Friday, April 25, 2014

Last weekend I returned home to Colorado to see one of my oldest friends get married. I've probably said this on here before, but growing up I was mostly friends with boys. I had a big friend group in the theater department in high school because one day a boy named Dave, who was a junior, started eating lunch with me and my friend Audrey. He slowly brought us into a collective of people, some of whom are still my closest friends in the world. Of that group, four of my boys are now married [or are getting married this year]. Brenden was the first. He got married next to the Pacific Ocean in Oregon a year and a half ago. Garret was the second. He got married overlooking all of Boulder last summer. Dave was this weekend. He said his vows on the 38th floor of a hotel in Denver in front of a panoramic view of the place that raised us. Bryan is in a few months, in North Carolina, somewhere I've never been.

I've always felt torn about weddings. And marriage. I never really witnessed strong marriages growing up. Or at least not marriages that looked appealing in a way that inspired me to do that thing some little girls sometimes do, which is dream of their wedding day. I remember a little over a year ago, lying in bed with the man I loved for 12 years, telling him I wan't sure if I ever wanted to get married. I have some friends who have been in committed long term relationships for longer than most marriages I've known, and I've interrogated them endlessly about their decision not to make it legal. We'd talked about getting married before, my partner and I. Talked about venues and first dance song possibilities. But I want to propose to you, he said after I'd finished my little anti-marriage speech. He used to tell me he couldn't wait to call me his fiancée. When I tell my friends about this now, they always think it's weird. That we talked so much about a future without ever actually solidifying the present. And I guess it is weird. But when all your friends are getting married, and when you've been in love with someone your entire adult life, and when that person finally comes to you and says there's no one else he would ever want to be with, you, if you are me, take the present for what it is and assume the future will sort it all out. We broke up not even two weeks after that. This weekend, I watched him walk down the isle at Dave's wedding as a groomsman with another of my oldest friends, a bridesmaid, a woman I refer to as my wife because of the time we got "married" in high school something like 10 years ago.

When I see my friends get married, I cry. I love seeing my friends happy. I love seeing my friends surrounded by our friends, surrounded by their friends, their family, celebrating. I love dancing with them until the venue kicks us out. I loved roasting hot dogs in a bonfire at the beach after Brenden and Breanne's wedding. I loved wandering Pearl Street with Garret and his wife at midnight after their wedding. This weekend, I loved staying in the hotel bar until 4:30am with people I never get to see, people who are married and engaged and in love. Being around this much love overwhelms me. It negates the fear I have of ever putting myself in the vulnerable position of partner again.

The day after the wedding festivities ended, I went over to my friend Roxanne's house. Hers was the first wedding I ever attended as an adult. I was 19 then I think, maybe 20. It was such an incredible wedding. It taught me what it means to be an adult in a relationship. I carried memories of that wedding with me into my future relationship, employed them when things were rough, and though that relationship ended, it wasn't because the lessons I'd learned were faulty but because sometimes you have to know when to give up. And when you don't give up, because you know how not to and because you wouldn't ever, ever want to, well then you get a wedding like Dave & Kat's, and you dance till your toes are numb, and you know that the only downside to weddings like this one is that they end. But that the upside is seeing your friends spending the rest of their lives together.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just. Too many things. Since the glorious fiasco that was my spring break, I have done the following things that I feel compelled to write about:

  • attended the Friends, Bitches, Countrymen panel on contemporary feminist poetics that blew my mind
  • shaved approximately 1/4th of my head
  • helped throw a 90's themed birthday party with my best friend to celebrate her 29th year of existence
  • rented a house in Palm Springs with my best LA girls for Dinah Shore weekend
  • was visited by my Tiny Brother
  • celebrated my badass friend/yoga instructor's 30th birthday with an amazing night at Chateau Marmont
  • had a weekend visit from my parents that included breakfast at Donut Friend in Highland Park, a trip to my secret beach in Malibu, a visit to my retired couple from airplane's house so they could finally meet my mom, dinner at Stella, the LA Times Festival of Books on the USC campus, a fancy conference dinner we attended with my dad, and two brunches at KTCHN in DTLA
  • settled on the final formation of my exam committee
  • accepted a job teaching literature to USC honors students through Thematic Option 
I can't write about all of these or post every photo of every single one of these adventures, but I'll just say that this has been the busiest month of my life. Half of me is so exhausted I don't even know what's going on. The other half of me is overwhelmed with excitement and gratitude. 

I'm getting dizzy even as I write this. I would say I'm looking forward to some calming relaxation after the semester ends in two weeks, but three days after the end of the semester, I'm headed to Israel for two weeks and NYC for a week. I tell people that I try and strike a balance between doing and not doing, but I think I'm a bit addicted to doing. I always want to go places to take photos, I want to learn everything there is to know about Los Angeles since I don't know how long I'll be lucky enough to live here, I want to say yes to every event because I feel like I'm constantly meeting amazing new people and learning new things. But my body is yelling at me to take a break. 

Between the world that is my neighborhood, my city, my school, my friends, my family, all the places available for adventures, and the world of the internet with all its art and articles and information and possibility, I feel like my entire life is a candy shop, and I am endlessly a kid vacillating between sugar rush and sugar crash. Fortunately I still manage to sleep between 8 and 11 hours every night, but when I'm not sleeping, I don't really know how to turn off. Even things designed to get one to turn off, like yoga or showers, feel more like an adventure. When I made the decision a few years ago to appreciate and celebrate every small aspect of every day of my life, I didn't realize I'd be turning moments that should otherwise be relaxing into active moments of celebration. And I'm not complaining. But I think maybe I need to make some version of my Malta trip a yearly habit so I can always, at least for 10 or so days, step outside myself, outside my life, and be bored, and be quiet, and be still.