up with the sun

June 30, 2009

I’ve been working like a madwoman all day on my writing project, which should be done either next month or early August, when I will reveal it. I’m really cautious about WHEN I’m going to publish it due to the content. It’s not exactly gonna go down in one gulp… It’s going to make several people incredibly uncomfortable, but on the other hand, a lot of people are going to think it’s insightful and hilarious. I don’t usually brag about my writing, but this is gonna be worth reading. Promise.

Because I’ve been all up in this project, I’ve really been ignoring most other thoughts floating through my head all day, so obviously this post is going to be a little lackluster. Sorry.

In my personal life, I’ve really been waiting for a sign lately. There have been smidgens of signs – tiny miracles, I’ll call them – and I’m beginning to wonder what they mean, if anything at all. Is it weird I don’t believe in something if I don’t see it or hear it for myself? My faith has always wavered… but my belief is certainly attached to my will, and that does not fluctuate. Regardless of the times I’ve been kicked down the metaphorical stairs, I still climb back up, tail wagging, eyes bright.

What sort of sign is it going to take to know when to stop? Where do you draw the line?

I’m not going to say where or when I saw it, but I recently witnessed some thoughts on forgiveness that really touched me. Letting go of something is the best thing you can do for yourself… holding on to that resentment is only hurting you, not whoever is causing you that pain. I think somehow I’ve always known this, and I’ve been quick to forgive. Sure, I won’t forget (I got that from my mother. Seriously. That woman doesn’t forget SHIT.) but learning when I shouldn’t let go so easily is still a struggle.

I’m not sure if I know what I want anymore. I do and I don’t. I think honesty is going to be the hardest thing in the next few months – fessing up and accepting responsibility are going to be major players. Even in the work I’ll be publishing soon am I admitting to something that even my own parents don’t know about… only a few of my very close friends have been privy to the experience, and even then, I’m fairly tight lipped except to a chosen few.

This brutal honesty is going to hopefully break down a wall or two. What I discovered through the experience has proved that what I thought I wanted is the ultimate truth. It’s just a question of can I be honest, open, and vulnerable enough to let it happen.

It won’t be tomorrow, but it will be soon. 6000 words and counting, my longest work to date…

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Natural Disasters

June 24, 2009

Today was kind of a disaster from the get go. I JUMPED out of bed when my alarm went off, thinking “you have to be on time today” – not that I ever really have a problem being on time. I think when I got up, I was just motivated to come in this morning and be ready to go. I hopped in the shower (even did my crest whitestrips!) and got ready for the day. (Little known fact: I think showers are too time consuming. I think the longest I’ve ever spent in the shower was 30 minutes… I’m a 10-15 minute sort of gal. Get in, get busy, get done – I’m still talking about the shower… pervs.)
But I’m thinking jumping out of bed that quickly set the tone for the whole day… for some reason I was really anxious, and when I feel that anxious when I wake up, it’s usually the sign of an impending anxiety attack that will take place 4-6 hours later. I didn’t think of this until now. This is unfortunate. Natalie – 0, Bad Day – 1.

So I swing by the corner store on my way in and grab an iced coffee. Lately I’ve been disappointed in my regular bodega – their coffee is good and the price is right, but the way its prepared is total crap, specifically in the execution of the sugar. They throw in maybe 2 tablespoons, don’t mix it, and it floats to the bottom so it feels you’re drinking sandy coffee. I don’t like my coffee to be crunchy, thanks. So this morning I got the bright idea to order without sugar, and next thing I know, my iced coffee is magically delicious. Natalie -1, Bad D– And then again, I never seem to learn that drinking coffee on an empty stomach makes me jittery and stomach ache-y. We’ll call it a draw. The score is still Natalie – 0, Bad Day – 1.

I arrive at work and things seem okay. I jump right into my responsibilities and everyone seems to be responsive and on top of their ish (good way to start the day I suppose.)

And then I got an email from my friend (who, for the purposes of this post, will call) “Chris”.

Chris is a good friend. I would say Chris is one of my best friends. I am pretty good at estimating how he’s going to function in certain situations and know that when Chris is in professional-mode, he’s a professional… no fucking around. Recently, I referred Chris to a landlord I met while I was looking for apartments back in December – he’s got these beautiful buildings out in Bushwick I remembered met Chris’s criteria. This landlord, for the purposes of this essay/blog/post/whathaveyou, will be referred to as “Tom”.

The email essentially said: “Tom is batshit crazy.”

This I know. When I met Tom, he was almost 40 minutes late to our appointment, citing that he was hungover and driving back from his house which is just outside of NYC. Whatever, I got over it. He seemed pretty on top of his shit as a building owner/landlord, but struck me as a bit off from the get go. “Crazy” is an excellent way to describe him. (I would also use “eccentric,” “larger-than-life,” and “possible coke addict” to the list.)

It didn’t strike me as odd that Chris thought he was weird, so I wrote back “duh” or something of that nature and went about my business.

Then I got an email from Tom. A LOOOOONG, completely unsolicited email.

He had forwarded me all of the correspondence between the two of them and, in typical Tom fashion, had a staccato-like note at the beginning:

hey natalie

good morning-i hope alls well
im trying to help you friend
[Chris]

he is being so difficult with me, im letting you know
i appreciate you thinking about me

but
read below

i dont have any thing in williamsburg even close to $1500 for a 2 bdrm-unrealistic.

i mentioned this but told him bushwick under $1700-

i followed up with him this morning with photos-and next thing i know, all this attitude
im only trying to help your friend

i appreciate you trying to help your friend and mucho appreciated you trying to help me-but i dont understand all this attitude for trying to help someone….with his attitude, he can stay in the [neighborhood he currently lives in]-

have a good day
scroll down

and then followed multiple days of correspondence. I read through… Chris wasn’t out of line in any way, It was clear there had been a slight misunderstanding and things had gotten a little snappy, but nothing that could be clearly labeled as “difficult.”

So I sent Tom a quick note:
[Tom] – I’m sorry things aren’t working out… I thought that you’d have something that would work for him… It’s not really my business what is going on with you and my friend, but from your emails it looks like it was a miscommunication. I don’t think his intention at all was to be difficult, just to find an apartment that suits his needs. I’m sorry that there was a misunderstanding. – N

I then received an email back from Tom, only 3 minutes after I had sent mine. Now, we all know I have a bit of a mouth, but that’s usually reserved for competition or inebriation. But I was so offended by this email, I have decided to spare my readers his exact, disgusting words… I have decided to present Tom’s return email in the form of a madlib (for everyone’s amusement.):

excuse my [foreign language], WHUT A [ugly name for vagina]

especially when i was trying to help
i hope i never see that guy in [trendy neighborhood] or [trendy neighborhood’s bastard cousin neighborhood]
he really pissed me off
god what a [ugly name for vagina, yes again.]-
fucking HATE that guy

its not you-i really do appreciate you trying to help

that guy and his [music-related noun] and [performing art related noun]
can go [sex verb] HIMSELF AND I HOPE HE NEVER STEPS FOOT IN [nyc borough]

My jaw was on the floor. Shocked. Really. I don’t really know Tom personally, so having him vent to me about one of my best friends caught me way off guard… I really only know Tom in a professional capacity, so I expected at least that much from him. This was completely out of line.

So I called him.

I told Tom that while I understood that he was upset and venting, I am an inappropriate outlet. It was unprofessional and completely inappropriate to speak to me using any of that language, especially about my friend. It is not my responsibility to babysit his business transactions when I have referred someone to him, and this event has led me to believe that I cannot trust him with people I refer him to and I will no longer be giving his name to people I know looking for apartments.

He hung up without really saying much of anything. I got an email a few minutes later apologizing and explaining he was just upset. Sure, I get you’re upset, but this completely is out of line. I’m not responding.

About 90% of this entire ordeal had been conducted before 10:30am. I had been awake for about 2 hours when all of this went down, and believe me, this is not a hearty way to start your day. There is no complete breakfast here. This is a plate of bullshit in my face.

Chris was totally cool about it. He didn’t seem to care that it didn’t work out with Tom, and quite frankly, I don’t blame him. I told him about the nasty email (that madlib is the first time he’s seen it in it’s “entirety”) and he was pretty floored. In the end, Chris is fine. Tom is probably feeling guilty (as he should), and I’m just a little irked by the entire thing. I am fairly certain this contributed to the energy of the day. Natalie – 0, Bad Day – 3. (Editors note: I ran this post by Chris, just to make sure it wasn’t crossing any lines, and he told me he would like to add that he is a “hottie,” that he’s “boneable,” and that he’s a “beefcake.” I agree with all but beefcake; It makes me think of these dog food things that Rossy and Jason feed their dogs.)

I told my coworkers about what happened and we all had a nice chat about how craigslist people can be batshit. I brought up my experience from a few weekends ago where that girl signed a lease and in the end I thought she was a con artist (read HERE). Everyone was shocked at this and about half of them suggested I change my locks.

And then I told them what happened last night:

On my way home from work, I stopped at my apartment and picked up my paycheck, which is always mailed to me on Tuesdays. Instead of going inside and dropping off my stuff, I walked to the bank, deposited my check, and walked back to my apartment after picking up a few toiletries. As I turned the corner at my block, there was crazy con artist lady and her weird dad, walking away from my apartment building.

What. The. Fuck.

I called out to her and she turned and said “hi” as nice as can be. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked her what she was doing in the neighborhood – what I mean was “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE?!” She told me how much she liked the neighborhood and wanted to keep looking for an apartment here. Uh, okay. Whatever. Have a nice life. Her dad suggested we get tea together. WTF.

They left and I went inside totally creeped out. Considering I was so upset about her possibly being a con artist and breaking into my apartment with my keys that she may or may not have copied after signing the lease, imagine how upset I was when I saw her outside my apartment. She was AT MY APARTMENT.

I told my coworkers this part of the story and they unanimously agreed I put a deadbolt on my door or change the locks. I called both of my parents and they both volunteered to pay for it – you know when your parents are worried about a con artist breaking into your apartment, you should be too. It really stressed me out on top of the previous anxiety. I went for a walk outside to cool off. Too bad it’s humid as a jockstrap out there. Natalie – 0, Bad Day – 4.

I called my landlord’s office and asked if I could install a deadbolt. The building manager actually transferred me to the building landlord/owner, who always seems to be so nice and helpful, and he said it was fine. He suggested a guy to do it to and volunteered to send someone over to show me how to use my alarm system, which doesn’t turn on as far as I can tell. I thanked him, and before I lost him forever (cause who knows when I’ll get ahold of him again) I asked him about the roof situation. I explained that I just wanted to go up there to sit in the sunshine, and that many of the other residents felt the same way. He explained that he had installed a camera, seen the recent parties (and their subsequent messes), and couldn’t allow me to go up there. If he let me, he’d have to let everyone. I told him I understood, but made a suggestion: that if he can’t rent the 4th floor apartment (which has “private roof access”) that everyone else in the building would probably be willing to chip in $25-$50 per month to have roof access. He surprisingly said he liked the idea and would take it into consideration. Natalie – 1, Bad Day – 4.

So by then it was almost 11am… all of this chaos happening before noon. I think it threw off the energy in the office… everyone seemed concerned for me and my safety and could tell that I was upset. They offered to cover the phones while I went outside “to scream as loud as humanly possible” if I wanted. I told them I was fine and went about my chaos. I had about 40 things to do at once, and somehow I pushed through. It’s now almost 3, and I’ve somehow survived multiple office crises. Everyone can tell I’m on edge, and just as I’d hoped, they’re all incredibly supportive. At other jobs, I would have just kind of been abandoned to deal with my own shit, but these people almost treat me like family, and it makes me really happy.

But I’m exhausted. My brain hurts. I’m running low on fuel. And all I can think of is going home and going to bed. The first half of the day made it “just one of those days,” and quite frankly, I’m sick of having them.

I’m pretty sure this is my longest post ever. Natalie – 2, Bad Day – 4. I think I still lose, even with 2100 words…

Absolute Focus

March 24, 2009

I’ve found that I often go into subways, trying to make eye contact with people, searching for higher meaning. Every person I look at seems to just stare back. No judgement. No emotion. Just present.

It is in those moments, that blankness, is how I think the rest of the world sees itself. In the eyes of others, I am constantly looking for a reason, judgement, any sort of emotion, and often my mind will come up with something on its own. While what is really going on, what is really happening outside the bubble, is that blankness. We don’t stare upon each other with so much thought. Right?

Well…

I often question the choices I make and am constantly searching for approval when I make them. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever made a decision in my entire life that I wasn’t convinced I had some support on. These nasty developmental patters… these habits… these are what I’m trying to break down… to squash these assumptions my brain makes and recognize things for what they are instead of constantly searching for higher meaning.

shut up shut up shut up dont ask

My very dear friend Josh once told me that he was capable of loving unconditionally. This blew my mind, because I was fairly certain that this certain aspect of love did not exist… every case of my life in which I love someone (besides family/blood relatives) I have found something that has broken the camel’s back or blew over the haystack or screwed the pooch… what have you. (I highly doubt that those were the proper uses of those idioms.) Nonetheless, I found conditions within the “love” relationships that I had that kept me from loving, and have, since that point, made a point to identify the flaw in all love. The messiness of it. The whole shebang.

The last 48 hours have been peculiar, to say the least. I would almost describe it as my favorite 48 hours of being in my hometown since I was a resident. I’ll spare you the details, but with an odd twist of fate (which I don’t actually believe in so I blame Blue Moon,) I was reunited with someone I used to love that I swore I’d never speak to again. I gave into impulse and instinct and let the nostalgia consume me… Every second felt as if I had somehow already lived it 4 years ago. A deja-vu of sorts. There is something about living in that moment that is unreal… the epic dream sequence… that is so reminiscent of real life that if some of the conditions were different, it would reach enlightenment.

And on my drive home, I realized that perhaps I had found a certain enlightenment in those hours. I have discovered little bits of me I thought were lost… scraps of a former self that I miss, that I love. It’s hard to remember a time where I actually loved who I was, but this version of me is dear, and treasured. And when it was gone, I had to bury it with silence.

I also realized that I too possessed the ability to unconditionally love. Regardless of the outcome of this situation, I am completely incapable of erasing the entire thing from my life, as hard as I try, as much as I want. Those years were some of the greatest highs and lows of my entire life, and I chemically long to be back in those moments. The past two nights have been two giant yoga breaths of what once was, and what could quite possibly never be again.

At this point, I am not counting on or expecting anything from the future. I feel as if I’ve recognized my mistakes, and made some sort of attempt at developing the future on my own terms. I thought that by reconnecting with this part of my life, I was somehow letting go of that “fresh start” I thought would result of my move and my opening of a “new chapter.” In reflection, it is really the opposite. I have taken a completely new, unjudgemental, unconditional, perspective on something. It has given it new light, when the original intention was finite closure.

I realize that a lot of these thoughts won’t make sense, and that the people that have some inkling of what I’m talking about in the slightest (thank God there are so few of you) can’t believe it. But the person who this actually understands every word of this, and I know there is only one of you (besides myself) is the one that I hope takes away the most away from this. I hope you have, in opening your new chapter, look at this situation unconditionally in the future, and I hope that you have come to some of these conclusions on your own. There are little holes in my sadistic little heart where some of the happiest moments of my life plug them up to keep me from internally bleeding to death; it’s unclear if tonight completely clotted it, or if it is only the beginning of new holes that I need to fill. I just hope that either way, that I won’t let this memory die, or let anyone taint it any more than they have.

This is the most I’ve written in a long time, and I would write more, but I feel as if there’s been enough self-disclosure for a biography or two, and quite frankly, my unmonitored and un-metaphored and muddled thoughts on this issue are private, and I intend to keep them that way for the time being.

I feel like this is growth, and as much as things are unchanged, I can still feel the potential. I will suppress it for the time being, because I know I need to save this happiness and simple joy for when it can happen again, when a 48-hour memory can reinstate my faith in others, my faith in love, and somehow, a bit of faith in myself.

God, this has been far too deep.


So let me fall
If I must fall
I won’t heed your warnings
I won’t hear them

Let me fall
If I fall
Though the phoenix may
Or may not rise

I will dance so freely
Holding on to no one
You can hold me only
If you too will fall
Away from all these
Useless fears and chains

Someone I am
Is waiting for my courage
The one I want
The one I will become
Will catch me

So let me fall
If I must fall
I won’t heed your warnings
I won’t hear

Let me fall
If I fall
There’s no reason
To miss this one chance
This perfect moment
Just let me fall

Vulnerable.

September 11, 2008

I write the most when I am weak, when I am tired, when I feel that there is nothing inside of me to keep going. When I am at the end of my rope, the best things come out. I am honest, because I am too tired to lie. I don’t often share my personal essays with others, but after reading many other accounts of today, but there was something inside of me that forced me to write it out I don’t think I’ve ever written about it to this extent, but I just kind of went with it – sorry if it’s a bit choppy.

Growing up, I couldn’t stand silence. These days there are times I can’t live without it, but as a teenager growing up in a quiet college town in Oregon, silence was never something I became accustomed to.

I lived in the attic of my family’s three-story home, a welcoming environment: renovated many years earlier, it was well lit, painted a soothing mint green, and had a skylight above my bed. The silence in the room was deafening – floors away from any family activity. I would turn on the radio to kill the silence, often leaving it on when I left the house and while I slept at night.

I woke up on the morning of September 11th, 2001 as I would any other day. My alarm went off around 6:45, and I wiped the sleep from my eyes and rose to prepare for another day of Sophomore year. As I woke, I realized how quiet it was. Too quiet. I looked to the radio – it was on – and realized the DJs were speaking in low, inoffensive voices. This was not the regular morning show. No wacky sound effects. No pop music to sing along to as I showered.

“A plane crashed into the second tower about 45 minutes ago. Casualties are still unknown, but are assumed to be in the thousands…”

It occurred to me that this was not a prank phone call they were playing on the air. Something was wrong. Their silence scared me. The dead air popping with static.

I went downstairs into my parents room – they had just woken up to their own alarms and going about their routines – and turned on the television. There they were: the gray smoking twin towers of New York. I heard my mother pause from her makeup and turn towards the television. We stood in silent and watched the repeating footage of the towers burn and fall. It was a haunting dance: the tallest sticks of charcoal in the skyline cracking, shifting, and crashing to the ground. Giant plumes of dust and smoke billowed upwards like a group of tangled, deflating, gray balloons.

We were told to attend school as usual – not to let anything interrupt our daily schedules. We were reminded to pause in respect of the destruction 3,000 miles away, but to continue dissecting frogs in biology and filling out vocabulary worksheets in French class. Some teachers had the news turned on in their classrooms – on mute – but continued on with their lesson plans. Some students followed along in their textbooks – the tragedy just being a terrible apocalyptic movie someone had accidently turned on. Others were completely distracted and disturbed by the images, myself included.

A majority of the citizens in my quiet little town continued about their business – buying groceries, doing laundry, going to work – and no one really stopped to mourn a loss the entire country would feel for years to come. There was a brief moment after lunch where all of the students in Corvallis High School observed a moment of silence; overhead projectors returned to their quiet hum soon after.

Watching from a distance was horrifying. I admit that going through the motions that day was all that we knew to do. From three thousand miles away, there wasn’t much to do but observe. To pray. To reflect. Presently, I have several friends who were born and raised in New York, a few from Manhattan who knew people in the towers. Hearing their stories of that day terrifies me, and as a future New Yorker (in the loosest sense possible) I wish I could understand that day a little more. There’s a part of me that is so unattached to that moment – I only have static-ridden clips of radio DJs and repeating footage of the second plane flying into the other tower. When I hear people talk about their experiences on September 11th, I am silent: there’s no reason to share that I woke up and went through the motions, watching recaps from the back row of a classroom, when I could listen to someone who’s life changed so much more than my own because of that day.

When I visit New York, I often visit ground zero by myself. I don’t like the pressure of having to be strong in front of someone else. I instantly become emotional – tearing up – which is uncommon for me in a place that I feel so emotionally detached from: I never saw the towers when they were standing. There is a spirit in that place that is so sad, yet so hopeful. It’s been seven years, and there’s still a giant hole in the ground – a void that’s slowly being filled. I know that there’s nothing I can do to fill the void in any New Yorker’s life – there’s nothing I can say and nothing I can do. So I stand, and watch, and secretly pray that everyone who has been affected by that day is somehow finding peace in their own lives. Whether it’s the family of someone lost on one of the flights or someone 3,000 miles away watching CNN like it’s pornography – you don’t want others to see you looking, but you have to – I pray to whatever force brings peace to anyone’s life that they appreciate what they have and what they have to live for, even after such a horrible moment in our history.

Today has been really difficult, but not for the reasons you’d expect. From the moment I woke up I knew it was going to be a struggle. From the get-go, complete sentences were a struggle, and my reactions were often manic and dramatic. Finally back somewhere I feel relatively safe (except for the cockroaches and house centipedes), I wonder if every day is actually like today, and I am just better at ignoring it and going through the motions…

P.S. Love you, AP. Thinking of you.

I want nothing more than to get out of here.

I’ve rekindled some important relationships in my boston sphere, but I have no desire to meet new people (unless to satisfy unsatisfied needs) and feel completely alone in a city I used to consider home. There’s something really wrong about being here right now. 

Some people are driving me crazy lately. Their immaturity strikes me as unexpected and their rudeness uncalled for. There are certain grudges I understand: unforgivable wrongs committed against someone. But just unspoken, uncomfortable moments in the past that keep you from being kind to someone you were once close with is just rude.

Were we ever close? Did I imagine it? Did I think our friendship was more than you thought it was? Did I bring this upon myself? I guess to a certain degree our friendship was convenience.

I think my secret blog was linked to on a porn site. For those of you who don’t know, I have a secret blog that I update every once and awhile about my R-rated adventures not safe for general consumption. I was checking where my hits were coming from (14 in the last 24 hours, which is much higher than usual) and it’s linked from a porn site. I don’t know if this is a mistake in the system or if they’re coming from a porn site. I didn’t think my posts were that… explicit. 

I’m still lost. I’m hung up on things that don’t matter. This is a feeling I haven’t had in a really long time.

It’s a subordinate wiggle of a bigger wiggle.

#1073

August 26, 2008

I kept thinking of you today. I couldn’t remember why. It hasn’t been long since I last saw you.
Then, as I began to pack my belongings, I remembered you again. How? I knew this time. By scent. My clothes gave off your aroma. The clean ones. You smelled like my laundry. My fresh laundry, just out from the dryer.

“We must use the same detergent.” What a simple explanation.
Something I never realized, as I was trying a new detergent. I inhaled and placed things in my suitcase;
I remember what it’s like in your arms. You tasted slightly like cigarettes and cheap booze, but I couldn’t taste the difference between yours and mine. You smell safe. You feel safe.

But I’m living on the edge and I can’t be safe in your arms any more.
I have places to go and things to achieve and I’m not going to stop my life for a man, a boy, a relationship, a person. God! It’s like asking me to stop my life, at this pivotal, crucial state of being, and… have a child or something! Give up my life for someone else. I am self absorbed and focused on my success, and I will only look back, never go back, for you.

But only you. A time in my life only to reflect on. Never to live there again.

You are lost in the shuffle, King of Hearts. I am back in the present.
Clean laundry packed, I have hidden you away.

The Last Laugh

June 3, 2008

I gnawed my fingernails down to the bone and I bit the side of my tongue until it bled. I didn’t notice it until a bit of blood dribbled out of the corner of my mouth; I probably looked like a murder victim.

There is something about physical pain that affects me so differently than emotional pain. I find emotion pain somewhat more distressing and debilitating, while physical pain you can combat with a shmorgasbourg of pills. I cannot cure my emotional pain, but in an attempt to do so, I lash out in other directions. I act out, aggressively. I attach myself to people and vices like barnicles; you have to practically kick me off to rid of me.

More recently, I have learned to express my emotional pain a little more differently. Walls that haven’t been around for a long time are rebuilt… fortified… and reinforced again. My emotional scars are not going to keep me from attaching again, but they numb the pain… the walls are my pain-killers.

In someone else’s warm arms, I instinctively pull away. He asks me what’s wrong but there’s nothing to say. Nothing is wrong. I give in. And in a moment of emotional disconnect, a brilliant epiphany occurs: I am no longer the person I used to be.

I emerge from a cocoon the next day, reborn with new wings. Shortly thereafter, I fly away. Free. I am now in a place that inspires happiness and makes me accomplish things I never thought I could do. I am suddenly the person I’ve been wanting to be since last summer, and my identity is no longer a siamese twin.

I’m young.

Sure, I’m not YOUNG young (I don’t fit into Limited Too’s clothes anymore, nor do I like what they sell) but I’m young enough that I still can’t get into bars without displaying cleavage or not know all the good hiding places in case the cops come to the house party.

However, I’m old enough to vote. I’m old enough to buy porn or cigarettes (not that I utilize this privilege.) I can get in to R-rated movies.

But the last thing I want at this age, in all honesty, is a baby.

The idea of unexpected pregnancy scares me. Almost as much as marriage at this age does. I am not at all prepared for the responsibility that either one of those things requires. I am fickler than most, and I feel that both of those things are fairly permanent situations.

So while perusing the pages of facebook – my favorite online distraction – I came across a name I did not recognize. Someone who’s face was familiar, and was friends with a lot of people I knew, but I could not place her name.

So I examine her profile, realizing we went to high school together, and that I do in fact know her. But why does her name strike me off guard?

Because her last name has changed. She got married.

In addition to the name change, her wall is full of congratulations and her latest photo album includes images of cut umbilical cords, scrunched tiny faces, and swaddling.

She had a baby.

Now I wish her as much luck as humanly possible. Only congratulations is in order. But it shocked me to know that someone who graduated from high school with me (and couldn’t be more than probably 10 months older) is married, and just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. It makes me feel like a baby myself, like I couldn’t handle that much commitment in my wildest dreams; I have trouble keeping the television on the same channel…

I don’t know whether to be thrilled or terrified that I’ve reached the age where my peers are making the choices that truly define the rest of their life.

And on a personal, and truly ironic note, happy one year anniversary baby.

For some strange reason, I wasn’t allowed to drink Gatorade growing up. My parents never bought it and when it was provided to us, it was usually by a friend. I treated it like contraband… Gatorade was somehow a frivolous use of money, and heaven forbid if I am caught drinking it.

Thats not true, actually. My parents just seriously never bought us Gatorade.

Why deny me this simple pleasure, you ask? The answer is quite simple:
So I could discover it on my own in college when dying from illness and would be simply convinced that it was the juice of life and it would cure all ailments.

That’s it basically. I’ve discovered so many delicious flavors, and I have so many to go (I stay away from “blue and purple flavored” Gatorade because I hate it when my mouth changes color.) and I have simply not seen the spectrum of deliciousness.

If you have any new flavor suggestions, please don’t hesitate to mention them; I am in an “experimental” stage… of Gatorade.

Stay tuned for “Natalie’s Top 5 Gatorade Flavors” coming soon to a barely-read blog near you.