Google!

Yesterday, I went on a visit to Google Chicago.  A friend of mine works there and we met for lunch and a quick convo.  giddiness doesn’t even describe a smidgen of how I felt.  At first glance, it’s a playground for adult-shaped children.  Speaking as one of those myself, I had no problem with that.

After our delicious lunch of flank steaks, mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and mushrooms, and La Croix sparkling water, we embarked on a tour.  I could only take pictures on the outsides of locked doors. I get that. Things are private TOP SECRET. I only wish I could’ve taken pictures of some of the furniture.  Cool apple-shaped swings. Massage chairs and rooms for private sessions.  It presents like all the tech start-ups you see in movies; ping-pong tables, video games, coffee station, bean bag chairs, fun artwork, 80’s video games references and homages to ancestral times.  It was fun.  If I had to work in an office building, I’d love for that office building to be it.

Something struck me, however. There were these nooks with different design themes.  One, was designed to be like the outdoors.  There were beautiful green carpet patches mirroring grass, pastel colored benches, and flowers painted on walls. It was neat. Cute.  In remembrance, I chuckle.  While Google is creating makeshift spaces I’m working in the real ones.  Working for the National Outdoor Leadership School gives me the opportunity to work in beautiful outdoor spaces.

Spring 2009 Caving 149

Google is great. It’s fun. I just don’t want to work there. 😉

Here are some of the photos I was allowed to take:DSC_0206 DSC_0210 DSC_0215 DSC_0218

Finally, someone I didn’t fall for

We met a few weeks ago. The details will remain vague because it’s important for privacy sake. We chatted. He seemed really interested in getting to know me.  I asked myself if I was attracted to him because he’s an attractive guy.  I figured out that, in time, I could be.  We hung-out a bit.  He invited me to go climbing  (I didn’t because I was running on fumes as far as sleep was concerned PLUS I was b-r-o-k-e)  He invited me to go to yoga (I didn’t because I was  (b-r-o-k-e).  During one of our chats he mentioned his girlfriend and I switched my lady parts to manual transmission.  From this point on, I assumed his interest was purely platonic.  Surprisingly, my heart was unaffected.

Fast forward a few weeks. Eventually a bunch of folks went out to dinner and drinks.  Upon returning to home base some people had had quite a bit to drink. I was sober.  I ended up sitting next to him on the loveseat and made a joke about how small it was.  I remember noticing his posture and thinking, “Wow, if he were anyone else I’d look at this as flirtation.”  He had his arm around me. His legs were touching mine.  We were sitting super close. I chocked it up to the size of the love seat. Also, I was wearing fleece pants that were 1,000 times to big and a flannel shirt that was equally as large. I wasn’t trying to be attractive or sensual. I was going for warm. Also, I had on wool socks.

The next morning, a friend pulled me aside and asked me what happened between the two of us.  Oblivious, I asked her to elaborate.  She commented on all of the things I just mentioned then said, “I expected him to be doing the walk of shame in the morning.”  I laughed.  When I finally saw him that morning he was a little weird but not too much.  I wondered if he had been flirting with me, but I’d just missed the cues.  I’m not cool with getting involved with a person who’s involved.  Nonetheless, I wondered why I missed the cues — if there were any. It came to this.

With my ovaries in manual transmission I wasn’t attracted to him.  Historically, I’m attracted to almost any guy who comes in box. If you’re into the outdoors, attractive and friendly, I’m pretty much sold.  Since returning from Morocco, I’ve changed.  I’m no longer worried if a guy is interested in me. I don’t freak out and get all gooey-eyed.  I’m more concerned with whether or not I’m into him.  That’s a HUGE difference.  With this guy, I wasn’t.  Honestly, if he didn’t have a girlfriend, I’m not sure I’d be anymore attracted to him even then.  That’s new.  I like that.  I’ve become more discerning in my old age.  Discerning is nice.

Solemnity

IMG_2131I am feeling exceptionally solemn today. That tends to happen after magnificent days and so I’ll take this one in stride.  Had a client meeting that went well and spent the day doing for others in a way that frustrates me.  I’ve been having problems with a friend as of late and their name no longer brings me the solace it did in the past. I used to think that this person would be in my life for the rest of it and that brought me peace. How does one, though, maintain oneself in the presence of another broken in unflattering pieces?

This woman I loved and — perhaps still do — is so different she’s unrecognizable in spirit and in action.  I find myself reverting to childhood behaviors in her presence because I desperately want to make her happy. I want to do that which pleases her and when those actions go unnoticed I become unrecognizable to myself.  I look for her approval in body composition, in the meeting of our eyes, in the acceptance of the gifts of my actions and yet receive nary a sign.  We are different she and I and it is difficult to accept that. It is difficult to remember that I spent much of my life pleasing others and it is foreign to me to try and please myself.

That is the notion that’s eluded me thus far. My recent question of, “Why has this time originally dedicated to my grandfather and his final steps transformed me into this journeywoman as I stand now?” is beginning to make sense.  The suffocation that drove me to Chicago is driving me still.  I am suffocated by a life of codependency and need to wipe it out. Free my neck from the grasp of bruised hands other than my own.  I am the one that makes my steps though they may be guided by another a Creator of souls.  I am the one who determines the quality of my life. I choose.  My steps may be ordered, but it is I who do the stepping.

If the rest of my life does not include those from my past I will be changed. Not better or worse, just different in the way I’m supposed to be.

 

A simple update

I am strangely exhausted.  This morning I tried to take my niece to the playground to wear her out so she’d take a nap early. The idea was to get her to the Chicago Children’s Museum during its free hours from 5-8.  The weather was like, “Ha! Y’all mofos need to stay were y’all at.” We slowly walked a few blocks. At times, the wind literally prevented her from moving forward and her little hands were red like she’d been throwing snowballs. We stopped for hot chocolate which she said she wanted, but then didn’t drink (she’s not human) then made our way back to her house. The morning did not go as planned.

I had a doctor’s appointment at the Travel Clinic so after I dropped her off I took the train downtown and got my shots, pills, and prescription for diarrhea meds while overseas. My arm hurts from the shots and this is all becoming very real; I’m going to Morocco. I’m going to be there for 30 days. This is my life.

Other than the events I just described I didn’t do much — oh, wait…I know why I’m tired. I just remembered like I’d blacked it all out. I won’t get into much detail, but my weariness is a result of emotional strain. It’s been a rough, and honestly childish, week and that can take a lot out of a 30-year old woman. I’ll just say that people are hard, and I’m pondering a life of narcissism. If I’m overly focused on myself then maybe I’ll forget everyone else and it won’t hurt so badly to deal with people. “Hell is other people.”

For now, I’ll focus on finishing up the curriculum for a training I’m facilitating this summer. That’s been fun and tiring as well.  It seems that my lifestyle as of late, is more depleting than restorative. What am I doing to replenish myself? Exercise replenishes me in a way because it’s good for me, but I’m not doing the exercise that makes me happy. I’m doing the exercise that is free and convenient, running. I don’t care too much for running. I miss skating derby, riding my bike through traffic in the city, and taking boxing classes at the boxing gym. I miss being able to hit things.   I think that may play a role in how quickly I imagined myself resorting to violence during an argument I had last week. Seriously, I experienced glee at the image of me choking someone out. Those that love me don’t understand how prone to violence I am. If there were awards for restraint, I’d be a Hall of Famer.  Hitting things keeps me in check. I began writing something last night that triggered a few tears.  Emoting that way was helpful, but not enough.

I need to figure out what is enough.

I’m so very tired.

I broke my fast and almost murdered my best friend

My friend often finds herself in the Chicago suburbs for work.  Yesterday around 6:00pm I get a text that says, “Two flat tires will be home SUPER late.” I’d just woken up from a nap because babysitting her daughter earlier in that day while on day two of my fast had wiped me out.  I was nothing short of exhausted.  Day two is usually the worst. Your body is like, “Wait, what’re you doing!? STOP.” I like to take it easy but it was the only day I’d get to see my friends from out of town + my friends wanted their daughter out of the house so I melded both worlds.  I ended up carrying this tiny two year old for most of the day.  After all, her little ass legs only rev up to snail’s pace.

I’m home for the evening when I get a call where she tells me that the garage guys need to get the wheel locks off of the car (they’ve had their tires stolen multiple times), but the keys are in Chicago — an hour drive away. So they decide to try and break them off. In the process of doing so they crack the tires. My friend is obviously upset.  She’s in a super suburb which means it’s hella far away from the city and everything closes at ten. They can’t fix the tire. She can’t rent a car. She’s fucked.  My immediate response was, “I’m coming to get you.” Her response, as usual, is to rationalize why she doesn’t need help and then explain to me why she can do it on her own. It’s annoying that she’s so stubborn. So rather than find a place to wait while I drive out, she argues. Our conversation goes like this:

Her: No, no. I can take a cab to a train. It’s the last train of the night, but I think I can make it. [this is like the worst time to roll the dice]

Me: Let me call (her friend in the city who has a car) to see if she can drive out.

Her: No, let me see what else I can do to figure this out.

Me: I’ll borrow (my friend who just drove into the city’s) car and drive out.

Her: *annoying statement that’s trying to avoid getting help*

Me: I need to have a conversation with them now because if you don’t figure something else out then I won’t be able to get in contact with them to get the car to help you. They have toddlers and it’s getting late.

Her: Something annoying trying to convince me that I shouldn’t bother and that she’ll be fine.

We hang up.

I call my friend, tell her the story, ask her if I can use her car and her immediate response is, “Yes, do whatever you need to do.” I have amazing friends by the way.

I call my stranded friend and tell her I have the car.

Her: …okay, well, I’m going to get a ride to the METRA station and arrive in the city around midnight.

Me: Okay. I’ll come and get you from the METRA station downtown.

Her: No, it’s fine. I’ll just take the “L” into the city.

Me: It’s midnight. That’s dumb.

Her: It’ll be fine.

Me: I’m picking you up from the train station.

We hangup.

You may ask yourself why I’m adamant about going to get her. First, it’s because it’s who I am. If you call me and tell me you’re stuck, I’m going to come and get you. Second, I know what it’s like to feel exhausted and stranded. Sometimes you just want someone to say, “I’m coming to get you.” I don’t have a hero complex — although it reads like it– I just know how annoying it can be to wait for the train after a long day, let alone a shitty long day.

It takes me an hour to get to where my friend is staying to pick up the car. I know I used to live in this city, but I can’t remember shit about getting around. It’s super annoying. Lost twice in one day? Ugh.

I get back to the apartment with the car a little after 10:15pm.  At this point I have THE WORST HEADACHE OF MY LIFE. I head up to the apartment to charge my phone because it’s at 14%. I call and ask her if she’s gotten on the train yet. She says no because the people who dropped her off dropped her off at the wrong train station.  The train doesn’t stop at that station after 10:00pm.  At this point she’s waiting for a cab to pick her up to take her to the correct train station before the last train leaves for the evening. If you haven’t guessed it, her phone battery is also dying and there’s nowhere for her to charge it. I know, I’m shaking my head too.

I forget a lot of what happened here except this part:

She tells me she’s looking into the empty parking lot through the window of the train station and there’s a car behaving erratically. It’s circling the EMPTY parking lot repeatedly and the people inside are staring at her through the train station windows.  Their behavior is making her nervous and she doesn’t feel safe.  Now, my friend is not someone to whom fear comes easily. I can tell by her voice that she’s upset and scared, which is making me frustrated — I know, I know, it’s not a logical response, but it’s my response.  I ask her if she can get somewhere safe and she says she’s waiting for a cab but that might be 30 minutes. In my head I’m thinking, “THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE JUST LET ME GET YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE.” She keeps telling me about this car and how her battery is dying. And I’m like, where are you? I’m coming to get you. Her response, which in my opinion should have been, “I’m at 3459 N. Whatever Street in Whatever town Illinois,” was, instead, “I don’t know where I am and I’ll email you the location once the cab takes me to place where I can plug my phone in.” What? Who says that?

At this point I just said, “Look at the GPS on your phone. Tell me what city you’re in so I can start driving. I have no idea what city/town you’re in so I can’t even leave Chicago.”She tells me the city.

Now, I’m juice fasting. It’s only the 2nd day and I’ve already overexerted myself.  I’m hella cranky. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I have THE WORST HEADACHE OF MY LIFE, and I thought I was going to be in bed by this point. I am going to drive a little over an hour to get her.  I know that it’s not safe for me, or the drivers around me if I drive in my current state.  So I ponder breaking my fast.  I think. “Well, there’s a vegan protein bar with great salads I wonder if they’re open.” I look at the map and they’re in the opposite direction of where I need to go to get her making this trip almost 2 hours instead of one. All the places around me are bars, or just shit shows in terms on waiting on food, but I know I can’t drive. Well, I know I don’t want to drive like this so I look across this street and there’s a shitty chain pizza place. It’s right there and I know I can get something immediately. With guilt, frustration, and hunger fueling my steps I get some pizza and get on my way.

Minutes after I eat something the headache subsides. I get lost a few more times while driving –UGH– but I get to her.  She’s super grateful and happy that I brought her dog with me. I knew she’s want to see him after such a shitty day.  She does the thing panicked people do when they’re safe, unload all of the shit about their day at lightening fast speed.  I felt badly, but all I want to do is listen to hip hop, drive, and get home. No talking.  I tell her, “…hey, so I broke my fast and I’m feeling kinda shitty about it. I ate pizza and it’s making me feel gross plus I’m tired I can’t give you the attention you deserve. I’m sorry.”  She’s like, “…oh, it’s okay I don’t need 100% of your attention I just need to talk. Oh, and I ate a great salad I feel pretty good.”

This is where I run into trouble. Many find speaking cathartic. I find solace in silence.  How do you maintain your composure when the person you’re around needs the exact opposite of what you need? Plus how do you respond to someone who just sat in a restaurant eating salad and drinking margaritas while you ate shitty pizza and hated yourself? You. Don’t. Say. Anything. I know my emotions are all askew because I’m fasting. It’s 1:30am and my responses are totally irrational and hyperbolic. I’d be picking a fight just to be mean and that’s not cool.  I awoke this morning still frustrated and greasy. I have to start this shit again and that’s annoying.  I’ll talk to my friend about how I felt, eventually. For now, I just want to do yoga, meditate, and find my happy place.

Fasting and babysitting leads to reconciliation

Oy. My head hurts, and my lips are dry. My nose is stuffy, but that’s annoyingly usual. My shoulders are sore and I feel like there’s a cat litter box on my tongue.  There’s a lot going on.

I went to the Zoo with Magoo aka Goober aka Goo, today.  It was nice to be around her in this way.  I was her only option for safety and she clung to me just as her parents said she would.  We had to fake her out though.  Before we left we pretended like Daddy had to go to work, Mommy had to leave, and Grandpa was going to the doctor. She said her goodbyes and everyone bolted to corners of the house, except for me. Heh Heh Heh. We walked down the block and she held my hand. A two-year old’s hand is really fucking small bee tee dubs.

We still have our issues, but it was a good day.  We took the bus, which she loves, and she fell asleep. The little White girl and adult Black woman in public is an eye catching dynamic to say the least.  There will probably be a post about that later.  I carried her from the bus stop to the zoo and the wonderment commenced. That little lady fuckin loves animals.  Like lost her shit with excitement and loves all animate objects not human.

I was nervous about spending the day with her because she cries as soon as I hold her. It’s kinda like I’m the plumber and she’s the drain. Her pores and ducts let loose when I’m around then I look like I’ve kidnapped a small child. Her grandpa joked that he was going to put out an Amber Alert as soon as I left the house, the bastard. I laughed, but was totally willing to chop him in the throat

We met up with my friends who were in town and their two kids. I go way back with those little munchkins. Like since before fertilization back.  I almost delayed moving to Seattle so I could see the youngest be born.  We’re close.  Having the opportunity to hug and love on those little buggers filled up a part of me I didn’t know was empty. Hopefully I’ll get to hangout with them tomorrow.

I sat down with the intention to create a post about this fast I’m on.  It’s the second day and I’m kinda feeling it as I mentioned in the first paragraph. Instead, I talked about the children in my life.  Huh. Maybe I just needed to get that out. In my early twenties there came a point when I wanted children of my own. My biological clock stood in place of my heart and I felt like I would expire if I didn’t procreate.  Being around my Friends With Kids (great movie) over the last 4 years has changed my mind. I love kids — not all of them by any means– but I’m not sure I want to expel any from my vaginal cavity.

My excitement comes from reading the course syllabus for my PhD program. My heart palpitates at the thought of traveling the world. I salivate thinking about sleeping in my car in the dead of winter while driving cross-country for the seventh time.  When I think about dating or having children the part of my heart dedicated to dreams and passion shrinks like a flaccid penis.  I’m not there anymore.  My ADPKD is supposed to flare up when I’m about 37. Dialysis will begin shortly thereafter.  It’s not wise for my body to endure dialysis and pregnancy separately let alone simultaneously.  The longer I wait to have kids the more likely it will be that I shouldn’t.

Perhaps all of this is my body, my heart, and my mind reconciling that I’ll always be,  “Auntie Jéhan.” If it’s not, and I feel that yearning again I have no qualms about adoption. 🙂

Related Posts:

Detox

I am a Mouthbreather

Body Image

What to do about Magoo

What to do about Magoo

I have a problem. I don’t like my best friend’s daughter.

She’s 2.

I feel kind of guilty writing this.  But only kind of.

Let me state my biases.  Most of my experiences are with youth ages 12-24.  When I first began doing youth development work it was in 2002 at Milton Hershey School.  I was 19.  The kids with whom I worked were 5-8 (ish).  Things went great.  We spent a lot of time laughing and just being silly.  I have no recollection of feeling this frustrated.

In fact, one of my favorite people in the entire world is 4 and I’ve loved him since before he was born.  He’s pretty awesome.  We would go for hikes, play soccer, play basketball, play “football,” and he’d help me cook some random meal in the kitchen.  I liked hanging out with him.  His parents weren’t too bad either.  😉

With this current issue she is the daughter of my best friend and her partner. Both were former roommates.  My best friend knows everything about me and we’ve been close since the moment we met performing theatre in Chicago.  It’s about 6 or 7 years since our first meeting and a lot has changed.  I live in another city. She lives in the same place. I’ve had several partners in this time, and she’s still with the same one.  Other than that, we’re still the same people.

Enter her child.

When I’m not around, her kid asks for me. We talk on the phone. She talks about me when I’m not there.  When she found out I was coming she was super excited and she looked forward to my being there. I was told this from her parents.  When I visit which has been several times over the course of her life.  Initially, she was SUPER loving.  I could hold her and she’d rest her head on my chest in the most adorable way possible.  I mean even her mom would be like, “Yeah, she doesn’t do that with me anymore.”

DSC_0153

This most recent visit she was excited to see me and was loving for a while.  The first night she fell and slammed her head on an end table REALLY hard and she opened up all her faucets and screamed. I held her and she cried.  Her mom was RIGHT next to her when it happened.  But, she held on to me and cried.  It was cool.  That was two days ago.

Five minutes ago her mom handed her to me and she started crying. She wanted mommy. She wanted daddy. It was the end of the world.  This kid doesn’t want to be held by me.  Please understand I’m an advocate for giving people space regardless of age.  We’re all people and should be able to set our own boundaries.  As a result, I don’t chase after her. I don’t try to pick her up all the time. I let her have her space.

She still cries when I hold her.

After a while, that shit hurts.  I told all of this to my friend.  I came to the conclusion that it’s super hard for me to get this from the offspring of my best friend.  I love her and her partner to death and its weird to not be embraced by another member of their family.  Shit, it’s hard not being embraced by people, let alone a 2 year old.  Unfortunately, my walls are up and I’m starting to take it personally.  Because it is.  She’s responding this way as a direct result of who I am.

This is so frustrating.  I’m at the point where I’m just going to back away from the kid and try to reconnect when she gets older.  Maybe she’ll reach out then with some shit like, “My parents suck and don’t understand me.” I’ll be like the aunt she can come and talk to when shit gets real.

For now, I’m over her.

We are people, a reflection.

My stomach hurts this morning.  It seems a bit of my surroundings leaked in while I slept.  Stress is heavy when it takes hold.  My eyes, just as dense with the weight of similarity, express their desire for slumber through fog. I’m foggy today.  I began this journey over a month ago and am now a weary traveler.  Life in spaces that are not mine has added its girth as well.

My bank and I lean on my friendships. I can see their weight and yet they do not break.  For that I am forever grateful.  I do make wise decisions though financial institutions does not seem like one.  It was at one point, seven points ago.  My friendships are some of the best decisions I make.

I awoke this morning to additional broken promises.  I called ING Direct to inquire.  I was put on hold.  The weight sat heavy and tears threatened their presence.  Apart of me knew I’d been deceived again and I awaited the news.  Luckily I now have the means to locate that which is mine and yet that does not assuage.  I’ll believe it when I feel it in my shaking hands.

My car, no longer a reliable means to get me to the hooded south, sits in the parking lot within eyeshot. My belongings take up space that is neither theirs nor mine in an apartment where I’ve been for more than 20 days rent free. A squatter. I’ve cooked meals out of love and not obligation. Dined and laughed, without mirth, at the folly of corporations and absurdity of situations.  I feel like I should feel like I overstayed my welcome but I don’t.  Those are the friendships that I’ve chosen.  I have chosen well.  I have been chosen as well and it feels good.  In my world where abandonment is common-place, betrayal second nature, and disappointment a best friend I have been chosen by kind, loving, genuine people.  Good people have chosen to love and care for me. That explains my history.  Good people have chosen to love me while bad people have chosen not to.

I am loved by good people.

Corporations are people. Your policies, actions, and inaction hurts people.  That’s what this is  all about. My bank has yet to acknowledge that I am a person who needed them to deliver and they didn’t.  Individuals under their employ drooled phrases from instruction manuals rarely deviating from their scripts.  As is common, they hid behind policy designed for all yet applicable to few and further alienating many. We are people.  When you have gotten so big that it is impossible for you to acknowledge that important reality perhaps your focus should shift to getting smaller.

Tripod the Yoga Destroyer

The friends I’m visiting (well, I think visits last a few days, I’ve been here a week. Stupid ING Direct/Capitol One 360) adopted a dog.  This visit is the first time I’ve met him. I think I like him more than my own dog.  No joke. He’s a little bit of something and a whole lot of Cairn Terrier minus his front right leg.  It’s been assumed that he was hit by a car, but no one knows for sure.

His name is Tripod.

We’ve been spending quite a bit of time together while my friends are at work.  We went for a jog the other day which ended in me carrying him because he decided to just lie down 1/2 through. It was adorable.

I’m starting a juice cleanse because while I’ve made better choices during this road trip than during past jaunts, I’ve still been eating less wonderfully than normal and exercising even less.  The cleanse is a bit of a reboot button on my digestive system.  I digress.

This morning I decided to do yoga on the floor of my friends’ living room.  Roughly 3 seconds in my “Oms” this happened:

First .

Then this happened:

second

Finally this

Eventually I gave up my pursuit of centered breathing and stretched muscles.  When I’m done writing this post I’m going to take both he and my dog for a run.  I’d like to wear them out so maybe mama can get peace.  If not, I’m seriously going to call him Tripod the Yoga Destroyer for the rest of his life.

P.S. Here’s a picture of my dog’s similar disregard for personal space:DSC_0021

…he’s not into black girls like that…

I have a friend who knows someone I’d like to know.  I asked him if he could introduce us at some point in our lives and his response was,

“…yeah, definitely…but I don’t know if he’s into “b”lack girls like that.”

As if all I was made up of was this skin awarded at birth.

I am more than my outfit of genetics.

Racist baby-faced boy man

Last night I went out with an old friend (high school) and a bunch of her newer friends from Seattle. Some of whom I knew. Others, not so much. We had a surprise bridal shower for her. It was cute.  We all got dressed up ate candy coated with sayings like, “Eat my pussy,” or “Do you wanna fuck?” printed on their shiny fructose surfaces, and drank champagne.  Eventually, we made our way over to a club in downtown Seattle.  Fuck if that was a good call.

I was the only Black woman in the group– in recollection; I was the only Black woman in all of Noc Noc.  The rest of the women were all White except one woman who was, I think, Filipina. We’re there FIVE MINUTES.  When I notice this guy looking and pointing.  He and he friends are like a pack’s length (20 feet) away (like how I slip derby speak into everything?) He notices that I’ve noticed him and then (picture middle school boy reaction) says, “Oh shit, she saw me.” Giggles, turns around, and then the entire table starts laughing.  Seconds later, his PLASTERED friend comes up and starts talking to me…I’m sober like a motherfuck.  So he starts apologizing for the racist shit his friend was saying that I didn’t hear. Telling me that he told him he needs to keep his voice down because he could offend certain people around. What? No motherfucker. He shouldn’t keep his voice down. HE SHOULD NOT BE RACIST. He’s going on and on and on and I’m simultaneously thinking “Dude, SHUT THE FUCK UP” & “How is this my life?”  So in this moment one girl that I don’t know very well is hearing him say this shit and I’m just baffled. He’s talking, she’s watching, I’m listening and looking over at the table that’s part laughing part “O-faced-I-can’t-believe-he’s-talking-to-her” staring. And NO ONE says anything on my behalf.

That moment was like a four-way stop.  I wanted to go home, just pick my shit up and bounce.  But, I knew that if I’d left it would have ruined her night. It was not about me so I stayed.

When that baby-faced boy of a man mocked me because of the color of my skin I made the choice to pick up my pain and swallow it for the sake of the group. That is the epitome of internalizing your oppression. It’s when the oppressed pick up their shame and hurt and swallow it for the good of the normal.  I purposefully did that last night. I have spent a huge chunk of my life internalizing oppression and had no idea why I was so angry.  Now that I’m older, I call that shit out. I will not breathe in the poison of a broken system by myself. I refuse to be in this war alone.  Please know that you’ve been drafted.  If you’re friends with me — like for real friends -roll dogs – you have entered into the world of allyship. Imma need you to back a sista up.

When drunken guy went back to his table I excused myself, went to the bathroom, took a few deep breaths, and tried to get myself together.  When I came back, I told one of the girls what happened and her response was weird.  It was muffled like a fart in a pillow.  She had no idea when to do.

This is when an ally needs to STEP THE FUCK UP.  If you’re ever concerned about what to do when racist shit is happening this is what you do.  You, the ally, says “Dude, shut up. Go away.” Then you grab your group of girls, make an exit, and find an even more kick ass place to party. You can choose to tell the bartender or bouncer why you’re leaving on your way out, but regardless, you leave.

It was so hard to be there.  As the night progressed the baby faced boy man made his way over to our group several times.  He gave people lap dances. He showed off his six-pack. He flirted.  No matter how drunk I was, I was still able to make the choice to leave whenever he was around.  Eventually, the girl who was sitting next to me said, “I wanted to tell you that he’s being really obnoxious and saying racist shit even more than before, so I want you to be careful.” I’m sorry what? You want who to be careful? Me? Oh fuck no.  You want him to be careful. I ain’t doing shit wrong. I told her, “Listen, I’ve done a good job of ignoring him all night. If he says shit to me, mother fucker is going down.”  She says, “Remember, *insert the bride’s name here*, she needs to have a good time…blah blah…reinforcing the racist paradigm…blah blah blah….” I turned to her and said, “I hear you. Now hear me. If he approaches me talking out the side of his muthafuckin mouth. Shit’s not gonna be okay.”

My friend ended up having a good time. I had a good time as well. I even met a guy who was cool.  We danced, flirted, and even thumb wrestled.  He wants to go hiking Sunday. (By the way I was all, “No. I’m skating banked track and ain’t missing that shit for the world.”)  The bride-to-be and I walked back to the hotel hand in hand or arm in arm all-the-while doing the drunken girl, “I love you,” ” NO, I love YOU.” I’m glad she had fun.  It’s a night she’ll never forget. Admittedly, I’m a little angry because even though I was in a room full women I felt totally alone.  I danced and watched everyone flirt and hang out with this guy who’d probably smash a full can of beer on my temple when I wasn’t looking because my skin is brown.  I’m going to have a talk with my friends …eventually. For now, I’m going to lay low.  After all, today is a derby day.

Rock Climbing

I have a friend.  We haven’t known one another very long, but she is a friend indeed.  Her blog Eat. Climb. Love is a fun read.  She took me on my very first outdoor rock climbing trip. I had a BLAST!

Here are some pictures from our day climbing at Exit 38

This is the approach. How gorgeous is that?!

I think this is a 5.6 climb. For those of you who don’t understand why climbing is rated the way it is here are two explanations:

  • Class 1 is walking on an even, often planar, surface with a low chance of injury, and a fall is unlikely to be fatal.
  • Classes 2 and 3 are steeper scrambling with increased exposure and a greater chance of severe injury, but falls are not always fatal.
  • Class 4 can involve short steep sections where the use of a rope is recommended, and un-roped falls could be fatal.
  • Class 5 is considered true rock climbing, predominantly on vertical or near vertical rock, and requires skill and a rope to proceed safely. Un-roped falls would result in severe injury or death.

OR

Yosemite Decimal System (YDS)

Yosemite Decimal System is a grading system commonly found in the United States. The basic concept behind the Yosemite Decimal System is simple and utilizes the following format: Format: Class.Sub_Grade Suffix Danger_Factor Example: 5.11b R (5 is Class, 11 is Sub_Grade, b is Suffix and R is Danger Factor).

Classes (Yosemite Decimal System)

An example would be 5.9 where ‘5’ is the ‘Class’ and 9 is the ‘Sub-Grade’. In YDS the class has a value from 1 to 6.

1 = Walking

2 = Hiking up steep trail

3 = Steep hiking

4 = Steep hiking / scrambling. Some parties may want a rope.

5 = Climbing. Most parties will want a rope. Exposed terrain.

6 = Aid climbing only

In free climbing most grades will be class 5. Mountaineering typically involves everything from class 1 to 6. Aid Climbing focuses mainly on difficult class 5 climbs and class 6 climbs.

I think my most difficult climb that day was a 5.8. This girl was SUPER proud of herself.  =]!!!

For the record, I’m terrified of heights.  I did fine that day.  I was a little afraid on my first climb, but after that it was just fun. I did use my knee and took home a little injury.

Let’s discuss my climbing gear.

  1. Helmet- Petzl. I’m a fan of the brand and when I went to REI it was the only helmet that fit my large head. True. Story.
  2. Harness- Black Diamond 2011. I also enjoy their brand and it was on sale at REI last year. The padding isn’t overwhelming and I could move freely and easily.
  3. Shoes- 5.10 Mocassins. I borrowed a pair from a friend before I bought these.  I love them.  I’m a big fan of gear with few seams.  It’s totally me, but I feel like the more stitches it has the more places the fabric has been compromised.  That’s one of the reasons I chose the Mocassins.  That, and when I tried my friend’s they were super comfortable because he’d worn them in.
  4. Chalk bag-Black Diamond
  5. Carabiners –  Black Diamond — all the Black Diamond gear came together and was on sale for, I think less that $90.
  6. Polar F7 Heart Rate Monitor – Love. I often like to wear my HRM during derby.  I was interesting to wear it while climbing.  I’m not sure how many calories I burned.
  7. Ropes – Yeah, those belonged to my pal. If you visit her blog. I’m sure she’d be happy to share her opinion on gear.

I wish I could climb 3 days a week and skate derby the other 4.  If you’ve never climbed or skated you are missing out my friend.  🙂

I’m not meant to be rich

A few days ago I journeyed to a farm not too far from here to eat.  I paid $75 for this experience.  My willingness and ability to do so startled me. I’m not sure it was worth it. The menu is here.

I’m not the kind of person who enjoys drinking beer.  Since I moved to Seattle I’ve encountered some real connoisseurs.  In fact, I work with a guy who can sniff what you’re drinking from across the room, count the bubbles and tell you the brewery from whence it came, the brewer’s grandfather’s constitution, and how long it’s been sitting on the table. Seattlelites are serious about their beverages.  I enjoyed the Dunkelweizen, the Haystack Hefeweizen, and the Copperhead Pale Ale from Snoqualmie Brewery. The final two were okay I think was was “drunk” by the time they were poured. Not drunk as in intoxicated, just over the whole, “let’s drink stuff” part of my day.

We began with a tour.

He’s not drinking. Just staring.

Yeah, this part skeeved me out, too.

I’m a pescatarian and I can totally handle the sight of blood when it comes to gutting a fish. It’s much harder — close to impossible– for me to imagine eating something with feet that has to go through this process.

A common mistake in cooking for a vegetarian is the act of omission instead of replacement. Often, the protein (meat) is removed from the meal.  In this case the chef replaced chicken liver with mushrooms.  That’s a fun choice, but it’s not equal.  It’s like running out of lead in your mechanical pencil and replacing it with a pen that’s out of ink. It doesn’t work. Meat is a protein.  Your body jumps on it like it’s gold in 1849.  Mushrooms? Not so much.  Your body is like, “…hey, that was cool, thanks.”  As a result, I walked away from this experience not quite satisfied.  I could feel there was food in my stomach. It wasn’t heavy. That was nice. It wasn’t worth much either.  Also, portions. The chef prepared a large plate of the chicken liver pate and gave me 3. Yup, 3. Whereas the chicken liver diners had the opportunity for much more person.  I paid the same amount of money as my peers, and received less food across the board.  That was weird.

For the quinoa, egg, and chicken serving I received quinoa and an egg.  Egg”s” are fine.  I received an egg. That was not fine. Quinoa is an awesome source of protein. But it was still missing something that I think the chicken thighs may have offered.  It was a bit bland and dry I think a veggie friendly sauce of sorts would have remedied that.

Ooo, preetty.

For the chicken thighs and kale I just received kale.

This was probably my second favorite course.

What you can’t see is the chevre.  *sigh*  These are deep fried risotto balls. Deep fried+chevre+sugar snap peas= Yes, please.

For dessert we had rhubarb fritters with a maple syrup. I don’t have pictures — probably because they didn’t hold residence on anyone’s plate for long.  We all loved them. The chef said he’d provide the recipe. I will make sure to share it when he passes it a long.  My favorite part of the meal was the pineapple sage. It smells like pineapple yet has the rich flavor of sage.

Chef Travis Bettinson

The chef was friendly and talented.

Overall, my experience at Dog Mountain Farms was pleasant.  My friends and I had a blast and loved that the piglets came super close during dinner. We had to use porta potties and there was nowhere for us to wash our hands (we were offered hand sanitizer). That was a bit off-putting. Other than that, it was fine.  I wouldn’t do it again.  It was good as an experience, not a good habit.

making choices that go against who we are

Where I fail in life is in that little breath of air just before a fight.  I use the term “fight” loosely.  I’m not necessarily referring to an altercation –physical or otherwise.  I’m referring to the instant just after someone messes up and right before they’re called on it.

I grew up fighting for a lot, I fought over food, fought for attention, fought with others over their opinions of me, fought my mind and eyes over my opinion of myself.   If you randomly passed me on the street and asked what I was thinking I’d probably tell you I was strategizing my way out of a scenario where I’m being mugged and have to disarm an attacker. Sad, but true.

I don’t always do a good job of recognizing when I don’t have to fight.  I’m so used to battling on my own that I also don’t recognize when someone is on my side.  To take that further, I don’t often recognize when someone on my side disagrees with what I’ve done, not who I am.  I was raised by and around people who disagreed with who I was at my utmost.

Recently, (within the last 30 minutes) a friend revealed to me a situation where I’d said something that hurt someone’s feelings. I’d completely forgotten about it until s/he said something.  I’m suspended in those clouds that fill the air before a fight.  I don’t like it. I want the bell to ring. I want to throw punches and bob and weave to avoid theirs.   I want to win. But I can tell you right now, this discussion is not one to win or lose, but my body is physically responding like it is.  I’m nervous.  My stomach is churning, my mouth is dry, my mind is racing, and I can barely concentrate.  I want to talk it over, admit I was wrong, and get it done.  This situation can’t work like that.  I need to wait and be patient until this person comes to me.  That’s hard.

I’m someone who is very aware of race.  This hovering dialogue is in reference to something I said that was racially offensive/hurtful. I’m not going to get specific without that person’s permission, but I do want to share that I’m aware of what I did wrong. Not wrong, this isn’t a game, it wasn’t a maneuver. I’m aware that what I said was f*cked up.  I want to move past the point of discussion and on to the place where we can smile.  For now, I’ll sit with my head on this cloud and wait for the opportunity where I can choose not to fight.