Of pix or it didn’t happen and oh yes it did

Now that I have a functional computer (read: I can have more than 1 tab open & the whole damn thing doesn’t freeze), it’s picture time!

There were 3 or 4 phones taking pictures. Apparently I was looking at the right one & he wasn't sure.

There were 3 or 4 phones taking pictures. Apparently I was looking at the right one & he wasn’t sure.

In DC on our engagement trip

In DC on our engagement trip

The money shot. Thank you nice employee of 13 Stories Haunted House.

The money shot. Thank you nice employee of 13 Stories Haunted House.

And the coveted shiny!

And the coveted shiny!

Confession time – I did know he was going to propose. I just didn’t know when. Being the well educated and wise man that he is, he took me with him to pick out the ring. The bands that he liked, I hated. As comes as no surprise, I had very strong ideas about what I wanted in a ring. I ended up with the perfect ring to go with my perfect future husband *holds out barf bag*.

I know a lot of my faithful readers are thinking “Wait a second, a calendar month from first date to proposal? Are you crazy?”. In short, yes. I’m crazy. He’s crazy. We’re both absolutely batshit crazy. We both know what we want. We’ve known that since we pretty much laid eyes on each other. I never expected to find him this way. I never expected to get every single thing on my “list” and then some in one tall, sarcastic, unconditionally loving package. Hell, I never knew he could exist. It wasn’t possible. It couldn’t be possible. But it happened. I feel like he’s never not been in my life. I know he feels the same way. I’ll spend the rest of my life with this man & I don’t question that thought for a second. That’s how I know I’m doing the right thing. And you already know I’m crazy. Let’s be real.

To end this entry on a laugh.

Something I never thought I would hear myself say:

“We really need to limit our HomeGoods trips”

XOXO!

Of maxi dresses and intrinsic value

This may sound like another self deprecating post, but bear with me.

First, thank you to my friends who kindly listened to the tempter tantrum I threw on Friday. Like the kicking, screaming, crying temper tantrum that one would expect from a five year old. I got myself all worked up over how I’m literally the only one in my social group who isn’t married. All of my female friends are married and have been for at least 2 years. I I hear the same compliments and encouragement over and over again. I’m smart, funny, pretty, and someone you just generally want to be around. As my BFF put it, to know me is to love me. My knee jerk reaction? They’re just being nice. Clearly all of that, if it’s even true, isn’t enough. Normal boys aren’t interested in me, so I need to change something about myself to be more desirable.

After I calmed down, I asked myself the very simple question that I’m pretty sure I need to write in big letters on my mirror or on a sticky note on my computer or some place where I’ll be reminded of it regularly.

Why am I basing my value as a person on a boy?

I pride myself on keeping a group of friends who don’t bullshit me. I am of above average intelligence. I’m very good at making people laugh, provided they understand my sense of humor. Attractiveness is highly subjective, but for argument’s sake, I’m of average attractiveness. I pride myself most on my loyalty. I’m the kind of friend who if you call me at 2 in the morning, clearly it’s important. I might grumble a little as I wake up, but I’m not going to ignore the call. My friend needs me and I’m going to be there. They wouldn’t be telling me all of the above if they didn’t mean it.

I’m worth something as a person independent of those around me. Yes, I feel left out. Yes, it sucks to make the inevitable comparison to my friends, then wonder where I fell short. It’s human to compare yourself to others. As loathe as I am to admit it, I’m human. For all I know, they compare themselves to me and think “You know, she’s got a pretty good gig going on”. I don’t need to pretend to be someone I’m not just to say I’m in a relationship. Sooner or later, who I really am would come out anyway. I’m a pretty damn awesome chick and if boys can’t see that, their loss.

Tomorrow morning, I’m getting back to doing things for myself. Funnily enough, it fell on the first day of the month. I reactivated my ClassPass membership & I’m getting back into that. I think part of why I gave up the early morning workouts is because it was so fucking cold. Now that it’s a decent temperature in the morning, I think it’ll be a lot easier to get out of bed. Then I have my workout done by 7a & feel accomplished before I even get to work. I haven’t been getting enough exercise & I know it’s very important for my mental health. I’m setting a weekly goal of one thing to add in my diet & one thing to remove. This week is remove soda and add green smoothies. I can store my NutriBullet at work along with frozen fruit. They get a little pissy about filling up the fridges at work, but no one cares about the freezers. It was the totally obvious solution that didn’t occur to me until last week. I love it when that happens. My goal is to build on the dietary cleaning. For example, I remove soda this week, then I remove candy along with soda the following week. I’ll add green smoothies this week, then add more lean protein the week after that. I’ll cap out eventually as I run out of ideas. I’ve learned from past experience that removing too much at once leads to bingeing later on. I’m not a big sweet eater, but when the mood strikes, I’ll have higher quality sweets on hand. There’s a Trader Joe’s about 15 minutes from the house & they have tons of healthy snacking options. This isn’t about slimming down or toning up so I’m more attractive for a boy. It’s about taking care of my body because it’s the only one I’ve got. I’ve spent too long not respecting it by dumping crap in & then just sitting around.

So there you have it, beloved readers, my Sunday morning musings. I hope that everyone has a lovely rest of the weekend & I will report back with the success of my early morning exercise escapades.

XOXO!

P.S. I’m pretty sure my mood vastly improved when I rebuilt my basic summer wardrobe of maxi dresses, maxi skirts, and sandals. Who knew not having your crotch pinched improved your mood? 😉

Of spelunking and old bad habits

Today is the final move out day. I ended up not having any help. It’s all on me. In the end, I think that will be good. I don’t have a lot of stuff really. I’m not taking any furniture. If I start crying, which I probably will, I can do it in peace. He agreed to not be there while I’m moving. That would make it about 50 million times harder. He’d insist on helping me and it would just feel weird overall. I’d rather him leave with my stuff there and come back with it gone. I’m not really much of a ninja, but this is about as close as I’m going to get. Though I suppose ninjas don’t warn you they’re coming so you have time to leave.

I didn’t end up chopping off all my hair, getting a new body modification, or changing my style this past week. I did get my hair recolored and got bangs. I haven’t had bangs since I was in middle school. I hated them because my mom made me get them because she has bangs & my hair mimicked hers (Dear God, don’t ever let me do that to my possible future daughters). These actually look cute. Now that my hair is long enough, I wear it in a ponytail pretty much every day. Bangs are more interesting than just “hello forehead!”. If you’re my friend on Facebook or follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the end result. My dad said I look like Anne Hathaway. I’ll take it.

What I did do this past week was catch myself trying to fall back into a bad habit. It was still in the formative stages, so it was easy to back out of it. Eventually there will have to be some hard and, likely pretty painful, truth telling. At least I’m capable of sharing it with someone else because I’ve already admitted it to myself. Because of this realization, I found myself trying to figure out what “focus on me” really means. I solicited many an opinion, if nothing else to find a place to start. The best I came up with was, as always, an image. I imagine myself staring down into a cave. I know there are really shiny, pretty crystals down there. They’re all kinds of colors and shapes. I’m just not sure where to stick my foot to take that first step down. My BFF preferred the hallway analogy with a bunch of doors. I chose to stick with my cave analogy because the word “spelunking” is just cooler than “walking”. I digress. My therapist suggested I look at things I want to work toward or things I’ve stopped doing because I was in a relationship.

*cricket cricket*

I have no idea. I tried to think of what I tell people when they ask me what my hobbies are. I still self identify as a dancer. Can’t remember the last time I went to a dance class. I like to write, which is accurate. I’ve been writing steadily every day for about a month now. I like to read. I think I’ve finished maybe 4 books in the past 6 months. There are a dozen others I’ve started, put down for some reason or another, and never picked up again. I know there’s no rush to figuring any of this out. I have nothing but time. I don’t need to take up alligator wrestling or platform diving to make myself more interesting at parties I never go to. I have spent a lot of time questioning what sort of path I’m on and if I’m really happy with it. When I went out with my friend last weekend, he asked something along the lines of ‘do you want to get married?’. I did that shake my head and smile thing when someone asks a question that you either think is stupid or you don’t want to answer. I fall into the latter category. I told him I’m not sure. He seemed a little surprised, then went back to making fun of our fellow patrons in the suburban Starbucks.

So I’m still staring down into the cave, trying to figure out where to put my foot. Maybe it’s like trying to find your keys. You give it the rage quit and all of a sudden realize they were in your purse the entire time. While I don’t think “rage quit” is an accurate term, it’s close enough. I’ll get tired of staring, wander off, then proverbially find the first step in my purse. I have the support I need. I have people who are willing to sit with me next to the entrance while I try and figure it out. They may even offer suggestions, but leave it up to me whether I go that way or not. That’s what friends are for.

XOXO!

Of watches ending and phoenixes rising

Might as well not beat around the bush:

Boy and I broke up on Friday (the 13th of all days).

The 2 weeks of being at my parents’ house was the beginning of the end. We decided to take a break, step back, and assess what was really going on. As of Friday, the decision was made to end it. We both knew it was coming. In all honesty, it should have happened sooner. I can’t speak for him, but I would get frustrated, work up the courage to do it, then talk myself out of it again. What makes it difficult is we don’t hate each other. It wasn’t a matter of slamming the door, yelling “Fuck you!” on the way down the stairs, and having someone else go pick up my stuff because I can’t stand the sight of him. I really do love him, he’s a great person, and once I’ve cooled off a little bit, I’ll help him where I can in the future.

My BFF put it the best. She, like I, believes everything happens for a reason. He came into my life at a time where I needed him. I was a blank slate for him. He was the one who asked the question that allowed me to put into words what Will did to me. That was Halloween night of 2010. He showed me that not all men take advantage of women for sport. He supported me through some truly horrible times. And now his watch has ended. I’m grateful for all he did for me and I’ll never forget any of it. There should be more men like him in the world.

All that being said, it allows me a certain amount of freedom. I haven’t been single and not looking (for anything be it a relationship or a quick fuck) since I was 19. That’s a long damn time. It’s a long time to put developing myself on the back burner. Any self improvement was done so with the undertone of “Will he like this more?”. It wasn’t done just because I wanted to fucking do it. Because that’s a completely healthy and rational way to approach life. No wonder my brain chemistry was so out of whack. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m not sure where I’m going right now. That’s okay. I can allow myself to not have all the answers. Of course, does anyone ever have all the answers? For the first time since I graduated college, I don’t feel the least bit ashamed of living with my parents. They have a big house. They don’t charge me rent. They like having another person around. Why should I move out only pay rent (therefore not saving anything) and live alone (which I absolutely hate)? I have proven to myself that I am capable of paying bills, buying groceries, and keeping a pet alive. I’m not going to be parading a different guy through here every night (or week, or month, or year…). My 30 year old self is seeing all the benefits that my 23 year old self missed. Of course, as we’ve established, she was sick and didn’t know it.

Laugh it up, but I see the whole thing as an omen. I genuinely started feeling better last Sunday when the time changed. Sure, the internal clocks were a bit wonky, but it signified the artificial change from one season to another. The relationship ended on Friday the 13th, a traditional day of bad luck. What’s to come is unknown, but there’s plenty to mark the beginning. If I want to chop off all my hair, I can. If I want to get another tattoo or piercing, I can. If I want to completely change up my whole style again, I can. I’m not going to do any of that, but I like having the option and not having to worry how a significant other would react. It’s time for me to be selfish. It’s not a negative thing. It’s me focusing on me for the sake of my own improvement. Though I’m still not sharing my Tagalongs. Get your own box, bitch.

Yet another shout out to all my friends who have listened to me cry in their ear or on their shirt, sent me funny videos or cat pictures, or just texted me back when I needed a few words of wisdom. I love you all and could not have gotten this far without you.

Watch what happens.

XOXO!

Of Backstreet Boys and crippling insecurity

Confession Time: I’ve been binge listening to the Backstreet Boys’ entire body of work. For those keeping score at home that’s 18+ years since their first album was released in the US. Not that I’m a BSB hipster or anything *looks around all shifty like*. I do owe them a debt of gratitude. “Everybody” is what got me into dance in the first place. I had a VHS (yes, I’m that old) of a behind the scenes of the production of “Everybody” and “As Long As You Love Me”. Each section, of course, culminated with the video itself. I literally stood in front of the TV with the remote in my hand for days and taught myself the choreography for “Everybody”. After driving my mother nuts, she put me in dance classes. The rest was history.

In the process of going through the songs, it hit me how wildly unhealthy most of them are. It’s not 50 Shades of Grey unhealthy, but sets up ridiculous expectations of what relationships should be. When you’re thirteen, it doesn’t really sink in. “As Long As You Love Me” immediately leaps to mind. Moral of the story? I don’t care if you’re a felon wanted by state and federal authorities, it’s no big as long as you’re head over heels for me. *facepalm* Other messages include “I dumped you like a year ago, but I want you back now so I’m going to stalk you either by phone or in person” or “You dumped me, but that’s cool. I’ll still stalk you in person or over the phone”. There’s the handful of “I’m a total douche, but you keep me around anyway” or “I cheated on you, but I’m totally sorry and you’ll totally take me back. Right?”. It’s not a case of I wouldn’t let my daughter listen to their music because ultimately it’s what sells and I’ll take that over pimping hoes and capping homies. Just sayin’.

It is, however, a little insidious. I found myself starting to think some of it was okay. That’s romantic, right? No, Emily, it’s not. Tell your thirteen year old self to get her shit together. Their music spoke to a thirteen year old girl who had very little common ground with her peers. Being into one of the biggest pop groups in the world was something that bridged the gap just a tiny bit. Other girls liked them, so I wasn’t *that* weird. I did, however, steadfastly hide my Butch Walker and Goo Goo Dolls albums. That negated the normal that my BSB habit brought me. They also did put on epic concerts. I believe their show at the Georgia Dome during the Millennium tour still holds the record for largest indoor concert ever. I was there and witnessed all the pomp and circumstance. For the longest time on Facebook under my dad’s interests he had “Whatever my daughter are into”. Thanks Dad. 😀

It took me a long time to learn to let my freak flag fly. I wish I could tell my thirteen year old self that it’s okay. It’s okay to be weird and different. It’s the weird and different people who make a real impression in life. Be into something because you like it, not simply to fit in. Even if it’s “over” and you still like it, own it. If it’s “in” and you actually are into it, go for it. If it’s something that causes people to give you the side eye, fuck ’em. Of course, she wouldn’t believe me, but it might have stuck with her a little bit. There are still days that my thirty year old self just wants to fit in. Then I remember that normal people scare me. I know I’ve said it a thousand times before, but it bears repeating. I stand out regardless of what I’m wearing or how many tattoos I have. I’m the kind of person who walks into a room and the record screeches to a halt. People I haven’t spoken to in years remember me. Sooner or later, when you know you literally can’t disappear into the crowd, you learn how to embrace it rather than fight it. Thirteen year old Emily didn’t quite have it figured out yet, but she got there, Backstreet Boys or no Backstreet Boys.

XOXO!

P.S. If AJ showed up at my door and asked me to have sex with him, I’d do it. No more risk of statutory rape!

P.P. S. If you’re into N*SYNC we can’t be friends any more. Ever. You’re dead to me.

Motivational Monday: Acceptance

The anniversary of the day I met Will passed this week. I didn’t even notice. October 2, 2004. It’s been a decade. When I realized it last night, I was flooded with a mix of memories and emotions. He was my first and I was his first. After, I was in the bathroom trying to figure out a way to stop the bleeding. Our first Valentine’s Day, he bought me flowers. It was windy, so he walked backwards from the train station to my dorm so the flowers wouldn’t be damaged. He took me to Mardi Gras. His parents’ house was literally half a block off the parade route. His sister hated me. His mom hated me. His dad loved me. His ex-girlfriend and I bonded over having the exact same birthday. His phone number is seared into my brain. If he ever called me again, I would know it was him. I remember his birthday. I don’t remember when we broke up. For all intents and purposes, the relationship ended after graduation when he moved back to New Orleans and I stayed here.

In the past decade, I’ve seen him once. He called me out of the blue in the summer of 2010. He said he would be in town & asked to have lunch together. I agreed. It was a really, really bad decision. He rattled off everything he was doing. His new girlfriend was in town training for Teach for America. He’d bought a car. He’d bought a condo. The car was particularly significant because he had been deemed uninsurable after being in 3 accidents in as many months. Apparently the state of Louisiana changed its mind and he was once again able to legally drive. During our relationship, I was responsible for all the transportation needs. Overall, it was a strange experience. We parted ways and that night I, of course, crawled into a bottle of vodka and stayed there. I drunk dialed him, left him a rambling message, & saw the next morning that he’d called me back. I was absolutely mortified. Two months later I met Boy. Three months later I made my first attempt at drying out. I haven’t heard from him again, in person or virtually. Sometimes I wonder what happened to him. If my phone were to ring right this second and it was him, would I pick up the phone? My stomach drops at the thought. I think that’s a pretty good sign that I should let it ring to voicemail.

The fact that the date passed without me noticing is significant in its own right. My uncanny ability to remember dates, times, places, and people along with their significance can be a blessing and a curse. This year, October 2 was spent calling in sick to work & cat napping all day. That’s the only reason it stood out. No anxiety. No pain. Nothing to otherwise distinguish it from any other Thursday. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that swatting at the past like you’re trying to get a bug out of your face does no good. I was reminded that he wasn’t all bad. He wasn’t abusive 24/7. That by no means absolves what he did. A reminder of our own humanity and the humanity of others is important. Yesterday I did what amounted to narrowing down what’s important to me right now. The results were a bit eye opening. My main focus is to self improvement and improving my relationships with those closest to me. I hadn’t really given it much thought recently other than in passing. That requires accepting our flaws, strengths, and quirks as part of a whole package. It’s never easy and sometimes far easier to ignore, but it’s worth it in the end.

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Be human

XOXO!

Motivational Monday: Family

I got the idea for this post in my travels over the past month.

I have one biological sibling, a sister, who is 4 years younger than I am. I have many more surrogate siblings, aunts, uncles, and even parents. Two weeks ago, I was visiting my best friend of 25 years for her daughter’s birthday. She considers me family and I consider her to be the same. I refer to her daughter as my niece even though we don’t (as far as I know) share a lick of DNA. It leads to a lot of confusion for those who don’t know know anything beyond the surface. I get a lot of “I didn’t know your sister had kids” or “Wait, is your sister even married?”. I visited both within the past 2 weeks. My sister up and moved to Minneapolis a little over 3 years ago. I’ve seen her in the flesh twice since then before this past weekend. We went to the Minnesota State Fair (I’ll be detoxing from fried food for days. Oy.), spent time with some of her co-workers, and took the culinary tour of her part of town. The older we get, the more similar we’ve become. We’ve passed the point where the age difference includes large developmental differences. There were several times we said the exact same thing at the exact same time to both our great amusements. I rarely get to see either of them in person and it was nice to get to see both in a short period.

Historically, the term “family” would include slaves or servants in the household in addition to parents, children, and any other blood relatives living in the house. Without getting into the politics of slavery or servitude, the term “family” serves as a relatively simple way to identify a household. It was also used to track inheritance of titles, lands, and other rights that may be conferred upon the death of a matriarch or patriarch. In my mind, families are fluid. You can create your own family in the traditional sense through getting married and / or having children. You can also put together a group of people you love and care for, regardless of origin. You can choose to leave out relatives you don’t get along with or flat out don’t like when describing your family. I know plenty of people, myself included, who leave out certain members of the family tree for any number of reasons. You can add members who aren’t immediate relatives.

Whoever they are, whatever their origins, take good care of your family. Don’t bother yourself with strange looks from others. Who you choose to call family is none of their business. That’s up to you and your family.

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Blood doesn’t always run thicker than water