Wednesday, May 22, 2013

the most important part

It's sort of a travesty: I've been keeping memos to myself about funny things that were happening all this time, but not writing about them here out of laziness and weariness. But mostly laziness.

A few months ago, or 109 days ago as my phone says, I wrote down a memo to myself about a night where Krusty, Gaga, & I went out for first Friday. First Friday, so named because it's held every first Friday of each month, is kind of like walking around a museum drunk. The San Antonio Warehouse District opens up its doors to artists and winos and we come together to drunkenly awe at and sell some art.

On this particular evening, Gaga, Krusty, and I were looking at the selected photos from a local photographer. We were looking at the artist's collection of floral photos and came upon a large close up of an orchid. The title of this photo was, "the feminine mystique."

Gaga: Why is it named that? Because women are pretty like flowers? I'm pretty like a flower.
(bare in mind that Gaga is man who also happens to be a raging homosexual).

Me: That you are.

Gaga: Thank you!

Me: You really want to know why?

Gaga: Is it gross?

Me: It's because it looks like a vagina. I feel okay saying that since this is probably the closest you'll ever get to seeing one.

Gaga: No. That's a lie. It doesn't look like a vagina.

Krusty: No really, that's why.

Me: Haven't you heard of Georgia O'Keeffe? She has collections of paintings that are up close paintings of flowers that actually look like vaginas.

Gaga: This is crazy. If it looks like a vagina, then what's that? (At this point, Gaga pointed to the little nob sticking out between the petals)

Me: That, THAT is the most important part.

*& here, our conversation was cut short because I suddenly became aware that several strangers were standing behind us and listening*

Krusty: We can't take you anywhere.

Me: Sorry, everybody.

Stranger: No, that was very solid advice.


Later on, after he'd had several drinks, Krusty and I balanced Gaga between our shoulders and towards the parking lot.

Gaga: you know what? It's so important for us to spend time together. You know why? YOLO. It's true, It's true: yolo.

High resolution

One of my favorite twitter personalities, JennyJohnsonHi5, once wrote something to the effect of:
"The world would be a better place if everyone sounded exactly the way they do when their significant other imitates them during an argument."
& of course, that's not exactly it because I wrote is far more than 140 characters but, it's the essence.

For nearly two years (admittedly, the last few months have been a ping-pong of on and off) I've dated someone who nails it, every time, when he parodies me.
& I have to be honest & say that this is part of the magic.

Maybe it's vain that what I love most about Solo and I is that he can show me myself.
I've never, until this relationship, dated someone who I feel actually understood me. I came close once, and when we broke up, I realized this wasn't someone who understood me or someone that I organically meshed with, but rather someone who felt that they had to be like me and share my interests to make things work. After that relationship ended, he said to me that I would have a hard time finding a partner who would accept me as I am.
Although I understand that this was said to hurt me and to make me feel afraid of leaving that relationship, I have also come to recognize that in some ways this is true. To be with someone who loves the person you are, as you are, is a rarity.

Elizabeth Gilbert once wrote that a soul mate is someone who holds up a mirror to your soul and shows you who you are. She also suggests that we aren't necessarily meant to be with these people forever, that we can't handle that kind of truth.
I can say that the image Solo has held up to me isn't always flattering, but often times it's things I needed to see & address. Lies I'd told to myself about who I am, that I couldn't ignore anymore if I actually wanted to be the kind of person I think myself to be.

I don't know if Solo's my soul mate, but I know I've changed for the better because of and through our relationship.
I don't know we'll be together forever or for another week (a couple of hours?), but I feel privileged to have dated someone who sees me clearly, who accepts me without trying to change the person I am, and who can be himself with me.

He is someone who makes me laugh; someone who pushes me; and someone who sometimes hates the movies I watch but will endure them, anyway. & for this experience, I am grateful.

High School Whore

To say that I had a bad reputation in high school would be an understatement.
The short-hand: people said I was a slut.
Or, in the hip-hop oriented community where I grew up, a ho.

Like so many things in life, this word is completely contextual. As Morticia Addams said, "What's normal to the spider is chaos to the fly."
So, to some, I may have done more than my fair share to have earned the title of Sluts McGee.
I was, and am, certainly no Mother Teresa.

I will say, however, that in the context of my high school experience, I don't think I was a whore.
And, to wit, there were certainly bigger whores who received far less attention and bullying than I did.
But, I digress.

I will concede:
I did some things that maybe fanned the fire, so to speak, about my high school reputation.
>I wore jeans with things written across my ass; I hung out with boys, a lot of boys, and did my fair share of making out in stairwells; I lost my virginity young to a spiteful, spiteful boy who liked to hold this fact out as his greatest success among our peers; I ate a lot of lollipops and I did it because I liked all the negative attention, although I couldn't grasp at the time that the attention was negative.

And I'm not sorry.

What I've learned as an adult is that promiscuity measures nothing but just that.
It doesn't tell you whether someone is smart; it doesn't tell you whether someone is kind; and it is not a bar to success.
There are all kinds of sluts: successful sluts, unsuccessful sluts, rich sluts, sluts who use their sexuality as means of gaining success, funny sluts, smart sluts, stupid sluts, beautiful sluts, fugly sluts, and the list goes on infinitely.

If I have any regrets, it's only that "you're always 17 in your hometown."

With that being said, on May 18th, I received my Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from St. Mary's University School of Law and I was also awarded a Pro-Bono Certificate (for which you complete at least 50 hours of pro-bono legal work).
& So, to my high school peers, I'd like to say, this slut is both kind and educated and within the next few months, after successful completion of my bar exam, I will be available to represent you in your legal matters and I will gladly accept all of your money. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Not there yet

Recently, my mom brought it to my attention that I'm not married.
"You know what's weird? Most girls meet someone in college and get married. But you, you're about to finish getting your law degree and you didn't meet anyone in college or law school. You're not close to getting married at all! It's so weird!"

Actually, my mom says a lot of things that she pretends are just curious observations or gentle reminders but are actually said for the specific purpose of being hurtful. But this post isn't about that.

It's true. I feel like at 26, I'm one of a small pool of American women who is not married, not close to being married, and passing her prime.
I'm not ugly. I'm not fat. I don't live in an apartment full of cats. I'm not a hoarder.

Some people are quick to point to the fact that I've been in school for so long as the reason why I'm not married. I don't think that's it. I know a lot of people who got married before law school or during law school or who are marrying after law school. I don't think men are turned off by the fact that I'm educated--which is something my mom thinks. She's a dinosaur.

I'd like to think the reason I'm slowly (and possibly surely) entering the dangerous territory of spinsterhood is two fold:
First, I don't think of myself as someone who is ready to wed.
>I'm irresponsible: I've had several cactus plants die under my care. I leave the dishes in the sink until the smell begins permeating everything I own.
>I'm too self-involved. I look forward to spending money on myself. I take off my pants everyday, first thing when I get home. I don't keep foods or beverages around for company.

Second, I don't date the kind of men who are looking to marry...yet(?).

Pretty recently, my friend, Chau, invited me to what was apparently a blind date.
I thought it would just be the two of us but when I got there, she was sitting with four other people: her boyfriend, another couple, and a man. To say the man is unattractive would be unfair because attractiveness is contextual and perceptional (or, as some would say, "in the eye of the beholder"). But he wasn't my type, so there was that.
We were at a bar that I go to A LOT so I excused myself from the table and went to order a drink. The gentleman I was there to entertain followed me, asked the bartender to put the drink on his tab, and went to the bathroom.
"Chau's trying to set me up with that guy. He seems super nice but I'm not into him. He's not my type," I told the bartender.
"Guys like that usually are really nice," the bartender said. So maybe this guy was a tad unattractive.
But I stayed and talked and it became apparent that this man was looking for something long term.

This quality in a man repels me like nothing else.
 My thing about guys who are looking to get into a relationship that leads to marriage is that they are either one of two breeds: (a) they are really just looking to get laid and saying what they think would put my suspicions (and morals) to rest; or (b) they are indiscriminately looking to marry.
My problem with the type b kind of men is that I want to be someone's choice. I want to be with someone who loves me for all of the quirks and disgusting habits and phobias that are unique to me. I want someone who is looking for me. I don't want to be with someone who could be just as happy with anyone else.

For a long time, several years ago, I dated a type b kind of guy.
More than that, we lived together.
My type b boyfriend did some of the most romantic things that I've never since experienced: he'd send flowers when we argued, he'd write down things I liked, things I didn't like, my dreams. For being that kind of man, he deserves a lot of praise.
But, our relationship was also the most volatile and violent and turbulent and terrible relationship I've ever been in on levels that I've never since experienced.
He needed me and my attention in ways that were too heavy a burden for me as a twenty year old. I would collapse under this pressure and need air and space and time away from him. In these moments, needing someone to give him that attention, he'd cheat.
Eventually, one of his side relationships became more important to him than ours and he began exclusively seeing (and living with) that girl.
With me, my type b boyfriend was everything that I was--he liked the same movies, the same music, we dressed the same, we would change our online handles to match. But I noticed that in his new relationship, he became just like his new girlfriend. And I realized that he was never like me but rather playing a part to please me. He is the kind of person who adapts to and accommodates everyone he dates and is looking for the "one." You don't have to be particularly special, any one is capable of being his "one."

I don't think all people who are married at my age or earlier have found or are type b people.
I think some people are honestly lucky and privileged to have found someone they hopelessly love.
All I'm saying is that I believe women who are my age and unmarried are so by choice: they are any number of type b men out there, we could all  be married.
I am not just looking to be married, I'm looking to actually be happily married and for that I can stand to wait even longer.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

What it's like to be visibly tattooed

"You're too pretty for tattoos!" My uncle, who I had not seen in three years, pulled up the sleeve of my jacket to get a better look at the tattoos on my arms.
My aunt nodded in agreement.

"You don't seem like the kind of person who gets tattoos." I hear that all the time. "What kind of person is that?" I ask, because I'm genuinely curious. & usually they respond with some sort of variation of, "I don't know." But I imagine they do know & are trying to be polite.

"What are you going to do when you have court?" My peers, law students, ask me that all the time.
"I can't imagine being in court without a blazer...or at least long sleeves."

For a long time, I exclusively got tattoos in places no one could see if I were fully clothed. Getting a tattoo on my arms was a decision that kind of happened organically. I got to a place where I didn't care anymore about the kind of things someone might infer about me because of them.

"I just think it's really unprofessional," is one I hear a lot.

& maybe, all of those people are right.
Maybe there is a kind of person who gets tattooed,
maybe my tattoos are unprofessional.

But, I AM the kind of person who gets tattoos because I want people to know I'm more than a job. I want people to know I'm not afraid to be myself. It's taken me a long time to get to that place. There have been times where I thought I was being true to myself only to realize that I spent too much time censoring myself for others.
I think part of success in your career and relationships is knowing when to censor yourself and I accept that but I don't want to be performing a part. I don't want to play a lawyer.
I want to be one.
One with tattoos.

"People will judge you."
"Aren't you afraid of what employers will think? It's a tough economy."

I accept the fact that I'll be judged.
I accept the fact that there are some people who won't want to hire me based on my tattoos.
But also, I think that by having gotten a large visible tattoo, I've already made a statement to others: I don't want to work for anyone ignorant enough to think they can tell how smart or hard working I am based on my tattoos.

Yet another thing I hate

I hate talking about myself;
which probably sounds like a lie because I have a blog but I'm not bull shitting you.

I LOVE to talk, I love telling stories, I even love re-telling movies I just watched to my best friend over the phone--you can ask her about that, it's happened more than I care to admit--but I hate having to come up with facts about myself.

And, I know this is going to sound like a lie, again because I have a blog, but I don't think I'm all that interesting.
I think the people I know are interesting, or books I've read/movies I've watched, I think sometimes interesting things happen around and to me, but me, my actual self, not so much.

This week, I met a friend for lunch.
My friend, Poblano, told me ahead of time that he was bringing one of his friends that I don't know.
Poblano's friend seemed pretty cool and then he says, "So I do this to everyone, I think it's a nice way of getting to know people: what are three things I don't know about you?"

"Well, I just met you 15 minutes ago. There's a pretty wide spectrum of things you don't know about me."

"Don't be nervous, any three things. It's just for fun," he said.

I don't know why coming up with facts about myself is so hard.
"I have a dog. And a cat. My cat hates me, he's really my dog's cat. Cries every time I take the dog for a walk or a ride."
Suddenly, I had flashbacks to my third grade writing assignment, "1 page about me."
I wrote 2 sentences about myself and 3 paragraphs about the Mondo, the Chihuahua my family had just adopted. After reciting my "1 page about me," paper, my teacher made me re-write it.
Apparently she didn't give a damn about Mondo and I'd misspelled Chihuahua at least twenty times throughout the course of the paper.

"Anyway, what are your facts?" I prompted Poblano's friend.

"Wait, wait, you're not done yet!"

"I really like to spend my spare time watching terrible movies on Netflix?"
I remembered being in sociology class freshman year of college. The professor made all 200 of us stand up and introduce ourselves and then say an interesting fact. I couldn't think of one.
"Hi my name is Lauren and I'm engaged to my high school sweet heart?" was ultimately what I blurted out. None of those things were even true. Except for my name being Lauren.

"Ok, one more," he was coaching me.

I'm prone to shin-splints!
I've never successfully planted anything from a seed!
I recycle!
I once covered myself with a card board box to avoid getting my hair wet on a rainy day as I tried to run to my apartment and accidentally stepped on a frog. Then I took the box off to see if the frog was okay because I felt guilty and ended up getting my hair soaked anyway!

But ultimately, "Umm... I like pizza? I do. I like pizza a lot. I like pizza more than most people. I would choose pizza over relationships with most of my acquaintances."

And the main reason why I hate talking about myself is I never have anything rehearsed, whereas the people who usually ask these sorts of questions know already what they're going to say.
For example, Pablano's friend's facts were: he is classically trained in violin; he thinks thunderstorms are romantic; he likes to hike.

To which all I could muster was, "Well now my facts feel all trashy by comparison."