Last night was the opening of the show “Exhibition” curated by my friend Angel Estrada (see post My Artist Friends) celebrating March, the month of printmaking. The show is composed of art created by several different local printmakers, including myself. Printmaking is a broad term that encompasses many sub categories of different techniques and methodologies. Angel did a fantastic job of representing a wide variety of the many types prints. “Exhibition” will be hanging through the 31st of March, and I absolutely recommend checking it out if you’re in the Denver area. It’s located at the Studios at GRACe 888 E 50th Ave. It’s a tricky spot to find but definitely worth the trip. Most of the art can be purchased, and why not support some extremely talented locals??
I’m going to try and keep this as coherent and on track as possible without getting overly analytical. I have a lot to say about this topic, but I’ll try to keep it concise. Bear with me.
My mom called me the other day to express how sad she was about the recent sexual harassment allegations brought against James Franco. I found it odd that in respect to claims against Trump and Weinstein, all around garbage humans, she was disgusted. But in response to Franco, someone she gushes over at every opportunity, she was sad. It was a reminder to me that in the coming weeks, months and years, as more and more instances of sexual assault and harassment are brought to light, we can’t simply villainize the perpetrators who are easily condemned. Those who are outwardly creeps. Because there are going to be “good guys” who disappoint us too; the guys who attended the women’s march, politicians who vote pro choice, and actors that we can easily project our perfect man onto. These men will also let us down, and it’s important to hold them just as accountable as the pussy grabbers of the world.
I’ve experienced countless instances of being touched by men in bars that I have not given permission to touch me. So much so that after a while, it seems to just come with the territory, I don’t think twice about it. I think many women can agree with that statement. And that’s wrong. In that same vain, I recently read something along the lines of “a lot of women will be able to relate to the encounter, and most men won’t see what’s wrong with it,” of the accusations made against Aziz Ansari. Whether or not what he did should be considered sexual assault, it’s a good point. It’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot lately, and it opens the door to a larger conversation that we should be having; what constitutes as completely consensual sex?
I’ve read time after time about women who are hesitant to label their experience rape, or themselves a victim. Whether it’s because as a whole, we’ve become desensitized to this sort of thing, or it’s an act of self preservation, I’m not sure. But it’s something I have some experience with as well. I won’t get into the details, but essentially what happened is this: I was on a date with a guy I’ve known for a long time, someone I considered a friend (and still do?). On the date we had a few drinks with dinner and then went back to his house, where we continued to drink. Full disclosure, I was pretty drunk and needed to stay the night. However, I stated clearly and more than once “I don’t want to have sex tonight.” I don’t remember much after that, but I woke up early the next morning naked in his bed. We had clearly had sex.
There are a lot of things I could say here. It’s really hard for me to reconcile what happened that night. But I went out with him again after this incident, and we still talk on occasion. If I was reading this story as someone else, it would be clear to me that this girl was raped. But I still stop myself from calling it by that word. Maybe it’s because I’ve had my share of drunken sex. I will say, when I woke up that morning, this felt different. Something in the pit of my stomach told me something was really wrong. And when I reflect on that night, I get the bad goosebumps that I have to shake away.
This is not a ploy to gain attention nor is it an attempt at revenge– I’m writing this without any ulterior motives. The fact that I have to say this shows how far we still have to go. However, my point is, this sort of sexual encounter is normalized. So much so that it’s almost expected. And if a woman is shocked to have experienced it, we call her naive. Normalizing this sort of behavior is exactly why even the good guys are now letting us down. It’s possible to be a good person in most respects, and assault a woman. This doesn’t make their actions any less despicable than a dirty business man or the pervy politician that mall security has to look out for. Both are a product of our culture. One with schools that tells 11 year old girls to cover up, instead of telling 11 year old boys to respect everyone’s personal boundaries. One that tells a woman she’s asking for it, simply by wearing a tight shirt. One that says “boys will be boys.”
I’m not saying that all men are evil. As a society we need to do better at educating everyone about boundaries and respect. This isn’t anything that hasn’t already been said. Having to explain and re explain it almost feels like screaming into a void, but it’s important that we do. We need to keep talking about it. That’s the only way we’re going to affect change.
“The International Print Exchange is an unjuried print exchange with no assigned theme, open to all, that celebrates fine art printmaking.”
A few months back, I was looking for ways to connect with other printmakers and build up my art collection. I’d heard of small batch print exchanges and thought that sounded really interesting. In a very brief online search, I came across the IPE where artists from all over the world submit ten editions of a print to be displayed in a an exhibition and exchanged with other artists. Super interesting, right?!
A few months later, I’m sending my prints to the UK (in an extremely expensive package, I might add. Note to self: stop procrastinating). Which, in itself, I found pretty cool. My art was becoming more worldly than myself.
Last week, after MUCH anticipation, I finally received my assortment of prints (shown below). The prints themselves are really beautiful, but I’ve been the most delighted to learn about where they came from and who made them. A quick search on the IPE website provides some artist info, professional websites, instagrams and facebook pages. It might sound pretty stalkerish, but over the past few days, I’ve dedicated a LOT of time to learning about the artists who created my new print collection.
I’ve been nerding out pretty hard ever since I learned about this particular exchange. And I have to say, I haven’t been this excited about a project in a long time. I think this is a really awesome and unique opportunity to collect art and connect with artists who share my same passion all over the world. I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!
Below are the prints I received. You can view the entire exchange and exhibit on the IPE website: www.internationalprintechange.org
Laura Finella Welburn | UNITED KINGDOM
Larry B. Prestwich | UNITED STATES
“There was a Record” Solar Etching
Alan Jenkins | UNITED KINGDOM
Veronica Caranza Lopez | COSTA RICA
“Esperando Las Tres De La Manana” Xilografia
Gajraj Chavan | INDIA
Saeko Matsushita | FRANCE
Stacey Cox | AUSTRALIA
“Dancing Spirit” Linocut
Maureen McAdams | UNITED KINGDOM
“Poverty” Hand Letter Press
To find out more about the exchange and its participants visit their website: www.internationalprintexchange.org/
I have a lot of extremely talented creative people in my life. It’s important for an artist to be surrounded by other artists, since they are a constant source of inspiration and critical evaluation. For me, it just sort of happened that way. I’ve met all of the people mentioned below at various points in my life, and they’ve all had a major influence both in my art and on who I am now. I asked each of them to describe the work they do and why they love it. We all create very different kinds of art from one another, with very different philosophies and methodologies, but we all share the same passion. It’s crucial for an artist to surround herself with other people who share the same passion. They serve as a constant source of support, unconditional love, and understanding.
Sarah Martin – Photogropher
“As a photographer I love that my camera is an extension of myself. While a camera is perfect for capturing those Kodak moments, it’s the imperfect moments I find so special. I prefer to shoot candid portraits or street photography, to capture the beauty of people, women in particular, in their most honest state (when no one is watching).”
I met Sarah in college on the first day of 2D Design. She told me that she liked my Steve Madden boots, and the rest is history. We’ve seen each other at our best, but more importantly, we’ve seen each other at our absolute worst. She is my life partner, maid of honor, godmother to be, etc etc. Sarah has had one of the biggest influences on me as in artist, but also as a person. She inspires me every day to pursue my passion, no matter what else might be going on. She has a full time job (actually a really amazing job), but she picks up odd jobs here and there photographing and writing – not for the money, but because her life would not be complete without these pieces. Because of her, I know that I am first and foremost an artist, no matter how I actually earn a living. She’s taught me that a “career” does not define my life. In so many ways she’s taught me to forget about my insecurities and just love myself – that as long as I’m happy, the rest will figure itself out. Because of Sarah, I’ve spent the last two years making prints on kitchen counters with spoons and rolling pins, all because my life wouldn’t be complete without art. She reminds me of this daily. Her drive and persistence are some of my favorite things about her, and it’s pushed me to persevere as well. Sarah lives a full timezone away from me these days. Modern technology makes it incredibly easy to stay in touch, but some days I still feel like I’m in a long distance relationship. Much like a true couple, we have to work hard at our friendship. But we make it work, we have to, because our lives would not be complete without each other. I don’t believe in soul mates, but if ever there were such a thing, she is mine without question.
Click here to see more of Sarah’s work.
Stephanie Bianca – Fashion Designer
“I design & create custom clothing & swimwear using a mix of sustainable design techniques & materials. I started with a focus on custom swimwear and since then have evolved to designing luxury streetwear. My design process starts with an idea, a vibe, a color… I allow my creativity to flow to create something unique and personal. I love making clothes that evoke emotion and show personality. When you wear clothes that speak to your true self – it’s a fucking amazing feeling that I think everyone should be able to enjoy.”
I met Stephanie at Pratt. We were both doing a pre-college summer fashion program (this clearly worked out for her. For me, not so much). We ran around New York like you can imagine a couple of teenagers let loose would. We acted like assholes on the subway, and we bought the most disgusting rum punch you can imagine to drink with our Oreos. Apparently to other girls in the program, we were the “mean girls.” Honestly, I just thought we were funnier than everyone else. That was about 8 years ago. Since then, Stephanie and I haven’t stayed especially close. Our small group of friends from Pratt all but lost touch. Stephanie and I have kept tabs on each other via social media where we’ve exchanged the occasional pleasantries. So when she told me she was planning on moving to Denver, I was pretty excited. Ever since graduating from college, my core group of friends in the Denver area have slowly begun moving away, and I’ve started to feel a bit lonely in the city I’ve worked so hard to make my home. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to have a familiar face back in the city. To be honest I was afraid it was going to be awkward the first time we made plans. You know those friends who you don’t see often, but when you get together it’s like no time has passed? Well this is the most extreme instance of that I’ve ever experienced. 8 years! And it’s seriously like nothing has changed. She also made me THE MOST DOPE sweatshirt that I’m actually wearing right now. I haven’t really touched on her talent, but believe me, she has a gift. I’m so happy we finally live in the same city, and I can’t wait to get to know her all over again.
Click here to see more of Stephanie’s work and shop her collection.
Mathew Brian – Painter
“My mother helped me discover my interest in art. She mainly worked with watercolors which is how I started painting. From there I moved to pastels and charcoal pencils. I stopped painting as much to focus on swimming year round then picked it up when I moved to Denver in 2007. My aunt and uncle had a gallery in the highlands near 38th and Yates that they owned until my uncle passed away in 2009. Uncle Bob had a lot of influence on my venture into abstract painting and landscapes. I would describe my work as modern eclectic based from a mix of abstract expressionism and fauvism.”
I met Mat on my first day of work at Hanna Andersson. He asked me if I knew how to board fold…in a demon voice. It was love at first sight. We bonded instantly over our creative natures as well as plans to attend the Women’s March. I rambled on about my then boyfriend’s unwillingness to accept me for who I was, and he showed me all the best wallpaper Instagram accounts to follow. I learned very quickly that Mat is a very passionate person. Much like colors in his paintings, Mat is very highly saturated. His heart is fully in everything that he does, and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. Mat works tirelessly to realize his privilege, thinking about how he can use that privilege to help people without a voice. Mat doesn’t just advocate for whatever social cause is in the spotlight that moment. He is an advocate for everyone, all the time. He never turns it off, which sometimes seems impossible because the ferocity of his passion burns so brightly, but it really is constant. In that same respect, Mat is an extremely fierce friend. Not just when he needs to be; when he sees me going through a hard time, or when he’s celebrating my good news. He’s an advocate for me all day, everyday. He also doesn’t take compliments well – they make him feel awkward. Which is why I’m so thrilled he agreed to be a part of this post. He deserves all of the support and attention that he provides to everyone else. Mat makes me want to use every platform at my disposal to build others up and make sure their voices are heard too. I think his paintings are a perfect representation of himself: bold, pure, and genuine.
Angel Estrada – Printmaker
“Landscape is a subject matter that is universal enough for anyone to find meaning within, whatever that may be. Allowing the viewer to travel in the image is what I aim for, the invention of a place in a picture for someone to get lost in if they so choose. The landscape has been ever present for me and I thought it would be the best muse for the pictures I am trying to put into motion. Abstraction, it is the vehicle that I have choose and deemed best for me to invent these landscapes. The abstraction isn’t completely void of representation. Composition, color, and lines are there and they help shape the horizon, the forms and shapes of the land but still leave it open to the viewer’s interpretation. I want the viewer to have a conversation with the piece that they see. Tell me what you see, don’t tell me, hold it and keep it. Lock it away in your own vault of experience. That is why I invent pictures. Communication that is silent but effective for the viewer. I am not calling them to struggle, to pick the image apart or try to figure out if there is a deeper message. It is theirs, no one else’s. If they hate it, love it or fall somewhere in between, that is theirs and no one can steal it from them. I feel that land is experienced in the same way. A person can look out on the landscape and feel whatever emotion comes to them in that moment of looking out. I am trying to invite that type of experience into the prints I am making.”
Last winter I applied for a solo alumni show at the O’Sullivan art gallery at Regis University. After a lot of thoughtful consideration, the art department at Regis granted me a duel show with Angel. I’d met Angel in a Printmaking studio class, and occasionally saw him in passing outside of class in undergrad, but that was the extent of our relationship. I did know that I found his work very striking, and unlike a lot of our peers, I was impressed with how he talked about his work and gave critical feedback to others. So, if I was going to do a show with anyone, I was pleased it was him. Since them, I’ve spent a lot of time with him, I’ve gotten to know him better, and I’ve forced him to sing karaoke to a large group of vacationing gays. And now, I can’t think of a single person I’d prefer to be sharing a gallery space with. We share a similar love for the process of printmaking that makes it hard for either of us to discard pieces that are less than successful. But more so, he offers me open honest feedback on my prints, which is invaluable while preparing a cohesive body of work. I’m endlessly amazed at what Angel is able to achieve with very minimal mark making and how his experimentation results in just the most stunning color pallets. His work makes me want to push my art and try new things. I am also immensely grateful for Angel because, whether he knows it or not, he forces me to be accountable. Working with him makes me want to be more reliable, more responsible. All the while, he’s accepted and really embraced me for who I am. He’s allowed me to be completely myself in a show that is only half mine, and I love him so much for that. I’m so overjoyed this show brought us together.
Click here to see more of Angel’s work.
Lucienne Christman – Hair Designer
“On impulse, I decided to combine my art school training with my love of high fashion by entering the world of craft hairdressing. To me, manipulating hair is like working with the finest silk fibers; tinkering with lines and shapes to create weight or airy movement on a live canvas. When it comes to hair design, I’m heavily influenced by the geometric mod looks from the 60’s in both my shorter cuts and editorial styles. However, the collaborative element that comes from working on a live model is what makes it the most stimulating and rewarding.”
Lucie. There are no words that properly do her justice. I mean that in the best and worst possible way. She’s my off the wall friend that I have always been able to count on in supporting any and all of my truly terrible ideas. Everyone needs this friend, especially every artist. Because what is art without taking risks, what is life? Lucie is always her most honest self, all parts of her equally magnified at all times, and she does not apologize for this. Her fearlessness has always been inspiring to me, even when it’s been hard to watch. Almost out of no where, she decided to dive into a career in hair, and when she did this, she found her passion; her way to do what she loves and get paid for it. This sort of leap of faith is something a lot of people are not able to make. Maybe because it isn’t cautious or well thought out, but caution has never been Lucie’s style. And her spontaneity has gotten her to where she is today; a successful hair designer, living her best life. Me and Lucie have always seen ourselves as sisters, twins even, but the older we get, the more we fall in line with the grown ups we are meant to be, I realize we’re not sisters at all. Lucie is my alter ego, she is the person I wish I had the courage to be. We’ve had almost symmetrical lives in our upbringings, education, appearance, style and friends. But as we go through life parallel to one another, she has the capacity to think and act in ways that I do not. When I replay a scenario in my head, I play it out how Lucie would have handled it, bold and unapologetic. I strive to have even a fraction of her nerve. Like I said, sometimes it’s been hard to watch Lucie throw herself all in to her spontaneous, and sometimes insane, ideas. But when I saw her successfully finish hair school, and when I listened to her talking about her future plans, I’ve never admired her more. I’ve never been more proud of this grown up version of my alter ego – which gives me hope for my own future, the grown up version of myself. And Lucie, I thank you so much for that.
Olivia Williams – Graphic Designer
“I spent 10,000 hours in college to become a Graphic Designer, perfecting my craft and learning the different elements of design. I love being able to express myself through a computer because I find that there are endless possibilities to what I can create. I love incorporating my love for fashion, music and art in to my designs and collaborating with other creatives who have the same passion. Whether you are a creative who loves to paint or a creative who loves to sing, the most important thing is to create something every single day. We are meant to use our minds that way and share it with the world, and thats the best part!”
I’ve known Olivia (actually, that sounds weird. It’s really just Livi) since high school. In 2009, Livi missed the first week of school because she had swine flu. This might seem irrelevant, but it’s not. All day everyday that week, she and her sister Zoe (who also had swine flu) sent pictures and videos of the two dancing and acting just as insane as they always did. Here, this girl had the flu, a really weird flu that everyone was freaking out about at the time, but she refused to lay in bed feeling sorry for herself. So she got up and danced. This, to me, perfectly sums up Livi Williams. I was friends with Livi’s sister Zoe, but as anyone who knows the Williams sisters can attest, they are a package deal. So I became friends with Livi as well. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s danced over every roadblock that comes her way. Her style and her creative eye have always been entirely her own. When she wasn’t outright embraced for this, she embraced herself. She built this stunning website to showcase her talent. She continued to push herself to keep creating, she invested in herself. And it paid off because now she is living every graphic designer’s dream in NYC. She has helped me see the importance in owning my craft, even after being turned down from job after job. She has shown me I can’t wait around for big things to happen, I have to make them happen. Because eventually, if I work hard enough, my craft will spill over into my career. That’s exactly what she’s made happen for herself. And I think that’s a lesson every artist needs to learn, because no one is going to get you to where you need to be except you. And Livi danced herself all the way to where she is now.
Click here to view more of Livi’s work.
In t minus one year, me and a former classmate/ fellow printmaker will be co-hosting an alumni show at Regis University (more about that later). Over the summer we’ve been working together on various type of printmaking. A week or so ago we had a chine collé day. I decided to revisit the shotgun homes with some of the colorful tissues I have laying around. From there I added accents with acrylic paint. This is the result.
Being that I’m a single woman about town, and being that my last romantic experience was less that successful (see previous post) I’ve decided to join the world of smart dating (which is an extremely misleading name by the way). Do you like how this blog is quickly veering away from my art and hurdling towards a more wannabe Sex and the City meets Penthouse vibe?
Bumble is an extremely simple app. It requires very little information from a person. Anyone is capable of selecting 6 decent pictures of themselves and providing minimal personal details that don’t make them look like an idiot; there’s little room for error. My dog could do it. And yet, here we are. There are so many things people don’t need to get out of a first impression. For instance, right now I’m siting on the couch, sans pants, eating a loaf of french bread for dinner and watching Locked Up Abroad. Do you think I took a picture of that and posted it on my Bumble profile? Absolutely not. Is it something I do? Obviously, but I don’t advertise it on social media (oh wait). The point is, it’s very easy to pick out the best parts of yourself to display on this sort of forum. So if you are making any of the mistakes listed below, I want you to delete bumble, work on yourself, and then come back when you’re actually prepared to interact with women. (Note: be aware that these tips are very specific to my own personal preferences. Other women are much less judgmental than myself.)
1. All of your pictures are group pics
We’ll start off with a no brainer. This is a scenario in which 99% of the decision is based off your face. YOUR face. If every single picture is with a large group, how on earth am I supposed to know which one is you? Either you don’t understand how Bumble works, or you’re trying to camouflage yourself; neither of which make you especially appealing. Next.
2. All of your picture are goofy AF
Your profile reads “looking for a serious commitment, no hookups,” and yet, in your profile pic, you’re making world’s derpiest face while wearing a sombrero and a cape. You’re sending me mixed messages, bro. And in this fast paced game of swipe, I don’t have time to sort it out. Next.
This doesn’t just apply to bumble, it applies to life. If you have them, burn them. And certainly don’t post pictures wearing them. Unless you’re a dad at a BBQ with your Salt Life t-shirt tucked in, wielding an NFL themed spatula. In which case, you’re probably not within my parameters anyway. Next.
4. All of your pictures are selfies
Do you have friends? Negative points if it’s a gym selfie. This might seem to contradict the “all of your pics are group pics” rule, but really, I’m just looking for variety. And please PLEASE don’t stand in the mirror wearing a towel very low on your hips. I’ve never met a girl in the history of bathroom mirror pics who didn’t find that setup hilarious, and not in a good way. Next.
5. Your bio is some sort of clever joke or limerick
You’re quoting Dwight from The Office? How hilarious are you. You copy and pasted some silly wordplay you found on GQ’s website? So original! This tells me NOTHING about you except that I hate your brand of humor. I need my men to be sarcastic and cynical, not living versions New York Times comics. Next.
6. There are girls in your pictures
Ok, she’s your sister. How am I supposed to know that? All I know is that she’s cuter than me, and I don’t want to deal with it. Also, why are you embracing in a hammock while looking into each other’s eyes? Do you know anything about women? Next.
7. You appear to be a pseudo model
Looking away from the camera? Black and white (or better yet, sepia)? Mysterious wind blowing through your mostly unbuttoned white linen shit? I’m not sure why you’re standing against this cement wall with seemingly no other people around in what appears to be an alley in Barcelona deep in thought. If I go to Barcelona, I certainly don’t want to spend my time as your personal photographer. Next.
8. You’re holding a fish/gun
Oh, I see you’re a real man. Thank god, now I know you can hunt and fish while I forage for berries and tan your furs. Next.
9. Your Mom and/ or a (any) baby is in the picture
I’m not biting. What you’re doing is obvious and a little bit twisted. Now, do you have a dog? Please, tell me more about this dog; post as many dog pics as you’d like. That I’d be into. Mom? Not so much. Next.
10. You’re playing a guitar in your pictures
This is a tough one. I say that because only under an extremely specific set of circumstances does this do it for me. Otherwise, you come off as pretentious. I’m already having nightmares about the truly awful song you wrote for me that I have to sit through, with the backdrop of your Urban Outfitters tapestry and empty Busch Light cans. Next.
11. You’re “looking for a cuddle buddy”
This is the most important rule of all. Nuff said. Next.
For the sake of being fair, this is my profile. Judge away.
If we’ve matched, congratulations! You’ve made it past my impossible and unreasonable standards by which I choose a partner. (I’d like to think my expectations are realistic, but let’s all be honest here; I’ve pooped in a bucket, I deserve to be alone forever).
One interesting aspect of Bumble is that (for straight couples) the woman is the one who makes the first move. The downside to that is that it creates a whole new way for me to be rejected. This is to say that too often I’ll match with a dude, say hello and get no response. Which is confusing to me but simultaneously makes me a giant hypocrite. While I can’t fathom why you would swipe right only to ignore me, I frequently match with someone and then knowingly run down the clock without making contact. I contradict myself in most areas of life and Bumble is not an exception. I’m infuriated by men who ignore me in this forum, but frequently ignore men who have matched with me. I guess we all get a little trigger happy with the swipe right?
If and when you do proceed to conversation, it’s usually a few lines of (somewhat) witty banter followed by the inevitable “wanna grab coffee/ a drink sometime?” At which point you say yes, and then text everyone you’ve ever met your location alongside this man’s Bumble profile pic. Is it only my mom that panics at the thought of a Bumble encounter IRL? In my opinion, it’s just like any other blind date, but in the age of technology, everyone has the potential to be a serial killer.
Once you’ve met, and established you’re in no imminent danger, it is in fact just like any other first date. There’s the semi-awkward smalltalk, followed by family history and so on. It’s interesting to me the ratio of people who are on Tinder/Bumble/Hinge/Grinder etc. versus the number of people who disclose having met a sig o via one of these apps. I can’t believe that there are millions of people who use a service that results in absolutely no relationships, however minor. Which basically tells me that no matter how prevalent it may be, online dating of any form is still taboo.
We literally do every single thing via apps. Order coffee, pay bills, adopt dogs… Last month I ordered an HDMI cord and a Three Musketeers bar via goPuff at 1am. So it only makes sense that we can now order dates like Chinese food with one swipe. I myself pride myself in my ability to operate my entire life almost exclusively through my phone. But if a guy on Bumble did fit my extremely specific criteria, and we got married and had children, would I tell my kids the real story of how I met their father? Would I tell anyone outside of my immediate friend group? My parents? I don’t have an answer for that right now. Revise your Bumble profiles and I’ll get back to you.
In the span of 72 hours I’d worked, drank, found love (sort of), lost love (sort of), had hangovers, recovered from hangovers, drank more and then died a little. All together I’d gotten approximately 8 of sleep (including a 30 minute nap behind the locked doors of a children’s store fitting room), and I survived those three days almost exclusively on coffee (to the point were I now have a pretty aggressive tremor in my hands that won’t go away). For the past few months I’ve been working 6-7 day weeks, picking up as many hours as possible. So, the dilemma has been what to do on my time off: have a life or sleep. Sleep lost, big time. Being that I have very little free time for said life, I tend to go pretty big when I can. It all finally came to a head a few nights ago on the side of the interstate in the backseat of my car around 1am. And no, this isn’t going where you probably think it is. And what did I learn? That I probably need to find a better work/life balance, but that won’t be happening anytime soon. What else? Very little. You should probably take this time to make yourself a cocktail, I’m pretty confident you’ll need it.
It was Friday afternoon, and I was grabbing happy hour with friends. Between the 35 days without a single day off (except for a quick beach vacation, but that doesn’t really count), lack of sleep and pink happy hour wine, you could say I was doing pretty great. Two bars later (one of which smelled like a rotten turtle pond) and one plant filled drink later, I was doing even better on the rooftop of a beloved restaurant and bar overlooking downtown Denver, with my gal pals and having a ball. And then it happens. You see, I have this super power that only surfaces once every few years, where I spot a guy and know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s on. And naturally, the night of many drinks and no sleep is the very night my powers decide to kick in. Obviously when you’re born with a gift, you have to use it – it’s irresponsible not to. This particular man happened to be a waiter, who I then followed to the kitchen and demanded his age, time he got off work, and phone number (in that order).
Much to my friends’ surprise (but not mine), this tactic worked, and shortly thereafter I was on my way to yet another bar with this gentelman, we’ll call him Glen. Glen possesses qualities that check off many boxes on my list. Non of these things really matter though, as I never planed on seeing him again beyond this night. He was good looking, tattoos, well spoken, funny, good looking, and really fucking attractive. Most importantly, he didn’t bat an eye when I said shit like, “I’m only wearing my glasses so I could see into [a stranger’s] apartment” or “I have an instagram famous dog.” You see, I’m a very self aware person. I can be extremely bizarre, but I also know this about myself and revel in it. I think it’s pretty hilarious sometimes. However, to people who don’t understand this about me, first encounters, especially unfiltered drunk first encounters, can be pretty uncomfortable. In any case, he was on board almost instantly, and as I already knew, it was on.
The next day, I was compelled to send Glen the uncomfortable testing-the-water-to-see-if-he’s-interested-in-hanging-out-again text. I didn’t expect much. But he was cool and I wouldn’t mind seeing him again. And anyway, being that I’d already seen his penis, I thought my chances were pretty good here. Which is where I was dead wrong. (by the way, my gift is also a curse). In the midst of some light conversation, he let me down in a way I’m sure he though sounded very respectful. I was disappointed to say the least. And so I found myself in the extremely conflicted place of ‘I don’t want to date him, but why doesn’t he want to date me?’ Which is a very tricky headspace to be in if you’re a girl who’s now had even less sleep, buzzing on 6 espresso shots, and hungover while trying to manage a children’s store and would be working at a second job later that day.
Glen had been on my mind pretty consistently all day, replaying the witty banter and other events from the night before. But, must move forward. So, when I got off work I met up with friends to celebrate Denver Pride Weekend. I wanted nothing more than to go home and sleep, but rallied and went out anyway. Which, yes, involved a lot of tequila and some questionable penis-shaped jello. I danced the night away with some amazing humans and experienced this overwhelming feeling of joy and love for the people in my life. Which you would think would have snapped me out of it. LOL. The next day I went to work and paced around, trying to make sense of all of my crazy, and if you know anything about being a girl and feeling crazy, there’s no way to make sense of it. Five o’clock rolled around about a million years later, which probably would have been a really good time to go home, sleep it all off and revisit my life the next morning, being well-rested. But instead I went straight from work to a show at Red Rocks.
(Disclaimer: This next part might be a trigger for anyone who’s every shit their pants or is sensitive to pants-shitting situations.)
It wasn’t my worst idea. I saw Local Natives and Portugal. The Man, and they were lovely. I didn’t even drink (I had one beer). But on my drive home, my exhaustion, likely dehydration, anxiety, resentment at myself for experiencing feelings for a human being, and just overall lack of self care caught up with me. (It’s important to know that I throw up a lot. Anyone who knows me even a little bit could attest to this quality. For this reason, I now keep a “vom bucket” in my car at all times – because sometimes, puking into an old paper cup or oil change receipt just doesn’t cut it. On my drive home that night, I’ve never been more thankful for my weak stomach and need for such a bucket). I started feeling this awful sharp pain in my abdomen, that at first was unrecognizable and then all at once I knew. My body was rejecting the the past three days, all of it, right that second. I swerved over to the right lane to get off the interstate at the next exit, pulled over in the dark of night (which sounds like the beginning of a horror story. And in some ways it was), climbed into the backseat, and let go of all the things that had been weighing on me, into the vom bucket (which was promptly thrown away). Let me just say, shitting in a bucket in your own car has the ability to change a person. However awful it was, I did suddenly feel absolved of all the stress.
I do feel so much better about everything now. When your body has such a violent physical reaction to a man, that’s got to mean something. And I feel like it means Glen is not for me. I’ve taken the whole thing as a sign that I’m not ready for anything no-strings-attached, and I don’t know if I ever will be. As appealing as living my life as an emotionless void sounds, and used to be, I just don’t think I’m up for it anymore. I spent the last four years chasing the real thing, and I want that again. So for now, I’m retiring my hoe jersey, and ignoring my so-called super powers. This is by no means a definitive declaration of my abstaining from sex, but I also don’t want to end up on the wrong end of a slasher film without a bucket.
That’s my story, not sure what it’s accomplishing. Sorry, mom. Sorry, God.