I Like Your Puffy Sleeves

Oh-kay, folks, I think we need a palate cleanser after that last one. Not that you read it. But if you did. Here comes the ginger.

I went Blues dancing last night (shocking).

I took my two roommates with and so besides being worried for myself and finding my chill all night I was also worried that they wouldn’t have a good time. Kay was my main concern. She is taller than me (I’m practically a giraffe) and thinks she’s way more socially awkward than she is. Dee, our other roommate, is teeny and walks around a little dreamily sometimes, as if everything is in a soft, warm, focus for her. They’re both uber Jesus-y and Kay is more self conscious than me in a lot of ways. We ran last so they almost missed the pre-dance class and neither of them have dance experience. As I was taking their things so they could run to the class and I could get everything settled and catch up if there was time, the first person to talk to me through the door was rude… Just the stuff of nightmares.

However, despite the choppy takeoff, they both LOVED IT. The night wound up being very fun for everyone involved. Kay got asked to dance more than I did and I think I’ve finally convinced her that there are actually tall, manly, men out there in the dating pool (and that some of them dance). Dee almost never made it off the floor, she was a huge hit with one of the choosier regulars and just about everyone else.

Jo, my usual partner in Blues-related-crime, came later after a friend’s wedding. A girl we met from our out of town Dance Weekend came later. I don’t understand how this “SQUAD” thing the kids are talking about nowadays works, but guys, I think we were Squad (squadding? on squad? squad fleek? seriously, someone explain this to me)!

Now, somewhere in the night it occurred to me (possibly as I was eyeing the lead I’ve developed a ridiculous crush on after literally being introduced to him once back when I first started Blues dancing in a “notice me, Senpai!” sort of way) that Blues dance events are basically Junior High dances with grown ups.

No one really knows what to wear. The events are generally Dry, though a lot of times you get a whiff of malt liquor from a passing Starbucks cup. The music is ALL over the map. Girls (and by girls I mean me and Blues Squad) wind up in the corner giggling about boys or eyeing the cool kids (pro level dancers) with longing. If two equally shy kids wind up dancing, they just rock from side to side in awkward circles with plenty of room for Jesus between them and its all but impossible for me not to quote Napoleon Dynamite.

Its ballroom, sort of, but also not.

I love it is what I’m saying. Also, possibly, Senpai.

Who asked me to dance.

Twice.

And according to Dee attempted making contact a third time before he was swept away by another dancer.

But that’s definitely not what made my night.

Nope.

Even if it was, that’s a story for another day.

The moral of this story is that Blues Dancing is like middle school dancing if middle schoolers knew how to dance without jamming their crotches into people’s butts unannounced.

Or something like that.

Leave Brittaney Alone!

Screen-Shot-2016-01-26-at-32
This came up in my feed today on Facebook.
(If you don’t feel like reading: her bf controlled her and told her what she should look like until he left her and she wrote an open letter reclaiming herself. Seriously, just go read the article.)
More than one person I know, a couple I’m related to, posted it along with something about how it’s terrible but WHY would she even STAY with someone like that. WHY would she try?
Let me tell you a story (wrought with oversharing -you have been warned).
Once upon a time a man I was in a relationship with a man who said the following things to me:
“You’re cute, but you could be thinner. You’ve got fat here, here, there…”
While I was consuming 700-1000 calories a day and working out a minimum of 2 hours a day to be skinnier for him. “Your shoulders are so wide, you REALLY don’t want to get too much muscle in your upper body.” Laughter “I don’t want to be dating a MAN!”
“I don’t like your hair so short, but there’s not really anything we can do about THAT right now, so I guess it’ll do. Just don’t cut it.”
“A couple implants and you’d be PERFECT.” Followed by many separate instances where he tried to convince me I could swing plastic surgery and it was going to change my life and his. He might MARRY me if I had tits.
Scathing tone. “You don’t wear, like ANY makeup, do you?”
“Not too late for Invisalign” Because MY slightly recessed right lateral incisor is so much worse than his crooked smile and skewed values.
“You’re wearing THAT to dinner? Wear this instead.” Followed by the makeup critique.
“You love when I help you.”
In the end he cheated and I was left with an eating disorder exacerbated to extreme proportions and the entirely irrational, unreasonable, conviction that if I had just put more effort into looking how he wanted, lost a few more pounds, taken more supplements to grow my hair, got more creative with my push up bra game, that I could have kept him.
I could fit my hand up under my ribs when I scooped my stomach with how thin I was. I’d go out with friends and never pay for a drink from other men vying for my attention. I could have had ANYONE. But I wanted him and tried to be better for him. I was SO focused on being better, I didn’t notice how absolutely sh*t HE was in general.
He HIT ME and I stayed. He tore my calf muscle with his TEETH and I stayed. Telling me he’d leave me if I got fat was just the baco-bits on top of the sh*t salad of that relationship.
Staying with someone who thinks you’re ugly is easy. Especially if you believe it.
Brittaney is SO MUCH STRONGER than me. She got out while the getting was good. She reclaimed herself. And she’s strong enough to tell the world. I can’t post this on Facebook because my mom might see.
An ugly little part of me is still ashamed that I stayed.
The very few times I’ve spoken about my past in relation to domestic violence, bullying, body shame, and other related campaigns there is ALWAYS someone who says something truly hideous to me about how what was done to me was my fault.
A woman on twitter once tweeted me this gem in regards to the same relationship: Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.32.44 AM
I couldn’t bear if one of my friends or family responded like this.
So I’ll say my bit here, anonymously for the most part.
I’m willing to stake lives on the fact that most victims feel like they’re at fault for their own situation without anyone else shaming them. So if we could stop saying things like “why did she stay?” that would be great. Obviously there were reasons.
I had my reasons.
I was sad.
I hated myself.
I thought if someone else was hurting me and hating me, I could stop doing it to myself.
I was wrong.
If you know where to look, the ringed scar on my calf muscle is still visible under the skin where his teeth went in like a shark’s. It’s never going to heal completely. It seizes in the cold. I will NEVER be free of the decisions that linked up my life and that assh*le’s. I don’t need anyone else reminding me how bad I screwed up.
Neither do people like Brittaney. No one who has been abused, physically or emotionally, needs an extra “how could you” in their life.  We’ve got enough of our own.
Brittaney we’ll probably never meet, but I think you’re awesome. Your red hair is hot! That Shakespeare tattoo is poppin’! I want to high five and hug you. If I could I’d punch every idiot disparaging you of social media STRAIGHT in the junk, I would.
My idiot family members included.

Consummate Professional from the Tits Up

I’m beginning to think that most of this blog is going to be dedicated to recounting the oddities of my work life.  Complain if you will, no one’s forcing you to be here.

But since you are:

I’m professional. REALLY professional.

I feel like I have to be.

I’m the youngest employee at my company. By just under 10 years at last survey. I got this job almost straight out of college and was essentially seduced away from a similar position from a similar company whose owner thought he’d get to bully me into doing my work AND his for less than our tutors made an hour (but thats another story).

I worked hard for this position, but I know I’m lucky to have a grown-up job with benefits and a 401k when I have friends from my graduating class working at restaurants or movie theaters who are deferring their student loan payments right now.

So I am very careful to always be the picture of a professional HR Director around others.

That being said, since I work from home, I can get away with waking up five minutes before my shift starts, grabbing my company computer, opening our phone system, and making my first call from bed. No one will know.

I do this a lot.

Particularly if I’m working weekends and I’m hungover.

The nice part is that most of what I do is invisible. As long as I can send a business email, or have a neat, coherent, phone interview I can look however I like.

Meetings and web interviews are quite another matter. Turn on the webcam and I have to be on point: hair sleek, flawless makeup, nice blouse. I don’t think any of my coworkers have seen me without lipstick and a healthy coat of mascara. I don’t gesture with my hands. I don’t touch my hair or face. I am pretty as a picture on screen.

From the chest up.

I have done interviews in crop tops that end at my ribs. I’ve thrown blazers on over bras. Delivery men have given me funny looks when I sign for packages in a flawless silk blouse paired with ratty gray sweat pants. My roommate likes to tell people about how she’s seen me put a cardigan on over one of those velcro-closing patterned bathroom towels after a shower.

For all this, the amount of compliments I get on my appearance, and the full points for “professionalism” I’m awarded each time a web interview is scored by Quality Control, I’m an utter fraud.

On the plus side, if you’re stressing about an upcoming web interview, that old trick of picturing your interviewer in their underwear will probably come in handy. If they’re not rocking the no-pants look they are almost certainly in some truly heinous active-wear.

Sometimes you want to wear stretchy pants.

Its for fun.

Yooooou are welcome!

Candid Camera

I have problems. Lots of them.

I handle myself well, I swear, I am a functional part of society and if we were to draw comparisons I’d say I far surpass a lot of people who DON’T have anything close to my issues but honestly…. I’m not too fond of people or social situations or people touching me or people looking at me or looking at myself or… I’ll stop, you get it.

I’m trying to improve though because while I love my cat, I would really like to get married and have an actual family some day and I can’t do that when my only dating options are my (very straight, very by-the-book-Jesus-y) roommates and the freaking mammoth that lives upstairs.

I’m reclaiming my social life a little at a time and right now that means going Blues Dancing with my friend Jo whenever we can.

Recently we went out of town for a three day dance retreat featuring workshops and master classes for different styles followed by live music and social dancing. There were wonderful instructors and staff and a professional photographer to document everything.

EVERYTHING.

The classes, the dances, the freaking SOUL TRAIN I sucked up the courage to participate in despite every fiber of my being screaming about the perfectly good dead-bolt we saw on the ladies’ room down the hall. Everything.

And the photos have surfaced on Facebook.

In one of them, my mouth is open and forming a sort of “oh!” shape. My face looks surprised. I’m in mid step. The shot is completely candid and I was able to laugh it off because I know darn well I am in the middle of some sort of swear word and just messed up the arms (AGAIN!) on the flamenco piece we’re working on.

Of course someone tagged me in it. No I will not post the picture. No I am not sorry.

I commented something on the photo about my mouth being open with a cute “:P” at the end so as not to offend anyone and the photographer commented back.

Ahem.

Apparently I’m a work of art.

“I look at this shot and see a moment of delight in clarity.”

Delight. In. Clarity.

Sir, you caught me cursing like a land-bound sailor because I f***ed up the arms again.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t understand photography.

 

Einstein’s Theory of Psychosexual Stages.

I work at a tutoring company as I’ve mentioned previously.

I interview incoming tutors and sometimes they say some pretty profound things.

Today was not one of those times.

Today for some content screening I asked an applicant what school of thought was founded by Sigmund Freud and she responded with “School of thought? Freud? That was like the e=mc^2, right?”

For a moment I thought she’d misunderstood the question, or that she was kidding. She had to be. She was studying psychology and statistics AT MY ALMA MATER FOR CHISSAKES! I’d taken some of her required coursework for elective credit!

Then I realized I hadn’t said anything in far too long and didn’t know how to ask if she’d misheard without letting on she was truly, horrifically, incorrect and she was waiting for my response and probably NOT kidding so in classic form I panicked, said “Great!” a wee bit too enthusiastically and made up a new, simpler, question.

She didn’t screen well for anything else. Which is fine, there’s no shame in needing some review but why WHY would you apply to TEACH OTHER PEOPLE a subject you don’t understand yourself?

And what is GODS NAME has happened to the psychology curriculum at my old school since I left?

As a bonus I will share my coworkers’ response to the e=mc fiasco:

“Is that Freud guy the same person that theorized gravity when an apple fell on his head?”

“No, Freud’s the one with the key and the kite.”

“Wait, didn’t he chop down a cherry tree? Same fellow who couldn’t tell a lie?”

“NO! That was the guy with the wooden teeth who got shot in the theater!”

And because I am a freaking professional, at no point did I allow myself to scream “PENIS ENVY!!!” over this conversation.

This was then followed by my snarky friends on Facebook suggesting that Joan of Arc was married to Noah, Einstein created the lightbulb, Napoleon tried/failed to conquer the USSR and Ben Franklin wrote the Constitution.

I have a face to face interview with a History tutor later.

Either I’m screwed or they are.

That Other Story

You know, the one from last time I said was a long story? About how I accidentally told my current flame I love them?

It’s really not that long; just embarrassing, really.

This guy and I were dating casually for a year or so. He cancelled our plans on my birthday, I got mad, he realized I was way too serious, he called things off.

He came back some months later. Started talking again. Apologized. He’s back in my life.

Kind of.

During a text message conversation (which I could probably pull up, screen cap, and post here except I really just can’t be bothered right now) he said “you love me.”

I’m an idiot.

Flash back to when he dumped me in Jan 2015. I wrote him a letter. Which I then sent to his apartment, assuming he probably wouldn’t get it because I HAD TO TEACH HIM HOW THE GODDAMN POST WORKS (he’s foreign, it’s not his fault, it was cute, moving on). In that letter was the following bit:

I sincerely doubt I’ll get to tell you in person now, I just wanted to write to say I love you. You ARE an adventure. You DID change my life. And I hate that I misread things and spoiled something that used to be so easy.
I’m not going to ask you to come back to me a third time, but know that if you decide to, my door is open. At least to talk. 

I would like to take this moment to reiterate that I am an idiot.

Now flash forward to me telling you he never got the stupid letter.

But when he said “you love me” I assumed he knew and read the letter, so I responded with “yes, but I don’t see how that matters” to try and play it cool, to which he responded “yes it does” but didn’t really catch what I meant. I didn’t catch that he wasn’t aware of the subtext and we went about our business until the next time he innocuously and colloquially said “you love me.”

Witness the horror that ensued.

Him: you love me

Me: Yes, and?

Him: Just saying

Me: Shouldn’t have told you. It’s clearly gone straight to your head.

Him: No. I know its the hair

Me: See. That is exactly what I mean.

Him: No I mean I know its not me its the hair.

Me(not having caught on yet): No I mean that’s exactly what I mean by it doesn’t matter. You don’t take it seriously.

Him: You don’t actually love me (mouse emoji)

Me (still not getting it): don’t be shitty.

Him: I’m not.  There was a question in there, I didn’t know.

The most obtuse freaking idiot ever (Me): You didn’t know what?

Him: That you thought of me that way.

 

BOOM.

 

And that children, is why you should always have face to face conversations where you can read the context of the situation.

Also: never write sappy love letters they have never done anything but leave material evidence.

I’m sure someone, somewhere out in West Hollywood, whips my letter out at parties for a good laugh whenever they so please.

Good lord.

A lover you don’t have to love…

I used to have really normal, functional relationships.

I found these posts on my Facebook wall from ages ago where a boyfriend sent me sweet little messages or let me know it was good to see me. I used to go on dates, to dinner or movies. I had a first date at a small-venue rock show. I would hold hands and go places as a unit.

Now things are so messy. I think I’ve done it to myself but I don’t seem to be able to stop messing things up. One bad relationship and I don’t know how to act any more. One person refusing to hold my hand or even sleep in the same bed as me. One person hitting me. One person who’d insist I take him to dinner or the movies not because we would go together but because he wanted to go and I needed to give him what he wanted.

Which led to endless first dates that don’t go anywhere. Everything from coffee, to dinner, to Netflix ‘n Chill. None of them ended well.

Valentines day last year I had someone take me to dinner at Downtown Disney and then was so awful I wound up in tears before we even got into the restaurant. Because I’d driven us there I almost left him. He practically dared me to leave him but because I’m a better person than that, I didn’t. He’d been so nice the date before.

So I’m officially unclear on how dating works now and frankly dating (like most things outside the safety of my own home) terrifies me.

Worse, now I’m year-2-in-love with someone new and I’m not even sure if they love me back. We’re in this weird quasi-relationship where we spend time together and enjoy each others company and I’m afraid to try hand holding. I don’t try to push things. We used to go on dates, we do go places as a unit still. But overall it’s just messy and amorphous.

I think its my fault.

I don’t know what I am allowed to expect from a relationship outside of not being hit. THAT is the problem. Outside of physical violence there’s still an awful lot of shit people can put you through. So I’m always miserable and NOW I’m in love with someone who knows I love him (long story, for another time) and who either loves me and just makes a lot of mistakes (forgivable) or doesn’t love me and is taking me for granted when its convenient (NOT forgivable).

I don’t know how to fix it.

I don’t know how to bring it up properly.

Worse, I’m treading on eggshells trying desperately to hold onto him because without him I’m out of options again and even with him I feels so desperately on the cusp of being entirely alone that I don’t know what will happen if I take that final plunge and fail.

So I go on loving him and accepting that it’s possible that he doesn’t love me in return.

And it almost works.

Almost.