MyGeneration

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New Old Soul

Published February 13, 2015 by auddity

I think I am very often mis-identified as an old soul. Contrary to what my high school social life may have indicated – my best friend’s parents very accurately called us “the grandmas” – I do not think I am an old soul. I know old souls, and I am not one of them. My good friend is decidedly and old soul, not just because she likes tea and is perpetually chilly, but because she always asks you about your life and manages to remember things you like or are interested in. She’s the kind of person who, after a few months of not talking, will call you up out of the blue because she saw a news story that reminded her of you and she wanted to get your opinion on it.

Another friend once told me he was an old soul, so I told him I was a young soul and that meant our internal ages canceled out, making for a perfectly balanced friendship. I’m not sure it works like that, but I think it was the first time I’d thought of myself that way, as a young soul. I’m still not convinced he’s an old soul, but he definitely has grandpa-like tendencies.

Alright, so I like to curl up with a mug of coffee and a good book. I prefer physical books to tablets. I am old-fashioned when it comes to romance. BUT. I am not old-fashioned when it comes to sexuality. I may not get married. Ever. I talk like a child. I say “false” and “def” in real-life conversation. I freak out whenever I see a dog or a baby. I am up on most social media platforms, with the exception of pinterest because it’s seems highly addictive, and why tempt fate? Plus pinterest exists for old people too, particularly those who like to do CRAFTS. Oh, and also snapchat. I don’t get it. Seems like a waste of time (okay I’m an old fart when it comes to snapchat (also my spell checker just made me make “snap chat” one word, so unsurprisingly Google knows more about snapchat than I do)). I am obsessed with staying up to date with the latest shows and movies. I think the face of television is changing and I’m really excited about it. I like to go to parks and just soak up the big open sky. I am still in awe of the night sky.

I think that thus far the majority of my life has been me trying act older than I feel, which is actually just me trying to act my age. While I am mature in a lot of ways, I’d say that I am a child at heart, which has its pros and cons. It makes working with kids really fun. I think that just like old souls can still be deliciously silly, young souls have a surprising propensity for seriousness. I mean, have you ever talked to a child? Everything is a matter of life and death; who they invite to their imaginary pony’s sleepover is no laughing matter. It is a serious thing. I think for me it’s that I’m a worrier, and I attribute this to feeling younger than I think I should. While one side of being a young soul is being care-free, the other part, for me at least, is being a worrier. Old souls don’t have to worry, they have faith everything will work out. Young souls lack the worldly experience (whether acquired or innate) that old souls possess to just chill the fuck out and let things unfold.

Old soul or not, I am pretty much convinced that everyone is walking around acting like they’ve got their shit together, when really we’re all just playing catch up.

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The Language of Love (For Non-Native Speakers)

Published August 6, 2013 by auddity

I spend a large amount of my time trying not to let on to anybody how scared I am. I’m sure many people experience this, but to me it seems like everyone else at least has the capacity to suck it up and get their shit together when they’re afraid. Meanwhile I’m huddled in the corner obsessing about things that in all probability will work themselves out whether I obsess about them or not: I will meet new people. I will find a job. I will not be homeless. I will adjust and adapt because I have to. I just have to breathe and let things happen. Well, obviously I can’t just let the universe move around me and hope for the best; I have be proactive. But I have to have faith that my efforts will produce results and realize that stressing out to the point of not sleeping or not eating is not going to help anyone, least of all me.

I just wonder if other people get scared like this? Scared of the unknown, even though the unknown can be as breathtaking as it is terrifying. Scared of little things, like talking on the phone to people I don’t know, trying new restaurants, going to the post office, receptionist jobs (actually just all office jobs), asking for help, doctors’ offices, living with people I don’t know.

You could chalk it up to my recent move, getting used to new people in a new place with a new way of life. (Oh yeah ps, I moved to New York!) And I’m sure that has a lot to do with it. I’m actually hoping that this move makes me more independent and helps me to get over some of my ridiculous fears that seem to plague my every day recently. I’m also afraid of the big things though. Things that don’t have to do with the move, like sex and love and intimacy and family and having children and accidentally fucking them up. I used to know I wanted to have kids, in fact, one of the first things I assured my mom after I came out to her (the first time) is that she’d still have grandchildren. But now I’m not so sure. Maybe it was working at a daycare and seeing all the work that goes into raising a child. No, that’s not it. Because I know if I had a child the work would so be worth it. I think it’s more of the why, why do I want a child? Is it simply for the joy they’d bring me? And if so, isn’t that a little selfish? Or is it simply to continue my legacy? But what’s the point when my child will most likely not be the biological child of my partner? These are questions I had not thought to ask myself a year ago, but they are important things to consider.

I also always thought I would get married, or at least have a committed, monogamous relationship if I couldn’t get married legally, but I find myself questioning that as well. I think part of it is that I’m at a point in my life where I really can’t picture who I’ll end up with. Like, I have no idea. And that scares me. It is extremely frustrating because I don’t even know what I’m looking for in this big wide vast-as-fuck world, and how will I ever find someone if I have to sort through everybody?!? And another part of it is that I don’t know if I want to be tied down to the same person for the rest of my life. In the past five years – that is not a lot of time – I have gone through several different transformations and how can I expect one person to weather all that and still like me at the end of everything? That’s just not realistic. Maybe I like the idea that if I wanted to, and I’m not saying I would necessarily, I could pick up and leave after having been in a seriously long-term relationship with someone without there being legal repercussions. And of course, if we were to have children then that would complicate things. Do you see my dilemma??

I’m also scared of being alone. But how stupid is that? I am simultaneously scared of being alone and not being alone. I claim that the thing I want most is to love and be loved by somebody, but the idea of being that close with someone terrifies me. Or, to be more exact, the idea of being that close with someone and losing them for whatever reason terrifies me. I think that’s what’s held me back thus far. I’ve been looking for that perfect someone, but if I ever found that person who was absolutely perfect for me I know I would be terrified of losing them. And until now I’ve struck out with just about everyone; either I knew they weren’t perfect or I thought they were and it turned out they weren’t. Maybe there is no perfect person. If I had wanted to be with someone it could’ve happened by now. But is it too much to ask to not want to settle for someone I’m not into? Or should I have just bit the bullet and at least gotten some experience under my belt (lol, punz)?

As I grow older, I’m feeling like romance is a foreign language that everyone else seems to have picked up besides me. Seriously, between school and work and friends and growing up, when did you guys find time to learn all this vocab??? Dating, hooking up, sex, love, all these are nonsensical to me. I must have missed those days in class. You know what, I’ve never been very good at languages anyway, so maybe it’s just me. Can someone find me a tutor??

A Break-Up Letter to OkCupid

Published June 4, 2013 by auddity

Seeing you again has made me realize how boring I am. I mean, I knew I was boring. I work all the time and don’t go out and all I want to do when I get a few hours of free time is either eat, sleep, write, or watch tv. And occasionally I’ll do laundry, but only when it gets really bad. I’m an interesting person but the life I’m leading right now is exceedingly uninteresting.

I first met you when my life was VERY interesting, at the end of my senior year of college after a series of catastrophic romantic endeavours with real life people who also happened to be good friends of mine. I figured, if I couldn’t make it work the old fashioned way, why not try meeting someone online? And while you can be a little sketchy sometimes, once I set some boundaries and established some privacy, maybe true love really was possible, or at least some flirty conversation. I continued our relationship when I moved back home after graduation, although it didn’t result in any dates. It wasn’t until I visited my alma mater that October that I realized I wasn’t looking to date anyone. On my return home I promptly broke it off with you, threw myself into work, and have had zero love life since. I viewed myself as being “Closed for Repairs,” that I was temporarily shut down but would reopen at some point in the not too distant future.

A couple weeks ago I went back to my former school to see some good friends before they graduated. I also saw some of the key players from my previous debacles that got me out of the love game in the first place. And I was thoroughly okay with it. So when I came home this time, I decided it was time to put myself out there again and to see what was going on in your world. It’s interesting that visiting a place where I was such a social being (versus at home where I am a borderline recluse) was the trigger for me to both break up with you and rekindle what we had. Anyway now I’m trying to get back into it and I find I’ve forgotten how to talk to people, or at least how to talk to you. But maybe it’s simply because I have so little to talk about.

In my mind when I was involved with you a year ago, I was consistently (though certainly not constantly) meeting new people with you, getting to know what you had to offer, and even discovering things about myself here and there. Since we got back together, we’ve only had a few meaningful conversations. Maybe it’s because I’m boring now, or maybe it’s that there are so many fish in the sea, and I shouldn’t limit myself to someone I met online. It’s not about them, though. The problem is really that I’m not interested in meeting people online. I don’t want to go on dates, I don’t even really want to make new friends. I think I am dissatisfied with my (social) life right now but don’t particularly want to put the effort into changing it. I don’t want a potential sig. other to judge me on where I am in my life and so I am shutting the door on that possibility altogether. Let them flock to me when I’m successful and independent and loving life, but not now. You can’t always look your best though, and you can’t stop people from looking when you’re not.

Maybe it’s time I broke up with you once and for all. I’m not interested in actively looking for anyone (although I probably wouldn’t say no if someone happened to find me) and that’s okay. My mind is telling me that my biological clock is ticking and I’d better get on that, but it’s not my own clock I hear, it’s society’s worn-out, dusty metronome, ticking away the same outdated philosophy that a girl in her twenties should be looking to settle down and fast. All around me my peers are dropping like flies, entering “adult” relationships, getting married, having kids. How can a child like me keep up with all that? I feel like I’ve missed the boat, and I’m beginning to realize that the last thing I should do is to launch myself into the ocean of online dating. So OkCupid, thank you. Thanks for showing me that boring is okay, but forcing yourself to have a love life, even a virtual one, is not. We may meet again OKC, but this is goodbye for now.

Little Blue Cups, The Big Apple, and Regular-sized Dreams

Published April 28, 2013 by auddity

I didn’t always want to live in New York. In fact, when applying to colleges I avoided New York City, and all major cities, like the plague. I’d been to the Big Apple only a couple of times and that was enough to convince me that the chaos, the bustle, the enormity of a big city like New York would swallow me whole and overwhelm my sheltered suburban self. But after going to school in a not-so major city, and thoroughly enjoying it, then subsequently moving home and quickly becoming maddeningly bored, I find myself longing to be swallowed up. I want to begin my adult life somewhere that is buzzing with life, somewhere electric. Where better than New York?

Maybe I’m being naive. I mean, part of me is terrified to start over where I only know a handful of people, have little to no job prospects, and could only afford the tiniest of apartments. But maybe I’ll take to New York, or New York will take to me. Or we’ll engage in this delightfully symbiotic relationship where we both learn a little something from the other. Now I know know I’m being naive; what kind of mark can a little girl like me hope to leave on the galaxy that is New York?

New York, I don’t love you yet, but I may yet. I certainly want to. I want to stroll down your streets and navigate the subway tunnels and live in my first apartment and drink coffee out of those little blue cups. Oh man, those cups. They’ve become the symbol of freedom, of independence, my own personal reminder that I need to get up and get out and start living my life. New York, New York, do you hold the key to my success or my downfall? Only one way to find out I suppose.

Two of my favorite movies take place in New York (they also both star Meg Ryan, but that doesn’t mean I want to be her – no offense Meg, but you peaked early in life). I imagine myself as a more down-to-earth, less fashion-obsessed Carrie Bradshaw, living and writing in New York. Or my life as a less scandalous version of Girls, because I’m much less self-destructive and I don’t alienate my friends and I am generally uncomfortable with nudity. Of course my New York experience will probably be nothing like they show on TV. I will probably hate it for a while. I’ll probably call my mother crying my eyes out, like I did a couple weeks into college. Despite knowing that the bubble will inevitably burst the minute I step onto the city streets, I’m going to hold on to my fantasy of New York for as long as possible, because that’s what’s going to get me there. It’s that hope that’ll keep me applying to jobs that I only half want, despite rarely hearing back from anyone and coming to terms with my inadequacies (maybe I should have listened when everyone told me art was an impractical major??). Because if you can’t love your job, you may as well love your city. New York, wait for me; I’m coming to drink coffee out of those little blue cups and be fabulous.

I Will Never Not Be Scared

Published March 24, 2013 by auddity

A while back I had an argument with a coworker about politics. Bad idea, I know, and from now on I will avoid talking politics with people I work with like the plague. But he was asking for it, truly. This person, whom I normally like and respect, was posting DAILY on Facebook about how fucked our country was now that Obama was officially president for four more years. I’m not sure how long his posts lasted, but for at least a week my newsfeed was clogged with this guy whining about he was afraid for the future of his children with Obama at the helm. Finally I messaged him saying that I understood he was disappointed, but his posts had to stop. The country had spoken and like it or not Obama was our president again. He shot back with something snippy and immature about the economy and the deficit and what had Obama really done in the last four years so I responded by posting a link to all the positive things Obama had done and how he’d actually reduced our country’s debt. He blew it off and then his wife got involved in the conversation and they pulled the concerned parents card again, asking what kind of a leader Obama was for their children. I told them that he had no doubt inspired countless non-White youths, as evidenced by the high youth vote. I also asked how he thought I felt as a queer woman when my rights to my body and my right to get married were endangered by a Republican win. (They’re still endangered up I feel a lot safer with Obama than I would have with Romney.) I told him that people in other countries were being locked up or worse for being queer and with the way Republicans were headed I feared for my safety. He told me in this day and age, in this country it could never get to that point.

Maybe he’s right. But my mom voted Democrat for the first time in her life because of the way women were being treated by the Republican Party. And ever since I read Margaret Atwood’s Hand Maid’s Tale I have never fully believed that something like that couldn’t happen. I wished I could’ve said this to his face, but he deleted the conversation and when I saw him at work I decided it was better to just drop it and try to maintain a workplace friendship:

I will never not be scared for my safety. Not when my brothers and sisters across the world (including THIS COUNTRY) are being vilified, jailed, beaten, and killed because they are gay, lesbian, trans, queer, intersex, or allies. Can you imagine? Being threatened because you are the way you are? You know me, we work together and I consider you my friend. Do you look at me differently now that you know I’m queer? Would you deny me my rights? Would you deny your daughter her right to an abortion if she needed one? Would you reject your son if he came out as gay to you? Wouldn’t you do everything in your power to protect your children? We are all someone’s children, but even more importantly, we are all people who deserve to feel safe. You fear for your children’s economic stability, I fear for my trans friend’s life if down the road he finds himself outed in an unfriendly environment. Don’t think that happens here? Google it. I fear I will never be able to be a mother because all my options are too expensive and even if I manage to have a child there is no guarantee my partner will be considered her parent as well, and the safety of my family will always be threatened by bigots like you. The economy is important. But in my book it will NEVER trump human rights. Don’t tell me it could never get to that point because you don’t know. You don’t know what is to be unsafe simply by being, simply by walking around in this world. Try that out for a while and let me know if you still think your taxes are too high.

I’d Take Purple Grass Over Central Air Any Day

Published February 16, 2013 by auddity

I am so cold, why don’t I just get up and adjust the thermostat? It would be so easy, yet I continue to sit here trembling. The heat just clicked on. Maybe I’m not cold at all. I think all this catching up has caught up with me. All these emotions are welling up that aren’t even relevant to my life anymore; I’m not even sure what they mean at the moment. Maybe all will become clear in time, but for now I am caught in limbo between the past and the future. Is that just called the present? I am held in suspension between being hung up and being over it, between childhood and adulthood, between being solitary and being engaged. Whether or not I revisit old wounds deliberately they inform my future decisions, determining which paths I take and how I pack my bags for the journey. Can a broken heart be more easily transported than a whole one? Can a bruised ego survive the bumps of travelling life’s winding road? Can an inquisitive mind and a boundless soul be harnessed and contained in a carry-on? The world is so vast, how can I possibly live it all? Will my past constrict me to a narrow state of mind, especially if my experiences thus far have labeled me “open-minded”? I don’t want fear or self doubt or passiveness to convince me I am content and to keep me from living. I am not afraid of dying, I am afraid of not having lived. Everyone says I have so much time, but death creeps in when you’re not looking and time moves much faster than anyone ever expects. The present is gone in an instant and a new one rushes in to replace it. Each second is an opportunity to pull myself up by my roots and relocate, but something is keeping me grounded. Perhaps greener pastures only appear greener from far away? If I stay here much longer that pasture may disappear, whether it is green, brown, or purple. I’d take purple grass over stagnant central air any day. The heat’s clicked back off now, but I’m not shivering anymore.

Age Is Just A Number, A Perpetually Increasing Number

Published February 7, 2013 by auddity

I recently started reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants to, you know, get inspiration for my memoir. In it she recalls being asked during a workshop When Did You First Know You Were a Woman? Tina said that the majority of responses from the two hundred plus women at the workshop were moments “when some dude had done something nasty to them.” If I were to open that question up to all individuals, When Did You First Know You Were an Adult? I wonder what trends we would see. Not sure I’d actually want to find out because I think it would just make me sad. Men would probably have overwhelmingly (but not exclusively) positive experiences. Trans individuals would probably have very positive experiences as well, but that would not blot out a former lifetime of bad ones.

I think one of the first times I felt like an adult was when my mom came to my room after having met with a financial advisor or attorney or consultant or someone who told us we had no money and cried into my shoulder that we’d have to sell the house. There were other moments when time shifted a little around me, the day my father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, the day we put him in a nursing home, the day I felt my first heartbreak, the day a man I’d voted for became my president, but that day with my mom was different. It represented a loss of innocence and an increase in responsibility. One that I felt came too soon, but maybe that’s just the way life works. Maybe adulthood sneaks up on you and sets in when you’re not looking.

Then again, I am 22, I live with my mom, I enjoy Disney movies, dance breaks, ice cream, coloring books, and I work with kids. Today one of my students asked me a question, to which I responded, “This kid!” and she promptly told me “You’re not a kid!” The truth is I feel like one. And I am in many ways. I watched Josh Radnor’s Liberal Arts (have you noticed most of my ideas come from pop culture?) and one of the lines that stuck with me was when Josh’s recently-retired professor/mentor confessed that “Nobody feels like an adult. It’s the world’s dirty secret.” I think that’s probably true. Or at least that none of us feel as old as we thought we’d feel when we reached a certain age. When I was in high school, I thought I’d have everything figured out by the time I graduated college. I think when I’m thirty I’ll still feel like a novice in most things, when I’m forty I won’t feel over the hill, when I’m sixty I’ll still feel too young to retire, and when I’m eighty I’ll still want my mom to make me soup when I’m sick.

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