Larry, Curly, and Mo(l)e

I am generally a very mole-y white person thanks to the great genes handed down from mostly my dad’s side of the family. My grandpa, my dad, and I have all had suspicious moles removed. I get my skin checked every year because a) I will use my health insurance while I have it, and b) I am real scared of skin cancer, especially because I live in Denver. Fun fact: being closer to the sun means there’s a higher risk of skin cancer.

If you’ve known me or met me at any point in my life, you’ve known me with 3 sizable moles on my face. They make a triangle!

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When I was a kid, the moles on my face were basically freckles, and three freckles in the shape of a triangle on a little kid was cute. Then I got older, and they got bigger.

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Age 11

And bigger.

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Age 20. Also with a spray tan and heavy make up after a performance.

 

And bigger.

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Age 32.

 

I started to really hate them about the time I reached college. For a while I was retouching pictures to hide them, which is obviously stupid because disappearing them from pictures didn’t disappear them from my face.

The first time I asked about getting them removed, I was about 21. I went to a dermatologist who told me they weren’t suspicious, and removing them would be a cosmetic procedure that I would have to pay for out of pocket. That was that. I couldn’t afford that.

So they stayed on my face, and I tried not worry about it. They continued to grow and take on lives of their own. Ever had a pimple ON TOP OF A MOLE? This has happened several times. Once one of them started bleeding, and it took forever to get it to stop. It was quite an embarrassing problem.

About two years ago, I made an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon my dermatologist recommended, and then I cancelled it. I don’t really know why. I think part of it was that I felt guilty about the prospect of spending such a large chunk of money, but I also felt weird about changing my face in a very significant way. I think I felt what I can only describe as shame for wanting to change myself. How dare I do something strictly out of vanity. I mean, most people say they don’t really notice them. It’s just my face. And then there were the people who said they liked them and that it made me unique. As genuine as those comments may have been, I always felt like those people were just trying to make me feel better about something I could not easily change, and it certainly did not lessen my insecurity.

Over the last year or so, that insecurity almost became unbearable. They’re so big, and one of them kind of looks like a nipple. I can’t look at a picture of myself without my eyes being drawn directly to the left side of my nose.

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So like a band-aid or a protruding facial mole, I ripped it off. I paid in advance, so I couldn’t back out and go through the same song and dance again. They’re gone. I’m stitched up, and what an incredible sense of relief and a weight lifted.

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I’ve heard it all, and I’m sure I’ll continue to hear it. I’m sorry if you’ll miss them or if you liked my face before. I’m sorry if you disagree with my vanity. Trust me, I have worked really hard to have a positive relationship with my body and my appearance. I love my size 12 body because it’s strong and healthy and allows me to do so many things I love, and I’ve grown to appreciate the wrinkles that continue to deepen on my face. There are very few things about my appearance I would go out of my way to change.

But here’s the thing… If you’ve never popped a pimple on top of a mole that is on your face, had a mole gush blood with no sign of stopping, or worried so intensely about whether people notice that you have an inflamed mass on your face, it’s not something I expect you to understand.

Do the things that make you feel happy and confident. If you think it’s the right decision, but you’re worried about what other people will think, it’s probably the right decision.

Pardon me while I go change my Steri-strips.

Maybe when I have all the money, I’ll care about close seats, too.

Me: Do you want to go to the Nuggets game on March 2nd? I can get $14 tickets through work.

Dad: Where are the seats?

Here we go.

Me: In the 300s. They’re $14.

Dad: We want to go, but we would want to sit closer.

WHY DOES IT MATTER? IS IT AN OLD PERSON VISION THING?!?! THERE’S A JUMBO-TRON! Also DAD, I have to have fun on a budget because of those student loans I’m paying because of that college you thought I should have to pay for literally for the rest of my life because of bootstraps or something. 

Me: I didn’t look at the price of those. I’ll check.

Dad: Okay, well if you and Harrison want to go and the tickets are more expensive, you can just pay me the $14, and I’ll cover the rest.

I’m a 32 year old woman with a job and am about to agree to allow my dad to subsidize a closer seat to a Nuggets game.

Me: They’re $57.

Yikes.

Dad: Let’s do it.

Okay………… That’ll be $200.

The difference between Boomers and Millennials is how close they care to be to the court.

 

Professional networking is my personal hell

If there is one thing I’ve learned from people I know who have found new career opportunities, it’s that those opportunities have come to them through a connection they’ve made. I have heard no less than 2 people in the last month say, “This just kind of fell in my lap.”

WHAT?! HOW?!!!!

My lap covers some territory, and I’m not over here catching any specks of good fortune on the career front.

My stepmom always says, “You have to get in front of the right people.”

Well, shit.

I don’t exactly love being in front of people or being the center of attention. My most comfortable state is completely alone, anonymous, observing rather than participating. I recently took a personality test that put me at 86% Introvert and only 14% Extrovert. Basically, 14% of the time I want to be with other humans, and that sounds…uh…correct.

When I’m not at work, you might find me watching TV or reading a book alone. I prefer to run errands alone. I prefer to shop alone, and am often reminded of this whenever I invite a friend to the mall with me because I’ve forgotten how much I dislike shopping with other people. I go to yoga alone and speak to no one except when I give the teacher my name at the front desk.

My dudes and dudettes, this level of introversion is not a joke.

Harrison used to ask me, “Is this really all you’re going to do tonight?” as he leaves me on the couch with a book or a very deep Netflix queue on a Friday night to go to (probably) a comedy show or open mic. Then he stopped asking because my answer was always, “YES.”  Harrison spends a lot of evenings out at open mics, so our relationship has been incredibly accommodating. Some might say enabling.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), I have a new friend who is constantly inviting me to get involved in things despite her own innate inclination to stay home. And as much as I don’t want to, I know I need to.

I spent the last two evenings at engagements geared toward young professionals with her. One of them is actually a choir, and I’m legit excited about that. I loved singing in choirs when I was younger, and at least I’m in a room with people working toward a common goal. The singing part I can handle, but the conversing with fellow singers is the hard part.

The other event was a happy hour for young professional at a fancy hotel bar and um, it was the worst.

First of all, I’m not fancy, and I always feel out of place in those environments. I own exactly one blazer that I think I’ve worn exactly twice. At a young professionals happy hour, you better bring your blazer. I am also THE MOST AWKWARD. I’m bad at starting conversations, and I am really terrible and feigning interest in things that I find absolutely dull. I wear my heart on my face. Eye contact with strangers? Lol. Please. I usually find myself following around the one person I know trying to interject myself in their conversations and doing a very bad job of it.

Introversion is not a condition that needs to be cured, but damn it’s hard to be an introvert in a world that places so much value the charismatic and gregarious over the quiet observers.

I’ll just be over here…tired from all the people-y stuff I’ve had to do and wishing I were at home.

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Via GIPHY

 

Revisiting 2018

What did you do in 2018 that you’ve never done before?

Visited Seattle.

Aerial Yoga, which I do not believe I will be partaking in again. Seriously, this frame is not meant to be held by silk ribbons. I had bruises just above my ass for several days.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Here’s the thing: I do not remember if I made any resolutions next year, and knowing myself, they were some loose suggestions for living at best.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

All three of my parents’ goats had babies this year. While you may be thinking, “That does not count silly lady!” I have been waiting for someone to make me an aunt for a long time, and I will be happy to settle for goats. Baby goats are cuter than baby humans. Fight me.

Did anyone close to you die?

No… let’s keep this streak going, shall we.

What places did you visit?

Portland, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

San Diego, CA

Montrose, CO

Seattle, WA

NYC

Fremont Troll. Seattle.

What would you like to have in 2019 that you didn’t have in 2018?

I’m sometimes concerned that my general feeling of contentment is actually just laziness. I’m mostly fine, I would like to be able to say that I accomplished something at the end of next year.

What dates from 2018 will be etched in your memory forever?

February 14th – The Parkland shooting

August 12th – The day we finally moved into an apartment that doesn’t suck.

December 13th – The day I’ve been referring to as Michelle Obama day. I went to her book tour at a packed Pepsi Center and I’ll start the new year reading her book.

What was your biggest achievement this year?

That baked tofu dish I made. Do you know how hard it is to make non-weird tofu?

I also read 25 books this year, which I feel is am important accomplishment to note, due to the nose-in-air scoffs I get from people upon learning how much television I watch. I WILL NOT BE SHAMED. This is the golden age of television and I AM ALSO VERY LITERATE.

What was your biggest failure?

I currently hold the same position that I did a year ago…and the year before that. It’s not all bad. I work with good people, I don’t have much of a commute, I’m considered a leader (albeit without the title or pay) and holding a job for this long has provided me with financial stability I never knew as a child or in college, despite my Kilimanjaro size mountain of student loans. I am really just tired of feeling like I have someone looking over my shoulder constantly. I’m ready for more autonomy and to have more control over my time. I don’t want to have to make sure my boss knows that occasionally I cut out of work a little early to get to yoga class. I’m an adult, and I’m good at my job. I’d like to not be on a leash to a cubicle anymore. To be continued…

Did you suffer from illness or injury?

Ever heard of a ganglion cyst? Not technically an injury, but very annoying.

What was the best thing you bought?

I got an antique school desk for a STEAL at a shop on South Broadway. I adore it.

Where did most of your money go?

Food. Always food.

What did you get really, really excited about?

The T.LT. at True Food Kitchen

Harbor Seals

Lizzo

A St. Bernard named Apollo

What song will always remind you of 2018?

If anyone claims the song of this year is not Bohemian Rhapsody, I would like for them to explain themselves.

Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder, b) thinner or fatter, c) richer or poorer?

I’m equally happy. Although if you had asked me like 6 months ago, that answer would be much different

I might be barely thinner. My pants are falling off of me, but one pant size smaller is still too small.

Okay, I think actually richer. Maybe. I’m bad at this. We have more in savings, and I have been making coffee at home since we moved. That makes a huge difference over time. Also, do you have any idea how much less you spend on groceries over a year when you don’t eat meat?

Off to find One-eyed Willie’s treasure.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Hmmm… Yoga. I’ve been a pretty consistent yoga practitioner for the last couple of years. I think my next step is to work on a better home practice.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

I wish I had done less beating myself up. I spent a lot of time doing that.

How did you spend Christmas?

We made our annual trek to New York to see Harrison’s family.

What was your favorite TV program?

Nothing makes me laugh as much as Will & Grace does. Nothing.

What was the best book you read?

It’s a tie. “All Over The Place” by Geraldine DeRuiter and “Tragendy plus Time” by Adam Cayton-Holland.

What did you want that you got?

An apartment that isn’t falling apart and doesn’t feel like a dungeon. It is amazing what some big windows can do for a mood. With our move, we also got a new mattress.

What did you want and not get?

A new job.

What was your favorite film of 2018?

Oh man. It was a good movie year for me. I have to say Blindspotting, which I’m disappointed did not get more attention. Obama put it on his list. He knows what’s up.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

32! I woke up and went to work. Unfortunately. I did take the next day off to relax before going to Michelle Obama’s book tour.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

What’s happening with this Mueller thing? Can we get that show on the road please? I mean, WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG?

Who kept you sane?

Harrison. Always Harrison. Although, there were a few times this year that he contributed to a decrease in sanity.

Who did you miss?

I really wish my brother and sister-in-law were closer. Maybe someday.

Who was the best new person you met?

I’ll just call her the other Whitney. She’s a sister of a long-time acquaintance, and for some reason, she seems to enjoy me. She’s a good influence and makes me do outside my comfort zone shit.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

Alone can be kinda nice and not at all lonely.

Show us one of your favorite photos from the year.

This moment was just joy for me. Joy.

Seals!

No I do not want to join your book club

Am I the only reader who wants nothing to do with book clubs? This is a serious question. I love to read, and I love books. But I hate book clubs. Yet, I repeatedly get asked to join book clubs, and I feel like a jerk for repeatedly declining. Then Harrison tells me I’m spending too much time reacting to being invited to join yet another book club.

I recently read a book along with a group of co-workers, and it was mostly fine, except that I finished the book before everyone else because I don’t like to read more than one book at a time (with the exception of my “in-between” book that I read when I’m waiting for something to be available at the library), and subsequently I finished the book before the rest of the group because the rest of the group decided they wanted a month and a half to read 100 pages. 

Reading is my loner, introvert activity. It always has been. Even when I was a kid, I remember sitting by the window reading a book while my sister played outside with the neighbors. It’s one of those few things that I can do completely on my terms. I choose the book and how quickly I read it, and the experience I have reading the book is completely my own. I don’t have to talk about it with anyone or be influenced by someone else’s experience. Most importantly, I do not have to leave my house to discuss the book with anyone else. I’m just particular about this one thing, I guess.

So again I ask, am I really the only reader who does not like book clubs?

I’m currently leaking ink

I got a tattooooooo!

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This is what it looks like when I spend an irresponsible amount of money, but hey, when you’ve been fantasizing about something for years, it might be time to pull the trigger.

A few years ago, I went to Portland when Harrison and I were going through a tough time and were unsure if we were going to stay together. One of us needed to remove ourselves from the situation. I was in Portland alone for a couple days and then a friend met me there. It rained so much. It poured every day that I was there. I came armed with my umbrella and carrying a broken spirit. As much as I love Denver, Portland was there when I needed it. I found my independence again in those days that I was alone navigating a new city in the rain. In the past, I’ve used rain as a metaphor for feelings. You can’t ignore them. You might be able to shield yourself a bit with the help of a good friend or an everyday distraction. In a downpour, an umbrella might help, but you will get wet no matter how much you try to avoid it. Feel your feelings; feel the rain.

I still love Portland, and this year, Harrison and I were able to enjoy the city together.

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If you’re in the Denver area and looking for some excellent tattoo artists, check out Certified Customs. You can also check them out on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

I don’t have to be okay with this, but I still have hope.

A few days after the 2008 election, I got a tattoo. The tattoo says, “There has never been anything false about hope,” and it’s followed by Barack Obama’s signature. The quote is from a speech he gave after losing the New Hampshire Primary to Hillary Clinton. For the record, I have tremendous respect for Hillary Clinton, and I did then as well. I never understood the vicious contempt for her. But Obama was my guy starting in 2004 when he spoke at the DNC.

I don’t know how many people told me I would regret my tattoo. I don’t. In fact, it’s my favorite of the four tattoos I have.

I am not okay with what’s about to happen tomorrow. I was upset and frustrated in 2004 when Kerry lost to Bush, but I was not afraid that we’d be blown to smithereens because the president pissed someone off via Twitter. Seriously, can someone make him stop with that crap? It’s embarrassing, and it’s dangerous. And that is only one tiny slice of what I’m afraid of.

I’m afraid for our public schools and teachers.

I’m afraid for minorities and immigrants.

I’m afraid that women who are victims of sex assault will be even less likely to come forward because there’s a perpetrator in the White House.

I’m afraid that my LGBT friends will lose some of the protections they’ve acquired under the Obama Administration.

I’m afraid I’ll lose my free and easy access to contraception along with millions of other women.

I’m afraid these same women will lose access to abortion.

I’m afraid for the environment—that the regulations that have helped us make progress on climate change will be rolled back.

I’m afraid I’ll lose my income-based student loan repayments.

I’m not afraid or sensitive to these issues because I’m a liberal snowflake. That’s a stupid term, and considering how hurt some of my more conservative friends were when Meryl Streep proclaimed that football and MMA are not the arts, I think the “snowflake” term might be inappropriately placed.

I’m afraid because I believe in empathy and humanity and that America is losing these. Boots in asses is not the American way no matter how much Toby Keith insists. That’s the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard. And of course that guy was one of the only people who agreed to play the inauguration. Of course he was. In today’s ‘no shit’ news, Toby Keith is playing Trump’s inauguration. Oh and also Lee Greenwood. Duh.

We have fear for a reason. Fear ignites action. So don’t think for one second that I will not be here for the next 4 years calling out hypocrisy and hate and transforming this fear into action. I will be here because I still have hope, and I have a reminder of that etched into my skin.

Thank you President Obama.

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I feel ya, girl. (I have no idea where this came from, but it’s perfect. Thanks to whoever the artist is.)