The best birthday gifts when you’re 30

I didn’t really have a formal birthday celebration this year. Part of the reason for this was that the dark cloud of November bled into the first part of December. Harrison’s grandmother passed away the day after he came back from visiting her, which was less than a week before my birthday. Harrison had to leave again pretty quickly for the funeral.

While he was gone, I did enjoy dinner and drinks with a few friends, I watched my sister try on wedding dresses (weird), and I took my sister to see Tig Notaro. Harrison bought the tickets as a birthday gift.

Harrison came back early the morning of my birthday. Of course he came ready to make the day all about me. He picked up breakfast on his way home, and he had more gifts he had been waiting to give me.

We spent the day doing the things we love together like Yin Yoga and artisan coffee. Spending a whole day together is something we don’t get to do much lately.

We saw a movie and had dinner with my parents. It was during our dinner conversation that I realized how much I have to be grateful for at 30. I have grandparents who are only in their 70s and are still in relatively good health. Harrison just lost his last grandparent at 27. I am very lucky. I have parents who are healthy and would have my back if I really needed them.

These are the best gifts as we all move deeper into this shit show we know as adulthood- things we’ve always taken for granted. Maybe it was the lack of any formal celebration that helped me to see with more clarity that the best gift is time spent or the ability to still spend time with those we care about.

Addendum:

I have no idea if I’m using “Addendum” correctly, by the way.

I went to the doctor the day after my birthday. I already had the day off, and I needed to renew my birth control prescription. This is VERY important. I went in preparing myself to be violated with a metal or plastic tool resembling a duck’s beak, but then my doctor said, “I looked at your results from last year, and it was normal, so we don’t need to do a pap this year unless you want to.”

Serious question- Who would respond to this with, “Yes, please. I would very much like you to fondle my lady-bits for medical purposes?” NO ONE WOULD!

I sent Harrison a text when I left thanking him for not giving me HPV… although it’s more surprising that I didn’t get it from one of the idiots who preceded him.

My doctor did want to do a breast exam. Fine. Necessary. Important. While, she was feeling around my boobies, she also had her head cocked to the side to read the tattoo on my rib cage. I love that tattoo, so I was happy to discuss it…while lying on my back…arm overhead…her hand to my tits. I can’t decide if it would have been more weird if we had been silent.

She also wanted to do blood work and look at all my “levels.” A couple days later, I got a phone call that went like this:

Medical Assistant: Hi, I’m calling from Dr. Leopold’s office. I have your results if you have a sec.

Me: Ok.

MA: So she wanted to do a full panel and check your liver, kidney function, cholesterol… all of that.

Me: Ok.

MA: Everything’s normal.

Me: That it?

MA: Yep.

Me: Ok. Thank you.

It was a lot of build-up for normal. On that note, I will say that I am incredibly grateful for my health.

Bring it on 3rd decade.

Fuck you very much, November

Hi again.

I’m alive.

Here’s a list of things that happened in November:

-Donald Trump was elected to be our next president. What the actual fuck, America?

-I had a dental deep cleaning the day after the election. They had TVs on the ceiling all conveniently tuned to CNN.

-I put purple “peekaboo highlights” in my hair, which is basically the messiest thing you could possibly do to your hair. That shit leaves purple residue on everything for like 2 weeks. I did it as a way to feel better after the election.

-A friend was in a very difficult situation that I won’t talk about here for the sake of her privacy, but it was incredibly stressful.

-I got sick and lost my voice. I haven’t 100% recovered from that.

-I was dog-sitting for a week, and after a few peaceful days, the dog started trapping one of the cats in the bedroom. He charged at her every time she wanted to come out. I had to carry my cat into the kitchen to eat. I was reminded why I don’t have a dog.

 

Okay, but seriously, let’s talk about the election. I went to bed crying and shaking that night while Harrison tried to comfort me. I flipped the TV off as our new orange tweeter-in-chief was about to give his victory speech. I couldn’t watch it. I barely slept that night, and I felt like I was on the verge of tears for the next several days. I hadn’t felt that kind of grief in a long time.

The night of the election, I was at a local gay bar watching the results come in, and as it appeared things were not going to go the way we all expected it to, the mood became heavy. The future was less certain suddenly. As we sat and watched and occasionally tried to distract ourselves with cigarettes and mixed drinks, a stranger walked up to me and asked if he could give me a hug. He told me that his girlfriend is a trans woman, and he was concerned for her safety. We both started to cry.

That interaction will stay with me forever.

Harrison said a few time in the days that followed that we might not be directly impacted day to day, but then I thought about some things. Will my birth control continue to be covered? I’ve already tried the IUD, and that is a no go for me. What about how I pay my student loans? That could change. My healthcare could start costing more because I have a vagina, so that’s a fun thing to potentially look forward to. Yeah, Obamacare fixed that shit.

And it’s not just about me, obviously. Unfortunately, the stranger who was afraid for his trans girlfriend’s safety had a reason to be. About a week after the election, a trans woman in my neighborhood in Denver woke up to see that her car had been vandalized. I live in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood in Denver. If there’s a “gayborhood” in Denver, this is it, so I was livid when I heard about this. You don’t mess with the LGBT community in this neighborhood. You just don’t.

The problem isn’t with any policies…yet. The problem is that people who hate so ferociously now think they can do so freely and openly. And that damage is already done.

I’m not here to spend all of my time talking about all the things I’m afraid of. I spent a lot of time trying to find the place where I feel powerful, and that is really hard when a man who thinks that all women can afford contraception is about the run the Department of Health and Human Services, and a man who was previously denied a position because he’s too fucking racist could be attorney general.

What can we do to take back our power?

We can put our money where our mouths are. Donate. Donate to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the NRDC, The Trevor Project, or any of the numerous organizations who will stand up for the marginalized. Hey Colorado! Colorado Gives Day is next week, so there’s your chance!

Stand up for people and stand up for yourself. Call people on their bullshit. You do not have to allow hateful language in your space.

March. Protest. Peacefully, of course. It’s your right, and they need to know we are still here.

Listen. Have empathy. Try to understand where other people are coming from. You don’t have to agree, and to reference my previous point, that doesn’t mean not calling people on their bullshit if they a spewing nothing but.

Use facts.

VOTE IN THE MIDTERMS, DAMNIT!

Live loudly. Live proudly.

But mostly, BRING ON DECEMBER because November fucking blew. Enjoy this last full month of the Obamas before we have an actual trash bag for President.

Oh.. and it’s my birthday soon. Muthafuckin 30! Here I come 30s! Maybe my 30s will help me get my shit together a little better than I am currently managing.

 

 

 

For the love of (insert whatever deity you worship here), please vote.

Tomorrow is election day, I am begging with whoever might read this to pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease get off your ass and vote. I’m going to guess that anyone reading a blog by a self-proclaimed feminist who has also written about gay pride and anger over gun violence might share some of the same views that I do.

Here’s the deal- Democrats have been historically lazy in elections. I surmise (at least in recent history) this is because so many people on the other side of the table are driven by bullshit paranoia like that their guns will be taken away, or that all the Muslims will kill us and if they don’t kill us, we’ll have to start living under Sharia Law. None of this is true, of course. And the people who believe this live in a sad world governed by fear. Fear is an incredibly powerful tool, and it’s incredibly effective in getting people to take action like vote for a racist, sexist, xenophobic, misogynistic buffoon who hasn’t coherently outlined a single policy in his entire campaign.

Fear like this is far more powerful than the fear of a Donald Trump presidency because surely he can’t win right? Wrong. He could.

So this year, rather than being governed by facts, logic, and reason, I beg of you, please let this fear of a Donald Trump presidency drive you to get off your couch and get to your polling place. This is absolutely the only time I will suggest letting fear drive you. Please please do not let this man become president.

Need to know where your fucking polling place is? Click here.

vote-for-hillary-clinton-free-vector-409
Duh. I’m supporting Hillary Clinton because I’m not a loon. You should, too.

Remember that time I didn’t drink for 4 weeks?

 

I made it. I went 4 weeks without booze. Okay, that’s a little bit of a lie. I allowed myself one beverage when I was in Atlanta on that work trip. The best part of traveling is eating the food and drinking the drinks. Period. I allowed myself one, and that is a serious testament to my willpower.

There was nothing particularly mind-blowing. I might have lost a pound or two. My skin was not noticeably better. However, it does seem noticeably worse a week and a half after this booze fast has ended, which is great. A friend told me my face looked thinner, but this particular friend tells me I look thin a lot. I’m not saying it’s not true. It’s just a hard thing to gauge. It could have been the way the dim restaurant lighting complimented my face that night.

The biggest change I noticed was in my quality of sleep. I slept easier, and I slept through the night. I even stopped taking Valerian Root for a while, and I was completely fine. Maybe not completely, but mostly. In any case, that’s a huge deal for me. I also generally felt better. I was in a better mood most days.

The downside was that it was a very lonely month. I spent just about every weekend alone. No one called me (or texted because let’s be real-millennials don’t call people), and I didn’t call anyone because I didn’t know what on earth I could suggest as an activity for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon if alcohol wasn’t an option. I think alcohol has robbed us all of our creativity. It didn’t help that Harrison was playing guitar for a local Rocky Horror production the first 3 weekends of October. He wasn’t even around most of the time. I watched A LOT of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc…

By the way, Amanda Knox on Netflix is bonkers. I highly recommend it. If you get through 13th without tears, you’re a monster. Oh, and You’re the Worst is actually hilarious.

Since I’ve been “back on the sauce,” I’ve said “no” to alcohol way more than I would have before, and I think that will probably continue. When you spend a few weeks sleeping better and generally feeling a little bit better, it’s important to acknowledge that. I love having drinks with friends, and I really love craft beer. There is no reason I need to have a beer with dinner every night, though. There just isn’t.

I

Work trip recap- when I did some serious #adulting

When I told my parents I was going to a conference for work, my stepmom’s response was, “That’s a very grown-up thing.” I think my parents forget that I’m almost 30 and that I occasionally partake in grown-up things. You know… like have a functional relationship with my live-in boyfriend, pay rent, care for pets, contribute to a 401k… shit like that. I don’t know this this will have anything to do with the rest of this post (I’m winging it). I mostly thought it was a hilarious response.

Since I am an “adult,” I (maybe selfishly) used this trip as an opportunity to work towards finding some answers for myself about a few things– not only about my “career,” but some other recent life developments. Sometimes, simply being away from home and by yourself can provide fresh perspective.

Can you tell the words “adult” and “career” make me a little uncomfortable?

One of the presentations I went to while I was at this conference was about fear and the role it plays in different parts of our lives, not just work. This one hour presentation forced me to look at some things I had been going back and forth on in my mind, and ask myself if the direction I was leaning in either of these situations had to do with my own fear or if it was something else. I’m trying not be too long-winded about my boring life, but maybe this will help someone.

Situation 1) I was presented with the opportunity to sing in a band, but after going to a rehearsal to try it out, I was really leaning away from it. I had to ask myself if this was because I was scared of doing something I hadn’t done in a very long time and was out of my comfort zone.

Situation 2) My manager at work told me that she thinks I should apply for a leadership training program. My immediate reaction was that I would absolutely not do it. I had to ask myself the same question.

I came to different conclusions for each of these situations. My biggest aversion from being in this particular band was not a fear of not being able to do it. I knew I could do it, and I knew I could do it well. I just didn’t want to. My biggest fear was that saying no would let some people down, but ultimately, I knew that saying yes would put me in a situation where I was dragging myself to rehearsal every week to sing cover songs that, for the most part, I find annoying. The saxophone player would continue to ask me for rides and would not reciprocate if I needed the same. I love singing, and I miss performing. But this wasn’t the right outlet for me.

In the second scenario, that was definitely fear. I’ve spent a lot of time at my job trying to fade into the background and not be noticed. I work hard to do well, but I tend to avoid risks or putting myself out there in ways like leadership opportunities. So, the day I got back to work after the trip, I asked my manager for the application.

I felt a sense of optimism at the end of that week. I felt a new sense of legitimacy in the work I do everyday, while also recognizing where my particular employer is behind. I also felt a new sense of confidence in myself and my ability to work through decisions and the anxieties I have that sometimes stop me from doing things that could benefit me.

I’m afraid a lot. I have hard time with new people at times, and I have serious fear of screwing up or sounding like an idiot. Letting that control me, I’ve realized, is a really good way to become stagnant in life and work. As much as I love and cling to stability and routine, doing the same shit all the time sounds real boring, and being an adult can be really fun and sometimes even exciting if you let it.

Hooray for being a grown-up!

I’ve been busy; now I’m back. Let’s talk about it.

You guys! I have a sister-in-law! WEIRD! My brother got married last weekend, and I totally thought he was still like 12.

This was a very odd trip, and I was not sure how exactly to sum it up here without boring everyone to death. Here are some more amusing realizations I had. Okay, maybe they won’t all be amusing, but they’ll be something.

1)      If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably read my tweets about how I sweat profusely in yoga class while everyone else seems to be sweating a less and more reasonable amount. I know now that I have my grandmother to thank for this annoying and smelly trait. My brother got married on a mountain, and we had to walk up a hill to get to the ceremony location. My grandmother had some sizable beads of sweat on the nape of her neck when we arrived at the top, and I thought, “There we have it, folks.” Can’t argue with genetics, unfortunately.

2)      I think my parents might be high all time at this point. I’m obviously kidding, but I don’t know what the hell happened to them. They’re the cool parents all of a sudden. The people who wouldn’t even allow me to have an adult beverage at dinner on my 21st birthday are amused by the drunk antics of my youngest brother’s underage girlfriend. Oh, and I drank whiskey with my stepmom while Harrison was taking drinks to my stressed-out dad. What the hell, parents?

3)      My sister and her fiancé drink a disgusting amount of Red Bull. Watching people drink something that looks like antifreeze and may have some of the same ingredients makes me sad for their insides.

4)       I almost never wear proper footwear for my environment.

5)      Wyoming lacks common-sense. Liquor and Fireworks are not a good thing to sell in the same place. I’m not sure how one would come to the conclusion that those two things should be sold in a store together.

I think it goes without saying that when you put a family with a considerable amount of baggage in a situation where they are forced to be in close proximity, issues are bound to come to the surface. Of course, my biological mother, who I wrote about in a previous post, was there for the festivities. She was instructed by several people to not speak to me or to Harrison. To be honest, I was surprised by this. I’m more surprised that she actually complied, but I didn’t ask anyone to do that. I’m sure that they simply wanted to ensure a drama-free weekend. I mean, of course there was drama- it’s a wedding. She was involved (it’s her thing), but I was not, thank you very much.

In being around her for the for the first time in over 6 years, I definitely felt reaffirmed in the decision I made to remove myself from that situation and in how I feel about what family means. That doesn’t mean that it’s an easy thing for some people to understand. Harrison had a hard time seeing my sister and youngest brother obviously stuck in the middle and being pulled between the stability of my dad and stepmom and the feeling of being obligated to stifle any chaos before it happens on the other side. And this makes me wonder if despite the initial challenges of removing a family member from my life, did I take the easy way out and leave them hanging out to dry? Did I abandon them for a kind of stability they might never know?

Things are going to get a lot more challenging than they have been. My sister is getting married next year, and her attitude is that she is her mother. She should be a part of the planning and a part of the day. I was asked to be in the wedding, so I’m going to have to figure out how to navigate this new terrain while sticking to the path that I know to be right for me. It’s not my wedding, so it’s not about what I want. This won’t be the last time I have to navigate this. I’ll find the way. I don’t have a choice.

At the end of it all, last weekend was about my brother and his new wife. I’m so excited to have a sister-in-law and a new extended family-by-marriage who are pretty fucking rad. It’s still weird that my little brother is married.

My relationship is really a prison of judgment

Me: Can you get me a La Croix (pronounced La Crotch, which is what my co-workers decided on since no one seems to know how to actually pronounce this) out of the fridge?

Harrison: Ugh, I don’t know if I like that (meaning how I pronounce the brand of delicious sparkling water). Are you up to like three of these a day now?

Me: So? It’s zero calories.

Harrison: The only thing you’ve done more than drink these is watch this show. (He’s talking about the almost 4 whole seasons of Billy on the Street I’ve watched this week.)

Me: That won’t be the case much longer because I’m almost done with it. Also, they’re short episodes, and there’s only like 10 episodes a season.

Harrison is really judgmental.

P.S. I bet someone will judge my relationship based on the contents of this post. It’s a never-ending cycle.