Old Fashion Kind Of Romance

It seems that everyone my age is either married, engaged, has a significant other, or is using dating apps. No really. I had a good friend from college get married last summer, my best friend is getting married next year, my sister is getting married next weekend, I have a cousin and an old friend from childhood getting married later this year. I have multiple friends who have met old or current boy/girlfriends on all kinds of apps. And then there are people like me. We aren’t married, we aren’t engaged, we aren’t even using apps, we just are. It’s not that we aren’t trying.

Honestly, I have no idea where to start in this dating world anymore. I took such a long break after I got my heart hurt that sometimes I don’t know how to open myself back up. And when it comes to online dating, opening myself up seems like falling off a cliff and knowing it will hurt.

Disclaimer: I have never been on one of those apps before. I have no idea how to even do it. From what I understand you pick people based on pictures and the information they want you to know. It’s like ordering something off of Amazon that doesn’t have a single review. You can see what the product looks like, you can see what they tell you about it but you have never seen the product in real life so what if it is all a lie? What if the product arrives and it happens to come with a mailman that wants to cut you up into tiny pieces in its basement?

My romantic heart doesn’t flutter at the idea. My stomach doesn’t fill with butterflies. My body doesn’t feel that excited nervousness it does before a first date.

What does make my heart flutter, give my stomach butterflies, my whole body nervous is it naturally happening, an old fashion kind of romance.

As my mom’s dad will tell you he saw a babe sitting in church and knew he had to get her attention. He sat behind her crunching carrots loudly until she turned around and the rest is history.

On my dad’s parents first date my Louisiana born and raised grandma told my Texan born and raised grandpa she didn’t like Texans. Guess he knew she was the one, a several weeks after that date he proposed to her.

I want to see someone in a grocery store and bond over our shared favorite addiction to fake cheese, I want to be a regular at a local coffee place and see someone over and over again that we eventually talk and fall madly in love.

I want a natural right time right place kind of romance, the rest of you can keep your apps.

M

I had strep again, my brain was convinced. I walked into the campus doctors office and was going to tell the doctor to write me another prescription for some antibiotics and take it easy for a few days.

I had already had strep two weeks before and just figured that somehow I hadn’t cleaned well enough or it was just going around and I re-caught it.

I was so aware of my mouth that the thought of just normal mouth functions took a lot of concentration. The end of my junior year in college was approaching and finals were just a few weeks away.

So when the doctor came in, reviewed my file, gave me a quick exam and told me she wanted to test me for mono I about laughed in her face, mouth functions being difficult and all.

I told her it was strep and she should just check for that. She really thought it wasn’t. We compromised and tested for both. And you know what sometimes doctors do really know best.

I had mono. How in the @#$! did that happen?

I was still feeling okay despite the doctor telling me it was about to get worse. I texted my peoples and told them what was up and I was quite surprised that everyone was treating me like a pariah. I soon came to find out why.

For those of you do not know what mono or infectious mononucleosis is then pay attention because you never ever if you can help it want to get mono.

In all honesty, having my wisdom teeth pulled wasn’t nearly as bad.

With only a few classes left before finals, I somehow made it to all of them, that really should have earned me a letter grade bump ;).

For all of you still in school take this a lesson to never procrastinate.

Mono  is a highly contagious virus that takes everything out of you. Accompanied with my extreme fatigue I would get very nauseous. Which means I was only able to sleep for about three hours before waking up with hunger pains I could feel rolling up and down my spine. And because of the nausea I was only able to eat about an ounce of tomato soup before passing back out again. I was like that for over a week before I could move on to eating about 3 oz of mac and cheese.

On the positive side, I lost seven pounds in five days. But I would recommend just sticking to the treadmill at the gym.

The other thing about mono is that it is highly contagious. And is spread by saliva. That is where it gets its nickname the kissing disease. We could sit here and debate if that is how I got it and honestly I did some mental digging to try and figure out everyone’s mouth that mouth could have come in contact with but the pool got very wide.

You can’t just add the people who you’ve locked lips with, you also have to add in all the people they have kissed in the last 4-6 weeks (incubation time). Everyone they have shared a drink or bite of food with. Everyone who drank out of the same public water fountains as you. Everyone who served or cooked you food at a restaurant. Everyone in your class you sneezed or coughed near you. Everyone at the gym that could have sweated on the equipment or mats that you used.

Is your inner germaphobe having a field day with this?

The worst part was that people wouldn’t touch me. I would go days and at one time a week without physical contact. Humans are social creatures and we need, no crave, physical connection.

One day when I had started to feel better, after my weird three days of finals where I somehow cured myself of mono just long enough to study and take all my tests before feeling like death, my BFF invited me to come watch tv with her on the couch. I was still having extreme fatigue and walking from my bed to the couch was enough to take the wind out of me.

We sat there on opposite ends of the couch when her hand grazed my foot. Tears started free flowing down my checks and I probably looked insane. You know what she did next? She held my sock covered feet and let me cry.

Mono sucked really bad. But what it showed me was that I really did have a best friend. I had someone who would drive me to the mall and sit down with me every few minutes so I could catch my breath so I wouldn’t be cramped in my room. Who would take me to Kroger so I could survive on mac and cheese. The fatigue, for me, lasted about eight months. But  I had someone who was kind and generous. A true friend that stuck by my side. Find yourself a friend like that, you never know when mono could strike.

 

 

Writing Into Adulthood

I can loosely remember talking to one of my college roommates about moving to Florida after college graduation. Of course, we were all sad because somewhere deep down inside we all knew things would never be the same even if it felt like being college roommates was never going to end. She suggested I start a blog about my new life that was going to be several hundred miles away so everyone could keep up with me.

I, being a person who loves to talk, thought it was a great idea. But what was I going to write about? And would anyone really care? Would I really be doing this a year later?

A year later and here I am, still writing. You guessed it, today is my one-year blog anniversary of my first post! (you can check it out here Side Hugs Are For Third Graders)

Over the course of this past year, it’s been really hard and yet really easy. Sometimes the words just flow naturally and others I can’t think about a single thing to write about. Sometimes the stuff I want to write about seems way too personal, but isn’t that the point of sharing a journey of becoming an adult? Isn’t it a hard, scary and lonely path that we age into without an instruction manual. More than once I have felt like a complete failure. Yet again more than once I have found a way to pick myself back up and keep trying.

~~~

It was my second to last semester of college when I had an extra credit opportunity in my advanced fiction writing class to attend a reading. It was late at night, I didn’t really care and all I wanted to do was go home and sleep. But I went anyways. We heard a guy read a chapter from his novel, a woman read some poetry, both of which mildly interested me. My grey sweatshirt was one more mediocre word away from being drooled on.

Then Dr Jill Talbot stepped up to the mic. I could tell she was nervous by the slight shake in her voice but she stood confidently. She told us she would be reading something non-fiction. All I think was oh great, this is going to be boring. 

Oh, how wrong I was. Her words filled the air around me, drawing my ears to hang onto every last word she spoke. I was so caught up in her voice, the way she could talk about something so personal to a room full of strangers, all I wanted was to be in her presence for just a little while longer, for her to read me just one more story. But it was over.

Luckily for me, she was teaching an intro to non-fiction writing. With one final semester left I signed up. Thus starting my journey to becoming a blogger.  

~~~

When I arrived in Flordia I was living with family, and while I haven’t blogged much about that (being as it is still a little raw and too personal to my writers’ skin), I did find typing away made it easier to quite my brain.

Even though I had family around, family I never really had the chance to know before then, I felt alone. There is something to be said about having the people who understand you near you.

But I did learn some valuable lessons while gone. I started my first customer service job and got a real taste of being in an industry where you have to serve others, Memorial Day Weekend at Ginnie

Before I became a ‘real’ adult, I had never understood why it was so hard to fit exercise into a routine, then suddenly it all made sense I finally understand why adults get fat

And then with the hurricanes coming I packed up my life and fled home to Texas. It was my first true taste of being in a place where no one really knows the real you. It gives for a lot of self-exploration. Yay, adulting.

~~~

Throughout this year of blogging I have had many doubts, feeling that my life wouldn’t be interesting to write about. That I wouldn’t have any stories worth telling. A few nights ago I went through this self-doubt again.

I think on my journey to becoming a better writer this blog has served as a space to negotiate the new world I have found myself dropped into.

I thought turning 22 ( Not Feeling Your 22 ), graduating from college and working in the adult world would have this effect on me. You know the scene in Cinderella where her fairy godmother waves her wand and says bibbidi bobbidi boo and Cinderella is a whole new person, I thought that would happen somehow. But I didn’t feel it.

And then after a lot of thinking and a lot of internalizing (you can go ahead and sprinkle some self-doubt on there too), I figured it out.

I could make my own magic. In the form of words. I just had to write honestly. And I realized that my biggest fear wasn’t if I would be successful or not, it was that I would be writing and it wouldn’t be for myself.

This blog took me to that point. So even if sometimes it seems a little too real and inappropriate (sorry to my grandmas), I would be doing a disservice to myself if I censored me.

~~~

College was a very important time in my life. It is where I started to do a lot of my growing up. Of course, things that happened earlier in life also shaped me. But college was one of the first times I got to be on my own.

Yes, I still had my parents close by and they have still been very active in my life. But it was a time where I started growing up. High school was a weird time for me, not sure I’m really ready to honestly and openly talk about it yet.

I look back, seeing as how in less than a month it will have been one year since graduation, and realize that I had already started to become an adult then.

And once again feeling in a slump I challenged myself to write an abecedarian. Which I learned about in Dr Talbot’s class. Each letter is about a specific memory in college. I’m still writing it and sometimes it is hard to pick just one thing per letter or even find a memory. But I think it has been healing in a way and fun/embarrassing/sad to remember things that happened.

I have come to realize that you really can’t go back. Nothing is the same. People grow up, move on, new buildings are built. Each moment, every memory is beautiful. Part of growing up and becoming an adult is learning to adapt and change.

~~~

When I first started blogging I would take stands on issues in my head. Too touchy of subjects never felt appropriate to talk about. Partially because sometimes I was ignorant of the topics and partially because I wasn’t sure if I should take a stand.

And then the Me Too movement happened. Lots of emotions later and outpouring support and stories across the internet caused me to let my voice be heard. And it felt good.

Blogging helped me work through my fear of being the odd one out. It has helped me find my voice, not only as a writer but as a person, giving me the confidence to form my own opinion, not letting family or friends sway me.

~~~

I know technically my poetry isn’t all about becoming an adult. A lot of it is just stuff I’ve written.

Before my final semester in college, I had never thought about writing poetry (which is funny cause I found a few attempts at poetry in some old files from when I was a kid).

Poetry felt like a dead language. If you asked me back then I would tell you Dr Seuses was my favorite poet. Now it’s a little more complex than that.

I had once again found my voice. But in a different context. I found that rhyming could be pretty easy. I felt that in some ways things couldn’t be said by just simply typing them out but could be expressed in a poem.

And then came a new way to express how I felt about people and things I care about. (BFF, Mom, giving back, diving)

Blogging has given me a platform to express myself in different art forms. Sometimes just for fun, for others, or for more abstract ideas. It’s a little weird to have your hair blow dryer to talk to you in a normal setting right?

~~~

Writing a blog hasn’t been easy. More times than I would like to admit the idea of quitting has sounded good. But one thing my dad always told me was that Walkers don’t quit. More days then I can count I have been happy I didn’t.

I do have a lot flaws as a writer, I sometimes forget you all don’t live in my head, I don’t always write in chronological order, and sometimes my spelling isn’t so great. I’m working on it. This past year has taught me that we always have room for growth if we are open to it.

If I could take away anything from this past year it would be that if you write for others then you will never be happy, but if you write for yourself then your writing will bring you happiness.

 

 

To everyone who has been on this journey with me, thank you. I love reading your comments on Facebook or WordPress. Sharing this journey with you helps make this such a fun and wonderful experience.

The Witching Hour

I work odd hours and sometimes that means I get home after midnight. In the case of last night, I got home well after one in the morning. It had already been a long day and I was ready to get home and get snuggled into bed.

I pulled into my apartment complex parking lot around 1:30am but it didn’t feel a typical night. For a reason, I couldn’t explain at the time, and a reason I am still trying to explain, everything felt wrong.

The kind of feeling you get deep down in your gut saying something here is off and not in a surprise your coworker brought you a doughnut. I put my keys between my fingers (the way you are supposed to in case someone attacks you in close range), pulled my backpack onto my shoulders, locked my car door and took a very cautious step towards my apartment complex.

Being the hour I got home none of the close spots where available so I had to park on the back wall. My building sits in between several others so no matter what it’s always a small walk. The complex is adorably laid out in the fact that it has lots of trees, bushes, steps to walk up and down to get around. But that also means you sometimes cannot see around stuff, normally this isn’t a problem.

But last night with a panic spreading from my stomach to my lungs, the air around feeling heavy yet the wind blowing with a slight rage, and my feet feeling the need to run with intent and simultaneously walk cautiously, I started towards my front door.

I could hear the wind above me picking up while it sat still around me. I could feel that I shouldn’t look back or second guess my gut but just keep going. I took the steps all the way up to my third floor two at a time, my legs had never felt lighter. I could feel myself gliding up the stairs, my legs pushing me to keep going. I was almost home.

Once I got to the third floor I half walked and half ran to my door. Past the apartment with the yappy dog, as the wind was picking up, past the apartment that was empty where I swore the other night I saw a figure of a man standing inside, the wind felt like it was roaring beside me wrapping itself around me, all the way to my locked front door all while never turning to look behind me. I stuck my key in, my hands felt week and heavy but somehow I managed to get the door open and lock it behind me.

And then the world felt okay again. At least for a few moments.

I could hear what sounded like my roommate’s dog whining in her room. I was afraid I had been very loud coming in through the door and had woken her up. I took extra care to be quite as I went about.

I made myself a little snack and watched a feel-good show on Netflix so I could come down from the crazy encounter with nature I had just experienced. And it worked. I got ready for bed and started to fall asleep.

It was around three in the morning when I heard what sounded like a dog briefly whining and then what sounded like the kitchen faucet running. I figured my roommate was getting her dog a quick drink. But the water kept running and running and running. So I poked my head up and couldn’t see any light coming from under my door. But then it just stopped.

I started to drift off to sleep when it all happened again. The brief sounds of a dog whining, the running of a kitchen sink faucet, and no lights.

The only logical explanation, my roommate is up. So I texted her. Feeling better I passed back out.

I woke up to a text from her saying she hadn’t gotten up in the middle of the night. Strange. She came home for lunch shortly after that and we talked. She said she was already asleep before I got home and doesn’t remember her dog whining.

But she told me she was also getting weird vibes that night.

We chalked it up to either it being the neighbors running water in the middle of the night, wind chimes sounding like a dog whining or just the wind, that I was actually asleep the whole time and dreamed it (didn’t feel like a dream), she was sleepwalking, or we need an exorcism of our place (the only thing out of the ordinary from when we moved in is that she hung up a crucifix above our front door a few days ago).

Or maybe it was just the Witching Hour.

L

Ladies on ladies on top of ladies, and while this may sound like erotic fiction, I have not taken up writing about sexual fantasies quite yet. This story actually happened to me, or more so on top of me.

This was a night early in college when I was at a party. I won’t name the location or the people involved in the events that transpired on that couch that night, but I will tell you about the moment I froze as two…and I’ll get to that.

This was one of those moments in college that you see in a movie. You know the kind where the shy awkward freshman encounters all the cool juniors and seniors. They open up the freshman to the idea that anything goes in college. Embarking the freshman on a wild ride for the next four years.

But my life is not a movie, and for the most part, I wasn’t a shy awkward freshman. I was the girl sitting on a couch in shiny gold, and as I referred to them, hooker pants. They were beyond fun to wear, you could see yourself in the reflection of my…and again not that kind of story.

Since I’m to the point of being able to legally walk into a liquor store and buy a half a case of wine if I want to, I’ll spill the beans I was 19 and having a really good buzz.

Which kind of makes the whole thing seem like a movie, so put on your buzzed glasses and imagine that you are sitting on a couch with three other girls. You are just minding your own business when girl one leans over you. You don’t think much about it till girl four is almost spilling into girl three’s lap. And the next thing you know girl one and girl four are locking lips.

Having no idea how these events transpired you look at girl three, who is desperately looking at you, just as confused. It happened and was over really fast. Being slightly awkward I had no idea if I should get up or stay. The events that happened after that kiss lead to a fist fight, people throwing up in the yard, and well you know a lot more drinking.

And that is the story about how two girls practically climbed over me to get to each other while I sat there seeing my face reflected back from my shiny hooker pants.

Welcome to college.

K

Kindness wasn’t something I learned in college or rediscovered. But something I saw a lot of people slip away from.

Maybe it was because we didn’t have our parents watching us or a school that would call mom and dad or teachers that saw us everyday. Maybe it was because we had seen on TV that people our age could act rude, to the point of being world class bitches and it was okay.

We made those kinds of people popular and looked up to them. So when we left the comfort of our homes and ventured out into the real world those mean girls and a-hole guys didn’t have someone guiding them along. They could treat people however they wanted and many people I came across disregarded each other’s feelings.

And maybe that’s just how the real world works. Maybe we put each other down in the hopes it’ll make us temporarily feel better. Maybe we’ve moved away from morals and into momentary self gratification.

We can all be unkind, I think what separates people is those who care. I think if you can look back on a situation where you acted in an unkind manor and only see how you are right then you need a serious reality check. But if you can look back and see how you could have done better, then you are growing in a positive way as a person.

It’s not hard to kick a person when they are down, it’s hard to pick a person up who you have helped kicked down.

Thinking back to my freshmen year it was almost like I could look at the people on my dorm floor and pick out who would or wouldn’t succeed later in life based off their ability to be kind.

Those that only looked out for themselves and put others down around them, always seemed really unhappy to me. And now with almost four years of reflection I look back on all the times I hated living in my dorm room, all the weekends escaped, and I remember the good times.

I choose to remember the friends I made, the 2am nights at Denny making pancake art. The first time I saw Rocky Horror Picture show in the common room. The night we walked to go get froyo as a group. When I narrowly missed getting caught drinking underage on campus 😅. The kindness I was shown.

In the long run, at the end of the day, years later, that person who you thought hated you, may in fact only remember how kind you were to them. And you never know what possibiltys that may lead to.

I didn’t learn about kindness in college. I already knew what it was. What I learned is the importance to be kind to one another.

My final peice of advice, even when they aren’t being kind to you, you get to choose to be kind.

J

Jane The Virgin, The 100, Community, Smallville, are just some of my guilty pleasures. Basically, I just love teen/young adult TV. Let’s go ahead and throw into the mix Teen Wolf, One Tree Hill, Riverdale, Timeless, seriously I don’t even know why I am still trying to list all of these shows out there is just so many!

But let me back you up to the end of high school/beginning of college. This girl right here would have denied to the grave that she ever watched those kinds of shows. No, she was way to cool and sophisticated to be inside of a fandom. I would never stay up late at night playing out what I thought would happen to the characters and space out in class daydreaming about the next episode because I needed to find out what happened next.

Watching the shows had almost become my dirty little habit. I would plug in my headphones, get myself into a corner where no one could see me, and be all secretive about what I was doing. Pretending like I was way to cool for it all.

Why you ask, well its because I thought people would judge me. Even if someone else said they liked one of those shows I would just pretend like I had never seen it and had no idea what they were talking about while I was secretly shipping characters in my head and thinking oh I already know all of this.

I wonder now how many friendships I missed out on because I felt alone, fear holding me back from sharing my love for the on-screen drama. I used to tell people I didn’t use youtube or they couldn’t use my account because I couldn’t remember all the login in info. Really I was embarrassed that they would see that I spent lots of my time watching videos that other people put together of my favourite couples or videos of the ones I was shipping. I kept a part of me secluded for such a long time that I felt terrified that someone would discover my secret and I would be outcasted.

I buried my love for those shows so deep inside of me it became second nature to deny that I had ever seen or heard about said TV show.

I felt secluded and buried deep until I took a class in college called Youth in Media. It changed my life.

  1. I discovered Tumblr. I know I am super late to the party but I found a place where I could connect with others who also loved the same shows as myself. And totally fangirl about it (in that not so intense kind of way).
  2. I realized that a lot of the people in my class, around the same age as me, also loved those shows and they let it be known. Which was shocking to me that people I thought were cool liked the shows I thought made me lame.
  3. We watched Jane The Virgin. Before my professor told us one episode was homework she asked who all in the class had seen the show. I kept my hand down for fear of being the only weirdo. But to my surprise, a good number of people had raised there hands. My Professor loved the show and as it turned out other people did too. I had already seen the whole first season and was watching the second one as it was airing at the time. It was in that moment that I realized I wasn’t some rare weirdo breed who loved TV shows. I was one of the many people invested into a fandom.

The most important lesson I learned from that class was that its okay to do you. And sometimes you might just make a connection with a friend that you didn’t know was there.

I hope if you have any fears about feeling rejected for liking a certain TV show or genre of music or movie that you can take comfort in knowing that we all have a guilty pleasure.

#sixseasonsandamovie