Mi Sei Mancata

Airports have always been a place that I feel comfortable. It’s just full of people and energy and movement.  It’s always busy.  People are coming and going; some running, some half asleep and barely walking.  It’s like it’s so chaotic that it’s intimate.  If it wasn’t so busy, more people would notice the other people.  But they rarely do in airports.  Everyone has somewhere to be by a certain time and the chaos provides an amazing mask over the intimacy that occurs at every airport.  If you ever want to witness a real hug, go to an airport.  I doubt there are very many other places whom’s walls have witnessed much more pure showings of love and reunions; goodbyes and don’t go’s; endings and beginnings.

When I used to get really homesick back when I first moved to Florida, I would drive from the beach all the way to the airport.  I’d pick a spot depending on my mood.  Downstairs in the baggage claim or upstairs at the security check point, and set up to people watch.  I guess it was kind of weird, but oh well.  I liked the pure signs of emotion people display there.  Mostly, I liked the reunions. The embraces that followed the lighting up of each party’s face when they saw each other for the first time.  I loved hearing the “I missed you”‘s and watching the guy swing the girl around in his arms.

One day I was sitting in one of the rocking chairs by the security gate, when an old lady sat next to me.  She asked me who I was waiting for and I told her no one, just liked watching people come back together.  She told me she was waiting on her husband who had been gone for a week to go on a trip she couldn’t go on.  The woman told me that they had been married 43 years and that this was their first separation for an entire week.  In slight disbelief I inquired if she meant since they were younger.  She quickly replied that she meant since the night they were married.  She added in that they had not gotten married to spend nights alone and that they had agreed not to do that throughout their life together.  She told me that she had never missed someone so much.  She added in that my generation has gotten very accustomed to missing people who we supposedly love and it was a foolish trait; that you should only miss people when there is nothing you can do about being without them, like in death.  She told me we had it all wrong, that we miss the people we’ve left, instead of just staying with them.  When her husband came through the gate he exclaimed “Mi sei mancata!” very loudly and again and again and again.  It’s Italian for I missed you, which I knew from my family.  They had one of the most genuine hugs I am sure that I will ever see and probably that those airport walls had ever seen.  They walked away together with her arm around his waist and his over her shoulders, totally defying their old age by replacing it with their youthful love.

Lately this whole exchange has been flashing in my mind.  I’d like to say I’m not sure why, but I know.  For some reason in the last few months, I’ve gotten contacted by a lot of my x-boyfriends.  Some of them texts, a few emails, a couple drunk dial calls, and a few sober ones too.  I’m not sure what alert went out to all of them that made them decide to all try the “see how you’re doing” convo or whatever, but the attempts have been fairly close together, so maybe it’s the way the planets are aligned or something.  All of the relationships ended in different ways, and I used to just think that I needed to take more responsibility for their endings, because I have repeatedly looked back and been like.. wow.. I did nothing wrong.  But breakups and ghostings kept happening and I started to think that maybe it was something I was doing wrong.  Some of the guys that have contacted me lately were quick little short stories, some longer chapters, and two of them I thought I loved.  All contact came out of no where, at different times, in different forms.  They all had one thing in common though. At some point in the conversation, they told me they missed me.  Some of them made me want to laugh, a few made me want to cry, and for a couple there was no reaction.  After the third conversation with an x and the same line being repeated, I decided to try and figure out how I felt. After the basic “yeah of course you miss me, I’m the shit, I told you you’d miss me” attitude wore off, I was left with a more realistic 28 year old reaction.. When do I get the one guy who doesn’t leave?  I am currently not dead, and although I may have wished it upon a few of the guys who reached out, here they are, still alive!  So.. why now do they miss me?  Is it because they’re lonely? Did I post a super fierce selfie or something? Just.. why now? For some, years later and for others, months later.  I became angry almost when I was woken up at 230am by another x the next week and then when a text from an x came through a few days later.  Why are they missing me I kept thinking in my head and I was getting angry.  I wanted to ask all of them, so I did.  The responses didn’t satisfy or put out the pissed-offness that was gently yanking on my insides.  They all told me similar things, none of it helped.  Then I realized it’s because I wasn’t asking the right question.  I didn’t want to know why they missed me all of a sudden, honestly I could careless, I had moved on.  What I guess I wanted to know was why did they ever leave in the first place.  A question which I refused to ask any of them because I don’t think I’m ready for those answers yet.  I’ve fielded one or two since the big epiphany, luckily one was a text and one was an email.  Both I just responded with mi hai lasciato.

Bringin’ It Back

So, I have a huge confession.  After I moved to Asheville, I started a tinder.  I wasnt meeting any guys before that because I think I’m too old to be trolling the bars for dudes and how else do you actually meet people these days!?

Well, I have reconfirmed what I already knew about tinder- it just isn’t for me. I just cannot do it. I have decided to delete my account and here are the reasons why:

  1. I automatically think you’re talking to other girls. It’s like even if you’re on tinder for good intentions.. which I don’t think you really can be, it’s not for friends, you literally swipe yes or no to if you would sleep with someone.. I will probably just assume that every time you are on your phone, it’s with another tinder chick.  Maybe that’s just me and I’m crazy, but it is what it is.  It puts a strong level of distrust on anything from the jump. On both sides. Even if you don’t want to admit it, if you have ever gotten semi-serious with someone from tinder, in the back of your mind you are wondering how many other semi-serious partners there are or have been or will be.  It’s natural. And that little voice in the back of your head builds a little wall, and that little wall turns into a blockade from fully trusting their intentions for you.  Which leads to this whole “are they a good person” vs “are they a shady person” thing and that just kills it.
  2. I’m not trying to hook up with you. But meeting someone from tinder has this amazing way of putting this invisible expectation on it that it’s supposed to end in sex.  And lets face it, we’re all on tinder because we’re kinda lonely. Then you usually meet people out at a social event or bar.  Social events and bars have alcohol.  Alcohol + people who know they are attracted to each other + people who are kinda lonely = a drunken hookup.  It’s simple math.  Simple math that just isn’t me.  It’s really not, and I kinda hate the one time I allowed this to go down.  Even though the guy is- well I think is- a nice, decent, attractive, respectful, small town dude.  I just hate knowing I let a complete stranger get to know such an intimate piece of me before anything else.  It’s just that, unlike many others in my age range, my number is very low and now I feel like I wasted a valuable slot to someone who may or may not decide to actually ever be valuable enough to my life to actually deserve that spot. Kinda let myself down more than anything.
  3. I don’t know what to say when people ask how we met.  Guess what, even if it does work out, I’ll have to say we met on tinder.  Everything about that statement makes my stomach turn.  Maybe because it’s not my style. Mostly because tinder is a disgusting hookup app and I’d be embarrassed to tell my family and friends that I was even on it, let alone actually meeting strangers off of it.
  4. I really find it kind of hard to be nice to anyone who has physically judged me. Which is hypocritical because I was also obviously physically judging people.  This alone hurts my soul because it’s so not me.  Now, I’m not saying that I’m like some saint who dates people I’m not attracted to if they have a good personalty, blah blah blah.  I do only date people that I am physically attracted to in person, we all do.  Tinder is different though.  I do not line up an age range of men and then approve of some and discard the rest like they’re nothing, in person.  What I think people are forgetting is that is essentially what a left swipe is, just discarding a person based on physical appearance and knowing nothing about them.  I hate judging. I hate being judged. I hate deciding on someone’s worth based on a few pictures and a few funny taglines to describe them and their interests.  It just isn’t me.
  5. I really suck at receiving compliments.  Now this was originally an argument that my friends used to convince me to get tinder.  They said it’d help me realize how beautiful I am and how many guys really think that.  Apparently I am kind of oblivious to my own level of attractiveness and it surprises a lot of people I know and meet.  Which, honestly, I really don’t think I’m attractive.  I feel like a big, goofy, awkward tomboy about 90% of the time.  Blame it growing up with all guys and them trying to keep my ego small or something.  So when the initial conversation on tinder starts with a guy telling me I’m hot or some other physical thing, I automatically get awkward and kind of roll my eyes and never respond.
  6. I want to go on a real date, where the guy picks me up at my house.  But umm… I’m not going to tell you where I live before I ever meet you in person, I really like being alive and un-murdered.  So this just automatically kills one of the things I know I need from a potential boyfriend because I am traditional. I want you to plan a date, knock on my door, wait like 5 minutes awkwardly inside as I look for my misplaced keys and phone, then we leave to go where ever you have planned out, and I judge you from you opening the car door for me or not.  Then, after the date, you drop me off and either do or don’t try for an awkward first kiss on the porch.  Sorry, I really do not believe chivalry is dead, I just think tinder is kidnapping, gagging, and tying it up in its’ basement.  Guess I really am an 80s baby: traditional and a slight romantic.. Sweet.
  7. I want a guy to approach me in person.  Messaging someone is easy. It takes no effort and if they don’t respond? Who cares.  I want the guy to have to build up enough courage, make an effort to walk over to me, and start a conversation.  The whole copy and paste the same cheesy pick-up line to a million girls just isn’t my thing.  Risk rejection in person.  You don’t get a bio about me to use as a conversation starter.  Walk up to me, stick out your hand, introduce yourself. Then we go from there.  Ask me how old I am, what I do for fun, if I have pets. Don’t read it and then use it as a conversation starter.
  8. I kind of hate smart phones and the way almost everyone I know is addicted to theirs.  I want my friends and guy I’m dating to be present.  I am tired of going out to the bar and seeing everyone constantly on their phones.  I want to start enjoying the time I have here and now with the people I choose to surround myself with.  Yes, snaps and posts will happen, but I’m almost kind of sick of that too. I just want to have real conversations with real people who are present where they are. It’s pretty simple.

So, tinder it’s been real. It’s been fun. But it hasn’t been real fun.  If you need me, I’ll be out with my friends waiting for my real life match because he’ll be approaching me in person.

Got Privilege? : A Response to What People Aren’t Saying About Black Opinions on White Privilege

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My friend posted an article on his facebook. Now I know right now is a very sensitive time for racial issues and I’ve tried to completely avoid all post and statuses about them up until this point. After reading this article this morning via my bed with my morning jar of spicy lemonade (I’m doing a cleanse, themastercleanse.org check it out), I have decided it’s time for there to be another side voiced about the points made in this extremely one-sided, bias blog:

The Article Under Scrutiny

First, please read the article. Second, please understand in no way, shape , or form am I discrediting this woman’s experiences with racism and/or sexism.  I feel for her pain and the times that she was treated lesser because of her external appearance. Matter of fact, I feel for her so much because I can relate to every single numbered point that she made. “What?”, You may find yourself asking, “I thought I was reading a blog written by a Caucasian, Blonde Female.” Yep, you are. And that is the exact attitude I am trying to dismiss with this response. So, please read her article, then continue below.

“The white privilege in this situation is being able to move into a “nice” neighborhood and be accepted not harassed, made to feel unwelcome, or prone to acts of vandalism and hostility.” When I was younger, my parents got divorced. My mother was left with full custody of myself, a 3 year old, and my sister, a four year old, with a biological father who didn’t believe in paying child support.  As a single mom, she did what she could to provide for us.  I remember living in less than desirable apartments once we were too old to share rooms and my mom was probably sick of sleeping on a pull out couch in the living room after a few years.  In order to live somewhere we could all have our own bedroom in a place she could afford, we moved to a neighborhood mostly made up of other singles mothers and lower class families.  Due to whatever factor or conspiracy or other bullshit reasoning behind it, that made us a minority.  I remember fearing the bus stop because of how the other girls that we didn’t look like would pick on my sister and I.  My actual first fight happened at one of these bus stops, when we were beat up by a group of about 4 or 5, all while they said things like “You’re too rich to live here” and other ridiculous comments based on our caucasian appearance and the stereo-types that comes with it. We were in fourth and fifth grade, like are you kidding me!? After that, my mom left her day shift and took an overnight shift where she worked from 8 pm til 3 am, so she could drive us to and from school, all so we didn’t have to take the bus.  So.. Is black privilege in this situation being able to live in a neighborhood that is all you can afford, and be accepted not harassed, made to feel unwelcome, or prone to acts of <VIOLENCE> and hostility?

“If you’ve NEVER had a defining moment in your childhood or your life, where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.”  In grade school I played lacrosse. I was really into it and pretty good. I remember going to UCDavis in Sacramento, California one year for a Nike Lacrosse camp.  While we were there, we stayed in the dorms for a month and had 3 a day practices, 7 days a week. It was amazing and really helped me develop my skills in a thing I was passionate about.  About a week into camp, we were divided and picked by captains, who were from the UCDavis college lacrosse team, and we began scrimmaging every Friday. I was pretty good, and became  leading scorer of my squad. The second Friday round of scrimmages, I remember the girl I was guarding and throughout camp we had developed somewhat of a rivalry.. I’m not sure why really. We were both really good and I’m a very humble person, but she just didn’t like me, on or off the field.  So anyways, it came down to a tied game and we had the face off which would probably be either teams last opportunity to score. I won it, passed it to my second hole, who then passed it back up to me, and I scored using a behind the back, between the legs trick shot (which I had just learned and was super stoked about it).  When we lined up to clap hands and I got to her, she slapped my hand down and called me a “cracker ass bitch”.  just out of no where. Nothing about my skill level was to do with race; me being better that one face off and having good communication with my teammate  had nothing to do with race. For the rest of the month, her and her friends called me Barbie or some other appearance and race based nickname. So.. If you’ve NEVER had a defining moment in your childhood or your life, where you realize your skin <AND HAIR> color alone makes other people hate you, do you have black privilege?

“If you’ve never been ‘the only one’ of your race in a class, at a party, on a job, etc. and/or it’s been pointed out in a “playful” fashion by the authority figure in said situation – you have white privilege.”  I used to work as an ESOL tutor in Jacksonville when I lived there.  I helped students who didn’t have parents who spoke English very well, or sometimes at all, because they had no support at home.  This obviously involved more in-depth relationships with them and their families, and I often made home visits on the weekends to help with projects and homework.  I grew a lot of respect while working there with their communities. But at first? Oh hell no. They hated me, their families hated me, and they called me more spanish, racial slurs I can even remember or spell.  That isn’t even the point of this though, after they dropped their pre-conceived notions and stereo-types based on my outward appearance and race, I was pretty accepted into their community, homes, and church.  One day, I went to church at their local community church.  The Pastor actually called me out to thank me for all the help and time I spent educating their children and going beyond just what I was paid for.  I felt honored… except how I was called out. He said, “Is Miss Cam, here? I heard she was here. Does anybody see the only white, blonde woman here?” Not even lying. I brushed it off, because he meant nothing by it and then praised me. Also, I was the only white, blonde woman there. So.. If you’ve never been ‘the only one’ of your race in a class, at a party, on a job, etc. and/or it’s been pointed out in a “playful” fashion by the authority figure in said situation- do you have black privilege?

“If you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a white person who “deserved it”that is white privilege.” I remember my senior year in high school entering a school-wide essay contest that the prize was a $1000 grant to use for college. It said to write an essay of your choice, gave us the requirements and format guidelines, and then we were left to our own to participate.  I remember working really, really hard on that essay. I needed the money for my transition from Maine to Florida to attend college, and out-of-state tuition was killing me. Long story short, I won the essay contest. They announced second and third place, although I don’t think there were any grants or prizes.  The day it was announced, I got guilted by some of my friends and a lot of the rest of the school, because the girl who got second place needed the money more.  Now, how did anybody in my high school know who needed and didn’t need the money? I don’t think any of them knew my financial situation, my mom’s, or the cost of the college I was attending. And I don’t think anybody knew hers either.  It was decided I won the essay contest and shouldn’t have because I was a star lacrosse player who was white and blonde, so my family must have money right?  Also I was selected out of favoritism, not out of my own hard work.  Which I spent weeks on that essay and revisions.  Then, it was also factlessly decided that because she wasn’t white and blonde, that her family must need the support more. So.. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a <other race> person who “deserved it” – is that black privilege?

“If no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin color, that is white privilege.”  I’m not going to spend much time on this because I have a thousand different experiences throughout my life questioning my intelligence.. why? Because I am a fairly good-looking, white, blonde female.  Now I do not think anybody can accurately say that there is one stereo-type in the entire world of different appearances that is more commonly written off as unintelligent and ditsy, than pretty, white, blonde females.  I remember being at the top of my Latin IV class and the results of our midterms being hung outside the teacher’s office.  We all stood around waiting for him to post them because they were released that afternoon and that weekend most of us were traveling home for the holidays.  I scored the highest. Every single person gave me a surprised look, and a few made comments asking “how did you cheat” or “smarter than she looks”. This is one of thousands of experiences throughout my entire life as an honor student, a girl who graduated at 16, and scored higher than you (most likely) on my SATs.  So.. If no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin <or hair> color, is that non-blonde privilege? 

“If you have never experienced or considered how damaging it is/was/could be to grow up without myriad role models and images in school that reflect you in your required reading material or in the mainstream media – that is white privilege.” I fully am not wasting to much time on this either for a few quick reasons.  All mainstream media “role models” for white, blonde females have been basic AF and viewed as sexual objects.. Seriously. I loved history and cant really recall any super strong influential lessons on strong females really at all- the ones there aren’t, haven’t been blonde. Also, Thoreau, Emerson, Malcolm X, Joseph Conrad, Dreiser, etc- are all males, so this argument is kind of hypocritical to begin with because there aren’t any females represented. A quick example I will use is that I’m Christian, I believe in the bible.  I’ve never been allowed to read that as assigned reading in school because all kinds of people have objected and “disagreed” with it. I quietly accept and respect their opinions, without letting my feelings get hurt or feeling targeted. Last example: every school celebrates black history month. We had to, every year, do multiple projects, essays, and other assignments on a certain race for an entire month. Is there a white history month? Nope. If there was, how many protests do you think there would be?! For the record, I think all months dedicated to specifically one group is ridiculous, learn about it all in chronological order and leave it at that.  But really, a whole month is dedicated in schools to just one race and their accomplishments, and researching that. So.. If you have never experienced or considered how damaging it is/was/could be to grow up without myriad role models and images in school that reflect you in your required reading material or in the mainstream media- is that black privilege?

“If you’ve never been blindsided when you are just trying to enjoy a meal by a well-paid faculty member’s patronizing and racist assumptions about how grateful black people must feel to be in their presence – you have white privilege.”  This statement is just ridiculous. I think people need to stop associating money and pretentious people with racism.  I have been a server at a country club and I have also been a guest at one. I have gone to a lot of up-scale events with friends.  I have also served at a bunch. This experience of her’s had nothing to do with race, it had to do with the host’s pretentiousness.  I have been serving and been told I was blessed to be in someone’s presence because they were going to do great things and one day I would be thankful I can tell the story of waiting on them to my children! I have also been a guest and had a host make a comment like that to the people waiting on us, which immediately blindsided me and ruined the meal. It had nothing to do with race- but with money.  Most rich people are ignorant- white, black, brown, yellow – money changes people. And that’s all I will say on this topic. So.. If you’ve never been blindsided when you are just trying to enjoy a meal by a well-paid faculty member’s patronizing and racist assumptions about how grateful white people must feel to be in their presence – do you have black privilege?

“If you’ve never been on the receiving end of a boss’s prejudiced, uninformed “how dare she question my ideas” badmouthing based on solely on his ego and your race, you have white privilege.” Umm.. do I even need to re-state this point? I’m a white, blonde, pretty female. Almost every job I’ve ever had has assumed I was an idiot when I first started.  I cannot name one job that I’ve had where my bosses – black, white, male, female- didn’t question my intelligence in the beginning because of their prejudice and uninformed assumption based on my appearance.  I’ve worked hard to prove my intelligence, drive, and usefulness at every position I’ve ever held.  I have always been badmouthed until they like me, which happens because the ideas I question are because I know a better, and more efficient, way to do it.  When they try them, they usually work, so I earn their favor through hard work. So.. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of a boss’ prejudiced, uninformed “how dare she question my ideas” badmouthing based on solely on his ego and your <APPEARANCE>, do you have black privilege?

“If you’ve never had to mask the fruits of your success with a floppy-eared, stuffed bunny rabbit so you won’t get harassed by the cops on the way home from your gainful employment (or never had a first date start this way), you have white privilege.” I’ve dated all kinds of guys. Fully tattooed guys were a big stage of mine for awhile.  I cannot count the times that these big, tatted guys were targeted by police, door guys, and any other authority while we were out on a date. People assumed they were like biker gang thugs or trouble makers I guess.  I’ve also always hung out with people who go to music festivals and have grateful dead stickers and such on their cars.  Most of them are white guys with long hair.  It would be impossible for me to recount every example of when they were targeted by police and pulled over and assumed to have drugs in their care because they were a white kid with a deadhead sticker on their bumper.  It has nothing to do with race, it has to do with stereo-types, and there is one for almost every color and appearance.  Police play off of it, and unfortunately, they are usually right and that’s why it still continues to happen to everyone.  So.. If you’ve never had to mask the fruits of your success by not putting one of your favorite band’s stickers on your car so you won’t get harassed by cops on the way home from your gainful employment (or never had a first date start this way), do you have black privilege?

“Not having to rewrite stories, headlines or swap photos while being trolled by racists when all you’re trying to do on a daily basis is promote positivity and share stories of hope and achievement and justice – that is white privilege.”  Ok so this one time I had a website called Good White News and I was shocked at how many racist people trolled it.  No just kidding, but seriously, with that title every other race besides the one that is being reflected is going to have people troll it and make stupid racial comments.  My instagram used to be public and I put a Lil Wayne quote under a selfie once, and hashtagged his name. I got repeated black women calling me a cracker and telling me I can’t listen to hip hop and know nothing about it.  All of which I deleted. And on a side note, I lived at the beach so I believe I can relate to “Life is a beach, I’m just playing in the sand” way more than some chick from Chicago.  But seriously, since when didn’t the internet have trolls offering their expertise on everything and being racist and ignorant? So.. Is not having to rewrite statuses, captions, or swap lyrics on a selfie while being trolled by racists when all you’re trying to do on a daily basis is promoting positivity and share selfies of happiness- is that black privilege?

So ok, Ms Lori Laken Hutcherson of good black news, I’m exhausted. I am sorry for your experiences of being singled out by your appearance.  I am also sorry for mine. And his. And hers. And theirs.  So let me just re-iterate what I think it’s time we all realize in 2016:

Stereo-types, prejudice, and privilege are things that happen to every race, religion, skin type, hair color, etc.  APPEARANCE BASED JUDGMENTS ARE NOT SOLELY HAPPENING TO ONE SPECIFIC TYPE AND ITS TIME WE ALL OPEN OUR EYES. We can all be victims and capitalize on that divide, or we can all shut up and stop making it about us.  Because guess what- it isn’t all about us.  Once we start pointing out injustices based on them happening because of race, we are incorrect.  Everybody has it hard, everybody has been singled out, and everybody has been judged.  That’s society.

I’m not downplaying one instance for another, I’m just strictly not playing.  It’s all what you make it, be a target or don’t be. Just stop trying to influence people to see your suffering more than anyone else’s.

Refreshed

So, Nick texted me. After literally almost 3 months of silence through multiple attempts of communication and unanswered emails, he texted me. I looked down at my phone screen after hearing my text alert, I was driving, and almost crashed into on coming traffic.  I told myself that I was just imagining the picture of us with his name under it on the screen.  That my mind was just playing tricks on me and it wasn’t really there. It was a different Nick and my heart switched out the picture, like a cruel joke on myself. I pulled my car over to the shoulder of the intracoastal bridge that I was crossing and took a deep breath.  I don’t do it very often lately, but I looked up and asked God to please not be playing some kind of joke on me.

I unlocked my smart phone’s screen and there it still was: my favorite picture of us together, his name, and the alert that there was a new text message. I swallowed down all the nerves and questions and the strange feeling that I still can’t even seem to find the right words to describe what it was. I took a deep breath and opened it.

We texted for the remainder of that Saturday. I worked in the middle at Green Room, and to my surprise the texts lasted until after the bar had closed and I was back at home. I do not know if he was on or off his boat while all these were happening; I didn’t have the courage to ask to be honest.  The conversation wasn’t a good one, but it wasn’t really a bad one either.  It wasn’t about getting back together. It wasn’t about missing each other. There are a million questions I wish I would’ve asked, but didn’t because I held back.  I was too surprised that he even contacted me that I treated the situation so delicately that I think it has made everything worse.

See, the texts started that day and ended that night.  There hasn’t been any return of conversation.  I can’t really say that I am surprised. I can really say that I am extremely confused. Actually, I can’t.  I still feel like I know Nick so well; I do know him so well.  I am grateful for the texts that I got.  He contacted me. Out of nowhere. And yes, at first it was to sort of yell at me for some instagram stupid stuff.  But you know what that means? That he still looks at my instagram. You know what else it means? That he is beginning to get over his pride a little bit and after he texts me instead of just deleting it, he actually sent one. You know what else it means? That he still cares about me enough to, although it was through harsh words, watch out for my well-being and somewhere inside him is still the urge to try and protect me.

Nick is the type of guy to wipe someone completely out when he’s decided to be finished. I think he may be one of the most cold hearted guys there is; except I never witnessed that side.  I got a guy who hid notes and bible verses around our house, who had breakfast delivered on my birthday when he was out of town, who wrote me poetry, and who showed me glimpses of his heart.  I’ve often questioned these glimpses since the split. That maybe those were just the fake pieces of Nick, that maybe they were just the times he was acting how he thought he should, but that they didn’t come from the heart.  That he was trying to be what I wanted, but that after we stopped talking, he was being who he truly was: a cold-hearted, womanizing, bed-hopping barfly. This view was the one everyone has been trying to push on me to believe.  That I had idolized him in my head into a person greater than the real Nick is.

Nope. HA. Everyone was wrong. See, if Nick would’ve never texted me, I would’ve finally agreed with everyone. I was just giving into it all. The hope was gone. I was thinking about dating this guy who had been displaying interest and is pretty attractive. I was about to just throw all my feelings away and write it off as my heart just being stupid. I was going to cover him up with someone else and drinks and bars and parties.  It’s like Nick has this direct line to my heart and my soul because there has only been three times in my entire knowing him that I was at my wit’s end.  That I needed something, anything, from him to stop me from turning around, closing the door, and never looking back. Three times I have prayed to God so desperately asking for a sign or a clue to which direction I am supposed to go in with Nick.  Each time, He’s provided one. I don’t care if you believe in God, or the Universe, or Karma, or whatever.  But I do know that every single person believes in love. If you want to admit it or not, you do.

That morning I had poured my heart out. Telling Him I couldn’t do it anymore. Explaining that it had been nothing but silence from Nick and I couldn’t hold on anymore.

Then I got the text messages. And everything didn’t get answered or really even addressed. But I know Nick. If he still didn’t love and care for me, that picture of us with a new text alert wouldn’t have been on my phone. It’s all going to be ok. I knew it would be. I will take this sign and continue how I was thinking before I started letting everyone else change my actions. I love him, I promised him my life, and I think that one day it’ll all work out.  I am not dating anyone else for a year, so maybe by April there will be another break-through or two with us.  Maybe there won’t be. For now, I am extremely grateful that I got the sign that I did. And just because it wasn’t some huge get back together text conversation or even a visit, I’m ok with that. Because I know Nick, and if he didn’t give a fuck, he wouldn’t give a fuck. There would have continued to be no communication.

I am refreshed in my hope for us and faith in us.  Understand it or don’t. I could careless about any of the other opinions.

Love is patient.

Incorruptible Love

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down, don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” -Ann Rice

 

I was driving back across country from California. It was the second morning on the road.  I had reached Kansas around 5 am.  Nobody ever has really mentioned anything about Kansas. Well let me just take a second to say, it is one of the most underrated states.  It was beautiful. Rolling green fields and hills and just amazing. It’s hard to put it into words really. I felt very at home there, which is not a feeling I get very often. 

I was the only car on the highway. I couldn’t see much at first because it was still dark out. Then something amazing happened; the sun started to come up.  All of a sudden, I started to be able to make out silhouettes of tractors in the middle of amazingly large fields. There were little oil rigs pumping back and forth.  Scattered massive, ancient oak trees with cows sleeping around them. And the colors, oh my goodness, the colors.  The sky exploded with beautiful blues and pinks and the greens and teals from the fields began to shine.  I had to pull over and just take it all in.  I know my words aren’t even describing it properly. I tried to take picture after picture as I sat on the side on the deserted highway, but none of them did the scene the justice it deserved.  I felt like I was the only one watching this amazing sunrise and remarkable display of beauty. I wanted anybody else to notice it; to appreciate it.  I wanted to share it with someone, anyone, else.  It deserved a huge crowd applauding and witnessing this display.  But there was no one else to be seen anywhere. As I sat there, in Kansas of all places, enjoying and trying to mentally take in one of the most beautiful spectacles I have ever been blessed enough to be apart of in my entire life, I realized something very, very important.

I took this road trip and during it, in California, I decided that I wasn’t going to write Nick emails anymore.  See, I kind of do this crazy thing and I write him an email weekly to just keep him updated on my life, to let him know I still love him, and to try to be a constant in a world of so many unsure and changing things. Sometimes I feel like the only people and things he now surrounds himself with aren’t the best habits and environments, so I just try to let him know that he has always had the potential to be great and do great things and that he doesn’t have to fall into stupid routines and scenes that I know he never really enjoyed anyways.  The emails never get a response, but I know that he reads them because of certain signs and actions that he takes through them. I know, a lot of people are going to think that this sounds psycho and crazy and sometimes, I do too. But a very wise person who I respect on too many levels once told me, “Love pursues blindly, unflinchingly, and without end. When you go after something you love, you’ll do whatever it takes to get it, even if it costs everything: your pride, your time, and your dignity. There is no dignity in love, there is no too much, and in the end if love doesn’t succeed, it is better to know that you gave too much then held back because other people may think your crazy or pathetic.” So, I write emails.

Something happened in California though that made me not want to write these emails anymore. I was around a bunch of old friends and met some new ones. To be honest, I met a guy that was roommates with one of my friends who moved out there. He was great. He was attractive, nice, funny, my age, polite, considerate, and we had awesome conversations.  I liked him, I kinda felt it the first few minutes of conversation.  We all went out to the bar that night and had a great time. When I get drunk, I still cry about Nick. I can’t control it, I really, really try but it never works. Without fail, at some point in the hours of drinking, I will cry.  So of course this happened. I cried on this guy’s shoulder for a good hour or so, and he just listened. He brought me water and tissues. He didn’t make the typical comments that everyone else seems to make… the get-over-it, the he’s-an-idiot, the it’s-his-loss, and all the other bullshit sayings that really don’t help anything and kind of just make me angry because half of the people don’t even know Nick, so how could they know that it wasn’t my loss?! So this guy just sat there and listened and comforted me. At the end of it all, all he said was that Nick was a lucky guy to have someone in the world love him the way I did. We went to sleep, and it was nice to sleep next to a guy. It really was. 

The next day, I had sex with him. I’m not sure if I care who knows it or care what people think of me for saying it. He was a great guy and we had a good time for the rest of my California trip. I know I’ll see him again and I think because of that, that’s why I decided to stop writing the emails. I think I realized why everyone just jumps from one person to the next when they break up. It’s easier than healing. It’s like putting a bandaid over a cut, it doesn’t heal it, but it helps.  I think it helps break the intimacy and the feelings that you formed with the old person and gives you new ties to a new person.  I can see why other people use this method instead of taking time. Trust me, taking time sucks. Remembering sucks. So why not form new memories and spend your time with someone else?

There was just one problem: He isn’t Nick. We got along great, he’s really attractive, and really sweet. He’s just as smart and probably a little more kind than Nick.  Honestly, he might be a better person than Nick. See, even typing that my heart and my head screams WRONG! I dont know. But I do know that it was nice to be appreciated. It’s nice to be back home and get good morning texts from someone, to know someone is thinking about me. It’s refreshing to have missed calls and see silly memes on my phone. For a moment there, I could’ve let myself get caught up in all of this and just stop writing the emails to someone who doesn’t even respond or wish me happy birthday for the first time in 3 years.  And for a minute, I did.

Then I hit Kansas. I witnessed this amazing sunrise. I realized that it was very possible that I was the only one who saw it.  Then something clicked in my head. It would have still happened and still been just as beautiful if even I had missed it.  If I had been sleeping like the rest of the world, it still would have been just as remarkable.  The sun continues to rise and create this much beauty no matter the response it gets.  If it’s ignored or appreciated by thousands of people, it is constant. It doesn’t change. It tries again tomorrow. It invites everyone to appreciate it everyday, and if no one accepts the offer, it still does it’s thing. 

The Kansas sunrise made me realize that I don’t want to take the easy way out. The way out that everyone else takes, the typical move on approach. I know I could. If it wasn’t with that guy, there are plenty others expressing interest.  And Nick really isn’t better than all of them, looks wise or intelligence wise or even heart wise. Nick might not appreciate me or my emails or my love, but I think I’ve decided to be like the sunrise. I’m still going to be me, I’m still going to write him emails, and I’m still going to love him… with or without his presence or response.

 

Maybe one day he’ll wake up for it.

Image

Alive

IMAG0376_1

 

I told Nick once that I was going to get a tattoo of a compass, with the arrow pointing north, and only the “N” labeled.  I told him I was going to get it because it would symbolize him, that he was the “N” that I was heading towards. This was during our “weird time” as I call January-April. He told me not to and laughed at me for wanting to do that. Looking back, I question that laugh because I wonder if this conversation happened before or after he slept with someone else. Then came back to me, again.

I would have thought things would be much different than they are right now, even just a few months ago. I would’ve guessed that Nick and I would either be back together or that I would have pretty much moved on.  Well, I guess that last part would be me lying to you.  You know when you absolutely just know that someone is going to change the rest of your story, no matter how many chapters they show up in? I felt that immediately with him. I guess we all hope for the best, being humans and dependent on love whether we like it or not.  That’s one thing that always makes me laugh and want to yell out bullshit in the middle of people telling me about themselves.  We, as humans, are all hopeless romantics- men, women, cynics, realists, the whole lot of us. I don’t care who you are or what you say, there is not a single one of us that doesn’t wake up wanting to find that feeling that just makes us scream in liveliness.  We are all just searching for a purpose and, for many of us, that feeling of life and being alive is found in another person.

See, “love” as a whole is overrated to me.  Mostly a word used falsely by children in high school or people who just don’t know how to say that they just want company.  It’s used by a whole bunch of people who are scared to admit that it would be wrong to just want sex, so they tack on a whole bunch of stresses and pressures under the mask of love just to get the nod along from society. Love has become so commercialized and holds so many expectations that it has been essentially ruined.  I don’t think the divorce rate is going up because people are falling out of love.  Quite the opposite actually, I believe the divorce rate is going up because people never fell into love.  That a couple had been together having fun for such a long while that people and family and friends and movies and country songs and society as a whole began to pressure and push and pick at the relationship, until the two involved in it felt that they had to take the next step.  Now the next step for many people is moving in together, but sometimes that is even frowned upon without an engagement ring or being married.  Soon, that couple who was completely happy in each others arms has been forced into a house they don’t want, with a ring on her finger, and a general feeling of uneasiness if this was really their own choice or just what they are supposed to do. Some people don’t even realize this isn’t what they wanted until after a wedding, which tragically eventually will lead to a divorce.

So, “love” is not something I truly believe in.  Finding your kindred spirit is a completely different story though.  I believe that there are people that you will meet in your life that will teach you things that you will never forget, that their presence will nudge you towards the path that you are supposed to be on, and that being with them, even if it is only temporary, will leave lasting memories and flashbacks that are activated randomly for the rest of your life.  These people you are immediately drawn to.. as if some stronger force was pushing you and saying “this one, pay attention! they’re right there!”.  Sometimes you end up in a relationship with yours and sometimes they just become just a teacher and a friend.  The thing about it is that you love them regardless.  Your soul delights in them, it finds so many things in common that you can’t contain your excitement at the fact that someone just gets it, gets you, gets everything.  I  don’t know how else to explain it, I guess if you’ve ever met yours, you’d understand.

Not a lot of people read these days, like really read.  Not just shit books either, like Tucker Max and whatever that damn shades of grey book was, but like real books.  Books that make you feel something with authors that have talent and such a voice that you can put yourself in that exact setting, picturing that exact character, feeling those exact feelings they have put down on paper for you to feel. Steinbeck, Wolfe, London, Twain, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Bukowski, Orwell, and the rest. There are hundreds of thousands of amazing books out there by amazing authors, and it is almost impossible to find someone who reads, like really reads.  Not just to read so they can say they read it or take a picture of them reading for instagram or to improve their “hipster” image they pride themselves on.  I wanted to find someone who read, and enjoyed reading, as much as some people enjoyed television and movies. I remember my soul cheering when I went to Nick’s apartment for the first time and saw a bookshelf in his living room with actual titles on it that meant something. I remember the volumes of national geographic that were thrown about his bedroom.

In my profession I get to eavesdrop just about every second of every shift I work. I’m a bartender, its part of the territory.  I have come to notice that the majority of my generation is just plain stupid.  Now that’s not exactly the nicest thing to say, I’m sure I have conversations from time to time that if they were overheard people would immediately question the intelligence of me and my friends as well. But there is no lack of dumbasses coming into the bar talking about absolutely nothing or things so completely vapid and shallow and just bullshit it would almost be better if they said nothing at all.  I see everything from couples filling in the silence with ridiculous, trivial conversations about this piece of gossip or that article in void to groups of friends commenting on “did you see her facebook status?” or amazing one liners like “when we’re all old and gross, we’ll be happy we have these” after taking fifteen group pictures in a row with multiple duckfaces and poses. I’d hate to be one of the girls that peak in high school or college, but apparently a large part of the population is becoming just that.  Their bodies are so tired, beat, and worn out with pores full of makeup and cells full of alcohol, nicotine, and other party substances, that I guess they really do need the multiple pictures of themselves now. I laugh because I find myself starting to like my age and how it looks on me; I finally feel like my external and internal selves are catching up to each other.  I sit there often and I question if this is really what people have become. Just so superficial and shallow and just the complete opposite of deep in any form.  There is no meaning behind anything, its all for show and social media and to fill in the “awkward” silences. Maybe I’m just getting too old for it all.  I like silence. I like real conversations that don’t include judging people or trivial gossip. I remember once, in the toyota, when Nick told me he thought we didn’t talk enough. I never thought we needed too really. I think some of the most meaningful conversations I have had in the last few years were with him. I also think some of the most comfortable silences I have ever had were with him. I didn’t want or need to fill the silences with bullshit and stupid stuff, it was nice just to be around him. I was content in our silences because between the silences I was content with our conversations.  I felt like he taught me a lot when he talked, and I felt like I taught him what I could when I talked.  Silence is amazing, it is far under-appreciated and often covered up with bullshit that just dumbs down its glory.  I still cherish a lot of memories I have of us, just sitting in silence on the couch or in the woods, passing a blunt back and forth, and thinking our own thoughts quietly to ourselves. I get scared to think that maybe he looks back at it as a weakness while I still see it as a strength. We fit together without words, and in a world so filled of meaningless ones, my soul was ecstatically wrapped in the comfort-ability of our silence.

Sometimes, it’s hard to convince yourself things are over. Sometimes, it’s not. I don’t know where I really consider myself with Nick. I can only hope he is out there hanging out with all the duckface-selfie-taking vapid girls at the bar and occasionally finding himself question if this is all there is left out there; and maybe, just maybe, looking back at the very untypical, deeper-than-most bond our spirits formed. Maybe pride will stop him from admitting it, or maybe he’ll be too drunk and easily replace me with some pretty, stupid girl that either will or won’t matter in the morning, or maybe the fleeting memory of a real connection will discourage him from being like all the other dudes at all the other bars. Maybe I took an amazing, deep, intelligent, handsome guy and transformed him into some kind of bar fly, image-prizing, womanizing asshole. Maybe that’s all he was ever going to be, or maybe that’s all he ever was and I just couldn’t see it. Or maybe, his spirit attracted another intelligent, pretty girl who sees through all the superficial bullshit and he’s happy with her like he was with me. Maybe she won’t screw it up. Like I said, I don’t really know where I consider myself with Nick. I know, right now, we don’t even speak. [His call and choice and I respect that]. I do know that yesterday I finished a Steinbeck novel and my soul longed for his the entire time I read it. I can’t say if we’ll ever talk or see each other again, but I find it hard to swallow the large lump in my throat when I think that we won’t. I do think that our paths will eventually meet back up, one way or another, regardless of if my spirit will still cheer for his, I’m not sure. I do miss his friendship and advice often.

And I do know that I got that tattoo of that compass pointing towards the N. Fuck it, I’m from Maine anyways. Should be easy enough to change the story behind it to being based on being from up north one day if the hope and longing for Nick is ever officially dead.  I don’t know if I would bother lying about it’s history though. He taught me enough that he deserves to be commemorated in ink regardless of the questionable future of us ever meeting back up. I mean, not everyone gets to meet their kindred spirit these days and I’ve seen worse, more meaningless tattoos.

12 months

When you sign a lease, you never really know how many things can change over that year. You make plans and you try to map out your life, but usually, it turns out nothing like what you planned. We signed the lease to our first place together and he had plans to propose and I had plans to accept if he ever asked. I spent a lot of time decorating and trying to make it feel like a home.. building a “nest egg” most of my customers called it. I started planning a wedding, he started planning our financial future. It was planned, everything was mapped out. The date, the venue, his job path, all planned and ready to go.

What you never seem to include in your plans are: the fights, the speed bumps, the social media lusting, the time apart that separates two people who called each other best friends, the temptations you get presented with by being a bartender, the friends who have terrible intentions for your relationship, the distance, the stress, and the toll all these take on you. Nobody ever plans a break up, especially to an engagement. When you’re caught in the spiderweb of it, you don’t even really see it coming. Maybe because it’s too close, ya know? Maybe it was just so much focus on the future and some day and a year from now that you get blindsided by the present. Maybe it was all the times that we didn’t say what we thought, that I didn’t ask for help when I started noticing other people, that he didn’t ask for help and tell me he used instagram to stare at other girls. Maybe it was pride or a lack of a true feeling of protection in our relationship that stopped us from addressing our weaknesses and struggles in our present and covering them with plans for our future.

The first night we had the keys, we had a mattress on the floor of our room, a record player and a modest mouse album, a bottle of champagne, some vodka and orange juice. We were happy. We drank to our plans. Enjoyed our new, empty house and slept in each other’s arms on the undressed mattress.

It’s funny how one year, twelve months, can change everything. I walked around the empty house, drank a bottle of champagne to honor our failure, and slept on the floor. I woke up and took one look around. Left the keys on the counter, locked the door, closed it, and left. Called the office and told them everything was out.

12 months. Huh. What a fucking difference.

Aside

Moving

“Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it. But you laugh inside – remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.” [Charles Bukowski]

Moving is a very monotonous thing. Tape up one box; edge to edge a few times, then across the opposite way once, then edge to edge once more, flip it over. Fill with belongings. Tape the top closed. If you’ve moved a couple of times you’ve probably learned to label it so you know what’s in there when you arrive at the new place. Repeat. Do this until all the stuff that you’ve collected is all in boxes. Most of the stuff you’ve collected you don’t even need. At moving time, you don’t even really want it. At least I don’t. Especially this move. It’s just junk. Stuff keeping me stuck here and weighing me down. Multiple little reasons in boxes why it’d be so hard to move across the country or take that job in Italy. Multiple little reasons that I needed to make this house feel like a home. Multiple little reasons that are essentially memories. Reminders. All of it. Just reminders of a lot of things that are constantly in my head everyday plus the million other ghosts that seem to live inside me now.

I decided when I was moving to try to sort out all the stuff that reminded me of what had been and to put it in its own boxes. I told myself that I was going to get rid of it all: the notes; the pictures; the flyers from North Carolina; the hotel room keys from places like Milledgeville, Georgia and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; the maps of all the state parks; the hanging tags for the rearview mirror of the truck from our campsites; the cards; the bible verses on pieces of paper that used to be hidden around the house; our marriage license; our pre-marital packets; the magnets from little stores in little towns we would stop at and make friends with the owners. We were always so good at making friends together. People liked us and they liked seeing us together and strangers would often talk to us. They’d hear we were engaged, smile, probably think things in their heads about how we really were a good couple, and shake your hand and wish us well for our future. Ha. I wish I knew where half of those strangers were, so I could send them what became of our future, all perfectly packed in little boxes.

The thing about separating everything into a stack of boxes that reminded me of our life together and the other stuff I’d keep was that I soon noticed everything in this fucking house reminds me of you. The five million coffee mugs all either immediately flashed scenes of breakfasts together or thrift store shopping trips where we picked out mugs from different states. The pots were mostly yours. The Pyrex pans had been used to cook you baked ziti. The baking pans had been used to bake you stuff to take with you on all your drives. The measuring cup was yours. We picked out the oven mits. You gave me the tea kettle and it used to come camping with us. We had sex on the counter and on top of the cutting board. I quickly became completely fed up with the kitchen. I headed to the library. It didn’t get better. The couch in there is the one from the apartment you lived in when we first started dating, we sat on it on our very first date. It’s been in every place we’ve been since. The books were no better. This one you bought for me when I had my surgery, that one we both said was our favorite growing up, this one I used to read on the beach and it reminds me of you. I found two bottles of scent cover body wash on the shelf, your hunting stuff. Then a box of bullets and the shotgun plug you whittled out of wood yourself. Fuck the library, I headed back out into the living room to start packing random decorations. Then I started taking stuff off the shelf that you built. I started pulling stuff off the mantel. It took about ten minutes to be over that – all the knick knacks were from stuff we bought together. Things that we put up there together, when we moved into this house, together. Then I got hit with the worst flashback yet. I was sitting on the floor of the living room taping up a box, and I realized I was in the exact spot you proposed to me in. Packing is done for the day.

I spent weeks while you were out-of-town, making this and that. Making a headboard. Sewing curtains. Hanging this picture. Getting these candles. Not because I even really wanted that stuff, but because I was making this house our home. I was making a place for you to come home to after three weeks on a tugboat. A place you would look forward to and rush home to be in and enjoy it. I thought we’d be here for a while. We didn’t even make it our full lease. We moved it all in together, and now I’ll move it all out alone.

It is not fair sometimes. How hard I get to have it and how I get to deal with cleaning up and packing all this shit. I get why you made the clean break. Why you just left everything. Because it sucks. Every single goddamn thing in here just reeks of us, of failure, of pain, of anger, of shit. Of a waste of time and emotion. I sit here surrounded by worthless shit that means the world to me, just crying. Not even sad tears anymore really. Just tears of frustration and jealousy actually. I’m jealous you just got to leave, that you don’t have to deal with any of this, that you somehow shut off all the thoughts of us. I’m frustrated that my heart isn’t stone like yours, that I can’t just shut off the memories and the ghosts that are forever haunting my thoughts. I’m frustrated that I can’t just go to the bar and get a drink and meet a dude and not be looking around wishing you’d walk in. Wishing that every single guy there was you. Not because I even know what I’d do if I saw you- right now its somewhere in-between pouring a drink over your head, ignoring you, crying in public, or just nodding and continuing on with my night as if we were strangers- but because I still pathetically miss you. Your stupid laugh when you clench your teeth and your underbite shows, your stupid walk because your arms are longer than your torso so you kind of do this swinging thing, your stupid humor, your stupid intelligence and the way we’d just get drunk and make fun of everyone there together. Your stupid eyes, our stupid sex, the stupid way you could just put your arms around me and make everything feel better.

Fuck I hate moving. Fuck I hate you. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Dammit I miss you. Being a girl sucks.

Back to Me

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

 

Today was the first day in a long time that I realized that I am slowly becoming more like the old Cam, and I am extremely excited about it. What spawned this realization? I was talking to my friend who moved to California and just telling him about what I did today. Towards the end of my list of today’s events, he just started laughing. I am a very hilarious person, but at that particular point in the conversation I hadn’t used any humor, so I questioned what spawned his roll of laughter. He paused and said, “I missed you. It’s good to have you back. Ole happy, hippie Cam!”.

We talked for a little while longer, said our goodbyes, and hung up the phone. I really started to think about what he had said. I noticed that I had to fight the urge to laugh as well. “I am back,” I thought to myself, smiling. I knew, and felt, exactly what he had meant.

It’s hard to put your past self into words. So I’m just going to act like I’m describing a stranger who wasn’t me because it’s easier for me to articulate my former qualities that way. I’ve changed so much that looking back to the past on who I used to be is kind of like observing another person anyways.

She’s a health freak- I’m talking 100% external and internal. She doesn’t drink any alcohol or smoke cigarettes. She grocery shops in the organic section and at farmer’s markets. She makes her own almond milk, peanut butter, vegan cream cheese, and mashed potatoes out of cauliflower. She is a fantastic cook. While everyone else is sleeping, she’s at the gym. When she gets home, she meal preps. She reads a lot because she enjoys it. She doesn’t have a television because she doesn’t enjoy it. She spends as much time outside as possible. She walks her dog and talks about her like she’s a person. On the back of her dresser, which doubles as a headboard, she has hand written a million different quotes in different color markers. They range from “Live, Laugh, Love” to “Don’t waste your time and energy on feeling envy or jealousy. The race is long, and in the end, it is only with yourself”. She has the most brilliant smile and strangers often stop her at the grocery store or the bank to tell her how happy she looks. She holds the door open for people. She pulls over and helps old ladies on the side of the road carry things. She has conversations with bums about why they shouldn’t smoke when they are digging in ashtrays for stubs, but then tells them that if they are going to, to at least smoke their own and hands them money to go buy some. She is kind. She doesn’t judge or think mean thoughts towards strangers, remembering that everyone is fighting their own battle and that she honestly believes a chain of kind events towards people who need them could help end the world’s problems. She’s religious and a Christian in her heart and actions, but has no idea of that yet because a boy hasn’t given her a bible hidden in a stack of books, so her brain hasn’t learned it just yet. She glows with happiness, inside and out. It’s not an act, it’s just her. She’s fun, spontaneous, and a genuine good listener. She is a loyal friend and will get out of bed at 3 am to give her drunk ones rides, they call her the Cam Cab. She’s never in a hurry. She isn’t worried about money [which let me explain the thing is that I had way less then, I just had this weird/awesome way of knowing and trusting that everything always worked out]. She inspires people and teaches them things, and doesn’t know she’s doing it until they tell her, sometimes weeks or years later. She has plans to move to Italy to teach English. She has been applying for a volunteership to build the National Park of Patagonia and thinks that she will finally be accepted for that 6 month program this year. She believes in soulmates. She doesn’t believe in looking for them. She’s hard to tie down to one place, one person, one job, one life. Traveling makes her feel more at home than anywhere she’s ever lived. She wants to do great things; not like be famous or rich great things, but like make a difference and help people great things. She has no idea how to accomplish that.

I guess that’s the most of it. It’s crazy how far away from yourself you can become. You change one thing for one person, then you sacrifice this thing for another, then you stop doing this because of that… next thing you know describing who you used to be is like looking at a stranger. I don’t point fingers and I don’t believe in regrets. I changed because I made choices that led to decisions that lead to actions that caused these changes. It was totally under my control. It’s funny how when you stop concentrating on yourself and start focusing on someone else, how easy it is to become a ghost of the person you once were.

But today, that ghost must have jumped inside me. Here’s the events I was explaining to my friend that made him point this out.

I woke up at 5 am to drink a protein smoothie made with fruit & veggies in my blender and go to the gym for spin class at 6. After spin, I worked out more and came home. I made breakfast which consisted of eggs cooked with cottage cheese on protein toast with avocado. I walked my dogs down to the preserve and back, which is about a four mile loop. I showered, threw on a bathing suit, and went and laid out at the beach for a while. I went grocery shopping at this place called Fresh Fields Farms [amazing!] and publix. While I was there, an old man told me that I looked like one of the happiest people he’d ever seen [I was visiting fantasy land in my mind and day dreaming about some happier memories about a year ago involving an old couple, grilled cheeses, and a past publix trip]. On the way home, I saw a lady with her 3 young kids waiting at the bus stop looking hot and aggravated, so I gave them a ride. It turned out being quite the ways away, about an hour longer than expected, so when I got home I spent some time cleaning where my ice cream melted all over my car. I cleaned my house and put some laundry away. I practiced Modest Mouse “Ocean Breathes Salty” and Willie Nelson “Always on my Mind” on guitar. On Tuesdays, I started a new routine of giving myself a facial from a mask I mix up of a bunch of stuff [activated charcoal, tea tree oil, rose-water, European clay powder, honey, and aloe- try it, it makes your skin so so so smooth]. Then I started meal prepping for the week, so I made cauliflower stirfry [no rice, you use the grated cauliflower as the rice], egg fritata, peanut butter protein waffles, 7 seed protein granola bars, salad with homemade guacamole for the dressing, baked chicken stuffed with homemade spinach pesto, and some gluten-free protein donuts for a treat on my high carb days. When my friend called I was reading The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne. He was having a bad day so the phone call started with me telling him some advice and a cheesy “Old Cam quote” to back it up. I haven’t used a quote paired with some advice in a long, long time. It even felt familiar and happy to do it; and it was awesome to remember one after so long too. Then came the laughing.

Sometimes, things happen for a reason and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. You can’t change the past. You can’t force people to love you and be with you. Today I realized that I can only look forward. I can go back to working on myself and being the person I loved and the friend I am called to be. I picked up a few new tricks during my relationship and they’ll come in handy, but it’s mostly time to revert back to the old, known, tried, and true methods. Hello, Happy Hippie Cam. Peace out negativity and fighting for things that just don’t deserve more efforts at this current point in time. Maybe one day they will, or maybe they never really did. The fact of the matter is, it’s all behind me now and all I can do is smile, accept it, and see what happens next.

Damn, I missed me.

Yes.

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There’s one three letter word in the English language that has a lot more power than people tend to give it. I realized this back in April when I decided to make that word a much more active part of my life. That word is “yes”. Simple enough, right? It’s a pretty common word that most people tend to use everyday. When I sat down and decided to start saying “yes” more often and more purposefully, I realized that I had been using it wrong for years. The problem is that most people use it as an answer to a question, which is what I often did. The thing about “yes” is that I think it is supposed to be used much more as an action; a promise to do something when the question is asked, and not just as a brush-off or acknowledgement of a request like it has turned into.

I realized that after being in a committed relationship that lead to an engagement for a few years, that at some point “yes” followed by an immediate action stopped existing and was replaced with saying things like “soon”, “let me check with Nick”, “let’s plan to do that”, or “definitely, I’ll call you when he gets back in town”. Before I knew it, I had done something which is very out of character for myself: absolutely nothing. I stopped working on myself. I stopped improving myself through new experiences and traveling, which is the way that I feel I grow and learn the most. I stopped being the impulsive, jump-in-the-car-and-go, down-for-anything, just-ask-and-she’s-in girl. I started waiting around. I started turning down things. I started making plans, 90% of which never happened because we never happened. Eventually, I lost my spontaneous reputation and people stopped asking me and inviting me on amazing adventures and to join in experiences. The calls from my friends became fewer and further between, then eventually stopped. My invites and questions asked became much more easier things- like a night out at the bar or a beach day drinking, which I’m at a point in my life where I really just dislike drinking as a social activity. It has lost its’ fulfillment and fun and appeal to me, so I eventually even said no to that, and became bored. Bored and waiting, all the time. I do not like to regret things, and I don’t regret very many things about our relationship, but I do regret the time I wasted and the things I said no to, for what turned out to be nothing. So after this parting of our ways at the end of April, I decided to get back to that girl I used to be. How? By saying yes and acting, not planning, but doing immediately.

The things that have happened in a little over a month have really opened my eyes to why I used to be so happy before. Yes is a very positive word, especially when it is acted out. I believe that positivity attracts positivity, I always have. One of my best friends approached me right at the end of April. A few years back I had driven across country randomly, a trip which started out as a 2 week visit to Memphis and became a 6 month long road trip coast to coast [that is the girl that I am trying to get back to.. if you could feel my heart ache for who I was back then while typing that sentence I think everyone would understand me much, much more]. Wes looked at me and said “Cam, you should drive with me to Cali and pull my last trailer of stuff out there. I’ll pay for everything and give you some money for missing work.” He moved out to Lake Tahoe in March and was back in Florida to pick up his dirt bikes and four wheelers. I immediately said “Yes”. Wes didn’t believe me, which kinda hurt to be honest. There was one time when my acceptance to the deal on the table wouldn’t have been a shock or misinterpreted as a joke. I told him yes again, and asked him when we were leaving. I got my shifts covered at work and we left 3 days later. “Yes” was as simple as that, it was a response, followed through with an action. The trip was great, not quite as long as my last coast to coast adventure, but it reminded me of a piece of myself that I had long buried and ignored.  I saw new things and met new people and got to travel. It was deep down good for my soul and began to bring back an older Cam that I wish I had never changed for anything.

The funny thing about saying yes is that once you do it, you seem to get more invitations to do new, fun, and exciting things. Which, thank my luck, have for some reason all been offered to me for free. In the last month and 13 days of changing my perspective of yes, I have: been on a cross country roadtrip, started professional guitar lessons, went to TPC at sawgrass, started violin lessons, been hiking in North Carolina, went on a camping trip to the springs, been wakeboarding, been off-shore fishing, got an amazing trainer and nutritionist, recieved an opportunity to live in Italy for a year with a job [which I haven’t exactly said yes to because that one unfortunately does require a little more planning but I am getting closer everyday], am going on a week long vacation to the Keys and staying in an amazing house in Marathon with boats & harleys, have been to the art museum downtown known as the Cummer [which I have wanted to do for a year but we never seemed to have time], and started this blog. All those things sound amazing, right? Well, ready for the real amazing part? I have actually done that entire list and have still made more money than I have spent [thank you Wes].
My advice for you: start saying yes and following through with an action and you might just be surprised at the chain of events it leads to!

 

One last thing.. for the person who I hope maybe one day is reading this, but probably isn’t. There have been a lot of hard questions I have said yes to too. Do you miss him? Do you know he’s slept with someone else already? Did you hear about St Patty’s day? Do you know he was on a date at European Street already? Do you really still love him? Do you really plan on not dating anyone for a year still? Do you honestly forgive him? Would you take him back if he showed up right now? You know that he probably is never going to show up again, he already moved on, right? You still plan on waiting?

Yes.