Let’s put a pin in it…

As I’ve come to look back and analyze my life in a series of vignettes, I realize there might be some valuable information in these stories for future generations. Some might even label them modern day parables. (O.K. maybe I’m just calling them that.)

Regardless of what you want to call it I’ve been called out by a fellow blogger for ruminating on the past. I see it less like that and more like I’m doing the world a favor by offering young people a warning.

When you begin to navigate the waters of dating, please don’t start out like I did. I didn’t start with a bang, but rather a silent acknowledgement of mutual like, followed by a concerned talk with parents needing clarification of modern “dating” lingo, only to end in agony two days later. The agony was very real, and not in a lovelorn way, but in a rather small, but violent way.

A bit of back story…

It was 1991, living in small town America there had been growing concerns of the Gulf War and how it would affect the future of not just our nation but the world. Operation Desert Storm ended quickly in February with a surplus of American flag pins. Everyone had one in their pocket, or in my case, in the pencil holder of my desk.

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By the end of March my childhood concerns of recycling, rainforest deforestation, pollution and war were quickly dashed by surging teenage hormones. A new boy had come to town, and lucky me the new seating arrangement in class forced him to sit within reaching distance to my right.

As you can imagine, as some of you have seen my 7th grade picture, my self-esteem was not very high. 6th grade wasn’t much better. This was the year of V-cut bangs, which when tackled with a hot iron looked like a neatly curled tumbleweed resting on top of your head.

All of the girls in class reminded me of how lucky I was to be sitting next to the new boy. All I remember is sitting there nervously in a shirt that I thought looked Hawaiian and cultured, but really it was just covered in red and purple fruit.

One sunny recess, as I was playing tetherball a classmate walked up with a note in hand exclaiming, “Special delivery!” The note appeared to be a hand scrawled voting ballot. It read, “Will you go out with me?” with specially drawn boxes for checking yes or no. I was nervous and not old enough to vote, but this process was much easier leaving little room for rigging.

We had library after recess, again the girls in class reminded me of my good fortune. One girl even walked up whispering with elation, “Go for the gold!” When we got back to class, I don’t remember what I did after happily marking the box yes and passing the note back to him. All I remember was when the bell rang at the end of the day on Friday I had my first boyfriend. Next came the hard part.

When I got home I had to tell my parents. I told them I was “going out” with a boy. Their alarm and concern immediately made me wonder what was wrong. They sat me down and asked me to define “going out”. I explained innocently it is when a boy and girl decide they want to stand next to each other in line at the water fountain, talk during recess, maybe sit on the swings near each other and possibly hold hands in line. Honestly I wasn’t sure, I was going by what other classmates told me what “going out” was. An immediate sign of relief was displayed on my parents faces, they returned back to being happy and at dinner time dad made sure to tease me about having a boyfriend.

By Saturday night, the pressure was too much. I couldn’t handle the rigors of having a boyfriend at 11 years old. I was too young and had a whole life ahead of me, I didn’t want the responsibility of being tied down. What if I wanted to work for Green Peace? What if I went to Africa to help other starving 11 year olds? What if I went sailing with Jacques Cousteau to save the whales? I didn’t expect him to sit at home waiting for me to come back with tales of the world. Sunday night I settled into bed with the mindset of conclusion and finality in this relationship.

After the first recess on Monday it was done. We had officially broken up.

This sounds pretty cut and dry doesn’t it? It wasn’t. Apparently a few days after we broke up he already had a new girlfriend. Not only was she new, but she was also very pretty. Something ugly began surging in my body. Suddenly I didn’t feel like I was the special “chosen” one, but very vengeful and jealous. Like maybe our whole weekend of “going out” (which was me sitting in my parents house by myself thinking) didn’t mean anything to him.

When the teacher had to excuse herself from the classroom, I decided to make a move. It was a move of revenge, not just for me, but to do something for all of the wronged vengeful American women and teen-agers. I looked no further than my pencil holder and found my American flag pin.

Back in the 40’s there were Archie comics where they talked about wearing someone’s pin. If a gal decided to wear a fellow’s pin, then they were dating. I had a very different interpretation on “pinning”.

While the teacher was out I waited for my former boyfriend to get up out of his seat. He of course got up to do something mischievous as the teacher was out of the room. Before he sat down I jokingly placed the pin in his chair where he would see it. Which he quickly handed it back to me smiling as the class watched. Just as he was in mid-air about to sit on his chair I thrust the pin where I knew his rear-end would make contact with it.

Bear in mind, I watched a lot of cartoons. Not only did I think this sophomoric stunt would be funny, but I thought even through my weird jealousy which I wasn’t old enough to understand, he would find it funny too.

As he shot up out of his chair, the teacher entered the room to find him bent over, stumbling to her desk while he was fondling his backside trying to find what became stuck through his blue jeans. He was in so much pain he couldn’t really make a sound but the entire time his mouth was open. The class was stunned and immediately I felt guilty when a classmate ratted me out.

However, the former boyfriend didn’t say a word. He was being the better person in all of this. I never got in trouble from the teacher, something tells me maybe she had enough of the mischievousness too.

The important lesson in this modern day parable is this; when you think someone is doing you wrong, never “stick” it to them. Happiness and self-worth is an inside job, don’t allow someone else be in control of yours. Follow your own bliss, don’t feel guilty about it and never wait 24 years to passively aggressively tell someone you’re sorry for your patriotic weirdness you inflicted upon them.

What silly guilt have you carried for a long time? Have you worked up the nerve to tell them you’re sorry?

Admission by a quasi-depressed Quirky Girl

This month I started my first round of anti-depressants. This may come as a surprise to some of my family and friends, but in hindsight, it all makes sense. In 2008 I first noticed a dip in my energy levels, and several changes happening with my body.

I went to an OBGYN to see what the situation was and if she could help. This was my first and last visit with her. At the end of my visit she prescribed me a low dose anti-depressant claiming she was excited because it was the first one she could prescribe without having to give me a referral to a psychiatrist. She said if it didn’t work, she would have to refer me so I could get a stronger dose.

That night I took the meds along with some antibiotics. My body had a violent reaction. It felt like I was coming off of a drug rather than trying to start something to make me feel better. My body shook but I wasn’t cold. I had to quietly rock myself back and forth on the couch to stave off the volatile queasiness in my stomach while my family played a board game in the background.

The next morning my body rejected the pill. As I slept through the night and I slipped into unconsciousness I could no longer rock myself back and forth. Upon waking up, everything bubbled up inside of me. To paraphrase Robin Williams it was as if my stomach had said to it’s contents, “Alright, everybody out, there are only two exits.” So out everything came. When I could finally open my eyes, there in the wretched former contents of my stomach lied the pill I had swallowed the night before. The coating was gone, but the pill remained.

This started my fear of prescription medicines.

At that particular point in time, I finally found a doctor who figured out I had low T-4 hormones in my thyroid. As it turns out, having low thyroid hormones can also cause you to go into depression. This was the first doctor who listened to me and what I had to say. As an added bonus, she was also the one to discover I had two sizable tumors on my thyroid glands as well.

For a while, the new thyroid medicines worked. Then slowly the energy drop came, I had the bouts of feeling horrible, and inevitably, as a result of the depression, it felt as if I only had a few people in my life who understood what I was going through.

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Later on as I was going through a divorce a friend introduced me to boxing. Boxing was a saving grace for a while. It helped me channel my anger and frustrations that came with the aftermath, however it didn’t completely help me cope or deal with life. No matter what you’re going through, you can only punch a bag so many times and exercise so many times before all the problems finally work their way out and you are a blubbering mess in a tightly curled up ball on your couch at 3:00 in the morning.

I tried kidding myself. I tried telling myself that I just had to deal with issues. I just had to get through it, push through and it will all be fine. Eventually I completely shut down and became anti-social. I quit talking to friends who had initially helped me through my first mess and then for some reason anxiety developed and there I was again, curled up in a ball on the hand-me- down forest green couch which crawled out of my child hood and into my adult hood with me.

I was in denial it was depression.

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I had a few doctors try to tell me I was clinically depressed but refused to believe them. So I moved back home. I moved where it was safe and not a whole lot of people I grew up with knew everything I had been through. They knew the gist, but they didn’t know when I was married I was in denial about disguising my drinking as celebratory. They didn’t know my binging on the hard liquor was my realization toward the end of the marriage that everything about it had been crumbling at it’s base from the beginning. (By my own admission, it takes two to make a marriage and in no way am I saying I’m perfect and am not at fault with some things.) They didn’t know the hazy wash of alcohol over my brain cells meant I didn’t have to deal with something for an hour, or two, or if it was New Year’s Eve a solid possible eight hours followed by a 24 hour migraine. If my divorce was the earthquake, then the drinking was the tremors. They didn’t know I felt isolated even though I was very much loved by people at my former job. They didn’t know that even though I still had family in the big city that I loved, for some reason I couldn’t admit to them what I was going through. I was ashamed. I was ashamed my life had turned out the way that it had. I felt like a huge disappointment to everyone in the big city.

So, I moved home.

After moving home, my friends from childhood and my parents helped bolster me back up. My spirits became raised and even though I was geographically distant from my friends and family in the big city, my communications with them became stronger and they slowly understood the purpose for moving away, self preservation.

After I moved home, a slew of other problems had started to take place. The job I was offered was now on the line due to unforeseen circumstances, so I immediately started searching for another job( which I still have! ). About a month after getting the job, my Grandfather passed away, the month after that one of my best friends passed away. Things were looking pretty grim. It was as if life had sucker punched me, waited for me to fall, and then kicked me in the stomach while I was lying on the ground.

For a short time life became good again, things were going well at work, I started dating my husband and shortly after we were married, my brain went berserk. Old things crept up. I started struggling with thought processes again. As I sat there, I could pin point all of the good things going right with my life, yet if a Freight Liner ran me over or a T.V. fell on my head or something, for some reason it seemed like that would be the better option, and my husband and family would be better off without me in their lives. I have no explanation for feeling this way.

Again I was ashamed.

It took me months before finally breaking into tears and admitting to my parents what was going through my head and that running in front of a truck was going to feel better than anything that had passed through my mind. Then as life would have it, my brain started playing tricks on me. It started feeling better.

The dark thoughts went away but were replaced by restless sleep, phantom aches and pains in the body.

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The desire was there in my heart to go out, do my boxing routine, do the laundry, clean the house, but my mind had other plans. My mind demanded that I be tired and in pain 16 hours out of the day. It demanded I felt as lousy getting out of the bed, as lousy I had crawled into it.

Last month, my mother was perusing a website for a family member and stumbled across some medical information. All my symptoms sounded like Fibromyalgia. As a shot in the dark, I was desperate to do anything to feel better. I was willing to do anything to return back to the bubbly woman my husband fell in love with enough to marry her. I was desperate to be the friend my besties remembered who was the one you could always count on to make them smile when they were going through a tough time. I wanted to be able to focus on others rather than focusing on myself.

I made and went to the appointment last month. The doctor listened. She agreed it could be Fibromyalgia, however Fibromyalgia can go hand in hand with depression. The short version of the long story, she prescribed me anti-depressants. At first, I was dumbfounded. Even after I had told her the story of the pill coming out the same way it went in, she still suggested taking the medicine I had been dreading.

Reluctantly that night I took the pill.

It didn’t come up.

What did come up was three short rages of emotions, one in which my husband for the first time saw all the rage and anger that needed to work its way to the surface. The only thing he could do (or anyone could do) in that moment was stand in the kitchen and witness me screaming and cursing profanities at nothing particular while kicking a sandal I had just tripped on because I thought it had spited me. (For people who don’t know me, cursing is not my normal Modus Operandi.)

The next emotion came in the car when I called my doctor’s nurse back after she left a message the night before at her urging. She said the doctor couldn’t get the referral to the neurologist. We decided to wait a month and see how the medicine was working and if the Anit-depressants would help things in the meantime. After I got off the phone my eyes started leaking and I couldn’t control it. I was STILL in denial it was depression and thought my doctor was making excuses why I couldn’t see a neurologist. Then my husband had to talk me down. He understood all along what was going on but I didn’t.

Another small burst of tears came later in the day, and then I was done.

(By the way, did I mention all of this happened on his birthday?) This is a true testament to his character, he understands what it is like to feel pent up anger and rage and not know why. He understands that sometimes you have to get things out in order to feel better. He understood me…he too suffers from depression. I am not the type of person who would normally do an outburst on someone’s birthday and cause them distress. He knew that. I knew that and still couldn’t figure it out, but he already had.

Then I realized shortly thereafter, I was an Ogre. By that I am referencing the beloved children’s book and movie character Shrek who had many metaphorical layers. Once the pain started fading, I had a jovial conversation with my Mom and then separately with my Husband, they both said the same thing. With this medicine, there will be layers removed that have been built up over time. No matter what caused it, whether it was self imposed or caused by things in life, it will just take time, and for once I laughed during conversation. Luckily, I have people in my life now I am not afraid to show what lies beneath those layers. They understand I am not always the happy-go-lucky person everyone used to think I was. I try to be that person, I want to be that person, but it is going to be a while in getting back to that person who is no longer jaded by life or a victim to her own brain chemistry.

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Once I quit feeling ashamed of my emotions and what I had gone through and admitted to myself not everyone can be an over-achiever, I realized being an Ogre wasn’t such a bad thing. If being an Ogre meant having layers, then that meant sharing similarities to other wonderful things like, Onions, or Parfaits.

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What have you gone through that you have had a hard time admitting to yourself you needed help? How did you go about getting help?

Exclamation!

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The other week I caught a whiff of something, it was a smell transporting me back to 1994. It reminded me of a particular perfume I used to wear when going out with a particular boy. Even more so, it reminded me of the trouble my friend had gotten into the very night we went on a triple date.

My friend had invited us to a dance at the Elk’s lodge in our small town; which our town is no longer that small but I digress. This was a new experience, somehow she caught wind of this shindig from some of her friends and then told myself, one of my other best friends and the person I was dating at the time about it. It was exciting for us because this was not a dance on school property, which meant opportunity to meet people we’ve never met before, therefore begetting new experiences and semi-reinventing ourselves with another group of people. Even though we dressed the same as we did at school, here we were free to be ourselves and feel good about our social experience no matter how horrible we were at slow dancing.

In preparation for that night, I set my other bestie up with a guy friend of mine. In addition to setting my friend up for the night, I sprayed and doused myself with a perfume called, “Exclamation”. It seemed appropriate. I get nervous when hanging out with other people no matter how well I know them; I never wanted to be the smelly kid.

My date and I arrived at the lodge, which from the outside looked more like a temporarily built corrugated metal building. Thank goodness it wasn’t storming that night, otherwise the entire building and dance floor would have been turned into an “electric boogaloo”.

My date was wearing his faux cowboy outfit (he obviously was trying to completely reinvent himself) and I was wearing my favorite wool plaid dress which looked like a Piet Mondrian painting. In order to complete this look, my friend and I purposely wore mismatched socks featuring Sylvester the cat on one and Snoopy on the other. Even though we were mismatched, we at least matched each other for fun. Topping off the mismatched socks we also wore Birkenstock sandals. Yes dear readers, we were awesome.

We made our way inside to find our friends dancing, and boogying down with many other teenagers in a dark one room area lit with Christmas lights. The MC was quite a bit older than the rest of us and burst out some dance moves none of us had ever seen before. The more he danced the more we egged him on to keep going. It was at this point his hip or back gave out on him and he gave up dancing for the night. Shortly thereafter the party kind of died.

The next week I had asked my friend who invited all of us out to go and do something. Apparently she had lied to her parents and they knew nothing about our night of innocent boogying. She was grounded for what seemed like forever, but apparently this was nothing new to her. I learned from that moment on, my friends’ parents should always know what we were doing, even if my parents were ok with us going out. I just wanted to ensure no one was ever grounded again; exclamation point.

What scent transports you?

Is it Vegas yet?

imageThe sun was beating down and we were dressed in the same clothes we wore on our first date. We had just come from the marriage license bureau downtown in Las Vegas and we soon learned why Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny always pictured an oasis in the middle of the desert. At mile marker three, the man soon to be my husband had developed a limp from a swollen knee and I had developed a wobble that resembled an old woman with two hip replacements. We soon learned why there once was a Mirage hotel, and we realized landmarks are not closer than they appear in the desert.

He had to help me down the dips in the sidewalk just to get to the next sidewalk or street corner. During one part of this adventure I literally had to hold onto a chain link fence down the main stretch of boulevard in Las Vegas while wearing high heels. During our walk, a woman looked at me and said, “Oh honey, just take them off! ” I couldn’t. There were questionable light poles used as restrooms in the night and gum on the sidewalk left over from the year 1953; possibly slapped out of someone’s mouth by Frank Sinatra himself. How did we get here? How did we get to this point?

Those on the outside might think this seems sudden. However, it isn’t sudden. We met over a year and a half ago at a best friend’s apartment warming party. It was before the friend and I had become truly best friends, it was the start of becoming “bests” in eachothers’ lives.

While our friend was occupied by her guests and room mate, another bestie who came with me to the party ventured with me into the crowd on the balcony to say hi to others and mingle. Thats when he approached.

He approached with a huge smile, freshly shaved head and an outfit in black with some punk rock features. My first thought when meeting him was, “He doesn’t match his clothes.” He was too friendly and too talkative to match his dark attire which normally is worn by those who wish to be left alone. His smile and attitude were a direct contradiction to his attire. He made myself and bestie feel comfortable in a room full of strangers.

As he continued to talk I couldn’t help but notice his beautiful eyes, and be bashful. I couldn’t figure out why he was paying so much attention to me until about two months later our mutual best friend clued me in to what was going on. She suggested he was single, which explained why he continually came through my check out line at work. I waited for him to give me his number, which never happened.

A series of events happened which lead me to move back home from St. Louis. It wasn’t until a year later from when we spoke at his birthday party we reconnected; again through our best friend.

This friend is how we wound up in Vegas. She invited both my groom to be and myself before we ever even started dating, to her wedding. He was going to be the photographer and I was going to be the bridesmaid. We didn’t know the other was invited.

Late in June I had an inside joke while texting with my St. Louis bestie. It was about men and my lack of luck thereof with them. Suddenly she texted back, “There’s always ______” . Did she just say what I think she said? I couldn’t believe it. Did he like me? Would he be willing to do a semi-long distance relationship? Would he even entertain the idea of dating a woman who wants to make comic books for the rest of her life while simultaneously becoming a boxer? Does he like silly women who sometimes are at a loss for words and speak in nothing but sound effects? When I say silly I mean REALLY silly…

Her reply, “Facebook friend him and find out.”

I nervously friend requested him. You all know that moment; the moment where you hesitate because you’re a little intimidated by someone for some reason, but something pushes you to friend them anyway. I hit send. The next morning I awoke to find he had accepted said request, and suddenly I had a few more hits on my blog than normal. He had been reading this blog, and replying. Suddenly we were emailing everyday as if we were pioneers on chuck wagons writing back home. Every time I read his emails in the morning I would blush and cover my face as if someone had actually heard the sweet things he had just written; that was a first for me. In fact I’m sure I was even blushing on lunch break when I would check my email then; my coworkers knew something was up and new.

Over the course of three months, the man that would become my husband and I joked about Vegas and getting married there. Whether our friend realized it or not she had planted the seed of thought since he and I went on our first date.

That first date lead us to wandering around trying to find the perfect destination in Vegas to get married at, the perfect scenic venue. We had to stop into a friendly little Chinese food diner just to get something to drink, we were tired and sweaty and many miles away from our desired location. Quite a few locals along the way spotted us carrying our papers and said congratulations. We weren’t married yet and were already acting like it apparently, which is a good sign if people can spot it blocks away…and again they probably also spotted the papers. We finally made it to the Bellagio. We wanted to get married in front of it because of the historical movie significance and because across the street was a gorgeous view of a fake Eiffel tower and hot air balloon.

We called the wedding place in Vegas that promised to pull up curbside and marry you on the sidewalk of your choice promising to get the scenic pictures you wanted against your favorite Vegas back drop. The place was booked until 9:30…P.M. We were so deflated, mentally and literally in a physical sense that I decided to finally take my shoes off and take it easy for a bit. We walked too far and too long to just not get married immediately. That is when we realized it didn’t matter where we got married, the important part is that we were getting married; to each other.

In a fit of tired genius my fiance called our hotel to ask if they could squeeze in a marriage ceremony for us at their chapel. They said, “Sure, when is good for you? We have a two thirty and four thirty available.” We asked for the two thirty appointment, and hopped in the next cab we could get. We couldn’t have asked for a better or friendlier cab driver. He imparted words of wisdom during our car journey, and wished us well. We made it upstairs to the chapel, we filled out our forms, and walked down the aisle together like two old souls. Then again maybe we just felt like two old souls because we had wandered seven miles in a city in the middle of a desert in dress shoes and high heels. As we hobbled down the aisle together, the imperfection of that moment is what made it perfect.

In the end, the next night we finally did get pictures in front of the fake Eiffel tower; while wearing more sensible shoes…which was another adventure in of itself.

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What major event happened in your life, turned out better the way it did than you had originally planned?

The Smoking Shoe

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The other night my boyfriend and I were leaving separately from our rendezvous middle point between our two cities. The weekend prior he had accidentally left a pair of shoes at my parents house, which I had intended to return to him this weekend. In doing so, he pointed out to me at the end of the night, “Yes, I am wearing two different shoes”…because this usually happens when you go to the local park and traipse through a sand pit and try to put your shoes on in the dark.

This is when it hit me; a light bulb came on above my head. It may not be the most brilliant of schemes, it may be unconventional, but it just might work.

“Well if you want to get your other shoe back, you will have to quit smoking then”, I said.

“What?”

Again I repeated myself. His response wasn’t him being defiant, he just honestly didn’t hear everything I said.

I had hounded my dad when I was kid to quit smoking, and my mother had tried to get my grandfather to quit smoking. Needless to say, not only do I come from a line of smoking family members, I come from a line of people that care if those smokers quit too.

Some of those smokers turned to chewing tobacco, some turned to gum. My dad turned to pipe smoking, then hard candy after a cancer scare and none of these options are exactly decent substitutes as they can be addicting themselves and have other consequences; like rotten teeth and an expensive dental visit. Lucky for dad he was blessed with extremely good dental genes.

With that in mind from previous experience in helping someone quit smoking, it has become my mission to find unconventional ways to help my boyfriend quit smoking.

On the surface, yes it sounds crazy forcing mismatched shoes on someone. However, let’s take time to think about this. Everywhere he goes, he will have to explain why he is wearing a shoe on each foot from two different sets of shoes. You can’t go to the gas station just to fill up your car and get coffee without being asked about your shoes. You can’t go to work with one work boot and one everyday shoe on without being harassed by the guys. Then when you go to hang out with your friends; especially those that really care about you, they will inevitably grill you about your mismatched shoes and how they came to be on your feet.

With enough people hounding him about his “odd couple” shoes, and asking why they don’t match, he will get tired of explaining “why” from all the questioning and change his smoker ways. At least that is the hypothesis to this scientific, yet social experiment.

Yes, he has other pairs of shoes, but those are dress shoes. Both sets of these shoes described in this story can be for work or play, and these are the only two specifically used for this purpose! (In case anyone wanted to thwart my theory.)

In the end I caved and wound up returning both sets of shoes, but the next opportunity I get I am stealing at least one left from one pair and one right shoe from another set he uses every time he has to take a smoke break.

Hey it’s not the worst idea out there.

What eccentric thing have you done in the hopes of helping or bettering someone’s life?

Inspiration

No Dragonflies were hurt in the process of this date…

Earlier this month after having published my last post, WordPress popped up with a congratulatory salutation and a quote by Anais Nin. It read, “My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.” I immediately wrote the quote down because as you know, this is typically the inspiration for my blog. I rely on my own experiences for literary fodder.

Hopefully, after reading the above quote and the following explanation, you can forgive my slight absence and hiatus from Diary of a Quirky Girl. This last month seems to have felt like four for me. Each week seeming longer than the last and like each one was a month in of itself. This month was jam-packed full of adventure, stories, and relating to another based on our life experiences and talents.

The month began like most months for a single, quirky, hopeless romantic female who just wants someone to understand her and find her snort laugh endearing. Unbeknownst to said quirky female, she didn’t know what the following month would have in store for her. She didn’t realize she wanted more than just someone; anyone, to find her window shattering cackle funny, but wanted someone who understood her past, her pain, where she had been and more importantly; where she was going and the positivity she wanted to bring into the world.

It all started with a shopping trip for a bachelorette party, a text conversation with a best friend in St. Louis followed by a Facebook friend request to someone like myself, who had been searching for something very real.

The ONLY downside to finding something very real, is putting yourself out there, with the possibility of making a fool of yourself, and hoping the other person accepts you as you…and stepping in goose poop. Actually the first part of that sentence isn’t really a downside, and actually when you’re in the process of getting to know someone, it helps you to find out who they really are in response to your idiosyncrasies and quirks.

Luckily for me, this person wanted to join me in exploring quirks like (in no particular order):

Contemplating the idea of scaring a sleeping old man dressed like someone out of a barbershop quartet with a straw hat over his face, on the sun porch of his beautiful home.

Waving at small children you don’t know.

Talking with your hands while forgetting you have a cup of coffee in one of them and thus spilling it everywhere.

Getting lost after having just left the coffee place you came from on foot.

Going to an incredibly funny play, laughing hysterically at the witty banter and slapstick humor and getting to sit uncomfortably close to one of the actors in the balcony as part of their “schtick”.

Trying real Sushi for the first time…and enjoying it.

Wearing dress clothes and pretending to be the next American Ninja Warrior on a jungle gym in the middle of the town you both decided to meet in.

Seeing a flock of geese from the car after having taken off your heels and dress shoes, running like crazy towards them screaming like a wild person and accidentally stepping in goose poop. Meanwhile a woman in a burka smiles after she had just fed said geese.

Scaring every frog and dragonfly in the process of chasing aforementioned geese.

Getting lost AGAIN while trying to find the darn hole in the wall coffee-house you left for the jungle gym and getting sidetracked by geese as a side product.

These are just a handful of things that happened on our first date. As you can see, after that first date, this is why the two weeks that followed felt like two whole months, not only for me, but for the quirky partner in crime that joined me on that adventure as well. In the weeks after, we were still following up with each other, wanting to know more about the other, what inspires them, and encouraging the other to be crazy and creative, which is something we seem to be best at and are even better at being both when we’re together.

Literally I can not do justice in words with the fun experience we had on our first date, it was one of those things where, “you had to be there”.

The quirky partner I just mentioned, also surprised me by being available to come down for the weekend to briefly meet my parents, and go out and commit more random acts of foolishness and kindness towards informative children at a bowling alley. Secretly I think the children were computer programming geniuses crammed into a 7-year-old body trying to con us out of more tickets to get the whoopee cushion they were saving up for but that is another story for another time.

Let’s just say, this person, these times we’ve been spending together, is the creative push I’ve needed to make something of myself. As a side note, yes, my family and friends are very encouraging, but it’s very different coming from someone who has the same goals in life as you and you share the common bond of being the oddball and black sheep. Seeing and knowing what he does creatively, artistically and in a literary sense, makes me want to be better, and not just be better at my talent, but be a better version of myself. His creative and life nudge said to me, “Hey, if I can do it, you can too, why are you letting your past hold you back?”

Knowing your potential, and seeing it in someone else, and knowing you can be something bigger and better than you are, is the best personal gift he’s given me. (Next to the art piece he made for me to wear in my hair and the Superman cape he thought to win for me while he was with his family at Six Flags…)

So to my fellow readers and writers out there, I apologize again for the absence. I had to be away from my keyboard to get back to living, feel alive, stoke the fire of creativity, and come back to write with a basketful of inspiration. Thank you for being patient with me and soon you will be reading about the effect this relationship is having on my art career and other areas of my life. Again, words fail me at the moment but that is the artist in me talking. Sometimes it takes me a while to calm down and let the feelings process into words in the left lobe of my brain; rattle and ricochet around and then spew out like water from a faucet where the handles have been broken off and there is no plumber around to fix it.  In that instance that is when I figure I may as well play and jump in the puddles created from this beautiful chaos of the creative process. At least, for the time being that is the best way I can describe it.

What or who inspires you? Who has inspired you to be creatively better than you imagined? When have you had an awakening to your potential?

Cat and Mouse

This will make sense later…

There is a self help book I’ve frequently thumbed through in which at different points in the year you sit down and answer the questions presented within it’s pages.  It’s a book to help you pin point defining moments in your life and why you do what you do.  There was one section in particular on dating.  One of the questions posed is when beginning or pursuing a relationship, if you were to compare it to game of “Cat and Mouse”, would you be the cat or the mouse?  Originally my answer was the mouse that turns into a cat.  Recently I started thinking again about that question, and was my answer correct?  Suddenly today I remembered I wasn’t always the mouse turning into the cat, but sometimes in a constant state of flux between the two.  I remember a particular situation where I started as the mouse, became the cat and then quickly in a flash became the mouse again.

Never having dated this particular person I’m about to tell you about; the one who was always the cat to my mouse and vice versa, they probably never would have realized the funny life lesson created in the process of their game, let alone remember it.

I was a freshman in high-school when I first met him in Science class. He was goofy, out-going and talked to everyone at least a desk’s distance from him. The time I recall him first noticing me was during the school’s spirit week. Everyday we were supposed to dress up as something different to show support for our school’s Football team. One day was Biker day. I went over the top, wearing my scrunchy leather boots tucking my jeans into them, a white T-shirt and a red bandana on my head. I probably looked like a very young female version of Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band fame. This particular boy kept asking me if my “hog” was in the shop. This new attention from a cute boy rendered me suddenly shy and quiet, leaving me to look down at my desk and giggle.

The week went on and the last day was the day to sport our school colors which were red, white and black. I wore my favorite black hat; it was my favorite because it was a birthday present from my parents and Janet Jackson wore one just like it. I even went through the effort to paint a small send up to my school’s team on my cheek that morning. It was early in the morning and I very carefully painted a paw print, with our school’s name leading out from it. Because I wasn’t wide awake yet (we’ll blame it on that) I forgot to take note to write it backwards while looking in the mirror. A few hours later when I showed up to Science class it didn’t dawn on me all the letters of the school name didn’t make sense until this particular boy made mention of it. As the people would say today, “Epic Fail.”  However, it did get him to notice me…again.

He was a year ahead of me in school, and honestly I hadn’t really talked to him since Freshman year in our Science class despite numerous and obvious attempts at trying to get his attention in and out of school. At the end of my Senior year when it came time for me to search for universities and inquire about some, my mother suggested I call him to ask him what it was like to go to the particular school I had in mind; which he also happened to go to. It was an awkward conversation, just to call someone up out of the blue you hadn’t talked to in a very long time and to talk to someone who also knew at one time you had a crush on them. You have to admit from his perspective, it was a little weird.

Fast forward to Freshman year of college. Starting a semester late I wanted to take some time off to kick back and have some fun with friends. Throughout the first semester and the second he and I had several instances where we ran into each other with him calling my name across campus or a semi-crowded computer lab.  Looking back perhaps we were both looking for something familiar in an unfamiliar setting.  I found myself liking the attention so much I would purposely time my appearance in the spots where I had previously run into him hoping it would happen again.  Suddenly it seemed when one of us was doing the chasing and being the cat, the other became the mouse running from the other.

Our next and final encounter was very strange. It was several months later and very cold. I was bundled in several layers of warm clothing due to the massive amount of walking involved to get from class to class on campus. Heading to my best friend’s dorm I never expected what would happen next.

Going into the dorm I went through the first set of glass doors to enter the foyer where people dust the snow off their shoes. Putting my gloved hand on the handle of the second set of glass doors I looked through to see the boy who had chased me down months prior, the boy who I had a crush on all those years ago; talking to another boy who I had also had embarrassing moments in front of that I used to work with. I panicked, turned around and ran bursting through the first set of glass doors. I had to think quick, knowing he could see me through the doors I would come off looking like a complete goof running down the sidewalk.  Instead I swiftly diverted to the side out of sight where I knew the out-door for residents of the dorm was and  hoped he hadn’t seen me. A few students came out of the door, I hustled trying to get to it before it closed. I was too late. I started to tug and pull on the door handle praying to God someone would walk through that door letting me in.

Here I am, pulling with all my might on the handle, everything short of leveraging my feet on the wall trying to pull the door open, when suddenly the boy walked out of the double glass doors in the cold. He looked over with a puzzled look on his face saying, “What’re you doing over there?” All I could do was look at him, look at the door and say, “Uuuhhh…I was trying to get in?” He smiled, laughed and said, “You can’t get in that way.” I didn’t know how to tell him I knew it was an out-door without looking like a stalker, so I had to settle for looking like an idiot. He asked suspiciously, “Why are you here?” His question was the prompt to tell him I knew all along that door was an out-door thus blowing my cover as an idiot.  I honestly told him, “I’m here to visit my friend.”

“Who is your friend?” he asked. I told him my friend’s name which is when he said, “Well lets find her on the sheet here.” At that time apparently the University we attended didn’t see a concern for posting student names with their dorm room phone number in the foyer of the buildings. He wanted to call her to see if she was in. This is when my “Spidey” senses started tingling.  His actions made it official that he thought I had been stalking him and wanted to know if I was telling the truth. I called my friend, and there was no answer. It was embarrassing, because at this point he really thought I had possibly made everything up. Suddenly he said, “Want to come up to my dorm and hang out?” I had previously met one of his room mates when we bumped into each other at the library my first semester there, so I didn’t see any harm in it, I was cold anyway and desperately needed to warm up.

Suddenly with every step we took up the hallway instead of feeling like this was something fun, something I would have wanted to happen several months prior, I realized something wasn’t right. We headed up to his dorm where we sat in the common area of the suite he was living in with four other guys. There were two leather lazy boy recliners with some dim lighting. Just behind the chair he sat in was a bookshelf where the top was littered with Corona bottles and beer bottles. Suddenly his squeaky clean, fun-loving demeanor was rapidly diminishing in my mind. The campus was a dry campus; absolutely no alcohol was allowed and if caught you could not only be cited but also kicked out. I wasn’t one to judge others for having fun and doing it in their own way, but something alerted me to a change within him.  He wasn’t always like this, had this been something indicative of his nature, there wouldn’t have been any worries. I didn’t dare move from the chair I sat in. I wasn’t scared, but I knew something wasn’t right.

From my chair I could see into his fellow suite-mates’ room where he had a Shania Twain poster of her in a  Cheetah print bustier corset surrounded by some Cheetah print scarves. He claimed every night he and his suite mates would go into this room and bow down to the Shania poster every night before they went to sleep. I thought this was either odd, or his sad attempt at humor. He then told me he and his other suite mates would purposely prank his roommate by putting the roommate’s computer home page as a “rude” website just to mess with him. As I sat there absorbing this situation and the surroundings, a sudden realization was setting in this guy no longer should stand on the pedestal I put him on and I desperately wanted out of his dorm suite. I wanted my friend to get back to her dorm so I could escape and be in her familiar comfortable room decorated with her inspirational mementos and her roommate’s Winnie the Pooh decor.

Quickly I asked to use his phone, called her, and luckily she was in. I said, “Yeah, do you mind if I bring a friend and we come down?” Later she admitted she was a bit befuddled by the question because usually I was coming up to see her, not coming down. This Shania-Twain-loving-boy and I made our way down a few floors where finally he saw proof I wasn’t stalking him, and indeed I had a friend who lived in the building. We all sat and talked for hours, finally the tension eased and he realized he didn’t have to put on this act of being a rude guy just to get me un-interested in him.

Many years later he had a class at a different college with another friend of mine. He found out (at the time) I was engaged to be married and told my friend, “Tell her congratulations, she’s finally getting everything she’s ever wanted.” The way the comment was conveyed to me by my friend had a biting edge to it.  It was as if he still felt like I had been stalking him like a cat because of our last encounter, despite introducing my friend to him to prove once and for all the genuine run-ins I had with him were happenstance.

When has someone in your life constantly called your attention only to reject you later for no reason? What lesson have you learned from someone you had a crush on?  Who was the cat to your mouse or vice versa?

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