When I decided to move to Nashville, celebrity sightings were pretty high on my list of “new city perks,” ranking somewhere between “high concentration of cute banjo players” and “existence of sweet tea.” Based on the blogs and gossip columns I read, it was impossible to go to the grocery store in Nashville without rubbing shoulders with Brad Paisley or exchanging muffin recipes with Taylor Swift. I loved how effortless it all seemed. How simultaneously casual and glamorous. I started pre-bragging about my anticipated celebrity encounters before I even left Portland.
“You’ll text me as soon as you see Carrie Underwood, right?” my friends would ask as they helped me pack up my kitchen supplies.
“Of course,” I would breezily reply, not mentioning that I had already looked up her preferred bakery and planned to go there every Monday afternoon to increase my chances of “accidentally” running into her and becoming her best friend. Keep reading »
When it comes to giving oral sex, or as one of my friends calls it, sucky sucky, women seem to fall into two camps: LOVE IT or HATE IT. When gossiping about sex, I feel this overwhelming pressure to declare that I go hog wild for head or loathe it so much that I’ve taken it off the sexual menu with the exception of special occasions, like birthdays. (I’ve never understood that, by the way. Why would you give the gift of something you supposedly hate?) On the subject of blowjobs, there is a subtle urging to take sides. “Too much work!” or “Yummy! Cock!” As I sit there, feeling terribly neutral about the act, I can’t help but suspect that women have been conditioned to have strong, polarized feelings about giving head — or at least to play up their feelings for effect. Keep reading »
So, I’m in love. This isn’t exactly unique — so many others would say the same. Love is an overused word, it’s commonplace, expected even. But to me, it couldn’t be a more novel, beautiful, fascinating thing. For most of my life, I was fiercely independent and ambivalent about relationships. My focus was on platonic friendships and tangible milestones, like my education.
So, it’s strange to think that now, I call someone “my teammate.” My boyfriend has become my refuge from the craziness of everyday life and encourages me every day to be the best I can be. He’s never too busy to make me laugh or to remind me to cut myself some slack. He tells me ridiculous stories of faraway places we’ve never been, wears the most adorable sweaters in the world, and confides in me candidly. He has taught me so much about myself and what I’m capable of.
The crazy thing is that he and I almost never happened. What we have now was one wayward text message and an ounce of pride away from never happening.In some alternate reality, there is another me, who didn’t give him a second chance. What is this other me doing? What kind of things has she missed out on? Keep reading »
“Don’t be afraid of the white canvas.”
I’m sitting in the Nashville community art center for my first art class in almost a decade. My art teacher is standing at the front of the room repeating this phrase over and over in her sweet, calm voice. She brought homemade cupcakes to class and brewed a pot of coffee. Maroon 5 is inexplicably blaring from a paint-spattered boombox in the corner. I’m surrounded by easels and a small group of mostly middle-aged women who have signed up to spend their next eight Monday evenings learning abstract painting. I’m nervous.
“Experiment,” my teacher urges us. “Don’t be afraid.”
I dip a fat brush in water and coat it with acrylic paint. Deep breath. I drag an exuberant wash of magenta across the smooth canvas. It immediately starts dripping. I’m surprised to find that I don’t care at all. The color is so joyful. I want more of it. I stipple the edges of the canvas with the same lively pink, then rinse my brush and switch to yellow. I use quick, diagonal strokes. It overlaps with the magenta and creates a fiery orange. This is awesome, I think. I want to do this every day! Keep reading »
“Why didn’t any of the guys you dated love you as much as I do?” my boyfriend asked.
The question hung in the air like foggy breath steaming up a cold windshield. It’s one of his favorite questions to ask. To him, it’s a mystery why other guys passed me over. It’s a riddle I love him for wanting to solve.
“I don’t get it,” he said.
“Me neither,” I shrugged.
These are the kinds of conversations you have four hours into a five-hour road trip, after you’ve listened to a Lorrie Moore short story on The New Yorker Fiction podcast and gossiped about people you know and stopped at an abandoned McDonald’s with one, lone carousel pony on display in the dining area. The pony looked out of place — like it was in search of its missing carousel. Keep reading »
I’ve completed my gossip cleanse and I must say, my mind feels like a once dirty carpet that’s just been steam-cleaned. On to the next quest on my journey to become a yoga teacher: practicing contentment. When I volunteered to take this on as my assignment for the month, the visual that popped into my head was me at the nail salon, flipping through the lasted issue of InStyle, while receiving a back rub. This was my image of contentment? You must have something better than that, I scolded myself.
But honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced content once in my life. So I would hardly know what to imagine. Well, maybe I felt content on my week-long jaunt to Paris, while eating oysters and sipping champagne in a famous LaBelle Epoch eatery or on my first date with my boyfriend, in that moment when our conversation became so deep that the rest of the universe receded. But maybe what I was feeling in those moments was joy. The two are different. Joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness and contentment is a state of satisfaction. One is feeling and one is a state. When I’m getting a pedicure, I’ll be honest, I’m never in a state of satisfaction. I’m usually consumed with worry that the shade I’ve chosen looks too black on my toes or that my nail polish won’t dry fast enough for me to get to the next place I need to be on time. Keep reading »