Heroes and Heartbreaks

leoI have spent the past month pretending to dribble a soccer ball while walking to and from work to the subway. I’ve watched so many videos of Lionel Messi highlights, that I think I might know how to speak Spanish. I read article after article and listened to hours upon hours of sports analysis in the dumb hope that somehow that would give me some oracle-like foresight to figure or influence the outcome of the World Cup. The storybook ending I wanted didn’t happen, my team lost, my hero didn’t get his prize. I am horribly depressed over it. This would have seemed like an impossible reaction a month ago. The look on Messi’s face, when his free kick went wide and he recognized that it was over, it made my heart sink.

That’s the wonderful and ridiculous thing about sport, isn’t it? The British have this expression when they are bitterly disappointed, they talk about being “gutted” which is really the perfect illustration of the feeling of loss you get when your team, your team loses. It’s as if your fiercest enemy in the world has taken a jagged knife, sliced you from navel to nose, all your insides have fallen out in a steaming, beating, bloody mess all across your feet before the rest of your hollowed out body crumples into a limp heap atop it. It’s probably going to take at least a week for me to pull myself back up, piece it all back together and recover.

I’ve played sports for as long as I can remember. My parents kept us involved to keep us out of trouble since we lived in a questionable neighborhood. I know how thrilling competition like that can be, that a team can become your family, how hitting that clutch shot/goal/homerun can make you feel like anything is possible. I also know the flip side of that, how crushing it can be when you choke or there is a missed opportunity to score or your team just couldn’t get it together for some reason, you lose and you feel like this is a pronouncement on your place in the universe. I never thought I could feel those things just by being a spectator. Sport is so overwrought with emotion and drama. The business of sport knows this and takes a lot of our money exploiting it. I definitely get caught up in those Adidas and Gatorade commercials that turn athletes into predatory animals, games into battles, trophies into moments of destiny. At the very heart of it I think following a team/player allows us to recapture a little bit of the youthful hope that we might have lost along the way. Watching athletes do things that not only make the impossible seem possible but make it look easy, makes me want to break out in ebullient shouts or go out and recreate historic feats of athleticism. You forget your cares just for a while and bask in the glow of a thing doing what it was meant to be doing in a perfect moment in time. Consider this once social sports fan a converted soccer fan, you’ll see me in my Barca jersey (obviously Messi’s #10) in front of the tv this La Liga season.

P.S. One of the additional, wonderful discoveries this past month are the Men In Blazers who are two British guys who care passionately about soccer, especially about soccer becoming popular in the U.S. specifically, and offer hilarious commentary on games. They were an absolute delight.

P.S.S. Don’t worry this isn’t going to turn into a soccer blog.

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What doesn’t make a good profile picture…

:::WARNING::: I’ve been watching a lot of Louis C.K. lately so this is going to be FULL of profanity!

Things that I’m finding confusing and sometimes infuriating about online dating profiles, the first main profile picture in particular:

The one with more than one person in it: Did you not know how to crop a picture? Are you trying to make yourself look better compared to an ugly friend? Maybe trying an opposite tactic and trying to ensare someone by hanging on the coat tails of a better looking friend? Maybe this is a 2 for 1 sort of deal?

The one with you and another girl: Why the fuck would you even think this was a good idea? Do you not have any other picture? Any at all? Are you trying to show that you’re sensitive because you have women friends? Are you testing the waters for a possible menage trios situation?

The one with your shirt off or in bed (double whammy for in your bed with your shirt off): It’s called subtlety, maybe you should look it up. Does this really work? Do girls really look at that shit and think “Hot damn, I would like those kind of  semi-hard muscles to press themselves upon my body”. Look, I get it, you go to the gym a lot, you’re drinking those protein shakes but unless you’re looking like this specimen:

I don’t really want to see it. I mean, Steve Rogers looks like this and he’s not running around with his shirt off unless he has just come out of a fucking chamber after being injected by Howard Stark’s experimental serum. I bet he wouldn’t do that shit unless his shirt was literally disintegrating off his body from an explosion. (Sorry I’m getting stuck in a Captain America thought spiral because I keep looking at that gif). I like to have something left to the imagination.

The blurry picture or worse NO PICTURE: I mean, if you have a computer to sign up on a dating website it’s pretty fucking likely that you have a phone. Of all the people that have mobile phones, I am betting maybe one person. ONE, doesn’t have a camera on it. Of all the people in that subset, that ONE fucking person probably has a friend/relative that has a camera/camera phone. You don’t really have an excuse. You could literally ask a fucking stranger to take a photo of you and email it to you.

All that being said, the online dating is going ok. No true love yet, or even true like for that matter but I’m figuring out how to weed out the fuckwits more quickly.

Growing Pains

Image

Whenever I realize it’s January 16th I involuntarily wince. This date has always been weighted with past hurts and can be counted on to be a generally crappy day. Today was the first January 16th in about a decade that there was none of that. I guess this will probably be a reflection post on the past year and a rather late new year hopes/resolutions thing. Ready…

Also, hello! If anybody is even reading. I think since the last time I posted Google reader shut down and most people tend to just use Instagram, Facebook and/or tweet, or are grown ups with kids and no more time for blogging.

Anyway so January 16th, I won’t get into the long and mired association in my mind with this date and just say it reminds me of the person that raped me in college. It’s taken me years to even come to a place where I could say that out loud, let alone face the fallout of it. Looking back I see the ways that I retreated from people, the panic and fear in which I walked through the world. Especially with men, I still find it difficult sometimes to remain in long embraces. The threat of being physically forced to be in a situation, even fairly innocuous ones, sounds my internal alarms and causes intense panic. I’m sure my friends and family wonder why I haven’t had a boyfriend in a loooong time. It was easy to explain that away in my 20s, now that I’m in my 30s that question has gotten more pressing. The answer is that I was scared. Every man had this sort of flashing danger sign attached to him. That if I let someone in, I would give them the ammunition to wound me and I would never recover. I barely got out alive the last time.

I’ve spent a lot of years wrestling with this fear, to exorcise it, to somehow develop some sort of armor that would protect me from it. My instinct was just to run, to push any sort of meaningful romantic relationships away, to build impenetrable walls, and nest in my fortress of solitude. This would never do though. I am a person who craves deep and meaningful relationships. I don’t take friendship lightly. I have a lot of friends (not trying to be braggy) because I spend a lot of time asking probing and sometimes awkward/hard questions. I relish in this and get a lot of fulfillment and support from my network of good friends, I love these people. But I realized that I was really stunted in the romantic relationship department and I knew why, so I decided I would examine that broken part of myself and try to piece it together so it could be operational again. I’ve been seeing a therapist for a couple of years now. I’ve cried a lot, gotten angry, even found humor in unexpected places. The biggest breakthrough though is that I stopped blaming myself.

I allowed myself to get vulnerable with someone last year and was ultimately disappointed. This was a really scary place for me to be in the days following that initial blow. Once I emerged from the haze of that panic though, I realized that I was in tact and the shattering that I thought would happen never did. This was a surprise and caused me to pause and ponder why I was still ok. I realized that I’m probably a lot stronger than I thought I was. That those fears I had in my early 20s of losing myself in disappointment that had seemed so monstrous back then; I  had unwittingly vanquished those monsters by finding myself over the years. Now in my 30s, I have a pretty good sense of who I am, what I stand for, and what I won’t stand for. Don’t get me wrong I still have a lot of insecurities, but I think I’ve come to a point where  I’m not going to let someone’s opinion of me, define me. This is probably something I should have learned long ago if I wasn’t building that fortress, but even though it’s taken me a while I’m here and I’m pretty freaking happy about it.

So 2014 resolutions etc…I decided this year that I instead of listing out stuff like eat better, write more etc. I would think of a discovery theme for the narrative of this year. This year is the year I try to find my voice. I mean this mostly metaphorically but in some literal ways as well. I signed up for an 8 week French class to have an excuse to say things that are kind of uncomfortable out loud (I have trouble with the rrrrs). You’re going to read some of my stories this year. I’m going to work on not being such a social loafer. I’m going to try and not be afraid of showing my true self anymore. I’m really excited for what’s in store this year. Bring it 2014!

Things Making Me Happy This Week – Feb 25th edition

Pushing Daisies

There were a few people who went on and on about how I had to check this out while it was still airing on television in 2009. I was already watching too many shows and just never got around to it. Due to a particularly draining week, a long weekend and the vast archive of streaming options on Netflix, I finally got to see what all the hoopla was about.

For those not already familiar, the story centers around Ned a pie maker with the unusual ability to bring people back from the dead. This comes with a couple of conditions, one being that if he brings someone back for longer than a minute a life of equal value in the general vicinity will be taken and two if Ned touches this person/thing a second time they are dead for good. Through a seemingly random happenstance Ned’s childhood sweetheart, Charlotte Charles also known as Chuck is murdered. Ned brings her back to life to help solve her murder (he’s part of a PI team) but doesn’t dead her again. It basically amounts to a fantastical murder mystery show with a tortured love story thrown in. There is a lot of sweetness to this show, the characters are all good hearted but trying to keep these deep dark secrets because they’re afraid of losing friends/family.

Sadly the show only lasted two seasons. It received a lot of critical acclaim in its first season but the writer’s strike interrupted the momentum of the show and it never regained the viewership it had. There was a lot of potential for stories with so many of the characters having complicated back stories that needed resolution. Oh well, I guess the two seasons is all we’ll get another good show gets Firefly-ed.

Uno (or games on my iPod)

Until this week I’ve only used my iPod to listen to music & look at my subway map app, this week I discovered games! I love card games & board games, uno is an old favorite and when I saw there was a free version I decided to try it. It took me about an hour to fork over the 99 cents to buy the full version. I think this week’s theme may be “Karen where have you been”. My subway reading has been sacrificed this week to throw cards down on my iPod. I understand now the gaming addiction.

photo by BK

The Talent Brand Variety Show

The last Wednesday of every month The Talent Brand Variety Show puts on a show. When I discovered this I felt like it was made especially for me. I am a public radio nerd and this show brings together some notable contributors to This American Life and other comedians, entertainers, magicians, scientists, weirdos. It’s two hours of solid fun and only $5. Every show has a theme and this month’s theme was “Dancing with the Semifamous”. It was structured after the Dancing with the Stars model and since it was the show’s one year anniversary they brought back many of the participants from the first show to compete. I got to see Ira Glass do a modern dance number! The judges were comedian Eugene Mirman, writer David Rakoff & a lady dance instructor whose name I cannot remember. The show is in some old warehouse turned into a bar in Brooklyn but I can get over the sea of plaid shirts and thick framed glasses for this show. I love that there is random stuff like this going on everywhere in New York.

 

Homesick

This week has been downright shitty. I’m really missing the bay area. I miss my friends and especially my family. I don’t feel like I’ve really been able to connect with people here. It’s frustrating because I can’t figure out what the problem is. I know I’m not really smooth or particularly vibrant in social situations but I’m not completely inept when it comes to basic human interaction. This is the frustrating part when it comes to moving. Building relationships takes time and I suppose I just haven’t been here long enough. After a week like this one I just long to walk into a place where people know my name and care that I’m there. Where we’ve already gotten over the preliminaries and established we like each other, can have a drink or share a meal and laugh the afternoon away. Friends I miss you I will be back for a visit soon, let’s get together.

Tomorrow is the start of a new week. Hopefully it’s better than this last one.