Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Settling, The Good Kind

After almost seven months without 85% of my belongings, I will be moving into a permanent apartment this weekend (!!!!!!!). Since I'm moving on a holiday weekend, I got the keys a little bit early and did a walk through yesterday after work. I met the maintenance guy, who showed me in and gave me the run-down. 

When he left, I thanked him, shut the door, sat in the middle of my new living room floor, and promptly bawled my eyes out.

I wiped snot from my nose and felt ridiculous and childish--but also relieved. Because of the quick turnaround time of my move and because it's damn near impossible to find apartments that allow dogs the size of small horses, I took a four-month furnished sublet that turned into a seven-month furnished sublet, arriving with one Jeep-load of belongings. In the recent months, I have been ashamed by how much living in a sublet with other people's things was wearing on me. Every time I mentioned it to anyone, they'd shrug and say something like, "Yeah, but you have everything you need, right? What's missing?"

Which sounded rational, sure. After all, I've had a *furnished* apartment--a really nice one, actually. I've had a place to stretch after my runs, and a hot shower to use after yoga class. I've had a place for Henley to look out the window, and even an alley contained enough to throw a ball in. I've had a place to read, a place to sleep, a place to write, a place to binge watch TV on my laptop. I've had internet, AC, kind neighbors to let me in when I locked myself out during my first week in town. What's missing?, indeed.

I learned over these last seven months just what I can do without. I can do without an oven--the sublet had a gas stove and I never did muster the courage to try to light it. I can do without a dishwasher--this one just didn't get my smoothie glasses clean. I can do without my mixer, my serving platters and my kombucha supplies--though I did nab my juicer the last time I was home. I can even do without any semblance of my own sense of organization in terms of closet set up--though the shoe rack in the front closet nearly got tossed into the street a few times.

But I need a frame wall filled with pictures of my people. I need the hodge podge of art and trinkets I've collected on my travels to remind me how big the world is. I need the odd rummage sale dishes that make me smile with their quirks and wonder about their history. I need to be surrounded by a vibrant storm of colors--my colors--that reflect back to me what I want to look out for in this world.

What was missing were the things that make me feel like I'm home. What was missing were the things that make me feel like Bobbi. And, perhaps most pressing, what was missing was the courage to acknowledge that I have been yearning to carry those things with me into this new world, even if I couldn't yet articulate why.

I need the framed letter my mom wrote me when I was 17, the one that proves on paper that no one knows or loves me more than my family. I need a damn shoe rack that actually fits all of my flipping shoes, and I need the most beautiful Bobbi-colored blanket that my dear friend Krista got me for Christmas one year in college--it is itchy in the most beautiful and familiar way. I need my fancy throw pillows because they make me feel like a princess, and I need the journals of mistakes past because they remind me that I am human.

My girl's got her choice of windows, to be sure.

Sometimes I think the only way I learn about myself in any progressive way is when I look back on a particularly cringe-worthy meltdown and ask myself, "What the $@*! was that about?"

Sure, that was the relief after weeks of dealing with the dozens of annoyances and tasks that come with moving addresses, starting and stopping utilities, and coordinating a move in the city.

But if I really ask myself what was at the core of those tears, that was about needing my roots even when I'm flying high on my wings. That was the result of pushing down my feelings and not acknowledging them as valid.  That was about finally admitting that I have not, for one second of the last seven months, felt truly settled... until I was again, covered in snot on a empty living room floor. My empty living room floor.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Heart Wide Open :OR: 10 Love Lessons I Learned from John Mayer

I'm not sure what it says about the fate of my love life that I believe I have gotten a somewhat legitimate education in matters of the heart from the person who is seemingly the most inept person in the world to deliver such wisdom.

You know how sometimes you learn what not to do from someone's actions? Well, I'm thinking of dear Johnny as a big brother who screwed up so royally that I'll never have to make the same mistakes on my own. Because, you know, I'm totally innocent in this department and have never made a single misstep.


Behold, the lessons John Mayer taught me about how to navigate the winding chambers of my own heart and the weird wacky world of Figuring Out The Opposite Sex:

1. Ask for what you want. It's the only way you're going to get it.
If you want more love, why don't you say so? -Heartbreak Warfare
Oh, uh, good point. Why don't I?

2. Walk away when it's not the complete package. Love hurts the most when it's unbalanced. And really, that's not love, now is it?
Anything other than 'yes' is 'no' / anything other than 'stay' is 'go'  -Friends, Lovers or Nothing
3. Figure out what you're running from. And then figure out what you should be running from. Don't be the crazy girl who doesn't know the difference. Then act accordingly.
You're like 22 girls in one / And none of them know what they're running from -Paper Doll
4. If you find yourself conceding, negotiating with yourself, or settling in any way, move on. 
I can't be her angel now / You know, it's not my place to hold her down / and it's hard for me to take a stand / when I would take her any way I can -Neon
Don't be this girl. Even if he makes you buzz like neon, neon. No--especially if he makes you buzz like neon, neon.

 Dumbest smart person to ever get a record deal.

5. Speak your peace. You'll feel a lot better, regardless of the outcome--even if sucks in the meantime. No--especially if it sucks in the meantime. That usually means there's something important to be said.
Say what you need to say
Have no fear for givin' in / Have no fear for givin' over / You better know that in the end / it's better to say too much / than never say what you need to say again
Even if your hands are shakin' / and your faith is broken / Even as the eyes are closin' / Do it with a heart wide open -Say
6. Avoid people who can't love you. For whatever reason, even if and especially if it's a reason he made up in his own head and can't or won't articulate.
Half of my heart is a shot gun wedding / to a bride with a paper ring / and half of my heart is the part of a man / who's never truly loved anything
Down the road / later on / you will hate that I never gave more to you / than half of my heart --Half of My Heart
You will. Don't date this boy. For Heaven's sake, don't love this boy.

7. The right person will love you even when you are not 100%.
Suppose I said / colors change for no good reason / Words will go / from poetry to prose 

Would you want me when I'm not myself / Wait it out while I am someone else / And I in time / will come around / I always do / for you  -Not Myself
It's okay to ask that of someone as long as you love the same way in return.

8. There's someone for everyone. Just sometimes you have to go through a lot of someones to find your Someone.
Good love is on the way / I been lonely but I know I'll be okay -Good Love is on the Way
When I was your lover / no one else would do / If I'm forced to find another / she's gonna look like you / Yeah and she's nicer too / I'm gonna find another you -I'm Gonna Find Another You

"This is a song about talking to the person that you haven't even met yet. Maybe they're rolling around in the hay with someone else, but they're not as good as you'll be. You just have to wait your turn. She's out there, he's out there. They're just learning what to contrast you against." -Live Version of Love Song For No One
9. You gotta look out for Number One.
Three years broken-hearted / Now her ghost is finally gone / I'm done with broken people / This is me I'm working on -Good Love is on the Way

I can't wait to figure out what's wrong with me / so I can say this is the way that I used to be -Split Screen Sadness
10. In the end, listen to your heart. It's not as dumb, complicated, silly, flaky or broken as you might think. Stop being ridiculous.

Yeah... Johnny's never written anything about this. This I learned from his poor example.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Epiphanies, Volume II

  • The reason that entire endcap of lavender dish soap was on clearance at Target is because its confusing when your dishes smell like laundry.

  • Sometimes, 'spontaneous' really means 'flaky' and 'inconsiderate'. Like Oprah says, when people show you who they are, believe them.

  • The degree to which I look to John Mayer for assistance in pinpointing and validating my feelings is terrifying and, in most cases, highly inappropriate. Which is to say, I'm pretty much doomed.

  • When you put yourself out there, entire worlds open up that seemingly didn't exist before. Entire teams of people, entire pools of thought, entire galaxies of possibility. Life is really good when you let it be.

  • There is a fine line between good parenting and genius parenting, and I hope one day I can walk it:

... I fill you up. Let's have a PARTY.

  • Being your own best friend is infinitely harder and infinitely more rewarding when you ask yourself the hard questions--and answer them honestly. It's hard to evolve, and it hurts, but it feels really good to be on the other side of growth.

  • I'm not sure at which point you start saying, "We should meet for a drink!" instead of "What time are we going to the bar?" But I do know that no one ever means just one drink, and I find it comforting that my peers have developed this code to make themselves feel a little bit better about the trajectory of their lives evenings. Cheers, peers.

You can find my first jolt of enlightenment here.