how am i supposed to let you go?
I was excited for a date I had with an old acquaintance I went to school with. This guy moved to New York a few months back and we hung out a couple of times with some flirtations, but to me this time was to be more of a real date, since I had sort of implied I was interested in being more than friends the last time we hung out. But, as this weekend showed me, I think things turn out best when you have the least expectations for them. This whole date that I had looked forward to and pretty much planned out, kinda fell flat on its face. I was so thoroughly turned off throughout the evening, that I would not hang out with this guy again alone, only if some other college friends were around as well.
First off, he just insulted me a lot. I think it was meant to be in a flirtatious-teasing way, and it was, but there was just too much of it and I started to get pissed. A little bit is fine, but I was annoyed by the end of the date. He said things like “You’re just walking in Greenpoint hun, don’t worry so much” (When I called him about where to meet, and he thought I was lost and scared. I grew up here dude, I’m fine, thank you very much) and “All Long Islanders drive drunk, where’s your car?” and “You don’t even know how to read that map, why do you care?” and “Can you put that N64 back where you found it? I wasn’t the one who wanted to play” etc, etc, etc.
That, and there was no conversation between us. I felt like I was being talked at really quickly and couldn’t keep up with what he was saying, and he made me feel like I was dumb because I couldn’t understand him. He seems like one of those guys that just spends a lot of time on cracked.com and has a million useless facts about everything. But in addition to that, he was going on and on about his job in management consulting, which I 1. know nothing about, and 2. have very little interest in. I don’t think he asked me how school was going or what was going on in my life at all. It was shitty.
Since I felt like the whole point of the evening was to go back to his place, I agreed, just because I was still willing to give him a shot, and more than anything, I wanted to know how he kissed. Truth be told, I haven’t had much kissing experience in my lifetime, and since I’d been kissing the same person for the past 3 years, I wanted to get to know the difference between good kissing and bad kissing. So, we go back to his place, we finally put on netflix to watch a show and maybe cuddle up, and then he takes out his phone and disappears into it, as if I’m not even there, as if I’m watching the show completely alone. No haha, did you see that part? or Oh man, what actor is that? I saw him in Hot Tub Time Machine and he was hilarious! Nothing. And he does this for literally 30 minutes. What the fuck?!?!
I was thoroughly ticked off at this point…but, still curious. Curious enough to forget all of the awful stuff that happened and make-out? Yes, that type of curious. I did it mostly because, well, that was the whole point of me going there, to act on or see if I wanted to act on a flirtation or spark that’d been there for awhile. I did it for me, because I wanted to. Initially I thought we might bone, and I even packed a condom in my tiny change purse in my bag. I brought contacts in case I ended up spending the night (see what I mean about expectations), and even wore my silky blue and white striped panties (that were extremely uncomfortable, but oh so sexy). But, after he was such a big jerk all night, and especially after he rudely ignored me for 30 minutes at what should have been the most crucial of courting moments, I took sex off the table. But discovering what type of kisser he was? I could handle that.
And why was I not surprised that he was TERRIBLE?! It felt like a dry, lizard’s tongue darting in and out of my mouth. And the rhythm, our rhythms were really off. He would go in and I would go out. His lips never made the kiss shape and mine went back and forth between a closed and open-mouthed kiss. His kiss had no form, it was just a shapeless blob, and I was not into it. And almost immediately there after he laid me down and tried unbuttoning my sweater and awkwardly rubbing/stroking my crotch. This, I was also not into. It was all just too awkward and wooden and bumpy and the complete opposite of sexy and smooth. After a couple more awkward crotch rubs I stopped him. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something along the lines of “Is it alright if we just cuddle?”
And so we cuddled, rather awkwardly, for another 10 minutes or so, and then I said I had to go. He walked me to the subway, which felt uncharacteristically gentleman-like for him, and I went home. And now I know what the spark was, and how it would’ve played out, and how it did. And even if the the night turned out shitty, I was glad that at least now I knew.
I don’t know what to do about this guy. He doesn’t respond to my messages, and I don’t know whether to believe he’s not into me, or he’s just a space cadet. I’ve only written two sentences here but, I already know what I need to do: stop texting him! If he really wants to hang out, he can answer/respond to my messages and make plans in a real and solid way.
The real dilemma here is, I like his swag and his style and his taste in music. It’s pulling me into a vortex where texts are never responded to–and nothing but bad news can come of it. I let myself dream too much. Now that I have a name, a face, and a body to put to a personality, I let myself dream. I dream that we’re ice skating in a new york city park, laughing and holding hands, picking each other up when we fall. Though since he’s played hockey as a kid he’ll be all sexy teaching me what he knows, doing little tricks on the ice to show off.
I dream that he comes out to Long Island, and I pick him up from the train, and he compliments me on the music I’m listening to 🙂 and we drive to the beach and pick songs for each other and explore each other’s musical tastes, and then each other’s bodies. . .and after I’d take him to my favorite bar and we’d get cheap beer and make out in the corner booth.
Le sigh. I let myself dream too much. I’m in love with the dream. Love too much the possibility of what could be.
It was so hot outside, and I had to drive to my grandmother’s house to do laundry because I was still using her washer and dryer because I didn’t like using the laundromat near my apartment. I stepped out of the car and took a strong inhale of chlorine from the neighbor’s pool. I was reminded of when I used to come here as a little kid, especially on hot summer days like today. My brothers and I would head straight to the backyard, our life preservers hanging from the clothes line underneath the awning, so small, mine was red with white stripes, which I always needed help stepping into and zipping up–my twin brother and I were the babies of the family. Everything was so exciting back then, and swimming was perhaps the most exciting. It reminded me how little I get excited about now. We would swim around and cool off, we’d play shark where three of us were on the raft and one was the shark and the shark tried to knock the others into the water. A game that always ended in tears, especially when I deemed my brother Alex as being too rough, and purposely trying to dunk me, or push me underwater. There was a paper wasp nest underneath the pool railing one summer on the far side, and sometimes we’d run away from the bees and be entertained by that.
I remember the sharp contrast of coming inside my grandparents brick cold air conditioned house after being outside in the heat. It was always too cold, that false air-conditioned cool that can make you feel sick if you fall asleep in it. We’d go into the den, which we called the new room because it was the new addition on the house, and would dry ourselves off on the big wrap around couch while eating sleeves of unsalted saltine crackers. We’d watch Jude Judy or Dr. Phil, or whatever Nickelodeon shows were on at the time. Sometimes I’d sneak up to my grandparents bedroom and look through their night table draws. I remember finding a Vitamin C drop one time on my grandfather’s side and eating it and thinking I was naughty, aside from being only slightly concerned at not knowing what I’d eaten.
My mom would leave us with our chocolate Yoohoos and go into the kitchen to gossip about the family with my grandmother. Even from a young age, I knew this is what she was doing, at least subconsciously. But it never registered fully until just this day, as a 24 year old woman, that that’s what it was all about: gossip.
My grandparents don’t have the pool anymore, and going there today made me wish they did. Whenever anyone’s asked me what my earliest memory was or what my childhood was like, I always said I couldn’t remember. But I think I know more than I think I do. I think we all do. Some part of me or version of myself knows, and today, looking back, it felt good to know that, to remember, to see where things come from or maybe how they’ve always been. But to know that you might be the way you are because it’s a story, it’s linear, it all links together.
Plot – Short story, driving through the suburbs, and he makes eye contact with a stranger in the next car over. From the male’s point of view. Cheesy romantic story. He can’t get her face out of his head. In that one moment, her eyes held all the light, all of the possibilities in the world. The power to release him, the power to be a better person. If asked, he could scarcely remember the details of her face, but he knew the image in its entirety by heart. Perhaps most importantly, he remembered the feeling. The experience left him buzzing all over–and she had looked at him too! And in that one small moment, a lifetime of memories had been exchanged. She understood him exactly as he was now, and saw and understood how every moment until then had made him who he was today. She saw that he was lonely, but didn’t judge him. She understood, because she was lonely too. This is crazy, he thought. Maybe I’m just projecting all these ideas onto somebody else. Maybe it really is all in my head. I mean, she basically doesn’t exist, she only did for that one moment. She’s as fictional as a blow-up doll. You don’t want to be one of those creepy blow-up doll guys do you? But maybe…maybe it’s not so crazy. Maybe it is and that’s what love is anyway. Is reality trusting how you feel in the moment, trusting yourself to be judge over your world? Or is there something else out there, external to everyone and everything, existing only in the cracks and in the spaces, in between your fingertips and in the air between lips when lips kiss. I know what I saw, he said, and I know what I felt. I need to find that girl.
I was very tempted to make this sound like one of those buzzfeed articles you see all over the place: “13 Fail-Proof Anxiety Tips You Won’t Believe Actually Work” or “17 Tricks To Melt Away Anxiety, You Won’t Believe Number 7!!” Then everyone clicks and instantly scrolls to number 7. But, I opted for the more sincere and less sarcastic route, I think this topic deserves it anyway. I’ve been a very anxious person for most of my life, but I wasn’t able to figure this out myself until after I graduated college. Even though I’d been aware of anxious feelings within myself since I was 14, I didn’t consciously understand this was anxiety until much later.
At 24, it’s something I deal with a lot now. This is a difficult time because you have to deal, really, with the fact that you have to grow up. It’s funny though, because my grandfather is always telling me how at my age he was already working, and already had a job, and his family was so poor, etc etc. I get that. But we’re from different generations, and young adults at my age seem to be getting younger and younger, but this is a whole post for another time anyway. My point is, graduating college comes with the pressure of “figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life,” and for me, that was a lot. So, lately I’ve managed to practice most of the random tips and tricks I’ve learned in dealing with anxiety, and I’d like to share them with you here 🙂
1. Breathe – I put this as number one, because I think it’s one of the most immediate ways to calm yourself down. You just breathe in, and breathe out, deeply. Count to 4 breathing in, and count to 4 breathing out. And whenever you lose focus on your breath, simply start again. Do it when you’re doing the dishes, when you’re driving, when you’re on the phone with your mom, when you’re cooking, when you’re in the shower. When you’re anxious, you’re probably holding your breath. Try to notice how your breath changes during different situations, and breathe deeply when you remember to.
2. Think slowly – Does your mind start racing the moment you wake up? I’ve had times where I wake up and instantly start thinking a million thoughts. I tried anti-anxiety medication for about 5 days, but didn’t like it. But, from those few days, I did feel relief from the constant onslaught of thoughts that I usually had, and I realized I was thinking slower than I usually did. In fact I hadn’t been able to realize how fast my mind was racing until it slowed down for a bit. I’m happy I tried the medication out, because it taught me something I could take back into “the real world.” It taught me to THINK SLOWER THOUGHTS. Slow yourself down, and speak each thought individually out loud or in your head. It really helps. Actually say each thought and understand the logical progression from thought to thought, rather than letting those thoughts run a marathon all over your brain. Just slow it down, and breathe while you do so.
3. Stop feeling guilty – To me, this really means make decisions. Listen to yourself, and be confident in whatever decisions you make. If you want to stay home instead of go out, then stay home. If you want to go out, then go out. The worst thing you could possibly do is make one decision and then sit around and mull over how it was the wrong decision. Make your decisions and don’t give the other options another thought. Do what you need to do for yourself, other people will recover from it a lot more quickly than you expect. And if they really truly don’t, then they probably shouldn’t be anyone important in your life. If you want to eat a cookie, eat a cookie, or don’t, but don’t not eat it and then want one, or eat it and beat yourself up about it. Release all that guilt, stop beating yourself up, and replace it by feeling good about yourself and your decisions, no matter what they are. You do what you have to do, trust yourself.
4. Exercise – This is a big one. Get outside! Go for a walk, go to the gym, go to a yoga class, go for a jog, whatever it is. Try not to hold yourself to any strict schedule about it though. For me, saying “Okay, I’m going to wake up every day before 7am this week and ride my bike to work and then do yoga 3x per week, etc etc.,” just breeds more anxiety. Why? Because you’re not going to feel like doing that everyday, and that’s okay. So start simple, and start small, and listen to your body. Your body will tell you what it needs, when it needs to exercise, when its calves are tight. Trust your body, and get outside and use it. It will make you feel good and get out excess energy which your brain would then put towards worrying. It releases all the extra juice that your brain would turn into fuel for anxiety.
5. Get a hobby – This goes along with number 8, “do something for yourself before work.” Having a hobby is a wonderful thing. It distracts you from your anxiety, it keeps you busy, it builds character, it gives you access to a community, and it’s up to you how you wanna do it. If you want to practice guitar alone in your room, then go for it. But liking music also gives you the option of going out to shows and meeting people, or joining a band. If you like to paint you get to explore the entire scope of art that’s been created in this world. You get to decide what you want to do and how to do it, and nobody gets to tell you otherwise, because the only purpose that hobby serves is to please you.
6. Use less electronics – I do it, you do it, we all do it. As an anxious person, I feel like I’m prone to constantly checking my email if I’m waiting for something, or checking facebook after I posted something, or even this post after I’ve posted it. But it feels sooo good to turn even just your phone off for the evening. It doesn’t have to be for a long time, it doesn’t have to be all of your little devices at once. But again, listen to yourself. If you feel like you have to turn it off for an hour, then do it. If you want to turn it off for a few days, then do it. You’ll know when you want to pick it up again, and then you’ll do so. But feeling like you can’t be contacted by your family or even significant other for a short time can give some relief and help you relax.
8. Do something for yourself before work – This is another big one. Working is exhausting, life is exhausting. It’s hard to find time to truly do something for yourself. But you guys all know this, and you also know how good it feels after you write something or finish a blog post or cook that recipe you’ve been waiting to cook–it feels like you’re taking care of yourself. So, try to make time to do that, especially before work. Wake up early and watch a few funny youtube videos, or that game of thrones episode you missed. Or cook a nice breakfast, paint a picture. write that piece of music you’ve been wanting to, whatever it is you find satisfying and relaxing. If you do it before work, you don’t have any excuse. After work, you’re more likely to push it aside because you’re tired, or you have to run an errand, blah blah. Putting in time for yourself really changes your entire mentality, for the better I’d say. And in my experience, it reduces anxiety greatly.
9. Give things less meaning – Just because you don’t go to the gym once, or maybe even at all, doesn’t mean you’re fat, or out of shape, or a horrible person. It might mean you’re tired, or lazy, or just didn’t feel like going. But it really doesn’t mean any of that. In the scope of everything, it really means nothing. In the same way, if you do make it to the gym, it might mean you’re a great person, or you’re getting in shape, or really disciplined, or sticking to your guns. Or, it might mean you just made it that one day. This is hard to explain, but try not to label things as good or bad, and try not to assign so much dang meaning to things. If you do something one day, then just chalk it up to you doing something one that. If you didn’t do it that same day, then you didn’t do it. It doesn’t secretly mean you’re disorganized, or you’re fucked up, or you have issues. Just take things on a day to day basis, and don’t make generalizations to carry with you from day to day. Try to assign less meaning to things and see how it goes.
10. Essential Oils / Lemon Balm – I put this last because it’s the only step that involves spending money, and it’s also the easiest thing to do out of all of these steps for most people. I know because I’m one of them. I read a list of things to do to prevent anxiety, and the first thing I did before exercising or breathing deeply was buy lavender essential oil, and a bottle of lemon balm herbal supplement. The lavender was nice, and I mix it with water and spray it on my sheets occasionally. The lemon balm, in truth, does very little that I can feel, but I like taking it because I feel like just the idea of taking a pill that might relax me, helps me relax. The placebo effect, ya dig? To me, it’s better than being on some type of medication that makes you feel loopy and numb and out of it. So what the heck, why not? You could also take a multi-vitamin, it would do the same thing. Some stores sell lemon balm tea, or you could also grow the plant and make the tea from the leaves yourself (even better! and the hobby will distract you from your anxiety). Anyway, give it a go if you want to. Google natural remedies for anxiety if you so wish.
I dunno what to write about right now. It’s been a minute since I felt like writing. Well, I may have felt like writing, but I didn’t do it at the time, and now I’m out of practice. Things in life were going pretty awesomely for all of April–lots of changes, new job, living in a new place. And now the magic of everything being new has kind of worn off. It’s like when I get used to things I get bored of them. The initial change and shock is kind of like a temporary high. The new job is only until June 13th though, and after that I have to look for something else. Which initially I found kind of exciting, but as the prospect draws nearer scares me a bit. I get comfortable and bored but then the idea of looking for something new and going into the unknown is frightening. Can’t win either way, huh?
I guess recently I’ve been trying to understand myself and my attitude towards having a job. I’m coming to realize that I’m somebody who needs a lot of time to REST, and to take care of myself. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, but I am NOT happy if I’m running around from job to job like a chicken with her head cut off. Today I was sick and took off from both of my jobs, and literally did nothing all day. My boyfriend left for work at 9am and I fell asleep until 1. Guess I needed it. But I think this is part of why I did not want to be a full time teacher–I can’t work a full day and then go home and spend 3 hours planning and preparing for the next day. That, to me, is insane. No time for friends, no time for cooking, no time for exercise. But, if I’m not working at all, then I am definitely not happy. Too much free time is just as bad as not enough. How to solve this dilemma? Why do we all have jobs that wear us down? Why are people doing this to themselves?! I think I’m just not going to be one of those people that has a lot of extra cash. I think I’m going to choose time over money. I want to pay my rent, and take care of my $hit, but pretty much just make enough to do that. It’s easy to say as a young person in my twenties I guess, but so what. I’m not a bum, I’m a hard worker. I just want to work hard at other things besides my job–things like writing, working out, cooking, and spending time with friends. And I don’t want to wear myself thin doing all of that.