What Was I Scared Of?

“I do not fear those pale green pants with nobody inside them!  I said and said and said those words, I said them, but I lied them” -Dr. Seuss

I have been thinking about fear a lot lately, and if any of you have conversed with me in the past week, we have probably talked about it.  Maybe we didn’t talk about it, but I was secretly analyzing you and trying to decide what your fears were.  I’m sneaky like that.  So what on earth possessed me to think about your fears and my own?  It all started with a trip to the spa.

I have a spa membership at The Grand America Hotel downtown.  It is a fantastic way for me to relax and warm up in the winter, plus there’s a nice gym there if I ever decide I want to work out (still waiting for that to happen).  My friend Erika has one as well.  Last week, we decided to go to dinner and the spa.  Erika and I have one of those friendships where you get together and solve the world’s problems with the greatest of ease in every conversation.  We can definitely be silly, but at some point we always address some issue in our lives and talk it through with one another.  She’s got some definite German practicality going on, and I have my “Critical Polyanna” way of looking at things (I want to think it is all going to end happy and perfect, but I have to analyze each piece of info before I get there), so the direction our conversations go is always interesting.  We started talking about fears and how we let them rule our lives and how we have seen fears interfere with the lives of some of our mutual friends.  Obviously, for her privacy and for the friends’ privacy, I’m not going to tell you what we talked about, exactly, but it did get me thinking…

What fears do I have?  What have I not done in my life because of fears?  How do I overcome my fears and move past them?  I welcome you to think of your fears as I go through this process with you.

Well, honestly, addressing your own fears is HARD!  It was for me, anyways.  I know I am petrified of orca whales, but that is neither here or there when it comes to interfering with my life, because I live in a landlocked state.  So I don’t go swimming in the middle of the Puget Sound.  It’s freaking COLD!  Who does that, anyways?  When I was little, I was always scared of being embarrassed, but that passed as I realized I am perpetually the awkward human and I needed to get used to it.  I think most of my fears are intertwined with love, actually.  Whether it is fear of not being loved, fear of being abandoned by loved ones, or fear of letting go of past loves to make room for unknown future loves… That is basically where I’m a big old ball of mess.  That is probably my biggest fear as far as “fear as an obstacle in my life.”  Some that I have seen in others who are close to me that I think are pretty common are fear of failure, loss, control, and lack of acceptance (for those that are self analyzing as you read). A QUICK, SPECIAL SIDE NOTE TO MY MOM, BECAUSE SHE’S GOING TO WORRY:  I don’t know where these fears come from and I’m positive I have felt them for a long time.  I’m sure it’s part of the package that is me that came with me from the beginning.  I don’t think anybody built it in to me as a child or as an adult, so don’t get your thinking cap on trying to decide who it could have been.  It’s ok.  Love you!

Well, love being the fear, makes what have I not done pretty interesting.  I don’t take a lot of chances with relationships.  I definitely try to be kind to others, because, as I think is the case with most fears, I project my fear on others and don’t want them to feel rejected from me.  That definitely hasn’t hurt me in my life to learn to love others.  It’s the love that is out of my control that is more the issue.  I’m probably not going to go in to full confessional mode and tell you everything that I have done or not done specifically because of my fear. I will say that thinking about it has been eye opening and a bit liberating in it’s own right.  The limits I have put on myself become liberating because, in acknowledging them, I can move past them and not be limited anymore.  That obviously brings me to overcoming and moving past fears.  It’s all a little clumped together for me.  I am not a good organizer (that’s what my sister is for), so I am sorry I can’t give you organized steps.  I can say that in thinking about this all, I have had several of my own “Ah ha!” “Huzzah!” moments where things started to make sense.

I don’t know that I am “Taylor Swift Fearless” yet, but I’m getting there.  I definitely don’t want to spend my life in a brickle bush getting brickles in my britches.  I want to be able to look my fear in the eye and get to where they are no longer fears, but familiar friends.

“And now we meet quite often, those empty pants and I.  And we never shake or tremble, we both smile and we say, HI!”

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Alternative Playlist for Today

Well, congratulations!  It’s Valentine’s day!  The single day a year that I know, without a doubt, I am going to wake up wearing my crabby pants and likely will wear them all day.  For one reason or another, music is always my chosen avenue for therapy, and I always have a soundtrack to my life.  As tempted as I am to throw in Adele today, I’m not going to do it!  I love Adele, and 21 got me through some rough months when a certain past someone was engaged and married and I was forced to deal with the emotions of our breakup prior to that (probably the most I will ever openly speak about my feelings on that subject, so this is a red letter day for you), but today is a Tuesday in the middle of February.  It doesn’t deserve that much emotion.  Plus, considering I already almost cried over my breakfast when the server brought out my “vegetarian” breakfast sandwich chock full of bacon, well… I don’t need to go to that sad place today. So just for you, I have put together an alternative 10 song playlist for today.  Each song comes with an “Emma Pillsbury self help pamphlet” type title (Glee reference, for those of you not in-the-know), so you can easily choose which song will be your anthem today if you are not happy about Valentine’s Day.

1-SO SOME WENCH STOLE YOUR MAN

2-SO YOUR MOTHER TAUGHT YOU NOT TO USE HYPERBOLES WHILE SPEAKING, BUT YOU REALLY DISLIKE SOMEONE

3-SO YOU WANT A MEANER TAKE  ON SOMEONE LIKE YOU BY ADELE

4-SO YOU WANT TO BREAK UP WITH SOMEONE TOMORROW AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO IT (PLEASE DON’T DO IT TODAY)

(the Paul Simon version wouldn’t post, so you get Rosemary)

5-SO YOU’RE A NARCISSISTIC JERK AND CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHY YOUR EX DOESN’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU, AND PAINTING YOURSELF LIKE A HARLEQUIN DOLL MAKES YOU MOODY AND ARTISTIC

6-SO YOU’RE LIVING IN A POWDERKEG AND GIVING OFF SPARKS

7-SO YOU HAVE A STALKER AND YOU WANT THEM TO GET THE CLUE

8-SO YOU LET YOURSELF BE A VICTIM OF A PLAYER AND ALSO LOVE TUTUS

9-SO YOU WANT TO KILL THE GIRL YOU ASKED OUT TONIGHT

10-SO ALL YOU REALLY WANT TO DO IS THINK OF ANYTHING THAT IS HAPPY AND NOT ROMANCE RELATED

The last one is my personal favorite.  If you love Harry Nilsson and really want to drive the point home with your anger, and don’t mind hearing the F word, an honorable mention for the list is his song called You’re Breaking My Heart, but it’s not clean enough for my personal blog standards.  Good luck with the rest of your day!  🙂

The Trouble with Chick Flicks

So you decided to kick your feet up and watch a little TV this weekend.  Chances are, you couldn’t push a button without bumping head on into some sappy love story, likely featuring either Meg Ryan, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Hudson, or Julia Roberts.  Even if you did find the one channel playing something else, your commercials were tainted with The Vow or This Means War commercials, both upcoming chick flicks.  It’s the season of love!  The weekend before Valentine’s Day!  Everyone needs to be in the mood for swooning, and nothing says swoon like Hugh Grant, the unattractive funny guy, awkwardly winning a girl over with his quirky charm.  Well, for girls anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love myself a good chick flick.  Love Actually is one of my favorite movies and I went through a “sad” phase of my life where I watched it every night as I went to sleep.  Even last night I had a fun girl’s night going to see The Vow.  The one thing that I can’t seem to shake from every overly saccharinated movie I have seen is the completely false expectation that it puts in our heads for all the poor dopey men out there (I say dopey as a term of endearment.  Stick with me, I’ll get there).  Channing Tatum’s character, for example,  knew all the right words to say and the best way to handle an impossibly frustrating situation.  He showed strength when it was required and cried at the times that he needed to be vulnerable and sensitive.  Then, before the credits, it shows this picture of this lovely “happily ever after” family that the film was based on.  That means it is all true, obviously.

The truth is, men don’t have a clue what romantic little thing we need to hear at that pivotal moment when we are standing in the rain, waiting for a heartfelt confession.  I dated a guy for years who always managed to say the exact thing I didn’t want to hear at the moment I wanted to hear something wonderful.  In his mind, he was doing the best he possibly could to say the right thing.  We both were horrible at actually articulating our feelings as it was, a part of our relationship where we were oddly compatible and incompatible at the same time.  However, if I was in “chick flick” mode, it was never the right thing.  Through years of getting to know him, I learned to appreciate the little things he would say that would be golden, or the strange songs he would say reminded him of me because literally one line or phrase resonated with him, while the rest of the song was completely wrong and could easily be taken as offensive.  (EX: Stop This Train by John Mayer.  The whole song is about how he doesn’t want to grow up and life is moving too fast.  John shows extreme immaturity in this song, and our difference in maturity was always a hot spot.  However, there is one line that says, “Once in a while, when it’s good, It’ll feel like it should.”  THAT is the part I was supposed to be listening to, and it wasn’t until my feathers were already pretty rustled that he told me it was that one. little. tiny. line.)  Men in real life do not have writers sitting there feeding them these great, iconic lines like “Here’s looking at you, kid!”  They have to do the best they can to think outside of their own realm of emotions and think, what, exactly, does this dame want me to say!  Some become very smooth over time, but it just isn’t natural for the majority of men.  Yet, for some unknown reason, even though I have seen this with friends and with relationships in my own life, women, including myself, get this little ache inside, yearning for that romantic moment where the man says exactly what is in the contents of her head when they watch that chick flick.

So this is what I propose to fix this problem.  Men really need to watch more chick flicks and women need to watch less.  Yesterday, a couple of my little brother’s friends went to see The Vow together, both male, and posted on Facebook about this activity.  Several girls  “liked” that activity, while other guys razzed them.  These boys are actually quite wise.  First of all, they are going to run in to several single girls at a movie like that on a Saturday afternoon.  Second of all, they are going to actually be fully immersed in the fantasy.  Every chick flick is built on the same fantasy, which is: girl with all her quirks, whether self inflicted or inflicted by others, finds a man who loves her perfectly for all of those quirks, says all the right things at the right times, and TA DA!  It ends happily ever after.  By these boys learning the fantasy, they actually have an ace in the hole when they are faced with girls who are wanting just that.  Whether or not they understand the strange and wacky behaviors of the girl they are interested in, by carefully studying the output of men in chick flicks, they will know the correct response to said behaviors.  It’s that simple.  Women, on the other hand, really should watch about anything other than chick flicks unless they can watch them with complete cynicism.  Poor guys really don’t stand a chance against the perfectly dressed, sculpted, and scripted men in our fantasy movies.  Then, maybe just learn how to love the dopey, yet cute things the real men are actually saying and doing.  It’s much more romantic for a guy to be himself than to be some perfect poster child anyways.  (See!  I can stand up for men, too!)

Blame Bambi

A few months ago, I was talking to my mom on the phone about Thanksgiving, and in passing I said, “Well, I’m pescatarian now, so let’s just make sure there is stuff I can eat.”  Her response was a confused, “Oh, so what do they believe?”  “Not Presbyterian!  Pescatarian!  A vegetarian who will eat fish!  I didn’t change religions.  I don’t even know what, exactly, a Presbyterian is!”

This was a pretty simple change for me.  I already refused to eat meat from the bone.  I rarely ate red meat.  If I saw a vein, tendon, or any resemblance to a once living creature while eating, I couldn’t eat it.  If a restaurant had a fish tank, I had to make sure I wasn’t sitting where I could actually see it, because I couldn’t look at a living animal while I ate another one.  I had been a vegetarian once when I was younger, but it was hard to get protein, and I don’t love tofu, plus excessive soy has its own problems due to excessive estrogen, so I just tried not to think about it.  Especially because I am a busy girl and I really didn’t know how I would be able to eat conveniently on the go if I wasn’t able to grab some chicken nuggets in a pinch.  Still, every time I would have reason to think about where my food came from when I was eating meat, I felt very guilty.

I don’t know how a girl who grew up in rural Utah with an avid hunter for a dad (we have antelope, deer, and elk heads in the garage) developed this guilt issue.  I give partial blame to Disney.  All their singing, happy animals with human feelings.  Why would you want to eat any of them?!  Especially when you can hear Bambi’s little voice echo “Mother?  Mother?”  I also blame growing up in an agrarian community, where I could see little cows, pigs, and sheep born every spring.  Do not get me started on veal!  The last portion of the blame I place solely on my self and my melting heart for animals as well as my ability to give feelings to all objects, even inanimate ones (I eat my cinnamon bears and skittles in twos, because I don’t want them to get lonely in my tummy).  As much as you may want to argue that animals and food do not have feelings, I just can’t quite convince myself.  Plus, I’d rather err on the safe side and not hurt an animal (and not have lonely skittles in my tummy) than kill them (or eat an odd number).

I came across pescatarianism one day, and within a week, I was converted.  I didn’t do a grand change-over or last supper of roasted flesh.  I just decided that choosing to not eat meat was the best thing for me and on a random Tuesday, stopped.  So to explain why I eat fish?  Well, I still feel guilty.  I do love Finding Nemo.  I needed a good source of protein, for one.  For another, most fish, contrary to what Nemo portrays, actually don’t even know who their parents are.  Sure, they live in little ecosystems like schools or coral reefs, but they don’t really have feelings.  I am also very particular on what fish I will eat.  If it is a shark, for example, I definitely won’t be eating it.  It probably has feelings and it definitely is smart.  However, if it is a shrimp, well, those are basically the bugs of the ocean and I don’t feel bad eating bugs.  I also try to eat fish that is either responsibly farmed or fished.  Long line fishing kills all sorts of ocean wild life, and I don’t want to support that.  I know, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, and I will probably eventually find a day where I stop eating fish, but until I learn how to get protein from another source, I figure starting with the major animals and working my way down to the little ocean bugs, it is at least a start.

I’m not going to start joining PETA rallies or even try to convince anyone else to stop eating meat.  For me, your choice of values you choose to live your own life by is completely personal.  Part of my personal value system happens to be that animal consumption makes me feel guilty.  I don’t judge anyone who doesn’t agree or feel the same.  If you make me dinner and forget to omit the meat, I’ll even just pick around it, because it was nice of you to cook for me!  This is just a great choice for me.  Since I quit eating meat, I have been sick less (probably because I eat more vegetables, fruit, and whole foods now), feel healthier, and actually get more satisfaction from my food and eat less.  Apparently, my body likes this way of eating, too!  So, call me a hippy or whatever you want, but that is why I won’t be joining you on your next visit to Pat’s BBQ.  Plus, when McDonald’s announces things like “We will no longer be putting pink slime in our meat products,” I won’t have to worry because I didn’t eat it in the first place!

Cole v Nicole: Battle White Girl 2012

It all started with a Facebook post.  My uncle Cole was complaining about an annoying countdown his computer decided to give him for 30 days, and his friend decided to make him feel a little better by posting this link about 15 things white girls do on Facebook. (http://25pillsaday.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/15-things-white-girls-love-to-do-on-facebook/)  I read the list and realized that I, a white girl, was only guilty of one of those Facebook faux pas.  So then it began.  I started doing annoying “white girl” things on Facebook towards Cole, and he would return.  Here’s a documentation of our Facebook fun! (In order of the other list, not necessarily the order we did them)

1- Take Pictures of Their Feet

2- Express their extreme annoyance at this work day today and hint that it deserves a much needed alcoholic beverage at the end of it. WINK WINK. (We did this Mormon style)

3- Thank their hubby for being the best hubby in the world while their hubby is sitting right next to them. (Neither of us have husbands, so this one was going to be tricky.  Cole rose to the occasion.)

4- Complain about bad service at restaurants. “Never eating at Applebee’s AGAIN!”  (Since I work at a restaurant some nights, I had this one covered.)

5- Express their extreme excitement to see their best friends tonight, Brintney, Whitney, and Sarah!!! Love YOU GIRLS!! (In case nobody noticed, I slid in a little Ashlee Simpson lyric for fun, one of my guilty, white girly pleasures)

6- Take pictures wearing a lot of makeup and looking really preppy while simultaneously making a “hard” facial expression and holding up what they consider to be a gangster sign. Potential caption: ‘Straight thuggin.’ (My favorite part is where my friend Lance explained to me exactly what deuces meant… Oops!)

7- Take pictures of undeserving food. (Although Cole’s food does deserve a pic.  AWESOME stars!  I think they were free-handed.)

8- Make their status the song lyrics of any Kings of Leon song.  ( I completely did not catch this one.  I don’t like Kings of Leon.)

9- Take a picture of someone they deem inferior to themselves in some way with the question: Really? (Cute Cole can’t be mean, so his response was my fave!)

10- Write angry letters to companies (Dear EZ PARK, I hate you!), unorganized groups of people (Dear slutty freshmen who think that leggings can be worn as pants..), and non-entities (Dear unseasonably cold weather, WTF?!) (This is the one that I am guilty of doing on a regular basis, so I think it went by basically unnoticed.)

11- Subtly yell at no one in particular while being very specific. “Wow, it’s hard to believe that you think you know someone and then they turn around and STAB YOU IN THE BACK. Will never make that mistake again. EVER.”

12- Document exceedingly mundane activites for the day. “Getting my oil changed today. Then getting much needed groceries. Then it’s off to the post office to mail some bills. Then stopping by the gyno. Will probably need some gas by the end, so I may stop at the gas station. But I might be tired so I’ll probably just get it in the morning on my way to pick up a prescription. But if I’m not very tired I’ll probably just get the gas on the way home. Again, unless I am tired.”

13- Express their distaste for facebook on facebook and threaten to leave facebook to their facebook friends.

14- Ask seemingly rhetorical questions. “It’s cool to do a bunch of meth and babysit 20 six year olds, right?”

15- Write a status in another language. Parce que, Je suis tres intelligente!! (This is what happens when you let someone else write a post in the obscure Filipino language that they speak… The power goes to their head and they write something naughty! Ha ha!)

So now you are all “in the know” of the weird inside joke my uncle Cole and I shared this past weekend.  I have hilarious family!

Who’s the fairest of them all?

First, I am NOT a femi-nazi.  I don’t identify with Gloria Steinem, and I think men and women need each other WAY more than fish need bicycles.  Even if you’re gay, you at least need both genders to either create a child or to have been created yourself.  That being said, this post is very female oriented, so SORRY!  I’m sure dudes can glean something from this, but if you’re sensitive about strong women, then you may want to just not read my blog.  Like ever.

Now that I’ve got that piece of business out of the way… Ladies, we need to talk.  I am doing this little intervention out of love.  Trust me.

I understand.  Movies, music, books, magazines… They all want us to need a man’s approval.  Whether it is praising us for having big butts, shoving Sarah Jessica Parker at us as a modern and flawed role model (who, by the way is an abnormally tiny human), or telling us to use our bodies for any attention we feel we deserve, the general theme is, you will be worthwhile when a man finally loves you.  Prior to that, there will always be something wrong with you.  There will always be something missing.  It would be great if they only stopped there.  However, they don’t.  A man doesn’t love you unless he wants to ravage you at all times.  He doesn’t care what you think.  He only wants you to look like a perfect, well manicured, porcelain doll with the abs of a Victoria Secret model and the lips of Angelina Jolie.  If your porcelain is cracked in any way, you’re not going to be loved.  The question is, do you really believe everything you see, read, and listen to?  So do you still believe that a giant yellow bird lives in a place called Sesame Street, Donald Trump has a full head of cotton candy hair, and every time you talk about a dream you had, everyone else sees wavey lines and hears a little song?

I’m not trying to belittle your intelligence by saying that.  I am trying to point out that in many ways, you are already belittling your own.  I can’t tell you how many times I have sat with a friend in tears because they don’t think something about them is good enough.  They aren’t thin enough, they are too flat or too full, they are too blonde, they are too brunette, they aren’t pretty enough, they are too intimidating, they put on a few pounds and quit getting attention, or they took off a few and still don’t get the attention they wanted.  NONE of those are the problem.  Your real problem is, you don’t love yourself.

I’m not telling you that you need to shirk your razor and start wearing baggy t-shirts and gym shorts to love yourself.  I’m telling you that you need to love what is and make attainable goals to fix things you don’t like that you can change and learn to accept things that you can’t.  Obviously, you should definitely wear clothes that flatter your figure, brush your hair and teeth, and keep your body healthy.  Those are all ways that you can show your self a little love.  But seriously, quit letting other people with fickle minds and fickle hearts decide your worth.

I have been the fat girl, the skinny girl, the pretty girl, the awkward looking girl, the girl with lots of friends, the lonely girl, the best dressed, the worst dressed, the girl with the boyfriend and the third wheel.  I know exactly how all of those things can make you feel. If you can love yourself, none of that matters.  You realize that you are who you are, and that person is pretty great, and that great person will end up on the other side of whatever issue you are facing as an even better person.  Nothing like self love can make you more attractive to the people who are worth having in your life.  You will have the ability to light up a room and light up your life.  So please, take a good hard look in the mirror and start loving yourself.  For reals.

Now Taking Applications

Something that is intrinsically “CoCo” is appreciation of the arts.  I did classical ballet for a major part of my early life, danced my way through high school, participated in the musicals, and spent many of my high school weekends at home watching AMC or TCM (my parents would literally kick me out of the house sometimes, because they thought I should socialize more than I wanted to).  The first music that I have a recollection of listening to is Phantom of the Opera and Elton John: Live from Australia.  Most of my college electives were eaten up by the Humanities department.  I’m a fruity fruit loop who loves a spectacle!

This past weekend, I went to a stage production of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters.  That was my alternative to the Jazz/Kings/Jimmer Show that the rest of my family attended.  My sister came with me, and my mom was going to come, but the pull of Jimmer was too strong.  This left us with a leftover ticket.  So, who did I call to see if they wanted this?  Well… that seems to be the problem.

I spend a lot of time with people very unlike myself.  My core “group of friends” (in quotes because I have many close friends outside of this group, but they’re individuals, not a group), love watching football, playing cards, and Star Trek.  Granted, I endured hours of Star Trek Appreciation time and ended up with quite an affinity for it.  Honestly, even when it comes to food, we don’t really like the same places.  I love seafood, Mexican, and other ethnic adventures when I go out, while they love hamburgers (a food I haven’t eaten for years).  I definitely love spending time with these friends, they’re great people, but I have had to make many concessions on things I like to do to spend time with them.  The good thing is I’ve learned to appreciate things I didn’t before, the bad is I rarely do things I enjoy.

This whole situation brought to light that I need friends who enjoy attending more cultural events with me and enjoy discussing thought provoking film over tiny portions of pretentious, yet delicious, vittles. I feel like people who attend the events, like Screwtape Letters, are typically elderly couples.  Maybe I am just an old little soul.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I really want people to call when I have free time and Tartuffe is showing at the Rose Wagner.  My extra Screwtape ticket ended up going to waste, because I just had a teeny tiny list of people who I knew I could text who would be interested, and none of them could go at the last minute.  Maybe I have more closet fruit loops for friends, but I just don’t know who they are.  Bottom line, I want to know who you are!

Here’s my open casting call to everyone who reads my blog.  If you have any desire to see live theater, buy a membership to The Broadway in Salt Lake, can name and sing songs from five other Andrew Lloyd Webber productions besides Phantom, know the difference between Doris Day and Sandra Dee, or even would attend a Kenny Loggins concert (ok, not classic art, but still, part of my old soul’s desired activities), you are eligible to apply.  If you like to talk through any of the aforementioned activities, you need not apply, but if you would like to discuss afterwords at some obscure cafe, that is a bonus!