Scheming and Pipe-Dreaming

Mondays are truly the worst! After a relaxing weekend of mimosa sipping and t.v. watching, having to get up, get dressed, and put on a bra is just too much to ask sometimes. Yesterday was no exception.

As a communications professional, I spend 90% of my time staring off into the nether webs of information and cat videos. Despite managing multiple department websites and social media platforms, I all too often find myself bored beyond belief. It may be shocking to find out, but updating a website and posting to Facebook and Twitter does not, in fact, take up 8 hours of the day.

<insert multiple “shocked” gifs here>

Oh hell, here’s one.

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So, what do I do on these days where my mind never ceases to wander, and I am left daydreaming of what I should be doing had I become the independently wealthy philanthropist I thought I would be by now?

I make fictitious wine bottle labels for my fictitious vineyard. I would sell these bottles in my fictitious wine bar that is located in my very real neighborhood. The wine bar would also be located next to my fictitious vintage clothing and home decor store. When I daydream, I go full lifestyle brand.

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How to Land Your Husband

How to Land Your Husband: An easy to follow guide

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Blossoms

  
What is thy mouth to me?

A cup of sorrowful incense,

A tree of keen leaves,

An eager high ship,

A quiver of superb arrows.


What is thy breast to me?

A flower of new prayer, 

A poem of firm light,

A well if cool birds,

A drawn bow trembling. 

  

What is thy body to me?

A theatre of perfect silence, 

A chariot of red speed,

And O, the dim feet

Of white-maned desires!

– e.e. cummings 

  

I went to the farmer’s market this morning with a friend. It’s nearly the end of the summer and it’s the first time I’ve been all season.

  
We made a few loops around the stands and took in the samples, smells, and sights. One of the first sights we saw was a lovely farm’s stand with gorgeous flowers. I couldn’t leave without buying a few bouquets. 

  
The blossoms inspired me to bake a cake when I got home. Chocolate cake with orange blossom water glaze. There’s simply no better way to spend a Sunday. 

 

Searching For Love, Finding Myself

I’m a watcher. I observe and take in everything around me. My eyes will lazily wander over faces while my mind, reading their emotions, wonders who they are. There’s a couple in front of me on the sidewalk. They seem to be about my age. Perfectly paired with similar height and build. She’s wearing a green skirt that swishes and sways as she walks just about two steps behind him. I find myself staring at her skirt as it flounces behind. Her clipped gait easily maintaining the slight distance between them. At the stop light, she pulls up short; he edges forward just a hair. Just enough. I bring myself to the edge of the curb and glance over at them. She is frowning and he is looking up at the sky. I wonder if she walks behind him on purpose or if she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it. I think about the other couples I saw on the metro. One pair, long-limbed and athletic looking. Him wearing a garish red plaid shirt and down vest.  Her in brown riding boots and a gray flannel coat. He paused outside the sliding doors to wait for her to exit the car, grabbed her hand and kissed her softly. Another couple, who I didn’t know were a couple until he gingerly leaned over and kissed her cheek, right before heading in the opposite direction on the escalator.  I take all of this in and think about the last time someone kissed me. I almost can’t remember. Then, it rises up like a fog in my memory. There’s a dark hallway in a sparsely furnished apartment. Both of us standing before each other, knowing it would be the last time it happened.  I remember the last time I kissed someone. It was rushed and insincere. Not really landing how it should have. Not really belonging to him at all. It was just the next motion to complete in our series of fumbled movements. None of them perfect or correct, simply physical, with no emotional depth or attachment.

One thing that’s certain when you’re in your thirties and single- no one lets you forget about it. Not the television shows, the radio, the well-meaning cashier, and least of all your mom. It’s not something done maliciously or with ill intent. A simple question from the cashier, “Are these for your kids?”, while ringing up multiple fruit cups is not rude. It’s simply conversation that one starts to break up a monotonous day. It probably is odd that I buy fruit cups to pack in my lunch for work. Odd, but efficient and cost effective. I don’t take offense, my own inquisitive nature often getting the best of me.  No matter how often I struggle to change the channel in my own mind, I still find myself falling into the trap. Comparing myself to couples whose private lives I know nothing about. Wondering how they came to be. What brought them to the very same place as me, at whatever moment we all happen to inhabit together?  I look over at the girl in green and wonder if she smiled coyly when they first met. Or did she pursue him, eager and wanting. Was he a perfect gentleman when they went on their first date? Is he exacting in his movements and thoughts? All of this flashes before my mind’s eye like a movie reel. Their becoming and being. Then the light changes and I cross the street, quickly outpacing them. My mind already focused on the day ahead.

It was easy to be single at first. I have always been good at being alone. The silence doesn’t terrify me as it does others. I enjoy the peace and stillness of it. My mind can wander and run off on tangents without me having to be present. After being a set, a pair, a plus one, for five years, it was refreshing to be just me again. I have only been in two relationships. One not so easily defined – languid and loose, almost as if it wasn’t even there. The other in constant need of definition and structure. Both of us continuously building it up and knocking it down with insecurity and fear. It was there I learned to temper myself- making myself to be digested. I blended in passivity to curtail assertive looks and sarcastic tone. I quieted myself to make it easier for him to be heard. I didn’t want to “make a scene” or “start something”. I just wanted to be. I wanted us to just be.

Our romance was a flash in the dark and it quickly engulfed us. We were drawn to each other without a real reason why, him being my complete opposite. We met at work and our lives soon became entangled and we were no longer separate beings. I had recently moved back home from living away at college. I had no social circle to return to and he welcomed me into his – holidays with his family, happy hours with his friends. And, at first, I was happy. This is what a relationship was in my mind. However, things slowly began to sour. Looking back, the signs were there. Red flags on the road. Caution signs blinking brazenly. But what is there to do with love gone wrong, but simply complete the ride? Headfirst we dived into a dark pool of doubt. His secrets and my worries wrapped me up in fits of panic and desperation.  Lies and excuses weaved in and out of both of us, pushing us further and further apart from each other, yet keeping us chained and bound. It’s hard to look back now and think of the escape hatches that were there to be opened, yet left ignored. Even harder to think about what it would be like without that experience in me. For better or worse, it shaped who I am today.

A year after ending the relationship and subsequent engagement, I was happy. Filling my mouth with acerbic remarks, tinged with clever charm, I grew back into myself. Two years after ending the relationship, I dated and again enjoyed the feeling of someone new. Excitement and possibility seemingly around every corner and turn. Three years after, I am beginning to feel restless with myself. I have grown bored with going to movies alone, of cooking and eating meals in solitude. I take the advice of well-meaning friends and nosy, but kind, bartenders and “put myself out there”. Endless minutes spent swiping left or right, blurring into hours perfecting a dating profile, and becoming days spent as the third wheel with friends. Fifth or sixth wheel if you count their kids. Because everyone has kids – beautiful little creatures with senses of humor and budding manipulation techniques. I rest easy in knowing my biological clock isn’t tick-tocking loudly, scaring off potential mates. I have no longing desire to be a mother.  So, what then is it?

Too quickly, I find myself polling my male friends. Asking what I’m doing wrong and searching for clues in ambiguous texts and messages. I wonder if my snark is too much. If my quick retorts are too cutting. Not soft enough to be swallowed. I’m told I have an edge. An unapproachable air around me. A “No Bullshit Allowed” sign on my forehead. How do I change this? Do I want to change this? I look at my married friends. Full women who are themselves, always. Their husbands are accepting and engaging with every part of them. I begin to see them as the exception to the rule and I worry that I am too much of everything and not enough of the right thing. Not quite close enough.  I absorb the data and read the articles, each one making its case louder and louder in my head. I’m doing everything wrong and checking the wrong boxes. I am too loud, too ambitious, too sure of what I want. In order to rectify this, I have to smooth myself out and round my edges. Soften my laugh and purify my humor. Everyone’s message is loud and clear, “If you do it, he will come”.

Next year will be four years after.  I wonder what I will be. Will I be content in my solitude? A measured peace enveloping my entire being.  Will I stumble into a relationship? Two wholes somehow forming a We. Blending into each other, in bite-sized pieces, making it easy to consume. I try to force myself to stop thinking. Stop wondering. Just. Stop. I train my brain to shift gears and focus on textbooks for night classes and articles for newsletters. Anything but. And it works, for a while. But all too quickly, I am back on the metro, a couple before me. Him standing tall, hand grasping the pole, swaying to the pull of the subway car. Her, inches before him. Leaning in, ever so gently, countering his sway.

Starbuck’s Christmas Cups are a Metaphor for Everything That’s Wrong in the World

You know that guy you like at work? He always wears a crisp blue shirt and smells like the men’s department at Macy’s. Dreamy McDreamboat. You crush hard. Weaving his face into your dreams and your fantasies. Conning to sit next to him in staff meetings. Waiting to catch the elevator with him for the ride down to the parking garage. Then it happens. You both drink too much at happy hour. He flirts, you smile and the evening ends in a tangle of bedsheets. Now you’re sheepishly avoiding each other in the hallway at work. You can’t go back and undo what you’ve done, so now what?

Too much too soon. You desire something so much, for so long, that as soon as it’s available you gobble it down whole. Not even savoring the intricacies of it. Much like that batch of vegan, double chocolate donuts I baked, it’s done and over with before it was enjoyed.

It’s hard to slow yourself down though. When you’re left wanting, it’s natural to give in when the temptation stands before you. Ready and willing. I’m trying to slow myself down and savor the taste of the rainbow. But, dammit it’s hard. After a certain point, you get tired of waiting and you’re ready to skip ahead to the having. I would like to think that the next relationship I have can be a slow burn. A flicker of mutual like that slowly grows into a crackling fire of lust, and then becomes a sustaining flame of love. Something I wouldn’t worry about discarding with the changing of the seasons. Sometimes waiting makes it worth it. If it’s too quickly consumed then it loses its appeal. Something that anyone can have. My next relationship will not be the red Starbucks cups that come out before the Halloween candy has even been digested. It will not be the Christmas muzak that no one can stand a mere two weeks later. No, it will be the special edition, gold plated coffee mug that sits high on a shelf. Waiting to be picked up and given a home.

If You Write It, They Will Come

I’ve had a hard time focusing lately. Between commuting to DC for work, taking two grad school classes at night, and being your everyday, moderately social 30 year old single lady, I am exhausted. And a tired writer doesn’t write. Much like a hungry writer doesn’t write. Or a sleepy writer doesn’t write. This saying can easily be applied to just about anything. The problem it that I want to write. So many times snippets of character dialogue or random scenes pop into my head. I think about writing them down, but then I don’t. I’m never going to become a well-respected, self-published author at this rate.

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I have begun endless personal essays and satires on dating, being single, living alone, and having a vagina. Much to my amazement, none of them are even close to being finished! How does Stephen King write so much, so quickly? Maybe I should move back over to fiction for a while. Get out of my head a bit and get into someone else’s. Create a charming love story about a girl and guy who meet on a commuter train to the big city. She’s a pack rat. He’s an OCD freak. She loves sleeping in and bathing only twice a week. He flosses at work. Will true love prevail?

Book Cat

Or maybe I just need a push. I have plans to go speed dating with a coworker of mine. That should prove to be inspirational. Or, at the very least, hysterically depressing. It will definitely make for a good brunch story. Two hapless females wander into a dimly lit bar with bad house music playing in the background. Neither one of them has any idea of what awaits them. Both are looking for love, but only one will make it home alive. Oh, wait. I just crossed genres. Is this a self-deprecating personal essay or creepy short story? Blood, Guts, Gore, and Love?

louis-wain-cat-reading-book

Hot Off The Presses

New issue of Fetch Magazine!!! It’s hot off the presses. And by presses I mean my macbook pro. And by hot I mean the temperature of my laptop. And by….oh, never-mind. I’ve just finished the summer issue of Fetch magazine and if I do say so myself, it’s a good one. This is my own personal labor of love, that I do for shits and giggles. Well, mostly shits and giggles, but also because I enjoy writing and creating stuff.

FETCH_summer 2014

Fetch Cover Summer 2014

Who’s That Girl

When I go shopping,  I like to imagine that if the store was a person, what would she or he look like. As I wander up and down the aisles and look through the shelves and stacks of clothing, I try to get an image in my head of who this person is. What’s their favorite food? Where is their dream vacation spot? What’s the item of clothing they can’t live without? Do they speak another language and go traveling all over the world? Or do they prefer to sit at home and snuggle up with a blanket and book? This could either be the work of an overactive imagination or proof of my slow descent into madness. Either way, it’s something that I do and something that I would like to share with you guys.

Now, if I could draw, I would sketch out lovely images of women, surrounded by the items that they love. But, a talented artist I am not. Nope, not at all. But, where my natural talents fail me, I have polyvore to lift me up!

The Gap-

She’s in grad school, studying every second she can spare. When her nose isn’t buried in a book, she’s breathing in the fresh air and laughing at something her best friend just texted her. She walks too fast and falls deeply in love with all the wrong guys. Her nails are always chipped because she doesn’t have the patience to keep them up. She’d much rather be hanging with friends or studying with her classmates. Her part time job working at a non profit allows her the flexibility to still live her life while also earning money and making a difference. She’s earnest and headstrong. Easy going and well read.

gap girl

Anthropologie-

You know that girl who just looks like she speaks French, can wake up looking gorgeous, and throw together an amazing outfit in two minutes without even breaking a sweat? Yea, that’s her. She traveled during her gap year and took up random language classes as she traversed across Europe. While spending a summer in Paris, she befriended a designer, who used her as his muse  for his upcoming collection. Her boyfriend is a classically trained cellist and she likes to show up to his performances looking chic and mysterious. Her studio apartment is small and messily tidy. Stacks of magazines sit upon thrift store tables. Pillows and cushions are strewn on the floor, remnants of last night’s gathering of friends. Her refrigerator is covered with postcards from pals overseas and black and white snapshots of random days walking through the park.

anthro girl

 

H&M-

She can sing every lyric to Lana Del Ray’s Young and Beautiful and rap every line of Salt N Pepa’s Push It. She can spend hours on her hair and makeup, yet put together the perfect outfit in 10 minutes flat. Her future is wide open and before her. She is in love with life and makes no qualms letting you know it. Her days are long and her nights are even longer, but she bristles at being called a club girl. Her quick wit and easy charm makes her a favorite among the girls and guys. But she knows how to bite when backed in to a corner. Her lips are in a constant smirk, a telling sign of the quick witted quip to come.

H&M