Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The only NYE I remember perfectly



I almost posted this narrative several times, but when it came down to it I got nervous and simply couldn't. I think I was afraid to share the real story, as I had kind of played the victim a bit when it all went down. It has been five years since this fateful few days exactly. In the past five years, I have had several experiences that have proven to me that my story is not unique and therefore would not be judged. Many other friends and friends of friends have had similar heartache and confusion. I hope that sharing this will make others realize that they're not alone, and in the end there's nothing wrong with choosing yourself and your own happiness over anyone else's. In fact, I think we should all choose ourselves a little more often... that may even be a good resolution to take into 2015.  
_____________________________________________________________________________
December 2009, NYC
This wasn’t the first time a trip to the East Coast almost got cancelled.  I met Chris a few weeks before Christmas.  It was the first time in a long time I let myself realize that there were other fish in the sea.  I was liking the attention and that he lived only five minutes from work instead of a half an hour car ride to the airport, an hour and a half of security and airport shopping, a two hour plane ride, a half an hour at baggage claim, a train ride from Newark to Jersey city, a ride on Path train into Manhattan, a walk past the World Trade Center construction, up to Wall Street.  
Besides attention, Chris had just met me.  Everything about me fascinated him.  He asked questions and genuinely listened for answers.  He was in lust, and  told me that even though I had a boyfriend he would fight the uphill battle, or some other sports analogy that seemed heroic at the time.  
  I finally gave in and hung out with Chris in between work and my cousin's Christmas dance recital.  It was ugly sweater day at work.  Clad in my ugly Christmas sweater, Chris and I sat in his parents living room, yes he still lived with his parents, as did I, and chatted face to face.  I technically wasn’t cheating on Kevin.  If Kevin had asked where I was I would’ve told him, but Kevin didn’t ask for questions and when he did, he didn’t listen for answers anymore.  
Chris and I had things in common that to me, at the time, seemed eerily perfect... soulmate status.  Now they seem silly.  We were both left-handed, loved to read (a quality I didn’t know men possessed), and could recite full episodes of Friends.  I didn’t want to leave the coziness of his parents living room and bear the hour plus of horrible dancing in red and green.  I didn’t want to leave the genuine conversation.  Good looks aside, I didn’t want to leave the conversation where everything said was nice.  There was no undercutting, no insults, no threats.  
When I finally decided I had to leave or else my grandma would be disappointed in me for being late, Chris was worried about me driving after a long day at work (how sweet, right?!) and made a Diet Coke for me to take on the road.  That night I called Carly.  “He made me a Diet Coke for the road!” I exclaimed.
  “Oh my gosh!  That is so sweet!,” she replied.  We both weren’t in the most healthy relationships at the time.  The assembling of ice cubes, diet soda, and a lid made us believe I had found Prince Charming.  
  The holidays arrived and left me muddled.  Kevin’s flight home was delayed and cancelled multiple times.  Part of me hoped he would have to stay there for Christmas.  The best he could do was fly into an airport two hours away arriving at seven in the morning.  I was to pick him up, but didn’t want to.  
“Can’t someone in your family do something for once?” I asked.  Creating anger to swell within him.  He couldn’t understand, or was too narcissistic to realize, that maybe I was exhausted from this entire life he had created for me. We fought, and the most memorable result of this fight was the sentence he yelled at me.
“As far as I’m concerned, you’re nothing more than a fucking cab driver.”  If I needed things cleared up, that did it for me.  I left for the airport at five in the morning and talked to Chris the entire drive to pick up my sweet-as-sugar boyfriend.
I cried on Christmas eve in front of my whole family.  Kevin was there, Chris was calling my cell phone.  I was confused; my life plans involved Kevin.  I adjusted them after he moved to continue to involve him.  I knew what my grocery trips would be like, what we would watch on television, how to please us both with a meal.  He didn’t deserve any of these plans and while I watched him interact with my family like he had for the past four years I couldn’t hold it in.  My grandma and mom knew everything that was going on.  How hard the months had been on me since he moved, the fights that occurred over the phone, the almost cancelled trips.  They comforted me and informed everyone that the tears were caused by one too many Jack and Cokes.  I let them lie for me because I couldn’t face the truth.
I was scheduled to be in New York for New Years.  Kevin was looking forward to this trip I was to make, he wasn’t picking up on much of my unhappiness and didn’t suspect that I was spending time with someone else.  It was hard for me to even want to make the trip because Chris was convenient and nice.  How bad had things gotten that I prefered convenient and nice?  It sounds so stupid, but I was exhausted from having someone manipulate me, scream at me, and then apologize and love me.  The stupid part is that I let him.  And then I loved him back.  
I landed in Newark ready to make the commute to Wall Street.  When I turned on my phone I saw that Kevin decided to pick me up from the airport after all.  Picking me up meant meeting me at the airport and riding the public transit with me.  When I spotted Kevin, my heart still skipped a beat.  Deep down, I’m afraid he may have been my soul mate.  Best friends since we met, dating throughout college.  Everyone knew us as a pair.  After a tight squeeze he handed me a, you guessed it, Diet Coke.  “I thought you might be tired,” he explained.  The irony!  I had to suppress my laughter.  I text Carly from the bathroom stall:  “OMG He brought me a Diet Coke. LOL.”  When did a little gesture begin to mean so much to me.  How low I must have been.  
His uncle, his own version of Daddy Warbucks, took us to dinner the next night.  We did a tasting menu that cost hundreds of dollars per person.  The most creative food that has ever touched my palate.  Deviled eggs ice cream is what sticks out in my mind the most.  Everything was paired with wine.  This was going to be my life someday; Kevin was on track to eventually live this life.  In my opinion he could do it.  He had the brains, ambition, and personality.  I am the one who believed in him and made sure he got into the college he preferred, after months on the waiting list, and then the business school and helped him get an internship.  Until I encouraged him to patch things up with his estranged father he had no contact with his Uncle.  He had never been to New York City until he had an interview, he had barely been anywhere.  Yet now he was on track to be just like Daddy Warbucks, whose entire family spent Christmas in Hawaii without him.  Did I want to be with someone who would send my kids and me to the beach for Christmas?  Absolutely not, it pained me to even think about it.  So I excused myself to the bathroom and text Chris. 
 I knew I couldn’t begin a year with Kevin I didn’t intend to end with him.   
That night we were on the elevator up to the eighteenth floor of his Wall Street apartment.  “You’re going to be happy here,” I told him.
I’m guessing he was confused.  “Yes, we are going to be happy here,” he replied.
“No, I meant it how I said it.  You’re going to be okay.”  The elevator beeped to indicate we must exit and we walked down the hall to his apartment.   
Kevin began questioning and I tried to explain.  “I just can’t do this anymore.”  He didn’t understand.  He got angry, he threatened me, I couldn’t take another threat.  
“I’m going to leave tomorrow.  I can’t take this any longer.”  Since I was on schedule to be there through January 3 and it was only December 30th, this surprised Kevin.
“Like you would ever stick to that.”  That comment was all I needed.  He was right.  I always made comments that would have protected me, had I stuck to them.  I called my dad at 11 p.m. and asked him to change my flight.  It would cost me $150, but I didn’t care at this point.    He literally kicked me out of bed and then went to the couch himself to sleep.
  As Kevin was getting ready for work, I woke up to ask for directions to the airport.  I had made the commute alone before, but I needed it written down so I wouldn’t second guess myself.  He wrote down directions without speaking.  He hugged me goodbye while dressed for success.  I woke up, got ready for the airport and left his birthday card on his bed.  
I was traveling with my largest suitcase and carry-on.  My phone was in my teal wool coat pocket.  I knew when the door of his apartment shut behind me, it was done.  I wouldn’t be able to get back into that apartment and change my mind.  I heard the door click and headed for the elevator.  This confidence in a decision was foreign to me.  
I walked down Wall Street as the snow quickly covered the streets and sidewalks.  The owners and employees of the stores and restaurants surrounding the World Trade Center had brooms and were sweeping the snow off the sidewalk.  Allowing pedestrians to continue walking and hoping they’d choose to find warmth inside their stores.  As I walked I felt proud.  Proud for finally taking handle on the situation.  I was going to stop letting things happen to me.  My fate was mine.  I may have planned to have it combined with someone else, but it didn’t have to be that way.  It wasn’t too late to change it.
Kevin called and wanted me to stop by his work.  His work was a stop on the Path train.  Jersey city.  I knew that stopping to see him wasn’t going to solve anything.  I didn’t want to allow him the opportunity to say something to my face.  It wasn’t easy lugging my giant suitcase through the snow.  It also wasn’t easy getting a giant suitcase through a turnstile, but it is a skill I had developed in the months leading up to this moment.  I squatted down and slid it underneath, put my ticket through and then went through myself.  When I got up to ground level I saw I had missed a call from my dad.  I decided I would call him after I saw Kevin... again.
He came out from his office to the pier.  His feet completely drenched by the snow and slush that had accumulated in just an hour.  He wore no coat.  I had nothing to say to him, I just looked up at him, wondering why he insisted on me coming here.  The most important part of this conversation is just that he didn’t ask me to stay.  Much less beg.  He didn’t ask me to stay.  I wanted him to ask me to stay.  I wanted everything to be fixed and I would go back to the life I had planned.  I refused to look back at him as I walked back to the station and squatted down to maneuver the turnstile.    
Instead, I got back on the Path train and called my dad from the Metro train to Newark.  
“Delta called, your flight was cancelled due to snow.  I got you on one two hours later.”
Angry because he made this decision for me, I yelled at my dad. “What if I decided I wanted to stay and just come back when I planned, on the third?!”  In my mind, if my flight was cancelled, then maybe Kevin and I would fix things.  It didn’t happen outside his office building, but it could happen if my flight was cancelled.
It was too late.  Kevin called again after I had been through security and about to get on the train to my terminal.  “Where are you?” he asked.
“At the airport.”
“If you leave, this is really over.”
“Okay.”  He still didn’t believe I would keep my word, he still didn’t ask me to stay.
I had four hours at the airport now that my flight had been cancelled.  I curled up around my carry-on and fell asleep.  When I woke up there was an older woman watching me sleep.
“Are you okay, sweetie?”  she asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied.
“Where are you going on New Year’s eve?”  she asked.  What twenty-something would leave Manhattan on New Year’s Eve?  I could hear it in her voice the questions she really wanted answers for.  
She asked, and so I told her.  I told her I was supposed to be in New York.  I was supposed to be attending a party at a swanky art gallery.  I had the red dress and nude shrug in my luggage.  I told her my relationship just ended and she listened.  I typically don’t share much or often, typically I prefer to listen, but she listened, and was a stranger to me and my story and my life, so I told her everything.  And I still didn’t even cry.
I boarded the plane.  My dad picked me up from the airport at 7:30.  We were ten minutes from my parents house when the phone rang.
“Where are you?”  he asked.
“Almost home.”  He didn’t expect that I had left, because if I had left that meant it was really over and I had never done something that took as much courage as trudging through the snow, hoisting my luggage onto more than one train, and boarding the plane.  
“Okay.  Happy New Year,” he sarcastically wished me.  
I got home and crawled into bed and woke up for the New Year celebration.  I began the New Year alone, yet surrounded by my parents and godparents.  

That’s the way it had to start.  Alone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014



People Who Love To Eat Are The Best People #JuliaChild

Remember this tomorrow.  Don't be the person who holds back at Thanksgiving dinner.  No one likes that person, and no one will want to sit next to you at dinner.  


Sunday, October 26, 2014

No Tears




No Tears
I tell myself, “No tears.”  
I am aware that crying is cathartic.  
I know that every once in awhile you need a good cry.  
A year-ish of my life was spent crying in the car and in the shower
And that’s all well and good
and private.  
But it’s the instances I don’t want to cry, I will myself not to cry, when it happens.  
The only person I can blame is myself.
I hate that.


After running up the basement steps and slamming the door,
I literally ran into my built-like-a-brick-wall father.
As soon as he laid his sparkly blue eyes on me he knew something was wrong.
I told my little sister self, “No tears.”
“They...” I tried to explain, but what followed was gibberish.  
He picked up my petite body and discovered they wouldn’t let me play with them;
they didn’t want me to play with them.  
My sisters then barreled through the door.  
Possessing quick reflexes like any good dad of accident prone daughters,
he turned on ice cold water and stuck my hand under it.
“She slammed her finger in the door,” 
he explained so that I wouldn’t lose face.
This way, they never knew how badly their words hurt me.
No tears.  Easier said than done.

Standing behind my sister as she read slowly and clearly into the microphone.  
Waiting together through the song that played between our readings.  
Strength in numbers.  
We looked out into the church full of our family, friends, and people we had never seen before.
As I waited, my body shook,
I had never been this nervous.  
Despite dozens of performances and read alouds.
I read my reading and together we walked back to the pew.  
I passed the coffin, made eye contact with my best friend,
“No tears,” I told my mourning teenage self.  
I made it back to my seat,
turned to face the priest,
the tears began rolling down my face and onto my lips;
the salt in my mouth.
No tears.

Staying  after school with my best friend, 
My all-star athlete boyfriendwaiting in the parking lot,
his view blocked.
Snowbanks encompassed the parked cars on a bitter cold January day.
Descending the stairs we were surrounded.
His friends
armed with snowballs.
Catapalulted from a few yards away,
It physically hurt; that didn’t matter.
They couldn’t see me upset; couldn’t beat me.
We continued walking.  
He had missed the whole thing.
I couldn’t even explain.
I began driving home, “No tears,” I told my embarrassed self.
They streamed uncontrollably down my face the entire drive home.
No tears.


Walking down the hall after a horrible meeting with my not so mentor-like mentor,
the bitter winter my first year of the real world.
What did I do wrong?
I almost made it to privacy when a best friend ran up behind me  
Joking about one thing or another, typical
Teasing me, typical
I repeated over and over in my head to my newly professional self:
no tears, 
no tears, 
no tears.  
As soon as our eyes me, I had no control
My eyes filled up.  
Damnit.  

Sitting at the airport bar after an uncomfortably silent train ride;
we sat in different rows.
I kept thinking, should patch things up before I got on the plane,
otherwise regret would haunt us.
“We’re just never going to be able to get rid of each other,”
he smugly declared
As his Budweiser bottle rose to his lips.  
Picking up my purse, I said to my heart worn out self,
“No tears,” 
got up and walked away.  
The tears streamed down as I waited,
body shaking, overheating, recomposing, in line for security.  
I looked back once, our eyes meeting
the last time I saw him on purpose.
No tears.

Crying is cathartic.
Every once in awhile you need a good cry.
No tears.
Sometimes, it’s necessary.
Damnit.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Gone Girl missing link



                (besides Amy)

Let me tell you something, no one is going to walk out of the theater after seeing Gone Girl and feel disappointed or like they didn't get their money's worth.  Better words to describe how one might feel while stumbling out of the dark theater might be: disturbed, horrified, paranoid... maybe even a bit nauseous.

I went to see the movie with my no longer practicing book club; we read the novel in the summer of 2012.  We accidentally decided to see the movie on bargain Tuesdays which was an added bonus and encouraged me to splurge for the $4.50 Diet Coke, meaning I didn't save a dime overall.  

I remember reading the novel at the pool in Orlando, where I was vacationing with my family.  That was the year we went to all four Disney parks in one day.  I found this to be an amazing accomplishment.  My sister calls it the worst day of her life.  (Worst day at Disney has to be better than a day anywhere else, right?!) I remember enjoying the book, and being shocked several times, just like the movie goers were. I also remember that there was a line of the novel that completely haunted me, so I of course wrote it in the notes section of my Blackberry to insure I wouldn't forget it. 

Fastforward two years and a couple months, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the movie with my friends on a full stomach of froyo for dinner.  I truly believe that because we hadn't read the book recently, we had less to criticize in the movie and could enjoy it more.  Sometimes I feel like I'm so loyal to a book that I don't enjoy the movies based on the book, instead I'm making mental notes of what doesn't line up with the book while I watch the movie.  Maybe this will be a lesson for me: watch the movie two years later.  

There are only two complaints that I have about Gone Girl the movie...  
1.  I had nightmares that night.
2.  My favorite line from the book would have been a perfect end line of the movie.  PERFECT.  Ben Affleck would say it, and the movie goer would have felt a complete conclusion (and of course still think they're totally f-ed up).

So, of course, I had to go home and find that line because I couldn't remember it.  I don't own the book, I borrowed.  Instead I had to find my Blackberry from 2012, charge it overnight, and Wednesday morning I was delighted to see the best line from the book (besides when Go said, "There's your wood bitch" haha) and confirm that the movie was missing something major.  

There it is!  I truly believe this would have been the coup de gr√Ęce.  

It makes me think, too... how many people stay with their "forever antagonist" because that's just what they know?  The reality of that, is frightening.    

 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Timelines





Shockingly I didn't write this.  My friend did during a weekend workshop we were taking and passed it to me like we were teenagers in class.  It reminded me that I haven't been good about posting, and why I started this blog in the first place.  I pledge to be better!  

It is a good reminder for all of us.  No pressure to do anything just because it is the time you thought you would, or because everyone else your age is doing it.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Limerick inspired limerick... (the photo helped too)

I found myself in Limerick, Ireland last week.  Then I ran across this photograph on pinterest.  Voila! 





"The Train Yard" One dull day my nanny fell ill.
So I lay in my crib with tears til,
my elephant friend
fetched me again,
and we had a day full of thrill.  

Monday, June 30, 2014

MOVE: Motion = Emotion


MOVE


I started watching Dancing with the Stars a few seasons after it started.  Therefore, I can’t claim that I am the biggest DWTS fan, that I’ve been watching since the first note of the introduction theme song, or that I’ve seen every dance number.  BUT I have been watching since Julianne Hough started competing as a professional.  I have DVRed and re-watched just about every routine she perfectly performed.  She was the reason I watched the show, I really didn’t care with whom she was paired.  Julianne reminded me of Vera-Ellen - Judy, from White Christmas.  Vera-Ellen’s routine to “Mandy” is still my favorite part of that holiday classic.  The movie is often playing in the background during traditional holiday preparations, but I always drop the ornament, the spatula, or the wrapping paper, and watch that scene.  


Anyway….


Then, Julianne’s brother, Derek, came along.  I wasn’t sure about him at first.  I honestly didn’t think there was any possible way he could be as talented as Julianne and I thought it was weird that she was getting her big brother a job.  Since then, my skepticism has turned into admiration and obsession.  Now, I watch the show for Derek (because Julianne is no longer competing), vote for him no matter who is partner is, and refer to him as my dream man.  I know this sounds strange and obsessive. In fact, just saying it makes me feel like a fourteen year old girl obsessed with 1D.  The only show I watch live (not DVRed) is Dancing With the Stars so that I can vote, but I didn’t even vote in the last local election.  


I’m going somewhere with this, swear.  Because I follow both Derek and Julianne on every form of social media, I feel like I knew about their tour as soon as they decided to tour.  I make myself feel like an insider thanks to instagram.  I may be the only twenty something who secretly believes Derek Hough could be her future husband, but I know I’m not the only twenty-something to feel like an insider because of instagram.  When I looked up the tour dates I was nearly depressed to find out I would be out of the country on vacation with my best friends when MOVE hit my hometown (#firstworldproblem, I know).  I wouldn’t let this stop me though.  I looked through the other tour cities, thought about drives and costs associated with seeing the show in another city.  


I ended up buying tickets to see the show in Atlanta with one of my favorite Dancing With the Stars fan-friend.  I have a wonderful friend from college who just moved to Atlanta in March.  This trip became a win-win.  Visit with college friend + see Derek and Julianne + road trip.  


We stayed in Buckhead, which was adorable.  I would love to go back and spend more time there.  The people were polite and welcoming; the weather was perfect.  


On show night, we went to dinner before, and because of traffic backed up due to parking, we got into the theatre literally when the lights were black and the show was about to start.  Our seats were in the very top section of the theatre, about three rows from the balcony railing, but smack dab in the middle of the row.  Therefore, after being shown to our seats by the usher with a flashlight, we had to whisper several “excuse mes” and “I’m sorrys”.  As soon as we got to our seats, the stage lights came on and Derek and Julianne were on stage.  Perfect timing.  (I’m aware that those sitting in our row did not believe we had perfect timing.)  


The following 2+ hours flew by quicker than Helio Castronovez on race day.  I have seen too many Broadway shows to count as well as many concerts, and this was one of the most entertaining shows I have ever seen, overflowing with talent.  


One part that I appreciated was that Derek or Julianne were on stage the entire time.  We didn’t make the trip and then watch the troupe dance while Derek and Julianne changed costumes.  They really gave their fans what they wanted.  I can’t imagine how much energy it took.  I can’t even put into words how much I enjoyed it. The message was simple and meaningful: MOVE! Because motion creates emotion.  


We were literally the last people to leave Cobb Energy Center that night.  I’m not speaking in hyperbole here.  We had to wait in line to take a picture with Derek’s poster.  We waited in line with the 60+ year olds and the tweens… which reminds me of one recommendation… there was a little too much sexiness for the tweens in the show.  The mother of the teenager next to us didn’t laugh during the sexual references.  I, conversely, loved them and I loved every moment of Derek with his shirt off.  I bought a MOVE mug and the program.  We left completely satisfied, feeling like teen fangirls, and chattering nonstop about how much we loved the show and how we wanted everyone we loved to go see the show.


Because I wanted my family, especially my grandma, to see MOVE, I started exploring to find tickets to the sold out show.  I located tickets.  Front row tickets.  To the show that I cannot attend.  For my family.  Because I love them.  But now I am having the most extreme case of jealousy I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.


Yes, I know I will be in Europe and that is amazing.  I know I am making my grandma so happy.  But I was in the 100th row, drove eight hours, and took a picture with a poster.  They are going to drive thirty minutes, be in the 1st row, and be able to take actual pictures.  I am trying my best to deal with my jealousy and FOMO and focus on my Europe trip.  But I am missing my only chance to lock eyes with Derek Hough.  I am hoping that I get over this, because it makes me feel like a horrible person.  I also hope, that someday, maybe I will get to see them again?  The uncertainty is agonizing.  

Am I a horrible person?  Am I a spoiled brat?  Don’t answer that. This is honestly the most selfless act I’ve performed in a while!  I really, honestly, hope they have the best night ever, even though I won’t be there.  I just hope that someday, I will get to see Derek (and Julianne) from closer than the balcony!     




Here's that magical photo I know you were waiting for!  



Note:  Since this post was published, my dad has made the picture into a full sized poster!  Score!  But where does a grown woman put such a thing? 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Best Friends: a TIER


Not ONE person but a TIER

I recently skimmed an article that was titled “The Five Friends Everyone Should Have”. 

 It included: the life coach, the comic relief, the risk taker, the challenge, and the loyalist... blah blah blah. While these are important people in a girl's life, those labels seemed boring to me, and applicable in some way to all friends depending on the situation. Basically, I found these labels generic. My friends are not generic, they are unique individuals and "my life would suck without" them (to quote some stupid song we've all heard on the radio too many times).

I decided I needed to make my own list, to reflect my friends who aren't boring and generic.
What we really need is (in no particular order):

1. The friend who will drink too much with you. Shot for shot. Will never tell you to slow down, but instead buy the next round - or find someone to buy the next round for you both.

2. The friend who will stalk your exes, your future prospects, your exes future wife, etc. Will find only negative resume items and only the most unflattering pictures.
3. The friend who will sit on the couch and cry about an episode of Glee knowing that’s not why you’re really crying but not saying it. She also won't force you to talk about what you're really sad about.

4. The friend who will hide a dead body for you. Not really (hopefully), but you get the point.

5. The friend who can engage in multiple conversations at once with you and follow every single one of them. She also can read your mind and finish your sentences - even when you only give her one word to go from.

6. The friend who "gets" you and your history and your family and your crazy irrational thoughts and can say anything about any of this without you getting pissed and vice-versa.