Tag Archives: girls

Back in the Summer of ’04…wait, that’s not how that song goes…

22 Jun

Ahhh, summer. Now that the hottest season is upon us, it seems like an opportune time to share with you a story of summers past. It was 2004. Rachel and I were both home from college and were both working part-time summer jobs. Well, I was actually working more than full-time because I somehow found myself with three jobs that summer (one on weekdays and two that occupied my weeknights and weekends). Now, that might sound completely horrible and like no fun at all, but, honestly, that summer was magical. My jobs were fun and had excellent perks (like free movies and free ice cream), I got to work with my friends, and then there were the Lawn Boys. Yes, Lawn Boys. I’ve decided to capitalize them.

My neighborhood at the time had a community pool and tennis courts and a landscaping crew who mowed and tended to all the common areas. They came every Wednesday over the summer, which happened to be my day off from my day job. There were two or three Lawn Boys that came each week who were in their early to mid-twenties and were super hot. SUPER hot. Ten years later, I distinctly remember one boy who was tall, muscular, tan and super blonde from being out in the sun all the time and another who had dark hair and, I assume, mysterious eyes who always wore the same hat and seemed a little “alternative”. Swoon. All the Wednesdays that summer were glorious.

Twenty year old girls are silly. No, I should amend that: most girls are silly when it comes to someone they have crush on. Rachel and I were enamored with the Lawn Boys. Every Wednesday, we’d head to the pool to soak up some sun and to attempt to stare inconspicuously at the Lawn Boys. I’m sure we failed. They knew we were watching them. We’d strut around in our bikinis, splash around in the water, and put sunscreen on each other’s backs. Alia came with us sometimes, but I think she was just in it for the pool.

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Our version of swimming. You can see the Lawn Boys’ truck in the background. We probably did that on purpose.

 

Sometimes we’d play tennis, which consisted of us running around the tennis courts with racquets and attempting to hit balls back and forth. Neither of us actually knew how to play tennis. I’d taken lessons once but didn’t show any promise at the sport and quit. We were usually wearing flip flops. Word to the wise: flip flops and bikinis are not good tennis attire. We’d laugh a little too loudly and toss our hair, doing whatever we could to get the Lawn Boys to glance our way.

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Totally awesome at tennis.

You’re probably wondering: did we ever talk to them? No. Nothing ever came of our obvious attempts at flirtation. One day, when I was feeling especially bold, I decided to wash my car after Rachel had to leave for the day. Still in my bathing suit, I unraveled the hose and dragged it out to my car in the driveway, along with a bucket and a sponge, and began washing. Slowly. I drew it out until one of them finally walked by. He smiled and said “hi” and I said “hi” back and that was the end of it. After all that, a whole summer of staring and giggling and walking around half naked, all I could muster was “hi”. But, for me at that time, it was enough. I’m sure I was giddy for the rest of the day and I probably called Rachel IMMEDIATELY to tell her all about it.

Oh, to be young again, to have silly crushes and feel super confident in a bikini. Those were the days. Maybe I should start trolling for some new Lawn Boys this summer…

Song of the Day: The Boys of Summer by The Ataris (I know for a fact that we listened to this song on repeat that whole summer, most likely cruising around in my super awesome 1995 Ford Taurus with all the windows down, singing at the top of our lungs).

 

 

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Farewell to my 20s: a Thank You and a Fuck You

7 May

In a month, I will be leaving my twenties and turning 30. While this transition is difficult for many, I find it challenging because fortunately I look like I’m in my early twenties and get carded even when I am out with my parents. This, however blessed it is, comes with a curse of never quite believing I’m the age I am because I am treated so much younger. I feel like when I have children, people will think I’m the babysitter. Which is GREAT don’t get me wrong but it’s hard to accept entering a new decade when the majority of humans who encounter me think I am just entering one that was 10 years ago. God, that hurts to say out loud.

I am bittersweet about leaving behind my twenties. It was a time of growth and discovering myself as it is for most people. I feel like I came into my own in my twenties but without some deep, hard struggles that I still don’t know how I managed to get in and also managed to get out of. So I thought I would write a love note but in two parts: A Fuck You and a Thank You.

Fuck you to the impulsiveness of my twenties. The kind of fake confidence and I know everything demeanor that led me to moving to New York City with no money, no job, and living with a very odd stranger in a tiny ass apartment where I could barely fit a twin size bed. The arrogance I gathered in my career where things were coming to me easily and I felt I didn’t have to work hard. Fuck you to that 22 year old girl who didn’t work hard and learn all she could about the business when she first started. I hate her because now I am still learning things I should have known 9 years ago!

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Fuck you to the need for going out and partying. I can blame New York City for this but in line with the poor decision to slack off in my career, I felt going out and getting attention of boys was more important than sleep and saving money. After work at Tarzan, that’s what we did. We went to bars and spent money we didn’t have. I made 8 bucks an hour and went out every night and took cabs and had rent to pay and food to buy. Did I care? No. Because I was young and ‘enjoying’ myself and god forbid I was a single girl without a boy on the roster somewhere. Being social was more important that getting up for auditions though I have to say being 22 and drinking a lot magically led to zero hangovers so I actually did audition in spite of it most of the time…we can add that to the thank you portion.

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Fuck you to all the boys I knew didn’t like me how I liked them but I hung with sloth-like claws dug in deep. Fuck you to the boy who dumped me in the rain on a corner on the lower east side, to the boy who dated me and another waitress at the restaurant we worked in AT THE SAME TIME and me ACTING LIKE IT WAS FINE, to the one night stand I saw many times after that night who pretended he had NEVER MET ME, to the boy who wanted me to be like a porn star and was disappointed I didn’t measure up to that status, to the Joel McHale type hottie who just stopped answering his phone instead of properly ending it (I did throw up on him however…), to any boy I met a bar who I spent all my attention on instead of enjoying my actual friends and who probably ended up hurting me inevitably or going home with another chick at the bar who didn’t try as hard.

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And I say fuck you to myself for not growing with each of these boys and instead stayed stagnant and a total nut job. But to this I add a big, huge FUCK YOU to myself and the boy who I hung onto and led me to my Dark Time. I hate that I did that to myself, to my family, to my friends, to everyone. I needed it to grow but fuck you for hanging on, twenties Rachel, and not listening when the boy said go away and continuing to make the same mistakes with different boys throughout the next decade.

Fuck you to not saving money, not finding a good stable job, not focusing more energy on my career, not eating right, not exercising, not using anti aging cream. For drinking too much and smoking and living with strangers who stole my trash cans and toothbrushes and ate my food and broke my dishes. Fuck you, twenties, for letting me do all this shit to myself.

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Thank you, twenties, for letting me do all this shit for myself. Thank you for the boys who broke my heart and destroyed me because it led me to my future husband who I knew was right for me for many reasons but because he looked at the pieces of me and listened to my horror stories and smiled and kissed me and didn’t judge me or call me crazy or hate me for my experiences. And I didn’t have to be crazy with him…ever. So thank you, twenties, for showing me that the right man led to keeping the crazy in the box.

Thank you, twenties, for no hangovers, no wrinkles, no sore muscles, white teeth, shiny hair, the ability to go through an entire day without coffee on four hours sleep. I will miss all those things dearly. Thank you for helping me find me and realize I need to focus and work hard, save money, and create stability in my life to achieve my goals and live my dreams.

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Thank you, twenties, for all the fun I had. Though I said fuck you, I also say thanks because some of those nights I have never felt more alive. Thank you for screaming on rooftops, Broadway opening nights, walks home barefoot from the subway, peeing in bushes, giggling uncontrollably, having first kisses on fire escapes, theme parties, beer pong victories, sunrises and sunsets, fireworks, sun bathing in the grass, wandering aimlessly in the city streets, backstage concerts, snowfalls and heat waves, heartbreaks and heartwarmers.

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Thank you, twenties, most of all,  for showing me the value of friendship and family. When you move away from home, after college or before, you finally realize how beautiful home was and how much you need and miss your family and friends. I fell deeper in love with Vermont in my twenties and with my friends and family. When people grow up and move away, you realize how important it is to stay in touch any way you can if you want to keep them in your life. I learned who was only a phone call away at 3am.

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I will miss you, twenties, but I won’t forget you. You have been my favorite decade so far. Let’s see how thirties holds up against you. Maybe I will finally understand why my parents loved that show ‘thirtysomething’ so much…

 

Sidenote: Speaking of television shows, it’s weird to start being the age as the characters I watch now. Back when I loved Friends and Will & Grace, I don’t think I understood some of the jokes as well as I do now watching reruns. SO weird. I miss relating to Corey and Topanga when they weren’t doing a new show as PARENTS!! Mind blown.

Will You Go To The Dance With Me?

4 Sep

There’s a cold sweat running down your neck as you see him turn the corner. Every other body in the hall turns into a blur and you see only him, casually strolling towards you. He doesn’t see you yet. You have time to unstick your dry tongue from the roof of your mouth and form the words you’ve been practicing in front of your dog. You know he wants to go with you. He has to feel what you feel. You will walk in together and a slow song will start playing and as you’re holding each other close, he will whisper he loves you and how perfect this moment is. He will pull back and look into your eyes and finally, slowly, give you that kiss you’ve dreamed about 800,000 times.

As I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer last night, she has a line early on about how her life has drastically changed since becoming a slayer and her biggest problem used to be decorating the high school dance. While I am not the Chosen One and destined to slay vamps, I long for the days where asking a boy to dance was the be all, end all of my universe. In those moments, I never thought I’d want them back, but here I am wishing for them and now, writing about them. What I would give to walk down those halls thinking about nothing but “When will he ask me?” “How do I ask him?” “Why don’t I have bigger boobs for this crucial moment!!!!!??”

In middle school, we had dances called Sock Hops. We had them once a month, I think, and they could only happen if we got enough chaperones which meant we usually had to beg our parents to come and stand around watching us deal with our early teenage emotions on a Friday night with disco lights and 90’s music.  At these Sock Hops, the goal was to dance with the person you liked. Your friends would all stand around you and the guy or girl’s friends would be around them and you’d both be in deep discussion in your huddle, awaiting a slow song to come on so you could go ask or be asked. The prized possession was “Stairway to Heaven.” It was the longest song the dance would play and if you got asked to dance during that, it was clear the object of your affection like you back. I had a massive crush on this boy, DH. Such a crush. All I wanted was him to ask me to dance during “Stairway…” It was my dream.

One Sock Hop, my friends had arranged it so he knew I wanted him to ask me. I mean, I didn’t hide my crush well, I am certain he knew the entire few years I doted on him. But it happened. I kept glancing at him, he kept glancing at me. Everyone was involved in this happening. My heart was beating faster every time the song would change. It was awkward and extremely long. I mean, it’s a really long song. Every one of our friends were watching and giggling and whispering. It was kind of a surreal experience. He was warm against me and I could hear him breathing in my ear. His hands were loosely around my hips. I kept wishing them to tighten so I could feel him holding me more. I worried if we kissed would his braces cut my lips? I was ahead of myself. We didn’t talk, we just danced.  At the end, we just sort of pulled apart and that was it. I don’t remember saying anything or him saying “Thank you.” I went back to my group of giggly girls and he went to his guys. I could still smell his cheap teenage boy Tommy cologne on my clothes.

In high school, we had more structured dances with actual dates. We had a Winter Ball and a prom. I had a crush on a boy who I have written about before but let’s just call him Charming for now. I loved Charming in a jump back onto the Titanic Leo loves Kate way. I would have done anything for this boy. Charming knew I existed, in fact was one of my close friends. But he never quite figured out how I felt until the Winter Ball one year.

The Winter Ball was, in my opinion, better than prom. You went out to dinner with a group of your choosing at a restaurant of your choosing before and then headed to the dance. More than anything, I thought this was the most perfect opportunity to confess my deep love for Charming and he would realize he felt the same. We were in between classes in the hallway. I stopped him and asked him, point blank, if he would go with me. The conversation went like this.

After I asked if he would go to the ball with me:

Charming: Oh. Really? Um. We’re just friends. (and he laughed like this was the most absurd thing I could ever say)

Me: Right….but I think we’d have fun…and um…

Charming: Well, I really want to ask Laura. I kind of like her. Do you think she’ll go with me?

Me: Oh. I don’t know. Probably. Ok. (and I legit turned and ran down the hallway)

At this Winter Ball, I was going with a very good friend and we had a total blast but seeing Charming with this girl, Laura, was devastating. Then he saw me and his face changed entirely. A wave of shock came over it and then it lit up. He came up to me at one point (my insides burst into flame thinking he’d ask me to dance. He didn’t). He touched my arm and said “You know, I should have gone with you. I’m kind of bored.” My heart stopped. I’m pretty sure it stopped entirely. I think I laughed and said something that I hope was witty but it warmed every inch of me.  “You look so different. You look really pretty.” I died and came back to life in that moment. It gave me hope that someday he would love me like I loved him. That deep down he knew we were soul mates and destined to be married and live happily ever after. I did look good that year, too…just want to add that in.

This wasn’t the year but I also looked good this year. We all did.

Why was this so important? I can’t wrap my mind about what I was going through at that time. It seriously was all I thought about. I had nightmares around the time the dances were about to happen. All my prettier girlfriends were having their crushes and boyfriends asking them. My crushes never asked me. Don’t worry, I had the best dates on the planet to these dances. Many of them were boys who liked me and I was too busy crushing on others to realize.  I remember how utterly destroyed I was when it didn’t work out. I was a brave girl. I always took it upon myself to ask. I even asked a senior to a dance once! They always answered that we were ‘just friends’ or that they liked Bethany or Alia. That seemed to happen a lot. Damn blonde best friends.

It was silly to hate on myself and let it consume me but at the same time, I am so glad it did. I can still feel the butterflies in my stomach flapping around when I would face the boy and ask him. I mean, how fucking brave was I? That’s kind of insane I did that. I still did that when I was dating, actually. I guess I’m a forward lady and I had to have learned it from these dances. It makes me want to write a letter to teenage girls out there and let them know that this deep pain they are feeling is nothing yet. It may take over your life for a few weeks a year but when you are older, you are so grateful you had that tingling sensation up your spine. I wish life were still that easy and I only had to worry about who I was going with to the dance.  To me, having that boy coming over to ask you to dance was the greatest feeling in the world. It still is.

The Road (A Random Entry)

5 Jul

I haven’t written in a bit. I have a list of stories to write about and some drafts started but then I found this. I had written it a few years ago as a release of some sort. It wasn’t about any event or person in particular. I think it was after my tour, when I had just come back from experiencing the desert. It was just a short story about a girl and the road.

And there it was. The bluest sky she had ever seen. The emptiest place she had ever been. The loneliest feeling she had ever known. She paused, foot pressed lightly against the brake. Her hands gripped the steering wheel. She could feel the cool leather under her burning fingertips. She took a breath and felt the burn of the desert air in her throat. She closed her eyes and everything flashed before her against the dark lids. Flashes of color like when you press your hands hard against your eyes. Bursts like fireworks. They formed into visions and scenes from the past few days.

She saw him. She felt him. She closed them tighter, trying to squeeze him out but instead it only intensified the image. She heard the words, felt the slap. She saw herself making the realization. Then packing. Then slamming the door. She smiled at herself remembering she hadn’t even taken a moment to look back and survey the carnage.

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Now she opened her eyes slowly. She was still sitting in her car on the road. The empty road that lead to nowhere. A surge of emotion hit her. She had never been alone in her entire life. This was the moment people talk about when they leave their lives behind. The epitome they have when they realize they only have themselves. Where you know you don’t ever really know anybody. You can never trust anyone. Where you realize your heart is yours again. And she screamed.

She screamed so loud she thought he would hear her from five states away. Part of her wanted him to. To hear her cry of anguish and pain and victory and freedom and come running to save her. To be the man he was. The man she wanted. Then she stopped. Her mouth hanging open, gasping for breath, she lay her forehead against the wheel. She felt the sobs coming. She gasped and panted and moaned. She hit the wheel with her palms and kept on yelling. The curses flew. She felt her stomach twist and turn. She let the sobs keep coming. How did she get here? She had to go back. She would just hit reverse and turn around and knock on their door and beg forgiveness. After all, it was her fault.

She was too difficult. She asked too many questions. She was insecure and she let that get in her way of letting him love her. Letting him in and letting him protect her. She should have trusted him more. Let him hold her more. Listened when he told her she was acting crazy. She shouldn’t have bothered him so much. Pushed him away.

                Wait.

“What the fuck?” She sat up. She opened her mouth again but this time laughter came out. And it filled her entire body. She let it shake her and control her. For once, her smile felt good, natural. Not forced. She laughed. How the fuck could she think it was her fault? Was this a moment of madness? She was so clear when she ran. She knew she had to leave to get rid of the rock that was turning into a mountain that had taken residence in her stomach. The mountain that wouldn’t let her sleep or eat for days at a time. The mountain that looked like a face that she woke up to every morning, watched every day, fell asleep to every night. A face she questioned constantly and even when rewarded with an answer, it was never satisfying. It was never the truth. So she laughed.

“God, what a fucking idiot.” She was speaking of herself. Then she laughed that she was talking to herself. “This is what happens when you leave everyone behind. I am my own best friend.” Not bad company, she thought. Then she stopped for a moment. She had forgotten that she was great. She had forgotten who she was without him. She didn’t even know who she was anymore.

 She stared back at the road. Perhaps this was a beginning of a new friendship. She stared at the hard blacktop and realized this was the first moment since she had driven away that she had thought of anything. She had gotten in the car and gone. Just drove to nowhere. She took random exits, following the signs that said west. And here she was in the desert. She always read and heard about people finding themselves in the west. Isn’t that where everyone went in books and movies? The wicked witch found her place there…and her death…not the best example. Of course her pigment was a natural peach and she had no desire for ruby red slippers (although that would be an improvement to her current wardrobe). She looked down at herself and laughed at the fact she was wearing sweatpants and her ratty Zeppelin shirt. She had been wearing this outfit for four days straight. She didn’t even dare look in the mirror but she felt the wind in her hair and half imagined it filled it with sand and grit, making her filthy and caked with grime. She liked the feeling.

                The road still stared back. Then it spoke to her.

“I am open, endless, free. I am your answer. I am everyone’s answer. I am unforgiving. I am mysterious. I am a liar and sometimes a cheat. I give time and I take time. But I will never let you down. I will only lead you onward. That is a promise.”

I am talking to a road, she thought. Great. However she found the road had more personality than those she had left behind. She glanced at the passenger seat and saw her phone blinking again. 14 messages. She assumed they were from him. Of course, they could be from the girls she was supposed to be having dinner with the previous night. Or her boss. Probably her boss. She should have called. No, she shouldn’t have. That wouldn’t be leaving the way she wanted.

She wished for a destination. She always heard New York City was where people went to follow dreams and when they were homeless and alone. But she wanted sun. She wanted California. That name just seemed magical to her. Perhaps her passion for the 60’s drew her there. She grabbed one of her duffel bags and pulled out her CD holder. She flipped through until she found the Beatles. She placed the CD into the slot and turned it up. Then she took her foot off the brake. The car began to roll slightly. She pressed it back down heavily, yanked the car into park, and cranked the dial again. She opened the door, jumped out and stood there on her friend, the road. She felt the heat of the sun and lifted her arms up as if offering herself to the sky. And she screamed again. Not in panic or pain but in pure victory. And then she danced. She felt the song and it made her chest ache with memories and pleasure. She danced in circles. Pounding the pavement, doing pinwheels, laughing and singing. She pretended she was the girl they were singing about. She was the face he had just seen and she was the girl like no other. And maybe she was. The chords faded out and the next song came on.

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“Nothing’s gonna change my world,” she whispered. She laughed. She was destroying her world and actually living in someone’s else. Or everyone else’s. The big world. She had left her bubble and taken her broomstick and flown west. And now she was here, standing in the desert, dancing to the Beatles.

It’s funny to take yourself back years ago. Mostly you go back to your childhood or another time when you were stressed and freaked out over something small and think “Shit, who would have thought I would be lead here in this moment?” You have plans for yourself but rarely that is what actually happens. Usually it’s a different version of the play you write for yourself. And here she was, starring in the epic journey of another brokenhearted dreamer.

She got back in the car and a new song began. Hard guitar, angry vocals, perfect. She shut the door, pressed the brake, and put the car back in drive. She took a breath. A real deep breath and let it fill her whole body with the dirt from the air and the sun from the sky. Her skin tingled with the heat. She stared back at the road and thought, “Ok, here we are, you told me the truth and now I expect you to keep your promise. You lead.” She took her foot off the brake and began to drive. Still, even with her eyes open, she could still see his mouth. The mouth she longed to kiss and could still imagine how it tasted. She licked her lips and tried to erase the salty cigarette taste she remembered. Maybe she could keep that one memory…just that one…

                She let the road lead on….