Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Times They Are A-Changing...

For the second time in my life, I was taking a pregnancy test. The first time was years ago, in a Starbucks bathroom, about a week after a one-night stand with an unfavorable with whom I was too drunk to use protection, something that I was obsessively careful with throughout my entire history of random and not-so-random sexual interactions. Children were never part of my plan. 

While waiting for the result of that test, I was already planning on who I could contact to get information on how to “handle” the situation should the test come up positive. I was thinking about whether or not I would tell my mom, my best friend, my doctor. Most likely, it was going to be something I would keep to myself, too ashamed to say the words out loud. Abortion as a method of birth control was never something I wanted to be a part of. 

Two minutes later, all thoughts vanished. The test came up negative. I walked out of the bathroom, bought my Grande Iced Vanilla Latte with Soy Milk and went about my business. 

This time, however, things were different. I was at home, in my own bathroom, with the house to myself. I knew I was late, but hadn’t given much thought to the fact that I might be pregnant given the fact that Johnny, my boyfriend for the last year and a half, had not had a strong history of using protection and had never had any kind of pregnancy scare with his exes. Also, it wasn’t like I was young anymore. I figured even if me and Johnny had wanted kids, we were probably at the point where we needed to try. I had only been off the pill for a few months and that was out of sheer laziness in scheduling my annual exam to get a re-up. Surely nothing could have happened in that short of time. Besides, as Johnny so guy-ishly put it: “We don’t even have sex that often.” (It’s like he LITERALLY can’t help himself.) 

But there it was. The plus sign. It didn’t even take the whole two minutes. The second I set it on the counter, it began to show up. I immediately started thinking about all the strange things that had happened in the last few weeks: my sore breasts (and more than one comment from others about their recent change in size), two random acts of sickness and a few terrible bouts of heartburn, something that I really don’t experience that often. 

Johnny came home from work a few hours later. When I told him, I was only a little nervous that he would react in a negative way. But he didn’t. He was shocked, sure. He had to sit down and try to control the shaking. It was actually pretty cute and endearing. Ultimately, he was happy. He had wanted to have a child early on in his adult life but after never coming close, I think he sort of gave up on the idea. To have it reintroduced so unexpectedly must have really sent his head spinning. 

I woke up the next day and called my doctor to schedule an appointment. Johnny went with me. 

I might always remember what Johnny looked like, holding my purse and my pile of clothes, complete with my hot pink bra on top, while I sat in my hospital gown on the table in the doctor’s office, waiting to be seen. His vulnerability was potent. We made small talk, chatted about funny parts of a movie we just watched, but inside, we knew shit was about to get real. 

Doc came in, confirmed what we already knew and a few minutes later, we were staring at our very first ultrasound. At only nine weeks, I was surprised that I could easily make out the form of a tiny human being. We were even able to watch the flickering of it’s little heart beating. It doesn’t get much more real than that. 

Paperwork, pre-natal vitamin suggestions, blood work and the scheduling of future appointments ensued. While all this was going on, my mind kept wandering. Is this really happening? Is Johnny okay? Can we pull this off? Do I have time for frozen yogurt on the way home? 

Strange how quickly our priorities change. Just a few months ago, I was sitting on my couch, smoking my cigarettes, probably contemplating my next craft beer selection and wondering if there was ever going to be anything interesting about life again. I guess that question was answered. 

So I traded in my cigs for lollipops, my beer for juice, water and decaf coffee and my lazy mornings for trips to the gym. I figure just because I’m scared shitless about all of this, there is no need to take my vices out on the little nugget. 

And there you go. Tina Verde. Having a baby. Hell just froze over. 

I guess it’s time to decorate. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Where Nothing Ever Happens...

I had the most beautiful dream this afternoon. 

In a city overseas, probably somewhere in Europe, I was in a beautiful, brick lined pub sitting at a bar. I was with my friend Cory who was, of course, already making friends with fellow bar patrons. The sandy beaches below were white as snow and the view from the pub showed the ocean from every window. 

The beer they poured was smooth and the bartender made me a flight, describing each lager and ale using the best english she had. She and the bar supporters were all pleasant and accommodating. 

As I looked around the quaint and accommodating bar, I sighed. An older gentleman sitting a few stools away smiled softly and asked me what was wrong. What could terribly be wrong in a place like this? 

I returned his smile and responded, “It’s just that... I know that I’m dreaming. And I know I’ll have to wake up soon and leave all of this behind. I wish I could stay forever.” 

I ordered baklava, based on the bartender’s recommendation and watched silently as the children played on the beaches below. I could feel the consciousness of the real world trying to pull me back, but I forced myself to stay as long as I could. Then suddenly, I began to cry. 

“What is it now?” the kind gentleman asked.. 

I looked up towards the exposed ceiling and said, “This is paradise to me... and I can’t help but wonder... if perhaps maybe it’s Heaven. I don’t actually believe in Heaven... but if this is anything close to what it could be, I hope maybe I’ve died in my sleep and will never return to my life on Earth.” 

He smiled again but I could not understand his response for I heard an alarm in the distance and his face, as well as the brick walls around me, slowly blurred and faded away... 

And then I woke up... with half an hour left before I had to get ready for work. 

Everyone is trying to get to the bar. 
The name of the bar, the bar is called Heaven. 
The band in Heaven plays my favorite song. 
They play it once again, they play it all night long. 

There is a party, everyone is there. 
Everyone will leave at exactly the same time. 
Its hard to imagine that nothing at all 
could be so exciting, and so much fun. 

Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens. 

- David Byrne and Jerry Harrison, Talking Heads

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Being "Badass" Has Its Consequences

I hate this phrase so much. Which is why I find it extremely humorous when irony hits those who decide to get it permanently tattooed on themselves. 

I live a LIFE of regrets. At 33, I have nothing that I wanted when I was 18 or 25 or 28 years old. And I can’t help but feel that it’s been a lifetime of bad decisions that I’ve made that have put me where I am today. 

Retrospect is my devil. “If only I had done this... If only I hadn’t said that... If only I wouldn’t have told him this... If only...” 

Something is starting to happen that I was concerned would. I’m beginning to become bitter. I’m losing hope that positive things can happen. These thoughts are reinforced with the fact that I still make bad decisions. Whether it’s a job change, a move, a new lover, or a new relationship in general... I simply end up not doing so well. 

In retrospect, of course. 

I’m a little exhausted of this head space I’m in. I go to work and hate all of my guests, assuming they are going to fuck me over and then STILL being pissed off when they actually do. I’m tired of putting my faith in something that can be new and exciting, just to realize that it’s the same old bullshit with the same old repercussions. I’m tired of friends who turn on a dime, reminding me that I never knew them to begin with. 

As a result, I’ve become very hesitant about making another bad decision. Which causes me to freeze, not wanting to move at all. Because I feel that, for the most part, bad calls are my M.O. 

Regrets? Yeah.. I have regrets. Don’t get me wrong - I have done a few things right. It just seems like those things have been in the interest of others. They benefited because of my actions WAY more than I did. This feels okay for a while but ultimately contributes to my seemingly impenetrable loneliness. 

My attitude is affecting my work and friendships. Everyone asks me what’s wrong all the time and I have this overwhelming desire to punch them in the face. I mean, if they only actually cared. And I’m not trying to be all Victim McVictimy (to use the parlance of our times), but even most people I consider to be very close friends aren’t able to give me the things I need to feel truly connected and whole with them. So why burden them with problems they have no solution to? 

I’m told that perhaps I need to have a new perspective. I would LOVE one. I understand we are all responsible for our own happiness but I really feel like, somewhere along the way, I failed to pick up this skill. 

It’s like whistling. Or knowing which way North is. I have never been able to learn either one of these things. And it pisses me off. How can I learn everything else someone teaches me except for these two fucking things? THESE TWO SEEMINGLY EASY THINGS?! 

... ..

However... whistling is simply a pleasant substitute to the lack of sound. And I have GPS. So, ultimately, I can handle it if I am never able to learn these things. But to continue not being able to make the right decision? To mess up again and again? To become bitter, angry and frustrated and let it steal my hope? How am I supposed to learn how to do these things if I haven’t yet? 

So, I guess I wait... wondering if this is all still one big practice in patience. If so, I’m failing miserably, but at least I’m getting reset at the start line each time. 

And maybe that’s what life is all about... 

Unfortunately, in every game there has to be a loser. I think I have enough hope left to use it on not wanting it to be me. 

But at this point, with so little hope left, I may just have to rely on luck to get me through.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The "Real World" Does Not Exist. Don't Worry... "Your World" Still Does.

I remember when I started this blog. The motivation was self-discovery and connection. A cathartic outlet. Unfortunately, it developed into this disgusting and pathetic display of self-promotion. Gross. I’m trying to bounce back from all of that. Because there is still something very important to me about expressing myself in such a candid way. And as it turns out, it’s not to hear about what anyone else has to say about it. 

I thought about removing the comments portion from my blog. I find that I’m not very good at taking feedback and that sometimes, even what is supposed to be positive reinforcement ends up pissing me off. 

I’m not so naive to think that my problems are special. I know everyone has a battle to fight and that mine is probably not so bad. However, we all live in our own created realities and no one else lives there with us. Therefore, quite often, your advice and “constructive” feedback is useless to me. 

Anyone who really thinks they know me has to understand that I’ve been through the steps. I understand responsibility, making positive choices, having productive thoughts and living a selfless life. A place where being there for other people has its advantages and somewhere in all the darkness, my choices to live a healthier life, both physically and emotionally, will gradually bring the sun. 

I lived in this reality for a while. It was okay. Unfortunately, the weight of others’ judgment was stronger than my will to stick around. 

It’s been a rough month. Rougher than I’ve had in a while. However, like always, I made my way out of the muddiness of a tortured mind and am sitting here before you once again. Putting out what’s in my head and hoping you don’t respond with some bullshit about how we choose our own happiness and that giving is truly how we learn to receive. Or fill in the blank with some other vague cliche. 

I find it insulting that people think I should do what they would do to find happiness. In fact, I realize how careful I have to be when giving advice to others. My advice to you is just as useless as your advice to me. I don’t live in your reality. In fact, it’s probably a good thing I live in my head as much as I do and don’t waste my time trying to save the world by making people feel like less than they are. Oh wait... okay I totally do that. And that makes me an asshole too. 

Look, have a beer with me. Say something nice to me at work. Post something funny on my Facebook wall. Check in every now and then. These are the ways you can help me hate you less. If you actually, truly care about how I feel. 

If it doesn’t matter to you either way, I went ahead and left the comments portion open on here. Judge away and continue giving the kind of advice that makes YOU feel good. 

Anonymously, of course...

Friday, August 2, 2013

You Had Me At Goodbye...

I’m feeling a little like Jerry Maguire right now, at 5:00am... this is not a mission statement. It’s simply a memo... 

I hate everything about what I’m doing right now. I hate that I’m pretending to like a job I despise. I hate that I’m pretending to have relationships that matter. I hate pretending like I’m working for something better. I hate that I feel like I can’t express myself the way I’d like to on my blog for fear that it will make someone laugh and point. 

I hate my body. I hate my lifestyle. I hate that things have turned out this way so far. 

Luckily, I’m only 33. And relatively healthy. And more intelligent than most people I know. And not as humble. I like all these things. They are the only bits of hope I hold on to. 

I miss my mom and dad. I think about leaving Las Vegas to move closer but it doesn’t make enough sense. Although if my brother moves his family up there, I may no longer have a choice for they are the only people I connect with at this point in my life. 

I’m just so consistently disappointed... relationships that don’t work out, people I’m into that aren’t into me, friendly tables that leave me ten percent, friends who flake when we’ve made plans, and wins so quickly followed by many, many losses. 

I’ve made stupid decisions. And smart ones that I wish, in retrospect, I would’ve been dumb about. I have no “real” homies - and since I have none now, it means I’ve never had any. Thank you, Facebook, for reminding me of all the relationships I have terminated along the way (stupid birthday reminders). 

I don’t know where to go from here. I guess I seek therapy? That seems to be the most common answer. But I like all the drinking and the smoking and the eating. They are easier, less expensive and only result in an aftermath of tears, which I’m really good at pretending never happened. 

I guess my blog is no good unless it’s a train wreck. I can’t wait for the feedback about “getting over myself”and pointing out the things in my life that are supposed to be a source of “self-discovery” and “vulnerability”. 

I’m an angry and unsatisfied person. I’m not sure how I’ve managed this far.. but I have so it seems weird to throw in the towel. People around me find happiness in all stages in their lives. Seeing this is the only real source of hope I have. 

So, I’m here.. miserable and waiting. Waiting... funny that I would choose a “career” that defines my life in that moment. I’ve been aggressive and gone after what I wanted. This has resulted in shit jobs, shitty living situations and even shittier relationships. Clearly my decisions aren’t working. So I wait... 

I sit in this stupid room.. with all my vices around me... and I wait. 

Wishing that somebody.. for once.. will prove me wrong.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Need A Hero....

If you know even a little bit about me, you know that I’m a sports fan. I was born in Denver and the NFL has always been a part of who I am. It’s how my family could reconnect at the times in our lives when we seemed to have nothing else in common. To this day, it’s a constant topic of conversation no matter what else life is throwing at us. 

I love the NFL and football in general. It’s my first love. But close behind is basically every other sport there is. Over the last five or six years in particular, I’ve found tremendous interest in golf, soccer, tennis, basketball and do my best to enjoy baseball as much as I can. 

I think one of the main reasons I love sports so much - especially as of late - is because there really haven’t been a lot of political heroes in my lifetime. I didn’t have an Abraham Lincoln or JFK. Not since Clinton have I had a political leader to admire. I was excited about Obama... and then almost immediately disappointed. Our political figures are supposed to be the ones taking us into a better and brighter future. They are supposed to be our vigilantes. They are failing. 

So I turned to sports where I can have heroes and strong men and women to look up to. As with all heroes, it’s hard to watch them fall. To realize that they aren’t indestructible. And then to have to find someone new to admire and hope they pass their next drug test or find a way to NOT beat their spouse.  

Clearly I’m a Broncos fan. Fanatic, kinda... and waking up to my ESPN Scorecenter app telling me that Von Miller, our strongest defensive player with 30 sacks in his first two years, was potentially facing a four game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy did not start my Monday off with a smile. 

I turned on ESPN, hoping for more details and wondering which would be worse - getting caught for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) or getting busted with weed or something. I knew he had some party drug problems back in his rookie year (2011) and, crazy as it sounds, I was kinda hoping that was what it was again. 

But before I could get too wrapped up in that story, The Ryan Braun story breaks. If you aren’t familiar, the quick version is that Braun, star outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, took a Lance Armstrong approach when he was accused of using PEDs in 2012. He insisted that the sample was mishandled. He even made the public question the integrity of the person who handled it. I believed him. A lot of public figures took his side. He spoke of the truth setting him free and all that crap. And he lied. 

Last, but not least, the Ohio State Buckeyes (football, to be specific) are facing a mess with some players who got caught in a bar fight over the weekend. One of them allegedly assaulted a female. These guys are on the ladder to BECOME heroes and they can’t keep their shit straight. 

I don’t know... I’m really not trying to be judgmental. Believe me, I don’t like to give up my vices. My mom and I recently started a little Mom/Daughter Fit Team to lose some weight and get back in shape (I thought maybe I’d like to try and catch one of them handsome, hard-working, responsible fellas one of these days and it seemed a good place to start). In order to do this, I also need to ditch some of the things that I really like to do which are smoke, drink excessively and eat deliciously fattening foods. These aren’t easy things to give up. I struggle daily. Sometimes hourly. 

But I look at these sports heroes and can’t help but think, if getting paid MILLIONS of dollars to do what you are good at and, usually, what you love, isn’t enough to convince you to have your shit together than geez, I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on myself when I want a beer. 

But it is sad. Because heroes are so hard to come by these days. 

I’m not sure it will keep my from buying his jersey, but I will definitely hold it against Miller if we have to face Baltimore without him. Fingers crossed... 

Oh, and Michael Vick came into my restaurant today. His bill was $86.00. He stiffed the waitress. So, not that his image needs to be tarnished any further... but fuck that guy.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fuck It, Dude... Let's Go Bowling.

Three years ago today, I turned 30. I felt hopeless and without direction. I couldn’t communicate with my family the way I wanted to, I hated my job and didn’t have much motivation to do anything about it. 

The one thing I felt compelled to do, however, was write. So, I made some fairly superficial changes in my life and decided to blog about them to see how my life could be different. What I ended up doing, however, was documenting my daily behaviors, discussing my relationships, airing out the laundry of my family’s past and generating a lot of... “feedback” as a result. I stopped posting entries last September. 

I’m not sure I’ve ever missed something as much as I miss this blog. 

I made a lot of mistakes and wrote about things that I probably shouldn’t have. My intention was never, ever to hurt anyone. However, when I say what’s on my mind, I have the tendency to upset others or hurt their feelings. I tell myself that if I can’t be honest, then what is the point of writing at all? But there is a limit. I’ve learned that. 

There was a lot of good that came from my writing as well. Initially, my family didn’t want me to continue writing about our past because it made them uncomfortable that I was sharing the kinds of things I was sharing. And I probably did take it too far. But the level of intimacy we now have as a family and the connectedness we feel is a direct result of the things I wrote about. In retrospect, I probably should’ve just written them all a letter or tried to discuss personally my issues with my past, but then again, I’ve always been a bit dramatic. 

I’m 33 years old today. While I still don’t feel any more motivated about finding a direction in life, I’m in a place where I can start letting go of control a little and start learning how to embrace taking things a day at a time. This is not easy for me, the Perpetual Planner. But trying to control the uncontrollable created an anxiety that was really starting to affect me physically. I’ve missed being able to “write it out”. I have no other outlet that is as cathartic. I’ve tried starting other writing projects or simply having a journal, but nothing ever felt quite as good as putting myself out there for others to love, loathe, relate to or simply stay connected with. 

I admit, it got a little overwhelming. I still have a hard time reading the negative things people posted in my comments, but I have to remember also that no matter how hard I try to show others the real me, everyone perceives everyone differently, based on how well they know each other. I can’t force people to have the kind of opinion I wish they would have about me. And I don’t make it easier on them when I feel like being an asshole. Which is often. 

With all that said, I’m happy to be writing again. I like to think I learned a lot from my previous posts and that I can still find catharsis in this blog without getting lost in the details. I definitely took myself a little too seriously at times (who, me?) and dragged some people down through my own insecurities. 

I went back and forth about this, but in the end, it came down to the fact that I spend enough of my time doing things I’d rather not be doing. Why not at least hold onto the one thing that makes me feel productive and satisfied? I think I’m supposed to say YOLO or some shit like that... 

So probably a more casual, light-hearted version of Sin City Seagull? With just enough Tina-Drama to keep it interesting? 

Sounds about right. Hope you’ll come along. 

- T