I Don’t Want To.

One of my favorite scenes ever is from “Felicity’s” “The List.” After a year of pining for Ben and finally getting to be with him, she realizes how much of herself she’s been compromising, just to not “freak him out.” So she tells him this:

I’m an emotional person. I feel things and, I need to be able to get upset and to talk about how I’m feeling. I mean that’s just-that’s who I am and, I can’t change it. I don’t want to. And the thing is, you knew that. You knew it and you still pursued me. Because, you want something with me – you’re just not strong enough to have it. Which, in a way makes you a coward.

She was right on all levels and just after this speech is when she went for her infamous haircut. Another moment of being like screw this, I like myself and if he/the world doesn’t, that’s fine.

Different parts of Felicity’s speech speak to my heart at different times. The one lately that’s been hitting hardest is how her voice breaks when she says that the saddest part is he’s going to wake up one day and realize what he lost.

And that it was going to be too late.

I am so imperfect. One could even call me a massive fuck up.

But when you get my heart, you get my heart. VERY few people do. It’s not just about romance. I care about my friendships and have been burned by them just as much as my romantic relationships. When I was in my early 20s, one of my best guy friends told me I tended to become bosom friends with women who were emotional vampires. I’ve been blessed with incredible girlfriends who definitely aren’t; but he wasn’t wrong and his words stuck with me.

I mean. Vampires are sexy! Tbh, I think I simply deep down like being sucked dry. I love the feeling of being important, desired. Necessary.

But then once they’re done, so am I, ‘cause: proverbial blood loss. Also when Felicity says that the saddest part is that Ben is going to wake up one day, realize what he’s lost, and it will be too late?

Yes. I am the same way. I’ll pour my heart, body, mind, and soul out for someone. They only get to reject it so many times; the. I’m just done and it doesn’t come back.

My life has taken so many wrong turns. I already was messed up when I was younger, but now in my 40s? Gah, to quote Bridget Jones, who is now young enough to be my daughter.

I feel like I have nothing to show for my life but fuck ups. Some days I exhibit more pluck and I’m not even really depressed today. But I wanted to talk.

Because that’s another thing. I really need to share my heart, my emotions, neuroses. To quote someone from last week, I am “a lot.”

And probably, I’m not going to stop being a lot.

But to the people willing to love me, the ones whom I love back, I will be the good “a lot” too. I know I’ve been selfish in the past and stingy with my time.

Now I’ve spent so much time feeling so very alone, and have better focus on what truly matters.

Like Felicity, I can’t change who I am. I just can’t. And I don’t want to.

Improve, fix my faults? Yes, always. I will die trying to do that. Never will I say “This is who I am so just deal with it” when it comes to my MANY personal flaws.

But maybe for the first time in my life, I’m going to look honestly at who I am and not just what’s wrong with me, but everything I have to give.

And then give it when the time is right. ❤️


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Mixing Up the Routine

One reason I love yoga is that it reminds me of cheerleading. Including a downside, which is how when I first try a routine, I can’t keep up and am like omg I’ll never get this, and everyone is smart but me! I was always the last to get a new cheer down. It took a LOT of explanation, patience, and repetition. But once I got it, I never forgot it.

I miss CorePower Yoga’s studios SO much for myriad reasons, but one is that I was still definitely not ready for Level Two and barely survived the Hot Power Fusion classes, but muscle memory and repetition were starting to slowly work their magic. I was getting better, and most relieving of all to me, I was beginning to remember the routines, especially when accompanied by my two main instructors’ playlists.

It’s been hard to motivate myself to do yoga at home, even though I have a mat and there’s great free options right on the TV, and I know I feel good once I’m doing it. At very least, once I’m done 🙂

But beyond the obvious, like my room doesn’t have a barnlike ceiling or people massaging and spraying rose oil on me (usually), it’s really intimidating to start a brand-new routine. I’m SO glad to have learned so much IRL first because I recognize so many poses and terms now and don’t have to look at the screen to follow along.

But then there will be something new, or the TV teacher will go much faster through a sequence than I’m used to and I’ll be like hey, my CorePower instructor was much nicer!

Since I’m not very good at Staying In The Moment, tonight as I was doing this 20-minute complete body (video? What would it be called?) I was thinking about this. I HATE learning new things when I’m bad at them. If I’m good, then I love learning!

But one thing I really was starting to learn at CorePower was that it was okay to be the worst in class, because especially with yoga, it’s not about that. And muscle memory and repetition really do wonders.

So when I started falling and slipping off my mat trying to do this twist thing, I remembered my other instructors saying it’s about “your practice.”

And I started thinking hey maybe instead of feeling bad because I haven’t learned taekwondo or become a ballerina during quarantine, I could practice this (video??) and make it a goal to keep up with it. If I can memorize all of Carmen Electra’s Blue DVD routines, I can memorize this and eventually do each move!

Just as I was feeling confident despite not being able to half-Britney my leg to the side (YET!), the instructor is all “So this is kind of fun,” and does this insane flip thing that not the 1984 Olympics nor the 1993 Rock and Roll skating show starring Scott Hamilton nor Buffy could have prepared me for.

“Well there goes that quarantine plan!” I lamented to myself. But then he goes, “To many, that’s simply ridiculous! And you can feel free to skip it.” Letting me off the hook from the flippy thing, but not my overall goal.

I won’t say that I have to do it every day. I will try. And I still dabble around with other routines. But this one, doable if I practice, 20-minute routine feels like a totally bite-sized goal I can set for myself right now, and that feels good.

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Wild Nights

[Books] were the world I could lose myself in when the one I was actually living in became too lonely or harsh or difficult to bear.

I considered my options. There were only two and they were essentially the same. I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward
in the direction I intended to go.

Cheryl Strayed, Wild

I grew up as a voracious reader — learned at three years old through my mom who read books aloud and taught me how to read them for myself while cooking dinner, via magnetic letters on the refrigerator.

For years and years, books were my very best friends. When I was four, I became obsessed with Little Women, and refused to answer to any name besides the character I decided to be that day. When I was six, I didn’t mind sitting on endless lines with my parents at boring estate sales, so long as I had the next Nancy Drew book or three on hand.

Then came every book written by my beloved Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume, followed by The Baby-Sitters Club. Countless worlds and characters, not to mention all the other books in between.

As I got older and outgrew my childhood series at least chronologically, there weren’t any series that grabbed me anymore, or authors who seemed to see inside my soul on a regular basis. But I kept reading books, especially when I commuted to and from the city on the Long Island Railroad for several years. There’s nothing better than being in the middle of a book, but standing in the tiny, crowded bookstore at Penn Station in front of the New Release section, picking out a brand-new adventure based on nothing but a title and my gut was a close second.

I don’t remember when exactly I stopped reading books on a regular basis, how soon it was after that. I never stopped reading. The Internet is surely to blame for a lot of my lack of book reading, but it’s also kept me reading. As much as I love movies and television even more so, my days are spent reading pretty much non-stop. Maybe it’s something as small as a Tweet or as big as a lengthy article on psychology or history; sometimes it’s excellent writing about a ridiculous subject like “Vanderpump Rules.” But my brain still loves to read.

So many times I’ve acquired books — paid for them myself, received them as gifts, taken them out of the library. “This will be what switches me back to my old self,” I always think as  I hunker down, ready to once again pick up a book and become transported for an entire afternoon, especially if it’s raining. Those were some of the best days of my childhood.

Instead, I’d fall asleep within five minutes, or start the book but abandon it for no discernible reason. I’ve started many books in these past years, but finished very, VERY few. I think I finished one altogether last year: Guts by Kristen Johnston. It was excellent, and I highly recommend it! But for someone who used to run out of my HUGE pile of library books on family vacations and need to go to the bookstore to find more, one book in one year is a travesty.

One of the books that I began but stopped reading was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I saw the movie in 2015 and fell in love with all of it — the film, its story, and especially Strayed’s writing, which was featured in the movie. I read her book of quotes and started reading Wild. Why I stopped, I have no idea.

A few days ago, I ended up getting lost and walking an extra couple of miles in the hot sun, much of it uphill. At first I was frustrated, but then my memory was triggered of how when I first saw the movie and started reading Wild, I’d think of it every time I wanted to quit something. I’d think of putting one foot in front of the other, and so on and so forth. No race, no deadline, no competition with anyone but myself and the temptation to give up. When Cheryl Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, she had an end goal, a final destination. But what mattered even more was everything that happened between the beginning and that end, her mental journey even more than the physical one.

As I walked, I realized how much I wanted to read all the details of her punishing experience, all her beautiful words that were on the pages between the front and back covers. How much I needed them. I wanted to experience every moment of Strayed’s life-changing journey. I wanted my brain and soul and even body to absorb every word on those pages like when Dark Willow scans that book at the end of “Buffy,” Season 6.

(I had to throw in at least one TV reference.)

Basically, I didn’t want to revisit Wild because I felt I *should* read a book. I felt a powerful urge combined with a calm knowledge that if I simply began the journey, every moment of it would bring riches and a greater understanding of life and the world at a time when I am absolutely craving that with every fiber of my being. I feel raw and ready for something life changing and want to experience that vicariously through someone whose writing makes me want to highlight every other sentence; it’s so poetic and insightful.

So the desire was there, but what of all the bad habit responses I’ve developed over the years when it came to books?

Well, Wild is a different kind of story, so maybe I could take a different kind of approach. I told myself: two pages a night. That’s it. There is no reason to overthink two pages, to make excuses as to why there’s no time, or more important things to do. There is no need to set aside three hours to create A Perfect Day Of Reading like I used to enjoy.

There is only the need to begin. 

So I did that. Sure enough, even though I was totally interested in what I was reading, my body immediately felt tired and sleepy. After two pages I wanted to read more but allowed myself to complete my tiny goal and have that be it for the night.

Last night, I did the same. I’m into what I’m reading; I’m just in terrible shape and need to build up those muscles again. I know that soon enough, those two pages will turn into more. Simply from the five I’ve read so far, I feel richer from Strayed’s words and stronger from my choice to sit down in bed and add this to my nightly ritual. I feel like I’ve turned a key in a lock and am so excited to see what discoveries await.

Wild cover

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Shadows & Sunlight

Normally if I leave the office in the first place, it’s to go to Target or Safeway. Those are in a long row of stores where if you walk on the sidewalk, you’re in a shadow. When it’s cold, it provides a welcome barrier from the wind.

Today I had to go to the bank that’s in the middle of the parking lot, and it wasn’t cold; it was sunny. Walking in the middle of the parking lot took my breath away for a moment, as everything looked and smelled and felt amazing. Those moments are precious and I knew the elation would fade, but I made sure to appreciate it while it lasted.

As I continued toward the bank, I realized that something about the open space in the parking lot reminded me of being at the beach. The long walk to and from the parking lot was sometimes nearly as much a part of the experience as the beach itself, and it seemed fitting that there was a man changing his shirt next to his car.

After I got my money, I wanted to get a Pokestop that required my walking towards that strip of buildings. Normally I’d just have stayed the course and walked back in a straight line, in the shadows.

Today I decided that after receiving my balls and berries, I’d go a tiny bit out of my way to stay in the sunlight. And that it was time to start doing more of that, literally and figuratively.

sunlight

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I Am Hannah Baker (With Less Gorgeous Skin).

As I try to digest/get through “13 Reasons Why,” I’m realizing why I didn’t binge it through in the first place.

It’s an ugly mirror. There is a part where amidst the saintifying of Hannah because she’s dead, someone says that she was drama, all the time, and it was exhausting.

And I realized that I give myself too much credit for not ending my own life. That for two-plus Hannah’s lifetimes, I’ve spent far too many days simply muddling through.

Today was bad. My depression will win in the end if I don’t get help.

A couple of months ago, I posted in this manner and people reached out and maybe you think I ignored you, but I didn’t. Things just very quickly feel insurmountable to me.

But I know that so many of my friends are currently struggling as well, and just aren’t as mouthy.

During episode eight, I Couldn’t Even. Watching Hannah filled with hope as she read her poem about black lace panties and miles of skin, only to have it thrown back in her face, was awful.

Luckily, I got into an hours-long messaging session with one of my best friends ever. Someone whose bright brown eyes sparkled at me in seventh grade and woke up my spirit that had been very broken after getting sent to a weird private school.

Today my spirit felt broken again. It scared me, how much I related to Hannah Baker. But/so what I realize about why it’s so hard to watch, is that it’s one thing to recognize the pain you’ll cause everyone around you if you commit suicide. It’s another thing entirely to recognize the pain you cause just by living with this demon of a disease and not getting help.

I’m so sorry for being exhausting. That is not written with a drop of sarcasm.

Usually when I write things like this, I tie it with a mental bow, but I don’t have one right now. I still feel intense emotional and mental pain. But I know others are experiencing it as well.

I didn’t die today. If you’re reading, remember that you didn’t either. And maybe the sun will come out tomorrow.

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Today’s Coffee Was for the Birds

You know the saying that spilling your coffee is like the adult version of losing your balloon, or dropping your ice-cream cone? I think that is especially true if a) it’s your first of the day, b) it’s purchased from elsewhere, but now you’re home, and especially c) it splatters in extra-dramatic fashion after you try to avoid tripping over your kamikaze cat who likes to blend into the brown carpet at the bottom of the steps.

That’s what happened to Josh this morning and to add insult to injury, I was taking the car to work so he couldn’t go back to McDonald’s for a new coffee. Such a travesty could not remain and McDonald’s isn’t that far, so I decided to just swing by and grab a new one.

It was a gorgeous Fall morning and things started out super Zen, even as I realized I wasn’t sure how to get to McDonald’s without making a U-turn on the always-terrifying Nevada Avenue.  So I had to pull over and use Maps. But eventually I managed to arrive at the McDonald’s via my traditional roundabout manner, and there was only one car ahead of me, so it should only take a minute more!

Fate and the lady in said car had other plans. Her order made me wonder if I was on a hidden camera show. It was basically everything on the menu, filled with lots of “ums” and “Wait no, sorry, that should be…” When I heard “20 sugars,” my heart sank.

Things like that tend to stress me out, even though rationally I know it’s just the luck of the draw. She obviously was ordering for a big group and I envy no one that task. But it’s like being behind someone on the only line at the supermarket and they have a ton of produce and food for the week and you have one sad little frozen dinner. Only at a drive-thru, the person in front can’t be like, “Oh go ahead!”

I decided that this car was not a roadblock (although technically I guess it kind of was); it was a way for me to exercise patience. Also the lady seemed nice, just a bit confused. So instead of letting my blood pressure rise for no good reason, I enjoyed the humor of it all and the beautiful day, even if it was just via Nevada Avenue.

And then, it was like a scene out of a MUSICAL! I got to pull up and the woman who took my order was super friendly. Whether it was relief at my easy order after a tough one, or whether she was just awesome — maybe both! — it was appreciated. I settled in for a long winter’s night waiting for the order ahead of me to be completed, but this McDonald’s was on point, zipping through it all, and in the end I waited for an insanely short amount of time that felt like a fast-food hyperloop.

As I drove away, I thought about how grateful I was to still be feeling chill. What a waste it would have been to get stressed out over waiting, especially when that worry was for naught! Now I’d be home in just a second.

Fate once again had other plans, this time joined by the longest row of cyclists I’ve ever seen. I don’t think the other drivers on the narrow road were thrilled, but after the lesson I just learned in the McDonald’s drive-thru, how was I going to get annoyed by this group of people? They were getting physical fitness when I haven’t even mustered the courage to go back to the gym in three months! Carry on, cyclists! Also they reminded me of ducklings, which made me think of John Mulaney’s comedy, and that lifted my spirits even further.

Finally I turned left, nearly home, and appreciated the sky as I drove up the hill, a view I don’t normally get to see in the morning, since I’m usually driving away from it.

Then I passed a grandmother with two little kids. She was beaming away and waved at me. I waved back and started crying, knowing that if it weren’t for the duckling cyclists, our paths wouldn’t have crossed, and if it weren’t for Lady 20 Sugars reminding me to not freak out over dumb stuff, I’d not have appreciated that moment quite so much, if at all.

Though I was just a block away, the moments weren’t over. First I got to see the astonishing mountains behind the cul de sac, a view that NEVER gets old. As I got out of the car, catalyst coffee in hand, the grand finale arrived when I heard a noise, looked up, and saw a big V of birds, flying together, calling out to each other and moving in perfect unison.

I had to get a picture, but my phone was on the passenger seat. I reached down to put the coffee in the cupholder, annnnnd…it spilled all over.

Jk! I treated that cup like Carla Gugino treated the glass of water in Gerald’s Game. But it still would have been kind of hilarious if it had.

Have a good day!

birds

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October 26th

October 26, 1991 was a different kind of day than I was used to. Cheerleading had become my entire life since 1987, and cheering at a game was nothing unusual.

But on 10/26/91, cheerleading was different. For one thing, we went on a Big Bus. Going to South Shore Christian, a teeny school in Levittown, everyone who took the bus rode a small one, because we were gathered from random homes around Long Island. So to ride on a “regular” school bus felt pretty glamorous, that day.

I don’t remember why exactly we were getting fancily shuttled to an away soccer game. We were basketball cheerleaders. Our school was too poor to afford football, so our sad-ass basketball team equaled our personal Friday Night Lights.

And did I mention we were representing a Christian school? For exactly one year in seventh grade when the cheerleading squad was formed, we had vaguely appropriate uniforms: short-sleeved and lightweight sweaters, ’80s-regulation pleated skirts.

The rest of the time, we were cloaked in heavy, long-sleeved sweaters that would have been fantastically appropriate for actual Friday nights, out in the cold. Inside a gym, not so much.

So on October 26th, it was pretty exciting to embark the Big Bus in my heavy sweater to cheerlead outside. Granted, it was soccer. Why we were cheering for soccer, I do not remember. But it was a great time. The fall air was crisp and my sweater felt protective, not cumbersome. Who won or lost the game, I have no idea. But it felt like all the Sweet Valley High fantasies I’d had my whole life, come to fruition in one day.

Afterwards, my family went to my Nanny and Pop-Pop Posch’s house for a dinner of some nature. And I was feeling completely on point, doing my job as a teenage granddaughter. Making the elders proud via good grades and school spirit.

Kind of like with the soccer cheerleading, I don’t firsthand remember why we were at my grandparents’ house on a Saturday. Most non-holiday gatherings were held on Sundays. But there we were. Since my Pop-Pop had his stroke earlier that year, right before Easter, every following moment with him felt like a gift.

That Easter, super soon after his initial stroke, my Pop-Pop had returned to the fold and the dining room. A proud man, to be sure, and as his hands shook terribly while he stood up to cut the roast as the head of the household, I fully felt his anxiety and the pressure of the situation, even at 16.

I was SO glad to have him back, though. I hated that I couldn’t help his hands not shake and that he couldn’t be fully who he used to be, and that he desperately wanted a cigarette that he wasn’t supposed to have.

A few weeks after October 26th, my Pop-Pop had a reaction to his medication, went to that hospital in East Meadow, and died after a battle with his own machines that were trying to keep him alive, but couldn’t. And shouldn’t have, because he was a proud, strong man who wouldn’t have wanted to ersatz live like that.

He didn’t want pity; he didn’t want help. He wanted to basically be left alone, to be the kind, gentle giant he’d become, even though he wasn’t a big dude. He wanted to smoke a cigarette or two. He wanted his wife to be cherished and loved and respected.

Beyond that, I can’t speak for what my grandfather wanted. He was a private man, a meteorologist for the Air Force who worked long, hard hours for which he never expected accolades.

I loved him. And October 26, 1991 was the last day I remember seeing him alive. Like every time since that Easter, I hugged him even though we’re not really a hugging family, and I said “I love you.”

I think of this every single year since that last October 26th. Pop-Pop, I hope with all my heart to See You On The Other Side ❤

 

 

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