Wedding Obsession Disorder (WOD*)

*Not to be confused with the popular CrossFit Workout of the Day (WOD)

You guys, I literally just received an email titled “Wedding season is coming!”. Oh joy. I was hoping for spring but I guess wedding season will suffice.

What is this phenomenon known as “wedding season”? Is it a few months where the sunset lighting is justtt right for engagement pictures? Is it when venues have special deals or when caterers are feeling extra generous? You know what, let’s just get right to the root of this post. What is with this wedding obsession that seems to be invading women’s social media accounts, their over-drinks conversations, hell even all their thoughts? SOS, someone with ovaries please help me understand.

Natalie, my younger sister, called the other night and asked me point-blank, “When do you think Brandon is going to propose? Dillon is proposing to me this year and I want to make sure there’s at least 2 months in between our engagements.” Jaw? Meet floor. She instructed me to check in with Brandon and get back to her with a ballpark so that Dillon (her boyfriend) could plan accordingly. She then requested that I start to grow my hair out (I’ve got a lob AKA long bob) because the hairstyles she’s envisioning for her bridesmaids require longer hair. Okay, I’ve never been able to grow my hair out past my shoulders; no matter what vitamins I take, how many hairdresser recommended trims I get, it’s #loblife for me. But Nat wasn’t hearing it, she actually suggested I look into getting extensions (no thanks). Alright team, say it with me, “Bridezilla”.

Natalie is the type of girl who has intricately organized Pinterest boards dedicated to wedding decorations, bridal party photo poses, wedding dresses, etc. She’s the girl who has known for years what venue her wedding will be taking place in, what her first dance song will be, whether her and her husband will smash the first bite of cake into each other’s faces or feed it to each other sweetly. She tests out different versions of her married name’s signature in her notepad, keeps a running list of wedding registry items in her phone, and has already trained her dog to be her ring bearer (which, sorry I’m not sorry, will be the cutest thing ever).

I’m not that type of a girl. Emails hyping up wedding season get deleted #byefelicia. I’ve never perused through online wedding dress boutiques and fantasized about how I’d look in the off-white strapless mermaid one. I have no idea what my something old, something new, something borrowed, or something blue will be. I haven’t even decided whether or not I want the full wedding shebang. Will someone please explain to me what’s wrong with a simple and affordable courthouse wedding?

I do know that I want to get married. I look forward to my relationship finally having some legitimacy (I can’t tell you how tired I am of hearing “Oh you’re just dating?”), receiving those married tax benefits ($$$), and having legal decision-making rights (Brandon is accident-prone) but those matters don’t actively occupy my thoughts.

I don’t fully understand girls who obsess over their future weddings like my sister does. She had her whole wedding planned before she even met Dillon (who, bless his heart, is a total trooper and will gamely play his role in her pre-determined wedding). Isn’t it the partner who matters most? Isn’t the marriage more important than the wedding? A wedding is an expensive one-day party, a marriage is a lifetime. Or at least, it should be. I mean, I understand getting excited over planning a big birthday party (well in theory, I personally don’t like celebrating my birthday but that’s beside the point). You pick the perfect location, plan the perfect menu, decorate your space to the nines and then the night comes and it goes (hopefully) perfectly. People notice the little decorative touches, love the themed cocktails, compliment your outfit, and enjoy each other’s company. But then the night ends and you have to clean up the next day, hungover. What then? What’s next? Normal life. So in the case of my topic, the wedding you’ve been planning for 1, 3, 7 years has come and gone and what are you left with? A marriage. A lifetime with the guy you probably weren’t even thinking of, maybe didn’t even know, when you created your Pinterest boards on save-the-dates, bridal bouquets, and shower themes.

Why don’t girls have Pinterest boards dedicated to date night ideas (gotta keep that bond strong), strategies for disagreeing constructively (it’s not always rainbows and unicorns), or tips for navigating your relationship with your new Mother-in-Law (heaven forbid someone be more important to her little boy than her)? I think those subjects would be healthy for future-thinking girls to obsess over. If you’re excited to be promising your partnership and life to someone, shouldn’t you be trying to make it the best damn partnership/life possible? Shouldn’t that be the focus?

Related side note- What do women obsess over/Pinterest once their wedding comes and goes?

Final List Post… For a little while

One more list then I’m done being lazy and will actually write a real post. *Whiny voice* It’s just so hard coming up with topics sometimes.

  1. Were you named after anyone?
    Well my parents were originally told that they were having a boy. Which explains all my blue baby blankets, bedding, onsies… but I digress. My name was going to be Christian Lee which was a combination of my grandfathers’ first names. When I popped out sans penis, my name was oh so creatively altered to Kristen Leigh. So yes, I was named after 2 people. Kinda.
  2. When was the last time you cried?
    After the burglary so just a few weeks ago. When I realized that they stole sentimental stuff, like my external hard drive filled with family pictures and the blanket my (now dead) mémère knit me, the tears started to roll. There burglars! I bet you feel like real dicks now!
  3. Do you like your handwriting?
    I love it. My handwriting is this amazingly loopy print/cursive hybrid that I’ve been thinking about trademarking as an official font. No, it’s nothing like Bradley Hand ITC.
  4. What is your favorite lunch meat?
    Does bacon count? If it doesn’t, it should.
  5. Do you have kids?
    Okay now I know that my fur babies count. So yes, I have two kids.
  6. If you were another person would you be friends with you?
    I’d let me be in my squad.
  7. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
    I do but if I’m trying to be funny, I tend to go down the hyperbole and a half route. Everyone likes a good ol’ fashioned embellishment.
  8. Do you still have your tonsils?
    Unfortunately. I’ll give ‘em up if someone is willing to remove them pro bono. I dislike having unnecessary body parts. I want my body to be as streamlined as possible.
  9. Would you bungee jump?
    In a heartbeat. I have my beneficiaries all sorted out, Brandon knows to wipe my browser history. I’m good to jump.
  10. What is your favorite cereal?
    Special K. It’s delicious AND adult.
  11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
    Hell no. Why waste time? I want those things off the second I walk in the door. I’m not wasting 15-20 seconds to bend over, pull the bunny ears, loosen the top laces, and delicately slip my foot out of the shoe. I’m forcibly kicking those fuckers off.
  12. Do you think you are strong?
    Am I the first person someone thinks to ask to help them move? No. I will drop your couch for sure. Am I the first person my girlfriends turn to after a breakup? Yes. I got that whole emotionally strong thing on lock.
  13. What is your favorite ice cream?
    Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. The only food item I won’t share. Well… and fries.
  14. What is the first thing you notice about people?
    Outfit. I don’t know if that’s shallow or socially awkward (normally Step 1 is to make eye contact) but I always find myself immediately doing a quick up/down assessment of what someone is wearing upon first meeting them.
  15. Red or pink?
    Red. I hate that everyone thinks girls looooove pink because they’re, well, girls. Girls can prefer green or orange you sexist colorists. Quit buying into the stereotype. And no, I don’t like Tiffany Blue either.
  16. What is your least favorite thing about yourself?
    Like Aaron, I’m not big in the self-confidence arena. There’s a good amount of self-doubt rolling around in my mind at all times. I must do a good job of hiding that though because I’ve had plenty of people refer to me as being confident or strong. LOL suckers.
  17. Who do you miss the most?
    My sister. She’s only a short plane ride away and I make the trek as often as possible but it’s still not enough.
  18. What is the nutrition or fitness strategy that you need to work on the most?
    Consistency. I need this rain to lessen up so that I can get back to running on my lunch breaks. Mama has a trip to Mexico coming up, I need to be bikini ready for those jealousy-inducing IG posts!
  19. What color shoes are you wearing?
    Maroon! I have maroon heeled booties on, they’re my Dorothy shoes.
  20. What was the last thing you ate?
    Carrots. Kill me.
  21. What are you listening to right now?
    My coworkers talking to themselves, typing, chatting on the phone, etc. I work in a cubicle farm and have the pleasure of being able to hear every little sound my coworkers make. Including Craig’s farting. Someone needs to talk to him about that.
  22. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
    I want to be the white crayon because little kids try to use that crayon to write secret, invisible ink notes to each other. Oh to be the white crayon and to know everyone’s dirt.
  23. Favorite smells?
    The lingering scent of Brandon’s cologne on my clothes. Kidding. I’m not a crazy obsessive weirdo. And Brandon doesn’t wear cologne, he’s not a 13 year old boy experimenting with his scent.Fresh coffee it is!
  24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
    My Labor & Employee Relations Representative. Some shit is hitting the fan so she and I were developing our plan of attack via non-discoverable means.
  25. Mountain hideaway or beach house?
    Crap, way to back me into a corner. Mountain hideaway, I think. We’re not talking about a mountain tucked away in Siberia, right? We’re talking Lake Tahoe mountains? Where there are still beach-ish bodies of water nearby? That’s what I’m signing up for in #25.
  26. Favorite sports to watch?
    Football fo sho. Football game days come with good food and beer.
  27. Hair color?
    Literally no clue what my natural color is anymore. I think I remember it being a dull dusty brown. My current hair color is a sort of reddish brown.
  28. Eye color?
    Hazel/green.
  29. Do you wear contacts?
    Yes. I’m legally blind and need those little things to avoid stubbing my toes on literally everything.
  30. Favorite food?
    Sourdough bread. Loaves (sp? loafs?), rolls, sliced pieces. I’ll take them all.
  31. Scary movies or happy endings?
    He he. Happy endings.
  32. Last movie you watched?
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. I don’t know why it has such shit ratings, I loved that movie!
  33. What color shirt are you wearing?
    Floral print. I embrace the #basicbitch within me from time to time.
  34. Summer or winter?
    If you managed to make it to #94 on my “100 Random Facts About Yours Truly” post, you’d know that I’d rather be hot than cold so summer it is.
  35. Hugs or kisses?
    #22 in the aforementioned blog post- I hate hugging. Giving ‘em, receiving ‘em. Hate ‘em. Kissing, however, is the best so pucker up.
  36. Favorite dessert?
    Cowboy cookies. Come find me in real life and I’ll make them for you. Note to my reader: Please don’t actually stalk me for my cowboy cookies.
  37. Strength training or cardio?
    Cardio! Though I do love a good circuit training session…
  38. Computer or television?
    Computer because you can watch TV shows on it. BOOM. #lawyered
  39. What book are you reading now?
    An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness. I’ve read this book more times than I can remember… It’s written by a psychiatrist who studies and has bipolar disorder. Her ability to articulate the highs and lows of the disorder from her personal and professional experiences is incredible. I highly recommend this book.
  40. What is on your mouse pad?
    I don’t use one, the Ergonomist at work claims they aren’t “ergonomically friendly”. Whatever. I agreed to get rid of it just so she’d go away and stop talking about my slouching problem. It ain’t a problem for me, lady!
  41. Aaron says that Anthea left out #41. I trust him and accept the #41 he created. Aaron’s 41. What image is the lock screen on your phone?avo
  42. Favorite sound?
    Now that I have the world’s most badass security system and I know that the sounds I hear at night are not burglars returning to steal what’s left or to step up their game and murder me, my favorite sound is becoming the sound of my house settling at night. I’m starting to find the creaking very soothing.
  43. Rolling Stones or Beatles?
    Beatles. Come on, (wo)man.
  44. What is the farthest you have been from home?
    Chile. Where I got robbed by a cab driver, stranded at an airport, pick-pocketed in a market, and still had the time of my life.
  45. Do you have a special talent?
    I can pinch with my toes. Nothing says “special” like being able to inflict pain or pick up items with your toes.
  46. Where were you born?
    Sandy Eggo, CA
  47. Where are you living now?
    Northern California
  48. What color is your house?
    Tan-ish with chestnut-y accents. It’s the cutest house out there. Trust me. I spent a year looking at house after house all over the damn Bay, mine is the cutest.
  49. What color is your car?
    Silver. His name is Slick. Slick the silver 4Runner.
  50. Do you like answering 50 questions?
    Absolutely, I love talking about myself. I’m my favorite topic.

100 Random Facts About Yours Truly

Aaron, this one is for you! And me… I just love writing lists.

  1. I was born on October 5th. I once read that’s the most common birthday in America (count back 10 months and you’ll have your reason why).
  2. I am originally from San Diego, CA.
  3. I’ve lived in Northern California for almost 10 years now. You know, I’ve actually started to wonder if I should stop telling people I’m from SoCal…
  4. I’ve been scuba certified since I was 12 years old.
  5. I’m utterly terrified of the costumed/masked characters who walk around Disneyland, theme parks, malls, etc.
  6. I’m allergic to bees.
  7. I hate the feeling of microfiber fabric.
  8. I don’t tan, I sunburn.
  9. I am in no way shape or form a germaphobe.
  10. I hate preachy people. You know the type, something goes moderately wrong in their life and they turn it into an opportunity to ramble on and on about the lesson they learned, what you should take from it, blahblahblah. Shut up already.
  11. I am still slightly afraid of the dark. Not “I think there’s a monster in my closet” but “Is that dark shape a murderer or a mailbox?”.
  12. Sometimes I feel older than my 26 years and sometimes I look around and wonder where my adult is.
  13. I have one sister, Natalie.
  14. Natalie and I have the classic younger/older sister dynamic. She’s my best friend but also, I hate her (not really).
  15. Authority figures make me incredibly anxious.
  16. I rarely buy snacks or junk food at the grocery store because I have no self-control.
  17. I find cleaning and organizing to be incredibly therapeutic.
  18. I’ve never broken a bone which brings me to #19…
  19. I have broken someone else’s nose in a tennis-related accident.
  20. I’m waiting for the truth about Taylor Swift to come out. I think she’s secretly a horrible person with a great PR team.
  21. I hate talking on the phone because I don’t like conversing with someone and being unable to see their reactions, emotions, gestures, etc while they speak.
  22. I don’t like being hugged which is probably because of #23.
  23. I’m always hot. Not comfortably warm, hot.
  24. I have two dogs- Sandy, a yellow lab, and Rousey, a wire terrier. They are collectively referred to as “the girls”.
  25. I type with only 6 fingers- From my left hand: my ring, middle, and pointer fingers. From my right hand: my thumb, pointer, and middle fingers.
  26. I have two Spartan Trifectas. That basically means I finished all 3 of their race types (Sprint ~5 miles, Super ~9 miles, and Beast ~15 miles) in one year’s time.
  27. I am a horrible cook.
  28. I road rage.
  29. Socially, I am exactly like my mom. Intellectually and emotionally, I am just like my dad. I like to think that I got the best of both worlds.
  30. When I’m upset, truly truly upset, I don’t say a single word. I’m literally so overcome with emotion that I cannot create a single coherent sentence (don’t worry, I’m hardly ever that upset).
  31. In fact, I rarely get upset. I’m usually a very even-keeled person.
  32. I graduated with my Bachelor’s from UC Davis in 3 years.
  33. I honestly think that moving out of SoCal and up to NorCal to attend UCD was the best decision I have ever made. I was challenged there, I grew there, I changed there, I became me there.
  34. I’ve been told that I’m a “strong personality”.
  35. I played doubles tennis in high school with my best friend. We were nationally ranked; we weren’t high on the list but we were definitely on it.
  36. I’ve named all (two) of the cars I’ve owned- Max the Maxima and Slick the 4Runner.
  37. I have no idea what my natural hair color is anymore.
  38. I’m legally blind.
  39. I cannot keep a secret to save my life.
  40. I am not religious but sometimes I wish I was. Religion seems to bring people such comfort and hope in times of trouble when I have nothing to hold on to, no greater being keeping an eye on me.
  41. My eye color changes depending on what I’m wearing. They can be anywhere from a light brown to a dark green (my preference).
  42. I don’t like Taco Bell (I know, I know, blasphemy!).
  43. I am loving this whole blogging thing.
  44. My parents divorced after almost 30 years together. It absolutely terrifies me to know that it’s possible to live a lifetime with the wrong person.
  45. A boy who lost his virginity to me is now gay and credits me with helping him to realize that. You’re welcome?
  46. I’m a morning person.
  47. I am an incredibly fast reader. People think I’m just skimming but no, I’m reading every word just really, really quickly.
  48. I don’t like to celebrate my birthday. I usually hope that the day sneaks by without anyone saying anything. No, I’m not worried about being one year older, I just don’t like the focused attention.
  49. My favorite scar is an inch-long line along my inner right ankle. I got it scuba diving with my dad. We were caught in a riptide; I was kicking so aggressively, for so long, that my fin dug deep into my ankle and left that lasting mark.
  50. My guilty pleasure is reading celebrity gossip sites.
  51. I love making lists.
  52. I haven’t decided if I believe in ghosts or not.
  53. Babies freak me out.
  54. Toddlers though, they’re the best.
  55. I love archery. I’m certainly not the greatest shot but I really enjoy going to the range, it’s incredibly relaxing for me.
  56. I twirl my hair when I’m nervous or uncomfortable, it’s one of my bad habits.
  57. I cannot lie.
  58. I can, however, cross my eyes and curl my tongue.
  59. I was born with a hole in my heart that my doctor claims is now closed.
  60. I’m not sure if I believe him because I routinely experience heart palpitations, the “skipping a beat” sensation, and light-headedness. My doctor says that those are just signs that I’m “high strung”. Whatever.
  61. And while I’m at it, I’m afraid of doctors. Any kind of doctor, it really doesn’t matter- General practitioners, dentists, dermatologists. Now that I’m thinking about it, this might relate to #15.
  62. I hate the word “moist”.
  63. I wish I had a good signing voice. I love to sing but would never subject another human to the sound of me singing.
  64. On a similar note, I am always surprised by the sound of my voice in videos, voicemails, etc. I really don’t think I sound that way. Do I?
  65. I can never remember my login/password combinations.
  66. I am an HR Supervisor and have no idea how to actually manage people; I’m reading employee management articles and basically winging it with my direct-reports.
  67. While in Peru, a local band dragged me on stage and serenaded me with all the “American” songs they knew including “California Girls” (the Beach Boys version, not the Katy Perry version) while the locals bought me pisco sour after pisco sour. That night was one of the highlights of my 2 week trip.
  68. The only time I ever got in trouble at school was when I snuck into Alex Andrioff’s lunch bag, took apart his oreos and licked each one before putting them back together and back in his bag. I waited for him to eat them all before telling him what I did. That’s what he gets for teasing me!
  69. My favorite number is 3.
  70. I look for lucky pennies wherever I go.
  71. I think Subway should make candles that smell like their batches of fresh bread. I’d buy ‘em.
  72. I am horrible at painting my nails. I can’t stay within the lines, I mean, on my nails.
  73. I’m a Grammar Nazi but I frequently find myself making grammatical errors
  74. I have to try really, really hard to not talk during movies.
  75. I love live music. Doesn’t even matter if I don’t like the style of music or the particular band, there’s something about live music that captivates and holds me.
  76. I’m a very rule-driven person. You won’t see me ever breaking the law, bending policy, etc.
  77. I’m turning into my parents. Both of ‘em. Lucky me.
  78. Breakfast is my favorite meal.
  79. I am really good at social media stalking. Seriously, CIA, NSA, FBI, y’all should think about hiring me.
  80. I talk to myself at work, but only work.
  81. I adore my family but no one can drive me crazy like them.
  82. I never manage to cook chicken long enough, see #27.
  83. I love rock climbing, it’s like solving a puzzle for me.
  84. I also love rock climbing because that’s how I met Brandon, at a rock climbing gym. I had finished my route and was utterly exhausted, my fingers were refusing to bend and I was having a hard time untying my knot. In swoops my knight in shining carabiners. he he.
  85. I hate tension. And because of that…
  86. I cannot hold a grudge.
  87. I don’t like small talk.
  88. I’ve been wearing the same perfume for almost 4 years, it’s truly “my” scent.
  89. If someone ever put together a holographic Queen concert (like they did for Tupac at Coachella), I’d be first in line for tickets.
  90. Long nails on men creep me out.
  91. Ugh and long toenails on women. Or men! Especially men. Barf.
  92. I worry sometimes about how easily my back pops and cracks.
  93. I love decorative throw pillows. Couch, you get a pillow! Bed, you get a pillow! Reader, you get a pillow!
  94. I’d rather be hot than cold.
  95. I am not a competitive person.
  96. I am running out of things to say.
  97. I love coffee, everything about it. It’s smell, it’s taste, how it energizes me, the role it plays in my morning routine. Coffee, coffee, coffee.
  98. If Obama asked, I’d let him and Michelle adopt me.
  99. I believe in the importance of playing hooky from time to time.
  100. If I was stuck on a desert island, the one food I’d take with me would be sourdough bread.

Warning: Crazy Girl Rant

To the boy who called my girlfriend crazy:

Stop it. We are in our mid-20s, quickly approaching our late-20s. I cannot believe that I have to say this to you but clearly you need to hear this… via a blog rant you will most likely never find and then actually read… whatever.

My girlfriend, who you were lucky enough to date for a short time, has a huge heart. She’s kind, she’s sensitive, she’s emotional. And because of those traits, she’s not the best casual dater. She gets attached and begins to care about boys like you which causes her to fret, occasionally over-analyze your words and actions, and sometimes accidentally self-sabotage.

When I see her making mountains out of what I perceive as mole hills, I will do my best to calm and reassure her but what I’ll never do it tell her that how she’s feeling is wrong.

What I think is wrong is to tell someone that their perceptions and their emotions are invalid because they don’t appear valid to you. Something does not need to be true or worthy to you for it to be true/worthy to that other person. The focus shouldn’t even be on what someone is going through, it should be on the fact that they’re going through it, the fact that they’ve assigned meaning to it and have derived feelings from it.

I don’t think everyone understands that two people can perceive and feel and react differently to the exact same situation. And that that’s okay! I think this lack of understanding is why boys like you flippantly write off women, like my girlfriend, as “crazy” for feeling or reacting differently than you believe she should.

Being miffed over not receiving that call you said you’d return doesn’t make her crazy. She’s not crazy for being disappointed over plans that weren’t kept. Expressing an opinion different from yours doesn’t make her crazy. And don’t you dare call her (or another woman!) that again. Pick up a dictionary and find a more appropriate adjective and it better not be one that discredits her emotions or brings her mental fitness into question.

Women bear the brunt of this emotional trauma casually inflicted by boys so often that they, themselves, start to believe they might actually be crazy for feeling their own damn emotions. My girlfriend has started sending me these texts when something happens with one of the boys she’s dating:

“How would you feel if…?”

“Am I wrong for feeling…?”

“Is it crazy that I want to say…?”

I hate it. I hate that she’s doubts her own emotions. I hate that she’s been told her feelings are crazy. Or misplaced. Or unsubstantiated. And so many times that she now needs to get a second opinion before she’s comfortable with accepting her feelings and sharing them.

People feel what they feel and no one should tell them how they’re feeling is wrong. What gives you the right to tell someone that their own perceptions, their own emotions, their own reactions are wrong?

And you know the rub? You’re probably going to call me crazy for this rant. Well boy let me tell you, crazy is wearing a NASA-issued astronaut diaper to avoid stopping during a cross-country drive to go stalk your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. Crazy is showing up outside your apartment after one coffee date. Crazy is calling you 54 times in a row. Standing up for yourself or someone else isn’t crazy. Feeling emotions and being comfortable enough to share them isn’t crazy. You’d do well to remember that.

Song Roulette- A ripped off blog post

A few bloggers out there in the WordPress world have recently written posts called “Song Roulette”. Essentially, they put their music on shuffle, recorded the songs that came up, and then shared their thoughts on each song. Fun right? Here’s my version of their “Song Roulette” posts.

Disclaimer: I’m still new to blogging and don’t know the official protocol on copying others’ blog post ideas (I’ve already done it once before so sorry Jess/Paul if I’ve violated any unspoken blogging rules!). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

Golden Touch, Razorlight: I free dive for abalone off the coast of Sonoma, it’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s a long trek to my secret diving spot and without fail, this song will come on at some point during the drive. I have a distinct memory of me driving along that windy coastal road with my arm hanging out the open window, my salty/crunchy hair flopping in the wind, the sun reflecting off the ocean, and this song blasting in the background.

Light It Up, Milkman: I went through a nerdy phase in college. During this phase, I taught myself a few basic programming languages, I was doing gadget reviews for some techie blogs, and I was trying to teach myself how to make mashups on this awesome program I had gotten. I really liked how Milkman did his mashups so I would listen to hours of his tracks for inspiration.

Who Knew, Pink: “If someone said three years from now, you’d be long gone, I’d stand up and punch them out cuz they’re all wrong. I know better cuz you said forever.”

This song makes me think of all the fears I keep hidden in the dark recesses of my mind. Brandon is a police officer in a city marred by constant crime, violence, and social unrest. He’s always telling me about the high-risk calls he handled during last night’s shift and reassuring me that he knows what he’s doing, he’s as safe as he can be, that he trusts the officers backing him up. And I believe him because I have to. I know I’ll see him at home that next morning because he said he’d be there. I bury my worries, I ignore the news, I block out OG officers’ personal horror stories because he said he’ll be okay.

Hollow, Pantera: Like every other teen who came before me, I decided to give into my inner angst around age 14 and shop at Hot Topic, roll my eyes at my mom, and blast “emo” music from my room where I stayed locked away for hours and hours. Pantera isn’t exactly emo but I discovered this song during that stage in my life. It always makes me think of the months I insisted on wearing Dickies and checkered Vans everywhere.

The Love You Save, Jackson Five: Poor Michael Jackson, fame ruined him. That is literally the first thought that goes through my mind whenever one of his songs starts playing.

Nothin’, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: In college, my girlfriends and I would spend weekends in Chico with “the Chico boys”, a group of 5 roommates with a massive house and an appetite for partying that actually managed to meet ours. This song reminds me of a particularly crazy party we threw one summer. I was drunk and needed some air so my buddy Josh and I climbed onto the roof (probably not a great idea at the time, hindsight is 20/20) and laid under that starry Chico sky while this song blasted from within the house.

Gimme All Your Love, Alabama Shakes: Admittedly, the first time I heard a song by the Alabama Shakes, I thought it was a man singing (sorry Brittany!). Her voice is this amazingly husky, soulful drawl, I think it’s an easy mistake to make.

Stars, Grace Potter: My college boyfriend was my first love and the first man to ever break my heart. I discovered this song shortly after our breakup.

“All those times we looked up at the sky, looking out so far we felt like we could fly. Now I’m all alone in the dark of night, the moon is shining but I can’t see the light. I can’t look at the stars, they make me wonder where you are.”

When we were dating, we would drive out to Lake Berryessa on hot summer nights and we would lay under the stars for hours. We’d spend the time counting shooting stars, talking, or enjoying the comfortable silence that two people in a long-term relationship can share. This song put words to my post-breakup feelings more eloquently than I ever could and it helped me to move on knowing someone else out there felt exactly as I did.

You and Tequila, Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter: I think of my dad whenever this comes on. My dad has an incredible singing voice (that he didn’t pass on to me, WTF Dad!) and is an amazing guitarist. When this song plays, I can see him tucked away in his mancave with his guitar strapped to his chest, a music stand in front of him. His eyes are focused solely on the sheet music as he sings this song over and over trying to memorize the words and chords.

The Face, Kings of Leon: Ugh this is my absolute favorite song. Caleb (lead singer) wrote this song about his then fiancée and how much he loves and needs her. So much swoon.

Just Another Thing, Maren Morris: This makes me think of a boy (duh) who was oh so very bad for me but I couldn’t say no to. This song is perky and pop-y and reminds me of the stupid bubble of joy that would rise up each time he decided to (finally) text me back.

My Body, Young the Giant: Best song to blast when you’re struggling on a run because that ever-elusive runner’s high hasn’t kicked in yet.

Settlin’, Sugarland: Two years into my last relationship, I found out that my boyfriend had been cheating on me. The d-bag had the nerve to come crawling back to me once he realized the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. Even worse, I actually thought long and hard about getting back together with him; it was scary being suddenly alone in the world and it was horridly expensive to be paying for an entire apartment by myself but I knew I couldn’t take him back. I knew that I deserved better than him.

This song is the perky version of how I felt at that time- “I ain’t settling for just getting by. I’ve had enough so-so for the rest of my life. Tired of shooting too low, so raise the bar high. Just enough ain’t enough this time. I ain’t settling for anything less than everything.”

Big Stuff, Jean Knight: My sister and I used to belt this song in the car when we were kids. I’m sure my mom loved that, especially during traffic.

Rest Stop, Matchbox Twenty: My inner self is a 50 year old woman. I love Matchbox Twenty; I would choose them over Drake and Ariana Grande any day.

Feeling Good, Muse: Seriously an amazing song to blast when you need a post-work psych-up.

And here is where my BART ride, and thus list, ended.

An Affinity for Ambiversion

Okay y’all, who knew that an “ambivert” was thing? I didn’t. Honestly, it doesn’t even look like a real word to me. It looks like a word I’ve written so many times that my brain has decided to boycott reading it correctly. But it is! An “ambivert” is a thing.

An ambivert is a person whose personality has a balance of extroverted and introverted features. And that person, my blog friends, is me.

Gawd, I feel so much more at peace now that I have just one word to describe my personality (I used to refer to myself as an extroverted introvert). I’d experience such anxiety when I was asked to check the box for either introvert or extrovert. Oh the internal struggle! I didn’t want to choose wrong! You know how much claiming to be introverted or extroverted implies to people. Where was the “it depends” box? (You know, I’d like to be able to tell you that I’m kidding, I’d like to instruct you to read those last few sentences with a sarcastic tone, but I’m being totally serious. A tad hyperbolic but serious.)

I love those little personality quizzes in the back of trashy magazines, “What kind of a Bitch are you? Boss Bitch, Basic Bitch, Everyone’s Favorite Bitch”. I like being asked to think about myself, I like circling the answers that are just so me, tallying up my As, Bs, and Cs, and discovering what kind of a Bitch I am. Basic Bitch? Yes, that’s just so me!

It’s entertaining for me to read the results that are supposedly summarizing my personality and to subsequently receive affirmation from Cosmopolitan magazine (a true authority in many subjects) that my previously existing self-assessment of my personality is correct. I find it oh so irritating when I don’t relate to the quiz’s result. Did I count my Bs correctly? There’s no way I’m a Regina George…

To date, I’ve take about a million 20 different “Are You an Introvert or Extrovert?” quizzes and I have never quite identified with any of my results.

“You are an Extrovert.” Oh okay, I guess I do like being the life of the party but holy crap does that drain me #socialhangover.

“You are an Introvert.” Well, yeah sometimes I want nothing more than to spend my Friday night home alone with a book but wait! Sometimes, I like bar-hopping my way through a Friday night!

Those introversion/extroversion quizzes ask questions that are black/white and produce similar results but I’ve always felt that I was more of a gray kind of a gal. I can get lost in my own thoughts just as easily as I can lose myself in a conversation. Meeting new people is fine, being in new places is fine, but meeting new people in new places is entirely overwhelming for me. Social interactions can energize me but they can also drain me. It depends, people!

Well those feelings I just described are (apparently) dead giveaways that I’m an ambivert. I did some reading and discovered that ambiverts tend to be incredibly “socially flexible”; because ambiverts’ personalities don’t  lean too heavily in either direction (introverted vs extroverted), they have a much easier time adjusting how they interact with people based on the specific situation. Now that is a statement, I can 100% relate to. I absolutely sense myself pumping my personality up or toning it down based on the situation at hand #ambiversionforlyfe

Please excuse me while I hunt down “How Much of an Ambivert Are You?” quizzes.

Relating to Dory

It’s been storming in California and, well, just about everywhere else in the US this last week. The freeways are flooded so it’s no surprise that I hydroplaned during my drive into the BART station this morning. As I felt the initial floaty sensation and then the dreaded squirrelly-ness of my back tires, I started to curse myself for forgetting how to react when your car hydroplanes.

I do that a lot. Not hydroplane, but forget. I’m constantly forgetting just about anything and everything. My friends/family know to send me written reminders of anything I’ve verbally agreed to. Yeah, it’s that bad.  I think it’s the combined result of sleep-deprivation, stress, and just not paying enough attention in the first place.

After successfully getting to BART and googling what to do when your car hydroplanes (the answer depends on whether you have a front or rear wheel driving car and of course I can’t remember what my car is) I started thinking of everything I’m always wishing I could remember and thought I’d make a list of the little forgotten things that vex me.

What I can’t remember (basically on the reg):

  1. Why I came into this room
  2. Exactly how old my mom is (she turned 39 so many times I lost track of her real age)
  3. How to get somewhere if I wasn’t the person who driving (as far as I’m concerned, we teleported there)
  4. The pin to my Verizon account (what’s the maximum number of times I can create a replacement one?)
  5. Whether that was my 7th or 8th squat (just to be safe, it’s #7)
  6. If I turned my curling iron off
  7. Even worse, if I locked the front door
  8. Where I put my glasses (because I’m really a 67 year old woman)
  9. Whether it’s paprika or chili powder I need to get at the grocery store (this is why I have 3 things of chili powder and no freaking paprika in my spice cabinet)
  10. The name of that actor I liked from that one movie
  11. Where I parked my car (Act cool, it’s out there somewhere)
  12. What day it is. No I don’t mean the date, I literally mean is it Tuesday or Thursday?

I’m sure there are more but I can’t remember… Womp womp.

Burglary Victim

That’s what the responding police officer called me, a victim. How silly, right? I wasn’t harmed or injured in any way (hell, I was peacefully dreaming when my home was burglarized!) but there he was, standing in my empty kitchen, calmly referring to me as a victim. Psh, what’s he know?

Though as the day progressed and the reality of what happened started to sink in, I began to think he was right, maybe I was a victim.

The people who picked my lock and broke into my home stole things that brought me joy. My scuba gear, compound bow and arrows, tennis rackets, trail running shoes. They stole important items that I need. My passport, social security card, checkbooks. They stole sentimental objects that I need. My external hard drive filled with family pictures, boxes of childhood projects, the afghan my mémère knit me. But worst of all, they stole my sense of security.

I don’t feel safe in my own home. Any unfamiliar sound sends me into a dizzying spin of anxiety as my heart aggressively redirects the blood flow out of my head and down towards more tactically critical parts of my body. And unfortunately for me, every sound in this brand new house is unfamiliar to me. I’ve spent the last two days in a hyper-aware state of uneasiness; I’m truly not sure if it’s healthy for someone to be experiencing heart palpitations with this much frequency.

I don’t like feeling this way. Violated, scared, helpless. Victimized.

The responding police officer has already visited my home three times since yesterday morning to check on me (I must have seemed so damsel-in-distress to him). During his latest visit, he told me I needed to accept the fact that my new home – my new sanctuary – had been invaded. My line of defense was successfully breached by a “few tweakers, probably from Stockton”. He basically told me to buck up and do something about bolstering my sense of security (literally and figuratively). So I did. This afternoon, I bought a deadbolt for my side door, a security system for inside and outside my house, and a pair if Ugg slippers (that made sense in my mind, fuzzy warm comfiness = mental calmness).

And just like that, I’ve decided that I’m done giving the morally compromised burglars more power over me than they deserve. They may have my possessions (some replaceable and some not) but they will not have my sense of security or my sanity. Tomorrow is a new day and I will treat it as such.

UPDATED: Bad things come in threes

Right? Someone please tell me that’s true. Please tell me that I only have one more horrible thing headed my way today.

The first words I heard this morning were, “Aunt G died”. She wasn’t in an accident, she wasn’t elderly, she wasn’t sick. She just died. Completely, unexpectedly died.

I pace when I’m upset so after that horrible conversation, I headed downstairs to privately pace and process while Brandon slept.

My downstairs was empty. Every single thing gone. While we slept soundly upstairs, we were robbed. They took everything, including my reusable Trader Joe’s bags. Fucking monsters.

So here I am, standing in my empty living room, exhausted from the calls with distraught family members, cold insurance agents, disinterested bankers, and powerless cops, wondering what my final bad thing will be and whether I’ll have the strength to handle it.

Lighthearted update

My third bad thing was the self-inflicted hangover I experienced this morning. Hey, my home was burglarized and I lost a family member! I deserved a beer or three.

Failing at the Work/Life Balancing Act

When I was bumbling around on the internet, I tripped across an article that used fancy graphics and pie charts to demonstrate that Americans spend a truly atrocious amount of time at work. Within the article, there was a statistic which asserted that we spend something like twice as much time with our coworkers as we do with our family and friends. It’s a duhhh sort of statistic (5 workdays vs 2 weekend days) but it still managed to simultaneously shock and depress me. It’s been creeping around in the back of my mind since I read it and it’s been slightly bothering me. I guess I’ve never really sat down and calculated my exact ratio of work to free time but that stat does seems to be pretty on-point for my life, especially when factoring in my commute hours which really cut into my family/friends/boyfriend time. It’s so aggravatingly crazy considering the fact that I work and commute all these hours with the intention of making money to spend on/with my family, friends, and significant other…

Anyways.

Other than making me feel depressed, that statistic made me feel incredibly grateful. It made me thank my lucky stars that I get to work with (and, apparently, spend the majority of my time with) some of the very best coworkers out there.

Sure there are a few coworkers I could do without. Like Craig*, who loudly and unabashedly farts all damn day. Seriously what does your diet consist of, Craig? Or Daniel, the kiss ass. Our director knows her suggestion was great and game-changing, Daniel, that’s why she chose to share it with everyone in the all-staff meeting. Oh god, I could definitely do without Roxanne who complains about everything under the sun. Tell me how Rose’s Christmas-y cubicle decorations negatively affected your ability to focus on your work Roxanne, please explain that to me.

Okay sorry, rant over. Moving on.

The majority of the people I work with are truly wonderful. My colleagues are hardworking employees, supportive coworkers, and the folks I supervise are dedicated team members and are constantly going that extra mile for me (and bringing me coffee!). Work-related qualities aside, these people are kind, great cooks (I’m always being treated to cookies, fancy breads, etc), freaking hilarious, and all-around amazing. Seriously, someone give our recruiter a medal!

I’ve met some of my very best friends at work. Veronica is my original work wife; we met years ago when I was just starting out and we have climbed that corporate ladder hand-in-hand. Risa was then awarded the title of work wife when I transferred to my current office. I couldn’t get through my day without her and our coffee breaks/lunchtime talks. I met my male bestie (and ex-roommate!) Nick at work. He’s a level above me and is always willing to advise me on complicated cases, share his super secret Payroll connection, and grab a beer after work. I am just so grateful that I get to spend 8ish hours a day with some of my best friends and a bunch of other people who make me laugh, help me learn, and commiserate with me appropriately (Craig, your farting affects everyone).

Interestingly enough (now watch this rambling come full circle), researchers have found correlations between high social identification at work (AKA feeling like you have a work wife/family) and both physical and psychological health. Woop woop! Furthermore, science has actually discovered that positive work relationships (which help you feel engaged, appreciated, and jazzed to be where you are all damn day) are linked to more positive relationships at home (feel good at work all day -> feel good at home all night).

BOOM.

So me spending twice as many hours with my coworkers as I do with my family/friends/boyfriend actually, in a roundabout way, benefits those semi-neglected relationships. Phew. Feeling better.

*Names of unknowing blog participants have been changed.