Friday, September 11, 2015

So long, Farewell

Change can be difficult for everyone, in one way or another. Sometimes even positive change can cause a visceral reaction - like a deer standing transfixed, caught in the beam of on-coming headlights or a driver throwing their arm toward their passenger at the sight of a possible collision. What’s coming could be the best thing that ever happened to you, but it’s not what you know…so you react as if it’s the end of the world, dig in your heels, or do your best to sabotage it.
For two years I’ve been avoiding this place, this monument to who I’ve always been. I’ve stared at it, reached for it, once in a while…waiting for the words here to draw me back in and comfort me, to make me a part of the community I loved and needed. But the inescapable truth is that I don’t belong here anymore.
The person I’ve become isn’t a part of Calling People Names and I’m finally ready to accept that there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing shameful in becoming something you once swore you wouldn’t - a wife, a mother…again, a mostly functional member of polite society. I balked at traditional roles because they seemed antiquated and forced, and I was determined to fit no one’s mold or characterization of what a woman ought to be.
But here’s why it’s okay for me to become the cliché I once balked at: It’s genuine.
This year I turned thirty, got engaged, and am expecting a baby within the next four months. And I’ve been staring at this place, afraid to let it go once and for all because that would mean the transition is complete. I’ve really changed and all of these stories, conquests, thoughts, ideas…they belong to Her. The Old Me. She’s still in there, in all her salacious glory, but she belongs in the background now…a remnant to be shared privately reminiscing with friends, only vaguely with the husband when he needs reminding that he married someone that was once badass, and as a threat to the children – “I’ve been there, done that, and if I find out you tried on the t-shirt…I’ll kill you.”
So it’s time to say goodbye to this place, because writing here any longer would just feel like guest blogging or putting on a show. Maybe there will be another corner of the internet where I can start exploring this new woman – maybe she has something to say too. Or maybe it’s time to put the blogging behind me and write that novel.  Who knows?
Either way, it’s been a pleasure reading your comments and your blogs, meeting you and getting to know you. Thank you for being my audience, my confidants, and my friends.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Being a single woman in a big southern family is rather like those movies you see about being single in a Greek or Jewish family. All those romantic comedies show the woman being poked and prodded about her marital status, but for all their good intentions, they end up making her dating life more difficult.

The constant need to tell embarrassing stories, use embarrassing nicknames and point out all my character flaws . . . those things aren’t, technically, meant to scare off a man. They’re meant to test him. Is he worthy? Can he hack it in our gene pool? And, of course, it’s a warning of sorts. “If you didn’t know what you were getting into when you took her out the first time, we’re going to make damn sure you find out now, over pot roast. Hope you’re not squeamish.”

When I brought my first high school boyfriend home for dinner my father waxed poetic about his gun collection over the main course and mused that he could kill a man with his bare hands over dessert, if he felt so inclined. He hasn’t changed much in his old age, still uses the same old lines, but he’s more pragmatic about it. He knows that his unveiled threats of violence and dismemberment won’t keep a man from touching me, so he’s added a new tactic to his repertoire. He’s heard enough chatter from my cousins to make vague references about my sex life. This is, of course, completely inappropriate, which means he finds it endlessly amusing.

It was via one of these inappropriate references that Steve first met my father. At the time he was just a guy I’d met through work connections. A mutual friend invited him and his roommate to our after work bar hangout, we chatted, they expressed interest in spending time on the lake, and I invited them to come to one of our every weekend cookouts. I was unaware when I extended the invitation that half my family would show up. In particular, my father, who was working in Virginia and to my knowledge, safely out of embarrassment range. There’d been no time to develop any romantic interest in either of the roommates, but they were both single and that certainly hadn’t escaped my notice.

I was anxious all afternoon, which only made my cousins and everyone else more aware that there was potential for humiliating me later. I saw them pull into my driveway and, like a good hostess, made my way up the hill to escort them to the party. I should’ve warned them then about my father, my cousins, my brain damaged aunt, my papa and his Pilipino wife . . . but I didn’t know what to say. These were men I worked with, albeit indirectly, and who wants to announce all of that on the second meeting? They’d come for a party that had vastly changed direction and I was too chicken to mention it. I would brave it out and hope they didn’t notice anything was amiss.

But as we approached the gazebo, there stood my father front and center, grinning, tattooed arms flexed in a cut-off denim shirt, ready.

“So”, he bellowed, “which one of you is the booty call?”

They stood, looking at each other, clearly caught off guard. And I stood looking at them, wishing the ground would open up and swallow me whole, while everyone around us laughed and waited for their answer. 

Finally the roommate jerked a thumb toward Steve and said, “Must be him”.

This awkward beginning was followed by several more awkward hours in which they learned far more about me than a coworker, or a prospective date, should ever know.  Steve’s roommate was cornered by my Aunt who regaled him with stories of her brain injury and her 15 year long stretch of abstinence. And Steve? He was introduced to the more colorful aspects of my sexual appetite by my cousin Christine, who has always found it endlessly amusing to tell people that I like to beat my lovers. Despite the fact, of course, that because of my endorsement, she now enjoys a well-timed slap herself.

By the time the sun went down, the roommate was making none –to-subtle hints about leaving. I didn’t blame him at all. In fact, I was hoping they’d both go away and, when they saw me at work, pretend we didn’t know each other. But to mine, and his roommate’s surprise, Steve was reluctant to go. We’d managed to have a bit of interesting conversation in between my family’s well placed jabs, but apparently (as he later told me) I was so wrapped up in my own embarrassment that I’d failed to notice he was having a good time. Apparently his family is also large, loud, and a bit fucking nuts.

I offered my couch and a ride home the next day so he could stay and drink, and he accepted. His roommate left, looking a bit bewildered and relieved, and I finally relaxed. Steve and I spent the rest of the night, and well into the next morning, talking and laughing, singing and listening to music…all while getting absolutely hammered. It was when it was finally time for bed that I realized what I’d found: He was a gentleman, but not a pussy. A nice guy, but not a pushover. He was inappropriate, hilarious, intelligent, driven, and…most important, not at all phased by my father or the rest of the family.

There was flirting, of course, but he didn’t make a move at all. He slept on the couch and I lay awake in my bed, fighting my destructive baser instinct to make a move myself. It’s what I’d always done in the past – make everything sexual so it didn’t have to be real. Except that somehow, without even touching him, having only spent about 15 hours total in his company, I knew I had to do things differently.

It took him two more weeks to work up his nerve. I’d begun to think that we were just going to be friends, that he wasn’t interested.

We’d just come back from a party at the neighbor’s and he was staying over to go camping with us the next day. I walked in the door, threw my purse on the counter, turned around and found him staring at me. He smiled and announced, “I’m going to kiss you now.”

I grinned back and, before I could respond, he closed the space between us and grabbed me.

He kissed me like we were in a Nicholas Sparks novel, like we were being broadcast on a screen at a sporting event…like it was the last kiss either of us would ever have. It was corny. It was perfect. It was the end of who I used to be.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

While he sleeps

He sleeps half sitting up with his mouth gaped open and I watch him silently, glad that I’m awake first. He overwhelms me sometimes, with all the breakfast making and sweet text messages. The pessimist in me waits for the asshole to emerge, to open his eyes and say, “What am I doing here?”

He hasn’t exactly said he loves me, but I know that he does. When we made the decision to pursue this relationship, we were sitting on this very bed facing each other, legs crossed and hands clasped. There were obstacles, things and people in the way, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to progress from that point, but I knew that I wanted it to.

“You were sitting in front of me at a basketball game and you were wearing a navy jacket with stripes on the inside of the hood. Your hair was in pigtails and braided…I loved your hair like that. I’ve wanted you ever since that moment; I’ve always wanted only you.”

Years ago, he said those exact same words to me and I ran like my life depended on it. But when he said them this time, I was ready. Ready, but amazed none-the-less. I treated him terribly in the past and not once has he ever admonished me for it. Instead, here he lies…with his hand stretched out reaching for me, vulnerable once again. And for the first time in the history of our multifaceted relationship, so am I.

Last night I was trying to watch TV and he wouldn’t stop bothering me, leaving a trail of loud, smacking, wet kisses up my neck.

He makes gnawing and growling noises and chews on whatever limb he can get to. He’s always staring at me, asking me what I want. And sometimes, when we’re having sex, he tries to talk dirty…but for some reason it just doesn’t work. Coming out of his mouth, the word “pussy” could just as easily be something as mundane as “potholder”. He wears the most ridiculous clothing and he talks about his job incessantly.

All of that crap would’ve been a deal breaker for me a few years ago. Now, I talk to him about the things that I can’t live with (like the chewing and the clothing) and I let the rest go, accept it with the good.

I sleep in his arms and I let him spend time with my kid, who thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread. I hold his hand when we walk down the street and I sing in the shower even though I know he’s listening in the next room. He lets me be exactly who I am. He makes me happy.

I scoot closer to him, wanting to get warm again, and his lids start to flutter. He opens one blue eye and smiles. “Good morning beautiful”, he says, pulling me to his side.

“Good morning.”

“Have you been awake long?”

“For a little while”, I say, winding one leg through his.

“What have you been doing over there so quietly?”

I smile. “Watching you sleep.”

“Hmm, I’m sure that was interesting.”

“More like…enlightening.”

“How so?”

I don’t answer him, because I’m not quite ready to yet. But I feel it happening, like puzzle pieces sliding into place, so very different than all the instantaneous flash and burn of previous relationships…but exactly right. Scary and comfortable, all at once.

He continues to stare, waiting on an answer. I think he knows how I feel, he can be very intuitive, but he’s also still a man. I’m not going to rush this one. And until I’m completely ready to say the words, until that last piece falls into place, I’ll keep quiet.

“Well”, he says, one eyebrow up.

“Come here.”

I pull him on top of me and wrap my legs around his waist.

He growls and nips at my neck. “Are you trying to distract me with your pu…”

“Potholder”, I say loudly, making him jump. I start laughing and, though he looks extremely confused, so does he. Maybe he’ll figure it out while I’m sleeping.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Reading and Great Expectations

This is a continuation of my posts about my trip to England last May. Left it rather late, I know, but better late than never eh?

The bus ride from Heathrow to Reading Station is just long enough to catch my breath. I feel as though I’ve spent a lifetime walking through terminals and it’s wonderful to see something other than the inside of an airport. Fields of yellow flowers whiz by and I’m immediately enchanted, even after Nathan mentions they’re called “rape”.

We’ve kept up a steady stream of conversation, only briefly touching on our mutual favorite subject of porn websites and, quite before I realize it’s coming, we’re off a roundabout and speeding through town. I’m slightly terrified at how fast everyone goes through these narrow streets. Buildings stand tall on either side, cheek by jowl, and it feels as though we’ll go careening into them at any minute.

But of course we arrive safely and begin dragging my luggage away. Nathan is quite the gentleman and takes my giant suitcase, leaving me with purse and duffle bag, freeing me up to stare in openmouthed fascination at the new surroundings. My Sperrys are pinching my feet and the day is quite grey, but I could care less. I’m in complete awe, head swiveling back and forth, trying to take in everything at once. Striding amongst these beautiful buildings, hearing the traffic noises, watching these people go about their business…its sensory overload.

It isn’t a long walk and soon we’re struggling up the stairs to the flat. I’m given the tour, shown the spare room and bathroom, and sit across from Nathan, content to chat for awhile. The front room is very tall with giant windows overlooking the street.  It’s cozy and unassuming, modern and definitely a reflection of its inhabitants. Overflowing music shelves are in the corner and a lovely contemporary looking light fixture hangs nearby. All around I’m catching glimpses of their life that, up until this point, I’d only read about. Like their little wooden replicas on the mantel and the new couch.  It feels like I’ve stepped into a parallel universe – from the pages of Mr. London Street to actual London Street.
We’ve left today open, not knowing what I would be up for after hours and hours of travel. To my surprise, a nap is the furthest thing from my mind. I’ve got loads of energy and I head off for a quick shower, ready to go out and explore.

I gather some clothes and my shower bag, make my way to the guest bathroom, and stand staring at the tub. My quick peek during the earlier tour obviously hadn’t registered, because now that I’m giving it my full attention, I’m a little confused. There isn’t a shower, exactly, but a detachable head and hose sitting on a stand atop the cold and hot taps. There isn’t a curtain to stop the spray from getting all over the room and I’m wondering if this is what European showers are like. Do they all sit in tubs and hold the hose over their heads? Do they stand so that, when they spray themselves, the water goes toward the wall behind the tub and not toward the door?
I could go out and ask Nathan, but I’d really rather not. It’s much too early in my trip to be this confused, and about something like a shower. Instead I decide to leave my hair dry and my makeup intact, which would take me the better part of two hours to redo anyway, and just wash my body. I strip down, turn on the taps and spend the next few minutes twisting around the tub like an eel – sometimes kneeling, sometimes sitting, and once attempting to stand...which doesn’t work at all. I do manage to get clean, but I’m doubtful about how well this is going to work out for an entire week.

We’ve got all afternoon to pass, waiting on Kelly to get off work, and we don’t waste a minute. We wander through town, without the burden of luggage, and I get a proper look. There wasn’t much about Reading on a tourism front when I did research for this trip and I can’t help thinking how wrong that is. There’s an interesting mix of historic and modern, with a few odd fixtures, like the Oscar Wilde “shaped” gate, thrown in. A brief pop in a church, a peek through the closed gates of the Abbey Ruins and a glance around Forbury Gardens with the giant lion statue in the center, have me wishing I’d brought my camera along. I realize that I’ve been throwing in the occasional skip and attribute 75% of this unusual movement to excitement, 25% to keeping up with Nathan’s long legged gait.
We eat lunch at a tiny table under an awning at Pret a Manger, watching the steady stream of foot traffic. Nathan is a lovely tour guide, though he has a tendency to keep apologizing for his town that I don’t quite understand, knowing how much he loves it. I’m a bit in love with the place myself – the architecture and the river views, the quiet pockets of park and bench, the long cobbled streets, the statues and gargoyles. My little corner of the world is so far removed from anything like this that even the everyday shops and cafes are exciting.

We end the afternoon in a pub called The Alehouse (or Hobgoblin, as it was once known). It’s my first pub experience, my first taste of cider and Perry, and I’m immediately hooked. We take our drinks to a cubby round back and settle in. Scarred wooden walls rise up on either side, leaving a small opening to get in and out. The tiny table and benches are charmingly battered, the walls covered with residue from old beer mats used as decorations – it’s the perfect place to have a drink and unwind, the perfect place to meet Nathan’s famous other half.
I’m relaxed and slightly buzzed when Kelly appears, but no less eager to meet her. She is everything I expected and then some – energetic and warm, beautiful and funny. We’ve become friends on our own terms already and it’s a different dynamic than Nathan and me. Our friendship is, I think, very much “a girl thing”.

When I’ve had enough drinks to be brave, I tell them about my embarrassing shower experience.  Kelly looks at Nathan in reproach, asking if he didn’t explain that I was meant to use the ensuite. I laugh at their exchange, I can’t help it. They are everything I expected and nothing at all. I feel a little like a scientist, connecting and comparing letters and words to faces. Kelly has the poker face of the two, a trait I expected to belong to Nathan. He has a countless number of facial expressions, one for every situation I suspect, and he is much less intimidating in person. I’ve no idea what they see when they look at me, but I don’t waste time dwelling on it. I’m in a bubble made of perry and excitement, sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for what’s next.
My experiment, so far, is going well and as I follow them out into the evening, on our way to dinner, I know it’s only going to get better. But there’s still a sense of unreality to it all. I feel like Dorothy, only I’m clicking my heels together, asking to stay a little longer, to see a little more. Ten days is simply not enough and I wonder if, when I go home, anything ever will be again.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Crappy updates are better than nothing?

I received a comment recently that contained some rather shocking information - "it's been 8 months since you posted". Son of a bitch...really?

I haven't forgotten about this blog or any of you, I swear. I want to write again, the way that I used to, but I'll be honest: I don't know when that will be. Maybe if I bring you up to speed, you'll at least understand why I've stayed away so long and why my involvement here will be limited for the foreseeable future.

Let's see...when last you heard from me I was relaying the story of my England trip. I, regrettably, never finished telling that story but it's on my To Do list. Suffice it to say, it was wonderful and so were all the people I met. It was a blogger's meeting on steroids: Philip, Sharon, Kelly, Nathan, and some guy at a pub in Kent that was happy to randomly be introduced to "The Sex Blogger". I had no idea I was known as such, even by one person, but hey...the important thing is that he seemed pleased.

After I returned from England, I spent the summer preparing for college - getting all the stupid paperwork together and drinking a shit ton of booze because, obviously, there would be no time for that come August. At the end of July I started a new job in a completely new field that I had, technically, no experience in...but they offered me nearly double what I was already making so I said, "Fuck yes" and turned in my stilettos for steel toed boots. I don't actually do physical labor, but I work in a building out in the middle of hundreds of men that do physical labor. Which, by the way, is a blessing and a curse. It's like one of those wading pits of plastic balls - men are everywhere, smothering you, smelling weird and alternately making you want to dive in or go wash you body with Clorox.

In October I MOVED OUT OF MY MOTHER'S HOUSE. Some of my long term readers will know that this is a huge deal for me. After 8 years of absolutely no privacy and constant bitching, I'm enjoying my peace and quiet more than previously imagined. I've had a great few months of decorating and arranging, sitting on my new couch and watching what I want, throwing dinner parties and walking around in my underwear. But the best part is: I can masturbate without any interruptions. Actually, I may have overdone it the first month. I now probably own more sex toys than is strictly legal, but in my defense, if you were dying of thirst in the desert and suddenly got rescued, wouldn't you drink water until it was squirting out of every orifice? Yes, it was like that.

The same month I started seeing someone and...(cue drum roll) I'm still seeing him. He's someone that I used to date on and off a long time ago and, now, I'm all mature and shit so I can handle the serious relationship that he's always wanted and I've always been deathly afraid of. He's sitting on the other end of the couch now, watching the Super Bowl and occasionally looking at me like, "What are you doing? Why aren't we banging right now?" He likes me a lot, not just my vagina, and I like him too. It could be a serious thing, we'll see. And...he DID manage to change my mind about oral sex. I've decided that I do like it and Michael Bolton can go straight to hell.

Right now I'm in my second semester at a technical college, working on enough credits to transfer to one of the larger institutions here that offers an MFA program in creative writing. I completely abandoned my original plan of going to school to get a degree that was going to make me some money and do what I really wanted. It's terrifying and I hope I don't regret it. Last semester I only took two classes, but I quickly realized that I would be there forever if I kept going at that rate. So...I'm currently working 10-12 hours a day, then going to class Monday through Thursday from 6-9 for a total of four classes. One of those classes is Public Speaking and it sucks a giant donkey dick. As a matter of fact, my boyfriend (how fucking weird is that??) thinks I'm writing my first speech right now. I should be, but I miss this. Well...not THIS exactly. This isn't a "post", this is an update. But still, you know what I mean.

You're all a bunch of fuckers because you don't have to stay awake for 17 hours a day, stand up and speak in front of 18 year old recent high school graduates that hate everything, and fight with your mother over why she can't have a key to your house. But I love you anyway. And I miss you. And one day I'll come back and write something amazing and you'll say, "Ah, THERE she is."

I do answer emails, so, if you want to keep in touch on a more regular basis...send me one. I'll reply and it might be more interesting than what you've just read. Now, you'll have to excuse me...the Super Bowl is apparently no longer that interesting and it's my turn to Hail Mary.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Every now and then, through the fog of sleepiness and in-flight movies, I remember what I’m doing. It catches me off guard and I can suddenly hear my heart pounding loudly, feel a thin sheen of sweat coat my hands.

“Holy fuck”, I think, “I’m going to England.”

I’m not really nervous about meeting these people, because I already know them. But knowing someone and living up close and personal with them are two totally different things. I’ve never technically been anyone’s “houseguest” before and I feel slightly overwhelmed over all the trouble they’re going to for me.

I’m not really nervous about flying, because I’ve flown a dozen times before. But sitting in a terminal alone, and sober I might add, is a slight shock to the system. I’ve always had my sister there to watch my bag while I go to the bathroom or to exchange raised eyebrows with over some crazy looking passenger. I missed her terribly, just for a moment, when I saw an Asian man that looked exactly like Wayne Newton. Until, of course, I realized she probably has no idea who Wayne Newton is.

I’m not really nervous about going to a foreign country, because seeing the world is one of the few things I’m truly passionate about. But having only been to Europe once, with a tour group, at the age of 15...I’m slightly anxious about going through customs alone. It looks rather intimidating in the movies and, try as I might, I can’t remember much about what it was like all those years ago.

When the captain announces our descent into London, I very nearly press my nose to the window. But I needn’t bother, there’s nothing to see but fog and my first glimpse of England consists of tarmac whizzing by under the plane as we land.

I already have my cell phone out, ready just as they announce I can use it again. I text my family and tell them I’ve landed safely and then I text Nathan. It’s a new method of communication for us and it surprises me how much I enjoy it. It seems silly, but it makes me feel less like the internet friend.

He’s picking me up from the airport alone and I’m glad. Not just because having everyone meet me all at once might be a bit overwhelming, but also because it feels like that’s the way it’s supposed to be. He was the first of the four that I connected with and has remained the one I relate to most, which often amuses me because you couldn’t find two paths more different than ours.

The queue for customs is long, winding and full of Americans traveling in groups. I’m still texting Nathan so it isn’t until I’m almost to the front of the line that I notice they’re all holding an important looking piece of paper that I don’t have.

“Excuse me”, I say to the couple behind me. “Everyone seems to have that little slip of paper and I’m wondering if I missed something.”

They explain that I’m supposed to have it filled out and ready to hand to the customs agent in the booth, along with my passport. There is, apparently, a stack of them on a table...way in the back of the line. Everyone in the row adjacent to ours, separated only by the rope barrier, has been listening to our exchange and I feel a stab of embarrassment mixed with panic. I shuffle my feet and wonder what to do.

“Stay right there”, says a smartly dressed blonde woman with an English accent. She starts dipping under the ropes, heading toward the table full of papers, but is apparently given one before she’s halfway there. It seems everyone, down to the last in line, is aware of my blunder. I thank her profusely when she returns and hands it over.

“It’s no problem”, she replies. “Wouldn’t want to hold up the queue.”

I quickly fill out the form and manage to have everything together just as I’m called up to a booth. The agent glances at my information and begins asking me a rapid series of questions, first about myself and then about the people I’m visiting.

“How long are you staying?”

“Nine days.”

“Whose address is this?”

“Nathan and Kelly’s.”

“How do you know them?”

“...Through a writing forum.”

She glances up from the papers and gives me an odd look. “You mean the internet? Have you ever met them before?”

“Not in person, no.” I feel dozens of eyes on my back and I’m beginning to panic again. I want to lie about it all, just so she stops looking at me like I’m a complete lunatic, but I’m too terrified of what might happen if I do.

“Are they meeting you here at the airport?”

“He is, yes.”

“What happens if you decide you don’t want to stay with them? What will you do?”

“Um, get a hotel?”

“What do you do for a living? How much money did you bring with you? When is your return flight? I’d like to see your bank account information and your itinerary.”

I’m completely flustered as I try to comply with all her requests. I’m prepared for all sorts of scenarios, but this isn’t one of them. I tell her what’s in my bank account, which, for me, is the equivalent to dropping my pants and pressing my bare ass to her little window. It’s absolutely unseemly.

I show her my itinerary and finally, finally, she stamps my passport and waves me on.

I gratefully follow the signs to baggage claim, walking quickly and texting Nathan that I’m nearly there. My giant suitcase is already sitting on the floor, to the left of the carousel, dwarfing all the others around it. I feel another wave of gratitude – one of my biggest fears was that they would lose it and I’d be without makeup for the entire trip. I wrestle the difficult handle up and begin dragging my belongings toward the exit.

As I walk through the open double doors, I immediately spot him standing behind a white rail to my right. He’s grinning and holding a small white sign that says “#bannisterfest”, which is a play on my last name and what the four of them have decided to call this holiday. I can’t stop the laugh that bursts out as I make my way past the rail; I hadn’t expected the sign.

We meet at the end of the barrier and hug. It’s lovely and surreal and I’m afraid my face may crack. He’s so tall and so exuberant that from the moment I walked through the doors, I didn’t notice anyone else. From his writing, you would think that Nathan blends in with a crowd, sitting amongst them and recording their movements, but that isn’t the case. He’s the sort of person people notice, the sort I think they’d want to write about.

I walk alongside him through the terminal, grinning and chatting as though it were continuation instead of first. He tells me Kelly was late to work this morning because she insisted I must have the sign. I feel a tiny burning behind my eyes and I have to will myself to keep the tears at bay.

It’s a bit embarrassing; being so happy you might cry, but it’s certainly better than the sort of embarrassment the customs agent stirred up. Which, I’m happy to say, disappeared the moment I finally hugged my friend and realized that, now, it definitely doesn’t matter what any of them think.

Monday, May 14, 2012


My life has been peppered with instances where I’ve felt out of place, even in the midst of my own family. It can be difficult, sharing a home with people that don’t completely understand me, that find the things I feel passionate about laughable or weird. Confiding in them is rare because I hate being mocked or used as a humorous anecdote for their friends – “Look at my daughter, the sensitive blogger, writing in her secret notebook!” It takes something out of me, each time I hedge around the truth to save being heckled or keep a piece of writing I’m proud of hidden because it would make me too vulnerable.

But with each passing year, seven to be precise, I’ve met more and more people that “get” me and I’ve formed a different sort of family. It’s the beauty, and the curse, of the Internet. It says, “Look, here are all these people that you can connect with on every level you’ve been missing! But, oh...they live 4,000 miles away, across an ocean.

You laugh, you write, you talk, you care, but you can’t hug or sit down at a table and look each other in the face. These are real people, flesh and blood and bone, but in most cases they’ll only ever be a friendly voice on the other end of a phone line or a “how are you” email.

In most cases, but no longer in mine. Because two weeks ago I boarded a plane to England and set out to meet, and stay with, four people I already knew but hadn’t set eyes on. Two weeks ago I traveled alone, to a country I’d never been to before, and had the sort of adventure most people will never get to experience.