Category Archives: Antics

Just Another Quarantine Love Story

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It’s a bit weird to start dating someone right before the world catches fire and everyone is on lockdown, quarantining with only their most immediate, closest loved ones. Him and I didn’t have anyone—just our dogs. And I guess we could’ve gone the other route—we could’ve just said, “Welp, this was fun for a couple weeks, huh? Maybe I’ll see you when this is all over!” We would’ve texted for a while and then faded away from each other, as many met-on-an-app flings often go. It was a step away or lean in kinda moment and we decided to lean in. Suddenly, someone who had only seen you naked twice is the only human on Earth who you’re allowed to see, touch, hug, kiss.

It’s a lot. And honestly, I’m surprised we haven’t killed each other yet.

He’s pretty content in quarantine. He’s enjoying working from home. He enjoys being home in general—playing video games, watching TV, napping, building model robots. All of his favorite things can be done in his living room. Clearly, we are complete opposites. The only favorite thing of mine that can be done in my living room is reading and writing, but my favorite place to do both of those things is outside, preferably next to a pool or ocean. I’m going certifiably crazy. On edge and pessimistic or desperately needy at all times. I can only sometimes get to sleep and I can only sometimes wake up when I’m supposed to. Waves of emotions constantly pull and tear at me, and the good ones like motivation and gratitude hardly every stick around long enough.

He said it really, really well the other night: “We’re kind of in this situation that forces you to find out all the worst things about me, really early on.” Super, super smart man (in this particular moment) for not saying WE’re finding out the worst things about each other. I quickly added though, “You’re definitely finding out the worst things about me, too.”

I need attention, y’all. And I don’t just mean from a romantic partner. I never realized how much I counted on human interaction—at work, seeing a hundred students a day, plus my coworkers, my friends, my family… Losing all of that has been rough on me.

And who gets to be there for me to unleash these swelling emotions upon? Yup, the one and only human I’m allowed to interact with. Poor guy. But you know what, I’m putting up with plenty from him as well…

I thought, for a long time, that La Rona basically mandated him and I be friends and nothing more. Ever. I mean, the whole situation is insane when you really stop to think about it. It’s not like we could go on dates with other people. We weren’t even seeing our friends or family. The one person I was entrusting to not give me an airborne virus was someone I had swiped right on a few weeks ago, mutually agreeing on the visual appealing nature of each other’s faces.

But how exactly do you stop yourself from catching feelings for someone you’re talking to or seeing every single day for four months in a row (and counting)? Clearly there was something there, for us to want to keep seeing that much of each other. Right? I doubted it, giving in to my true nature of distrust—we’re only getting this close because of COVID-19, I thought. We’re just comfortable with each other, that’s it. If there wasn’t a plague floating around, we would have been done with each other long ago. I told myself so many things. I would bottle it up and then freak out, telling him I didn’t want a real relationship only to, a few weeks later, chastise him for not wanting to lock things down.

I built a giant living room fort complete with candles and champagne, he ordered us ramen and set up camping chairs on top of an empty parking garage. I dressed up like I was going out on the town just for him to make us fresh-squeezed margaritas. I attempted to cut his hair, he bought me roses. I set up a wings and hot sauce challenge for him, he took us on scenic drives, blasting 90s music. I brought him sushi, he brought me Chinese. I cooked crockpot recipes and rented movies, he ordered pizza and rubbed my feet. I wrote him a poem, he made me breakfast tacos and French toast. Our dogs became best friends and wannabe lovers, and I guess we also accidentally became best friends, but definitely lovers.

This whole thing has been ridiculous and beautiful and indescribably absurd. My career took a pretty hard hit, the progress on my dissertation took an even bigger hit, my mental health was shaky at best, the country was in what can only be called utter chaos, and then…I fell in love?

I’m actually mad that yet another cliché is true. “When you stop trying and stop looking for it—when you least expect it—it’ll happen.” I gagged when someone would tell me that for the hundredth time. The year 2020 being cancelled, surviving a pandemic, and narrowly avoiding murder hornets was not what I thought they meant when they said “least expect” but I get it now.

There’s not much that I know “in these strange times” or “amid all this confusion” or whatever email starter you prefer, but I do know that I wish I could bottle his hug and laugh and the way he brushes my hair out of my face. “In these uncertain times,” I’m pretty certain about him. Amongst the million “hope this finds you well”(s), I’m glad I found him.

Hell-Raiser

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Thank you for raising me to be a hell-raiser. When I took Drivers Ed with my best friend, she slammed on the breaks and cried once. Every time I was behind the wheel, it was more like Yippee Ki-yay Mother Fuckers!

Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely pros to being the girl who cried in Drivers Ed. My best friend never has to apologize to people for her brazen words also known as “harsh honesty.” I do. I have to do that. A lot. Plus, I’m often told that it’s astounding that I’m still alive and well, driving the way I do.

BUT. I rarely take shit from anyone. I stand up for myself and my beliefs and my loved ones and women and people of color and my students and Humans Who Genuinely Enjoy Miracle Whip and my dog (he’s still learning, OK?!). I’m so full of self-righteous indignation sometimes that I have been known to—gasp!—tell a man why I don’t want to go on another date with him. I know, I know, the audacity! Let him think he’s amazing and superior, even when letting him down, right? NO. Not right.

I have stomped my foot, I have gotten on and off so many goddamn soapboxes, I have tutted and tsked my way through a room, and I have shaken my head and finger at plenty of deserving suspects. How dare they? Do they know who I am? Do they know who raised me?

Yes, yes, this means my options are narrowed. I’m too outspoken or too opinionated or too awesome for a lot of guys. I’d be married with a bunch of babies by now if I wasn’t such a hell-raiser. I just…can’t seem to stop.

I wanted to thank you for not being the kind of mother who says things like:

“You should really hurry up and meet a man so that I can have grandbabies.”

“Why are you still single? When are you gonna settle down?”

“You’re not getting any younger!”

“Maybe you shouldn’t be so picky; maybe this is the best thing that’s gonna come around…”

Sometimes I forget how lucky I am—I forget how common those questions are, how casually they’re constantly thrown at women like darts.

YOU say things like:

“You don’t HAVE to have kids. Don’t feel like you HAVE to have children. If you want them, well OK then.”

And then, when I say that yes, I do want kids one day, but I worry about the complications of having kids in your mid-late thirties:

“You know, you don’t have to get married to have a kid. You can always adopt. Never rush into something because you want to have kids.”

 “You should NEVER settle.”

 

It’s crazy how many parents pressure their children into getting married and having kids…I will always be grateful to have been raised by a woman like you, who never pressured me into doing anything besides focusing on my schoolwork. I may be biased as an educator, but I think that’s the only thing that parents should ever pressure their kids into doing, haha! You may not be perfect. I’m sure as hell not perfect. But I am a hell-raiser and you are perfect in my eyes. Thanks, Mama<3

My friend wrote a poem

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*Wrote this awhile back and just found it floating around on my laptop. Liked it better all these months later*

 

My friend wrote a poem today and read it to me over tacos and Big Red (in the bottle) and—well, that was all mine, his was a pecan porter and something called a chicken lollipop? His poem made me sad because I don’t want to feel better that other people are going through what I’m going through. I want to look at my family and friends and aspire to have what they have.

My friend wrote a poem today and it reminded me of how many times I’ve been heartbroken (technically three, potentially 3.5). It shouldn’t be that way, right? It should probably cap at twice, maybe even once.

My friend wrote a poem today and he’s going to read it aloud at a coffee shop in front of a girl he hopes will one day break his heart just as good as the girl-who-the-poem-about’s did. What a strange concept, to admit to someone you’re in Phase 1 with that you recently were in Phase 300 (Phases 5-300 are all just heartbreak in various forms including depression, self-deprecation, and gym memberships).

My friend wrote a poem today and it cut into me for some reason, as if I’d never read a poem so raw (I’ve read a million poems just like this, I’m sure of it). Why is that? Why can we go hours, days, weeks even without feeling that sick, gutted thing and then randomly feel it punching through our organs like (use Cookie Monster’s voice here, it works for some reason) “YOU THOUGHT I WAS GONE, BITCH?! THINK AGAINNNN!”

My friend wrote a poem today and we finished our drinks and food and complained about the flies or mosquitoes or sun or all of the above. We hugged goodbye and I found myself jealous that he was off to let someone new turn him down or stomp on his feelings or commit but then change their mind or fall in love with him and drive him mad, but in a good way, til the end of time. It’s probably time to be destroyed again, I thought, driving home through the humid traffic or trafficky humidity. I wrote a poem and then started swiping.

Peter Pan Syndrome

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When did men become more interested in swiping right, gaze down than catching your eye at a bar? Peter Pan Syndrome got them in their late 30’s still thinkin’ they’re gonna be a DJ superstar, barista on the side, chasin’ every skirt in sight, 21 forever. Ever seen a balding guy trying to grind on women, slurring “You should smile more” and pounding Lonestars? You’d think he was a hobo and seconds away from getting escorted out except…you look around and the place is filled with mustaches just like him. You think, is this a nightmare? Is this some Twilight Zone shit? But then you remember that it’s 2018 and it’s Austin, Texas and 98% of all men here who are under the age of 45 believe in ACL/SXSW>stability and hipster beards>marriage.

No wonder women are settling for the kind of men they’re settling for…at least those men aren’t afraid of commitment.

Meanwhile, I remain team #nosettle and also team #gtfohPeterPan–therefore team #singleforever. Shout out to those of you who are in the same boat. Le sigh.

The Pink Notebook

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I remember wanting a fancy poetry notebook and either a) being too lazy to go buy one b) being too poor to go buy one or c) just saying, “F it!” and cracking open the thick, hot pink Five Star which was an extra from my last semester of college.

My first entry says 10/09/10. My last entry says 2/1/17. I never really liked poetry titles–I thought they kind of took away from the poem’s magic. Or maybe I just suck at titles. Either way, every page has a date at the top, nothing more. Well, this is a lie–there are a few random M*A*S*H games scattered throughout, a couple planning pages from my Teach For America days, some grocery lists,  Pros/Cons lists, to-do lists, and a food diary. Sometimes I wouldn’t have anything else to write on, OK? So I can’t say every page is poem, but almost.

I’ve taken this thing everywhere–so many flights, random countries, beaches, poolsides, and bus rides. It’s been through a bizarre six and a half years. I don’t ever share my poetry–only a few people have read from this thing (hand-picked poems, never free-reign flipping), but I figured I’d share a few to celebrate the momentous occasion of finally filling it up. I thought I’d fill it up in a year, tops. I mean, it IS thick, like I said–divided into sections with fancy pocketed page dividers. But I definitely didn’t stick to my poem-a-day plan. Shit, I didn’t even stick to a-poem-a-month plan.

Edit: I was going to share one poem from every year…but that quickly became a Ha! Some years are overflowing with loss/grief/I miss yous/fuck yous and nothing else. You can just go listen to any good break-up album instead. Other pages are only filled with cheesy I love you poems that I just…can’t.

You know what? I’m just going to share one. It’s not the best, it’s not the worst, but it made me laugh out loud on this ugly, rainy Saturday. To all of you with awful tattoos that you got when you were 18, but still can’t admit that you were young and dumb, so you make up ridiculous explanations and “meanings”:

9/12/12
your tattoos lick over your chest
washing over both arms
the black contrasting against the bare white
the meanings are too obscure, forced
for me to believe they should be on your body forever
I think you just liked the idea, the look, the art
the way the girl’s hair curled around your collar bone
the way the microphone cord curved into song lyrics
the way the octopus met the elephant on your bicep
Don’t give me that deep, really reaching concept
that you made up
for moments like these
when a girl who needs meaning
asks you about your ink

Friendships Age Too

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Everyone always talks about romantic relationships and how difficult they are–the compromising, the settling, how hard it is to be single, how hard it is to be married, blah blah blah.

No one ever really spends too much time gabbing about how difficult friendships can be. Friendships are supposed to be easy, right? Comfortable, lasting longer than any romantic relationship you’ve ever had. I guess that used to be true.

Somewhere around Real Adult Life (not Fake Adult Life), you realize how tough friendships can actually be. Hangouts no longer consist of last minute happy hours that turn into long, carb-filled dinners that turn into late-night pillow talk and accidental sleepovers. Hangouts now have to be planned weeks in advance. Alcohol and carbs are out because someone is on an insane diet. Late nights and accidental sleepovers are out because someone has to wake up early for work or get home ASAP to a baby or a husband or a boyfriend. Suddenly, you’re not a priority in their life anymore–you’re third or fourth fiddle, at best.

At some point, jobs and men, raises and promotions and…men became more important than keeping up with what you’ve been cooking for dinner or watching on Netflix…GASP?! It’s normal, I know. But that doesn’t make it suck any less.

The worst part is, you want to be happy for them, you TRY your damnedest to be happy for them…but mostly, you just feel deflated. There was a time in my life when I talked to my friends every day (usually multiple times a day). Questions like, “Hey, did you wind up buying that necklace?” have turned into “Hey, how’ve you been?”

I’ve never been one of those 27 Dresses types–I’ve always had a close-knit pack of two or three women who were more like sisters to me. I’m currently down to…one. Insert the *eek!* emoji. Yeah. One bestie who keeps up with my woes pretty well–not like she used to, but still pretty well.

Is it because she and I are the only single ladies of the once-wolf-pack? Perhaps. But more likely, it’s because we’ve been best friends since we met in middle school, when she saw me bleeding from my knees and lip and asked if I was OK (ridiculous Spanish Dancing Club incident). Hopefully, she’ll be my person forevs, but let’s be real…she could turn into a Husband-Hungry villain at any moment… That, folks, will be the day I adopt a handful of pets and babies or move to an island and live out the rest of my days befriending only coconuts.

Anyway, I’m getting off track here, I apologize. I have a few acquaintance-types who are fun, but they’re seeking the same thing I am–people to fill in the gaps leftover by once upon a time best friends, sisters. It’s great to have people who you can share a meal with, but it’s crazy to feel like you don’t have anyone to tell the deep, dark stuff to.

It can be pretty lonely, here in adulthood. No wonder people kept getting married even after property promises and dowries weren’t a thing anymore–it’s the only way of ensuring that you won’t slip and die in the shower, your remains left rotting under an enormous water bill for weeks. I kid, I kid.

How do we keep friendships, even after X, Y, or Z? How do we balance other life obligations with these people who know way too much about us? How do we remain understanding, even after being shoved aside to make room for “more” or “different” or “better”?

Questions

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Oh hey, WordPress. I broke my “post once a month” rule. Crap.

And here to make up for it is a list of asinine questions, none of which I really need an answer to, but they’re funny so whatever.

  1. Now that my ex-boyfriend is engaged to my ex-roommate, will he change his HBOGo password? Because my life will be ruined without full Jon Snow access.
  2. Is there any real possibility of convincing my parents to NOT vote for Trump? I’ve tried almost everything. Welcome to new ideas.
  3. Why are crime podcasts the best thing on the planet and am I a psychopath for loving listening to murder stories so much? My Favorite Murder and In the Dark are my latest obsessions–check them out if you’re a weirdo like me. Also, (not to answer my own question) I think I like them partly because they play into my extreme anxiety and constant paranoia. Now I can quote 1980s court cases if someone makes fun of me for locking my doors meticulously (and checking to make sure they’re locked).
  4. Why do rapists often times serve little to NO jail time? Everyone should watch Audrie & Daisy on Netflix…it’s sickening but important, for teenagers especially. I wish it were appropriate to show in my classroom–I’d love for my students to watch and learn about a) the true meaning of consent b) the horror social media can cause and c) the repercussions of your actions and how some mistakes can haunt you (and others) forever.

On that bright and shiny note, I leave you. Off to try a “salt cave session”…I don’t even know. The Groupon obsession continues.

Dear Future Husband

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Dear Future Husband,

I’m sorry that you missed me in my prime, man. Damn I was FIT. I now value the happiness that bread and booze bring me over the happiness that my jean size used to bring me. I care a whole hell of lot more about making a friend’s happy hour celebration or checking out a new restaurant than I do about how many minutes of cardio I got in. I’ve accepted butt cellulite and you should too, sir. I still get carded sometimes, I’ll have you know.

I know what I want. This has been a little off-putting for some men–they want me to only want…what they want. To accept everything they say and everything they do, without question. I’m not that girl. I’m not easily suppressed. I have strong opinions, I stand up for myself, I tell you when you hurt my feelings and I tell you WHY. Thank you for loving that about me without being intimidated. I love the same things about you.

I’m no longer in a rush. I’m not going to settle for that dude who called teaching “such an easy job,” that dude who smoked way too much weed, that dude who spoke in teenager-slang, or that dude who wouldn’t stop talking about his huge bank account–I’m waiting for YOU, obviously.

Thanks for supporting my writing. Thanks for wanting to get to know my friends and family. Thanks for wanting more than just sex, but…ya’ know, thanks for also wanting sex. Thanks for being a foodie (thank you for not letting me settle for that dude with the ginger allergy) and thanks for wanting to travel with me (thanks for not letting me settle for that dude who didn’t even want to buy a passport). Thank you for reading books and not just Facebook posts.

Just thanks, for being you, whoever you are 🙂

 

Love,

Alysha

Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival

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Originally written for and published by Texas Lifestyle Magazine 🙂

 

This past rainy week in Austin served up some of the most amazing comedic performances—were you able to catch a show? If not, make sure you get a ticket (or fan badge) next year—you won’t be sorry. Four days, ten venues, and over 90 performers—wow.

Headlining this week at the Paramount Theatre was Martin Short, Maya Rudolph, Anjelah Johnson, Kevin Smith, and David Cross. The big-timers sold out pretty quickly but were still a steal at about $40 per ticket on average.

I was more interested in the smaller venues—I wanted to sit as close as possible to the laugh-creators and honestly, I’ve found that less-advertised performances are usually the most amazing experiences. That definitely proved to be true.

First up was Stars in Bars at Antone’s Nightclub on East 6th Street. Local comedian Matt Bearden hosted, and the night started off strong with Martha Kelly, also Austin-based, who’s known for the FX show “Baskets.” Her dark, hilarious anecdotes about her beloved cats passing away were perfect.

Jon Rudnitsky, who’s new to the SNL cast, added not one, but two “dance routines” to his stand-up. If you love Chipotle, you’ll love his burrito-maker moves. Another SNL cast member, Colin Jost, wasn’t on the original line-up, but decided to make a guest appearance I guess! His and Jon’s eight to ten minutes were way too short for me, but I’m not 100% sure if that’s because they were terrific (they were) or if they were both drop dead gorgeous. Something to consider.

Brendan Walsh, Greg Liedtke, and Dana Gould added their own quirky witticisms—the entire night was honestly a blur of sidesplitting laughter, including the closing act, The Sklar Brothers (Wild Hogs, Entourage—trust me, you know these hysterical twins).

But the person who absolutely killed it? Arden Mylin, known for her many panelist contributions to the Chelsea Lately roundtable. She SLAYED (and I would usually never use that word, because it reminds me of the students I teach, but it works here). I especially loved when she called out the obnoxious couple in front of me (who sits in the first row if they’re going to loudly talk the whole time?) and lamented about wearing Spanx. Then she commented on my Instagram post. Then she quoted my tweet. Ok, I’ll stop gushing now.

Next was the Goddamn Comedy Jam at The Parish on Dirty 6th, a place I tend to avoid, but I’m glad I didn’t that night! Josh Adam Meyers hosted, and might I add, made his entrance by grabbing a man in the front row and kissing him, rocking out with the two “roadies” (whose job all night was just to jam out and get the crowd pumped),  and forcing another man in the third row to admit what race he hated the most. Quite the first three minutes.

Goddamn Comedy Jam is all about mixing comedy with music—which is genius, especially since this is the Live Music Capital of the World. Each comedian has to perform their stand-up and then perform a song of their choosing! Such an amazing idea. Joe DeRosa sang the hell out of a Queen song and Janeane Garofalo went with The Monkees—both were more than “funny”  beforehand as well of course.

Matteo Lane stole the show for me—his jests about being gay, Italian-Mexican, and single in New York were hilarious. Plus, he sang Whitney…in the original key!

Brad Williams was the headliner for a reason—he absolutely won me over (I stereotypically thought at first that all his jokes were going to be about being a little person…I know, I’m the worst). You may know him from Comedy Central, but now I’ll forever know him as astounding an entire venue with his sex advice and Kid Rock performance. After Williams’ killer version of “Bawitdaba,” Meyers made all the comics come back on stage to do a final performance together—“Hey Jude.”

As you can see by my overflowing enthusiasm about this past week, Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival is something you simply can’t miss next year. I’ll be smiling about these shows for weeks to come.

A Different Kind of Halloween

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I can’t even remember all of my crazy October 31st nights, but I know I’ve loved every single one of them. Halloween’s been a long-time favorite–I LOVE dressing up, being someone else for a night.

College was a blur of “sexy somethings” and I was sadly among them–sexy cop, sexy Girl Scout (used my real, patch-covered vest). One year I was Risky Business Tom Cruise, Gold Dress Marilyn Monroe the next. In Hawaii, I was a fellow drinking game (we were Beer Pong, Power Hour, and King’s Cup together) and then a hippie (but that year, a tsunami warning halted our plans). Then back to Texas, borrowed my best friend’s ancient flapper dress.

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I’ve had quite the string of awesome Halloweens–late night kisses, hilarious drunken tales, insane parties…That’s why I’m OK with kind of giving up my favorite holiday this year. Turning it in for a Hocus Pocus movie night with the girls, complete with wine and take-out. No costumes, no raging, no hangover, and hopefully no bawling over last Halloween. I was Mystique. It was kind of epic.

But before you start picturing “Break-Up Alysha” weeping to Adele’s new song over a pint of newly released Blue Bell, please know that I am [also] remembering some of the things that are great about being single. More importantly, I think I finally know what I want and need in a relationship.

It’s funny, how I thought I knew a year ago.

I’ll stop it now, promise.

Anyway, I’m excited about a different kind of Halloween this year. It may make me feel old as dirt and my heart might wind up hurting just as much…who am I kidding, of course it will…but that’s OK. At least I won’t be a wasted mess. There’s always next year (not to be a wasted mess, I mean, there’s always next year to carry on with my tradition of awesomeness). I’ve been trying to convince my best friends to get on board with a cutesy Three Blind Mice get-up for years and I think the stars may finally align in 2016.

To NEXT Halloween! Watch out, Austin. Or wherever I’ll be (spoiler alert: my next blog might be about where to move).