May the odds be ever in my favor

PS_0251W_EXHAUSTING_ADULTI’m not good at goodbyes. And by “not good,” I mean I tend to avoid them all together (One big exception would be crying in an alley with my little before I abandoned her to study abroad, but I digress…).

With a major chapter of my life coming to a close, I feel obligated to write all these goodbye tribute posts. Farewell to Kappa. Farewell to college. Farewell to Boston. Farewell to childhood. But it doesn’t feel like closure, somehow. It feels like… I’m not entirely sure. It feels like I still have a ways to go before the chapter really concludes.

I’m not sad, necessarily, because there’s still much to look forward to. I’m not excited, necessarily, because there’s still much to do (and few people to help me do it). In all honesty, I feel like I’m faking it, like one of these days someone is going to pull back the curtain and realize that I’m just pretending to be an adult. Surprise! I have no idea what I’m doing.

I made the mistake of counting, and this upcoming move will be my 12th since I graduated high school. That’s roughly three moves a year. I’ve learned to save my boxes, leave certain boxes unpacked, and minimize. I’m looking for stability, yet I have a temporary position that won’t really support me financially and a savings account that’s dwindling at best. I joked recently that I’m going to end up buying a house when I’m 26 just so I can point to one red front door in a sea of doors and say, That one. That’s mine.

In all honestly, I’m absolutely terrified. I feel ill-equipped to jump into a new industry, I (quite rightly) feel ill-prepared to support myself. I feel exhausted by my potential (that’s a good thing?) and by having to itemize my priorities when I have little to go off of—What’s more important? Being near AB? Making money and supporting myself? Doing what I want to do? What about when those things conflict?

What people don’t tell you is that once you graduate, it’s no longer six-month co-op commitments. Every decision factors in the five-year trajectory. Where do I want to live in five years? Will I be in a comfortable position to transfer by that time? When do I want to have a family? Why is none of this—job, relationship, career path—guaranteed?

And perhaps I’m being a little melodramatic. Okay, a lot melodramatic. I have a uniquely potent dose of the real world right now and it’s a lot to handle. I’m trying for grace, grace and gumption during this uniquely turbulent next couple of months. Compared to all this “real world” stuff, college sounds easy as pie. Maybe that’s why I’m not too keen on saying goodbye just yet…

Friday Night Romance

I went out last night. Some friend of a friend knew a promoter that offered free vodka all night and free entry to a club that typically has a $40 cover and where the cheapest bottle is $300. I spent $4 for my coat check.

 

Anyway, the place was pretty slow when we first got there, but we had a table and just relaxed and talked like girls for an hour so. Others started trickling in around 11:30 and I took a look around the place.

 

To the friend of a friend next to me, I marveled how clubs before 1 a.m. are remarkably like middle school dances, complete with awkward judging up the competition and gender segregation. Boys stand in their little circles looking awkward and uncomfortable and warm in their shirts and sweaters. And girls sit in their little table clusters and drink mixed drinks and just soak up each others prettiness.

 

I don’t really know where I am going with this. Obviously, around the witching hour, everyone is sufficiently boozed enough to dance with other smelly strangers and everyone ends up on the sweltering, deafening dance floor with the scantily clad, stilt-wearing go-go dancers (no, I’m not kidding).

 

I enjoyed myself immensely, but I had a built-in dance partner in my friend. I’m a Dane Cook cliche; I love dancing with my girlfriends. Random creepers offered us shots (read: cheapest drink at the bar and the fastest way to get a random girl drunk), which we kindly turned down and insisted that we were only interested in each other.

 

Other girls, however, were less inclined to turn down free alcohol from wealthy greasers. By about 2 or 3, the place was paired off and the only guys not dancing or sloppily making out with girls were Indian randoms who looked incredibly awkward (not racist, just an observation).

 

Anyway, I was way too sober for any of that. I’m sure that, had any of the impromptu couples released the suction between their slobbery mouths long enough to look at me, they would have seen a face wrinkled up in disgust. I’m just much too old fashioned for such practices.

 

I don’t really drink. I don’t talk to strangers, let alone make out with them. I like to be in bed at 11 p.m. The only reason I ended up there was to be with a close friend and to dance my little heart out.

 

But why in God’s name do people of my generation insist on going to bars and clubs to meet people of the opposite gender? Do you really think that because some guy is choking you with his tongue that he wants to be with you? I mean, realistically (which may be too far-fetched), what relationships really blossom from clubs??

 

I wouldn’t want to be with some guy that I met at the club. The music is so loud, that conversation is out of the question and the only thing I could be sure I had in common with the schlup was our choice of late night hangouts.

 

I want to be with someone I met in a class or at the library or at some philanthropy event. Someone I have things in common with, someone who doesn’t have to compete with the music or who is willing to drop hundreds of dollars in a night in the hopes of sealing the deal with some STD-ridden stranger. I want someone with substance.

 

I digress… but I guess I realize that clubs are not the place to look.

 

The Vanishing Point

I’ve spent the last umpteen hours and days and months

driving towards that pinprick in the horizon,

that neat little microscopic point where everything comes together.

There, that “vanishing point,”

that’s were everything makes sense.

It’s my rainbow and I’m constantly chasing it.

How am I, amateur navigator that I am, to know when I’ve reached the destination?

I need a tour-guide, a wing man.

I push harder on the accelerator and set new records,

I blow past signs and lights and detours and alerts,

my vision so narrowed and tunneled.

I never bothered to read any of them.

And I missed the turnoff.

too busy hurling myself toward some impossible pinprick of a future.

You were my poor, lonely dirt road,

poorly marked but ever-so-promising.

You could have been my super secret detour to happily-ever-after.

And I blindly blew past.

Menhattan

I had lunch on Friday with an editor for Esquire magazine that I met through an extended 6-degrees-esque connection. Over lunch, we discussed writing and journalism and life and general “brain barf.” And he mentioned that he walks to work every day because the 2+ mile walk provides him an opportunity to sort through that brain barf and compose it into well-organized story ideas.

I’m not quite crazy enough to walk 20 blocks in the freezing rain-slush fiasco that currently plagues the streets of Manhattan, but the weekend’s weather wasn’t quite so atrocious and I spent my Sunday meandering through the city. I walked up to Times Square and took pictures and reoriented my internal compass and let myself be a tourist in my new home. Tip to travelers: if you walk around alone, you don’t get hassled by the ticket peddlers 🙂

Anyway, as I was wondering the streets and perfecting my people-watching skills, I realized something about dating in New York that Sex in the City never fully covered. Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of men on this tiny little island. They’re just not 10s. And there are even more women, and many of them are 20 feet tall and stunningly gorgeous. Given the scales, men can easily date up in this city. And they do.

Ladies, turns out the key to a happy relationship in this city is to simply lower your standards! Ta-da.

But gents, beware that that 10 you just scored likely towers over you when she dons her stilettos. Try not to let it get to you. Napoleon syndrome is never sexy (trust me).

“Breakover” magic

I dyed my hair yesterday. The act always makes me feel powerful and sexy. It’s not as though I dyed it anything crazy (well… it’s still auburn-ish red, but dyeing it the same color its been for 2 months is hardly crazy), but I can’t help but get a little high from the change. Maybe the high is from the fumes from the dye. I had to open the window of my tiny 8’x12’ room to ventilate, but I attribute it to a different kind of feeling.

In the most recent issue of Marie Claire, one hair stylist consulted talked about how he often makes over women’s hair post-breakup. After the emotional sabotage of a heart-wrenching breakup, sometimes its empowering to hide, to curl up inside someone else’s look and put on a front. When Carrie Bradshaw got dumped by Big (again), she dyed her golden ratty waves a dark brown. She described it as her head being in the witness protection program.

The stylist in Marie Claire called it something else. He dubbed the post-breakup makeover a “breakover.” And I think the term is just perfect.

I didn’t just go throw a breakup. And I’m not exactly wrought with emotional despair, but I still love the invigorating freedom high I get from doing something drastic. Spontaneously cutting my own bangs, dying my hair red (or blonde or purple—I’ve done both), painting my nails some garish color, wearing bright lipstick, wearing super sexy lingerie just because feeling sexy is—well—sexy, getting a tattoo (just kidding, Mom)… I love the high.

Maybe we could all use a little “breakover” magic. When the weather gets all down and grey, a little color—literally or figuratively—can go a long way. Taste the rainbow, friends.

Insomnia Poetry

I started writing more poetry during the excruciatingly late nights in the news room. While I waited for edits, I brain barfed uncensored poetry into gmail drafts and lazily sent them off to friends and critics. Some are more eloquent than others, some more passionate than others. Some rhyme, most don’t. What I could extract from my gmail “Sent” folder is included below.

What If
Insomnia and loneliness dance through my veins,
And I let them permeate my brain, let them taint my thoughts.
I watch as my potential lives play like movies across the backs of my eyelids.
All the parallel universes that couldawouldashoulda existed… There as a reminder of everything I never did.
All the forks in the road, all the ultimatums, all the conversations I never had reclaim some remnant of reality there in my 2am brain spaz.
I carry on both sides of the conversation…
Things I wish I had the wit to come up with without forethought,

Things I hardly admit to myself,

Things I wish I had the guts to say rather than feverishly type them into a document that still exists only on my desktop and in my mind.
Words you know, but only because you know me. Words I never could say.
Because having that conversation in real life would mean relinquishing my control over the outcome.
Shouldawouldacoulda…
Here, in my half-lucid not-quite-dream world, I dance the tango with two dangerous words.
And let the possibility of what could have been color my darkened room.

Toes

I’m all wild
Red hair and leopard prints
Independence and big talkin’

I “dig” my own holes
And tread on your pretty little toes
With my garishly painted, toe-ring studded ones

Sorry if I offended you, dearest Napoleon
Sorry if you met your match
I’ll fight logic with emotions
I’ll fight your tactics with my words
And win

But winning is really losing, isn’t it
This isn’t litigating here
With you, toe to toe

I just scare you off
God forbid I not be some prim Southern belle
But mayonnaise with Jell-o?
Gross
And debutante balls?
Archaic displays of long-lost virginities
Complete with frills and baby’s breath

I’ll stick to my beer
And my outspoken, underdeveloped opinions
Sorry I scare you away, kid
But this isn’t the 1940s

I’ll let you let me be the girl that got away
But I promise you, Ace
I will not go quietly

A Taste of Fall

It’s like savoring a childhood ice cream cone,
when I watch the northern sun set.
After 72 hours of cloudy-with-afternoon-showers,
it’s a long overdue apology from Mother Nature.

“Sorry for the messed up makeup,” she says,
“the never knowing what to wear outside.
Sorry for the mud-stained boots, the chill,
the loads of wet, moldy laundry, the pneumonia.

Just sit with me a while, friend,
And enjoy your colorful consolation.
Pour some hot cocoa, pull up a seat,
and share some silent, sweet conversation.”

And I sit there, cross-legged and cold,
and stare into my her eyes a while.
I pull my Snuggie in around my goose-bumped legs,
and share a stolen moment with my new frenamie.

The conversation transitions seamlessly,
from tangerine to peach to pomegranate.
In the most delicious, sherbety goodness,
that my eyes have ever tasted.

And then she fades away too soon into the black,
the gray, the shades of winter cold.
And I’m left with a lingering fruity sweetness,
clashing with my hot-turned-luke-warm chocolate.

My Life in Lists

If I ever had the guts,
to just up and quit everything
and write a memoir,
it might not be that interesting…

Probably a female angsty
version of some Salinger story.

But I’d call it: “My Life in Lists.”
Because I have the annoying habit
of breaking everything down into
bite-sized lists.

I blame my mom.

Word documents fill my desktop…
Bucket lists, Christmas lists,
lists of boyfriends and books to read.
Ideas for a story, words I think are pretty.
Lists, lists, lists.

Somehow, writing a list feels productive,
organized, constructive…
when I know its just procrastinating,
not doing the things actually on the list.

But it looks so pretty. All the check-less boxes,
There’s so much damn potential.

Sometimes, I put things on the list
like “Wake up” and “Breathe air”
just so I can feel the satisfaction
of putting a tick in that tiny, perfect square.

If I ever die and someone gets hold of Lloyd
(that’s my laptop),
they could dissect my whole personality,
my hopes and fears and dreams,
from the contents of my desktop.

Thought Soup

Sometimes, in our instant-message society,
The words we mean to say become scrambled
Like a Denny’s breakfast (noms).
I try to fill the awkward silences with
Gilmore Girls-esque brain barf, unscensored nothings.
And my hands come alive, dancing.

I always speak with my stupid hands.

As a writer, my whole life revolves around words,
All the whos and whoms and whichs and thats.
I explain away the unexplainable,
And my head spins with song lyrics and stories.

I so seldom stop to listen to them, though.
I mean really listen.

I’m a Gemini, through and through.
There are so many different ‘Marians’:
The tomboy Marian, the writer Marian
The sister, the daughter, the scholar
The friend, the baby girl, the child.
I hardly know who I am, anymore.

I’m not comfortable sitting still and making peace with myself,
Whichever version of myself myself really is.

“I have so many problems,”
I say while sitting in a lonely newsroom at 3am,
Turning my psychological thought soup
Into sloppy, haphazard poetry.

No edits, I tell myself.
Let the stream of consciousness run its course,
Eroding away my sense of comfort.

Heck, maybe this is me:
Half finished thoughts, strung together.
All the pieces
With emotion and 3am logic.
(Whatever logic there is at 3am)

Random Thought to Ponder: Brain Backlog

Sometimes, when it’s been a while since I last wrote, I get physically agitated. I’m anxious and cloudy and feeling like I’m dangling outside of the physical realm. I realize how, well, ridiculous that sounds, but it’s almost as though there’s so much that needs to come out. And all of this brain barf backlog is fighting to be the first at attention.

You know how with cans, the contents can’t come out because there’s a natural vacuum? And the only way for it to move is if the poor can gets another hole popped in it to break the vacuum? I’m the can… so much is trying to get out of my head and the only way for that to happen is with some fresh air.

And, yes, I realize that probably makes very little sense, but basically I’m saying that I realize I need to write about SOMETHING, but have no clue where to start. Maybe it’s more that I just need to talk to someone. I used to joke that the reason I loved to write was because it was like talking to a therapist. The shrink doesn’t even necessarily have to say anything, but just spilling our heart’s complexities is therapeutic.

So I’m spilling. And I should also preface by saying that this is by no means a professional post. There is no research involved (unless you count living as research) and there will likely be no conclusive thesis. But look at the title of this blog. Brain Barf. That’s what it’s called and that’s what I’m giving. And if you have a recommendation for a therapist in San Diego or Boston, feel free to pass their information along.

So, as is evidenced by the past um several posts, I have plenty of romantic issues in my life. And it’s frustrating. I am confident in my school, I am confident in my writing, I’m confident in myself too… 95% of the time. I’m even comfortable meeting guys (maybe too comfortable). But put me in any sort of relationship with them and I screw it up. Why am I so innately hardwired to want to have a successful relationship? Why do I measure so much of my self worth based on my relationship status?

I think what I find particularly challenging is that I’m not a bad catch (and I say that with all necessary modesty). I get good grades, I know what I want in life, I’m sarcastic and even occasionally funny. I have straight teeth and am skinny. I’m competitive and smart and know not to wear double denim. And I happen to get along great with the parents.

So is it me? I realize I have some major honesty issues (as in, I tend to dole out a lot) and I over-think and over-analyze every look and twitch and unanswered call. Yes, I’m not perfect. But let’s evaluate some other suspects, as well.

Is it the age? Is college to blame? The oversexed media culture that is turning Gen-HarryPotter into testosterone-crazed sexpots (or visa versa)? Is it what I spontaneously deem College Player Syndrome, where guys like to “play the field” up until about their junior years when they realize that maybe girls don’t still have cooties, but sleeping around DOES spread cooties/STDs?

Is it because I’m actually looking? Truth be told, some of the best guys in my life were able to access me because I payed them no real heed until I suddenly turned around and thought Hey look, this guy’s kinda… awesome.

Is it because I settle? Or because people settle for me (ouch)?

I was watching some (more) Ally McBeal today… as in 5 episodes. Bygones. But Ally was sitting with this one character and had this character do an exercise. She said to think of the perfect wedding. Think of the guy and the first dance and the ring and the cake and the gorgeous low back dress and the color lipstick and the perfume and… you get the point.

And then focus again on the groom, on that perfect morsel of a dream man. Imagine his every feature, his every charm, his every trait. His smells, his eyes, his jokes, his quirks, his hands, his hair, his job, his house, his parents, his dog,his friends, his ex-girlfriends, his conservative grandmother, his dirty clothes, his leaving the toilet seat up, his spraying the mirror with toothpaste, his lack of interest in having a family, his dancing with two left feet, his sand paper facial hair, his geronomo afternoon shits, his stealing the sports section, his using my towel, his 100 degree heat when he sleeps, his tendency to not look me in the eye, his arrogance… And imagine living with that every day for the rest of your life.

Somewhere along that list, I realized what Ally was trying to show, that even the man of my dreams isn’t what I want. If my imagination can’t even grant me that small happiness, how can a person?

Gosh, that sounds so depressing and downtrodden. Mostly because that’s kind of how I feel lately. But I’m tired of singing Goodnight, My Someone to some mythical person. Ever since the first grade and my first boyfriend, John Paul, my life has orbited around boys/guys/men. It’s been way too long; I’m tired of passively waiting. And I’m almost tired of actively pursuing…

I just wish someone were fighting to find me as hard as I am to finally, FINALLY find them. Hurry up, babe.

Thought to Ponder: Compatibility or Craziness?

I was sitting with my girlfriend the other day talking about relationships. We both find ourselves in healthy, simple relationships right now… None of the crazy lusty heartbreakinghappiness of infatuated relationships.

Let me preface by saying that I’m probably not the most trustworthy opinion on the relationship front; I have a habit of completely fucking things up. But I have had that crazy lusty love, the kind that gives you a stomach ache and makes you want to vomit all over the poor guy’s shoes. It immobilizing, yet possibly the most invigorating, alive feeling I’ve ever experienced. It’s an adrenaline all its own and it’s the scariest thing in the world.

If that works out for people, goodness take the opportunity. But I only ever seem to make those situations into complete messes. Which kind of got me thinking about the guy I’m dating now. We butt heads and compete relentlessly, we manage to get along with each other’s friends, we butt heads. We also butt heads. But for some reason, being with him is comfortable…Putting effort into debates and laughing about unimportant things is fun and I find that by not going head-over-heels, I am able to keep my grounding and I’m slightly guarded against the devastating, heating-up-and-falling-fast feeling of being broken by someone I was infatuated with.

I don’t mean to sound removed or heartless, but maybe it’s better to be with someone who is compatible than to be with someone who drives you crazy (in every sense of the word).

I mean, maybe that’s why second marriages are often so much more successful; both parties go in with a knowledge of each other and of the others flaws and strengths. It’s more about making a compatible, healthy life together than it is about following our lusty wiles. Maybe it’s called “young love” for a reason… because it’s a love wrought with naivety and immature notions of compatibility.

But when it comes down to compatibility or craziness, does choosing the former mean I’ve lost my sense of romanticism? Or am I leaving childish notions behind and embracing a life of a lot less heartbreak? Wouldn’t that be nice…

Random Quote from: Ally McBeal

Alright, I know I’m about 15 years behind on the whole Ally McBeal thing, but I must say… she’s amazing. And I’m addicted.

Ally is a complete freak! She’s funny and awkward and neurotic and psychoanalyzes every minute Freudian slip. She gets caught up in the moment and she changes her mind on a dime.

“She” is me.

Anyway, there’s this one character, John Cage–nickname Biscuit–who is a senior partner at Ally’s firm and has some interesting tactics. He’s a character, to put it nicely 🙂 But he’s also a genius. Anyway, I really liked one of his quotes. I’m a sucker for romance and it was just… hopeful, I guess.

“The world is no longer a romantic place.

But some of its people still are, however.

And therein lies the promise…

Don’t let the world win.”