Date Archives July 2012

Who has herpes? This girl!

Not yo momma's herpes.

 

My friend texted me the other day: “Congrats on getting herpes!”

So yeah. Yeppers.

Apparently I have herpes.

Not herpes herpes. As in down there. 

I have herpes zoster. Otherwise known as shingles.

Yes, you probably know it as thing thing old people get.

And I’m 40, which is “young” to get this.

Who’s an overachiever? This girl!

Even better: I get to be on Valtrex. You know — the herpes medication. Because apparently it’s used to treat two things: Genital herpes and shingles.

A deliciously nasty and funny blogger that I read calls Paris Hilton “Wonky McValtrex.” You know, because Paris has one wonky eye and is apparently a trashy ho — or appears to be one.

(No judgment from me, Paris! Party on with yo pantyless self!)

But when I found out I was going on Valtrex, all I could think about was Paris Hilton and Wonky McValtrex. And then I have to admit, a little part of me felt like … Dude! I have arrived.

I am the outbreak monkey

So the timing of this was somewhat, oh, what’s the word? Craptastic.

Because I’m supposed to go to a major blogging conference next week that I’m super excited about and which I am paying for with my very own money (thank God for tax returns!).

And I keep reading articles about this conference that include words like “survival guide” and “18-hour day.”

Awesome. Especially considering that I was told to keep my ass home and rest up.

And did I mention that  I’ve been somewhat contagious for the past week? Yeah. Apparently, you can’t get shingles from me, but since it’s caused by the chicken pox virus, you can get chicken pox from me if you haven’t already had it or gotten the chicken pox vaccine.

My aunt, who had a nasty case of shingles years ago, said that she was told to stay away from pregnant people and cancer patients while she was contagious.

So in the interest of not promoting anyone’s early death or unfortunate birth defects,  I’ve been living in my house like an elderly shut-in all week.

And mostly, that’s been fine because I’ve been too tired to do much of anything anyway.

The doc assured me that after about a week (which is today!) I’ll no longer be the virus monkey from Outbreak.  (Oh wait. My doc didn’t call me that. One of my friends did. If I hadn’t felt so shitty at the time, I’m sure I would’ve laughed at it. Jason Hall: You are a funny bitch.)

For the love of God, why me???

So here’s the main question: What the fucking fuck?

Why have I been struck down with this? What have I done? WHY ME????!!!

Stress.

Apparently stress can bring this on.

And it turns out, a bunch of people in my very own age group told me that they had it too.

As for me, well, these past two and a half years have been so, so challenging. I have given myself a lot of pep talks.

“Who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the motherfucking pan? I can, bitch!”

“Who has amazing single momma power? I do, dammit!”

“Who can take lemons and make them into tasty daiquiris? This girl can!”

But shit.

WebMD can bite me

So all of this started a week and a half ago when my neck began to hurt. I thought I had slept funny and didn’t worry too much about it. Then later in the day I had some stabbing pains near the back of my hairline. I had a ponytail in and I thought that maybe one hair was just pulled way too tight. I kept fiddling around back there trying to figure out which one it was but finally gave up.

Then I went to the movies with my friend Maria. By the time the credits were rolling I had a hard time turning my head in her direction. While rubbing the back of my neck, I felt something that seemed like a welt. I asked her to look at it and she said it looked like a scratch that had a line of little bumps in it.

Freakin’ weird. But also, I tend to wear a lot of hair clips so I assumed the teeth of one of them had just dug into my skin.

I blew it off. But the pain didn’t get any better. In fact, by Saturday morning, the pain in my neck felt hot. But I still didn’t think much of it. Why would I?

But by Sunday, it was clear something was up. I could feel little swollen balls in the side of my neck (kind of like rubbery marbles). And the “scratch” on my neck was no longer a scratch, but a rash.

I got online of course. The little marble-thingies had me worried but I quickly found out that tumors are usually hard and not moveable. They were probably swollen lymph nodes.

Mmmkay.

What about the rash?

WebMD had a few thoughts on that: West Nile Virus, mono, Lyme Disease.

But none of those quite fit my symptoms to a tee.

My mother, the medical ninja

My mom must have been a doctor in a former life. She has CRAZY medical knowledge and instincts.  She’s practically never wrong about her diagnoseses.

I called her and laid it all out — carefully, so as not to worry her. “Mom, I have some weird weird things going on and I’m not worried about it so I don’t want you to worry about it. I promise I’ll go to the doctor tomorrow.” And then I listed my symptoms.

“That sounds like shingles,” she said (and then certainly sliced something in half with her ninja sword.)

“What? How could I have shingles?” I asked.

No way, ninjamomma!

I talked to my friend who’d had shingles a few years prior. She concurred. But I didn’t really feel bad. My neck hurt but I didn’t feel sick.

I called the Irishman and told him. “You’re being a hypochondriac,” he said.

And then I jumped down that leprechaun’s throat. “Did you not feel the lumps in my neck?” I asked. “I just told you that I feel fine. Hypochondriacs say the opposite of that!”

And then he backed away slowly.

Wise man.

Since I had to quarantine myself and I didn’t feel like sitting in the house, I went for a bike ride.

A 12-mile bike ride.

I feel fine, I kept telling myself. A sick person couldn’t ride all the damn way from Valley Forge to the Budweiser factory and back, now could they?

Take that, damn shingles.

So that is that, bitches

But anyway, yeah, it was shingles.

My doc said we caught it early. She put me on steroids and my beloved Valtrex and told me that we should be able to stem it from getting too bad. She told me to rest up.

“I feel fine!” I told her — and everyone who would listen.

Then I went home and started to feel like crap.

All of a sudden, the pain in my neck was knocking me out and I had no energy.

I don’t know if it was the drugs or the shingles, but I spent the rest of the week feeling dizzy and completely scattered. I felt like I sounded like a dope every time I opened my mouth. I tried to blog and ended up writing things like, “This is a subhead.”

My mom and my sis pitched in to help with the kids a few days. My mom bought a ton of groceries and cooked her head off (not literally). I slept a lot. I wept a lot. I don’t really know why. (Perhaps because I’m a giant wussy? Yeah, maybe that’s why.)

Outta my way, herpes!

I’m off the steroid now. I have one day to go on the Valtrex. I’m finally feeling more like myself.

Then, because I barely worked last week, I have to WORK MY ASS OFF for the next four days so I can leave for this conference on Wednesday night.

Wait? What caused this again? Oh yeah.

Stress.

But whatever. Everything always gets done somehow, doesn’t it?

A few more days of keeping it quiet at home and then I’m outta here. I might not be able to take Blogher by storm as I had hoped, but I’m happy to be able to go.

Thanks to everyone who kept me company (in a virtual sense!) during my quarantine.

And now, I close this post knowing that forever and ever, you will be able to google my name along with “herpes” and get an actual result. (And my bucket list just got lighter by one …)

 

Gym class reject

At a lovely party last Saturday night with some lovely friends. Chit chatting. Drink drunking. Nib nubbling. (Hey! I made a word!)

Then my friend’s husband — as in, the dude hosting the par-tay — came over and asked her, “Should we play wiffle ball now?”

She was all, “Suuuure.” She slouched a little more in her chair and took a long schlurp of her drink. It was clear she didn’t have a concern in the world.

But me? I was freaking OUT. He might as well have said, “Let’s all get naked and go jogging somewhere where there’s lots of flourescent lighting.”

Peeps. I cannot play team sports.

Can’t.

Yeah, I was that kid

Actual photo of me in gym class.

Have you noticed how much time I spend blogging? That should be a pretty good indication of my level of athletic prowess. Who else would have time to write as a hobby except for someone who can’t properly throw, catch or hit a ball?

This team-sports phobia (yes, I think that’s the right word) … it’s a thing for me. It goes waaaaay back.

Maybe it all stems from being a shy kid. Being up at bat with EVERYONE LOOKING was too much to handle.

After a certain age, gym class was a nightmare. I just wanted to live through the hour. So I would tune out.

Perhaps the rest of the class was playing volleyball, but in my head I was being a groundbreaking intelligent but hilarious MTV veejay interviewing super-hot rock stars who all wanted to date me.

Then I’d get nailed in the head with a ball or throw it to the totally wrong person and then remember that, oh yeah, you’re not really supposed to throw in volleyball are you? (Right?)

So yeah, the fact that I refused to pay attention certainly didn’t help matters. But it was my defense mechanism.

No one ever made fun of me (to my face, anyway) back in school. I wasn’t scorned in any other way. I wasn’t a social outcast.

But as far as I remember, no one ever showed me how to hold a bat. How to stand. How to connect. I never learned.

And if someone did show me, I was probably so overpowered by anxiety that I couldn’t pay attention anyway.

Do I really have to?

I love to ride my bike, roller blade, go hiking. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this stuff. I enjoy yoga. I have dabbled in T’ai Chi. I plan on taking up kayaking. I’d love to learn to play golf (OK, mostly so I can drive the golf cart and have an excuse to stand around outside running my mouth on a nice day, but still, it’s a sport, people. It counts.)

But team sports are not my thing. And the good news is, they usually don’t have to be.

You know, except when my friend’s poopyhead husband brandishes a plastic bat at me.

I am in awe of people who can just casually get up and hit a ball. Or catch it. Or throw it and have it go where it’s supposed to.

I know, as an adult, that I can now do many, many things that I thought I couldn’t do in the past. I am totally teachable.

But it was shocking to find out that my sports anxiety could still sock me in the face like a slushy facial.

Regrets. I’ve had a few

Years ago, at my first job out of college, I worked with a nice, goofy buncha people. There was a company softball team and they asked me to join.

“No thanks,” I said. “I don’t really like softball.”

They kept asking. Why? Because they were nice and I was part of the gang and they wanted me to be there to enhance their after-work hours with my adorable smartassy awesomeness.

And maybe also, they needed another player.

This one guy was insistent. He was all, “It doesn’t matter if you’re any good. You can just come out and have a few laughs. We have a great time and don’t take it seriously at all. It’s mostly just an excuse to hang out.”

Finally I realized he wasn’t going to leave me alone unless I came out of the closet.

“‘I can’t play,” I told him. “I literally cannot play. I don’t even know how to hold a bat. Just thinking about it gives me an anxiety attack. I want to cry right now. I don’t know if it’s a phobia or what, but I just can’t do it.”

He was quiet.

I knew he was thinking that I was a TOTAL AND COMPLETE LOSER.

And also, a head case.

A coworker across the aisle was listening in. She piped up, “You know what? If it’s really that bad for you, don’t go. It’s not worth it.”

I had finally come out with one of my biggest fears. And with her statement, I realized something: You don’t have to face all your fears. Sometimes you can just walk away.

So I did.

Dear team sports: Fuck off.

I guess in a sliding doors universe, there’s the reality where I decided to face my fears. Where I joined the team anyway. Where I decided to show up and admit that I had no idea what I was doing. Where I told someone: “Teach me to play like you would a four-year old. Start there.” In that universe, I would get progressively better over the season and people would cheer my first hit and buy me beers afterward. In that universe, by the end of the season I would’ve acquired legitimate skills. In that universe, possibly, for the first time, I would’ve known what I was doing.

But I didn’t.

I walked away. Maybe that’s not as bold as facing my fears head on, but I realized that choosing to not put any more attention on a fear is OK. It takes the power out of it.

Of course, if you do that, then that fear remains unconquered. Maybe eventually it comes back. But maybe when it comes back around you’ll be more in a position to deal with it. Maybe, like, when you’re 40 and surrounded by friends.

Back to the effing wiffle ball

Last week at the party, I decided to play. “Pick me last,” I told the team captains. “I cancel out at least two good players.” I volunteered to be the team heckler but I could only go so far because there were kids around.

Then it was my turn at bat. I know right now you all want me to tell you that I magically hit a home run or even singled, now that I realize I’m 40 years old and have learned powerful life lessons like it’s only wiffle ball, dammit.

But life is not a movie, people.

First pitch. Swing. Miss.

Second pitch. Swing. Hit.

Foul.

But whatever! I hit it!

I took a victory lap around the bases anyway and told the other players that the fact that I HIT THE BALL was surely worthy of a point.

They didn’t buy it.

They didn’t know. They didn’t know that while I was acting like a tipsy goof, I was really working through some serious, decades-old anxiety.

And then, I would like to tell you that I played the rest of the game like a good sport.

But fuck alla that.

I got myself another drink and went up to cluck with the other hens on the deck. “Come back,” my friend said. “Don’t leave me!”

“I have my period,” I yelled. “I can’t take gym class today. I have a note from my mother.”

Honestly, that one turn at bat was all I could take. You can’t expect someone with a fear of heights to jump out of a plane. But you can maybe get them to go up a few steps.

So I took a few steps.

I know a lot of you are thinking WHAT’S THE BIG GODDAMN DEAL?

It’s this: I can’t hit a ball. As a kid, I thought it meant this:

I’m inadequate. I’m not as good as everyone else. I’m too fat. My parents grew up poor and didn’t know they were supposed to put us in sports and even if they had known, they couldn’t afford it. Everyone will finally realize that I’m a worthless loser. Everyone will see that I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ll be exposed.

As an adult, it was only slightly different:

I’m inadequate. I’m not as good as everyone else. I’m too fat. Everyone will see that all my confidence is bullshit. People will lose respect for me. The Irishman (who is very athletic) will dump me. His athletic kid will think I’m a loser. My friends will be reminded that I’m hopeless at team sports and see that I haven’t improved one damn whit since high school. But I’m not a quitter and I’ve faced so many things in life and I can face this, too, but I’m so so, scared.

Listen, my friends are nice people. I know they don’t give a crap if I can’t hit a ball. And the Irishman? I’m always trying to show him my bad side to see if he can handle it. (“Hey babe! Watch this! I’m going to yell at my kids now! You watchin’? See how crazy I am? You better run now while you have the chance! Go! Save yourself! Hey! Want to see how I look without any makeup at all???? Ever seen stretch marks up close?”)

Afterwards no one treated me differently. No one ever treated me differently after gym class, either, although I was always waiting for it.

So OK. I didn’t totally 100% face this fear this time.

But I didn’t walk away from it either. I guess that’s a start.

You’re probably secretly gay

This is a completely random photo.

So let’s face it: You’re probably secretly gay.

Or maybe not exactly gay, as in the homosexual sense, but you’re probably in the closet about something.

Aren’t we all?

What’s crushing you?

About a year and a half ago, I was driving out to meet my darling werewolf pal Brad for a drink (I’m only half kidding about the werewolf thing) when my phone rang. It was another friend of mine — a smart, accomplished, savvy chick who seemed to have the world by the balls.  I had a 40-minute drive in front of me, so I settled in for a catchup session.

But that wasn’t what she had in mind that night.

She was crumbling.

She was nearly in a state of panic. She told me she felt like she was living a lie. On the surface, she knew that people thought she was successful. But underneath, she was having Big Life Problems. These problems are not mine to disclose (and despite the title of this post, they had nothing to do with her sexuality).

The gist was, she was being crushed by unhappiness.

By obligations.

By things she didn’t want to do.

By other people’s expectations of how she should live — what she should do for her career, how she should spend her money, who she should love.

By feeling forced to play a role rather than live a life.

By keeping her true, authentic self a secret from everyone for fear that they wouldn’t understand.

At that particular time in my life, I was blogging a LOT. I was revealing much of my crazy, potty-mouthed, Hippie Trish internal dialogue — and in the process, unleashing my true, authentic self to the world for better or for worse.

This friend said that she’d seen me put myself out there and let my freak flag fly. She wanted to know this: Did people scorn me for it? Did people think I was weird? Did I lose friends?

I told her: No, no and fucking no. In fact, the opposite was true.

When I started getting real — consequences be damned — I got hit with the most massive tidal wave of love from the people around me. Yes, sometimes I felt sheepish being around people knowing that they might have read my blog and discovered all kinds of maybe not-so-attractive things about me. I never knew how people would react.

But people told me they appreciated my honesty. They told me that they often felt many things that I had written, but they just didn’t know how to say them. They told me that I inspired them to be brave in their own lives and to be honest about some things they’d been hiding.

It was so … fucking … cool. 

And you know what else? It felt so good to just go, “Oh hey world. This is me. Can you believe that shit?” It was like, until then, I’d been walking around feeling tense all the time without even knowing it. Just making the decision to be as authentic as possible in all things was so, oddly enough, relaxing. 

And you know what else? I respected myself for speaking my truth.

And you know what else? I was having a great old time, doing what I’d always wanted to do — writing and writing and writing and spilling my thoughts and observations and letting people read it all.

And you know what else? It was a relief to finally admit that that was what I really wanted to do  — even if other people might think that I was nuts or egotistical or wasting my time or whatever else.

And you know what else? If anyone thought I was a douche, they certainly didn’t tell me to my face. And even if they had, I was so busy feeling so good that it probably wouldn’t have bothered me a whole lot.

Closets suck

I have tons o’ gay friends. Some of them sashayed outta of the proverbial closet years ago and haven’t looked back since.

Others have taken a quiet step or two out, but haven’t quite let go of the doorknob yet. They want to think they have the option to run back in if they need to. A few others are cautiously peeping out the door, waiting to see who’s going to greet them on the other side — and do those people have smiles to share or rocks to throw? And then others … they’re curled in the dark corner of the closet trying to pretend they’re not in there.

I’ve heard lots of “coming out” stories. I’ve heard lots of “I’m out to everyone but my family/coworkers/childhood friend” stories.

Now, not everyone who is ALL THE WAY OUT out received glowing love from everyone around them. But you know what? Despite scorn from some people in their lives, I have the sense that the people who are totally out are much happier.

Why? Because the truth really will set you free.

It will.

And if you have the truth, it’s so much easier to weather the bad stuff.

What are you hiding?

So the question is this: What are you stuffing away in your deep, dark corners? What’s keeping you from pulling it out into the light?

Do you really want to be an artist? Want to travel? Change careers? Take up a new sport?

You can just hear everyone now, can’t you? That’s so irresponsible. No one can make a living doing that. What? Do you think you have talent or something? You’re never going to be famous. You’re too old. You’re too fat. You’re too ugly. 

Or maybe you want to do a life makeover.

Maybe you’re drowning in responsibilities to everyone else and you have no room for yourself in your own life. Maybe you’re tired of taking care of the McMansion and you want to downsize to a townhouse. Maybe you want to quit something — the PTA, driving your kids to sports EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK, going to social things you don’t feel like going to. Maybe you really need some time totally alone every now and then.

What would they say then? It’s crazy to sell the big house — what would you do without a yard? How would the PTA get along without you? You’re not a good parent if you’re not giving your kid absolutely every opportunity. You must not love your kids as much as I love mine. What will people think if you dropped off the radar? That’s just selfish.

Claim yo space

You’re the only one living inside your fucked-up little head. Just you. Why not turn it into a space that you enjoy?

People will think what they think. And chances are, they’re probably not thinking about you a whole lot because they’re too busy thinking about their own lives.

Sure, there are people close to you who may be affected by your decisions. I’m not suggesting you dump your life and take off to the desert, the beach or the commune.

But you can start making some changes. Remember my post about kicking the ghost out of my house and claiming my space?

Sometimes you have to do the same thing with people who are still alive.

Because here’s the thing, peeps. If you don’t speak up about what you really want out of life, people will fill in those blanks for you. Before you know it, you’ll have a full schedule of STUFF TO DO that will keep you running around all day and night, all the while feeling quietly desperate and unfulfilled.

You deserve to live a life on the outside that reflects how you feel inside.

The people who love you may or may not understand — at first. You may need to explain some decisions. Do so lovingly. Tell them you need to do (fill in the blank) to feed your soul. Tell them that by doing whatever-it-is that you’ll be a happier person.

That will make you a better mother/father, a better wife/husband, a better friend, a better child.

And tell yourself that you want to someday be on your deathbed knowing you really lived. That you took a chance. That you didn’t spend your life in the closet.

Show us your balls

I can’t imagine the balls it must take to suddenly tell an unsuspecting world that you’re homosexual. My friends tell me it’s terrifying. They say that it’s often surprising who is supportive and who isn’t.

Yet they still do it.

I admire their courage so much.

I think this: If my pals can make that sort of major proclamation to the world and then stand there and accept whatever slings and arrows may follow, what am I so scared of? That people will think I’m a hippie? That people will think I’m a doof for taking my writing seriously? That people will think I’m a dreamer?

Small potatoes.

So here’s my challenge to all of you: Start inspecting your closets. What’s in there that needs to come out? Name it. Dust it off.

Then get ready to open the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dying alone. That’s gotta suck.

So dying alone. That’s gotta suck.

That was my thought just now.

It’s Sunday night. I’ve been drinking white wine spritzers alone since, like, 4. It’s been supah awesome.

If it’s true that how we act when we’re totally alone is who we really are then I guess I’m a drunk, gluttonous pervert. Go me.

I could make all kinds of excuses about how many times when I’m alone I go hiking or biking or take in cultural events. But I’m thrilled to tell you that it’s too hot to do any of that today so I’ve decided to sit in my dark living room, order in and watch bad TV.

Heaven.

I haven’t had any alone time in weeks. I love my kids. I love my Irishman. I love my mom and my sisters and my darling Jezebel (holla, girl!) and all my lovely friends.

But I need to get the fark away from those people sometimes.

And not just them. All people.

That’s just me.

It’s party time on the crazy train

I’m either superbly lucky or superbly crazy that I can have a party all by myself (even without the wine).

I sit in my house and watch funny thangs and laugh my head off.

I guess that part is not so disturbing.

The part that’s disturbing is that I think funny things and then laugh my head off.

Alone.

In my house.

Like a what?

Like a crazy person. You can say it.

I am SO my own best friend sometimes.

But right now, instead of watching things and thinking things, I thought I’d write.

Because then it’s called creativity, bitches.

That’s right. (Imagine I said that in a high-pitched, sing-songy, white-girl-attempting-to-do-a-ghetto-voice. Are you cringing, too?)

Death and despair

Anyway.

I was just watching Louis CK. In the episode, Louis got in a motorcycle accident and was recovering at home.

His crazy ex girlfriend who just broke up with herself (you’d need to see the episode to understand, but yes, that’s what happpened) came over and was all like, “What? Is no one taking care of you?”

He wasn’t even close to death, but he was limping and feeling sad and forlorn on the couch.

It didn’t take a lot of brainpower (thank God) to fast-forward 20 years or more and think this: Dying alone must suck.

Again, not that he was dying.

But someday he will.

And you know who else will?

Me.

And you. (Sorry.)

And why am I thinking about all this?

Because earlier today I was feeling like everyone was too … all up in my cranium.

The Irishman and his wee little lasses slept over last night. My littlest munchkin was CRANKY this morning. My oldest munchkin was getting all Wizards of Waverly Place on me (which means heavy on the attitude, light on the humor).

I was counting the minutes until EVERYONE WENT AWAY FROM HERE and I could have some TIME to BE ALONE and do NOTHING IMPORTANT AT ALL.

Because sometimes people get on my darn nerves.

Not that they were doing anything wrong. They were just doing what they were doing.

And my house was stacked heavily with people who fall into the category of PEOPLE I LOVE BEST IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.

But I just needed some space.

Bitches. I love you. Now leave.

So they left.

And what did I do? Before the white wine spritzers? Before catching up on the Real Housewives? (OMG! Tamra and Eddie are engorged! I mean engaged!)

I called one of the other people I love best. I chatted with my mummy for a while.

Then, since I was holding my phone, I ended up scrolling through close to a year’s worth of pictures. Pictures of some of the people I love best.

The people I had been waiting to get away from all morning.

Man, we had a good year.

And then I had to remind myself to back the eff up, bitch, and get over myself.

Party of one

Because sometimes I get this idea that ALONE is the total and complete best.

That people are too much work. That life would be so much easier if I didn’t have to clean up after anyone or consider anyone else’s moods or watch crime shows on TV when, obviously, reality shows are sooooo much better.

That having all these people to deal with is too darn inconvenient.

But then there’s this: Having people in your life is like traveling.

Traveling can make you crazy. Packing. Planning. Budgeting. Doing laundry/watering plants/taking care of pets and mail and a hundred miscellaneous items before you go. Herding everyone into the car. Getting stuck in traffic. Going through airport security. Baggage claim. Rental car. Too many receipts.  Stuff will be wrong. You will be delayed. You’ll be overtired and dirty and hungry when you arrive.

But still. Taking the trip is nearly always worth the mess and the inconvenience and the small frustrations.

In fact, the mess and the inconvenience usually fall away entirely when you consider the beauty and joy of it all.

And if you pick good people to travel through life with you, the mess and inconvenience sometimes don’t even feel like mess and inconvenience. Sometimes they feel … fun.

Elvis, the Divine Light

As I’ve mentioned before, I used to work for Ringling Bros. During that time, I was on the road a lot.

Alone.

I’d go weeks without seeing anyone I knew.

Even still, I decided to make sure that I saw whatever there was to see, wherever I went.

I was the solitary tourist.

Sometimes I felt really empowered. I liked landing in a new city and figuring everything out all by myself.

But it got lonely.

One time I went to Graceland. When you arrive, they MAKE you take a picture in front of these fake Graceland gates before you get to tour the mansion.  Then they try to sell it to you at the end.

When it was my turn to be photographed I tried to opt out. “Hey, no thanks. It’s just me.”

They made me do it anyway. So I put on the biggest, fakest, most ridiculous smile I could and they snapped away.

At the end, the picture was so ridiculous that I ended up buying it.

I threw it in an envelope and sent it to my parents. (They were huge Elvis fans.)

And I think it must have been there that I realized: Most things in life are so much better if you have someone to share them with.

Otherwise, nothing sticks.

I have so many mental snapshots of things in random cities that are half-remembered. But I don’t know where I was or who I was with — probably some random work contact who was trying to get me to spend my circus bucks with their media outlet.

But without people — people who love me, that is — to share those experiences with, it was like they never happened.

So here’s my conclusion: Alone time is awesome. Today was superfun and much needed. But even though my time was solitary, it wasn’t lonely. My day was played out against the backdrop of people I love. I could feel them here even though they weren’t.

I loved having all the sleepover stuff in the living room and too many cups and glasses on my counter from the day before. I loved looking back through pictures of our little adventures over the past year.

All alone.

In my house.

Just me.

NOTE: Obviously, I’m doing a little work on rearranging the old bloggity. Please bear with me as I get my new design up and running! Also, lemme know whatcha think!