Sunday, June 29, 2008

City Face

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to grow up. To mature. It means something different to every person. With friends and boyfriends I've had, some difficulties were caused by a difference in our maturation. So people define it in different ways and actualize it at different rates too.

Two friends told me last weekend that the 20s are fun, but awkward, and the 30s are fun and free. They said in your 30s, you finally have a sense of how to be. That sounds nice. I'm not 30 yet, mind you, but I have it in sight. And turning into some zen-like version of myself sounds alright by me. I could use a little zen. They also said that you really know yourself and you accept yourself the way that you are, realizing that there are some things that will never change because they're just a part of you.

One thing I've heard other people say is that growing up is about caring less what people think about you. That sounds nice and zen-like too, I think. I love my aunt so much. She's always been a second mom to me. And we're a lot alike so it's good to have someone in the family that you can relate to in special ways. But she cares too much what people think. She has a near impossible time making decisions for herself or forming her own opinions without being swayed by others. I really don't want to be like that. I know I care too much sometimes, more often than not probably. But I hope that I always have a firm grip on myself.

When I first moved to New York, I had a hilarious time adjusting. People kept talking to me. Strangers. Saying crazy things. One woman yelled at me while crossing the street. She pointed right at me and yelled, "Fuck you!!" Another woman on the subway told me not to touch her. I wasn't. The funniest was when a homeless man told me that my arms were man-like and that I didn't look like a woman. In the first two instances, I was shocked and disturbed and speechless. But to the homeless man, I retorted, "You're meeean!!"

Finally, someone explained that I didn't have a good "city face." I was looking people in the eye when my eyes should be glazed over, with a slight scowl on my face. I perfected that eventually, and the crazies found some other innocent to taunt. We have to find a way to make it through the world with ourselves still solidly intact.

So that's part of growing up, I think. Though, going back to my friends' wisdom about the glorious 30s, part of it is also recognizing your weaknesses. I do recognize that I care too much what other people think of me. Because I'm aware of that struggle I have, I am able to challenge and push myself, I think. And also to forgive myself when I succumb.

I also think that another part is truly knowing other people. And taking care of them. I'm learning more and more how to do that too. It's important to know who you are, forgive yourself for your weaknesses and challenge yourself to improve. But it's also important to know the people you love inside and out, to forgive them for their weaknesses and find ways to challenge them as well.

I've got my city face down pat. I learned how to adjust my face, my demeanor and the vibes I send off that best work with the situations a city puts me in. But I also need to learn the right face, way of walking and talking, for those that I love. It's part of taking care of them and treating them in the best way possible for them. And it's all a part of growing up.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Don't Tell Anyone, But I'm Still Drunk!

I am not as young as I used to be. I am not a rock star. Somehow, I forgot these two crucial facts when I decided to get obliterated last night with my friend. I ended up staying at her place and sleeping in my clothes because I was so wasted I just crawled into her bed and pulled the covers over my drunk ass head. The last time I can remember going to work in such a state was five years ago after being backstage or VIP whatever at the O Town album release party. Do you remember them? Oh yeah. I totally hung out with them. And their moms. And got tanked on free appletinis.

Last night, there were no pseudo rock stars. Only some testosterone enhanced Marines and bartenders we know that kept filling our glasses. This morning, I kept hitting snooze and tried to forget about Responsibility. My head hurt. Even my tongue hurt. I eventually made my way out of bed and peed, thinking to myself, "I need clothes. I can't make it all the way to my place."

So I took all my clothes off and wandered around the room opening drawers and closets. I think I forgot that you usually don't take your clothes off til you have new ones to put on. Then I wandered into the bathroom and brushed my hair and put it up. I sat down on the toilet, but I forgot I already peed. I may have even fallen asleep for a moment. Then, realizing I was forgetting something, I remembered that, "Oh yeah!" I still didn't have clothes on. So I finally found some to put on. Mission accomplished.

I felt good about myself and my level of functioning til I decided there was no way in hell I could manage to walk in heels when I could only manage to shuffle my feet so I started out on a journey to find flip flops. Literally, I got so lost and confused, I opened closet doors and stuck my head down towards the shoes calling out, "Flip flops? Flip flops!" I have some white shoes on that are, of course, too small for me, but much more manageable than my high heels. They’re more cute than practical, reminding me of the night I packed while drunk and only packed wedges because I had a dream I was Sarah Jessica Parker.

I knew I needed a pick-me-up so I went to Dunkin Donuts. On the way, I got some asinine text from my token Republican friend bragging about the Supreme Court decision yesterday on the DC gun ban. I'm normally not into having political conversations because I really hate listening to stupidity, but especially not today. If I normally don't have the energy for political debates, I especially don't when I barely have the energy to snarf down a greasy breakfast sandwich with the square egg.

Proud of myself for sidestepping a political conversation, I was standing in the Dunkin line when I saw a firefighter I recognized. Oh great. That's just what I need. A conversation about my ex when I'm so hungover I can't even read the words on the donut menu or decide whether I want a medium or large iced coffee. I think when breakfast is too complicated, one should not have serious conversations about what went wrong in one's previous relationship. I dodged him. Phew.

I finally made it on the bus, more proud of myself for that feat than of anything else in my life, and found myself sitting across from a super hot guy. Super Hot Guy looked at me (thank God for sunglasses), and I had a flash of me stroking his naked Super Hot Arms. And then it hit me. I'm still drunk. Dear Lord, have mercy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Down with Dope. Up with Hope!

I stumbled upon this quote today by Georgia O’Keefe, who I’m mad at but that’s a whole other story. The quote is brilliant:

I don't see why we ever think of what others think of what we do - no matter who they are - isn't it enough just to express yourself...

She’s right. That should be enough. It seems to be the theme for the past couple of weeks, doesn’t it? Be true to yourself. Be happy with yourself, with what you do, what you say, how you act. And above all, be gentle with yourself because surely the rest of the world batters you around enough.

I can be very…cynical. Or no, that’s the wrong word, I’m not sure I can be cynical because that, to me, is an absolute absence of passion. No. I think that I can be very pessimistic sometimes. I either think the worst or I think the best. There’s no in between. It’s hilarious, really, this rollercoaster of emotions that I go through on a daily basis. But I do really love it about myself. I love my passion, even when it’s crazy and irrational and out of control. It’s the best way to live. Always feeling.

So, ok, back to hope. I think that when I’m pessimistic, I’m still always hopeful. I know that's an oxymoron, but somehow I manage to always hold onto hope. Sometimes I do get mad at myself for being too naïve or too optimistic. It does get me in trouble probably more often than not, but it’s who I am. I hope. I am ever hopeful.

I am hopeful that the world can be a better place, and I'm hopeful that I can play a small part in that. I am hopeful that I can be a better person. I am hopeful that things will work out for those I love. And I’m hopeful that we’ll always be close. I’m also hopeful that I’ll find what I’m looking for and that I’ll be at peace if I don't. I’m hopeful because I believe in myself. I think that’s where it comes from.

And because I believe in the good. Even when it’s hard to see it, I can see it. Just ask me. I think that it's even a conscious decision sometimes. I see what someone wishes they were instead of who they are because I'm hopeful with them that they'll become the person they want to be. Everyone has something good, worthy of value, and by loving what is lovable, we're seeing people as God sees them. Or in a situation, I see all the good that could come of it and all the beauty in a moment. And I choose to be that way. I want to be someone who believes people when they say things and doesn't assume the worst or feel suspicious. I want to be someone who believes in people and who can always see beauty. I want to enjoy people and life. And so I do.

I’m a hoper. And even when that comes back to bite me, I still feel alright cuz I'm full of hope. If you don’t have hope and faith, then you can’t have love. And I have a lot of love in me for the world and everyone in it. "Always love, hate will get you every time..."

I won’t hold anything back
And I won’t hold anything in
Feel like I know where this is going
And I might know how it ends
But I’m still willing to begin

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Night I Almost Hooked Up With a Tongue-Ring

Last night, a friend of mine recounted his best drunk stories – the weirdest, wildest things that have ever happened to him while drunk. I laughed til my cheeks hurt. But I was feeling a little sad that my stories aren't as awesome. My stories are usually, "Oh wow, I got so drunk. Some guy talked to me, and he was so lame. It was funny."

But really, I should give myself a little more credit than that. I have had some interesting nights out on the town. And I'd like to tell one such story now. Though to be totally truthful, I confess that I probably wouldn't have hooked up with the tongue-ring because he's a bartender, but damn. He was hot and tempting. Not to mention how hot and tempting that tongue-ring was...

It was a Saturday in Washington, DC. E begged me to go to a concert with her and some friends. The concert was for a band I’d never heard of, but still sounded like more fun than dinner at the terrible Italian place on 8th Street with my roommate so I said, “Count me in.”

6:03 pm – I show up at her place and realize I only know one other person. The rest of the group is such a random mix of people that I honestly couldn’t make it up if I tried. We’re with a War Hero/Nobel Peace Prize Winner, the woman who used to be in the Dixie Chicks until Natalie Whoever showed up and booted her the fuck out and the very conservative daughter of the owner of the ranch where Dick Cheney shot his friend in the face.

Nobel was totally mellow and awesome, as you would expect. Probably also high on some really good pot. Dixie was this 40 year old hippie chick with long hair and one of those long flowery dresses on. The Republican is wearing a high necked dress she bought at a Mormon Rummage Sale and chunky ass shoes from 1996. I think I saw Rachel wear them on a Friends episode.

6:12 pm – We were instructed not to mention “the band,” but Dixie sings “Wide Open Spaces” twice, while we awkwardly look around at each other.

6:20 pm – We were also instructed not to mention Republicans, Bush, Cheney or anything about shooting someone in the face. The Republican mentions she’s “job-hunting.” We awkwardly look around at each other at the mention of the word “hunting.”

8:55 pm – The concert was fun and uneventful, although it turned out Nobel knew the band. Not surprising, really, since he spent last Thanksgiving at Bruce Springsteen’s house. Question: Does the Boss always get to carve the turkey because he’s the Boss?

9:01 pm – We leave the concert, and Nobel takes us all to the Ritz Carlton, where he lives, and buys champagne and chocolates.

10:25 pm – E and I sneak out after our second glass of champagne just as Dixie and Nobel were getting cozy and the Republican was looking uncomfortable…per usual.

10:30 pm - The night is still young so we meet up with two bartender friends, Irish and Young. Both are wicked hot and wicked drunk by the time we catch up with them. We start barhopping around to all the neighborhood places. Every time we walk into a bar, Irish and Young had friends there working who gave us drinks. It was like a Free Pub Crawl. Hooray for friends with hook ups!

11:16 pm – Two shots and a beer chugging contest later, we are all absolutely annihilated.

11:57 pm – Uh oh. Our creepy friend Liar Liar shows up. Months later, we learned she was a pathological liar, who got fired from her job for stealing from the company. Guess she was dumb too. We’ll call her LL for short. LL tries to crash our party, but her bitchy pout is a total buzz-kill. We leave her and sneak off to another bar.

12:11 am – A crazy girl comes around from the corner of a doorway and leeches onto Irish. He ignores her as she uses his arm to keep herself upright and whispers drunken nonsense into his ears. Even monkeys are better at standing up straight than this girl. I think she’s drooling. We leave before finishing our drinks and scuttle off to get away from her.

12:14 am – Irish and E are flirting up a storm and can’t keep their hands off each other. Young and I are…getting to know each other. Finally, a reward for being a good wingwoman. Karma loves me.

12:23 am – Tequila shots all around. My stomach gurgles.

12:46 am – Irish shouts out something about E’s fine ass and smacks her so hard the bartender’s hand jerked while he’s pouring. E howls, and Irish cackles.

12:48 am – We head to the bathroom to assess the damage. Yikes. Big red handprint on her small white ass cheek. Ouch. But she’s hopeful it’s a sign she’ll get some (less painful) ass later.

12:53 am – We get back to the bar to find more shots awaiting. My stomach lurches. Or possibly is jumping for joy? Hard to tell.

1:20 am – Young and I dance to the jukebox. I think I’m a good dancer, but don’t notice when the song changes from 50 Cent to Nirvana. Tequila may not be good for rhythm.

1:47 am – We head back to the bar we just left. Where LL is still creepily hiding out. Buzzzz kill. Did I mention she’s overweight and told us she was dating a major Hollywood celebrity? Weirdo.

1:51 am – I think I spot Crazy making a beeline for Irish, but someone takes her out the door. I get distracted by something shiny before I can whisper to E.

2:02 am – More shots. Young is holding my hand, stroking my back.

2:28 am – Young and I argue about what the best Van Morrison song is (Tupelo Honey). He grabs my ass. I let him.

3:03 am – I tell Irish I want some of his Coca-Cola, only to discover he's drinking Jager from a pint glass. I have never seen anyone do this before and suddenly believe everything I’ve ever heard about the Irish.

4:34 am – The bartenders finish cleaning up and want to go home.

4:37 am – We talk them into one more shot, then stumble out onto the street.

4:45 am – Ugh. LL picks a fight with E. I forgot she was even still there.

4:52 am – Irish tries to negotiate a peace treaty and gets caught in the scuffle too. Young and I make out. He has a tongue-ring. I love Karma.

4:54 am – Irish yells at E as LL surveys the destruction she created. Out of the shadows, Crazy pops up. How does she keep doing this? I am convinced she is a witch. Or a vampire. She starts slurring drunk words at Irish, trying to coax him home with her cuz she needs it good.

4:57 am – Young breaks free from me, runs to Irish’s side, and somehow they ditch Crazy.

4:58 am – We keep walking. Irish and E have made up, but now LL is skulking, planning her next wave of attack.

5:02 am – Young is trying to convince me to go home with him. I’m wondering what my defense would be if E killed LL, and I wasn’t there to stop her. I decide, “He’s so hot!” might not work, but “He has a tongue-ring!” would be one that anyone would understand.

5:03 am – Irish, E and LL start fighting again. I am too drunk to follow the complicated who-did-what-to-whom and make out with Young again.

5:05 am – Suddenly, we turn a corner, and Crazy comes out of nowhere again (Witch! Witch!). She tries to drag Irish home with her by the arm and starts yanking him down the street.

5:06 am – Young apologizes to me before rushing Irish into the first cab that passes. It all happens so fast that we don’t know what happened. Except that Irish and Young just left us on a dark, empty street with Crazy.

5:08 am – Crazy saunters crookedly on and announces she’s going to Irish’s apartment, where they will have sex. E and I exchange a glance and burst into laughter. E informs Crazy that Irish is long gone and that he does not want her skanky ass. Crazy says she has keys to his place.

5:10 am – Intrigued, we follow to see if she’s Crazy or if he is.

5:13 am – Irish is not as slutty (or perhaps just not as stupid) as we think he is, and Crazy cannot get into his apartment. We leave her on the street, screaming his name, knowing that he is safely stowed away at Young’s apartment. Where I am not enjoying his tongue-ring.

5:15 am – LL tells E that everyone has keys to Irish’s apartment. LL says she has keys. She just doesn’t have them with her. E is not sure who is to blame for not hooking up with Irish – Crazy or LL – but she is hopping mad that she’s not getting hot Irish ass. She tells LL that she is a crazy person and is not dating a major Hollywood celebrity. Nor does she have keys to Irish’s apartment. LL is mad at E for not supporting her pathetic fucked-up relationship with Asshole. Asshole likes fucking LL, but does not want her to have his babies. He doesn’t admit they’re dating when asked.

5:28 am – E and I ditch LL on the sidewalk shouting that the Hollywood celebrity is totally into her, she’s just not into him. Just like we left Crazy shouting a block away to be carted off by the police, which the neighbors surely called on her.

5:31 am – I am mad that I missed out on some hot tongue-ring action and stumble home alone. The sun is coming up. Oh, Karma, you got me again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Great Expectations

I love squirrels. It's so funny to see them eating or to watch them gather food. They're so sneaky! And they always watch you, ready to bolt if you take a step near them. Or maybe even ready to pounce. They always look so on guard. It's cute, but funny because, of course, I'm not going to hurt them. I'm just going to walk past them. But the squirrels are thinking about what I could do and what I might do and instead of enjoying their little snack, they expect the worst and are poised for a fight. Their tiny hearts beating fast. I walk past these silly squirrels every day. Don't they know me by now?

I've been thinking all day about expectations. Someone gave me advice this morning not to have them, but that's actually quite difficult. She first told me that if I think the worst, that's what will happen. I thought it was better to have low expectations and be surprised than to have high expectations and be disappointed. But she said, "No. Don't have any at all."

All day those words have been tossing around in my head. I have such an active imagination. And I think a lot. That sounds odd, doesn't it? "I think a lot." Sure, everyone does, but I have too much going on in my head sometimes. So for someone who's always thinking, is it possible not to have any expectations?

I decided to look up the novel Great Expectations because it seemed to be on point with the word of the day. I never read it, never a fan of Dickens and his I-get-paid-by-the-letter ramblings. But I found a couple good quotes that may shed light on the day's query.

Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule.

That's an appropriate one, I think, because it's essentially saying to base your expectations on evidence. Just look at the facts, and don't read between the lines. Focus on right now, this moment, and not what could happen tomorrow or what could be.

Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching…I have been bent and broken but - I hope - into a better shape.

I think that one is interesting because she says that even if something bad happens, it helps you grow. I strongly believe the good and the bad equally make us who we are. So whether I'm surprised or disappointed, whether something good comes or something bad or nothing at all, it will teach me, and I will learn, and it will become a part of me. Also, thinking about what I think will happen is futile because thinking alone never changed the future.

The book is about a boy who has "great expectations." Throughout the course of his life, he learns that not everything is as it seems, he learns to fend for himself and that it's important to help others because everyone deserves kindness. And from beginning to end, no matter what, he never gives up hope. And everything works out for him after all. His great expectations didn't hurt anything and were even right. Of course...that is fiction...

Sure, if the facts are telling you to be on alert and defensive, then that's the smart thing to do. But there's no need to let our imagination take the fun out of our little snack. There's no need to form an opinion about the unknown. Watch and listen, but don't forget to breathe and eat up the moment. Mmm!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Live Deliberately

I walk by the Supreme Court twice a day. In the morning, I walk by the front, and in the afternoon, I walk past the back. I see it from all sides. The building that houses Lady Justice.

And every morning, there are protesters. Usually just a few. This morning, there were only two. I used to look at them and laugh a little. They do look a little silly, just two people standing in front of that great building while tourists meander, taking pictures, killing time after visiting their senators or wondering where they can eat lunch. And professionals scurry hurriedly to their offices, never glancing up at that great building or thinking of its significance in their lives.

But those protesters never forget for a moment where they are or why they're standing there. They almost always have tape over their mouths, symbols of feeling silenced by the authorities.

But then one day, I was reminded of a story I heard about Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The two were great friends. In fact, the famous Walden Pond where Thoreau spent two years to "live deliberately" and "front only the essential facts of life" was on Emerson's property.

At one point in his life, Thoreau was thrown into jail for not paying a fine. He saw disagreed with the fine and found it unjust the authorities were demanding it so he chose jail instead. Emerson visited his friend at jail and paid the fine. When they saw each other, Emerson, surely exasperated at his friend's antics, said, "Henry. What are you doing in there?" Thoreau replied, "The real question, Waldo, is what are you doing out there?"

And that's what I think of now when I see those protesters. It's not, "Why are those ridiculous people standing there with no one paying attention to them?" It's, "Why am I hurrying by and not standing there with them, standing up for injustice?" The message the Transcendalists tried to teach us is to simply "trust thyself; every heart vibrates to that iron string."

It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined.
- Henry David Thoreau

Freckles and Feet

My mom has freckles all over her body. She’s a redhead, and it’s just par for the course. When she was pregnant with me, she prayed over and over that I wouldn’t have freckles. She probably didn’t even pray as hard about me having ten fingers and toes as she did about no freckles. When she was growing up, she got teased a lot for hers, and she thinks they’re ugly. The funny thing is that when I was little, I wanted more freckles because my mommy had so many. What is one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

I do have freckles. Not a lot, but just enough, I think. Someone told me once that freckles are angel kisses. I told my mom that, and she said the angels must’ve really loved her. She was joking, but I told her she was probably right, and that it sounds nice that angels picked her as a favorite and showed her so much divine affection.

I have big hands and feet. Sometimes I think my hands can be pretty, but mostly, I think they’re just big. When I danced, they helped me look graceful. But they’re not my favorite part of me. I had to learn to love them, and it wasn’t easy.

I can’t remember anymore when I first had this thought; it seems like something I’ve always had. There was something I got teased for a lot when I was little. And it was something that I actually liked about myself so I think that made it harder when I was teased for it. Why didn’t they see what I saw? I decided that one day, I would meet someone who loved me for it too, and that would be the man I was going to marry. He would tell me he loved it, and then I would know. It would be a sign. I thought that maybe God made this so that only one person could appreciate it.

It’s a sweet idea, but it ended up being something that a lot of people like about me. So kinda shot holes in my theory, ya know? At some point, I decided on something else. Something that I loved about me, but felt no one had ever noticed. I think it’s beautiful, but no one pays it any mind. I waited and waited and eventually someone did notice it and said he liked it. And no, we are not married...though he's still the only person to ever say anything about it...still probably a theory of holes.

I think the actual point of those ideas, though, is that I love those things about me. Things that some don’t love or don’t even see. And all that really matters is that I see them, and I love them. I think that’s something I’ve gotten better at as I’ve gotten older. And damn, I do love me. I rule. There are so many great things about me, more than a few that others are blind to. It’s a hard thing to do, to love yourself. Even harder is to forgive yourself. I even have a sweet little nickname for me I say to myself when I need to calm down. If I don’t love me, who else will?

My friends love all the little things about me, and my best friends find things in me to love that even I don’t see. Freckles are obvious and easy to notice, but it’s the spots and scars on the inside that only love can find. A few years ago, a new freckle showed up, and it quickly became my favorite. It’s on a toe. So cute! And it gave me a reason to like my feet. I think really it’s the spots and the little things that are the most important.

baby, these are all the things i know are true
your heart, your skin, your breath
all the things inside of you
your freckled chest
my wishing stars

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Forget the Real Girl. Who's the Real Lars?

I just saw Lars and the Real Girl. It was so good. I laughed through most of it because it was just so out there and absurd, but it had a serious message and now here I am sitting at home thinking about it. I think that everyone acts like Lars sometimes.

He had in his mind what the perfect girl would be like. What she'd look like, where she'd be from, what her childhood was like, everything. But she started to take on a life of her own, and he had to realize that who he had imagined wasn't exactly what he wanted after all. We all do that, don't we?

We think we know what we want, what we're looking for, but then when we find it, it isn't quite what we thought it'd be and it doesn't feel like it was supposed to. And then we're left alone again, usually. Because our life's not like a movie where the fairy tale ending arrives just in time to cushion the fall of our heart. And the fact is that it's hard being alone. That's why we invent people, why we try things we know in our heart of hearts that aren't right or won't fit. Because even if it feels good for a little while, it's better than the reality.

Poor Lars. He really just wanted someone to care about him. Someone who wanted to know everything about him, who wouldn't abandon him but would be there for him. Someone to make him feel like everybody else for once in his life.

It's so hard to find what we're looking for because we're usually looking in all the wrong places. We think we know, but we're wrong. We're delusional and see only what we want to see, what fits with the reality that we've created. But we end up finding our way eventually. Everyone takes a different walk to get there, and it takes some people longer than others. But eventually we sort out the mess that is who we are, and once we've created that to be the most solid foundation, I think all the other things just find us where we're at and just fall into place.

We find "the real girl." Whether "the real girl" is the right career path, the right home, the right partner, the right friends. We just have to be clear on who we are first. And maybe that's what set us off in the wrong direction to begin with. Looking outside when we should have been looking in. Then again, if we're just totally clueless, there's always the internet.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Love My Papaw

My Papaw. I love my papaw. He’s kind, generous, smart and so darn funny. He always has nicknames for people. My great-grandfather was Rubberjaw because he was always talking. I had a great uncle named Scoot because he scooted instead of crawled as a baby. My mom, he called Junebug. And he calls me Precious.

When I was little, I followed my older cousin around and did everything she told me to do. I got a cat, a grey and white striped tabby, and she wanted me to name him Peaches after her new Peaches and Crème Barbie. So I did. I don’t remember how old we were when she had this brilliant idea, but she thought it’d be nice of us to draw some pictures for Papaw on his carport. Papaw did not appreciate our fine artwork and whipped us good!

I learned how to swim in Papaw’s pool. He and my mom taught me. I was so scared I’d drown, but when Papaw was there, he told me I’d be ok. And I believed him.

I remember when he married his third (and current) wife. They’d only been dating a few months, six at the most maybe, before they went on vacation to Hawaii and got married. He knew my mom and aunt would have words for him so instead of telling them himself, he got my cousin to make the announcement to the whole family. Ooo he’s clever. They can’t get mad at an 8 year old.

He taught me how to drive his big pickup truck when I was just 14. I was barely a hundred pounds, and the truck felt like it could swallow me up. He laughed and laughed as I squealed making the turns. Again, he told me I’d be ok, and I believed him. As long as he was there with me, I knew it was true.

His favorite food is ice cream. When the medicine makes him feel like he can’t eat and that food doesn’t taste good, he just eats ice cream cuz it always tastes good. When my mom was little, she got mad at him for something. He told her to make him an ice cream sundae, and she made it with shaving cream instead of whipped cream. I wish I could’ve seen his face when he took that first bite. He got so mad at her, but laughed a little too. He has a great laugh.

Everyone in my family thinks I’m a little bit crazy. Why can’t she just settle down? I’ve moved around from place to place like a gypsy. When I told them all I’d be moving again to go back to school, there were a few laughs and rolls of the eyes. “Oh that girl. Isn’t she funny?” But my Papaw pulled me aside and told me he admired that about me. He said I was brave and that he’d be too scared to move around like that. He loves me for just who I am.

He taught me how to fish, and I’ve never seen him more proud or excited than when I’ve caught one and reeled it in. He’ll tell everyone we see, the guy at the convenience store, a waiter at a restaurant. He loves to teach. When I said I’d never had coconut milk from a coconut before, he went right outside to pick one and told me to try it. "It’s always good to try new things," he said. And he laughed when I told him I didn’t like it and told me he didn’t like it either.

A couple years ago, he was very sick and in the hospital. I told him I was thankful his wife was there with him and that she takes such good care of him. He’s never been one to give advice. I used to think it was because he wanted us to figure out things on our own. He’s always pushed us to be independent. But I think it’s actually that he doesn’t realize how wise and smart he is. In any case, he did give advice that day.

He thought he might die, and he told me he wanted me to find a good man. I said I wanted me to find one too. And he said, “You need to find someone who loves you. A good Christian who takes care of you.” Ever sassy, I said, “You want me to find someone who will take care of me? I take care of myself just fine, Papaw.”

He laughed and said, “I know you can take care of yourself. That’s good, and you need to. I want you to find someone who takes care of you by loving you. You need to be loved. You just need to find someone you love that loves you.”

He’s always been like a father to me. When my mother and I needed to leave my father and couldn’t, he grabbed a friend and drove a U-Haul all the way from East Tennessee to New Mexico. He packed up all the furniture and everything in the house, and while my father was at work, we moved out and went home, safe and protected. My mom called him and said we needed help, and he helped.

All my life, he’s taught me what love is. That you love people with what you do and with what you say - it's about both words and actions. You take care of them, you teach them, you make them feel safe and like everything will be ok, you sacrifice for them, you love them for who they are, you laugh with them, you challenge them to try new things, you’re always there when they need you, and you rescue them when they need saving. I love my Papaw, and he loves me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Clintards Send Racist Tornado to Capital

I have to confess I stole my headline today from Wonkette - the wittiest website on the series of tubes. Isn't it funny? If you don't get the reference, we had a tornado in DC on Wednesday - the day after the last primaries and the day after Obama declared his victory.

One of the reasons I love this city so much is the different people you get to see and interact with throughout any given day. It's like New York in the way that you're exposed to a wider range of diversity, but like the South in that people actually do enjoy chatting with strangers.

I made a friend with my Metro Bus driver. I don't know his name yet, though I feel bad about that so we'll have to exchange names the next time. He's a really nice guy, seems very chill and laidback.

We talk every time our schedules intertwine for me to be on his bus. Today, we were talking about whether or not we think Obama should pick Clinton to be his V.P. Bus Driver (BD from here on - sorry! I promise to ask his name!) and I agreed that he shouldn't. We said he didn't need her, she got too nasty and the race was too heated. Then we talked about whether or not her supporters would eventually go along with him. I said surely they'd settle down because the differences between him and McCain are so vast.

Before BD could give his opinion, a woman who looked like a stereotypical Clinton suppoerter spoke up. (Isn't it funny when you see a real, live stereotype?) She said that they needed each other, and they should have realized it sooner, but the best thing he can do is put her on the ticket.

I said, "But don't you think that eventually they'll come around? I mean, the issues that they really care about, McCain would be so bad for."

And she no, there'd been "too much sexism," and "They don't care about the issues, they feel wronged, they'll stay home." And I'm sure that my face looked like I'd bitten into spoiled food.

She then got off the bus, and BD said, "I don't agree with her." And I said I didn't either, and we laughed. I love my bus driving friend.

It's a weird thing to me, though, these Clinton supporters. I get that a lot of them are second wavers or second wave wannabes so, like Obama's Chicago church, they remember when times were really bad. But I just don't understand how they can't help themselves by sticking with the Democratic nominee. They care about feminism, ok good, me too. So because of that, they should vote Democratic and not stay home ruining our chances of advancing women's rights and correcting the wrongs of the past 8 years. I just don't get it.

Politics is emotional. It's passionate. I think that Democrats that are emotional and passionate are so out of desperation. They're desperate to save those that cannot speak for themselves. They're motivated by a deep love for other people - for the poor, for the minorities, for all the unnecessary deaths from the war. I know it's a fantastical view of an imperfect system, but it makes sense to me.

So that maybe explains the emotion of it, but I think that regardless of your beliefs, you've still gotta hold onto common sense and vote to help the issues that matter most. There will probably never be a politician that you agree with on every single issue or in every single way, but you pick the issues that are most important to you and make your decision that way.

Voting is like marriage, and campaigns are like dates. I'm sorry that the primaries broke your heart, but you gotta pick up the pieces and move on to find the best person for you. When my high school boyfriend and I broke up, I thought I'd never find anyone else. Well...that's not entirely true. When the guy I started dating after my high school boyfriend and I broke up, I thought I'd never find anyone else. I think that it took ten years for me to find someone on the same level as that guy again, but it happened.

And I've learned my lesson. It's not going to be another ten years from now before I'm with the right guy again. I am going to think with my heart and my head too. And Clintards, you do the same. Do what's best for the country, and all the people who need someone to stand up for them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I Heart Me.

I have been too hard on myself, and those days are over. I just have to stay grounded in who I am, and I'll be ok. I know myself, and that's all that really matters.

I think that for a long time, I blamed myself for not being able to say "yes" to something that seemed so perfect. In the end, it was actually that it was never perfect or right. And I didn't do anything wrong, except not trust my instincts. More often than not in my life, I have let people make me feel a certain way. Make me feel wrong. But just because someone tells me something is true, that doesn't mean it is.

And the truth is - I rule. I am great. And I know it. The people who love me know it. It's just a fact. I am strong. I am resilient. I am optimistic and positive. I am sensitive and honest. And a freaking blast.

Oh, birthdays. You can sure beat a sista down. And I'm wobbling a lot on this one. But I just feel more confident and more centered than ever before. There are little things about me that I really love. And I need to remind myself of them more often. So let me just talk about myself for awhile, k?

  • I love to scratch backs. People seem to like having their backs scratched, and I like being the one making someone feel happy and relaxed.

  • I love brunch. It is by far my favorite meal. I love Bloody Marys, Mimosas, and some yummy cheesy eggs to go with great conversation and company. And brunch, like everything, is always better with sunshine.

  • I need coffee in the morning. And I need to snooze. I am a night owl, not a cheery, perky morning person.

  • I love my family. Even though they're crazy and make me feel like a black sheep sometimes. I love how loud they are, I love that we're always there for each other, I love that we're so close. I feel a little sorry, truly, for people who don't have close, big, loud families.

  • I am a damn fine cook. And I freaking love it. I cook lavish meals for just little ol' me sometimes if I need a little relaxation and pampering. It's like therapy. And I love cooking for other people. I think it's such a giving, generous act to spend so much time putting love and goodness into a meal.

  • I have dualities. I like to water ski and snow ski. I like the beach and the mountains. I like beer and champagne. Dressing up and dressing down.

  • I am good at taking care of other people. I am really good at loving. It's our purpose in life, isn't it?

  • I have great taste in music and movies. Totally.

  • I am a great hostess. I always throw fun parties and I'm always the life of the party anywhere I'm at. If I ever get married, we will be the cool couple who have nights out on the town and drink to excess. And one day, I'm gonna have a sweet old house with wood floors, a porch and lots of character. Maybe even a ghost! If I want one. He'd probably come around for the parties too.

  • I would get in a car right now and drive to a beach. One thing I have learned is life is what you make it. I thought I couldn't take a chance, but no, I could. I just didn't want to. And that goes to show me that I should trust myself more. I am courageous and impulsive.

  • I love my loud laugh, and that I got so excited watching a football game at a party a couple years ago that someone told me to use my inside voice. As if I have one. Loud and proud!

  • I like walking in the rain and bubble baths and long dinners and movie days. And now I feel like I'm writing a personal ad...

I have honestly never felt better about myself, what I want and how to live my life. I feel like everything I've experienced in my life is culminating into this one moment. 29 is gonna be great. Because I will make it great.

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