I’m the girl in the dinosaur leggings

 

““Opening your heart and being courageous and telling people that you care about them or like them or that you think they’re special only makes you a better, bigger, kinder, softer, more loving person, and only attracts more love into your life.” Amy Poehler.

 

This afternoon I was running errands in these obnoxious bright green dinosaur print leggings. I’m actually a little bit obsessed with them (fun yoga tights in general) and I had just finished taking a killer barre class and was at Trader Joe’s stocking up on snacks and cheap wine. I wasn’t necessarily trying to make a statement, but as an introvert, I do find crazy pants are a sure fire way to get people to interact with you (for better or for worse.) No fewer than six people stopped me in the aisles to comment on the leggings, and as I was waiting in line one of the checker’s yelled “Hey Dinosaur, I can help you over here!”

img_2949

I wore these leggings on a first date once. We met up in a Portland coffee shop at 8:30 on a Sunday morning, me before heading to a barre class, him before heading to an all day seminar on Social Justice. Both of us yoga teachers… he ordered a macchiato, and we talked a bit about yoga and to make the date even more Portlandia, I discovered that he didn’t have a car, and though he did have a “Real” job he wasn’t that into it and would rather teach yoga and focus on his Social Justice book club. I wasn’t sure what his reaction to the dino leggings would be, but he didn’t even bat an eye at them. I subconsciously wore them, thinking at all else they would be a conversation starter. Lord knows meeting someone for the first time at 8:30 on a Sunday, before you’ve even consumed coffee is a risky first date scenario, so it couldn’t hurt to have a built in conversation buffer. The pants were never mentioned… he drank his tiny tiny coffee and we went our separate ways.

When I was a Junior in college my roommate and I made up a song we would sing to each other as we were getting ready for bed/ hungover on the weekend mornings called “Wasteland of love.” Looking back on this, it might have been somewhat of a clue as to why we were both single at the time, but you cannot live in the past like that. I was coming off of this epic crush from the previous year, and making up a show tunes style ballad seemed like a pretty good life choice. I met the guy in a Religion class of all places, and the second he walked in the door it was one of those “I’ve got to get to know this guy” moments. He was ridiculously handsome (at least to me) and a complete nerd all wrapped into one, and by some miracle we ended up in the same small discussion group. The weeks went by, we talked about the Old Testament, and our friendship developed outside of class. We spent the weekends watching Raiders of the Lost Ark and eating pomegranate seeds, talking about Post Season Baseball, and chatting in dorm entryways until 2 in the morning. We nerded out about Star Wars, and went to a few parties, and talked politics, and finally towards the end of the school year I got the courage to send him a note through campus mail that told him how I felt about him. I mean, after two semesters of hanging out, of Instant Message conversations of constant weekend hang-outs he had to kind of already know, right? And he got the card… (which, I wish I still had it, because it was this perfectly witty thing, and I don’t entirely remember what it said on the front, but it was this whole monologue about ketchup and jiggling a toilet handle, and it was of course this really round about way of saying how much I liked him etc. etc.) So we decided we should talk in person to figure out what this all meant, and when we were finally sitting in my dorm room and I’m like trying to keep my shit together, he looks at me and says “Internet. Internet. Internet. Internet.” And then kind of flopped over in this epic way like cats sometimes do , (and he had this amazing long-ish hair that that kind of flopped over this glasses) and that was basically our entire conversation about my year long crush on him… Twelve years later, and I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it, but whenever I find myself in a state of dating confusion, I often flash back to that conversation. And honestly, when people ask me why I’m not dating anyone, this is often the answer that pops into my head. “Internet. Internet. Internet. Internet. “

I’ve tried the whole swiping thing, and though a lot of my friends swear by it, I just cannot seem to get on board. My Freshman year of college I got a letter from my grandmother and at the end it said “look out for all the jerks and weirdos out there!” and my friends and I laughed about it at the time, but flash forward to the current dating scene, and let me tell you, there are a lot of jerks and weirdos out there! Yes, there are also nice ones, and funny ones, and I get that I should probably keep trying, but let me just set the scene of the last guy I met online. Picture it. Sicily, 1937… kidding…  We were out at a wine-bar and he spent a good seven minutes telling me this anecdotes about how he recently watched the best of Chris Farley episodes of SNL, and how funny they were, and how emotional he got because he grew up on that kind of comedy. I interjected how I could totally relate because I had recently listened to Amy Poehler’s book on a road trip, and started to get a little teary when she was talking about her last season and how it really resonated with me during that time since it was an election year and her portrayal of Katie Couric really resonated with me. And he turned to me and said “um… I don’t know who that is” and I said “Amy Poehler?!?!?!” and he got SUPER defensive and said “Hey I don’t really know authors that well ok!”

I’ve been on two “blind dates ” in my life.  Granted, this last one, the guy didn’t know it was supposed to be a set up, and I ended up spending the evening with my best friend and MY PARENTS at a dive bar in Salem, listening to a bunch of Doctors cover rock songs, and my BFF used the “countdown to St. Patrick’s Day” clock as a timer to when we could leave. The other guy got my name and phone number while he was under the influence of Anesthesia… (hashtag welcome to my life)

Then there was the guy I met speed dating. He was nice enough, well spoken, had two master’s degrees, super involved in his community, and seemed kind of like a catch. Then I get a 3 minute long voice mail at 2PM on a Friday, and he’s curious why I’m not answering my phone, and talking about how he’s going golfing but he just had some dental work done, and it had been about 10 years since he had a cavity, and how his mouth is numb and how weird it is, and he literally said “you know like when your foot goes to sleep, only its your mouth!!!” and I’m sitting there wondering why he thought I wouldn’t be at work at 2PM on a Friday, and who leaves 3 minute long voice mails rambling about dental work… and then the next day he told me he didn’t want to see me again because I was TOO rooted in my community and he thought we had different communication styles. Fact: we do.

And I get it, I think there are still some good eggs out there (which is in no way a veiled reference to my biological clock, because I do not want to have children…) and lord knows I keep putting myself out there, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening. Thankfully, people don’t seems to ask as much as they used to as to why I’m not dating anyone… When you are in your 20’s it seems as though people feel entitled to ask, and once you reach your 30s that line of questioning seems to mostly fizzle out, though occasionally it pops up, and once my brain stops screaming “Internet. Internet. Internet. Internet” my second impulse is to give out the phone numbers of all the men I’ve asked out who have said no, and say “ask these gentlemen, because I don’t know!” (disclaimer, if any of them are reading this… I’m not actually that crazy or that jaded, your numbers are safe) I live in a small town, I work in a women’s clothing boutique, so let’s be honest, most of the men I meet on a daily basis are shopping for their wives. I’m putting myself out there, I’m trying to stay open, but I honestly don’t have an answer to the question “Why aren’t you dating anyone?”

I did have a bit of a flirtation with one of the fill in UPS delivery men. It was always kind of exciting because I never knew when he would be on our route, and then randomly he would show up, all smiles and flirty banter, and it got to the point where my heart would kind of flutter anytime I heard a handtruck outside. My friend, who works at another boutique, started to text me when he was out on delivery so I could compose myself or put on lipstick before he arrived. Once I awkwardly dropped the signature thing and was thinking “pull it together Brisbin.” So finally, after a Summer of this, I get the text alert that he is out and about on delivery, and I calmly get a to-go cup, write my name and number on it, and make him a latte (of course it had a little foam heart on top, because that is the only latte art I can actually do, and also just because.) and I waited. I waited and waited and waited, and then I finally saw him walk by the shop, and realized that we didn’t have any deliveries that day, so he didn’t come in! Of course, I had a store full of customers so I couldn’t chase down hot UPS guy and give him the coffee/ my phone number, but had he actually come in that day, I still believe this would have been the COOLEST THING I’VE EVER DONE! But alas, I just had to sit there and somewhat pathetically drink the coffee with my own name and number on it.   (follow up… the next time he came in, I did give him my contact card, and he was totally sweet, and told me he just started seeing someone, and I said “can’t blame a girl for trying.” And then he was our UPS guy for the next 10 days in a row and I somehow managed to not be a spaz that entire time. And now he comes in sporadically and I’m mostly a spaz, but hey, at least he has my number.)

Fast Forward to now. (sitting at my kitchen table, drinking wine, still rocking the dino leggings, listening to jazz) This month for Bookclub we are reading Quiet by Susan Cain… and I’m not going to lie, I’m having a little bit of a hard time getting into it. And though we haven’t discussed the book yet, I’m kind of thinking that most of us in the group are going to say “It was interesting… but I already identify as an introvert, It was basically like reading a book about myself… and I already know that I’m like this. “ At least this has been my response to the book. There is part of me that feels like it should be required reading for extroverts, or maybe for anyone that I date (doesn’t dating me sound fun?!? I have hand outs and recommended reading about how to best get to know me and deal with my quirks… LOL) But honestly, I don’t need a book to tell me that I’m a careful thinker, that I think before I act, that I take longer to digest information and that if left to my own devices I “tend to sit around wondering about things, imaging things, recalling events from my past, and making plans for the future.” ( Quiet, pg 168)

Granted, I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but thus far the part that has resonated the most with me is a section that is talking about small talk “ In most settings, people use small talk as a way of relaxing into a new relationship, and only once they’re comfortable, do they connect more seriously. Sensitive people seem to do the reverse. They “enjoy” small talk only after they’ve gone deep”… When sensitive people are in environments that nurture their authenticity, they laugh and chitchat just as much as anyone else. “ (Quiet, pg 152.)   This I get, this is my jam, this is the section that I’m going to highlight and put on my nametag at speed dating. This is the flyer that I’m going to hand out to all my potential suitors, this is my new mantra, This is the key to the decoder ring of my life.

I recently got blindsided by having feelings for someone… and though I’m totally in life recovery mode right now, because things didn’t work out the way I hoped they would, I have to say, that the things you don’t see coming are often times the most exciting. Anyway, I’m still kind of in the middle of it, and figuring out the day to day, but basically the blindsiding thing happened, and I decided to act on it, even though I knew it was complicated, because in this day and age, dating is complicated (per an e-mail I recently received from a dating site, the Dating Apocalypse is here… just so you know… ) life is complicated, so why not just go for it and see what happens, and pick up the pieces of your ego and self esteem later? (kidding) But really, I’m a firm believer in embracing vulnerability, and most of the time it’s scary and kind of sucky, but also awesome, and so, once again, I found myself dropping a note in the mail saying, “I’m interested” (side note… I didn’t really realize until just now that this is apparently my MO. I’m boycotting technology based dating, but damn it, Jane Austen would be proud of my snail mail declarations of love… at least I’m consistent?) and maybe putting a letter in the post wasn’t quite as cool as writing my number on a cup of coffee, but it still felt like this amazing force of forward motion.

And here is one other observation I have about being an introvert… you have to be your own advocate.I feel a little conflicted with this one, because generally speaking, as a woman, as a human, as a person, looking for love, you shouldn’t have to convince the other person that they should have feelings for you, am I right? If they don’t get why you are the cat’s pajamas (where are these antiquated sayings even coming from? I’m just rolling with is) then they are NOT your person. You shouldn’t have to explain why your quirks are charming, why your awkwardness is endearing, if they don’t get you, then onward and upward…. ONLY! I’m an introvert. And I’m slow to warm up, and it takes me a long time to process things, and establish this comfort zone, so mostly I listen and observe and think, and process, and then I end up totally surprising everyone when I just put it all out there. And then everyone is like “Her?” (Oh my God, am I Anne Veal?) because it goes against everyone’s preconceived ideas of me. I think I would have thrived at the Milford School where Children should neither be seen nor heard. ( if you aren’t getting the Arrested Development references, I can’t really help you.) And so, yes, I shouldn’t have to advocate for myself as to why I’m awesome… but sometimes it feels like maybe I actually need to. And it goes kind of goes back to that big talk vs. small talk thing… It seems so much more natural to just tell someone you have feelings for them and approach things from a larger angle before getting into the smaller and more trivial things. At least it does for me… then again, I’m kind of realizing I’m in the minority here, and basically it feels like maybe my approach to dating is kind of like living in The Upside Down. Everything is vaguely familiar, but it’s different, and you can’t get through to the people on the other side, and its maybe slightly scary. But why bother with the small stuff when the big stuff is so much more interesting?

Anyway… its been a challenging few weeks to be a single gal in McMinnville. Then, add in the fact that I had a huge fight with my father over politics, and I’m basically feeling a little lost as a single.   I mean, I should have known better than to ask him point blank if he was voting for Trump, and when his answer was “probably” I literally burst into tears. My mom immediately asked me if there was anything else going on in my life… and well yes, I’m feeling a little vulnerable, and not necessarily trusting my gut right now, but also his answer really devastated me. As a little girl you are supposed to look up to your father as this ideal, this larger than life representation of how all the men in your life should treat you. And I realize that I’m exceptionally lucky, because my dad is, without a doubt, a keeper. But finding out that he was most likely supporting a candidate that boasts about sexual assault, who degrades women, and who I view as an all around terrible human kind of destroyed me. What is that supposed to say to me as a single woman, that my father is willing to support that sort of behavior from the man who could run the country? What is that supposed to say to me, that my father is willing to support someone who could speak that way to his daughter, to his granddaughter? And how can I look at him the same way? (and then, as I was having this meltdown, my mom backed her car into my car… I can’t even make this up.)

Anyway… round back to the story at hand… it didn’t work out. (Lol, you know that scene in Dirty Dancing Havana Nights? No? Just me? “I liked this guy once… it didn’t work out. He didn’t even know I existed.” Go watch that movie immediately, if not sooner). My dad might vote for Donald Trump, and I’m just trying to wrap my head around it all.

But here is what I know for sure. I’m an introvert. And I’m witty. I’m well read, and I’m a little awkward at times. I drink Whiskey. I like to listen to jazz when I make dinner. I sing Sinatra songs to my dog a lot. I’m quirky, I probably know more about Star Wars than you do, I teach yoga, I love to hike, I don’t like IPA, but I understand if you do. When I’m stressed out I like to watch The Golden Girls, my books are color coordinated, and I hate folding laundry. I’m not a morning person, but I’m really trying to be, I don’t like mustard, but I do like pickled mustard seeds. I like to cook, I love The Red Sox, but I tolerate most sports pretty well. My idea of the perfect first date is going to the batting cages. I like action movies, and I tell it like it is. I’m a good listener and I’ll probably remember random little details about the first time we met. I’m sentimental, I hate drama, and I value authenticity. I love gardening, and pickling, and my favorite place on the planet is Tintern Abbey (Fenway Park is a close second) I like real conversations, and binge watching things on Netflix. I’m snarky and cynical and also a hopeless romantic. I hate sappy novels, I love to cook, and being creative. I quote Arrested Development at least 3 times a day, and a good Meme makes me surprisingly happy. I’m quiet, and reflective, and dorky and driven. I like to dance in kitchen, and I can’t do a cartwheel, but I do make a damn good Manhattan. And I’m in the girl in the dinosaur leggings.

 

 

Advertisements

Taking a moment to re-charge

This week thanks to the joys of social media,  I stumbled across a “Hipster Business Name Generator” Let me tell you, if you are looking for a procrastination project, it’s pretty great. I only bring this up, because there are moments, like right now, that I wish there was a random “First part of a blog post generator” that would spit out some creative and amazing start to each post that you could then effortlessly use to segway into the rest of the post.  Though I’m not always the most linear writer, and I typically don’t have a problem just letting my ideas explode into a word document before going back and piecing them together in a somewhat cohesive way, I find that the first paragraph is always the hardest thing to get down. I blame it on years of English classes telling me to form a thesis statement and go from there. Every time I try to write a first paragraph I can hear my brother’s voice in my head telling me that my thesis needs to be more clear, I need to explain what I’m going to be writing about, it has to be a complete sentence… Well, thank God I majored in poetry, which tends to have far less rules about things of that nature… and thankfully this here blog isn’t being graded as a critical essay or paper (right?) so I suppose at some point I just need to let all that English anxiety go… but all that being said, I STILL have a really rough time starting a blog post without it getting all cliche/cheeseball. (yes I know I have a degree in creative writing… )

Anyway, it’s Autumn here in the PNW, and its been a lovely autumn at that.  The last couple of days have been clear and sunny, and frigidly cold, but the colors have been beautiful, the sunshine is a nice change of pace, and the crispy cold days remind me a lot of home. Autumn has always been one of my favorite seasons. Change isn’t just an idea in the autumn, it’s a tangible thing, moment to moment. The colors, the weather, the light. You start to notice people wearing heavy socks, bulky sweaters, classes are becoming more full at the yoga studio, the air feels different, and of course the heaters are turned on. And right around the time that the season starts to noticeably shift is when I usually start to make changes in my own life. Some of them are small… bathing the dog every week, getting back into oil pulling, going to bed at 10PM. Some changes are a little bigger, like making a conscious effort to make myself more vulnerable, open myself up more. And some changes and shifts are even bigger (and more secretive, and slightly more draining) And as a person who is trying to live this year in forward motion, change is a pretty exciting thing. (more details as I have them)

But change is also kind of exhausting, and sometimes stressful, and though I haven’t necessarily felt stressed over the past few weeks, my body is starting to tell me otherwise. Eczema flair ups, dark circles, and overall lingering tiredness are all letting me know that as exciting as change is, that I also am in need of a little bit of physical and mental re-charge.

I try not to play the introvert card too often, but sometimes I do need to remind myself that “oh yeah, this is actually a real thing, this is actually how I function, and taking a night off isn’t always a cop-out” Especially when I look at my calendar and realize that this past week I went to a new book club, attended two dinner parties, went to a magazine event, attended my closest friends birthday dinner, met up with a friend to start planning a summer project, met with a potential roommate, as well as worked 40 + hours, and taught 3 full classes… I’m fully ready to play the introvert card.   Don’t get me wrong, each of these experiences were wonderful, each left me feeling invigorated and inspired, they made me feel full and part of a community, and I wouldn’t change any of them… but when I realize exactly how much I’ve been putting myself out there this past week, as well as dealing with other bigger life stuff, the dark circles and the eczema patches are no longer such a mystery (lovely visual, I know…) And I’m realizing that as much as I need to push myself to get out there, to engage, to make myself vulnerable, I also really need to respect myself enough to know when I need to take a moment to re-charge.

Especially this week… When things get stressful or uncomfortable I tend to just power through, to keep moving, to not let myself slow down… because it’s when you start to slow down that the emotions catch up with you, that your brain can really process…and up until now I haven’t really been willing to process. A college boy was murdered on Sunday evening, right across the street from where I used to live. In the convenience store where I spent countless evenings getting slushies, the place I bought my first alcohol on my 21st birthday, the place I drive by several times a week. And though I didn’t know him, this tragic event has had a huge impact on our community this week. This random act of violence has left the entire community feeling shaken, and at a loss. Did this really happen in our town? The overflow of compassion and support from the local community is exactly the reason that I chose to live in a small town, and its in moments like this that we are reminded to surround ourselves with the people that we love, and to try and live each day with a little more kindness.

Even before this death happened in our community I was started to feel a little jaded… maybe not jaded, but suddenly like I was very old, but hadn’t really experienced much of life yet. Suddenly things like divorce, adultery and now murder are popping up around me, and they aren’t just plot lines from some tv show. Even though these things aren’t happening to me directly, its been challenging to see them creeping into the lives of my friends and people that I know. I think there is still the naïve part of me that wants to cling to my rose colored glasses, to keep them on a bit longer, but it’s becoming more challenging.

So last night I decided to take a breath, give myself an introverted re-charge night, to listen to what I needed, and to take some time alone to process. I gave myself a moment to wrap my head around how I was feeling. I cooked a meal, put on some sweat pants, snuggled with the dog, watched a movie, went to bed early, and got up early to take a yoga class. Being able to take an evening to be kind to myself, to set aside all my projects, priorities, and obligations, to turn off my phone, and to just be present was exactly what I needed. And I’m going to spend the rest of the day trying to focus on being kind to myself, because I know that the more kindness I cultivate internally, the more it is going to radiate externally.

And on that note, I think it is time for a cup of coffee, some meditation, and to head out into the world.

A little bit of vulnerable

Last week I had one of those lonely-hearted moments. You know the ones that totally sneak up on you in a kind of blind-sighting way and leave you feeling exposed and sad and a little bit ridiculous all at the same time?They don’t happen to me very often, and so when they do I tend to get a little overwhelmed… My entire adult life, I’ve been a fiercely independent, introverted soul, so when I occasionally have those vulnerable moments of lonely-heartedness it always takes me by surprise.

Let me just give you a little back-story.

I have never been one of those women whose soul mission in life is to settle down, get married and live happily ever after. The sticky sweet fairy tale ending has never really appealed to me (unless of course it’s the  Rodgers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella featuring Brandy… because that speaks to everyone.) Sure, I went through a phase somewhere in middle-teen-hood where I planned out my dream wedding (to Han Solo, duh.) But I’ve never really held onto any romantic notions of dating, marriage, relationships… Sure, I would like to be in one… I would maybe even like to be married someday, but I’ve never really understood the women who are clearly on that mission to find “the one.”   A few years ago I was taking a trip with some girlfriends, and I picked up a novel in the airport to read on the plane. One chapter in and my mind was totally blown, this book was on the best seller list, and one of the main characters was a high powered lawyer who quit her job so she could date full time. One of the other women was so terrified of being alone, that she agreed to marry a man she didn’t love and then was too chicken to cancel the wedding, so she decided they should get married in Iceland so no one she really cared about would see her marry this man she didn’t love. HOW IS THIS A REAL BOOK THAT REAL PEOPLE READ???? Ok, I did read the whole thing, because I was hoping that maybe eventually it would have some sort of ah-ha moment where the women realize that they are ridiculous, and then one of the married women sleeps with a male prostitute in South America, and I gave up all hope.  (I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about my outrage of this book before… ) But the whole book just left me feeling really dis-enchanted… And here is the truly terrifying thing… there are probably actually women out there who are like this!  Needless to say, my life is pretty much the antithesis of this. Call me crazy, but I’ve always lived with the belief that if you live your life authentically and passionately, everything else is just going to kind of fall into place. And so 99.9% of the time it doesn’t bother me that most of my college friends are married, that I am approaching 30 and chronically single… because I’m living a life that I love, and I fill it with things that I love.   When people read my tattoo that says “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” and ask “well?” I usually say things like (and almost always get blank stares or awkward laughter)  “write, have a bulldog, garden, teach yoga…thrive…”

Last week I was feeling overstimulated… I had family in town visiting, was working a few extra shifts, and was eating out a lot, trying to catch up with friends, prepping my house for a new roommate… the anxiety was building, and all I wanted all week was a night in with a home-cooked meal. I wanted to dance around my kitchen, sit on the patio and eat by candle-light, and absolutely revel in my aloneness. I didn’t want any distractions or interruptions, I didn’t want conversations or company, I just wanted my solitude…. that is until about 10 minutes into cooking dinner, and that is when it just came welling over me. And in that moment, all I wanted was for another person to be there… not just any person but THE person… I wanted us to awkwardly be in each other’s way as we made dinner… to talk about our day, I wanted to sit on the porch listening to bluegrass music and talk about what to plant in the garden next year, wanted to exchange meaningful glances while having a glass of wine as he did the dishes… I wanted countless little insignificant moments. I wanted to have someone to share my life with and build a future with.  BAM. How’s that for blind-sighted?  Introverted re-charge turned hyper-sensitive heart ache in 2.5 seconds.  And I hate it when these moments sneak up on me, and it goes back to the whole “well you have your life together, and you shouldn’t feel this way! You can have it all” mentality. I keep thinking that I shouldn’t feel this way, that I shouldn’t be lonely, that I shouldn’t be filled with longing for a person to build my life with…It seems to go against the whole “I’ve got my life together and I’m fabulous” anthem that so many powerful and confident women have… but you know what? Even though I hate having these moments of heart-ache and fear and vulnerability… I also welcome them to some extent, because it means that I’m not afraid to be open.

IMG_4929

Dinner for one (well you know, dinner for one with some left-overs)

Sometimes I worry that I’ve spent so much time cultivating this life that I love, that I forgot to leave room for my future. Because when you are a young, single, independent woman, everyone tells you that you can do anything, that you should cherish these moments, that you are strong and beautiful, and charismatic and that the world is your oyster, and that you don’t need a man or anyone else to be complete. They tell you this over and over and over, and you being to cling to it like a mantra, like a beacon of all that is good, until one day you realize that  you were so busy thinking about what kind of independent life you wanted, how all you needed to be happy in life is a Bulldog and to write,  that somewhere along the line you forgot to think about things like “I want to be somebody’s wife someday.” And maybe it just goes without saying that this is what “normal” people think about… that there is this underlying unspoken expectation that you grow up, get educated, fall in love, and start your life with someone. Maybe at some point I just figured this was a given, and that I didn’t actually need to plan for it… and yet I am such a huge believer in Intention, it kind of baffles my mind that I haven’t spent the last several years putting this intention out into the Universe. Because realizing that you want to build a life with someone meaningful is not the same as quitting your job to date full time. Realizing what you want your future to look like is not being a ridiculous romanced crazed single…  And maybe I’m just a late bloomer (well ok, there are no maybe’s about it…) because I’ve known those people who instinctively have known their whole lives that they want to be mothers, or wives, or whatever… and that has never been me… I mean I’m not opposed to the idea of either (though I don’t think I will personally grow a human, I reserve the right to change my mind) but I haven’t spent the last 29 years knowing that that is what I was destined for. I HAVE known for that long that I wanted a bulldog named Toby, that I wanted to have a love-affair with writing, and that I wanted to get dirt under my fingernails.  And quite honestly, I am still years away from being ready to be married (at least in the conventional sense), but every now and then I have that twinge of wanting to share the everyday with someone.

And of course everyone (the proverbial everyone) says that it will happen when you least expect it, when you aren’t looking for it, and yet the “proverbial they” still think I need to try online dating… and maybe I am dead wrong, but I just don’t think I’m going to find MY person on the interwebs… There is still the tiny part of my soul that wants the meet cute scenario, and a real life story rather than “Well we were a 86% match.” Sure, I’m all about being with someone who shares my passions and interests… but I’m also holding out for that moment in a coffee shop/ famer’s market/ winebar where he sees me reading Steinbeck/ buying peppers/ being flippantly sarcastic and thinks “I’ve got to get to know her”   Because isn’t that a nice and wonderful idea?  That someone out there saw you and thought “hmmm my interest is piqued. I think she is worth the effort of getting to know”   And… really, I don’t know why I cling to this particular dream, since  literally every single guy who has piqued my personal interest in the last 15 years and who I’ve actually had enough courage and gumption to ask out has either said nothing at all (hello, this is a check yes or no situation, no response??? that is a thing? Oh it’s a thing…) , or said yes, but then canceled, or changed his mind, or never followed through… And most of the time I can cling to my self assured independent and confident self… but there are the occasional raw  moments when I’m taken aback by the loneliness and can’t help but think “but at what point  did I become un-datable?” I mean, I don’t really think that I’m un-datable… I can make pickles, and I like baseball, and I’m a yoga teacher… some guy, somewhere is going to be into that!  And I also have to quickly remind myself that  dating is actually THE worst, so there is that… but it’s a little hard to just fall into a relationship without the dating part. Which is really really unfortunate. Because I’m great at the relationship part. I love the comfortable everyday moments, the trips to the grocery store, the reminiscing, the meaningful conversations, time spend walking the dog and holding hands, and curled up next to each other reading, and staying up too late talking…the ins and outs of  living everyday life. That is what I’m good at. But what I’m not  so great at is everything preceding that. I’m absolutely terrible at the small talk and the weird obligatory getting to know you questions of first date land…  “what kind of music do you like?” and “how many siblings do you have?” and then I get awkward and nervous, and the once cool, confident and interesting person retreats behind this muttering, bumbling version of myself…
It get's awkward real fast

It get’s awkward real fast

Take Today, for example. I asked a guy out for drinks a few weeks ago, with no expectations, just getting to know each other… New Friendship? More than that? Who knows! I just had this inkling of “I think you are interesting and want to explore that.” So I asked him out for drinks.   He actually said yes, and asked what my schedule was like, and I told him… and then nothing. Which was fine, because he is busy, and I am busy… So I waited a few days, and followed up, and when I bumped into him last week he apologized for not getting back to me and said he would give me a call soon. Perfect, I’m not worried about it! So flash forward to today, when I ran into him I had every opportunity to be confident, to be direct to say “hey! I know you are really busy, BUT let’s make this happen. Are you free  to grab a drink tonight?”  and I had this whole cool and casual attitude happening, and what did I do? I saw him talking with another girl, so I  barely made eye contact, and ordered the usual, and ran away as fast as humanly possible… there was no mention of our future plans, of getting together, or really even that we knew each other… my mind ran wild with the assumptions about who she was, and what it meant, and I totally choked. Insert social awkwardness and anxiety…What is wrong with me? What happened to the confidence and the “you have nothing to lose” attitude?  (oh yeah… awkwardolive… comes with the territory.)  Because Dating makes me NERVOUS, it accentuates my awkwardness in a very specific and not always endearing way (because I will forever cling to the idea that a little bit of awkwardness is somewhat charming). And then I just get mad at myself… because even in this situation, I’m making assumptions. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, Maybe he is interested and just busy… or maybe he isn’t but just want to be friends so obviously he isn’t in a hurry to call me back… maybe he isn’t actually available…Or maybe he is just weirded out because now I’m being weird. OR maybe nothing, and I’m overthinking everything.  (or maybe he will read this post and think I’m nuts… what can you do?) It’s unclear if there is any reciprocal interest other than friendship, and that could very well be OK with me, because I’m always wanting to expand my horizons, to meet new people, to make new friends.  But it seems like I am incapable of even getting to the point of figuring that out without totally tripping all over myself.

And every single person I know says “well you just need more practice.” and then I look at them somewhat blankly, and somewhat with a “really? is that what I need?” look, because here is the thing, YOU CANNOT PRACTICE DATING IF NO ONE WILL AGREE TO GO OUT WITH YOU. I’m just saying, that seems like, pretty obvious right?  This is my plight… but I’m working on it.

And in-spite of my track record, my ever awkward encounters, and my complete lack of successful dating stories… I’m still optimistic enough to think that any minute now, my “meet cute” is going to happen.  And maybe it’s naive, and I’m sure as a result I’m going to have many more moments where the loneliness sneaks up on me, where the heartache creeps in, moment’s where I’m going to long to share the everyday encounters with a non-existent partner… but I’ll also have those wildly authentic moments where I”m not worried about impressing anyone, or rejection or really anything besides living a life that I love… and hopefully one day I’ll be able to share it with someone else. In the meantime I’m going to have many more dinner’s for one and glasses of wine shared with a bulldog, and I’m going to be open.

And it goes like this…

I’ve been back from vacation almost a week and finally feeling like I’m getting back into a normal routine. I went for a long run today, finally cleaned out the fridge, cooked myself a real meal… all things I’ve pretty much been avoiding all week long. Not really on purpose, but sometimes life gets in the way, and even when you tell yourself when you run out the door in the morning that you are going to skip Wine Wednesday because you have too much cleaning to do, somehow you still end up going out and all the tasks that are lingering on your to-do list go mysteriously undone. (Because really who wants to skip Wine Wednesday? Right?) And usually I’m ok living in my own clutter for a period of time. Don’t get me wrong, I vacuum and clean every week… But I’m not the type of person who cannot go to sleep if there is one dirty dish left in the kitchen sink… However, there always comes a moment in which I absolutely cannot take it anymore and feel as though if everything isn’t magically deep cleaned that very instant my head is going to explode. Naturally, this moment usually happens sometime on my “Friday” morning when I’m running a tad bit late and have approximately nine-thousand other things that actually have to get accomplished before I walk out the door. Welcome to my life.

   ~~~~~~~

The alarm goes off, and you push snooze, because it’s early, and technically the weekend and while everyone else is sleeping in you are awake, because, life, and work, and you have to go let your brother’s dog out and you are really hoping that he hasn’t destroyed the house because its his first night staying home alone ever, and even though you let him out at like eleven-o-clock you are still worried that he is kind of a spaz and god only knows how many trash cans he broke into. The alarm goes off again, but you hit snooze for a second time, because you are just not quite ready. Only then you remember that your fridge is exploding with produce from the garden and things like leftover jars of maraschino cherries from your weekend of cocktail making and vacation, and if you don’t get up and try clean it out really really really bad things are going to happen in your life. Really. Bad. Things. So you get up, and try to decide if you really need to wake your dog up before going to go let out the other dog, but he is snoring pretty loudly, so you just leave him, and throw on a hoodie because your hair looks like an electrocuted rat terrier, and jump in the car and think about how its way too early to be out doing responsible things.

Your brother’s house is surprisingly intact and the dog only slightly pounces on you when you finally unlock the door… you contemplate why you haven’t purchased coffee in several weeks, and then remember, that, oh yeah, you also need to go and water your parents flowers since the whole family is on vacation together and you are at home care-taking all the things. This is fine though, because they have a fancy espresso machine, and all you can think about is the foamy latte you are going to be drinking as you water the plants in the back yard.

The latte is delicious, the plants are surprisingly not dead, and you are feeling pretty ok about your morning until you look at the clock and realize that you need to leave for work in a little over an hour… back home to the bulldog… who you can’t find right away, but you notice that your favorite sandal is lying in the middle of the living room looking slightly chewed on… you are 98% sure you didn’t leave it there, but the coffee hasn’t really kicked in yet, so everything is a little unclear. The dog comes trundling out of some unknown place and you scold him for the shoe and then he thinks it is kind of funny and just starts grumbling at you and does downward facing dog and then prances about the living room. You make him go outside and “think about what he has done” while you head for the shower. This is when it all starts to come back to you… you really need to do laundry, the bathroom counter needs a wipedown, and oh yeah, the thought of the fridge is making you a little twitchy… maybe that is just the coffee. Lathering up your hair you try to assess the wardrobe situation, do you need to shave your legs? Can you make it one more day? How much time do you have left anyway… not a ton since you are planning on walking to work… better shave the legs then. Damn it, a few more minutes gone.

You step out of the shower and decide that since you are walking to work you don’t need to dry your hair… it will magically dry in a cute effortless summer look on the way… this is of course very far from the truth, but you sometimes have to tell yourself lies to get out the door on time. Around this moment you realize that you are supposed to leave in about 15 minutes and you haven’t even packed yourself a lunch. Wait a minute, you haven’t even had breakfast. Shit. Because you are working by yourself today, and its probably going to be busy, and the only key to success here is to have lots of healthy snacks! And of course you are 100% out of almonds… shit. So you run to the kitchen and fling open the refrigerator only to realize that, oh yeah, the refrigerator… and then you sort of have this downward spiral moment and try to think if you maybe secretly have enough time to clean it, and then you remember that the trashcan is full, and oh yeah the dishwasher is broken and now you are supposed to leave in 13 minutes and you still aren’t wearing makeup. Ok, rally time. But not really because the fridge is the fridge, and so as you open it up to try and gain some sort of lunch time inspiration you get so defeated that you just shut the door and keep repeating to yourself “you are a grown up, you can do this.” So you open the fridge again, throw some salad greens into a tupperware, and then discover that the roasted beet that was going to be the rockstar of this salad is actually molding, and you can’t find the jar of capers, and in that moment it really is just TOO much, so you throw an apple and a diet coke into your bag and pray to everything that is pure an holy that you have some leftovers in the fridge at work. You then remember that you still haven’t eaten breakfast. Shit. One look towards the fridge and you reach for the secret stash of Lucky Charms, and all you can think in that moment is a sarcastic “winning.” You know within the first bite that you are going to have a sugar crash when you are approximately half of the way to work, but that still seems better than leaving the house without having anything but coffee. Breakfast. Of. Champions. You then run around like a madwoman, scrounging for foot-ware, hurriedly applying mascara.

And then in a brief moment of bliss and clarity you remember that you have all the ingredients to make an Old Fashioned tonight for your deep cleaning adventures. There is  a teeny-tiny flask with one shot of whiskey left in your suitcase from the weekend, and everything else starts coming together. Victory. Only if you make one old fashioned you surely want to have the option for making more after that, even if making more will probably not help the evening of productivity you have planned. But really, one cocktail? (because if you give a mouse a cookie, or give a moose a muffin, or give a dog a doughnut… they will all want cocktails and you can’t make them any because you are out of whiskey) But you don’t have other whiskey and you are walking to work, so by the time you would walk home in the evening there will not be enough time to make it to the liquor store before they close, because its Small Town Oregon. You could always walk directly to the liquor store, but you don’t really want to be the girl who is walking through town with a fifth of whiskey, because again small town Oregon. And then you think “well if I drive to work instead I would have about 20 extra minutes here to take out the trash and get my life organized and then I could make it to the liquor store on time!” and then you remember that you are running a half marathon in 3 weeks that you are no-where near ready for, and you can’t run after work because you have nine million things to accomplish and your head will explode if you don’t get them done, and the very least you can do is walk the .8 miles to work in a slight attempt to move your person. And also you are pretty sure that every season of The Biggest Looser starts out with someone saying “oh I could have walked to work but I drove to the liquor store instead and now I weigh 500 pounds.”

You throw an apple in your bag for good measure, scratch the dogs ears on your way by and run out the door. Naturally, you cannot stop thinking about the fridge, so you call your mom for a pep-talk about staying motivated to do all the things, because for some reason, in your mind, your mom is always good at pep talks… she doesn’t answer the phone, and then the more you think about it, the more you can hear her voice saying things like “well if you just cleaned up a little bit every day, it wouldn’t get to this point” and then it starts to stress you out, and you are maybe glad she didn’t answer the phone, and then you vow right then and there (for maybe the millionth time) that you are going to clean your kitchen until it sparkles and it is going to stay that way and how you are going to turn into one of the anal people who cannot sleep unless all the dishes are put away. Yes. Just wait, it’s going to happen. Now that that is settled you feel less distracted by the idea of cleaning the fridge and start to focus more on what the work day has in store for you… only now you are realizing that you are half way to work and wearing a skirt and your thighs are starting to chafe from the walk and you wonder how the hell you are supposed to run 13.1 miles if you can’t even walk .8 miles without your thighs rubbing together. Then you are very glad that you didn’t drive to work, because you know, getting healthy and getting fit… oh wait, you actually packed a cucumber and a diet coke for lunch, ok scratch that… getting healthy when the fridge is cleaned out and your aren’t feeling like such a hot mess. Ugh, in a perfect world you would’ve had time to make a vat of kale juice before walking out the door… damn it… why didn’t you pack pickles for lunch? The hot farmer practically fed them to you with a chopstick at the farmer’s market this week, and pickles are your favorite food, and why the hell didn’t you just leave the jar of pickles at work for emergencies? (because pickle emergencies are a REAL thing.) Oh wait… actually there might be a tub of cottage cheese in the fridge at work. Sweet Jesus, at least you will have some protein…

~~~~~~~

Tayler is a blogger, boutique manager and yoga teacher thriving on awkward situations in McMinnville, Ore.

A follow up on my juice cleanse: some observations from last week, and a few more tips

obviously the only thing to do when your friends are drinking wine and you are on a juice cleanse is bring your juice to the wine bar and ask for a glass. (I love small town life)

obviously the only thing to do when your friends are drinking wine and you are on a juice cleanse is bring your juice to the wine bar and ask for a glass. (I love small town life)

I thought I’d write a follow up on my juice cleanse experience and keep everyone updated on the progress. Firstly, I took a fair amount of photos, however my phone committed suicide on Sunday (or I dropped it and it died, whatever) so I lost all of my pictures from last week. I did post a quite a few of them to instagram, so if you’d like to see some pictures of things like beet juice, you can find my profile here

The cleanse was pretty amazing actually, and somewhere around day 4, I was I decided to extend the experience for two days and just do a full week. I mean if you are juicing for 5 days you can juice for seven, so why not? I had an excess of produce (though I did have to buy more carrots, cilantro, apples, and 1 pineapple), an excess of energy, and thankfully I was working some shorter shifts, so I had plenty of time to juice.

I woke up on Monday and felt like I could do anything. I just went for an entire week without eating solid food, caffeine, added sugar, meat, dairy, and alcohol. I was 100% plant based, and I didn’t get hungry once!  I was pumped. You know that song from The Sound of Music that the crazy old nun sings? “Climb Every Mountain!”  This was  playing in my head on repeat like my victory chant on Monday morning… (though I just looked up all the lyrics, and not just the first verse that has been on repeat all week, and it doesn’t really so much apply, because its about finding your dreams and chasing rainbows and stuff… Eye of the Tiger might work a little better… but maybe if I just stick with “Climb Every Mountain!!!” over and over again  it accurately portrays how I felt on Monday morning.  Though I just sang it out loud right now for emphasis, and the dog looked at me like I was bat shit crazy.)  Needless to say, You go for a week without eating real food, and you pretty much feel amazing, and its an empowering thing. So sing yourself some sort of victory song.

Here are some other observations from last week. (I’m making these as I remember them, they are in no way in order of importance/ interest)

Firstly:I lost seven pounds, can I get a what what!? I wasn’t doing to cleanse to lose weight as much as I was to hit a restart on my metabolism, but the weight loss was an added bonus.  I could tell by day two that I was less bloated, and people (ok my dad) told me my face looked thinner.  My jeans… well they fit exactly the same (how is that possible? I blame my dryer) and I’m sure a lot of what came off was water weight. I felt like I was going  pee about every 45 minutes, but hello,  it was a 7 day liquid diet.

Secondly:  My fears were confirmed and I’m 95% sure I have an allergy to gluten. People have been telling me years that my eczema might be gluten related, and I’ve only sort of listened to them, because who wants to have a gluten allergy? No one. Croutons are practically one of my food group, and bread and butter is like manna… I suspected that coming off gluten would do some good things for my body (ie goodbye belly bloat) but I was also thinking that an obscene amount of toxins would be seeping out of my pores, so I was mentally prepared to be an eczema covered, pimply version of myself last week.  Surprise! My skin looks great, and by day two, there were no signs of dragon skin. My eczema was 100% gone. It’s bitter sweet. I mean how awesome that I was able to fix the problem… but I’m still not ready to let go of my gluten addiction… Don’t get me wrong, I’m cutting way back, and opting for gluten free on a lot of things (have any of you tried the gluten free pizza at Red Hills Market? It is insanely good… like even the chef tends to eat gluten free pizza rather than regular.)   Anyway, I’m cutting back on my gluten intake, and we’ll see how it goes.

Surprisingly enough my skin didn’t break out either. I’m choosing to believe this was because I was oil pulling and all the toxins were being pulled out of my mouth before they could erupt through my pores. I have nothing to back this up, and I could be full of shit,  but I’m sticking with my theory anyway. That, and the fact that I was drinking a ton of water, which his always good for your skin.

Thirdly: I have no idea why, but my lips have never been so chapped in my entire life, it seems like an odd observation, but my juicing buddy noticed the same thing… it might be a coincidence (and weird since we were very well hydrated) but maybe keep some lip balm on you if you are starting a juice cleanse.

Fourthly: Hello energy. Like crazy amounts of energy. I was already a night owl, but I felt like I could come home after work and actually be productive. I was waking up in the morning and not feeling groggy, I was 100% fine without having coffee! If you know anyone in my family, you will agree that this is a shocking thing. Its not a matter of if we are going for coffee, but when we are going for coffee.  Its practically pumping through our veins… add to that the fact that RHM serves stumptown and one of our work perks is free coffee with every shift… I’m almost never without it.

I’m going to go off on a little tangent here and say that I do not want to have children (bear with me, I’ll bring it back around.) I’ve never really had the desire to grow a human. I reserve the right to change my mind someday, maybe… and its perfectly possible that I will meet a man, and decide that I’m baby crazy and want to have a gaggle of tiny humans (only probably not, because the only way that more than one is coming out of me is if they are twins or whatever). For example if say Ben Jacobsen decided that he wanted me to be the mother of a child to inherit his salt empire… I might consider it… We’d probably have an adorable ginger baby.  (I will stop there. I don’t know Ben that well, and we are having dinner next month, and I don’t want him to think that I’m a total creeper who is blogging about having his babies…  I want him to think that I’m a witty, well adjusted, total not creeper who is blogging about having his babies… sometimes people don’t get my sense of humor OR my sarcasm… All I can say is, they are not my people.) Anyway, I am all for other people having babies, and to all of my friends/relatives who have recently had offspring, and who are planning on reproducing I DO really like your kids/ will like your kids… and I like some other people’s kids… but not most other peoples kids… ok before I dig myself into an even deeper hole, I’m bringing this back around to say that one of the reasons I have such a strong aversion to growing my own tiny human (there is a really long list of aversions, this is just one of many) is the whole giving up caffeine thing. *

I always assumed that it would be nearly impossible for me to do, and that it would be a slow and painful process in which I wanted to die, and was planning on taking everyone else down with me… Turns out, it wasn’t that bad, I only got two headaches, and I was off it for 8 days! (“Climb Every Mountain!!!”)

Fifthly:  I’m not craving sugar anymore.  Mostly I’ve been more of a savory person anyway, but over the holidays I was doing my fare share of indulging in hot chocolate, caramels etc.  The juice cleanse really helped me to quit the sugar, and now my body is craving more greens and whole foods than ever before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still planning on making a trip to Sprinkefingers next week, and eating handfuls of gumdrops (it’s a good fantasy) but the important thing is that I’m no longer craving the sugar (fantasizing and craving are two entirely different things.)

Sixthly:  I noticed a lot about my eating habits, and how a lot of the time I eat when I’m not hungry… I really enjoy eating, I think most of us do, but sometimes I do it out of boredom, and sometimes it is honestly just a reflex. I can’t tell you how many times I went over to my parent’s house an instinctively went to reach for a handful of almonds… not because I was hungry, but because that is what I always do when I’m over there because there is a bowl of them on the kitchen counter. I do this at work all the time too with cookies, salads, spoonful’s of whipped cream… it’s a habit, and hopefully a habit that this juice cleanse was able to break. I’m now much more aware of what I’m putting into my body, and listening for when I’m actually hungry. I’m also being better about guzzling water anytime I feel that snack grabbing reflex kick in.  It’s a little change, but awareness is half the battle.

I did forget a few pieces of advice in my post last week about gearing up for a juice cleanse, so here they are now.

1)   use the buddy system. It is so much easier to stay accountable and on track if you are juicing with a friend. Especially when you work in a restaurant surrounded by delicious things, and some of your co-workers are jerks and keep eating things like bacon jam in front of you.  Yes, your family probably supports you, and in the end you are doing it for your own reasons, but there are always going to be the people out there who are a little bit annoyed at your for not eating, who don’t understand it, and who sometimes say dumb things like “well it’s your choices not to eat!” or who try to get you to fall off the wagon.  Its really helpful to have someone else who is going through the same thing that you are, and who will actually be 100% over the moon for you when you finish strong, and will whole heartedly share in your success. (because “Climb Every Mountain” should be sung as a duet. Duh) A huge shout out to my co-worker Lindsey who did the first five days of juicing with me, who lost 8 pounds, and who did it all while still feeing her husband and children, and also working all five of those days in the restaurant. I’m pretty sure I would have probably faltered/ at least had a handful of chips or something if I had all of those factors involved in my juice cleanse.

2)   As much as you can, try to get rid of “Temptations” from your fridge and pantry beforehand. Sometimes it is unavoidable, and sometimes you still have to cook for your family etc. But I cannot tell you how nice it was to come home and know that I didn’t have bags of chips, or cartons of leftovers begging me to eat them.

3)   Hazelnut milk saved my bacon.  I think one of the reasons my juice cleanse was so successful, and why I didn’t have any hunger pangs, and didn’t feel like death for the first few days (minus that caffeine headache on day one… I didn’t wean off early enough) was that my last “juice” of the day was actually home made hazelnut milk. I think protein is vital, and having a relatively thick and delicious treat like beverage every night was pretty amazing. Hazelnut milk is super easy to make (it just takes a little time.)

 

* I know that not wanting to give up caffeine is not a valid reason to not want to be pregnant. I also know that a lot of women drink caffeine throughout their entire pregnancy, and their babies are normal, and caffeine isn’t as bad as some other things. Considering my family, my offspring would probably be addicted to coffee at birth anyway, I think its genetic anyway, so I’d probably be fine slurping cold brew by the gallon…   I also know that I’ve been watching a whole lot of Mad Men, and seeing all the pregnant ladies who are drinking gimlets and smoking cigarettes, and I’m starting to wonder how there isn’t an entire generation of completely f*ed up people.

At least I will be a good tipper.

Sitting here tonight I realized today was my last full day off before Christmas. It’s not a huge deal, all my holiday shopping is completed, everything is in the mail, the laundry is folded all the major priorities are taken care of… But I’m sitting here, feeling a little restless, so rather than getting sucked into Mad Men on Netflix, I’m here, blogging.  I can’t help the cliché, but this time of year I always start to reflect. What did I do this year? What did I learn? How did I grow? How am I different?

So there is this woman who comes into work all the time who drives me absolutely insane. I have a little bit of guilt about this actually for multiple reasons, and every time I contemplate how irritated she makes me, I feel like the biggest bitch in the universe… because really, she is lonely. I know this, I know this is why she comes in every day, why she talks everyone’s ear off about her work projects, how the lasagna in our deli case is just too rich for her, how she has tried to make replicate our quinoa salad a million times, how she used to sleep with her bike next to her bed so she could sleep with her hand clutched around it, about how impressive the symposium she just hosted was. Once she asked me what shade of lipstick I was wearing, and then literally came in a few hours later wearing the exact same shade and then started to refer to is as “our lipstick” And it shouldn’t bother me. I should be a bigger person. I should just embrace the fact that it makes her day when she comes in, when one of us asks about her day. And most of the time I do, but there are some moments when I see her walk through the door, and the other employees and I glance at each other, and we silently and quickly figure out who has has the most coffee, who is the least irritable, and who will be the one to interact with her that that particular moment. But really, the icing on the cake is in the ten months I’ve been working there and in her almost daily visits she has never tipped once. Not once. Ok, its bitchy of me… but you go to a place, every day, sometimes multiple times a day, you get all the free refills, you make sure you include us personally in your life, that we know every detail, that you share every story, and we smile and we listen (ok, some of us go home and write about it on our blogs) but for the love… throw in your change every now and then.

I get the being lonely part… mostly.  I’m a total introvert, so I don’t always understand the whole forcing of small talk thing… I love interacting with people, but only to a certain point. Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you, I’m quiet, guarded even, and sure, I’ve got a blog, and I’m rambling on about my personal life, but that is not something that I tend to do face to face. I would never stroll into my neighborhood coffee shop and unload on the barista about how rough of a day I was having. I might think it, I might sit quietly in the corner sipping my Americano, and would probably divulge a little information, a brief insight to a passerby who might ask how I was doing… but I would never come in with a sense of entitlement and just completely unload… but give me twenty years and we’ll see where I am… I know one of the reasons why I’m so annoyed with her is because deep down, I have this fear that someday that is going to be me.

About six months ago,  I jokingly told my brother that his first born was going to end up taking care of me. Naturally in my mind, its more like the situation from Little Women… without me being old and kinda crazy. I will be the fun aunt, and we will run off to Europe, and we will read, and eat and drink and live, and I will not be the annoying woman with the tendency to undert-tip and over-share. I will be the mysterious American woman who keeps to her self, I will have a certain je nais se quoi about me. Done and done. Contingency plan, check.  But one thing I’ve realized is that over this past year, my fear of being alone has started to dwindle…

Looking back on this year, its been a little rough in patches. I lost one job, I lost someone close to me, I’ve struggled trying to find what I’m passionate about, I’ve lost motivation, but one insight that I’ve gained is that heart gripping fear of spending my life alone is not quite as scary as it used to be.

In 2013 I went on approximately 1 date. It was actually a pretty decent date, as far as first dates go, but it was with a person who was just so incredibly wrong for me. He was 24, and here is the thing about 24 year old men… rather, 24 year old boys. The age difference is too much. I say this to my friends in relationships, and they all vehemently insist that I’m full of it (its because they aren’t out there dating 24 year olds, so they will never really understand.)  I just finished reading Wild a few days ago, and I felt so vindicated, because there is a part of the book where Cheryl Strayed is talking about being a 27 year old women and how at that age , age really does matter. “It was an absurd crush, I knew. He was four years younger than me, and we were at an age when those nearly four years mattered, the gap between what he had done and what I had done was large enough that I was more like a big sister than I was someone who should be thinking about being alone with him in his tent—so I didn’t think about it” Yes, vindication. Thank you Cheryl for getting it, and for writing about it in your best selling book.

Sure, I feel a little hypocritical talking about age being an issue, since I am in fact 15 years younger than my ex boyfriend. Here I am saying that 4 years younger than me is too young, and yet sitting there at the table across from the one date of 2013, I was looking at where I had been, and not where I was heading… I suppose then I have to let go of all resentment being told on one occasion or another that I was too young for someone  (though I still maintain that I am an old soul, and will probably end up with a man who is older than me…  its just a gut feeling… if you have been on a date, or even in the same room with a 24 year old man/boy lately you will understand where I’m coming from.) The guy really was very sweet, and he actually came into work the other day with a very young looking hipster girl on his arm… because at the end of the day if it isn’t right it isn’t right. Which is the main thing I’m taking about of 2013. Though I certainly don’t have a full repertoire of dating experience from this year, I have gained a lot of insight from watching other people in relationships. And I won’t pretend to be an expert, and I certainly won’t be the one to judge, because I know that all relationships are hard at times, and require a lot of work , commitment and compromise. But this year as I have embraced my choice of not settling, of not choosing to be with the wrong person, I’ve become acutely aware of all the people around me who have settled in relationships, who have jumped in an compromised maybe too much, and my heart goes out to those people. I’m not sure I’m able to convey this properly, because again, I’m not coming from a place of judgment, and really as an outsider I know I don’t always see the whole picture, or know the full context of situations. Love is a complex thing, and I admire the people who are stumbling through it on a daily basis.  For me being single isn’t necessarily a choice, but I do feel empowered knowing that by being alone I am choosing to not be with a person who isn’t right for me. (is that a double negative? It doesn’t sound quite right, but its late…)

But going back to my reflection, I’m still figuring out how this year has shaped me, and what sort of path that will lead me on in 2014. But mostly I have realized that I’m no longer afraid of being lonely. I still have a lot of fears (hello I practically have a nervous breakdown every time I get a paycheck, and then look at my credit card bill) I still have a lot of uncertainty… and there are nights when the loneliness still haunts me. When it’s actually a physical ache in my person… but it is also somehow remarkably ok. Over the past year I have been able to branch out and cultivate some new friendships that I’m forever grateful for.  Hello, I actually sent out all of the holiday cards that I ordered, a first for me.  And it might not be much, but its nice to know that even if I spend the rest of my life deciding not to settle, I’m still going to have some of these amazing people to go through life with. These amazing people who embrace my neurosis (or at least tolerate them quite well) call my bulldog nephew. And at the end of the day, at the end of this year, I can at least take a little comfort knowing that if I do end up becoming an entitled single women who comes into coffee shops and lipstick stalks the employees, at least I will be a really good tipper.

Gardening instincts, SAD, and finding my motivation.

These last few days have been beautiful in Oregon. I typically don’t miss the Montana weather (its currently blizzarding and 2 degrees in my home town. No joke. There is a live webcam…) But these last two days the sun has been shining, the sky is blue, and I keep having a twinge of nostalgia for the clear crisp winter days… the blizzards not so much. I crave snow about once a year… one weekend is the perfect amount. Preferably around Christmas, anything over that just seems excessive.

 So yeah, I don’t miss the snow, but I would definitely take a few more crisp sunny days. Don’t get me wrong. I adore the dreariness of Oregon winters. I crave it a little bit, actually. The cozy foggy mornings that just beg you to snuggle in with a good book and a cup of tea. The bright green grass contrasting the dark charcoal sky. The drizzling rain… It soothes my soul, which is probably why I moved to Oregon in the first place. But every now and again, a little bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder sneaks its way in, and I’m left feeling a little blasé this time of year.  Thankfully, I have a happy lamp, which typically does the trick, even though it is a little ridiculous.

When my parents first made the move to Oregon the weather transition was a little rough on them. My mom’s doctor suggested a light supplement, and as it turns out they were selling them at Costco. Score. After about two weeks though, my dad had deemed the Happy Lamp the “unhappy lamp” because its actually a bit abrasive. After a bit of complaining, the light made its way over to my place, and mostly I used it for my house plants, but every so often I pull it out for personal use. I usually just place it in the bathroom, getting my extra dose of light as I get ready for the day, which is a win-win, as it turns out my bathroom doesn’t have the best lighting.  

 Anyway, the last few weeks I’ve been feeling rather unmotivated. I’m not depressed per say, I’m exercising, eating well, getting myself out there, and even meditating… but all that aside, I just haven’t been terribly motivated to work on the things that make me, me. I haven’t been blogging, I haven’t really been working on anything creative, my house is a bit of a disaster, I haven’t been cooking… I’ve kind of just been coasting aimlessly, not feeling passionate about anything.  And overall, I think that is allowed, and I haven’t even been overly concerned about it… until Today I realized how elated I was that the sun was shining. Hello productiveness! Hello  goals. Hello achievements (mental note: add vitamin D to my vitamin regimen stat. This sun can’t last forever) 

Thankfully, this motivation came on my day off (isn’t it the worst when you get super motivated, and you realize that if you actually stop to clean the bathroom you will be 20 minutes late to work? This happens to me often).  So I took the motivation, I took the sense of purpose, I took the energy from the sun, and put on some garden gloves. I’ve pretty much been avoiding putting my garden to bed for the winter like the plague.  I do this every year, and then make it so much harder for myself each spring… Mostly I got a little too excited about my garden this year, and then didn’t have a ton of time to do anything with it, so the idea of cleaning it out was a little daunting. I started the project a few weeks ago, but still had some beds that needed clearing.  Today was the perfect day…. And then I kept going. I clean out the tomato beds, I pruned the raspberries, I did a little weeding, trimmed back the mint, and even swept my patio. I would have gone so far as to pick up dog poop, only my super duper pooper scooper broke into a million pieces after 1 scoop. Tragedy. I’ll deal with that later.

 BUT one thing I did observe in this midst of this yard project was how happy it made me. Working in my garden, and growing my own food brings me epic amounts of joy, and even though this is the not fun part of gardening, I still found myself getting excited by the pruning. Mostly I have no idea what I’m doing… last year was a huge pruning experiment, and it seemed to mostly work, and so I decided to forge ahead with false confidence… only once I got going I realized that it was all pretty instinctual. I imagine this is sort of how first time parents feel. “I have no idea what I’m doing, but this feels like the right thing.” Granted, I am not a parent, and don’t have plans to become a parent, but it seems like its kind of the same thing.  There I was, in the raspberry patch, and I could just look at the branches and say “this one won’t produce next year, it’s a goner!” and I really did have every confidence that I was right (talk to me next June, and lets see if I have any raspberries). Once I cut about five branches, I started to notice that each of the branches I was eliminating was tied to the trellis with a green twist tie. I haven’t had time to confer with my father (who tamed the raspberries this spring) but it almost felt like a road map. “These are the ones that are producing now, and won’t do anything next year”  at least that is what I kept telling myself. It might just be a grand coincidence that every branch that was tied up was one I was getting rid of…. I’ll have to confer with Mike.

Who knows how long it will last, and what the rest of the winter will bring, but two days of sunshine, and I’m feeling more like myself. I’m feeling like I’m ready to tackle more projects, and ready to get more back into the things that make me feel like me.  We will see how long it lasts… Hopefully a while!

 

Mini-life detox.

Here is the thing about blogging: Its so much easier to write things in your head. I might be slightly biased, but I write some amazing mental drafts of things. I then finally find a few hours to sit down at my computer, and what comes out on the screen is usually a little bit more like verbal diarrhea. Sometimes I edit it, sometimes I delete it, but mostly I just post it, hope for the best, and move on to the next thing.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m wordy. I go where my mind takes me, and I realize for other’s it might not be the easiest to follow… But at the end of the day this is an exercise. It is getting thoughts into words, and it is exposing my jugular by putting them out there for other people to read. You might relate, you might not, you might think its funny, or terrible, you might only read it because you feel slightly obligated, or like my parents, you are looking for some more insights into my life. (love you guys). Whatever your reasons, thanks for reading.

 

I had a doozy of a weekend. The kind that makes you take a step back and decide I need a mini-life detox.  Which is exactly what I’ve done this week.

Backstory: Saturday night I had a fight with my ex-boyfriend. Mostly I was calmly saying “can we just talk about this like rational human beings?” as he yelled obscenity’s over the phone about how crazy and unstable I was, that I was too immature and that I needed to seek professional help for all of my issues etc.  (all I’m going to say about that, is that I was not the one yelling at my ex over the phone at 2AM… but I’m the immature unstable one, right?)  The fight was probably a good thing, it really helped me process some things, and see the situation a little more clearly, and overall I walked away feeling like “well, I sure dodged a bullet”. But it also left me feeling really sad.  I know that everyone has baggage and issues, and life is never simple, but arguing with him made my heart hurt, just seeing the reality that he lives in thinking that everyone and everything is against him. I know we all have defensive mechanisms, it’s a form of self preservation, but its really hard knowing that he decided a very long time ago that his life was too messy for anyone else to handle (which isn’t true, but he thinks its true) and so he just pushes people past their breaking point each and every time they get close.  It’s a self fulfilling circle… It’s hard to see yourself through someone else’s eyes, especially when you know that your heart and your intentions are come from this genuine and true place, and that someone else has twisted them into something completely malicious and negative.  Knowing that there is this version of you out there somewhere, even if it only exists in someone else’s mind is a little unsettling.  But overall, I’m just trying to let that go. As I writer this is something that I deal with a lot as well. Putting things out there and not having any control about how people interpret them is a really scary, and sometimes frustrating thing.  (I am constantly thinking, “But that’s not how I meant it! If someone took it that way does it mean that I’m not being very clear? Am I not able to get my point across? Do I basically suck at this?”) And then I let it go, because at some point you just can’t worry about it any more.

 

And at some point on Saturday I decided that I just can’t worry about him anymore. And it’s hard, because there are his kids to consider, and though I do worry about them every day, I have finally come to terms with the fact that he can no longer be in my life in any way shape or form. (12 hours after I decided this he was still texting me verbally abusive things about how what a crazy bitch I was… and saying that I was the one who kept bugging him etc… No communication seems like a no brainer).  I’m not trying to bad-mouth him, and I do really want what is best for him and his family. He is damaged and I knew that going in, and I hope he finds what he is looking for, but I also know that it doesn’t involve me in anyway, and that I need to focus on my own happiness.

 

I’m also going through a transition at my job right now. Over all it’s a really good thing, but I’m no longer Managing, and I went through a few days of mental battles with this. I love having more free time, and it’s a bit of a relief to not be in charge of people, to be able to clock in and out and leave things at the door.  I’m not exactly passionate about washing dishes, waiting tables etc. but I am passionate about the place that I work, which is at least something. I had a few fleeting moments of  “I have a liberal arts degree, I’m 28. All of my friends have careers and THIS is my life?”  but I have let go of that thinking. I’m thrilled to have a job that pays the rent and puts food on the table, and for the first time since I’ve been out of school I’m not married to my job. This is wonderful and also terrifying. I’ve been able to hide behind my job for so long… (I am fine being single 100%. However when every other person on the planet tends to repeatedly ask you a million times why you aren’t dating someone, its nice to be able to say things like “well I work  a lot, and not a lot of available men are frequenting the lavender farm these days” or “I barely have time to walk the dog most days, do you think I have time to go out and meet men?”) But all this to say, I’m not entirely sure what I want to do with my life, I don’t have a 5 year plan, and every time someone brings this up, I get a little panicky. Had you asked me this a year ago, I could have told you with unwavering certainty exactly what I wanted with my life.  (move to Portland, Marry this guy, go to graduate school, be a part time step mom, teach yoga. Things change. It happens. I haven’t picked a new dream yet… but I’m giving myself some time to work on that… and hopefully now that I do have more free time I’ll be able to follow some more passions. )

 

ANYWAY, long backstory per usual, but Sunday morning left me feeling like I was kind of hit by a bus… well actually more like my face was stung by like 10 bees. I was sad, and puffy, and emotionally belittled and I decided right then and there I was going to do a 5 day mini-life detox.

 

Mostly this just consisted of a few key things. 1) exercise daily. 2) make healthy choices. 3) surround myself with positive and uplifting people. 4) drink a whole lot of juice. 5) be joyful.  Mission accomplished.

True, I’ve eaten some junk food, and rolled my eyes a few times this week.  But I’ve also gotten up every day and made the decision to be happy. I’ve frolicked in the amazing fall weather, I’ve seen and talked to some great friends, I’ve been moving my person, and focusing on the good things. And you know what? Life is pretty delightful.

 

Here are some other things I’ve done recently to detox my life and work towards being a better me.

 

3 day Juice Cleanse from Portland Juice Press:

AKA the best thing ever. I had such a great time doing this juice cleanse, and Portland Juice Press was amazing to work with. They offered us a group rate, even delivered it all the way out to wine country, the juices were interesting and delicious, and it was such a great way to jump start some healthy habits. I cannot recommend it enough.

Post Juice cleanse I kind of jumped on the juicing wagon. I got a hand me down juicer from a good friend, and started juicing up a storm. After juicing at least once a day for a month, I thought it was time to invest, so this week when I was feeling a little down, and maybe a little impulsive (though if I was really feeling impulsive I would have bought the $300 Frye boots… instead I got a juicer… which is really just investing in my life) The new juicer is amazing, and I’m juicing just about everything in sight. Yesterday I put fennel bulb in there! And you know what, it was delicious.  Some of my other favorite things to add to juice, Cilantro, Collard Greens,  and red peppers.  But the fennel was like blow your mind good.

Starting tomorrow I’m doing a 21 day “Get Your Juice on” challenge. Its free, and simple. 1 juice a day for 21 days. It’s not a cleanse, its not a diet plan, its just “add this juice to whatever you are already doing, and see what happens” experiment. Last time I checked there were over 150 people signed up for it, and it should hopefully be a fun way to share recipes and stories. It starts tomorrow, so its not to late to join! http://getyourjuiceonchallenge.com

 

I also signed up for this 10 day whole life cleanse. My Good Friend Amanda over at The Savoury Soul is putting it together, and I’m looking forward to not only supporting her as she launches her first program, but also digging in and finding some ways to let go of some of my own baggage.

 

And I’m also listening to more Country Music. Um what? Since when did my Montanian roots catch up with me? Its not for everyone, and some songs are way too redneck, my cheated heart, or my mama taught me themed for my liking. But a lot of it is just happy… and lately it kind of makes me happy. Go figure. (Maybe its a phase?)  Feel free to groan and eye roll, and then listen to some Keith Urban or Darius Rucker.

 

 

 Some Pictures from this week.

Frolicking in the Fall Leaves

Frolicking in the Fall Leaves

Arebequina Olives. Its almost Olive Harvest time in Oregon!

Arebequina Olives. Its almost Olive Harvest time in Oregon!

 

My trusted steed.

My trusted steed.

 

 

 

September is for meditating, booty shaking, and fighting the fall funk.

The time has come, the walrus said…. Not that I’m comparing myself to a walrus or anything. September is here, and with it comes a lot of things. Mostly a little bit of restlessness. I’ve come to expect this every year, and sometimes even crave it along with the cooler days, the occasional rain, the change of leaves and the start of harvest. I’ve said it before (probably in a blog post from around this time, oh every year since I’ve been blogging) but I think we are programed from a young age to expect change every year. September brings the start of school, a new season, and from the time we are little September brings around change. So its sometimes a harsh reality when we reach adulthood, and realize that jobs don’t change every year, nor do living situations (well I mean they can….) and part of growing up is often settling into that stability, and yes sometimes stagnant routine.

I feel it this time of year especially, because this is when things start to slow down a little bit with work, my two best friends start to travel extensively for their jobs, and as the days become cozier I tend to become a little more introverted.  Well this year, I’m getting a jump on the stagnant feeling, I’m combatting the lonely, and trying to fill my days with manageable change.

Let me just clarify, I’m not bored. I wish I had enough time to be bored… but every waking moment is pretty much jam packed of things to do… but I can tell already that I’m heading for my fall rut, and might actually be prematurely there due to my broken toe/ the collapse of my summer project and goal of running a half marathon.  I became a bit of a slug the last six weeks, and though I’ve still been practicing yoga, I haven’t been motivated to do much else as far as moving my person.

So I’m re-focusing my energies this month, and am being proactive about doing things that are good for me mentally as well as physically, and I’m making small adjustments to my day-to-day routine to make sure that I am living a life that feels fulfilled and meaningful. My friend Amanda over at The Savoury Soul is encouraging people to build their best life. I wrote a guest post for her  blog this week, and am trying to refocus my energy and remind myself that I need to be my own champion, figure out what I need, and take little steps on a daily basis to make my life a little bit happier and healthier.  Amanda has really inspired me lately, and here are  a few of the things I’m going to do/ focus on this month to try and build my best life.

1)   I’m going to be awesome at my job. Not that I’m not already trying to be a successful and productive employee, but  I know there are days when I get overwhelmed, frustrated, and sometimes defeated. I’m going to approach each day with a positive attitude , I’m going to learn from each experience, and everyday I’m going to try to be better and more efficient. I’m going to be filled with gratitude that I have a wonderful job, understanding bosses, and co-workers who are (mostly) supportive. I’m going to be thankful that I have a happy and healthy work environment, and I’m going to focus on the positive, and let go of the negative.

2)   I’m actually going to start meditating again. Whenever life feels out of balance, I think this is a good place to start. Even if it is just a few moments a day, I’m going to make a conscious effort to take a little time to turn inward.

3)   Kick my butt into high gear. I’ve been off my feet for too long, and out of my exercise routine, and I’m feeling a little doughy. I recently purchased a package at Barre 3, and plan on finding new and fun ways to move my person. (barre 3 can get a little spendy, but there is a great deal for new students, also they recently had a deal on living social…its right up my alley with a cross between ballet, yoga and pilaties. Yes please. Also I know its probably not true, but after one class I swear my cellulite is less noticeable… for reals)  I’ve already gotten my hula hoop out of the garage (mom, bring it back!) and in another week or two I’m going to get back into running. Baby steps.

4)   I’m doing a 3 day juice cleanse next week. This I’m actually really excited about. It will probably be hard, and I will probably get grouchy somewhere around, oh the first 2 hours, but I think it will be a healthy way to detox my body, and jump start some healthy habits.  (I’m giving up caffeine and gluten tomorrow, and probably dairy the day after that to ease my body into it… so lets be realistic, I will be grouchy tomorrow… but I’ll try to compensate) I’m going to be doing this with 6 other women, so hopefully we can all support each other (and not kill each other) and it will actually be a fun bonding experience. We are going with Portland Juice Press… I’ve heard good things, and they are willing to deliver all the way to Dundee. I’ll let you know how it goes.

5)   I’m going to be better about corresponding with friends, through the mail. I love getting snail mail, and it takes literally two minutes and like forty something cents (I actually don’t know how much postage is these days, I always buy forever stamps…) and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that someone is going to open up their mail box and have a surprise note. God knows I’ve been collecting fun greeting cards and stationary since I was 12, and have moved all of it with me about a zillion times… might as well lighten the load, work on my penmanship, and start writing some letters.

6)   I renewed my passport today. I always thought I was the kind of girl who kept her passport at the ready in case an exciting adventure called me away at a moment’s notice. So when I pulled out my passport earlier this summer, I was pretty disappointed to find out it expired in February. Good thing I haven’t needed to flee the country.  Realistically I haven’t left in the country in oh, 6 years, but I like to think that my next foreign adventure is right around the corner (Pfeff I am 100% seriously looking into tickets for Paris…I’m just putting that out there)

7)   I’m going to watch less tv. It’s a noble goal. I have a lot of books I want to read, and though I do enjoy being able to mindlessly unwind when I get home from a late night at the restaurant, I’m pretty sure my life will be a little bit more balanced with a little less CSI NY. I’ve started to find myself wondering what sort of forensic evidence I’m leaving in my wake at every single place I visit… if I crime ever happens at the yoga studio, I’m totally going to be a suspect. Especially since I took toby to class this week, and he was probably shedding, and even though I swept I’m sure there is some lingering pet hair, and that will definitely link anything back to me even if I’m not involved in a crime in any way. I’m just saying… THIS IS WHY I’M CUTTING BACK ON TV.

8)   I’m taking a yoga sabbatical. After working 60+ hours a week, I needed to step back a little bit, and recharge. I’m still going to be teaching one class a week, but being responsible for teaching two classes on my “day off” was beginning to be more of a burden than a joy. I adore my students, but needed to respect my own limits, and give myself a change to re-coup.  I think as a result I will come back in a few months as a better teacher.

What steps can you take this month to make your life a little bit better? How are you fighting the Fall Funk?

Throwback Thursday: AKA traumatic stories from high school, and why I need a new summer project.

Well, I’m looking for a new summer project. I know, life isn’t crazy busy enough… like I really have time to put something else on my plate… but I do find that I am the happiest and the healthiest when working towards an attainable goal, and I need to be doing something creative… Up to this point my summer project has been training for the Wine Country Half Marathon. And then two weeks ago I accidentally broke my toe while watering the garden. Bummer.  This of course put training on hold, which has put the 13.1 mile race on hold until next year. Wah Wah…. I’m pretty sad. This would have been my second half marathon, and I was actually getting pretty pumped to run the 13.1 miles. (I even talked my two best friends into training with me… so yeah, have fun guys… I will drop you off and pick you up…)

After I ran my first in 2010 I decided that I didn’t really need to do another one, but as time went on and things in my life once more drastically shifted (the last time I trained for a half marathon I was dealing with not getting into graduate school, and trying to figure out next steps etc.) I found myself running a bit more. In January I was broken hearted, unemployed, and had a remarkable amount of free time, and frustration so I began running again. A few miles here an there, turned into 3+ miles consistently multiple times a week, and as I dealt with trying to find a job, and the frustrations of unemployment hearings, I started adding on miles. One day, I just randomly went for a seven mile run, um what? Who am I? So I took the motivation, and signed up for the half marathon again.  Yay summer project, yay pushing myself! And then the toe thing happened…

It’s actually somewhat humorous that I’m kind of turning into a runner (ok that is maybe pushing it… I’m not really a runner. I still have to talk myself into it, and quite frankly, I trot. Maybe I’m a trotter, or a jogger or something… but I certainly wouldn’t call myself a runner yet… I am a person who goes running. There are days when I’m out there training and I think “Wait… I’m actually paying $100 so I can run 13.1 miles… what the hell is wrong with me?” but those moments pass. ) Without a doubt, the most traumatic experience of my high school years was having to run the mile in gym class my sophomore year. (This is saying a lot, because once I accidentally farted on the bus at like 6AM on the way to a Speech and Debate meet, and my friend Stephen made a cheer, and then told everyone on the bus, and practically everyone at the meet that I ripped one on the bus. Literally the cheer was “Tayler Brisbin, Ripped one!” and then there were two farting noises afterwards…  and he was prancing up and down the bus, yelling this., and by the end of the day, I’m pretty sure that every Speech and Debate member from high schools across the state were referring to me as the farting girl…And yet, the running incident was somehow more traumatic for me personally… Maybe even back then I knew that  farting on a bus would make for a really good blog tangent someday.)

Anyway, flash back to 10th grade. I had been home-schooled up to this point, and so my “version” of PE was essentially going to ballet class twice a week, and jumping on a trampoline, and occasionally running away from Moose. I wasn’t out of shape, but I most certainly wasn’t a runner. I was at an extreme disadvantage, because every other person in the public school system had been running “the mile” once a year since like 5th grade, and they knew what they were getting themselves into.  I, however did not. So there we are, in PE and it’s the girls day to run the mile, and come to find out to be on par with our age group or whatever, we are supposed to run a mile in 9 minutes or under…. UM WTF? Yes, as teenagers we are supposed to be young and spry, and full of bountiful pep and energy… but jesus a 9 minute mile? Let me just clarify, that to this day, I do not run a 9 minute mile. I am a person who runs, and a person who runs multiple times a week… and even though I’ve been training for a half marathon for over 6 months, and am living at what, maybe 500 ft above sea level? I still don’t run a 9 minute mile! (yes, I realize I’m slow, and this is maybe pathetic. I’ve come to terms with is, so should you.) Let me also just tell you that the elevation of my home town is 5,555 ft above sea level. (no joke. There is a sign telling you the elevation as you drive into the town) That is a lot of ft above sea level, in case you were wondering, and yes the air is a little bit thinner up there in the mountains.

I’m not sure how “the mile” works at other schools, but at my tiny high school, the boy s and girls ran it separately even though we had a co-ed gym class. Therefore when the girls ran the mile, we each had one of the boys from the class assigned to us to count our laps. I guess this was so we didn’t have to keep track/ couldn’t cheat… which, full discloser/ spoiler alert, I totally did.

I’m not exactly sure what lap I was on when I decided that I was going to die, but I’m pretty sure it was about lap 15 (20 laps around the gym for the mile). I will fully admit that now, as an adult, I have a bit of a gift for melodrama… but at the time, I was just pretty quiet, shy, and misunderstood. I was not the scene causing type of girl… Hello wallflower. So when I started to tell the PE teacher that I couldn’t breath, I wasn’t trying to draw attention to myself. I had never been that short of breath before ever, and I started to get a little panicky.  (of course at the time it never occurred to me to just stop and walk… though come to think of it, I’m not sure that was an option since we were being timed, and there was that 9 minute standard we were all being held against… again, who runs a 9 minute mile at 5555 ft? Olympians?) I was gasping for air, and kind of flopping around, and like “Um… I…. can’t…. breath…. Something…. Is …. Wrong….” And for reals, I was worried about passing out.  Just keep running but all the while freaking out a little bit, and being a little vocal about the fact that I was worried for my wellbeing. Of course at this point most of the boys were thinking this was hysterical, and none of the other girls seemed to be having a problem, and they all seemed put out that I was making a scene… but come on, not being able to breath is kind of scary!  Anyway, I’m not sure at what point most of the other girls lapped me, but it happened. They were all one lap ahead, and I was one behind… and all I knew for sure was that I was going to die.  And so, as most of them finished their final lap I also stopped running. I looked my  assigned counter in the eye, and I either gave him a look of “you will die if you rat me out” or I was so pathetic and floppy and red faced, that he genuinely felt bad for me.  Maybe it was both… I was pretty socially awkward back then, and mostly I was just shy because everyone else gave me a homeschooling complex, but this was just interpreted as me being a bitch… so I kind of just went with it.  Either way, everyone else knew that I was only on lap 19, but the gym teacher looked at him, and asked if that was my final lap, and he lied through his teeth and said that I was done running.  (Seth, in case you didn’t know, you are kind of my hero. Or at least you were at that moment) Unfortunately, my BFF at the time also had one lap left… she was doing much better than me, but everyone had lapped her as well, and so when everyone else finished, she still had one lap to go.  She would have of course finished running the mile before I did, but I cheated and stopped at lap 19, so at the end of the day, she was labeled with the slowest mile time in our grade. My bad.   Lets just say, she was not happy…  (this might have been the beginning of the end of our friendship, who even knows… girls are petty)  But I was too busy gulping for air and flopping around to really care.  Clearly, I feel bad about it now, but at the time I was just happy to be alive and vowed to hate running for the rest of my days.

It might not sound THAT traumatic… and come to think of it, I’m actually surprised that the farting incident didn’t scar me nearly as bad as my semester in PE… then again, this happened when I was a lowly sophomore and still adjusting to the ways of public school… Clearly the event stuck with me, because I’m pretty sure I even wrote a paper during my Freshman Year of college about how much I loathed running.  What? Who writes college level papers about that? (the whole graduate school rejection is maybe making more sense…) I’m that girl, and it makes me cringe a little.  Thankfully, times have changed, and I got over it. Look at me, training for half marathons and things…

It’s kind of like the time a baby sitter made me sit at the table and eat pizza even though I wasn’t hungry, and everyone else got to go watch the Wizard of OZ, and then for the next 13 years or so I hated pizza. I was a nightmare to have at birthday parties, because I wouldn’t eat pizza, and all the moms would have to order other food for the “picky eater.” For the longest time my parent’s thought I just didn’t like cheese, which is probably the biggest tragedy of my childhood… As far as I’m concerned, cheese is gods gift to us, and the more cheese the better.  I often wonder about how much cheese I missed out on in those thirteen years because people just assumed my aversion to pizza was actually an aversion to cheese… why did they think this? Obviously I ate the nachos that had to be special ordered for me at birthday parties because I didn’t eat pizza… but then again, as a child, I was also a vegetarian, and so it probably made perfect sense to everyone that I didn’t “like” cheese. False. I just didn’t like pizza. Clearly, I got over it. (liking pizza that is… obviously, I’m still a little sad about the mistaken cheese deprivation.) Its kind of ironic that the child who hated pizza is now the front of house manager at an establishment that is know for its woodfire pizzas, and I eat pizza at least 3 times a week…. Shoot, good thing I also got over my hatred of running… Fact: you don’t have to run as much if you hate pizza.

But, I got over my hatred of running, and my hatred of pizza…  really all this is to say, that now I need a new summer project, because training for a half marathon and a broken toe are not two things that go together, but thanks for hanging in there through the awkward/ traumatic throwbacks to high school.