Friday, August 31, 2012

Can't Peyton Manning Be My Shrink?

I scrolled down the list of names on the Aetna website. I thought to myself, how exactly does one choose a psychiatrist over the Internet? 

It has crossed my mind before that it might be in my best interest to find a professional to talk to. It’s also advice that has been given to me by others, both solicited and unsolicited. I’m not really opposed to seeing a therapist. I mean, the group experiential training I went through a few years ago was remarkably helpful, at first. The sharing, the unbiased responses, the feeling of freeing the mind... I became addicted to that. And then of course, it got a little muddy and then began to fade away. Now all these years later, while I definitely feel like I am more responsible and aware than ever before, I’m still angry, lonely and frustrated more often than I’d like to be. 

Hence that last blog. Which, as you probably imagine, didn’t go over well with my mother. She became the latest person to recommend speaking to someone. Sometimes, I think that unless I commit to lifetime therapy, though, seeing a head doctor would just be another type of band aid for my pain. I just feel like, eventually, I’ll come right back to this feeling. But when your mom tells you to talk to someone, it feels a little more like maybe you should. 

I found a name on the website that I could pronounce. I also chose a female. I don’t know why, I’ve always been more comfortable talking to men. Maybe that’s why I thought it would be better. I wrote the name and address on a napkin and put it on my To Do list. 

It’s really not something I want to do. So I haven’t done it yet. 

But something kind of cool happened since then. I took a few days off of work. As a distraction (and because my bills won’t quit showing up), I have been working a lot. It keeps my mind off of things. California, Brendan, pre-season football... If I’m not careful, I can over think myself into a frenzy about any number of things. So, I’ve been trying to make work fill my time. 

I forgot how important it is to take a couple days off. 

I had lunch with my friend, Rudy. It’s difficult to define our relationship. We went out a few times before my recent trip to California. When I came back, I wasn’t sure how to proceed because of my mixed emotions with Brendan. Turns out I didn’t really have to try and define anything with Rudy. We enjoy each other’s time and positive energy. It’s not one bit more complicated than that. 

He told me something I had not really considered but actually makes really good sense. He said that the darkness and sadness that I let consume me at times is almost like my own, personal comforter. It’s a place I can escape to quickly, live in comfortably for long periods of time and where I can completely protect myself from the outside world. The depression itself is my escape. 

However, unlike a clinical definition of “depression”, I go here as a source of comfort. It’s not my disease. When I feel better, I come back out. He didn’t say this to me... it’s what I immediately saw happening in my mind when he presented his feedback. 

He said something else that doesn’t seem profound because I’ve heard it so many times before... he told me that I’m not broken and that nothing’s wrong with me. I remember believing this so strongly after that group therapy but eventually, I allowed that darkness to come back in and make me think differently. I felt broken. It’s not that I didn’t know how to choose happiness, I didn’t want to. It’s just easier to stay in the dark. 

But, it’s lonely in the dark. 

I don’t think I could ever be serious about suicide. But I know a lot of people are and I’m certainly not making any kind of joke out of it. I just really understand how it’s easier to stay in the dark. It is comforting and for me, familiar. 

I hate the advice that I need to expect less out of myself and others and then I won’t get disappointed so often. I hate it not because I disagree, but because I don’t know how to alter my mind to expect less out of myself and the world. I really wish I embodied this trait. I think it would eliminate so much of the anger and sadness. 

I do think that I worry way too much about what people think of me. I might find more pleasure in life if I didn’t worry so much about my image and just did what I felt was right. Maybe that’s why I feel like my gut has been wrong. Because it’s not my gut I’ve been listening to, it’s everyone else’s. 

I hate to think I’m that impressionable, but I don’t like to disappoint others. This kind of dishonesty with myself has gotten me into trouble before. I see a lot of similar patterns to what I’m experiencing now. 

I’m getting a variety of responses to my California move. Some think it’s a great idea while others think I’m running away. Rudy thinks it might be a way for me to go back to that familiar darkness I choose to wear as a cloak so frequently. He says, “by all means, try something new. But don’t go back to where things weren’t good.”

I see it differently. I see it as returning to a place where I was no good... and then being good instead. It’s hard to explain... even for me. 

If nothing else, it gives me something to look forward to. And at a time where I don’t feel like I’m working for anything in particular, it’s nice to have a light like that. Well, that and football. Like my dad said, “How are you going to off yourself when it’s Peyton Manning’s first season with the Broncos?” 

He makes a really good point. 

I’m not sure if I’ll go through with the shrink thing. But it is an option if I continue to choose not to be grateful for who I am, what I have and what I’m doing. I started this blog as a way to spew my thoughts, but unfortunately, I can’t be 100% candid and honest on here either. Too many soft hearts out there... including mine. 

One day at a time. Another not so profound statement that I should probably embrace. I’m better than how I’ve been. I like who I am and I like the chances I take. Sadness is my escape from being daring and living big. And for me, big doesn’t have to mean rich, famous and powerful. Big means doing what makes ME happy and fulfilled instead of wasting time doing what I think people want me to be doing. 

Because people love me for me. I’m not sure I always fully accept that. I always think I need to be more. 

I don’t know the answers, I just know I have to keep on, keeping on. 

After all, it’s Peyton Manning, for Christ's sake.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Yes, I'm Drunk... But I've Been A LOT Drunker (more drunk, I get it) Than I Am Now. Many Times, In Fact..

On nights like tonight, I’m actually regretting that I hate guns and pills. I never learned how to tie a noose. Besides, that’s an exceptionally morbid way to commit suicide. 

Oh my god? Is she actually talking about suicide? Or in your mind, did you ACTUALLY say, OMG. 

Yeah, you are the reason. 

Okay, you are only a small part of the reason. At this exact moment, good music and my parents are the only opposing reason that I’m sitting here writing in a stupid blog rather than finding some less morbid way to off myself. 

I’ve been what most doctors would call depressed for the majority of my adult life. It’s probably in my best interest to be on whatever anti-depressant is paying the most these days to their distributors. Anything to shut off the only voice inside my head that never makes any sense. The one I listen to, then condemn, then ignore, then listen to again. And behold!! Always wrong. 

A "Facebook" friend (I specify “Facebook” because there is a difference) once told me to listen to my gut because the gut is never wrong. 

Well, let me tell you - the gut is always wrong. Always. 

I’ve never felt the sharp pang of regret until tonight. I mean, real, true, “I could’ve changed the future for myself and so many others if only I would’ve chosen differently” kind of regret. 

I should’ve married my high school sweetheart. He was handsome, intelligent, from a wealthy family and loved me more than anyone ever has since. The fact that I thought I could do better makes me sick every day when I look in the mirror, see my face that grows old, my hair that shines with the beginning streaks of gray and my body that I have to fight constantly to keep “desirable” by society’s standards. I had everything at sixteen years old that I’ve been chasing ever since then. 

I think I’ve done this amazing job putting my family back together. I think that I’ve made a difference. So self-absorbed, I am. If I was really that important, my brother wouldn’t still find me insignificant and the efforts I make with my entire family wouldn’t seem superficial. I still feel like an outsider... because that’s what I am. 

What does it matter if I stay in Las Vegas or move to Long Beach? Do I want to be invisible in the desert or by the ocean? At least the ocean has a better view. But really, am I really so stupid that I think some guy who is kind of into me will make all the difference? 

I could be with the one that loved me more than anything. Maybe then, I would’ve stayed in Washington. My parents would’ve stayed there instead of moving to Las Vegas. My brother wouldn’t have followed them to Sin City. We could’ve avoided a life of drugs and separation. We could’ve been small town and normal. I might have even chosen a Christian, Republican lifestyle and hate the world so much less than I do now. 

So, what is it that I have to look forward to... a decent work station at a new restaurant? An apartment that will cost me more than I make? A man that thinks maybe he could be into me (be still, my heart)? 

And Family Fit Club... it’s harsh to use “joke” as a way to describe it. I’m very serious about this... but into its second season, I’m already not getting the results from others I want. I was really hoping that it would encourage my friends and family to change their lifestyle - to choose a life of health and well being instead of overeating and laziness. Instead, I’ve created a monster that indulges for a few days and then starves to “make weight”. I never intended to run a wrestling camp. A healthy diet and exercise. It’s the only answer. But no... Burger King for two days and then no eating for two more to avoid having to pay any money - that’s what I’ve created. Not exactly what I had in mind. 

It’s hard being an Atheist. It’s hard believing that there is no God waiting to congratulate you on all of your good intentions, whether they worked out for you or not. But it’s even harder believing in the fairy tale that if I’m a good girl, I’ll get a seat in Heaven. 

There is no Heaven. There is no right answer and, unfortunately for me and this stupid blog, there is no prince waiting for me. If there was, I chose my ego over him a long time ago. And it seems like I’ve been paying for it ever since. 

Maybe I’m supposed to be an example. Like all those who went before me that were sad and lonely but managed to create at least one beautiful thing before they went. Maybe somebody, one day, will appreciate me as someone they avoided becoming. Thank goodness for Tina - she showed me all the ways NOT to be so I can have happiness. 

I should’ve married my high school sweetheart, had kids, owned guns and voted Republican. At the very least, I should never, ever have quit smoking pot. 

Now here I am, pretending I’m okay with my life... pretending like I actually have things working in my favor, imagining some guy out there actually wants to be with me, thinking my brother and I have a good relationship... 

Silly rabbit... 

At least there is the music. And it is good... the music, that is.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pelicans Are Cooler Anyway...

I’ve been a bit of a lingering bitch about my whole birthday thing. Since then, I’ve been asked out to several events hosted by friends that I invited to my celebration and they either didn’t respond or they said they would show up and didn’t. Therefore, I haven’t been going to their gatherings. 

I claim to be responsible, not mature. 

However, a few nights ago, I decided to get over myself and meet up with a group of friends I hadn’t seen in a year for some karaoke. I hadn’t been out in a while anyway and I’m a sucker for some cheap drinks and bad singing. 

I walked in and was happy to see familiar faces. I hugged everyone hello and picked up the karaoke book to start thumbing through the songs. I hadn’t been there for ten minutes when one of my friends (who reads all of my blogs), said that while reading my last post, he saw that I was planning a move. He said he immediately began to scroll through the blog until he found what he was looking for: YEP! It’s over a guy! 

I politely stayed as long as possible until the desire to punch him in the nose became too overwhelming.  

It wasn’t just him. Another one of my friends mocked my ways of being “open” and “vulnerable” as if it’s some ridiculous movement that will soon be replaced by the latest behavioral trend. He might as well have actually used air quotes. 

This is why I hate this blog. Like I mentioned in my previous post, it’s become repetitive. A houndstooth pattern. Kinda cool, but no real progression. 

The problem is, I’ve become very addicted to the blog. It’s the only kind of writing I do and it feels very therapeutic. It’s the best way I’ve found to release energy. And it used to feel important. Now, it feels like a joke. Everyone just waiting to laugh at my next fuck up. 

I’m moving to California next year. That part is certain. What will happen when I get out there is not. I’m okay with this. I’d be lying if I said hoping for a love story doesn’t factor into the move. But at the same time, I’m not chasing it down. A lot can happen between now and April, but whether I move in with Brendan as friends or as a romantic couple or even if I end up getting a place on my own... the fact of the matter is that something moved me when I was sitting on the beach. Something that was separate than my longing desire to find my partner. I simply felt pulled to return. So, return I shall. 

It bothered me, though, this comment about “of course it’s over a guy”. Initially, I was like “fuck off, I’m the most independent person I know and I make decisions for me”. This thought then progressed into “fuck off, I have a dream and I’m not afraid to chase it, even if it doesn’t work”. 

Because as I was told recently, having an entire list of names in the Failed Relationships column of my life doesn’t matter as long as one name makes it into the Successful Relationships column. And because of this, I keep trying and I keep taking chances. 

However, I am certainly becoming a little disillusioned when it comes to sharing. The last thing I ever wanted to create with this blog was a room full of eye rolls. I wanted to be relatable to others, not someone’s comic relief. Sitting there with my “friends” at karaoke, I felt more disconnected than ever. 

Which is why I’m more certain than ever that a change is necessary. I’m impatient and wish I could make that change now, but ten months to really get my mind wrapped around this new chapter is probably pretty healthy. Besides, there are still a few conversations to be had with “the guy” anyway... and I’ll need the full ten months to be with my family as much as possible. I’ve grown quite used to seeing my beautiful niece and nephew each week. 

Something else I’m looking forward to is an excuse to quit this blog. By the time I move, I’ll have had it for almost three years. There are a lot of great entries that I can apply to the book I want to write, but it’s also an incredible distraction for me. I’ve been using it as an excuse to not do anything further with my writing. Now that I actually have a story floating around in my head, I want to focus all of my attention on that instead of this. Not to mention the fact that “Sin City Seagull” won’t apply anymore. 

Whitney asked me if I was going to start another blog after I concluded this one. No... because it wouldn’t be any different - just a new title. The only thing that would make it different is if I finally found a relationship I could live with for the rest of my life. And who wants to hear about happy shit? Not the majority of my readers, I’m pretty sure. 

It’s easy to be bitter at the moment. I’m frustrated, antsy, confused, conflicted, repressed and broke. What a disgusting combination. 

But, every once in a while, a text message will come through that will break up the clouds. I’ll get a good workout in and feel confident. I’ll have a great night at work. I’ll have lunch with a wonderful friend. And I have the Fit Club, which keeps me positive, outward focused and motivated. 

Hopefully, this will be enough to keep me sane for the next ten months. Because next time, I might actually punch a bitch.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Friends and Family Fit Club - Season Two Guidelines

I started a Facebook page for the Friends and Family Fit Club I created. For easy access, I am using my blog to outline the rules/guidelines created for the game. Please visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FriendsAndFamilyFitClub to "like" and become part of the movement! 

Friends and Family Fit Club - Season Two 















Members: 
Jon Verde Sr (GREEN) 
Susan Verde (TURQUOISE) 
Jon Verde Jr (YELLOW) 
Tina Verde (PURPLE) 
Erin Verde (PINK) 
Kyle Grover (ORANGE) 
Lisa Grover (CRIMSON) 
Lori Leonard (BROWN) 

First Meeting/Weigh In: Saturday, July 7th, 2012 at 9:00am 

At this first meeting, we will take our before photos as well as set our weight goals. The idea is to be aggressive, but also realistic. It’s not a race to get as skinny as possible - it is about training your body to take off the weight in a way that is safe, healthy and long lasting. 

We meet every Saturday at 9:00am. If you are unable to make the meeting, you must arrange to call in your weight between Friday at 9:00am and Saturday at 5:00pm. Please try and limit any missed meetings to prior engagements, out of town limitations or anything else that can’t be avoided. What makes FFC a success is the support and accountability you get from your team members at the weekly weigh-in. This is not just a commitment to your team members, it’s a commitment to your health! 

For out-of-towners: You will need to purchase a scale that you will use every Saturday to report your weight. For consistency purposes, you will need a scale that weighs in .2 increments. (i.e. 140.2, 140.4, 140.6, etc.) 

Picture Days 

Picture Day is the first Saturday of every month. Try to wear the same clothing so results can be seen more clearly. Ideally, try to wear the same clothing every Saturday anyway so that your weight can be the most accurate. If you are participating from outside Vegas, it will be your responsibility to take and email your photo to Jon Verde Sr no later than 5:00pm on Picture Day. 

The Wheel of Challenges 

Part of living a healthy life is making positive changes in many different aspects of it. This is why the weekly challenges are so important. The weekly challenge schedule will be as follows: 

Week One: Exercise Challenge 

The wheel will have a variety of exercise challenges that each team member will have submitted before July 7th. Some examples would be: 8 hours of exercise each week, 10 miles of running or walking, working out with a partner at least three times that week, etc. It is very important that an exercise log is kept during this week to be shared with the team members the following Saturday for accountability. Much of this is based on the honor system since we will all be working out on our own time. As you can imagine, lying to yourself and others will be directly reflected when you step on that scale! 

Week Two: Group Activity / Personal Achievement 

Two things happen during week two... 

First, come to the meeting with an idea of something you want to get accomplished during that week. Ideally, this is something that you’ve been putting off or a goal that you would like to achieve. Some ideas would be: household chores you’ve been procrastinating on (carpet cleaning, painting a bedroom, refinishing a piece of furniture), something you want to accomplish for work or your career (saving a certain amount of money, finishing a major project, making a positive change in your job), a special goal that would make you feel good to complete (volunteering at a local charity, learning a new song on the guitar, taking a class) or even something more personal (writing a letter to a family member, having a father/daughter day, going to lunch with a friend you haven’t seen in a while). 

The idea is that whatever you choose should be a challenge to you. Expect a discussion if your team members don’t think you are pushing yourself enough. Remember, we are there to support each other AND hold each other accountable! Ideally, you would want to set at least two goals for yourself during this week and accomplishing them would mean getting out of your comfort zone. Be prepared to discuss your achievements the following Saturday and have pictures of a completed project if applicable. 

You cannot choose the same personal achievement twice in one season. 

Secondly, the wheel is spun and will land on a color. If your color is chosen, you are responsible for setting up the group activity for the month. You have until the following Saturday to research things to do and set a date for when the activity is going to take place. You must coordinate with all other team members and have everything arranged. Then, you have one full month to carry out the special group event. 

If you are out of town, you still participate! Obviously, we can’t get together physically, but whatever you plan with your own friends and family must be on the same day and be the same general activity for everyone else. For example, if your name gets drawn and you want to plan a day at the museum, anyone who is out of town must also visit a museum that day. If you plan a barbecue one afternoon, the other team members must have a barbecue as well. If you plan a hike, everyone hikes. Obviously, this is why it is important to spend the week getting everyone on board with your idea. Once you have everyone’s commitment, anyone who does not complete the challenge will be responsible financially. This is an exercise in compromise, communication and, ultimately, creating time for everyone to spend with their friends and family. 

Week Three: Sacrifice 

Can you give up something for one week? This is what Sacrifice Week is all about. We will spin the wheel to find out what we are being asked to give up for seven days. The choices on there will be what the team members have submitted as some of their hardest things to give up but have an affect on their diet and/or overall health. Some examples would be alcohol, caffeine, fast food, red meat, etc. Keep in mind that some of these are not necessarily sacrifices to you. But... your week will come! This is the time to really be supportive of those who are struggling and to do what you can to help them through a week that could be very difficult for them. 

Can’t make it a whole week? No need to be hard on yourself. Just be ready to pay up! Once a sacrifice is chosen, it will not be able to get chosen again. 

Week Four: Date Night 

Everyone has that special someone in their life. If you are single, that special someone is yourself! Date Night week is the time when you must plan something different and special with the person that means the most to you. It needs to be something that you haven’t done before or a new twist on something you’ve been doing for years. Whatever you decide on, it should be a new experience one way or another. The date must be planned and executed in one week and shared with all other team members at the following weigh in. 

Once again, if your other team members don’t think what you did was unique or different enough, be prepared to discuss. To avoid having to pay, get creative! Life is full of fun activities to do for yourself or the one you love. It’s up to you to make it happen! 

Financial Accountability 

We all work very hard for our money and it’s not always easy to come by. That is why the financial aspect of FFC is so important. You should want to accomplish your goals before wanting to hand over your money! 

With more members this time around, the goal is not to break anyone’s bank. Therefore, we will utilize the wheel for financial accountability. The wheel will have the numbers one through five to spin through. If you are responsible for paying due to gaining weight or not meeting a weekly challenge, you will spin the wheel to see what you owe each person. You will have until Sunday at 5:00pm to pay your dollar amount in each box. The minimum amount will be $1.00 per person, the maximum will be $5.00 per person. 

Remember, however, that if you gain weight AND don’t complete your challenge, you will spin the wheel for financial accountability twice! 

Fine Print 

If you weigh the same exact weight two weeks in a row, you do not pay. However, by the third week, if you still haven’t lost anything, you must spin the wheel to pay. This doesn’t apply if you are in the maintenance stage. 

FFC is treated as a democracy. Therefore, we vote when something is in question. If you feel that someone else’s challenge hasn’t been met, you can call for a majority vote. Whatever majority says, goes. You may challenge and make an argument, but in the end, majority vote rules. If you still refuse to pay after majority votes, you can no longer participate in FFC. 

If you do not meet your goal weight by the end of Season Two or if you quit FFC before the end of Season Two, you will forfeit all money in your box and it will be divided evenly between those who have met their goal weights and participated in FFC until the end. 

Current proposed end date: Saturday, January 12th, 2013. Final weigh in, pictures and Season Two celebratory party to take place on this day. 

All rules above are to be shared and agreed upon before FFC starts on July 7th, 2012. 

Have fun and start losing!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Change is the Only Constant. Hanging On is the Only Sin." - Denise McCluggage

So, I’m moving to back Long Beach and writing a book. 

That sounds nice and romantic, doesn’t it? It sounds like I’ve made a decision, finally, to do something. To make forward progress in some aspect of my life. 

Forward progress... this is what I feel I’ve not been doing lately. And by lately, I mean in the last year or so. And in the last year or so, I mean I can’t remember the last time I felt I was doing something that would bring me to a different level emotionally. 

Okay, that’s not entirely true. When I started writing this blog two years ago, I did feel as if I had finally done something important. I had made significant changes in my life and who I wanted to be and it felt good to be doing something different. 

But my life has gotten a little stagnant. So has this blog, for that matter. I feel like Stephen King, recycling the same stories over and over but giving them different names. Cory, Jeremy, Steven, Tim, Rob... etc. Girl meets boy, girl thinks boy is The One. Girl is disappointed to find out she’s wrong. Girl writes about it. Rinse and repeat. 

It’s not just about my many failed relationships in this city. Well, to some degree it is. I am starting to think that the person I’m trying so hard to be is not the person I truly am. Therefore, I am attracting relationships (both romantic and platonic) that are good, but not as authentic as I am desiring. 

I’m a good person... and that should be enough. But ever since I came out of that leadership program, I’ve been trying to be a perfect person. I’ve been trying to be outward, giving, caring, dedicated, expressive and responsible. I’m trying to keep it together so much when all I really want to do is scream my frustrations to the world. 

I guess, in a sense, that is what this blog is for. 

I was hanging out with Whitney a while back and we got on the subject of whether or not I was still interested in writing a book. The answer is yes, but the book I want to write is a fiction story loosely (or not so loosely) based on my life experiences, particularly in the dating world. 

“The problem,” I told her, “is that I don’t have an end to the book. I’m still ‘in it’ and it doesn’t make sense to start to write something where I have no idea how I’m going to finish it up. Some writers can do that. I am not one of those writers. I could make up an ending, but it would be incredibly inauthentic.” 

***

My friend, Dan, was kind enough to take my cat, Bailey. I drove her out to California on Tuesday morning. So far, it’s been a bit of a rough welcoming between Bailey and Tuxedo, Dan’s other cat. However, I’m confident that with a little time, they will realize they have a lot in common and things will work out swimmingly. 

Just to make sure it wasn’t a total disaster, I decided to stay a few days in California while the two of them adjusted to one another. So, I shot down to Long Beach to crash for a few nights with my friend, Brendan. Brendan and I have known each other for almost five years. I met him here in Las Vegas just a month or so before he moved to California. We’ve always stayed in touch, have a handful of mutual friends and when we are both single, manage to have some excellent, emotionally unattached sex. It’s never really a bad thing to have a friend like that. 

Brendan is one of those guys that is always in a positive mood, regardless of the circumstances. He’s all about the good time, is intelligent and free spirited. All three of these are favorite qualities of mine. It’s no surprise we’ve been able to be friends for so long without any kind of drama. Although never properly “dating” has probably been good for us as well. 

Something was different this time, however. In many different aspects. 

No sense in finding nice words for it... I fucked shit up in Long Beach when I lived there. I didn’t just leave eight years ago, I ran as fast as I could away from the many fires I created. I’ve been back to visit a handful of times since I moved to Vegas and each one had it’s own feelings of icky and uncomfortable. I feared running into people I used to know. Certain locations around the city reminded me of bad things and bad times. Most of the time, being in that city just made me feel heavy. 

It wasn’t like that this time. This time, I felt like I was... home. The smells, the sounds, the beach... I thought about my perfect little apartment back in Las Vegas and realized that I would give all of it up to come back here, right now. In fact, the idea of getting back in my car to drive to Vegas made me choked up and uneasy. 

Something was different with Brendan too. I’m still trying to sort through the emotions surrounding our time together as “talking about our feelings” is not the kind of relationship the two of us have. It wasn’t just about sex this time. It was like... we missed each other. There was something invading the space between us and while we didn’t seem to want to address it completely, I don’t think either one of us really wanted to ignore it either. 

We walked to the beach at dusk the first night I was there. For a Tuesday night, the beach was packed. Runners, bike riders, beach bums, all out enjoying an unusually humid summer night. Against the rules, we had taken Brendan’s new puppy, Lunch Box, onto the beach. Although she is the kind of cute that no one would dare turn into the authorities. 


We found a lifeguard tower, let Lunch Box go to town digging in the sand and sat down to watch the day come to an end. Suddenly, I realized something. 

I had an end to my book. 

It hit me all at once. I decided, in that moment, that I was going to move back. I still have ten months on my lease but it’s going to take me that long to save up the money for the move anyway. (My five dollar a day birthday box has now turned into a ten dollar a day moving fund) 

My Piggy Bank
I talked to my boss at work about a transfer to the Huntington Beach Cheesecake Factory and he seemed to think that would be just fine. I may take on a second serving or bartending job when I get out there, depending on how things work out with Cheesecake, but at least I’ll have a job to start. I still have a few contacts in Long Beach that don’t think I’m a total waste of time so getting work should be easier than usual if necessary. 

As far as living goes in California, two is always better than one. So Brendan and I are going to get a two bedroom together somewhere near the water. It’s impossible to predict right now what our story could be... but the one constant we’ve always had is that we respect each other as friends and if there is nothing else there, we would probably still make pretty good roommates. It’s kind of funny... we both know each other’s track record when it comes to relationships so we say to each other how unlikely it is that we would ever work out as a couple. I don’t think I’ve ever started a relationship thinking “there’s no way this is going to work”. Not ideal for the romantic inside me, but certainly interesting for the intellectual side. 

Ten months. It sounds like a long time, but I know it’s going to go very quickly. And I’m definitely going to miss this city. But I’ve gone through a lot of self discovery and while I am nervous about going back to a place where I exhibited the worst behavior of my life, I feel like I’m being given a second chance there. I had a beautiful apartment on the beach, a loving and caring boyfriend, a secure and promising job/career with Hyatt and I messed it all up with my selfish ways. The one thing I know for sure this time is that I will not take what I have for granted. I will love more than I have ever loved, give back as much as I can and appreciate every drive up the coast, every step on the sand and every night spent on a lifeguard tower. 

And I will write that book. Because I’ve found that while my story is here in Las Vegas, my life is waiting for me in Long Beach.