Thursday, December 23, 2010

Emo post. Fair warning.

I always thought I would be married in my early twenties, perhaps mid-twenties at the latest. I didn't come to that conclusion after lots of pondering and soul searching, it was just something I knew. As far back as I can remember, I always just assumed that would be how my life went-- I would be married and starting a family in my twenties. Married. Kids. House. Garden. Happily ever after. That's what my parents did. That's what my sisters did.

And here I am. Twenty-eight and living with my cat.

I suspect that this is the point at which some of you are rolling your eyes at me. If you've changed your mind about reading this post, no hard feelings. You're excused.

I don't want to sound bitter or whiny or some combination of both. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining. I'm not looking for sympathy or cheering up. Honestly, I just want to be able to feel how I feel and have that be okay.

I thought I would be married by now, living with a man I love, starting a family. But I'm not. And that makes me sad. The life I was so sure I would have is not going to happen the way I thought it was.

It makes me feel sad that I probably won't have a child before I am 30. And I know all the reasons why it perhaps should NOT make me sad-- lots of people don't even start to think about having kids until they are in their thirties, I still have plenty of time to have children in my thirties, I'm still in school, etc. I know that many people don't think about having kids until their thirties but you know what? That isn't me. I HAVE started thinking about having kids. I DO want them. And sure, maybe I still have plenty of time but I don't have UNLIMITED time. My fertile years are slipping by and I don't care if that sounds ridiculous coming from a 28 year old. I have been told that my "timeline approach" to dating and starting a family is nonsensical and sure, maybe that is true in a way. I do tend to hang onto dead-end relationships because I feel like I have invested so much time into them and I just don't want to start over again and ugh, yes, I do see the flaws in that. However. It doesn't make sense to me to just not think about it. Because there IS a timeline-- a physical, biological timeline. THAT IS SCIENCE.

Just because other people want to wait to have kids or they want to put their careers first or they don't worry because they still have plenty of time does not mean that is true for me. I don't want to put my career first. I don't want to wait.

But here I am. Waiting.

And this makes me sad. Not unbearably sad, not cry-myself-to-sleep sad. Just... meh... sad. Feeling this way does not mean that I'm unhappy with my life. It does not mean that I don't appreciate all the wonderful, truly amazing things that I have. It does not mean that I don't love my family or my life just exactly the way it is. And I'm also not disregarding the things I've learned or the relationships I've had. I know that I will definitely make a better wife/mother/partner because of my past than if I had started earlier.

I know that so many people have so much heartache. So many people can't have children or they have children and lose them or their spouses die or they are living with debilitating illnesses or a million other sad, terrible tragedies. I'm not saying that my sadness holds a candle to theirs, or that the loss of something intangible is comparable to the loss of something whole and real.

But my feelings are real. My grief is real. The loss is real, even if what I've lost was only a dream.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 22: Something you wish you hadn't done

Hey! Look at me! I'm breaking the rules! I lost momentum and ran out of steam and other expressions of that nature on the 30 Days of Truth thang and so I'm going to skippity skip ahead severalmany days to Day 22: Something I wish I hadn't done in my life (and then possibly go back and make up the other ones, but maybe not). Also! I'm backdating this so it won't appear at the top of my blog. YOU CAN'T PEN ME IN WITH YOUR RULES, INTERWEB!

Okay. Let me tell you about the worst weekend of my life. Well, one of the worst weekends of my life. This was last September, 2009, and I was still with the Crazy Ex. He had moved back down to LA (without telling me he was going) and was allegedly looking for a job. I had planned to go down there for the weekend to visit and to go to a USC football game. We talked on that Thursday night and got into an argument, the same argument we had been having for weeks. His point: He was mad and frustrated and couldn't find a job and he hated living at his dad's house because his dad was an asshole and his mom was a pushover but wouldn't let him live at her house and even though he was clean and sober for a full year nobody wanted to help him out or give him a break and all his friends were jerks who wouldn't help him find a job and nothing ever works out for him. My point: You made your bed. LIE IN IT.
And this made him mad. So he hung up on me. I tearfully called him back but he wouldn't pick up. I decided to give him some time to cool off-- I was sure we'd both feel better when we saw each other. So I packed up my stuff and drove down to LA on Friday afternoon. The weather was sunny and I drove with the windows down, warm wind blowing through the car.

I hit the Grapevine around 9 pm and pulled into a parking lot. It was dark out but there were lots of people around-- people on road trips making pit stops, little kids running around excitedly.
I turned off the car, picked up my cell phone, and called him. "Hey," I said. "I'm here...." He didn't understand, what did I mean? "I'm in LA," I said. "I can be at your dad's place in about an hour."
His rage shocked me "What the fuck, Julia? You can't just COME DOWN HERE when we haven't talked all fucking day. My dad won't let you come over, he's already in a bad mood. Why the fuck do you have to ADD stress to my life?"
I started to cry. I told him I didn't mean to add stress to his life. I told him I loved him. I told him I just wanted to see him and didn't he want to see me? After we hadn't seen each other in weeks? After I came all this way?
"You just can't come here!" he shouted. "You don't understand! I can't believe you did this without even fucking telling me. You can't come over here."
"But I...." I trailed off, wiped my tears on the back of my sleeve. "I have nowhere else to go...."
He was unmoved, "You can't do that to me! You can't just fucking say that. God, I can't believe you did this."
"Okay." I choked out between sobs. "OKAY." I told him I'd try to find somewhere else to go.
I was too embarrassed and sad to call anyone so I ended up texting everyone I knew who lived in the area. As luck would have it, my friend Nicole came through and offered me her couch, even though I wouldn't get there until about 11 and she had to work at 7 the next morning. I didn't tell her the whole story, but she could tell I was upset. She promised to have a vanilla vodka drink ready for me when I got there. I got back on the highway, feeling numb.
He called me to apologize and to say that he was just stressed out, that he would see me the next day. I said I would pick him up at noon. "Okay," he said. "I love you."

I spent the night cocooned on Nicole's couch, surrounded by fluffy pillows and a stuffed unicorn. I felt numb and confused and sad, but relieved. This would all be okay, I told myself. When I saw him the next day, it would all be okay.

The next day I drove out to his dad's house. I felt groggy and tired and my eyes hurt from crying the night before. It was another hot LA day so I wore my favorite orange skirt and an orangey yellow glass necklace he had given me.

I rang the doorbell, heart pounding. The door opened and his dad stood there, brow furrowed in confusion. "Hey Julia," he said. "He's not here, sorry."
I didn't understand him. "He's not here?"
"Nope. I don't know where he is." And then his dad stepped back and shut the door. I stood there for a moment, blinking in confusion. I tried calling his phone, his friend's phone. Nothing. Finally, I rang the doorbell again. When his dad answered I said "Hi, I'm sorry. I know you said he's not here, but would you mind if I took a look in his room?" His dad shrugged, opened the door wider and let me in.

I thanked him and raced up the stairs. I opened the bedroom door and found... nothing.
Well, not nothing.
I found empty beer cans and liquor bottles.
I found a cell phone. I found tangled bedsheets with clothes strewn around them. I found a bra and a makeup bag and a pair of pink sunglasses. I found a duffel bag full of women's clothes. A woman's clothes.

So. You wanted to know something I wish I hadn't done?

I wish I hadn't climbed that staircase. I wish I hadn't stayed and searched for him for the rest of the day. I wish I hadn't believed that once I found him it would be resolved, that he would have some explanation and that we could still be okay. I wish I hadn't, after 6 hours, found him. I wish I hadn't let him get into my car, higher than a kite, paranoid, and angry with me. I wish I hadn't driven him back to his dad's house and painstakingly wrenched an explanation out of him, one that didn't even make sense, and accepted it. I wish I hadn't let him yell at me again, let him blame me for everything again. I wish I hadn't ignored the knot in my stomach or the prickly, anxious feeling in my chest for so, so long.

I wish I hadn't STAYED. Because after this, I STAYED. Sure, I broke up with him about two weeks later but looking back on this experience still gives me chills. Because I was so lost and confused and hollow and afraid that I was ready to accept anything he would give me. I was the dog he could kick and expect to come running back to him, begging for a treat or a kind word.

People sometimes ask me how I could have POSSIBLY dated this guy. How could I be with someone who treated me like that? And I tell them that he didn't start out like that. Of course he didn't. Girls don't START dating guys who beat them, do they? And girls don't START dating guys who emotionally abuse them, either.

He started out charismatic and fun and hilarious and thoughtful and charming and everyone who met him liked him and he was the life of the party. But after awhile that dwindled away but by then it was too late. I was trapped. I hate using the phrase "my therapist says" but MY THERAPIST SAYS that it starts small. And it did, it started small. For awhile it seemed like he thought everything about me was amazing and incredible and beautiful. And then one day it was "I don't like your music. Let's listen to my music." And that was fine. I didn't really care about my music that much. And then it was "Don't wear that shirt, wear this shirt." And that was fine, too. One shirt or the other didn't really matter. And then eventually it became "You shouldn't be friends with so and so, I don't like her and she's a bad influence," and "One day we'll get married and we won't talk to your family anymore." Little by little he wore me down, took me apart, made himself my window to the world.

People have told me that I "don't seem the type" to let a guy push me around like he did. I guess because I grew up with parents who love each other and a family and friends who have supported me throughout my whole life and because I have a strong personality and am able to achieve my goals that I'm not supposed to be the type of person who gets into this situation. I'm here to tell you THERE IS NO TYPE. There is no type.

That's part of what sickens and disturbs me about remembering that weekend. There I was, standing by my car outside his dad's house, dazed, wondering what had happened and how on earth I had gotten to where I was.
I wasn't strong enough yet to leave, to cut my losses, to get the hell out of there and hightail it back to San Francisco. At that point I couldn't even begin to think about what life might be like without him.
I didn't know it then but I actually was gaining the strength to get out. Eventually he was going to push me so hard that he wouldn't be able to get me back, no matter what tricks he tried. And believe me, he tried everything.
I got out.
But I still wish I hadn't let myself get cut down and kicked around and hurt and controlled by him all those times, and especially that one last time. Because if it happened to me, it really can happen to anyone.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 15: Something you couldn't live without, because you've tried


Back in February I stopped buying it and decided to try going without it. Then in May I realized that was CRAZY. In September I tasted butter from the Farmer's Market, which is apparently made out of rainbows and orgasms. Butter. How did I ever think I could live without its delicious butteryness?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sarcastic Jazz Hands

I need there to exist an emoticon that expresses Sarcastic Jazz Hands.
Because it is something I do OFTEN.
You'll have to imagine that my hands are waving.

Examples of usage:
"You know you want to shop at Diesel and American Apparel [Sarcastic Jazz Hands]."
"Have you seen the new Twilight [Sarcastic Jazz Hands] movie?"
"We stayed at Rumor, this super trendy [Sarcastic Jazz Hands] hotel in Vegas."
"I could smell Axe Body Spray [Sarcastic Jazz Hands] on the guy sitting next to me."

Sarcastic Jazz Hands roughly translates to 'I recognize that this person/place/thing of which I speak takes him/her/itself too seriously.'

I am officially the COOLEST GIRL YOU KNOW [Sarcastic Jazz Hands].

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 14: A hero that has let you down

Oh, Sarah.
All images from here.
 She's beautiful, courageous, driven, and feisty. She sets off on a seemingly impossible journey to find and take back her baby brother from the Goblin King. Oh, and she's also REALISTIC-- she's emotional and whiny and can be a total brat. She has some really great ideas and some really crappy ones. She gets frustrated during her quest, because the Labyrinth is really FRUSTRATING. But she doesn't give up.

And then there's Jareth, the Goblin King, who throws obstacles in Sarah's path and drugs her and manipulates her friends and speeds up time to try and discourage her.

In a shocking twist of events it turns out that Jareth is actually IN LOVE WITH Sarah. YOU GUYS! He LOVES her!
If Dance Magic David Bowie loved ME? I'd be writing a letter home to my stepmother saying "Dude, sorry about your kid but me'n the king of the goblins'll take really good care of him." Actually I'd probably dictate the letter since I'm THE FUCKING QUEEN OF THE GOBLINS NOW.

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. Why didn't you stay?
At the very least you should have made out with him before you went back home so you could tell me what it was like.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

For the Tots!

I've always told myself that when I had kids I would take them to the toy store every year and they would pick out things to donate to Christmas drives. I haven't done it yet because, well, no kids yet. But then yesterday I read this post by the Bloggess which made me want to get up off my arse and DO SOMETHING. So I went to the Toys for Tots web site and found out that San Francisco county isn't covered for some reason....? But then I looked at Santa Cruz County and saw THIS:

A huge shortfall? Not enough toys? For the tots? Break my heart whydontcha.

So today I went to Walgreens. They were having this buy-one-get-one toy sale. So I bought... many:
I'll drop them off this weekend. For now, they'll hang out under my tree, making the House of Jules much more festive. I've been DYING to put things under the tree but I don't have wrapping paper and for some reason unwrapped TOYS-under-the-tree feels different and more acceptable than unwrapped phonytails-under-the-tree. This exercise also satisfied the GNAWING URGE I had to buy! toys! I wanted to get my nieces and nephews gifties that weren't toys since they already have so very many toys, so I ended up getting them all art supplies so we can do projects together. The real gift = time spent with their coolest auntie. Obvs. But the tots? They need toys.

I've also decided to get my dad a donated hive of bees for Christmas. Or however you're supposed to write that. To clarify, my dad will get a card that says the money for the bees was donated in his name; the people in Uganda or El Salvador will get the actual BEES. He'll love it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 12: Something no one compliments

I started this post by trying to explain that I give good relationship advice; would you care to join in a collective laugh at that idea? Me, the relationship guru. Pah!
But I actually think I DO give pretty good advice. Not as good as some people, mind you. But pretty good. I can understand why people wouldn't think this is the case, though, since I don't exactly have a SHINY GOLD dating track record. But! The upswing to this is the fact that my friends don't have anything to worry about when they talk to me-- they know they're entering the Safe Circle when they tell me about their cheating boyfriend or the fact that they hacked into his email account. They know that I have no room to judge them. Plus, I can give them firsthand knowledge of Bad Situations in relationships. I can tell them all the mistakes I made in hopes that they don't make them too. And I can give them hope-- you can get out, I say. I did.

Okay so maybe the actual point here is that I give good relationship advice TO PEOPLE WHO ARE IN CRAPPY RELATIONSHIPS.

Sigh. That doesn't sound very good, does it? No wonder nobody tries to tell me that as a compliment.

Monday, December 6, 2010

20. have and decorate my first Christmas tree

On Saturday morning I woke up and decided that YES. I needed a Christmas tree for my apartment, despite the fact that I'm planning to spend the actual holiday at my parents' house where there will no doubt be a much bigger and better dressed tree.

So we headed over to the Delancey Street Christmas tree lot in the hopes of finding a potted, live tree. The web site had said they would have those but it turned out they did not. I very much like the Delancey Street Foundation and I would prefer my money go to them than, say, Home Depot, so I decided to see if there was anything at their lot that caught my fancy.
I was almost set on getting one of the little wee ones but they were $30ish (with the stand) but then I realized that for about 15 bucks more I could have a bigger one so....
My tree!
I only bought one strand of lights because I was planning to buy a SMALL tree.
I know what you're thinking-- where the hell are all the ornaments? Well I only had, like, five. If it is surprising to you that I was able to lay my hands on those five THEN YOU HAVE NOT MET MY FRIEND REGINA LEEDS. Because of her magic book (<-- affiliate link) all of my stuff is now appropriately binned and labeled. Including my five ornaments. You'll also notice that I veered away from tradition and topped the tree with a bracelet. But I think of ornaments as items that people just sort of accumulate naturally. You get some as gifties, the little ones make them, etc. So I was perfectly happy with leaving the tree as-is (as-was?). And then I went to the Alameda Point Antiques Faire (don't forget the pretentious e at the end) on Sunday and ended up buying a pretty glass canister full of ornaments.
I forgot to photograph the tree once the blue ornaments were on it and now the lighting is weird so you'll just have to use your imagination. Hint: the tree looks great.
Somehow I also ended up with a tiny sprig of Misteltoe hanging in my kitchen. Merry Christmas, indeed.

Day 11: Something people compliment the most

Some people say that I'm nice. Some people say that I'm sarcastic and funny. That I'm a good gift giver. That I have nice hair and an awesome tattoo. That I'm smart. That I get things done. That I'm creative.

But what gets the most compliments?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

50. read all the Chronicles of Narnia books

So. My commute to clinical is about an hour each way and it turns out there in fact IS a limit to just how much Cher a person can listen to. I have therefore turned to audiobooks to keep myself from going slowly insane during my drive (aren't we glad I don't live in LA anymore? Yes, we are). I decided that this would be a good way to work on number 50 on my life list. I had already read Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Magician's Nephew, and The Last Battle and I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe back in July.
Anyhow, these books are actually great to listen to on audiobook. There is a different reader for each book and they all do a great job-- they even do different voices for all the characters. And C. S. Lewis spends a fair amount of time describing food and I very much enjoy listening to descriptions of food.

The Silver Chair
This was actually the second book I listened to and, wow. It was good. Eustace (cousin of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) is back in Narnia and has brought a classmate named Jill. They must follow the signs Aslan gives them to find King Caspian's son Rilian who has been missing for years. I found it to be an interesting and entertaining story despite the fact that it was basically a collection of my own worst fears rolled into one neat package: heights, cliffs and falling from them, being trapped, being chased, being buried alive, giants, cannibalism, being tied up, being hypnotized and unable to move, snakes, and DID I MENTION GIANTS?

The Horse and His Boy
This was the first book I listened to. A very fun adventure story of the runaway orphan boy Shasta and the horse Bree-- short for Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah (Yeah. And we thought Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii was a crap name)-- that took place during the reign of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. The pair meet up with another child running away and her talking horse as they all try to escape Calormen and get to Narnia. I did get fairly eye-rolly during the descriptions of them dark-skinned barbarian Calormenes with their beards and turbans and pointy shoes and their false god, Tash. C. S. Lewis, I'm not sure I'm following your metaphor, could you be a little more clear?

The Magician's Nephew
I had already read this book but I listened to the audiobook just for fun. Here we see the creation of Narnia and meet Jadis in her own 'hood and see what kinds of misadventures ensue. This was actually my favorite book to listen to. It is read by Kenneth Branagh who is definitely the best reader (though, like I said, they are all quite good). I actually found myself laughing out loud during some of the parts-- there are a couple sequences wherein many different animals are having a discussion and Branagh manages to give each one his or her own voice AND keep them straight so that the same voice is consistently used for that particular animal. Well done, sir.

I actually also listened to Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because I was enjoying listening to the books so much. I did get a tad bit tired of Aslan and his infinite wisdom making people feel bad for their choices and implying that they should have done something else but refusing to discuss what might have happened if they had. Also, I kind of wanted to kick Reepicheep over the side of the boat about  halfway through Dawn Treader. I'm not sure if I'll round it out and listen to The Last Battle as well. I seem to recall that book stressing me out a bit when I read it, possibly because it's a giant metaphor for y'know, the end of the world and all.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

So! After that last grouchy post I figured this one should start out with some cheerfulness. Y'know, for balance and all?

I have a few tidbitty Christmas-related things to share with you.

1. I've started listening to Christmas music which always makes me very happy. What's your favorite Christmas song? Shockingly, I particularly enjoy It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Also, Sleigh Ride. Also, Do You Hear What I Hear? And, uh, also Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You. Oh don't make me choose just one!

2. I'm thinking of getting a little wee Christmas tree for my apartment. I'll be spending the actual holiday and the surrounding days at my parents' house and there will certainly be a lovely tree there but I'll be spending most of December here in my apartment and it sure would be fun to deck these halls. Maybe I could get one of those small ones that are alive and in a pot? And then take it to my parents' 'hood and plant it while I'm there?

3. I'm almost done with my shopping. I never imagined I'd be buying so many phonytails.

4. I bought a red shirt. For donning of gay apparel purposes.

5. I'm running out of Christmas-related things to say.

6. Oh! I am looking forward to watching the Muppet Christmas Carol, which is my favorite Christmas movie.

7. We of Jules vs. Nuts are accepting and celebratory of all faiths, creeds, convictions, persuasions, and festivisms. So Happy Hanukkah, by the by.

Day 10: Someone you wish you didn't know

I know what you did.

I can't be your friend. I can't be your casual acquaintance. I think you are a liar and a bad person and I can't pretend to be nice to you. I'm not going to tell on you. It's not my place and I wouldn't even really know how to. And that would hurt innocent people. I hope for their sake that you have changed.

Stay away from me and mine.