Sunday, July 29, 2007

Don’t You Forget About Me

I so didn’t want to go. I just loathed the thought. There are twenty blissful years separating me from high school – why in the name of all that is holy would I want to return? The reunion people tracked me down with the stealth and tenacity of a bloodhound on crack. Not only have I moved around a lot, I moved FIVE TIMES IN ONE YEAR, PEOPLE. How on earth did they find me?

I scoffed at the invitation. They wanted $106 out of me to revisit some old insecure feelings and eat some crap-ass dinner. Well they weren’t going to get it.

See, I spent junior high and part of high school at a very small private school. It was more like a family than school. It was easy to be involved in everything because there were so few of us. I was a cheerleader (shut up, bitches! Like it’s that hard to imagine!), I was in drama, I was in the glee club, and with the exception of the dreaded math or algebra class, I was pretty much a straight-A student.

Then, a few months into tenth grade, I decided I needed to get away from the tiny incestuous private school environment and explore the big bad world of public school. To spread my wings, as it were. I left my comfy little nest and all my friends and went to this huge public school where not only did I not know a soul, but I was starting when the school year had already started.

It was traumatic to say the least.

I was completely unaware of, and thus, completely unprepared for, the clique system. The way high school politics work. Who was popular and why. It was all very baffling to me, more than a little disconcerting, and I never really got the hang of it. Also frightening was being a kid with no money in a wealthy town who had previously worn a uniform to school every day. I didn’t know how to dress and didn’t have the money to buy the clothes even if I did. I couldn’t be a cheerleader at this school – the uniforms alone were way too expensive. But I didn’t have the confidence to even try out in the first place. It was like being in a foreign country and not speaking the language. I didn’t speak the language of High School.

I turned to the activities that had brought me joy at my old school – being involved in dance and drama. Fortunately these things were free and allowed me to express myself somewhat, but they didn’t do anything for my social status. I was a geek.

My grades began to slide since the private school I had attended did not teach a college-credited curriculum. We were not made to read Lord of the Flies or The Great Gatsby before tenth grade – we had Bible class. I was woefully behind and constantly struggling to catch up, while struggling to fit in somewhere. Even my beloved English class, that I had always aced and adored, became a chore of trying to keep my head above water since all the other kids knew what was going on and I didn’t. I hadn’t even read Hemingway. And forget about the math classes – I had to re-take both Algebra AND Geometry in summer school since my right brain just could not grasp the concept of either. I ran out of Chemistry with tears streaming down my face – it was all based in math and I knew I would fail. I dropped the class after only one day.

Then Terrie called me. We had Spanish II together in eleventh grade and now we live only a few blocks apart. Was I going to the reunion? Heyall naw, was my response.

Then I was contacted by another friend. Her name is Yolanda. She and I were BFFs in eighth grade and she later came to the big bad public high school where we later lost touch. She wanted to go to the reunion. I started to raise my eyebrows and pooch my lips out slightly in a “hmmmmm” expression at the thought.

Then I was contacted by another friend, Michelle. She was coming out from Boston for the reunion and was I going? I told her no. Then she offered to buy my ticket. Hmm. More pooched-out lips. I called Terrie and asked if she would agree to drive me there and give me beer money and let me take a cab home if it sucked (workin’ it, people). She agreed. And so I agreed to go.

So I washed my hair and put on a cute dress and filled my cute leopard print flask with vodka (because I am a bad girl like that), stashed it in my purse and headed to my 20-year friggin’ reunion.

And had the best time.

There were no weird social constructs this time. It was like a giant cocktail party where you vaguely know everyone, but it is a level playing field. I started to remember that there had been really good times in high school. There had been sweet, interesting people that had reached out a hand of friendship to me and I had forgotten them. Not everybody was shallow and concerned with being popular – some people had incredible talents and dreams that they later explored in life and it showed on their faces. There had been boys that liked me for me, not for my status, and I had liked them. I was a different girl back then, but I felt like I got to reconnect with that girl and heal some of her old hurts. And it felt good.

It was also some of the best people watching, like, EVER. It is interesting to see how people behave in such a strange context as a reunion. I had kinda been looking forward to cattily trashing my mental image of the cheerleader who had grown old and fat and had six kids, but it was not to be that night: all the women in my class looked incredible. Stunning, really. Michelle pointed out one woman to me in a beautiful floor length backless cocktail gown with jewels around the edges. I didn’t remember her from high school, but according to Michelle, this same woman had a kid about to go into college. WTF??? Truly beautiful girls were in my class, and they were even more beautiful now.

To add to my enjoyment, I happened to know the DJ from acting class long ago, and got to choose some songs. Lookout Weekend by Debbie Deb, Panama by Van Halen. Oh yeah, it was ON and the dance floor got packed.

We all left that place with smiles on our faces. I’m so glad I went. But still really happy high school is over.

It just wasn’t my thing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's Official: I'm Not A Morning Person

I thought since leaving the office job and becoming a massage therapist, I would test out my natural rhythm to see what it really wants to do. Having grown up as a teenager with small chil’ren in the house who are noisy at all times, and then working the office job from the age of 18 on, I have never known what it is like to sleep until you’re done sleeping except on weekends (when I might be recovering from a particularly stressful week or from partying) and most vacations (when I might be screwed up by jet leg or following a schedule of sight-seeing or on a trip with MPs who get my ass up in the morning). I have always conformed to the schedules of the dreaded MPs who seem to set the clock for the rest of the world.

Until now. See, most massages happen later in the day. Who wants a massage in the morning? It’s just . . . wrong. You want to roll off the table and go take a nap or have some wine or have someone brush your hair while you talk about astrology or whatever. You don’t want to bounce off the table and be a productive spaz. So this leaves my schedule open in the early part of the day to get up whenever my body wakes me, do some yoga, go for a walk, have my coffee, (so spoiled by Italian coffee now), and do things like create shite for this blog. So I don’t set an alarm.

Some nights I am enthralled with a book and won’t get to sleep until 1:00 or later. Some nights, especially if I have had several appointments that day, I am conked out by 10:30. Guess what I found out? For the past three weeks, I will sleep until 9:00 every morning if allowed to do so. No matter what time I went to bed. It’s almost comical. And it’s so precise. It is always between 9:00 and 9:15, no later, no earlier. One recent morning I awoke on my own, turned and looked at the clock which read 8:55, and was like, WTF??? That ain’t right! I went back to sleep for a minute and then got up to start the day.

What I have learned from having this knowledge is the following:

1) Some people are just naturally productive and better able to absorb information in the later part of the day. That’s just me. And that’s fine. It is no reason to feel guilty and doesn’t make me a slacker.

2) Sleeping until your body wants to wake up is goooooood. It automatically builds energy into your day because you are truly rested. I love the crap out of that feeling.

3) I better enjoy it NOW. Since Valley Girl and her hub are already looking to add Valley Baby to the mix, my days of natural slumbering bliss are numbered. Unless of course, Valley Baby gets my late-ass genes and is happier to stay up with me doing breast milk shots and watching Big Love while Daddy goes to bed at 10:00. Then we could get up at 9:00 the next day and get busy eating and pooping and sleeping some more.

Hey, it could happen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bitch Totally Stole My Look

Sad Sack, Party of One? Your Table Is Ready.

Okay you guys, here it is. I know I have been a bad neglectful parent to this baby blog lately and I want you to know why.

Your girl has been stricken with the worst depression since Sex And The City went off the air. And yes! I am aware of the movie in the works and yes! You better believe my ass will be throwing a huge party for that occasion, complete with cosmopolitans, high heels, and lots of chicks. In fact, ONLY chicks. But that’s down the line, and that is IF this dream miracle of a movie ever actually does come to fruition. You know how Hollywood is.

What’s been happening with me is far more sinister and unexpected. And I think I have it figured out after much parsing out of emotions, dissecting, analyzing and actualizing by some key friends the likes of which would turn a codebreaker for the CIA green with envy. To put it in brief terms, my world has been turned upside down. And I am just now figuring out how to put back in their place the fragments of my psyche that have shaken loose.

See, for nearly twenty years of my life, all I have known is the comfort and predictability of office life. Sitting behind a desk. Though it has gone radically against my natural biological grain, my daily life has involved, as long as I can remember being an adult, getting up early (ick!), hosing off and getting cute fast, jumping in the car, fighting traffic to the office, getting to the office, getting caffeinated and then following instructions all day, interfacing with a large variety of people (some friends, some annoying gossip-mongers, mostly butthole lawyers) – LUNCH BREAK – trudging through the rest of the day until 5:30 when I get to fight traffic for an hour or more, get home, then have a life with my relationship, dogs, family, friends, etc., anticipate Fridays, vacations and holidays and there you have it.

Now, things are different. Leaving the legal business to become a full-time massage therapist is something I have dreamt about doing for a long time. And things aligned in my life just so to allow me the opportunity to do that. But the ensuing feelings of being lost and starting over kind of swallowed me whole and I was so not ready for that. I had anticipated cartwheels and sunshine and unicorns at this point, not feelings of sadness and loss, sleeping too much but not very well, drinking too much, lack of interest in the usual things that bring me joy, lack of energy to even be around people. It’s been rough. And frustrating. It is in my nature to be happy and joyful, and every morning I would wake up and go “WTF? This shitty feeling is STILL HERE????”

Now don’t get me wrong: the nature of my job now is everything I thought it would be. It is rewarding in a profound way that I have never before known by pushing paper around behind a desk all day. I am helping to relieve people’s pain and suffering and stress, and I have a unique perspective on it since I, like many of them, sat behind a desk for so long and know where that particular brand of stress slithers into the body and sets up residence. But guess what? I am still new at this. Not only are my appointments sporadic and the nature of my job now very physical and tiring, making it difficult to plan my time with any kind of efficiency, but I am no longer the best at what I do. Can you say ego blow?

At my previous jobs, I am used to being the girl who works circles around everybody else and still has room left in my multi-tasking repertoire to solve my girlfriends’ problems, plan dinner for tonight, write a few blog posts, research some obsessive health issue of concern that I must get to the bottom of, make plans for the weekend and then still have time leftover to read Go Fug Yourself.

Now, I am the newbie. I am not the most experienced, efficient therapist in the house. You can’t multi-task while doing a massage – it is a solid hour of pure focus and quiet. Add to this the fact that I am starting at the bottom as far as earnings, which is also a huge blow to the ego. I’m used to being a major contributor to the household, dammit! Not so anymore. It’s like being in my early 20s all over again, that feeling of insecurity, of constantly worrying what other people think of you, if you’re DOING it right. I hated that shit then – I have to re-live it now?

I think there is also some post-wedding-honeymoon-time-of-my-life letdown going on too. You’ve seen the pictures – it really WAS that awesome. But now the anticipation of the whole thing is over and it will never happen again. I will never get married in Italy again, that was IT. And it was so great. What could possibly top that?

And then one recent Saturday night, sometime after my 12th beer or so (I’m exaggerating, but it was up in the high numbers I’m sure), it dawned on my drunk self that I was drinking to get away from feeling like shit. And that is the WRONG reason to drink, my friends. You drink to have fun, to celebrate something, to be with friends, to have a delicious wine with dinner or a funky cocktail in a fun bar. You don’t drink to escape. So I gave myself a break from the alcohol. It’s been eight days, and will likely last awhile since people keep telling me my skin looks fabulous. I can’t help but think it’s because of being off the sauce.

And then the other day whilst facing a mountain of dishes in the kitchen, I blasted “99 Problems” by Jay-Z and started to dance around the kitchen. And like a little kid peeking into a room where he sees Mommy and Daddy are kissing, I giggled sheepishly at myself and realized this is something the normal me would do. Am I coming back? Every day since that moment has told me “yes”.

I wanted to share this with you because I didn’t want you to think I have forgotten about you – I have been wallowing and unsure of how to even tell you this stuff. But I also wanted to share this with you because I want the nature of this blog to be more personal. I love that you are with me on this journey. Now that I have the time and space to focus more, you will be seeing more postings from me, I promise. And I hope you will keep reading. Dealing with problems, especially the ones we can’t see, is part of life, and I do still have a lust for it, even when it’s difficult to feel that lust.

Speaking of lust, The Husband has been so supportive and understanding through all of this and I know my ass has NOT been easy to live with. And for that, I am supremely grateful. To quote Jay-Z, “I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one.”

Nail, Meet Head

My acupuncturist rules. He periodically sends out little newsletters giving free health advice if he sees a pattern of inquiry about a specific subject coming up in his practice. But his most recent newsletter was more introspective and personal, and he had this to say, which basically sums up my viewpoint exactly. Next time you are in Encino or West L.A., give Dr. Randy Martin a shout-out.

"Of course I share with all of you, my prayers for a safer world, where we won't have the constant reminders of war and terrorism, which we have even today. And I pray for less divisiveness among our politicians, rather than the huge polarization we see among Americans who happen to identify more as conservative or liberal. I really feel these artificial labels merely work to isolate and overly dramatize our common issues. In reality, we all have a mixture of values, since we, as human beings are very complex. Wouldn’t it be nice if our talk show hosts, our political commentators and politicians spent as much energy on drawing us closer together, by pointing out commonalities, rather than further polarizing us by overly dramatizing our differences and making the "other" seem wrong or evil."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wedding Photos

I know, I know, I am SO long overdue about getting these up here. Some of the photos had to be fixed (tiny spot on the lens) and our awesome photographer is re-sending them now. But here are a few of my favorites. You can see for yourself why it was depressing coming back home....