I love yoga. I love it so much, but I have this uncanny ability to be critical (hopefully constructively) even when I love something and want it all to be sunshine, rainbows, and puppies… or kittens, I guess.
Here’s the yoga hill I’ll die on today. Or maybe I have two.
No group work. I talk to people all day every day, and part of the reason yoga has been so great for me is that I can go to a class full of 40 other people and talk to no one. Yoga is my opportunity to look completely inward. Something I’ve learned well, is that no one cares about the person next to them in yoga. I’m introverted, I’m shy, and I’m extremely self-conscious around new people, and knowing that no one, or at least most people are paying no attention to me, is incredibly comforting. Maybe I’m being a baby. Yoga has helped me gain a lot of confidence, but when the teacher says, “Partner up and find a wall, so we can work on our handstands,” I hear, “Partner up, so the skinny blonde next to you can see how much you suck it this.” I want to run away and never come back.
On that note, circus tricks do not belong in a level 1-2 class. Ok listen, I will accept that some of my complaints are 100% founded in my own fear of failure, and I should be more willing to try things and test my own strength. I completely own that. However, I’m also sensitive to the fact that I was once a newbie with a ton of anxieties who felt I did not belong there. I firmly believe that yoga is for everyone, and a level 1-2 class typically contains a variety of different needs and skill levels. It’s one thing to create the option for a more advanced pose when queuing a comfortable and more accessible pose for those less experienced or simply not in the damn mood that day. I’ve heard a ton of teachers do this and create an environment truly inclusive for all levels. It is possible to push people while still providing a level of comfort. That is yoga.
I criticize because I care. Thanks for reading and Namasté.
What did you do in 2018 that you’ve never done before?
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?
Cannon Beach, OR
San Diego, CA
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.
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?
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.
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?
Harrison got a new job this year. It’s kind of his first real adult job with real adult pay and real adult benefits. Although, he has yet to go to the dentist, despite the fact that he knows he probably desperately needs to. One thing we did not expect was that he would have to travel for this job as much as he has. He has been to the Washington, D.C. office three times now; the first time he traveled to the D.C. office, his trip was extended, so he could go to the New York office for a day. It was planned to be a five day trip and was extended to an eight day trip, which I felt was quite long. We’ve both traveled without the other throughout our relationship for work and pleasure, but it had never exceeded five days at a time until Harrison started this job.
Whenever he is preparing to leave, I am faced with the initial blow of painful anxiety about the loneliness I am sure to feel while he’s gone. Now, maybe some would think that is a sign of a healthy, loving relationship. Maybe it is, but I can’t help but be reminded of the codependency my mother had for my (former) stepdad, and really, any man I ever saw her in a relationship with.
This same conversation has come up again and again in my head through our 7 ½ year relationship. I am half of a partnership but still one whole person. I am holding on to my independence for dear life. I can’t be like her. I can’t. I’m better than that. I am okay on my own. I always have been, and I always will be.
The first time Harrison went out of town for work, I was a complete mess. As a life-long insomniac who is finally getting a handle on it, a change to my routine or sleep environment completely destroys any progress made. I barely slept that week. At one point, I went to Harrison’s weed stash hoping that what he had would be what he refers to “sleepy-time weed” because I can’t keep the actual strains straight. (If you ever say inidca or sativa in conversation with me, I’ll pretend I know what you’re talking about, but I don’t.) I took a risk that night, and I lost. I had a serious panic attack and was convinced that when I went to sleep, I wouldn’t wake up. This is what happens when I smoke the wrong kind of weed. I am certain I will die.
I went through the same initial motions the second time he went out of town for work and again this week. When he left for his most recent trip, I had a few brief freak-outs, I Googled, “Is it normal to feel separation anxiety when your partner travels for work?” Answer: this is totally normal. Phew.
I also cried in a Target parking lot. Going to Target has become a weird couples ritual for Harrison and me. We grocery shop there, because Red Card + Cartwheel= getting that money…or um, just spending less of it. And we make a pretty good team. We plan our meals, make lists, we get in and out in under and hour, and we keep each other from buying things we don’t need. When I’m there alone, trying to get the things that only I need for the week ahead, I feel a little lost, and I’m suddenly wandering around putting random things that look okay to consume in a basket.
I do this solo grocery shopping with the best of intentions, but deep down, I know the food may not ever be eaten because I hate cooking for one. I will inevitably be a frequent flyer at the Taco Bell drive thru.
Something was different about his last trip, though. I’d had some practice. I was able to comfortably settle into the solitude of the week alone. And it was very alone. Since his trip had him gone the week and weekend before Thanksgiving, most of my close friends were also away or had family in town. Sure, I still did not eat particularly healthily. I still went to Taco Bell, one more time than is probably acceptable. But I did slightly better than I had before. I stuck to what would be our normal routine in order to prevent severe insomnia, and that went well with the exception of the first night. I made plans for the weekend with only a short period of indecisiveness, and I actually really enjoyed my time alone. It was a great time to go see that movie that Harrison said sounded like “a total bummer.”
Harrison came home, laid down in bed and was immediately engulfed by our cats. And everything was in its rightful place again.
He’s probably going to have more trips in the coming months, and he’s going on a quick comedy tour in February. The thing I have to remind myself of is that I’ve done the solo thing before – before Harrison and for brief stints during our relationship. And damnit, I’m good at it. It’s just not my normal state after this many years of steady companionship. I have someone to go to plan meals with, to shop with, to see a movie with. I love that. But it’s easy to lose yourself in it. I’ll always be excited for him to come home, but I’m getting to a place of content and gratitude for the time I have to be alone and grow and just be.
I am an unashamed Hanson fan. I can’t even call this a guilty pleasure because I feel no guilt. I never went to see Hanson in their prime because given the choice to take me to a Hanson concert or an NSYNC concert, my dad chose NSYNC. In the late 90s, that was arguably the better option of the two. One had sweet dance moves and a rad light show, and the other, um, didn’t. However, I have seen Hanson live multiple times, since I have been able to purchase my own tickets to the show… and alcohol from the bar. I have been of legal drinking age every time I’ve seen Hanson live. Once I did a shot at a Hanson show because I was still in college and responded very well to peer pressure. I immediately when to the bathroom and vomited because I don’t get along well with Jager.
Before you get all judge-y about my appreciation of the Hanson brothers, let me ask you something: Are you still living on money you made when you were a pre-teen? Didn’t think so. Shut it. Also, I dare you not to click on this.
Furthermore, they are all multi-instrumentalists who have been practicing their craft most of their lives. Rather than trying to live up to the level of fame of that song everyone knows, they kind of did whatever they wanted after the hysteria around their first album died off. There’s something to be said for staying true to yourself regardless of popularity and generally being good dudes. We’ll get to the charity work shortly.
Okay, wait a minute. Why am I justifying this? It’s reflex, I guess. Moving on.
Hanson’s latest project is called String Theory. They are touring the country and playing with elite symphony orchestras in various cities. I can only imagine the thrill the orchestra members felt when they found out the years they spent mastering their instruments would result in playing an orchestral arrangement of “Mmmbop” while women in their 30s lose their collective shit.
The music part was excellent. I wholeheartedly enjoyed it. But I don’t know how I felt about the display of poor behavior and buffoonery I witnessed in a SYMPHONY CONCERT HALL! Let’s catalog some of these things.
Many girls were dressed in club attire, tits fully on display, posing with their best duckface in front of the stage. Full disclosure, this was a Saturday night in Downtown Denver, so maybe they were actually going to one of LoDo’s finest establishments after the concert. Also, I don’t want this to come across as shaming of any woman’s choice of clothing. I generally believe that women should wear whatever the fuck makes the feel good, regardless of the opinions of others, but consider the venue. (Also, wait a few bullet points for criticism of mens’ attire.) I would also like to note that all the Hanson brothers are married and have children. No one is leaving their wife and kids for you despite what you wished for your life in the fanfic you wrote at 15. Put your tits away!
A man sitting two seats over from me who had to have been at least 40 yelled, “This is so much fun!” It was very loud. Everyone heard it. Even if it were appropriate to yell things in a venue like this, what a dumb thing to yell.
Up in the balcony, there was some sort of pelvic thrust dance happening to the tune of “Mmmbop” accompanied by the symphony. Maybe she thought she was already at the club? I’m not sure.
The ushers told exactly one person to put their phone away before completely giving up on that.
There was a mass rush toward the stage toward stage during the last two songs.
A man wore a backwards hat.
A man in a graphic tee and cargo shorts was accompanied by his family including a daughter wearing what I think was some sort of Pokémon hat that had ears on it.
Again, all of this in a SYMPHONY CONCERT HALL.
Am I a huge snob? Maybe the symphony knew exactly what they were signing up for, and I need to loosen the hell up. Maybe the symphony taking itself (a lot) less seriously for a night is a good thing. I mean, they have movie nights at the symphony on a regular basis where they play famous movie scores like Jurassic Park and Star Wars. It’s a good way to bring people in and open them up to a new experience. And of course, it’s a good way to bring in some money. At the same time, that type of behavior or attire in that venue for any normal symphony event would just not be okay. This is not just the venue allowing Hanson to play; this is the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s house.
I went on field trips to the symphony when I was in school. We were always told to dress nicely and be on our best behavior. Don’t talk… or, uh, yell things. You treat the art and the work with respect. Did no one else have that experience?
This also isn’t the first time I’ve seen Hanson fans behave like assholes. A few years ago, I went to a show at the Bluebird Theater. They broke during their set to talk about their Take the Walk Campaign.
(For those of you unfamiliar with Hanson, which I assume is most you, Hanson use to invite fans to walk a mile with them, often barefoot, in order to raise awareness and money for various challenges plaguing many African countries.)
The oldest brother, Isaac, began speaking when someone in the crowd yelled, “Where were you?” Isaac then explained that he was talking with a friend on the phone who was starting cancer treatment, and that was the reason he did not attend. The crowd was silent and uncomfortable. Of course, whoever yelled in the crowd that night had no way of knowing, but maybe if they didn’t feel so entitled to the company of a Hanson brother, who is in fact a human being with human problems, they wouldn’t have said anything.
I don’t know what conclusion I’m trying to draw here, but it’s one of the following:
Hanson fans are dicks.
Take your damn kids to the symphony, and teach them how to behave and dress.
A weekly recommendation of things I would do if I had unlimited time– and money in some cases. Maybe I’ll make it to a couple of these things. In any case, report back if you go to any of these events.
Yoga Storytime: What a great combination of things I love! Yoga and public libraries. The city of Longmont just got a little cooler. Check this out at the Longmont Public Library on Mondays at 11am.
Next to Normal: Harrison hates community theater. I love it. How did I not know this was happening? Get to Evergreen to see this at Centerstage Theatre! Closes Tuesday 7/24.
The Girls & Gays Comedy Showcase: I’m close to the local comedy scene because of Harrison’s involvement, and I am always rooting for the comics who are not straight white men. We have plenty of those. Tickets only $5. Show starts at 8.
Livin’ in A Ho House, hosted by Felony Misdemeanor: Few things thrill me more than seeing Drag Queens come out of the gay bars and into the mainstream. Drag Queens are artists and incredibly dynamic performers, and Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is an excellent spot in Downtown Denver. Side note: I wrote a piece for Denver’s Metromix.com (R.I.P.) about some of Denver’s best Drag Queens almost 10 years ago, and Felony was one of my featured queens. Go see her in action.
Into the Woods: Wait, why don’t I have tickets to this? Phamaly Theatre company will be presenting this show at the Space Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts through August 5th. Phamaly produces shows that feature performers with disabilities, so you will not only be entertained, you will be supporting an excellent organization. Click the link for showtime and ticket information.
I hope you will find some fun this week. Let me know how it goes. Please contact me if you have an event you think I should include. But remember, this is a list of things that I would do if I had all the time. I won’t recommend just anything. Then we’re getting into advertising territory, and you’d have to pay me for that…. which I am also open to. Let’s just talk.
I recently read the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain. Reading this book was like reading about myself. Why do I get so burnt out? Why do I have such a hard time taking on other commitments outside of work, especially commitments involving people? Why do I love the days when the weather quiets the city and keeps people indoors? Why do I get so annoyed when I’m interrupted in the middle of a task at work? Why am I risk-averse? I am an introvert.
This book was incredibly validating. It even gave me some insight as to why some relationships in my life can sometimes feel strained without any fault on either side being at fault. I deeply value people who are more on the extroverted side of the spectrum because without them, I would probably miss out of a lot of great experiences. At the same time, my alone time is of serious importance for me. It’s how I recharge. It’s how I process a problem I’m having or destress. I don’t want to be pressured out of that time. I also don’t want to upset a friend by turning down an invitation. Let’s be real—invitations. Plural. It isn’t personal. I just need a little less stimulation. I came up with a list of tips based on my own experiences for extroverts who have introverted friends. Obviously, communication on both sides is very important, but I can only speak from my perspective. So, here we go.
1. It’s not personal.
I just said this, but I feel like this is worth restating. Not wanting to participate in a particular activity doesn’t mean we don’t like you, or that we’re mad at you. It probably means we need a break.
2. No means no.
Seriously though. We’re adults. Why are we still peer pressuring each other? If your introvert friend says, “no, thank you” to an invitation, I can assure you we are not looking for you to show us how bad you want us to go by begging obnoxiously. Another thing Cain points out in “Quiet” is that introverts is that we feel a higher level of guilt than others. Sure, if you beg us, we’ll probably go, but we won’t be happy about it. We’ll probably be a little annoyed with you, too.
3. Give us a minute.
A few years ago, Harrison and I took a trip to Arizona with his family. Five days… in a timeshare… with my mother-in-law… who is, um, long-winded. The first day I was back in Denver, a friend of mine immediately started to talk to me about weekend plans, and I’m pretty sure I snapped at her, which I immediately felt bad about. I didn’t understand why I did that. The truth is, I had reached my limit. Being presented with an invitation to partake in further human interaction was too much. I needed some time to recharge before making more plans, and I needed my friend to back off. Just for a little while.
4. We are bad multi-taskers.
This was a huge epiphany for me because I have thought for the longest time that I multi-task like a pro. That was incorrect. I’m just efficient, and I know how to prioritize multiple tasks and go back and forth between them. Since I read this book, I started to understand why my stress level gets as high as it does. For example, I have Skype for Business at work. This if, of course, rarely used for business. Sometimes chatting with co-workers is a great way to get through the day, but if I have too much work to get done, and I have co-workers trying to chat with me, I start to get really anxious about all of the directions I’m being pulled in. So, I ignore the blinking Skype box.
5. We know what we need.
I was going through a bit of a rough patch recently. I was sad, stressed out, unhappy with my job…all of it. A friend kept asking me to do things, and I kept saying that I just wanted to stay home and not be around people. She replied that it sometimes helps to do “low-key” things with people when you’re stressed. I’m pretty sure I wanted to throw my phone at that moment. I had just stated what I wanted—what I felt I needed at the moment, and she questioned that. I understand the inclination toward offering solutions to “fix” a problem, and that it takes an especially enlightened person to understand that most of the time, that is not possible. In a lot of cases, the best thing you can do is say, “That sucks. I’m sorry. Please let me know if you need anything.” This doesn’t only apply to an extrovert/introvert friendship. It applies to basically everyone. If someone tells you they need something, who are you to think you know better what that actually need? I know I’ve probably done this to people, too. And I am deeply sorry for that. I’
6. Calling us misanthropic might hurt our feelings.
Introverts are not misanthropes. This is about stimulation not any individual or group of people. If you read this blog or know me personally, you know I have an affinity for yoga. I know some people find yoga strange because it’s a workout with an ideology attached. But that ideology is one of loving yourself and others. I take that seriously. I believe all humans are valuable. Everyone has something to offer. Accusing someone of essentially being hateful toward others just because they recharge by being alone is rude, hurtful, and incorrect.
For these relationships to work, each side has to try to meet the other where they’re at, which is difficult. Introverts have to set boundaries for their own self-care, but also be willing to get out of their comfort zones sometimes. There might be a cool experience waiting on the other side of that comfort zone. Extroverts have to respect boundaries and be willing to back off sometimes. Sometimes, we just need different things.