Tuesday, April 29, 2014
I believe in life there are specific moments that change the whirlwind course of your future. They knock you straight off your path and onto a new road. Once the dust clears you see the spot light of a new route, a new location, a new destination, but none of this could have been possible without your previous steps. This one moment can shift your whole universe, but only if you are willing to accept it. My entire life changed the minute I met him, and once I saw his face I knew there was no going back to the way things were.
I know what you are thinking, I can hear the high pitch drone of your question even as these words spill out of my brain, “But Grace, this sounds like the typical beginning to the most typical love story in everyone’s mind-numbing typical life.” To this I say no and not because my life is unusual and extravagant in any way but because there is only one moment like this. Even if I knew the correct steps to replicate the moment I met him, the exact second our eyes connected, I would never get it right. This isn’t a typical love story, because I promise you there is nothing like this.
Sitting in a crowded bar and listening to overly loud hipster folk music I stare across the small circular table at my date. His greasy blonde hair is slicked over to one side, his suit coat is commendable even if it’s a little short on the sleeves, his pants are abhorrent and should never be allowed to be worn outside of the house. From the neck up he is what most people would perceive as a stuck in the closest, never want to come out, hard core gamer nerd. He isn’t wearing the glasses to match this description, but the indentation lines on the bridge of his nose and his never ending squinting when it comes to ordering is a harsh give away. From the neck down to his waist I would say he has class and style. The coat may be a bit small, but it’s a classic vintage tweed coat. The heavy elbow patches fit in nicely with the light burnished brown tint, even the small blue flower sticking smartly in the front coat pocket completed the image of debonair. That’s where it stopped unfortunately. From the waist down he wore overly tight rusty colored jeans that clung to a man in a way that no pair of pants ever should. His skinny chicken legs made me fear for his sturdiness, one steady sweep of the legs and those bones would snap like a dried pine branch in the woods.
This man I shrewdly stare at is not the man that changes my life and I would hope you didn’t think mister rusty skinny jeans was. I did tell you that he changed my life, but I never said my life began with him. My eventful days started way before destiny decided to get up off her lazy ass and help me, though really the beginning would never be something I would ever complain about. Growing up I had a phenomenal family, many wonderful adventures, I was lucky as a kid, but you don’t need to hear about that. You probably want to hear more about him, but instead I need to first fill you in on the details leading up to that moment. I promise you the wait is worth it, at least that’s what I have been telling myself. The wait is worth it, though I disagree at the moment. The man across from me turns his attention away from the slinky blonde behind the bar to look back in my direction.
“Do you want another drink?” he yells over the squealing notes of the violin several feet behind me.
“Sure,” I reply casually. If I was going to enjoy myself I figured I should at least drink up as much as he was willing to buy.
The blonde man, or Zared as he called himself, slipped over to the bar engaging the cleavage enhanced bartender. I turned my thoughts toward other avenues. Unfortunately this happens a lot. I feel like most of my life is wild moments of rushing only to sit and wait for something to happen. I can’t tell you how much I hate this, how much I hate just waiting. So many outsiders have told me, “Just you wait Grace, the man of your dreams will come in and sweep you off your feet.” Those people are so full of bovine fecal material.
Zared comes back with an overly orange Old Fashion, too much simple syrup and not enough whiskey. It was free so I didn’t complain even though I knew for certain the bartender made his with a little more care and precision. Small annoyance to the overall picture.
“Are you having a good time?” he asked softly, almost too softly. I could have ignored him pretending I didn’t hear his simple sweet question, but I knew what he was really saying. ‘Do you want to get out of here, or am I wasting my time.’ He was most definitely wasting his time.
The date ended uneventfully. He tried to kiss me, but I turned my head and allowed him to graze my cheek in a slobbery mess of a kiss. “Um…thanks.” I said as sweetly as possible and then grabbed my keys and made a dash for it. Horrible right? Totally uneventful and boring. Nothing to look forward to, and nothing to get excited about, it was just another day. But then, like I told you everything changed.
After a long string of uneventful nights, even worse mornings, a typical routine of work, play, sleep, and drunk, my life suddenly catapulted into over drive. The moment was so casual and normal that I almost missed it, but when I saw him I knew this wasn’t an average day. It was like a slow movie unraveling right before my eyes.
The day was sunny and achingly beautiful, the weather couldn’t have been more pleasantly perfect, the wind whipped up around my ankles flipping the long dress I wore languidly back and forth across my legs, pure bliss. I was standing against the chain linked fence watching the little league game with mild interest when I saw him walking toward me. The sun glittered over his features making the soft chestnut of his hair shine like freshly polished cherry wood. Grassy green eyes smiled back at me and a solo dimple caught my attention as he walked straight up to me. I didn’t know him, didn’t know his name or who he was but his eyes told me differently, he knew me.
“I know that face, Grace Parker, isn’t it?”
They were simple words, easy words, a normal everyday sentence but from that moment on, my life changed in a way that I could never repeat even if I tried. You may try to prove me different, but I tell you this out of pure confidence. The sequence of events lining up to this one purely wonderful moment is completely wacky in the most ridiculous and unforeseen ways. I may not believe in the all-powerful almighty poking his nose into my life to guide me on a special journey, but I do believe there is a special path just begging us to stroll over. I believe it in the way I desperately want to believe in the idea of Santa Clause and the Easter bunny. It’s unforeseen magic is the beauty of it all. Maybe I didn’t cross paths with fate, maybe my version of kismet truly isn’t real, but as I stare into the grassy green eyes of my future partner in crime there is nothing else closer to the truth.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Monday, April 21, 2014
I can peg down the exact night you ruined me, the exact minute you destroyed the value of my own self-worth. I can tell you the second your words finally sank into my mind and I allowed them to fester into molding disgust. It was a seeded tumor, so small and finite that at first I ignored it, allowed it to lie. But then I nurtured the words, watered it, kept it thriving in the soil of my mind. I allowed the seed to grow into a tumor flowering it’s poisonous berries day after day. I nipped at the lush fruit like a starving child, I coddled the flowering thorns even though they cut me straight to the bone, I allowed the vines to wrap around my neck cutting off my desire to breath. You stunted my growth in one single night, and I carried the weight because it was all I knew how to do.
Everything up until that moment was the same, always easily the same. Weekend morning of laziness, we didn’t wake up until maybe noon. I yawn and ask, “what’s for breakfast,” but not because I hope you will actually cook breakfast with me, you never do.
“Wanna go down to the corner café?” I nod my head at your question like it was a new adventure even though it had happened almost every weekend since you moved into your own little dwelling. I would never complain about your place, I loved it the way I love a nice snug blanket on a chilly afternoon. Tightly comfortable, soothing enough, but still not enough cover.
Our days roll into one another, a stumbling storm unkempt and without ties. The blur of monotony picks up a steady hum and I forget why I am here, where I am supposed to belong. But I don’t walk away, I don’t turn around. No matter how lonely I feel, I crave the constant. The beat of your force keeps me hanging on tight because once I let go you won’t take me any further. I am here because you allow me to be, I stay because I have nowhere else to go.
The first time it was small though it shook me straight to the core. It wasn’t expected, and it came from around a corner hidden beneath the cover of harshness. Fast lights, quick songs, steady drinks and some stumbling steps. Suddenly you were screaming at me to leave you, go away and never come back. Excuses lashed at my skin like a 1920s tommy gun, BAP BAP BAP, ongoing until I couldn’t take the abuse any longer. I may have walked out but I didn’t let go, otherwise why else did you come find me?
The next morning was smiles, a soft stretching in my direction and those sharp blue eyes. “Hey there,” you whispered, and I smiled in the heat of your words encouraging a tradition that would shred me into pieces that no one would be able to mend. At first I was ok, I remained steady and buoyant, but slowly I started to drowned gripping onto the hand so tight that was slowly pulling me beneath the surface.
One night I drove you to the store because you needed “things”, but you seemed so distance so I reached for you and brought the back of your hand to my lips. You jerked back from me like I kissed your skin with hot coals. “Don’t do that!” You snapped at me, but I didn’t get it. I stared at you open mouthed and uncertain of what I did wrong, because it was me that was in error, me that made you snap, and me that made you get angry. I apologized like I always did when these little things happened, uncertain of why but also positive I was to blame.
A month before I left is when you brought down the axe, the infamous words that would haunt me for years to come. There were no surprises to me, maybe I should have seen it coming, maybe I should have expected the fight. By the tenth beer maybe again I was to blame, I didn’t stop you like I knew I should, and I didn’t hesitate when you yanked me off my stool and said it was time to leave. Maybe I should have known, but I didn’t, maybe I should have shoved you out of the car like I promised I would, but I didn’t. Maybe I should have listened to the voice screaming inside my head but tonight, I pushed it all away, and I snuffed out the only fight I had left.
Your words burned like salt in my eyes, ripped like a tidal wave down my cheeks but you didn’t stop. You continued the attack until we reached oblivion. I couldn’t come in, I couldn’t stay, you were pushing me so hard that I had no choice but to leave, but I didn’t. I didn’t fight you, there was no way I could, but I didn’t leave. I stayed there and watched as you threw my things out your front door. I waited until your lights blinked out and walked straight into your room. I curled up next to you and let your arm wrap around my middle, so familiar and so stern. “I’m didn’t mean it,” you say softly. Before I can answer, you are already asleep.
I walked away eventually visually unscathed and whole, but beneath this surface I was a rolling wreck of terror. Commitment became the enemy and loneliness became the drug I steadily tried to quit. There is a torrent of faces that flicker through my mind, a rolling number of names, but they didn’t care enough to dig beneath the surface and release the monster within. Bruises can be covered, but shattered glass is noticed right from the start. You broke me that day, shattered the core of my passion, and trampled the hope of my future. I can’t blame you for the destruction I have laid waste on my path to my present, but I do know you set off the spark. I won’t say I did nothing wrong, I have more faults than I can count, more mistakes than I would ever admit to, and more lies then I would ever try to explain away. Your destruction laid waste over my life for years and years, relentless in its wake, torrential in its path of destruction. You started this, but I will be the one to end it.
It wasn’t a perfect day, in fact it was grey and gloomy outside but the cool current kissed my skin in such a perfect way. There was something about the electricity in the air, something about the way I couldn’t seem to keep a smile from my lips, something about the way I was finally able to breath deep. You see something happened that I never expected, something happened in my life that I don’t think I ever thought could be a reality. There was ice around me, an impenetrable winter that kept me closed off and hidden from view. I thought the loneliness would kill me, perhaps snuff me out of pity. The knife of you had dug so deep, the pain of you gripped on so hard. But on my gloomy afternoon looking up into the greyish blue sky I realized that all my bruises had finally healed. That’s when everything changed.
I can feel the warm rays of Summer and the heat has never felt this good.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
I’m sitting at a bar with a couple of my friends, and an attractive guy walks up to me and offers to buy me a drink. One of my guy friends leans over and whispers, “That is so not fair. What a double standard. I’m sitting here by myself and hot girls aren’t buying me any drinks.” I smiled at my friend, offered to buy him a drink to shut him up in a friendly way, and we go on with our evening.
I chuckle a little bit when men mention the double standard to me because in a lot of respects I feel that women get the short end of the stick when it comes to the dating scene. Of course men are welcome to argue with me, I would even love to hear their side, but first you should hear my side.
As a single woman I am on the constant search for “the one” and no I’m not talking about Neo. The one is the guy that fills the slot of “man of our dreams” the fantasy fairy tale man that we were all force fed actually existed when we were little girls. Some man is supposed to come sweep us off our feet and all we have to do is flaunt our bodies, primp our goods, and pretend we are everything he wants us to be…right? HELL NO!! I am a single INDEPENDENT woman and if I am READY to find a man to share a life with me I have no problem looking for him myself. “But Jess, you should just live your life and be happy. The right man will find you.”
No, I’m sorry that is BS and you know it. Why do I have to wait for him to come find me, why can’t I go find him myself? Here is one that never made sense to me….If I sit and wait and act like I am a perfect woman, the woman of this man’s dreams, he will then want me. BUT…if I seek the same man out, he will see me as needy, I give him the power, therefore he won’t see me as his perfect woman. Ugh, how depressing and exhausting. I’ve read in books that men need to see us women as a challenge, but in order for it to be a challenge us women must sit around and wait for mister perfect to get off his lazy man ass and come find me….ME…his damn perfect woman sitting alongside a BAJILLION other women doing the exact SAME THING!!!! Doesn’t this infuriate anyone else??!!??!?!?! Well, not like I can change the biology of how men think, I just don’t agree with it…at all. (Maybe that’s why you are still single ::the tiny voice in the distance whispers rudely at me:: Shut up voice, no one asked you!)
Now, on my search for THE ONE, I have found there are SO SO SO many toads, and pigs, and alligators, and walruses, and snakes, and over aggressive lions, and weasels, and little fresh birdies….you have any idea how many damn dates I have to go on to find a DECENT man? A man, I mean it, not a boy, not a little kid dressed like a man, and not a man that says he’s a man and somewhat sorta acts like a man but does drugs like he is a teenage rebel without a cause. The answer to that question is WAY TO MANY! So…again I am sitting at that bar with my close group of friends and someone asks my guy friend, “So man how did that date go last week?” And his response, “Which one?” They laugh and joke, call him THE MAN and congratulate him on his macho show of manliness. He had three dates in one week, bravo sir, absolutely bravo.
The double standard…I had two dates that same week and the response I get, “Honey, you really should take more time for yourself. Stop caring so much about finding the right guy, you should just do things that make you happy and not worry about dating so much.” And this was all said in the same night! Why does my guy friend get the congrats when I get a pat on the back in a fashion of, “oh honey, you are trying too hard, you look so desperate.” How is that even fair? My friend is doing the same thing that I am, looking for someone to share adventures with, looking for a person that is like me, that I can discover new things with. Why is it that men go on a handful of dates and look like Joe Cool, whereas I go on two dates and I look like a desperate aging woman? I don’t date because I am desperate for a man, and I don’t date because I hate being single. I actually love being single, it’s complete freedom and totally exhilarating, but I dare you to find more than a handful of engaged couples you are even a little bit wanting to dive back into the dating scene. We all agree, it sucks, but we do it because we want to find our person. In a friend group of mostly couples, it would be nice to have my own cuddle buddy, and my own dinner and movie partner. The only people who don’t understand this are people who are in a long term relationships and forget (or don’t even know) what it’s like to be single for longer than a year.
This is where the people reading this will either think, “Preach it SISTER!!!” or the other side will think, “Man, all you do is complain complain complain. Such a feminist.” There is a line, and most people cross it, with me I see it in massive ranges of color not black and white. Just because I am a girl doesn’t mean there are specified rules of how to do this. I do things my own way, and yes maybe that is why I am still single, or maybe it’s because I live in LOS ANGELES surrounded by men who are only looking for the next best thing. Some great advice I got from a close friend of mine was, “it’s a numbers game. There are thousands out there that would give you more than the time of day. Go out there and find them yourself, guaranteed the right one will show you he is worth your time.” I think she is right. Now…off to hunt in the wild jungle of Los AnHELLes.
Friday, April 11, 2014
I feel that our lives are a Mobius strip of events, one leading into the next in an infinite road map of possibilities. One singular decision can make or break your future. I have always considered myself a cautious decision making person, I weigh the possibilities and examine the lengthy outcomes. Moving to LA changed that way of thinking though, I had to think quickly, on my feet; I had no choice but to decide. If you don’t say yes or no, the possibility of amazing will literally zoom past you without even a single glance back.
The sun streams through my window at a relentless tone, overly bright and evilly crude. I want to throw my pillow at the window like I would an annoying alarm clock, but that wouldn’t shut off the brightness. I would only succeed in losing my pillow. Not the best start to a horrible day. I made the decision yesterday to go on a date with a guy I wasn’t wholly interested in. It’s not like most would assume, I don’t go for the free dinners, and I don’t go because I am lonely. I go on these dates because I am looking for something, and I know for a fact that even if I don’t see it right away I might see it differently the second time around. Basically, if someone has the nerve to say hello to me and ask me on a date in a gentlemanly fashion I will say yes. (I don’t take too kindly to lines like: Hey baby, wanna get a drink over at my place? Then I will say no, no, and hell NO!!)
This particular guy asked me out last night via text message, he wasn’t too keen on talking over the phone. (There’s a clue if I have ever seen one; if he doesn’t like talking to you on the phone, you won’t really keep his interest all that long in person either) Typical to my dating life, I met this guy online. He seemed sweet in an awkward I am not wholly attractive but have a great personality sort of way. I am not keen on meeting people who are model attractive, I don’t really need to be around a man that sees himself as the canvas of art to gawk at, I don’t need to pay him compliments though that type of man always fishes for them. This guy, seemed different. He had a sharp wit, outgoing attitude, and at first I really didn’t care that physically he wasn’t my “type.” (Yes, I most definitely have a type, but no I don’t always follow it)
Work was typical, if anything it zoomed by and before I knew it I was on my way to a local-ish bar called the Black Cat. It is as hipster as it sounds, which tells you something about this mystery online date man, but to be honest it was also my kind of quiet but busy place to meet on a first date. I parked close enough to not make walking a big deal even though the two inch heels I wore dug into the back of my ankle ever so slightly. The things women deal with to look attractive on the first meet up. My hair was slightly curled (meaning I had to wake up a good 30 minutes early to achieve the carefully tousled locks) and my make-up was as perfect as it was going to get after a full 10 hour work day. I walked straight up to the door and felt my body slide into the intimacy of the bars lively surroundings. It was dark, but atmospheric, and I could smell the hint of orange and basil. They made great cocktails at this joint, I could tell already.
My eyes darted up and down the long bar as my date texted me that he would, “be sitting at the bar.” I walked casually past the patrons scoping out each single looking man and realized if the man I thought was my date, was indeed my date, he most definitely did not resemble his pictures. In the nicest way possible, he looked like he was wearing a sweater several sizes larger than what his pictures painted him to be. I am not a person that goes on looks alone however, I want to know the person for who they are. (Here is where you find another tiny WARNING sign. He lied about his appearance, and it wasn’t a tiny lie, it was at least a 60LBS lie. That doesn’t bode well for this person telling you the truth) I looked straight at the back of his head for about 15 seconds before I zoomed straight past him and headed for the restroom. I suddenly really needed to pee aka, think through my decision.
I texted him, “I’m here,” just in case the man at the bar wasn’t actually him and I mistook him for someone else. But no such luck, he responded with, “I am at the bar wearing a blue sweater.” I sighed resolutely, washed my hands with as much soap as possible counting down the seconds as slowly as I could, then I headed to the bar.
“Hello there,” I said easily. He turned and flashed me a brilliant smile. Perhaps he was a little over weight and not what I expected, but he had a kind face, really straight white teeth, and beautiful eyes. Surprisingly we had a huge amount in common and our conversation flowed easily for the next three hours. Usually I don’t stay on dates that long, but it was easy to accomplish. Our first date turned into two, then three, and before I knew it we were dating.
I need to reinforce the overview of this little story, that my decisions could lead me down a good road or a bad road, in a lot of aspects its completely up to me. I hesitated to go on this date, but then I started dating a really out going, fun, decently attractive (to me anyways) man….who also owned way too many sneakers in my mind, hated talking on the phone, didn’t like being around my friends, insisted that he drive everywhere even if he had had a little too much to drink, introduced me as his friend, never opened my door, always split the bill with me (even though he made way more than me), told me in private that he wanted me around all the time but professed in public that he would never settle down…..the list goes on. My problem at the time, I enjoyed the fun aspect of what he had to offer. I didn’t think of the consequences of my decisions because I was having too much fun.
Guys like him don’t want security, they want flimsy excitement, something easy to toss out with the weeks trash. I didn’t push hard to say I wanted more, but I slipped up and said one little sentence that completely ruined everything. He had invited me to spend a weekend with him and his friends in Palm Springs, and of course I was stoked! Me and him went up the night before and spent a night swimming in the Jacuzzi, listening to great music, making dinner and drinks. It was an experience I could get used to. The whole weekend was a blast, and for the most part it was one of the first times he brought me around his close friends, I felt ultimately privileged, but three hours before we left for home I made a terrible mistake. I invited him to my home town the following weekend.
“To San Diego, that sounds fun. Where would we be staying?” he asked as he packed up the last pair of sneakers he brought (to make a total of five sneakers for a three day trip….just saying).
“With my parents.” The three little words ruined absolutely everything, and I felt it the minute the words escaped my lips.
Fun and outgoing turned into dropped plans and massive lengths of silence. Two weeks after our fun trip in Palm Springs he told me via text, “I am just not looking for anything serious.”
I argued with myself over this situation for many months;
I made the mistakes, it was my fault
He made the mistakes, it was his fault!!
In truth, we both made mistakes and he didn’t want what I did, and I didn’t see the truth he was obviously telling me. Being single and dating teaches you many lessons, but I think the one I have learned the most is that my decisions ultimately change everything. I can make the choice, and I can choose to listen to the signs or I can ignore the signs and destroy my buoyancy of hope and excitement several weeks or months down the line. In truth, I started to really care for him and his short and brutal let down really got to me. I allowed him to have something that wasn’t his to own; my happiness.
Now I know what you could say to this, “It wasn’t your fault that he was an ass hat.” “It wasn’t your fault that he treated you wrong.” “It wasn’t your fault that he wasn’t the guy for you, he’s a jerk!” But…to some degree it was my fault that I let him get that close. I think that is was dating is all about though, learning, understanding your strengths and weaknesses and learning how to say no, no matter how lonely or neglected you feel. He taught me a very valuable lesson that I carry with me strongly today. Don’t settle, don’t be afraid to do what you know you want, and don’t ever feel like you have to always say yes. It’s really hard being an independent woman looking for someone to share a life with, but it’s not impossible, and I won’t give up.