the fixer upper

I have a favor to ask. Have you ever said to yourself, “Eureka! I know the perfect person for janeintraining…”? Because let’s face it, I know you’re constantly thinking about me. But be warned: too much me will fry your brain into one of those charred and shriveled potato chips you occasionally find in an otherwise fresh bag. I hate that! What’s it doing in there?!?

Oh, right, my favor: DO NOT TELL ME YOU ARE FIXING ME UP. Bold, italic and underlined should tell you how serious I am about this. Never in the history of my blog have I used all three at the same time. (Or maybe I have. I’m too lazy to check.)

It’s way too much pressure. I will get stressed out and act how I think a normal person should act, which will result in an even weirder version of me.

…awkward…(like my dating life)

I suggest asking me to meet up for a glass of wine and I’ll be there without blinking. If you mention champagne, I’ll dress up and arrive a few hours early. And then you can casually introduce me to your brother/cousin/nephew/grandpa/son. This way, he’ll get a few minutes of normal before I start to turn.

This woman obviously cares more about her date than the champagne she’s about to spill. Where are her priorities?

I’m bringing all of this up because…

[a few months ago while getting my hair cut]
MyHairStylist: “Hey, I almost forgot to tell you – I have a client whose cousin just moved into town. She says he likes Asian women!”
Me: “…uh…” (brain short-circuiting)
Me: “…(mental capacity now like one of those charred chips I just talked about)…”

Is this what people do on dates now? Is this hygienic? Why is she hiding her hands? Has she fallen asleep from too much romance?

I’ve been single for the last four years, dating here and there. I like being single, except for when it sucks to be single. I have hope, but I don’t want to use that hope as a life preserver. I’m shifting towards being okay not finding that forever-and-ever person; rather, I want to connect with allies, gather a tribe, surround myself with a gaggle of heart-wise, laughter-invoking tricksters and soul-tenders. I want to add to my existing menagerie of superstar friends.

My brain has somewhat recovered and I’m more relaxed now about being set up. My initial thoughts of rejection, disappointment, and general fear have given way to the possibility of meeting a potentially awesome person to add to my menagerie. (Don’t worry, I don’t actually tell people this when I meet them. They might think I want to display them in a glass case with the rest of my collection of humans. Oops. I’m always revealing too much information.)

As 2016 swiftly approaches, I’ve decided to try looking at the world as a curious explorer. Somehow, this idea gives me more courage to move forward instead of staying still and worrying about an unpredictable outcome…

“A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is.”

― Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness

 

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mirror, mirror

I have two mirrors in my 250 sq ft apartment.

The one above my kitchen sink is purely ornamental because it’s placed really high (says the short girl). I can’t see myself at all unless I jump in the air, which gives me one second to see if I look decent enough to go out in public.

note to self: never jump on a first date.

I know what you’re thinking: why am I even trying to see myself in this mirror? Well, now I know what I look like when I jump and that I should never jump on a first date.

The other mirror is the bathroom medicine cabinet. I have no idea how my outfits look from the chest down. I don’t know if I’m wearing high-water pants. I don’t know if I’m wearing pants at all. I could drag a chair into the bathroom to see my middle/lower section, but I’m too lazy to do this.

As a result, I haven’t given much thought to how my body looks. Out of sight, out of mind, right? I can always look down, but this angle is very deceiving. And friends are usually too kind to tell you the truth.

Squirrels, however, have no such problem.

"Hey, wutcha been eatin'? How come ya never invite me over? Want all the food to yourself, do ya?"

“Hey, wutcha been eatin’? How come ya never invite me over? Want all the food to yourself, do ya?”

A friend of mine has lots of them in varying sizes – mirrors, not squirrels – in her house. It’s a little alarming to suddenly be able to see your whole self from room to room. I either have to walk really fast or avoid eye contact with myself so that I don’t stop in front of one of them.

I’ve worked hard to accept the things I don’t particularly like about myself; I prefer not to give my inner critic any chances to chime in. As long as I’m healthy and I exercise regularly, it doesn’t matter how my body is morphing. I like to eat cheese. With wine. And charcuterie. I like dessert. I have a crush on David Chang. I think I’ve shared a little too much.

Really, the only thing I’m concerned about is if I remembered to put pants on before I’ve left the house. You’d be surprised how long it takes to realize you’ve forgotten them, especially if you have other things on your mind, like running into a gang of handsy squirrels.

 

real {tiny} estate

"oceanfront property with plenty of great light. perfect for one very, very, very, very small person. act now!"

“oceanfront property with plenty of great light. perfect for one very, very, very, very small person.”

Friend: “How big is your new place?”
Me: “Um, the size of a hotel room?”
Friend: “So it’s about 300sq feet?”
Me: “…”
Me: “…smaller.”
Friend (politely): “Oh.”

Tiny houses are the new rage right now, so people who live in these small spaces (and even smaller) might call my 250sq foot studio a luxury.

I’m not complaining. I do have to share a wall with a 25 year-old who is going on 15, so if I sound muffled, it’s because I’m biting down on a stick right now to keep from bursting out in language that I only use when I’m alone in my car.

But I have the space all to myself. Hallelujah.

I am incredibly lucky to be able to live in a city I’ve been wanting to live in, be in my own place and have the opportunity to transform it into a nest, a place that represents me and the peace that I crave. It’s been a long time coming.

For years, I shoved my needs into the shadows and misguidedly threw them under the bus in my personal relationship.

The Dark: It’s pain I can never forget.

The Light: It’s made me strong and soft at the same time.

I am part of that population for whom trust and faith in oneself takes time to revive, renew, and restore. And our work is never done. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be done. I don’t want to stop learning from, growing up in, and experiencing the billions of moments in this dazzling, unpredictable life.

For now, I’m home.

I can’t say it any better than the incomparable Joseph Campbell:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.