Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.

Love is the doctrine of this church, the quest for truth its sacrament and service its prayer. To dwell together in peace; to seek knowledge in freedom; to serve humanity in fellowship, thus do we covenant together.

Faith. It's not a word I struggle with, but it's a word I feel I'm supposed to. My dad's side of the family are Jews of the non practicing sort. I was raised Unitarian Universalist in a congregation that fired a minister basically for talking about God too much. Also, his sermons were actually the most boring, rambling things I have every heard in my life. AND he wasn't very supportive of our high school youth group, we theorized it was because more people showed up when we lead service than when he did. Actual true story. So maybe just not a good fit overall.

That really here nor there, though.

I wasn't really raised in a family or a faith that is down with the G.O.D. (except for the UUs that are, we're big on the personal belief systems in Unitarian Universalism*) and for a long time I identified as agnostic. I wasn't willing to totally discount the presence of a capital "G" God, but s/he didn't really factor into my personal belief system. These days, I've changed my mind.

I am an atheist. I'm not a militant atheist. I don't believe that science has all the answers. I do believe that religion can be a marvelous force for good. I do have faith.

I have faith that people are basically good.

I have faith in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

I have faith in nonviolence. I have faith that there are things worth dieing for, but none that are worth killing for.

I have faith in compassion. Always. Always compassion, justice and equity.

I have faith that we are all connected, that tomorrow is another day, that everything will be ok. I think god is the feeling of the sun on your skin after a long winter, reading the words for something you felt to be true but could never say, the ocean, service work. I have faith in faith- that it helps people, that it heals. I have faith that when you say your faith in capital "G" God sustains you that you mean the same thing I mean when I say my faith in capital "H" Humanity sustains me. I have faith in Western medicine and neti pots and yoga. I have faith that some day my prince will come.

I have faith that I am the person in charge of my own happiness.

And I have faith you are the person in charge of yours.

 

*This post should probably include a disclaimer than in no way do my beliefs speak for all UUs. Except for the UUs they do speak for. Look, this is the only stuff we can agree on. We would like less mention of God except for those of us that would like more. Some of us would prefer we only ever mention the Goddess. We basically can only agree on the importance of coffee hour and committees. It's a great religion.

This post was written as part of The Scintilla Project. Prompts can be found here.

The things that get me through the day

Photo-2

What was the quote or saying that most resonated with you this past year?

I love words, so I love quotes. I love reading a sentence and having it knock me off my feet. I chose to answer the prompt about what I read this year primarily using the quotes the I rolled around in my head after reading. Of course, I have a Pinterest inspiration board because I'm pretty sure they kick you out of the female blogger club if you don't. And then I took all that "let's make everything chalkboard" stuff on Pinterest and combined it with things on my inspiration board and now my room looks like Pinterest and Etsy and IKEA vomited all over it and I kind of think it's AWESOME.

Looking back however, I definitely had three main mantras this year.

1. If this isn't nice, I don't know what is

The full quote is "I urge you to please notice when you are happy and exclaim or murmur or think at some point 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is'". It's Kurt Vonnegut who is absolutely the master of stating things simply and perfectly. I had a lot of moments this year where I thought this, said this or tweeted this. I don't know when or how I trained myself to actually do this, but I highly recommend doing it. For me the moments come when lying in the sun, when the kitchen is quiet and I am focused entirely on my work, when I look out over Central Park from the windows of the Natural History Museum or when I climb up on to my roof and see the Manhattan skyline. They've come when snuggled up in bed with a nice boy, dancing and laughing with friends or sitting watching puppies be silly at the dog park.

It's very possible this will end up tattooed on my body at some point. I could always use a reminder to pause and recognize the good moments.

2. The Serenity Prayer

"God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference". I usually leave the "God" part out because that's not really my style. Mostly I guess I'm just asking the universe, or actually, mostly, I'm asking myself. I like fixing things. I like being in control. Sometimes I can do those things, sometimes I can't. Over analysis is kind of my thing. I find when I'm thinking too much, when I'm too up in my head space, even just a couple of repetitions of "the wisdom to know the difference" helps me clear out the clutter of my mind and regroup. It's been helping me a lot with picking and choosing my battles this year and a lot with letting go.

3. Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.

This is me paraphrasing the bible. Full quote "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?" Micah 6:8. Again, I'm a godless Unitarian hanging out in the compassionate humanist camp, so, y'know, I changed that shit. But you don't have to believe in god to admit that the bible has its moments. I don't think god requires this of me, but I KNOW that I require this of me. Justice, mercy and humility are the lenses I want to live my life through, every day, the best I can. And the next day, better. That's it.

And I stand here with my arms outstretched

One month into 2011, what question(s) are you living? Are there any prompts/questions that arose during #reverb10 that are still resonating in your life? Are you living new questions?

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris

I moved across country, is it any surprise this is the question I would be dealing with?

I went to church my first Sunday in New York. The Unitarian Universalist community was a huge part of my life from about 14-21. From 21-25, I've probably been to church maybe four times. It's not because I became disenchanted, or began questioning my religion or anything like that. Unitarian Universalism is a religion largely about questioning and with very little creed. I did get a little burned out after spending close to six years spending a large amount of my energy on organizing and being a leader in district youth conferences but that also wasn't really it. The truth is, the UU church just doesn't provide a very good container for young adults. There are youth conferences and there is church service which often tends to be more family oriented or geared towards answering different questions than twenty somethings have.

So why did I go to church?

Community. Familiarity. To sit in a room full of people with similar beliefs to mine. To stand and thumb through the hymnal to a familiar song. To repeat the familiar affirmation "Love is the doctrine of this church, the quest for truth its sacrament and service it's prayer". I chickened out and didn't actually go to coffee hour, but I spoke with both the minister and the student minister (who had delivered the sermon that morning) and found out they had a young adult group and though there are many UU churches in New York, that one seemed like a pretty good fit for me.

For me, church has always been about community, not God or prayer* or any of that other stuff I frankly don't really understand because while there are many things I have faith in, a high power is not one of them. I don't think this a particularly uncommon view in a religion where Humanism is often found more acceptable to talk about than JudeoChristian beliefs. In fact, the only part of the bible I've regularly heard quoted from UU ministers is "to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God," and trust me, we don't use the G word a lot, but we do talk about social justice, how to live your values in your every day life and be an active member of your community a lot.

Yes, there are a lot of negative things about organized religion I could throw in here. On the liberal side of the aisle we are really good at equating religion with teaching hatred and ignorance and I'm not denying that it can be (and is) used for that. We get distracted by those who are self righteous about their faith and don't notice those who are quietly helping those in need with humility. Most importantly I think we forget that churches of any faith are places where people come together and share their joys and sorrows, give each other a helping hand and a girl from 2,000 miles away can feel welcome.

* I'm with Susan B. Anthony on this one "I pray every single second of my life; not on my knees but with my work. My prayer is to lift women to equality with man. Work and worship are one with me. I cannot imagine a God of the universe made happy by my getting down on my knees and calling him 'great'."

Look on Down, revisited

I really do plan on writing a nice long post about how my mother set me up with an awesomely sweet guy who matches the super broad breakdown of what I want in a man pretty damn well, especially considering she was behind in her reading and I don't think had actually read that post yet. However, my internet is not working in my house and I would like to go cozy up in bed soon, so for now you're getting a totally different short check-in in which we review my New Year's resolutions.

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

Basically, cutting the douche out of my life made me realize that with him out of the equation, I had already done this. I also seem a lot less prone to create drama without him around. Double win.

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.

Confession: I have been a lazy bum when it comes to school but that's 'cause I was working ridiculously much at the beginning of the semester and changed my entire plan for the semester. I probably should be doing a little more anthropology book reading and actually writing something for creative writing.

I am working my ass off at work and mostly it's serving to frustrate me 'cause the harder I work the more responsibilities and expectations are placed on me and the more it seems like I don't get paid anywhere near enough. 'Cause I don't. It sucks. I'm keeping my eye out for better job options, but Sonoma County is just not the place for awesome pastry jobs right now.

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

Total win. In both the "I'm totally pwning this resolution" and the "This makes me feel much better mentally and physically" ways.

4. Don't date an alcoholic

Well, fuck. I guess I need to rephrase that one. Pretend it says "don't date a guy who drinks every night instead of dealing with his shit" or "don't date a non-recovering alcoholic". I don't know. The point is, I should not spend my time in a relationship with somebody that drinks every night. 'Cause that's not good emotionally for anyone and it's probably especially not great for me. And I'm not. I think this resolution was more about thinking about my own psychological well being in regards to a relationship and not doing something that I obviously new was bad for it and not setting myself up to be an enabler.

5.  Put myself out there to meet new people.

Obviously I totally rocked this at the very beginning of the year by meeting blog friends IRL in New York and having an awesome time. Not really rocking this too much back on my home turf but I'm going to go ahead and say that taking the risk of having coffee with somebody my mom wanted to set me up with counts. I'm also going to count starting to go to the SF Iron Cupcake competition, that's kind of like meeting new people. Hopefully, I'll also get together with some SF bloggers like @nicoleisbetter and @jamievaron soon. (Have I mentioned that I'm one of Nicole's shout outs this month? How awesome is that?) Anyways, so far this resolution has gotten me nothing but awesome.

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).

Umm, this one only works if I'm not in a relationship. Let's think of new, equally ridiculous thing to replace it with. (Though I guess Charlie Trouble bought me drinks, so maybe I also mastered this one in the first week of the year) I've never had sex in a car (I know, right?!) so we'll replace 6 with "Have sex in a car" (hope you're ok with that honey).

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

Pretty sure I'm not smashing people over the head with these things, but I'm also pretty sure I'm not pushing them to the sideline. On track.

8. Have more dance parties.

I haven't really been having dance parties with other people, but I have been having them whenever I'm cleaning at 2 am at work and blasting the 90s station that plays Shaggy followed by Green Day followed by Dr. Dre followed by Fiona Apple. Yeah, it's basically awesome.

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

I'm gonna go ahead and say this resolution is more about the second half and I'm pretty sure I'm not doing that. I'm pretty sure I'm failing epicly at the first half. I'm also pretty sure I'm ok with that 'cause it equals mashed potatoes and watching "Planet Earth".

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

Still working on this, but as established in this post I seem to be progressing. I really need curtains. Curtains would help. And a bigger house for the dinner party part. Still figuring that out.

11. Make healthy decisions.

This is pretty vague and broad but I'd say over all I am making the right decisions to make my life go where I want. W00t.

Let's hope the rest of the year continues in the same vein.

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

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.

And it's just bad news, bad news, bad news

Things you might be asking yourselves (because I know, internet friends, that you totally think about me when you're not reading my blog):

Where has she been?

Did she decide to have a relationship talk with the boy?

Is she slowly melting into a giant puddle of uncertainty?

And hey... whatever happened to just my type boy?

Hold onto your horses because we're about to go on an exciting adventure called "Why the hell are people so fucking insane?!" and answer all these questions. I know, you just can't wait.

So when I'm at the boy's house a lot I don't do much blogging because a) for obvious reasons, he doesn't know this blog exists b) his internet connection is through the 3G network and is spotty and slow and I can't use my own laptop so I do all my checking up on the internetz with my iphone (which is somehow faster even though it's an old one so it's on Edge...) and c) well actually it's really all about "a". So that's where I've been. 

***

Did I make the mistake of talking to the boy and trying to nail down what exactly our relationship was? Yes. Did it turn into a big dramatic multiple hour long talk? Do I really need to answer that- have you not figured out how much the boy likes to blow everything out of proportion? All I really wanted to establish with the talk was that we were in some form of vaguely committed relationship. I didn't need to talk about the future, I didn't want more than the in between friends with benefits and dating thing we had going on. I just wanted to confirm that we were on the same page.

Bits and pieces:

"So you said you wanted to talk. I assume you want to take things to the next level."

"Actually I just wanted to talk about why I've been so crazy emotional and insecure the last few days"

And then I start tearing up slightly. I haven't said anything yet and I'm already crying. Awesome.

"Dammit."

"It's ok, you can be emotional in front of me."

"Yeah,but I hate being this crazy emotional. It doesn't matter who it's in front of. Anyways... So, you dumped me two months ago pretty definitely and conclusively"

"Yeah."

"But now we're sleeping together again and I think the reason I'm so crazy is I'm just confused as all fuck. Where are we relationship wise? What the hell are we doing? What do you want?"

"What do you want?"

Uh oh. Deflecting the question back at me, this is not going to be a short easy conversation.

"Mostly, I want to know where you stand and what you want."

I will not be sidetracked, I am determined, I will get a god damn answer from this boy if I have to handcuff him to the bed and only feed him bread and water.

"Well you know I don't want to go full on commitment. But I really really want you in my life. If that means we have to stop sleeping together, I'll deal with it."

I put my head on his chest and try not to cry some more.

"Look, I'm not very emotionally stable. I'm terrified of commitment. It's funny, I never was until last year. I'm dealing with my father issues. If you want stability and certainty, I can't promise that right now. So what do you want? Do you want to keep doing this?"

I sit silently, trying to figure out what I want. Do I want a relationship, in which case I need to move on or do I want to keep being with the boy. Is this settling? I told myself I wouldn't settle. But I can't both be with the boy and have a relationship relationship so what do I do? What do I say?

"Why don't you think about it when  you're not in my arms."

"I've already thought about it a lot."

"Did you come to any conclusions?"

"No."

We both laugh.

"I want to be with you. I just want to know clearly where I stand."

"This isn't going to eat you up inside? You're sure?"

I kiss him in response. More kissing ensues. And you know talking leads to touching, touching leads to sex and then there is no mystery left. Or then you're lying in bed and you're emotions are eating away at you and your lover can tell.

"This is going to make you miserable. We shouldn't have had sex."

"What does sex have to do with it?"

"Because everything seemed fine and then we had sex and now you're upset again."

"We were going to have sex again sooner or later and I was going to be miserable again sooner or later. I'm just still not really clear on what exactly you want."

"We shouldn't do this, it's going to ruin both of us"

I pull away and sit facing the wall. He slams his hand against the dresser and angrily starts getting dressed.

"I can't give you what you want, you can't give me what I want. We just shouldn't do this. This is just so fucked up. I'm sorry."

Angry, he's angry that it's not working. I stand up and attempt to calm him down. I tell him most of the time I'm incredibly happy, I just have doubts because I'm unsure of what he wants. I just want to know. We can make it work if we just talk to each other. It's not that terrible or fucked up. Trust me, I've been in one really fucked relationship and that's all you need to have to be able to recognize one.

"I want a close friend who can handle all my emotional drama and a lover. But I don't want a relationship. You want a relationship."

"I'm unclear on the difference between what you want and a relationship."

"I just want things to be casual, I don't want the expectations."

"So what have we been doing?"

"Something in between"

"So, if you don't want a relationship why have you been all lovey since you got back from Europe?"

"Because we haven't been in a relationship, obviously I'm happier not in a relationship"

Yes, you read that right. When we're not officially in a relationship he kisses me in public, stays near me at parties and talks about the future but when we are he avoids those things like the plague. Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK?

"We're not in a relationship, we're just two really close friends not sleeping with other people?"

"I don't know about the not sleeping with other people part, that feels too much like a relationship"

"Isn't that what we were already doing?"

"Well I kind of thought you were sleeping with Jacob"

"What?!"

"Well you spend so much time with him"

"Yeah, 'cause he was my best friend for six years. You spend most of your time with girls you've slept with and it doesn't mean you're sleeping with them currently"

"Yeah but that's different, it already happened, it was in the past"

Huh? Really? He thought I was just casually sleeping with someone I dated for YEARS? I'm pretty sure that's something I would mention. Also, and I'm about to get way more TMI than even I usually do, having unprotected sex with me? I'm sorry, but that just kind of freaks me out. If I had known we weren't necessarily monogamous, that would not have been ok.

And eventually we talked things out, established that I was not ok with an open relationship and decided we would just step things down a little from where they had gotten and everything seemed a-ok. Then the next morning I got a facebook message asking me not to come to the birthday/boatwarming party at his house that night because he wasn't feeling that well and he didn't want to be stressed about the things we talked about and the people he was throwing it for weren't the people I was close with anyways...  Could we go out later in the week, just the two of us to make up for it blah blah blah... and of course it pissed me off. Most of my friends were going to be there, they all thought I was coming and bringing a cake. But I said fine, I don't want push, give him some space and just fumed the whole day at work. I got home exhausted in every way possible. Just dead fucking tired and drained. I sat down on my bed and all the anxiety, all insecurity I had had since about a week before the boy got back from Europe just left. I don't know what happened. But for the first time in over a month I felt calm. Just calm and fine.

I realized I didn't want a serious relationship with him. At least not right now. And I never really have. It's always been him to bring up traveling together or hypothetical children or what we'll be like as a crazy old couple. I've always just kind of wanted to try to be open with him, to not prejudge what our relationship would be and just see where things go. I was fine with being close friends and lovers as long as that was what he clearly wanted also.

He sent me a text around 3 am that just said "Fuck it. I love you. You should be here. I'm so sorry".

I have a spotty cell service at home so when he found out I hadn't gotten it yet he told me I should just delete it without reading it. Not that I would have, but you can't do that on an iPhone anyways. When I asked him why he didn't want me to read it he just said "I don't want to be the crazy boy". I didn't say anything because obviously, he's the crazy boy.

And things went back to normal. He was super sweet and lovey. We spent time together. He suggested that when we both have more money we go away together for a weekend. Then, on Halloween, I came over and he told me that he was just feeling super cranky and wanted to hide away from the world. I was feeling pretty crappy myself and just wanted to snuggle up on the opposite end of the couch and watch t.v. with him but he said he wanted to be alone, so I left.

I called a couple of days later to ask if he was in any better spirits and if there was any way I could help his mood improve and he never called back. He didn't call me to see if I was feeling better. It pissed me off a little. I feel like that's not even a couple thing. It's just a general friend thing. Somebody leaves your house feeling shitty, you generally check in with them in the next couple of days to make sure they're feeling better or to offer them soup or something. Right? Am I crazy?

He didn't come out Tuesday night for cheap pint night and that's when I discovered all of our friends (who, for the most part, used to just be his friends) were pissed off with him. Why? I guess he's been jerks to most of them in some way since he got back from Europe or they're just sick of hearing him whine. He's been pretty damn whiney lately (he has a broken foot and refuses to take pain meds, but that's just the beginning..). And they're all pissed off about the way he treats me. They all don't know why I put up with him and think I've been way patient and way nicer than he deserves. And when I told them about our last relationship conversation, the differences between the way he acts and the things he says, they all just kept encouraging me and telling me that I was way more part of the group right now than he was and that he's an idiot and he should stop acting like he wants a girlfriend and then freaking out when presented with someone who fits the description of what he claims he wants and gives him chance after chance.

And it was good to just vent and not feel like I was the crazy one. It was great to finally come to the realization that there was really nothing I could do, that the every six week rejection wasn't my fault. From an outsider's perspective I wasn't doing everything wrong all the time, I have the patience of a saint and he was just as confusing to them. I realized that if things ended, I really do have a strong social group and I won't just sit at home alone and miserable.

But of course that all threw me straight back into bitterness and confusion. No anxiety this time. Just anger. And then regret.

And this is where just my type boy comes into play, so we're going to sidetrack from this story a little.

The night I started sleeping with the boy again, I was supposed to hang out with just my type boy. I got off work and I was waiting for him to get out of a movie and call me. It was around 9:15 when I got off work and when the movie should've gotten out so I waited a little longer and then called him, he didn't answer (little did I know that his phone had fallen out of his pocket while he was at the top of the climbing wall and broken earlier that day) and as I was leaving a message I got a text from the boy. "I'm back, what are you up to?". So I called him to see what he wanted and he asked if I wanted to come over and get the present he had brought me from Europe. I figured I might as well, it was towards the neck of the woods I wanted to go to ish and if things were weird, hopefully just my type boy would call me and I'd have an excuse to leave.

All I wanted that night was to go over to just my type boy's house, cook some food with him, snuggle up on the couch and watch a bad movie and finally kiss him. Really, that was how I wanted that evening to go. I was tired, my grandpa had just started radiation and emotions we're running high in my house, just my type boy and I had been playing phone tag all week and he had left me the "I miss your amazing smile" message. But his phone broke and he doesn't know anyone's cell phone number and none of the people he was with had my number and, honestly, he can be a little unreliable. He went out to Ru ssian River Brewery and hung out with his climbing buddies and my dreams for that night were never realized.

What happened instead? The boy told me he missed having me around. He told me he was lonely because everyone had left on his first night back and would I like to spend the night- it didn't have to be anything we could just snuggle. He talked about how hard it was for him to be away for the anniversary of his father's death. And of course I hugged him and told him I was so sorry (and didn't say anything about him dumping me a week before the anniversary of my father's death and claiming we could still talk and be friends and then not contacting me until he was in another country and feeling sad and alone) and I agreed to stay the night. It was obvious at a certain point that just my type boy wasn't going to call and I also just really wanted to snuggle up next to somebody and not be alone. He asked me if I was sure I was ok with it. I said yes. I wasn't sure. But when he told me he missed having me around, when I curled up in bed next to him, I melted a little. And of course he kissed me. And you can imagine what that lead to.

I was lying there in bed, wondering what it all meant, thinking maybe it was just sex when this conversation happened

"This sure isn't how I thought this night would end."

"Me neither, I mean I hoped... I... I've been thinking about this for the last month."

"Funny, I've been trying really hard not to think about this."

"I'm sorry."

And from that moment I was plunged into the crazy confusion of trying to figure out what he wants and what I want.

He fell asleep and I stayed awake for a while wondering what I had just done, if it had been the right choice, if I'd rather be back with him than with just my type boy, if now everything was going to be fucked up with just my type boy and I decided the he would've called me if he had really wanted to see me, that maybe I had just read the whole situation incorrectly, that I would just see what the boy wanted and figure it out.

And this week I went back to wondering, what if he had called that night? Or what if I had had the strength to say no to the boy? I'm not much of one for regrets, but even before last night (which we'll get to soon) I was thinking I made the wrong choice that night. I could've talked to just my type boy the next day, I would've found out what happened and maybe I'd be in a calm, stable relationship with a boy I've been crushing on since the 8th grade instead of dealing with all this constant drama and confusion. I realized I really missed him. We haven't spent much time together since the boy got back and the last few times the boy was obviously annoyed with/jealous of the way we tease and joke around with each other. One night I had just given just my type boy a hug goodnight and he was trying to convince me to stay up and hang out even though the boy had gone to bed. He was sitting in a chair and had his arm around my waist still and I had mine over his shoulders. The boy walked into the room and gave us a look that made just my type boy take his arm away from me faster than a bat out of hell.

An emotional dramatic conversation ensued (the boy was drunk and feeling insecure) that the boy would've given me hell for the next day if our roles had been reversed.

But the more I think about it the more I feel like a really shitty person. The fact that I haven't called him, haven't tried to hang out with him after spending so much time together for so many weeks- if I were him I would think that I had been using him, or leading him on, that he was just my choice when his best friend was gone.

But that's not true.

A few weeks ago, late night at the ranch, in the back of the truck with friends looking at the stars. The boy starts talking about people who don't believe in killing other people being soft, and not just super hardcore pro death penalty talk but shooting someone you get into a heated argument with. Of course it turned into everyone against him and I was trying really hard to bite my tongue, especially when religion started coming into play (he doesn't believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and I may be an extremely irregular church goer, but I'm a pretty strong believer in Unitarian Universalist principles) and I know there were things he was saying just to try to get in a fight with me specifically. Then just my type boy voiced my opinion perfectly "If you don't believe in anything after this life, what give you the right to take it away from someone? Doesn't that make this even more sacred?" and at that moment, I just thought, "Oh fuck, I'm with the wrong boy, the right one has been here all along and I am an idiot".

So that's it, I am an idiot.

Last night the boy told me he had met someone and kind of wanted to start seeing her. Five minutes previously we had been sitting on the couch snuggling, he had been smiling at me and having me feed him spoonfuls of my cous cous. He had opened a bottle of wine and we were watching a movie. . I thought maybe I had just been crazy earlier in the week. He went to take out the trash, came back and just straight up told me he wanted to start seeing somebody else. I got up and started collecting all my stuff from around the house.

"I'm sorry"

"Am I correct in assuming this means you are ending our not relationship?"

"Well there's somebody else I want to sleep with. I'm sorry"

He said the second I'm sorry with the kind of helpless shrug and expression you use when you mean "what can you do?" and aren't really sorry.

The way he said the last statement made it very much seem like the undertext was "you didn't want an open relationship, so this is your fault, we could still be sleeping together otherwise".

I wanted to scream. I wanted to slap him.

I hugged him and took my stuff to the car. Called one of our friends and went over to her house. And bitched. And drank wine. And bitched. Apparently he called her while I was on the way over. She ignored his call. She's possibly even more pissed at him than I am. (God it feels good to have friends on your side!)

I'm not going to lie, I'm still angry. But I'm not really upset about the not being with him, I was already pissed off and regretting the relationship. I'm angry that I didn't get to do it first. Angry that I'll probably never actually confront him about how much he was the crazy boy, about the things I put up with, of course, yet again, about the shitty ass way he went about ending it. 

And I'm angry with myself because I feel like I so totally fucked things up with just my type boy. Angry that I got sucked into the excitement of crazy emotions and drama instead of going with something sweet and comfortable. Now if I call him, tell him I miss hanging out with him, it'll just seem like I want him around when I'm upset or when I don't have the boy.

I am full up with regret.

I wish I was the moon tonight

This is my current playlist, right now I pretty much just listen to it on shuffle over and over again:
Xavia, The Submarines
The Only Living Boy in New York, Simon & Garfunkel
Salome, Old 97's
Calender Girl, Stars
You, Me and the Bourgeoisie, The Submarines
A Better Son/Daughter, Rilo Kiley
Dressing Room Walls, Old 97's
Easy Hearts, Whiskeytown
People's Parties, Joni Mitchell
Midnight Coward, Stars
With Arms Outstretched, Rilo Kiley
Young Pilgrams, The Shins
More Adventurous, Rilo Kiley
Mayonaise, Smashing Pumpkins
Modern Romance, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Bar Lights, Whiskeytown
Old Shoes (&Picture Postcards), Tom Waits
I Wish I Was the Moon, Neko Case
Good Feeling, Violent Femmes

You might be wondering why this is important information. It's not (I mean it is, as much as anything on this blog is important information) except that if you really wanted me to, I could go through each of these songs and pull out the lines that could be (or have been) potential blog titles. In other words, songs that I relate to, songs that are me right now or some that are me always. I'm the type of person that reads a lot into what people listen to so I'm letting you do the same to me right now.

There are songs or albums that evoke memories so strong that sometimes I can't bear to listen to them. "Summertime" performed by Janis Joplin will always be one of my favorite songs, but it reminds me so much of my father that I can rarely listen to it without being on the verge of tears (or in private, full out bawling). The entire album "Sea Change" is easily within my top 5 albums of all time, but I can't really listen to it without my heart breaking.

Of course there are songs that remind me of middle school dances that I still don't know how I know all the lyrics to, there are songs that remind me driving with my father along the coast on days warm enough for the windows to be all the way down, songs that remind me of staying up late cooking with Lara and Corina, songs that were once "our song" in various relationships, songs that I can only listen to if I can also sing along at the top of my lungs, songs that I forget that I love until they come up on shuffle, but mostly, I listen to the songs that either drown everything out or the songs that almost hurt a little too much to listen to, the ones that touch a little too close to home. I either want something so strong I can listen to it until I can't feel feeling any more or something in which to drown my sorrow in.

Music is questionably my alcohol.

Blame it on Gravity

I give myself completely over to the series of movements - fluidly reaching up to the sky, down to the ground, jumping back into plank, lowering myself and then pushing into cobra and back to downward dog. Centering myself completely in my body the room fades away, the strains of "More Adventurous" melt away and midway through jumping back into plank I notice a kitten sitting behind me on the yoga mat. "Thwack", my left knee and big toe smack against the ground as I try to pull my legs back to me to avoid landing on him. "It's a good thing you're so god damn cute" I tell him as he skitters away. I roll over onto my back and let myself be enveloped by the music until suddenly I feel small kitten paws pressing painfully into my chest and a cold nose and tickly whispers exploring my face, but before I can say anything he walks down to my stomach curls into a ball and purrs quietly to himself, almost apologetically. How can I resist this? He wins again.
P1000552

Last night I uploaded all the pictures from my old PowerBook onto flickr to begin the process of clearing it out so that my mother can use it. (You may be wondering why I don't just do that whole snazzy "Mac to Mac" transfer thing from my PowerBook to my MacBook and the answer is because the new software that comes with the current MacBooks is not compatible with 10.3. That's right, nobody in their right mind would want to transfer data from their computer that's a whole FOUR YEARS OLD. God forbid you buy a laptop right after finishing high school and then wait until after when you would've graduated college, had you not gone to culinary school, to buy another one. That's obviously pure insanity!) Looking at the old pictures from traveling to India and the pictures of cakes and show work from culinary school really made me start thinking about the person I was then as opposed to the person I am now. What things I'm glad have changed and what parts of me I've realized I've lost touch with.

Before I went to culinary school my major was "arts & social change" (yeah, really) but then I decided I didn't want to spend the rest of my life broke and disheartened. That, and a group mate telling me "I always look happy in the kitchen", made me realize that maybe baking for a living was the way to go.  I went to culinary school not only to further my knowledge of something I love but because I wanted to have a practical way of supporting myself while being able to follow my other passions such as theater, social action, travel and service work. Currently the only things my baking supports are my addictions to H&M, the Banana Republic clearance rack, almond tequila and way too much World of Warcraft. I love my job, but it doesn't offer much in the way of the creative aspects of baking. I don't decorate cakes. I don't do recipe development. I mix doughs. I mix fillings. I shape dough. I've been completely taken over by working the 9-5. I come home and collapse into a puddle on the couch and don't move except for to crawl into bed. What happened to the part of me the felt passionately about injustice, being part of a community, spirituality, humility and service?

I've given myself completely over to sloth, selfishness and impulsiveness. Which was fine for a while. But I need to find my way back to the middle path. I think that's why I've been son gung ho about the prospect of going back to church (now I just need to remember to wake up on time next Sunday). Unitarian Universalism played a huge roll in my life through high school and a couple years after. I've completely lost touch with the entire aspect of myself nurtured by it's encouragement towards spiritual growth and community involvement. I know rekindling that passion, re-finding the parts of me that I respect and miss, finding ways to bring creativity back into my life and still balancing it with occasional impulsiveness and over indulgence isn't going to happen over night but there's nothing but myself standing in the way now.

And Sometimes When You're On, You're Really Fucking On

Today was family birthday day. Dim Sum and a trip to Alcatraz, 'cause my family of bay area natives had never been. It was all pretty well and good and I learned that wearing three inch heals to walk up hills and around a prison was maybe not the best idea. I also learned to not break up with you boyfriend 2 weeks before your birthday unless you want to spend a good portion of celebrating your birthday with your family discussing whether or not your heart needs a band aid (yes, my grandmother really did want to know) and why you broke up with their favorite babysitter. You know what I would've like to talk about today? Basically anything else. Seriously, even all the violent bits of the Alcatraz audio tour were more appealing than that conversation.

Now that I've talked about how much I didn't want to have that conversation with my family, I'm going to go ahead and move on to having that conversation with the internet. Hello, Internet.

I go back and forth right now between feeling like maybe I've made the worst decision in my life and maybe I've just made one of the better ones. Between a sense of terror and exhilaration. The fear that I'll never again find somebody to love, to envision a future with to rely on and to be relied on by is overwhelming around 1 am when I'm thinking about how I wish I had somebody to keep my feet warm in bed. But in the light of day I feel free. I have control of my life back, it's no longer based around somebody else figuring out when and where everything will happen for them to get their life on track. I can do what I want to do, wear clothing that I know he wouldn't like, move across the country, sleep too little, drink too much- hell, I can even go to church now (yeah, seriously, I want to be able to go to church without feeling like an idiot for wanting to gather with people with whom I have shared spiritual/political beliefs- it totally fits in this list). Then back to, "Oh my goodness, I'm 23 years old and just broke up with my high school sweetheart". I don't know anything about dating as an adult. I can't imagine how long it would take to get to know somebody or for somebody to get to know me the way we knew each other. Right now, I can't even fathom falling in love with a different person. I don't actually want to. It just seems like it's all supposed to be so much easier when you're the one doing the dumping. I have more stuff to pick up from his house, a checking account that needs to have his name taken off it, a room full of belongings with memories of him attached to them. Apparently, breaking up is hard to do.

Really though, I am excited for the future. I want to write more, craft more, keep up my food blog, figure out how one becomes a cookbook author instead of a baker and maybe create an etsy store full of ridiculously cute shrinky dink jewelry and retro hostess aprons (I have to go get my sewing machine out of our joint storage unit for that part) and at the same time have fun. I'm pretty sure this is the age where you're supposed to stress less and sew wild oats and all that stuff so I'm going to give it a try.

It just all seems so daunting.