Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Kid in Me

Sometimes I forget I'm 24 years old.

I have never been your typical young adult. Most kids can't wait to escape the tight ship their parents ran at home once they're set free at college, but I cried my first night at University of Oregon when a gaggle of frat boys trounced through my dorm halls, announcing a keg party across the street and yelling "Beta! Beta! Beta!" like ogres in the hallway.

I called my sister crying, "I'm going to a party schooooooool!" I had been so excited to be at a place where the environment encouraged you to take academics seriously. I'd specifically requested the so-called "Intensive Academic" hall in my dorm, only to realize that the bulk of my neighbors were lamenting how they were "stuck" in the nerdy hall.

Thankfully, my rational sister Robyn calmed my fears and explained that every school was a "party" school in a way, even Harvard. It's just the nature of 18-20 somethings once they're away from home.

Well, I sure didn't get that memo. I rarely drank in college - I can probably count how many times I actually got drunk throughout my tenure there. It was never my thing.

Then there was the whole graduating a year early. While some congratulated me on the effort, many were quick to judge. I was talking to a guy at a party once, and when I told him about graduating in 3 years, he exclaimed, "Oh my GOD, do you have a life?" Why yes, asshole. I do. I don't regret one second of my college career. I was a jet setter - ready to see what the career world held for me.

Which brings me to present day. Because I work with an older crowd (my closest in age co-worker is 32), I sometimes feel like I'm held to a certain standard where I'm supposed to act older than I am. Don't get me wrong, I like being ahead of the game. I know it will all pay off in the long run.

I do admit, however, that a part of me feels like I completely skipped an entire part of my young adulthood. I went straight from serious college student to full-time employee - no in-between "finding myself" stage or time to just enjoy being young before reality and responsibility set in.

That's why I'm so happy when I can sneak in moments of youthfulness. Whether it be bringing my pop culture knowledge to work or geeking out about popular TV shows from the 90s ("Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek" - can I get a whuuut whuuut!) with my best friend, I think I appreciate those care-free moments now than maybe I would have 4 years ago.

For example, last Thursday I went to the Placer County Fair with my old elementary school girlfriends. They were all nay-saying the bumper cars when I suggested them, but once we got on, we had a blast! It brought me back to the days of the old fair that came to my small hometown in Nevada. This time around, though, I didn't slap anyone across the face like I did in 8th grade (sorry, Fritch!).

So here's to celebrating youth while I can. I know that beneath my "grandma" exterior, there will always be a happy-go-lucky kid :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dream, Dream, Dream

Not to get all Freudian, but I've always heard that recurring dreams mean something.

The most common theme of many of my dreams is blurred vision, which, upon researching online, I came to find out means incorrectly perceiving things and not being able to move forward. Story. Of. My. Life.

These last two nights, though, I've had an interesting reoccurence - random strangers are pointing guns at me, and I just know at any minute they're going to shoot me.

The trusty Internet tells me this can mean a few things - anger, feeling like I'm being targeted, or the idea that I'm inhibited by someone.

In my dreams, the person pointing the gun never actually pulls the trigger, while I sit there waiting for pain - I wake up before anything happens.

Hmmm, who knows what it all means, really? Freud would probably turn it into something like sexual repression, but I think I'll just blame it on too much violence in the media for now!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


It's always struck me as cliche when people talk a lot of game about "having their walls up" or that they keep their hearts "guarded" when it comes to romantic involvement.

It's usually a main ingredient in most plots of B-rated romantic comedies. Guy is "scared" of getting hurt, so he acts like he's averse to being in love, only to have those walls broken down by a girl. Same formula goes for girls too.

I don't really believe anyone is ever freaked out enough to avoid a perfectly good relationship, as much as that is used as an excuse when someone is trying to avoid being with someone. Girls try to console their confused friends by suggesting that maybe their prospective boyfriend is interested but just "scared."

Sure, we all don't want to recklessly jump into a situation that could potentially end badly. But if we lived by that rule in every aspect of our lives, we'd never invest in Wall Street, drink alcohol, throw a $20 in a slot machine or eat at McDonald's. We do all kinds of things that entail some type of risk, mainly because the experience itself is worth it (even if the result includes ending up broke, being hungover or suffering from a major case of diarrhea).

In short, the juice is worth the squeeze.

I'm one of the most cautious people when it comes to completely ridiculous things, like washing my hands or riding roller coasters. I'm a quasi-germaphobe, but my anal retentiveness has waned these last couple years.

For as long as I can remember, I've hated rides. I believe it was the dreaded dragon ride at Funderland that started it. It's hindered recent experiences at Six Flags and state fairs, but when I went to Disneyland last fall, I decided to stop being a wanker and get on the damn Matterhorn. Sure it was a small step for most people who don't blink an eye at the thought of hitting up the Goliath or Superman, but to me, it was a breakthrough. My new-found bravery led to me riding Space Mountain for the first time ever, something I swore I would never do, considering how years ago the Thunder Mountain Railroad caused me to wet myself.

Despite my quirky fears involving the incessant use of hand sanitizer and avoiding amusement parks, I've never been scared when it comes to my emotions. I guess you can say I've always worn my heart on my sleeve, and I don't regret that one bit. Yes, I've made a fool of myself plenty of times. And yeah, my heart has been broken. But I'm more resilient every single time it happens, and I go into every new experience with optimism and hope. Because really, is there any better way to start something new?

I think that being open with feelings should be encouraged, rather than the instinct being to recoil from a wound, put up a fence and play the game of "I like you, but I'm going to not act like it because that would make me vulnerable." What a world it would be if we were all open with how we felt, instead of this constant guessing and miscommunication game.

There's a great song that describes exactly how I feel about wearing my heart on my sleeve. It's called "Fearless" by Colbie Caillat.

In it, she says:

And if I end up lonely
At least I will be there knowing

I believe in love

Hopefully this closed-off attitude toward relationships and love is isolated just to my age range. If so, it's not going to stop me from being fearless either way.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trust Women

I know abortion is a touchy subject. Growing up in a Catholic family (with a touch of Dad's agnostic ways) and now living in one of the reddest counties in California, I understand how this issue really gets people fired up.

Everything from the word "abortion" to the idea of "baby killing" paints a certain picture about it, and I can see how many people can't sit comfortably with the idea.

My work is next door to a Planned Parenthood office, and every Thursday I see a slew of anti-choice people (whom I refuse to refer to as "pro-life," just as I refuse to use the term "pro-abortion") holding up signs to drivers with pictures of dead fetuses, signs saying "Abortion is Murder," "Let's Pray For Your Child," etc.

Not that we aren't all entitled to our own opinions, but I noticed that 8 of 10 of these folks are middle-aged and senior citizen men.

It boils my blood when I think that this particular demographic has so much power and so much say over what my gender can do. This is paternalism at its finest - poor little innocent, naive girls need the smart, strong, knowledgable man to teach them the "right" way of doing things.

Because we all know women can't think for themselves or make personal, healthy decisions on their own.

When will we be able to trust women? Trust that women can make their own choices and trust that women can take care of themselves without personal interference from the government (or men)?

On a personal level, I haven't had an abortion, but I know someone who has. Now that I'm 24 and self-sufficient, I'm fairly certain I will probably never need to get one, but that doesn't mean I believe in restricting others' freedom.

It's almost as if we care more about a group of cells than a grown, living, real human being.

Abortion may not sit well with people - whether they have a uterus or not - but you know what? Guns don't sit well with me. Do I try to shame people who favor gun rights by hoisting up photos of the dead Columbine kids in front of the NRA? No, I don't. Because I believe in the wonderful freedom this country allows, even if some of those freedoms are things I don't agree with (guns, legalized prostitution, Indian reservation casinos).

These people in front of the clinic are there under the guise that they are there to "help" pregnant women who may be considering abortion or intending to get one at that Planned Parenthood. Because nothing screams warmth and welcoming than a 20x20 posterboard photo of a gruesome dead fetus (which, while we're being scientific, I didn't know at 5 or 6 weeks that you have an almost full-grown baby inside of you).

It's one thing to want to help pregnant women. It's another to shame, degrade and condescend them for making a choice that is theirs and theirs alone.

Here's how anti-choicers can help women - just trust them.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


This drawing is genius and gave me a good laugh when I saw it. The message behind it sure does seem to ring true sometimes.

I try to avoid playing into the whole "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" rhetoric, but lately I've been encountering a lot of stereotypical, unreciprocal situations when it comes to dating.

You know the story - a girl hooks up with a guy, has a wonderful, seemingly mutual good time, and goes on to never hear from him again. No, this did not happen to me, but it happened to my friend, and unfortunately it doesn't surprise me.

In my own life, I've encountered more than one occasion of unreturned affections. It's almost second nature to me at this point. Most recently, there is someone in my life who I enjoy immensely. We have all of the necessary ingredients - we laugh, we get along, we have a connection, we can be ourselves, we have fun together.

Only one problem - this fool does not want to be in a relationship with me.

The strange thing though is that at one point he did, but now that offer has been taken off the table and I feel like I'm almost being punished for not being ready to take the plunge the first time.

It sucks, it really does. Especially since it's all there, right in front of our eyes. But I guess if mutuality is missing, then all that other stuff means nothing.

Yes, I realize this issue is not the end of the world. It's just something that hurts me.

I'm always one to ask "Why?", which I know is pointless. I don't want to just settle on the idea that guys are "only after one thing" and have one-track minds - this seems dismissive and unfair because 1) women are sexual too, and 2) let's give guys a bit more credit than that.

I realize teen and 20-something guys are generally still trying to figure things out, as are their female cohorts, but the idea of being in a relationship is always presented to a guy as a choice between having fun with friends and being miserable with a needy ball and chain. It's two extremes with no middle ground, which we all know is ludicrous. Instead, I wish more people viewed relationships as two people who get along fabulously and want to enjoy only each other's company for an indefinite amount of time.

Yikes, being happy with just one person instead of a harem of nobodies. How repulsive!

I once read a book that said young adult dating is becoming obsolete because of the "hook-up culture" (i.e. people messing around without explicit commitment). This is bullshit and plays into the horribly ridiculous "not buying the cow because the milk is free" nonsense. I refuse to believe that my generation is incapable of holding steady, legitimate relationships.

All right, enough with my soap box. I could go on for millenia about this topic, but this "ball and chain" has got stuff to do.