Not comin’ on the Peace Train.



So, the date with Peace Train yesterday. 

I was surprised to find that I didn’t hate him. Probably one of the truest things ever said about me was this one time when my city pals Taylor and Ang were on their way to Mayo to deliver a care package to (and hopefully see) Dio when he was in the last moments of his hard metal rockin’ life, and Ang was telling Taylor a story about me that Taylor laughed at and then wrapped up with, “Yeah, Amber doesn’t seem like the kind of girl who suffers fools gladly.” 

DAMN RIGHT I DON’T. 

I try, you guys. This summer especially, I’ve really been working on my patience and gentleness of spirit and that whole forgiveness thing. And if you’re my friend, this stuff comes really easily to me…but if you’re a ditzy coworker or a rude date, I tend to have a really hard time masking my irritation during my interactions with you. 

Like I said: I’m working on it. I can become a better person, too, everybody. 

So anyway, I was kind of apprehensive that this guy was going to walk in and open his mouth and then I would Hulk Smash him through the windows or something, because I also tend to overreact in an overly dramatic way, sometimes. 

But I didn’t. He walked in, he was fairly cute, and we ended up sitting and chatting for quite a while. 

Like I talked about with my other Tinder date, I’m trying to do this thing now where I’m not making snap judgements or assumptions on our potential compatibility based on past experiences or what I *think* might be true. I’ve learned that if and when I’m immediately, powerfully attracted to someone and can immediately predict every point of our (hot, perfect, amazing) future together, it usually means that there’s something about them that’s setting off all of my deep-seated issues, and I’m probably going to end up paying for this attraction later. So instead, I’ve learned to pay more attention to the “Hmm. Maybe…” guys: The ones where I’m a little unsure about the level of my attraction or compatibility with them, but there’s enough there where I’m open to going on another date to suss it out, etc. 

Anyway. He was a “Hmm. Maybe” type guy.

But here’s the thing: There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to hold the whole “I ditched you and then waited four days to apologize” thing against him, because online dating stuff is weird and I’ve learned to really not take anything personally until the person has actually met me. However, like I also talked about before, the most important thing I’m looking for is great character…and people with great character don’t typically blow off someone they had made plans with and then wait a week to apologize for it. 

(The great character thing is also why I’m working really hard on my patience and forgiveness and all that shiz. Because you gotta give it to get, yeah?)

So yeah. After about an hour and a half of conversation, he went mountain biking and I went back to writing. I was working at the Minnow later that night, so he told me he would stop by after his ride for a beer or two, and I replied that since I was working I would see him there whether I wanted to or not. 

He thought that was hilarious. Sometimes it drives me crazy that the more mean I am to guys, the more they like me. 

So he stopped in later, and my friend Lacy and Corrinne also showed up, so they all sat at the bar together and got to know one another. Normally I would say it’s to a guy’s credit that he can hang out and have an ongoing, good conversation with a date’s friends (because that stuff can be awkward and pressurized and weird), but it’s more to a guy’s discredit if you can’t have a great conversation with my friend Lacy - she’s probably one of the best conversationists I’ve ever met, so if things are awkward, it’s because you’re making it that way. Luckily for Peace Train, it looked like they were hitting it off. He stuck around until after I was done with my shift, so we had a drink together and talked for a while longer before I announced that it was time for me to hang it up and go home. There was no awkward hug or anything, which was a relief, and he sent me a text later that night that could not have been more innocuous: “Hey. Got home. Hayward was cool. Minnow is a nice place. Glad I could talk with you.” 

I think I’m getting better at this stuff. There were a couple of weird comments that he made…small little red flags that popped up here and there, but I decided to just let those things go in the moment because we all say dumb stuff when we meet someone for the first time and/or are on a first date…but there was also this really great moment when he was (foolishly, stupidly) taking me through the details of the Sunday date he had decided to go on instead of showing up for *our* date: “It was a third date. She didn’t know who Tom Petty was,” he said, shaking his head in disgust. And the clouds parted, the sun started shining, and I totally remembered being that guy - the one who would negate someone for something petty (get it) like that. Because they don’t know who Tom Petty is, and so this is never going to work. It’s usually a thing that you do in your late 20s, when what you think are standards are actually really petty (are you getting the pun yet?), meaningless-in-the-scheme-of-things details based on likes/dislikes. Does not knowing who Tom Petty is going to prevent her from wanting to stick it out and take care of you if you get cancer? Does not knowing who sang “Free Fallin’” predict an inevitable affair with your best friend? If she can’t name all the members of the Traveling Wilburys, does that mean that she’s going to end up being emotionally manipulative and pulling a complete bait and switch once you marry this person? C’MON. 

I can remember being that person, and now I realize - holy shit, who would’ve wanted to date that? Who in their right mind would have wanted to date someone who was literally looking for any small, silly fact, opinion, or slip of the tongue as a reason to notdate you?

This is that moment when I officially and formally apologize to Eric Malmberg, who tried to point this out to me years ago and was repaid for it by me getting suuuuuper mad at him. 

Eric Malmberg, you were right, I was wrong. Congratulations, you did it. Great job, Malmberg, on being right for once. 

But also, I am happily not that person anymore. Don’t know who Tom Petty is? Cool. He’s not my favorite, but we can do a little Spotify playlist trade-off and I can share his music with you and you can share some music with me that I’ve never heard of before and it can become a bonding experience for the both of us. Hells, I have a handful of friends right now who’ve never seen Top Gun or Cocktail. Was it a deal breaker for our friendship? No. Did I wonder how they possibly managed to live this long without catching a scene or two of either or both movies while they played on cable TV every other Saturday afternoon of their entire natural lives? Yes. But that is also why God invented slumber parties and lazy rainy Sunday afternoons and Netflix - so we could bring the miracles that are Tom-Cruise-Before-He-Was-Crazy-Movies into each other’s lives and share those experiences together.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is: I’m getting better at this stuff, but it still means that I’m single and not getting kissed any time soon…so maybe we should talk about whether it’s better to be theoretically better at dating but still not be getting laid or if it’s better to be really bad at dating and still get laid all the time?

These are the questions of our time, people. 

I am not overly optimistic about my date today, you guys.

So. Backstory: 


T and I met via Tinder. He had juuuuust begun to exhaust my goodwill with his, “So…do you date guys on Tinder?” (why The FUCK would I be on Tinder if I didn’t want to date anyone on it?!) and “What would I have to do to get you to show me around Hayward sometime?” (my reply: “Simply asking is a really good start”) I-don’t-want-to-do-the-asking-so-I’m-just-going-hint-really-heavily-and-hope-you-do-all-the-work passive-aggressive bullshiz that some (most) guys do. But, finally, he came out with it and asked if I would be his tour guide if he came to Hayward on Sunday (two Sundays ago). 

To be fair, I wasn’t super excited about the date , and I thought a couple times about bailing, but then I figured that I had already spent so much time chatting with him over Tinder and text that I at least owed it to myself to meet him in person, yeah? Sunday rolled around, and I didn’t get any texts or phone calls from him about what time he’d be rolling into Hayward, etc….which was okay with me, actually. I was already having a lovely Sunday hanging out with my friend Jen, and we had plans to go to see the Michael D Band at Trails End later that evening, so honestly, it was kind of a relief that I didn’t have to tell him, oh hey, I already made plans, bummer that you didn’t get a hold of me earlier, guess it won’t work out this week

But THEN, he texts me on Thursday (my friend Ben: “That soon?!”) to apologize for bailing on our date. I agreed that it was kind of a dick move, but told him that, to be fair, I wasn’t exactly waiting by the phone for him to call or show up that day. But then he goes on to tell me that he bailed because he had another date. WTF?! Why THE FUCK would you keep bringing that up? Why even MENTION it?! You’re just adding insult to injury, and it’s not fucking necessary…just say you had other plans. Say that you were obligated to stay in town. Say that you just didn’t feel like it. DON’T fucking tell a girl that you stood her up because you had a date with someone else.  

So I kind of gave it to him, and then I had to remind myself that I hadn’t really wanted to go on a date with him in the first place so I let up a bit, and then he texted me some random stuff about Cat Stevens and Peace Train, and then somehow we’re back to this: 



I’m gonna do this, you guys. You wanna know why? Because I’ve already wasted this much time and energy talking to him, and while in any other circumstance I would happily tell a guy like this to go fuck himself, I want to see, with thine own eyes, what a guy like this looks and acts like. 

 And also, it’s been a really slow summer and I need to have some type of male-related dramz in my life, so I guess if it’s going to come from anyone, it’s going to come from Mr. Peace Train here. 

Tether.

 

Riding my bike down the long slope-y road, I tilted my head to the sun and closed my eyes for just a moment. I know I should wear a helmet, but sometimes I just need to feel the wind blow through my hair, rush past my ears. I haven’t felt this in a long time, I found myself thinking. There’s a particular sense of lack, a type of longing…I’ve written about it before, but the best way I can describe it is that it’s a warm breeze out of nowhere. For just a moment, the clouds will break and the sun will shine, and I’ll close my eyes and remember everything good about it, about him. And then it’s gone again, like it was never there at all. 

We had a summer and I ruined it. That is what I would catch myself thinking, sometimes. We had a summer and I ruined it. And I know I wasn’t ready, that he probably wasn’t either, and I know it wasn’t just all me (if you would have asked me in September, I probably would have told you that it wasn’t me at all) but. Sometimes I really wanted to try again. I wanted it back, I wanted to see if it could be different. And then…I didn’t want to try at all. I’ve read all the books that Greg Behrendt has written…no matter what we might have said before, I’m old enough to know now, and by heart, that a break is really a break-up. And that you can’t actually break up if you weren’t actually ever officially together. We weren’t on hold, and I didn’t want to be, when we talked about it. I wanted to take my year and write, learn how to love myself more, take care of my own goddamn heart. I wanted him to take his year and finish school, do whatever it was that he felt he needed to do.

But as the season drew near, I found myself wondering about it. Another summer. If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that there’s never any point in waiting for a new one with an old flame. But then I would think about it, and I would think about him, and even just telling myself that…it made me feel a little like crying. Let down. Like standing ready at the door for your prom date, only to have your mom finally break it to you that they weren’t coming.

***

“What, to you, is the best possible outcome of seeing him again?” Meg asked.

It had been planned for months. Looking at the calendar back in January, Meg and I had decided that it would be one of the events we would make a point to cover this year. When, a couple months later, someone mentioned that he would be back for it, I was careful to keep my expression placid, my reaction neutral.

“Part of me is hoping that he got totally fat and ugly so I don’t have to think about him anymore,” I joked. 
Meg laughed. 
“And, I really kind of hope that he doesn’t have a girlfriend,” I admitted, growing serious again. “I know it’s totally not fair of me to want that, because when we ended things, Iwanted him to go back to school and date a bunch of girls, experience things, learn stuff. Have a full year and all of that. But now, when I think about it…the thought of him coming back with a girlfriend…it really bothers me.”
“If he didn’t have a girlfriend, would you want to start things up again?” 
I looked out the window and sighed, mostly to myself. “I don’t know.” 

Only a half a year ago, I had been riding my bike down that same slope-y road on a September morning after closing the book for the first time on him, on us. The sense of lack, then, was different…it was more persistent, more troubling. That hallow space inside, that I kept expecting someone else - him - to fill. Until I realized that it hadn’t really been about him, it had been about me. About figuring out what it was that I felt was lacking inside, and what I could do, on my own, to fill it. It was the reason why I was happy when no one else was around and so scattered when they were…because they magnified it. I didn’t have to think about it when I was just concentrating on myself, but then he blew in “with his hot face and awesome body and smart words and fucked it all up for me,” I had joked in an email to a friend, at one point. 

And I wanted to believe that I was getting better at this..that even though I don’t always perceive my own best interests, I knew enough to know when it’s time to call it quits. I really liked him - really, really liked him - and was grateful for the time we spent together and what I learned from him, but it just didn’t feel like it was the right time for us. I still had a hard battle to do with my own heart, and I liked him enough where I knew I had to do it on my own, instead of making him endure those particular brands of bullshit. And I had already started to see that I was sending it over to him - naggy, dumb texts over stupid things that bewildered him and embarrassed me. So when fall came around, we said goodbye, wished each other well. Thanks for the all the memories, have a good year at school, maybe I’ll see you next summer. 

And it was good for me, to be alone this year. I worked really hard to fill that void, to figure out how to love myself more than anyone could, more than I could expect anyone else to. It’s odd to me, how this comes so easily for other people. It feels like such a revelation, to me. 

But it also felt fragile, when confronted with the idea of putting it all into practice… and it had gotten harder, the more opportunity there had been for him to come back into my life. I had to make a decision, a few months ago, of whether or not I wanted to open that door again. In the end I did the right thing, the professional thing, the hey-my-heart-is-elastic-and-I’m-cool thing (That should go on my next resume: “Is able to move past the faults of failed romantic relationships for the sake of mutual professional advancement and community gain.”), but it bothered me, how much it made me think about him. 

“I’d like to see if there was at least potential. For maybe starting over, trying something new.” I told Meg, as I stirred my drink with my straw. “Do things differently this time.” Sighing, I stared out the window. “But what if he totally doesn’t even want to see me again? What if he just blows me off?”
“He’s not going to do that,” Meg reassured me. “I bet he’ll be just as excited to see you as you are to see him.” 
“Yeah, maybe,” I replied, stirring my drink with my straw. “But maybe not.”

***

Don’t think about it too much. I took a step back and glanced over to the other side of the partition of the bar, which divided the bar area from the ice cream/restaurant area. I was standing on one side, he was sitting on the other. Just go up to him and say hi. Be an adult.

I had spotted him as soon as I had arrived at Treelands that morning, with my little nanny charge in tow. He was working, though, so there was no chance to have a casual, “Oh hey, you’re here!” faux-surprised conversation. Which was totally okay, I reminded myself. My worst fear, for myself, was that I hadn’t wanted to get excited about seeing him again and let myself think about what could happen and what Iwanted to happen, which would then put me back into that phase where it’s really important that those things happened, and exactly the way I wanted them to. That old middle school dramatics phase where, if I don’t get asked to slow dance by Chris Carlson to “More Than Words” at this dance tonight, my life is going to feel empty and meaningless for the rest of my life. So I tried really hard not to romanticize it, telling myself that I had to let go of my dumb fantasies of how I wanted the run-in to happen -the sun is shining. I’m looking amazing: Confident and blowy and nonchalant about it all at once. He sees me, but I don’t see him. Slowly, he makes his way towards me. When his hot face draws near, I look up, surprised, and then slowly, I smile at him. “Boy, are you a sight for sore eyes,” he would say, and then pull me tightly to him. “I missed you. I don’t care what happened before. I’m so glad you came to the Challenge. Let’s try this again.” And then we kiss and bluebirds fly out of the trees while a symphony orchestra starts playing in the distance somewhere  -  and just concentrate on having it happen, of biting the bullet, getting it out of the way, even if I had to orchestrate the entire thing. 

So the kid (that I was nannying for) and I spent the morning on the playground, waiting for Meg to arrive.Then the kid decided she wanted to watch the casting contest, which he was judging. Picking a spot just a few feet away from him, she had implored me to sit on the grass with her so we could watch the kids cast their lure towards the hula hoop in the water. He and I both had sunglasses on, so when he looked our way, I couldn’t quite tell if he was looking at me or just in our general direction, and it didn’t really matter, anyway. It wasn’t like he’s going to interrupt his judging to come over and say hi, I told myself. 

Later, after Meg had arrived and we finished our coverage of the event, we decided to go inside to get out the sun. My heart jumped into my chest as I walked into the bar area to find him sitting on the other side of the partition that divided that bar from the restaurant. I tried to play it cool, act like I hadn’t seen him. Which always works out so well, right? Guys love it when they know you’ve seen them but you act like you haven’t. 

You’ll hate yourself if you let the opportunity slip away and you didn’t do anything. I took a deep breath in and grabbed my drink from off the bar. “I’ll be right back,” I told Meg. 

Here was the inner dialogue during the span of maybe a 20 second conversation:
Whoa. I totally did forget just how hot he is, especially up close. 
Hmm. He doesn’t really seem that happy to see me. Better make this quick. 
He can’t seem to look at me head on. What’s up with the side-eye? Is he nervous? Or is he just feeling awkward because he’s wishing he wasn’t talking to me?
Why is he asking what I’m drinking? 
This is awkward. 
I should go now. Say goodbye, put him out of his misery. 
“Will I be around later?” What does that mean? He could barely look at me and now he wants to know if I’ll be around later? Is that good? 

“I mean, I rarely ever ask someone if they’re going to be around later if I *don’t* want to see them,” I pointed out to my friend Larkin over Twitter DM later that afternoon. Larkin is of those one guy friends who will always give it to me straight - the cold hard truth, whether I want it or not, every time. So naturally, he was the first person I went to with my, “What does a guy mean when he asks, “Will you be around later?”…?” Does that mean that he’s hoping to talk to me later, or that he just wants to know when and where to avoid me?
“I would go with your gut,” he replied. 
Yeah, but my gut sucks, I wanted to whine. 

Later that night, around 7, Lacy and I showed up at Treelands, ready for our Girls Night. This had also been planned for weeks: A babysitter had been arranged for the kid, and Meg was going to meet us out there later. So we sat outside with our drinks until it grew cold, then settled in at the bar. We hadn’t been in our bar stools for more than ten minutes before he came in. And sat down next to me at the bar. I could feel my hopes actually lift in my chest. We would get to talk now. We would get to catch up, I could figure out what might still be here, and what might not be. 

***
 
“Twas a bust,” I typed. 
Sitting cross-legged on the bed, the room dark except for the glow of my laptop screen, I clicked SEND on the Twitter DM. 
His reply came back a moment later. “Did you two talk at all?”
“Yeah. It was kind of a heartbreaking night.” I took Larkin through the timeline of the evening’s events, which basically could be summed up in one particular moment of the night, when I had turned to Lacy and mouthed, “Why would you sit next to me if you didn’t actually want to talk to me? Like, at all?” 

I kept trying, too - that’s the thing that would kill me later. Determined to shake the weird awkward thing that we always used to have when we were around other people - when we were alone, we could talk for hours about everything, but around other people, we always seemed to clam up out of the sense that we were performing for a live studio audience - I continued to forge ahead, asking him questions about his year, inquiring about the things I knew he had been interested in when we were dating. But it was like pulling teeth. It was so painful…I would sit there, ask him a question, he would give me a short answer, and then there would just be silence. I had forgotten about this, I found myself thinking. That silent, small, stomach-dropping moment when you’re sitting next to someone and you can just feel your heart slowly breaking with hurt, with embarrassment.

It did get better as the night wore on - he started to talk to me more, and every once in a while, a bit of that old spark would come back. I would find myself remembering how easy it was to talk to him about things like writing or future plans or even just books that we had read and loved. At the end of the night, I found myself wondering what it was that I was waiting for…what did I want to happen? 

I knew what it was, and I also knew that I probably wasn’t going to get it. 

So, fingering my keys, I turned to him. “Well, I better go.” 

“Gotta get back to work, eh?” (I had told him earlier about how I was nannying/housesitting that week.)

“Ha. Yeah.” 

Silence. 

“So…It was nice to see you.”

“Yeah!” He replied, smiling. “It was nice to see you, too!”

I looked at him for just a second longer, waiting. “Okay,” I finally said, mostly to myself. “Bye.” And then I turned away and walked back into the dark.

“So,” I typed in another Twitter DM to Larkin. “I think it’s time to close the book on that one.” 
“Maybe. Maybe not. It’s so hard to tell these days, isn’t it? Everything is timing, everyone is mercurial. Aiming at a moving target all day and all night.” 
“Maybe he’ll come around tomorrow,” he continued. “Maybe next week. Then again, maybe you’ll move on to someone else.”
“Yeah,” I replied. “I really don’t know what to say that’s not going to sound like a miserly pity party, so. Yay summer?”
“It’s okay if it stings, Amber,” he wrote. “I’m not going to judge you.” 
“I know you won’t. I think I just need to go to bed and just…you know. Sleep it off.”

I closed my laptop and went into the bathroom to wash my face, tried not to catch my own eyes in the mirror. It had surprised me, how sad I had felt on the way home. Once the night was finally over and I could close the book on it, my dumb fragile heart just couldn’t hold it in anymore, and I realized that, deep down inside, I really had been hoping quite a lot for a different end to the night. A different end to us. Even though, like I had mentioned before, I knew better than anyone that a break really means a break up, it finally occurred to me that it had actually only felt like a dot dot dot. I hadn’t wanted to close the book, when he left for school. I kind of always hope, want, for a second chance. That maybe this isn’t the end, that maybe this will be one of those brilliant, blindingly beautiful “And then…” stories. We’ll see what happens when you come back… Maybe next summer…  Things could change, we could both be different…

But I hadn’t actually wanted him to be different, I realized. At least, not in the way that he was. I had remembered him as being so sweet and engaging, warm, kind. Instead he had been dismissive, and cold, and…weird. It was so confusing, and then it wasn’t confusing at all. 

“You ok?” Meg texted as I crawled into bed. “It’s kind of lame that he wasn’t saying much to you.” 
“Yeah,” I texted back. It’s pretty brutal, when even your friends note that you made an effort to make conversation and the guy did pretty much everything he could to not talk to you. “It was lame. I’m okay, though.”
“Good. Date on Tuesday, right?”
“Yep.” On Tuesday I have a blind date from someone I met on Tinder. Right? I tried telling myself. You have a date on Tuesday. Other guys are asking you out on dates, so it shouldn’t be a big deal if this one wasn’t. 

But it was, I heard a small voice inside my head say. Because why is it always the one that you want more than anyone else who isn’t? 

***

Two weeks passed. I rose early in the sunny early summer mornings and wrote, baked bacon on the heavier days because I love myself, and took my coffee out to the deck to sit in the sun and read and think. Because you’ve got to take care of your own goddamn heart, you know? And sometimes, working to Feel Good should be your only fucking job. 

(Sometimes I like my feel-good mantras with a side of swears)

Yet I do this thing every once in a while where I pull out of myself and reach out because I just need to see myself to the end of something. Even though it sets me up for pain, rejection, disappointment, whatever, I just feel like I need to see it through. Be the bigger person, do The Adult Thing. So a few days after seeing him for the first time, I sent him a text asking if he would be up for us getting together, just the two of us, after he got back from the small two-week interlude at school he had to complete before his full-blown summer began. Just to talk, catch up. Every little point of the communication felt like one of those mazes you’d use in psychology experiments: 

Maybe he will or he won’t text back. (Success/Fail)

Maybe he will or won’t want to get together. (Success/Fail)

Maybe he will or won’t text when he’s finally back. (Success/Fail)

Success rounded each corner, and we decided to get together in the middle of the week. The night before, I texted him to see what time he wanted to hang out. The next morning he told me that he was having a party at his new dwelling that night, around eight. 
“Cool. Hope it’s a blast.” I texted.
“There was an invitation implied there.”
“I know. But kind of the whole reason why I wanted to hang out with you tonight was so we could catch up one-on-one.”
“Oh, sorry. Kind of misread that.”
How? How could you have possibly misread a text whose whole entire point was us hanging out, just the two of us?

But I went to the party, because he invited me, and because I still had some small, dim hope that something about it would be different, this time. 

(Success/Fail)

At some point, I’ve got to learn to take a fucking hint, I told myself, as I watched him from across the room. He had barely talked to me all night - really, again, only when I screwed up enough courage to ask him a question - and now, as an extra special bonus, I had a front row seat to the view of him sitting next to his friend Tom while they checked out girls on Tom’s Tinder.
“Gary,” I asked, turning to my pal, “If you invited a girl to your party, would you spend all night not talking to her?”
Gary stared at me for a minute. “Ah, no…if I invited a girl to a party and she came, I would probably spend all my time trying to talk to her.”
“Exactly,” I replied. 
“Ready to go?” Lacy asked me.
“You bet.” 

We left at 11:30. At 1:32, I got a text from him asking why we had left so soon. 

(Success/Fail)
 
***

Standing at the door, waiting for your prom date to show up. 

Lying in bed in the morning, staring at the ceiling, I realized how much the whole thing felt like tacky fly paper stuck to the tips of my fingers - I wanted to just shake it off, but I knew that it was the kind of thing that I would have to carefully peel off, if I wanted to be rid of it. So I threw off the covers and slipped out of bed, made my espresso and poured it into a cup half full with steaming water, and then padded out to the deck. Sitting in the sun, I tilted my head up, took a big breath in, closed my eyes, and thought about how I had just wanted to practice. I had worked so hard all year, and I didn’t work so hard for him, but still. I wanted to apply the lessons I had learned. The good ones, the fun ones - flex and serve and twist to volley the emotional pacing, the staying true to myself through the excitement, the tempering of expectations when it came to intimacy, commitment. Instead, I guess, I got to keep building the frequency of mastering the lame and boring drills of still loving myself through rejection and disappointment. A huge sigh rolled out of my mouth, deflating my body from the inside out. I’m so fucking tired of that lesson. 

But I’ve definitely learned it. 
 
It’s frustrating to be frustrated. To know you’re ready, but your goddamn prom date is being a dink…and last year that would have made me feel like there was something wrong with me, instead of something wrong with him. This year, though…it’s nice to finally realize that we had a summer, but that I didn’t ruin it. That one of the things I had somehow forgotten in the freeze of winter was that, no matter how clueless or rude or cold or just plain dumb things were, I somehow always ended up being made to feel like it was my fault, that was the one who had done something wrong. And a year ago I might have tried to figure that out, make it better…but now I know that’s just bullshit.

Now I know that I can trust my heart, the first time. It might be kind of dumb, and it might be kind of fragile, but it does always seem to know when it’s time to give up the ghost, even if my brain doesn’t want to agree. I knew enough the first time to let go…I just wasn’t capable, then and yet, of seeing the end. Now, though, I know that the dot dot dot is this…we had a really fun summer last year. I’m so grateful to him for the wonderful things that he is - smart, full of great character, generously accepting of others, gentle and strong and beautiful and inspiring all at the same time - and for the things that he taught me, that I learned just by being with him. But like this one song says, this is just not the time for us. He is not ready for the things that I’ve grown to expect, and I’m no longer willing to wait for someone to catch up. And all of that is okay. 
 
In the afternoon I grabbed my bike and set off. I felt the wind rush past my ears as I thought about how I’m getting better at this. Perceiving my own best interests, liking myself enough to not endure other people’s particular brands of bullshit, and cutting the tether when it’s time. It feels better, now, to choose to ride down a different road this summer, this time around.
Today I got a chance to put doTERRA’s famous hangover cure to the test…I made the mistake of mixing wine and beer over the course of last night’s super fun festivities (whoops), and woke up this morning with a bit of a headache. Added 3/4 drops of the Lemon essential oil to a glass of water, and 20 minutes later, I suddenly realized that my headache had disappeared. I FEEL LIKE A MAGICIAN, EVERYBODY, AND THESE ARE MY POTIONS.

Today I got a chance to put doTERRA’s famous hangover cure to the test…I made the mistake of mixing wine and beer over the course of last night’s super fun festivities (whoops), and woke up this morning with a bit of a headache. Added 3/4 drops of the Lemon essential oil to a glass of water, and 20 minutes later, I suddenly realized that my headache had disappeared. I FEEL LIKE A MAGICIAN, EVERYBODY, AND THESE ARE MY POTIONS.

Self-Acceptance & 15 Overnight Bags.

image(If I could, I would bring all of this with me when I come over to your house for a sleepover. Also, the bed. (My bed’s suuuuuper comfortable)
There’s this thing that happens when you grow up…where you start to realize certain, undeniable facts about yourself, and instead of denying them or trying to change them, you just learn to accept them.

Like, for instance, this week I learned to accept that I am a ridiculous overpacker. 

It used to be, back in the day, that I was the kind of girl who could fly to Chicago for a long summer weekend with everything she needed stuffed into an oversized Marc Jacobs bag. I didn’t even need an extra carry-on, my friends - just my regular daily purse/bag. 

Sundresses are remarkably versatile. 

And then there was the time when I went to a 10-day Disaster Relief Training in New Orleans with everything carefully packed into one of the smallest pieces of carry-on luggage known to man. I knew how to travel like a champion. I even felt smug about it…what a great girl, huh, guys? She doesn’t need a whole truckload of luggage to go away for a weekend! She’s spontaneous! She’s low maintenance! She has a carefully planned, perfectly color coordinated wardrobe! 

But somewhere along the way, that’s changed. Now I overpack to a seriously fucked-up degree. And I’m not just talking, “Oh, hey, I brought an extra shirt and a pair of shoes that I ended up not wearing.” NO. We’re talking, “WHY THE FUCK DO I FEEL THE NEED TO BRING MY ENTIRE BOOKCASE WITH ME WHEN I’M ONLY STAYING OVERNIGHT SOMEWHERE.” 

For instance, here’s a list of things that I *would* have liked to have taken with me to my 3-day nannying gig this week:

Hardcover of “May Cause Miracles” by Gabrielle Bernstein
Paperback of “Ask & It Is Given” by Ester & Jerry Hicks
Hardcover of “Maine” by J. Courtney Sullivan
Pilates DVD
Yoga DVD
25 lb Kettlebell
Yoga Mat
Resistance bands
8 lb pair of dumbbells
Hair dryer
Hairbrush
Curling Iron
Assorted magazines (Vogue, Natural Health, 3 back issues of Oprah, Shape)
Two pillows
Super soft sheet
Espresso machine
Bag of decaf espresso
Personal supply of coconut almond milk
Milk foamer
Favorite ravel mug
Bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar
Shot glass (with which to take the apple cider vinegar)
Baggie of shredded almonds
Baggie of whole flax seed
Baggie of chia seeds
Carton of organic, cage-free eggs
Bunch of black kale
6 outfits (2 outfits for each day, plus coordinated sandals to go with each one)
6 different coordinated pairs of underthings (because like Sonja Morgan of RHNYsaid, lingerie is the foundation for your outfit and your day. “That’s why they’re called foundation garments”)
Yoga outfit
Pajama-jams for a Pajama-Jam Jam Party
Running shoes
Entire collection of doTERRA essential oils
Collection of doTERRA sample bottles
Entire collection of doTERRA Life Vitality supplements
Modern Essentials:A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils Textbook
Toiletry bag (glasses, toothpaste, face wash, skin oil, razor, contact solution, etc)
Makeup bag
Macbook
Macbook power cord
USB cord for Mac
Kindle
Power cord for Kindle
Phone
Power cord for phone
Notebook
Journal
Gratitude Journal
Tums

Now here’s the things that I actually brought with me during my 3-day nannying gig: 

Hardcover of “May Cause Miracles” by Gabrielle Bernstein
Paperback of “Ask & It Is Given” by Ester & Jerry Hicks
Hardcover of “Maine” by J. Courtney Sullivan
Pilates DVD
Yoga DVD
25 lb Kettlebell
Yoga Mat
Resistance bands
8 lb pair of dumbbells
Hair dryer
Hairbrush
Curling Iron
Assorted magazines (Vogue, Natural Health, 3 back issues of Oprah, Shape)
Two pillows
Super soft sheet
Espresso machine
Bag of decaf espresso
Personal supply of coconut almond milk
Milk foamer
Favorite travel mug
Bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar
Shot glass (with which to take the apple cider vinegar)
Baggie of shredded almonds
Baggie of whole flax seed
Baggie of chia seeds
Carton of organic, cage-free eggs
Bunch of black kale
6 outfits (2 outfits for each day, plus coordinated sandals to go with each one)
6 different coordinated pairs of underthings 
Yoga outfit
Pajama-jams for a Pajama-Jam Jam Party
Running shoes
Entire collection of doTERRA essential oils
Collection of doTERRA sample bottles
Entire collection of doTERRA Life Vitality supplements
Modern Essentials:A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils Textbook
Toiletry bag (glasses, toothpaste, face wash, skin oil, razor, contact solution, etc)
Makeup bag
Macbook
Macbook power cord
USB cord for Mac
Kindle
Power cord for Kindle
Phone
Power cord for phone
Notebook
Journal
Gratitude Journal
Tums (I would later end up regretting this)

So yeah. It would appear that I have created a problem for myself. Could I throw all of this to the wind, throw a change of clothes into a small bag, head out across the world for a month and still be okay? Yeah. Would I want to? No. Going somewhere without my espresso machine is like camping to me - I could do it, and it would be okay and maybe even a little fun, but would I be happier sleeping in a fluffy hotel bed? FUCK YES I WOULD. 

Maybe this is just what happens when you become that woman who is all, “I have standards” and “I’m not just going to sleep with the first guy I find attractive.” You start to create attachments to things in your life that provide comfort and joy, and then you want those things around you all the time so you can feel safe and happy and provided for. 

Like the way sex would, if you were having it. 

Love, I mean! I mean…love and companionship and commitment. 

Right, Mom? Hey, who’s winning on The Voice right now? You better get back to watching it so you can bring me up to speed on everything that’s happening the next time we get together for lunch! 

So anyway, you guys. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you invite me over to your house for the weekend (or even just the night…haaaaay), you better have an espresso machine. 

Or one of those really sweet Nespresso machines. Those things are choice… I should probably just get one of those instead? I think it might be a little bit lighter than an espresso machine…and it’s definitely more compact…that thing could totally fit into my overnight bag!

I just keep getting better and better at this life thing, you guys. 
She also told Style.com, “I figured out who I was very early on—actually, at the age of 13, with the help of the Internet—so I knew that a transition, becoming a woman, was always something I needed to do. But it wasn’t possible at the time, and I put it off, and androgyny became a way of expressing my femininity without having to explain myself to people too much.”

Super Model Andreja Pejic Comes Out As Transgender

What an amazing, fascinating time we live in.

I have always loved fashion because it is often the biggest spark to my writerly imagination - Vogue has provided more story ideas for me than any other source in this world - and while I know this sounds cliche, I love how it constantly pushes boundaries and challenges the way we look at beauty. Going through Andreja Pejic’s body of work, I’m stunned and intrigued and enchanted. I can’t even rightly put it into words.

We are often hard on the fashion world for its rigid culture of standards and judgement concerning beauty and desire, and often, that criticism is not misplaced. But in this instance, I’m grateful to it for giving this woman and others like her a place to express herself, to come into her own, and to transition in a way that is applauded and celebrated and supported.

Being super into my period. Woodley is dedicated to “Womb Wisdom” (I like those sounds together!) and has lightly criticized people about their attitude toward “women’s menstrual cycles — we’ve lost touch with how beautiful they are, how they’re part of the process of life.” I mean … sure? This is a nice and grounded thought to have when you’re pondering the human body, but then when it comes down to the situation, fuck that shit, you know?

My Week Living Like Shailene Woodley - The Cut

I kind of adore Shailene Woodley’s hippie girl earnestness, though it’s a little woo-woo, even for me (like, I feel like she’d either be THE BEST person to go to a music festival with or the ABSOLUTE WORST).

But I *really* adore this story, and this writer is hilarious.

Sunshiney va-jay-jays for everyone.