Adult

So that was the moment. Watching my friend, with her knees pushed and knocking each other, eyes rolling back in her head. She struggled for her balance and I was so very embarrassed for her. And it hurt my heart to see her sway in the dim light of the bar. Her ankles were about to roll until I grabbed her under the arms. Then the bouncer shined a bright light on us and sternly exclaimed ‘she’s out, gotta go. NOW.” Without hesitation, I escorted her out. Shockingly (or not so?) all of the other girls we were with suddenly evaporated into the crowd.
It was in that brief monologue of my friend, twenty-two years old with a bachelors degree and a management position, that I truly saw it. I guess for years I have been searching for it: the ability to not be that girl. Not be the shitshow. And on Saturday I wasn’t. I wasn’t the girl who couldn’t walk in heels. I wasn’t the girl with too much makeup on. I wasn’t the girl who kept pulling her too short dress down. I wasn’t her.
We become adults when we say we aren’t. We think we’re adults when we say we are. But life is mystical and the way we define chapters some times eludes even the deepest parts of ourselves. I have been responsible, wise, and independent for a long time. But, I was always a party girl too. Vodka, combat boots, and heavy eyeliner were my specialty. Crop tops and too tight dresses, half open eyes and banged up knees. No I wasn’t the most rebellious, but I thought the only way to make myself happy was to get really fucked up and wake up with black eyeliner on my pillow in the morning.
Hobbies? They consisted of working out, getting drunk 4 days a week, eating too much dessert and undoing the workout, most likely crying over a boy who didn’t know how to love me, networking, drinking, driving to the beach and crying by myself, and giving way more to others than I ever received.
To feel free slowly but surely from everything that holds you back is a scary place. You want so badly to be happy, to finally feel like you have a clean slate. You want to believe that the potholes and road blocks are surmountable. And I can’t sit here and say I don’t still have terrible days where I leave work and cry in my car, or moments where my actions are immature. But, part of being an adult is recognizing your flaws.
I also have learned to recognize my worth. Have faith in my abilities. Know my capabilities. I have hobbies now. I read educational books and try to learn about the world. I genuinely listen to people that I have nothing to gain from. I have never been a selfish person; but I am less selfish now. I prefer long skirts to short and tight dresses; even if I weigh less. I don’t wear heavy eyeliner, in fact I rarely wear eyeliner. I stopped tanning. I prefer Wine to Vodka.
In many ways, I am a different woman. I can now recognize my own strength and beauty when I look in the mirror. I don’t find it unfeasible to have a healthy relationship with a man.
I have so much more work to do on myself. Life is an ever-progressing work-in-progress. I can’t wait to keep becoming the woman I dream about.
I have forgiven. I have moved forward. I am slowly releasing the gravity of the demons who have held me back.


Intensity

I think part of the reason I have trouble finding a guy that suits me stems from two gleaming personality traits I embody. One isn’t really a trait, more of a theme. I am my own worst enemy. I doubt myself, stress myself out to my core, and second-guess my abilities too often. I am growing out of this for sure, but it’s still there. The other is my intensity. My laser-focus on things that makes many question my sanity, my insatiable need to push my own limits in many ways, and also challenge others. This is very off-putting to many of the male suitors who at some point thought chasing me would be a simple game. Unfortunately, it’s never that easy with me. And I guess I make it that way to protect myself. I make it so easy for the ones I know will never get me, give them all of me physically, but almost nothing of my mind. And for the ones I truly and intensely feel for, I do my best to pull away from them just enough to feel like I have the upper hand, and if I do by some measure show that I may in some form, cherish them more than a friend or acquaintance, I retreat. I find a way to withdraw, to leave. Fight or flight my friends.
Now this all sounds so cliche and contrived, I know this. Everyone can talk a huge game as to why they are not attached, why they always find themselves alone at events or in their bed on a Friday night. We can preach and pick apart what we do wrong and why our lives are the way they are. But, do you believe in the universe’s power to control our fate? Not in some crazy extra-terrestrial or astrological way, but in the idea that people walk into our lives for a reason. That our paths intertwine with people to create meaning. That sometimes, familiar pieces of someone we used to know, or something that reminds us of safety, suddenly manifest so boldly in someone that you never expected to find.
Am I romanticizing Jim? Probably. But, I don’t give him enough credit. I thought he was so simple for so long. I really thought I would get sick of him, I really thought one day he would do something that made me snap out of the dreaming glances I give him, and big smiles. I assumed that the day I found out about his girlfriend I would feel inferior. I thought that at some point it would get old.
But, he’s intense. I think anyone who doesn’t understand him thinks he’s a douchebag or miserable and flat-out gives up on him; throws in the towel. So, I think he has learned not to overwhelm people with himself. Which is too bad. I see so much good in him, so much passion, so much heart. So much intensity. And I think if he had someone by his side to help him channel all of this, his big personality, his masculine energy, he wouldn’t get so frustrated at work. He wouldn’t retreat from those around him so easily. Because, he would know that above all else, he could leave for the day and feel like the person he got to see outside of work would get it. She wouldn’t question him or judge him. And it doesn’t take a genius to see that when someone stays until 7 o’clock on a Friday night, regardless of where their significant other resides, they’re not all in. It also doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if someone can still get so nervous around a female even after 8 months working side-by-side with her….his feelings are probably more intense than that of his other colleagues.
It was funny on Friday. I stayed late to finish something up that I didn’t want to forget to finish this morning and he was organizing things near my desk. His fashion sense is so terrible it’s cute. It’s not horrible, just so unrefined. He and I were chatting, me trying to look more interested in the computer than him, and we were discussing my ideas for getting a third job. I mentioned that I wanted to go back into a restaurant and he started prodding me about where I wanted to work etc. I had no clue, this was just an idea that I had done no looking in to. “Well I could talk to my managers at work….I’m a bartender on the waterfront. Maybe when it gets warmer, you’d make great money.”
I was very floored. He is pretty private when it comes to his personal life. And that’s definitely part of his personal life. Plus, he already sees me for eight hours a day anyway. And the fact that he would be willing to spend more time with me wasn’t surprising, but just intriguing. I didn’t want to think too much of it, but at the same time how could I not? I doubt he had ever offered to vouch for anyone else who worked with him and wanted him to get them a job at his place. I wondered what his goal from working at another place with me was. I wanted to know if he thought that seeing each other in a different setting would bring us closer together.
I want to know so much more. It’s like an endless saga that I just wish I could control. I wish I didn’t feel so much intensity and energy when it’s just the two of us. I wonder if it’s worth it to see him in my future in a bigger way. I want to know how much she means to him.
Few people truly understand me. There are only a handful who get to see my flawed insides, my bitterness about certain things in my past, the haunted look I get when I find the memories I don’t want to talk about. My inability to articulate the love I feel for some. How I never want people to think I am stupid, or incapable, or cruel. And I am so mad that I don’t let more people in. I am so mad that I don’t fight harder to keep people closer to me. But, I guess, I still believe in my heart that the universe will cross my path with someone who I’ll never feel like I need to hide from.
If you find someone who handles your intensities, for whatever you focus them on, and does it with grace and ease, don’t lose them. If you find someone who tries to hide their imperfections, their fuck-ups, and you still see so much beauty anyway, don’t give up hope on them. You see, love takes time. Some of us fall in love quickly, while others, we need our love to grow. We need to be able to appreciate someone, but also acknowledge that they are so flawed, so wonderfully human.
Let your intensity out, because the right one will never question it.


Matter

The last week there has been a recurring theme in my life; what people value me for. On Thursday, on my nightly phone call with my co-worker bestie she said some things that felt like shards of glass running across my skin. “Yeah, but that intern was hot. Bill will definitely want her in the office this summer. You may not be queen bee for very much longer…they like you because you’re pretty and young.” There are so many things I could’ve said and I wish I had let them manifest from my lips. But, I didn’t. I let her say that and get away with it. Maybe, because I was so dumbfounded. Bill’s my boss boss, not just my manager. He and I have a great relationship, and we’ve developed a good joking manner and just work well together. He is the same age as my co-worker crush, so 28. The fact that my so-called ‘friend’ thought that she could discount me so quickly was definitely brutal.
But, it got me to thinking. Soul searching. I went in to work on Friday and tried to observe the way Bill and my other manager/crush/co-worker interacted with me. Was Bill really only impressed with me because I am pretty? Did my co-worker crush only do things to help me and listen to me, because I’m young and hot? It was driving me crazy. Do I get special treatment? I pondered that one and kept turning it over like a coin in my mind. My coworker crush, let’s just call him Jim from now on, always has that delighted big grin on his face that dudes get in 7th grade when they see the big tittied overdeveloped middle school girl walk by. Bill, is more mature, and while awkward, he says things like ‘No one’s better than you!’ Or ‘you’re the best, like the absolute best.’ I welcome these compliments but also don’t revel in them. I don’t like too much praise, it makes me viciously uncomfortable like that wool turtleneck my mom put me in when I was little.
And the other girls at work don’t like me. My so-called ‘friend’ and this group of girls…I can tell. They see me as some post-grad who literally gets smiles from all the males and gets away with things. I see the way they smirk at me, uninclude me, most likely talk about me and the way I dress. Girls never grow out of being catty when they find a target and the mean girls are alive and well at my non-profit. My mom calls it jealousy and at first when she said that, I disagreed. I’m socially awkward in big groups, often dumb myself down around people I think are more qualified and competent than myself, and still stutter on occasion. Clearly, I have many enviable professional skills. But, she insisted they were jealous of me because of how I present myself. And now, especially after Thursday, I think she’s right. But, it still sucks.
It sucks to walk into a school and when you tell people who you are, they take two looks at you and say you aren’t qualified. Not only because you look young, but also because you’re a female working in athletics, and you’re feminine to boot. So you must not know who is seeded highest in PAC-10 for college basketball and you can’t possibly know what you’re doing. So, people sell me short a lot at the schools I walk into. And one particular coach, took advantage of the one time I was too naive to see that he was bad news. I talked about him in November, but on Sunday I received a text from him, asking if I was ok since he hadn’t seen me around lately at school…. NO. Just no. But, at the time I was actually getting ready for a date.
Ah yes, another part of this theme about what people value me for. I chatted with this really cool guy on Friday, and he asked for my number. On Saturday he texted me and asked me to brunch. On Sunday we had a great brunch date. Or so I thought… We talked a little bit after the date but I haven’t heard from him since. And I am not stupid, if a guy wants to talk to you, he will. I think on Friday, I was just enough for him. I was witty, tipsy, and looked great. He was intrigued and even called me charming. But, on Sunday, he got to see a little more of me, the stuttering, the rambling occasionally, the inability to finish a story because of ADHD. And maybe he would’ve preferred if he could’ve just had the girl from Friday back. The pretty girl.
I sense there’s something I don’t know when it comes to Bill and Jim and how they feel about me. Lately, Bill has been working more one-on-one with me, which I know bothers Jim. Bill called me today to come meet him at a nearby conference room. When I arrived nearby, Jim looked confused as to why he wasn’t included in the meeting and paroused by the glass conference room, with almost a look of jealousy. Looking back, I think Bill uses me as an ego booster. I laugh at his jokes even when they aren’t funny, I re-establish ideas he has come up with, I help him in a way that shows I care. But, I do this because he is my boss and ultimately these are things any good subordinate does. Bill never looks jealous or mad when I meet with just Jim, or come up with a good idea with Jim. But, that’s because Bill has no real feelings for me. Bill has a picture of him and his girlfriend on his desk, and I think they’re very much in love. Bill likes me because I come in with a smile every day and always look presentable. Bill likes that I never complain, that I work hard, that I am a team player. He appreciates my physical beauty, but I believe more so he likes my professional talents.
Jim is a completely different story. Jim and I get each other. We don’t even have to say it, because it’s like an unspoken truth. No matter how many dates I go on, how many guys I kiss, I keep coming back to him. When I told him about the coach texting me, he was confused. And mad. I could tell, because he started breathing heavily. But, he used his words carefully and listened to me like I was telling him the greatest secret in the world. I kept shifting my glance as I told him that I was frustrated with the coach and that I am a 23 year old female and this guy was a respected disciplinarian and coach in the school. I re-arranged the sticky notes on my desk and could feel Jim’s glance piercing me. When I finally looked up into his eyes, him leaned over the counter of my desk, I again was re-assured at what I know to be true. When I made the comment about being a 23 year old, he looked at me like I had left something out. His eyes, while stern and to the point with others, were soft puppy dog eyes in that moment. And I felt it. I feel it every time we both let our guards down. But, I can’t let that permeate me right now. So, even though I sensed he wanted to say more and wanted to let me be vulnerable and feminine for longer, I just sort of cut the conversation short and said ‘ok thanks for the advice.’
I guess the more I get to know Jim, and the more he becomes comfortable and trusting of me, the more I also worry. Jim and I are scared shitless of each other. Even if he doesn’t admit it, even if he keeps driving two states over to see her, or she comes here, he doesn’t look at me like Bill does. He respects me and values me, but there’s definitely more to it. On a conference call with Bill last week, he made two huge mistakes, in terms of trying to cover up how he sees me. Jim, Bill, and another colleague were determining how many sports programs I should run in the spring. The other colleague said flat out ‘no more than 3’. I had just asked to do 4. Bill agreed and said ‘3 is ideal, Jim what do you think?’ Jim skirted around the question, but finally said ‘I love you ____(my name), but I think 3 is what’s going to work best.’ Just say 3 bro, just say 3. And then as I asked a question on the conference call, the response from Jim was astounding. ‘Don’t count on it babe.’ Jim looked at me for a reaction but I was so shocked he had said that, that I couldn’t speak. He could see it wasn’t well-received and tried to play it off.
Jim calls me hun a lot. I mean if it were someone that was like my dad’s age, or a mentor, or someone who uses affectionate terms with other female co-workers, no harm, no foul. But, he’s a 28 year old guy that is often seen as a tad grumpy and stern with most of the people he works with. So it’s definitely concerning. I fight so hard to not care that he looks at me for too long, that his gaze doesn’t make me weak in the knees. That while I am vulnerable for a few minutes, he makes himself vulnerable when he slips and says things that show there’s more to the story with how he feels.
I want more. I want exchanged words in the corner of a dive bar. I want smiles at midnight, intertwined hands in the hot summer breeze. I want to hold him and I want to listen to him. I want to run my hands through his hair, I want to give him more reasons to smile than he has now. But, we both love work so much. We are both so passionate about the organization. If this were to happen now, or in the not so far future, it would be sticky.
I can’t let go though. Ever met someone who honestly makes you feel like you matter, always? Someone who makes you feel at your best, who pushes you to be that person that they see you can be. And they handle you like you’re worth a million dollars, even when you’re bloated or tired or cranky. They still show that you alone matter. He does that. And I know he has the same fear I do with people, never giving himself completely to someone for fear that they won’t be able to handle him. That it won’t matter that he can be sweet, that he is a little rough around the edges, that he has freckles on his nose even in winter, but that he can be very intense. That he doesn’t handle being in the passenger seat well. That his sense of style could use work. That he is secretly not sure of what he’s doing at work. He doesn’t need to see her everyday, because he knows if and when he does, he will have to face all the things that will never add up for them.
We all matter. We matter for our acts of kindness. Our fears. Our contributions to the greater good. Our creativity. Our unique quirks. People will make you feel like you don’t matter more than a few times in your life. They will leave you, show you how little they value you, make you feel so small. And the silver lining to that dense dark cloud is this: you are then given the ability to distinguish when someone sees your tremendous worth and value. You matter.


Loveless

Oh Valentines Day. Every year this day and I seem to be at odds, either subconsciously or very blatantly. In my teen years and college years, I acted too good for Valentines day. “Whatever…being single is so much cooler.” I blew smoke out my own ass just to make myself look and feel better. But, I didn’t actually even know the meaning of the word single. Singlehood is both a beautiful and scary thing.
I try to look at Valentines Day now as a day to celebrate all types of love. The love I feel for those closest to me, even if they’re not a significant other. Or at least that’s how I spin it if someone dare ask if I have a valentine. It’s the one day of the year any person has the right to know about your romantic life. And that is both disturbing and annoying. Fuck off world, just because none of my conquests have worked for me up until this point, doesn’t mean I am a loser for not having a valentine. In actuality, no one has asked me if I have a valentine, but I am always dreading they will. If I say I don’t is it assumed that I am the undateable and there’s something inately wrong with me? And I do this weird stutter blinky thing when I am nervous so it’s likely that’ll happen too when someone asks me.
Most days, I have learned to stop wondering about my future valentine. If he is already in my life or if one of these days he will just appear. Given my superior intuition, I am not really sure where he is at. Or how long it will take me to meet him or for both of us to realize what’s meant to be. I am at an age where it is still acceptable to be single. Still, as horrible as it sounds, sometimes I wish I could make the males that surround me wonder about my super boyfriend. I know they’d be dying to meet him. Because, they love me. They all (not just my co-worker crush), get to see me at my best, which is pretty damn good. And if they see this, they would expect someone pretty kickass to be with me.
But alas there’s no one. There’s about four guys I could text right now and get wrapped around my finger in three minutes. But, that’s nothing to brag about. And it’s nothing to be proud of. Those boys (not men), appreciate me for my body and ability to be a wild child, not my kindness and positivity.
They say people meet the people they belong to in places that aren’t bars or clubs, but in spaces where there is common interest shared and a bond can be formed…
I wonder if I am loveless every once and a while. Like that I am so crazy and hard to understand, that no one ever will. That my natural affinity for chaos and craziness is preventative in the long run for me finding love. That I am too hard to understand, too hard to love.
And that kills me. It makes me feel low, alone, hopeless.
But these are small moments.
Life is a beautiful, amazing, love-filled, struggle.
The people that break our hearts, make us ache for them, build us up, and maybe break us down, help us become the loveable people that ultimately will bring the love we deserve. Whether that means them or someone better suited for us.
I am a firm believer that we all have a key to the lock on our hearts. Regardless of your age, never stop searching, never settle.
Happy Valentines day to the lovers and the fighters,
may you find yourself and the love you deserve.


Do you think of me?

I wonder in the moments throughout the day when you glance back out of the corner of your eye, at me at my desk. I wonder when you offer to buy me breakfast, then wink at me when you see that I already have some. I wonder when you look like someone just stabbed you when I tell you you gave me false information and now I have to start something from scratch.
I wonder when you have me smell the scent of the espresso you brewed and lower your voice to see what I think of it. I wonder when you act macho and almost like a jerk when our male co-workers are around. You even call yourself a jerk, then look at me for a reaction. But, I can’t give you one.
No, it’s not to make you wonder more…I just need to protect myself.
I wonder if you smile with your crooked smile, a full smile; at her. I wonder if she lets you go when you’re ranting and angry. If she lets you do so, exuding aggression, but remaining calm. Because, when you do that, it’s never actually personal. It’s just you. What attracts me to you is that you’re the only other person who is as crazy as me. To anyone who doesn’t understand your motivations, your drive, your dedication, you’re probably an asshole. And sometimes you are an asshole. But, I can be cranky and rude too. We are all flawed.
I wonder if she sees you at your best. I wonder if she appreciates who you truly are or spends too much time trying to dull you down and fit you into a box that she approves of. I wonder if she smiles when you smile; I wonder if she makes you smile.
But, do you ever think of me? Does it ever cross your mind that when we converse it’s like electric currents surging through the lines? When our eyes meet and I feel a flutter in my soul, do you feel it too? When you’re not at your desk and you don’t get to see my face, do you wish you could?
I think too hard about you. While I have gotten better at seeing all the reasons we should never be more than two people who share common interests and the same passion for our organization, you keep giving me reasons not to lose hope. I want you to take that picture with her out of your desk and put it up. I want you to make small talk with me about how excited you are to see her this weekend. Because, I want you. I want you too much. I want you in ways that I can’t even fully grasp.
You’re the only weakness I have at work. Everything else I can handle, every other mundane task, I am capable of completing. Burying my feelings for you? I am still learning that one.
And I know I give very few signs that I feel how I do….but can you blame me? What am I supposed to do, shamelessly flirt with you or throw myself at you? While being unprofessional and inappropriate, it’s also not my style.
Nah there are some things I know. The way you look at me. The way you genuinely listen and remember everything I say. The smile you uncontrollably have when you see me. Do you like me because I am young? Because I am physically attractive? But if it were that simple this could’ve stopped many moons ago.
There’s tension. Your boss, who’s also my boss, I think he can sense it. Maybe he knows. Maybe you told him. There’s something I don’t know. I hate not feeling clued in, but I also hate when you call me hun and I can’t tell if you’re doing it because you feel bad for me or because you care about me.
I want to be your friend.
Life could be so much easier. While it is unusually complicated that you are my manager, but make every attempt to act like you aren’t, I wish we could be friends. Maybe if we were close friends you could tell me about her. Maybe you would explain why your relationship status still says single on facebook. Could you tell me what you love about her?
Do you love her?
I am entangled by your words. How we seem to be making slow progress towards knowing each other. How it is still hard to breathe when you first come near me. But, I am more entrapped by your actions. Are you trying to be the hero and rescue me for the sake of your ego? Am I just the underdog? Your voice softens when it’s just you and me though. And you light up when I inject the positivity you need back into the day.
You think of me. In my gut I know it. But, I don’t know how much longer I can think of you this way. You see, I want to learn and grow with the organization. I don’t know how accepting they would be if anything ever happened between us. But, I know you wonder. i know you look at me just enough when you walk by me, that I can tell.
I wish you weren’t with her. Any fool can see you don’t love her. You barely mention her, you hide a picture with her underneath junk in your drawer. There is no evidence that she has impacted your life at all. Hasn’t created something positive to add to it.
She’s two states away.
Are you going to spend the rest of your life going back and forth to see someone you once told a colleague “I see her enough!” Or mention her negatively when talking about her inability to find a sports bar to watch the game.
I see it, so do you. The question really is how long I am willing to hold out hope for you and how long it will take you to realize what you should do. Is it worth a try?
If I had to choose, I would say yes.


Pretty

You’re not always going to be pretty. There are days when you will not look or feel your best. When you’re self-conscious you have a muffin top, when the words that stream from your mouth don’t make you look pretty. There will be moments in time when you won’t look pretty. When salty tears cascade down flushed and swollen cheeks, because you have finally been broken. When you wake up in the arms of someone you don’t love, your eyes holding little semblance of last night’s smoky eye.
There will mornings you look in the mirror and think to yourself ‘how could anyone ever love me?’ You will spend too many days perfecting your eyeliner or mascara, hoping someone will find you pretty. You will put on a pair of jeans that hug you in just the right way or the way you think you should, just so someone will check out your backside. You’ll have pimples in inopportune places; dark circles from sleepless nights.
When you yell, some may not find you pretty. When you hold your ground, people will be insulted that you can actually speak eloquently. They will be floored that you are attuned to their motives and agendas. And they will no longer see your delicate and beautiful face. You can have a degree from the best college in the world, but if you’re pretty, that’s the first thing people will see.
If you’re pretty, some will assume its because you come from means. Many will think if you’re pretty, you are not very bright. Some will feel bad for you. “Just another pretty face.” And some who are pretty on the outside aren’t so pretty on the inside. A woman can be breathtakingly damningly beautiful, but any man who has any sense of human decency will leave her if she is cruel. Because, pretty can be evil.
We are brought up in a society that glorifies physical attractiveness. That puts people on a pedestal because of their ab muscles and their symmetrical faces. At the same token, if someone is at the appropriate level of beauty, they are often chastised by many.
No you’re not always going to be pretty. There will be days where your makeup is too heavy, your cowlick too prevalent, your pants too tight. There will be seconds in time when someone sees you for who you truly are and sadly that may not be so pretty.
The truth of life is this: beauty fades. While it is a gift and a wish to age gracefully and maintain a level of beauty, we are only young for so long. I think it’s so funny how people of the millenial generation are so easily coaxed into things because of how someone looks and interacts with them. I grew up in an awkward ugly duckling stage for about ten years. It ranged from a terrible masculine haircut, to terrible buck teeth and personal style to four years of braces. Boys didn’t give me the time of day. By the time my braces came off in high school, I had so little self-confidence and self-esteem, I didn’t see any chance any boy would come near me.
It was in college, after I gained and lost about 20 pounds twice, that I started to see how differently I was treated. And not simply because I was smaller by the end of college, but because of the way I held myself. While society is fucked in it’s perception of the ideal waist to hip ratio and physical attributes, it is also the confidence we have in ourselves. I had never felt truly beautiful until I graduated from college. I guess it was the moment I fell in love with my job and found my passion that I truly began to feel beautiful. Because I was confident. Because I could get all eyes in the room to focus on me without trying. And not because I look like Jennifer Lawrence or am conventionally pretty. But instead because I am unique and driven and outgoing.
I work in inner-city high schools with many kids who have never interacted with a white female within their age range. Many of the boys are fascinated by me. A pretty white girl who likes sports? And talks to us and asks us about our days? I get many unsolicited compliments from them. But, it’s nothing that deters me from doing my job. Men are lucky in that way; even if they are ruggedly handsome, it’s rare that someone will ignore there message so openly just to comment on their appearance. Men and women respect a handsome man, a tall strapping man, a man who can back up his looks. People are less receptive to a female with the same comparable features. Like I said earlier, she could be a Nobel Prize winner, but if she’s got a nice ass, people will attribute that to her first.
I spend a lot of energy trying to distance myself from my appearance. Being a 23 year old girl brought into an athletics-driven job that’s surrounded by males and boys clubs, I very believe I have to work twice as hard to prove myself. And that doesn’t make me bitter or make me feel like I have a chip on my shoulder. The simple truth is, my abilities are immediately discounted when I smile or flip my hair to one side. Working with mostly men, it would be easy to use my feminine charms to get away with things. But, then, I wouldn’t feel as pretty. That’s not me. I’ll always be that thirteen year old girl who listens to Fleetwood Mac and wears too much jewelry. I will always be that fifteen year old girl at the school dance waiting for a boy to ask her to slow dance. I will always be that 20 year old girl watching every one of her blonde friends get attention while she feels like an overpowering beast. And that’s why I appreciate people for who they are. You don’t have to be Liam Hemsworth to win me. You have to be kind, quirky, and able to see that I am far more than my looks.
I struggle a great deal. I guess although I have so much invested in my work and my passion, I have very little invested in who I am. I don’t value myself outside of work for more than my physical appearance. On days when I don’t look pretty, I judge myself harshly. On nights I feel unworthy of the good men, I go home with one that I know only values me for my nice ass. And in moments when men question my abilities, in any aspect of life, I blame what I look like.
But, I have learned one thing that I am getting better at re-enforcing to myself. It is a constant process, but I know every day I am growing from the notion of this: I don’t have to apologize for what I look like. Truth be told, I do have good genes. I am unapologetic that I have a nice ass. There have been times when it didn’t look this good. I’m not going to say sorry that I know how to make my eyes pop. Nor will I ever try to dull what I look like outwardly. That’s stupid. God gave me my outward manifestation and it is a huge part of who I am. And although what I look like on the outside is not every piece of me, it is what people see first.

There will be days when you’re not so pretty. But then, there will be days and moments in time when you are so amazingly exquisite to others that it won’t matter.


Sass and Spice: You can’t handle me

So the not texting Ben really didn’t work. I posted that great and empowering post about how I am strong enough not to continue to see someone I don’t have any real attachment to. But, in vintage me fashion, I texted him about a week and a half after first not responding to him. I was drunk of course. In the midst of processing my ever-growing feelings for that other person who will continue to stay nameless, because I can’t decide if I am crazy for thinking we could be anything more than manager and subordinate or if I’m feeling something real, right in front of me. So I caved. And before I knew it, he picked me up in front of the sports bar.
So, this is what I am coming to realize. When I hopped in his car, I felt cool. I felt worthy. When we tiptoed into his room in the small hours of my birthday, it felt exciting. I felt wanted. But, when I woke up naked and still drunk, in all my makeup, I again felt empty. I remembered falling asleep, barely. I said to him “you don’t even try to understand me! You don’t even try to know me.” Normally, Ben being the most passive person ever, would give less fucks than ever and say ‘mmhmm.’ But, I can remember him saying “You don’t care about me either.” So, maybe he’s right. I have been so focused on pointing out how much he pisses me off and has given me every reason to walk away, I didn’t even really look at my shortcomings.
I can be shitty to guys. I think it’s mostly to see if they can put up with me to a certain extent. Not necessarily keep up with me. I know pretty early in the game if they can keep up with me. And I think I subconsciously decided pretty early on that Ben couldn’t. So, I think I did shut him out a bit. I definitely shut off my emotions. I use him now. Which is terrible. I have been used, manipulated, hurt. It hurts me to think that I am capable of doing that to someone who is kind and undeserving of my daddy issues. I think Ben is a great guy, just not for me. And it makes me angry more than anything that he doesn’t understand me or value me for who I am. But, I also think that somewhere along the line I gave him every reason not to value me. I need to work on putting value and investing in myself, while also being emotionally open when I should be. While I have been pretty honest with him, I don’t think I let my words express me in the right manner. I’m always drunk now with him, or cranky because it’s after midnight. It’s never me at my best. And I guess I think he’s probably not at his best either. He’s probably tired from working three jobs, playing in a band, or maybe just from something he struggles with. We all carry a load, the saddest part is that I never even found a way to hear what his is.
I pour my heart and soul into the kids I work with. Stay late with them, give them food, buy them dinner. Cheer them on at games, wash their uniforms, talk to them in a personal way that shows them I care about them individually. I feel at my absolute best at work 90% of the time. I feel like a better person. I feel like I grow. Then why do I choose to treat someone who has never hurt me, like a piece of shit? I think it’s because he is too nice. I’ll never be the girl who goes for the true ‘nice guy’. While I have learned I deserve much more than a douche bag that calls another girl with me in his bed, I can and never will be with someone who isn’t a little spicy.
And I think me knowing Ben isn’t right for me, but continuing to sporadically communicate with him is a subconscious attempt to make him a little bit spicy. But, that creates false hope within him and further mindfucks me. I mindfuck myself more than anyone else has ever to me I am pretty sure. Sometimes, I think about poor Ben and how he probably keeps talking to me because he thinks that some day I’ll suddenly become sane. I was Ben.
When I look back to about a year ago, I remember being in Ben’s shoes. I had been off and on with that other nameless fellow for like six months. And he would just dangle himself in front of me, full well knowing that he didn’t really ever see a future with me. We clicked in some ways, similar style, similar wit, very unique people. But, something always felt wrong, whether I was ready to ever say that. It was because he was emotionally unavailable. He didn’t see enough reasons to let down his walls with me. He didn’t feel the need to become intimate on many physical and emotional levels with me. But, it would take me about six more months to start to get it. And about six more (now) to really see what was going on.
At first, I thought he was so shitty. For making me admit my feelings and letting me think that maybe he felt as strongly as he did. I have no doubt in my mind that he did like me on a certain level. But, it didn’t move him. It wasn’t the kind of feeling that left him smiling for minutes after we spoke or felt like we had known each other for years. We were attracted to each other for our shared passions, but would never find that passion with each other. At first, when I finally began to realize his feelings would never grow and that we could never be what I thought we could, I hated him. I was so angry. Well, more hurt. I felt so rejected.
Now, looking back, I find myself in his shoes. The upper hand. I’ve always wanted the upper hand! I’m a sassy smart ass, but I never actually have control with men. Got what I wished for. But, actually as I am writing this, I’m feeling like I don’t need the upper hand with Ben, maybe with anyone. The upper hand is not healthy.
I guess I can distinguish that my feelings for that other fellow weren’t real because most days I feel like I am gathering real feelings for someone else. I try to downplay them, even as I tell all my friends about cute and funny things he does, try to tell myself over and over that he’s my manager. But, the conversations are so easy with him and our sense of humors are so similar. I harp on him a lot on this blog and if it never works out years from now, I’ll have a lot of excess blogs about him.
I don’t worship him though. He’s definitely flawed and I can distinguish why someone might stop seeing him. Like myself, he is a complex being. He can’t be handled by most. He’s made girls at work cry. He is intense and can be moody if he’s tired. I can always tell when he’s having a bad day, because he doesn’t show his teeth and he crosses his arms and walks with his eyes straight ahead. And I am sure a lot of girls balk at that. I’m sure many females have let him go because of his stubbornness and unpredictability. Because he ultimately only relies on himself. As crazy as it is though, I get it. I get it all. I may only be able to see him in a working capacity, but that’s so much more than I’ve ever seen of Ben. And Ben’s seen me naked.
And it’s not really about Ben not being able to handle me. Handling is for shipping packages. Fragile is for labeling boxes with wine glasses in them. Ben doesn’t need to handle me. I don’t understand him. I understand that he likes it when I bite his neck, but I don’t know how to tell if he’s having a bad day. I guess I don’t care enough to want to know.
When Ben looks at me, I can see he has feelings for me. Like I used to look at a tall fellow a year ago. It was so clear. It is so clear. When I look at someone I care about and they hold my stare without breaking it, except to smile, it’s so clear….


Why I’ll Never Text You Back

First of all, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I am so confusing, dizzying, ‘crazy’ as you called me. I can do nothing now but apologize to you for anything I did to give you the wrong idea about who I am.
I wish it could’ve been different with us, Ben. I wish that we had gone about everything in a healthy way. Continued to go on dates, after that awesome one we had in October. And though I want to believe you viewed me for more than just my body and physical appearance, I can’t help but wonder why you kept seeing me, while never asking me on more dates. Our moments together were intimate for sure. But, they shouldn’t have been limited to moments in a twin sized bed. When I tried to give you insight into who I am, you balked. It was like you wanted to know me, but wanted it to be simple. And I think that’s selfish.
So, maybe I am selfish now. Two months passed with nothing from you. Then one cold January day, you re-appeared. At this point, I had separated any feelings I had for you from that of needs that I needed to have met. And maybe that makes me selfish. I wanted to want you. I wanted to feel exciting maddening passion. And when we were face to face again, in the same place we met, for a few minutes I did. But, Ben you’re not ready. You’re not equipped to handle a foreign object like me. You’re not prepared for everything you’ll need to keep me. And the fact that I would have to prepare you for being with me, tells me you’re not right at all for me.
And in that moment, drunk and cold, that I told you I missed you, I didn’t mean it. You know when, it was when we left the bar, you’re hand on the small of my back. I stood on my tip toes and kissed your bearded face. And I could tell that you wanted so much more than to simply take me home. Something you don’t know about me, but also never gave me the chance to explain, is that I have freaky intuition. I can read people extremely well. And I could see in that moment, that you had missed me. I knew you wanted me, I knew that you had all along. But, when I woke up in the morning, though it was nice to be wrapped in you, it didn’t make me feel complete. I know you can’t expect that from knowing someone for four months, but at the same time, if that person likes you so much, it shouldn’t be that hard to make you feel the same.
Then that next weekend. When you appeared out of the fog late at night, fresh out of a gig, I wanted to pretend that this could work. That I could claim you as mine. That I could proudly introduce you to my friends as my boyfriend. We are both a little free. We are both a little out of the norm. But maybe that makes us too similar. I took you inside and we went about our usual fooling around. But, in those quiet moments in dim lighting, I made a decision. And I am sorry I decided what I did. Because it sealed your fate with me. It was your kiss of death. I pulled myself up close to your ear and whispered in the bluntest of ways “I want to have sex.” As much as I had tried to explain to you my sexual history, I don’t think you ever understood my blundered past there either. So, it hurt me most that you immediately went about the motions that I guess you normally do when you, Ben, have sex with a girl. There was no conversation, no tender words, or preparation. And this is exactly when I knew.
The sex was good. It was awesome. But, even in the midst of pleasure, I knew this sex could never and will never be love. I tried to be that girl who fucks around with no consequences. I gave you more of me than most of my previous crushes or trysts will ever get. And you’ll never know that. I don’t want to sound conceited, but you did nothing to keep me. Calling a girl that you’re interested in ‘crazy’ and ‘hard to understand’ aren’t going to make her feel warm and fuzzy. While I completely agree with you, I don’t want you to tell me that. It’s insulting. There’s so much more to it than that and if you would let me tell you or were willing to listen, maybe I would’ve texted you back.
The next night I was drunk in the city and in need of you. No, not you for your smile or your perfect blue eyes. I needed you for sex. I wanted to see if I could feel something else. I was going to give you one more shot. When I showed up on your doorstep, barely able to keep my balance, you were overwhelmed. When I came upstairs, everyone you and your friends had over looked at me like some sort of tramp. And while i’m sure they were completely worthy in feeling that way, it just further proved that you and I don’t fit. You are never leaving your hometown. You will never leave your comfort zone when it comes to me. You want me and everything you see when you look at me, but you don’t want the parts of me that aren’t pretty.
And I guess the biggest reason why I’ll never text you back is because there’s someone else. Whether it will ever work romantically with him remains to be seen. But, he sees me at my best. When I am passionate and kind and happy. And he smiles when I smile. I’ve told you about him too. When we talked about that other time I didn’t have my car and I told you about how he had driven me. You probably didn’t think anything of it. But, I wonder what you would do if you saw him when he winked at me. When he laughs at my terrible quips. And maybe I am disillusioned, maybe there isn’t a happy ending for him and I. But, Ben, you never even scratched the surface of me. You never even got to see all the amazing things I could’ve taught you. You deserve someone simple and predictable, who will want to be held when it’s cold, who you will never have to try to figure out.
Me, well I plan on going on many more adventures. I can’t wait to see what the world has to offer me. I want to change the world and leave behind something I can be proud of. Most of all, I can’t wait to fall in love with someone who wants to hear all of the terrible things I have to tell. Yes, I have a nice ass that you like to talk about and slap when I stand up, but I also have scars that need some mending. You had countless chances to try and learn me, to try and see me.
And maybe I never gave you the chance. But, thank you. You taught me something so unbelievably valuable: that the right person will never be the one I have to explain myself to. The right man will never be the one I am afraid to show my vulnerabilities to.
And that’s why you’ll never receive another message from me.


Unprofessional

How do you know when the line between work and play blend into too much oblivion that you can’t make out what’s in front of you? Is it supposed to be clear, when things become more and more relaxed, when more and more flirtation happens, when your eyes are immediately drawn to theirs when they walk in the room? How do you know?
You know when you are trying to lift a heavy stack of office supplies onto the counter and he comes out of nowhere and grabs the other side. Any nice person would help you if you’re about to drop it, but the way he tries to help, and accidentally touches you in the process, flusters you. You know when he winks at you when his office mate turns away from you both. You know when he holds your gaze for at least 10 seconds when you’re speaking. Because, you count in your head. You know when he chooses to sit next to you or be around you when there’s 40 people in the room. And your knees touch. And he fidgets with his hair or his beard. You know when your pupils dilate every time he gives you a big smile.
And you know when one day, which you expect to be just an ordinary day, you bicker. You fight like you’re dating. And there’s nothing romantic going on. No physical or emotional evidence to others that either of you may have feelings that are outliers to your working relationship. But, in that moment, you have met your match. You’re fighting each other about a work issue and how he thinks you should handle it. You are upset and frustrated with so many other things that he acts as the trigger. He also seems on edge and seems to take whatever aggression out on you. In the process, you play your smart ass qualities up to a new level. He shows you his temper you had been expecting but never seen in all this time. You walk away. You know that this will only get worse, because shit you’ve never fought with anyone like this in public. Then it occurs to you: You’re at work. This is an office. Luckily, there is no one in yet to witness this horrible moment of weakness for both of you. You go to your desk and distract yourself with other tasks. You feel sick and you hate that you just argued with the one person who’s had your back since the beginning.
But, it pisses you off more when he makes a point to come up to your desk and say in a shaky rage-filled voice ‘you should never walk out on a conversation like that with your manager. Do you understand?’ You mumble sorry and take every molecule of pride and toughness to not cry at that desk. But you suck it up. You go about your business and for an hour you let this dark cloud hang. Then, when his office mate isn’t in the office with him, you pop in and ask if he has a minute. Your emotions are all over the place and forming words is hard. You genuinely are sorry, you were unprofessional, disrespectful, rude. You’re shaking. And trying so hard to still look cool. He immediately accepts the apology and you think for a second you see that he wants to apologize too. But, he doesn’t because not only is he your manager, but he also can’t be wrong. It would make him look vulnerable. But, you can tell after that, that you are immediately back in his good graces and that that apology really made him feel good.
Later, your real boss pulls you in to his office. He asks you for your side of the story. You tell him what the reason was you were fighting and immediately re-iterate that you feel terrible (which unfortunately is the truth) and that it was just because of your frustrations. But, you’re extremely puzzled when he asks you his last question: ” Do you think he was acting unprofessional?” This, you turn over for a few seconds before answering. How are you supposed to answer that? Isn’t it unprofessional of him to be asking you that? You politely protect him. “I think we’re both just hotheaded and it’s a stressful time of the year.” You wonder if he believes that. You wonder what he sees; what he knows. Unprofessional is a loaded word after all. But, it’s all water under the bridge.
The next day, you wake up determined to be on your A-game. Cool, calm, and collected. When you walk in and see the intern at your desk, you can see him at the end of the hallway at his desk, and you look at the intern and say ‘no big deal!’ You do mundane tasks for others that make you feel like an intern throughout the day. You know that it might kill him almost as much as it kills you each day to see this. Barring emotions, he knows your professional capabilities, and they are being severely under-utilized. And when the new guy, your arch-enemy, jams the copier, you don’t let out a grunt, you simply sit down cross-legged trying to fix it. But then there he is again. And as much as you want to be the ice queen that you’ve perfected with many men, he has found the way to get to you and bring out your best. He just came in to mail something, but he spends the next 15 minutes with you, both sitting and speaking entirely too close, trying to fix the copier. It is only when the intern, only a year younger than you, comes in and sees you two, that you realize that your body language with each other is not work appropriate. But, it’s scary that it takes you that long.
You spend the rest of the day reminding yourself of his petite blonde girlfriend you discovered. He’s not yours to have. You’ll lose your credibility. But, she’s not pretty. And shes 500 miles away. They see each other once a week. And he is participating in this charade too. You wonder if he’s settling for her. If he’s happy with her. Your brain hurts from so much. The car accident, your incompetent co-workers, the way you feel his eyes on you.
You convince yourself that he is just a nice guy. And even if he does harbor something for you, it’s probably the allure of your youth. Your slowly trying to let hope die that it might not just be in your head. But then he leans over the front of your desk and you talk as equals once again and you go back and forth like you’ve known each other for years. And just like that, it’s still right there.


Crash

Life happens so fast. So much faster than any of us can truly acknowledge without scaring ourselves. I believe destiny is real. In my subconscious, I feel that my path has already been planned out. Yes, I am spontaneous and unpredictable, but I think that ultimately God put me here to fulfill a purpose that he slowly guides me towards each day.
Last week was a roller coaster ride at work. I got burnt out early. I’ve got so much frustration that keeps building towards the terrible hurdles my students face. I sometimes feel as though I can’t control all of the emotions I have when it comes to my life, work, and my past. And then Saturday morning, everything came to a head. Exhausted from a long week and my inconsistent sleep pattern, I wearily looked to the other side of the intersection. I didn’t see him. He was speeding and rolled right in to the side of my car.
And all of a sudden, I was flooded with feelings and anxieties I haven’t known in two years. The unspeakable memories of that damp March night far away, when someone else struck a vehicle I was in. That night could’ve been my last. The trauma from it took it’s toll in the scars on my knees and persistent concussion that plagued me even after my headaches disappeared. I refused to drive at night for a month after that accident, let alone barely driving during the day. I couldn’t function normally for three more months. I would have really low points where I couldn’t express in words what was wrong. I was tortured in ways by that night and how powerless the crash made me feel.
And on a damp drizzly morning nearly two years later, those feelings came jolting back in some ways. But, I am a different person now. I have responsibilities. I have a full-time job. I have at least a bit more clarity about life and the meaning of it, more so than back then.
The crash yesterday has a meaning, I am just working on finding it.