The “Yucky Love Stuff”

There’s this great scene in one of my all-time favorite chick-flicks (My Best Friend’s Wedding) where Julia Roberts says “This is not about longevity. This is about me being comfortable with the yucky love stuff. And I am.”

The whole film is about her facing how she’s ran away from love (and the “yucky love stuff”) all her life until her best friend, Michael, meets and proposes to the love of his life (played by Cameron Diaz). And yet Julia always took for granted that Michael would be there for her and be in love with her. He wasn’t. Now she had to stand in his wedding and she spends the whole time trying to ruin the wedding so he doesn’t marry Cameron.

But really, Julia doesn’t want to marry Michael and she’s probably not really that comfortable with the yucky love stuff. She just doesn’t want to be alone and grow old without her best friend. And that makes sense. But she still spends the whole movie trying to ruin his wedding.

There are a lot of people like Julia. Many of them are internet commenters (although I have some great commenters here, lately) and sometimes, your own friends surprise you and are those “Julia’s.”

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Not entirely unrelated, I was just watching this Ellen clip about Mila Kunis and her pregnancy/engagement to Ashton Kutcher (celeb gossip–so sue me.). Mila’s keeping her baby’s sex and name private and she and Ashton kept the engagement ring private for two months. Something I’ve learned in life is that not everyone is supportive of happy people and sometimes it’s just best to keep your happiest moments private. The minute you start sharing how awesome your life is, the minute haters come on the scene. Let’s be honest. It’s just natural if we’re feeling shitty about our own lives to feel like no one’s life can possibly be THAT good. But sometimes life can be THAT good, and sometimes those are perfect MOMENTS (no one’s life is perfect 100% of the time), not an indication of a perfect LIFE. Either way, happy people want to be around people who are happy for them, not around people who are critical of them. And that’s why Mila and Ashton (and every other celebrity couple) keeps their private lives private–because really, one’s private life (and the up’s and down’s everyone goes through) shouldn’t be fodder for public scrutiny. Our personal lives aren’t the Hunger Games, so why should we share intimate things with the public if we don’t feel like it?

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All this to say, I’m in love and I’m happy. I’ve also kept it pretty private and am going to keep doing that until I feel like sharing it. There are a lot of reasons I wanted to do the private thing, and one of them had to do with people’s reactions to me when I first announced I was “on the market.” The amount of married/taken men on the prowl for sex seemed to jump sky high and I was getting propositioned like a straight whore during those few weeks. It was baffling. It was insulting. It was enough to make me reconsider sharing intimate details of my personal life on Facebook again, so I pulled back and kept dating, but doing so on a more low-key level.

I told the boyfriend that before I met him, I wasn’t planning on doing a public relationship–not on Facebook, not on the blog, etc. Considering how public I am with things here, I feel like it’s most respectful of him if I don’t blog too much about him/us (yet). It’s new. It’s magical. I don’t need to disclose all of those moments with the world. Maybe I will one day, but right now the story is being written and it’s all ours. It makes it more intimate to know that those memories aren’t being blasted through social media. They aren’t being hated on. They aren’t being discussed. They’re just building.

I realize the private relationship thing isn’t for everyone, but to me it makes it more sacred. Knowing that there’s at least one thing I don’t share openly with the world–moments I have all to myself with someone else, and feelings that I don’t spoil by opening up for internet opinions. This is what makes things between he and I more magical right now. It’s all ours.

What I can say is that we’ve had some magical dates and we have a lot in common–more than I expected to find in someone, to be honest. And also, I highly recommend the “yucky love stuff” because it can be pretty fucking fantastic–even (and especially when) your whole head turns to mush.

soul

Why Is “Normal” The Enemy?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how a “normal” life has been the “enemy” for so much of my life. I’m not sure exactly where I got the idea that working a 9-5, having a husband/kids/house/dog would be awful, but I lived a lot of my life craving adventure and something I was passionate for. Absolutely nothing else would do. While I still love adventure (and can’t live without passion, of course), I think I’m starting to realize that normal feels right for me right now. I’m craving stability, routine–like my puppy, Olive–and realizing this isn’t a bad thing.

I used to think normal and routine were boring. How dull and unfortunate those people were who led predictable lives. How sad not to have passion driving you to do everything you possibly can do in a short amount of time.

I don’t think that’s true anymore–or at least not in the same way I once thought it was. Having lived my 20s as one of those zealous, unpredictable people, I can tell you that the road to that much passion is paved with burnout–usually more than one burnout. For me it also involved a lot of moving and constant emotional upheaval when my passions changed or shifted (as they so often do). It wasn’t until recently, actually, that I was talking to some people (explaining this drive to constantly move and switch jobs and feel trapped in relationships) that one of them said “that sounds like a textbook case of adult ADD.” I was a bit stunned. I had never ever considered ADD as a possible reason I felt compelled to move around a lot and live on a whim and a passion.

As a group of us discussed it (and our possible ‘symptoms’) I realized there was a real possibility I had ADD. In fact, one of the group’s members shared a test you can take at home and I scored really really high on it, meaning I need to see a professional about it soon. My point is, sometimes being adventurous and passionate are amazing. Sometimes they can also come with the inability to focus, feelings of boredom or feeling trapped, not finishing projects, and sometimes instability. Sometimes the glory of adventure brings with it a lot of negative things, too.

ADD kind of makes sense for me. I’ve moved a lot. I get bored with jobs easily, especially when they’re not an intellectual challenge for me anymore or if I don’t feel I’m able to grow professionally within a company. But the most scary symptom happened to me recently and it’s what made me speak up about this pattern in the first place. I realized I had accomplished most of the things on my goal list for writing and I was starting to feel almost…bored. With my dream job. I panicked. Here I was at the most successful point in my professional life and I was starting to wonder what was next and I couldn’t find anything writing related to put on the list. The only thing I hadn’t accomplished was in-progress and going well and otherwise, there wasn’t anything left for me to try. The only thing that kept coming up on the list was to learn computer animation and start a web comic. That doesn’t mean those are bad dreams–it just meant that my whole identity was having a crisis because those aren’t writing-centric.

Writing has always been my identity and my savior. When I was a child, writing was the thing that drove me to dream. When I was depressed, writing was the thing that drove me out of bed. Writing hasn’t just been something I’ve done; it’s part of me. It’s been the thing I’ve defined myself as for years. When someone asks who I am, “I’m a writer” follows.

It still is part of me and my identity. In fact, I’ve been taking a social media break this past week to work on my writing projects. But before I considered I may have ADD, part of me was really sad that I might be getting bored with writing. Or at the very least, I wasn’t sure where else to go with my writing career. And that was very stressful.

Maybe more than that, what worries me is that my priorities are shifting. Money is now a priority for me. I’m 30 and the things that I used to consider “old people” priorities really are 30 year old priorities: houses, health insurance, 401Ks, savings plans, investments, big back yards, and vacations. It feels weird. Being in ministry meant that I was in debt, and then leaving ministry meant I was behind in earning my degree and figuring out how I wanted to make a living. Being a writer meant I could steal be an idealist, but it meant that I would be poor. I’m sorry, but I did the poor minister thing and I can’t do the poor writer thing.

I think that’s what some of this is about. For so long, “normal” (houses/health insurance/401Ks) meant that I was “settling” and I was “giving up.” The people who influenced me told me I couldn’t have “normal” things AND passion. I don’t look at it that way now. I know I haven’t given up. I’ve gotten a lot fucking smarter. I know that to finance my writing career, I need a “boring” 9-5 and some health insurance. And guess what? I have actually found a day job that pays well and makes me happy to go to work. But it’s not writing. That means I will be writing into my retirement years to get everything accomplished and that means that my day job will look pretty damn different from my night job as a writer, but after a great deal of soul searching and experimentation with “dream jobs”, I realized that I like money and stability. A lot. I like safety and safety nets. I like savings accounts and low amounts of debt. I never really realized that I would turn into what the 20 year old version of me despised and love it. But I did. And I’m okay with that.

fought to become

I love who I am, even if it looks boring to someone else. I don’t care what people think about my life’s choices, because I’ve learned that the secret to my happiness is stability. It’s to feel safe, to be prepared, to have a routine. It’s to be a bit normal. Sometimes that means wishing I could just write all day every day and instead having to go to a job that has nothing to do with writing, but I wouldn’t trade that stable feeling for anything. It’s my happiness.