It wasn’t that long ago. Maybe a couple of months. I was a little bit tipsy, which means I was feeling a little sexy. So, I texted him. Just to say hi and flirt. I knew it would be safe because I knew he wouldn’t try to get in my pants – mostly because his house is way out in the woods. And even if his phone did pick up the signal he wasn’t going to come all the way to town. Even if he thought he might get laid.
I don’t know what I said to him, but his answer was pretty brash: I have a girlfriend.
Well, okay. Good luck with that. And I deleted his number out of my phone.
It’s not like I’d seen him for months anyway. The last time I saw him he was on a date with another girl…at the restaurant where I work. And I had to keep walking past his table, trying not to make eye contact. Thank God I wasn’t his server.
He caught my eye a couple of times and smiled. Grinned at me in that knowing way that made my cheeks catch on fire and gave me the intense urge to look down just to be sure that I was still clothed.
Isn’t it funny that being around someone who knows what you look like naked makes you feel like everyone suddenly knows what you look like naked?
And even though he was never my boyfriend — just a tryst gone a little wrong — he’s seen so much more than me naked. He held me the day of my uncle’s funeral. Watched me cry. Saw the laughter behind my eyes that one only gets a glimpse of when I feel comfortable enough to feel like no one is looking. Heard me singing to myself. Felt my breath on his neck while we whispered in the dark to one another.
And when I told him that I wasn’t happy just being a tryst — that I wanted a significant other, not just a lover — he behaved so bizarrely. Even when I told him he had a good chance at being my man, if he wanted it. He just disappeared.
An extra measure of pain in the vulnerability.
Then having him smile at me while I worked… yeah.
So, his number is gone and I didn’t think I would ever see him again.
Over, right? No biggie.
And then I went to the theatre. And I saw him — of all things — trailing behind a friend of mine in that way that a boyfriend trails his girlfriend when he’s been persuaded to go to the theatre but doesn’t really want to be there.
So she’s the girlfriend.
And I feel naked again. But no one saw him look at me. My friend didn’t. No one else in the room can see that I remember what he smells like when he’s been sweating. Or that he likes to mumble a bit so that a person has to lean closer to hear him.
And he avoided looking at me again.
“Well, I hope they’re happy.”
But, of course, I can’t leave it at that. I was curious. I asked some of our mutual friends how long she had been seeing him. (I wondered if she really was the girlfriend he mentioned or if she’s a newer incarnation of that position.) I got a very odd responses. Both of the people I asked were a bit confused. Confused because I had his name wrong. His name wasn’t Evan. His name is Eddie.
“Huh? I swear that’s him. Evan Romano, right?”
“Nope, Eddie Ramirez.”
Did something small just explode? And was it someplace in my head?
I saw both of them again a week later, Evan…er, Eddie and my friend, and I am just baffled at what I could or should possibly do next. I mean what are the options? Tell my friend? Confront him about it? I can’t call or text him, cause I deleted his number.
Maybe when I saw the two of them I should have introduced myself and seen what he did. Maybe it isn’t him. Maybe I should ask if he has a big surgical scar on his thigh and see how guilty he reacts.
That makes me laugh to think about. Like an awkward scene in a movie.
In a movie — right? Not in real life. It’s unreal.
Maybe I imagined it all. What was his name again?
Main Entry: puppy love
Definition: transitory love or affection felt by a child or adolescent
Since 1823 this phrase has been used to dismiss many attractions. I’ve used it myself. But I really wonder how the term gained its definition. If you think about it, it doesn’t make too much sense.
On the average day, as I wander around my apartment my puppy, Snicker, wanders around behind me. At the very least she watches me. She absolutely dotes on me.
She’s follows me from room to room, up and down the stairs repeatedly. When I sit on the couch, she jumps up onto the couch. When I go to the bathroom she follows me and waits outside the door until I’m done. She’s even lying on the floor next to me at this very moment with her head on my foot.
Yeah I know it’s a bit much. But, my point is, she is cheerfully, energetically, and undyingly devoted to me.
The more I think about it the more I don’t think the term puppy love should be associated with transitory, immature or silly love. If anything it should be associated with loyal, endless, cheerful love.
Now I don’t want a fella following me to the bathroom, but I think we could all use some puppy love (especially from the people we love).
I know I needed the puppy love today and I wish you all get some puppy love this Valentine’s Day.
Obviously something is going on. I try to get it out by talking to friends, meditating a bit and now writing (I probably should have tried writing sooner, but you can’t sit down to write while you’re slinging seafood).
I’m freaking out a little bit. My brain keeps circling one topic — the way water circles a drain — and it won’t stop. I’ve looked at it from a multitude of angles and thought of as many solutions as I can, but my brain just won’t put the stupid thing down. Why can’t I concentrate on anything else?
Something that won’t make me anxious…something that will allow me to fall asleep…something that doesn’t make me clench my teeth?
And, maybe the worst part of all this: it isn’t an unfamiliar feeling.
I get like this sometimes. If you have read my blog for a couple of years you may remember a few posts about it from the past.I don’t know what causes the feeling. In the past I usually blamed the “high stress” situations at my job. But really, were they that stressful?
And if it was stress, why am I stressing out so much about this one thing?
Okay, it is about work. And money. And it involves my biggest client at the moment. So there’s that.
I don’t want to think about this so much in a negative way and turn it into something worse than it is because of all the concentrated negative energy — BLAST IT! And the next meeting isn’t until Monday afternoon. If I am thinking about this, like this for the next three days I may just go insane.
Please, God, take this out of my brain. Give me a sweeter drain to circle. Like the class I’m taking to creating love in my life. Or the writing class I’m going to be teaching in March. Or getting my apartment clean. Or even just work while I’m there for the next two days. Something I can actually do something about…sheesh.
A couple of months ago it occurred to me that every now and then I have a few really awful days and then I’ll get my period and think, “Oh, maybe it was just PMS.” And I realized that during the awful days it almost never occurs to me that it might just be PMS. So I resolved to remember that and see if realizing that it might be a common female occurrence could help a little bit.
Well, I remembered. And I really do hope this is just PMS (so that I can feel better without much effort in a few days). But, sadly, realizing it might be PMS doesn’t really help at the moment.
So, I’m sure I’ll miss something and I’m pretty sure that I’ll get something out of order too, but 2011 was a pretty big damn year for me. There were some big events, some great events, some awful events and…well a lot of important ones.
So, here are the ones I can think of off the top of my head:
525,600 Minutes on Stage
This year I got a chance to hit all of the high notes in Rent for an actual audience. Okay, so I didn’t get the part I should have and that is my fault — at least in part. I should have made them listen to me sing “Take Me or Leave Me” at call backs, because I’m amazing and I should have been Mimi. But since when is local theatre in Rapid City even close to perfect?
It was a pretty emotional situation for me too for a lot of reasons. Of course being in the chorus again created a lot of emotions. Also, my best friend and all of her sisters were in the show — which was amazing in one sense, but in another I felt like a big outsider in one of my very important relationships.
But I also got to perform at my high school again and sing some very important music that has a lot to do with the person I have become. So I have to be grateful for it.
The Jewel of Minnesota
Near the beginning of the year I got to visit one of my best friends in Minneapolis. Seeing the city and seeing her at the same time (along with my bestie Dee) was amazing in so many ways for so many reasons. I just wish we hadn’t wasted so much time looking at the U of M campus. Boo.
I love you Jewels and I miss you even though I got to see you just a week ago!
Said the ‘C’ Word in Public
That’s right. And I talked about vaginas and I wore red and I met a lot of lovely ladies. while helping a great cause. And I think I got the part because of my aunt Sylvia. Copying her accent got me into the show. Love and miss you aunt Syl.
I also have to say, I love reader’s theatre. It’s so great to be able to put on an awesome play in just a month! I also got to meet my Toms that night and they have been a wonderful addition to my life this year.
Grad School Fail
That’s right, I didn’t get into grad school. And, strangely enough, I didn’t really mind. I still might try to go again, but I’m confident that it doesn’t matter if I ever get in. Although I was newly energized to get out of my job that was sucking my life out through the eyeballs on a daily basis. Do you know how much it sucks to know that you’re doing a bad job every day? I do, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
So, I didn’t get into grad school. But I did get a new dream almost immediately — like the same night I read the last rejection letter. Several really. And I haven’t been able to fully realize them, but I have taken steps toward them and it feels pretty amazing. I’m free. I’m empowered. I’m newly committed to daydreaming. It’s one of the most useful things I’ve ever done.
My Name is Crystal, I’ll Be Your Server Today
That’s right. I started waiting tables again. I went to college and graduated with straight…eh, Bs, and worked in my field for six and a half years just so that I could be a server again. Ain’t life a bitch?
Well it is and it isn’t.
I started waiting tables for extra money to pay off debt and save up for that whole dream thing. And it went pretty well once I got over the fact that the last time I waited tables was when I had dropped out of college for a semester. It’s funny, I looked back on waiting tables as motivation to get through college (so that I would never have to wait tables again) and now, in a sense, I’m back where I started.
This time though, I like it a lot better and I am much better at it
I also lost 20 pounds in the first few months. I’m sort of getting paid to work out, eh?
I Paid the Piper
Waiting tables worked. I was able to pay off my most significant credit card debt, incorporate my business and save up a few thousand dollars of capital as well as a few months of living expenses. And honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to even pay off one credit card waiting tables for six months.
While working both jobs my apartment became incredibly messy and several of my friendships suffered. I’m rebuilding all of that now. But because it was for a short time I do feel it was a worthy sacrifice. But I miss those friends and my poor blog died a little. Here’s to new life in the New Year!
That’s right, I quit, my regular, stable, soul-sucking job. And it might be the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. (Only time will tell, I suppose.) So far I’m making more money and working less often — at least it feels like it because when I work I get to do it in my pajamas if I want.
Let’s get Started
You may have figured out from the previous bits that I started my own business. Well I did and it’s going great. I love it. Most of it. And it has been a great first step toward one of those dreams –as well as the full realization of my dream to quit that job. Hooray!
We’ll have to see how the next steps work out.
After I quit my job, one of the first things I did was teach a writing class for community education. Two in fact.
The first one was a blogging for business class. And it went pretty well. I liked my students and I learned a lot about teaching. The second class was about memoir writing and the personal essay and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life so far. My students were amazing and I know we all learned a lot.
In fact, it looks like we may try to get together for sessions in the coming year and I am stoked. I just have to find a place.
Yeah, not exactly a high note to leave on for the year, but it is very significant. The day before Thanksgiving my mom’s mother — the only grandparent I remember — Catherine Bennett, left us all behind. She was the oldest child and daughter of the oldest child and daughter in her family. Just like my mother. Just like me.
I’m crying about it again right now as I type this. All I can say is LOVE.
Luckily, I was able to spend about a week with her before she left. And every time anyone calls me (or anyone else) “honey,” I will think of her. And probably cry a little.
In the last few weeks of the year I have been doing a lot of work for my business (ironically the contracts have been with my former employer) and I have already made back the majority of my initial investment. The work has been fun. Writing, photography, page design and advertising.
I also have plans for new projects in the new year. I’m still waiting tables on the weekends, and I probably will be for quite a while. But I do enjoy it — as long as I only have to do it for a few days each week.
My counsellor asked me on Wednesday what I want 2012 to look like and I’m not completely sure yet. I want my business to continue in the direction it has taken in these first few months and I want to create something with it that will make this a better place to live.
And I still want love. And maybe an apartment where my puppy can live.
Oh, there’s more, but I will write about it for all of you (and for myself) very soon. Happy New Year (and New Year’s Eve) toall of you. Please feel free to share your most significant momentws from 2011. I’d love to know all about it.
Cathy greets me with sideways smiles, knowing glances and a gravelly but kind voice every time I go into the newspaper office. Her no-nonsense manner and wise eyes staring up at me through the bangs in her dark gray, shoulder-length page-boy touch something real in me that I feel like we share..
“How is your grandma doing?” Cathy asked from behind the desk as I was signing in.
“Well, actually, she died the day before Thanksgiving,” I said.
“So she’s all better then,” Cathy said. And then that smile started to spread across her face.
“That’s right,” I said, starting to smile (and tear up) myself. “She’s all better know.”
“So, how are you doing?” My co-worker asked this morning.*
“Fine?” I said with a quizzical tone.
“Last week,” she said.
Oh, that’s what she meant. “Oh, yeah. I’m good,” I said.
Okay, I guess a little self-reflection is in order.
How do I feel?
The truth is, I’ve been running so far and so fast over the last few weeks that I haven’t spent much time thinking about it all. I’ve mostly been feeling relieved when I take a moment to think about it. But the truth is today (yesterday really — but today too) I have a lot of different emotions swirling around as I embark on my last week here at the Journal.
I’m anxious, relieved, excited, nervous and…annoyed. Yeah, annoyed. In fact, I might be mostly annoyed.
I’m realizing that I haven’t done much to let go of this place. And I have a few control issues that are popping up again. The sad and simple truth for my poor ego is that the Rapid City Journal will continue to go on without me — and it’s driving me a little batty. Meetings happening without me, other people getting trained to do new things and me being phased out slowly.
It kinda hurts. And it’s definitely annoys me.
I thought I was pretty integral here. Important. Needed. Yeah, the truth is, they are going to be just fine without me.
I’m also a little anxious. Part of that is the fact that I have more work to do than I can accomplish in a regular week. I mean, even though they are going to do fine without me, I don’t want to leave them in the lurch in the short term. I think that’s where most of the anxiety is coming from. (Although I think some if it is because I have had to take Sudafed all week to combat my allergies and that stuff makes me jittery.)
Of course there is also a bit of fear that I won’t be able to make it out there on my own. And I do vacillate between wondering how I will ever make enough money to support myself and thinking that there are so many business out there who can use (and need) my services that there is no way on earth that I will ever be able to get to them all.
Overall, I do think I’ll be fine in that vein. But I am trying not to think about it too much because I know how my brain works and it will try to think of a solution even though there is nothing to do but wait and see.
I’m also sad. I’ve had a few crying fits and they really do surprise me. I mean, I’ve hated so many things about my job for so long that I’m surprised that I’m sad at all. But I will definitely miss the people. So yeah, I’m sad.
And I’m back full-circle again feeling relieved. Every time something annoying happens I’m reminded that after Friday I won’t have to deal with it again. I keep feeling free. I keep thinking things like, “I can go to the gym in the middle of the day and then go back to work all sweaty if I want!”
I can watch TV while I work if I want. I can stop for 20 minutes to do the dishes if I want. I can work at 10 p.m. if I want.
Yeah, I’m excited. And then I’m scared again. And then excited. And then sad. And then excited.
I think this is gonna work out after all.
Here’s hoping my new boss and my new company are even better than this one. (Okay, maybe the boss won’t be — especially at first — but the company certainly has promise.)
* I started writing this yesterday Monday, but wasn’t able to finish until today.