Saying Yes to The Big Easy

Traveling is good. It can stretch you out of your comfort zone and as a result, invite change. Transformation.

When I got on the plane for New Orleans, I felt a rush: I’m in an airplane. I’m going somewhere. I’m going to experience something new.

When a friend of mine told me that she was going there for a conference and asked if I wanted to meet her there, I hesitated for a moment. New Orleans? Isn’t that one of the most extroverted cities in the United States? I don’t know…

“Sure! Why not!” I said a moment later.

Who am I to say no to an opportunity like that? Sometimes an introvert has to push her anxiety aside to go meet life. Give it a big hug (and you know how I appreciate a good hug).

Was I transformed? No, not like in past trips I’ve taken. But it’s a fascinating part of the world. The only other southern state I’ve been to is Kentucky and I do so appreciate Southern hospitality, Sugar. Delicious food, sultry (I prefer this word as opposed to soaking, which I was) weather, local architecture…it’s good for the body, mind and soul to be out of your regular routine and shake things up a bit.

However, I could have done without the rowdy crowd mentality and the activity of drinking-likker-in-the-streets: “HELLO LADIES!!! YOU’RE CHINESE, AREN’T YOU!!!” Uh, no, we’re not, but we’re not going to stop and tell you that. We weren’t even on Bourbon Street, which we studiously tried to avoid.

As the plane took off on the connecting flight home, I gazed down at the twinkling city lights below. So pretty… I wanted to turn to a traveling companion and say just that; I wanted to share that experience with someone. And when I looked out and up at the stars, I wanted to have someone to look at those stars with me.

Crap. Now I was sad.

It happens.

Sometimes you just have to accept that your emotions have a life of their own. Respect them, and they’ll respect you. The more you try and fight what you don’t want to feel, the more you betray yourself. Emotions are constantly flowing throughout you in varying degrees. So go with the flow, I say. (But please seek help if you’re feeling entirely overwhelmed.)

Perhaps I was wrong after all. I’ve had a delayed, mini-transformation, because today, I was gloriously happy. But that’s another story.

Lions and Tigers and Thighs, Oh My

Ever since I got back from Hawaii, my legs and I have seen the light. These burritos ‘o mine are now wearing running shorts. It’s somewhat liberating to make visible something I had intentionally kept invisible in the past. To let myself be seen. As is.

When I had it – at least I thought I had it at some point – I should have flaunted it. I took my young, firm skin for granted. But I was much more shy back then. Now? Yes, I’m still an introvert at heart, but I don’t look too bad for my age, so part of me wants to flaunt whatever it is I have left while gravity is still my friend. I have ab muscles. I don’t know where they came from, and they might look a little like a wrinkly four-pack of King’s Hawaiian rolls during the rising process, but they’re there. I believe that they’re a product of my intense overthinking. After all, something good should come of overworking my brain in circles. Problem is, I might look good for 48 – we Asians hold together well – but not so good for 38. Get my drift?

[I can’t believe I just outed my real age. Oh, what the hell. I will display my age proudly. I just won’t display photos of it here on my blog. I may be crazy, but I’m not insane. Yet.]

See, I live in a small, coastal town. It doesn’t get warm enough to wear shorts very often, so people don’t see a lot of skin around here. Hawaii? No problem. Young skin, aging skin – what does it matter? Everyone looks like bronzed demi-gods over there. But here? People pull on their t-shirts, light wash jeans, sneakers, and their Patagonia jackets to go out on the town. They might even wear that outfit to the beach.

The sun is out and it is unusually warm. I am tempted to go for a run wearing less clothing than I ever have before. I want to feel free to do this. If I didn’t have to wear my glasses, I would absolutely wear sunglasses. That way, I could feel anonymous. I might mistake a fire hydrant for a dog, but if it makes me more brave, I will trade clear vision for shades. I’m sure I’ll be able to determine whether or not that object coming towards me is a car, right? Maybe I need a sacrificial running buddy.

Suddenly, I’m not so concerned about my thighs anymore.

Single and Ready to Awkwardly Mingle

Locks.  Keys.  Men.

Okay, maybe that’s too provocative an opening.  My friend Neal is going to think I’m talking about Fifty Shades of Grey again, which, by the way, I haven’t read except for the reviews.  And the reviews are hilarious.  I’m guessing they were better written than the book.

No, I’m talking about attending my first ever singles mixer last night with a group of my best girlfriends.  Even though I’m an introvert and prefer hanging out with a few friends as opposed to going to parties, I didn’t feel nervous once I made the decision to go.  I think it was all those years of being the girlfriend of a musician – I was forever going to parties, hostessing parties, and going to bars to listen to music.  I would be forced to talk to all sorts of strangers and then I would collapse at home, my capacity at being social filled to the brim.

At first, the mixer reminded me of junior high dances, where everyone sat along the wall glancing nervously at each other, puberty wreaking havoc on everyone’s self-esteem.  Replace puberty with fully developed hormones, and you have the mixer.  Girls in skimpy dresses getting the most attention?  Even if they looked like Mickey Rourke (post-surgery) in drag?  Ah, just like junior high..not to mention high school, college…you get the idea.

The lock and key aspect of the event was supposed to be an icebreaker or a “game” as one of the organizer’s called it.  If the guy’s key unlocked your lock, both of you were supposed to turn them in, get a new set, and also receive raffle tickets.  Some guys were so focused on the tickets that they didn’t even bother to say anything as they gestured to try their keys.  And then they would simply walk away if it didn’t open the lock.  At one point, I offered to turn both in so that one guy could continue talking to my friend.  As I was walking away, he shouted after me, “Don’t forget my raffle ticket!”  I’m long past taking things personally, so these kinds of exchanges just make me think, hm, interesting.  But I’m taking notes.

I wouldn’t say it’s the most organic way of meeting your special someone – if that’s what you’re looking for – what with all the cheesy randomness of whose key was going to unlock your lock, but I thought it was good practice for just being open to new experiences and interacting with all kinds of people.

I’m in no hurry to find someone, especially starting anything serious, but I realized that I’m open to slowly begin dating again.  Maybe a more natural environment is the best call for me.  I’m thinking of joining a running club after I move out of L.A.  I noticed that I tend to write mostly about running and men/relationships, but not in the same post.  Maybe it’s time to change that.