A Year of Us

I was 15 minutes late to our first date, exactly a year ago today. We had matched on Hinge three weeks earlier, but I was already actively dating a few other people and he was the one I was least excited about. At the time I had recently finished reading, “Get the Guy” by Matthew Hussey and was feeling motivated and inspired to find a serious relationship, having spent the previous two years working on myself and (unsuccessfully) casually dating.

I distinctly remember choosing to wear a white shirt because I’d stalked his Instagram and he seemed to be a light-hearted, positive person, and I didn’t want to scare him off with my usual gothy, witchy vibes. We met for a puppy play date at a poorly lit dog park in Hollywood and sat on damp grass as we got through the usual get-to-know-you first date questions - what do you do for work, where are you from, how was your week, etc. You know, unremarkable shit. 30 minutes into our conversation, his dog squat over me and peed all over my legs.

I now know Luna to be such a sweet, well-behaved dog that it’s shocking to look back at that moment and the brazenness of her behavior - maybe she knew something we didn’t. Liam was of course horrified and embarrassed, and for a moment I considered going home. But our conversation was going so well and he was so cute, plus I’d already driven all the way out to Hollywood from the Westside, I told him that if he didn’t mind smelling his dog’s pee all over my legs, I’d be down to keep hanging out.

So we smoked a joint and had dinner at Wurstküche, Luna and Jojo lying at our feet as we downed boots of beer. I remember thinking that he was silly, too tall for me, and distractingly attractive. But he was also disarming, and because I had low expectations of seeing him again, I ended up revealing details about myself that I’ve never shared on first dates.

We talked for 3 hours that night. When I left I thought that while this probably won’t go anywhere, still doubting our compatibility, I figured he could be a tasty snack, a beautiful notch to add to my bedpost.

On our second date we went to an acro yoga class, and I found myself impressed at his lack of embarrassment and willingness to participate. We got vegan sushi for dinner and again talked for hours, but when we got back to my car we discovered that the passenger’s side window had been broken into and his backpack had been stolen out of it. I found myself impressed yet again at his immediate reaction - his compassion towards the thief, the thought that they probably needed it more than he did.

I made out with him in my car, careful of the shattered tempered glass on the seat.

That night I went home and texted my friends that he might not be a snack after all, and since that date we’ve spoken basically everyday. Last week we signed the lease to our new apartment, and in just a few weeks we’ll be moving in together.

It’s crazy to think how much has changed in the past year, in the past couple of years really. A little over a year ago I was in New York, blackout drunk, making out in a bar with a dude whose name I never got and whose face I can’t even picture in my head. Two years ago I was high off my Yoga Teacher Training, feeling motivated to really take control over my career and find a solution to my bouts of depression (which I’ve discovered while reading my old writing is something I’ve dealt with for years but struggled to name).

For a long time I’ve felt as if my life was at a tipping point, that my edges and seams were on the verge of becoming fully undone, and Liam happened to walk in at exactly the right moment. If I hadn’t gone through the terror of being unemployed for 10 months, weathered the instability of dating an emotionally unavailable person, and been forced to confront and vocalize my destructive thought patterns in therapy, I don’t think I would have learned the tools to be the confident and yet fully vulnerable person I’ve been able to be with him.

And I am so lucky to love him. It’s hard to articulate everything that he is to me - how his sweetness, his warmth, and his thoughtfulness have left an indelible imprint on my heart. He’s the first to celebrate my accomplishments and is the best at patiently listening and giving me advice when I’m feeling overwhelmed. He walks our dogs in the morning when I’m on early work calls at home, and takes them on hikes in the afternoon when I’m at yoga or pole. He also drives me to and picks me up from LAX whenever he can, any hour of the day or night, no questions asked. If that’s not love by LA standards, I don’t know what is.

A couple of years ago I wrote about my Saturn Return, which was every bit as scary and stressful as astrology makes it sound, but it was also probably the most transformative and illuminating period of my life. I recognize that this is just a new chapter in my story, that my life will continue to go through emotional peaks and valleys, but I’m excited to see this turn into “our” story. “Our” life and “our” journey, together.

Happy anniversary, Liam. I am so grateful for you.

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Love In All Its Forms

I sometimes feel like a spectator outside of my life, marveling at the way things have unfolded, often better than I anticipated.

My life has been marked by a series of fortunate events - such as my unexpected acceptance into Berkeley where I met many brilliant, hilarious friends who I’m fortunate to still have in my life. Or the trajectory of my career, the success of which still catches me off guard. Or now, in my new relationship, with someone who is so incredibly warm and silly and kind and devastatingly handsome, I’m sometimes baffled he even exists.

I find myself bracing for impact. How can this be real? How can he be real? How can we fit into each other‘s lives in a way that feels inexplicable? While I can’t explain it, I am grateful. I look back at my old writing, all my love letters to a faceless, anonymous “you,” and I can’t help but feel like he is the person I’ve been writing to all along. He is the “you” I’ve been speaking to.

I once wrote that I wanted a hungry kind of love, one that felt sticky between my fingers. I’ve since changed my mind. I’ve discovered that what I really want is an easy kind of love. One where I don’t overthink everything that I say or do, one that doesn’t make me fear what happens next. What I really want is a love I can wrap around me like a warm blanket, a love I can sleep soundly in, curled up in its safety.

I’ve spent the last couple of years cultivating love – love of my friends, love of my work, love of myself, and love of my life. And in so doing I’ve learned that love should be easy, given and accepted freely. It shouldn’t come with conditions, with rationalizations, with excuses. I’m lucky to find myself in love again, with someone who makes it so easy.

I love you, Liam. Thank you for being you.

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Hey love hey life hey you.

Sometimes I think the small print to the laws of physics will be revealed to say that you and I were made for each other. Sometimes I think one day they’ll change certain mathematical properties to declare that you plus me will always equal us. Sometimes, but just sometimes, I think the chemistry between us will eventually reach an explosive state, and we’ll forever be bonded together at the lips and hips. Physically, mentally, emotionally. Sometimes I think the universe has actually conspired to use its gravitative state to perpetually draw us two together.

Hey love hey life hey you.

Sometimes I think we’re forever doomed to repeatedly find each other. I think our moments of separation over time over space over miles are mere formalities of living, because I think between us there’ll always exist a thread to follow back to one another. Like Theseus in the labyrinth with the Minotaur, I think we’ll always have an invisible ball of thread in our hands to lead us back to the beginning. If we are the sum of our parts, I can tell you right now that the addition of my parts would equal you.

Hey love hey life hey you.

I may be lost, but I know one day you’ll find me.

- (me, circa 2005)

2018 Fucked

Wow, seeing my 2017 survey still on the front page of my blog made me realize that I didn’t blog this year as much as I expected I would, but I’m going to chalk that up to being really happy and living a full fucking life in 2018.

This is the 15th year (!!!) that I’ve done this survey, and I’ve now crossed the threshold from being self-conscious about it being silly and weird to being really proud that I’ve managed to keep it up for 15-fucking-years (with the exception of 2010, which was kind of blur in my life anyway).

If you’ve been following my writing, you’ll know that I’ve had kind of an up and down last few years struggling with depression and anxiety and several major life transitions, but 2018 felt like the culmination of many years of self-reflection and internal work, and these days I’m just really happy and grateful for everything that transpired to get me to where I am today.

This isn’t the most articulate choice of words, but I’ve also been sick for the past month, so bear with me while I do this hopped up on a cocktail of different medications. Here we go!

Past years for reference:

2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
I now use Evernote to log all the new shit I do throughout the year, because I literally think about what I’m going to put in this survey all year round.

This year I took an aerial class, taught a yoga class, ate crickets in Mexico City (also the first time I traveled to Mexico), went to a concert by myself (HONNE!), experienced a sound bath, reported for jury duty, left my phone number on a receipt for a server, went to therapy (highly recommend), was fully nude in public (at a Korean spa), and got peed on during a date (by my date’s dog).

I had a lot of physical achievements this year, like going outdoor rock climbing for the first time, doing up to 4 unassisted chin-ups/pull-ups, some acro yoga poses, some advanced yoga transitions and poses, and so many pole tricks.

Travel-wise, I went to Mexico City (twice), Scottsdale, Denver, and Joshua Tree!

It’s hard to tell from the picture but there’s a big fucking gap on the other side of the rock I’m on so this was a little terrifying

It’s hard to tell from the picture but there’s a big fucking gap on the other side of the rock I’m on so this was a little terrifying

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My 2018 goals:

  • Find balance in the different parts of my life. I feel like I did a decent job of this. Considering how much I traveled this year (I averaged a flight a week), I still kept up with work and maintaining my relationships - even fostered new ones. I still wrote, I still did artsy shit, I still maintained a pretty active workout schedule between pole and yoga, and I still volunteered (though not on a regular basis). The one thing I didn’t do was cook, but I’m learning (through therapy!) to not be so hard on myself and feel like I need to fill up all of my time, and to give myself permission occasionally to relax and do nothing. And realistically, my priorities are work, my relationships, and my workout routines - I know now that it’s unlikely that I can make time for ALL OF MY HOBBIES on a monthly basis, so I feel good about how I spread my time this year.

  • Teach yoga on a semi-regular basis. Totally fucking failed at this. I couldn’t make the time for it during the first half of the year when I was traveling almost every other week, and then I lost all momentum when I started poling, which has really become my new focus. Teaching yoga has been relegated to the backburner of my life, but I’m actually ok with it, because what I’ve discovered is that I really just love being a student. I still carry the lessons I learned in my yoga teacher training with me, but yeah, teaching yoga is a future me thing to figure out.

  • Make an active effort to avoid behaviors that cause me anxiety. Fucking achieved. Well, for the most part. I can’t say I was 100% successful at avoiding these behaviors, but I was successful at moderating my anxiety so that I didn’t have eating problems this year. Therapy and moving on from people and experiences that didn’t serve me certainly helped.

  • Maintain a regular meditation practice. Not really. My meditation practice has come and gone in waves - I would still like to be better about this next year.

  • Finish my bedroom. I finally got a queen size mattress and some new sheets, but other than that, my bedroom is just as sparse and sad as it was last year. Another 2019 me goal.

My 2019 goals:

  • Be kinder and more responsible with my body. I’ve never considered myself an athletic person because I hated sports growing up and I’ve never been into conventional workouts or forms of exercise, but what I’ve since discovered is that my body is actually pretty fucking strong and flexible. I have a tendency to push my body past its limits (as I’m prone to do with all things in my life) - always testing the line between discomfort and pain - and I ended up injuring both of my wrists last month by over-poling and subsequently over-working them in yoga, and they’re still on the path to rehab. I know that I need to be conscious of my hypermobility and take better care of my body during and in-between workouts, but I’ve just never put the time into researching and understanding what that means or how to do it. My injuries this year have definitely been a wakeup call to be more mindful.

  • Maintain a regular meditation practice. Another one of my tendencies is if I can’t do something full-out, then I won’t do it. Part of the reason why I didn’t keep up with meditating was because if I felt like I didn’t have 10-15 minutes to spare in the morning because I was running late to work, I just wouldn’t do it. In therapy I’ve learned that I’m pretty hard on myself (surprise, surprise), so something I have to actively work on is giving myself permission to not do everything at the arbitrarily high standard I set for myself, and remind myself that even 5 minutes of meditation a day is better than nothing.

  • Volunteer at least once a quarter. I only volunteered once this year for 826LA’s Great Personal Statement Weekend, but I really really love 826LA’s mission, and while I realistically can’t make time to volunteer every month, volunteering at least once a quarter should be achievable.

  • Compete or perform publicly on pole. I was supposed to participate in a pole showcase a couple weeks ago but had to drop out because of my wrists. Going back to my first goal, I’d really like to be more responsible about my body next year so that I can get back into pole and actually perform or compete, which is my ultimate fitness goal (some people train for marathons, I just want to be half-naked doing pole tricks in 8-inch heels).

  • Get my finances back in fucking order. A few years ago I was SUPER into managing my finances - I’d paid off all my credit cards, opened a Roth IRA, and was contributing regularly into that, my 401k, and my savings. When I was unemployed, my bank account became a scary place and I formed an unfortunate habit of not looking at it, which has persisted to this day. I’m fortunate now to have a regular income, but I’ve been so fucking irresponsible about budgeting and managing my expenses that it can’t be looking good in there. I really need to get my shit back together next year, and I’m posting this on the internet to hold myself accountable.

  • Finish my bedroom. See above. If I don’t hang up all of my goddamn art, I don’t deserve any more nice things.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A bunch of my close friends have gotten married over the last few years, but no one has entered the baby making phase…yet

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No

5. What countries did you visit?
Mexico! Twice. Within like a 3 month period for two different 30th birthday celebrations, it was a little extra. And also Spain (Madrid) for work.

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
A sense of frugality

7. What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
September 28 - when my date’s dog peed all over my legs during our first date

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Honestly, my body is in the best fucking shape it’s ever been in and I’m pretty proud of it. I’ve never felt more confident and sexy and comfortable in my skin, and it’s all thanks to pole and yoga  

9. What was your biggest failure?
Ugh, pushing myself to pole for 5 hours in one day because I was having anxiety about my pole performance, only to injure both of my wrists and have to drop out of the performance all together. LESSON LEARNED 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yeah, both of my fucking wrists. I’ve also been coughing for the last month which has been a pain in the ass

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The Malibu Airbnb that I rented for my 30th birthday and, like, all of my pole classes/clothes/shoes. HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I LOVE POLE

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Still mine. I made good decisions this year and I’m pretty pleased with myself

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
All of the fucking racists and white nationalists that have come out of the woodwork in the last couple of years. The mass shooter of the month. Etc.

14. Where did most of your money go?
My birthday, pole, and yoga. Per usual.  

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My birthday! Pole! And a man. :)

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?
Bob Moses - Enough to Believe, Petit Biscuit - Problems, Mahalia - Sober, HONNE - Feels So Good, RÜFÜS DU SOL - Treat You Better

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Even happier

ii. thinner or fatter?
Fitter! So much fitter. I have abs. I have definition in my arms. I lost the fat around my face. I’d be humble about it, but I’ve lost 20 lbs in the last 2 years and worked so fucking hard to get here, I’m going to celebrate it

iii. richer or poorer?
Er. I should be richer but I might be poorer, I’ve been so fucking financially irresponsible this year

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I actually wish I’d set aside more time for myself this year. I traveled so much and gave so much of myself to my hobbies and to relationships, I don’t think I set aside enough time to just relax and recharge and I definitely felt the weight of that at different points this year

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Nothing. I had a good year

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Coughing, napping, marathoning Christmas movies, chilling with my fam. The usual.

22. Did you fall in love in 2018?
I’ve said this the last couple of years but it’s still true - every year I fall more in love with the person I’ve become and the life I’ve built for myself

23. How many one night stands?
None

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Insecure, Magic for Humans, and I know this is like a decade delayed, but I finally watched all of Sex and the City and that shit is still relevant

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope, I still think hate is wasted energy

26. What was the best book you read?
OK YOU GUYS, I’M NOT GOING TO EVEN FRONT ABOUT THIS, but this year I read Matthew Hussey’s book Get the Guy, AND WHILE IT SOUNDS SUPER LAME AND CHEESY, I actually found it to be transformative. Yeah it’s a dating book, but it’s less about getting into a relationship and more about cultivating a life in which you’re happy with or without a relationship, and in so doing, opening up more opportunities to meet the kind of person you’d want to be in a relationship with. I also found its communication tips to be incredibly helpful, not just in dating but at work as well, and so yeah. I thought it was helpful and my life has improved since reading it so there you go.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Petit Biscuit and Mahalia

28. What did you want and get?
An epic 30th birthday celebration with all of my closest friends. A deeper sense of intimacy and emotional connection. And, like, all of the black, strappy pole clothes a girl could ever want.

29. What did you want and not get?
Nothing. I’m an annoying get-everything-she-wants kind of person

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I LOVED Love, Simon! I also really liked Game Night and Sorry To Bother You (despite how weird the latter was). I wouldn’t say Hereditary was a favorite, but fuck that film still haunts me

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
The weekend before my birthday I rented a mansion in Malibu and all of my best friends came out from Austin, NYC, SF, and SD to spend the weekend with me and it was fucking magical. On my actual birthday I just went to pole because that’s how much I love pole - I chose it over having a fancy dinner, which is what I would have normally done in the past. I turned 30.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Nothing. This year was perfect.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
Still black, still yoga-y, more real leather, more boots, even more naked than before (thanks pole)

34. What kept you sane?
My workout routines, my friends, but most of all therapy

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you want the most?
Still Jay Ellis. How can anyone resist that smile!?

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Admittedly I haven’t paid as close attention to the news this year beyond the headlines (can Trump just GTFO already?), but I guess I’m glad the midterms were, for the most part, not a disappointment

37. Who did you miss?
No one…I mean, not really. I don’t think it counts as “missing” if you know you’re going to see the person again soon. 😊

38. Who are cool new people you met?
Everyone from my yoga classes, from my pole classes, from my SF and LA offices

And of course, Liam.

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39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018?
Everyone should go to therapy. EVERYONE. THERAPY IS THE BEST.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

This feels so good (feels so good)
You got me in the mood, for love
I don’t know your horoscope 
But I know that you keep me close
‘Cause this feels so good (so good, so good)

- HONNE - Feels So Good