Longest Blogging Break Ever

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Yearly blogging break does not mean take a year off of blogging does it? Oops…

I know, I know. Blogging 101 says that you should be consistent. That a successful blog should at least write once a week. I was doing ok for a while, but then I wasn’t. It has been a weird year, a year where I questioned a lot of stuff in my life. Like what direction I was headed as a writer, or whatever you want to call me. The most annoying thing about myself is my tendency to beat myself up and second-guess every decision. I could make a career out of doing that, an official second-guesser. Is that a thing?  Well, it should be because I would be awesome and get lots of awards from the award giving people.

Anyways…

I started this blog as a therapeutic way to rehash some of my most awkward moments. I am still awkward as hell. It is one thing that hasn’t changed even though I am vastly approaching my third decade on this planet. I always thought my awkwardness would fade when I became an official adult.  All this adulting has done nothing for my unbearably awkward syndrome (its a condition, look it up).

Just the other day, I fell near the entrance of a local grocery store. Who falls trying to complete a simple task like grabbing a shopping cart? Me. That’s who. Did I mention it was in front of several people? One of which was a tiny older woman, who squealed when I flew backwards. Her yelp created an even larger audience to see the aftermath of my fight with Gravity. What a b word. Gravity, not the little old lady.

I don’t even know if I have an audience on this blog anymore.  I have possible lost the five or so followers I had.  Who cares. Its nice to be back.

When the “love of your life” is just the worst…

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mostly because he is an a**hole.

Everything was changing.  It was like my body was a stranger that I had to awkwardly face every day.  When did I get boobs?  They seemingly grew overnight from an A cup to a C.  My thighs went from stick thin to curvy; I had to abandon my favorite pair of jeans after that.  The only thing that seemed to stick was the pudginess around my stomach that my Mom lovingly called “baby fat.”  She would constantly remind me that I would be stuck with that fat for a while.  It was part of a “Thomas Women” curse.   Apparently all of my changes were similar to my mother’s side.  “We are just built that way,” my mother pointed out. It seemed so unfair that some girls were lucky enough to have those boyish thin figures while my body couldn’t decide what it had.  I wasn’t classically curvy, not plus size, but not thin. I was completely average and at the time I thought it was the worst thing I could be.

 By the time I reached eighth grade I had gotten used to my chest size, my thighs, and my “baby fat.”  At that point, being invisible had its perks.  There was a still a small part of me that wanted every boy to notice me like they did Denise Dalton*.  The queen bee, who at one point a long time ago (We’re talking 5th grade), was my best friend.   Puberty had done her way too many favors, which apparently left the rest of the girls in my grade with nothing. There were girls who were even more awkward then I was (which is saying a hell of a lot.) Their bodies had betrayed them way worse than mine ever could. These girls would get noticed by boys too, but were ridiculed for their “imperfections.” I thought myself lucky, that I was practically invisible to that kind of public shaming.

 It was almost Spring of my eighth grade year and I was in a good place.  I had stop being so boy crazy due to recent events that proved that I was not equipped to handle a boyfriend.  Sure, I still had crushes.  My hormones proved to be stronger then my brain in these cases. Jack* had, of course, broken up with my good friend Jenny* and had moved on to several other girls.  His latest victim was Janet*, a newer classmate who had become an acquaintance to my small group of friends.  He had broken her heart and she was less than thrilled with it.

 Over their two-week courtship, Jack had done a lot of talking.  Spilling secrets to her about his previous girlfriends.  Janet in an act of revenge, held nothing back, telling every girl how Jack felt about her.  How April*, his first girlfriend, was a stuck up prude.  Or even how much Breanna Morris* wasn’t. They were all reasons why he eventually broke up with them.  Sometimes even for ridiculous reasons like, Kayla’s (the curvy seventh grader) hairy man arms.  The insults didn’t stop at just his girlfriends. He even went into reasons why he didn’t date certain girls.  Starting with his number one fan, me.

 It was bad news, when Janet came strolling by my table at lunch.  The look of concern had taken over her usual smile, like she was going to tell me that my dog had died. She sat down, unraveling a story that would change me forever.  She started with the fact that she thought I was one of prettiest and nicest girls at this school.  (I was one of the first to talk to her when she moved mid school year.) One day she had asked Jack why he had never went out with me, she of course, hearing the rumor that I was deeply in love with him. He replied with,  “I guess she is pretty, but she kind of has a beer belly.” It took a second for my brain to comprehend what was said.  A beer belly?  A BEER BELLY?  I knew what it meant, even though, at the ripe age of thirteen, my “baby fat” did not come from having one too many.

 After hearing those words, I was crushed.  My best friend Anna* went into a full rage. She knew how much I pictured Jack as a perfect specimen.  How, even though he had crushed by heart repeatedly, I had never given up on him. I had to practically pin her down from going over and clawing out his eyes in the middle of the lunchroom.  Janet hugged me and apologized, saying he was dead wrong about me.  She quickly left the table, continuing her campaign to killing Jack’s reputation.

 The rest of the day, I obsessed over those words.  I went from blaming him to even blaming myself for being so imperfect. Being comfortable with my body was no longer an option.  I knew that it was only a matter of time before the whole school saw me as “beer belly girl.”  After that I spent a good year and half trying my best to lose weight. Jack’s words echoing in my head with every sit-up I attempted.  During class, I would wrap a sweater around my stomach hoping that it would make it seem smaller.  I was still invisible, but no longer content with what I saw in the mirror.

 Those words festered into my mind and I still haven’t been able to completely wipe them out. They sometimes return to taunt me whenever I eat something unhealthy or if my jeans have become a bit too tight.  Even after so much time, the whole situation changed how I looked at my body.  It confirmed the bad things I thought about myself, because I knew I wasn’t the only one who noticed them.  I think back and see this moment as the day that created my low-self esteem and it is hard to get rid of.  I spent half my life striving to be perfect, only to realize that I have wasted a lot of time caring about what others thought.

 It shouldn’t be a surprise that I finally gave up on Jack.  I thought I loved him, but he continually crushed my heart. Now as a grown woman, I look back and have learned a valuable lesson.  I shouldn’t let anyone make me feel like I am not good enough.  I shouldn’t waste my time on a “dream guy” who doesn’t think of me as his “dream girl”.  A guy who doesn’t even care about the consequences of his actions. Who doesn’t care about hurting the only girl who thought he was perfect.

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*Names have been changed because the real names don’t matter.

The Junior High Relationship That Stood The Test Of…One Day.

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If I could go back and slap myself in the eighth grade, I would, like more than once.

The second half of my eighth grade year started with me swearing off boys, especially ones named Jack*. I was a new me and I had pulled a Felicity to prove it. My once long thick hair was now cut to a simple bob. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to style it and half the time it looked like I was wearing some sort of helmet. Nonetheless, I felt pretty accomplished with my new look. I knew I had changed my feelings for Jack when one of my close friends, Jenny* started dating him after winter break.

It was new territory for me, finally not being jealous of one of Jack’s girlfriends. It made me feel like I had gotten over him. Once Jack and Jenny got together, I started to realize there were other boys at my school. The ones that I had been ignoring for months because I was preoccupied with being the president of Jack’s fan club. One in particular, Mike* had always hung around my group of friends because he had a similar undying crush on Dina*.

Dina was my next-door neighbor and on/off best friend. Our friendship could be rocky at times, but it was usually petty stuff that was quickly resolved within a day or two. One famously stupid fight was during a sleepover at my house years earlier. I had just discovered the greatness of No Doubt and was obsessed with listening to Tragic Kingdom over and over again. She found this boring (I don’t blame her) and quickly went back to her house. Sleep-OVER. I can’t even remember what she wanted to do, but it clearly wasn’t listening to the same CD on constant repeat. Dina wasn’t really interested in Mike’s funny charm and overall cuteness.

I started to have a crush on him soon after he started messaging me on AOL Instant Messenger (yup, you read that right). Before texting, AIMing, was made perfectly to chat with cute classmates and even total strangers. If there was one invention I loved more as an awkward pre-teen, it was AIM. I wasn’t my awkward stammering self around boys because I could actually think before I typed. They weren’t faced with my cheeks turning a bright shade of red in an attempt to make dreaded eye contact with them.  It was awesome, and my online persona was way more confident than the real me. One afternoon, Mike seemed to be typing in a more flirtatious manner. He talked about my “pretty eyes” and how he loved my new haircut. At the end of the conversation he asked me to be his girlfriend. Stunned, I quickly said yes. It was a dream come true or so I thought.

The next day at school, all my friends were excited to finally see me with a boyfriend. It had literally been years since I had one and it was quite possible that I knew even less about boys that I did in the sixth grade. At lunch, things got hard when people demanded that we do the same things that all couples do after eating. The typical couple embraced each other, with the boyfriend usually standing awkwardly behind the girlfriend holding on to her hips.

Not wanting to break some sort of junior high tradition, Mike and I cuddled for the most painful ten minutes ever. I could feel his warm breath near my ear, as he tried to carry on conversation. I stared straight ahead, panicked, as my friends observed us in our unnatural habitat. Who thought of this way of showing that you were boyfriend and girlfriend? What happened to good old holding hands? I felt trapped and actually couldn’t wait to go to history class after lunch. It was tough to say, but I still wasn’t ready for the pressures of having a boyfriend.

Right before last period, I had made a decision. The thought of having to participate in the rituals mirrored from the more popular crowd was not going to work for me. I couldn’t stand telling Mike to his face, so instead, begged my friend Cas* to deliver the bad news. She was a pretty frank person, she quickly told poor Mike that we were over. It seemed brutal, as she recounted the disappointment in his face during after-school volleyball practice. Our love lasted less than one day. It took awhile for me to even look Mike in the eyes after that. Eventually, we both moved on.

For months, all I wanted was a boyfriend. I flooded my journal with dreams and desires of finding the right guy, but in the end I wasn’t ready. Of course, I didn’t really learn my lesson from this and moved on to other crushes. Even returning to the worst one I could ever have because no matter what he did to hurt me, Jack was my end game. Yup, I was that stupid.

This is me, trying to rant, about stuff…

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I want to punch this lady in her old lady face.

That was my thought yesterday when I went to go see Interstellar with my husband. We try to go to the movies on weekday afternoons because the theater is usually less crowded. It is the best odds to not get stuck sitting next to some jackass that doesn’t have good movie etiquette. It is one of my biggest pet peeves which doesn’t often mix well with my love of going to the movies.

I always think of those “silence your cellphone reminders” as being such a sad thing. Why? To me, it should be common sense that when you go into a dark room with a bunch of strangers that you would automatically know to do this!

Other things you should know:

  • That you are not the only person paying to see this movie.
  • That I didn’t pay ten dollars to hear you say, “that wasn’t funny” every two seconds in a comedy.  I didn’t sign up for your running commentary.  P.S. IT WAS REALLY FUNNY!!
  • I also didn’t pay to hear your kid tell you everything that is going to happen before it happens in the movie because they “read the book.” I am all for kids reading more, but I don’t need to hear about it while trying to enjoy the last Harry Potter film.

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  • I definitely didn’t sign up for getting my space invaded and almost hit in the face when you forgot that someone was sitting next to you while you played “keep away” with your friend’s cellphone.

All true stories, all reasons why I try to avoid weekend showings. Why do people have to be reminded to be decent human beings?

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Monday mornings/afternoons are the perfect time to get the full movie experience, without the large crowds. Normally on these days I only have to share the theater with a few random couples or the occasional small group. People who are possibly just like me and annoyed by large crowds. At worst, I will have to deal with the random person that decides to sit practically next to me in an empty theater. Which is just creepy to me, but as long as there are quiet, I could care less. Yesterday was not my usual Monday crowd.

Every time there are more than six people in the theater, I have a mini panic attack. Only because I know it will be just my luck to get stuck sitting near the most annoying person imaginable. Yesterday it was an older woman, possibly in her late 50’s, who decided to sit a couple seats away from me.

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It started with her lack of patience for the movie to start when the screen went black for a solid two minutes. She thought it would be hilarious to keep saying “Now for Interstellar!” Getting louder every time she said it. “NOW FOR INTERSTELLAR!!”  She ended up saying it about ten times.  Ten times too many.  Then when the previews started she would remark “oooh that looks good!” or “Not for me…” after each one.

I hoped that overpaying for the booming sounds of IMAX would drown her out when the film started. Luckily, for the most part it did. Except for the occasionally quiet sad parts, which resulted in her crying extremely loud. Or when they would show impressive shots of different planets she would gasp uncontrollably. As if she had just came to the realization that there was more in the vast universe than Earth. I guess the movie struck a cord with her, but the whole theater didn’t need to know about it.

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Frankly, I wanted to punch this lady in the face or wished she was marooned on one those planets she was so loudly swooning over.

The best part of movies, for me, is getting sucked into the plot and forgetting about the daily grind of life. It is kind of hard to do that when people can’t control their cellphones, kids, or their own mouths. In the end, the old woman didn’t annoy me enough to move (THANKS IMAX!), but it did however annoy me enough to write this rant.

So please if you are one of these people, stay at home and wait to rent movies.  Please, for the sake of humanity or at least my sanity.

So, yeah, rant over.

Anyone else have any bad movie-going experiences they want to share?

A Skeptical Third Grader’s Date with A Deadly Tree Frog

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It was slimy; my finger grazed its’ back as it tried to leap away. When my finger tingled I knew it was only the beginning of the end.

I was always one of those kids that took warnings to heart. When I was five I got lost in a supermarket, and my parents had always taught me not to talk to strangers. When an older man asked if I needed help, I screamed, “YOU’RE A STRANGER!!!” remembering everything my parents had warned me about. I ended up safe and only an aisle away from my dad the whole time, but nonetheless, I had always been paranoid.

In third grade, I was scrawny and shy, an obvious candidate for a tag along. My new best friend Celeste was magnificent and exciting. During recess, I would follow her every move. I admired Celeste’s independent and carefree attitude.   We would spend most of our recesses making up songs to sing, thinking that we would be the next “TLC” if only we could find a good enough third member. Other parts of our recess were spent escaping the grips of one of the Wilson twins, who had made it his mission to make one of us his girlfriend. He had orangish red hair, and his face was covered in freckles. He ran with his arms straight to his side, as if he had no elbows to bend them.   During class, I would count down the minutes before I could go outside and have my freedom.

My third-grade teacher Mrs. Crabtree was a robust old woman, who never taught us anything fun. Some days she would let us play heads up seven up, but most days it just be boring educational lessons.   We had been learning about amphibians in our science unit. One day as a special treat, Mrs. Crabtree brought in a tree frog to be our class pet for a week. I thought the frog was amazing; it was black and green, with dots of red on its back. The movements of his throat as it took a breath made me giggle.   We talked about him for most of the day.

“Can we touch it? Pleeeaaaseee” the whole class begged.

“Sorry kids, this frog is poisonous, so none of you are allowed to touch him.” Mrs. Crabtree said.

I don’t remember if she ever said that we could die if we were to touch this frog, but when she said the word poison, I automatically assumed as much. Celeste did the opposite; she took that warning as a challenge. From that day forward she became determined to touch that frog, even if it was deadly. Our recesses became filled with trying to find a way to get to the frog without Mrs. Crabtree being around.

Celeste came up with the idea of getting inside the building during recess when most of the teachers were in their lounge. Though I didn’t think it was a good idea, I didn’t want Celeste to think I was scared, so I went along with it. The only problem was getting into the building; kids were not allowed to roam the halls during recess. We had to get our hands on some bathroom passes from the recess aides, and they would never let us go together.

Then I remembered that I had accidently kept a pass from one of the aides a couple of weeks ago, I waited too long to give it back. Now it just sat in my desk, waiting to be discovered by my teacher. Who would no doubt accuse me of stealing and send me to the principal’s office, where I would be then banished from the school forever. See, paranoid. With access to an extra pass, we were sure that our plan would be a success.

On the day of our not so organized plan, my stomach was in knots. I wanted just to go back to pretending that we were “TLC” and being chased by overly freckled boys, but it was too late, I was in too deep. Celeste and I went into the building at separate times and met by the bathrooms. The halls by our classroom, usually filled with chatter were now eerily quiet. We peaked into the classroom door window to make sure Mrs. Crabtree was not inside. Man how I wished she was inside.

When we made in, Celeste pulled out a game changer.

“Ashley, I dare you to touch that frog for ten seconds, or I will tell everyone that you want to marry Ryan K.!!” Celeste said.

“What? I thought you wanted to touch it?” I asked. This was not a part of the plan.

“I changed my mind, don’t be a wuss!” Celeste demanded.

This is what I got for being a sidekick; I had to do all the hard work, and I had to taste the food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned for the queen. At first I hesitated, but I didn’t want my whole class to know that I was wanted to marry Ryan K. I pulled the lid off the class aquarium, reached down into my impending doom. The frog’s back was slimy as my finger grazed it back. It tried to escape, but I had it pinned it between my fingers and the glass of the aquarium.

“One…Two…Threeee…Foouuurrr…”   Celeste whispered.

A lot went through my head during those extremely long ten seconds. First was how mad my parents were going to be when I died of some tree frog disease that my teacher had warned us about. Second was that my big brother was probably going to take over my room the minute I croaked. Pun intended. Third was the fact that Celeste was taking a really long time to count to ten. Finally, when she did get to ten, I released the frog. My finger tingled; its starting, I thought. In a matter of days, maybe even hours, I’d be a goner.

In the coming weeks, I grew more and more paranoid. Thinking that Mrs. Crabtree would somehow lift my fingerprint off the frog’s back in an attempt to see what children had not listened to her request.

When my guilt had become too much for me, I confronted my parents with the news of my upcoming bad fortune. Only for them to chuckle and reassure me that Mrs. Crabtree was just trying to make sure the frog was safe. I wasn’t going to die! I eventually forgot about the tree frog and the whole mess about dying.

I learned two lessons in Mrs. Crabtree’s third-grade class. The first was that teachers sometimes lie. The second was that I was not that bright at the age of nine.

Monthly Blogging Break

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 We all need to love ourselves a little more.

Reliving my past moments from the good to the REALLY bad has given me a lot of perceptive.   From what you can tell from my last few posts I had it a little rough in junior high. Have you ever wanted to go back to tell your younger self that things will get better? That junior high is tiny little dot on your life’s timeline? There are so many things I have learned from writing about my childhood.

I was am deathly afraid of rejection. I had low self-esteem and horrible social anxiety. I had a group of friends that accepted me, but I always had that fear that they would stop being my friends at any moment. I was known as the “goofy one” in my group of friends. The girl who tripped over speed bumps more than once (completely sober I might add). The girl who had trouble forming sentences around the male gender and authority figures. That girl who had such a problem with being the center of attention she refused to walk into a crowded room alone.

I was put into a category early on in my life, and it was hard to get out. I was never taken seriously and was ashamed of being that weird girl. I spent most of the time just being a follower, trying to stay under the radar. I felt like if I said what I was feeling, my friends wouldn’t accept me. I went along with everyone else’s ideas because it was easier. The problem was the only time I really felt like myself was when I was by myself. My bedroom as a teenager was truly my salvation. I could be whatever I wanted free of judgment. I would spend hours singing in the mirror, writing songs, and practicing my Oscar acceptance speeches. In my bedroom, I went through many style phases. There was the witchy goth chick liked someone out of The Craft. Oh, and the time I pretended to be the next Jennifer Lopez (post-Selena, pre-Gigli). My all time favorite was the punk rock emo girl who listened to way too much Yellowcard.

My bedroom is where I found my passion for writing in all forms, my scary movie obsession, and love of indie rock. The real me was left in my room while I went off pretending to be whatever I thought my friends wanted. It took me awhile to embrace who I really wanted to be.

As I get older it gets a lot easier to not care what others think. I stopped censoring my personality. I found at least one person that accepts everything about me because I accept everything about him. I try to embrace my goofy side while exploring my many other sides. I am not afraid to say that I still sing in front of the mirror. That I love to watch cheesy made for TV movies because they almost always have happy endings. That I am endlessly working on a zombie novel that I may never finish. It took me twenty-eight years, but I am finally showing people who I really am.

Bathing Suits and Lady Parts…

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I practically invented the “crotch shot” when I was twelve.

It was summer, the same summer that Anna* and I spent chasing Luke*. That day we were going to the river because Anna had called and said she wanted to go swimming and watch the older kids jump off the bridge. It wasn’t the highest jump and if planned right the middle of the river could be pretty deep. I always went along with Anna’s ideas because they were always better than mine. While Anna rode her bike to my house, I changed into my two-piece bathing suit.

My parents would not let me have a bikini. Frankly I didn’t want one. I had a hard time adjusting to my “womanly” changes. That past year I went from a training bra to a B cup. I also still had some baby chub around my stomach that made me feel fat. I didn’t want a one piece because I wasn’t a little kid anymore. At the time only old woman and little kids had one pieces.   So instead I got a tankini with matching “boy short” style bottoms. The top part fit me ok. The bottoms however were strangely cut. They fit snug on my waist when they were dry, but the minute I got them wet they sagged similar to a wet diaper. The worst part was that they didn’t fit in the lady parts. The shorts were extremely loose in that area. Which made me question if there was something wrong with my body. Yes, I questioned if my vagina was supposed to be bigger. Just another thing wrong with me, I thought. At the time I didn’t comprehend that the design of the clothing could be flawed. I also figured it would better to be loose than too tight. I didn’t quite know the term camel toe, but I knew it was something to be avoided.

I was all dressed with nowhere to go because Anna changed her mind. She decided that going to the river sounded lame. (Later I concluded that her parents probably told her that she couldn’t go to the river without an adult). Instead we watched some TV trying to think of something better to do. Riding our bikes past Luke’s was out of the question because he wasn’t home that day. Since we already had our bathing suits on we decided to go play in the sprinklers in my front yard. We played for a while, stopping every time a car would pass, just in case it was the older boys from up the street. We didn’t want them to see us playing in sprinklers like little kids, of course. Eventually we just sat around on some towels talking about boys and stuff that we could do tomorrow. I had forgotten about my ill fitting bathing suit as I sat cross-legged in the grass listening to Anna’s idea about riding our bikes to the store to get popsicles. I noticed Anna kept looking down when finally she said why.

“Oh my god, I can see your VAGINA!” Anna said busting into her booming laugh.

I couldn’t say anything. It actually took me a couple of moments to process what she had said. When I realized my best friend had just seen my lady parts, I wanted to die. My face rapidly grew warmer as I wrapped one of the towels around my waist. Even though it was put away, Anna couldn’t stop chuckling at me. I covered my eyes with my hands and felt like disappearing to any place other than my front yard. After moments of awkwardly listening to Anna straining to regain some composure, I joined in. It was the only thing I could do. I really wanted to run into my house and cry, but I was still kind of frozen from the mortification.

“THAT WAS THE BEST MOMENT…EVER!” Anna screamed. I honestly had a hard time trying to figure out why it was the best. In my head I was screaming, “THIS IS THE MOST EMBARRASSING THING EVER.” I wanted Anna to think I was cooler than I actually was, so I went along with it.

Lucky for me, Anna never told anyone about seeing my lady parts. That is a great part of having a best friend. They will laugh at you at your most embarrassing moments because they expect you to do the same. They will keep your embarrassing stories to themselves, unless those stories will benefit them while playing a drunken game of I never.

*Names have been changed because I wrote so.