I watched a clip of Will Smith basically telling me if someone hurts me, the responsibility of my heart healing and moving on is mine. Regardless if I find fault in someone else. Regardless if the reason my heart hurts is because someone else said or did something to me, that it is ultimately *my* responsibility to get up and move on.
This needs to be in as positive a manner as possible because this world has enough hate, animosity, stereo types, victims, under privileged, over compensating, under appreciated people as it is.
Last year, a week before my wedding my future sister-in-law read an email I sent to family and friends that traveled far for the wedding, inviting them to our rehearsal dinner at Klondike’s Pizza for All-You-Can-Eat on Tuesdays. That email follows:
Hi! You are getting this because we are going to have our “rehearsal dinner” at Klondike’s Pizza in AG on Tuesday 9/19 (All you can eat!!) and even though you are not IN the wedding, you are more than welcome to join us because you are family!! MIND YOUR ALLERGIES. This is a place with peanut shells on the floor, it’s that kind of pizza bar.
Please let me know if you will be able to go or not as I need to give the manager a heads up for the group count.
My husband, who knew I’d send an email but didn’t know what it said (and I honestly don’t think that part matters, but I don’t want to forget the detail that he didn’t send the email *I* did) was slapped in the face (figuratively) by his sister because to her the email was, and I quote….
You are not missing something. There is no “2016 Year in Review.” that was the year that blurred the most, but also made other things abundantly clear. Those things are as follows: I am no longer living in New York City. I am now a mother. These are short and simple statements that also, seemingly, pack a-lot-of-punch. I certainly could go on and on about either statement, but that would distract me from this particular post. Perhaps some other time, I’ll let you in on all the details of my planned cesarian, getting engaged, opening my own spa and what it’s really like “baking bread” or “raising dough” – as it were. heh.
In 2017 I….um…well I woke up everyday. I know this because I went to work, or hung out with McDreamy and our little loaves of bread. Sourdough and Rye. We don’t actually call them that. Lgirl and Kboy or bubs happen more often than their real names or bread-names. In 2017 I…um…well I didn’t sleep too much. I know this because I was tired for most of the year from working for myself, raising twins, and planning a wedding. We did actually get married, we did not leave for a honeymoon, rather we stayed 2 nights at Sycamore in something that was larger than our apartment, and McDreamy and I took one night alone in Cambria while my Maamm watched the babies.
In 2017 I …um…well I gained a lot of weight. I hit the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. Some say thats because I have kids now, others say that’s because I don’t sleep, I say it’s because the man of my dreams cooks delicious meals every day and all I have to do is sit and eat. Eating comes with it’s own challenges though. It tastes so good, I want to eat ALL OF IT. It was very rare we’d have left overs because it was so tasty I’d have seconds or thirds just to get the flavor in my mouth. I mean, we have Burger Night every friday night and there were some fridays where my burger had cheese stuffed in the inside of the meat patty and the patty was wrapped in bacon with half an avocado on top. Yah, I’m not saying no to that. Eating comes with other challenges – like gaining weight because I’m not exercising. That can be subjective and I signed up for a gym at one point but I’m not at a point where I can just do 35 minutes on an elyptical machine and call it good. I need real motivation. Real discipline. Maybe even goals. and in 2017 I um…well I didn’t have any of that. But that has nothing to do with an actual review, does it?
My mom gifted McDreamy and I “date night.” Every other monday, she comes over to watch and play with her grandbabies and Derek and I go away. We become Derek and Aiyani, not dad and mom. We take this time to sit and chat and tell stories to one another. Some we’ve already told but we weren’t together for 15 years, so there are still some new ones to hear and laugh about. January also introduced us to Jim Beam Honey whiskey. A delicious rendition of honey whiskey that I mix with gingerale and Derek mostly drinks on the rocks. We finally had our first guests in our first home (apartment) together. We got our own place in September 2016, and our first guests were Cory and Jen, and Derek made crockpot fajitas. They were stupid good. I purchased Sound of Silence the Disturbed cover and listened to it on repeat for a long while. I want to make out with that guys voice! I said that to Derek and he didn’t understand. I didn’t want to make out with the guy – just his voice. heh. What else? Oh, 2017 started off with getting fraudulent charges on my work debit card. This actually happened 3 times to my business card, and once to my personal card during the first 4 months of 2017. But I’d like to not say it in each month I “reflect” upon. I mean…who wants to reminisce about bank security or website hackers? not me. Maybe you, but not me. But I’ll say this: FOUR FREAKING TIMES I HAD TO CHANGE MY DEBIT CARD. lame.
I was told I would experience “mommy brain.” Sounded silly enough, and with 2016 basically hovering in a haze just behind me I promised I would take a picture the first time I experienced it. You’re welcome. Michael Bolton had a Valentine’s special that was HILARIOUS, I hope they put it on Netflix again this year, so we can make it a tradition. Derek, ever the cook, would even make his own meatballs when we were having spaghetti, or pasta or sort. The bread played in what we called “the fort” and others would call “baby jail” and my mom called “fortress of playitude.” It kept them in one place, safely and Derek could get other things done around the house. He was (and still is, and amazing at this) the stay-at-home-parent. Something I could never be. People always ask me “how do you do it?! [raise twins]” my answer is always “I don’t do it, Derek does.” He has the stamina to play all day with them, change 15 diapers, make food, and clean the house day after day. I don’t. So I go to work. That’s my part, I do what I can to participate in the well being and growth of this family. I think we both work hard. In February Derek’s film I Had A Bloody Good Time At House Harker was released on DVD internationally (special DVD players over there) and we watched it here, on my computer with subtitles. It. Was. Awesome. hahaha pretty sure they had one guy to the voices for all the male parts, and one girl do all the voice overs for female parts. We watched the whole thing with english subtitles while listening to Spanish voice overs. one of the best evenings. ha! The Bread turned one and I made cupcakes. It is the one time I’ve dipped into the kitchen, specifically the oven. They turned out alright. I mean, it was a box I added milk and eggs to, ya know? I put icing on to. Then I licked the spreading knife, like ya do.
A friend of mine had a birthday in March, Vickie. She had said what she wanted for her birthday was the old karaoke gang to come out and sing some songs. So – we did. Kaza and I showed up together, like old times, we sang songs from our days at Sunset Dunes. We made fun of how we can’t do back bends while dancing anymore. Kaz and I even busted out some show tunes. People that knew us back then, they sat in the ‘front row’ and we all were transported for a short time, especially when we sang “for good.” That made the tears roll down for a several people. The past is a place I actually rather enjoy visiting and bringing up (when it’s good stuff…). We used to go out 2-4 times a week just to sing. Now, well, I did it once in March of 2017, and I have a blurry picture to prove it. In other news I reflect on watching GIRLS on HBOGO, and in one episode they were at Rice to Riches in NYC and I freaked out! I LOVED IT THERE. I had only been a few times but it was always so freaking good. I thank The Professor for introducing me to such goodness. The Official Wonder Woman Trailer came out and sister and I promised each other we’d go together. Derek made pizza-burgers one friday night (you know we did burgers every friday night), I was on the search for the greatest bra, and Bubs wanted to sweep everything with his new broom. He was cute running up and down the hallways dragging his broom around.
Derek made peanut butter cookies from scratch. – I know that is not what is pictured, relax, I’m getting to it. But he did! And they were great!. I tried Bulletproof coffee, you know the kind where you put ghee in your coffee. Yah, I did that for about 2 weeks. ew. Couldn’t keep it up. Just tasted like butter in my coffee. Derek’s friend came up from los angeles for a visit and Lgirl judged him (like she does) right up until he was leaving then I’m pretty sure she flashed him a smile. Vons was selling GirlScout cookie cereal. I mean…that’s pushing it right? You can’t just take Thin Mints and put them in a bigger box and call it cereal. That’s awful. There is a line, GirlScouts, there is a line. I mean are you going to also encourage your girls to get a dentist patch for the sash? Don’t branch out to cereal. Stick to cookies. We all look forward to that time of year, like it’s a holiday, but then you have to leave it alone. Daaaannnaaaa sent me a link to see John’s new video [John Mayer]. He hadn’t released anything recently and Still Feel Like Your Man is not a great song, but has a funny video. Big tall white guy dancing around a bunch of short folks? Sure, I’ll watch it. heh. My sister had a little Easter Egg Hunt at her place for her kids, and ours (heehee). Once the Bread started realizing there were fish crackers in the plastic eggs, they stopped looking for other eggs. Derek would push them down the hallways in a box that slid on the tile and they would just laugh and laugh. Couple times they stand up, looking like Katniss and Peeta approaching in their chariot while on fire. We went to MEDIEVAL TIMES!!!! Man, I love that place. The drive down was almost great…bubs got car sick and threw up 1.5 miles away from our exit to the hotel. My mom came down to stay in the hotel with the Bread, and Cory n Jen went with us to dinner. Derek made me chocolate chip cookies for my birthday! I had been craving them for weeks, and he had apparently done a few days of research for the best recipe and made super yummy gooey chocolate chip cookies. At the end of the month, McDreamy ran the SLO Half Marathon. It took longer for us to get out of the event parking, than it did for him to run the race.
The teething tablets we relied on were no longer being made. This was shocking and very inconvenient. While reading a book (for probably the 50th time) I decided once and for all to make a few corrections. My mom let me borrow her Hoover Carpet Shampooer and the shades of the round kid rug and the hallway rugs all got lighter from the amount of dirt I lifted up. wow. Yowza. The Bread did not like toys too much, they only liked boxes. Boxes they could climb in, sit in, be pushed around in. Just boxes. They colored pictures for me for Mother’s Day, I didn’t see them color but Derek made sure they didn’t eat the crayons, but yes they tried. I attempted a Keto Diet and hated it. We watched the entire Frasier Series. Well, we finished the series in May, we didn’t start and finish in May. I know you are wondering. yes we binge watched.
Wonder Woman hit the big screen and my sister and I went opening weekend! we LOVED IT. Ugh, even if I didn’t like the actor who plays WW (which I do) I would see that movie again just for the first 20 minutes. Watching Robin Wright as the general of the amazons made me question everything I’m doing in my life. Why am I not shooting arrows three at a time while flying through the air? – essentially. I brought my old Kindle back to life. It was out, like, in a coma. I had to do several cold boot attempts and charging for X amount of time before I saw life, but it woke up and I downloaded a few books. I even started reading one. No, I did not finish it. Shut up. Randy-I-am-Your-Biggest-Fan visited and he and his daughter came over for dinner and met the twins, and McDreamy. Randy said he was excited to come over to eat because of all the pictures he’d seen of Derek’s meals. We had fitbits and we actually wore them. My sleep cycle was…beyond awful. Vinny (Derek’s best friend) got us a diaper genie as a gift, saving all of us.
John Mayer played at the MidState Fair again! Daaaannnaaa and BrightEyes and I all went together. I, oddly, do not have a picture of all three of us. I believe it is on someone elses phone. I distinctly remember taking pictures with all three of us. There was a waterfall of sorts behind us! and we had drinks INSIDE of a pineapple, we had tritip burritos and enjoyed John from the 6th row! awwww, love his music (most of it), and he had a good play list. Some nice recalls to his first couple albums. Good times. I was approved for Term Life Insurance. I know, I know, that’s a weird one but also not a weird one. I scratched my cornea and had to reschedule clients for two days and wear an eye patch as I was very sensitive to light. I basically lay there with my eyes closed for two days bored out of my mind. My Bridal Shower was Greek Goddess themed and super fun. Yummy food and lovely ladies.
A colleague became certified for microblading and ran a fantastic special allowing me to get my brows done! Her name is Bernadette and she owns Brow Ink She quite literally gave me the eyebrows I’ve wanted for 20 years. Derek and I continued to be gifted “date nights” by my Maamm, one of which we spent at Vons, buying groceries. But hey, we were together and didn’t have to worry about babies. ha! We did enjoy family nights as well, like going to All You Can Eat @ Klondike’s Pizza in AG! Pretty sure Kboy had a pizza coma like his dad afterwards. Another family day was having breakfast at the Cowgirl Cafe in Nipomo. Excellent prices for us and enough room so that if the babies dropped food it didn’t end up in someones hair or plate – except ours. Wonder Woman became available on Amazon and you’re damn right I purchased it. Watched it every night for about a week. Well, not the whole thing every night, but The Bread enjoyed it too, rightfully so!
I married McDreamy September 20, 2017. During the ceremony I admittedly named him the “one who got away” I truly never thought I’d love a man so much. He and I dated in 2000 for 2 years and broke it off because we were not on the same page for our future(s). Fifteen years later we met up again and now we are family. He’s my favorite. Boyfriend Jenn and her boyfriend Jeff were able to come out from Jersey. All of the Jersey Moffett boys came out!! Watching her boys help with The Bread was cute and fun. Feeding them and playing with them, so glad they were here. So thankful. We stayed at Sycamore Mineral Springs in what seemed to be something larger than our apartment… for two nights, and Cambria Pines Lodge for one night. At Sycamore we had The Bread with us, but my mom watched them when Derek and I wen to Cambria. There is a REALLY good pizza place in Cambria that we already decided we take a daytrip for, and we’d even bring the babies to enjoy it. oooOOOOoooo
One of the family nights we had was “Moana in the Park” out at Shell Beach. They played Moana on a big screen. Couldn’t hear it back where we were though. And MAN it was crowded there. WOW. I remember as it began to get dark I feared one of them running into the crowds and we’d lose them. But, we teamed up 1adult:1baby and took turns running around and watching the movie. Lgirl likes cheetos. We found this out. A client of mine gifted us some Hinkle Twins Salsa and it is SOOOOO GOOOODD. We now buy jars by the case! Derek’s film hit Amazon Prime on Friday October 13th to rave reviews! It’s…really cool having my husbands movie be on a mainstream thing like Amazon Prime. hi. so cool. We dressed The Bread up for Halloween and went trick-or-treating to 3 places. First was my sister’s, second was my Maamm’s, and third was my Dad’s. My dad also gifted me his old car so I could have a commuter car to work, and Derek could have the family car to take the kids to the park n stuff. I drive a stick shift…well, I try.
Stranger Things season II came out, we binge watched, of course, and I found that LGirl looks like the character Eleven. At least, she has some similar facial expressions. I did side-by-sides on fb to prove it. November holds National Nacho Day and McDreamy did not take light to that. He made a 9×13 pan of nachos! It’s possible we ate 3/4 of it in one night. I went to Obisidian (a crossfit gym) in Grover Beach and loved it. If I could afford it I would sign up. Face The King came out with their new album!!!! I freaking love their music. UGH. If you do not know this band yet, I think you should give it shot. Listen to a few of their songs. The lead singer’s voice make me melt and the guitar player is freaking amazing. What else? I landed a pair of solid black LuluRoe leggings! Those are called “unicorns,” but *I* got one (at the time of writing this I actually have three pairs…) Derek and I found Mr. Boogedy and Bride of Boogedy on YouTube and we totally watched them. Thanksgiving was at my Maamm’s place this year. She made a 20 pound turkey for four adults and two toddlers. Needless to say: leftovers. I also auditioned for my first play in 7 years, I was cast, and at the time it hits the stage it will be 8 years since I’ve performed.
You guys. My husband MADE our babies housecoats. He, with the help of my mother, sewed them housecoats!! I just can’t with him. He’s so adorable and loving. Watching him with our babies makes everything worth it. In December we learned Kboy likes to vacuum and LGirl will sit on the chair and watch him clean. Do I sound like a fortune teller right now? haha. We watched Big Little Lies on HBOGO. We had a family day at Brunch On Wheels in Avila Beach. We drank spiked eggnog in the evenings after The Bread went to sleep. My dad BBQ’d for my brothers birthday. My youngest brother turned 25! Another family evening was spent experiencing Cambria Christmas Market. Where there are….hundreds….of thousands…if not millions of holiday lights up and you get shuttled to the place, and you walk around and look around, and you can buy hot chocolate, or little trinkets n things at different little shops that are opened. Lgirl would not remain in the stroller. She wanted out and wanted to hold her daddy’s hand. But she did great doing that. Kboy was happy to kickback with his feet up and see the lights exclaiming “woooowwww” or applauding while saying “yaaayyy!!!” I wish I had video footage of him saying these things. Hopefully my memory will keep it for me in the years to come. Justice League came out and was fun, and Psych the Movie came out on USA. We watched that whole series a couple years ago. Pretty funny. We missed those guys. It was fun seeing them in action again doing their silly things. Christmas morning was hosted by us this year. Last few times it’s been at my sister’s place. Derek made an eggbake in the crockpot which was a win for sure. I got “gramma ingrid’s christmas morning starter kit” which was a dozen homemade cinnamon rolls that we just had to put in the oven then drizzle her homemade icing over it. Also came with hot chocolate and spoons that dissolve…like a peppermint spoon. a white chocolate spoon. So. Good. We got our babies a Jump-o-Lene. It’s like a bounce house, kind of. It’s round and has sides that come up so they can’t fall out. Christmas morning they ran out of their rooms and saw it. Kboy stared first then went “YYYYAAAHHHH” and climbed in and started bouncing. He was shortly followed by his sister. They jumped and jumped and jumped. Then we put it in their room and they jumped with their cousins. After christmas some people left and the rest of us took naps. It was not an awful day at all. Of course, now that I’m writing this I am reminiscing on snacking on rice crispy treats and we are currently doing the Whole30 so…the memories aren’t helping. I haven’t craved anything since we started but now that I’m thinking about treats I want some. boo.
I used to list what books I read, but this year I didn’t really have time for reading. If I read anything it was an operations manual, a STAR magazine at midnight while everyone was asleep, or unimportant posts on fb.
This life I live now it’s…it’s very different than any other time in my life. I don’t “make” time for certain things anymore, it’s more like time is running me over with everything that’s going on. I don’t want that to sound like an awful complaint, I mean, I married the man I love, we have twins that are ridiculously adorable and I get to cuddle and smooch ’em whenever I want. Unless they push me away so they can go jumping. The apartment has been painted, thanks to my mom for doing 90% of it! We have pictures up on our walls. We have food in our cabinets and fridge. We have indoor plumbing. These are all things my mother made sure I appreciated growing up. I always took it as sarcasm and I’d roll my eyes and go on with my life, but she was right – don’t tell her. heh. Making sure you appreciate basic necessities is important. Anytime in my life, since I moved out of my parent’s house in my early twenties, that I have experienced hardship or worry I came back to…I have a roof over my head…I have food…I have clothes on my back…I have indoor plumbing…I have heat.
This life I live now it’s…it’s not something I had ever imagined. It was not part of my “plan.” Getting married, having babies, opening a business, working for myself. I lived in content, but no drive. I didn’t make goals. I haven’t made goals in a while. Goals eventually became place-marks where I would either say “ok, did it, now what” or “welp, I failed, now what” it was the “now what” that made it less and less appealing.
This life I live now it’s…it’s balancing two checkbooks. Grocery shopping at 10p sometimes, kissing my family …my family… kissing them goodbye as I head out to work, then getting home in time for the last hour of the day before bed time. Sometimes it’s a long day. Sometimes it’s a short day. Sometimes I have the whole day with them. Sometimes I see them for less than an hour total in the day. Sometimes I cry about it. Sometimes I feel trapped in a cycle of get up , go, come back. go to bed – like everyone else sure sure sure, but this …life…i live now…it’s…well. I’m going to quote a friend of mine I recently got back in contact with. After playing catch-up he said “wow…what a complicated, modern-day dream story.”
I think you’re right, Aaron.
This life I live now it’s a complicated, modern-day dream story.
And in 2018 I’d like to write more about it.
When I was in my late teens to early twenties I lived with my siblings at my mom’s house. Up the street was an elementary school, and on weekends the fields were used by the city for kid sports activities and games. Like T-Ball, or CAPS (Coach Assisted), little league stuff. When my youngest brother was playing these sports was when my older (and only) sister taught me one of the most important lessons I have ever learned. A lesson I have often returned to in times of crisis, or heightened emotions, family fights or disagreements. I return to it when I find myself to prideful, or when I am in the line of fire of someone else’s pride or stubborn self-righteous behavior. I return to the lesson when my close friends are in crisis or heightened emotions and the like.
Family shows up.
That’s it. Three words. Simple. True. Important.
My brother had a game, up the street at that school and I was in bed, sleeping in because I had a late rehearsal from a musical I was involved in. My mom came in and asked me if I was going to Rik’s game, and I mumbled “no” and rolled over and went back to sleep. She closed the door and I heard her and my sister talk briefly, then my sister came in and asked me, with a firm tone “why aren’t you coming to Rik’s game?” I snapped back that I was tired and had a late running rehearsal last night, and I rolled back over again. She stood there for a brief moment in silence. Then she said “how would you feel if none of us went to see your show?” and she closed the door. I’m guessing she didn’t ask the question to receive an answer. But I lay there and opened my eyes and considered it. I considered what it would feel like to look out at the audience during my show and see empty seats where my family was supposed to be seated.
Then I got up. Washed my face, got dressed and walked up to the school, because family shows up.
When I was old enough, I moved out of my mothers house, pay rent for my room in SLOville at The Barn, pay my share of electricity bills and water bills and gas bills. This kind of freedom also meant driving to hang out with my friends. Whether it was for lunch, down at the bar for karaoke, whatever. The friends I made in my early twenties I didn’t know would remain in my life almost 20 years later . The few people I kept in contact with after high school have also remained present and that’s over 20 years. These friends, have helped me move to different cities, different states even. These friends have bought me groceries when I was low on funds, they’ve put gas in my car between paychecks, they’ve stayed the night if a roommate was out of town so I wouldn’t be alone. They answer their phones in the middle of the night if I’m stuck on the side of the road. They’ve seen me laugh and cry. They’ve seen me depressed and struggling. They’ve seen me excel and they celebrate little and big things with me. They taught me family is not formed only by blood. They taught me this by showing up when I needed them, not just when it was convenient – and that was another big lesson to learn
Family find the way to put pride on hold when big events happen. Family shows up during big events and help, not hurt or harm – especially on purpose or out of pride.
I was reminded of this today, after an extremely ugly and difficult day yesterday. A friend I’ve known since I was 14 reminded me , simply, and I quote “we learn who our real family and friends are when the chips are down, not when things are good.”
It’s so easy to live life during the upswing. Then someone words something wrong, someone misunderstands, someone takes a stand, someone fights the stance and innocents are hurt as collateral damage. Lies are told because the truth isn’t accepted as actual truth because then someone would have to take responsibility for being wrong. Pride, stubbornness, ego, self-righteousness. I’ve been on both sides of those words. And every time I was the one being prideful, or righteous – I was the one who was wrong, and I’m thankful I learned that lesson a while ago. Because I don’t know if I’d listen to that lesson once I’m set in my ways.
My wedding is in 10 days. My fiance is the stay-at-home parent of our 19m old twins, and I run my own spa as a solo-practitioner. Instead of eloping in Vegas (which was an option), or getting married at the courthouse (another valid and inexpensive option), we waited and planned and saved money for over a year so that our friends and family would be present and witness how far we’ve come as a family, and celebrate with us. What I know is that our real friends, and real family will, in fact, show up.
And those who cannot show up physically because of work, mileage etc., – distance and obligations are understandable and we know you’d be here if you could. It’s when you have choice to be here, and choose to not show up that our disappointment sinks in.
I’ve missed putting my thoughts and feelings and experiences here. It’s been over two years. I think it’s time to come back. I think I’m ready to show up here, again. It won’t be like picking up a paint brush and covering an old picture with something new. It’s more like something I’ve been staring at and not knowing how to paint it. What colors or shapes to use and add. Where is the light source so I can highlight what should be highlighted, and allow shadows to exist without being in darkness. So, I’ll be here again, soon. I’ll show up again, soon.
Normally these reflections on the past year bring back all kinds of good memories. Although I am not reflecting on anything “bad,” this last year was quite unexpected, at least the last half was. The last half of 2015 was full of huge changes and discoveries. Most days I found to feel “every day” but ultimately the changes are life-altering, full of surprises, confusion, old love becoming new love again and coming to terms with the choices I’ve made. Those choices will become the kind of challenges I never thought I’d cross, and it’s difficult for me to be humbled and simply say “thank you” but as I walk up to these new changes and challenges I should immediately thank those who have supported me. I should thank those who have made changes in their lives based on my changes, like my mother. I should thank my friends who have stuck by me and listened to me complain, and cry, and yell. Friends that have allowed me to be lazy or secretive because I was not yet ready to let everyone else in. I should thank my New Mister, who in fact is not “new” but an old love, rekindled, for choosing me (again). For not judging me, but listening and caring.
And I will–I will thank all of you, somehow.
Continuing the luck-of-the-draw in playing The Lotto to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch, my housemate, Ianina and I went to play to see John Cameron Mitchell star in the role he created. The show itself is fun, a little different with each actor that steps in. JCM was more fun than I could’ve imagined. His jokes and improv were spot on, and although when he came out of the Stage Door he declined taking pictures with people, we could photo him and when he passed by me I asked if I could hug him and he said “of course.” and hugged me. I had whispered to him “excellent work tonight” and he squeezed me tighter and whispered back “thank you so much.” Hedwig was not the only show I saw this month! My christmas present to Boyfriend Jenn was to see Bradley Cooper in The Elephant Man. We had a “Bradley Cooper Weekend” watching the show, and Hangover, and interview clips from the show and other movies he was working on. It’s possible we paused the movies we watched and posed next to him with smoochie faces…shut up. We have fun when we’re together! Although it was winter, I successfully scheduled time amidst my full time work and full time school routine to continue Kick Boxing, introduce Mr. Gutter to Pedros in Brooklyn (the first decent mexican food I had found in NY), get to Physical Therapy, do homework, and job search. The spa I had been working at was losing it’s sparkle when the owner started talking to me and treating me poorly. I had finally accepted “friend requests” on fb from classmates (a rule I previously set in place for good reasons), and I took a leap into being vulnerable by posting two videos of songs I’d written on the piano, and sung. They were taken down only days later…but I tried!
By february I posted a third video of a song I wrote and played on the piano–and also took it down days later. It’s quite terrifying putting personal things like that out there for people to see and hear, I thought I could do it and let people see that part of me. But…nope! ha! My days started by waking up at 7am, leaving for work by 930a, leaving work by 730p for class, staying there until 11p and getting home by midnight. Only to hope I could fall asleep with minutes of laying down by 1a in hopes I could sleep all 6 hours before doing it again. My housemate and I got last minute tickets IN THE FRONT ROW to see “The River” with Hugh Jackman in it. I remember there was a scene where he was preparing dinner in silence and someone started applauding because he was cutting vegetables and such. Quite funny. We were close enough I could’ve reached up and grabbed him–but I didn’t. Ever the well-behaved audience member. She also treated me to “Cabaret” with Emma Stone and Alan Cumming as a christmas present. So so so so so FUN! Being this close to Broadway to be able to see these shows is one of the BEST things about living here! During February I also wrote one of my favorite blogs entitled “(S)wipe Out” and I interviewed at a prestigious high end spa, where I sat with the owner and CEO and talked, then did a mini facial and a back massage and was offered the position on the spot!
It wasn’t as snowy by now, but still quite cold. My days were basically Work/Class/Clinic. Approaching the end of my two-year attendance I was in the middle of writing and studying for finals, as well. I left the spa I was working at having accepted a new position with Ling Skin Care NYC. I used my crockpot more, including making a stellar chicken enchilada soup with home made enchilada sauce! (thank you very much). I attended IECSC, a spa convention that spans 3 days of great deals on skin care equipment and products, and classes. I saw the show “If/Then” starring Idina Menzel with my friend and housemate, Sloan. That show…you must pay attention to. If I had had any booze in my system I would’ve been lost for sure. It had to be a bit difficult for the cast, as well, to keep it all straight while learning it. That picture up there is outside of a restaurant Sloan and I walked by on the way to the train from seeing If/Then. I found it random enough to document. Sloan moved out at the end of the month and went back to North Carolina (where I believe he is now happily married).
UGH! I love those boys. My nephews that live in Jersey! Mr. Gutter invited me along to Medieval Times in Jersey for my birthday and paid for my ticket, an announcement during dinner, and the king named me a Lady and Dame of the Realm. I have a picture, a scroll, and video to prove it…muuuahahaha. Boyfriend Jenn took me to see “Something Rotten” for my birthday. Now THAT is one hilarious show! So many shakespeare jokes (tons I probably missed, too) and many jokes about musicals and other shows in general. Such a good time! After, we went to The Playwright and had dinner and drinks. So this birthday year was a total win! I graduated from the New York College of Health Professions with an Associates Degree in Occupational Studies for Massage Therapy, a two year course and over 1,000 hours in anatomy, myology, pathology, neurology, different techniques and much more. I celebrated with a few choice classmates by drinking and singing at Planet Rose, we called it Wepa Wednesday. I was definitely hammered by the end of the night. Wow.
Up there are the band members of Face The King, and I love them. The second one from the left, Dan, is the one who got me to listen to them and I finally got to see them play live (in Long Island…) and meet all of them. By “meet” I may have attacked them with hugs as well…and bought a shirt and had them all sign it. It was a month of favorite bands as I was also able to see Bound By Substance play at the Mercury Lounge. It had probably been over a year since I’d seen them play! May 3 also held my anniversary date for moving to NY. I went to The Rockstar’s (Dino Colacito) house for Preakness…a horse race of some kind where I dressed up and we drank rose ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT long. Wow. Then I was further extended the invite to his Annual Memorial Day BBQ where I had beer. Ten of them. I don’t like beer–I drank ten because it was free and available to me. I saw Age Of Ultron, and wrote a blog important to me entitled “Behind Paper Trees” where a song by Face The King was referenced and used.
This was the month that began to change everything. I had more “me-time” on my hands available and that was lovely, truly. A friend of mine was moving, so he came over to say goodbye. I saw Face The King perform live AGAIN, this time for the Indie Music TV launch. The drummer, Randy recognized me as the really loud girl from their concert in Long Island–I’ll take it, and I found the lead singer hiding on a couch somewhere. I of course went over to bother him and he said (mouthed) hello and how are you. I found The Guitar Player (Dan) and hugged him. They are truly amazing to me. I was the only girl at my spa that was an Esthetician AND a Massage therapist, so I did all the body treatments and a few facials and some of my loyal clients followed my over there. I enjoyed a two-week vacation to CA to visit family and friends. So much happened there…saw Eddie Izzard live, my mother turned 60 and we had a Beatles themed wine tasting birthday party for her. Mr. Gutter and my two jersey nephews were also visiting CA so we were all able to be together for a couple days. Siblings got a matching tattoo, Adriane hosted a sleepover, wine tasting, I drove up to visit the Champeau’s for a couple days. Had dinner with a good friend, bought a new fun dress, went to karaoke and saw so many old friends that it was more like a reunion from the good ol’ Sunset Dunes Days. I hadn’t seen Randy and Cortney in over a decade! And I officiated a friends wedding. I’ve known Shaun for almost two decades by now, I love his lady Aja, they have a son together and they’ve been wanting to get married for a while. So I said–lets do this while I’m visiting! It was an excellent day. What else? Mr. Gutter’s sister, Sarah, visited and we toured the city for about 8 hours getting them to certain sites as quickly as we could. Including the 9/11 memorial site, which is quiet, very clean and beautiful. Marriage Equality hit all 50 states during this month! And by the end of the month I had strep throat and it was horrible.
I had a doctors appointment thursday July 2nd. I hosted a 4th of July brunch and we watched ID4 (as per tradition, of course). Boyfriend Jenn and her boyfriend Jeff (sounds funny, right?) came over, as did The Professor and Lady Schrift, and my newest housemate Elizabeth also had a friend visiting and they had brunch with us as well. I made Independence Day Sangria, and tried Grapefruit beer–it was delicious. I went to Jersey to visit Mr. Gutter and since Jenn had the boys, we were able to have dinner and chat (good chinese food), and we went to see Terminator: Genesis–which was super awesome, in my opinion. During this month I had decided I’d be moving back to the Central Coast by September, but I told very few people. Immediate family only, and I began interviewing people to take over the lease of my apartment. Hoping I’d find a good match with the current housemates I had. I didn’t want to leave NY, I needed to. I had to. I made a choice to move and over the next few weeks I would be coming to terms with that decision. Ianina and I went to see a taping of the Seth Meyers show where the guests were Amy Schumer (promoting her movie Trainwreck) and she’s hilarious…REALLY, and the other guest was…a guy I recognized as “porn-stache” from OITNB. Also went to see the movie Trainwreck with my friends Jeremy and Deon, we had food somewhere at a BBQ joint, pretty good. That movie was hilarious. I want Amy to be a friend of mine. My friend Jackie with her daughter, and I went to a place called La Flaca in the Lower East Side. Best mexican food I’d had since moving to NY. Sad I was JUST introduced to it, I would’ve gone there a WHOLE bunch in the past five years had I’d known. Then Jackie treated us all to doughnuts at some bigtime doughnut place, and I got a Creme brulee doughnut, and realized WHY it’s a big deal place. YUM. I went with Mr. Gutter later to share the joy, and gave him my inversion table since I wouldn’t be taking it with me to CA. I love that inversion table, hope it’s getting some good use. Sucker is HEAVY and the dude carried it down five flights of stairs alone. I pretty much carried the small bag of plastic accessories. heh. During this month I also began to take the Intensives at school as refresher courses to prepare us for the NYS Licensing Exam in August. It was not fun, at all. Ever. We’d shove a trimester’s worth (or two) of information back in our faces in 3 hour increments. I failed every single mock exam–so I was not excited about the fast approaching real-life-exam.
My last 30 days on the east coast began this month. 27 days left in NYC, and the remaining days were spent in Jersey visiting Mr. Gutter and the boys, and Boyfriend Jenn. I also injured my back, making packing all 30 boxes extremely difficult. I was literally in bed for over a week before I could make it down stairs or anywhere else. And even then, I had to walk with my cane. I left my job at Ling , she was extremely kind and understanding of everything and supported my decision to return to CA saying New York would always be there, and if I returned I’d have a job with her. I thought was very kind and caring. I FINALLY finished watching FireFly AND even saw Serenity, thanks to my friend Amanda. Boyfriend Jenn came out to the city and we went to the Hunger Games Exhibition. We spent over 3 hours there, and I wouldn’t have been able to manage without my cane…ugh. There were a group of kids that got there the same time we did, and we just let them go in front of us knowing they’d rush through everything, and we wanted to take our time and appreciate every piece we saw, and read every sign and placard. I was able to pack and measure and ship 9 boxes alone, but I needed help with the other 21 boxes. I had friends offering to come out to help, which was extremely thoughtful and I would not have been able to do it without them. So thank you Andrew and Monica. Also thank you to The Professor and Lady Schrift for offering, if Andrew wasn’t already planning to be there you would definitely have been summoned! haha ugh. Then there was The UPS FIASCO. I don’t even think I have the energy to discuss it again. They were just…always late, the drivers threw my stuff in front of me, the people on the phone were as helpful as a bag of sand and then they over charged me…A LOT. In the end they refunded me some money, and I changed my debit card to avoid further radical charges from them. The NYS Massage Licensing Exam was on thursday 8/27/2015. My classmate Seiller (no, not his first name) drove us there, my cane with me. I took the entire 3 hours allotted, and was convinced I failed. There were SO MANY questions I literally guessed on because even deductive reasoning couldn’t help me. Some questions I closed my eyes and pointed and if it said “B” that’s what I shaded in on the answer sheet. I simply…didn’t know some of the questions. Friday morning 8/28 UPS showed up for the last time (they were supposed to be there wednesday 8/26…) and took the remaining 21 boxes I needed to ship to CA and Mr. Gutter arrived to pick me up and take me to Jersey. He disassembled my piano, I had my back pack, purse and suitcase ready. I left keys on the vanity where the new tenant would see them. I had already said goodbye to Elizabeth and Ianina. I stood staring in my room. The furniture still there for the next person, the empty hangers. I had flashes that blinked in my mind painting those walls and the window sills of every room in that apartment. Every. Single. Room. I missed the french doors already, the hanging wine glasses. I missed the uncontrollable heat from the radiators and poles. I missed the humming of the A/C unit. I missed the snow, and chalice nights with friends. I missed reading in my recliner on my days off. I didn’t cry, I just stood there and stared for a bit, and Mr. Gutter let me. He was silent, just standing in the hallway waiting patiently for me. Eventually I looked over to him and said ok, and he nodded and we headed out the door. I closed the door, gently when I left and briefly placed my left hand on the door just beneath the apartment number, 54. I didn’t say anything still, just took my moment and we headed down the stairs, got in the car and went to Jersey. We ate at Red Robin’s I was introduced to Not Your Father’s Rootbeer. YUM. I hugged and kissed my nephews a lot that weekend. I told them why I was moving, I explained it as best as I could considering they were 7 and 4. We read books and watched movies. They played in their little pool and I watched them play basketball and ride their scooters. I just…sat and watched them. Trying to commit every movement, every facial expression to memory. I know I was the lucky one that lived close enough to them to see them as often as I did. I never took that for granted, but I also didn’t expect it to change anytime soon. That’s the thing with changes, they happen when you aren’t expecting them. My last day in Jersey I spent with Boyfriend Jenn, we had vietnemese food, had sonic ice cream shakes, watched Alias, and the next morning I helped her set up her classroom. She dropped me off to Mr. Gutter’s on monday 8/31 and I hugged her goodbye. It’s hard to hug someone goodbye and not know when you’ll see them again. Me and the boys did stories for the last time before bed time, I hugged and kissed them so so much and went to bed knowing I’d wake up and try not to cry.
On the first of September I woke up early as the boys were getting ready for school/daycare. I hugged and kissed them goodbye and Mr. Gutter left with them and would be back for me. I got up and got showered, repacked everything I had out the last few days and when he came back we went to breakfast (at a really cool cafe. No idea what it’s called, several different kinds of eggs benedict though WOW), then he took me to the train station and I hugged him goodbye. I didn’t have to say much. Some people just know what you want to say and how you feel. I hugged him and said “thank you. for so many things.” and he said it right back. I got on the train and made it to Newark airport, checked in (with my cane still…) and prepared for my flights home. I was quiet the whole day. I didn’t speak to people unless I had to. I moved slowly because of my back and my mother picked me up at the Santa Barbara airport. That was the airport I flew out of one-way to NY 5 years, and 4 months ago. It seemed fitting she’d drop me off then, and pick me up now. As much as I know she was happy to see me, and excited about the upcoming months, and the changes in my life, it was hard to be happy to see her. Only because I was still adjusting to the circumstances that brought me back to CA. I stayed with her in Los osos for a couple days. Then I stayed with my friend Seanah for a couple weeks until the place my mother was moving to was available. Living with my mother again would be a challenge, for different reasons. She’s not a bad person, but I left “the nest” 16 years ago. Neither one of us knew right away how we’d work it out, living together again. But was thankful she found a place that I could live. Knowing I had very little to contribute, it was very humbling and difficult to accept what was happening. By mid september we moved in to the new place, my back was still not 100% so my brother Rik helped me move all 30 boxes from my sisters place, to the new place. And I began to settle in. I also, oddly enough, reached out to say hello to someone who recently crossed my mind. Hoping over the past 13 years he’d had a wonderful life and gotten everything he ever wanted. I found him on fb and said hello and friended him, we spoke on the phone and it was fun to play catch up. He’s not someone I ever thought I’d speak to again, but he was also not someone I ever wished bad things upon. We dated in my early twenties. from 2000-2002, and our breakup was not an ugly toxic thing. We just wanted different things, or I wasn’t ready for certain things and didn’t want to feel I was holding him back. By september 20th I was heading down to la to have lunch with one friend, then meet up with another friend Dana and go see a movie called The Stockroom. A movie at the la indie film festival that my friend Victor wrote/directed/starred in (I met him in NY), and I invited that same guy I dated 15 years ago. He was working within the industry as well and I thought it would be fun to see him. The three of us (he, dana, and myself) went to see Victor’s film, then to ice cream and then found out we could go to Disneyland the next day with my friend Jack. It was a wonderful time. I came back to the central coast on tuesday, and I stayed in contact with my old flame. I continued to unpack into my room at my mothers place keeping in mind I wouldn’t be the only one in there. It was a slow process. I had also been applying for jobs, then was offered one in SLOville at a massage and wellness spa. I’d only be able to work there for a few months, but anything would help and the owner was kind and understanding about all of it. By the end of the month I found out I passed the NY State Massage Licensing Exam (even though I wouldn’t be there to practice), which meant I would not have to take an exam in CA. I will only need to send in the application and requirements and a copy of my license. That was a nice win. I also, made plans to go back down to la to visit my old flame. We’d been talking on the phone and skyping and wanted to see one another again.
My old flame was re-nicknamed to McDreamy for a couple reasons, one he has great hair. All curly. ha! I was able to go visit him twice during October. We’d go see movies, or stay home and he’d cook for me. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was spoiled. He made everything left in me light up like the Rockefeller tree. He became very important to me, very quickly. My auntie Agnes and Auntie Maria came out for a visit and I let them know why I moved back from CA. Mr. Gutter and his girlfriend Liz came out for a visit and stayed at my mothers place. We had a good breakfast at Penny’s All American Cafe in Pismo and walked on the pier. At one point I went over to Lil Bits Cafe and had breakfast by myself. I don’t mind being alone, at times I even prefer it. It’s something I learned to like while living in New York. I didn’t have to entertain anyone, or invest in any conversation. I could just go about my business in quiet. I also had breakfast at Bon Temps with my brothers. I didn’t go to any halloween parties, but The Guitar Player (from Face The King) posted he needed last minute ideas and took MY suggestion, which pretty much made me the winner of everyhing. I wrote an important blog called “A Conversation” revealing the main reason I moved to CA and answered as many questions as I could within that blog so that I would not get caught with people asking the same things over and over. Later I revealed that Sourdough was a girl, and Rye Bread was a boy, and both were just fine still baking in my oven. The crowd went fooking wild.
The Dog Haus is a hot dog chain. McDreamy took me there during a visit and I didn’t even know what to choose, I wanted it ALL. I was able to visit McDreamy twice in November. We ate yummy food, had cozy nights at home, saw the Bodies exhibit and the Titanic artifact exhibit. I had some kind of ridiculously good potato and corn chowder at Vinesa’s house, that was fun. I started watching AHS: Freak Show. Scary…could only watch it during the daytime. I wanted to indulge in butternut squash ravioli at Guiseppe’s and Brighteyes came along semi-spontaneously. YUM. I finally saw Insurgent (part 2 in the Divergent series) MockingJay part 2 came out and I went at roughly the same time as Boyfriend Jenn did in Jersey, so it could be like we went together. The hunt for Adobo seasoning for a friend that couldn’t find it in her state, began. However, all the places that normally sold it here, were also sold out every time I went! Finally found some and shipped her a ton. That’s an important thing to recall… Thanksgiving happened. My first in CA in 5 years. I did the turkey again and family came over and we all ate and drank egg nog. Sister helped pull the turkey apart, taking over the hands of Lady Schrift in our tradition of not-carving the turkey, but pulling meat off with our bare hands. Good times. I was also gifted several pieces of furniture from a friend that had twins 4 years ago, so big items were already being taken care of. All my friends have been very supportive and helpful donating furniture, clothes, towels, blankets, mattresses–all kinds of things have been handed down to me so I didn’t have to purchase new things for The Bread. Very, very kind. This would not have happened anywhere else.
Sleep left me alone and made me sad once December rolled around. I’ve been told it’s like bootcamp, to prepare me for the lack of sleep I will be getting. And the intervals in which I wake up are also a training course. BOOOOOOO. I miss sleep. What else?! My Wifey surprised me by showing up to The Bread Shower from SACRAMENTO. Such a far drive. I screamed and cried. And she came to the house afterwards for a bit, and we had breakfast the next day before she left, as well. I went to Cory & Jen’s annual holiday party and ate four pulled pork sandos. Yah, I’m not afraid to admit that. Freaking delicious. Accompanied my mother to her work holiday party and watched an interesting game of White Elephant. And my sweet, handsome Mister came to visit for a week and we spent New Years together. He has been quite possibly the best surprise in my life since my return to CA. With the upcoming life changes one would think a guy would keep his distance. Not him, he cares for me and wants to see where all of this goes. I didn’t see him or talk to him for 13 years, and now he’s in my life again making me happy. Perhaps the odds really were in my favor. Perhaps all the crazy, hugely unexpected changes that have occurred in the last 6 months of 2015 will actually work out. Just when I think I’m beginning to understand life, it pulls the rug out from me, I fall down, and this time when I go to get back up I’m facing this guy again. I don’t think I’m allowed to question anything anymore, I think I’m just supposed to go with the flow and see what happens.
It’s an odd feeling to be thankful for things you never thought would happen in your life, ever Quite, quite odd. And instead of analyzing and over-analyzing, like I’m used to, I find myself not asking as many questions but simply accepting the facts and my feelings.
Shows seen in NY before leaving (in no particular order)….
The Elephant Man
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
On The Town
Shows seen in CA
A Christmas Survival Guide
The Great American Melodrama’s Holiday Extravaganza
The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy part 3)
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me
[yikes, that it for reading??? Mind was on other things this year, clearly]
What I learned
There is never a good time to take a risk, it’s one of the reasons it is called a risk.
Challenges are what happen when you make a choice (and/or take a risk)
Even when the odds are against you, or chances are low for something to ever happen–it could still happen. Thus leaving you to make a choice, take a risk and meet the challenges.
I actually did not want to end up being the 40 year old single lady at the karaoke bar with my Jameson and Gingerale, singing 20 year old songs and “making friends” for the night with the twenty somethings (which I think was where my social life was headed, having given up on relationships or connections with people. I was very much a loner at times)
Painting all the rooms and hallways in my NY apartment, taking over the lease, carefully selecting housemates, made it all the more difficult to leave. Because I put so much of my time and energy there. It was the longest I’d lived anywhere. I was the most successful I’d ever been in my adult life, living in NY and working as an esthetician.
Sometimes choices are made for us, because we are too distracted or unsettled to make them ourselves.
Being thankful is not the same as being humbled.
The only person that has judged me as much as I thought over the past years, is me.
Asserting myself is not the same as defending myself. Both of which are important, but don’t necessarily need to be taken to battle.
Isolation shows you who you really are.
Loneliness is not the same as being alone.
Extroverts and introverts are titles that are too black and white to use alone to describe someone.
I miss singing and performing.
My past experience with men and relationships doesn’t define my worth as a partner. In fact, it only makes me better at understanding myself and my current Mister–who has incidentally made everything in me light up again.
I can avoid major sweets like chocolate bars, cake, cookies, ice cream, for 30 days and not die. hahaha
I know more about skin care than I thought I did, I found this out by how I was learning new products and my knowledge of ingredients and skin analysis. It makes me a good teacher, so I’m told.
It’s called Massage Therapy, not Massage Luxury, for a reason.
What I aim for in 2016
I want to learn Sign Language (still…20+ years in the making by now..no?)
I want to learn Calligraphy
I want to choose massage specialties to offer (currently considering: prenatal, trigger point, reflexology, sports, and asian body treatments where I’d be working with the meridians and points), and build a clientele along with my esthetics work. I need to be able to make a living again with the skills I’ve learned.
Say thank you more often. It’s very difficult for me to say thank you when it’s regarding things I didn’t want to have happen. Or when things don’t happen the way I wanted them to, I don’t acknowledge the effort of others enough, I think. Not because it’s not good enough, or they aren’t good enough, but somewhere in my head its just more difficult to be thankful when it’s not going my way or the way I wanted. It’s quite selfish of me, and that’s not a good thing. Even though I feel trapped, and like a failure for so many things, I have to be able to say thank you. This will be very hard for me.
Be open to help with The Bread. I’m stubborn and want to do things on my own and my way. Asking for help will be extremely difficult, accepting help will be harder. I hope I can ask and create boundaries at the same time.
Exercise. Not just for me and my health, but now to be an example to The Bread, and to support a longer future with my significant other. Let’s hope my 3 herniated discs do not impinge on such a goal. I have my chiropractor here and I will go see him. I will do my core strength exercises my Physical therapist told me to do over and over and over.
Remind myself I am the one who judges me the most. Me. Take responsibility for that and stop giving negative-credit to people.
I ultimately just want things to work out (but I also hope I like how it all works out… know what I mean?) I don’t feel like an adult right now. I live at my mother’s place, I will need her help. I need to be thankful and SAY thank you. My situation is only for now, it’s not forever. Starting over again is never easy. Never…ever. And it seems harder because I was doing well. I didn’t have to start over because I fell down. I had to start over because I made a choice, a life changing choice. And altering my life and my priorities is a difficult challenge, but I’d like to think I’m strong enough to step up to the challenge. I’d like to think that I got myself this far, and I need to remind myself I didn’t get this far alone! I have had my friends and family behind me the whole way, rooting me on. I need to remind myself of what discipline and motivation looks like, what results look like when you try, and what patience looks like when you shut up.
Today is Thanksgiving. Facebook is full of what people are thankful for, in addition to memes that include sarcasm about how Thanksgiving came about. Shrug. Holidays.
Last year I hosted Thanksgiving in NY. It was my 3rd year hosting, I believe. I had a few friends over, friends that had been in attendance for a few years, and new friends. We played games in the living room, I ate ALL the Bourbon Pecan Pie and a few days later I made turkey soup with the turkey carcass, like you do.
Last year I didn’t for one moment, not one second, think I’d be in CA this year for Thanksgiving. Not one moment passed where I thought it would be my last Thanksgiving out in NY with those people. I went about my holidays. I came home to CA for 4 days for Christmas, I came back again in June for a two week vacation, then I moved back in September.
Because everything changed.
Today I’m unsure of how to be thankful. There are, of course, the obvious things: a roof over my head (thanks to my mother), food (thanks to my mother), indoor plumbing…that’s always a good, important one to be thankful. Thankful for having a vehicle to drive around, because you MUST have one here. The public transportation is few and far between, and I can again thank my mother (and sister) for providing such a luxury. I have a very small income right now, working part-time/flexible hours is not consistent but I also am unable to commit to more, for the same reasons I moved back. I’m thankful my family is so close to me, sure. Being able to see them pretty much whenever I want is nice, but it was a trade-out to my life in NY. Not that one could replace the other, but that was the sacrifice.
My friends that are here have all accepted me back with smiles and hugs. The close ones have made efforts to see me because I am not as socially fluttery as I used to be. I’m older, and like my alone time and quiet time. I’m not drinking whiskey (right now…heh), so I’m spending less money if/when I go out (making money, spending less is a good exchange I suppose)
I don’t feel as comfortable here, as I used to. There are many reasons to love my hometown, many reasons I had left it as well. There are simple treasures here, but I don’t feel as comfortable here as I used to. And I often fear because I have changed, that returning would mean losing a chunk of my friends, because I’m not as comfortable here as I used to be. I’m not as loud and crazy at karaoke as I used to be. I don’t book out my time like I used to. This friend for coffee and breakfast, that friend for lunch, this one for dinner or drinks. I stay home, a lot. I don’t speak as much. I observe more. My responses are less expressive, I think. My intentions remain good, my delivery better now but still there is no perfection in my actions, reactions, or abilities to communicate. And soon, in just a couple of months-soon, those will all be put to the test again and I’ll have to learn even MORE. I’ll have to teach more, sleep less, try harder.
And I’m scared.
The holidays should bring such great, loving feelings and for the most part they do for me, they really do. This year because I’m also preparing for the unprepare-able…I fear I’ve already failed. Mild to heavy panic attacks or anxiety attacks just being close to other people is an odd feeling. And it’s not because I don’t like these people anymore, it’s because of how my body is changing, how my emotions are handling it. Some people think it’s hormones. My experience with hormones is different, so this particular experience is a bit less-describable and relatable for me.
I’m thankful my friends and family have welcomed me home with open arms. I’m thankful for the hand-me-downs I’ve been offered as I prepare for what comes next. I’m thankful for the seemingly non-judgemental attitudes and questions I’ve received from everyone. It seems silly to express thanks for things that one would consider unquestionable, but I thought it would be different. I thought I’d receive more questions about my decisions. More harsh stares, or eye rolls. But I was wrong.
Even the gentleman I’m dating right now reacted differently than I thought when I sat down and spoke to him about why I’ve returned to CA. I was prepared, more, to sit down and explain some things to him and have him say “oh…never mind, then.” But instead he embraced me. He cuddles up next to me, calls me every day (since he lives a few hours away, this is what we can do) and is thus far the only person I don’t get panicky over when he places his hand over my stomach. I’m unsure how that magic works out, but he has a very calming effect over me. More calming than my immediate family. I feel safe with him, cared for, and heard. Hugging him feels like home. I’m thankful for him, and the way he accepts me, and the way he makes me feel.
This year is not what I expected or planned. It has surprised me since we hit the half way mark of this year. It has put me in a place and on a path I did not consider for myself. I’m confused, nervous, scared, thankful, appreciative, closed-off, quiet, and and and and and…
Mostly I hope and wish everything will be okay. Not just get-by okay. Not just surviving-life okay. But live-well okay. I hope this time I get it right, not one thing in particular. Many things. I hope I get many things right. And that somehow the panic I experience, the fears, are ultimately luxuries and lessons in becoming a better human, and teaching new humans to be good as well.
4 weeks. 2 days.
That’s how long I’ve been back on the Central Coast. It wasn’t until recent days that I started to feel like I was actually living here again. I stayed with my friend Seanah for a week and a half when I got here, that felt like a bed and breakfast vacation. When I moved into my mother’s new place, it was partially furnished already. The bed in “my” room was there, the furniture is my mothers, the hangers are even hers. I unpacked my clothes and put them into drawers and hung them in the closet, but it felt like preparing for an extended stay at a hotel, or time share of sort. Then I was offered a job at a Wellness Spa, part time, and I started training. Then was open on the books, and worked with a new client. Then, yesterday a friend helped me assemble a shelf to put my DVD’s, TVD’s (that’s what I call TV series on DVD. Copyright, bitches), books, and games on. I put a few framed pictures out as well. Seeing things that belong to me, pictures of people I care about sitting on surfaces not mine, froze me a bit, in time. It wasn’t until that moment I felt like I was actually here, living here.
Returning has filled me with an array of mixed feelings. Some are contentment, some are disappointment. Somewhere in there I’m neither happy nor sad, unless I hear the voice of someone that’s returned to my life. That has been interesting. In returning, I was encouraged to think of things here that I liked, that I missed, that I’d look forward to having or seeing again. In returning, I was making a checklist in my head of good times I’d had. Landmark events like when I moved out of my parents’ house for the first time, and into The Barn in SLO with Kaza. In returning, I looked at old photos of shows, and play-dates with friends and family and I thought of someone in particular. Found him in fb, and said hello. We texted, we chatted on the phone, we video chat, we spent time together in person and there were old feelings and new feelings that emerged. That’s what happiness felt like here. Happiness here was…is…about connection to people. It’s such a small place that it’s not difficult but one can feel overwhelmed with the…responsibility…of providing that happiness–or something like that. Where as in NYC I found different kinds of happiness, like being alone in a sea of people; going to a movie or dinner alone and not wondering or caring if I’d see someone I knew and furthermore wondering if they would feel sorry for me somehow, because I was alone. These were choices. Happiness, there, was a spontaneous trip to Broadway, or a friend coming over for drinks and a chat, or lunch and a walk around the city just talking. Time with friends there, is nothing like time with friends here. It’s harder there. Everything is harder there, and something about that made me feel like everything I did, was earned. It’s just…easier here. I don’t have to earn things like I did there. My alone time, I just have to stay home or not look up at people where ever I am. Getting groceries without a car, in the snow, several blocks from home is earned. The difficulty living there, is part of what made it so great. The ease here is sometimes refreshing, and sometimes annoying. The odds of seeing someone I know here are higher than in NYC. That is something that takes adjustment, great adjustment.
I mean, I’ve changed. I know, I keep saying that. I’ve grown up more in 5 1/2 years in New York City, than I did in my twenties total–but those were still extremely important and altering years. I made terrible mistakes. I learned hard lessons. I succeeded, I failed, I loved, I disappointed, I earned every excelled heart rate, and equally every heartbreak. –I just don’t want those ups and downs anymore. I’ve evened out, a bit–I think. I balanced out, more. I’m more “set in my ways,” and beyond that I actually like the ways in which I’m set. I’ve learned the difference between being alone and loneliness, and equally the choice in how I react to those moments and feelings. Whether I like it or not. I’ve learned my capabilities are flexible, depending on what the end goal is. Spreading myself thin is worth it, sometimes. A commitment, and a challenge in my sanity and health–but still worth it, sometimes. Saying “no,” is important, and okay. Making excuses is not the same as giving the reason. The reason may be disagreeable by others, but I do not give the reason to please or appease. It is simply to let them know. Beyond that, I hope that my reasons are taken as honesty and not harm. Sometimes the reason is simply “because I don’t want to,” and I don’t need to explain beyond that. I don’t need to make up an excuse or have people feel sorry for me, or ask their permission–I just let them know where I stand. Sometimes that lands me in hot lava, sometimes I get a simple nod and “ok.”
What is starting to stir, though, in my adjustment time here is a certain kind of “want” or “hope” for lack of better word. Every person I’ve seen again has said they are happy to see me or welcomed me back, and have equally asked if *I* am happy to be back. The answer there, simply, is “not really.” I am not necessarily ready to discuss every reason I moved back. I know that my life is changing, and sacrifices and changes must be made. Coming to terms with those facts has been the hardest adjustment of them all. Coming to terms with anything life offers you, me….is always the hardest.
Every time I think about where I thought I’d be “by now,” I’m disappointed. EVERY TIME??? Even simply starting massage school, and looking at when I’d graduate and be licensed and how I’d begin adding to my bank account because of the career move I invested in for my industry–I took the NYS Board Exam on my last day in the city, and moved days later. Boom. Disappointed. I’m somehow unable to look at it and remind myself the two-year commitment it took to work full-time, and school full-time with homework and clinic work, and weather obstacles, and say “well done, Mersai.” I look at it and think “all that, just to move?” I defeat myself over and over again. This is the hardest thing (lesson?) that I just cannot seem to grasp. Celebrating the small victories is just as important as recognizing the overall accomplishments. People tell me I do not give myself enough credit–I do not think I’ve earned that “credit.” It’s very difficult for me to say “yes, I did that” and have it be Enough.
Which reminds me of two questions and important friend asked me during dinner while visiting in June. “What is important?” and “What is enough?”
I’m afraid of listing what I believe is important, or enough, because what if I never get there? What if not only am I never satisfied, but what I have to offer someone else isn’t enough either, or it’s too much by now? What if I put everything I am and everything I have left on the line, I put it all on the table, I open all the closets and expose all the skeletons and I’m told “no.” ? What then? Do wake up, in this small town, where connection is easy, but choose to disconnect? Do I hide? Do I take it as a challenge and prove myself otherwise? What are my options, my real options?
I’m being…humbled, lately. Was I riding a wave to high for me to handle? Was I getting arrogant by saying “I’m finally living my life, not just surviving it.” ? Did I swear off relationships long enough to find who *I* really am, and will that be enough? Have I learned, or earned enough for what I want NOW? Was I on that upward swing too high, or too long, that something had to pull me backwards? Was I running too fast and that’s why I somehow face planted? What? What’s the reason? Who do I owe? What do I owe, to get back to that place? Back to the place of being assured. Back to being brave enough to keep moving forward. Back to being happy.
I have moments of joy and laughter. Like when he calls or we Skype. Memory lane has been a favorite place for me to spend time these past couple weeks. Seeing faces of friends more often than once a year, or at least the idea of it, makes me smile. But, I left here…because it wasn’t enough. I left, because I couldn’t be here and be a daughter, sister, auntie, and friend–and have it be enough. I left because I needed to find something, or find myself, then once I did or started to–it all changed again.
Was it worth it. Are the butterflies in my heart and stomach worth it? Are the smiles and “welcome back” comments, worth it? Is the new job worth it? The new responsibilities, the new life. Will it all be worth it?
This is when I’d sit at my piano and just play. Play what I know, play what I feel. This is when I cry because I’m unable to articulate or organize my words and thoughts. This is when I try to just brain purge to find out what’s really going on inside me. I’m stumbling, and tripping, and falling. And those feelings are equally uplifting and encouraging, and making me feel like a drunken idiot.
What I know is: I have to be okay with what happens next. I have to be okay with what happens next. I have to be okay with what happens next. I have to be okay with what happens next.
My problem: I’m terrified for what’s next. Because some pieces I’m aware of, and other pieces I’m not. All, equally, terrifying. A question I don’t like asking, but currently have the constant reason to is ,”what if…?” and this is exciting and unsettling at the same time.
Victor Cruz. A pretty awesome guy I met while I lived in NYC. He rented an office across the hallway from the boutique spa where I worked. I’d go in and visit with him on my lunch breaks. A working actor in film and TV, taught acting classes, and he was getting ready to film a movie he wrote. He wrote it, acted in it, and directed it. The sound of that alone is intimidating enough for me to sort of bow a bit when I’d see him. This guy never looked stressed out. He always had a smile ready for me, a greeting hug, and some good laughs. When I learned I had to move back to CA I was sad I wouldn’t have the opportunity to see his film when it released. Turns out, I was able to go to the Los Angeles premiere, which incidentally was also the World Premiere. Needless to say, *I* felt pretty cool just getting to be there. And of course I felt even MORE special when I saw him and hugged him. “I know him!!”
The Stockroom was the last feature film of the LA Indie Film Festival to play. It was Sunday 9/20/2015, 5pm. I was accompanied by a good friend visiting from Florida, and a handsome guy-friend that lives in LA and works on his own projects, acting, writing, and editing. Basically this day was pretty great.
Joseph, a man that works in the stockroom of a store we never see is coming up on his 10th year working in the stockroom. “Legend says” if you hit ten years in the stockroom, you’ll never get out. The film starts with him excited about a promotion, which we quickly learn is not going to happen. –Calm down, there are no major spoilers here– “Corporate” as it were, was sending someone else over to shake things up. So not only does our hero, Joseph, not get his promotion, we start losing people that work there. Even though it’s someone’s first day, and this never really gets addressed, it’s unimportant as to why a new girl shows up, the same day the bad guy shows up and starts firing people. What we know is Joseph gets screwed out of a promotion and is basically left vulnerable because people that were above him and protecting him can’t help him now.. What we also know is he doesn’t want to be in the stockroom forever, he wants to do stand-up comedy. Of course, there’s a girl he wants, of course she doesn’t want him back until someone else shows interest, and of course he comes around on his own and it’s okay that the girl and he are not together. –All of this happens during a time clock that represents the one day he has until he hits that 10 year mark.
With moments of employees just living their own mild drama, we get to see the fun the stockroom-family makes with what they have. Including but not limited to a little dance party, bubble wrapping and taping people up for fun, and listening to the wisdom bestowed upon them all by a guy that’s been there 25 years. We like these people, I like these people. They are relatable, and funny in their own ways.
The moment that made this movie “a good one” for me was the same part that made my eyes water up. There’s something important about seeing the vulnerability of a character. You take the simplicity of what this movie offers at first, then see this scene and realize the movie is far more than the superficial pieces of everyday life and work. It’s doubt. A visual, conscious version of Doubt and he walks in with his words like hammers. We see him twice. The first time he walked in he sounded so mean. Hitting the sensitive spots like buttons, over and over, and watching the reaction…I was speechless. When a man reveals what he loves, he also reveals his weakness, almost. The places you could hit him to make him lower his head in defeat and sadness. And watching this happen, it was like I was interrupting a private moment and I wanted to reach out and hug him and tell him not to listen to this visual-version-of-doubt. Problem is, not only could I not do that–I’ve been there. I’ve been right there, listening to doubt remind me of my own issues. Telling me what I need to think is important vs. what I love and want to go after. I’ve been there when you want out of a situation so bad but feel a sense of responsibility to stay because it’s “safe.” I’ve been there listening to a voice that sounds just like mine…break me down and basically tell me I’m a failure and a fool if I try anything else. And that’s when I knew this was a good movie. Up until then, it was fun with bits of “uh-oh.” All of a sudden Joseph wasn’t just our hero for the movie, he represented anyone and everyone that wanted to DO something ELSE in life. He represented the struggle we have inside. The side we don’t let other people know exists because we don’t tell them about what’s really going on. He represented the moment the superficial behaviors shed when we stand in front of a mirror and question everything we are. And I loved it, and was scared of it all at the same time.
We come out of this moment and back into the stockroom with what’s going on outside of his own heart and mind. We come out and are reminded of the demons he faces now, on the outside, not just on the inside, and we want him to win. I want him to win. I want him to win over the outside and the inside, for all of us that were never strong enough to keep moving forward.
Nearing the end of the day of his 9th year, he sees that outside demon again. The one that marched in earlier in the day and started shaking things up, getting rid of employees and challenging his work ethic. It is a face off, and what we get to see is Doubt again, walking up. Reminding him of who and what he is, where he should be, the choice he should make. And Joseph says something that changed it all for me “I don’t need you to protect me anymore.” I never thought of that voice as a means of protection. Never. That voice was always just doubt for no reason. No reason other than to push me down. But here, we find that it very well could be something we create on our own, to protect ourselves. It’s a voice somewhere between Doubt and Reason.
And it’s there, between Doubt and Reason we all realize this isn’t just a stockroom, this isn’t about a promotion, or about a big head honcho coming in and shaking things up. This isn’t about the girl, or the new-girl. This is about who we are right now, who we want to be, where we want to be, and the sacrifices, the risks…. it takes to step out of that self-inflicted “comfort zone.” It’s inspiring and terrifying at the same time. It’s there I cried the second time.
It’s because of that realization and experience everyone should see it. If you’ve ever wanted something more, dreamt of something bigger…this movie is about you. This movie is about you and where you are right now, and it makes you question the places you’ve wanted to go.
My advice? Take a look at your personal inventory. Get rid of what you don’t need or use. If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it. If there’s someone in your way, make them move. If you are in your way, take stock, turn the radio on and dance, hug someone, and fill the space between the “me and the me I’m supposed to be.”
You can start by watching this movie.
The Stockroom, by Victor Cruz;
Winner of the 2015 LA Indie Film Festival awards: Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Production