The Holding On Of The Letting Go

I am a keeper of things.  Of magazines & news clippings.  Receipts & scribbles on torn paper. Expired pills & boarding passes from trips in my 20’s.  Vacations in my 30’s. Concert tickets & dried flowers.  Corks from dinner parties with initials Sharpied on the side from those who came & sat around my table.  Preservations of anxiety, emotions & unfortunately still, pieces from every heart I’ve ever loved.
I’ve been this way since I was a child.  I recall a time in 1st grade, finding a piece of paper on the floor that looked like a lion.  I picked it up & put it in my bag because of 2 reasons.  I thought it would feel bad if I left it there (what) & I also wanted to show my parents.  I was convinced that they definitely wanted to be given the proof that their child is a tiny lunatic.  I don’t think I ever showed them that piece of dejected scrap paper but I probably still have it, tucked in my creepy af Minnie Mouse backpack that legit had arms & legs.  While I’ve gotten better at purging & parting, donating shirts that no longer cover my torso, I still tend to hide away mementos from anything that meant anything. Love letters that hold nothing except the inky weight of memory. From people who bore significance.
I have boxes tucked in closets containing notes once left in my high school locker, sprayed with the cologne of an adolescent teenager. Cards from old Valentines (thanks, dad!). And I wouldn’t doubt, probably some old chocolate or moldy candy hearts because U R A QT.
There’s a line from one of my favorite Gordon Lightfoot songs, ‘Race Among the Ruins,’ that says this:
The road to love is littered
By the bones of other ones
Who by the magic of the moment
Were mysteriously undone
God damn if that Canadian didn’t get it so accurate. I feel as though no matter how you’ve moved on, no matter how far away you are from the end of a past love, their fossils will always be in your backyard.  And if you’re like me, you’ll find them on a random day because you can’t help but dig.

I had a conversation with a co-worker yesterday about death.  He’s incredibly cut & dry about it.  He believes we all get old or sick or have a time that we ‘might get hit by a bus’ or whatever.  Which is all absolutely true.  But I don’t believe I’ll ever feel like I’ve completed everything.  I won’t have learned the things I wanted to.  Picked up the German language or how to work a table saw.  Learned to sew or become a filmmaker.  Actually made it to Conan O’ Brien or wrote everyone a letter of my feelings.  This actually plagues me constantly.  That I will leave earth without everyone knowing how much I think of them.  That even though I might have overused the ever so cliche, ‘I love you,’ I meant it every bloody time.  What if I’m being called to the light & I’m all, ‘Hold on!  Have to go do a few things real fast, brb lol.’  I told my co-worker I loved him & he got super uncomfortable.  Maybe it was because I also pointed at him.  So far I’m off to a great start in my campaign.

Letting go, for me & my brother at least, can also be awkwardly associated with times of great joy.  If I went somewhere a year ago or 3 weeks back or 1 goddamn day has elapsed, I will agonize over that timeline until I suffocate it or suffocate myself.  Let’s say I had the most epic conversation with a man crush over cheap beer & blue plastic lawn chairs last Wednesday.  On the next Wednesday, & many future Wednesdays I will think, ‘This time last week (or insert other time-frame here) I was drinking beer on these blue plastic lawn chairs with this boy having conversations that were making me fall in love with him & that was more amazing than what I’m doing right now which is eating broccoli slaw.’  I get homesick for it.  For those tiny moments that make up everything to me. Because what if it never happens again?  What if nothing ever compares 2 U?  So I hold on I hold on I hold on.
That’s actually pretty debilitating because it makes me want to not have any fun ever, because why do I want to spend half my life in mourning?  It’s just slightly less tormenting than water torture in my humble opinion.   This also prevents me from getting included sometimes & I mean this in the least dramatic way possible.  I get so pre-worried that I will ruin said outings that I infect situations before they even are one.  I wouldn’t want to hang out with me either, frankly. And if you’re wondering, I definitely have considered donating my brain to science just so someone can know what the fuck is going on in here.  It’s like I’ve had several concussions but never played football.

Maybe it’s a mild form of rejection?  But I choose to like glints of hope.  Maybe that’s human nature.  We keep each other hanging on, in our back pockets. Just. In. Case.  But Jesus, why?  If we’re over love at one point, aren’t we for always?  Does it come back? Doubt it, bro.  I’ve never gone back to my wardrobe from 9th grade & thought indeed, I should try to wear these Airwalks & Hypercolor shirts again so people can see me pitting out.  Maybe that’s where our past belongs, in some over-stuffed Rubbermaid container. Or the Goodwill. Or in a burn pile. You do you.
Is it because we were taught to have back-up plans?  Or we’ve gotten used to things not working out?  It feels as though my life is like my credit score & I have to keep checking back to see if it went from ‘fair’ to ‘good’ or plummeted into ‘please just stop looking.’  Also see: ‘Girl, it ain’t looking good,’ & ‘Don’t.’

I’ve been lucky to fall in love with several people over many, many *cough* many years. I’m not ashamed to say I’m addicted to that feeling.  The euphoria.  The isolation from the shit show that is everything else but nothing matters because I have my person.  The thing I look forward to at the end of the day.  Every single day. So when they gradually treat you a little differently, when they take away from the pot they filled with riches in the form of everything I’ve ever wanted to hear, it’s safe to say that my mental health quickly turns into 2007 Britney.
I very rarely actually go back & look at things.  I don’t read notes or journal entries or text messages.  They’re just a security blanket I don’t ever use because I hate laundry.  I guess I shouldn’t say never.  There was one time (87 times) that I drank too many cider beers (maybe 6ish) & dug through a years worth (haha so many more) of screenshots to find out the last time someone said they loved me.  It caused a very dramatic but Oscar worthy performance of throwing my head against the wall behind my bed while proceeding to wail/cry & wondering out loud what it all means before I curled up in the fetal & slept off as much despair as I could.
Maybe I’m just panicked, terrifiedscared  nervous as balls.  That every current is bound to turn into a former.  So, theoretically, I’ll always be chasing a high & punishing myself in the interim.  Just like how I covet being a 90’s kid.  The only threat to my life was gym class & I had after-school Kraft Singles nachos & Gushers to look forward to. I used to get that straw in the right spot on the Capri Sun 4/7 times.  And back then, those things didn’t make me fat.  Every morning I wake up wishing I was a reverse Tom Hanks, the antithesis of  the movie ‘Big,’ & I could just be 11 again.  Zoltar, where even are you?!

I feel volcanic.  ‘I’m fine!’ I say.  ‘Just fine.’  But I harbor words & feelings & things.   Then, all hopped up on generic Benadryl, I decide to let out a little squeak. For the volcano this would be maybe something on the volcano people radar.  A little rumbling in her underbelly.  A warning.  For me, it’s ‘Hey, I noticed you didn’t say you missed me 3 times today, only once.’ And then there’s the little puff of smoke out the top.  So I bring up something with just a hint of added drama.  HE DIDN’T TEXT ME UNTIL 3PM WHAT IS WRONG. For effect & because I’m about to blow because worry will do that to you.  Here comes that molten hot lava! I draft & re-read & finally send a small novella via a text most likely.  It may have pie charts or graphs or my favorite: a timeline.  But wait, there’s more! I issue an apology not long after, to myself & my mark because my eruption may have just destroyed a small city.   Then the pressure of guilt coupled with the angst of waiting on a response requires a full retreat.
I de-activate things & cancel plans & don’t answer the phone.  Sometimes I read books instead of try & write them.  This is how I let go the best way I know how because I actually **shockingly** don’t know how.
It never lasts long.  But what does?  I think I’m getting better at it (insert the cry/laughing emoji). Releasing my grip, slowly, slowly.  On not just the past but also my prospects.  On anything & everything.  Of being so scared despite the liabilities laying in wait.  Because really, letting go has brought me things I never knew I needed. And chances are, if you’re reading this, I love you.  This way I won’t have to worry about writing you a letter.

big gif

Cheers friends,
-a damsel & her dog-

 

 

 

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The Gravity Of Feeling

It’s bedlam.  The way I feel in my heart. A cacophony.  An inbox with several junk folders, compartmentalized into all the shit I could possibly store.   Sometimes just on Wednesdays.  And then most times, all of the other days.
It is not something you can explain away to someone.  How upon being put into the universe, you were given more empathy & emotion than you actually feel like you can handle but you do (you have to) & so you flood others with what might be considered an affliction.  A scab someone else picks on the daily.  A scab that bleeds & heals & bleeds again for the rest of your life.  And you start to really fully realize this when you’re in your mid-30’s, replying (and apologizing) to someone who e-mailed (chastised) you about your blog full of, (I bet you guessed right!) feelings.

It’s hard living in the pace of now.  I’m so tired.  Of news.  Of constant contact.  When I first loved, I laid on the kitchen floor twirling a land line chord around my finger, impressed at the balls of the teenage boys who called with the chance that my dad might answer.  And now, someone might be dead, dying or cheating on you if they haven’t responded to a text in an appropriate window of time.  (Anything past 2 hours is too fucking long). #girlfriendhack
Speaking of phones, I spent 6 hours in a cell-phone store 5 weeks ago. I have only exaggerated this number for the 30 minutes I left to get a chiropractic adjustment but still, it was literally, 6 hours. I went there because my text messages were not sending, not receiving or simply deleting themselves like some kind of futuristic asshole.  In the time that I spent there, not only did I become an honorary employee (there is a $70 re-stocking fee, Kathy) but I thought about how sad it was that I was most concerned I would lose electronic correspondence.  I was desperate to save these pieces of me. Maybe I needed validation.  Of when people told me good & nice things.  Of firsts & I love you’s & pictures that stirred homesickness.  Of knowing I could remember things if I needed to. Perhaps just proof.   That I didn’t make all the good stuff up.  Because sometimes it’s hard to remember. That it existed as a precursor.  That on the lonely days, there was once a day that you didn’t feel bereft of utter bliss.  I kept my shit together but  my winged eyeliner was at risk when even the upgrade to a new tellie didn’t solve the problem & suddenly all texts from both phones were gone.  Maybe they were in the cloud but Jesus does anyone know what the cloud is?  What does it do? Who’s in there? Is it a series of tubes like the internet?
They’re back now.  I got some hand-written directions on a Post-It from my new best friends & I was able to backup or restore or I did something that involved checking & clicking & losing my adult mind.  But goddammit Kathy, why did I feel so frenzied?

I’ve done so much apologizing, just because things move me in ways that irritate people devoid of knowing why.  All my life I’ve felt bad for something.  I feel bad for feeling bad.  I feel bad that that sounds so dramatic. But I’m tired of that, too.
I spend so much time deciding if what I’m doing or saying is befitting instead of just saying what is simply there.  The thing I am actually screaming from the inside.  Aren’t we all beyond that?  Too old? Too prone to imploding? Why does everything need to stay unsaid?  Wouldn’t everything be a little easier if we weren’t in constant hiding, ffs (this stands for, ‘for fucks sake’)?
I confess my love for people every day.  I tell co-workers & relatives & the best of friends & maybe in my head, the cell phone guys.
Love (& feelings) don’t need to be profound or erudite.  They can be simple & sweet. Reasonably, if we all took some seconds to recognize that the tiny things make up the big things, maybe matters of the heart wouldn’t look so scary.  Maybe it wouldn’t feel so bad when it shifted into another form after it’s gone a little stagnant.  Missing someone?  Tell them.  Kind of dig someone’s vibe?  Tell them.  Like someone’s deep v t-shirt?  Tell them.  Super not in love with someone anymore?  Holy shit, tell them.

I’ve often wished for less of these things inside this body I reside in.  To not care about everything quite as much.  To eradicate this litany of analyzing every. Single. Thing. I’ve. Done.  Since I was approximately 3.   I’ve considered medications to dull them.  I’ve turned to drinks to drown them (this actually only makes them stronger).  But then again, without giving a shit, what the fuck fun would that be?

You know how people always try to have that balance with children of letting them be kids but also preventing them from being an asshole?   Do you know how hard it is to keep a balance of being a social adult when you cry at YouTube videos of choirs?  Or when your boss decides to move your office?  Or that your parents’ neighbor’s dog had porcupine quills in its face & you were worried they wouldn’t be removed quick enough?  Let me tell you.  It is monumentally, insanely, unequivocally hard.  That cry face emoji is one of my most frequently used, in fact.  Did you know that sounds also apply?  People’s moist mouth noises or burping or popping their gum or eating pistachios on the plane sends me into an irrational, murdery rage.  I’m looking at you, leg-space stealer flying out of Boston.
I watched a Ted Talk not long ago (this one) about highly sensitive people & one of the things the speaker said  was this: ‘A sadness is a deep sorrow & a joy is pure ecstasy.’  That, inherently, is how I spend all of my days.  So imagine throwing into that someone who threw you a back-handed compliment.  You will think about it until the end of times.  Remember that super basic text response? ‘Sure.’ Who says sure with no exclamation?!  Good luck sleeping tonight, lol. Or someone has decided they don’t want to be your person anymore.  It is the highest & deepest anguish.  And once it works its way through your body, you wake up & do it all over.  Another day of ebb & flow, for as long as we both shall live.

I recently saw someone I used to date but because my blood was full of gin & my bones on rapid misfire, I ran away almost immediately.  I couldn’t locate words to say except the standard adult greeting of ‘Hi,howareyouleavingalreadyokbye’.   It doesn’t matter that he was a past love.  It just matters that he was one.  It still feels like a rugburn to me. I remember feeling the heat radiate off the pavement & I thought that just maybe, it might melt me right into it.  I kind of wanted it to.  Weird?  Sure.  But an admonition, at least to myself.  That the universe might be fucking with me, but it has me where it should.

Jack Kerouac said, ‘Live, travel, adventure, bless & don’t be sorry.’
Just be good.  And be nice to the cryers, those highly sensitive ones.  They’ll work their way through those feels.  Maybe try talking to them.  They like that.

Cheers friends,
-a damsel & her dog-

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Insecurity Blanket

When I was 24, my boyfriend at the time took me on a mini overnighter to a rainy, northern town. The night before, we were bellied up at the local dive when he told me to pack my bags for the next morning. I was smitten. I also hella love surprises. I bought new underwear & knew that this trip was going to be magic.  It wasn’t.  The best thing about it was the sausage I ate (at the restaurant) before the trip home.

To abbreviate, he ended up cutting our make-out session (that was to inevitably lead to sexy time) short  & there I sat in new lacey butt coverings, nursing the Cabernet as he slept next to me.  We broke up the next night after a terribly awkward 4 hour drive home.  I was so ruined I moved 3,000 miles away, we got back together & a few months after that, I broke his heart back.  I am not remiss to acknowledge I too, can pull the rug out.  But he was first.

I learned somewhere down the road that he pretended to be tired that night because he wasn’t attracted to me (at the time I GUESS).  I felt that that could’ve been avoided had he not planned a spontaneous hotel stay. (Disclaimer: He & I remain friends & he’s still one of my favorite humans.) This information, unbeknownst to me, was stacking itself on the after effects of my previous boyfriend.  That one had left me when he met someone else.  In a sense, since I turned 20, my love life has been on repeat.  All different men.  All different loves loving all different loves. All heaping themselves on piles in some tortuous Jenga game that has had me serpentining through each relationship after.  Even after repeatedly reading inspirational internet memes, I can’t shake the hesitation of everything I say, everything I do, leaving some sort of ramification.
To then let a relationship try & fit into the pieces I’ve etched & carved out of pure anxious is somewhat similar to absolute hell.  Everything is read into. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

When you’re dating at this age, you commence to wondering why you weren’t enough yet. Why not for the first & why not for the last. Still not enough. And then came social media.  The greatest way to compare yourself to that picture your boyfriend liked. Heaven forbid he commented on it.
I detoxed myself for a few months after Halloween of last year. I realized I was being incredibly hard on myself (why are my teeth so weird in pictures) & retreating to the most comfortable thing I know: solitude. It has been lovely. I spent more time playing guitar & banjo, cooking for myself, having solo whiskey induced dance parties, perusing used book stores. Crushed velvet clothing came back in style (YES). I listened to so many true crime podcasts & read one of the best books of my life titled simply, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson. So I’ve been trying hard. To give less fucks. To give more important fucks where they belong.
But how do I change being habitually jealous? How do I not worry my love will leave like every other one?
I don’t fucking know.

Do you know how it is when the seasons change, when you can feel it in your body? How when winter transitions to pastels & grass you feel compelled to run? But then why would you run when you feel so good right where you are? Is it just me? This is what love & loneliness is like to me. I love love.  It feels good.  But I can be by myself.  I know how to be by myself. I know how I work. I’m easy to please & when I don’t feel like dealing with myself I just sleep in that new Velvet comforter I didn’t give any fucks about buying for myself.  Maybe that’s what Stevie Nicks meant when she said ‘Can I handle the seasons of my life?’ Is it, Stevie, is it?!

I liken being in love to walking around with your insides falling out after having been stabbed repeatedly. In a good way. Suddenly you’re so vulnerable & naive & at risk of infection. It is quite possibly the best & the worst way to feel alive.  But when what makes you feel so good goes away, it’s hard to not recognize the pattern we’re used to dealing with as something that’s actually easiest to live by.  And what if you get that feeling in the middle of your euphoria?  It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure only less exciting than when you were 8.

When I was little I used to play 5 Card Draw with my brother for twists of licorice.  I’m pretty sure I was great at bluffing & unless you ask my brother, I’m pretty sure I won at least 50% of the time.  That’s like 1 outta 2.  A great success rate.
I guess that’s what matters of the heart are.  It’s all a gamble.  Sometimes we get the licorice & sometimes we give it all away & sometimes they don’t even like licorice like some kind of savage.
But it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter how broken you might get or how terrifying it is going into. As far as I’m concerned, when your heart is involved, you have to be all in.
#pokerpunforthewin

Cheers friends,
-a damsel & her dog-

 

 

 

 

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The Deep End Of The Dating Pool

In my early 20’s, after my first serious relationship had breathed its last, I marathon watched a whole lot of episodes of Sex & The City.  I lived vicariously through the 30-something ladies who trudged their way through dating in New York City, all while I continued writing tortured poetry in the upstairs bedroom of my tiny town.

Back then, I never imagined I’d make it past 25 without a husband & babies & a cul-de-sac.  But now, binge watching every episode of SATC while I’m basically their age, it’s suddenly a little more like real life.  Just maybe with less Cosmopolitans.
Back at 23, it was less about finding my 50-year anniversary partner & more about which local I might make out with in the parking lot later.  Afterwards, I’d come home & eat leftover hotdish, leave the remnants in my parents’ sink & wake up with no hangover sometime the next morning.  At 33, it’s about weeding through insecurities. Many mine, many his.  It’s a constant filter of wondering why he’s still single.  Him wondering why I’m still single.  Puking the next day after only just a minimal 3 drinks the night before. And deciding if it’s really so bad just being a bachelorette living by just one set of rules; my own.

What nobody tells you about dating well into your adult life is just how hard it is out here.  Sometimes there is such a dry spell between lovers that you actually don’t even know where to begin again.  Options drastically narrow & there is an influx of baggage dragging on the ground with that guy you’re internet dating.  There might be ex-wives.  Ex-girlfriends.  CHILDREN. I mean, children are fine.  Except when they’re not.

People try to set us singles up every chance they can find.  ‘Oh, you’re single?  I have this guy for you who’s simply got nothing in common with you but hey, we’re running out of time.’  Or sometimes they match us with the perfect specimen & panic sets in.  The date goes well, so what next?  Text him ‘Good morning!’  A response, but 3 hours later.  Maybe that was too much.  But we had a good time so it can’t possibly be already pushing him away.  Maybe I should set up another date.  Or should I wait for him to set up a date with me?  Maybe I’ll text him on a Holiday, like Christmas Eve because who doesn’t respond to someone on such a magical night.  Maybe he didn’t get that text because he’s having a dinner with his family because he’s a genuine human.  Shit.  I will have to meet his family.  I hope they’ll like me.  They’ll definitely like me.  But he hasn’t set up another time to hash out our future.  Maybe he’s overwhelmed by eggnog & peanut brittle & he’ll definitely want to go out with me in January, once things have settled. They’re going to hate me.  Maybe he’ll never text me again until this:
nothing you did
So you don’t respond, because how do you respond to that.  You just have to pretend like you don’t mind exhausting yourself with how to do this. But everyone else does this & you’re not crazy.  Right?  And then a couple months later he’s in a relationship & they break up 37 times over the next year & a half.  There’s definitely some satisfaction in that & a little bit of what the fuckery.
And then sometimes we re-connect with loves of our past.  Someone it never quite worked out with but you always wonder if it should have.
This happened to me recently.  There was a guy that was always the ‘what if’ of my life.  But while I questioned why it never worked, I also felt a nagging like it never would.  I entertained the idea anyway.  We were pretty compatible as we had known each other since we were young.  I enjoyed his company but he lived a state away & often sent dramatic texts. (‘What, no text back?’)  It was a tiny battle I was always fighting.  I felt an obligation to try it.  It might be a great love. Should I or shouldn’t I?  If it’s meant to be, would I be questioning any of it?  I finally got the finale I had waited for, via a text to a friend.  This one:
unstable.png
There’s a lot of back-story here but in a salted nut-shell, he called me unstable (or potentially crazy via those parentheses).  And that thing he didn’t know how I’d feel about?  He was trying to boink my friend.  So that was that.

When I’m with single friends, I’m inclined to give them advice on how to be courageous. To go for love with gusto like I know anything about it.  Secretly, I’m smuggle checking my phone to make sure my love has not written me off yet, probably via text.  To tell me he doesn’t think long distance is going to work because when does it ever work.
Speaking of LD, I have fallen for someone 3,000 miles away from me. It happened just like they say it does.  When you’re not looking.  When you’re happy, just the way things are. We were casually Facebook introduced in a comment thread & we exchanged pleasantries. I’d been in the same room as him before & never known it.
Holy shit this was romantic.  He was terribly funny which is one of my weakest spots, but he was far away so it caused no immediate distress.  But then he kept making me laugh. And then he sent a Christmas present. And then the Earth tumbled out from under me because I fell, how do you say,  ass over teakettle in like with him.
Since I needed to know what it was like to lay next to him, I flew there. It was the hardest trip I’ve ever had to come back from.
And then everybody asked, ‘Now what?’ Well hell, if I knew I would have done it.  I’d be doing it. I have sat so many nights now, eating alcohol & hovering my mouse over the ‘relationship status’ radial.  I haven’t been here in so long I feel like I’m starting Kindergarten again. Homesick feelings for a boy who makes every day complete.  A feeling I haven’t visited in many moons. But as much as happiness resides, I can’t kick out the insecure girl who lives in here. We fight a lot.

So while I generally write about the un-doing of my heart, finally I can see the words on the screen I’ve been wishing for. That someone has fit into a spot in my heart I wasn’t sure was open anymore.  But have some open minded-ness for your single friends.   It gets harder & swampier every single year.  Just don’t take them on a date with your significant other. Third wheeling sucks balls, yo.

Oh and, I listened to this as I wrote.  It’s actually kind of a sad song but it’s also delicious & so it balances out.

Cheers friends,
-a damsel & her dog-

 

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You’re (Maybe) (Definitely Not) (Probably?) The One.

I am 31.
I have been a bridesmaid in 7 weddings.
At all of these weddings I’ve witnessed the same thing. Tulle & disposable cameras & the professing that they have married ‘The One.’
I think you’re already getting it wrong. I used to believe there was one person. He who I pictured I would sit on the porch with & eat cheese & tomato sandwiches next to. We would gossip about the neighbors & pull weeds with our asses hanging out.
The problem is, I have felt this feeling with every person I’ve ever spent a good amount of time with. Maybe it’s the romantic in me. Maybe it’s because I took a quiz on the interwebs & it said I’m classified as a “highly sensitive’ person. It’s true. I cry a lot & have empathy for people I shouldn’t. Problem is, when the guy sitting across from me has blue eyes & a manly jaw & tells me that he too likes the same music as I do I find myself plummeting into a love hole that takes me at least 3 packs of beer to climb out of.
I watched an interview once between Ellen & Garth Brooks. I can’t tell you why I gave up my Investigation Discovery minutes to partake but I ended up crying anyway. He spoke of how he never knew he could love somebody like he loved Trisha Yearwood . . . wife number two. Which of course made me feel bad for wife number one, Sandy.
I get it though. We love people in different ways. We fall in & out & that’s what is so terrifying. I have been infatuated with so many different personalities. I wanted to have babies with the guy who passed me on the 4 lane the other day. I cannot be controlled.
While out to cocktail hour a few weekends ago with some old friends and one new one, I was asked a fair question. Offensive, but fair. After discussing online dating & why I didn’t want to put forth the effort, I was asked by a chiseled & quite handsome piece of work if I watched the Lifetime Channel. Though I laughed, I also swore at him & probably appreciated my Shepherd’s Pie just a little less. He said it seemed as though I hated men, simply because I stated that I had no interest in a partner.
I could carefully explain what the joys are of either. I certainly miss having someone to make dinner for. However, I could do without ever again having to wonder when he’s coming home. I’m not anti-man, I’m anti-shit relationship. I don’t want to be with someone for the sake of having someone to bring to the work Christmas party. Though it would be nice to have someone scrape the ice from my windshield. Give/take.
I have witnessed a small town’s worth amount of relationships that stayed intact because they didn’t know another way. It simply ‘worked.’ They didn’t know how to be without the other person. I don’t like this way of loving. I want mad love or none at all. I want cheese & tomato sandwiches on the porch.
I do believe in the one. Actually, I believe in the one(s). I think we are given people at appropriate times in our life. They might be the right person for that time, & even though we might want to cut ourselves with a rusty paring knife when it’s over, we learn something eventually.
I have already seen too many divorces while anticipating the arrival of my future hubs to come & repair my furnace.
So I’m ok with waiting.
I would like to be his ‘one’ too.

Cheers friends,
-a damsel & her dog-

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An Open Letter About My True Companion.

I lived in Alaska once. I stayed there for a few years because I was in love with a boy. One day he brought a giant white dog home who was headed for the shelter. The boy & I & dog ventured to the lower 48 & started the future I had carefully calculated. The boy & I didn’t work out but dog & I did. And so began the beginning of a lovely little love story – an unlikely marriage that has taught me more than any other relationship.
Dog is on the northern side of 80 pounds. He’s white with speckled ears & his most appropriate adage has become ‘The Great White Hippo.’ TGWH has meaty thighs & dimples of swirled hair on either side of his butt, if dogs have butts. He has such a solid head that one time he bumped my temple with it & after I thought I might have permanent brain damage. His skin is dotted as well. So much so that he looks like that time I got drunk & played with acrylics. Hippo has an under-bite & little baby teeth that I like to stare at because it just doesn’t even make sense. His life has been similar to those nesting Babushka dolls. Every time I figure something out about him I find another thing. The first thing I learned was that he really enjoyed Frisbee time. Next I noticed he has the biggest nipples I’ve ever seen on a male dog.
I picture that when babe was born he was the runt of his little puppy brethren. He gets extremely attached to the humans he loves but is terrified of almost everything on this planet that isn’t them. This trait has made me think of a feeling to what I would compare to a parent dropping their child off at Kindergarten for the first time – monumental & heartbreaking. When he flew here, underneath me in the belly of the plane, I can honestly say I have never been more terrified in my life. After I retrieved him from the over-sized luggage claim I took him outside & promptly let him out of his kennel. We didn’t have time to make it to the ‘pet area.’ He immediately shit his pants all over the snow right near the smokers. I almost did too but I waited until the truck-stop. Since our adventure started I have learned more than a TLC documentary on a Sunday night. Come with me . . .

I have acquired mad nursing skills:
Dog has been itching since he walked through my front door. First it was a trial & error of the correct food. Because of this he has taken to a mostlysometimes pizza crust scraps but otherwise grain free diet. I have learned what will & will not make him puke up piles of yesterday’s food on my bed & how exactly to get him to take his medication. (He prefers hot dogs of the high quality variety.) I have had to bandage his bloody paws, coconut oil his pink tummy & clean his floppy ears. He recently was prescribed a medicated shampoo that I am required to bathe him with every 3 days until it’s gone baby gone. While reading the directions, because I knew it wasn’t just lather & rinse, I learned that I must soap him up & let sit for 5-10 minutes. I’m not asking you to picture this per se, but I have one of those square shower stalls that is about just right for one human what with elbows & shaving & things. But then you throw in dog who is dense & angry that he has to get soaped & now you’re asking me to keep him in there for the length of microwaving a pot pie. I actually googled this time length & there was an actual answer. Go, I’ll wait here until you’re done doing it as well.

He’s taught me how to be just a little less selfish:
When he sleeps it is most definitely under the covers & his body takes up a majority of my Queen. We go through a nightly thing where he has his ass precariously close to my pillows. I then boot him off, re-make the bed & he climbs under while I hold up the blanket like the parachute in gym class. I won’t lie, he sheds like a son of a bitch & he is a master at cock-blocking if anybody is possibly a master at that. But he is warm. I stick my cold feet in his little dog armpits & leave them there until he gets up for his first of 17 times out of bed.

He has taught me parenting skills:
I have spent innumerable amounts of money on toys as he could probably be compared to a shark in a jaw:tooth ratio. I have had to literally wipe his butt on many a dewy morning because he had some stage-5 clingers that never quite let go. Just last Wednesday I pulled a piece of my own hair out of his doggy no-zone. I had no choice because if I hadn’t done it he would’ve continued running around with the poop attached to the hair swinging & shit-staining his coat. I’ve inspected that steaming morning pile to see if it’s solid or saggy or filled with pieces of those expensive toys that he decided to swallow before I could scrape them out of his jowls. I have always been annoyed at the parents that allow their children to run around with food on their face like little turds at restaurants thinking ‘How can you not catch your child?’ Last night while chasing him down the driveway & screaming through the neighbors yard I thought ‘How can I not catch dog?’

He has made me question my decisions:
I’ve always fancied myself to be a good dancer but he barks at me incessantly until I stop. There are never nights where I can just throw my hands in the air like I just don’t care. Once when I made a boy dinner, dog never even came out of my room & barked occasionally from his lair the whole evening. This has never been done before in the history of his anti-socialism. Needless to say, that boy never called again & dog asked for an increase in car rides.

He has taught me not to be materialistic:
Dog ruins a lot of my favorite things. I inherited a couch from the 60’s that had never been used. It’s velvety green cushions are starting to wear, some of its buttons have popped. Most nights he can be found rubbing his hairy body all over its plush seats while the foam flies out like pollen in the summer. He knocks over my wooden mushrooms that I snagged from a craft show & has since rubbed half the paint off. I have gone through at least 3 sets of sheets because he’s torn them apart & he has annihilated piping tips for my cake decorating. Not to mention he also sometimes eats my underwear & anything else I am openly attached to. This can also be associated with food that I love. Though dog is giant he is stealthy – he’s gotten the last of some cheddar biscuits, his own treats & a sugar cookie I had been saving all day. Dog is also not opposed to retrieving things from the garbage that he felt were unnecessarily thrown away (frosting, tennis balls, tampons . . . I usually figure this one out when I mow the lawn in the summertime)

He has taught me the art of self therapy:
I don’t know if you’re aware but dogs can’t speak. I pretend they do. I ask dog questions & tell him about my day. Once I almost called him to ask him what he wanted for dinner. I have cried a lot of tears into his pretty white coat while he just sat there & licked my face & then maybe himself. But it cured me. It is impossible to be sad when you’re in the company of someone who will lay weiner up for minutes at a time. murd upside down

Dog knows no fear:
Many nights I will find dog sitting in my dark dining room at the table. When I go in search of him he usually turns his head to look at me like the beginning of some horror movie in which I would run upstairs instead of out the door. He usually stays there for an unnerving amount of time until I lure him away with a form of food. I can’t figure out how he can stand in the dark of night outside but tremble when a nice guy with a van offers us candy.
I could go on 87 pot pies in a microwave worth about how much I have learned from dog. How much I love him. How much zeal he brings to my pretty routine every day. I will never be able to chronicle to some why I question having children but will never question him. I have lived many days with dog & now I cannot imagine any days without.
If you have the opportunity & you also don’t suck, you should adopt a dog. It will change your world. But don’t get mad when it gets hair on your expensive duvet & wipes his undercarriage  on your carpet at an impressive speed.
Cheers to dog. If you can read this, holy shit you can read?! I adore you.

Cheers friends,
-a damsel & her dog-

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A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

I always loved the day of conversation hearts & shitty construction paper puns. I even went so far as to wear Valentine themed t-shirts as I thought it would bring me luck in the 7th (and 8th through 12th) grade love department. It worked of course. I always got flower delivery. But it was from my father. My wonderful & incomparable dad has sent me things since there was somewhere to send them to.
There aren’t many Valentines Days that I can remember where I had a significant other to spend it with. The one that does come to mind was a day that I made a 7 layer chocolate cake with ganache & raspberry mousse to serve alongside the most definitely amazing Alfredo from a jar. It sounds made up, but there was also a severe blizzard that day & I requested that my father drive to the post office to retrieve boyfriend’s present that had come that day. The boyfriend showed up in the same t-shirt he always wore with not even a card in the pocket of his cargo pants.
I went on a few year stint of thinking that it was just one of those made up days where boys have to buy girls shit even though the girl says they don’t really want anything but then secretly they’ll be offended if they don’t get anything & then they won’t talk to the guy for the rest of the night while they eat their cheddar biscuits at Red Lobster but then the guy will duck into the jewelry store while they wait for the movie to start & he’ll show up with some Jane Seymour necklace & then they’ll share popcorn.
I came to the conclusion though, that maybe we should just accept this day of love & fat guys with arrows & chocolate. It may have taken me 30 some odd years but I learned that I am in love every day. I’m in love with the guy who doesn’t judge me for going through the Panera drive-thru more than twice a week. I’m in love with my neighbors for simultaneously plowing/snow blowing my driveway because I seem a bit like an Edith from Downton Abbs & I know that they watch me struggle with my broken mailbox every day. And I am in mad love with the fact that I found ‘lonwly little petuni’ typed in my YouTube search. Perhaps I was drunk or perhaps just lazy.
And recently, against my better judgment, I have found myself Netflix-ing movies that would normally make me want to slowly carve out my eyes with the back end of a spoon. And while simultaneously watching Teen Mom 2 tonight I filled out Valentine postcards & sent them to people who I think are more than worthy of however many cents it is to send them.
Also, have you wondered why I named this Je Ne Sais Quoi? I think it’s fun to say. And, it means something like ‘a pleasant quality that is hard to describe.’ I feel like that. I feel as happy as when I get to eat the really baked on cheese on the side of a hotdish.
So this Friday I’m going to laugh at all the assholes that get engaged & I’m going to eat some candy that say ‘U R A QT.’ And I’m going to love it. As should you. It is a certain je ne sais quoi.
Oh and dad, if you’re reading this, this is supposed to be funny & not heart-breaking. Also, no need to send flowers.

Cheers friends.
-a damsel & her dog-

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