Four weeks, no drinks

I started a 4 week challenge this week. During these 4 weeks, I will not consume alcohol. That’s the plan. Why, you ask? I’ll explain.

First, I should say that I’m not necessarily going into this with any outrageous expectations, or because I’m concerned that I have any sort of addiction issues. You may recall that I do not enjoy being drunk, and I do not enjoy being around other drunk humans. But I do enjoy drinking. When Harrison and I have nothing to do on a Saturday or Sunday, we find a brewery we haven’t been to, or we go to one of our nearby favorites and try something new they’ve recently put on tap. We live in Denver- the capitol of the best state for beer in the country, and we have a love affair with craft beer and supporting the local breweries who make them. What I’m saying is that I’m going to have to be a hell of a lot more creative with my free time over the next few weeks.

I’m not sure that my aversion to getting hammered means that I have a healthy relationship with alcohol, though. And it’s not just me; it’s basically my entire generation and even beyond that. We include alcohol in so many things we do on a daily basis. If we meet an old friend to catch up, we meet over drinks. If we want to keep it a little bit classy, it’ll be dinner and drinks. If we go out with friends on a Friday or Saturday night, we go to bars. If we have a stressful day, we have a glass of wine or a beer (probably more like 2 or 3 or more regardless of beverage choice) to unwind. We drink at concerts, sporting events, plays, musicals, art galleries, parks, movie theaters. The hair salon I go to even keeps beer and wine on hand for customers, and several local craft breweries host yoga classes. It is everywhere, and to be honest if I screw this up, it’ll probably be because I’ll forget that I’m not supposed to be drinking right now. As I sit here approaching 30, it has simply become a natural thing to order a drink with dinner without even thinking twice about it.  I’m not saying this is a bad thing or that drinking is bad. I’m totally going to a brewery yoga class when this is all over, because those are two things I love.

What I’m saying is that I think that sometimes things we think we have control of get away from us, and we don’t even realize it. I notice as I get older, “just one more” is sometimes one too many, and I just don’t feel great. Let’s be real- this is totally a little bit about control for me. It’s definitely about giving my body a break, but it’s also definitely about control. This is me making sure that I have the ability to say “no” in circumstances where it is almost expected that I have a drink in my hand. Instead of thinking about this idea of what is socially expected, I need to make sure that I am being true to what I actually want at any given moment, in any establishment I find myself in.

I’ve had friends who have given up drinking for similar lengths of time. They have said that they lose a little weight, their skin clears, and their mind clears. Maybe some of those things will happen for me, maybe they won’t. It would be a bonus.

This is going to be hard, but so far, I’ve made it through a concert and dinners with Harrison where I would normally have a beer without even thinking about it. I’m excited to see how I feel at the end of 4 weeks. I’ll report back.

I didn’t know this is what I needed

If you recall (the two of you who have read this since the beginning), at the end of last year, I made a few goals for myself. One thing that I wanted to accomplish was to do more yoga. I have struggled so much with yoga in the past, but it was something I really wanted to figure out how to enjoy.

That was my first mistake- trying to figure it out. But that’s how my brain works. I took a personality test a few months ago, and my result was “Logistician.” I’m the kind of person who scoffs at the internet memes posted by yogis on Facebook. You know- the ones with uplifting quotes on a background of a grassy field at sunrise with the perfect Instagram filter. I ask why…. a lot. If something is “good for you,” I need someone to give me the reason it’s good for me using citable fact. It’s obnoxious, I know.

347cf29ed1af6a0323557f6cf0ac4dfd

What I’ve realized is that most things take on a different meaning for everyone, and this is no different. And another thing- THAT’S OKAY! I really struggled with what I was supposed to be feeling when I practiced yoga. I had been occasionally practicing yoga in my apartment using a YouTube video as a guide, and maybe I would find it in myself to go to a class about every 6 months. I couldn’t get excited about it. I couldn’t get over my anxiety about being good at it or not. Then one day, something clicked when I went to a yoga class taught by a friend of mine after a night of battling insomnia. On that particular day, it offered a kind of focus and control that I needed to feel better. (You’d think I’d have figured out how to feel like a human on little sleep at this point, but I definitely haven’t.) That class, the sense of belonging and community that my friend offers to her students was a game changer for me. I was instantly hooked. I started going to class once a week, then twice a week, and now I catch a class as often as I can, and I crave it.

To be honest, it was a little bit surprising that I suddenly had this thing that I desired to put work into. I haven’t felt that way about anything in a really long time. It didn’t come without challenges, and it still doesn’t. I still bargain with myself every time I head to class. Sometimes, as I sit in a room before class begins and look around at the thin and athletic people there, I have the urge to bolt for the door. I am neither thin or athletic, and I never have been. But then I stay. Sometimes I’ll lay on my mat and close my eyes and remember that this time is about me and no one else. I’m reminded that I have a friend who teaches this stuff, and she thinks I’m awesome and have great form. Ha!

There are days my body doesn’t do the things I want it to. My hips lock up, my feet cramp, or I can’t fold over and grab my feet as comfortably as I could yesterday. I get frustrated because I’m the “Logistician,” and I just want things to work. It’s all part of the ride, and unlike most things in my life, I’m somehow okay with it when things don’t go the exact way I want them to. It’s all about how I respond to it, which is something I can take with me.

113o78

I’ve only been practicing yoga consistently for about 6 months. I’ve noticed changes both physically and mentally in ways that are more noticeable than any other period of my life. I have muscles I didn’t know were hiding under my skin. Sometimes I make Harrison feel my biceps- just for fun. I feel strong in my body like I never have, and I like that. I have a better relationship with sleep than I used to. I still fight insomnia sometimes, but far less often than I used to.

The mental changes I’ve noticed have been far more surprising than the physical mostly because of what I said before about scoffing at the uplifting memes. I still do that, and I probably will for a long time, maybe forever. I make unfair assumptions, I’m cranky sometimes, I’m cautious and sometimes suspicious of most people. I’ve been described as negative and misanthropic (mostly by people that don’t know me very well or as a joke, so I try not to let that get to me). I know people who are more comfortable being unhappy than happy, don’t do anything to help themselves, and subsequently make everyone around them miserable. I do not want to be that person. I want to be someone who respects others, treats people with kindness, and has the capacity for compassion and empathy. I am becoming the person I want to be – day by day, class by class. What I’ve realized in the last few months is that being nice does doesn’t mean that you can’t have boundaries, and being open is not same thing as being naïve. Being happy does not mean you can’t take time to recognize the unhappy feelings. Being positive does not mean that you can’t also be realistic and logical. Yoga has allowed me a safe environment to work through my personal shit in a way that I completely doubted could be effective for me. What I’m saying is that all the angry and sad people should probably try yoga.

Also, my sister (she plays soccer) said to me, “I’m running the whole time when I play soccer. You’re just standing.” I’ll let you know what happens when I get her to a class. It’s going to be AWESOME.

 

I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m pissed.

I haven’t been as active here in the last month because I can’t find it in me to be funny at the moment. It seems like every time I open up Facebook or Twitter and scroll through the news, there is something awful happening somewhere in this country, and I am so incredibly exhausted. In the last month, I’ve posted about toxic masculinity in reference to a privileged piece-of-crap who raped an unconscious woman and more or less got away with it, 48 people who died at a gay bar in Orlando because of an evil human who was able to get a gun despite the fact that he was suspected of being dangerous. Oh and then I wrote some half-assed, poorly written crap about how much I like the Hamilton Soundtrack. I really do like the Hamilton Soundtrack, but I was just looking for something that wasn’t awful to write about, and even in that, the underlying sentiment was that we have the ability to make things better because they’re kind of awful right now.

So what the fuck are we going to do about it? Seriously. I’m asking. And if you’re not in the mood to read another opinion about any of this—Bye, Felicia. It’s my blog, not yours.

If I see or hear one more white person say, “All lives matter,” or post some fucking meme on the internet about Blue Lives or some bullshit about “playing a race card,” I may actually scream. I seriously saw a meme that said, “How about all lives matter? Not black lives, not white lives. Get over yourself. No one’s life is more important. Put away your race card and grow up.” I was so infuriated when I read that. I’m infuriated just thinking about about it. I also just corrected the grammar of what was actually on the meme. I mean, if you’re going to post something so idiotic, you could at least make sure the grammar is correct. The person who posted this is the same former co-worker who told me I should be getting married, so I think our Facebook friendship is over. Ignorance may be bliss, but ignorance also makes you an asshole.

I am pissed that black men are repeatedly murdered because some shitty, racist police officers operate from a place of fear and hate. If you’re a cop, I think it’s time to take really hard look inward and be honest with yourself. Do you have a fear of black men for no reason at all? Do you make assumptions about their character? Yeah? GO DO SOMETHING ELSE! How about we take this one step further? If you peaked in high school, are pissed off that no one gives an ounce of a shit that you were the quarterback of your high school football team located in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, and you want a job that gives you power over people, leading you to victimize poor people and minorities, you should also GO DO SOMETHING ELSE! You could work your way into management at a Walmart where you’ll also work shit hours but make a bunch of money while your employees are all on government assistance. Seems perfect, but you don’t get a deadly weapon. So we’re all better off.

I’m also pissed that some loner/psychopath/shit stain on humanity decided the answer to this problem was to kill and injure a bunch of cops who were doing their jobs the way it’s supposed to be done. THAT IS ALSO NOT FUCKING OKAY! That moron delayed any productive conversations that had been started about this issue.

I don’t have to choose a fucking side here. As a matter of fact, if you are of the opinion that this is an issue requiring people to choose sides, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM! I want racist piece-of-shit cops on a power trip to lose their fucking jobs and go to prison when they MURDER people, and I want good cops to be able to serve and protect without some lunatic shooting them from a fucking parking garage.

There’s no easy answer, but there will be no answer at all until we all wake the fuck up and accept that we have a problem here.

Hey white people! Racism is still a thing, and I don’t give a shit if that makes you uncomfortable. Yeah, sure, all lives matter. What you aren’t hearing is that not a single person ever said otherwise. But your indifferent, apathetic, unfeeling ass does not get to speak unless you are willing to recognize that there are people in this country whose lives are treated as less valuable than yours. Period.

Hey Police! You have a problem, and you need to address it. You have shitheads working for you. No, not everyone, but clearly, there are enough people who suck at this job that this is a repeated issue. How is it that I have training in de-escalating difficult situations with other people at my cubicle farm job, but this seems to be a novel idea for cops who deal with things that actually matter, like whether or not they should fire their gun?

Every single person has a choice every time they interact with another human. You could be a dick or you could not be a dick. Please make the right choice. I am so exhausted with human beings and their bullshit right now. Stop fighting. Put your fucking guns down. Stop killing each other. We really need to get our shit together. If I’m being honest, I dislike more people than I like, and I don’t really care to make new friends beyond the few close ones I currently have. I’m a cynic, I’m skeptical about everything, but somehow I find it in me to NOT BE A FUCKING DICK ALL THE TIME. I say “please” and “thank you,” and I fucking treat people like humans. I don’t have to like someone to respect their existence. If I can be nice to people, I promise you can do it too.

As much as I believe in the power of kindness and respect, I also recognize that it only goes so far, and the people in charge need to do their jobs. Here’s the thing—they’re doing fuck-all right now, so it seems we’re on our own. What choice will you make when you leave your house to go be among other humans?

Maybe I’ll be back with something funny next time. Have a nice day.

Why did it have to be Prince?

This one hurts.

We’ve lost a lot of people this year, but this one really breaks my damn heart. I have such vivid memories of my dad blasting music in our house on weekend afternoons. The Purple Rain soundtrack was one of the albums that was frequently added to our 6-CD changer and played over the the giant speakers that stood in our living room and filled the whole house. I remember sitting in the living room while my dad watched Purple Rain on television. I was probably too young to be watching it, but he didn’t say anything. Thank goodness he didn’t. It stuck with me.

The Purple Rain soundtrack was one of the first records I bought when I got a record player for myself. It was an essential to me-one that I had to have in my collection. It was a piece of my childhood that I remember and hold onto. Of course, as I got older, I began to recognize the incredible extent of the influence Prince had on music and so much more, the unbelievable talent, and the sheer artistry of everything he did. He was daring,  always true to himself, and he set the bar so much higher. 

He could not be defined. He was a prodigy and a true artist, and I am sad tonight.

Cheers, Prince. Thanks for the memories. Rest in power.

IMG_1182
To you, Prince. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SFNW5F8K9Y

That guitar solo, though.

In case you needed reminding of possibly the best Superbowl Halftime Show ever. I forgot how good this was.

Dear everyone, please shut up.

 

Harrison and I celebrated 5 years together last week. We celebrated with cheap Mexican food and a liter of Margaritas. We’re just about the fanciest people I know. We are pretty relaxed about most things in our relationship. Yes, 5 years is a big deal, but talk to me when we hit 50. Even so, I often post a little something on Facebook to mark each year together. I try to make it clever and unique to who we are as people and as a couple. I’ll admit, maybe posting things on Facebook opens me up to comments of the ignorant kind. However, we would all be well-served to think before we post.

One of the things that pisses me off most when people comment on my relationship is when people ask, “When are you getting married?”  “When’s the wedding?” “Why aren’t you married yet?” If you have any of those questions for me, please keep it to yourself. I don’t owe anyone an explanation, and it’s none of your business, especially if the extent of our relationship is that we used to work a crap retail job together, and/or I don’t like you that much, and I am too lazy to delete you from my list of Facebook friends.

FBSS

 

My response was snarky enough, but it did not capture the level of rage I was feeling when I read that comment. What I actually wanted to say would have actually been something like this:

Well, that is some excellent feedback on my relationship that is not yours and none of your business. I will certainly take that into consideration, except fuck off, and no I won’t. I’m not sure what makes you think you have any superior knowledge giving you the right to comment on what I should or should not be doing in my relationship or my life. I’m sure this comes from a good place, but seriously, stop it.

Also, aren’t you currently pregnant? I don’t recall seeing any wedding photos before baby bump photos. Maybe you did get married or maybe you’re “common law,”and I don’t know about it. Guess what? I don’t care! I don’t care because this isn’t 1955. It’s 2016, and in 2016, you can do whatever the hell you want! You can have a kid out of wedlock without an uproar; you can stay with someone for 100 years without ever getting married. It’s a beautiful thing!

Not that it’s any of your business, but we’ve talked about what we want should we decide to get married. However, I don’t need a white dress, a party where a bunch of relatives I don’t know start asking me when I’m going to have kids, or a piece of paper to know that we are committed to each other. Neither Harrison or myself feel like we need to “lock it down.” We’re happy the way things are. We have a life together, and we aren’t going anywhere. Eventually, when I feel like planning a stupid wedding would be less of a pain in the ass and more of an actual celebration, maybe we’ll do the thing. For now, we’re good, and please keep your commentary to yourself.

Shit I like that you should like, too (#2)

Red Leg Brewing

Colorado Springs, CO

This post is very special to me, and I have unfortunately chosen a very crass title for this ongoing series of highlighting things I like and feel others should know more about. Imagine this one is titled, “Amazing places you should definitely go” or something like that. Also, I have no idea who reads this or where you are, but this is a place you must visit if you’re ever near Colorado Springs.

My boyfriend and I went to Colorado Springs from where we live in Denver to see a friend who will soon be deploying to Afghanistan. Since we are craft beer enthusiasts, our friend recommended that we try Red Leg Brewing. We learned pretty quickly that this was not like other breweries we had visited.

We sat down and ordered a flight. When the bartender served us our flight, she told us that a man named Wayne, who was sitting a few seats down from us, bought our flight simply because we were first-timers. I got the impression this is something Wayne does on a regular basis.

We noticed at the end of the bar, there was a construction paper Christmas tree on display labeled “Red Leg Giving Tree” with round construction paper ornaments pinned to it. Written on the ornaments were things like “police,” “first responder,” “military,” “planned parenthood employee,” and simply “someone in need of a good moment.” Patrons can buy an ornament for $5, the price of a beer, write whatever they want on it, and if someone fitting that profile comes in, they get a beer. The bartender explained that they try to get to know the people that come in and their stories.

When our friend arrived to meet us, we were informed that someone had purchased an ornament and written the words, “someone about to deploy,” specifically for him. Something we had mentioned briefly when asked what brought us to Colorado Springs, turned into a gift from a stranger. Despite my usual aversion to emotion and misanthropic attitude, I was completely overwhelmed. I actually had to excuse myself to sop up the tears that had started to emerge from my underutilized tear ducts.

This level of kindness and generosity we experienced at Red Leg is something rare and very special. In the conversations we had with people there, it was clear that the people behind the bar and the people sitting in in front of it had a shared view on life: There will always be bad guys; there will always be bad things that happen. What we can control is how we treat others. We have a choice to be kind. This establishment and their patrons do what they can to take care of their community. Whether it is a service member who is a frequent visitor or someone who drops by for a quick pint, they are taken care of in more ways than satiating their thirst for delicious craft beer. It shouldn’t need to be mentioned that Colorado Springs has not had the easiest few weeks. I commend Red Leg for being a part of the solution. The world needs people and places like this right now. They didn’t know how badly I needed to be reminded of the good in the world, but they did just that.

I left moved to share my experience. More importantly, I left thinking about how I can make someone’s day better. Spreading kindness and love is a big deal these days. Imagine if more people were like that.

184914_167634396622502_7927672_n

What can we do?

First of all, I’m aware that I have been mostly absent from this website over the last few weeks. I’m finding it hard to overcome my inclination to be lazy and bottle up my thoughts because sharing them is too much work. I have some stuff I’m working on, I promise. Also, if there are people following this, that I do not know personally, I want to know you! Please contact me via the “Get at me” page, leave a comment, or connect with me on social media. Click the icons to the right.

I really wanted to take a few paragraphs to talk about the world and the state of disarray that the entire planet seems to be in. Last week was a rough one for the planet and the people that live on it. There were gruesome and deadly attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Kenya, in addition to natural disasters. I felt like the news told one horrible story after another, but for some, it wasn’t just a story-they lived it. It’s unimaginable for me.

In times of tragedy, I often feel so completely helpless. Some force beyond our control, whether it’s Mother Nature or an evil human with guns and bombs, has stolen the minuscule amount of power we have over our own lives. That’s an overwhelming thing, isn’t it? There’s this weight I feel — a desire to do something to help, while also knowing that I’m only one person, and making any sort of tangible impact is unlikely. But maybe my idea of what is tangible is skewed.

So what do we do? I’ve been thinking about this a lot. For me the answer is that I have to represent ideals of compassion, and try everyday to simply be a better human being. I don’t want to sit here and talk about my misanthropic self, and how much of a challenge it may be to be outwardly nicer some days. The point I’m trying to make in an admittedly not-so-clear way is that you don’t have to change your whole personality to operate from a place of compassion. Say “please” and “thank you,” listen more, don’t interrupt, help the person that trips on the sidewalk and drops all their stuff, maybe offer a compliment every now and then. Maybe, I’ll even try to give more hugs, but I’m not making any promises. If you’re so inclined, volunteer, give blood, donate money or goods. I am certainly subpar in developing some of these good habits. However, I do believe that I will feel more fulfilled in life if I’m doing something to make someone else’s just a little bit better.

As a quick aside, there’s a lot of really gross and, well, racist commentary flying around. Being kind and compassionate does not mean that this should be allowed in your space. I think of it kind of how people talk about a person who witnesses a bully and says nothing. Saying nothing is just as bad. Don’t tolerate hate speech.

So much about this world just doesn’t make sense. We have control over how we treat people, and kindness is what the world needs right now.