The Trouble with Alcohol

Me and Alcohol will never be soulmates. No matter how hard I have tried to give it my adoration, it has always rejected me, leaving me feeling disappointed and regretful each and every time.

“Don’t touch me,” it says.

“But I want you,” I say back.

“I can’t give you what you want,” it says.

“But I love you,” I say back.

The easy solution would be to spare myself the heartbreak and take myself out of its picture entirely, but the exit has been challenging.

Everywhere I look, there it is; sitting in my kitchen, following my friends, trailing me at the supermarket.

It has taken some time, but I’d say that I’m about 90% there. 90% of the time Alcohol waits for me at the bar, flexing its muscles and begging me for attention. When I can resist, I usually end up down by the pool table, deep in conversation with another stranger who has faced Alcohol’s wrath, or at least, with the kid who is tripping on mushrooms.

But there is still 10% of me that wishes Alcohol wanted me back, and so I give it another chance, time and time again. I wait outside its door, begging it to let me in, begging for its delusion.

“Please hold me,” I say. “I don’t want to be alone tonight.”

“Ok, you can come in for a little while,” it says.

When I wake up the next morning, it has left me alone in its bed. There is no note. There is only a lingering smell on the sheets and a line of memories racing through my head, reminding me of why I should have stayed home.

Squats

Today, I went to the gym.

I knew a person that would be there who I wanted to slightly avoid. But, a part of me also wanted to put myself in their way. To say to them nonverbally, “Yeah, I’m here. What are you going to do about it?”

I knew he would be there because he’s always there. That is why I took myself out of the picture. He will always be there, and that will never change.

Regardless, there he will stand in my place of escape and I can choose to block him out or decide to let his aura seep into my sweat. I can choose to not imagine grinding his little carrot head up into a food grater. I can choose to not imagine him tying me up with stretch bands(although this one may be slightly more difficult).

Today, I went straight to the elliptical, my white-girl place, a place he only goes if he comes to talk to me.

After forcing my arms and legs to move back and forth for an hour, I thought stupidly, “It would be nice to do some squats right now.”

As I looked over to the space I wanted to go, my vision was blocked by his head of strawberry blonde hair.

I flinched for a second, but then started to walk toward the space. When I looked up though, I realized that my feet were taking me in the opposite direction.

I walked back to the locker room, grabbed my things, and walked out the door.

I saw my friend sitting by the pool stand so I went over to say hi. Conveniently, she asked me about this person, and I told her the story. Then, I told her what I did.

“I was about to go do squats but then I saw him standing there and I turned around and left,” I said.

“The ball is in your court,” she said to me. “Don’t ever do that again.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” I said back.

I walked to my car, which was awkwardly parked by his big, black truck, turned on the engine, and drove away. I stopped by the grocery store on the way home. I bought the necessities, grapes and turkey jerky, got back in my car, and then started to drive home. I turned right to go toward my house. But, my ass felt jiggly and I was pissed about it.

“Ugh, I don’t have a weight ball at home,” I thought. “I don’t have that pully-machine thing to hold me upright. I guess I’ll just do them tomorrow.”

I turned at the light to head toward my house. From Folsom I take a left onto Canyon and then I am home.

I didn’t want to go home, though. My body didn’t want me to go home. As I drove down Folsom all I could feel was anger and disappointment toward myself, for letting him take away my escape.

If there is anything that motivates me, it is the silent rage that sits in my head.

I impulsively turned right instead of left, and drove back toward the gym. I marched into the space. I  squatted, and lifted and pulled.

Out of the corner of my eye, there he was, his strawberry blonde hair and long sleeve of tattoos. But I had my space on the mat, and my mind focused on the movements of my body.

The second time I left the gym, I felt happiness and content instead of anger and frustration.

I waved goodbye to my friend at the pool, grateful for the motivation she unknowingly gave me.

I got into my car, started the engine, and headed home(for real this time).

I left with the realization that the ball is always in my court. It doesn’t matter who leaves whose picture.

I have whatever power I give myself, and any space I choose to avoid is me choosing to give that power away.

Now, my butt feels really nice, and I can focus on something more substantial to my existence, like what to eat for dinner tonight.

A Social Experiment

In light of recent events, I’ve decided to conduct a social experiment.

The rules are such:

  1. No walking up to or talking to a guy unless he approaches you first.
  2. No texting him first.
  3. No admitting of any feelings unless he tells you what he’s thinking first.
  4. Remember that you have the control, the power to explore your options; it is your choice to say yes or no, not theirs. You’re the goddess. But let him do 1-3 first.
  5. Be a sassy mo-fo and throw a little attitude in there. Twiddle your thumbs, look away, and say things like “I don’t know” or “We’ll see,” when they ask you a question or invite you to a place you’re not so sure about. Confuse the shit out of them. Leave them begging for your approval. Play the game.
  6. Ultimately, let someone adore you before you adore them. Let them chase you like a cheetah, girl.
  7. Look for red flags. They’re so easy to miss even when they’re sitting right in front of you. The way a person behaves when you meet them is most likely the person they’re going to be in six months. Let go of the illusion that you’re going to change the unresponsive workaholics and assholes of the world. You’re not.

This is not advice. It is just a list of stupid, made-up rules.

I’m not very good at following rules, but for sake of this experiment, I will do my best.

Playing it cool

I don’t want to “play it cool.”

I don’t even know what thats supposed to mean.

Am I not supposed to say what’s on my mind?

Or text you first?

Or send you a message saying “Hey, where’d you go?” when you start a conversation with me and then just leave in the middle of it?

I’m infuriated by this game of cool.

Is it the reason you’re running from me like I’m the plague?

I’ve never been a game person.

But out of all the stupid games in the world, I hate this one the most.

You’d Never Be a Book

There’s the stories we tell other people, and then there’s the truth.

Tell me you’re an open book, and I’ll tell you you’re lying.

People rip books to shreds.

Maybe not right away, but eventually the paper rips, the inks fades, and the pages start to fall out.

You don’t want to be a book. You don’t want your cover torn off.

You’re a story, but you’d never be a book.

I Lost my Virginity in a Couch Fort

I was 18, freshly graduated from high school and hanging out in Melbourne, Australia, while all of my friends sat in science class at university and spent their weekends going to frat parties.

His name was Dan. He was my boss and was seven years older than me.

It all began with some random global fundraiser job I got when I was living in Melbourne. I took a train to their office and sat in a room full of international backpackers who were just looking for easy money to pay their way around the Land Down Under. For a short week or two I worked for this “fundraising” company.

Essentially, we met in this mornings and were given a motivational speech. Words of encouragement to get us through the day. They were always the same. Full of Shit.

Then, we got into groups and took trains around to different shopping malls and tried to get people to sponsor starving children in Africa. This was the job. It went a little something like this.

Step One: Spot someone that looks like an easy target.

Step Two: Say something charming, or pay them a compliment, like, “I love your shirt!” or “Dude, those are some kickass shoes!” Essentially, lie, and act like they’re your best friend.

Step Three: Go on a three minute rant about the company(whose name I have already forgotten) and tell them how for only five dollars a month, the small “cost of a latte,” they could sponsor a helpless child in Africa. They’d get their own paper child in the mail, name and picture included, and know that they were doing at least one good thing in their life. “You can even write your sponsor kid letters!” we would tell them.

Step Four: Close the deal. Get that spineless mall-goer to sponsor a little African child and tell them how good of a person they were and how grateful we were for their donation.

Step Five: Send them on their way, which usually didn’t take much effort because they were typically already running in the opposite direction, and begin to look for your next victim.

The company tried to make it seem like it was all good, but really, it was all a bit skeezy. The whole job was commission based. So, while you tried to convince helpless people who just came to the mall to get their friend a birthday present that they should become a “distant parent” to a starving child, you were also trying to make money off of each person that you got to sign up.

I think they paid around $100 per person, or something like that.

It made me feel like a shitty person, and honestly, I hate shopping malls. Sitting for six hours in a man-made space, lit with bright fluorescents and smelling of donuts and soggy Chinese food was enough to provoke thoughts of jumping off cliffs and drowning myself in the toilet.

I sucked at this job, because I just couldn’t justify what we were doing. My boss would pull me aside, and essentially give me tips on how to manipulate people. “Just be outgoing and make the sale,” they would say. “Use that charm of yours, or we might not be able to keep you on our team.”

I quit after a week or two. But there was one perk to this job.

His name was Dan.

He was 25, and grew up in the English countryside. He had a charming accent and crazy brown hair that stuck up in every direction. His blue eyes sparkled like the silver ring that sat on his lip.

One night, the “fundraising team” went out, and Dan and I had a long drunken conversation in the back of the bar, where I let him babble on about his success at selling people African children and nodded empathetically as he talked about his ex-girlfriend of five years named Gretta, who he met on a website for people who like pot.

I was so attracted to his wild ways and confident demeanor.

Next thing you know, Dan is texting me and we’re going out to dinner. By dinner I mean one of those burrito places like Chipotle where you eat really quickly and then leave. I didn’t realize this at the time, but Dan was pulling an “eat and run” on me. Next thing you know, we were at the liquor store and headed back to his apartment to “hang out.”

When I walked into his living room, he introduced me to his couch fort, which he used for playing video games and, apparently, having sex with barely legal women. Basically, his couch was flipped to the side to create a wall, and his mattress sat in front of it, surrounded by pillows.

He had a huge movie collection. We watched some stupid movie, drank some wine, and next thing you know, Dan is kissing me and I am biting his lip ring and asking him about his poetic tattoos with deep meanings. I couldn’t comprehend them because they were so fucking stupid, but I just looked into the ocean of his eyes and let him ramble on.

He taught me all sorts of tricks.

I gave it up to Dan on the first night, the night he took me for 5-minute burritos and poured me cheap wine. It was all too exciting to question, and I let him lead the way.

We hooked up a few times. I listened to him talk about how he used to be addicted to heroin. I felt like I was really helping him, letting him talk to me about his troubled past.

One night, I cooked him tacos while he sat on his computer, probably chatting away with some girl from Amsterdam. I couldn’t help but notice as he left his office that his screensaver was a girl posing on a beach in a bikini with big, fake boobs.

On our way back from the liquor store one time, we saw a man getting beat up on the sidewalk. Dan ran over to try and remedy the situation.

“How brave of him,” I thought.

It was all very dangerous and intriguing.

After hanging out with him a couple times, though, I realized how much I hated him.

But, I had the perfect solution. “Have a few drinks,” I would tell myself. “It’s all going to be ok. You’re learning so much. You’re so rebellious.”

The last time I saw him he kissed me goodbye outside the bus stop and I convinced myself that I was going to miss him. On the bus ride home I sent him a resentful, post-virgin text.

“I left my earrings on your bedside table. Maybe you should give them to the next girl you bring home.”

He took something from me that I’m never going to get back.

But I threw it at him proudly.

It wasn’t traumatic, or regretful, just really, really stupid.

I let some ex-heroin junkie fuck me on his couch fort and didn’t even ask him if he had been tested. I could have easily gotten herpes from all the needles he was sharing just a few months earlier.

It was dumb, and exciting. But I’m really lucky; lucky that I made it out of that situation untramatized and disease free.

I think the next time I let someone flip me upside down in a couch fort, I’m going to love them first.

Little Girls on Beaches

Have you ever watched the way little girls play on the beach? They frolic with innocence, kicking the waves and giggling, struggling only to drag their boogie boards into the ocean.

They take silly pictures, sticking out their tongues and giving each other bunny ears,

and laugh so loudly, they wake the old men sleeping behind them in beach chairs.

After a long day in the sunshine, they gobble up big bowls of spaghetti, never pinching their stomachs in shame.

They spend the night curled up on the couch, talking about the boys they think are cute and watching movies about princes and princesses. They watch and smile and dream about what it’s liked to be loved.

But then, those little girls grow up.

We grow up.

And none of that stuff ever happens the way we used to think it would.

We keep thinking it will, someday soon; maybe next year or the year after that. But time keeps passing and still, that stuff never happens.

We stay hopeful, but all the while we sit here jaded. And confused.

And the disappointment sort of tattoos itself inside of our hearts until it feels like it belongs there.

There’s people everywhere, yet we’re so lonely.

Now we lay here on the beach,watching those little girls, wishing we were still them,

thinking that maybe we should skip dinner and just have wine instead.

We’re still little girls, though, inside these grown up bodies,

catapulted into a society that tells us we were wrong all those years.