Last week someone asked me if my boyfriend and I fight. The person who asked me this land mine was a young woman I like and respect and who had earlier in the day told me that the serious relationship she had been in for a while just ended. It felt like a land mine because, if I’m honest, then the answer is no, we don’t fight. But on some level that feels like a jerky answer to give.
I often want to write about my relationship. It’s a huge part of my life and a constant in a period of time where my jobs, health, and general identity feel like they’ve been in flux. But I don’t write about it. Not really. And that is because, well, my relationship is awesome! And if reality TV has taught me anything it is that people find conflict compelling, and harmony incredibly boring.
So I paused when I was asked the question…and then I answered truthfully.
I figured that if she was just out of this relationship, and if they fought often, then it would be good to hear that a serious relationship doesn’t have to be that way. I thought of the many friends and acquaintances I see and hear mentioning things about dating that just seem straight up crazy to me. I thought of all the songs that simply do not make sense to me, because I do not know why you’d be in that relationship in the first place, anyone who ever feels the need to check their significant other’s phone or emails!
I also thought about the fact that my boyfriend and I both reacted to the movie (500) Days of Summer by saying different versions of “I can’t imagine anyone who has ever been in a good relationship liking this movie,” because the idea of being with anyone who didn’t like me for who I actually am sounds nuts (Both the characters in that film are annoying, but I find Tom intolerable. If a guy only “loves” you for how he pictures you in his head and because he thinks you’ll solve all his problems, he sucks. You can still love JG-L, but seriously, that guy is a douche in that movie. SUCH A DOUCHE!).
So I’ve decided I will try, TRY, to write the occasional short and honest post, about what it is like to be a youngish weird woman in a healthy almost-six-year relationship. Honestly, people ask me about it constantly. Which I always find surprising. And I hate the way most relationship stuff is written. Let’s see how it goes.
There is a reason that the question associated with the game limbo is, “How low can you go?” Have you ever been in limbo? To be in a state of uncertainty will answer the question of just how low one can get. Right now I feel like a functioning depressive. I’m due to start school in six weeks, and I am so overwhelmed by all the things I need to do and get in order before it starts, combined with the list of all the things I want to do and know I won’t have time for once school begins, that I’m not sure what to do with myself.
Lately I find myself standing outside of my bedroom, not quite in my bathroom, looking at my living room, and just wondering what the hell I should do. And once I get past that brain freeze, some new age-y part of me starts to wonder what it is I want to do. Then my responsible side chastises both of its siblings by being realistic about what is possible monetarily and the amount of time that has already been wasted. Then I briefly consider posting a facebook poll about my options.
To be fair to myself, this makes it sound like I have a ton of free time, and I don’t, exactly. I have multiple freelance jobs, but none of them need me enough to keep me from obsessing over making ends meet. Plus, the disparity in their scheduling means my internal clock can’t get its bearings. Without unemployment benefits, I’d fall apart, and I am currently hunting for the magical part-time job that will help me stay afloat while I’m in school.
You know what I realize? I’m good with crazy. I can handle crazy. But I hate the countdown to crazy. Let’s do this, but please let me find the time to chill out on a beach first.
I’m in a show tonight, telling a story for a great cause.
For details, look to the sidebar at the right.
I’m not actually telling a story in this picture, but I like that it looks like I am.
My story was on The Moth Podcast last week and I have to say thank you to all the very kind people from all over the world (!) that wrote me nice notes. It was probably my favorite part of the entire experience, as I am constantly in awe of our ability to communicate globally.
I love telling stories. It’s something I’ve been doing for years, before this current push of storytelling popularity began. The fact that it is big right now has opened up opportunities for me to do it more often and for more people.
One thing I love about it is that it really teaches you about humanity. I generally don’t fit in; not completely. I have a good deal of friends and even more very friendly acquaintances, but I don’t quite fit. It’s something I’m more and more comfortable with as I get older (if you’re kind of a weirdo, but you embrace the stuff that comes your way, aging is totally awesome). Telling stories allows me to make sense of myself and my place in the world. It shows me what we most have in common. It constantly reminds me that we are all just people doing the best we can.
It has also driven home a lesson that I was already learning; the more difficult and upsetting you find life to be, the more it is probably your own expectations that are the cause of your pain. So to be able to share something that was such a fantastic and difficult experience was an honor.
If you are interested in telling stories, I encourage you to do so, with one caveat: please don’t get up there and try to tell stories because you think you are just such an interesting person. I don’t tell stories for that reason, which I am sure sounds weird considering I get on stage and just tell true stories about me. I do it because I feel like putting words to these feelings and experiences, getting people to see an understand why or how something happened, is my strong suit. It means a lot to me to be able to do it. Share what you learned, share your perspective and feelings, tell us about who you are and where you came from, but for gods sakes, please don’t just get up there and go “look at me!” There are other places for that.
Young girls in India are being given sex changes by their families because the families wanted boys.
How sad is that? And how crazy is that going to be when they become adults?
I forsee a high suicide rate amongst people that are forced to do this. Too sad.
Click the link for the full story.
This is a picture of me with a picture of Ben Kingsley. Taken at the California Science Center when I went out of my way to see the movie Hubble 3D, because I am obsessed with space and Carl Sagan.
The Moth told me my story would be up on the podcast soon so I figured I’d put up a little note. I got a few new visitors to my site after it aired on the The Moth Radio Hour. If that is why you are reading this now then I’d like to say HELLO!
The year that followed that day was hard, but so much good has come of that meeting (I just visited my brother a few weeks ago!) and that experience that I find it difficult to be anything other than amazed.
Next, I want to tell the story of choosing to reunite with my father (very difficult decision) and what it was like getting to know him as his health declined. Ultimately, I was by his side when he died. It was an experience both awful and for which I am truly grateful.
I’m currently trying to get my writing out there, so please keep an eye out for it. I perform live storytelling all over NYC and am working on getting more things recorded for podcasts.
If storytelling is something that interests you and you don’t know how to start, I both teach/coach people in storytelling and I run my own monthly show. The show is called Sunday Stories and it happens in Brooklyn. We are on hiatus until September, but please check us out then. For more info on either, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
When I listen to my own story, I really think I only did two things: I tried to take in how my brother felt and I let myself be open to the experience without fear taking over. They sound like such simple things, but they’re really hard and yet they make all the difference in the world.
Thank you so much for listening to my story. It means the world to me.
Clarence Clemons died and many a real deal E Street Band fan will have better things to say about him than I will, but I want to share this:
When I was a kid, which was in the ‘80s, I loved songs that had saxophone in them. It was only when I was older that I realized that more often than not, I was listening to Clarence Clemons. His sense of joy was infectious and though I only knew the most basic Bruce Springsteen information (you know, Jersey and the hits), I always knew that he had the coolest and biggest saxophone player.
A few years ago my dear friend Citizen Kerry called me at the last minute saying she had a spare ticket to see Springsteen live at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. I know enough about general pop culture to know this was something to be done before I died, so I went. We had a fantastic time. The music was great and I learned for the first time that Springsteen had written “Because the Night,” with Patti Smith. It had been one of my favorite songs for years and I had no idea. What a dummy.
But the highlight of the entire night was getting to see and hear Clarence Clemons do his sax solo on “Born to Run” live and in-person. I listened to the song on repeat for weeks afterward. When I heard the news that he had passed away, I was sad. Then I remembered the concert, and all I could think was “thank you.”