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Life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

Autumn is flirting with September in a dance of revolving heat, rain, humidity, and crisp breezes.  Soon I know autumn will have her way with the world, and I couldn’t be happier.  Flickers of yellow and orange and red begin to appear on trees, and the temperature actually drops at night.  All in all, I’m waiting in anticipation of October.  As it approaches, there are a lot of things on my mind.  Not the least of which is what October brings with her as she arrives.  A year ago, I was waiting.  I knew what I was waiting for, but I had no idea how long my waiting would continue.  This week last year, I began to see a few glimmers of hope, a few warm tingles.  And then as October 1 turned to October 2, after a gleeful two hours of zombie-filled revelry, my waiting ended.  A man I had fallen for over the course of a year and a half invited me into his life, and we started down a road together.

Given the context of emotion this week holds for me, I suppose it’s only natural for me to think about love.  To ponder that thing that drives us so much through this world.  I think the silver screen presents us with many unrealistic views of romance and love.  (<–Understatement.)  Frankly, the few chick flicks (aka rom-coms) I’ve seen lately have been so far away from reality that they’ve left me wanting to repeatedly bang my head against a board.

What is love?  What really makes a relationship work?  If I could answer both of those questions succinctly, I’d probably win the Nobel Prize for Peace.  I’m just sayin’.  Go to any Barnes and Noble and you’ll find sections littered with books trying to explain love and fix relationships in 200-400 pages of easy step-by-step instructions.

Do soulmates exist?  Is there that magical moment where you just know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have found the one person who can make you happy?  I might disappoint the world’s movie-going rom-com fanatics by saying this, but no.  I don’t think either of those two things really exist in the way they’re portrayed.  Relationships don’t follow a flow chart of:  meeting –> spark –> blossoming love –> conflict –> happy ending/sunset + horsey + castle.  Relationships are messy.  Why?  Because you’re taking imperfect people and smushing their lives together.  To expect perfection is naive at best.  However, I think the reality of love is more charming and beautiful than simply following a formulaic interpretation of easy happiness.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last two or so years since I met John, it’s that communication cannot receive a higher commendation in the world of love.  And before you can communicate, you need to know and be happy with yourself.  If you’re looking for someone to complete you, you’ll never find that.  But I digress.  I don’t think love happens like in the movies.  Or at least if it does, it’s not even close to being the majority.

I think a lot of the time people get caught up in this idea of the magical moment that will make everything clear, make everything easy.  There’s no quick fix for anything in this life, in love especially.  I still think the guys in Thrice said it right when they said that love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.  Relationships take work–they don’t just work because you want them to.  Sometimes they take sacrifice and selflessness.  Both of which have to go both ways.  While I think that two people can experience an initial click or chemistry, I don’t think that two lives just slip into each other without a ripple.  People have different dreams and ambitions.  To me, the mark of the best relationships is the ability of the couple not to expect their lives to poof into perfection, but the willingness to build something together.  A family.  A home.  A life.  Whatever that may look like.  That’s where the beauty is to me.

That’s what I honestly love about my relationship.  Looking into the future and knowing that each of us will build something together.  That in the two years behind us since we met, we have begun building a foundation.  We’re two adults long since launched from the families that raised us, and in the last year, we have begun a new family.  A small family for now, just the two of us, but with strong ties to the families we came from.  Something to build on together into something that fits us both.

I can’t think of a truer love than that.

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Epiphany With a Side of Joy

I’ll have two, please.  Thx.

Today I finished reading the first draft of a book that a woman from my writing group sent me.  It left me with a couple of epiphanies, one that left an ironic aftertaste and another that made me smile.

The first was that throughout the book, the characters made these decisions based on what they thought would protect the people they loved from their own actions, when in reality, it simply continued to raise the stakes.  People do that a lot.  I was exposed to a real life example this week — and the sad reality is that this happens way too often.  I mean, let’s face it:  only the world’s token sadists actually like hurting people.  The rest of us try not to do it, because it makes us feel bad.  The trick is to know when you’re only choosing between the lesser of two evils.  In the book, the main character had a decade-long affair.  She could have left a loveless marriage much earlier…but she didn’t.  You can imagine how it turned out.  I’ve never cheated on a boyfriend.  I know people who I consider generally good people who have, but I honestly do not understand cheating.  One common thread is that usually those who do it think that telling their partner would hurt too much, so they let it go on and try to bury it deep so the partner never finds out.  But that’s like letting a wound fester.  Eventually the pus is going to break the surface, and by then, you might have to have something amputated.  Which is something easily avoidable if you had just gotten it fixed first.

Seriously, once you cheat, you forfeit the right to decide what happens to the relationship.  Once you’ve broken that trust, which to me is one of the deepest betrayals one can experience on this earth, it’s your partner’s choice what happens.  By not coming clean from the get-go, you add robbery to the list of errors and you actively conspire to make someone else a fool.

It doesn’t just happen with cheating — I mean, parents don’t tell their kids about divorces.  People put off talking about bad news.  I knew someone once who didn’t find out their grandma had died for months because the parents hadn’t wanted to ruin something happy.  People didn’t tell me about a friend who had passed for weeks after it happened.  When I found out, the grief of her loss was compounded by guilt of not sending her cards or letters during her months of illness (it was cancer), anger at those who knew me and didn’t let me know, and helplessness.  There are some things people have a right to know.

All of that was wound up into the little ball of epiphany that just says:  if you think you have to protect someone from information, you’re just propping up a falling bridge with an umbrella.  Leaves an ironic tinge in my mouth just thinking about it.

The next one was just about the things people do because of insecurities.  I wrote a bit on my other blog about this that I’ll repeat here.  There’s that old saying:  you can’t see the forest through the trees.  People are like that with their insecurities.  Some of our issues are rooted deeply in fear and pain and a welter of other emotions.  Trauma.  Those trees are like old growths.  They are there, immutable.  You can’t just cut them down and get rid of them.  And sometimes it can be hard to see the beauty of the forest around us when we trip over the roots of one of those giant trees.  Sometimes we stumble into it, and it’s all we can see.  Our pain.  Past betrayals and hurts.  When that happens, some people throw their arms around this tree as though it’s the only safe place, simply because it’s familiar.  We’d rather stay there where it’s easy than have to grapple with it in context of the newer trees, the ones we’re afraid won’t hold our weight if we try to climb them.  We forget that like any old growth, it’s old.  We have to stand up, back up, and look around at the other trees around us to get the sense of the whole forest.

So my last epiphany was this:  instead of getting bogged down in the old growth and tripping over its fallen branches and roots the size of trunks, I’m going to climb up into the newer trees and trust that their branches will hold me.  I’m going to let their boughs embrace me and look out over the beauty of the forest, because true beauty comes from seeing the whole picture, not just the good or the bad that exists.  And in knowing that, there’s joy.

The Loved, the Lorn, and the Puffy Chairs

Today I watched a movie.  My boyfriend and I actually started it last night, but we were both sleepy and — let’s face it — a wee bit drunk, so we stopped.  I finished it tonight, and I’m going to attempt to review it here, with some interspersed reflections based on the novel I’m reading by someone in one of my writing groups which has a similar theme.

The movie is called The Puffy Chair. My first assessment?  It was remarkably painful to watch.  First of all, the female lead’s name is Emily, and she proved in the first 15 minutes that she was exactly the kind of girlfriend I don’t want to be.  Next, her boyfriend Josh proved to be the kind of boyfriend I don’t want.  And Rhett, the other main character, proved to be the only redeeming person for me, even though in one particular scene (actually two) I sort of wanted to aim an Uzi at his head.

I think the film had several good qualities.  It portrayed a somewhat believable relationship between an insecure woman who was looking for a commitment and a self-absorbed, passive-aggressive man who really wasn’t.  Neither of them were able to successfully communicate anything without it turning into a snit or an argument, which I’ve seen in many relationships, so that part was believable.  I couldn’t figure out if Emily was just really, really fed up with Josh’s indifference or if she was just really high-maintenance and moody, as one reviewer described her.  Either way, I was ashamed when I saw myself reflected in her at all, which I’ll admit happened a couple of times, and I really never want to turn into what I saw there.

To her defense, Josh was entirely incapable of discussing anything serious with anyone, let alone his girlfriend, who he calls “dude” throughout the entire movie — a not so subtle insight into the depth of his emotion.  When she asks why he loves her, he can’t think of a single reason outside of her sexy bits (literally — he changes the subject by grabbing her hoohah).  Granted, her reaction to his silence is a bit melodramatic, but even so, it shows the dysfunction there.  Later on when his brother Rhett calls him out on a pretty despicable action he took, he again gets defensive and nasty.

All in all, I found it really hard to sympathize with any of the characters.  They were all completely wrapped up in themselves.  They wanted what they wanted when they said they wanted it, and if they didn’t get it, the world ended.  I’d give it a C.  Maybe even a C-.

I don’t really like dwelling on dysfunctional relationships, but I volunteered to read a book penned by a fellow writer in which the protagonist is an adulterer, and I just read the first six chapters of her rationalizing her affair, which depressed me.  Especially after watching that movie.

After watching the movie and reading that book, I got the overwhelming urge to be the best girlfriend ever.  I also reflected on my own relationship and came to the conclusion that I am intensely fortunate to have found someone like John, and that despite the similarities between our names and that movie’s characters’ names, we are so not them.

I am so happy with him that it sometimes makes me bubble right off the ground.  Which is glorious.  So in regards to the title of this blog?  I’m that first one.  I’m not lorn — love, for, or otherwise — and I’m decidedly not a puffy chair.  I’m loved by an extraordinary man.

Take that, cynical world.

Scotland, ho.

It’s less than two months away now, and I’m really getting more and more excited.  For one thing, a conglomerate of my lovely European friends is getting together to descend upon Edinburgh purely for the pleasure of my company while I’m on their side of the Atlantic.  For that I am grateful to the point of delirium — never before have I had such friends who would hop a plane and come see me like that.  I hope I’m that kind of friend.  I did jet to New York City when Karsten and Daniel flew over from Germany for New Years a couple years ago, which at the time was nearly across the entire US of A.

I’m lucky to have people like that scattered across the planet.  Makes me feel special.  🙂

This is going to be a busy summer, but I hope it will be a good one.  I think it will.

In other news, tonight I engaged in an epic battle lasting two hours and several rounds:  Emmie vs. Phone.  After many hair-pulling moments, almost tears and recriminations, I emerged victorious.  This came about because of a bit of a mishap that befell my old phone last Friday, in which it sustained significant injuries that couldn’t simply be tended to with a trip to the corner between bells — no, this involved the necessity of complete renewal.  Replacement.  The old phone was down for the count.

However, it didn’t surrender without a fight.  Determined to take with it all 167 of my personal contacts, it fought tooth and nail as I wrestled with the Backup Assistant that was supposed to be on my side.  Little tramp.

Instead of sneaking into the old phone like a veritable Trojan Horse to unbar the way to my contact list, it instead shrieked at me, “INVALID PIN!  YOU HAVE ENTERED AN INVALID PIN!” which I had most certainly not.

My pin was valid.

Imagine my fury.  I called in the Big Guns.  The Big Guns goes by the name of Ben, from Verizon.  With his help, we had the old phone and the traitorous Backup Assistant on the ropes in no time at all — and we even managed to suitably cow the new phone, just to ensure it doesn’t get any ideas from its predecessor.

Yes.  A victorious day.  A glorious day.

Emmie vs. Phone:  Emmie Stands Triumphant.

we are beggars all.

Today I have been listening to and thinking about this song, the lyrics of which will be interspersed through this post.  The song is called “The Weight,” and it’s by the band Thrice.  My boyfriend brought it up the night he gave me my magic wand, and though I couldn’t think of how it went right then, I had heard it before and was taken in by it.  I honestly think I have never heard a truer expression of what true love is, and I am deeply touched thinking about it.

There’s many who’ll tell you they’ll give you their love,
But when they say “give” they mean “take”.
They hang ‘round just like vultures ’til push comes to shove
And take flight when the earth starts to shake.

Someone may say that they’ll always be true
Then slip out the door ‘fore the dawn,
But I won’t leave you hanging on.

Another may stay ’til they find someone new
Then before you know they’ll be gone,
But I won’t leave you hanging on.

No, I won’t won’t be that someone.

This will likely be a very candid blog — not that I am ever anything else, but you know.  Just a disclaimer.  I have often felt like a beggar.  In many ways, my life has been that of a vagabond or a drifter.  I’ve moved 33 times in 25 years.  I have gotten where I am today because of intensely hard work and because of the help and charity of others.  I use the word charity not to imply a sense of pity, but in the almost spiritual sense of giving out of the need to pass on the blessings one has been given.  More about the act of giving than the perception of need implicit in the receiving end of such a gift.

And come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

Some talk of destiny, others of fate,
But soon they’ll be saying goodbye,
But I won’t leave you high and dry.

‘Cause a ring don’t mean nothing if you can’t haul the weight
And some of them won’t even try,
But I won’t leave you high and dry.

I won’t leave you wondering why.

In love as well I have often felt the beggar.  I have often felt myself unworthy of real love — I have been tossed aside often enough that I am supremely unused to having anyone stand by me.  I have always been at the whim of others’ convenience — there when it suited them and cast off when it stopped being convenient for them.  I think because of this, I don’t understand why anyone would want me when I am the mess that I am.

And come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

And storms will surely come,
But true love is a choice you must make and you are the one.
That I have set my heart to choose
As long as I live, I swear I’ll see this through.

I spent quite a long time waiting for my current boyfriend.  We knew each other for a year and a half before we started our official relationship, and I won’t pretend that some of that time wasn’t incredibly difficult for me.  I still wrestle with the idea that I’m either not enough or too much or both at the same time.  I think everyone feels that way sometimes, but I have it honed to a fine art.  Which is why I think that this Thrice song is such a resonant depiction for me.  I’m not used to a love like this.  As one of my favorite gods said in one of my favorite books (by David Eddings), “Thou wilt warily give love, but you must also learn to accept it.”  I’ve never known a love like this, but come what may, I will see it through.  In the words of another, newer favorite song, I’ve got nothing left to lose.

Come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and I see no end.

Come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind,
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
Come what may, I will be standing right here by your side,
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

In other news, my beloved city of Nashville, Tennessee is under water.  If you haven’t heard about it, the Cumberland and Harpeth rivers that both run through and around Nashville gained about 26+ feet over the weekend, causing catastrophic flooding and billions of dollars of damage to homes and businesses.  I-24 became a raging river, and the water was forceful and deep enough to detach homes from foundations and even sent a modular school building floating down the interstate.

One of my closest friends had to be emergency evacuated from her apartment — she’s very lucky, and it turns out the water only got ankle deep and her car even still works, but thousands of others were not so lucky.  My old boss had to sit and watch from his home as a man was stranded up a tree in his Forest Hills neighborhood — Tom couldn’t get to him as there was fast moving water that was far too dangerous to move through, and I’m told the man was stranded there for at least 20 hours in the pouring rain.  There are thousands of other stories like these.  I’m dismayed and disappointed that the national media is paying only cursory attention to this disaster.  Almost 30 people have died so far, and countless others are without power, clean water, and homes.  If you are at all able, please text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to the relief efforts.

I only lived in Nashville for a year, but it is a truly lovely city full of warm and inviting people.  To see loved ones and colleagues entrapped in this disaster and also being nationally ignored is heartbreaking, and I wish I could do more to help.  I don’t get a ton of views on this blog, but hopefully enough people will read this and be moved enough to spare $10.  If enough people do it, it really does make a difference.

Please help.  We are beggars all.

❤  Emmie

dating musicians: forget the bad press

if you couldn’t gather it from that, i am dating — rather, in a relationship with — a musician.  as such, i have a few thoughts, quibbles, feelings, and meanderings about the topic.  a quick google search on dating musicians reveals a helter skelter of articles ranging from op ed postings to eHow  and wikiHow articles (really?).  the common thread?  almost all of them say this:  ZOMG don’t do it u will regret it!!!*!&#(!

ahem.

i’ll be honest.  upon seeing the unbridled negativity in the articles out there, my first thoughts were rather akin to “well, shit.”  then i thought a little more about my own relationship, as well as the relationships of my friends who are also dating musicians and my mom, who did in fact date and marry my dad, who is a musician.

basically, i think musicians in general have a bad reputation and some bad press, and that is not fair.  i’m very positive on musicians — i know a ton of them and i don’t know any who fit the negative stereotypes the way they’re portrayed.

i’ve been with my boyfriend for about seven months now.  when i met him two years ago, he wasn’t involved in a band, though he of course was still a musician.  i suspect that a lot of the anti-musician rigmarole out there on the internet may be mostly in regards to the following formula (a generalization): girl see boy on stage with guitar, girl swoon, flirting, dating, then it implodes.  i could be wrong, but looking at that formula, if that is how most of these articles got started, it doesn’t really surprise me that the relationships don’t work out.  infatuation with someone based on a stage performance is not the same as getting to know someone.  it’d be like falling in love with say, hugh grant in notting hill.  the character is awesome, sweet, etc.; the actor himself is a completely different person.  i’ve met many musicians who are gung-ho crazy on stage, but stand-offish and quiet when you actually talk to them.  on stage, they’re performing…the whole point is to put on a show.

now onto the nitty gritty.  the articles i read accuse musicians of being many things — not the least of these adjectives were the following:  backstabbing, overjealous, cheating, poor, dirty, and flaky.  none of that is particularly flattering.  what got me thinking was how these adjectives were applied to the entire group, as if just by knowing someone was in a band automatically made it okay to assume that they fit these stereotypes.  that’s not particularly fair — it’s not considered okay to stereotype or profile people based on ethnicity, so why is it okay to do it by profession?

one of the articles went as far as to say that if you date a musician, you’ll end up lonely, cheated on, and broke.   they talk about “perks” as if that’s the reason you should date someone — based on what you can get from their job.  all that confuses me.

don’t get me wrong — there are definitely obstacles and challenges that come with dating someone in the music business.  i’ll be candid.  i’m a night owl, and i think that helps.  my boyfriend works evenings, and he is pretty much on a nocturnal schedule.  that’s pretty normal for a lot of the musicians i know — i don’t know many early birds in the business.  in the articles i read, they talked about that, specifically that shows aren’t always on weekends, and that they will often go till 1 or later including packing up gear and everything.  and if you’re in a relationship with someone in a band, you’ll probably go to the shows.  which isn’t always easy if you work a day job (like i do).  the articles also complained that weekend shows take up date nights.

another big complaint was that musicians don’t have money.  money has never been super important to me, but i guess it really matters to others.  here’s what i think about the whole money thing.  musicians do what they do because it’s their passion.  it’s what they love.  it also happens to be an incredibly expensive past time.  and that’s where most of their money goes — into guitars, basses (suddenly that plural looks weird as shit), drums, amps, cabs, wiring, lights, effects, pedals, merchandise — all of that costs a lot of money.  we’re talking thousands of dollars of equipment in one band.  and the upkeep can be pricey too–something goes wonky on your amp, and you might be out a couple hundo just to fix it.  if you do not have wealthy parents willing to drop a couple grand on you, you’re goin it alone.  i’m guessing that’s where this stereotype came from (and it IS a stereotype).  all the money stuff is a combination of factors.  first, equipment is expensive.  second, touring is expensive.  think gas, food, van rental (or purchase), fliers, all that stuff.  third, making a record is hella expensive.  studio time is often $500-$1500 per day.  not to mention mixing, sequencing, mastering, packaging, pressing, album artwork, etc.  and as i’ve learned secondhand (my boyo’s the first) this week, just when you think you’ve paid for it, you have to pay more.  fourth, if you want to pursue a music career, you will have to tour.  a lot.  think weeks, if not months, per year.  and if you will have to tour, you have to have a job that will allow you to do so.  which is why many musicians either teach music (independently or with a company) and/or work jobs with flexible hours, and lemme tell you, those jobs don’t pay that much. fifth, if you are serious about music, you have to practice.  preferably somewhere that will allow you to do so without adding the cost of noise violations to your spreadsheet of expenses.  for a lot of bands, this means renting a space where they can go practice.

the articles i read made it seem like a crime — accused musicians of being perpetual moochers.  but i think of it this way — doctors and lawyers spend years and thousands of dollars to start making any money.  even when doctors begin interning they are still pretty broke most of the time, and they don’t get shit for that.  so why do musicians?  personally, i don’t care about fancy dinners or getting showered with presents or anything, so i don’t really understand why people make such a big deal about saying musicians are poor.

i’m going to stop going into the points of the articles for now and talk about the more personal side of things.  being a musician is a full time job — to understand that, i had to really think about what my number one passion in life is.  what it is that if i don’t do, i will regret forever.  for me, that’s writing.  to achieve any of those kinds of dreams, it takes an immense amount of work.  i think for a lot of people who date musicians, sometimes it feels like they have to compete with all of the music hours.  one of the big complaints i read was that these people writing in or responding said that they “were never first priority” in the lives of the musicians they dated — that they felt like they always lost out to everything in regards to music, whether it was practice or shows or what.  and for me reading that, it was pretty scary.  it’s a topic to think about, to discuss.  no one wants to feel like they don’t matter, and no one likes to feel like they’ll be cast aside the second something “comes up.”  so i can understand that feeling.

i spent a lot of yesterday thinking about that.  i know a lot of women who date musicians — and we have a lot in common.  yeah, the guys do keep late hours.  they often practice late, shows are late, studio time runs late.  bands have to tour, and that means the significant others are gone for days or weeks at a time.  and i started to think and ask myself if that meant that we are less of a priority, if all the shows and practices mean that we are not as important.  the answer i came up with took a lot of thought.  and it’s not entirely satisfying.

the answer really is…it depends on who you’re dating.  i think all the people who wrote in to those articles, commented for them, etc. had been burned bad.  and that sucks.  if your relationship began because of that formula i mentioned above, and if it’s not a serious relationship, then i can see how the hours and the touring would be a big dealbreaker.  but in many (if not most) of the relationships around me, including my own, i feel like it’s not as simple as that.  i don’t think that the guys i know would classify everything in their lives into one category and force it all to compete against one another.  when one of those guys is in a serious relationship with someone, i don’t think that girlfriend and music occupy the same weight class.  and i came up with a distinction of why.  music is what they choose to do with their lives; we are who they choose to spend their lives with.

i’m still sort of flabbergasted that all of those articles out there exist.  how-to’s, etc.  the bottom line for me is that you can’t simply group all musicians into the stereotypes out there.  and it is beyond me why people would just hunt a certain profession to date someone in it, though i know people do.  in my opinion, if you’re serious about dating and not just looking for a fling, you ought to get to know whoever it is you want to date.  as a person.  not as a performer.  and at the end of the day, i know that i’m not a competitor against music for my boyfriend’s affection any more than his family would be.   good relationships are based on trust and communication — and if you’re basing it simply on how hot mr. dude looks with a guitar, don’t be surprised when it doesn’t work out.

so yeah.  there are tough things.  but it’s not fair to classify all people in one profession as lazy, drugged out, cheating bums.  and all the problems i read about in those articles could be prevented with some common sense and the simple act of looking beyond the guitar at the person wearing it.

there are plenty of good musicians out there.  and no, you can’t have mine.

holidays

holidays.  high holy days.  whatever that happens to mean to you.

sorry i’ve been absent.  i’ve been busy being in love.

yes, i meant to write that.  it happens, i suppose.  love is an easy thing to be caught up in.  especially when you never expected to find it for real or be allowed to touch it.  it all started a year and a half ago.  to make a long story a wee bit shorter, i (and he) knew from the beginning where we should go when we met.  but we couldn’t then, and we couldn’t for a very long time.  i couldn’t help waiting though.  i had to know what would happen.

so for the past six months, we’ve been finding out the “what next” after we got our chance.  and for the past two months, we’ve been together, in the official sense of things.

i never thought i’d have this chance again…and i certainly didn’t expect to ever find love that wasn’t the unrequited variety.  and yet.  here i am.  how lovely and odd.

needless to say, i’m really very happy.  i wrote something a couple posts back about how it’s one thing to be tolerated and something else entirely to be enjoyed.  appreciated.  i’ve never had a relationship where my quirks and idiosyncrasies were valued rather than merely put up with.  and it’s not as if we’re in the realm of rose colored glasses — this is also new territory for me because we’ve known each other for a year and a half.  and i’m finding that i simply enjoy him.

i’m finding that after a year and a half of wondering, hoping, waiting, nail-biting, pacing, laughing, soaring, head-scratching — i’m finding that after all that, his cogs and my cogs fit together still and simply turn.  clockwork.

when i’m with him, i’m more me than i’ve ever been able to be with anyone.  no pretentiousness or hiding.  and he’s who he is.  and that’s what i love about us.  that we’re two whole people building something more.

i was talking to a friend today who is also very happily ensconced in love.  we decided that there are few better feelings than falling for a good, good man.  especially when there have been so many bad ones before.

so this holiday season i am celebrating life.  i’m celebrating the changes that have brought me to dc and teaching my children to the best of my ability.  celebrating love and good friends and the changing of the seasons.  being grateful for what i have and the ability to share.  wishing i could do more for this world.

2009 is winding to a close.  when it began, i looked it in the face and said, “you’re going to be a fantastic year to put 2008 to shame.”  i wasn’t wrong.  i’ve found so many things this year.  a place in this country i can call home, which i never thought would happen.  a job i can do well that makes a difference.  one of my students called me on thanksgiving to say hello — made my night.  said job also gives me approximately 3 months per year of time i can write and pursue those things close to my heart.  by the end of this i will be financially stable for the first time ever.  i’ve found love, in more ways than one.  i may be busy and stressed, but i’m building a good life for myself here.  and i cannot wait to see where it goes.

happy holidays, whatever you celebrate.

may your days this winter be full of warmth, joy, and peace.

love.
emmie

looking forward

i’ve just realized that i am absurdly excited about life right now.  i have a veritable smorgasbord of glory to look forward to — so of course, i decided to blog about it.  like ya do.

beyond simply being excited to get the hell out of class tonight (five hour lectures suck my arse), there is a lot in the future that’s gonna rock.

first of all, this weekend.  my friend mallory is coming to visit from denver — i haven’t seen her in well over a year, and i am so stoked to hang with her here in the great state of maryland.  (silver spring, represent)  so that’s gonna be sweet.

next weekend, albannach is comin back to the renn faire, and that’s just effing awesome.  especially because i was sick as a dog when they were here a week and a half ago, and i barely remember their set at all.  and i convinced the beautiful hannah to come with me so we can wear sexy corsets and show off our boobage, which, ya know.  is awesome.  and if i see the guy who said he’d give me penis to mouth, i’ll just grab a claymore and lob it off.  save him the trouble of trying to get it bitten.

next weekend after that, a couple friends may be coming into town (i am trying to bribe them), which would RULE…because the reason i’m trying to bribe them to come that particular weekend is cos my boyfriend’s band is gonna be playing a sold out show with far at dc9.  (yep, i said boyfriend — more on that later)  so if the dudes come from toledo, life’ll just freaking kick ass.

the weekend after that is halloween.  and there is no explanation needed for why that’s exciting.

the weekend after that, the fourth kind comes out, and i plan to go get the bejeezus scared out of me with my boyfriend.  so awesome.

then born empty’s comin to dc and also releasing their new album, the oddyssey chaoti-pop oddity.

then it’s my birthday, which i have decided will NOT suck this year.

and after my birthday comes another awesome holiday…goin to toledo for thanksgiving with le boyfriend, and that’s just going to be amazing.  so basically, the next two months are going to just kick some serious ass.  and tfa said i’d be in an emotional freefall.  psh.

sooo…back to the boyfriend thing.  basically, it’s a real long story.  if you know me, you probably know parts of it, but here’s the super-speedy nutshell version:  i met him in my living room in nashville, which also happened to be his living room.  we lived in the same house for three days, then he moved back to toledo…and i stayed in nashville.  we clicked.  four months later, i spent an amazing halloween with him in ohio.  three weeks later, i saw him at thanksgiving.  a month after that, we talked it all out.  we both ended up in dc…and now here we are.  that really doesn’t do it justice….not hardly.  but the point is that after a long 16 months of wondering if we’d ever get our chance, we finally decided to take the leap. he is, quite frankly, an amazing human being.  and i’m pretty much the luckiest woman in the world.

i have an awful lot going for me right now.  i’m gonna savor it, bask in it, and roll around in it.  so there.  🙂

you can’t bleed a stone…

…at least i’m pretty sure that’s what a stone would tell you.  i mean, who wants to be bled?  better to discourage people from trying.

i used the above as a beginning to a short story i’m writing…sort of a tragic farce sort of a deal–with zombies.  you know.  for that je ne sais quois…or just for the ambience.  it’s still very much in vomit draft format, but i’m excited to see where it goes.  gore galore.  you know it.  i thank r.l. stine for that; his descriptions of purple rotting flesh have stayed with me since i was a wee thing using fear street as my bedtime stories.  always did like to be scared.

funny thing about that.  gimme monsters, zombies, vampires, ghoulies, ghosties…long-leggedy beasties and all those who go bump in the night, and i’m fine.  what really gets me quaking in my stylish, yet affordable boots is much more prosaic.

it’s life.

life is…really damn scary sometimes.  there have been times in the last few years where i have found myself reeling, thrown from hand to grasping hand without a clue of where i might land.  now is one of those times.  i’m scared shitless.

joss whedon really had it right — life is the big bad.  and i don’t know how to fight it.  i think if you handed me a stake and said, “vampire.  go, kill.”  i’d be fine.  that’s something you can fight — kill or be killed.  life’s got a much bigger gray area, and i don’t know where i fall right now.

some days i think i’m floating.  treading water, maybe.  other days — like the majority lately — i’m fairly certain my lungs are half-full (i’m an optimist, even in the face of sudden death) and i’m starting to see spots.

i’m working a job where i feel…grossly underqualified.  every day i walk through the doors of my high school and wonder who decided i had the right to teach these students.  i don’t have a license.  what makes me able to do this?  add to that the fact that someone has a rather quirky sense of humor and has decided to bypass regular curveballs for heat-seeking missiles, and you get…a mess.  i’m a mess.

i realized a few days ago that i needed to get back to myself.  somewhere in the last few months, i lost me.  not sure where.  this weekend, i wanted to go to the renn faire to see albannach — they’re my go-to for me-ness.  something about the drums, the kilts, the pipes…yes, the tattoos…it brings me home for a while.  although unfortunately, my body decided to pick this weekend to crap out on me, and i almost passed out from a fever mid-set.  probably didn’t help i was wearing a corset.  nope, probably didn’t help.

on the way back to my car, a guy started hitting on me.  being woozy, uncomfortable, and a little oblivious, i tried to politely tell him i was sick and needed to leave before i fainted.  to that, he replied, “i could give you mouth to mouth.”  i stared at him for a second, processing that.  before i could get my fuddled brain to compute a suitable response, he went on, “i could give you penis to mouth.”

now, if i had all my wits about me, that guy would have found himself the recipient of fist to face.  first of all, who the fuck says that?  it’s almost funny in a way…but then i remember the way i felt, standing there, feeling awful and sick and weak as a kitten…and how absolutely dirty and…violated i felt by that.  i turned and walked away as quickly as i could manage.

i spent this weekend home in bed, shooting shit on xbox.  and i realized that i need to get back to myself.  my life has been almost entirely taken over by work.  when i get home, all i want to do is sleep.  i never see my roommates; i have virtually no social life and very few good friends.  so i did some thinking, and this is what i came up with.

i need to write. i need to get back to my stories and being creative.  i think part of my problem is that i’m sort of…constipated.  in a creative sense.

i need a social life.  as usual, i’m stuck with the problem of most of my nearest and dearest being ever-so-far away.  and frankly, i’m lonely.  which may or may not be my own damn fault.

those are the biggies.  which is funny, cos they’re more personal life than anything…mainly i think because my professional life is so out of balance with my personal life right now.  some aspects of my personal life are in a healthy place and are good…but i feel so out of balance.

i’ve been listening to this band called hey rosetta!, and i’m loving it.  specifically the following songs:  new goodbye; i’ve been asleep for a long, long time; death is quick.

in congruence with my flustered state of mind…i’m gonna end this blog now.

words

hello, stranger.  fancy meeting you here.  yes, i know.  it’s been quite a long while since i’ve paid you a visit.  sorry about that.  rest assured it’s been for a variety of reasons, some more worthy than others.

right-o.  diving right in then, shall we?

i’ve always been fond of words.  as a child, i used to collect them.  keep them in shiny, crisp sleeves, polished and pure.  i’d occasionally show them off proudly.  words like “antidisestablishmentarianism” (which, by the way, spellcheck apparently does not like) and “onomatopoeia” (which i happened to spell correctly on the first try.  bully for me).

it wasn’t too long ago that i realized i didn’t just collect words — i breathed them.  they filled my pockets.  i found them tucked behind my ears and peeking out from beneath my pillows.  a few hover just inside my left nostril.  it’s been the time since this epic realization that i discovered why words have always flitted about my world, leaving dusky trails of fascination in their wake.

it’s about power.

we all know that, on some sort of subconscious level.  it doesn’t take long for a young child to feel the piercing pangs of carelessly slung words for the first time.  they know they’re not bleeding, and daddy and mommy can’t kiss it better, but they know it hurts real bad.

words wield a tremendous amount of power.  they can build you up when you’ve been laid low — they can tear you down from the highest mountaintop and plunge you mercilessly into oblivion.  sometimes they taunt you, tease you, torment you by hovering just slightly out of your grasp.  they can twist the truth and bend reality.  cause dissension and misunderstanding.

words can spark your strength into being and find your achille’s heel.  they can drift through your mind and flip a switch at a second’s notice.  they’ve driven people to greatness, madness, badness, and more.  they’ve swayed millions for good and for ill.  and they can disarm you, strip you bare, and leave you vulnerable.

i’ve experienced the gamut of the power of words in recent weeks.  between big scary life stuff and school and everything else, i’ve seen a great deal of this power.  i suppose i’ve even wielded it — though unfortunately, i seem to have done so in a way that has boomeranged right back at me.  lately i feel the vulnerable, on a lot of different levels and in many situations.

at the end of the day, though, i have to feel that my desire for words and my reverence for language and expression is worthwhile.  as scary as it is.  i guess i can hold onto that.

to close out, never underestimate the power of some well-aimed words.  sometimes they sustain us when we least expect it.  and sometimes they simply lead us to the moments when they can do nothing more than fall silent.

On the run, we aim for the summits and pinnacles
But when your wobbly legs tire, but your mind still roams
Here comes the wheelbarrow, I’m taking you home
Please believe in my sense of direction
We’re not lost, we’re not home

(the above italicized words are not my own; they belong to aloha, and a quietwarm song full of all sorts of lovely things.)