What a Girl Wants

Like pretty much every person not currently in a romantic relationship, I’ve passed time thinking about what I would like in a mate. (Yes, mate. We’re all animals here, no matter how many pairs of shoes we own.) I’m really enjoying being a single person at this time in my life, but eventually I think it would be nice to have a special person. When I’m ready. So until then, here’s my working list of the qualities with which I feel would be mutually beneficial to both me and my mythical, “perfect” partner:

1. Male. I know that being gay is the “cool new thing”, but I’m just not. I have lots of gay and lesbian friends, and I love them to pieces. But I like dudes. Don’t judge.

2. Money. While material things aren’t important, money exists in this imperfect world in which we live. It costs money to be able to do things like enjoy food, clothe yourself, pay for your lifestyle (home, car, pets, etc.) I have my own money. Myth-man needs his own, too.

3. A good job. This isn’t about money. Even if the perfect man is independently wealthy, I want him to have a job of some sort. It’s good for character, no matter who you are. And character matters most to me.

4. Sexuality. Our lovely society propagates the idea that all men are created with a perpetually high libido. It’s not the case. I would like someone whose libido reflects my own. Obviously, no two people will be exactly alike in any area. But I need to be shown physical love, and often. I compromised this aspect of myself before, to my own detriment. I have learned that this is simply an area where I need to compromise less.

5. A dream. This could be his job, his hobby, his personal life. People who have something for which to strive are highly attractive to me. My own dreams are immensely important to me; that is a feeling I need to share with someone. If I’m the half of the relationship that works towards dreams, then I’ll eventually choose that dream over him. It’s been my life’s most consistent truth. If we each have dreams, then we won’t need to live vicariously through one another, and we won’t have to sacrifice aspirations for the relationship, or vice versa. 

7. Trustworthiness. It’s not about fidelity, although that’s important (moderately, at least). It’s about knowing he’s going to do what he says he’ll do. Trusting that he’ll answer the phone/texts/emails, that he’ll show up when he says he will, that he’ll be there to listen when I go on a rant-fest or a cry-jag. It’s about never being afraid of him or what he’ll do, no matter what.

8. Personality. A funny, introspective, conscientious, artistic (negotiable), ambivert who knows how to effectively communicate thoughts and feelings. When we fight, I want to hear the truth. I don’t want someone who blurts out things he doesn’t mean because he’s angry; I don’t want someone who never says what he really feels because he’s afraid of my reaction. I simply want honesty, which really isn’t simple at all. Relationships aren’t all sunshine and daisies; there’s a lot of fighting. But the fighting needs to lead to something, to help the relationship grow, so there can be prettier daisies later on.

9. A personal sense of style. Not fashion, because that’s fleeting and meaningless. Style, to me, means that you put effort into letting your inner self show in your clothes, shoes, hair, accessories (not many straight men accessorize, but if they want to, why not?), etc. Your body may not be the essence of you, but the way you decorate it should try to convey as much as possible.

10. Political and Religious tolerance. I am a Reform Jewish Libertarian. There’s approximately three of us in the world. My life philosophy revolves around being allowed to do, think, act, and believe what makes sense to me at that moment. My worldviews don’t have to be shared by my partner (although that always makes things easier), but I can’t spend much time with a person who doesn’t accept my point of view as valid. These are things about myself that I’m not willing to let anyone try and change about me. Obviously I’ve gone through changes in my life (except for being Libertarian; I’ve been Libertarian since I was about 10), but they have been a result of my own journey, and not imposed upon me by another person.

11. Intelligence. Formal education is cool, but not important (although I love my degree and my alma mater). Education means bupkis when it comes to intelligence. Some of the most intellectual people I know have no post-high-school formal education. But they care about using their brains. And that, above all else in this post, is of highest importance to me. A well-used mind is the hottest thing possible. 

So if you happen to run into a single, straight, tall, attractive, rich, intelligent, funny, Jewish Libertarian man with a penchant for revolutionizing the world via heavy accessorizing, send him my way, We’re perfect for one another. Because I have no flaws whatsoever.



Wizard of Me

I have come to the realization that my life is like an inverted version of “The Wizard of Oz”, wherein I am Dorothy. I’m living in my home state, and I’m continually searching for the way to get to my metaphorical Oz. But more than that, I have three wonderful friends as companions on my journey.

I met my Lion in 1982. He cried a lot. As we grew up, we bacame the kind of best friends that only siblings can become. We had many life events which shaped us as a family, and many more have happened after we each became adults and started to lead our own lives. One thing has always been apparent to me: my Lion is one of the most courageous people I know. He has had major setbacks, more difficulties than I would have known how to deal with, were our situations reversed. But he has always persevered. He hasn’t been too afraid to do what he needed to do, he has grown and changed without fear of judgement, he has always been a strong (and highly sensitive) force in my life. And because of his courage, my Lion has made me a braver person.

2005 brought me the Tin Man. We were instant friends. Over the years, we have gone through a lot and managed to remain close friends in spite of it all. My Tin Man has the biggest heart of anyone I know. He may not always know the best way to show it (who does, anyway?), but he’s always trying. And I know that whenever I need to pour out my heart, he will always be there to listen, sympathize, and give a giant bear-hug while I cry.

Two years ago I began my friendship with my Scarecrow. I have always taken (a bit too much) pride in being the smartest person I know. Yet the brain of my Scarecrow has changed that. He is my first friend to constantly challenge the way I see the world. Rather than advice, he offers perspective, challenging questions, an alternate (though similar) perspective. He definitely has more brains than anyone else I know personally, and having him as my friend has caused my brain to grow in new and exciting ways.

I love how each of my companions has his own integral part to my story. Now I just need to pay off these friggin’ ruby slippers and I’ll be all set.



Loss of More

Harold Ramis died yesterday. I loved him in “Ghostbusters”, as many others did. So, since many of my Facebook friends are major geeks, my newsfeed is full of tributes to his memory.

It makes me think something many others have often stated: why are we so affected by the death of celebrities? They are people with whom we have interacted. The only things we definitively know about them are their contributions to whatever artistic medium in which they were involved. At first glance, it seems silly, superficial, and strange to be so upset over the loss of a life that wasn’t part of our own.

But are we truly mourning the loss of life? I would argue that this is not the case. Many people die on a daily basis. It’s a virtue of being a living thing; some day we will cease to be living. Mourning the life of a celebrity makes no sense. Instead, I feel that we are instead mourning potential. We have been entertained, amused, occasionally enlightened by the artistic contributions of these celebrities. We enjoyed their presence in our entertainment so much that we want to see more.

I doubt anyone was actively thinking, before yesterday’s news, “When will the next Harold Ramis flick be out?” But while he was still alive, there was a possibility. We COULD have woken up to the news of another Ghostbusters sequel, and if that had happened, some people would have been overjoyed, others would have complained about yet another sequel, and the rest wouldn’t have cared. But it didn’t happen. (Thank god.) instead, the possibility of Egon’s return has been lost. The possibility of any more Ramis movies is gone.

So when the next celebrity dies (someone posted something about Leonard Nimoy’s poor health), we will all be moderately saddened. We will remember fondly the times our lives were punctuated with their performances. We will be shocked if it happens to be a young person dying in some tragedy. And we will mourn our individual, personal loss. The loss of potential. The loss of the idea of more.

And isn’t that honestly the loss we feel when anyone we know dies?



Sew Long

My life, as I had defined it, pretty much fell apart during the summer of 2012, ushering in a new and exciting reality that pretty much consisted of, ” Dear g~d, how am I going to acquire money so I can live?!” I applied for every job posting for which I was qualified. I applied for many job postings for which I was NOT qualified, but which I was confident I could successfully accomplish, given the chance. I even applied for job postings for which I was radically unqualified, uninterested, and unsure of my abilities to perform. I spent every morning scouring job postings, revising my resume, worrying, crying, watching bad television, stressing over personal relationships (most of which actually required no worry).

About a year ago, I finally got a job, working for an at-home business. It was one of the most awful experiences of my working life. At 35 years old, I discovered what it was like to go to bed dreading going in to work the next day. It finally got to the point last October when I simply walked out.

Besides wracking my psyche with hate, that particular job didn’t give me enough hours to successfully sustain my overly-modest lifestyle. So I took an additional job sewing at home for a small clothing factory in my city. I grew up sewing, and hating sewing. But I was confident in my abilities. I had a skill, given to me by my amazing parents, and I was able to utilize it. And I was allowed to make my own hours, working as much or as little as I needed. My time was mine again. This hearkened in the new period of my life, one which was remarkably similar to my pre-2012 self. I enjoyed the sewing, not for the work itself (which I equally hated and enjoyed), but for the freedom it offered at the time.

Then I walked out on the hell-job. That very day, 4 of my former piano and voice students re-joined my schedule. I added a couple more students in December, a couple more in January. Life was straightening out again.

The biggest change was yet to come. I was still sewing for extra income, and it was getting a bit tougher to make time to get to it. About a month ago, my mom asked if she could do some of the sewing, both to help me out and to make some extra cash for herself. The very next day I was offered, out of the blue, a job accompanying the choirs at a local college. By the end of that week, I had 6 new lessons on my roster. So my mom and I decided that she would take over the sewing, after I trained her on the process.

After over a year of extreme under-employment, I was suddenly over-committed.  I thought I was handling it fairly well. But then the dreams started. I started dreaming about writing. Rather, I dreamed that I was having writing ideas, but no matter how much I ran around searching in the dreams, I couldn’t find any way to write the ideas. No electronic devices, no pens or pencils, no paper. It was my subconscious saying, “Hey, remember all the writing you did to fill the time while you had nothing else to do? Remember how much you loved that? Yeah. Do that again, ya moron.”

Last night was the final night of sewing. It wasn’t intended to be. I still had work to do. But after talking it over with my mom, she said she felt ready to take it over completely; she needs the money, I need the time. It works out. And I no longer sew endless streams of tiny white blouses for my income.

Why is this story important to me? Why is it SO vital to my sanity that I’m no longer sewing? It was a good thing for my life. But it was the final, lingering reminder of how much my life sucked for so long. I spent a lot of my professional adult life being incredibly lucky. From the moment I started college, I was a musician, and a musician only. I taught piano lessons, voice lessons, played piano for choirs and religious services. I played in bands, wrote music, practiced my instruments. The summer of 2012 robbed that from me. But now I’m back. I’m me again. I have my own life, my own schedule. I am a musician, an artist, a writer, a teacher. I hope to be an actual filmmaker; I’m at least enjoying the heck out of the contributions I’m making to others’ films. But I’m back to being able to support myself by doing what I love. Not many people are that lucky. I’m so thankful that I am.

I thought that I was ready to join the traditional workforce. But they didn’t want me. And I’m glad about that. I get to be myself every day. I get to work with a huge variety of people. I get to choose to NOT work with people if I don’t want to do so. Am I still over-committed? Moderately. But the downtime rewards, infrequent as they may be, are totally worth it. I can see my family when I want. I get to go to the gym. I get to write overly-long blog posts about how much “real” life sucks. I get to spend time with my close friends without worrying when I’ll go to bed or when I’ll have time to see them. It’s the life I structured for myself almost 17 years ago.

And I love it. Strike that. I’m IN LOVE with it. I wake up every day excited to go to work. When the weather or car trouble or sickness keeps me from doing my paid work, I get sad because I miss it. I don’t like to take time off, not just because of the lost wages, but because I truly don’t want to miss a moment spent with my students or colleagues.

And if it all falls apart again, I won’t worry. Because I survived the last time and came out the better for it. I’m more thankful for my life now. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.



I’ll Be There For…Me

Life would be so simple if it were structured like a sitcom. Besides the fact that money issues are never dire enough to threaten hunger or homelessness, there are always friends around, for whatever friend need you have at the time. Wanna go out drinking? Knock on Schmidt’s door. Want someone to put your life in hilarious perspective? Call Chandler. Having a bad hair day and want to feel sexy? Flirt with Joey. Need a quirky perspective? Spend quality time with Jess or Phoebe.(Yeah, so, I’m drawing from two popular shows, but you catch my drift.) 

Reality isn’t so simple. Or maybe it’s way more simple. Need a friend? Call one. Then call the next one, because there was no answer. Then keep calling names in your phonebook until you’ve reached the voicemail of every one of your contacts. Then make a pity-party post on Facebook and wait for that ONE person with whom you almost never interact to say something trite and pointless that only serves to make you feel more alone and to prove that no one really gets what you’re going through. Then, if you’re still feeling needy, send out a few passive-aggressive text messages to your closest friends, putting unrealistic and unfair expectations on your friendship, therefore further alienating yourself from the people who already proved they were too busy to answer the phone. No Schmidt. No Chandler. No Tin Man. No Scarecrow.

Such is the wonderful life of a person afflicted with depression, compounded with intense loneliness. It’s no one’s fault. It’s just how things are. Some people are lucky enough to have their closest friends across the hall, always there to listen. Some people have somewhere to turn no matter where or when. I’ve always been the person people call, any time, day or night. But I’ve never had a person like that in my life. No matter where or when, I’m always going to get voicemail, unanswered texts and emails, an empty apartment. 

And that’s okay. People have their lives. I get it. People have their priorities, and I can’t fault a single person in my life for not making me a priority. Because I’m always there, I’m always accessible, I’m taken for granted. I get it. I understand.

There have been a few times in my life when I thought I had a friend to count on. But the only person I could ever count on to always be there and listen was my dad. So for the past 8 years, there’s been no one there. Even when I was married, I never felt like I was a priority. I have always felt like an option to the people in my life. I’ve BEEN Chandler, Joey, Schmidt, Jess, Phoebe. But I’ve never had them. 

If my life were a sitcom, there would be a 5 second theme song, with me, solo, dancing around a park, with my name as the only regular character. Sure, there are guest stars. Sometimes they recur, sometimes they have a 3-episode arc. But at the end of the season, it’s just me. In the story of my life, I’m the only character.

And that’s okay. After 35 years, I should be used to people entering my life, making a remarkable impact, then leaving. Maybe showing up for a holiday special every other season or so. I should be used to being a secondary character in my own life. But I’m not.

And that’s okay, too.



V: the Feminist Battle

Ever since I was a small child, the mini-series “V” has been one of my favorite things. I watch it every time I’m sick. I fully believe that chicken soup and “V” cure everything.

So, as I’ve spent the majority of this week with a lovely cold, I have yet again watched “V” and its mini-series sequel, “V: The Final Battle”. I never could quite put a finger on why I love this show so much. Until tonight. I realized that besides being a great example of 1980′s sci-fi, it’s got some amazing female characters. The females are the strong, decisive, intelligent, thoughtful, and respected characters. Julie, the leader of the resistance, is someone I would hope to be in similar post-apocalyptic circumstances. She simultaneously displays vulnerability and strength. She has the appropriate amount of self-doubt, but it only serves to make her stronger. Not only do the other resistance fighters respect her, there is NEVER any issue made of her gender. She is the leader, and when a couple of bumbling, slightly dopey men try to usurp her control, the resistance, consisting of mostly men, rally behind Julie, no matter what. 

Then there’s Robin. While she’s definitely not the sharpest brick in the brickyard, it is her pre-marital sex and resultant pregnancy that saves the world. The world was SAVED because she had a child out of wedlock and murdered the father. She was also 16 years old and moderately insane, but without her all the humans would be Lizard Chow.

Obviously, there are evil females. But they’re not evil because they’re women. They’re evil because they want to steal Earth’s water and eat the humans. The evil women are also respected, strong, vulnerable, intelligent, etc. Gender plays no role. 

The show has many other positive aspects: men have emotional range, the black guys survive until the very end, a marching band plays the Imperial March when the aliens land on Earth. All good things. But I most love how gender plays no role, besides Robin’s pregnancy (duh). Kudos, 1980′s tv sci-fi. 



A Utopian Relationship

The past Saturday was a tough day for me, for multiple reasons: it was my dad’s birthday, I was snowed in, all my friends were busy and not answering their phones nor replying to texts, I had a gig and got virtually no tips (a single $5 bill from ONE patron). It wasn’t an awful day; just a sucky one.

So I decided that rather that go home to twiddle my thumbs, watch reruns of “Felicity” and generally feel sorry for my PMS-ing self, I would go to a birthday party. Did I particularly WANT to go? Meh. I wasn’t in the mood to be around a crowd of people I mostly didn’t know. I wasn’t in the mood for drinking. But I was LESS in the mood to be alone, so I went. I met a couple of the birthday girl’s friends, talked a bit to the couple of people I already knew; pretty much had the newest permutations of conversations I had already enjoyed previously. Then, during the chaos of everyone going figuring out the bill and chipping in their cash, I slipped outside for some alone time.

I sat down at a table in the patio area, near one of the “heaters” (they would adequately heat your face if you looked at them), and just took a moment to breathe. Then I met Kevin. 

He came up to me and started a conversation. We talked about Colorado, college, philosophy, parachuting, classical music, linguistics. There was eye contact on both sides, words of multiple syllables on both sides, enjoyment of learning from one another. Some of the ways he said things really brought new meanings to concepts about which I had recently been thinking; his way (probably through his understanding of linguistics) really made me see those things differently.

Then the rest of the birthday party came outside to say goodbyes and at some point, Kevin slipped away (after conversing with other party-goers). I walked to my car, entered it, started it, and thought, “Wow. That was the best conversation I’ve had in recent memory.” So I turned off my car and walked back to the restaurant. As I approached the building, Kevin was exiting along with his friends. After greeting Kevin, I said, “I just wanted to thank you for an intellectual conversation. I really needed that.”

Kevin looked at me and said, “Do you know the word ‘aesthet’?”

I intimated that I did not.

“Well, it’s kind of a word I made up. It means someone who studies aesthetics, especially in people. You’re an aesthet.”

We shook hands and went our respective ways.

In the days since that conversation, I have had friends chide me for not asking for Kevin’s number. Or even his last name. But it’s been almost 9 years since I’ve been in a situation to ask a guy for his number, and I was too unsure of myself to do so. Besides that, I had a really great time. I will always remember that conversation, and the way it ended. That half hour has left an imprint on my mind. Doing something as plebeian as asking for contact info would have ruined it. He could have had a girlfriend. He could have been gay. He could have simply been uninterested. There are a thousand ways in which he could have said no. 

But as it stands now, I experienced a perfect relationship. In the duration, we shared, learned, laughed, spoke without pretension or fear of judgement. We never fought, we never disappointed one another, we never hurt one another’s feelings.

I had a one-night-stand friendship. And it was amazing.