Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Responsibility and other depressing aspects of adulthood

There are two major decisions that I've made this past year that are, what my parents have termed, as responsible.  The right decision.  Even though I wish I could have made the wrong one.

Now, I should probably clarify: I actually made these decisions myself.  My parents, my friends, nobody forced me to make one decision over the other.  I made these decisions, which means the consequences, the actions that subsequently followed my decisions, were of my own choosing and I can't blame anyone but myself.

These decisions, you ask?  Well, the first one has to do with my writing: a publishing house actually offered to publish my book.  Of course, I was ecstatic.  This was my dream come true.  My mother, of course, reminded me to do some research in the company, especially since they wanted me to buy author's copies.  I had never heard of an author buying copies of their own book, and they weren't paying me anything either to publish my book.  So I looked into it, and while the publishing house is legit, it's a pretty shady establishment.  And here's the thing:  I look at my publishing house like I look at a potential boyfriend.    I'd rather be alone than in a bad relationship just like I'd rather be unpublished than published by a bad publishing company.  It sucks, but I knew it was the right decision.

My second decision was even harder because I really, really wanted this: the Eminem concert.  I've literally been counting down the days and I've been waiting - waiting - to see him in concert.  I've loved the guy since fourth grade, right?  So when tickets went on sale for this KROQ festival with him headlining, I jumped on it and bought two tickets.  No, I thought that I had seats and that he would open the festival - at noon, like the tickets said.  Well, two days beforehand, I was looking up some information on it, and it turned out that no, Eminem wasn't coming on until 745 at night, there would be no seats - standing room only -and it's in Fontana, a place I've never been to before and was at least an hour away.  In order to ensure I get good standing, I'd have to get there early and listen to bands I really don't care about.  Seriously, once I saw Eminem, I'd be heading home.  By that time - at night - people would be drunk, pressing up against me, I'm not guaranteed a good spot, spilling their alcohol on me, in a place that I'm not familiar with...  As much as I love Eminem -and I would die defending him how amazing he is - it just wasn't worth it.  So I decided not to go. 

I knew I made the right decision both times because it felt right when I made them.  I wasn't sad - bummed, sure, but not sad - and I knew something better would come along.

Like building character.

Being responsible.

An adult. 

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this.

Well, at least my twenty-first birthday party will have a Jack Sparrow  impersonator.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Life is Beautiful

I knew this year was going to be the best year of my life, and it's not even finished yet.

Cosmo did this study where if you have something to look forward to, your happiness level was dramatically increased than those who didn't.  Let me tell you, I have many, many things to look forward to by the end of the year.

Take for instance this Saturday, where I will be going to an Eminem concert with Jessica.  Do you realize that I've been waiting to see Eminem in concert since I was in the fourth grade?  Sure, I had to wait ten years for it, but it's been a while since he was on the West Coast and I know - I know - that the wait is totally worth it.

Next, Goat and I are going to a hockey game - a Ducks game to be more specific.  He's a huge fan, so I got us pretty good tickets.

Then there's Jack Sparrow at Disneyland, and no, I didn't come up with it but I totally should have.

After that, there's Knott's Scary Farm, Halloween, Comic-Con tickets on sale, Robert Downey Jr.'s Due Date comes out, my twenty-first birthday, finals/end of school year, Johnny Depp's The Tourist, Christian Bale's The Fighter (Do you see how crazy-similar the titles are?  Totally a sign!) visiting my father, Christmas and then New Year's.  The month of October is also when I'm supposed to meet with my Jack Sparrow impersonator.

It's like one week after another has something I'm anticipating, and this excitement has made me happier than I've been before.  I know the things may seem minuscule - the movies or even the hockey game - but they mean a lot to me.  And I can't wait - but I'll have to.  And maybe this will somehow teach me patience.

Oh, and today?  Well today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  Practically a holiday made just for me and all those other pirates out there.

Life is beautiful and I'm so lucky to be living it right now... savvy?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Introducing Me to Myself

So here's the deal - in the nearly twenty-one years of my life - I'm starting to get a grasp of who I am as a person.  I've learned this predominantly the hard way because I'm THAT girl who understands things but doesn't actually get it until it happens to her.  I'm not there yet - I may never fully know who I am in my entire being - but I'm on the road.

First and foremost, I'm a very impatient person.  This has gotten better, due in large part to my friends and family and even because of Goat, but I'm definitely not cured or anything.  And that's a good thing.  I'm the type of girl who gets tired of the games after a couple of encounters, eff it all, and will just ask a guy out.  If he says no, then I can move on.  If he says yes, then I'm glad I don't have to waste any more time waiting around for him.

Speaking of which, I don't like to waste my time.  If you're into me, then you're into me, and if you're not, please don't lead me on or feel obligated to go out with me just because you feel sorry for me.  I can't make you like me and I understand that.  Don't flatter yourself - I'll get over you.

I don't want to be conceited or anything, but I'm a nice person.  Like a really nice person in relationships/dating/whatever.  Not just with guys but with friends and family too.  If I care about you, I want to make you happy.  I realize that there are three responses to this - 1) I seem naive and easy to take advantage of.  2)  You feel bad about yourself so my surprises make you uncomfortable and you can't deal with that.  3)  It doesn't bother you.  I've been taken advantage of and I realize there's a risk that it can happen again or that a guy may feel threatened or even lose interest because of my sweetness because being nice isn't exactly sexy.  But I know that there's a guy out there for me who will accept me for that and even appreciate it.  So I'm going to take a chance and be nice, whether it's going on a surprise adventure to check out some wildlife or taking you to a hockey game.  I've found my inner-peace that I'm not going to regret it, no matter what happens.

I love Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. and Eminem and (fill in name here).  As shallow as it sounds, these actors and musicians help shape who I am, and that's it.  End of story.

I get excited about random things.  Especially upcoming plans.

Which brings me to the fact that I really like to plan things.  I love organizing.  Every day, I make a new To-Do lists and I never leave my planner at home.

BUT I'm learning - thanks in large part to Goat - to live in the moment when it comes to relationships/dating.  Romance can't be planned.  And I've never felt happier than I am right now.

I love to dance.  In the car.  When I'm excited.  At the store.  In hip hop.  Pretty much in general.

I'm a really sweet person, but if you cross me or attack my friends and family, I will own you.

I'm not a fighter, but I promise I can cut you with my words.

I don't need grand gestures to prove someone is in love with me.  The little, everyday things mean way more.

I'm a very trusting person but if you break that trust, it's pretty much gone forever.  I say pretty much because I'm an optimist and want to believe there's good in everyone, which means that second, third, maybe even fourth chances will be given.  But break me - snap my resolve - and THEN it's gone forever.  Something inside of me will snap and I won't even be mad at you - I just won't care about you.

I will never have the perfect body and I will never, ever tan myself purposefully for a guy, or anybody for that matter.  Which means my skin color won't be even, but it will be mine.

I have my own quirky style and I love boots.

I will never date a guy who wears skinny jeans or Crocs or who drives a Hummer.

I believe in true love, but I'm not waiting around for it to happen to me.

I'm very independent and rarely ask for help.  But sometimes, I really need a shoulder to lean on and a comfortable silence because I haven't quite figured everything out yet and that can be overwhelming.

Sometimes I feel like it's me against the world, and that can get lonely.

I'll probably always be excitable and naive about certain things, but I'm open-minded enough to take in lessons life throws my way.

I notice things that not a lot of people notice and I remember a lot more than you would assume.  I don't know if it's because I'm a writer and am trained to notice quirky characteristics or if I notice because I care, but I do.

And most important I love myself.  I love who I am.  Don't get me wrong, there are days when I wish maybe my stomach was tighter or my hair wasn't as frizzy or did I really have to get a zit THERE?  But I like how I look and I like how I am as a person.  And it's just so easy to be myself - I don't have to pretend or feel obligated to be something you want me to be because I don't fit into what want.

That's all I have so far.  But I'm really looking forward to figure more of me out.  It's like a crazy adventure only I'm allowed to go on.  Because no one else will get the inside jokes.  And to be honest, I really don't want them to.

I know that I'm left of center.  I know that I'm quirky.  I'm not asking you to like me.  But accept me for exactly who I am and don't expect me to change for you because you'll be disappointed.  Because I wouldn't want you to change for me.  Who am I to tell you to change?  I have family and friends who love me for me and who knows?  Maybe even you will be lucky enough to bask in my light.  I have enough to spare.

Friday, September 10, 2010

College Essays

Before I begin this, I would like to thank my college counselor for telling me that I, as a transfer student, do not have to worry about writing an essay.  Turns out, as a transfer student, I'm expected to write TWO. 

Let me ask you a question: if you were guaranteed entry to your top university through some kind of program, your GPA, that sort of thing, would you take a few liberties with your essay?  Because I'm pretty much guaranteed a spot - though my fingers are still crossed - and instead of writing the typical college essay about how (enter tragic moment that happened to you) shaped you or a typical About You essay, I think I may switch it up.

Like, for instance, wouldn't it be way more interesting to write about your first time having sex and how that particular incident made you who you are today rather than a divorce, death, or poverty?  And hello, sex totally DOES shape a person, by the way.  Maybe sometimes even more than the usual response.  Maybe as a RESULT of those usual responses.  Or maybe the first time you saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.  The first time you heard an Eminem song.  Your first kiss.  Your first love.  Your best friend. 

Or, if you had to write about yourself, I think it would be way more interesting to read about the fact that your role model is not some politician or good samaritan or anything like that, but Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, Cher from Clueless, Nat from Charlie's Angels, Lara Croft from Tomb Raider (as portrayed by Angelina Jolie) and Max from Dark Angel.  That you don't have a crush on Brad Pitt but Johnny Depp and Joel McHale and Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.  That you have your own funeral planned.  That you like to go for random drives down PCH whenever you feel like it.  That you like to dance in the aisles of supermarkets.  That the best day of your life was at Alcatraz.  That you and your brother are as close as middle finger over index finger kind of close.  That you're a hopeless romantic and you try to infuse that in your writing.  That you're a writer and a poet.  That the only label you really see yourself as is blonde.  That you like to order things from Amazon.  That you know more about John Dillinger than most people because you're kind of in love with the guy.  Who cares if he was a bank robber and also dead?  Has anyone seen Titanic?  Love can certainly go on.  That you get amused and excited about the smallest things because you know that in life, the smallest things really count.

At least that's my humble opinion.  I mean, think about it.  If I was running for Miss America and I was asked what I wanted most for the world, I wouldn't answer world peace.  That's lame and impossible.  I would say, "I wish there were more bank robbers standing up for what they believe in and that they take the country by storm like John Dillinger did.  That's what I want for the world - another John Dillinger."  That's way more interesting - and honest! - than world peace.

We'll see what happens with MY college essays.  But if I'm guaranteed entry, I'm going to take advantage of the fact that I tend to use the right side of my brain - the creative, artistic side - way more than my left (thanks Physiological Psychology!) and make sure I write essays the Admissions Board don't exactly forget.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Simplistic Nature of Grand Gestures

Ever since we girls were small and incredibly impressionable, we have been programmed to expect grand gestures from the opposite sex in terms of love and/or proof of love.  Think about all the Disney movies that involve a princess, a prince, and some sort of beast (though not, of course, THE Beast): the prince risks his life to slay the beast thus saving the princess and proving his love to her.

When we grow up, we realize that beasts don't actually exist - literally, of course - so we gravitate towards chick flicks that still have those grand gestures we so crave that may seem a tad implausible, but at least they're more realistic than royalty and monsters.  Noah hangs from a ferris wheel just to secure a date with Ally in The NotebookPatrick sings "I Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" to Kat during her school-sanctioned soccer practice, enlisting the help of the school marching band and getting a detention in 10 Things I hate About YouLandon marries Jaime even though they both know she's going to die, but he does it because it's on her List in A Walk to Remember.  In Love, Actually, the boy runs to the airport just to prove his love for the girl, Colin Firth learns a second language in order to propose to a woman he's known only a couple of weeks, and Hugh Grant goes to every single door in a rather large neighborhood in order to find the one woman he's smitten with.  In A Cinderella Story, Chad Michael Murray leaves in the middle of a very important football game of which he's a quarterback and there are college recruiters (one from USC!) in order to go up to Hilary Duff's character, apologize, and then subsequently make out with her in the rain.

Now who wouldn't want a guy to do that for them?  Any one of those grand gestures is beautiful, thoughtful, and magnificent.  But is it something we girls should expect from men?  Is it really fair?

I've been through my fair share of guys, and it's easy to paint every single guy similar to the last when, really, the only common element they may have is that any sort of relationship between me and him has failed.  Just because Number 24 stood me up three times in a row, just because the Italian took advantage of my generous nature, and just because Ice Cream dumped me because his friends didn't think I was popular enough doesn't mean that I should worry that Goat or whatever guy I'm with will do the same thing.

Every man is different.  I mean, okay, so every guy thinks about sex every six seconds and they all seem to rubberneck when a woman - who cares if she's pretty or not - walks by with a nice pair of breasts, but they're all different.  And as such, we shouldn't expect them to act the same.  We should trust in him that he's a good guy, we should trust in ourselves that we could choose a good guy to want to spend time with, and we should have faith in the universe that whatever happens will happen and nothing we do can prevent it.

And because every guy is different, we shouldn't expect ridiculously grand gestures from every single guy we're with.  Personally, I'm not into a whole deal of romance.  As silly as it sounds, I prefer a guy I can laugh with, be comfortable around, and be myself with.  I don't need flowers and chocolates and love poems or anything lacking substance.  That doesn't mean that I don't want to feel special, however.  Even if I am simply dating someone, I want to feel desired.  I want to feel like he wants to be with me, that we're just a little more than just friends.

My tragic mistake with grand gestures involved the Italian.  I wanted to feel special because he wasn't actually making me feel special, so I would ask for love notes or flowers or chocolates or my favorite Valentine's Day candy that, no, does not taste like chalk.  He, of course, would either buy these things in front of me, asking before he purchased them if this is what I wanted, or he would complain the whole time.  We were both at fault.  He should have done something in his nature, made some kind of effort to warrant me special and I shouldn't have asked him to do romantic things and then expect perfection when romance really wasn't in his genes.

What I now have to do is remind myself that grand gestures make for good movies but expectations for real men to do something similar is unfair and unpersonalized.  I'm sorry, but for future reference, I would rather be proposed to in or adjacent to Alvin Karpis's cell in Alcatraz than on a beach or during a picnic or at a fancy restaurant where I almost choke on the ring because how was I supposed to know it was at the bottom of my champagne glass filled with ice water?  Because Alcatraz actually means something to me, and the guy who actually wants to marry me should know that.

And maybe guys do partake in grand gestures but the simplicity of them gets drowned out by the grandness the movies portray.  Maybe something as small as walking me to my car is a grand gesture.  Number 24 never did that, and the Italian always complained whilst doing it.  Maybe it was offering to cook me dinner even though he forgot to tell me not to eat before I came over so I wasn't hungry and he ended up cooking just for himself before putting in a movie.  Maybe it's watching all three Pirate movies, even though he has no problem terming the third one as a "suckfest" straight to my face.  Or maybe it's when he actually plans to go to a hockey game a month beforehand even though he doesn't really like to plan for anything. 

Maybe personalized simplicity is the grand gesture, and these movies, with their scripted romance, fall just short of the mark.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Six Years of Goals

If I were to ever meet my fourteen year old self, I would be the first in line to slap her across the face and then pull her into a tight hug.  Because, really, she was kind of this brat who thought she knew everything when she was grasping for something to believe in after her grandfather died.

I recently found this folder of poems I wrote at that age while I was in Michigan.  There were two main themes attached to the poems (songs, really), and one was infatuation and puppy love inspired by my first love A.  The second is this rebellion against my mother, doing things that she didn't agree with.  Like date a guy who was four and a half years older than me.

Luckily, I have learned my lesson (and also luckily, now that I'm twenty, four and a half years isn't as bad as when I was fourteen) and I'd also be the first to admit that I don't know everything, that maybe what Mom and Dad and Sue were saying wasn't because they wanted me to have a broken heart or to piss me off, but because they were just looking out for my well-being.

Another thing I found that was really interesting for me was that my fourteen year old self has a Goals That I Want to Accomplish List, just like me, at twenty, has.  And it's just interesting to see the similarities and differences both lists have, which, in its own way, reveals that while maybe some beliefs have changed, others haven't, and as such, has actually become a part of who I am.

My fourteen year old lists consists of the following: (and those that are bolded have been accomplished, mind you.)  Find someone who loves me for me.  (Maybe it wasn't like the movies, but I know that I loved A and that he loved me.)  Get my bellybutton pierced.  (Yeah, don't want to get that one done anymore.)  Fall in love.  Go to England.  Go to college.  (Technically, I'm in college, so I'm doing that goal as we speak.)  Become famous.  (Maybe not obviously so.)  Get married to the love of my life.  Have four children (at least one girl).  (I think if I have two kids, I'd be fine.  But we'll see.  I'm open to amending that one or leaving it.)  Go bungee jumping.  (Michigan Adventure style.)  Get my driver's licenseGo on a road trip the summer I graduate high school.  (Okay, so this technically didn't happen, but the one I went on with Ben, my step-brother, totally makes up for it.  Shenanigans doesn't even begin to cover what we went through for those twenty-four hours!).  Kiss someone under the mistletoe.  Kiss someone as the clock strikes midnight on the New Year.  Do something really romantic on Valentine's Day.  Teach A how to surf.  Go snowboarding.  Build a snowman.  (I think I attempted to build I chick snowman with boobs and everything, but building a snowman is way harder than I thought.  Thanks for lying straight to my face, Charlie Brown.)  Have a real snowball fight.  (With my brother, in Michigan.)  Graduate high school.  Makeout and dance in the rain.  (I don't care how cliche it is, I still want this.)  Watch a really romantic movie with my boo.  (I'm not as gung-ho about this one as I was back then, actually.  And I'm sorry for my terminology.)  Let my family (both sides) meet A.  (Yeah, not going to happen.)  Record a Christmas album.  (You have to admire my ambition.)  Go to a USC game.  Go to a Green Bay game when Brett Favre is still quarterback.  (Never going to happen now!)  Perform in front of a live audience.  (Welcome to choir, speech, and school projects.)

Now, here is what my twenty year old self has come up with in terms of where she wants her life to go.  Get a pilot's license.  (Probably because I'm afraid of controlling something that could very well kill me and I want to conquer a fear.  Plus, Papa always said it was a good idea to get one.  Just in case.)  Go to Chicago.  See the Biograph Theatre, Dillinger's grave, and Little Bohemia.  (One of the best times of my life - thanks Dad!)  Meet Johnny Depp and have a conversation with him.  Go to Alcatraz and into Alvin Karpis's cell.  (Another amazing time in my life - thanks Dad x2!)  Publish a book before getting my bachelor's degree.  (I was actually so close to accomplishing this one...)  Publish a poetry anthology.  Travel everywhere.  Meet Michael Keaton and have a conversation with him.  Fall in love with someone as brooding as Bruce Wayne and someone as charming as Tony Stark and have them love me back.  Meet Robert Downey Jr. and have a conversation with him.  Be a guest on The Daily Show AND The Colbert Report.  Go to Spike's Guys Choice Awards.  See Eminem in concert.  (This will be bolded, late September 25.)  See ACDC in concert.

Obviously I have shifted from romance and bubbly love to more career-oriented goals, but as you can see, love is still important to me.  And being loved back is important to me as well.

Maybe my fourteen year old self was a bit of a brat - a typical teenager determined to make her own path - and she did, for a while.  She's still on that path, but much more open to what others have to say in terms of advice, even advice she doesn't want to hear.  But she took a stand for something, fell down, and now she's standing in me, my twenty year old self.  And even though we're different, I'm not going to let her down.  Because she has potential, opportunity, and deserves the best in every aspect of life.

Plus, she makes lists just like I do, so she definitely has some redeeming qualities. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Problem with Labels

They lie.

No, seriously.

Have you ever picked up any food that has a label on it?  Did you know they're allowed to lie on the labels?  Like with Cheerios.  It says it helps with cholesterol.  But does it really?  I don't know because they don't regulate what the labels say.

I feel like that's the same way in life.  Since I've been single for a long time (and no, I'm not complaining), I've had a lot of time to think about relationships, especially my previous ones, and I've learned a lot about them and myself.  Maybe you guys all know this, but it's only recently clicked for me since I've been seeing this guy we'll call Goat because my best friend's little sister calls him Goat, but I don't know why because he doesn't sound or look or feel like one.  Oh, eleven year olds nowadays.

Anyways, I feel that in my previous relationships, I've always jumped at the chance to say, "Okay we're in a relationship.  You're my boyfriend and I'm your girlfriend."  Maybe it's my desire to grasp structure especially in something as uncertain as activities (such as dating, kissing, even sex) with the opposite sex.  But it's also the desire to know, from the get-go, where we are and where we're going.  "Okay, so we're in a relationship which means you're with me, I'm with you, no third parties, we're going to spend Friday and Saturday nights together and you're going to text me, blah, blah, blah."  Of course, I am somewhat exaggerating, but every time two people enter into a relationship, there is a list of expectations that come with them and if their expectations match up for the most part, then it's all good.  And when it doesn't, there's resentment because instead of doing something as simple as texting someone because they want to, they're doing it because they have to.

So when I first started dating Goat and I started learning more about him, I realized the fact that he doesn't like to plan nor does he have any expectation of where we're going freaks me out a little bit.  Where's my structure?  Do I hold your hand?  Can I text you when I see a guy walking around in a muscle tee and looking extremely gay?  Am I allowed to date other guys?  If I don't want to, do I tell them I'm seeing someone else or is that not allowed?  Can I have sex with you and not be considered a slut without an establishment of a relationship beforehand?  (Not that I think women who do this are sluts, mind you, but you never know how guys view a girl.)

After talking to Jessie and Susieee (my step-mom) and even my own mother, I realized something.  Every relationship is different.  Actually, scratch that.  Every encounter with the member of the opposite sex is different.  Previously, I rushed things and instead of being excited that a guy texted or called me at all, I was wondering why he didn't do it when he normally did.  I know I'm not the only person to blame, but my desire for structure overpowered my desire for romance.  I'm not saying both are mutually exclusive, but you can't really have them equally.  Planning for romance kind of takes the romance out of romance, doesn't it?

So with whatever I have with Goat, I'm not going to label it.  I just tell my friends "I'm seeing someone" because I am.  And that could mean anything.  I'm not a girlfriend, he's not a boyfriend, and we're not under the restrictions the word "relationship" has.  And I've found that I'm happy and this thing with Goat actually feels healthy.

So to answer my own questions, my structure has disappeared, at least in relation to this particular guy.  I can hold his hand if I want to.  I can totally text him if I see a guy in a muscle tee walking around as though he's God's gift when, really, he's God's gift to men.  I'm allowed to date other guys, but I don't have to.  And to be honest, I really don't want to.  And yes, I can tell whoever does ask me out - if they ask me out - that I'm seeing someone.   And of course I can have sex with him without being considered a slut, because, let's face it, if we've been on a number of dates where he hasn't tried anything yet, I think he knows me well enough to know I don't just sleep with anyone.

The best thing about being label-less with Goat is that it's the same for him.  Because he's not a boyfriend, he doesn't have to text me or see me or spend time with me.  But he does because he wants to.  Because he saw some guy in Crocs or some girl in Uggs with their jeans tucked in it and he just had to share it because he thought of me.

And that makes me feel just a little bit extra special.