Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm Just Unsettled

If you know me, you know that I have an uncanny ability to shake things up. I don't ever let things just settle - especially myself. I think that settling for something, instead of reaching and attempting, can be equated to failure. I hear people say, "well I settled for this . . . " or "I guess I'll just settle for that . . ."

I don't understand. I don't want to settle for anything. I don't care if it's settling for a Pop Tart when you want a Streudel! Go get your damn streudel and be happy that you hunted, tried, and won! Bite into that baby! I want to fly, to excel, to be challenged, and to succeed at everything. Everything is an adventure, and nothing is static.

A prime example of my frustration is looking at people I went to high school with. Holy crap! Some have taken the same type of mentality that I have, and done some extraordinary things, but many others have just stopped progressing, evolving, or changing. What is the value in that?

Last night, I had a lengthy conversation with a customer at Chili's. He is a police officer/paramedic/ICU/flight nurse, who works in a hospital and teaches. He just turned 40, and is constantly learning and challenging the status quo. That, I can appreciate and I'm happy to meet people with similar afflictions.

I say affliction because sometimes I get so frustrated with myself, and my inability to just stop and appreciate where I am right now. My body is on my sofa, but my head is at work tonight, at how I'm going to raise the money I need to enroll in grad school. I can't imagine putting in my 40 hours, going home, and saying 'well, that's my life'. My head is always elsewhere. It's in how I'm going to build my business in the upcoming year, and where the hell I'm going to put the kayak I just bought.

Have I ever kayaked? Nope. But I want to. And so I went out and got what I needed to do so. I didn't just sit around and wonder how I could ever possibly do it, only to never have it come to fruition. I became a kayak-hunting cheetah, unafraid to reach out and grab my kill. Er, my kayak. It's a prime example of what I'm talking about.

I guess I'll never stop reaching, and I think the frustration is that there's a war inside of me, wondering if I'll ever find my settling place. And I also wonder on which plane or level I'll find it.


This time last year, I was trying in vain to hide two black eyes which I received courtesy of a rabid American soldier. It had been a crappy ending to a really weird year. It started off in Indiana, moved to Charlotte, ended up in Austin.

I think the way I spent New Year's Eve last year was indicative of how I spent this year. I spent most of my time hunting for a job, worrying about how I was going to make ends meet, worried and stressed, stressed and worried. I wasted so much time worrying that it feels like I forgot to experience my life.

Everyone talks about how 'this year is going to be different', and how they're going to become a completely different person in the year to come. I wish them luck, and I absolutely see the value in having renewed hopes for the future. I love the cyclical nature of new beginnings; they just keep coming around and newness or rebirth can happen at any moment you choose.

My hopes are pretty simple, and my plan is even more simple. My hopes are simply that this year is better than last year, and that a renewed sense of peace and wholeness will pervade my life. I hope that I continue to take positive steps toward a better life and a secure future by remembering that I can't solve everything at once, and problems are more easily solved when I realize that most problems are small. I hope that I keep in mind that it is best to take everything one moment, and one step at a time.

I plan to usher in the new year with a sense of peace, awareness, and knowledge of my own internal awakening. Maybe if I invite a little more Zen into my life now, perhaps it will linger and grow in the next year. It's all about hope and renewal.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

#9, 10, 11

#9 Jump off of a really high bridge, into a body of water below. (I'm a little terrified of heights)

#10 Submit a few stories to get published. Send them everywhere, and not be afraid to put myself out there.

#11 Be in New York for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. #9, 10, 11

The Last 365 of 20-Something

Today is my birthday. I am 29. Not in the "Hey, I'm 40, but it's cute to say that I'm 29' kind of way - I'm actually 29. The first day of the final year of my twenties.

THIS is a sexy age to be. I've come to a few major decisions regarding this year. I'm going to LIVE, and live well, and live like the seat of my pants are on fire.

I'm still working on the details.

I have come up with a short list of things I want to do. My aunt Kathy remarked on my Facebook page that I have really lived whereas others have just dreamed. I agree, to a point, but I still don't feel like I've taken the huge bite out of life that I would like. I still feel like, if I were sitting in a room with my friends and we shared life experiences, I would still be behind in the game.

For example, SEVERAL of my friends have spent extended amounts of time overseas. I don't even have a passport.

That's #1. Get a passport.

Now here's a short list of a brain dump of things that I will check off my bucket list before the big 3-0.

#2 Use the passport. Go anywhere. I don't care, anywhere.

#3 Skydive. Fuck it. Fall and hope the chute opens. (Maybe I'll do this toward the end of this upcoming year, just in case.)

#4 Learn to climb.

#4 Turn off the t.v. Actually, sell the t.v., and listen to music, books, silence. Whatever. (This isn't a financial hardship because I paid $25 for it at Goodwill).

#5 Have a threesome. Yeah, I said it. :)

#6 Go to Mardi Gras. And do it up. Beads, beads, everywhere beads! Pee in the streets! Get dirrrty, and totally lose myself in the fantasy of it all.

#7 Get a motorcycle.

#8 Walk a meditation path at night, by candle light.

What else? What's on your bucket list that I can steal in the last year of my twenties?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Grass is Greener, The Snow is Whiter . . .

I'm prepping for Christmas. By that, I mean I'm making candles for clients, and for my family as gifts, wrapping the gifts I've bought, and getting them ready to ship back home.

I'll be home for Christmas, only in my dreams. But before you feel too completely terrible for me, know that I'll be going home to the Arctic in January.

Everyone says I'm crazy, but I can't wait for some snow! I love the crunch of it on my boots, and the feel of a warm scarf and hat, and gloves. But lately, I've been really mulling over what it means to go home for a visit.

I'm one of the rare few who doesn't despise where I'm from. But I've more been thinking about what it's going to be like to wake up on Christmas morning, with not much to do. I suppose I'll put on a pot of coffee, and snuggle with Foster for a while. Probably take him to the dog park.

But then what? It's weird to think of spending Christmas alone, when I grew up in a family that is so steeped in tradition that it seems inconceivable that I won't be there for it, two years in a row. Not that I'm particularly torn up about it - it's just food for thought. There was a time when I couldn't imagine not being home.

But, the times, they are a'changin'.

I guess I might be jealous. All my friends are paired off, some spending their first Christmas with their boyfriends, fiances, lovers, etc. This is the time of year (especially) to have someone special in your life. This past year there have been a couple of strong candidates (I'm sure you all remember Bob . . . and the gym rat. Ugh.), but nothing that has stuck to the wall just yet. But at the same time, I don't just want any ole guy in my life just to have someone. I guess I'm looking for someone with a future full of possibilities.

Though there is a new strong possibility lurking around, I'm also learning from recent history and taking things slowly. Part of me wants to leap into the water; the part that is still licking its wounds is clinging tightly to the shore. This is not a bad thing, for sure!

Maybe it's all right to spend Christmas alone; I'm not alone truly, after all. But if you want to swing by my place and have some Christmas coffee and baked goods, Foster's and my door is always open.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Well, it's December . . .

And I have not much to show for this year. It's almost over, and all I can really say is that I hope to seal the end of this year with a kiss, wish it peace in the history books, and look ahead.

My birthday is this month, and I dread it. It's not the 'getting older' part that bothers me. It's the fact that this year was a year of little accomplishment. It was a year of struggling, taking one step forward, and five steps back. It's been a year of emotionally trying relationships, and of reaching out to get your hand smacked.

It's been a year of 'so close, and yet so far'. And today, I feel so far. I've treaded water, and kept my head above it, but other than that I don't have anything to show for myself. My pockets have been turned inside out, as have my heartstrings, and my patience for disingenuous people has disappeared completely.

I ran into people who have fooled me, and who have fooled themselves. They left me feeling empty for a long time, these two types of people. They made me tired, and weary of the people who will walk into my future. I just kept running into them, and it wore me down. I hope they have a better year as well, but it's hard to hope that when those are the people who never change, or better themselves.

This year has been a call. I'm flopping my cards on the table, acknowledging my losses, gathering my belongings, and exiting the table. Perhaps I will find a better game at a better table next year.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Coming Into My Own

I am very fond of saying everything comes full circle, always. That gives me incredible peace of mind when things go to shit, and I can't think of one instance where that saying hasn't held true.

Everything comes full circle, ALWAYS. Similarly, (thanks to the Stones for this) you can't always get what you want, but you get what you need.

I got what I thought I needed yesterday, and it came as a letter on my doorstep. I've had a few very long days lately, with working two jobs and filling candle orders in my "spare" time. Yesterday was one of them, and when I got home my ass was dragging almost to the ground. All I wanted to do was catch a nap and make some candles - until I turned the corner and saw a Target bag perched on my doorstep.

Instantly, I knew it was from Bob. How couldn't it be? I had just, not 10 minutes before, praised myself for letting him go out of my heart. Oh sweet Irony, you are an uber bitch.

With mildly trembling hands, I reached down and peeked into the bag. A note on ivory card stock, handwritten, sat on top. Well, this should be interesting.

It was. Everything Bob wrote in the letter was everything I felt & knew in my heart. Bob had in fact, farted himself awake. He freaked out, and scared himself. His letter sounded agonizing, and while part of me appreciated that, the other part felt sorry for him. I know what I'm about, and I know what I want. He had it, but couldn't give it to me. Conversely, Bob thought he knew what he wanted, and either got it and it scared him (think puppy chasing a car - what do you do if you catch the damn thing?); or he thought he knew what I wanted and it scared him.

I went through a few emotions last night, beginning with sadness & tears, shifting into anger (how does he get to come to my house, and just drop something off?), and now into peace and a warm heart toward him.

How?! You might ask, and you are correct in asking.

Bob is human, I am human. Shit happens. He's obviously sorry, and I accept that. We are nothing if we don't move forward and learn. All I want to do is hug Bob, tell him that it's all okay, and that I've been hurt before and will be again. The point is to learn from experience, and bring that into whatever is ahead. I could be bitter and harbor a grudge, but my God that takes so much energy, and he's sorry, and I'm sorry.

It's all good, my friends. It hurts a little still, but I know in my heart that it's all good. I will remain positive for the future, and yes, the door is still open for Bob. He's welcome to walk through it, as a friend, as a potential partner, or just as a casual acquaintance. Either way the wind blows, I'm at peace with it.

I've said what I needed to say, and heard (most of) what I wanted to hear, because after all:

You can't always get what you want.
Everything comes full circle, always.

Choose your ending.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Still, my rocket has no brakes.

I have been thinking a little more about this concept, and I think it also has a lot to do not only with fear, but what you do with that fear. Fear can paralyze you, and you can either stay paralyzed and become stagnant, and satisfied with "enough".

Or you can take that fear, really feel it, internalize it, make it yours (own it, really), and move the hell on with it.

I battle fear every day. My job doesn't pay anything but the bills. For 8 months, I didn't have a job to speak of, and my credit score dropped two hundred points. I am incredibly ashamed of that, but it was either eat or pay a bill.

My credit score was a point of pride; my parents didn't do a great job of keeping their scores in check due to a number of issues. My issue was that I lost my job. For a good few months, the inertia paralyzed me. My mind kept spinning, but I was terrified to do anything about it. I stopped moving, slamming on the brakes because I was scared to make the wrong move. For the first time in my life, I learned what real fear is, and how it can stop you dead in your tracks. I also (theoretically) knew things would change, get better. I knew that I had a choice.

Here's the part where you either have a rocket or you don't: you either wake up one morning, and set NEW goals, change and adjust - work your ass off and get out of that rut you're in, or you don't. And if you don't - if you wallow in the inertia, lose yourself in it and never crawl out of that black hole, then what do you have?

Paralysis. Lack of movement, lack of growth. Atrophy, both mental and emotional.

People who have rockets, and especially rockets without brakes can't possibly sit in an inert state for long. I'm not sure what pushes us on.

Conversely, I'm not sure what makes someone want to stay and marinate in that paralyzing fear forever. It just doesn't sound appealing to me.

I need to check to be sure my rocket has enough fuel, because it sure as hell doesn't have brakes.

A Rocket With No Brakes

(Thank you Heather for that amazing term. I hope you don't mind that I am borrowing it - I just think it suits us both nicely!)

Today, a friend said that neither of our rockets have brakes. Let that mental picture take shape, and I'll tell you what my imagination shows: Me, with those old-school goggles and a leather helmet, dark curls flying back behind me while I jet down a sidewalk screaming in delight and terror! That's what life should be like for those brave enough to say 'fuck you' to brakes. I've never been a firm believer in them, because most people life life with one foot on the pedal.

But you know what's great? I had no idea that that was who I was, until someone else pointed it out.

I'm rootless, always looking for the next step and wondering what amazing thing is around the corner. I've never looked around and said 'this is enough, and I will pursue no more'. Sometimes I get so frustrated about it, though.

Why can't I just be satisfied? Why can't I just settle on one thing and be happy with what I have? And the picture came slightly more into focus with Heather's simple statement. Some people have no rocket; my rocket has no brakes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Even with climbing shoes, I'm not gripping the terrain

I can't get into a routine. I started working at Backwoods Equipment Co. on August 2, and since then my world keeps performing somersaults, leaving me to just grip the sides with my knees, and hold on while it tumbles. Not unlike riding that damn mechanical bull in New Orleans - damn you, Jack Daniel!

I have experienced so many changes over the past weeks, and I really want a routine. Something like this would be great: Work out, go to work, have lunch, go home, play with Foster, read, go to bed.

Rinse. Repeat.

But it hasn't been that way, and I am still very hopeful that it will happen. I feel like I'm merely riding out an unending storm, hunkered down while the wind and rain howl and beat at my back. Like the Irish proverb says, I'm really hoping to have a gentle wind at my back, and the sun on my face soon. However, I have guests in town the next two weeks, and after dropping this past weekend's guest off at the airport, my apartment is still a mess (not his fault). I haven't finished moving in yet, and it's really bugging me. Pictures are still unhung; clothes are still not put away; it still smells like an empty apartment, even though I filled a few candle orders last weekend. (My other other other job, lol).

But, if you know me at all you know that I never really settle in/down/for anything. Sooo . . . we'll see how long I feel like I'm slipping, until I feel like I'm gripping and climbing. I have the feeling that this won't last forever - it never does for me. While I'm still gripping the world with clenched knees and fists, riding out the never-ending storm, I'm still trying to decide whether always being unsettled is a good thing or not.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Help! I'm Slipping!

I made a mistake this morning - one I knew was coming for a few days, and I'm powerless to stop myself. My motto has always been this:

"I'd rather look back and think 'I can't believe I did that' as opposed to 'Gee, I wonder what would have happened if . . .'".

But sometimes it's so ridiculous to just jump in and do whatever you want, willy nilly. I used to have no regard for the consequences, and it seems like all I'm facing these days are consequences of seeminly innocuous past happenings.

I made the mistake of looking at Bob's photo today. At first it was a passing glance as I was going to delete some old files. Then I stopped and looked; then I fell, like Alice in a nightmarish wonderland, wondering what on earth happened, falling down the rabbit hole and into the Sepia-toned past. Searching around, I realized that the brutality of the ending is what has kept this wound open.

I need a reason, and that will give me closure. And looking into my heart right now, I see that it doesn't know time. It knows beats and moments, moments which correlate with my memories of those great moments that I'm now bleeding over. It knows when to speed up, and when to even out into a smooth cadence. It knows when it's hurt, and when to just let go for a moment.

My heart knows all these things, but doesn't know why it doesn't feel these radical impulses and glowing feelings anymore. It probably wonders why it hasn't pounded in delight recently.

For my heart, I'm sorry. I have no answers.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pfft! Was that you or me?

You've farted yourself awake. I know you have. Sometimes it's funny; sometimes it's shocking; other times it's terrifying. Think of the repercussions!

1.) You've been married or with a partner for a while, or you're shameless. You not only wake yourself up, but if by some small miracle your partner manages to sleep through it - you throw them an elbow and in a stage whisper, ask "Did you HEAR that?"

2.) You're sleeping alone, and it jerks you awake. You think it was just a dream, but feel oddly relieved. You nestle your head back into the pillow, feeling lighter, and fall back into peaceful slumber.

3.) Oh, and there's that other time . . . absolute terror. It's happened to me twice in my life (that I can recall). The first time happened when I was dating a guy named Mark who lived downtown in a gorgeous apartment. He had a huge, comfy bed, and apparently I was super relaxed. I jerked awake and watched him intently for a couple of seconds, checking for signs of false slumber. There were none. I was safe.

The second time was with a more recent relationship, and again he slept through it, but I was mortified, thinking all sorts of things ranging from "Omigod I think I shook the bed" to "How on earth did he sleep through that?!" to "Oh God, I hope it was just gas . . . "

Now that you've had your chuckles, consider this: Bob farted himself awake. Now, go with me on this as we review the facts together:

He gave me his garage door opener, saying "I want you to feel like this is your home".

He asked me to spend every night with him, NOT the other way around (though of course I said yes - duh).

He said very serious things, such as "We have all the time in the world", and other things that still remain between us. Though I don't know why I feel the allegiance, and need to keep it that way.

He made me coffee in the morning.

His parents knew my name; I spoke with his dad on the phone; I had a candle making date with his dad.

I won't go on, because it's even making me uncomfortable, but the point is this: I wasn't the only one who fell hard and fell fast. But whereas I told myself 'Jess, you are always guarded - just push those walls down and jump in!', he did all those things and my theory is that he (metaphorically) farted himself awake.

He looked around, caught himself, but maybe he checked and there was more there than he had hoped for. Gents, here's a hint: If you fart yourself awake, just go with it still. You'll be marked, regardless.

I know when to shut up & listen

Believe it or not, I know when to shut up. And when to listen to people wiser than myself. Today I got an earful from one of those wonderful people, and what she had to say was both exciting and terrifying.

And I don't know what to do with it. But I did hear her, and internalize her thoughts and her advice. Now, what do I do with it?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ooh, and another thing!

The whole point of my earlier blog got lost in my ramblings. As I was talking to Emali about the whole ugly episode, she said something that struck serious gold, and I'd like to share it with you now.

So many times in the past, I hear people blather on and on, and on again about "I'm going to do things for myself" and "really work on me". Well what the hell does that mean, anyway?

Seriously. Take time off from what? Who on earth means that much to someone that they need to "take time off" from dating afterward in order to get themselves "right" again?

Okay, I've been humbled. I had said those things before, those things that people say when they feel the need to work on themselves. I was lying every time. But do you know what I realized just about 10 days ago?

I'm taking time away from having a relationship. I fell too fast. What's missing, that that happened so quickly, and hurt me so much?

I'm taking time off. And I'm rediscovering what I love about myself; dusting off the things that make me happy. I didn't say I'm taking time off from dating, though. I think an integral part of discovering myself is meeting new people, and seeing what new friends have to offer.

But I'm not expecting anything, and not planning for anything, except where I am going and what I want from life. "Life" is such a big word. What do I want for tonight? Or tomorrow?

There's real beauty in that, and I guess I feel a little freedom - for as long as it lasts because after all, I'm human, and I'm fallible.

Humor & The Sad Thing

I finally did it! I looked back on Bob's odd behavior, and tried to diagnose it with Emali, and I actually laughed at it! I laughed out loud, a lot. It really was the oddest "dump" I've ever had ( I know that sounds gross, but you know what I mean. POO)

But looking back at it, whatever happened wasn't my fault, and while there's a major tender spot there, some of it was downright funny. Such as?

He helped me move my super heavy, solid oak furniture in the pitch darkness. He put up my refugee dog and myself. He said, often "We have all the time in the world". (That one still hurts - I believed him.) He bent over backwards. He had a couple interesting slips of the tongue. I thought all of it was adorable, and took very little of it seriously.

But why do all these things to then dump me by silent treatment?! Oh well. I got a coffee mug out of it.

It's a pimpy coffee mug, too. And if he wants it back, he knows where to get it - with the cost of an explanation, while I sit, bemused like the Godfather. I may even stuff some cotton balls in my cheeks for effect - don't put it past me, my friends.

Even though it's now laughable, and I've gotten to the "big picture" of it all, I flipped through my e mail today, and there was a photo of him, wearing a tie I love. It hurt. And the sad thing is, my door really is open still. I'm not sure what the ratio of curiosity is to the fact that I care a lot about him - but I'm willing to rip off the band-aid in order to let him in again.

Meh. It is what it is.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I've been feeling very homesick these past few days. And I swear, this is the last time I'll mention it - it's because I got dumped.

Ok, to clarify: it wasn't a "boyfriend/girlfriend" relationship, but it was headed that way in my opinion. So I guess it's the abrupt end to the beautiful possibilities that has my head spun around so hard. Regardless, suddenly being lonely has friends & family coming out of the woodwork to comfort and entertain me. Problem is, they're mostly back home in Indiana.

This morning I was so homesick, tears kept threatening. But I swear I'm tired of crying. I need to connect with this city, and make it an anchor. I can't keep idealizing "home" as this 22-hour away place. I mean to say, it will always be home, but God I'm so wistful about it when I'm stressed.

I have resolved to connect more with Austin, and the people in it. The Long Center has some sort of writers' workshop; I have a membership to a kick-ass gym; I work downtown. What the hell am I crying about? (Don't worry, I won't re-cap for you).

I need to buck up, go out and meet people. While a large part of me wants to say that, and charge back to my apartment, I am going to meet a new friend at Town Lake for some dog walking and coffee. It's a brave new day for our little soldier. ;) Who even cares about tomorrow?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Not So, Monotony.

I planned for a monotonous, chill day today. I planned to sleep in, lie around in my jammies, drink coffee, then drink Jack (maybe), make some candles to fill a few orders, and maybe finally organize my new pad.

I drugged myself to sleep at 8 p.m. last night - though the body needed rest, the mind wasn't willing. Sigh. An old friend called his mind "the hampster on the wheel" and mine has been more and more like that lately. Hence, NyQuil. And the mixed berry flavor was delightful as well :)

I woke up, feeling as though I had slept the day away at 9:30 a.m. Nine-fucking-thirty. I used to sail right through that hour, and sleep until noon, but not the case now - and to be honest, I dig it. I like the morning, and its simplicitous beauty.

Moving forward, I coffeed, I candled, I chilled. I felt like I accomplished nothing. I was bored. I watched some t.v. Made some more candles. Made lunch, such as it was, and still felt the burning need to get up and do something. My thought was, how did I do this all day? The act of nothing.

The truth is: I worked on my small business website; I filled a couple of orders from paying customers, who may tell their friends about me. I did some laundry, which goes a long way in seeing the floor of my apartment. I started some grad school applications, and considered my alma mater as well. I experiemented with scent and color, all in a shapely glass palette with my name on it. I thought of a business venture between my sister and myself, and mentally laid out some plans. In my jammies. On the couch. But whatever :)

I've realized that monotony like this is, in the end, very profitable - if not monetarily, then spiritually and mentally. It was a quiet day, but I did a lot. The fact that this is what I call boredom or monotony is a fact worth looking into and exploring. In short, retrospect has made me very accomplished today, even if I was accomplished in my jammies.
The thing about me is I'm resilient. A dear family friend says that I'm the most resilient person she's ever known. And I didn't believe her until . . . right about now. And there's even some self-doubt still, but I'm starting to believe that.

I don't know why I let this guy hurt me so much, and there will come a point when I'll stop to think about it; to learn from it. And the next experience will be better. God I hope the next experience will be better.

See, the problem is that I know what I want. And for a short time, he gave it to me, no strings attached. Should I have been leery? I don't know. I don't want to be one of those people who never lets anything in for fear of being hurt. I've been that person, and I don't want to go back.

My ex (who is still a wonderful friend) told me just to let the pain in, and work itself back out again. The thing about heart pain like that, is that even though it hurts while it's happening, it leaves smears of wisdom and care that you take with you to the next experience.

What have I learned so far? I will never just leave a person hanging, wondering what happened. I'll have the decency to tell them it's not working. And I'll do my best to be up front. In short, I won't be the asshole Bob turned out to be. It's just baffling how well he hid it.

Oh well, I have a date tonight. ;) And while I have exactly ZERO expectations, it'll be nice just to have a drink, a drink at face value.

Friday, October 15, 2010

In the interest of my sanity

I went out for drinks last night. After I left work (90 minutes after quitting time), I decided to take Foster for a walk down Congress Avenue, to enjoy the night, and of course do some people watching. Watching all the life flicker around myself and my beloved pup, I realized people weave in and out. And just when I needed it the most, the warm presence of an old friend wove its way back in.

I thought to myself, what am I going to do to occupy my time after this? And like a lame ass, I tossed all my grand plans aside and snuggled with Foster. The top of his sleek, furry head has been a little too damp with my tears lately, and though I wanted to give him a break, I wanted the comfort.

Like I said, this is an unusual situation for me. Foster is not used to watching his mommy cry, and I'm sure as hell not used to this. Yuck! Normally, I'm a dating prizefighter with one of those big, gaudy "gold" belts. I'm the fucking dating champion! Never been knocked out. Until now.

Regardless, I found myself doing the WORST thing I could do, and I'll now divulge today's crazy: I re-read his texts. At first, looking for signs of trouble, then basking in the bittersweet glow of how it was.

LOL, I know! I know! LAME. I want to shake myself! I can laugh at it today, and I was fully aware of my complete lameness as it was happening. The only thing I can say is that most of us have been there before, and I have finally been dragged into joining the melodramatic ranks. Sigh.

Anyway, just as the tears were knocking on the door, I got a text from a good friend who I haven't seen in a while. We ended up meeting for drinks, and he's been recently dumped (though in a more genteel way: she actually SAID something to him. How nice!) so we had some common ground. There's something in the way we laughed and talked easily that made me feel much better. No pretense (he knew I was a mess); no attempt on his part to be Rico Suave. It's so nice to hang out with a sexy male friend without fear.

And guess what? After we had drinks, he made me coffee too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Crazy is on a break.

Shayla, ma'am, I'm writing on this blog first because I know you're going through withdrawals. :)

That said, I'm on a fucking break. I give! I'm throwing my hands into the air, and shaking angry fists at ye gods above! "I defy you, stars!" Somewhat dramatic? Of course. What else would you expect? But all Montague quoting aside, I've come to a painful conclusion.

I'm done dating for a while. Yes, I always have the best stories, and yes they are all (sadly) true. And yes, generally I am the one to dance away, whistling, better off for the experiences, tucking them away for a time when I could use the wisdom and truths again. But times are changing. I'm growing up, learning, coming to learn the pleasure of sharing myself with someone special - someone who takes my breath away. Had I ever had that before? I have come close a couple of times in the past.

This time? Ugh, this time was different.

Jess fell. That shit hurts, and I'm bruised and sore now, sitting on the ground, taking stock of my sore body, rubbing at the bruises and wondering how on earth I got here. I have always kept a pretty tough dating exterior, ensuring that the select few I let in were let go before they could slice and scratch at my heart. Little known fact about the Jess: her heart has had enough pain and trauma in her young life to choke a horse. And though usually entertaining for other people, she runs for sheer protection. I try to keep the Jess's heart wrapped up in a protective cocoon, to save her from situations like this. (I'm sure you see the meta aspect of all this?)

Details! You clamor for details! Ok, fine. It's simple, I guess.

I met a boy. I opened up to said boy; we'll call the boy Bob. Bob's a fine name. I met Bob. I pushed down my personal walls, and opened my whole self to Bob. I fell HARD for Bob. Bob (I thought) fell hard for me. He said so anyway. Bob opened doors; Bob opened his home during one of the toughest two-week spans in recent history, and Bob made me coffee in the morning. He gave me his garage door opener. Bob had book cases full of well-thumbed volumes. You see where I'm going with this?

In an absolutely stunning span of time, I fell like a tree in a hurricane. I'm not ashamed to admit it now; it doesn't ever hurt anything to admit you're human; fallible, and to the point of love-able. Kids, I was right there, standing on the edge of a precipice, peering over the side and thinking (for once) "You know what? I can do this. And I can love it!" I closed my eyes, stepped off, and dove. Fuck it. Just jump Jess.

And just like that, he was gone. No calls, no texts, no nada. So here I am, on the ground, wiping away dirt-smudged tears, taking stock of myself and my bruised heart and mind. And make no mistake, this is a different hurt than I've probably ever felt, though I haven't given myself permission to really delve deeply into my psyche to find out. But it feels different. I'm mourning something that, in its short tenure, was a dream. I had, for a short time, grasped the mirage of my dreams.

And like all mirages, I'm left feeling emptier, clutching at nothing but air and a broken heart.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

माय करे

Today has been a really rough day. I'm just emotionally drained, and my head hurts. Thinking is inevitable, though, and I can't stop it. There are too many options to consider, too much stress lying squarely on my shoulders. I need a decision, and I need something to give. I haven't even given myself permission to write, so everything is bottled up and threatening to explode like those stupid (and AWESOME) volcanoes that kids used to perennially enter into science fairs. Hope springs eternal, I guess.

My frustration is . . . overwhelming. What do I want out of life? I'm at the point where I want some stability, and the thought of a plan. An outline. A fucking flow chart. Something that will tell me where to go, and what I shouldn't waste my time on. My endeavours thus far have been worthwhile (to me, anyway). Most people probably think I'm nuts for doing so many different things, and constantly seeking out new experiences. It's not even really a choice.

I'm driven. I am kind of tired of being driven - I'm ready to drive. No, wait, let's take that metaphor a bit further - I'd even go so far as to say I'm ready to be a passenger. There are many times (becoming more frequent) when I'm envious of the people who know their whole lives exactly what they want, and how they'll go about it. I could use a dose of that right now - but Charles reminded me today that I have a lot of really great options from which to choose.

And for those who know me best, I would hope that they know that I'm not as wishy-washy as I seem. I have seen and done a lot, and life is short. I just don't want to miss anything.

But while I'm busy not missing anything, what am I missing? Isn't there something to be said about direction? I want to find out!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

And it's already a successful day

I seem to have a hard time learning in a non-traditional environment. One summer when I was working my way through my bachelor's degree, I took 5 summer courses. Three of them were online, and I finished one of them in a few hours. Of course, it was a magazine writing class, and all the professor gave us was a list of topics. I let my imagination fly, and my fingers follow suit, and before I knew it, I had achieved an A in one evening. I'm afraid I've had a jaded view of online learning ever since.

The more I try online courses, however, the more I realize what an anomaly that class was. Or, more appropriately, that the course suited my particular talents. Now I'm in online courses for my Texas real estate license. I'm finding it to be a huge pain in the ass. Sitting down and taking time to read legal terms is frustrating. Frustrating because I like to know exactly what I'm doing and talking about; I hate being anything except at the top of my game. Being the least knowledgeable person at a business table is very low on my priority list! So . . . how is this a successful day?

I've made my own personal list of the things I need to get done, and the things I need to learn in order to feel successful. (And to gain licensure). The thing I've learned over the past few weeks is that success is learning what I need to do in order to be successful, and looking inward to find the tools I need in order to do that.

I'm rambling, but learning how I learn has made today a success. ;)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nickel For Your Thoughts?

All right, all right, I'm up. It's 7:45, and I've been up for a few minutes, ripping myself awake with the knowledge that some people have been awake for hours. HOURS, I think to myself, while digging down to find the motivation to keep my eyes open and my body erect.

I've got miles to go before I sleep (again) . . . you'll have to forgive me. Robert Frost is my favorite poet, and that's . . . nevermind. I'm trying to wake up my body, so I start making my bed, all the while jamming out to a little music for motivation. But while I make my bed, my mind reverts back to a time when I'm not more than a pipsqueak, trotting after my great grandpa at their smoke-filled, dated Indiana farmhouse house.

Grandpa Joe was my hero - one of those people who shimmer into and out of your life and leave a trail of stardust in your eyes. He gave me direction, gave me love, and made me feel like the light he was to me, and even gave me a pipsqueak-sized set of overalls to match his. I love him purely, and without question - something I find sort of intimidating in my adult life to accomplish. We used to go on these walks in the summertime, back across a plain stone bridge over a creek. I would sit and swing my feet over the creek while he wandered and told me stories, limericks, jokes, whatever came to mind. In general, he wasn't a big talker, so a lot of the time we would just sit side by side in silence, enjoying the day and each other's company. Even as a kiddo, I listened, and I knew this guy was something special. I didn't, of course, realize that those lapses into silence, and some of the wandering away was due to his slow descent into Alzheimer's. Eventually, silence filled his life, and stole the light out of his twinkling, faded blue eyes.

I lived with my great grandparents off and on through my childhood, and got to spend a lot of quality time learning from these two amazing people. (The word 'amazing' is often overused; I flip back through my memories, and feel amazed that I got a chance to really know these people.) Often, in the mornings, Grandpa Joe would ask me in his gruff voice, "Do you want to earn a nickel?" I was, of course, eager.

So, we would stand on opposite sides of his and Grandma's bed, and while she cooked breakfast, he and I would meticulously make up the bed. His gnarled fingers would so tenderly tuck the sheets in beneath the pillows, freshly fluffed, and I would do my best to mimic his moves. By the time we finished, there was one perfect side, and one not so perfect one, but it never mattered. We would have breakfast, and we would go on about our day. Sometimes we would walk; sometimes we would listen to eight-tracks of Elvis. It didn't really matter.

You know, I never saw a nickel of that money. That never mattered either.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I just want to sulk

I put on a dress. I had a shitty day, and he was gone for two weeks, so I came home and put on a dress. I feel fat and emotional, and hate hormones. And I missed him. All day I could have cried, for no reason. Holding back the tears took monumental effort, and so I came home and got ready. He barely said goodbye when he left, and let me know he was leaving when he was packing, and his roommate took him to the airport, even though I was available to do it. I didn't get to drive him to the airport; I don't know that it occurred to him that I wanted to kiss him and tell him to be safe. I have struggled for my adult life to feel special enough to warrant affection, and to let it in. Growing up, I was taught by example that everyone else in the room is more important than I am, and that's followed me for a long time. Usually, I just keep everyone on the surface, but that only works for so long. I was taught to say, 'no I don't need that', or 'no, that's okay, do what makes you happy. Don't worry about me,' which ultimately translates to 'my feelings aren't that important. I'm the cool chick.' I don't know how. I just don't know how to say my thoughts and opinions are just as important - and even worse, I don't know how to believe it myself. And now he's back, and I put on a dress, emotional and fat, and I don't feel overly special. It's not his fault. Maybe I'm oversensitive. But I'm in a dress, alone.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Just when it was all looking up, a bird flew by

I lifted my eyes toward the sun; its rays shone down on me as I tilted my head toward it to receive its blessing. All seemed right and well - the clouds were gone, darkness melted away, and just as I relaxed and allowed myself to receive its beauty openly, a raven swooped down from the heavens and crapped on my head.


I feel like I have been under a lot of pressure to be the perfect mix of lover and friend, and I think I'm being judged - a lot. I've been walking on egg shells, and I still manage to hurt the people I care most about. Is it that I need to change, or that the climate around me is changing? The things I used to understand to be kosher are now inappropriate, but I need some explanation, some clarity before I can proceed down a different road. That fucking road is bumpy and dusty, and yet it's challenging and fresh. Truth be told, minus the flowers and pomp, I'm scared to death. I'm afraid that I've found something worth fighting for; ghosts, history, fear, walls don't belong in this scenario. But how does one rid herself of these unappealing features, when nobody is gently reminding her that she doesn't need to use them anymore? All that's happening is that the walls are slowly building themselves back up, one shovel full of mortar and one layer of brick at a time. I can almost hear the scrape of it as it grows, stone upon stone. And somehow I feel bound, powerless to stop it like the archetypal maiden in distress. Cinderella didn't have abusive exes, or a history that would instill disgust into any slithering tabloid journalist. I mean, who actually believes that shit? Some days, it's certainly not me who believes - but worse, I know it. I now it because it's been burned white-hot into the very marrow of my bones.

But truth be told, that's my story. My story is on the shelf, too unbelievable to be read seriously. Therefore, I have a lot of baggage, and all I know how to do is be one of the guys. Nobody was ever really interested in getting to know that other side - the one who dreams, and hopes, and plans how she'll fall in love, or come to see a lover as a true life partner. She dreams of romance, and of her love requiting the feeling and embracing every one of her failures, and every one of her shortcomings, just as she would of his. She is the girl who sits in the middle of a field, or in a glade listening to the sounds of nature, oblivious to the fact that I'm even around in their neck of the neighborhood. She is the girl who attempts to write the lyrics to what she hears buzzing around her. She's the girl who finds romance in a touch, the way a blade of grass allows itself to be caressed by her hand as a spring breeze breathes around her. She's the girl with her leather bound notebook empty because she hasn't yet decided which story to tell today. This girl is waiting for her prince to come, but most of the time he's out drinking with his buddies, and fails to see these other qualities. So then she deconstructs, becomes that tough, run of the mill chick who is simply one of the guys.

I feel like every time I reach out to open myself up to the sun, to show it who I really am and what I'm capable of if properly nurtured, I get burned. Cliche, yes. I need nurture. I need nature. I need love, unconditional. I need clarity. I need to hear, and to listen to what he has to say. What is his heart telling him? How far up or down are his walls? Does he feel like I do, that we need to talk things through, and shift gears into something more smooth and less bumpy and unpleasant. To what degree does he want me to change? To what degree do I want to change him? Truth be told, I want to be let in on his little secrets - I want to know why he's been changing on a dime lately. And why everything I do irks him. Everything I do irks him, and that makes me feel like less than someone special. It makes me feel small, unimportant and unworthy. Does he know he's doing that to me? He's been tightly wound, stressed, looking down on me, and then snuggling with me until I think I'm the only person in his world. It's the looking down on me, and not treating me in a romantic way (i.e. having a real date?) When we're together, his attention seems to be all on me, but something is missing. I want to start at square one, then proceed. Right now I feel like I'm focusing every ounce of attention I have, just to keep my head above water, and to stop the smatter, scrape and push of mortar and brick from enveloping me completely.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rainy days are made for books and coffee . . .

And snuggling. But since I had to be up at the butt crack of 8, snuggling was out of the question. Seriously, who even knew that there was an 8 in the a.m. too?! But all joking aside, I woke up in my new bedroom, which is huge and cavernous, and the sky was overcast and dripping. My room was a little chilly, so I was snuggled under warm blankets while Foster snoozed next to me. What a perfect way to wake up! If only there was time to hunker down for a while and spoon the dog!

If you don't have pets, I suggest you get one just for the snuggle factor. (If there's a hairy man in your bed, you can use him too, but I suggest the dog over the dude in most cases.) Regardless, I had to get up, rip myself out of my warm cocoon, and get ready for an interview. Emali had to be out of the house a few minutes before me, so there was a mad pants-and-bra dash to get dressed and get out the door. I made coffee before we had to go our separate ways, and that seems to be the thing that connects us in the morning. It's sort of our ritual to drink at least one cup of that hot, steaming goodness together before we run our separate ways for the day. The interview lasted 10 minutes, and it took me 20 minutes to get there.

And that's the way things go, I guess. The bright side is that I am now fully awake, and have accomplished many things thus far today, and will have more things done before noon. But right now, I'm sitting at the coffee shop working on my little Mac, sipping on steaming coffee, occasionally gazing out the bank of windows at this gloomy, rainy day. And you know what? It's wonderful! One of the girls who works here is reading Lolita, and I read it for the first time last summer. So of course, we had a mini book discussion, leading into Catcher in the Rye, and how much we love the characters as much as the plots, adding that both books are life and perspective-on-life changers. Books bring strangers together, and now I have two new friends, because we are all reading and drinking coffee on a rainy day in Austin.

Confucius say: Three days of rain makes one really appreciate the sun. Take that little nugget for what you will, but I think that, metaphorically speaking, there's some real truth to it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Twelve Years and Wondering

I'm sitting at a local coffee shop, working on getting a job, working on moving my things to Austin from Charlotte, thinking about moving my stuff from Indiana to Austin, hoping to get my favorite from Orlando to Austin, and it occurred to me. On February 2, it will be 12 years since I was in a major car accident. Normally, I don't dwell on such things, but I was just contemplating the blessings that I have received since then.

That moment, on a freezing cold, bright and clear February day, I was sixteen, huddled in my letter jacket and heading home from track practice when I pulled out in front of a semi truck. I remember it now, and it's making my palms sweat, and my eyes sting just a little. I saw it coming, I inhaled a sharp breath, and felt with my whole being, the crash, pop, the metal twist, the explosion of glass and the crack of my pelvis as it split into two. I felt myself spin and jerk, and I knew I was going to die. I watched the front of the truck as it penetrated the passenger side, then it miraculously climbed onto the hood and avoided my frail, expendable body. I spun; the truck flipped, spilling tons of grain into a vacant field. My truck spun almost until it his Allison What's-Her-Name's driveway, an eighth of a mile from the intersection.

People rushed toward me as I kicked my way out of my mom's Chevy Blazer, broken pelvis and all, the door covered in bloody scratch marks and debris. I stood up before someone told me not to. Then my world went dark, and I lost my sight. My first thought was that I would never see my dad's smile again. That memory still makes me teary, and I was overcome as someone led me back into my demolished truck. Slowly, as my blood pressure evened out again, my sight came back like a numb limb that has been slept on too long. I sat there, on my mom's leather seat, thinking 'oh boy I'm in trouble', and 'Oh God, I need to tell Emali that I'm okay'. I'm not quite sure which thought took precedence, but they were both in the forefront of my mind.

Eventually, sirens made their presence known, along with the medics I had known since childhood. They laughed with me, and comforted me while we made our way to the hospital. When we wheeled into the trauma bay (I ended up working that the same hospital's ER later on), Bill and Kyle were there waiting for me. Two guys from my high school who knew I was in trouble, and came to help me. I'll never forget that.

My parents showed up; Emali and her parents showed up. I heard her family coming all the way down the hall, and I remember being overwhelmed with sorrow that I had put them through that, again. I miss that closeness. But everybody was there, and three days later, I was released from the hospital, with a broken pelvis and a concussion.

It's been twelve years, and I have never forgotten how lucky I am, and how blessed I am for everything that happened that day. I don't usually wax poetic about such things, but I am so blessed to be here, so blessed to have the opportunity to walk every day (the docs thought I was paralyzed for a bit), I have the opportunity to express myself, to hug my family and friends, to express my love, to chase my dreams, to be thankful for every small thing that comes my way. I am especially thankful for my two guardian angels, and for all the people who were there to catch me when I fell.

All these years later, the overwhelming sense of blessing and awe are as powerful as they were back then. Good God, thanks.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Night Fever

No, I'm not wearing a polyester suit, and there are definitely no disco balls hanging from my living room ceiling. I do, however, have a different sort of fever this evening.

I left work at my menial, mind numbing job this afternoon with a new resolve to bully my way into a successful position. Today was particularly annoying; people suck, and I am a servant/server to idiots. This isn't just my imagination - people, en masse, are dumb, and it's frustrating when they are bossing me around. What's even more frustrating is when people don't tip. Do they not realize that I get paid two dollars per hour? Do they also realize that I'm being cheerful in order to milk them for a good tip? Hello! This is not rocket science. And I'm a little pissy tonight - there is a silver lining, however.

Every day that I walk into work, tie an apron around my waist, glue a smile onto my face, and pretend that I love everybody (even when they suck), I come that much closer to opening a door - a door to that internship, or to that job, or I meet that person who knows a guy who knows a guy, etc. I hold firm to that hope, even if it smells like baby back ribs.

So tonight, when all of my peers are out having drinks and relaxing away their Saturday nights, I am on my computer, searching and applying for jobs that will open doors. I'm researching small business loans, and I'm setting up appointments for graduate programs. I scheduled two meetings with graduate admissions folks at both UT and St. Edward's here in Austin. I'm just going and going in hopes that next week a door will open. So, come on people! Help a sister out.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

All I wanted to do is nap!

I wanted to get up this morning and have a productive day of job hunting, following up on internships, and wowing the world with my personality. Instead, I woke up at noon, feeling like absolute crap for the fourth day in a row. I still feel like I have recently been hit by a truck, and a fever has now presented itself into my pajama-wearing life. This sucks.

So in between moping and sneezing, I worked on a band bio and hit a wall. So then I thought to myself, Self, you need a nap before you go to wait tables tonight. So as I lay me down to sleep, pulling my Lambie over my eyes (a blindfold of sorts), I hear someone rap-rap-rapping at my chamber door. No, it was not a raven, but I do quoth that it was my landlord.

The very same landlord who didn't know about Em's puppy Zeke, or my baby Foster. Ooh boy, did my butt cheeks clench when I heard her key turn in the door! I felt like a naughty kiddo who just got busted for coloring a crayon self-portrait on my bedroom wall. I was trapped - and forced to tell the truth to a complete stranger. She's lucky I didn't sneeze on her.

Well, at least now the dog's out of the bag, and I can be free to let the dogs bark at the door, whenever anyone knocks at it. Be it a raven, or a mean landlord.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And then, it hit me

The other day, I came home from my eleventh straight day of work, and I took a nap. Three hours later (!) I woke up with a raging head cold. I read a study once where the final conclusion was this: the body knows when it can relax and heal, so it suppresses any illness that comes along until that time when it can be dealt with efficiently.

Well played, body, well played.

I had so many errands to run yesterday, including dropping off some serious cash to my future landlord here in Austin. Did I do it? Nah. I slept and drank tea. But do you know what else I did? I ran, and I ran further than I had in a while. Then I lifted weights, and felt so incredibly accomplished. And then when I woke up this morning, I felt like I had gotten hit by a Mack truck. Oh, dear God.

So, guess what I did today? I worked, and then slept through Emali's run, and then I woke up feeling like crap. But after I woke up fully, I dragged my sick ass out the door and took off for a run, and though I really wanted to stop and crawl home, I made it!

Right now you're thinking, 'big effing deal', and that's probably what I would think, were I reading this out of nowhere. But there is a point, I promise.

Point being, I've not pushed my body in years. Even back in high school, I was the first one to stop running, or to say 'fuck it' when things got too tough. I realize that there is a distinct parallelism between body and mind. I need to keep pushing my body, that's true, but what about my mind? I've kind of let things slide since this summer.

I haven't challenged myself, and it's high time that I do. So, as I sit here coughing myself to death after a run I probably shouldn't have taken, I realize it's time to step up my goal game a notch or ten. The question is, where do I go from here?

Pobriety? Poredom?

Either way, I'm poor. Let's review: Jessie had a good job, Jessie lost her job, Jessie became a nomad for a while, and then Jessie landed back in Austin, TX - quite a ways away from where she began, in Charlotte, NC.

So, now all my worldly dreams have come true: I'm poor as hell and waiting tables at the very same restaurant where I used to work before I left Texas in order to finish my Bachelor's degree. Hmm, now there's a full circle.

To be continued . . .

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reference sites

I got so wrapped up that I forgot to add my websites. Whew! All this sex talk and I've got the vapors! Anyway, here are some links just in case you would like to begin a sexual revolution of your own. This is by no means comprehensive, but a good start. (This is a blogger, Eric Amaranth, who explores the male perspective of sex, and he does it in a very fun way! You'd be surprised.) (No, this isn't just about bisexuality - it's about a woman's sexual power)

Whore, Party of One?

I am a whore.

Okay, I'm a reformed whore. (?) What the hell kind of sense does that make?

WARNING: This is a graphic blog entry, sexual and raw in nature, and is not intended for the faint of heart, or those plagued with random cases of the 'vapors'. Of course, if you already read my blog, this is nothing new. Please, continue.

The funny thing about the term 'whore' is that it usually carries a negative connotation; I look at things a little bit differently, and it has served me interestingly, if not well. In high school, I looked at sex through pure, innocent eyes. I wanted to wait until I was married, or in a secure relationship before I gave myself away. My parents didn't talk about sex.

Do you remember the sex talk you had with your parents? Here's mine:

Mom: Have you had sex?
Jess: Umm, no. (With nobody except my right hand, that is. Of course, I omitted this.)
Mom: Do you know about sex?
Jess: I think so?
Jess: Good talk, Mom.
Dad: Scratches head, turns red and runs.

That night, I flipped my bedcovers back to find a couple of circa 1962 sexual education pamphlets tucked under my pillow. I read them, and getting excited by the 'anatomical diagrams', got off to my very first porn. Thank you, sexual education pamphlets.

From then on, I was more than a little confused about sex, so I secretly consulted with my dad's "hidden stash" of Hustler and Playboy magazines. My first honest thought: So every woman is a lesbian? My second thought: Penises are intriguing.

Then came Kurt. Aah, the first real boyfriend, the one I wanted to make sweet, beautiful, perfect love with. I envisioned a picnic on a warm June day; flowers, wine, assorted luncheon meats (it WAS a picnic), and of course, Kurt dressed like the cover of a Harlequin romance novel, his long hair ruffled by the breeze . . . Instead, I got a basement at 4 a.m., and the bemused thought of: Really? That's what all the fuss is about? Clearly I did it all wrong!

The natural next step was to consult Cosmo, which of course, had all the answers. Oh dear God, what a mistake. Suddenly, I was trying to pose like a supermodel while in the throes; desperately trying to remember all the tips in the 'touch him this way, and he'll BEG for more' section. All the while, and this has carried on up until very recently, I didn't enjoy sex.

(WAIT. Let me be clear. I almost always have enjoyed my sexual experiences, but have never mentally and emotionally let myself go enough for a man to get me off. That has happened by accident, of course, but I always closed the most intimate and wonderful part of myself off. Which, I believe, is why I used to go through sex partners like underpants. The other explanation, of course, is that I really enjoyed a sexual buffet.)

The thing is, I am 28, and in the middle of a sexual/sensual revolution. Since the only person I want to have sex with is a few states away, I have plenty of time on my hands (giggity) to figure out what makes me happy - and more importantly, how I can convey these things to him. You may ask, 'Why Jess, is this important now? Why not years ago when you were just a junior whore?' The answer is that in my life, I continue to evolve. And now that sex is being denied me, I can do nothing but explore my sexuality. And frankly, this is the best gift I could give myself.

I used to have sex with different men, with the thought that one will magically know and understand my body with zero prompting from me. And HE would be 'the one'. Silly, yes, but every little girl has her fantasy (some girls dream about their wedding day - I dream of orgasms and fast cars; books, and well-read, articulate men). Regardless, I had an AHA! moment about a month ago.

The problem wasn't with these men; the problem lay with me and my unwillingness to explore, and to let my guard down. My personality requires that I read about something before I understand it, and absorb it into my life, so I checked out a few web sites (links to follow) for some education. I think the best advice I got from these sites wasn't advice at all; it was the knowledge that sex "is like a dance; it's about giving and taking, and the partnership of two people". I had lived so many years thinking that I was a second-class citizen in the bedroom, and that my sole purpose was to blow his mind, and if I got off, all the better. But that's a bit of nonsense now, isn't it?

Now, really, think of it. Sex is like a dance. It's about giving, and taking. It's about exploration, and learning about one another in a safe, open way. I guess that instead of eating from the man buffet (i.e. being a traditional 'whore'), it's more satisfying to open up to one repeatedly, explore and enjoy the dance.

John, come dip me ;)