Neon Lights

this piece was originally written for the NYC Midnight Short Story contest

It’s not exactly an uncommon story. One day you’re an aspiring actress, the next you’re delivering pizzas and attempting to console yourself with your theatre degree while you eat ramen noodles in a tiny studio apartment surrounded by books. Ivy wasn’t surprised by her fate, but that didn’t make it suck any less to be hauling Ricky’s Best Pizza to a nicer neighborhood than she could afford to live in on a rainy night. In the store they had always joked that rain was liquid coupons no one wanted to leave their house in the middle of a monsoon to get food. It wasn’t bad so long as they tipped well, but that didn’t always happen, even when her black converse filled up with water.

She hated when her feet were wet.

But it was this or being a cashier at Walmart and at least if she was delivering pizzas, she could listen to whatever music she wanted to in the car and had a chance to make tips instead of just minimum wage.

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Long Time No Write?

Okay, so it’s been a little longer than I meant for it to be since my last update. I’ve been a little bit out of it lately- awful head cold for the last almost week and I’ve been a little stressed over weddings related things.  But things haven’t been awful!

  • I submitted a short story to that writing contest I submitted to. If I don’t move forward in the contest, I’ll probably post it here, if you’d be interested in reading it? Sound fun? Cool.
  • I saw Hidden Figures twice and it’s a fantastic movie and I’m going to continue to urge people to go see it.
  • I ordered my wedding dress! I would post a picture here, but there’s no way to make sure that my fiancee doesn’t see it, so picture me in a really awesome fluffy white dress with a bit of sparkle.
  • It looks like we have our wedding venue and our official date!
  • I sent a work related email that’s been stressing me out!
  • I interviewed for a new job (haven’t heard anything back, but at least I was brave enough to interview).

So trying to hang on to positivity and see if I can clear my head a bit.

Take care!

xx

Let’s Enter a Contest

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So I entered a Writing Contest, the first time I’ve done anything like this since college. Next week, I’m going to be given a genre, subject, and a character assignment and I have to write a short story in eight days- I’m excited and panicking a little because I have no way to prepare for this ahead of time.

I get overwhelmed easily. I have probably close to fifty detailed, drawn out outlines for novels in my documents- but when I sit down to start writing it seems like an insurmountable task and I stall. I write a couple of chapters and all I hear are bad metaphors and clunky dialogue (never mind that it’s just a first draft only intended for me to read). So I stop and it joins the graveyard of good ideas that is my hard drive. But a short story with a set time frame… I think I can do that.

The contest continues beyond this first story, but I’m not betting on getting past the first round (I’ll be stoked if I do, though!) . Frankly, as long as I turn in a piece I’m content to have my name on, I’m calling this one a win. But actually winning would be awesome. I’m mostly excited just to have a piece with feedback from people who aren’t my friends. It makes me think of the time I was in college when my creative writing professor… who won a Pulitzer… tried to get me to submit a story to a literary journal and I never did. Still regret it (also can’t find that particular short story to clean up and submit now, probably because of my messy Graveyard Hard Drive). I think that’s my real goal for 2017- to submit a short story around to literary journals in the hope that something good happens.

And yes, I’m currently outlining my millionth chapter story. Maybe this time, it’ll stick?

I Called In Sick From Work Today

I called in sick from work today. I didn’t want to. I just put in for a really big career move and don’t want things to look bad- but I am not well today. I woke up from my third work related nightmare this week after receiving bad news last night. My mother just made it very clear that she doesn’t support my engagement to a woman (I’m pretty sure that she’s spent the last seven years hoping that this lesbian phase will end soon). I’m anxious and the very idea of having to talk to anyone I don’t love is horrifying to me right now. I’m exhausted and my mind is spinning in circles- I apologize because of that, this probably isn’t the best time to write a blog update, but that’s where we are.

If I had the flu, I wouldn’t feel bad about calling in to work- they would be better off calling someone in who could give the shift 100% effort. If I had a stomach virus, I’d call out because operating at 50% in between mad dashes to the bathroom isn’t remotely efficient. And I wouldn’t feel bad about that. Yet I feel horribly guilty for calling in sick due to poor mental health. Even though I know I wouldn’t be able to give my best work and would probably have to hide in the bathroom and cry at least once.

I debated posting a Facebook status saying I was physically ill, as if being mentally and emotionally unwell today isn’t worth taking a day off to care for myself.

I’m going to go pull the mental health equivalent of a nap and chicken soup, and hope you all are doing well. Later this week I have a few blogs planned- I want to talk about the film Hidden Figures which was amazing and I encourage everyone to go see.

Wedding Planning While Gay

So, I’m pretty freaked out about all of this ‘defense of religion’ First Amendment talk- you know, the legal rulings that could make it legal for my landlord to decide that he doesn’t want lesbians renting one of his apartments, or my doctor not want to practice medicine on a lesbian woman, my baker decide that they don’t want to make a wedding cake for a lesbian wedding- that last bit sound familiar?

I keep hearing people say ‘oh, but would you really want that homophobic doctor to practice medicine on you? or to live where you’re not wanted?’ but my money spends the same regardless and if I’m not asking a vendor to do something outside of the services they provide, why should it matter?

I’m planning my wedding right now and every time I email a vendor, I check their website to see if I can find any same sex weddings featured in their photo gallery- if not and I’m feeling lucky, I email them anyway and make it abundantly clear that I’m a lesbian marrying another woman so they can immediately turn me down if they don’t ‘go for that sort of thing’. I haven’t gotten any nasty responses but I do wonder if the reason that a handful of venues haven’t emailed me back is because they don’t want to bother with a lesbian wedding.

It’s awkward looking at wedding venues and they boast a suite for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready in- but what are you supposed to do when there are two brides? Floral packages assume there will be one bridal bouquet and one groom’s boutonniere- would they be willing to change their package for us? Favors depicted a generic bride and groom. When I went to go try dresses on the first time, I got asked “how did he propose” while the sales assistant buttoned me up into a white gown- she didn’t seem nearly so interested in finding out how I asked her to marry me.

I knew planning a wedding with almost no budget and on my side of the family, no support was going to be hard, but I don’t think I accounted for the weirdness of planning a wedding while gay or for my wedding to be a political issue. I just wanted to wear a white dress and marry her in front of our friends.

I Don’t Want To Talk About Diets

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New Year’s is rough for me- everyone around me suddenly starts hitting the gym and wanting to drop some weight- and even just this last year, I was a part of that. I’m not at all criticizing people who enjoy working out or feel that they are unhealthy at their current weight. It’s just that I’ve realized the topic of weight loss is a trigger for me.

I’m still not sure if you’d say I had an eating disorder, but every time I’ve tried to lose weight, it’s ended up with me spending a few weeks engaging in unhealthy habits and hating myself and making myself sick.

In junior high, my cheerleading squad inherited the old uniforms of our varsity squad and I was humiliated because nothing fit me. I asked my coach- surely, some of the older girls were built sort of like me? My coach just patted my arm and reassured me that some of the girls had been built like me in Junior High, but they’d ‘starved themselves’ until they were thin. I remember her laughing about it- somewhere between a joke and a suggestion. Later that year my parents divorced and no one really noticed that I wasn’t eating much and lost about fifteen pounds. It went back on when I was happier and eating more than one meal a day. I remember going to the hospital with pneumonia in high school. I lost over twenty pounds in two weeks and my mother said it was a good thing that my senior pictures would be taken a few weeks later, before I’d have a chance to put any of the weight back on.

In college, wracked by depression and anxiety, I would see how long I could go without eating- usually about two days or so. More than once I had dizzy spells while I was at work because of it. I remember going home to my family and them seeing my forty pound weight loss and being told to keep doing what I was doing- when I started eating regular meals again, no one seemed to care that I was happier or that my hair was shinier and my skin had more of a glow.

A year ago, I’d realized that while visiting my future in-laws, that I’d put on about fifteen pounds of Christmas and became obsessed with the idea of weight loss. A few weeks of running and eating smoothies mostly consisting of spinach and eating plain chicken for dinner had me losing weight and everyone applauding me… but I hated it and did it because I hated myself, not out of love for my body or my future and physically felt awful the entire time because I was trying to eat less than a thousand calories a day. My phone is still full of calorie trackers that yell at me occasionally about eating too much, because “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, why the hell are you crying while you eat baby carrots for lunch?”

I have never gone to the doctor about these issues- I don’t know if my brushes with unhealthy eating would count as an eating disorder or not, although reading this I find myself going ‘well that’s some borderline anorexia bullshit right there’. But this is why I do not want to hear about your diet or your weight loss goals. I don’t want to know what your goal weight is or your goal pair of pants or dress is. Maybe the weight loss is healthy and best for you, but it is not the best for me and the mental anguish isn’t worth it.

Good Things from 2016

My friend Alex does this cool thing where at the end of every day, she writes down some good things that happened. I think this is really cool and want to do it too- but I also often collapse upon getting home at the end of the day because my job tends to be a gross combination of second (or maybe even third) shift and physical labor. So I’m currently planning to maybe do weekly writeups on my “Saturday” which in fact, is Monday.

However first, I figure I should try to come up with good things that happened in 2016- it’s rough. Two of my family dogs had to be put down, my stepfather died this summer and my grandfather died a few weeks before Christmas- and those are just my own personal tragedies, not touching the beloved celebrities that have passed away, the political hellscape we’re currently in, or the natural disasters and unnatural tragedies we’ve had to deal with as a society.

So without further ado, a list.

  • I got engaged! My fiancée and I got engaged at Disney World after dating for five years. That was cool. I got her a shiny emerald ring and we’re both wearing dresses and the wedding is going to happen in Spring of 2018 in Orlando- that is pretty much all I have to report.

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  • I met Billie Piper at MegaCon. I’m a big fan of RTD-era Doctor Who, in particular Rose Tyler. When it was announced that Billie was going to be a guest at the event, I was so happy- as someone who struggles with self image issues, it was amazing. I had decided to cosplay as her and she gushed when she saw me- called me beautiful and was thrilled. Now I don’t know if that’s the sort of reaction she gives everyone- but it felt so wonderfully personal and the experience was very positive. I’m pretty sure that fueled me through like three months.

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  • Sunday, June 12, was one of the worst days of my life- I woke up to texts from terrified friends trying to check in with each other after there was an awful shooting in a night club downtown. I’m talking about the Pulse shooting- I was lucky enough to not know anyone personally, but my fiancée lost a friend and I don’t think I’ve spoken to anyone in Orlando who wasn’t effected by the event. I don’t want to talk about the awful things that happened- I want to talk about how Orlando responded. So many people immediately went out to donate blood (so many that people had to be turned away). Donations flooded in to help those suffering and support the lgbtq community. Nothing will ever take away from the horror of that day, however seeing good people’s reactions to the event went a long way to prove to me that people, really, are good.  Even when it’s hard to believe, even when we’re faced with awful things.
  • I discovered PinupGirlClothing. I know writing about a clothing brand seems… stupid- but it’s amazing that I’ve found a brand that makes clothing that actually suits my body and fits right. Furthermore- there’s no guilt as everything is made in America so while pieces are expensive, there are no worries about sweatshops or people being abused.
  • I discovered Critical Role- a DnD web series that has reawakened my love of storytelling and I think may finally spark a novel in me.
  • My fiancée and I went to New York City- it was my first time there and I think it also helped to light a creative fire under my ass, a reminder to take my own happiness in my own hands and get to work. We went to the Stonewall Inn while we were there and it was a highlight for me.

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She Drowned in Moonlight, Strangled by her own Bra

Carrie Fisher

I wasn’t really a Star Wars fan as a kid- I just never saw the original trilogy and can only assume my parents weren’t fans either because they didn’t ever take me to see the prequel trilogy as the movies came out. I didn’t see the movies in their entirety until a little while before The Force Awakens came out (still haven’t seen all of The Phantom Menace, but have been assured that I’m not missing very much). That said, five or twenty-five at first viewing, I love Princess Leia. I immediately loved the beautiful diplomat who helped lead a revolution and stayed focused on the rebellion when family drama unfolded. I loved the Matriarch of the rebels. I loved the woman who would strangle her abuser with a chain while wearing a metal bikini.

I’m mourning Princess Leia, but even more than that, I’m mourning Carrie Fisher. I feel like I’ve lost two heroes all in one go.

I suffered from depression while I was in college- I still do, but my life has gotten significantly better and my support system is much larger and that all means less crying on the floor of my shower. When I read about Carrie Fisher- a successful woman who has been so very open about her own struggles with mental health and substance abuse, I felt a kindred spirit. And I saw a woman who made it to sixty despite having a mental illness similar to my own, with a successful career and a child- she was an actress and a writer and an advocate. A woman who dared have a life and not be the sex symbol society wanted her to be forever. Princess Leia is my role model for leading a sci fi rebellion, but Carrie Fisher is my role model for living life.

For the last three years or so, I’ve been struggling with the worst writer’s block of my life- words won’t come out right and the best I’ve been able to manage is angst-ridden stream of consciousness (I think fourteen year old me trying to write fanfiction was doing a much better job). I’ve been afraid that all of those dreams I had weren’t really worth much and I was going to spend the rest of my life folding the socks of dancers in a theme park, which while not awful, is not glamorous, exciting, or at all artistically satisfying. But I’m going to try my hardest to put something out there this year.  Over the Christmas season, friends have been giving me gifts that all seem to say ‘you need to be writing’ and now with Carrie’s death, I keep reading quotes encouraging others.  “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

So I’m going to write that novel. Because if she could be Princess Leia and an author and humanitarian, I can manage my twenties and try to hold onto what I’ve dreamed about doing since I was around twelve.

“I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”

Fuck Sweating For The Wedding

In March of 2016, I proposed to my girlfriend, Courtney in the middle of Disney World. She cried and said yes and we called our families and a facebook video my friend shot got a ridiculous amount of notes. I was a size fourteen.

This was the same size I wore when we started dating. This is the same size I wear months later. I’m betting it’s the same size that I’m going to wear on our wedding day. Somehow, this is an issue for some people. I browse tumblr and other blogs and keep finding people suggesting bridal diets or ‘sweating for the wedding’ workout routines- because apparently it’s a given that all women getting married are going to try to lose weight before their wedding day- because no matter what, you should always want to be skinnier!

You’re supposed to pick a dress that’s flattering (IE: make you look skinny). You’re supposed to eat nothing and work out so you’re at your skinniest- after all, there’s never going to be a day where people take more pictures of you! You can’t have grandchildren looking through the wedding album and see that Grandma was… a size fourteen. She’s gotta at least make an effort to be a size six or something.

And it keeps popping up in my personal life- I see engaged friends hashtagging selfies with #bridediet and for a minute I wonder if I’m wrong for thinking that my girlfriend wants to marry me how I always am. I send a beloved relative pictures of myself in a tried-on wedding gown and am advised to lose weight because my arms are fat. I get pulled aside in the work cafeteria by a coworker that I barely know and get shamed for buying a slice of apple pie, because aren’t I getting married soon?

I don’t really consider it a radical act to be fat and getting married, but if everyone else is going to act like it’s a big deal, I guess I’m totally radical.

Can’t wait to go on a wedding cake tasting.