Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 90: Endings and Beginnings

I've finally reached that last day, the last day of my challenge. This has been an amazing summer, and I feel like I've grown quite a bit. I would like to apologize for my lack of writing the past couple of weeks, but I have been finishing up an online course and working a lot of overtime to pay off those pesky student loans. My challenge is over, and what have I got to show for it?

I know I didn't make it through my whole ninety days, but I think I still accomplished the personal goals that I set out for myself. So let's recap. I've noticed an increase in my confidence level, and a bit of a swagger sparked by my newly found affection for myself. I find myself enjoying being by myself rather than pining over my loneliness. I've discovered new talents (writing), and hobbies, and projects. I've made new good friends, and lost some not-so-good ones. I've analyzed myself so much, that I can truly claim to know who I am. I can comfortably talk about all of my flaws as well as all the things that make me awesome. I feel like I've undergone a metamorphosis.

So what's next?

Well, I will definitely keep writing. I've purchased a domain and hosting, but my site is currently under construction. Follow me on Google + or on Twitter (@OnlyYevster) for updates and links.

On the male front, cute boy came and went, and I was disappointed, because he was very cute. However, I had a very interesting last night of my challenge. I went to bed after work, only to be woken up by shrill ringing of my doorbell at 4:30 am. I stumbled sleepily downstairs, thinking that it was most likely one of my neighbors who went out for a smoke and locked themselves out. I look out, but my porch was empty. And then I look and see a man walking around the side of the house, peering sidelong at me. I didn't recognize him at all, but after a minute of close observation I realized it was Eric. I had never seen him look this way before, about twenty pounds thinner and so sad.

He came up onto the porch, and said " I wanted to see you." I let him in. We went upstairs, and talked for a few hours. I'm not even sure how long, because I think we both fell asleep talking. He told me that he has been thinking about me. He told me that he wants nothing to do with the other girl anymore. He told me that he realized that he wants to be with someone like me. I was skeptical at first, but he was open with me, more than ever before. I told him that we can try things again, but this time in the correct order. I told him we should date normally, go out and do things, and wait on sex. He agreed, and fell asleep holding my hand. He spent the night, and the day, until I went to work. He kept his hands to himself, and only once, very respectfully, asked me for a kiss, which I obliged.

I don't know what, if anything, will come of this. I want to go forward with my life, but the connection I have with Eric is very hard to ignore. I think I will tread carefully, but also see where this path takes me.

Anyway, I'd like to thank all my readers for joining me on my journey this summer, I couldn't have done it without your undying support and nosiness. If all goes to plan, my new site will be up shortly, again follow me on Google + (ybuzhor@gmail.com) and Twitter (@OnlyYevster) for up to date details. It will be a bit different than what I did here. The blog portion will be less focused on one topic, and I plan on including a section with short fiction and possibly poetry. I hope everyone has an amazing fall, and I hope to see you all perusing my new site!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 73:The Case of the Body Snatchers

Today, after I got home from work, I ran into my neighbor Jessica. I offered her a beer and we got to talking. She started telling me about this guy that she has been seeing since November of last year and how much she cares about him. They have been seeing each other for almost a year now, but she hasn't told him how she really feels about him, because she is afraid that it will scare him off and she will lose him. Her whole situation got me thinking about the way people perceive emotions.

I feel like there is something very wrong with the coupling culture of my generation. I feel like my generation has this fear of feeling, of emotion. Everyone is always working on some aspect of their lives, whether it's their education or their career. It's always "I can be in love because I'm focusing on [blank]," or " I don't want to be in love because I've had [some bad experience]". When did we turn into such pussies? Don't get me wrong, I am the first to say that education or career or personal development is important. Hell, that's what this whole challenge has been about for me. But when did people start being afraid to feel? What good is a successful career when you are going through life with a flat affect? When has the word "love" become a four-letter word? It's like going through life eating rice cakes because you are afraid that if you eat something with a little bit of spice in it, you will burn your tongue.

Guess what?

Tongues heal. So do hearts. Feelings and emotions and passions add flavor to life. They make everything more interesting. I'm gonna be super cliche right now and quote Shakespeare, "it's better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." Those words, said four centuries ago still ring true to me today.

I have to say though, I'm not writing about love because of my recent experience with cute boy. He has absolutely nothing to do with it. This is something that has always bothered me about my generation. People my age go through life building these boundaries and walls. Men are afraid to be in love because they are afraid that they will be forced to sacrifice their spending money or their free time or their video games. Women are afraid to ask for what they really want because we have been so conditioned to believe that any expression of emotion is equivalent to craziness, and we are so afraid of being "that crazy girl." It's not fair, everyone deserves to go after what they want. Jess deserves to be able to ask for love. So do I, and so does every person, man or woman.

Do we want to go down in history as the generation without any passion? The generation that is so focused on money and tech toys and meaningless sex, that we are the only generation that doesn't know what love is? Are we going to be the only generation without passionate love stories? Are we going to write ballads about our smartphones? What will we tell our grandchildren? I think it's time for a revolution. I call on every reader of this blog to rise up and start to feel. It might be uncomfortable at first, but soon it will be clear that, without feelings, what is life?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 69: Has anyone seen my wagon?

What an appropriate day number for what happened on it. So, just to clarify, I fell off the wagon, and it's so far away now, I can't even see it anymore. The best part? I don't even feel guilty. I didn't lose control; it was a conscious decision on my part. Once I've hung out with the cute boy a few times, and kissed him a few more, playing the "we can do this, but not that" game was kind of a moot point. We are all adults here, and acting like a sixteen year old virgin, well, is just tacky.

I will admit: I like him, but I find I'm not falling into my old thought patterns, despite Elise's best drunken efforts to drag me there. "What are his intentions, Yeva?" or "Does he want to be in a relationship, Yeva?" or "I just want you to be happy, Yeva!"

And I am happy. I am happy because I don't care what his intentions are, and I am not worrying about whether he wants to be in a relationship with me, because a relationship with a guy is just not that important to me anymore. I am still working on a relationship with myself, and I plan on continuing to do so. Yes, I had a very fun night with an attractive and interesting man. I don't know where it's going to lead, and I don't need to. Right now, my focus is me, and my writing, and my career, and this whole wonderful, enlightening growing process. And if he wants to tag along, that's ok too.

I realize I struggled this week with what this challenge has meant, and what breaking my commitment might mean. I thought about sliding into old habits, and maybe it might seem as if that's exactly what I did, but to me, it was the opposite. Remember that diet analogy I used in my second entry? Last week felt as if someone left a giant bar of chocolate just sitting there in front of me. I got to smell it, and touch it, and even lick the edge, but then I had to keep running to get an apple to satiate myself. It was there, and I couldn't throw it away, that would be wasteful, because it was there for me, like a cruel Christmas present for the Jewish girl. Finally, I decided that I could have one piece. Chocolate, in itself, is not unhealthy. Chocolate in massively large quantities eaten while crying in your stretch pants, is unhealthy. So, I had one small piece: one sweet, delicious, creamy piece of chocolate.

Suddenly, it was just chocolate. So I wrapped up the rest, and put it in the refrigerator, for, you know, later enjoyment.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 65: Old Habits

This week has not been good for my challenge, clearly (see previous post). It's easy to say you are doing (or not doing something), and actually do it, but it seems to be a lot harder to control thoughts. A huge part of this project was changing my thinking patterns, and I did for a while, until this week.

This week, it is like I am back to where I started. I'm agonizing after every unanswered text message and every unmade plan. What am I doing? I don't belong here anymore. I am not this girl anymore. At least, I thought I wasn't, but did I even ever change? Or was it just because there was this blog keeping me in check? In a few short weeks, when this is all over, will I just end up where I was? Slide back into my old habits? Because I don't want to, but at this point, I don't know how to prevent it.

This summer has been amazing so far, filled with good friends, new experiences, and unbridled self-exploration, but now I'm starting to doubt myself.

Today, I drove an hour and a half (both ways) to go to a B52s concert with Kat. Before the concert, we were trying to get her roommate to come with us, but she said she was tired and just wanted to read. I looked at her, and saw myself. That was me, two months ago. I felt so unhappy with my world, all I could do was bury myself in an imaginary one. Don't get me wrong, I still read, a lot, but I don't read to get away as much anymore. I am no longer too tired for friends and activities like I used to think I was. I guess I'm afraid that as soon as this project is over, I will slide into those habits too, as easily as I slid into the boy-obsessing.

I think a lot of what I was trying to do here, was use these 90 days, not only to get rid of bad habits, but to acquire new good ones. As I near the end, I'm beginning to fear that I won't be able to keep the new, good habits going, just as much as I fear that I will regain the old ones. I think writing about it and letting my fears out in the open like this will help, because now they are tangible, which I think makes them less powerful than when they are just floating around in my mind making me crazy and ruining my Friday night.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 62 (Take 2): One Foot of the Wagon

If this was easy, it wouldn't be a challenge, right? But it has been so far, relatively. That's why I started writing this blog, to make myself accountable to more than just me, and it has definitely made breaking old and bad habits much easier, with all of my readers cheering me on. However, I have a confession to make...

Friday night, I went out with a few new people. Some of them I knew, some I've met before, and the rest were completely new to me. One stood out, mostly due to being very cute and increasingly flirty. For the majority of the night, I attempted to ignore his flirtations, because I was trying to keep this challenge in mind. After the bar, we went back to a house to keep drinking and listening to music. At one point, I stepped out for a cigarette, and the cute boy followed me. I hardly had a chance to turn to look at him, when he planted a very sweet yet stealthy ninja kiss on my lips.

I kissed back. Lots. Finally, we parted at the end of the night after exchanging cell phone numbers.

This Monday, my friend Matt came over for our newly established tradition of porch beers. I decided to invite the cute boy, thinking that it would be safe with a chaperone. Matt makes an excellent chaperone. I can totally see him in 20 years, sitting on the couch, cleaning his gun, while some poor teenage boy sits and trembles, waiting for Matt's daughter to finish getting ready for their date. The cute boy and Matt got along very well, and things were going just swimmingly, until Matt went home. Anyway, I won't get into details, but I'm still on the wagon... barely. However, I don't really want to discuss the experience, but rather how it made me feel and how it was different from my previous experiences that drove me to write this blog in the first place.

This whole thing feels healthy. It happened organically, without personal ads or dating sites. The boy is normal and sane and seems to like me, for now. This in no way feels seedy or wrong, rather like things are supposed to happen. You're supposed to lock eyes with him across the room and get that flip in your stomach and experience him looking at you like he feels it too. I'm not saying I'm quitting my challenge. Absolutely not. I love what I am doing here, and how it's changed me for the better. I don't want to give it up. I showed him this blog, and explained the situation, and I hope that if he likes me that he will wait for me to finish my goal. And if not, well then that's one less choice I will have to make.

This whole project is about being honest and open about my personal development, but it's also a creative outlet. I realize I write about people I know, but I don't write to gossip nor to tarnish anyone's image. Ultimately this blog is about me, and if I include details about my friends, they are just that, details. They serve to illustrate an example in a particular context. At the end of the day, the subject is me, and let's face it, isn't it always?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 53: Gratuitous Nudity

Now, I know today is not really Day 53, but what I want to talk about actually occurred on Day 53, so hence the title. Anyway, this blog is partially about having new experiences, but I'd like to discuss an experience I wish I didn't have.

So last week my friend Tom invited me to a birthday party for his friend Joel and him at Joel's home. Toward the end of the week, I was also told that this was going to be both a pool and a toga party. At first, I kind of scoffed at the toga aspect, thinking that I've outgrown dressing in sheets since graduating college, but I figured "what the hell? It might be fun." And it was, at first...

The party started around 3 pm. I did not wear a toga, but I did bring a bathing suit. The day was scorching, so when I arrived, Tiffany (Tom's charming girlfriend) and I headed for the pool. The water was warm, but it felt amazing when the breeze hit my wet skin. Everything started out very mild, the people who were already there, congregated in small groups talking amongst themselves. The catering was supposed to arrive around 5:30pm, and in the meantime, everyone was enjoying the alcoholic slushy machine and the sun (or the air conditioning indoors).

Around 4 pm, Joel, who previously was sitting in the backyard with his own group of people decided to go for a swim. Tiff had casually mentioned that Joel's pool parties tend to turn to skinny-dipping, but I figured she meant small get-togethers, and there were just too many people here for that happen. Boy, was I wrong. If I was a carnival worker, I would probably estimate Joel's weight at about 375 lbs. I'm not trying to be mean, but this is my blog, so I can say what I'm thinking, and I'm thinking he should have kept his swim trunks on. Granted, I think I should keep my bathing suit on too, and Tiff (who weighs in at a healthy 120), and same goes for Tom. In fact, across the board, I think everyone should keep their bathing suits on.

Unfortunately, they didn't.

This party consisted of about 30-35 people. There were only a handful of women, including me, Tiff, and maybe 4 other girls that I remember seeing. As the evening progressed, more people, men and women alike, started to take off their swimsuits to swim, and I'm pretty sure some people did not even bring swimsuits, knowing full well that Joel owns a pool. Very quickly, that ninety-five degree pool turned into Cock n' Balls soup. That's kinda like Matzo ball soup, just much much less delicious, but very similar consistency and ball to soup ratio.

At that point, I had long ago removed myself from the water, and sat on a lounge chair trying really hard not to look anywhere. Tom sat next to me with a smirk on his face, and Tiff joined us.

"You should have warned me," I told him and glared in his direction. He just smiled and asked me why I was so uncomfortable? Why am I not joining in? He raised good points, the atmosphere was not sexually charged, it was just nudity. I am by no means a prude. I am not the type of girl to keep my shirt on during sex. I've been known to wear laced-up corsets and thigh-highs to indoor Renaissance fairs. Those that have had the pleasure of having sex with me know I'm very kinky, but this, this was different.

This wasn't about how unattractive all these naked nerdy people were, and they were very unattractive (again, my blog, I can say what I was thinking). This wasn't about being nude for the sake of being nude, like in a nudist colony, maybe that's why it bothered me. This wasn't being nude for the sake of being sexy either. This had a different quality to it. It was as if these people were being nude, to be shocking, to change a norm, or to set a different one. They were saying "We are societal outcasts, so let's give society a middle finger." Good for them. I definitely like to rebel lightly as well, but I think being shocking for the sake of being shocking is kind of a teenage angst thing to do. I think if you do things that you actually enjoy, and it sometimes shocks people, well great, keep doing it, but I find it hard to believe that a girl, who made the time and effort to get a Brazilian wax (or just very thoroughly shave herself), doesn't care what people think. Maybe if I knew them better, I would have enjoyed myself more. But I didn't. So I didn't. Oh well, not all new experiences turn out to be good ones.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 52: My Porch

The best thing a girl, or anyone for that matter, can have is a porch. A porch can serve so many different purposes. It can be a meeting place for neighbors or a way to get out of the apartment without leaving the safety of your building. It can be an observation deck, from which I've spent many an evening watching passersby stumble home after a night of drinking and debauchery. It can be a place to drink with friends without getting a citation for public intoxication. Last night Elise and I turned my porch into a time portal.

The night started out like any other night, with a couple of beers. I acquired an extension cord and brought my laptop downstairs for the purpose of providing us with some relaxing porch music. I lost the greater portion of my music collection when my external hard drive decided to break, but I've been replenishing it slowly. I selected Sublime, and turned it to half volume so that I was able to fully listen to Elise regale me with news of her foray into online dating.

We spoke for a while, drinking Blue Moon and laughing, watching people come home from the bars. A couple was saying goodbye directly in front of the house, leaning up against the car, and kissing, completely oblivous of their whispering and giggling audience. I felt it was appropriate to give them some background music, so I turned up the volume on "Caress Me Down". A few dirty looks later, the girl got into the car and drove away, and the guy turned around and walked home.

Maybe it was the beer, or maybe it was the heat, but little by little, the conversation turned to the music and a much-too-familiar game of "Ooh, do you remember this song?" Somewhere into the 90s, Elise and I were both on our feet dancing and jumping around and twirling each other and doing that move where you hold opposite hands and drop down and touch the ground with the other (usually performed to a Salt n' Peppa song). We performed every move in the book, including ballet moves that resembled more something out of Stuart sketch than Swan Lake, tap buffaloes, and the sprinkler.

All my inhibitions flew out the window, and I wasn't even drunk. I felt like I was under some Bacchanalian spell. I just wanted to dance. I didn't care who saw, in fact, we waved and greeted anyone who walked by the porch. That porch... that wonderful, amazing porch. That porch ported us back to a time when summer was easy and carefree, when all you needed was music and a good friend, to a time when there were no responsibilities, when summer meant freedom. That porch turned us into kids again for one glorious night, and the two of us partied like it was 1999!