America, Fuck Yeah! Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Major Party Candidate

Kerry/Bush was the first presidential election during which I was old enough to vote. The California gubernatorial recall had happened a few months before my 18th birthday in late 2007 and not being able to participate in the election that resulted in the governator (no, I would not have voted for him) was a sad moment for me, but knowing that I would turn 18 in a presidential election year made up for it. I registered green and knowing my home state's massive number of electoral votes were all going democrat, and honestly believing the democratic party to be too conservative to reflect my values, I happily (absentee) voted for Ralph Nader. It's a lovely luxury to have only lived in states where I know I can honestly vote for whomever I want instead of having to vote strategically.

I spent my fall semester in India that year. I read the transcript of the first presidential debate in a small internet cafe in McLeod Ganj, home of the Tibetan government in exile. I did the same for the following debates. On election night, my group and I were isolated working improving the Summer home for an orphanage with which we had been volunteering. We had a tiny radio and we tried our damnedest to find a station in English reporting on the election with no luck. Somebody came back from town and told us the next day. I didn't want to believe. I'm not sure I really did until I got back to an internet cafe and could read the news myself.

The idea that had been offered at the Democratic National Convention earlier that year that "There is not a liberal america and a conservative america, there is the United States of America" seemed nice but awfully hard to believe.

And on my 19th birthday, George W. Bush started his second presidential term.

2003 rolled around and boy was it exciting. In the same year, we had both an African American man and a woman in the primary as serious contenders. I had spent years thinking that I was an anachronism, that I was made for when the times they were a changin. That the way my family had raised me to believe in the power of protests, writing your representatives and passionately participating in democracy was pointless because so much of my generation was too cool to care. But then there was this man, this great Progressive hope that other people my age were getting excited about and I felt like maybe things were going to change.

I still wasn't a registered Democrat, I was registered independent. In California, independents can vote in the primary of their choosing. I still believed the democratic party to be overall too conservative for me but I was excited to vote for Barack Obama.

Election night, Lara and I listened to the coverage on NPR. A bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge waiting to be opened to celebrate the election and hopefully the defeat of prop 8. The presidential election was called early in the evening but we waited hours for the news on prop 8, eventually going to bed because it was too close to call that night.

In 24 hours we had elected our first African American president and California had amended its constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Sometimes in the world of you win some, you lose some, you really win and you really really lose.

I wrote my first real personal post on this blog January 19th, 2009, the day before my 23rd birthday and Barack Obama's presidential inauguration. I briefly mentioned the jubilation in Berkeley in a post a few days later.

It's strange to think how much my life has changed in the course of a presidency. Or that I've been writing that long.

At times Obama has gone from being the great Progressive hope to being the great Progressive disappointment. I'm not going to pretend to that my politics have mellowed enough to believe any differently. But I've kept faith that if he had a second term his more liberal ideals would come out. That maybe we could get real single payer health care. That we could legalize gay marriage nationally.

I'm a registered Democrat these days, mostly because when I reregistered I knew nothing about New York's parties or primary laws. I don't know how long it will last. I know that the inclusion of gay marriage in the Democratic platform makes me feel better about it. I also know that I voted for both Obama and Gillibrand as the "Working Families" candidate (see, I'm finally letting go of California's politics and learning about New York).

As much as 2008 felt like things were shifting, its got nothing on 2012. More states chose to legalize gay marriage. More states legalized marijuana (which is honestly something I care very little about but I still think points to a more progressive future). Thank goodness, Ted Kennedy's seat is once again held by a democrat and Massachusetts's first female senator. New Hampshire is ALL ABOUT the ladies. We can now all breath a giant sigh of relief that Akin and his disgusting views on rape were defeated.

I know we have a long way to go towards justice and equality in this country but when I look at the things that have changed in the last four years, when I look at the things that have changed in my lifetime already, that I used to think wouldn't have actually happened by now, I do genuinely feel hope again for the next four.

Don't let me down, Mr. President.

This one's for my family 'cause I guess I know exactly who I am

Lessons from my family.

Put your money where your mouth is

Donate that money. Do those volunteer hours. Shop local if you can. Support businesses/products you believe in. Sign that petition. Pick up a sign and march your heart out. Vote. If you are unhappy, do something. Change the world in whatever way you can.

From each their ability to each their need

Yes, that's kind of parapharsed and it's Marx. Get over it. I give my spare change to homeless people. I will use my unlimited fare card to swipe other people into the subway if I'm on my way out. I don't make much but I still donate to charitable organizations because there are people that need the money more than me and as my father once said when he was living in an apartment in the tenderloin "there is nothing that can happen to me that is worse then what I see when I walk out that door every day". I truly believe that society is responsible for keeping people from falling through the cracks. I am fond of my tax return but I'd rather the government keep it and give us all healthcare. I think it's stupid to imprison drug addicts instead of providing them with actual help. Actually, I think in general it's stupid that our prison system focuses on punishment instead of rehabilitation, especially the juvenile justice system.

My heart, it just bled all over your computer.

Feminism is not a dirty word

I come from a long line of feminists (one of my grandmothers has a "Votes for Women" pin that's been passed down and the other can be seen yelling about childcare in the movie Berkeley in the Sixties*) and I'm not afraid to use that word to describe myself. As I wrote before: "being a modern liberal woman isn't about fitting into a neat man hating, power bitch box, it's about choices. It's about living your life in the way that you find most empowering. It's about being able to stick to your guns without having to apologize and it's about facepunching double standards".

Never cross a picket line

My daddy was a longshoreman. His daddy was a longshoreman. When I turned 18, I took all the tests to inherit my father's book even though I didn't go that route. My grandfather, his brother and all of his sons are contractors. My grandma is a nurse. We do believe in unions, and we don't cross picket lines.

It's always better to be overdressed than underdressed

I probably mostly choose to believe this piece of wisdom from my grandmother because I like wearing pretty clothes. But also, I would rather present myself to the world as somebody who puts in the extra effort.

Home is where they always have to take you in

This is one of my father's sayings. He valued family immensely, even if he wasn't on the best terms with somebody. I think part of what I learned from him is that your family isn't just your blood relatives. Your family is the people you trust, the people you would give the shirt off your back and who would do the same for you. The people that support you and the people that take you in when you have nowhere else to go. I think I have a lot of homes by this standard. I am blessed.

I am a product of my upbringing and I am 100% happy with it. Thank you, to my entire family for making me the kind of person that cares, I don't want to be any other kind.

*This movie is oddly on Netflix instant watch, I think my great grandfather, great grandmother and at least one of my great uncles also have appearances.

I'm moving to any other industrialized nation so that I don't die in the next year or become homeless to cover my health insurance payments

I've never broken a bone. I can count my emergency room visits on one hand. 1 panic attack, 1 asthma attack, 1 migraine that had me curled up, vomitting and crying on the bathroom floor, 1 boxcutter cut across two fingers. I've never had to stay in the hospital and the most major surgery I've had is having my wisdom teeth removed.

My need for health insurance has nothing to do with major catastrophes so the "low monthly payment and we'll basically start paying for shit if you're on your death bed" plans aren't really going to work for me. But neither does "just don't get sick".

For as long as I can remember, I was prone to every cold that came around. When you combine constant colds with asthma there are times (like right now) when I can barely walk a block without an inhaler. In the winter, my Eustachian tubes have an unfortunate habit of malfunctioning causing constant ear pain. Basically the solution is to take endless sudafed and spray gross shit up my nose. When I take sudafed I'm not supposed to drink coffee or use my inhaler because sudafed has a tendency to give me heart palpitations. Usually if I'm taking sudafed, I need my inhaler. Also, not the best stuff for insomnia. All this stupid sinus stuff plus sometimes bronchitis means I am that person that's probably creating super viruses by taking all of the antibiotics. Like, I'm on antibiotics 2 or 3 times a flu season.

Also, I don't know if you've noticed, but I have fucking insane allergic reactions to EVERYTHING. (And in that 2nd link the post mentions having a kidney infection the month before! If I had been born a hundred years ago, I would not have made it to 25)

Luckily, most of the time, I can pretty much manage my migraines through diet and stress reduction, so while I do need the meds about once a month, it's rarely more than that these days.

So, no, I don't have any major health problems (knock on wood) but I tend to be kind of a mess in a dress healthwise so I'm pretty much freaking out about my lack of health insurance come January. Also, I'm pretty sure I have an ear infection right now, but I can't use my current health insurance in New York, so I'm freaking out about that too because I've felt like death off and on for about a month now. The problem is, I need affordable urgent care visits and prescriptions which tends to be what you get if you can afford to pay eleventy billion dollars a month, otherwise it's all high deductible plans that don't cover office visits or prescriptions which seems totally useless to me.

It basically comes down to this:

Can I please just pay some more taxes so that the government takes care of this for me? That is all I want for Christmas/Channukah/Birthday. Socialized medicine. That's it.

Because I am actually near tears, freaking out trying to figure out how I'm going to be able to do this. This might also be related to the whole being sick and exhausted and only having one day off thing. Also the figuring out how little money I'll be making in January when my work is closed for ten days thing.

Why can't you be the FDR I wanted you to be Obama? We had such high progressive hopes for you.

More grown up and a better daughter

Source: None via Alana on Pinterest

 

 

Thing you may or may not know about me: I'm kind of a control freak. Kind of.

It's the downside of being incredibly self reliant. All it really means is I'd rather just do things myself than trust that somebody else will get them done in a timely and correct fashion.

Sometimes this is a really awesome trait because I'm all about getting shit done.

Sometimes (ok, all the time) it means I'm incapable of leaving work at work, it has a lot to do with my constant struggle to learn to say "no" to people and it makes me nearly incapable of asking for help.

I've spent my life being the responsible one, the calm one, the in control one. I'm the friend you call when life gets crazy. I'm the person that calms you down, supports you, sympathizes and figures how to pry you out when you're stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Unless you know me really well (or read this blog), I am a rock.

If you know me really well, and I mean, really well, you know I'm not.

If you know me really well, you know that I take personal responsibility for everything. Everything. And it makes me really really stressed if I fall even slightly behind on any aspect of my life.

Like, I get stressed that I'm not making time to go to yoga. Which basically means I get stressed about not destressing, which kind of makes sense, but also kind of makes me think I'm doing it wrong. NOTHING RELATED TO SOMETHING THAT RELAXES YOU SHOULD EVER BE STRESSFUL.

I'm constantly stressed when we don't get a lot of business at work. I know this has nothing to do with me, but it stresses me the fuck out and not because I'm afraid of losing my job or anything, but because I think somehow, I am personally responsible for our lack of business despite doing my job of making sure there are awesome tasty treats every day.

The lack of volunteer work in my life makes me stressed. I can't even find time to go to yoga, and I'm stressed that I'm not doing volunteer work. How does that even make sense? I feel like there's something vaguely narcissistic in thinking that I matter that much.

I don't read the news every day. That makes me feel irresponsible. Feeling irresponsible makes me feel stressed. This also relates to the volunteer work.

The world is fucked up guys, do you know that? Doesn't it stress you out that you can't fix it all? Yes, that is on the list of things that overwhelm. SO MUCH IS WRONG ALL THE TIME AND I CAN'T FIX IT. I just want to fix it.

Also, totally on a different level, but why dont' I have a boyfriend? Not having a boyfriend makes me stressed. Oh right, because the idea of going on dates stresses me even more.

My controlling nature also makes me hate the world where all plans are left until the last minute. Choose a movie time! Tell me when to come over! Decide when things need to be done and stick with it. I don't keep my life meticulously scheduled but there is nothing I hate more than "I'll text you and we'll figure it out" or "We should do (fill in the blank) sometime". Let's just figure it out. Right now. Ok? Otherwise I am. Or I'm not going to wait around because I don't trust anyone to actually follow through with anything ever.

Yes, I am one of those people whose parental units were never on time/didn't remember I needed to be picked up or at which after school activity I was located. And in this case, I'm talking about my grandparents, THE RESPONSIBLE ONES, not even my parents (aka, the not so responsible ones). Consequently, I am obsessed with concrete plans and timeliness. Sorry. Also I'm obsessed with it because it makes figuring out the rest of my life easier.

And after that list, now you know why I'm never actually joking about the klonopin.

One time just my type boy told me "I think you're one of those people that shouldn't even have a job, you find so much to take on even without one".

I think that was just a nice way of saying "You are really high strung, chill the fuck out for a second".

And part of my being high strung, is making sure you don't know just how close I am to sitting in the walk in and bawling my fucking eyes out some days.

It's all really exhausting. I wasn't joking when I said I push myself to the point of being curled up in a ball in the corner, exhausted. That was me most of this past week.

I gave myself permission to not do anything for the last two days. I told myself it was ok to not go to yoga, to not think about the ten day food festival we have coming up, that I will have time to do laundry after work tomorrow, that I was not less of a human being because I didn't go for a run.

I reminded myself that despite what my somewhat sporadic blogging makes it seem like, mostly, I've been pretty damn satisfied with life lately.

And that when I do feel the overwhelming urge to sob, it's because I'm stressed and frustrated and it's not because I'm depressed. I know that seems terrible also, but I'd rather be sobbing because I worked myself to exhaustion and then did five favors for friends than be sobbing and in the bell jar, barely able, or unable to get myself out of bed.

I just need to chill the fuck out for a while. Because, actually, everything is OK. There's a lot to do this month, but I've got it and if some things slide, I'll pick them back up next month.

The world isn't ending because I haven't gone for a run in a week.

I know, I'm shocked too.

Accidentally Appropriate

I was going to write this post today, about addiction and forgiveness, before my twitter feed filled up with judgements about Amy Winehouse and unfortunate "Rehab" jokes, and now it's unfortunately apropos and obviously my annoyance with twitter is going to seep in but I'm still going to write it, because I think it's important.

There's a point I reach in any new friendship when some important life details come out. Generally they come out when I vaguely mention being raised by my grandparents or sometimes when people ask why I have a hyphenated last name. Some of these things have been bluntly stated and constantly rehashed on this blog and some have been vaguely referred to, but so we're all on the same page:

  • My parents were never married. They were 19 and 21 years of age when I was born. Obviously, I was not an intentional pregnancy.
  • My mom has 15 years clean and sober (crack, in case you were wondering), I'm 25. You do the math.
  • My grandparents raised both me and my little brother. I was in 1st grade when I went to live with them, we picked him up from a foster home when he was around 6 months old. My mom used while she was pregnant.
  • My father died when I was 16. In a motorcycle accident. If you told me he was either stoned or coked up, I wouldn't even be the slightest bit shocked. (Oh hey, is it suddenly not tragic because he used drugs? I probably should've expected it and shouldn't miss him so much, right?)

At the end of explaning all of these things, the questions I get most often are either "So how is your relationship with your mom now?" or "How have you forgiven your mom?" and I confuse the hell out of people by saying "I have a pretty good relationship with my mom, it's not typical but neither are my relationships with anyone in my family". It's true, though. I love my mom. (Hi mom! Love you!!) She even has her own tab at the top of the blog for her guest post. As for the forgiveness? I guess I never thought I needed to.

Addiction is a complicated thing. The language of rehab and twelve step programs has been part of my vocabulary for as long as I can remember. There are plenty of people in recovery in my family and when almost everyone has a hand in raising you, that means from time to time you're going to be that kid with a coloring book in the back of a meeting. And as a child, when somebody tell you that your mother is "sick" or "has a disease" you take that pretty fucking literally, so I don't think it ever occured to me that my mother's addiction was something I was supposed to forgive her for or somewhere to place blame.

In middle school and high school when these questions would come up I always said that I wouldn't wish my childhood on anyone, but I wouldn't be who I was without it. And that's true. I don't think I would have half the personal strength or compassion that I do. And maybe the flip side of that is that I wouldn't struggle with codependency and abandonment issues, but I like knowing that if three year old me could get myself dressed and fed, twenty five year old me sure as hell can deal with most things life throws at her.

And as I got older, my father told me more about my mom as a teenager and told me she had told him when he was visiting that she was struggling with drugs again and needed help taking care of me. And I guess that helped me know that my mother always loved me and that she wanted what was best for me.

And now, I'm adult and I've taken the psych classes, I've worked in a group home with teenage addicts and I can't pretend to know what it's like to be an addict but I can tell you that the reasons people become addicts are myriad, as are the reasons people stay addicts and the reasons people get clean. Do I know exactly why my mom or dad started using? No. I know the lives they had. I know that I'm a statistic. Child of addicts that isn't an addict, there's not too many of us around. And I know that I've been so deep inside the bell jar for weeks that I've made a conscious effort to not drink because I felt the urge to start and never stop, so I'm not entirely unable to relate.

And it never occurred to me that I needed to forgive my mother, because I've heard my mother apologize and watched my mother cry and mostly I just love her and am thankful, so thankful that she had the strength to get clean, because not everyone does and sometimes I wonder if I would be if I were out both my parents.

Just, don't jump to conclusions. Don't decide somebody is a bad person because they had or have a drug problem. You don't know the choices they've had to make or the regrets they have. You don't know the abuses they've suffered or the mental illness they're coping with. You don't know if it was their parents, their pimp or their best friend who started them using and you don't know whether or not there was anyone there to help them stop. And chances are, there's somebody who loves them fiercely, no matter what and when you stigmatize addiction, you kind of stigmatize the non addicts who still love them, so please, educate yourself and maybe try some compassion.

I am not a pretty girl, that is not what I do

I have about five different half finished posts in my head, so this might be one of those nights where a bunch of completely unrelated things all go up.

I've been meaning to write a post about my relationship with my hair for a while, but then I read this over at Off Our Chests and I didn't want to be a copycat. My feeling are so different though, I'm going to go with it anyways.

IMG_0916 This is what my hair looks like right now. To me it's a giant unmanageable mess. (sidenote: IRL, I like my smile, in pictures I only do half the time, I don't know what the deal is, but that's why I never seem to be smiling). It's soft and pretty and feminine. It's even red right now instead of its usual black, so it makes me look even softer. I had a hard time placing exactly what it was I disliked about myself with long hair so much until Ms. Mae was visiting the other week and pointed out that it made me look soft, not like me. Yeah, I like shoes and pretty dresses, I wear make up and spend my entire life in the kitchen but I swear like a fucking trucker, I put the "dead" in deadpan, drink whiskey and I state my opinions like a man, as in, with any sort of confidence at all.

I am often very gender typed and, underneath my brusque exterior, I like to think I'm a pretty sweet, caring person, so why does it make me so uncomfortable to actually look that way?

In my head I have a short, black pixiecut, sometimes an A-line with blunt bangs. Haircuts I associate with women with confidence, that mean business. Women, that, as my coworker described me, have an edge to them. I work in a man's world, and fuck, we all live in a man's world and growing up I was always a smart girl, a nerdy girl. I think I'm afraid that if I look femme I won't be taken as seriously, even if I still don't often act that way. To a certain extent I think it's true, when I think about the way I've been treated, it seems men find me more approachable and act in a less threatened way when there's a mass of curls around my face. Probably a lot of women unconsciously pick up on that (and obviously other societal cues) and stick with it. I'm not one of those women. I'm not comfortable in a place of non-threatening softness. In my head softness leads to looking like an easy target or somebody to victimize. I'm a take the offensive and show you right up front who I am sort of gal with a fair number of control issues and while this may be totally weird of me, short hair gives me confidence like a pair of killer heels.

So tomorrow, it's going to be gone.

Imagine

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

So here's the deal guys "reflect and manifest" is kind of as hippie as I'm willing to get. In psych class the other night we had a discussion about what things will be changing in the next DSM and one o the things that supposedly getting the axe is narcissism supposedly because it's just so common. Of course we all got a good chuckle out of that but then my teacher said "It's because of you guys, the 'self esteem' generation. Your parents were all told that they had to tell you you were wonderful and special, so you all think you are".

I know this makes my psych teacher sound like a grumpy old man that says things like "back in my day, a trophy meant you won, not just that your parents signed you up to stand on the field and pick your nose," but she's really not. I happen to know she has a daughter my age and a son in high school and she's pretty darn nice.

Regardless of all those things, there are the things I think of that make me me. Sometimes they're special and sometimes they're the norm, depends in the community (see that tie in to the last post? Yeah, I'm that good) so here's my best offer.

I'm a doer. Sure, homework, housework, errands, they all get put off, but big things like moving, changing jobs, traveling, I don't have any qualms jumping into head first. Sometimes I get a little anxious after I've made a decision, but I never back down. I'm not much for telling people to make the situation they're in work or to settle. If things suck, if you hate your job, your apartment, your significant other, change something. Change doesn't always have to mean moving on to something new, (though sometimes that's certainly necessary) sometimes it just means telling someone what isn't working, standing up for yourself or buying new throw pillows. I don't feel good unless I'm actively working towards some newer, better version of me and my life. Which means often I don't feel like I'm doing enough. Which leads to...

I have an over developed sense of empathy. I don't watch the news both because I dont have tv and because it tends to make me cry. I can't deal with war. I don't care who is killing who, whether the "good guys" or the "bad guys" are ahead. I just dont get it. I can't get filled with rage, only sadness and heartbreak. My religion is not one that requires me to have faith in god but I do have faith in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. I don't understand violence. I can't imagine what motivates people to kill.

My empathy also makes me the type of person that makes me want to jump up and join every cause all the time. There is just so much damn hurt and suffering in this world it overwhelms me. I work 45 hours a week with teenage addicts while going to school to be a social worker and I still think I'm not doing nearly enough.

I don't know if my tendency to urge everyone towards change or my ability to feel hurt on behalf of anyone lights other people up. I can't tell you they're always productive. Both those things certainly aren't always beautiful. All I know is I make an effort I live my life like I have some control over where it goes and with the intention of doing my part to ease a little of the suffering around me.

It's really hard to find song lyrics about recovery

Last night I did five loads of laundry, baked a cake and did bed checks every fifteen minutes, which kind of sounds like a lot, but really it's not. I have a lot of down time each time while things are baking or drying which means that I spend a lot of time reading and I think that might be why my eye has been twitching for a week and they have a dull ache all of the time. It might also be because my schedule did some crazy changing that meant that only had one day off at a time instead of three so I never quite caught up on sleep so the only thing that I had the energy to do in my time off was sleep and play The Sims, also known as, continue to only focus on things close to my face and maybe that's why I shouldn't be looking at the computer screen right now, but I have it dimmed as far as it will go so I think it's ok.

The point is, I basically get paid to do laundry, cook and read but that's not actually the good part. The good part comes at 5:45 am, when I get to wake up the breakfast cook and help her cook, ease her frustrations when the egg doesn't flip or the pancake doesn't turn out perfectly. When instead of letting her get frustrated and give up I get to stand next to her with my own pan and walk through step by step over and over until she can do it on her own. Sometimes it takes until the end of their two weeks as breakfast cook before they're willing to do the things they had trouble with without me by their side, but so far I haven't had a single girl give up on anything as long as I've kept my calm and encouraged them. It may sound stupid, the importance I put on teaching girls to flip eggs, considering the lives a lot of these girls have been through that lead them to using and ending up in juvenile hall in the first place, but that's the thing, that's what most of them need, normalcy. A lot of them really haven't had anyone show them how to make anything more complicated than cereal, a lot of them haven't had people in their lives that encouraged them and showed them the easier way to do things when they were frustrated and gave up, many of them have been using and in trouble for so many years that it's more comfortable for them to find ways to fulfill the expectation that they'll keep fucking up then make attempts to succeed. So that's what I can do in the morning, I can tell them that I really truly believe in their ability to make pancakes and as silly as it sounds, a week later instead of constantly stating that her breakfasts are terrible and the other girls are going to hate it, that girl will be eagerly taking on the challenge and excitedly showing me the things that are turning out well. After all, belief in one's self has to start somewhere, why not in the kitchen?

At 6am I wake the rest of the girls up. At 6:30 I poke my head into everyone's room to make sure they're up and moving and to give them a heads up that they have 15 minutes until breakfast. Most mornings everyone does what they're supposed to do. That is the expectation I set for all of them, even the ones I know regularly have trouble sticking to schedule because the moment I set an expectation for anything less, the moment they sense a loss of confidence in them or respect they will fulfill that lower expectation. Do they always do what they're supposed to perfectly 100% of the time? No. Are there days when it seems like the whole house is moving slower than molasses just to piss me off? Yes. Are they sometimes totally bitchy, grumpy teenagers when I make them respond to me during their first wake up call and again during the 2nd? Of course. But what would you expect if you were waking up any group of teenage girls at 6 in the morning? For me, they're mostly well behaved, but I've seen them with staff that gets more easily flustered or that treats them with less dignity and they don't give a rats ass if they get in trouble if they can push that staff member's buttons instead.

I'm not a hard ass, I tend to be fairly flexible in regards to most things as long as everyone gets their jobs done, but I'm clear on consequences if anyone tries to drag their feet too much and mostly I've found the most effective tools are "Please" and "Thank you". Be polite and decent to the girls and they will be polite and decent to you. I do not expect their respect or trust. Many of them come from households where their only role models were addict parents. They were forced to learn to take care of themselves as best they could for as long as they can remember, they learned early that adults are flawed and often have a natural distrust in adults after years of let downs and that, I can relate to, that, I know intimately. So I do my best to treat them with respect, because I do respect what they've made it through and I respect the decision they've made in regards to their recovery. All of the ones that have been there longer than 6 months have run, but they've come back by choice (relatively speaking, the choice is back to R House or back to juvenile hall, but juvenile hall has less rules and expectations) and none of them have used. They are carrying a lot on their shoulders for 15 to 17 year olds.

On a daily basis my job is not hard on me. I am aware that most of these girls will relapse. The best I can do is help them build some basic self confidence and discipline and know that the other staff are giving them the basic skills and awareness of AA/NA to know how to find a meeting and start their recovery whenever they decide to get sober. This is enough for me. This is not the part that as is difficult.

The part that is difficult is the morning where I look at the girls and realize that it's only the twist of fate of being born into a wealthy and caring enough family to be taken away from the same shitty situation most of these girls have lived in that kept my life on a different track than theirs. All it takes in most cases is one adult that shows they care and encourages a child to keep them from delinquency and/or addiction. What kind of fucked up world do we live in where these girls didn't have a single aunt, uncle, grandparent, teacher or neighbor that couldn't take the time to act as a mentor or role model? Seriously, think about it. And then go become a Big Brother or Big Sister, or volunteer with AmeriCorps or a local battered woman's shelter or CASA or any number of local community organizations that would only require a couple of hours of your time a week and maybe my job would become obsolete or at least a lot less needed.

I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more

If you know me, you know that despite my strong, absolute morals, I kind of hate confrontation but you hopefully also know that I do my best to walk what I talk and live my life in line with those morals. Today when I came into work one of my coworkers let me know that he thought my boss wouldn't be paying the teahouse staff I was training to bake while they were working with me. This was then confirmed. I'd like to add that when I started working he required employees to clock out for then ten minute breaks, something you can sued and given a hefty fine for. He also does not pay time and mileage when employees work outside of the teahouse and are required to drive their own vehicles to transport equipment and product, such as to Farmers' Markets.  So even though I'm fairly certain my boss cannot have anything nice to say back to me about this and that I'm possibly about to enter into an argument/negotiation when all I really want is to say is "I'm walking off the job, I'm not coming back, don't call" I am sending my boss this email.

Dear *****,

I am not comfortable training people that are not getting paid for their time working with me. Time and again I have chosen to work for small businesses though I have the training and capacity to work for larger corporations because I believe strongly in local economies, just and equitable treatment of employees and strict adherence to CA and national labor codes. I find the expectation of employees to come in and do training on their own time, which you could not do if you were hiring a new baker, to show a complete lack of respect for my job and knowledge, for your workers and for the law. Though it seems incredibly unprofessional to give less than two weeks notice, I will not work for an employer that treats their employees in such a way. Expecting labor to go unpaid is simply unacceptable to me regardless of whatever agreements other employees may be willing to make due to inexperience or lack of knowledge.

Please accept this as notice of my leaving my employment at Infusions Teahouse, effective immediately. Keys to the Tierra Vegetable Kitchen and Infusions Teahouse will be left at Tierra Vegetables when I come to pick up my cookbooks/notebooks, no later than May 15th, 2010. A printed and signed copy of this document and temperatures and cooking methods for all caramels will be dropped off as well.

I'm sorry if this seems harsh or unjust to you, but you have crossed, what to me, is a moral boundary. I have struggled with how to convey this to you, but I have no problem drawing a line in the sand.

Sincerely,
Alana ********

Maybe this seems unreasonable to you, my insistence on protecting the rights of middle class young women (because there is only one man other than my boss working at the teahouse) working in an environment that clearly caters to the liberal bourgeouisie of this county when I have driven by migrant workers in the vineyards working under probably far more grueling conditions on a regular basis. All I can say is it's been a long journey learning I can't fight every battle, that I can't singlehandedly fix the world but this is a battle I can fight.

This is why I've found foodservice less than fulfilling though I love to bake, create and train, I do not know how to live a life if it is not lived in service. I'm just not wired that way. Things like this happen.

My arm is being eaten by a mystery bug bite, I better get some god damn super powers

I know, I know, you've been reading my tweets and you're just like "chill out Alana, it's just a bug bite, stop being such a crazy drama queen". But seriously, look at this.

IMG_0438

The super faint line is where it had spread to after 1.5 hours, the darker line is after a total of three hours from time of bite. It also goes around the side and onto the back of my arm a little bit.

Remember how I had a kidney infection last month that could've potentially lead to blood poisoning and hospitalization? I feel like a serious insect bite could do the same thing. So basically at this point I'm convinced that I need to become somehow poisoned and hospitalized to complete an important karmic cycle. Really the only explanation right? Maybe I'll try to accomplish this by continuing to take Benadryl and then drinking alcohol while in Vegas, thereby unintentionally roofy-ing myself.

Win.

Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be

I feel like I need to put a disclaimer before this post because I haven't done a lot of standing on soap boxes on this blog. Mostly because every time I feel the urge to, I tell myself that that's not really what this blog is about but then I realize that there really isn't anything in particular this blog is about. It started as a place for me to write about crafts and my kitten and other cute things that didn't quite fit on my food blog but has obviously morphed into something completely different. A lot of it is about relationships but a lot of it is just about the general insecurities of being in your early twenties. Sometimes it's really intensely personal and sometimes it's more light-hearted and sometimes it's both at the same time but I really haven't written that much about my personal political or spiritual beliefs in any sort of specific way. Tonight that's going to change a little bit.

It's going to change because I've been wanting to write about these things for a while. It's going to change because of conversations I've had and recent blog posts I've read about women still having to justify not wanting children. It's going to change because tonight Ms. Mae told me she and a friend of mine are going to go egg the people who sit outside Planned Parenthood for all of Lent and I just can't see how that's going to help anyone. It's going to change because of my mother mentioning the possibility of not have grandchildren in her post. It's going to change because of a young mother I saw at the pub the other night. And it's also probably changing because I just started a new relationship and because I'm big on the self reflection, a new relationship always means reevaluation of these sorts of things.

The first part of this post is about abortion.

The second part of this post is about how our ideas of ourselves change, having children and feminism.

So now you know what you're getting in to.

And just to be clear 'cause I feel like this could all be taken in the wrong way, I'm not pregnant. I just think about these things a lot.

Part 1 

(note: for the purpose of brevity and because I'm writing about the possibility of pregnancy, anytime I write "sex" I'm referring to heterosexual vaginal penetration)

When I was younger, there always seemed to be a lot of emphasis on the talks you were supposed to have when you decided to become sexually active with that fella you were going to steady with. You know, the contraceptive talk, the "have you been tested" talk and lastly, the what would you do if you got pregnant talk. Obviously this third talk makes at least a couple of assumptions; you're in a committed relationship with someone, not having a one night stand or just fuck buddies; you're at a point in your relationship where you're comfortable having a frank discussion about possibly deeply personal political and moral beliefs before you start having sex and that you're thinking about your relationship in the long term. Realistically, I'm willing to bet that for most people the assumptions that you will reach that point before having sex only happens in the first relationship in which you become sexually active but then of course, I suspect there are many people for whom those assumptions could/can never be made. As you get older the rules change. Game play gets serious faster. Or instantly. Supposedly my generation has done a lot towards the creation of a "hookup culture". I think part of the reason for this is because at some point we all internalized that third talk to be unnecessary. It's generally assumed that woman belonging to a certain age group raised in a certain socioeconomic environment  (that is to say women in their twenties with middle to upper class liberal upbringings, as in this woman right here) have only one belief about what one should do if one has an unplanned pregnancy. Of course, the choice has to be to "take care of it". Which doesn't make it a choice at all.

There a lot of caveats to me having children (which I'll write about in more detail in part two) and most of those requirements would make it seem like me carrying an unintentional pregnancy to term would never ever happen. My personal beliefs in regards to people bringing a child into this world that they are not financially and emotionally prepared for are as strong as my feeling about abortion.

I find them both incredibly morally ambiguous. 

At the brewery Tuesday night, there was a young mother, younger than me, drinking, her mohawked toddler on her lap. They weren't there to eat a meal, it was after nine and she nor any of her friends ordered food. They were there for the cheap pints.

The douche (once known as "the boy"), of course it was the douche, turned to me and said "We've both been through a lot of crazy shit in our lives but at least we can say we weren't raised like that," in the most judgmental, condescending tone ever.

If. Looks. Could. Kill. (I would've killed the douche over and over again by now)

"Oh fuck, I just stuck my foot right in my mouth, didn't I?"

"Oh no, not at all, I mean when I was that kid's age I had a shaved head and bangs, not a mohawk so I'm pretty sure my early childhood was totally different"

"Well it's alright, I mean you turned out ok"

This is something about my life the douche could never fully absorb. When he was working at a halfway house as a supervisor for teens transitioning out of Juvenile Hall, we used to have the following conversation on almost a nightly basis once he was a few beers in.

"You know these kids, they were just fucked from the start. Fucking druggie and dealer parents, people that should've never had kids. Scum of the earth, nobody should've let them have children"

"So, like my parents?" I would say acerbically.

"Oh fuck, no, I mean you turned out ok"

And it's true, all things considered, I turned out pretty damn ok. That's not to say I don't have emotional baggage from early childhood that I carry around with me or that I might possibly be a completely different person if I hadn't had a different start to my life and I could go into all the psychological theories around childhood development about why I did turn out ok, but mostly I probably turned out ok because I was lucky enough to have a family that could take me out of that situation and take care of me. And I'm pretty damn ok with the person I've become partially as a result of those experiences. Yeah, there was part of me that was judging that mother, but I don't know her story. Maybe this is the first and only time she takes her kid to a bar, maybe it's the 100th and she'll do it a hundred times more. Maybe, that kid will also turn out ok. I don't know. I know it's probably a bad idea to bring your child with you drinking. I know it's psychologically better for a child if you, as a parent, go into the whole experience prepared and that part of being prepared is willing to give up some of the freedom us young folks have.

But this is where my judgmental middle class liberal beliefs fall apart, because I just don't know at which point a collection of cells becomes a person. That's right, I said it, I am not a militant atheist, please don't revoke my "crazy leftist" membership. I want to be 100%, perfectly clear here; I am absolutely, completely pro-choice. When I say "pro-choice" I mean exactly that, the right to "take care of it" or "to keep it". The point is having the choice. Having the choice to be certain without ever having had the experience or being able to say you just don't know what you would do.

The early suffragists were anti-abortion because they thought it was just another way men could gain control over their wives. I worry that the assumption that a young woman will "take care of it" puts us back in the same place. I worry about it, because I'm in the "I just don't know" camp. I don't believe in God in a JudeoChristian sense, but that doesn't mean I don't have spiritual beliefs and it doesn't mean that I discount the possibility of there being something outside the physical that makes each of us unique. I know I could never kill someone who was clearly a human being*. I don't know if I could make the decision to bring life into this world that I wasn't able to support emotionally and financially, but I just don't know how I could deal with knowing there was possibly something alive in me and I chose to change that. I hope, more than almost anything, this is a decision I will never have to make. I will strive to be less judgmental of those who make what in my peer group is the less acceptable choice because I can't imagine the emotional turmoil they've gone through.

*I feel like I need to justify this, even though I probably don't. I'm not a crazy sensitive compassionate person because I believe in pacifism, I'm a pacifist because I'm painfully empathetic and genuinely don't understand physical violence. Even in a life or death situation, I'm pretty sure I could not actually cause somebody physical harm.

It is now 2 a.m. so I'm afraid I have to say

to be continued...

Part Two coming soon

I Just Don't Know

So, if you follow me on twitter, or just read my twitter feed without actively following me 'cause then you'd have to set up your own account (you know who you are, lurkers), you may have noticed that I recently discovered that my mother reads my blog.

Yes, that is correct. My mother reads my blog.

Which is weird. Have you read my blog? Not exactly mom friendly material.

Unless your mother is my mother, in which case she will think it's awesome. (Because, you know, every mother's dream is for her daughter to grow up and tell the whole internet about her amazing ability to constantly find new ways to put herself in ridiculous situations while blindly stumbling her way through her early twenties.)

The more people I know read my blog, the tougher it gets to put it all out there, to risk the crazy amounts of honesty I've poured into it over the last year. When I started writing personal posts I challenged myself to write truthfully, but it's easy to lay out your soul when you think nobody's looking. I'm not saying I'm planning on changing anything. The picture of my blog written without painful honesty is not one I'm interested in. I'm just saying that I've reached new, uncharted territories with, as Lara called it, this online diary.

I'm working on taking on this new challenge, on having an easily stalkable internet persona and embracing the craziness that is my mother reading my blog.

I think this means I'm going to convince her to guest post 'cause my mother is hilarious, so I might as well meet this situation head on. She could write about whatever she wants (except Lost, fuck that shit) and then you might understand that the swearing and the sarcasm are just a product of my raising and I can prove to you that I wasn't joking in the FAQ section where it says my mother has been more punk rock than I could ever hope to be. Unless she chooses to write about "Say Yes to the Dress" in which case, I suspect nobody will believe a word I write ever again because watching that show is even less punk rock than the fact that the first time you heard my name was on a frakkin soap opera, Mom.

Look on down from the bridge

So I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. I'm a firm believer that if you want to change your life, there's no time like the present. But about a year ago I started making decisions to change my life entirely, so it only seems natural to step back and re-evaluate.

Part of this probably has to do with the fact that the last time the boy and I spoke there were words (I mean the kind that don't put either of us in a particularly good light) and I told him that I thought it was best if we just didn't talk at all for a while. I haven't quite gotten myself up to unfriending him on fb yet, but I'm seriously considering it. I thought about the ways I changed to fit in better with him and his friend group, the ways that were good and the ways I really didn't like. The aspects of my self esteem that he crushed. 

Part of it has to do with spending last weekend with my church friends. Yes, you read that right. I was raised Unitarian Universalist and it's something I identify as strongly. I was reminded of things I truly value; social justice work, spiritual exploration, irony, a certain amount of political correctness and spontaneous dance parties.

There are a lot of things I learned about myself this past year. I think the biggest lesson I learned is that I'm a high strung, goal oriented person that spends way too much time over thinking and trying to make the right decisions and the less I try to fight it, the happier I am. When I try to be a fun loving, irresponsible, young person I just feel guilty. Yes, I think I need to learn how to lose control from time to time, but I'll never be a drink every night party girl with a mindless job and be happy.

I also learned that I am a girlfriend type of girl. Sure, maybe that's because I haven't ever spent a lot of time being any other type of romantic partner, but being in an open relationship made me pretty miserable, being friends with benefits made me less than ideally happy. I may struggle and strain against the boundaries of committed relationships but I'm more comfortable and good at being in them than anything else.

2009 was not a great year, and I fully acknowledge that a lot of it was because I made decisions that I knew were bad and went with anyways. I want 2010/24 (my birthday is on the 20th) to be frakkin awesome and here are some of my goals.

1. Fill my life with people who love and support each other and don't go out of their way to create drama

2. Work my ass off at school and work. Help build a business that I believe in and gives me huge amounts of room for creativity and make sure that I have options to transfer to any school I want.

3. Drink less often and less copiously when I do. (This should be pretty easy because of goal #4/not seeing the boy)

4. Don't date an alcoholic

5.  Put myself out there to meet new people.

6. Learn how to get men to buy me drinks at bars (I think I have to not give them death glares when they try to hit on me).

7. Not hide how important moral/political values are to me.

8. Have more dance parties.

9. Take new relationships slowly. (don't just fall into what's easy/ take what I can get).

10. Make my cabin into somewhere I actually think of as home and throw dinner parties

11. Make healthy decisions.

So there it is kids, hope you'll keep me on track and yell at me when you see me falling off this path and that everyone had a fantastic New Year's. I'm gonna make 2010 mine and live my life the way I want, and if it makes people think I'm a crazy high strung, overly sensitive bitch, they're probably not the people I want in my life anyways. So there.

I don't want to be your favorite enemy

I've hesitated on writing this post. Partly because I've been sick and sleeping (I just ate the most substantial food I've eaten since Monday lunch, it was a scrambled egg and toast. I'm not sure my stomach appreciates it) and partly because my thoughts have been incredibly scattered.

To say that I was not expecting this ("this" being Che thinking we should call it quits) would both be an incredible understatement and a total lie.

Had it happened on Saturday, when we were both cranky, sniping at each other and bringing out each other's worst qualities and I was wondering whether or not we really were just too different for things to work out, I would've taken it in stride, I could've discussed it with him rationally, I may have tried to convince him otherwise but eventually probably would've agreed that we're just too different and that we'd be better off as friends (no matter how good the sex has been).

But it happened on Monday, which happened after Sunday, which was kind of an amazing day. It would be a lie to say it was a great day in the emotionally up sort of way, but it's probably the first May 3rd in the last seven years on which the pain of my father's death seemed bearable. Why? Because Che was an absolute sweetheart (I have yet to decide whether or not the fact that he had been planning to break up with me taints this, I'm trying to not let it. As you'll read later, I'm pretty sure he's confused as fuck) and basically let me do whatever I wanted. He didn't try to distract me with activities or insist that I'd feel better around people. He let me, in my own quiet way, grieve. We went to brunch, I got a scoop of my father's favorite ice cream at Baskin Robbins, we went to the beach and took a walk in the fog and sat on a rock and stared at the ocean. He didn't try to force me to talk about my father or what I was going through. He just stayed by my side, patiently listening when I wanted to talk, talking about normal things when I didn't.

It turns out Sunday was also his grandfather's birthday, so he decided to make dinner for his mother and I. We were going to have a really uplifting meal talking about our deceased fathers (I imagine this would've continued to be incredibly depressing once started because undoubtedly it also would've reminded Che of his recently passed father and Mela of her recently passed husband). And while making dinner, this, this is when Che used the word "fate" in relation to our romance. Fate. That's not a word you toss around lightly, you don't fuck around with using a word like fate. Especially when you're talking about non-believers like us. People who feel the need to preface sentences with "I don't believe in fate but..." which is exactly how Che started the sentence ending in "this being both your father's birthday and my grandfather's birthday and the fact that you've been living just 3 blocks away from the Berkeley house this whole time..." Once you mention fate with a girl there is no way in hell she's going to be prepared for you to break her heart the next day.

 Mela remembered that it was their tenant/project manager's birthday and she was invited over. We decided it was a much better way to acknowledge the day, celebrating the life of somebody living, realizing that though death and grieving are difficult, life goes on. It was a good dinner. I was in my element of passing plates, making small talk, clearing the table. The comfort I find in domesticity. There was wine and laughter. Che kept glancing at me, making eyes and quick hidden smiles.

I thought "okay, yesterday was terrible, but if we could just learn to relax around each other, not be so reactionary, not let our egos be so easily bruised, life could be like this". And maybe in those moments Che was thinking the same things. Maybe that's why he misled me in such an unintentionally cruel way.

We were going to go sit in the hot tub for a bit before I headed home but the heater somehow broke. We laid in the bath instead until we both we're concerned we'd fall asleep. He asked me to stay the night. To wake up early and drive home in the morning despite knowing that I am very much not a morning person. In the morning he looks at me sleepily and thanks me for staying the night. He asks me if it was worth it, waking up early. I say something utterly cheesy and true like "anything is worth waking up next to you," and he smiles.

"Give me a kiss before you leave"

These are not the actions of somebody trying to separate themselves from you.

He drives down to Berkeley Monday evening and asks me to come over.

"I had a really amazing time with you yesterday. It was really good for me to see how you can cope with this and life does go on. Thank you for letting me experience that with you."

I thank him for staying with me, for putting up with my moodiness.

"But I have to be entirely honest, I haven't been that happy lately, and I think this is a really good place to stop, to end on a high note. I think you're really great and I want to end this while we can still be friends, before you start hating me"

I stare at him blankly.

"Is there anything you want to say? Or would you like to talk later?"

"I just um... I... I don't know what to say yet"

"Are you ok?"

"I don't think you get to say that and then ask me that"

He looks taken aback, like he hadn't expected me to go back to being my usual guarded self so quickly, like he expected me to immediately be willing to be his friend.

"Can I call you next time I'm in Berkeley, maybe you me and Alex can hang out?"

"I don't know"

"How about I'll call and you can decide whether or not to answer"

"Sure. I guess, I guess I should go. I don't know what I'm supposed to do."

And this is absolutely true, the last time I was the dumpee instead of the dumper was in the seventh grade. I'm a heart breaker. I'm the person who is usually a little more aloof, a little less in love, the person in control. The person it was always clear to me I wasn't in this relationship, but I still didn't guard myself. I guess if I had, the whole exercise would've been pointless.

"I don't think there's any right thing to do. I don't know, I'm horrible at this. I brought stuff you left, in case you never wanted to see me again. I expected this to go much more terribly. I expected you to be angry"

"Why would I be angry?"

"I don't know, I'm breaking up with you"

"I'm not angry, just really really sad"

This, again, makes him look confused. I don't know if he just doesn't know me as well as either of us might think or if he's had too many horrific break ups. Or if he's just confused.

"I'm used to screaming and hitting. You're being so great. Thanks for not punching me."

This didn't seem nearly so condescending in person.

And any semblance of composure I had breaks when I look up at him and sob "Why would I want to punch you? I'm in love with you".

"I just think it's better to end it like this, to end on a high note, don't you?"

"No."

I didn't think it was, I don't think it is. It honestly seems cruel to me. Sunday showed all of the potential of what our relationship could be- why would that be the place to end it, not the place to really begin?

He again looks taken aback, I take the bag he's been trying to hand me, he offers to walk me home (a gentleman till the last) I tell him I drove over and that I'm going to go sit in my car and cry for a while now. He apologizes.

I walk outthe gate, I realize I haven't even made an attempt to dissuade him. I realize that I was taken so by surprise that I made no argument to the fact that we're too different, made no mention of the fact that we could be as amazing for each other as we are occasionally terrible for each other. I turn around, knock on the door and let myself in.

"I have to say this now, while I'm brave enough, before I'm never able to say it again, 'any way you'd give me another chance? I know we're incredibly different people, I know we misinterpret each other a lot but..." I trail off and try to contain the sobs rising up from my broken heart.

"It's just, we're so different. You make me so happy but you can also make me feel kind of disgusted with myself and I've been thinking a lot about family lately. I know we joke a lot about having kids but it something I've really been considering and I think we would have some really fucked up children. We would be arguing constantly."

And this is how you know I've really fallen hard. That statement doesn't freak me out in the least. Not even a little bit. I never thought that either of us was entirely joking about kids.

For the first time since he said this was a good place to stop, I look up and meet his eyes.

"I've been thinking a lot about family and children also, I don't think we necessarily would, I think we could really balance each other out."

There is so much more I want to say but so distraught, trying so hard to fight back tears that I can't turn my thoughts into words.

He surprises me by saying "You balance me out, you balance my craziness".

"Yeah, 'cause I'm always sane"

You didn't think I could really make it through a break up without my sarcasm coming out at some point did you?

"Except when you've had too much champagne"

And at this point we both start crying.

"I don't know, I haven't gone through a birthday since my dad died, maybe this is just me being crazy. Just give me a couple of weeks, I might decide I'm crazy, it's been known to happen before. I'm sorry, I hate to play the dead father card..."

"Oh god, don't apologize for that, I'm so sorry, I came back in. I didn't mean to make you cry. I know how hard it is. I don't want you to feel like you have to deal with even more. I'm sorry."

"It's fine, as long as you don't mind me being all stupid and crying"

He apologizes again, I ask what he's apologizing for. He says he doesn't know, he points out our conversation that established we're just stupid around each other.

I start sobbing. I mean really really sobbing. He puts his arms around me and I sob into his chest. He takes my hands out of my coat pockets and puts them around his neck. I feel him rest his head on my shoulder, and I think, lightly kiss my coat collar. At that moment, I want nothing more than to kiss him.

"I hate seeing somebody I love so unhappy."

Wait, what? At this point I'm so confused, so emotionally distraught, that I'm shaking and can barely support myself. Had I known he was going to break up with me, I wouldn't have worn heels. I ask if I can sit for a minute and he tells me I can do whatever would make me happy, then checks himself, and says as happy as I could be, whatever would make me happier. And I resisted the urge to tell him not to lie to me, that what would make me happiest at that moment would be to kiss him and that I was pretty sure I couldn't do that. Instead I put my head on my knees and started crying again (at this point I really just wanted to stop crying, stop seeming so pathetic and walk out the door, calmly accept his offer of "maybe in a few weeks, after some space...") and he puts his arm around me, I pull away, so instead he awkwardly pat my back.

"If it helps, I think you're the best thing that's happened to me since I came home and everything went to shit."

"Then why are you dumping me?" (and no, it didn't fucking help, it was just another unintentionally confusing, cruel, blow)

"I just think you're awesome, and I want to be able to be friends with you. I don't want it to end in fights and hating each other. I've had too many that've turned into that."

"I don't think it would" is all the response I can muster up. It's not at all everything I want to say.

"I just don't know if it can work"

And at this point I want to look him squarely in the eyes and tell him that I don't know either, that that's how relationships go, that this is absolutely fucking terrifying for me too. That the problem isn't that we're too different, the problem is that we're too the same. We have large, easily bruised egos. We can dish out more than we can take. Life's made us both a little fragile and a little hard. We cover up our soft, insecure nerdy insides 90% of the time by stating things a little too forcefully, keeping a smile a little too in place, spending our time trying convince others that they should lead their lives more like our own so that maybe we don't have to question the things we dislike about ourselves. Spending time with Che is a lot like looking in the mirror. I can see the parts about myself that I love and the parts that I hate. I can see which parts he pushes under and I let surface. I can see why people think I'm a bitch and he's an asshole or alternately that we're some of the sweetest, most caring people you know if you can get past our forceful outwards personalities. But I don't have the courage to say all this. And I don't know if Che could hear it, or if he would just think I was insulting him.

 So instead, I just say "I should go".

As I'm walking to the door, he hugs me and says "Maybe we can go see the new Star Trek movie, nerd out together"

"That's this week, that seems a little soon"

"We'll see"

"I'm sorry I came back in, I'm sorry I made you cry and deal with me."

In text this seems somewhat passive aggressive, a guilt trip, apologizing to the person breaking your heart, but I really was sorry. He has enough on his plate. I only had to deal with my own grief when my father passed. He has his own and his mother's and nobody to be weak in front of.

"Don't be, just give me a few weeks, ok?"

"I don't really have much choice, do I?"

"I'm sorry, I hope you have a good evening. As good as you can"

"I'm going to go home to my vomiting roommate, now"

Ok, yes, that was a cheap shot. What can I say? I'm a human being. I have a really hard time not being sarcastic and bitter when hurting. It's an automatic defense mechanism. Of course, he apologized again. I went and sat in my car, shaking. I wait for myself to calm down so I can drive safely but of course I start bawling instead. When the tears pass I realize I still have a shirt of his, and the socks I borrowed that morning and that I don't want to have them because I'm not really interested in being his friend. I mean, fuck, we halfway seriously talked about having children after being together three months and the man really thinks I'm going to want to just hang out? Watch him flirt with other girls? Have him try to set me up or be overprotective if I date somebody new like he does with all his friends? I have no interest in being part of his "harem" as his god father calls his bevy of female friends.

Then ensued an awkward interaction where I called him and asked if I could give those things back to him, he was already walking towards Alex's, I drove him over to my house and he got incredibly embarrassed and sheepish when he left his bag in the car out of habit, I was flustered and trying not to cry some more, he apologized more,  he asked what I was going to do when I didn't go back inside after giving him his stuff, I said going for a drive and since I was still shaking and barely able to support myself he asked "safely?" and I resisted the urge to say "what do you care?" because I know he does care and I know it would've hurt him to think that I didn't think so and instead just looked at him blankly and said "as possible in my current state" and told him to have a good evening, he apologized again. I got in the car, started sobbing and decided that maybe he was right and I shouldn't be driving anywhere. Instead I went inside to my vomiting roommate.

If he had broken up with me on Saturday I could be his friend, I would be a lot less confused, feel a lot less betrayed. If he like I, sees how similar we are, he knows how hard it was for me to show any form of weakness or vulnerability to another person, he should know that letting him see me the way I was on Sunday when he knew he was going to demote our relationship to friendship would make me incredibly angry with myself for letting someone in. I can't be angry at him, because I understand too well where he's coming from. There have been more than a couple of times in the last few months that I've thought to myself that I just can't do this, that I wasn't ready for another relationship, that it's all going to go to hell anyways and I fought back those inner demons, told myself that being unsure, skittish, was normal and that I should stick with it and work through it if I ever wanted to be with somebody again. I see how terrified he is and I just want to hold him and tell him that it won't be like that. That we could have something beautiful. That I wouldn't ever intentionally cause him pain. That we could use our tendencies to go to extremes around each other to help each other calm down and find the middle way. Maybe that's all a pack of lies, maybe he's right and it's best to end on a high note but I'm willing to risk a little more failure on something that could be so good. For now I'll just try to keep my head up and not spend too much time waiting and hoping for a call.

Because this album still isn't on lala, here is the song that this title is referencing, that's my break up soundtrack right now.

Also, I now realize that the book I'm reading is his and that he has my cake carrier and a book that I bought this weekend, so regardless of his decision, I'll have to woman up and see him again to do a prisoner exchange.

it's too easy just to fall apart

Making decisions this week.

Decision #1: Staying in Berkeley through the end of the summer. If I stay at Crixa I'll have my week of paid mandatory vacation towards the end of July or beginning of August. Everyone likes mandatory paid vacation. I also want to make sure that this whole moving home thing isn't just a passing phase or that it isn't subconsciously because I'd be closer to the boy.

Decision #2: One of the things I really miss out on working in a kitchen is any sort of tutoring/mentoring/teaching/volunteer work that was  a huge part of my life. I think, other than travel, one of the things I really need to do is try to combine my passion for cooking and the slow food movement with education. I really truly believe we'd all be happier if home cooked meals weren't some sort of crazy archaic idea and families took the time to all sit down together. I know it's hard in our current world of two income families to find the time, but delicious, wholesome food does not have to take a long time to make. Sear a steak, blanch some broccoli and roast some potatoes et voila! a meal of clean, non chemical laden, non processed wholesome deliciousness! To that effect (affect? god I always get those ones confused...) I sent in my cover letter and resume to Kids Culinary Adventures whose website just says they're hiring seasonally (I assume for cooking Summer camps) which I think would be fine with me. It would give me an opportunity to see if it would really work for me as a career choice and if I'm a good girl, and save well, I could then move home and go travel in the fall. It's in Belmont which would be a bitch of a commute but I've been searching teh internetz for other kids culinary programs and there doesn't seem to be much closer. I also sent in my resume to Hands on Gourmet which just has an email for career inquiries and doesn't say anything about whether or not they're hiring. The fact that they seem to do a lot of corporate "team building" things seems a little not my vein but they seem to be really passionate about slow food and I'm pretty cool with spreading the word to anyone who will listen- suits or not. My preference would be to indoctrinate small children but hey, sometimes adults need indoctrination too.

Decision #3: No factoring the boy into the decision making process at this point. No matter how charming he may be. Or how many delicious meals he buys me. Even if he sends me more roses at work.

Decision #4: You can find most of the songs I reference in the fancy little "lala" player in the sidebar! This entry is a line from "you, me and the bourgeoisie"- listen to it well and realize the full irony of it being the song in the current iPhone commercial. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be available on lala so here it is.