern in New York. I took the subway every day, went through the same motions, but it was all so exciting and full of possibilities. And every morning, I went to the coffee shop on the corner (which, sadly, is no longer there) to see my boyfriend-at-the-time. He worked there and always gave me an iced latte for the morning commute. That was a nice way to start the day. But that wasn't the only nice thing about that time in my life. I was just starting out, so full of optimism that I was going to do fun, exciting things with my life. Now I just feel mediocre and mundane. Maybe it's my impending birthday, I don't know.
As I was walking up the escalator, exiting the subway station, I saw a bird perched looking down at all of us. And I wondered, as we all want to be free like the bird, to fly our way through the world, is the bird watching because he wants to be like us? Sometimes I feel like the grass is always greener, and I'm not sure how to escape that feeling.
I was reading a devotional the other night which mentioned the following verse -
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead."
And that, I think, should be the focus. Not thinking too much about the good old days, but concentrating more on what's good about the here and now. In reality, that's what the bird is thinking about. Birds, I recently had to explain to my grandmother, have very short lives. That bird was not thinking about the lives of the commuters he gazed down upon. He was thinking about whether we would leave crumbs behind for him to eat. Or he was thinking about the cool shade he was sitting in at the moment. His life is too short, after all, to spend time thinking about the nevers and maybes and could've-beens. And ours are too.
Posted by Penny Lane at 12:59 PM
Monday, May 8, 2006
I always have funny elevator conversations. For some reason, I always have weird conversations in elevators. Our office building is all swanky now, marble floors that my high heels echo off of and a fancy flat screen in each elevator updating you on the weather and the day's top headlines. But you can take the girl out of Hicksville, but you can't take the Hicksville out of the girl, right?
I'm usually walking with one of my co-workers, and at the moment we step into the elevator, we're talking about sex. Or analyzing a date she went on. Or complaining of love woes. Today, I was filling a co-worker in on some salacious celebrity drama about when Clare Danes cheated on sweetie crooner Ben Lee with Billy Crudup who was cheating on Mary Louise Parker while she was pregnant with his unborn son. It could have been worse, I suppose, if I was relaying the twists and turns of a real life sex scandal I was personally a part of. But either way, odd conversation for strangers to overhear.
In fact, my friend and I were talking about a recent dating disaster she had while we were waiting on an elevator, and a man in the lobby decided to wait for the next elevator to avoid hearing any more of our girlie gossip.
What would someone think of me if the only interaction we ever had was in an elevator? Take a few sentences out of any conversation, and you could sound like a total moron or insensitive brat. Which is how the MTV editors make The Real World so darn addictive and entertaining.
And then I think about all the funny Metro conversations I overhear, like the time I heard a man on the phone explaining in great detail how to order a sandwich at Subway. "First you choose the bread. You know, white, wheat, they have a cheese something-or-other. Then the meat selections. Chicken, ham..." Snore. How does that guy have a social life? Who would be the wanker and invite him along to bore everyone at happy hour? But then again, what do I know? Maybe he's telling his 80 year old grandmother that cousin Harry is opening a sandwich shop and not a mass transit system.
Just the other day, I had a phone conversation with my boss about the definition of rape while I was riding the Metro. Who knows what the other passengers thought of me. It's all just an entertaining part of thousands of lives overlapping in a small metropolitan area. Living in a big city is just like being on a reality show. Without the prize at the end.
Posted by Penny Lane at 6:41 PM
Friday, May 5, 2006
The other day I was on the Metro thinking about DC. I love New York, you know, and DC is just…well…it’s different. Sure you sometimes see the same characters like the woman in animal print sitting across from me conducting an invisible orchestra. Or the man on the city bus selling CDs and DVDs out of his backpack.
“If it’s hot, and it hadn’t dropped, I probably got it.”
New York is easier to navigate, but DC is smaller. New York City apartments are smaller and don’t come with closets. Sometimes they don’t even have level floors. The subway stations are cleaner in DC with their fancy escalators and rules against eating and drinking. But there’s a charm in New York’s grit. The gum stained concrete floors, the urine soaked stairs and that guy that’s always singing ‘Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone’ from the subway platform. I love that guy. I don’t know what his story is or why he’s always singing that song, but I make up different romantic scenarios every time I see him. The 77th Street station, Lexington Avenue line. Check him out.
This morning, as I was walking up the escalator, I saw an overweight Latino woman wearing a tight wife-beater with a large red stop sign on it. Underneath the sign, it said “Bitchin.” She was also wearing a denim miniskirt. And suddenly, I felt like I was back in Manhattan. Add some long nails and sassy attitude, and she might just waiting on the train to Queens.
In DC, the politicians and lawyers have separated the grit into different sections around town. So overlaps with Miss Stop Bitchin’ are rare. While in New York, the city dwellers embrace the grit, the dirt, the singing homeless, and it’s all part of the magic and charm of the world’s greatest city. DC’s a fancy pants’ New York. I bet the ‘I Heart DC’ shirts even are made out of 100% cotton.
Posted by Penny Lane at 7:23 PM
Tuesday, April 4, 2006
Maybe it's the weather. I keep telling myself. The weather really does, I think, have a tremendous effect on my mood. I'm always sadder and more inside my head during the winter months. And I keep telling myself that the sudden awareness of my mood also has something to do with the weather. Spring is a time of awakening, isn't it? The flowers, the animals and all that jazz. Everything coming out of the dark dirt or the dark caves. But it's not easy at first. Because the first step out of that cold, dark cave that's kept you sheltered and cut off from the rest of the world is, well, a bitch. You have to ease back into the warmth and the light that spring brings.
I finished a book last week. A sad and beautiful book. About a woman who shared an amazing life with a man she deeply loved. That's all I want. But so many of the emotions and life experiences that she shared are foreign to me. And I don't know, somewhere in between reading about life and death and love and loss and the full range of human emotions, I felt dead myself. Asleep. As though I've spent the past few months asleep. I haven't done laundry in far too long, my room's a mess, I keep procrastinating about the smallest things. Reading about someone else's life and fully functional emotions made me realize that I've been in a cold, dark cave of my own lately. Realizing that is the first step, I suppose, out into the world where the light blinds your poorly adjusted eyes and the warmth isn't warm enough to fully thaw you.
I feel like the past six months have been a total blur. What happened? Where am I? What do I want? Am I doing okay? So many questions. One thing happened. I realized what little control I have over my emotions and the course of my life, and in that, I gave up trying to control anything at all and just...simply...gave up. And fell into sleep and fell into the comforting darkness of that cave and the laziness it permitted.
Awake is the new sleep. Awake is the new sleep. SO. WAKE. UP.
Posted by Penny Lane at 11:51 PM
Friday, March 10, 2006
Everyone has fantasies. I took mine a step farther and now have a photo of George from Grey's Anatomy up in my cubicle. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. But at least I have clean fantasies!
I also have a fantasy boyfriend. All my friends know about him. We always make jokes about it. Like, "Oh, I hope my boyfriend will be out tonight." Or "Is your boyfriend going to the show on Saturday?" It's pathetic, but amusing. This week, I came up with things that my fantasy boyfriend would say to me.
"Who cares about her big, beautiful round breasts? Your tiny ones are the most beautiful in the world. And you have a great ass."
"Good morning, beautiful. Your voice just had to be one of the first sounds of my day."
"Good night, beautiful. Your voice just had to be the last sound I heard before I fell asleep."
"I like that band too! Let's go to their concert!" (because my boyfriend and I have a lot of music fun together.)
"Let's dance!" (he loves to dance.)
"I have a surprise for you, baby! We're going to New York for the weekend! I sure do love it there."
"When do I get to see you again?" (he loves being around me.)
"I love your cooking - everything you make is perfect."
"Anything you want, baby."
"I love going down on you. Can I do it again? I just want to see how many orgasms I can give you!"
"I would set myself on fire for you." (No, I don't want that, but it is the funniest band name I've ever heard.)
::sigh:: Alas, I haven't met my boyfriend yet. We keep missing each other. But doesn't he seem swell?
Aw man, don't judge me! You have fantasies too! And ok, ok, fine. There are two pictures of George from Grey's Anatomy in my cubicle. But he's just so darn funny and nice! And fictional, I know, just like my fantasy boyfriend. Hmph. My fantasy love life is just way better than reality, and at least it's keeping me entertained while I wait.
Thursday, March 9, 2006
Ryan Adams is a music god. I should start by saying that. His musicianship, his creativity, his lyrics that speak when your heart can't find the words and his ability to morph perfectly into any genre, any sound, any feeling he gets a hankering to shape into a song.
When they call your name,
Will you walk right up
With a smile on your face
Or will you cower in fear
In your favorite sweater
With an old love letter?
What do you do? Why is it that it's always so much easier to give into the bad stuff? The good thoughts, the good memories are so much harder to hold onto. There's a lot of good, but the bad is just easier to feel. The good is harder to keep, like it comes in short moments, in fast forward, while the bad seeps into you, chokes your every breath and moves in slow motion.
There's actually not a lot of bad. There are a lot of laughs, so much to be proud of, so much to take in and enjoy. But there's this ghost that's always with me, always haunting. "What's a six letter word for a broken heart?" I'm just "lonely." I miss intimacy. I want intimacy. I want hands holding mine, someone to talk to while I'm riding the subway. More than that, I want arms snug around me and legs tangled in mine while we sleep, and I want to feel wet lips against mine. I want. And that's ok. It's what makes us human, this condition they call loneliness.
And you don't have to give into it. You can smile and dance and laugh. You should and you do. But the fact is, in the darkness, in the silence, you can still feel its breath on the back of your neck.