Something about the heart

In my new city, I stare at things I see. Drunk people. Big buildings. A flutter in my heart that lets me know that this place is exactly where I’m supposed to be. There’s a quiet excitement that sits in the belly of me, and everyday it feels as though there’s a butterfly flapping it’s new wings with anticipation of what’s coming next. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not missing the current moment, because that would be silly. But even with all things new and shiny, there’s still cause for pause in my tiny apartment. A pause that leaves me breathless and devastated, even if it’s for less than a millisecond, it still happens. Maybe devastated isn’t the right word. Eh. Even typing it, it seems a little melodramatic. Maybe shocked is a better word.

Last May, I met a boy. It all starts with a boy doesn’t it? It was one of those things that should have just been a weekend thing, but being the girl that I am, and him being the boy that he was, neither of us would accept it just as that. I mean why would we? Fate is fate. This boy I met on my first visit to New Orleans this year. And he left me dragging my feet to get back to Texas. And I remember spending days being mad at him because he made me not want to be in Texas. He made me hate Texas, when really both Austin and Texas had done absolutly nothing wrong. All they had done was to be everything I had ever wanted. But yet, it was the boy in Louisiana who made me realize that why both Austin and Texas were everything I could have have dreamed of, they were not the right fit. I told myself that me wanting to move to Louisiana had nothing to do with a boy. But let’s be honest, he was the driving force. And I didn’t want to move because of him, I just wanted to move to be closer to him. However, life happens, and nothing ever happens the exact way we want it to. And I moved to New Orleans for no one but simply myself. For simple selfish reasons at that. Which honest to blog, I feel that’s just how it should be.

So even though I moved here for myself, and even though I have friends here, friends I have known for years and I love dearly. It’s strange. There’s a boy in the very city of which I stand, who once felt the same way about me, as I did about him (butterflies in the belly), and it also strikes me as odd that in one moment it can all go from good to bad. I once tried to explain it to a friend.

Me: Everything was perfect… until it wasn’t

Friend: That tends to be how it happens

I’m not sad, and I don’t wish to change anything that has already happened. It just seems so funny to me how quickly the heart can go from light and flighty to sad and… well just sad. Lucky for me the sadness has passed. But from time to time, it strikes me as funny. This boy who made it seem like he had so many plans for me, is no longer even in my peripheral vision… but instead just something that flutters through my brain wave from time to time. And even when the sadness has passed, I want my milliseconds back.

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Don’t blink, or you might miss it.

This past spring and early summer has led me to places I’d never thought I’d end up. Mostly I’m referring to a mental state. I’ve been stretched beyond my means only to realize just how easily I fall back into shape, still a little stretched out but able to function all the same. And all of it has led me to right now. Big things are days away and I am ever so very much excited.

May grabbed my heart and jerked me around by it, seeing how far I could go before I would come close to breaking. And I’ve got to tell you, I can go pretty fucking far. 8 hours by car from home to be exact. I went to visit friends twice in May, both times in the same city. The second time however sent me running back to Austin with the feeling of having been punched violently in the stomach. When in all honesty, I’m willing to bet that getting actually punched would have hurt less than the feeling I had when I drove back to Austin the second time in May.

Just the same though, it was those two trips away from Austin that made me realize something about my little city in which I live. Something I think I’ve known for awhile, but wasn’t really willing to look at and acknowledge, at least not look it in the eye. You know how you’re on a date with the perfect man, he’s everything you’ve ever wanted, and he is charming, cultured, gorgeous, smart, etc but yet you are kicking yourself because you just don’t feel that spark. There’s a lack of butterflies in the stomach. And while it’s easy to shrug and say “I don’t need butterflies” eventually boredom sets in and you realize that butterflies in the belly really are the bees knees. Well both trips from Austin made me realize that Austin was lacking the butterflies in the belly that I had been missing.

With that said… I made one last trip from Austin, looking to confirm what I had feared to be true. But just the same I wasn’t all that afraid of not living in Austin. I was excited about what would come next. I’m excited about my new apartment. I’m excited about the new people I’ve already met in this city that has already shaken, rattled, and rolled me. It’s all falling into place, and sometimes it doesn’t even feel like I’m living it, but instead just watching it all happen. Sitting back, smiling, and enjoying it all.

But for now. In this moment. I am in Missouri. Sitting on my childhood bed, typing these words. Waiting for laundry so I can pack my suitcase to go back to my home in Austin one last time. Tomorrow night I’ll get back to Austin to pack. And by pack, I mean pack really fast. Because boys and girls, come Wednesday, I will live in New Olreans, La.

Funny the way things happen.

Something about windows

There’s a wise old proverb about windows and doors. It’s something to the effect that the universe never closes a door without opening a window first. The hard part about that is though, when the door closes, it’s usually in our face.  And if there’s a window open, it’s probably letting the cold in, while we’re stuck staring at this closed door, fuming in anger at the fact that it is closed. So while we’re focused on our closed door, and getting cold from the draft of the open window, I usually can’t even notice that there’s a window in the room.

When I’m given bad news, I’ve found over the years that I prefer my bad news the same way I like my tea. Strong, but with sugar to sweeten it a bit, and a splash of milk to add a thickness to it. But just because that’s the way I like it, doesn’t mean that’s how it always is. Usually it’s blunt and hard. And usually I let it ruin me, defeat my entire being and purpose. It takes days to bounce back from it.

Lately though, things have become different. Bad things still happen. I’ve noticed though that my reaction to them have been drastically different. My car had been broken into over Christmas, broke out the passenger side window and took my GPS. I didn’t care that they took my GPS, I just hated that it had happened. Usually in matters like this, I hyperventilate and break down sobbing, feeling violated and victimized. This time though I just found myself staring blankly at my car with one word in my head. Fuck. Not fuck in anger. But as in a way that is simply understanding what has happened. The only thing I could think to do was to have the window fixed and not let it ruin my day. So that’s exactly what I did. I had a new window put in within three days. I was not forced to go through my everyday with a constant reminder of what happened to my car. And when it was all over, I couldn’t believe how easy it had been to handle all of it.

A door closed recently. Or, it’s going to soon. At least that’s what I was told yesterday. I knew it was going to close soon. I could feel it. It was just a matter of whether I was going to pull the door knob to shut the door myself, or let the door slam in front of me. So sitting in this little room with a closed door, I’m excited to look around me and see all the possibilities of all the windows. All the places that they will take me. I’m curious to find out what the open windows will make me do, and how it will change my life.

So I think I’ll just get in my car and drive. And feel the breeze from the open windows, waiting to see what they mean and what’s on the other side of the window.

A little Christmas past and present.

Every year for Christmas, my mothers friend has a big Christmas party of Christmas eve. There’s food, and drink, oh yes, lots of drink. And then everyone goes to church only to congregate back at the party. Every year since I was 18 or so I have gone to this party, and had the food, and the drink just as everyone did. And I would go to Church with a buzz that left me feeling good enough to sit through the same Christmas sermon that I had heard since I was a kid. Well. Last year, things may or may not have gotten a bit out of control. Maybe. Ever have one of those moments after a few drinks where you can’t stop laughing. Or at the very least, giggle? Well last year that is exactly what happened to me. I got a case of the giggles. In the middle of Church. Sitting directly in front of my mother’s boss. And my step dad was so angry, being the mildly not all that dedicated Catholic that I’ve come to read him as. Apparently Christmas Eve service is the big pubah of church services. Not Easter, not baptism Sunday, but Christmas Eve service.

This year things will be different. Am I still going to drink? More than likely. Am I still going to get the giggles? Without a doubt. What’s so different this time you might be wondering. Well, let me tell you. I’m staying in Austin. I’m spending my Christmas eve with my big brother and the people down here whom I have come to know as my family. New traditions are being made, and a new kind of fun is to be had.

I hope for everyone that they are able to spend Christmas as they want. And that everyone may be so lucky as to have people to be around them whom they love, and are loved by.

In the mess of it all

I spend so much of my life worrying if what I’m doing is the right thing. And even if it’s not, will it ultimately help me get what I want. If I do X & Y, will it help me get Z? I’ve never really known what I wanted to do with my life. I mean maybe when I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a writer. But other than that, I never really knew what I wanted to do. I never had one college major in mind. I honestly think I changed majors three times my first semester in college. I never could have known then that it didn’t really matter. It always left me kind of feeling like I was either really lost, or going with the wind.

I did a year of film school in college, and actually got a diploma from that. I thought that if I could dedicate myself to one thing, maybe I’d like it and it would work out to be something I could live with. And so far film is really one of the few things in my life that I keep trying to get away from, and it keeps finding its way back to me.

When I was living in North Carolina, I had my whole life planned out. The next two years would go exactly as I planned. I had several intricate steps planned out to perfect timing. Each step would help me succeed in what I wanted to do. Regardless of whether or not I even knew what that was. I was going to go to Mexico for five weeks. And if I got back in Raleigh at this time, and then I had my friend pick me up before 1 am, we’d get back to Wilmington by 4 or 5 am, I’d have enough time to change clothes, stop by my apartment, and eat breakfast, before the last mandatory transfer orientation at 8. Then at 3 after the orientation I would go to the DMV to get my suspended license back. Then the next day I would start class. Taking 15 hours, so I could graduate after 4 semesters at the University. It was all planned out so perfectly. It would all happen. Now if only I’d planned on things not going exactly as I’d planned them. Funny how that thought had never entered into my head. It was only after I’d made so many exact plans that the rug was pulled from under my feet. I hadn’t gotten into the University. For days, I was stuck with this question of “Now what” and I honestly had no clue. My mother wanted me to stay in North Carolina and work until I got into school. I wanted to move somewhere new and work. But I also knew I wanted a college degree. And I felt like the two options I was seeing couldn’t give me anything that would make me happy.

So out of simple curiosity I called the University back home that I’d started at. And they said they’d be glad to have me back, just have my transcripts sent over, and I could apply for classes the day they got my transcripts. It sounded so easy. And it really was. All I would have to do is pack everything I had into a truck and move it home. Except it wasn’t that easy. I’d built an entire life that I was just going to leave behind. But I was doing it because I knew a college degree would make me happy. And I knew I wanted a college degree, sooner rather than later.

Even being back home, I wasn’t happy. And I hated school. I hated that I was there. More often than not it was hard to remember that I’d chosen to go back there. But I did finish. And the feeling I did have when I FINALLY graduated was happiness. I’d done it.

Now I’m in Austin, looking for a job. I know that having money coming in will make me happy. I also know that I’m a writer. Lastly, I know writers don’t always make much. So do I write? Or do I get a real job? I know people say you can do both, but I have my reservations. I think to really do something; you need to dedicate your entire being to it. Easier said than done.

I’ve been feeling kinda crappy lately. No job. Not a lot going on. I spend a lot of time bored. But last night, on a whim. I hit downtown Austin, I drank margaritas in the company of people. And even did a shot or two of tequila. Tricky little devil that drink is, but just the same it was good. It was nice to spend a few moments not worrying about whether or not me being downtown was a good idea. Or whether or not my shirt was too low cut. What would the people thing? Not worrying about any of it, made everything so much easier. I think I just need to stop worrying about what’s going to happen to me. I mean I really can only do so much to change a current situation and that’s the only thing I can do. Focus on me now. What am I doing now and do I enjoy whatever it is that I’m doing.

Sneaking out

When I was sixteen I snuck out of the house. It was probably around midnight or one in the morning on a school night. It’s really not a big deal. What the biggest deal of it is I think, is how I didn’t get caught. My bedroom was on the third flood of my mother’s house. Not a big deal. The big deal is how I got down two flights of annoyingly squeaky stairs. Even now when I go home to visit, I can’t go up and down the stairs at night because the stairs are too loud. Every step you make on the wooden steps squeaks.

I remember when I snuck out. It was to see a boy. He had convinced me to come out and see him. I had told him to meet me at the bottom of my long drive way. We live on top of a hill, so I knew he wouldn’t be seen. But just the same I told him to turn off his head lights when he got close to my house. I carried my shoes in my hand stepping on the balls of my feeting, making sure not to put all of my pressure on any step in fear that the stairs would rat me out with a loud squeak. When I finally made it to the bottom, I let out a large sigh of relief and then made my way to the backdoor, because like the stairs, the front door was really loud. Sneaking out the backdoor and down the drive way, I climbed into the car that was waiting for me. I couldn’t believe it, I’d made it out. And it was some time later that I returned home and creeped back up the stairs and into the comfort of my bed. I felt so alive. I’d snuck out. Mom didn’t know.

I think there’s something to be said in the fear of knowing that what we’re doing is wrong, and even more for not getting caught. Living on my own I realize how much I love making my own rules, going home or to bed whenever I want. Just the same I miss the deviant feeling of knowing that I’m breaking the rules. Sometimes even after we break the rules we wait around just waiting to get caught.

It’s the feeling of deviance, or even awkward tension that makes me feel alive inside. It’s like when all hell is breaking loose and there’s shots going off, fists being thrown that I best learn to duck out of the way of the jabs. Instead I just watch, always on my toes, in case I too have to throw a punch. I can feel my heart beating faster in my chest waiting to see what happens next in the moment of insanity happening around me.

I remember one Christmas. My cousin had given something to my grandpa that he didn’t agree with, and he voiced his opinion as such. I remember watching this happening, and understanding it. And then five minutes later, one aunt was crying, one of my cousins was inconsolable and three other cousins sat on the couch looking extremely uncomfortable. I asked one of them what was going on.  Even though I’d been sitting there the whole time, if felt like I’d missed an event crucial to all the crying. It was only after my aunt told me she just simply hated conflict so much and wished it didn’t exist, that I became slightly aware that nothing big had really happened. Simply that someone had done something that the other person didn’t see as right.

So I guess deviance is really the root of it all here. How can I still be deviant when I’m living by my own rules?  There’s no one living with me telling me when to come home. The girl down the hall sometimes notices when I come rolling in at the lovely hour at 3 am. And she doesn’t notice it in a way that is condescending or judgmental. Just in a way that lets me know she heard me sneak in. Even though I really wasn’t sneaking.

Ah yes. How can I forget. There’s always society and it’s rules and regulations to keep me doing what I’m supposed to. No drinking and driving. Weed is in fact illegal. Don’t forget, you need to get married sometime. Don’t drink and dial. A few pounds less could make your life easier. Don’t drive too fast. I guess there is still chances for me to break rules and not get caught.  It’s comforting to know that I still have ways in which I can not only mess up, but revel in tension. Just the same, while deviance is more fun, the blow back is usually too complicated to even want to dip your toe in the pool of breaking societies norms. And even though I’m 23, there’s still the tiniest thrill I get when I get home at a time that even I know is too late.

Max

September 14th, 2011

I hadn’t talked to him in five or six years. Even though it just feels like yesterday. And thanks to this so called wonderful thing known as Facebook, I saw that he had finally joined the rest of the world in being united together through wall posts and status updates. I was so excited to see him, or at least his profile. He was dating some blond now, and was still located in his own country.

Max… what can I say? He helped me to form a standard as to how I would judge men. There were men like him, and then there were the others. Men like him came to my house to take me to our classes party and optioned staying over when he found out I couldn’t come out. Men like him kissed me out of jealousy of everyone else. He could build me up so easily and make it seem like nothing at all. No one would think to look at him looking at me. He was as stubborn as I could ever dream to be, even in my strongest moments my hard head could never match his. It had only been a month, maybe two and already this guy was becoming my best friend.

And yet. Leave it to foolish teen stupidity to mess things up. It was a cool night and it had been raining. Five foreign kids were bored in a living room with nothing to do to fill their time, except trouble of course. And it was a mix of said boredom and desire for something new that found me and an Australian alone in a German’s bedroom. His clammy hands shook as he placed them on my hips. I was nervous too. He leaned in and kissed me. I had known that I would kiss the Australian since the moment I met him. It was just a matter of when. I felt his hands go from my hips to his pants and I heard the jingle of him undoing his belt buckle.

I pulled back. “What are you doing?” I looked up at him. I was sitting on the bed and he was standing in front of me. He looked confused for a moment. And it was the look in his face that let me know exactly what was about to happen. Even at sixteen, it’s easy to be unsure of intentions sometimes. “Fuck! No. I can’t do this. This was a bad idea” I jump up from sitting on the bed and open the bedroom door bolting out.

Max is coming up the stairs as I do this and for a moment we lock eyes. And then he looks at the Australian as if to suddenly put two and two together. “What’s going on?” he was confused. I looked over at my friend Ying who sat across the room. “Come on Ying, we’ve got to go home. NOW!” she looked confused as well. But stood up and followed my lead.

Max now jumped in front of me. “What did you do with him? You had sex with him. Didn’t you?” I was trying to read him to see what he was feeling, he just laughed. Trying to make it come off as no big deal, like he wasn’t hurt by all of it. “We didn’t do anything I swear.” I had no idea then that those events that took place over a matter of minutes would change everything for the rest of my year abroad.

The next night, I was standing on Max’s balcony with him. Both of us were staring out onto the street two stories below us. “So you had sex last night?” he broke the silence with an abrupt question. I looked over at him trying to read where he was coming from.

“No. Max. Nothing happened. I swear, we just kissed. He undid his pants and wanted to do something, but I…” I could tell he was no longer listening to anything I had to say. Why bother to try and explain myself? “So kiss me.” he said five minutes later. And I kissed him. I knew once I did it, that it was a revenge kiss. Something to tally up to what I had or had not done the night before.

For the rest of the year, he would argue with me over what did or did not go down in his bedroom. We were never really friends again. Even after the Australian left at Christmas. And it’s only now that I’m finding him on facebook. And we’re talking again. And there’s playful banter, jokes about him coming to visit me, or me visiting him. The same jokes we made together before a kiss ruined it all. To be honest, it feels so good to have it back. It’s kind of funny, because it’s almost like opening a time capsule to find something that is just the same now as it was six years ago when it all started.