Friday, October 13, 2017

Eccentric

As a child I was notorious for barricading myself alone in my room (a room which I was supposed to be sharing with my two younger siblings at the time) or locking myself in the bathroom just so I could play with my toys by myself. The lack of privacy among five people in a two bedroom house made me ferociously territorial, but it was less about the physical toys and more about sharing my thoughts. I always had an overactive mind and I was always grasping for ways to express it. Letting people in meant sharing my thoughts, which I was still developing. 
I was happily lost deep in play acting and imagination. When I was interrupted it felt like my world wasn’t important anymore. I would pout and grasp for my toys, the only tangible link to the daydreams I was so attached to. I suppose it was easy to interpret that behavior as selfish, but even at a young age I knew those around me didn’t see things the way I did. I could envision the reality I wanted so clearly. I had a plan for every toy, a purpose for every crayon, every stuffed animal had backstory. 

When I got older I loathed group projects. Forced to work with people who would either hound you for immediate progress or others who would turn into the dead weight you would have to carry. As early as middle school it was evident that I wouldn’t even think of touching my homework until after dinner, blast the radio the entire time, and stay up way past my bed time to finish it. With the exception of math, all my grades were really good but my unorthodox work habits were always putting me at odds with parents and classmates alike. 

My parents would argue with me about the music and the late nights. They didn’t think I could be successful and have such unusual habits. But I knew there was more than one way to come out on top. 

Buy the time I was in college my habits had only gotten stranger. I was one of the only art students who didn’t use drugs. I would sign up for earliest classes instead of sleeping in so I wouldn’t have to fight for parking. I chose to live off campus because I wanted to be as far away from all the drunken partying as possible. 

The art classes were unlocked so students could stay late to finish projects. I was notorious for showing up 3am to finish my pieces. Finally, one of my art teachers approached me. He was concerned and said the janitors had noticed me always showing up in the middle of the night. He feared that I might be homeless or have a horrible living situation. 

I smiled at him. “I’m ok. I just hate having to wait to use the supplies. If I come in the middle of the night I don’t have to share with anyone. I can do what I want and I can do it faster.” 

He laughed, “Ok, do what you gotta do!”

That same art teacher would eventually let me lead class critiques and overrode me into another class because he loved my portfolio. 

I’ve always been independent, unusual, and a bit defiant. Luckily, I have always been comfortable with myself. 

Everything I’ve wanted I’ve had the ability to achieve alone. But love is not that kind of thing. 

I’m so jealous of my married friends. I wonder what it must be like to be someone’s first choice, to have someone to grow with, to make a future with someone.

I’ve never felt like I loved the wrong people but looking back I can’t help but see their faults. And if I’m being completely honest, I can’t ignore my own. I stayed too long. I believed that my love could overcome any obstacle. That was my mistake. It was always “my” love; not “our” love. 

One boyfriend and I remained friends with two years after our break up. I knew him before his depression and wanted so badly for him to come back around. He didn’t want to get better and wallowed in self-pity. I hung on and tried to be the support he need. It would not be enough. We ultimately grew apart because I could not respect his refusal to seek help. 

I waited almost a year for another boyfriend to get a job. He was talented but unmotivated. Being with him felt like my life was moving in slow motion. Yet I believed in him and encouraged him. It would not be enough. He turned his eyes towards other woman. I did not indulge his weakness. 

After I met William I was so sure the worst was behind me.

I was crushed when he moved back to Brazil but I hung on like I always do. My heart won’t let me give up. Life has to beat it out of me. It surely did. 

I was hospitalized, medicated, had to move to a different apartment to spare myself further health risks - all of which turned me upside down mentally and financially. I had to endure the loss of a friend during the Pulse shooting. And I still reached out to him every day because my love could overcome anything.

He used to tell me everyday how he’d come back home and make everything right again. But fell into his work and loved the attention it gave him. He got comfortable. I wanted his support but he felt like I was just giving him problems. He called less and less. I felt more and more confused. He said he wanted me to talk to him, to come to him with anything. Wasn’t I doing what he asked of me? Despite my tears I hung on like I always do. My love was true and I could overcome anything.

I went on like that for months, barely talking to him more than three minutes at a time. He never had time for me, he rarely talked about coming back. He was pulling away and I was begging for attention. I hate begging. I hated that I was no longer worth his time. I hate the slow feeling of my relationship withering away.

I felt the world and all my problems collapsing around me. I had no one to help. No one to turn to. I felt like I’d been holding my breath waiting for him to be present with me. I don’t think he knew how bad I was doing because he spent so little time actually talking to me. He was shocked but he shouldn’t have been.

Even after all that I still wrote him letters and told him how much I loved him. I wrote them for many months after we broke up. I bleed my heart out and cried over every word. I thought he loved me as much as I loved him. I thought he meant it when he said he was the best man for me. I thought he’d work to come back home. I thought he’d fight for me the way I fought for him. I thought my love could overcome any obstacle.

I learned that once again it was my love, not our love.
I chose the few I loved because I saw magic in their souls and future in their eyes. They let me down hard.

I feel as though the sole purpose of my love and affection was to withstand abuse. To watched as those I loved most dear destroyed themselves and stand idly by as my heart shattered. 

My love is one of the greatest gifts I had to offer and it had never been enough. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, how steadfast I was, or how long I held on. My loyalty and devotion were meaningless. 

When I look back at all the time I spent alone as a child it seems almost out of place that I should crave companionship as much as I do. I felt horrible waves of sorrow fighting for and ultimately loosing those I loved. But the truth was it was I who severed ties. 

I was repeating myself too much. Burning all my energy and getting nothing in return. I felt held back dealing with the same issues instead of growing and moving forward. I was crying too much and feeling stagnant too often. It felt less like love and more like blind obligation. The ship was sinking and I was resented for learning how to swim. 

I’ve always struggled between the dichotomy of my desires to be part of a loving union and completely autonomous. Looking back the vast majority of my life has been on a direct course to solitude. My independence and quirky habits have given me little choice but to forge my own path. But I still have that part of me that desires a family of my own. I have so much love to give that has yet to find its outlet. It is in seeking that outlet that has become my harshest lesson and most outstanding failure.

I never felt like I loved the wrong people, but the love they were willing to give was warped. I should never have almost lost myself to save someone who didn’t want the help. I should never have been told that I was still loved by someone who thought cheating was acceptable. I should never have been ignored when I needed the support of the person I loved most. 

Perhaps in seeking love I forgot how unique I was. I was not designed to be normal. I was made to stay lost in my head, hands busy with art, and a heart built for love just the same. As I got older and better with words I’ve gotten more accustomed to explaining myself. Maybe that doesn’t matter as much as I thought it did. Perhaps my greatest gift is not blind obligation and self sacrifice but rather my perspective; my ability to forge ahead. I’ve always been most as peace in my own eccentricities.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Birthday Pops

My special little guy turned 14 today! 


Monday, September 25, 2017

Mischievous Eyes

Look at those mischievous eyes on my future partner in crime! 



Sunday, September 24, 2017

Birds of the Laundromat

One of the two large Great Green Macaws kept at my local laundromat. 


Monday, August 28, 2017

DRIP's 500th Show

On Saturday, August 26th 2017 DRIP celebrated its 500th show. Long time cast member Jessie Sander was honored that night for moving from a dancer role into a director position within the company. Jessie, who had originally started as an understudy, quickly became an all-star performing all the roles in the show. She was most known for playing Yellow. 






Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Lessons of Men and Dogs

I love to write but it can be painful for me. I write about my experiences and many of them through out 2016 and 2017 have been heartbreaking. I try to focus on the good but sometimes the bad begs to be addressed. I find it's better to bleed the heart out than let the clots choke my veins. 

Good things come in threes. Bad things come in threes. Sometimes things just come in sets of three. 

Kevin and Ramon both gave me their numbers within a week of each other. I think it's a problem most girls would like to have, but I honestly wasn't sure how to act. I wasn’t looking for anything and I didn't want the attention. I wasn’t flirting. Hell, I was barely being nice. My break up had been months ago. All I was doing was just trying to get through each day and start over again until I felt normal. They both caught me off guard. 

I never go out to bars, I hate online dating, and my friends who know me best wouldn't even dream of trying to set me up. My strong personality, sharp tongue, and unique views make me unappealing to most. I love myself, but I am well aware that I'm not suited to be an easy match. 

I never get numbers. Now I had two. I thought it was the universe telling me that I had hope. 

I called Ramon first. I waited a week, mostly out of confusion. Ramon was a mechanic who would make the deposits for his shop. He had been making the deposits for over a year. The vast majority of the time he would throw the deposit bag on the counter and barely talk. He was gruff but somehow likable. It took forever to get to know him. At first he began talking with my coworker who spoke Spanish then he began talking to me.

One day he had to come back in because his manager thought I shorted them change. Ramon knew I hadn't but had to wait for my manager to double check me anyway. While we waited I struggled to make small talk with him. I knew he moved to Florida from Massachusetts. I asked what brought him here and he said the weather. He claimed to get arthritis “like an old man”. I laughed and said he wasn't that old. He was confident I didn't know how old he was but he forgot that I had to use his ID to make the deposits every day. I was able to tell him the month, day and year of his birth. Next thing I knew he handed me his number, mentioned that he had three kids with three different women, and walked out. I was completely floored. I can only assume he thought I was flirting with him. 

I waited a week before calling him. Like I said, I wasn't looking for love and I didn't really see myself with him. Ramon and I went out for lunch and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know anything about him and he wasn't much of a talker. I was pleasantly surprised. He was defiantly gruff but had a sweet side. Our mothers had the same name, he had a tattoo of Michael the Archangel (my Dad’s personal favorite), and most surprising of all: he was intuitive like me. That was one of the reasons he was so quiet, he was listening.

We talked for several hours and I kissed his cheek. I didn't know what to expect but he turned out to be fill of endearing surprises. I tried to hang out with him after that but he always seemed to be busy. I couldn't tell if he always had plans or if I was just getting brushed off. He ended up getting in car accident which gave him a lot of back pain. He was out of work for a while and by the time he came back I was switching jobs. I sent him a text and let him know that even though I was leaving I was glad I got to know him better. He ended up being a great guy. I honestly thought I would never hear from him again. 

Just when I thought it was over he’d text me out of the blue. We would talk here and there but never really hit it off. He would initiate conversations but only text one word answers. He always complain about being bored but refused to leave his house. Ramon was nice but getting to know him felt like an uphill battle and I was never sure if he liked me. To be fair I was never really enthusiastic about him either. When I asked him why he gave me his number in the first place he said he didn't remember. Our awkward date mellowed into an awkward friendship. He is man with a good heart, although he loves to keep it hidden. If you had told me that the mechanic who barely speaks would have become my friend I wouldn't have believed you.

Although Kevin was the first to give me his number I waited much longer to call him. Kevin worked for a deli down the street and he would come in every Friday to cash his check. He  was friendly and I always enjoyed talking to him but I had recently split with my ex and wasn't looking for anything. I never flirted with Kevin - our conversations were always pretty normal - so I was taken off guard when he gave me his card with his phone number and a request for a coffee date. That very same day, maybe an hour before Kevin came in, I got a job offer from my current bank. I was panicking and blindsided by change. I waited until he came back in the following week to tell him that I wasn't interested. I liked him but I was so overwhelmed. I blamed it on my recent break up. I wasn't ready to jump back into dating just yet. Kevin was nothing less than compassionate and understanding. I could tell he was a little disappointed but he hardly showed it. He still said he wanted me to visit the restaurant were he worked. 

Over the next few weeks Kevin continued to come to me to cash his check. I always enjoyed seeing him. He never pressured me or made me uncomfortable. He always spoke lovingly about his children, grieved the recent passing of his grandmother, and remained genuinely sweet. One day he came in with a pastry for me. He had packaged it with great care and was so adorably shy when he passed it to me. He had been killing me with kindness over the past few weeks and this gesture melted my heart. I had it for breakfast the next morning. I went through my purse and found the card with his number. I always had it with me. I sent him a text to thank him and we spent the whole day texting back and forth. He was so happy to hear from me. I think he thought I had thrown his number away. 

We tried to go out but he cancelled on me twice. The first time he had to work late, the second time he had to take his son to get an x-ray. I never felt like he was dodging but he would never follow up. I was always left hanging. After a few weeks I was ready to give up. I wrote him a little note in a Christmas card and gave it to him while he was at work. I explained that he was one of the few good things that happened to me in 2016 and how I greatly appreciated the kindness he had shown me. He text me after work and begged to meet up that night. Initially I refused because I was starting my new job the next day but I finally relented. We meet up at Austins Coffee and talked for a while. We got home and exchanged loving messages until we both passed out. We tried to see each other the next day but he had to stay late at work again. Then the holiday season hit. He got even busier at his job and I got pulled in for more projects at the theater company. It wasn't until the end of March that I came in to see him at work. I was happy, thinking we could reconnect but it did not go well. He was in a bad mood. He asked how my new job was going and when I told him it had been ruff he replied with a snarky “well, the grass isn't always greener on the other side”. I got angry - where was the sweet Kevin who worked so hard to win me over? He handed me my food and I looked him right in the eye. “If you don't want me to come back in here - I wont”. He felt the anger in my voice and tried to backpedal. The phone rang and he had to answer it. I turned on my heel and left. 

I felt like we were both having a difficult time and took it out on each other. I had remained patient with him for so long because of the extraordinary kindness he showed me. Kindness I haven't gotten from any other man in my life. In my getting to know Kevin I realized that it was kindness that I needed most. When he became rude it hurt more than it should have. I realized that I had experienced kindness so rarely in the past several months. I wanted him to reach out and apologize but I never heard from him again. I didn't have it in me to pursue him anymore. As strong and bold as I am I have little patience for a man without initiative. I get bored if I have to do the chasing, and frankly I was till tending to all the old wounds of the pervious year anyway. If I was so easy to forget then I’d be better off alone. 

Jim was the spark. He came and went but defiantly left a mark. I walked to Pom Poms for take out one day. As I sat across the register waiting he walked in like a cowboy. Something about him caught my attention and I couldn't take my eyes of him. He was good looking but it was more than that - it was about his soul. He walked up to the counter to order and his movements were broad and a little sloppy. He stumbled through the order and kept adding cupcakes. I laughed and thought he must be trying to sober up. He turn around and caught me staring at him. I smiled back. I still couldn't take my eyes off him. As soon as he was done ordering he turned around to grab a seat. All the seats were empty but he chose the one directly across from me and plopped down. He boldly introduced himself and announced he just got off work. I was a bit startled by his boldness but asked where he worked. I assumed he did some kind of construction work based on the messy clothes he had on. To my pleasant surprise he said he was an artist. He gave me his website to check out. I went home and looked it up. He was phenomenal. A photorealistic painter born and raised in Florida and I’d never even heard his name before our chance meeting at Pom Poms. I knew I had to see him again. I was going out of town that weekend but bookmarked his site so I could find him again. Two days later I was getting ready for my trip and realized I needed to get gas. I pulled up at the gas station down the street from my house and as soon as I parked the person across from me was holding my attention. I couldn't see their face because they were bent over tying a bandanna around their head but I couldn't look away. As soon as he stood up I realized it was the artist from Pom Poms. I jumped out of the car and introduced myself again. We exchanged numbers and I told him I'd call when I got back in town. 

When I got back I called him and we met up at his place. What stood out to me the most was his honesty. We had both gone through terrible years, had similar relationship experiences, and bonded right away over art and music. He was captivating and I felt comfortable with him. We made out and it was fantastic. He had a gentle touch that felt so loving and massage-like. He loved how affectionate I was and practically purred when I kissed him. When I asked him what he wanted from a relationship he said “to be nurtured”. That was one of the most endearing requests I’d ever heard. I adored him. I haven't bonded with anyone like that in years. He held my hand when he walked me to my car and asked me to text him when I got home. 

Over the next week things crashed and burned in epic fashion. I wanted to get to know him inside and out, pick is brain, laugh with him and enjoy his company. Apparently, all he wanted was someone to “service” him. We texted each other everyday. We were refreshingly honest with each other but it was painfully obvious we didn't want the same things. We unpacked the emotional trauma of a long term relationship in the course of a week. I had a deep desire to know him as a person because I could see the beauty in his soul. But he was blind to the beauty in mine. All he wanted was a toy. This would not be mutual and I protested. He didn't care. He doubled down. 

This is the dark side of being an intuitive person. You can feel the pain of another so vividly and yet still be at a loss to convey it. He had been though so much and I could feel the torment in his voice. The ache of his desire not being fulfilled. I read his texts as they poured in. Each broke my heart a little more than the last. This was a man begging for help, yet only wanting the easy way out. At one point he even offered me money. I refused.

I had watched some interviews he had done. He always spoke of peace, love and the greater good. I wondered how much of that he meant as he kept trying to make demands of me. My last text to him urged him to open up so someone heart and soul. It was the most striking part about him and I’d wish I could have know him better. He never responded.

I spent a lot of time reflecting on all this nonsense. I thought of how my ex would react to my dating. How upset it would have made him. Honestly, even though we’d been broken up for months my moving forward still had a feel of betrayal to it. Because I still had love for him and our break up left huge cracks in my heart. I hadn't been looking to date. All three men approached me. I felt it was better to go with the flow then remain closed off. My risk taking may have felt like betrayal but I had to remind myself of all the the times I tried to reach out to him before our break up. How many times I waited for him to talk to me. How many times I begged him to be present in my life. He spent a lot of time and effort proving how little I mattered to him. 

I’ve often been warned against my “lofty expectations” when it came to relationships. What the hell was so lofty about wanting communication? Answering messages? Not being treated like a prostitute? I know I can be difficult but these aren't things anyone should consider compromising. 

When I was in high school I fell pretty hard for a boy named Andrew. I had crushes on boys before but Andrew took my breath away. We were on the diving team together. Even though I was young I was tenacious. I was never content with pining away for someone from a far. I wanted to get to know him, I wanted to see if he was worth my time. I’d try to strike up conversations and see if we had things in common. Andrew must have caught on that I liked him and he became rude and distant. I was disheartened that my interest in him was so easy to brush aside. 

I walked home almost every day and it was terribly long with the hellish Florida sun beating down on me and a 40 lb backpack. Everyday when I got home and my dog Kiley, a lab pit bull mix, would jump on me desperately trying to lick my face and shower me with affection. One day I got home after Andrew had said something snarky to me. I opened the door to Kiley’s boundless enthusiasm. I thought to myself: this dog sees me every single day and is always excited to see me. Andrew treats me like crap. My dog has better manners than Andrew.

It was that beautifully simple. 

I return to school a new person. I refused to give Andrew any more of my attention. The funny thing was it drove him nuts. Now he wanted to talk to me. I think this would have been the point most other girls realize the power of their femininity and their ability to wrap men around their finger. I just became indignant. I way always nice to him, why did he like me now? Why did it take me not caring for him to notice me? I’d never even so much as gone on a single date with anyone but I knew this was some unhealthy bullshit. I had no interest in games or his mindless behavior. His stupidity was making him unattractive and I paid him no attention. 

At one point the school put on a dinner to celebrate the end of the season for the dive team. Families were invited and it was pretty formal. My parents and I were seated to have dinner and my mother excitedly whispered to me “Missy, that boy over there has been staring at you all night”. I turned my head to see who she was talking about. It was Andrew, and when our eyes meet he quickly looked away to avoid getting caught. I turned back to my mother and said “Oh please, that asshole had his chance”. 

My mother was completely shocked. She grew up in a generation that made it seem as though any attention you got from a man was positive. She had raised me to be respectful and for me to show no interest in an attractive man was almost ludicrous. It had nothing to do with his looks. He’d already proven himself to be a waste of my time. 

Kiley died when I was 26. I loved her to pieces and I miss her everyday. In addition to the endless love and affection she taught me the most valuable lesson of my dating life. 
You have to have better manners than a dog.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Solar Eclipse

On Monday, August 21st from 1:19pm to 4:14pm Florida got to experience a partial solar eclipse. I was at work when it started and I could see the difference in the sky before I even saw the sun. Outside looked hazy but there were no clouds to block the light. We were still in the blazing afternoon sun at the edge of the moon's shadow. Beautifully surreal. 

I took this photo of the sun as I left work. You can see the tiny blue crescent of the eclipse in the lens flare.