Monthly Archives: March 2012

Salt Water

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“The cure for anything is salt water: tears, sweat, or the sea.” -Isak Dinesen

Previous experiments that have resulted in favor of this quote:

#1 Hated my job and craved a worthwhile, impacting career change. Needed to get away from the 30 mile radius that I’d spent my whole life in. Just went through a horrible break-up. Solution? Move to an island, surrounded by the sea. Spend days melting into sand, floating over waves, and working on my tan. Did it work? Hell yeah!

#2 Shitty day. Solution? Go to the gym and sweat profusely on an elliptical while watching The Voice, The Soup, or really anything that starts with The. Did it work? Hell yeah!

#3 I used to cry a LOT when my feelings were hurt. Mainly, crying helped when I cried so much that my body literally couldn’t produce any more salty water. That’s when I’d pick myself up, take a shower, make a snack, and move the fuck on. Did it work? Hell yeah!

Future ways I shall test this theory:

1. Next time my students are really grinding my gears, I’m going to throw my hands up, give the lesson plan to the nearest and dearest teacher’s pet, and book it to North Shore.

2. Things that make you sweat: hiking, lying on the roof in summer, street fighting, sex. Try it all, man. One of them’s bound to work.

3. Ok so I have to be honest, I haven’t cried in a LONG time, which is awesome and also sad (I’ve become a wee bit cold and heartless, it’s fine). But I’m sure if I need to shed a tear or two, I’ll do it and it’ll work. Fresh idea—start crying out of happiness. This sounds much more pleasant.

4. Somehow combine all three? Would EVERYTHING then be cured? Example: go skinny dipping in Lanikai, then climb Stairway, then cry at the sheer beauty of the sunrise?

 

Here’s another question. I see the power of this quote. But how far could it go? Can we cure world hunger with salt water? Gang violence? Animal abuse? Racism? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS. Send the rapists to Maui, create a new viral TV show called “Sweat Out Your Murderous Streak,” and play The Notebook on repeat until pedophiles weep the pedophilia right out.

Seriously though, I am a firm believer in this whole thing. Salt water. It’s genius. What a perfect day—being near the sea, feeling super accomplished because you’re sweating (don’t you always feel accomplished whilst sweating, even if it’s disgusting?), and something happens that makes you SO incredibly happy that you cry, just a little bit. Puttin’ this on the Hawaii bucket list.

The Yellow of You

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Short story I wrote in college: the assignment was to write about our death from someone else’s perspective. Morbid, right? But I always tend to enjoy any excuse to be emo and dramatic:)

The Yellow of You

“I love you more than all the eyelashes in the world.” You were so random sometimes.

“You’re never out of new ones, are you?” I brushed your bangs away from your eyes, but they soon fell back into place.

“You should try it, it’s very satisfying.”

“Alright. I love you more than all the freckles in the world.” I’m not very original, you were the poet. But hey, I thought it was cute.

“Weak.”

“Oh c’mon, everyone knows there’s more freckles than eyelashes in the world.”

“Are you kidding me? There are millions of people who don’t have one single freckle.”

“Yeah but then there are other people covered in them.”

“But it doesn’t matter because everyone has eyelashes.”

“That is false. Besides, have you ever counted your eyelashes? Not that many.”

“Have you ever counted your freckles? You have way more eyelashes.”

You were probably right, but I thought I was fighting a fair fight. “Are you forgetting about the ones on my butt?”

“No, those are my favorite.”

You smiled that smile where the creases of your mouth formed fake dimples. I loved those. You always said your body tried so hard to produce something you had always wanted. I told you one day that they weren’t that special, that in Chemistry, we learned they were actually a dominant trait. You didn’t care. You got pissed, ranting about how you would have a boring recessive gene.

I probably would’ve come up with something better than freckles if I would have known. I would’ve done a lot of things. But we finally rolled out of bed and said goodbye. I only pecked your lips, thinking how late I already was for work. But you understood. You didn’t like it when I messed up your vanilla lip gloss anyway.

What college student still wears vanilla lip gloss? You’d punch me and say “This college student.”

You waved out of your window as I sped down the highway and the next time I’d see you wouldn’t be in fake dimples and sticky kisses. I only ever saw fragments of your favorite yellow dress caught in some of the glass and metal.

They said I didn’t need to identify the body, that they used your teeth or something. How CSI right? All they really mean is that the body’s too messed up and they don’t want me going psycho. As if seeing you would’ve made it harder than it already was. As if I already didn’t have a picture in my head of what you looked like. I had seen blood, it was hard to miss. So what would’ve been the difference? But I guess I’m just saying that. I probably would have gone psycho. Trying to piece you back together or something. I mean, for God’s sake, I didn’t even believe them when they said you were dead. I wanted to play fucking doctor, grab some Toys R US stethoscope from my younger brother and find your heartbeat.

I kept on thinking about time and how it all matters. The cliché, what if I would have been with her for five more minutes? Then you would’ve been on the highway five minutes later, and then there’d be no wreck. Or you’d be stuck in traffic because of a wreck killing somebody else’s girlfriend. But seriously, what if I would’ve kissed you goodbye one more time? A long, 30-second kiss. Taking off all of your Bath and Body Works “Cake Icing.” Would that have made a difference?

Someone had taken your shoes and placed them neatly by a police car.

“Young man, I think it’s time you head home,” some officer gripped my shoulder. I could feel his wedding band through my shirt and I wanted so badly to be standing in front of you in a white dress instead of you covered up with a white sheet.

I was hugging the yellow flats I bought you that year I worked at Journey’s for minimum wage. You told me that was the stupidest job ever for a “white male college junior.” You told me to go apply at a bank, and I finally did.

“Did you hear me, son?”

I glanced at the 52 card pickup of “Monty the Mazda.” You always had to name your cars. And then I headed home to curl up in bed, surrounded by everything you had ever left at my apartment.

Eventually, I took the shoes off my desk and put them in the box in my closet with all of our pictures. You forgot to take the sticker off the left one, I did that for you. It was dirty and faded, $24.99 Size 7. Later, I took the sticker out of the trash and smoothed it back on the bottom of the heel. One of the corners refused to stick, curling up, no matter how many times I laid it flat. I kissed it over and over for hours, tears soaking into every inch of yellow.

Poop in one hand…

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After receiving a few random comments, suggestions, lectures, rants, drunken statements, serious girl talks, life stories, and in-a-nutshells—all on the same questions (How do you know it’s a date? How do you know you’re dating someone? When should it be official?)—I decided to record some of these nuggets of wisdom. People my age, older people, younger people, and yes, my 7th grade students, have given me their opinion (some prompted, some not). Read on if you’d like some clarity (or more confusion) on all your love life wonderings.

  • Friends:

“Your dress only has one sleeve. It’s a date.”

“If you don’t order a cab, or in some cases the bus, for the person to leave at the end of the night, it’s a date. When your landlord asks for your date’s rent check, it should be official.”

“I would consider it dating when a guy tells you he wants to buy you a horse.” Smartass.

“When I go home and wait for them to call. When we text all day.”

“It’s a date if he pays, kisses you, or tries to feel you up. At least one of the three.”

“You’re dating if you’re not sleeping with other people. No wait, that’s if it’s official. No wait, what?”

“Facebook, it’s all about the Facebook relationship status. Ohhh, you guys aren’t even friends on Facebook? Ouch. That’s not dating. That’s not even friendship.”

  • Student quotes:

“Well, I mean, if she lets you hold her hand all week, everywhere you go.”

“When the whole school knows, so it’s like, really known or whatever.”

“It’s like when I let her wear my hat and she lets me wear her silly bands. That’s like, not something you do for just anybody.”

“When Ms. Mendez even knows you’re going out, and she’s all ‘Tell your boyfriend to do his poetry packet!’ it’s like DANG, you’re really going out, ya’ know?”

Mom: “A date is when the guy calls you and asks you out and he pays the check. It was just a date if you didn’t have fun, laugh, talk, and laugh some more. When you have enough in common to want to see the same person again, and again, and again, this is dating but can be done with more than one person. Exclusive dating is when two people realize they’re not seeing anyone else and don’t want to see anyone else. It’s ‘official’ when you realize it’s exclusive and it’s unspoken that it’s exclusive—there is no timeline on this. Could take a month, could take six months. It’s seriously ‘official’ when it is spoken that you are exclusive. Love finds you when you least expect it. Always be smiling, and always wear earrings when you leave the house—you never know who your audience is!”

Dad: “Poop in one hand and wish in the other. See which one fills up first.” I feel like this is actually pretty helpful. Think about it. If you’re having to wish for something to be a date, or dating, or “official,” that probably means something isn’t quite right. You shouldn’t have to really wish that hard, if both people want the same things, are on the same page. No one wants poop in their hand.

Ironically, Dad gave me another piece of dating advice one time that had to do with feces. He said, “You better get out of the shit before your shoes get dirty.” It was very profound at the time. Shit and love life seem to go together nicely, metaphorically speaking that is.

If this doesn’t make things more clear, I don’t know how to help you. My dad or I could probably come up with a new poop expression to better fit your needs though. All you have to do is ask.

How to Be “Pleasantly Surprised By Everything”

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I’ve officially learned the hard way how true a good friend’s words were recently:

“Never get excited about anything, and then you’ll be pleasantly surprised by everything” (or something like that).

HOW TRUE IS THAT?! How sad, but true is that? When she first said it, I thought it was hilarious of course, as are most things that come out of her mouth, but I didn’t take it seriously. After all, getting excited about things is…well, fun. Getting excited means smiling and laughing and butterflies and anticipation. How boring would life be without excitement?

But then again…the quote is 100% true. Our lives would be simpler and easier if we never allowed ourselves to get excited about anything. Think about it. You’d never have ANY expectations, no unrealistic fantasies, zero delusions about experiences that family or friends or media have hammered into your minds since birth…

Let’s take a few examples from my life:

1.       Life After College. Oh my lord, I thought immediately after I was handed that diploma that my life would basically start exploding into fireworks of adventure, fortune, and happiness. I built up life after college SO much—not only in the four years at Texas State, but also in high school, and probably before that too. This is the supreme example of how getting excited about something screwed me over. I realized pretty quickly that Oh, wait…I didn’t find the perfect husband in college. Oh, wait…I don’t have a fabulous dream job lined up. Oh wait, I’m still living in a shitty apartment selling clothes for a horrendous hourly wage? If I hadn’t been so excited, maybe this time in my life would’ve been seen as relaxing and full of possibilities instead of hopeless and a huge, huge disappointment.

2.       Moving To Hawaii. Yes, Hawaii was my first choice when I applied for TFA. The rest of my top ten cities were big and bustling, most of which I had never even been to. Why? Because this was going to be THE BEST TWO YEARS OF MY LIFE! This experience was going to be LEGEN-wait for it-DARY! Oh, I got my first choice city? Of course I did, because these two years were going to be filled with getting a tan, travelling between islands, being a kickass teacher, finishing grad school like a boss, and meeting  beautiful surfers (one of whom would become my boyfriend, of course). It’s a little ridiculous how excited I was about moving here. And c’mon, I had great reason—this is paradise, this is one of the top honeymoon spots, this place has no real winter! BUT (there’s always a but when you get too excited), this has of course been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. This is the most I’ve ever complained, stressed, lacked sleep, had migraines that are out of this world…and I can’t help but wonder…would it be this challenging if I hadn’t built it up so much in my head, convincing myself that it was going to be PERFECTION?

3.       Relationships. If you haven’t read my blog “Dating on an Island,” go read it…If you’ve read it, then I really don’t need to say anything else right now. You get it. Dating sucks, people suck, having high expectations sucks, getting disappointed time after time sucks. But hey, if I don’t like it, I should just stop getting excited about relationships, right? Cutting out this aspect leaves us heartbreak free. If we don’t get excited, we therefore won’t get crushed. Plus, no matter what sleazy or slimy or downright disturbing words or actions someone directs toward you, you won’t be fazed! Because you weren’t excited anyway! Ahh, the liberation.

The problem is, none of this is actually possible. We’re wired a little differently than that, unfortunately. No matter how much my friend can say “Never get excited about anything, and then you’ll be pleasantly surprised by everything,” she’ll never actually, truly be able to live by it, nor will I or you or anyone.

We’re programmed to get excited, to get our hopes up, to anticipate the best, and to be severely disappointed when again, something is, instead, the worst.

But who the hell cares. I’m one of those idiots who gets excited about EVERYTHING and everyone. And you know what? I’ve had plenty of pleasant surprises in my life, thank you very much! Then again, have I had more disappointments because of my over-eagerness? Shit, probably. Point moot. Whatever, dream big or go home.