Sunday, January 29, 2012


In the wake of a shitty week, I still have things that are making me happy.

In no particular order:

Rainy Portland Sunday mornings spent sleeping-in in my cozy, warm bed, dreaming of the night before and unreservedly fantasizing.

Great dates. With thus far great guys. Who are smart and too handsome to be so humble and great kissers too. And who are seemingly too well suited to me to be real.

Pizza places that serve gluten free pizza by the slice and have wifi. Oh, and a great happy hour every day of the week. Instant happiness.

Really sweet bartenders who remember my name and shave money off my tab. See also: finding new karaoke bars where I am destined to become a regular.

Cucumber white tea. A revelation that is.

Random strangers who hold the door open for me.

My best friends and family who even when only available by text or facebook, always boost my ego and send me endless love and support.

Great coworkers (and a great boss) who take me out for drinks when I'm stressed out about going home.

Hard cider. It's a gluten free salvation.

Nice dudes who, when like an idiot I drop my camera and break my flash, get it fixed for me without my even asking.

Did I mention the gluten free pizza?

Hoping I see said great guy again soon.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mean Girls and other tales

Well, Internet, it seems I'm never meant to have an easy time of it. That sounds incredibly defeatist and incredibly selfish and I hate to play the martyr but it's been a struggle. This had been an especially hard week in regards to my living situation.

I keep trying to gain perspective, to remind myself that plenty of people live in worse situations, live in hiding, live in war zones, live on the streets. Plenty of people have it worse off but I've reached the point that that doesn't really help me feel better.

I can't even discuss all the details or go through how all this happened, partly because I'm so damned furious and upset and frustrated that I can't even discuss it without just exploding with emotion (and maybe I'll share more when I've got a little more distance from the situation), and partly because I don't even know how it happened.

One day my roommate just decided she hated me and so I just stayed out of her way and kept to myself, my tactic being: don't engage. But that didn't work for her. So I have been feeling pretty trapped. She won't leave me alone, she won't let me leave, and so I've pretty much reached my limits of tolerance. Sans any physical threat, I feel bullied. I haven't felt this picked on since I was 12 years old, I swear. 

But, as my bully in the 7th grade will probably tell you, I do have the capacity for abuse and bullying, BUT, I have a limit that I can take and then I just snap. You know how, in A Christmas Story, Ralphie finally snaps and beats up his bully?

That's how I felt in the 7th grade when Dionne told the whole school I stuffed my bra and they all called me Charmin and then I kicked her ass. And that's how I feel right now. Only I probably won't beat her up unless she hits me first.

I was pretty much at my last straw this week anyway. Then I came home to a note last night announcing she'd canceled our internet service and she'd taken the modem and was signing up for her own internet and I'd be on my own.

THAT pissed me off. She knows how much I rely on the internet. I watch my TV shows online. I write my blog. I can do social media from my phone but without wifi, I use too much data that way to afford it.She knew, however much she protests this, that she was screwing me over. That I'd come home on a Friday, ready for a weekend, to no internet and be fucked.

THEN! Then I took a deep breath and tried to just sign up for my own service. But because of a ton of red tape and shit that I won't even get into, I can't get signed up for internet, not at least for a couple weeks. I'm fucked. I tried to do hotspot on my phone but can't. I looked into a hotspot service but it's insanely expensive. So I'm fucked. Completely fucked.

And that was my last limit.  But I am done with being a doormat. Done. She can kiss my motherfucking non-white-girl-ass. If she thought that would motivate me to not be a bad roommate, she's delusional because I have no concern for her whatsoever anymore. I'm not going top be spiteful or plan revenge (though I have a few ideas lemmetellya) but I'm just not going to go out of my way to be the quiet, conscientious roommate I am. She has no idea how good she had it before.

And I have a few cards in my back pocket that I haven't played yet. Hopefully I'll have good news for y'all soon.

In case you're wondering, I'm writing this from a coffee shop. Which is okay for the short term, and I hope they don't catch me downloading tv shows. Evil laugh.

And maybe this is motivation to go to the gym more and not go home at least. Look at me, still trying to find a bright side.

In other news: I have a date tonight with that guy from last weekend. Send good vibes our way that he's as awesome as I suspect. I'm very hopeful about this one. If I find my way to a coffee shop tomorrow, I'll give you all an update.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This is a story that should be told from the beginning

I had a whole different blog post planned for this weekend. But then Life, that scamp, threw another wrench in my plans. Well played, Life. Well played.

Wait. I should back up.

I had planned on blogging about 2 things.

One, I've been having a really rough time in my living situation, which I've kept mum about for the last month or so because I was afraid of crazy bitch backlash, but I was feeling like I didn't let it out I might just explode. But for now, that post will have to happen another day.

Two, I've been feeling really good about completing my breakup recovery, but also feeling like I need some time to myself before really dating again. Truth is, even though I do want a positive, serious relationship which will lead to things like marriage, family, blah blah blah, I'm pretty terrified of getting sucked into another toxic relationship. And that's a good fear, methinks. I don't want to just jump into something blindly without doing a little work on why I let the last tool suck the life out of me.

Therefore I was fully prepared to take myself off the relationship market (though not the sex market. I'm not that much of a masochist anymore) for an indeterminate amount of time.

Cut to last night. Because of the aforementioned shit storm of a cold war at my house, I really wanted to get out of the house and have a little fun. But everyone I know was busy or not returning any of my advances (hehehe). And I may not have mentioned this, but I don't go to my old fave karaoke bar anymore. I'm fine with that. So many people have told me that's dumb because if I like the place, I shouldn't give it up because of one toolbag fucktard. But I really don't want to see the ex in anyway and I wouldn't have any fun there now, so why would I do that to myself in the name of taking a stand or something? I wouldn't have fun so why go?

I thought I'd go out on my own, which is something I never do because while I like doing things on my own, I'm always afraid of becoming that girl in the Date Rape song by Sublime. I am the product of my generation after all.

Anyway, there used to be this awesome lesbian slash karaoke bar by my old house, but last I heard it had changed ownership and names. Still, I thought maybe I'd venture over and see if the place was still cool and lesbian and maybe even sing a little karaoke, which, as you might have gathered, I totally missed. I do love my karaoke and have yet to find a new karaoke home.

But alas! I get to the bar and it's closed. Like gone. Like I'm pretty sure homeless people squat there now. Bum to the mer.

So I drive around for a bit, trying to figure out where to go. I decide to drive back toward my house in an area where I know quite a few bars are and I decide to stop at one I'd been to maybe once forever ago. But it's slightly familiar and I know they serve cider so it's the winner.

I take the only free bar stool and order a Strongbow (which are STRONG and therefore live up to the name and so are alright in my book) and proceed to just chill. Next to me is this very drunk, very loud dude who is reminding me so very much of my ex. Which doesn't bode well for him because I'm pretty sure he's interested in me.

But it turns out that he's there with a whole group of friends and, the next thing I know, I'm bonding with the lone girl in the group and she so gets me and then we're migrating to a karaoke bar down the street and I'm having a blast and I really like this new bar and I sing a couple songs and I'm talking all night to this really cute, sweet, smart, polite guy in their group (who is so unlike my ex in all the best ways) who I start to really like and we exchange phone numbers and he walks me to my car and gives me the best kiss I've had in a long, long, long time.

And I drove home on a cloud. Not literally because it wasn't that foggy last night. I had butterflies for the first time in a couple years. And who knows? Maybe this guy won't call. But I made new friends and found a new bar. And maybe he will call and maybe something great will come out of it. I just know I'm excited and I missed that feeling.

Well played, Life. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Photo of the Day: Portland's version of snow

It snowed for 2 whole minutes the other day in my neighborhood so of course I ran outside to get lots of photos, which ended up just looking like raindrops because it was so wet the damn snow wouldn't stick. Le sigh.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

calling me crazy

Hello, my lovelies. How are you this January day? I'm sitting cozily, wishing it would snow and finally finding a time to write.

I've had this post brewing in my head for almost a week now. Several posts actually, but I've been a busy chiquita. In good ways mostly and new things are also brewing and frothing but which I can't talk about yet. I hate keeping secrets from the Internet, but what else is a girl to do?

Insert brilliant segue here. 

Before I get into the meat of this post, a little prologue:

I know I keep writing about my last relationship. First, this does not mean I spend all of my daily life obsessing about it. But it is something I'm analyzing and so the receptacle of that analysis is going to be my writing and therefor you have the luck of digesting that endless bile that is my love life. Sorry about that, but I promised myself that I'd be as honest as possible in my writing and so here we are.

Also, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm in the home stretch of this relationship recovery and I feel pretty damn happy most days. Any residual anger I have is no longer about the breakup itself (mostly. it still chaps my hide that I put up with all his shit and he had the nerve to dump me. but whatevs.), but now I have to work through some anger at losing six months of my life to that fucktard. I know you shouldn't regret any experience because it makes you who you are blah blah blah. But that doesn't erase this resentment I have toward him for the train wreck we were (which I'll get more into in a sec). It won't last forever, but for now I'm resentful. Just how it is. And I'm a big believer in allowing yourself to feel whatever you're feeling. So there.

How to the every loving ever, I feel at this point like I can begin to look at the relationship less emotionally and learn from it, which I think is important if I want to date seriously again.

Which brings me to this article I found on Stumble the other night. I was just stumbling around the Internet, which I'm wont to do, putting off slumber, and this hit me square in the face, slapped me with its truth my life. Go read it. I'll wait.

Now a little backstory:

When I was 25, I was in a relationship with a boy we'll call J. It was the most toxic relationship and he was the most manipulative male I'd ever and have ever known. Long story short, he found me at one of the lowest points in my life (loss of a career, loss of a best friend, then the death of a boyfriend), he moved into my life, and he took it over. And before I knew what had hit me, we were living together and engaged and felt like a trapped animal. He manipulated me, convinced me I was crazy and cruel and controlling (all things I now know he was) and it worked. I believed him for a long time.

I eventually found my wits and broke up with J. And I've always said since I wouldn't let that happen again. After lots of therapy and working through a whole carousel of baggage, I really thought I wouldn't.

Ahhhh if life were so easy. Cut to 6 years later.

HP was not the same as J. He was actually nicer (J once told me he hated me, for example) and not really controlling (though we did always do what he wanted to do). He never rushed me into an engagement or anything, though looking back, we were in a serious relationship awfully fast. And the first 2 months were pretty blissful. You could call it honeymoon period, blah blah blah, but it ended awfully abruptly (instead of a slow cooling off that usually happens in relationships) and I think I know a big reason why but I'm still too decent a person to expose why on here.

He was manipulative, especially when it came to arguing. Plus I think he was sensitive too. He couldn't hear any kind of discussion and not turn it into an argument. He had to win and I often wondered if he even cared about what he was arguing or if he just wanted to win. He could deflect any comment back on me and convince me he was right. He would call me crazy, illogical, overemotional. His way was always the right way and he'd talk to me like I was a stupid child. This last part hurt more than the crazy, I think, because I value my intelligence so highly. It's one area I always fought back on even if I never really won.

It got so frustrating to argue in circles, especially because I'm not a fighter. I prefer to walk away when I'm angry or upset, cool off, think about what I'm feeling, and then discuss it later. In the moment? I freeze up. I don't have quick responses or witty retorts. So if I felt backed into a corner, often my only response was just to cry, which was just visceral emotion. You know that feeling where your throat gets tight and you just can't say a word without crying it out? That. It's not like I wanted to. But the dude made me feel like a child and so I acted like a child.

It finally got to the point where I got so tired of this act that I'd just stop talking at all. Wouldn't share how I was feeling, wouldn't fight back, wouldn't discuss anything that might be taken wrong and thrown back at me. So I'd keep my mouth shut, shut down completely. But then he'd just accuse me of being passive aggressive. I honestly couldn't ever win. I was screwed just for existing.

Why did I let it happen? Fuck if I know. Maybe it's because that's how my mom always talked to me. Maybe it's because I have a need to be liked and will be a goddamn doormat. Maybe it's because I'm susceptible to manipulation. Maybe because it's fucking confusing to be told you're loved and you're beautiful, etc, while being told you're crazy and passive aggressive and talked down to constantly.


It's no wonder I got so depressed. It's no wonder I lost so much of who I am. No wonder I stopped writing, stopped making art, stopped finding time to love myself.

How the fuck does that happen? More importantly, how do I not let it happen again?

I'm confident I can do this. I am a quality person and I won't let someone take that from me again. I just need to find the right tools.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

one eighty

I wasn't gonna write this week because I had kind of a crummy week and didn't really feel like I had anything to share. Nothing dramatic. I just either got a touch of some flu or some rogue gluten made its way into my food stuffs. I wasn't super sick either, not laid up in bed or camped out on the bathroom floor. No, I was just sick enough to feel constantly uncomfortable which made me feel increasingly cranky as the week went on. And add to that, I had an inordinate shit ton of stuff to do and because of the discomfort and the crankiness, I felt like I wasn't accomplishing any of it anywhere near my normal level and the shit kept piling on. Yeah, so crummy.

Someone I know who will remain nameless said to me, "What's wrong? You're not normally this bitchy." To which I really wanted to say, Go fuck yourself. I'm entitled to be cranky for once, but instead said, "Sorry, just feeling crummy." 

But then I started feeling better by Friday night, which I spent with my best friend. Have I mentioned in the last five minutes how awesome she is? We went out to dinner and to this art opening for a girl I know and to which I was having total anxiety about going. But it was a lot of fun and I didn't run into the dreaded ex like I thought I might, so I'm really glad I went. I would really like to write at least one post that doesn't include him in some way, but I'll just say that part of my recovery has been completely avoiding him for a while and I'm glad my plan is still intact.

Though as a backup plan, I thought that if I did run into him and if he did say hi or anything, I'd just cock my head quizzically and after a few beats, say, "Mmmmm no."

Great plan right?

Hey, at least I still make me laugh.

There to the fore, Friday was a great start to an almost perfect weekend. I say almost because what is perfect anyway? But it was great anyhow. I slept for like 12 hours that night and laid in bed almost all day Saturday, just watching TV on my Mac and not thinking at all. Then I went over to some friends' house and watched the Saints game (way to geaux, Saints! who dat!). Afterwhich we migrated and I had just such an enjoyable evening of hanging with great people, tasting cider, and laughing.

And Sunday has been divine as well. It was lazy and easy and I got to do some shopping. Bee tee dubs? Love leaving the mall with 200 smackers worth of merch and not having spent a penny. Gift cards are an incredible invention. I had planned, however, on taking myself to the movies, but decided to come home and cuddle with my cat and write instead.

I will get to the movies this week though. This is something I'm going to do now, like a weekly date night with myself (did I already tell you about this?), some nice quality time with me. And, what can I say? I make a great date. Last weekend, I saw Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and it was fan bloody tastic. I've yet to decide what to see next, though I have a few on the list. Any suggestions are muy welcome.

I'm also looking foward to dinner this week with some lovely ladies who rock my world (hi, girlies!) as well as dinner with a long lost "aunt" (she's not really an aunt, more of one of my mom's best friend) who I haven't seen since I was a teen.

That's a cool story actually. So this aunt lived in Seattle the last time I saw her so I tried to look her up when I was going up for Christmas. But alas she's unlisted and I didn't find her. But last week, I got a letter in the mail from her wondering if I was the same Andrea she knew and telling me if so to text her.  I texted her and she's going to be in Portland some time this next week and we're gonna try to meet up. Can you believe it? What are the chances?

Life, she is a strange one.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Very Seattle Christmas

Behold! My Seattle photos. I'm sharing these sans commentary so if you have questions about any particular shots, please do give me a holler. :)

I want to thank everyone so insanely much for the super sweet and supportive comments this last month or so. I know I don't respond individually, but I read each and every one and give you a little (and sometimes not to little) virtual hug. Much love to you all. Your support means a lot. For realsies.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

epic existential post just in time for that arbitrary changing of the calendar which I so love

It's a whole new year. Didja know that? What would you all do if I weren't here to tell you things?

I love New Years. I always have. I've mentioned this before. It's a combination of things really. One, New Years was always the best holiday at my house growing up. Christmas, Thanksgiving, you can have 'em. Those were always full of stress. But New Years? Everyone would come over to my house and we'd play games and dance and pull taffy and stay up late. Some of my best childhood memories are of New Years.

As an adult, it's been the same. I trudge through the family holidays, every year trying to make the most of it, trying to enjoy the holidays despite how shitty they make me feel. I always hope the next year will be better, that I'll have someone to share the holidays with and that will somehow make me enjoy them. But that's never the case.

So every year I trudge through that much right dab into New Years. And, as I was discussing with a new friend last night, it's the most inclusive holiday there is. No matter what religion you are or what your family situation is like or where you live, you can celebrate. And I know it's a cheesy concept, but I love the idea of new beginnings. It's an arbitrary beginning, yes, marked on a clock made by humans, but it's an idea I find romantic. You get glittery and you kick the last year's ass out the door and you start fresh.

self-portrait 12.31.11
All dolled up for New Years

It's an idea I can buy into and which is so coincidentally relevant and timely for me right now. Right now I do need to start fresh, to start over. I did a lot of thinking during my Seattle trip and, subsequently, since.

I did some really cool things all by myself in Seattle, had experiences one just wouldn't have if one wasn't alone. I saw things on a different timetable. I was forced to rely on myself and on myself alone. I met people and had conversations that simply wouldn't have happened were I with anyone else. I made friends with the chefs and entire wait staff at a sushi restaurant. I had my palm read by a thousand year old Chinese waiter. I randomly met a lady who knew someone who I went to school with many years ago in a very small town in Southern California.

But most of all? I did a ton of thinking and I met parts of myself I'd forgotton. And I had the best sleep I'd had in...well, I can't remember how long. Have I mentioned how much I love hotel rooms? Nice ones, anyway.

And I came to some pretty profound, profound for now anyhow, ideas. I don't make resolutions, as I've said, but what do you know? It's a good time to make some changes.

Which brings me to month three of breakup recovery. I guess technically it's probably not quite two months yet but I'm honestly not counting that closely. It's about an idea, people. Someone called it recovery the other day in reference to another friend and I really liked that. Yes, bad relationships can be like addictions and then we detox and then we go through recovery. That's exactly how I feel.

Anyway, so that means by the end of this month, I should be completely moved on. And I can taste it. I'm so almost there. The hardest part is that just forgetting one person from your life who was previously completely entrenched in it is damn near impossible. And forget friendship. I have several exes who are good friends and he won't be one of them. I don't want to be his friend anymore. I don't want to even know him. But there are reminders everywhere, dammit. And there's facebook, which, even though we're not facebook friends anymore, I am friends with his friends. And then there are photos and books and TV shows and movies and a hundred million other things we shared which I'd really just love to disappear. But of course that's not reality. Of course that won't happen. Even if all the shows we watched together went away, for example (and truthfully, I'd be sad about that), I'd still have the memories.

So now I just have to set those memories aside until there are no more emotional ties. Until I don't want to punch him in the face every time I see something that reminds me of him. But the anger is good. It's better than the sad I was in and it will get me through this last phase.

I know guys don't deal with breakups like women do. I think I'm okay with that finally. I know he's out there getting blitzed and acting like he always does. But I'm just not that way. I gave up my heart and that's not easy to recover from. I'm giving myself patience to be who I am, because who else will but me? He never let me be myself so it's more important now that I claim back who I am.

Which brings me to my next epiphany. Being alone can be an awesome thing. I've always bordered on this and I've always enjoyed spending time alone. But I, in my heartbreak and my stress and grieving, had forgotten this. I'd gotten caught up in being left alone, which is so much different than choosing aloneness. I'm not talking permanent aloneness. I'm talking about choosing to experience certain things alone and discovering a different side of life only visible when alone.

Make sense? If you're not one to do things alone, I'm positive you'll have no idea what I'm talking about. But I'm certain that many of us miss out on so much because we're afraid to do certain things (or anything) alone. How much do you want to do but are waiting on someone else to happen? Yes, I realize that some things DO in fact necessitate another human simply on logistics alone. I'm talking about missing out on experiences because there is no one available to do them with you.

And I was forced to be completely alone this past Christmas. But instead of moping and pouting, which a chunk of me did want to do, I had an adventure. A small one, sure, but an adventure nonetheless, and one I would never have had if I'd been tied to traditional plans. This has given me the push to start having adventures again. It's exhilarating, picking up and trying out a new city all by one's lonesome, and during a family holiday to boot. I can't tell you how many times I had to explain to someone just what I did during the holidays this year. And they always looked at me like I was insane or with envy. I'll take either, let me tell you.

I'm sure, some day, I'll relish in the traditional commitments, but since I don't have those, I'm going to take adventure. And, quite honestly, even when I have a family (when, not if), I'll want to take them on adventures too, teach my children to love experiencing life differently from the pack.

That said, I've also decided that it's okay to not have to accept loneliness, which is differently than aloneness. I want to enjoy my alone time, sure, but I also want others around me who love and support me and make me laugh and who brighten my days. I've said before that I miss my friends and family in California so insanely much. I've been lonely. I have. And my best friend here has been amazing and, as always, I could never get through the tough times without her. I love her down to my toes.

But, as I mentioned before, I've found myself on a sudden friend drought. It's been awkward and frustrating and has put me in a bad state of mind. It's also never been my style to force friendships along. I've always made friends easily and always just let them develop organically at whatever pace should come.

Except that's just not working for me right now. I don't know why I've always done this because it doesn't suit my philosophies. I don't believe in fate or destiny or what have you so why do I leave my friendships up to the universe? I believe in making your own happiness, so why was I letting a huge source of happiness, one's friends, just idle? So I've decided that I will be lonely no more. I decided to be proactive. I made some calls and I'm nurturing some friendships here that were blossoming and I don't want to die and some that I'd always wanted but hadn't pursued. I also insinuated myself into a group of friends of friends who are all pretty damn cool, and, thus, had a total blast on New Years and met even more cool people.

I've also had a few romantic encounters recently which I feel like keeping under wraps for now, but which have been fun and make me feel all "Stella" up in here.

Which brings me to my next plans. I'm not going to accept any situations or people who bring me down. I say this every year and I'll keep saying it until I learn it. No more doormat Andy. I will start over. I will meet great people. I will bloom where I'm planted and I will replant myself if necessary. I will make my own happiness and I will not accept anything less.

I was talking with someone recently who has had a ton of health issues. And I thought to myself, Self, you know what? You're lucky. You're healthy. You have food and a car and a great job. In the grand scheme of things, despite the unluckiness of this year, you've got it pretty good, woman. I used to do more volunteer work. I used to give back and in doing so, gained perspective. It was my reality check that kept my first world ego in its place. I haven't done that in far too long so the next thing on my list is to volunteer more. I think we all need to remember how good we really have it.

I'll leave you here for now since this has been the longest post in recorded history. I still have to get my Seattle photos online, which I promise to share.
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