Archive for May, 2017

Love, pt. I

Every time I have thought I’ve been in love it tastes different.

It tastes like cheap whiskey,

That flavor I love so much, but with a bitter aftertaste.

It tastes like ashtrays and flavored vodka.

Because it’s never really felt right.

They’ve all been variations of each other,

And all very childish forms of love.

The first was rebellious, and taught me I was more adventurous than I originally believed.

The second was traditional and tame, and taught me that I am not.

The third was manipulative, and taught me that the more I feel chained, the more I will fight back.

The fourth was kind and quiet, and taught me that I crave fire.

I’ve never felt free while in love.

I’ve always felt like I needed to play a role,

But the more comfortable I become with someone, the less I am able to restrict myself.

Holding back my real self doesn’t really sound like love,

So, to be completely honest,

I’m not sure I’ve ever truly been in love.

I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever been loved in the way that everyone writes about.

That great love.

They love parts of me,

They pick and choose like my personality is some buffet.

And when I reveal a part that they didn’t select,

They start playing offense,

Trying to take me down a notch,

Trying to keep me in line.

And as I learned the third time around,

The more I feel controlled, the more fire I will breathe,

And I will burn your life to the ground if you try to chain me to it.

So although I count four men,

No – boys,

Maybe I haven’t been in love at all.

But that’s okay.

I’ll just keep my fire burning,

Keep expanding my boundaries,

Keep climbing mountains,

And loving with all of my heart,

And maybe someday I’ll meet someone who sees a woman who breathes fire and thinks,

Where have you been all my life?

Because I want a love that tastes like rich coffee and fresh rain,

Something that doesn’t leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

I want a love that gives me butterflies and keeps me on my toes,

That makes me laugh so hard my stomach hurts.

I want a love that is empowering and supportive,

Two separate lives that choose to build a life together.

Oh,

I want a love that can breathe fire, too.

Advertisements

Just keep smiling.

“He’s kicking your ass and you just keep smiling and laughing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a client smile so much during a training session before.”

Das me. I’m a smiler. I work very hard to keep my mind positive even in the face of adversity. I smile when I’m cleaning, when I’m gaming, when I’m working out, even when I’m sore as hell.

I started with a personal trainer today because I’m diving head first into lifting. It’s been so long since I’ve felt comfortable in a weight room, and this summer I decided to put my health first and throw some of my well earned savings account money into a new gym and a few training sessions.

Despite the fact that once upon a time, football players and wrestlers used to refer to me as ‘The Beast,’ I am currently very weak. That’s not an exaggeration. I’m weak. It’s annoying. But! I’ve put my body through hell over the past few years by partying and by measuring my health by the number on the scale instead of strength and energy levels. I was thin, but I wasn’t healthy. Then I wasn’t thin, but I was much healthier. Now I’ve leaned out a bit, and I’m trying to get my muscle mass back. It won’t happen overnight, but I’m already so glad I decided to commit to lifting again. I missed it so much.

It’s frustrating, and I’m vocal about it to my trainer and the other guys who were chatting us up in between reps and exercises. I used to have a decent bench and squat, and now I struggle with just finishing a set. Yes, it pisses me off. But muscle doesn’t grow in five seconds, and I’m doing what I can just by being back in a gym again. I’m not going to spend the whole time scowling and being angry. More often than not, anger is a total waste of energy.

So I joke about it. I poke fun at myself. I smile and laugh and keep my head up. Someone once told me that when I smile, I become a giant ball of sunshine. I want to be that constantly. I’m happy. There are things in my life that I want to improve and still need to work on, but for the most part, I’m a happy person. Which is hilarious because I used to be a pessimist who thought that I couldn’t ever be happy while single. Well hey, look at me over here proving myself wrong. It’s great.

It sounds so cliché, but when you fall in love with yourself, it’s really hard for the trivial shit to get you down.

I’ll get stronger. I’m already making progress.

I’m going to get a job. I JUST graduated a little over a week ago. I’m allowed some time to chill out before jumping back into a hectic schedule.

Eventually I’ll meet someone I click with that doesn’t think I’m too weird or too nerdy or too much and who wants me in their life.

Until then, I’m just gonna keep laughing and smiling.

Rain is my second favorite scent.

I love severe weather. I think it puts us in our place as human beings. We’re too cocky of a species. We think we’ve removed ourselves from the food chain and everything that exists on the planet is for our taking. Weather does a good job of reminding us how minuscule we are.

Insanely powerful storms leave us trembling in closets or basements. Torrential downpours flood our streets and land. Straight line winds uproot giant trees and blow roofs off houses. Frigid ice storms forbid us from leaving our homes. I love it. After all, as I wrote last time, I’m a big fan of finding the magic in reality.

Rain is probably my favorite. I am a double water sign, after all. Pisces sun, Scorpio moon. Two of the most intuitive and powerful water signs. Water connects me to something else. I wish I could explain it, although if I could, you would all probably think I was insane. Perhaps I am. I’ve always felt connected to something higher. Not necessarily God, but… something.

I’m not a religious person. I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth for organized religion since I was a child. But there’s something about nature and energy that I can get behind. Severe storms always recharge me in a weird way, and they always seem to come around when I need the energy.

My world turned upside down when I finished school. I’ve been running this insane marathon and I finally finished. I’m job hunting, but I’m quickly learning that my degree means a lot less than most middle aged adults led me to believe. I feel that I no longer have a place. A purpose. I’m not depressed, I’m just a little lost. Getting back in a gym has helped a little, although I’m wildly disappointed by how much strength I’ve lost over the years. It’ll come back. It’s just hard to remember the weights that I used to be able to bench and squat and I can’t even come close to that right now.  Also my arms feel like they could just melt off my body.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I just stood outside and watched the storm for a few minutes and felt like writing, but I don’t really have anything specific to write about because I spend most of my days alone.  It’s not a bad thing. I’d rather have a small circle that I can depend on than countless friends that don’t care for me much. I learned that lesson awhile ago.

Anyway, listening to this storm is like listening to a lullaby for me, so I’m going to lay in bed and cuddle my dog (who is deathly afraid of thunder) and doze off. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have something more interesting to write about.

“Writers end up writing about their obsessions,”

Now that college is (finally) over, and I’m in that void of time where I’ve submitted countless applications and spend most of my time patiently waiting around for my phone to ring for an interview, I’ve been reading a lot.  I struggle with having a lot of free time. I like to keep busy. I actually find myself more exhausted after a day of doing nothing than when I get up at 5 am and have a fully packed schedule until 10 pm.  I’m reading a lot of books that I set aside this past semester because I was too busy reading psychology research.  My aunt gave me Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg as a graduation gift.  She knows I’m a writer who has always dreamt of publishing books, and she thought it would be a good addition to my bookshelves.

This quote actually came from one of the many prefaces, and it made me realize so many things about my writing.  Writers end up writing about their obsessions. What do I write about nine times out of ten? People.

Obsession can be a dirty word.  It can have a lot of negative context and can make it sound like you are crafting your world around something specific.  But I don’t think it always has to be that way.  To be honest, if I had the funds to travel more often, I would probably spend most of my time writing about that. But I’m a brand-spankin’-new college grad who can’t even afford to move out of my home state at the current time, so I doubt I’ll be publishing any pieces on how beautiful Bali is anytime soon.

I’m an extremely observant person. I think it was born out of naturally being the quiet girl, and as I got older and more confident in myself, I never stopped watching people. Not everyone catches my eye; there has to be something about them. It’s an energy thing. Every once in awhile I meet someone who has a truly unique vibe, and they catch my attention. I almost always end up writing about them.

My first version of my blog was almost my own version of 13 Reasons Why, where I singled people out without ever naming them (but making it glaringly obvious who I was referring to) and wrote about how they hurt me and blah blah blah. I was in a lot of pain back then and I was fairly (okay, very) immature. You think you know everything when you’re twenty, and it turns out you don’t know shit. Hell, I’m twenty-five and still don’t know shit.  But still, I was writing about people.

I’ve found old diaries, old livejournal URLs, notebooks from high school where I filled empty pages with narrative about my life, and it’s all about people.  People that I noticed. People that I wanted to be. People that I wanted to know.

I’ve always known I wouldn’t ever be a novelist because I’m not a huge fiction junkie. It’s not that I don’t read it, it’s just that it has to be pretty damn good for me to actually make it to the end. I get bored with fiction because it isn’t real. Yes, it sounds so wonderful, but in the end, it doesn’t actually exist. I’d rather try to find the magic in reality.

I fall in love with people every day. I think people are magical. I love learning all the unique quirks about the people in my life, and there are some people I could just sit and listen to them talk for hours because I think they are magnificent thinkers.

It’s really fitting that I got a degree in psychology, honestly. Even though I picked it for selfish reasons, it wound up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was able to learn more about how and why people do the things they do. But that’s neither here nor there.

I have an obsession with people. I think it’s incredible how we’re all basically made up of the same core things, and yet we’re all unique individuals. So that’s what I write about. I write about my experiences meeting new people, spending time with them, things that catch my eye.  Sometimes it makes it to this blog, sometimes it’s poetry on my tumblr, sometimes it never sees the light of day.

Maybe it’s creepy. I used to feel so self-conscious about it. I remember when I published my first impression series a few summers ago, I was so nervous that the people I was writing about would think it was so weird, but they were all so flattered. That’s the thing. If you make enough of an impression on an artist that you inspire something in them, it should be taken as a compliment. That’s all I mean by it.

I’m just trying to show you all how magnificent you are.

Graduation.

Rebecca Ann Laird. Psychological Sciences.

That’s what they said.  They read it off my little green card.  As I stood on the marker, waiting to hear my name before I could walk across the stage and accept my diploma folder, I could feel my blood rushing.  I know that’s what they said because it was on the card, but all I heard was “Rebecca,”

I couldn’t stop smiling.  Earlier in the week I was making remarks about how I wish my parents didn’t insist on me participating in the ceremony, but in that moment of being handed a fancy folder that didn’t actually contain anything of value, I felt so proud of myself.

I still am.  I am proud of myself.  I am inspired by what I actually overcame to get to this point.  I teared up when one of the speakers mentioned overcoming personal obstacles to reach this point. I wasn’t expecting that to be mentioned, and I had this moment of, Oh yeah.

Five years isn’t that long.  It’s flown by.  But if you go back to when I was 19-21, camped out at rock bottom, trying to find happiness at the bottom of a bottle, and then look at who I am now, it doesn’t even look like the same person.

I am inspired. To be better. To do more. To try new things.

Even after I began to start over, I still held myself back because I felt ashamed of my experience. I’m done with that. I have finally forgiven myself for my actions during that time period.  I’m not proud, but I did the best I could at the time.  The details really do not matter anymore.  The only thing that matters is that I am alive.

I’m not going to settle because I’m afraid or because I feel like I don’t deserve to be happy or achieve great things.

I hope the memory of walking across that stage remains as vivid as it is in my mind right now.  It was this moment of clarity, where everything fell into place, and I felt it. This is just the beginning.

I held my empty diploma folder above my head as I walked off that stage and out of the gymnasium, and even though my feet were KILLING me, I couldn’t stop smiling and I felt like I was on top of the god damn world.

What’s next?

Well, let’s find out.

Calm before the storm.

I went on a hike today with a friend I met in a class this past semester and one of his friends. We got out of town a bit and got lost among trails and creeks.  Pretty early on we abandoned even following an official trail, and jumped into the rocky creek and explored.  It was one of the best mornings I’ve had in a long time.  Or ever, really.  I’m still exhausted from the almost three hour adventure.

I’ve always loved going on runs through parks or walking Dallas and just zoning out to my music, but there was something about today.  Out there in the boonies, with no cell signal, no headphones, just me and a couple of friends, my anxiety was silenced.  I felt so comfortable with myself, and the beauty of the area actually took my breath away.

There was a moment though, between climbing through teetering creek rocks, and when we decided that a tree was a good bridge to cross some water, there was a period where two of us sat, and the other skipped rocks, and it was just… quiet.

It was raining. Not hard, but still precipitating.  Somehow, even sitting in the open, we didn’t get totally soaked. The surrounding trees shaded us enough.  But you could hear the birds, the rain on the leaves of the trees, C skipping rocks, and it was the most peaceful period of time I’ve ever experienced.  Nobody was talking. We were all just there, in the moment.

And in that moment, I felt calm. I am not someone who ever feels calm.  I am an extremely Type A personality that likes routines and schedules and has a hard time doing nothing without panicking about other things that need to be done.  I’m wound pretty tight. It’s not great, and I’m working on it. I’m a lot better than I used to be. But I felt so calm then, and really the whole time I was with them I felt like that. I felt calm and accepted and content. Minus the few minutes of me walking across a fallen tree to get across water and praying I wouldn’t fall, because my phone was definitely in my pocket. (Somehow I didn’t fall, and I’m still insanely proud of myself for managing to do that.) 

But being out there, I forgot about everything. I forgot about how I just quit my crappy retail job for the sake of my sanity.  I forgot about how, despite countless applications to real jobs, I haven’t received any phone calls for interviews.  I forgot about all the family I have coming into town for my graduation.  I forgot I was even graduating on Saturday.

I was just out in the woods, with wet shoes and a couple of super chill guys, living in the moment.

I honestly could have stayed out there forever.

The drive back into town slowly brought me back to reality, and as soon as I got back into my own car, my mind immediately filled with everything I need to do over the next couple of days.

I think I need to go on hikes more often.

Quit the bullshit.

I think one of the most interesting things that has happened to me as I’ve gotten older is my shift in perception. I feel like I view everything so differently than I used to. And yes, obviously some of that is just typical growing up and forming your own opinions, but it’s also a product of the things that happen to you. Nobody makes it to twenty-five without something that changed them. Mine is obvious, it’s something I’ve written countless pieces about and still makes me look at the world a little differently: my war with mental illness. I’m still getting used to living in the sunshine that only exists in a mentality that doesn’t suffer from clinical depression.

One thing that tagged along with my depression was some severe body image issues.  This has been something that’s affected me for a long time, and part of that is being female, and the other part is being a perfectionist who always wants to be the best.  Newsflash: perfect doesn’t exist.

If you’ve known me for longer than about three years, you would know that I gained some weight. Sixty pounds over the course of a year, to be exact. There are reasons this happened, but none of them matter for the purpose of what I want to talk about, or really at all. People gain weight, shit happens.  I had personally never weighed that much, and it freaked me the fuck out.  I went into denial about my weight.  I avoided scales, mirrors, and fitted clothes.  I was so ashamed that I had gained so much, and I truly began to hate my body.  This also lined up with the time that I swore off men, which shouldn’t be a shocker: I was terrified of being naked in front of someone.

I didn’t really start to lose the weight until I got to a much healthier mental state.  It took a while, and that weight lingered and some came off just naturally.  I transferred to a school with a big ass campus that made me walk exponentially more than I was used to walking, and I lost some of the weight just by walking to class.

Eventually I got to a place where I accepted myself. I let go of the demons of my past and I began to let myself start over.  I’ve lost 40 pounds since then. This isn’t really about my *transformation,* it’s just hard to get to my point without giving some background.

I bought shorts last week for the first time in… six years?

I’m not even kidding.  The funny thing is that at one point during those six years where I was refusing to wear shorts, I was the thinnest I have ever been in my life.  Not healthy whatsoever, but thin as fuck.  I remember thinking I looked so fabulous and sexy, and I look back on full body photos of myself from being unhealthily thin, and I am lanky as fuck.  The thing is, I’m not really tall enough to ever be lanky, but that’s just how thin I was.

I’ve gotten to this point where I’m so happy with myself and with my life and what is going on right now that somehow, I have managed to love my body.  It took me twenty-five years, but I did it. I’m not sure I’ve ever been authentically myself until recently, and it’s so liberating and refreshing.

I still want to be stronger.  I want to be able to run farther without stopping and be able to lift higher weights and throw harder punches. But I’m so sick of being hot in the summer from wearing jeans when everyone else is in shorts.  I’m sick of comparing my body, my athletic af, 5’9″ frame that has, what I like to call, linebacker shoulders, to the bodies of my 5’0″ friends who barely hit 110 pounds.  You know when the last time I weighed 110 was? 5th grade.

I was hardcore bullied throughout school for being so pale that I blinded people.  I’m a natural redhead, ya’ll. I’m really white. I get it. But I should still be allowed to wear shorts during a midwestern summer.  I manage to get a little tan, but I never try too hard because it usually comes after burning a few times.  So I didn’t wear shorts because I was too white, and then I didn’t wear shorts because I thought I had thunder thighs. No matter the reason, I was still sweating my ass off during summer.

It’s just bullshit.

I’ve been writing some poetry-esque stuff on my tumblr, and I wrote this thing the other day that I really connected with as it poured out of me.  It was basically about giving up bullshit, and I realized that THAT was the difference between the new and the old me.

I’m over it. All of it.

I’m a very blunt, sarcastic person who likes to poke holes in people’s logic and is a boss at Zelda and tbh, like most people, I’m really fucking weird.  Because that’s what makes us unique as individuals.  I dance, a lot.  I almost always have music playing and I’m always dancing.  I have conversations with my dog, and I’m pretty sure she knows what I’m saying.

Around March or so, maybe early April? I stopped hiding.  I started talking to people who I felt like I had something in common with. I started being more honest about who I am.  I started really getting into my workouts and appreciating the things my body is capable of.  I started loving myself unapologetically.

Fun fact: there was a point in time where I regretted my tattoos because I wasn’t sure that I could actually pull them off, and I felt like I looked stupid.  MY TATTOOS.  You know, the things that I got to mark significant events in my life and things about myself and who I am.  The fact that I have tattoos means I can pull them off.  Plain and simple.

Embrace who you are. Love your body, whether you’ve lost weight or you still want to. This isn’t about some transformation where I now love my body.  That transformation happened because I started to accept myself. Wear what you want, what makes you feel sexy, what makes you feel good. For me, that typically means wearing vans when everyone around me is wearing heels.  It doesn’t make me less feminine or beautiful. It just makes me, well, me.

Love yourself and the world will follow.  You don’t have to have it all perfectly together and know exactly what you’re doing. Embrace the unknown.  Figuring out what happens next is the fun part, because it can be whatever the fuck you want.

I thought I was out of vices to quit, turns out I had one left: bullshit.

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 5.45.03 PM