Sunday, April 26, 2009

Underwater... over my head

"Back to life, back to sense, back to child, back to husband... you can't live in the woods."
~ "Moments in the Woods" from Into the Woods

It's been one of those weekends.

One of those weekends when the world around you suddenly turns on you. It's not the first of these weekends. And it's certainly not the last. These days... they're inevitable, inescapable. It's one of those weekends when suddenly the ice cracks in and you're underwater and drowning. You've finally done it, you've put too much weight on yourself, and the ground below has broken through...

And what's strange about these weekends, or at least this weekend, or at least for me... is that despite the loss of oxygen and the threat of suffocation due to drowning, you're not scared. I'm not. You know that eventually you'll regain composure and swim towards the surface. Or maybe, if you're lucky a good friend or lover will notice the crack in the ice, reach in, and pull you from your impending doom. 

There's a sense of hope. This hope keeps you from losing faith and allowing yourself to to become submerged. It's something I pride myself on. Maybe it's how I was raised, maybe its something that put inside me for a particular reason, maybe it's my religion, maybe it's just who I am: but I have the talent of optimistic hope, the kind of hope that carries you through anything, hope that in the darkest times, there's always a light at the end of it all. A boyfriend of mine told me that was something he really loved about me, that no matter what I believed everything was going to be okay. I have faith in love, life, people... and granted, there are times when I can become whiney, negative, and crabby, but deep down, through it all, I know that in the end everything is going to be just fine. If I believe in something or someone, they're going to pull through. No matter how deep underwater I get, no matter how far from the surface, I will emerge, I will survive and it'll be all right.

Anyway, back to my actual weekend and the occurrences... we opened the show Friday night... that was interesting. I don't know what it was, but I was off hardcore. I missed a line, people were missing cues, actors were yelling at each other... it just was OFF.

Following the show, our technical director and several of the cast and crew went out for pancakes at Uncle Bill's afterwards. I don't know why, but I was in a sensitive state and the normal fun teasing between friends actually hit a little harder than expected. I especially got upset when a certain company member silenced a sing-a-long of "No Scrubs." I think people who silence group sing-a-longs simply because they are Negative Nancy's and hate other people being happy are boring and lame and need to go home. Yes, I am feeling a little vindictive and probably acting a little immature. Yes, I understand that I probably sound like a 12 year old brat. It's been a long weekend... which is preceded probably an even longer week... I give myself official position to be ridiculous.

After Uncle Bill's, we went to a party, just started getting our drink, just to have the party broken up. Lame. Because the gang wasn't ready to go to bed, we decided to hang out on the balcony of my apartment building, drink so more, turn up the music, and dance around outside. It was a actually a lot of fun (except for a cameo appearance from the local party leeches who don't know quite how to take a hint, but even they can be fun sometimes. Or at least fun to watch). The night was saved. 

Well, kind of. There was an impending disaster that not even balcony fun could've helped. My phone decided become a tease. Yes, my phone was a tease. I have an iPhone and the screen decided to black out. When people called and texted me, the phone would still ring and vibrate, but because the screen had short circuited I couldn't answer... aka, my phone would lead me on and then blue ball me.... There was no way to get it to open up either. It was playing hard to get and I was on the losing side. 

I woke up earlier Saturday morning feeling terrible, I was nauseous and congested, and spent the morning teaching a dance my friend Elisabeth and I choreographed for the dance troupe we're involved with on campus, then headed to the Galleria to try and have my phone revived. It was a terrible morning. I felt completely and entirely disconnected from the world. I had to use facebook to get a hold of people who I had made plans with later in the day to let them know that I would be in phone surgery and could not make it. I felt like I was in the stone age. I don't know how people did it before cell phones. How in the heck did they stay in touch? Because my friends were all busy being connected with the world and having lives, I was forced to metro it to the mall, and of course, with my luck, I arrived just as my metro was taking off. I was stranded there for over 30 minutes waiting for the next train to come get me... and of course, I didn't have a phone to keep me entertained... thus, I was left with my bitter thoughts and people watching to keep me entertained (normally people watching would be a hoot, but today there was no one interesting... at all...) 

When I finally got to the mall, the wonderful Mac Store man was extremely kind and performed surgery on my phone. Sadly, he didn't make it, through but thankfully I have a warranty, and he simply replaced it. Phew! And then my hope kicked in and a silver lining appeared: I finally was by a bookstore and could purchase the books I had been meaning to buy for weeks now. Because my phone broke and I suffered that night and morning of total separation from the world, I now had a new phone and could buy the books that I had been desperately wanting to get! As I waited for my phone, I fb messaged Andrew about my not-so-hot day and the silver lining. I figured he would appreciate my positivity and also he's becoming my go-to-guy when things aren't going to so hot. He's a pick me up, always knows the right things to say, always finds something positive. He puts even my eternal hope and faith to shame. I didn't think it was possible.

The man at the bookstore probably thought I was an emotionally-destroyed, moping mess of a gay man who just got broken up... Why? My book selection was a little ridiculous: Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell (The book that inspired the series!), He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (I saw the movie on Valentine's Day with Peter, it caught my eye in the store and I just HAD to get it), and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Diane has been recommending this book to me for ages and I finally got the chance to get it!) Now, if that book choice doesn't scream, "I'm a messed up, angsty, single gay man!!!" I don't know what does...

To treat myself after the phone ordeal, I went to the mall food court and grabbed a burger and cheese fries. As I ate, I pulled out Sex and the City and started reading. Right off the bat something struck me.  In the forward, Ms. Bushnell talks about what the book is really about, what it all comes down to: Why are we still single? And you know what Ms. Bushnell said?

"...why are we still single? Now, with a few years' perspective on the issue, I can safely conclude that we are single because we want to be."

Wait. What?

It's my choice to be single? It's my fault? And then my hope kicks in, I start coming with rational and reasons, anything to keep my afloat as her words sink in... that statement can't be about me, I'm only 20, I haven't experienced enough life or met enough men to have made the choice to be single... It's not my fault, it's the fault of stupid boys who can't commit that I don't have a long-term boyfriend... Circumstances that I can't control have kept me away from the person I really want to be with, that's not my fault or my choice... I can't control who I'm attracted to...

I continued reading.

Apparently for this edition, Ms. Bushnell added two new chapters into the book. One of the chapters finally gives the book a real ending... And then I read it... 

"...at last the book has a real ending, in which Carrie and Mr. Big break up. It's a  bittersweet ending- not just the end of Carrie's relationship with Mr. Big, but the end of her dream of finding the proverbial Mr. Big- a man who doesn't really exist."

Woah, woah, woah, Candace Bushnell.... Carrie and Big DON'T get together? And that's a good thing because Big, and any man we associate with the Big character, doesn't really exist? My world was shaken. After spending a majority of my time comparing myself to Carrie and hoping that my Big would come along... I'm supposed to believe that he's not real?

The rational and reasoning sets in again, my hope ... she wrote this ending for shock value... the Big and Carrie in book world are completely from the Big and Carrie of TV world... the ideal man, the significant other will appear... he will be ready to be with me years down the line, it can happen, my perfect ending can happen... Why does the world keep falling out from beneath me??

I set aside my confusion and distress, and continued reading until I got home and had to go to that night's Setzuan performance (it's actually great, funny read... besides from the aforementioned problem parts). 

That night's performance went a bit smoother than Friday's... and Sunday's matinee the cast outnumbered the people in the audience... And then I realized how much work I had put off this semester and how these final two weeks of the semester are going to kill me... and then reflected on how absurd the weekend was... and in an effort to forget all this, I pulled out He's Just Not That Into You and began reading.

I read the chapter, "He's Just Not That Into You If He's Breaking Up With You"... and began applying everything the book was saying to my previous boyfriend. And it stung a little. I could relate too well to these stories of people who desperately have hope that their boyfriend still really cares about them, that somehow they'll turn a page and return to you... That they would be the exception, not the rule. The book talks about how thinking your the exception to the rule is what gets you into the mess. You have to except that you are the rule and he's not into you, don't believe the stories of how miraculously the man changes and returns to the woman, or some act of magic brought the two people together... This isn't normal, you aren't the exception, the likeliness of this happening is...

Here comes the rational and reasoning... I can't apply this book, it's about men and women, my situation is completely different because I'm gay... I can be the exception, I'll prove them wrong... this book is for pathetic people and I really don't relate to anything they- 

And then I stopped rationalizing... and realized that was the point. That was Ms. Bushnell's point. That was the point of He's Just Not That Into You. Stop rationalizing and except it for what it is. That's the only way to have a healthy, successful relationship. Sometimes we hope, we hope beyond our wildest dreams that we will be rescued from drowning, but that's unrealistic... clearly, how can you be rescued when you were walking the ice alone? You can't expect a guardian angel to swoop in and you can't expect a man who broke your heart to love you again.

It goes against my eternal hope, it goes against my faith that things will work out... But maybe sometimes 'hope' and 'faith' blind us from what's really going on. Maybe eventually hope turns on us, and instead of thinking realistically, we fall into a sort of dream world where life is a fairytale... or in my case a gay version of Sex and the City

We have the choice to be single or not. We have the choice be with someone who is worthy of us. We have the choice to be honest with ourselves. We have the choice to drown, whether it be in hope or the world around us. We have the choice to save ourselves. We have a choice not to take the chance and walk on the ice... no, I have the choice...

And now I feel very cynical.
Or maybe this is just what reality feels like.

As I ponder these revolutionary thoughts, I can't help put listen to a song from the Stephen Sondheim musical, Into the Woods: "Moments in the Woods." At this point in the play, The Baker's Wife, who is married and just recently became a mother, has just had a tryst with a certain Prince Charming as she tries to escape of a bloodthirsty giant. In the song, she sings about how she can't believe what just happened, that a lowly baker's wife like herself could have just been with a prince... and that it's all just a trick of the Woods. People get caught up in the Woods, in the adventure, they forget about the world and instead fall into the fantasy... They fall in love with the moments, instead of the life that is made up by the moments. 

It seems like the world is sending me a sign... It's time to leave the woods, it's time to get out of the water. 

I can't do it, though. I can't accept that hope cannot exist and that there's no chance that maybe, just maybe I can find my Mr. Big, I can find my exception to the rule. 

I think about Andrew, and how eternally optimistic and hopeful he is, and how every time I'm upset he knows the right words to say to make me happy. There's something in that. That act of hope that keeps me going, that makes me cheer up and want to get over whatever is ailing me. Even stupid, small things... he gives me hope. And makes me happy. And happiness isn't a bad thing.

So maybe, hope can cause us to become disillusioned. It blinds us into believing the lies, and not just coming to terms with the fact that he's just not that into you. But it keeps up going. It keeps us searching.

In "Moments In The Woods," the Wife sings,

"Just a moment, one peculiar passing moment
Must it all be either less or more, either plain or grand
Is it always or? Is it never and?...

Let the moment go, don't forget it for a moment though
Just remembering that you've had an 'and' when you're back to 'or'
Makes the 'or' mean more than it did before
 Now, I understand and it's time to leave the Woods"

Maybe we can't find the exception, we can't discover how to rescue ourselves until we've experienced what the rule is like... And that'll make the exception even more prominent and worth even more.

In my confusion, in my cynicism, in my weekend, in my rant
I have to conclude...

One has a choice, one can either drown, or learn to tread water as they wait for someone to come rescue them from drowning...  or they buy a scuba suit with an air tank.

That way you avoid the risk of drowning, your self sufficient, you've taken proper precautions, and you can still wait for someone to come pull you out of the water... or your collapsing world... or your bad weekend.

I think I'm going to put my air tank on... and message Andrew. He'll know what to say. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

In the absence of men...

“Did you ever think that maybe we’re the white knights? And we’re the ones who have to save ourselves?” 
~ Carrie, SATC Season 3, “Where There’s Smoke…”


Today K.T. and I were having a dinner date followed by some frozen yogurt. Of course the conversation was filled with ranting about The Good Person of Setzuan, decoding signals from a possible K.T. love interest, and dishing about our loves lives and the love lives of our friends. 

We began talking about love in the general sense, I began talking about my parents and how they have given me and unrealistic expectation when it comes to love. They are perfect. They are still in love with each other after 21 years. They have the kind of relationship where you still see the sparkle in their eyes when they look at each other. They go on dinner dates and don't invite my sister and I, they have Saturday morning shopping dates, they write love letters to each other via a video game called Animal Crossing, they put up with whatever crap the others throws out...

They are soulmates... simply put

And to think it almost didn't happen. My mom was engaged to another man before she met my father. I guess you just know when the person isn't right for you. At least my momma did. And if my momma can know... why can't I?

So, with this hope, I continue my search. Missing electron, where are you?

My mind has been so occupied lately with this search for my soulmate, the quest to find the right man to fulfill my life. I want to replicate what my parents have. I want to find that person that I will spend decades with, the rest of my life with. I told K.T. about how I spent my freshman year single, trying to discover who I was as a person. I was entering a new environment, I needed to discover myself and become secure with who I was. So no love interest freshman year... only a few hook-ups at the beginning of the year (it's freshman year, hook ups are a necessary part of the experience).  But they don't really count... Then summer came and Spring happened. 

Spring, as he will be known via this blog, was a boy I had majorly flirted with the summer prior to my freshman year, but he wasn't ready for a relationship. Finally, last summer we decided to give it a try and while the relationship was laced with fighting, we really connected and it turned out to be something really fantastic. We decided to break up at the end of summer citing the fact that Spring was starting his freshman year of college and that we were going to different schools in different states. While it was a bit of a tough split, it was the right choice. At the time a long distance relationship didn't seem to be appropriate. Especially for a freshman in college without a lot of previous dating experience. Spring was my first serious relationship in two years and was an awesome way to reacquaint my self with the serious dating game. 

After this comeback to the serious dating scene, I felt I had discovered and learned about enough of myself to put the search for a relationship with depth and substance into full throttle. I followed Spring with Seuss (his name was Seuss and he wanted to be a doctor... it was the only funny thing about him...), who was followed by Neck, who was followed by Peter (the holder of the title of Longest/Most Serious Relationship in the History of Me), then D, and now...

As this next summer closes in, I can't help but reflect back on the past year... and I've realized I dated quite a bit. And have learned quite a bit. I broke a lot of hearts, maybe even had my heart broken... You would think that maybe after all these different experiences in my dating life, I would emerge more secure and sure of myself...

As K.T. and I selected our different kinds of frozen yogurt and topped them with fruit, cookie pieces, and cheese cake, I mentioned how even after all this dating, I feel more unsure of myself than ever. At this point in my life, I am facing a lot of choices concerning my future and significant other, I've hit a road block and feel the need to make those decisions. You'd think I would follow my parents example (they didn't meet and get serious until late 20s/early 30s) and realize I have a little bit more time to make up my mind on things. The problem is these decisions keep pounding down my door, and love and all that comes with it seem to be wildly screaming at me to make up my mind and hurry up...

And as I waxed poetic my feelings of discovering what I want in my significant other and how each relationship has moved me closer to that Holy Grail, K.T. said something that really struck me... She said, "Maybe you shouldn't be figuring what you want in a boy, but spend sometime figuring out yourself."

I've been constantly preaching the 'love thyself' mantra over the past month, but suddenly, I realized it: You can't limit self-discovery to one year and then think you're completely figured out. Through this year's dating escapades, I've discovered what I'm like within a relationship, what I'm like with a boy and how to handle being with another person, the discovery of companionship... and forgot how to discover things about my greatest companion: myself

And so I'm going to do something drastic. Something dramatic and a bit ridiculous... but possibly necessary. During Setzuan rehearsals, several members of the cast and I crafted this idea:

 I'm going to give up boys for a month (or at least to the end of the year).

I will take a temporary vow of celibacy. Instead of diving deep into the dating game which has this past year become the focus point of my life, I am going to retreat to last year when I spent the time figuring out myself. Instead of a whole year, I will spend a month remembering what it was like to be me, without boys, without The Game, without the desperate search to find a soulmate. I will be with my friends, with my theatre, and with myself. 

I think its a good choice. A chance to refresh, to cleanse the palate in order to fully enjoy the next course in this meal of life.

My goal is to the end of the school year. That's three weeks. And should I need more time I will expand the vow to a month. For a month, boys will not be the object of affection, but instead be platonic friends... no sexual interest, no flirting, no potential boyfriends, no nothing. 

Why am I giving up boys again? ...It feels like the right thing to do. It's to do some soul searching. Some single soul searching. 

Everyone in the show doubts that I'll be successful. And I admit, I'm a little insecure with my will power to avoid boys as sexual beings. In order to help the process become a success, several of my friends and cast members (shout outs to Lindsey, Healy, K.T., Alex, Amy, and Kyle), decided to put together a list of rules to keep me in check.


The rules are as follows:

1) No phone sex or internet sex
2) No touching... If it's sexual in nature at all, inappropriate. Any body parts above the knee and below the shoulders are completely off limits. 
3) No face touching.
4) No winking. 
5) No hair touching, no petting, no caressing
6) No spooning, no cuddling
7) No overtly sexual flirting, or any innuendo that has the potential of moving from innuendo into reality.
8) No sexy text messages... or romantic text messages... 
9) Statuses on facebook cannot contain the words: love, sex, boy, resist, heart, body, destiny, missing you, want (in a sexual/romantic sense), touch, kiss, crush, bump 'n' grind, do me
10) No eye sex... or eye gasms... or eye jobs... 
11) No sleep overs... because sleep overs lead the breakage of rules 2-9
12) No asking boys on dates, or saying yes to any boys who ask.
13) No saying the phrase 'possible love of my life' concerning a potential boyfriend (This is a rule that should be established in my everyday life)
14) No sex. No fooling around (anything concerning blowing, fingers, and things that cannot be mentioned in public places without making people blush)
15) NO KISSING. This will be the make or break of this experiment. I love kissing. 

And so my boy-less three weeks begins. And maybe with the subtraction of this distraction, my quest for the best will calm itself down. I'll be able to see clearly once my world and single-self have been restored to their proper state. 

Or maybe this is a ploy. My friend Chris mentioned that he thinks I'm simply trying to trick fate... I'm knocking on the door of some romantic/teen movie cliche where I give up boys and suddenly the man of my dreams enters my life... I would be totally okay with that.

Whatever happens, whatever my subconscious thought process is... I'm going to give it a good try. Sure, I'm probably going to fail, but at least for a few moments, I'll be able to set boys aside and remember what it was like to be strong, independent, and single... and proud of it. To not need a boy, and instead depend entirely and completely on myself... for a second forget my unrealistic expectations, and my parents story, and my current boy drama... and remember what it's like to be me. 

And so, Day One of my Abstinence of Boys... begins...
Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's all child's play

“Boys frustrate me. I hate all their indirect messages, I hate game playing. Do you like me or don't you? Just tell me so I can get over you.”
~ Kirsten Dunst

In our production of Good Person of Setzuan, there's a little child actor, her name is Aliyah. She is adorable. I tend to have conversations about how jealous I am of the attention she gets (I hate not being that star... and this five year old gives me stiff competition). I must admit I'm not the best to interact with children. While I'm sure eventually the paternal instinct kicks in and I will want to take care of children, but right now I'm just sarcastic. Aliyah was showing us the three-step turns she learned in dance class, I retorted with, "Oh yeah, three step turns? Watch me do a time step, followed by a double axel and a hitch kick..." Aliyah didn't understand. Let's just say that I won this dance battle. 

Another time, one of the other actors was pretending to be an alien with Aliyah. I responded with a faux scream pretending to be attacked by the aliens. Once the alien duo had moved on, I turned to K.T. and, half joking/half serious, asked, "Did I do that right? She's not an alien, she's a little girl. I don't understand children..."

Let's pray by the time that I get married and am at the stage in my life where children become the next step, I'll actually be ready to relate, have the patience, and want to interact with them.

I swear that once upon a time I played pretend. I was an imaginative kid, and I mean after all, I still want to play pretend... I'm an actor. Maybe, over time I've fallen out of fondness for fantasy, and fallen into a different kind of game. 

Aliyah said something that really struck me the other day. I know... I was inspired by a five year olds thoughts... who am I? Anyway, a bunch of the cast was standing around, being our normal, sassy selves, when someone started jokingly teasing another person. Aliyah, in her little girl cuteness exclaimed, "If you tease people they won't be your friends."

Lindsey and I turned to each other and laughed. We started saying things along the lines of, "I tease everyone and I have plenty of friends" and "Listen, little girl, we've got to get some shit to set straight about the world..." Of course, we said none of this too her face and were saying all these things in pure jest, but the thought stuck with me, and I couldn't help but wonder... Is there any way to even make friends, find a lover, flirt with a crush, attract someone... without teasing? A majority of my flirting process when I really like someone involves heavy sarcasm and immense amounts of teasing. I like to be teased by someone I'm interested in. It keeps me on my toes. Nothing too extreme, or that crosses over to being mean, but flirting and teasing seem to go hand in hand now-a-days. It's all about The Game.

Oh, The Game. The infamous relationship game... We all know it, we all play it. Some better than others.

And then I tried to reminisce about what it was like before The Game. Before we had to sit around late at night with our girlfriends debating whether that text message was an actual flirt or just the boy being polite. Before we stressed over the boy not texting us back, turning over and over in our heads the possibilities: Is he at work? Did he not get the text message? Does he just hate me? Before flirtation became just a more acceptable form of manipulation...

I reminisced... and came up with nothing. I honestly cannot think of a time when the game was a part of my life. In kindergarten, I was already a game player. I would bring my stuffed Toy Story Woody doll to class in order to impress, I would show off my new light up Power Ranger sneakers. I wanted everyone who I was interested in to know that I had good taste and even better toys. Throughout elementary school, I was infamous for giving girls kisses on the cheeks and then ignoring them the next day. I had to give them a taste and keep them wanting more. I've always been playing The Game. And probably always will be.

And as a scoured across these thoughts I wondered: Are relationships nothing more than a game of chess?Are we simply moving our pieces strategically across a board of love and life in order to conquer the other side and eventually find our own checkmate

I'm a professional at this game. If this was a chess tournament, I would always make it to the final rounds. Someone the other day told me, "You make boys fall in love with you." And it's true. I know how to play the relationship game, I know how to make boys want me head over heels. I don't substitute actual love, compassion, and sparks in order to play the game to the fullest, though. The Game is not a substitute for love, but instead a necessary component, it's a stepping stone to enter a relationship. It's a stepping stone to keeping a relationship alive. I find a lot of couples become comfortable after awhile. They forget how to push the others buttons, turn them on and off, they forget the excitement that came with the initial Game. They become boring. They forget how to play. They forget how to Check their opponent. They become complacent and allow the small, problematic pawn to cross the board and become catastrophic Queen, determined to tear the board, or the relationship, apart.  

I think a man who can play the game is a man who can handle complicated. And trust me, I'm complicated. The Game is a way of testing the water, seeing if the man is willing to play. You want someone who is able to learn your rules, and play with you when you get serious along the way. They should know when your angry, what makes you happy, what pushes your buttons, when you need to be comforted, when you need to be called out... and if they can't figure out the way you flirt, they can't possibly be able to figure out the important things. If you don't know how to play Chess or have an interest in learning, why would you make an investment and buy the board? 

The Game is instinctively programmed into our bodies.  When your little and you like someone, you instinct is to pick on them. You don't want them to know your real feelings, but you want them to notice you. When your an adult and you like someone, you flirt with someone through teasing and sarcasm, but know your limits. You don't want them to think you're coming off strong, but you want them to notice you. 

Why is it so hard for us to just say how we feel? And why when people set the game aside, and actually do say how they feel, it comes off as coming off too strong or being desperate?  
 
I'm currently in the situation and I can't tell you the answer. D confronted me about why I didn't want to be in a relationship. He asked if I was afraid to commit because I'm still dealing with my break-up. To which, I responded, yeah, I'm not ready to serious yet. To which he followed up with, "I just don't want it to awkward when I kiss you or hold you." And suddenly, my red flag flew. We aren't even boyfriends? We're not in a committed relationship, why is he thinking about those sort of things or talking to me about them? I could understand had we decided to be exclusive and in an official relationship, this would actually be an extremely important. Suddenly everything was out in the open. He wanted something serious. The game was over. He put it out in the open that he wanted a legitimate relationship with holding, kissing, and commitment. I couldn't respond, and he followed up with asking if he should back-off a bit. 

I don't know why, but, for me at least, I am entirely turned off when everything is put on the table. At least early on in the relationship. There has to be a sense of discovery, a sense of exploration. I'm having a hard time coming to any sort of conclusion about the situation, and how I feel about it. For me, there is an eventual time when those questions must be asked, but pushing that time forward becomes weird and awkward. It's not natural. 

What I have learned is mystery in a relationship comes naturally, it doesn't need to be forced.  A person can never know another person completely, nor can a person know themselves completely, thus mystery is inevitable. Discovering and learning about another person is natural. In our modern world where so much is on the line and speed is key, we sometimes speed through the natural process. We get too excited and try to learn too much, or force another person to reveal too much about themselves instead of waiting for the natural occurrence. And then to restore the excitement and mystery, we sometimes start hiding how we feel about things, we force the mystery. 

D and I didn't talk for a day and then slowly got back into our texting routine. When I hung out with him last night, I started realizing that there was no excitement, I wasn't flirting, teasing, or trying to figure him out. I stopped playing. And I'm not sure if I even want to try and play again with him. I wasn't having any fun. 

The Game has been disrupted. I can reset the pieces and pretend that certain moves haven't been made, or forfeit the game and move on to the next. I could use my talent at The Game to try and reset, but no matter what the game maybe... I don't think I enjoy playing it with D and I don't know if I ever have... I would just be lying to D and to myself...

The question arises, when does playing The Game cross the line and become a lie? When does honesty fail to be a part of the strategy. I asked Lindsey what she thought about the game. She automatically responded, "I don't play the game. I'd rather have it all out on the table. I want them to be honest... I had a relationship in which we were playing the game, mostly him, and at one point we just put it out all on the table, and it was the best part of the relationship." I believe there is a huge difference from honesty and playing The Game. I think people confuse the idea of being honest, with the idea of being too forward. There must be mystery to the relationship, but there must be honesty. I must admit, personally, I have been so caught up in playing The Game, trying to make the other person happy, that I forgot about honesty. I forgot about saying how I actually felt, and instead used The Game to make the other person happy. If they're happy... so am I...

Am I just trying to save D's feelings? The Game isn't fun, and I feel like I'm lying. I'm teasing D into thinking that eventually there will be a chance for a relationship, a relationship he is obviously pining for. I'm giving up honesty, and continuing a Game simply to make this boy happy. 

I think that's the sign when The Game truly has gone too far. When you stop being honest, and stop having fun. I think having fun is the core base of anything. At the end of the day, in a relationship, you may fight and you may have extremely hard times, there may be obstacles like rooks and knights in your way, deterring you from your goal, but if you still see the person your with and think about how much fun you have with them and how happy you are and will be... it's worth it. The Game is worth it. The relationship is worth it. It is all worth it. 

And as I look back... on The Game. On honesty. On the fun... I realize that... the D thing isn't going to work out. I can't keep pretending I'm having fun, I can't continue playing The Game when it's already gone too long. 

Especially since I may have already started another game... a game that I've been wanting to play for some time now... 

God, I wish I was in kindergarten again... and I could just kiss the girls and run away....

Aliyah during rehearsal was pretending to have a wedding. She told Chris, a boy in the cast, and Lindsey that they were going to get married because Chris is a grown up boy and Lindsey was a grown up girl...

Oh Aliyah... If only it was that simple....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Eat your heart out <3

“When did being alone become the modern day equivalent to being a leper? Will Manhattan restaurants soon be divided in to sections? Smoking/non-smoking? Single/non-single?” 
~ Carrie, SATC Season 2, “They Shoot Single People, Don’t They?”


I could feel the judgment. The air was thick with it.

There I was sitting at Qdoba, eating my burrito, and feeling the stares. I was eating alone: the ultimate mealtime faux-pas.

It's frightening the stigma against the single eaters. There are unwritten rules of eating alone. When ordering, don't get too much, the cashier will wonder, "Are you going to eat all that... by yourself?" Be careful where you sit, if you sit alone at a table or booth you will be judged for taking up space that should be reserved for couples and groups. Glares will be inevitable. To avoid these glares, you should reside your single self at the bar section made for the lonely souls. The single people bar is usually located by a window, so the people outside the restaurant can walk by and feel pity for your loner meal. At Qdoba, a women in her sixties walked by, looked into the window at me in the singles seats, and gave me a look so wrought with pity that my single security was shaken to its core. 

My plan was to hang around Qdoba after I finished my burrito, but the single status was too frightening and a booked it out of there and back to my apartment. 

Last week, I had a similar experience. I had arrived to lunch a few minutes early, and I decided to grab the table that my friends and I normally sit at. I sat there waiting for my friends to arrive. I pulled out my computer and started surfing the internet. After a few moments of sitting alone, the pressure started. Maybe they weren't staring, but I felt at least a sharp looks of the people around me. They were questioning, "Why is that boy sitting alone?" And then people I know (who I happen to can't stand) just appeared in the food court, too. And they saw me sitting alone. And I don't know why, but I felt so embarrassed. There was something about sitting alone, without my friend for defense that made me feel so naked. So unarmed. 

And the reason I know people were passing judgment about my single eating self is because I, myself, am notorious for passing judgment on single eaters. I mean, I don't see a person eating alone and think, "God, they must be eating alone 'cause they're a freak." But, I do feel pity for them. I think to myself, "I should go over and sit with them. They need a friend." I know if someone had come over while I was at Qdoba or waiting for my friends tried something like that, I would have punched them in the face and felt completely disrespected. 

We are programmed from when we are young that sitting alone is a bad thing. We were taught that if someone was sitting or standing alone in the lunchroom, we should go over, introduce ourselves, and become friends. No one should be alone. While eventually as we grow older we lose the initiative to go over and make friends, the thought still remains with us: Eating alone is bad. 

And because of this, I now have a permanent judgement/fear of single eaters. Dang it.

There are definite perks of being alone. I occasionally enjoy taking a day entirely to myself. I find those days are the most productive days. Or at least the most relaxing. Or the most introspective. As long as those alone days don't ever move into the public eye. Then you face a Qdoba situation.

I decided to continue my exploration of single eating and the judgment that came with it. I chose to go to McDonalds (I never eat at McDonalds, but I had the biggest craving for a BigMac it was a ridiculous, and it was just a block down the road from me).  As I went to order my BigMac, the female cashier, a young woman probably around my age, flirtatiously teased me about my order. My ego got a little boost. I was getting flirted with and although due my sexual preference I had no interest in this girl, I still felt a little confidence bump. After my order was placed, I went and sat by a nearby table and waited. When they called my name it was the same female cashier to give me my burger. In a flirtatious, sweet voice she says, "You look lonely over there."

Now, normally this would be cute, a little flirty way to get someone to talk to you or spend more time with you, but in my current mindset of single eating, all ego boost  was gone. Evaporated. Executed. Gone. I looked lonely. All I did was sit at a table by myself, play with my phone, and suddenly I was lonely. My aura screamed lonely. And while this cutie pie had just intended some light flirting, I was suddenly struck with a sinking feeling. I couldn't even escape the single stigma... at McDonalds!

And so the idea of loneliness really set in... My single eating and the taboos that came with it had caused me to develop a full on case of the alones. 

In order to remedy my loneliness, I quickly sent several of my friends a joking text about being hit on by the female cashier. They responses would hopefully be the perfect cure to my alones. As I waited for my friends to respond, in true Carrie Bradshaw fashion, I couldn't help but wonder, was my 'single eating' making me lonely? Or was my loneliness making 'single eating' unbearable? 

I started to reflect on my current single situation. First Dater (who shall henceforth be referred to as D) and I bumped up our second date from Saturday to last night. We had another great time, but at the end of the date, I had to make a confession to him: I wasn't ready to be in a committed relationship. I had thought about this since we had our first date, and after must consultation with my girls I came to this conclusion: Since I still am a resident of post-break-up-recovery world and with summer coming quickly, I just couldn't get behind having another long distance relationship when I moved back home while he remained here. And for some reason, for probably the first time in my life, I just wanted to be... single...

And this is what worries me, D is a great guy, I should be desperately wanting to be in a committed relationship with him, he's everything I could ask for in a boyfriend.

And in my complicated, over-dramatic head, I start thinking, Why don't I want to be in a relationship? Is this permanent? Will I ever want to be in a relationship again? Am I going to be one of those people who are doomed to be single forever?

I blame the McDonalds cashier for these thoughts. And the old women who judged me for eating alone outside the window of Qdoba... will I forever be the single eater?

...And would that be such a bad thing? True I would have to constantly face the judgment of the single eater nay sayers, but I mean, I would never have to share my food, never have to worry about who's paying for the meal, I could eat whatever I want...

And that's what scares me. The idea that eventually I may become okay with this single lifestyle. I don't necessarily mean that being single is bad, but I could fall in love with it. Just dating when  I wanted to and enjoying life on my own. After all, I'm an independent person, I might just need to live life on my own. And maybe that's truly the final step of the post-break-up-recovery world, learning to live on your own. And love it.

And once again, I'm back to the same idea I've mentioned before: It's about loving yourself.
And once again, I think:
Loving yourself? Easier said than done...

And soon I learn that, however hard it maybe...
and learn to think of it as a love of self and not loneliness.
Maybe then, I'll be ready to commit... and invite that person to come with me to meals
But until then...
I guess I just have to learn to love...

Eating alone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

...to pick you up on our very first date

“The worst thing a man could ever do is kiss me on the first date.”
~ Halle Berry


I went on a first date last night. Now, if there's one thing that I'm not a pro at... it's first dates. For some reason in my life, I have only had a small handful of actual first dates. My relationships usually fall into place through unconventional ways (I'll tell you about those some other time...). I'm not normally a date kind of person. The last time I had a first date was around seven months ago, and was a huge flop, that resulted in some mediocre fooling around and me not calling him back...

So getting thrown back into the first date scene was a little frightening.

Getting thrown back into the dating scene was a little frightening.

I don't know what it is, but there is something about re-entering the dating scene post break-up. No matter how over your previous relationship you are, there's still something incredibly scary about taking that risk, putting yourself out there again. It's a fear of rejection, a fear of this new relationship contender not living up to the expectations set by your previous boyfriend,  it's a fear of once again it not working out and the impending fear of forever being single....

...I'm a little overdramatic...

Anyway, I knew eventually I would have to leave post-break-up-recovery world or at least take a step towards the exit. First Dater and I had been been text flirting for over a week, we had a late night hang out over the weekend, and then decided to go on an official first date. The previous late night hang out had taken the ease of the first date, we had already established we could talk for awhile so hopefully awkward pauses and conversation lulls would be a minimum. 

Instead of writing another relationship article, I have decided to simply give you a break down of how the date went down. Please, enjoy: 

1) I'm indecisive and have failed to pick out a restaurant, as a last minute ditch effort I suggest a nearby hang out spot with a bunch of places to eat and hang out

2) Due to my lackage of car, he has to come pick me up, I feel like a 12 year old, he feels special.

3) Bad choice suggesting a location where I'm not familiar with any of the restaurants... and neither is he...

4) Luckily, he is decisive and picks out a nice sushi bar.

5) We go in, but awkwardly the host gives us a choice to sit upstairs, downstairs, or at the bar. Once again, being indecisive, we stand around a few moments, because I can't make a decision. We eventually chose to go upstairs where we then have to make a choice to sit at the bar or at a table. I chose a table, because I want to be able to actually talk to him. Apparently, the section of tables we wanted to sit at were reserved. We awkwardly move to a new section, and hope we'll be served there.

6) We get a menu. After I have to go up to the bar and ask for one... Because neither of us are familiar with the sushi bar, or really sushi in general, the menu is overwhelming. Thus, there is much silence as we try and decipher what the menu was telling us. Finally the bar tender walks over and we ask her to help. 

7) After the big decision on what to eat is made (much thanks to the lovely lady working the bar), we can finally dig in to some awesome conversation.

8) Conversation is really great. We eventually hit our first minor lull. I pretend to yawn to devoid any possible awkwardness. Emergency lull/stereotypical first date questions get pulled out, i.e. who is your favorite singer?

9) We bond over music. Score! Stereotypical first date question: success!

10) Food is delicious. I offer him a sushi roll, he offers me some of his fried rice. It's kind of cute. 

11) Conversation continues to be really great. He asks about past relationships, I pass, citing that I don't want to bring up the 'Ex Files'. I figure avoiding any talk about past relationships, especially since I'm still in post-break-up-recovery world from a serious relationship, it was a good idea.

12) We bond over a lot of thing, start to get to know each other. Talk about pet peeves, and our families. It's really nice.

13) Plates have been cleared, the check has arrived. I pull out my wallet to pay, and he insists that he pays. Major points.

14) We continue to talk for a bit, and I ask him about this weekend. Aka... we set a second date :)

15) It's a Monday night, and I have homework to finish. I'm a wet blanket and put an end to the date. He drives me home.

16) Final moment. We're parked in front of my apartment. The ultimate question, something I had been actually thinking about for a lot of the second half of the night. Do we kiss? I can't decide. I'm not sure what to do... we lean in... Hug. The moment wasn't right for the first kiss. I'm cool with this, and am happy that we hugged. I get out of the car and head up to my apartment and respond to a text Diane sent me while I was at dinner as well as filling her in on what a success the evening was.

17) He texts me later that night to tell me what a good time he had. And now, I'm really excited. Bring it on, second date, bring it on. 


Maybe I'm not so bad at this first date thing, after all, huh? :)


Thursday, April 2, 2009

All I ever wanted...

“I'm tough, ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.”

~ Madonna

 

Before Setzuan rehearsal, I was trying to decide what I wanted for dinner.

I could make myself a sandwich with what I had in my kitchen. I could walk and grab salad from the Cafeteria place across the street. I could walk down to the Rally’s on the corner of the street and get a burger.

But none of these things really struck my interest. And then, the strangest urge hit me: I wanted popcorn. I wanted a large bag of buttery movie popcorn. There is a movie theater about four buildings down from my apartment, completely in walking distance, I could run out, walk the block, get my popcorn, and be back before I even would have to think about getting ready for rehearsal.

Then came the ever appearing and unavoidable doubts to this popcorn dinner. I should get a salad, it would be healthier. I’m going to look ridiculous walking into the movie theater, buying popcorn, and leaving. I’ll end up eating the whole bad and spend the rest of the night being angry with myself for giving in. People would judge me.

And as these doubts flew at me (similar to when I pelt popcorn at my friends sitting down the row at the movies), I thought to myself, “Who cares?”

All the mattered was in that moment, I wanted the popcorn. It doesn’t matter if people would judge me or think I was ridiculous. It would be what makes me happy in this moment. It’s what I wanted.

So, I set down my laptop, walked the block to the Moolah Temple (our movie theatre), and bought myself a large popcorn and a large Mountain Dew (or MTN Dew as those soda hipsters like to call it now-a-days). And let me tell you… the popcorn… was excellent.

As I walked back to my apartment, I noticed people looking at me. Sure, maybe they were judging me for buying a popcorn and not seeing a movie, but maybe their judgmental thoughts were really a disguise, a fa├žade to cover up the fact that maybe, just maybe, they wanted to go into the Moolah and buy themselves some popcorn to… just because they wanted to.

And I thought to myself, why do we limit ourselves from getting what we want? Instead of going for it, we surrender our wants and give up. Whether it be breaking social norms, encouraging the inevitable judgment of others, or a fear of failure, we have a bad habit of letting go of what we want and letting it get away.

Now, I know you can argue there’s a difference between what we want and what we need and blah blah blah. This isn’t that post. This isn’t that message. For ten minutes, I want to be entirely selfish, because sometimes when we’re worried about being selfless, that’s exactly what we become. Self… less, a loss of self. In work, in relationships, in life. And without self… who are we? Sometimes in this life, we need to be selfish, we need to decide what we want, how we can get it, and go for it. And not to give up, because someone else thinks what we’re doing is wrong, breaking the rules, or too far fetched. As long you’re not hurting someone else,

Go for it.

 

And so I started thinking about what I wanted:

 

I want to be a successful actor.

I want to help the world in some way, shape, or form.

I want a family.

I want to be a published author/playwright.

I want to start a professional theatre company.

I want to be a fully realized human.

I want to live in New York City or L.A.

I want to have lots of money. Or at least enough to have a more-than stable lifestyle.

I want to make better decisions.

I want to change lives. Make things better. Help people.

I want to love somebody unconditionally. And maybe be loved in return…

I want to find ‘The One’

 

And as I came across this last topic of ‘wantage,’ I began to really think about it:

What do I want in ‘The One’?

 

While I have many ideas about the man I see myself eventually being with for the rest of my life, never have I put them down on paper (or on blog). When a friend of mine asked me what I look for in a man… I stumbled. I wasn’t sure what exactly I find attractive, what I appreciate, what draws me close to someone... My previous boyfriends have been an eclectic bunch: from punk rocker, to pothead, to actor, to Yale student, to large, to small, to white, to black, to prude, to sex-obsessed, to blond, to ginger… I’ve had a good variety.

 And because every boy I have ever dated has been incredibly different than the one before, I’ve never developed a type. I’ve never had a girlfriend look across the room, spot a boy, turn to me and go, “Ooh! That’s your type right there! Do him!” I’m type-less. I am the rare breed of human that is born without an interest archetype. I guess an overall type doesn’t matter to me. Whether he’s a jock, a twink, an emo, an artist… none of it matters.

What I have learned from my previous relationships is what I want. I mean, after all, isn’t that what dating is all about? Figuring out exactly what you are looking for in a significant other.

So I’ve begun compiling another want list: A list of what I want in ‘The One’. Now, the ultimate downfall of a list such as this is not that expectations are high, but they are too specific. I believe that if you want the best, you should strive for the best and settle for nothing less. What causes a relationship to fail is creating such specific wants that a person is unable to fit into the empty puzzle piece you’ve created. Expect the best, but don’t expect an exact carbon copy of your fantasy.

---

What I want in my significant other (Part I):

 

I want someone who will help me love the world. In previous relationships, it became so much about loving us as a couple. I don’t want to only love the person I’m with, but instead have the person I’m with help me share love with the world … Does that even make sense?

I want someone who will call me out on my shit. A few relationships back, I was with a boy who would give into my every whim, agreed with everything I had to say… at times I would say things that were clearly wrong and he still would agree with me. I hated it. I want someone who can say, “You’re being an idiot” and put me in my place.

I want someone who puts relationships above alcohol and other substances. Partying, smoking, etc. is a blast. I love going to parties, getting drunk, having a good time, doing crazy stuff… but the person I’m with has to be able to put me before all those things.

I want someone who will listen to me when I’m being emotional and ridiculous and tell me everything is going to be okay.

I want someone who is willing to drop all defenses and let me in. Vice versa, I want someone who I can completely be myself around, drop my defenses, and let them into my inner world.

I want someone who is a good kisser who matches my kissing style. No aggressive kissing for me. Put your tongue in my mouth on the first kiss, and we’re done. Hit my teeth with your teeth and we’re also done. I’ve dated too many terrible kissers, and I know I’m destined to date a few more…

I want someone who can have fun. I get so serious and caught up in my work, I need someone who can bring me back down.

I want someone who will dance with me. Whether it’s a raving dance party for two or a romantic, slow dance.

I want someone who I really connect with sexually. Sorry, I want to be really attracted to the person and have awesome sex. Sue me.

…but at the same time I want someone who I can be sexual with but also respects sex as something more than physical but as part of love. And since I don’t give it up, someone who is willing to wait until we’re both ready to, putting it bluntly, do it.

I want someone who wants to change the world.

I want someone who will play video games with me and humor my inner geek.

I want someone who will watch endless episodes of Sex and the City with me and have deep discussions about love, sex, and friendship.

I want someone I feel comfortable being naked in front of. And not only while being physical, but while we’re not.

I want someone who loves to cuddle. And hold hands.

I want someone who loves to laugh.

I want someone who will go on walks with me in the early morning, in the afternoon, and late at night.

I want someone who will let me love them. I want someone who will let me shower them with love. And someone who will shower me back. Not necessarily really romantic things, gifts, or grand loving acts, but more the feeling of love. I want to be constantly immersed within love.

I want someone who makes mistakes, and does stupid things, and gets in fights with me. I want someone who makes me see what’s wrong with me and help me change it. I want someone who learns from what’s happening and become better.

I want someone who makes me better.

I want someone who believes in forgiveness.

I want someone who isn’t afraid to break the rules. Or at least bend them a little bit.

I want someone who I can be stupid with. Who I can be a total spaz and who will be weird and a spaz with me. I want to feel comfortable being my weird, complicated self with this person.

I want someone who loves me. With everything he is.

---

 

…so I want a lot of things. And this list isn’t even close to being complete.

But what I have learned from creating this list, from my previous relationships, from my popcorn dinner is:


We should never settle for anything less than what we want. No matter what the want may be. You’re allowed to be a little selfish now and then. As long as no one is hurt (physically or emotionally), we should reach for the stars and never settle for anything short of cosmic.


Whether it be a large bag of popcorn

Or a lover who can give you what you need

Decide what you want

And no matter what people say

Or the inevitable feelings of doubt…

 

Go Get It.