Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lesson. Learned.

In my pursuit of personal hobbies, I'm introduced to a buffet of original personalities. And in my close relationships I am lucky enough to have some truly amazing people surround my life; all possessing qualities I find admirable and worth exposing vulnerability and honesty.  Now that I feel confident in these relationships, I have to admit that it wasn't easy "courting" a new friend and getting to a place that is most personally revealing - ugly and beautiful.

Finding good friends isn't so different from dating really.  There's the awkward beginning stages when you are trying to decide if it's even worth a pursuit. And once you decide this is someone you want around, you begin testing and bending boundaries, yours and theirs.  The whole practice of making new friends, finding deep connections, and maintaining meaningful bonds takes time and effort from both parties if it's going to sustain anything longer than a "it got me through the rough spots" rendezvous.

But really, I'm not aiming to discuss my dear friendships.  It's no secret to anyone who knows me or by my previous blog posts that I adore my friends.  I am blessed and rich with meaningful relationships.  Really, I want to discuss those on the fringe.  People you may have, at one point in time, thought of as a friend.  Or those who seem to want to get in, past the gate and through the corridor of your more secret self.  I've had plenty of these friendships.  I tend to fall easily for people possessing seemingly vulnerable qualities, charming smiles, and the ability to steal me away from reality.  And I allow their needs to be met while ignoring my own and never feeling that I'm of a value to them or to myself.  Those friendships typically end with egg being thrown on my face and my time, compassion, and care ultimately thrown away..  I've learned a lot from these individuals.  Mainly that I need to take more time to learn and meet their intentions before I go and expose my heart.  It's a tough lesson but one that has helped guard my time and nurturing, making sure it's not wasted on emotional vampires.

At 34 I still find it amazing how many times I've allowed someone to take over and control me.  Now why on earth would someone who is opinionated, self sufficient, and educated allow anyone to control their time and emotions?  God I wish I knew the answer to that. Some instances I have found that it was almost a prize to conquer and claim this loud woman as theirs.  Theirs. Theirs in every sense of the word - friend, playmate, possession.  Meanwhile stunting my own growth to help nurture others' dreams and goals. Well, this has been the year of peeling back those layers to discover why I have found myself in that position more times than I care to admit.  I could say that I was taught to be controlled, that I was conditioned to allow someone to make my decisions for me, or that it's easier than putting up the fight.  I could even argue that society has encouraged me as a woman to be the peace-maker and pick my battles. All of that could be true.  In fact I find a lot of truth in all those assumptions.  However, now that I've seen it laid out, recognized the patterns, and discovered the freedom in saying "No", what do I do with it?  How do I move forward and reclaim my space and time (physically AND mentally) without blocking new opportunities and potentially meaningful friendships?  I guess I approach it with a Nike mentality, "Just Do It".

2011 was a big deal to me.  I went into the new year knowing things were about to change dramatically.  They had to.  It was over due and ripe for newness.  Change always comes with a great deal of loss.  It is impossible to change without loss.  And I still get caught in my head asking the same questions over and over.  But the new part?  I've regained trust.  I've rediscovered with truth about what it takes to have a meaningful relationship with others and most importantly I've discovered what it takes to have a meaningful relationship with myself. And it's not perfect.  I fight those self deprecating thoughts daily, hourly even.  But when I lay my head on the pillow at night I go to sleep with trust.  And that's new.  Even to some of my oldest relationships I've rediscovered a trust that is unmoving and completely justified.  I've even learned to trust myself a little more.  Trust that my instincts are right, that I'm allowed to speak up when something doesn't seem honest, and trusting that I'm still young enough to dream. 

As cliche as it sounds, there is truth to the simple saying "It's tough out there".  It is a cruel world and everyone is only looking out for number one.  Put yourself on the top of that list and see what happens.  Of course it comes with loss.  Standing up for yourself will definitely weed out those who care for you vs. those who care to control and manipulate you.  I'm finally not only seeing but accepting those truths.  And it has been ugly at times but ultimately healing and renewing.  And....it's only the beginning.  Growth only goes upward.  To stop it would be to kill it and I refuse to stop growing.

Onward into 2012 we go......

Carrie X

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hello. My Name is Carrie. How Can I Help You?

This is an incredibly busy time of the year.  Work can be very stressful and I seem to be burning the candle at both ends and find myself with a very short fuse.  Lucky for me I have friends who not only understand the stress, but allow me to just be whatever it is I need to be without taking it personally.  God love them.

I work with the public.  I talk to strangers every single day and I am introduced to various personalities, backgrounds, cultures, and stereotypes. It's fascinating really.  And I try very hard to address people by their first name or Mr. and Mrs - however they've introduced themselves to me.  Typically this results in mutual respect and things are pleasant.  It's simple really - be kind and get kindness in return. 

What I find interesting about talking to strangers is the way they react to their names.  For instance, just yesterday I spoke with a woman and midway through our conversation I used her name again.  At that moment her voice lightened and she became more engaged in the call.  It was as if she wasn't accustomed to being personally addressed.  By the end of our talk her voice had more confidence and was less crackly.  Saying her name gave her confidence.  Wow.  Her name.  The power of words can be significant.  Especially when saying and acknowledging someone's name.  But tt really is that simple sometimes.

Another situation I commonly find myself in is reassuring someone that even if they know very little about the arts, they aren't stupid.  So many times a man will call wanting to surprise his wife or lady friend and say something to the effect of "Help me out.  I'm pretty ignorant".  And while the literal definition of ignorant may apply, it's a bit harsh in these circumstances.   OK so you've never seen a ballet.  Well, guess what Johnny Q. Public, you've made the effort to take her out on a date.  It was a selfless act on your part so give yourself some credit.  And at those moments I like to take a little extra time to explain how they will enjoy the athleticism of the dancers and probably walk away with a new appreciation.  Usually this sets them at easy and they are even more open to talk about their limited exposure to anything of this nature.  It's ok!  We can't all be connoisseurs of everything artistically inclined!  By the end of our conversations I've found myself with a new appreciation for those willing to try something so far outside their comfort zones that they feel obligated to announce their trepidation.

Sometimes I get very overwhelmed with my work.  I'm here to make people happy.  Even on days I don't feel happy, it's my duty to smile and be the warm, welcoming face of the ballet.  And when I'm feel like my own world is crumbling and I'm lost, lacking personal creativity outlets, and generally in a sour mood, it's Carrie who will make the first impact on their opinion.  It can be a big challenge but I have to say it keeps me on my toes.  And it offers a sweet reminder of the truth behind the word humility.

I've found it to be true 99.99% of the time that if you give kindness, you get it in return.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All This and More

It's November.  I've turned 34 and had a most excellent birthday.  The entire day was special and I felt very loved.  My dear friends were glorious and I just wanted to squeeze their little necks to death. I mean what more could a girl ask for?  But now it's time to turn our thoughts toward Thanksgiving and what that means to Americans.  Dear god that's a loaded statement.

When I was a kid my family used to take turns talking about what we were most thankful for.  As my sister and I aged, so did the maturity of our gratefulness.  It went from "I'm thankful for my toys" to "I am thankful for you".  This year I have done a lot of reflecting over the past 12 months since the last Thanksgiving and I know what I'm most thankful for.  So, here you are in no particular order.

I'm thankful I never dated guys named Paul, Barry, or Don. For some reason I've never found myself attracted to these names.  But as Shakespeare would say..."What's in a name?"  A lot apparently.  I'm so picky.

I'm grateful for plenty of vegetarian options. When I stopped eating mammals and birds 7 years ago, I was a little frightened that I wouldn't find much in the way to delicious food.  WRONG!  It's very easy to find eats and create non-meat options.

I'm happy for pets.  Pets are such a gift and can be a very rewarding partnership on lonely nights when you just want a warm body to curl up with.  They don't judge or hold grudges.  They just love on you and expect you to be their heated furniture on cold nights.  I love my fur babies!

I'm thankful for music.  Without music my life, our lives would lack beauty and creativity.  Music helps us express our feelings and find solace.  It can be a good friend and a muse when the words just don't come to us.  With or without lyrics, music is the acknowledgment of the spirit and soul.  Brilliant minds like Beethoven and Mozart gave us symphonies to enlighten and delight our senses and wake up our hidden feelings - good and bad.  Music can lead to dance, dance can lead to expression, expression leads to freedom. Thank you for the music!

Lip balm!  Thank god for lip balm!  It's one addiction I'm not ashamed of and should I ever be an investor, it will be in Chapstick.  I'm proud of my moisturized lips and I will never be caught without a tube of lip balm on my person.  It is as essential to my well being as water and rest.  Love you lip balm!  You've never let me down!

I'm so very grateful for the moon.  What a beautiful, mysterious, glorious gift in the sky.  When she's full, she's magnificent.  And in the crescent, half, new, or barely seen stages, she's always there to remind me that natural beauty is always present to those who choose to look up.  The moon is a gift that can be enjoyed alone, or with the people you love.  There is a magic to stopping and staring into the sky to gaze in wonder of something so huge, so far away, but always and forever looking down on us begging to be noticed.  I'm very sorry for those who don't take time to peer.  Just look up!

Finally, and most importantly, I am extremely thankful for my family and friends.  2011 has been a challenging year of loss.  From death to separation, it has been overwhelmingly rough at times.  And all throughout those difficult moments, I've been blessed to have the love and support of my dear ones.  I could never ask for more nor could I have ever imagined how beautifully lucky I would be to have these people in my life.  My parents and sister are a treasure.  Together we've experienced  grief and pain and pulled together as a tightly knit unit to lift and uphold one another.  We've also experienced indescribable joy together from delighting in the most simple moments in life.  My parents taught me that love is the center of our life force.  It is the unexplainable emotion that drives us to live passionately and love without regret.  My sister taught me to express my heart and not fear the truth that lies deep inside my spirit. I love my family.  I look at them and see where I'm from and where I can go because no matter what, they have granted me with the gifts of love and I carry them in my heart at all times. Thank god for you, family. Thank god. I love you with every piece of my heart.  I love you.

Likewise with my beautiful friends.  I cannot fathom a life without wonderful friends.  What a gift to have a family to love you and then find friends who love you as much as those who welcomed you into this world.  They are my companions, my confidants, my entertainment, and my favorite part of each day.  And no matter how many times I tell them I love them, it never seems enough considering how much they've given me that can never be counted in material wealth.  And no matter what lies in the future, I have been gifted to share this time with them and I value every beautiful second.  Thank you my loves.  You inspire me to be my best and allow me to be my ugliest. You are handed to me from God and that should never go unacknowledged. I love you all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

13 Things *Idiot* Men Should Know

Now, before I proceed I need to clarify two things.  1. I really enjoy lists and 2. I'm not a man hater. The truth is, I enjoy men and have spent most of my life involved in some kind of mad crush on one or two at a time.  However, at this point in my life I feel it necessary to make some *idiot* men aware of a few things.  Let's get started:

13. Over waxing your eyebrows makes you a creep!
Man grooming in very important and appreciated.  Nobody wants to look at the Wolfman.  However, if your eyebrows are more sculpted and waxed than your lady friend, she will assume you are going to hide her in your basement to make a skin suit in the Buffalo Bill fashion. Eek!
My aunt called and wants her eyebrows back!

12. Balding happens.  Get over it!
Naturally a lot of men fear hair loss. We are inundated with hair growth product commercials and the message is: You can't be bald!  False! Just take a cue from proud baldies such as Bruce Willis and Michael Jordan and work the shiny head.  However you decide to rock the balding head, stay away from the Trump-esque comb over. This is not desirable to females of any age and will make you look like Creepy Uncle Touch-a-lot.
Craiglist newest personal ad pic

11. It's kind of cute that you're scared of the dark....
But don't milk it.  Now that our society has allowed for men to be more emotionally open, it's not unlikely to see a full grown man openly displaying his fear and sorrow in a theatre or on the sofa during movie night.  But when the man turns into a shivering simpleton it only comes across one of two ways.  Either you're "special" or you think your emotional vulnerability will get  you laid. Wrong! Please don't ask the woman to check under your car for the boogey man.  It's just weird. And if scary movies really do scare the hell out of you, opt for something funny.
BOO! Muhahaha.

10. Mistaking Yanni for classical music is detrimental.
If a lady friend tells you her favorite classical composer is Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Liszt...or whoever, acknowledge her fine taste in music and go to the library the very next morning and study up. Do not make the mistake of popping in your mother's old Yanni cd as a tool of seduction.  She will laugh at you, tell all her friends, and probably post it on Facebook and Twitter. And you deserve it.
This man is not Beethoven!!

9. Joey Buttafuocco and Lisa Nowak
If you don't know these names, do a Google search.  We want to avoid situations like these, i.e. married to/dating a psychopath while getting involved/sleeping with another psychopath.   They never end well and you will probably find yousrlelf either dead or internationally humiliated and forever tied to the astronaut diaper mayhem. Yikes!!!

8. Never list Nickelback and/or Creed in your top faves!
Okay.  If you own albums by either bands, burn them!  If you can't see yourself parting with them, well, keep it as a dirty little secret.  You're allowed to have one...or two.  But never, ever publicly out yourself as a fan. The only women these bands will attract are middle aged groupies and high school chicks.  Neither demographic is datable. Do yourself a favor and check out new music on Pandora Radio. Try typing in something like Florence and the Machine, U2, Sam Cooke, or The Beatles and it will create a station for your to browse and discover some good music.

With arms wide open......no thanks!  I'd rather not.

7. Chain restaurants are not an option for authentic international cuisine.
Go on!  Enjoy the Olive Garden and PF Chang's if you must! Just don't mistake them for genuine international food experiences.  They are created and designed by major corporations to serve crap food at high prices with labels like "From the hills of Tuscany..." Don't be fooled.  These places are nothing more McDonald's with a little more lipstick.  I'm not saying you can't like them.  I'm simply letting you know that it's crap. The Olive Garden was conceptualized and opened by General Mills for god's sake!  Ya!  The people who make Count Chocula!

6. Chicks dig Snoop Dogg
They do! Just sayin'.  And...you're welcome.
Fo shizzle!

5. Edward Cullen is a fictional vampire.
If you are not well versed (and let's hope you aren't) in teen fiction novels, let me shed some light on said character.  Edward Cullen is a pasty, whiny, overly sensitive excuse for a romantic lead in a series of  young adult romance novels called Twilight.  His 700 year old carcase is in love with an angsty high school girl who is also involved with an idiot werewolf.  Want to vomit yet?  Now, you may be curious as to why I even mentioned this Cullen fellow, right?  Well, the truth is there are loads of adult women who find themselves wrapped up in the Twilight drama and want to be the next Mrs. Sparkling Cullen.  Ya, so if she mentions that name ask for the check, taker her home, and end it.  She's completely insane.
700-year-old sparkling douchebag!

4. Never under estimate the power of a lesbian.
Typically when men make mention of lesbians, they are referring to bleach blonde make-out pornWell, I'm not going there.  I'm referring to a real, only-likes-women, not interested in you sexually, totally lesbian, lesbians.  Experimentals need not apply.  A real lesbian pal will not only arm punch you like a man, but she'll make you laugh and her pure bred will definitely help you pick up the ladies at the dog park.
My favorite!

3. And speaking of homosexuals, do not be threatened by her gay friends!
It makes you look stupid and insecure! Sure he's an attractive male, but c'mon did you meet the guy?  Every girl needs her unicorn friend(s) and if you sit and worry that he's going to woo her away from you, then you're an idiot.  And don't assume that just because he's gay he must have a crush on you. That's also an major offense. Always remember, if you tell her his gayness makes you uncomfortable she'll assume you're either in the closet yourself or a homophobe and she'll dumb your sorry ass.
Blame it on cartoons in the 80's, but girls love their gays!

2. Women fart.
I'll let you mull over that one and we'll move on.  But it's true.  Gasp!  They are human, too.

1. Pointy boots and Ed Hardy gear is never appropriate! 
I'm not kidding.  If you own pointy boots and even one Ed Hardy t-shirt, throw it away!  Trash that sucker.  I don't care if it was designed by a Frenchman, it's a horrible abomination that must be destroyed.  Unless you're dressing up for Halloween as a douchebag, there isn't one good reason to wear it on a date, to the gym, or anywhere else you are seen in public.  Leave it for the biker wannabe weekenders and moonlighting investment bankers who think they can still date 20-year-olds  Eww.

Not. Cool. Ever.

And those are my 13 points every *idiot* man should know.  To wrap it up, don't be a homophobic, Ed Hardy wearing douchebag who listens to Nickelback on the way to the Olive Garden after you faked your way through a scary movie to hit it with a psychotic Twilight fan who is weirded out by your over waxed eyebrows and terrible comb-over.  Got it?

Carrie X

Friday, September 2, 2011

Monday Night Smack Down

I can’t always predict what may happen during the week.  My life, even in the Dust Bowl, can be very interesting.  This is mainly due to the fact that I am surrounded by very interesting people.  And I’m grateful because it promises something truly unique will happen.  Late Sunday night I got a call from my friend, Claudio.
“Carrie! Guess what we’re doing tomorrow night?”
“We’re going to WWE!!!”
Now, let me set this up properly.  My friend isn’t Johnny Midwest.  No, he is in fact Italian…from Italy. This is only his second year in the states.   This guy will try anything once and has the gift of enjoying the oddities in life.  Yes! Of course I was excited!  WWE with a Euro on a random Monday night?  Yes please! 
We got to the BOK CENTER to find our tickets weren’t just great, they are ringside! Oh my god.  Oh mio dio!  We sat directly behind the announcers’ box, tv cameras swimming around us the entire time.  This was, after all, being filmed live and aired on the USA network.  I should have brushed up on my wrestle mania because I was a little lost on the story line and had no idea who these guys were and why the pony tail man was so upset.  My only association to this sport is Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and the days when it was referred to as WWF.  So, when the beefy guys started yelling at one another I had to pay attention, but I found myself easily distracted by the crowds of screaming fans who obviously had vested interest in the drama unfolding.  One man sitting near us, we’ll call him Mr. Intense, seemed to have a personal relationship with these guys.  He heckled and hollered throughout the dialogue between pony tail man and tattoo guy as if he were the third party in this steroid induced soap opera.  Mr. Intense was very disappointed when pony tail man’s friend made his way to the stage and admitted to lying about a contract he was recently offered.  At this point I was completely lost.  What the hell is going on?
Finally, the first fight started and the music and lights found Carrie in a wide-eyed state of awe and wonder.  I was ready for some blood and carnage.  To our dismay, these fights weren’t like the gruesome gore fests of the early WWF days.  Instead, the beef cakes moved through tricks and techniques like an actor marking through a piece; never really committing to breaking a sweat.  This is not to say they didn’t occasionally dive on to one another from the ropes, but I remember the days when they’d smash chairs on heads and faces were cracked open and bleeding.  Compared to the 80’s, these guys were nothing but pumped up cry babies in spandex panties.

“C’mon boys!  I can see your vagina from here!!!”
At one point we looked up at the giant monitor and saw our ridiculous faces and realized we were on tv.  Shit. We look like pro wrestling virgins cupping our mouths and laughing.  Completely opposite from the flag waving “blue bloods” around us yelling at the ring as if they had laid down some Benjamins on this fight.  And I’m sure most of them had.  After all, it’s totally real, right?
At last it was the ladies turn! A bouncy blond emerged with her bestie.  I couldn’t imagine how this would end considering she looked as though her spray tan may rub off on her pretty white shorts.  She looked like a Cheeto and her breasts were perfectly perky and her extensions gave her a pre-baby Britney Spears look, but I as into it.  Unfortunately she was tag-teamed by twins and lost the match.   I was cheering for beefy Barbie though!  She kicked ass! Not really but I have to pour one out for my homie!
The big bang, grand finale, mother of all fights was a giant 4-way.  Huge greased men rolling all over one another so much that I thought it would turn into gay porn.  And like most porn, I found it to be way too long and anticlimactic.  Just get to the point and knock someone out already!  POW!  It was done.  Finishing as champions, two men strutted out of the ring and toward fans who believe none of this was planned and everything they saw was a good ol’ American smack down. Amen and pass the biscuits!
On the way home there was silence in the car.  Did we really just go to that?  What on earth could be next? Well, I don’t know but with my track record it will probably be nothing less than spectacular.

Carrie X

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Come In. Make Yourself a Drink.

It's Wednesday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I've been to work, been to the pool, and now I'm having a drink made from stolen Vodka and orange juice.  Stolen in the sense that I accepted it from my neighbor, Tony, and I have no intentions of sleeping him. And so it goes.

I'm a 33 year old well educated woman living in the Midwest.  I live in a one bedroom "all bills paid" apartment with my cats. Around the corner is my previously mentioned neighbor and to my left  is a dear friend. My other neighbors include an alcoholic veteran, an old queen from Santa Fe, and a beautiful young Native American girl.  Living in this building doesn't come with much privacy.  It's like living in a sitcom.

I don't date.  I don't have sex. I don't attend 30 something social functions.  Instead I spend the majority of my time with friends and two wildly funny women I call my "wives". Oh! And did I mention that I was recently separated from my husband of  9 years?  Yes, ladies and gentlemen! This is the American Dream! Jealous?

Tonight I've decided to pull out the old records.  I guess I'm feeling sentimental and nostalgic.  Right now, at this very moment, I'm listening to Olivia Newton John's "I Honestly Love You".  So, I guess what I'm saying is: I hate myself. No I don't.  C'mon!  I love sappy music and the sound of vinyl.  And I suppose I love feeling like shit about the current state of my life.  I wish I could say that this doesn't suck.  I wish I could say that I love being miserably fabulous.  I wish I could say that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always a silver lining. But you know what?  The truth is some things just suck!  Even when you know you are making the right decisions for yourself.....it sucks! Changing your life midway through its course feels a little like ending the kiss before midnight.  What's the damn point? But once you accept that some things are just awful, you can breath and enjoy your miserable existence and possibly become enlightened.

I tried to be someone or something for far too long.  I tried to be tough and cool and not let my emotions show expose their ugly truths. Eww.  Emotions. They are scary and uncomfortable.  However, tonight I find myself tipsy sitting and blogging on my sofa on a random summer night trying to find words to describe my enchanted misery.  All I can do is acknowledge life as being one part sad and another part overwhelmed with ridiculous happiness. So many times I find myself sickened with despair meanwhile elated with childlike joy. I have some truly amazing people in my life and even through the bullshit that's taken place, I've been privileged to experience some amazing things!  I recently returned from a glorious trip to Italy.  We'll touch on that later, but the point is there is a lot of joy in life even while wading through the bullshit.  And I suppose that is the point?  I sure as hell hope so.

Tonight my friend said something profound.  He said "This is the tragedy of being happy". How right you are, pretty.  This is the life of tragic happiness.  Wait. What? What?...

Carrie X