a bit of whining about life

I’m tired. I am sitting at my desk and I just feel dang tired, ya know?! I’m at a bit of an awkward spot with my job—I’ll be leaving in a couple of months and I can feel myself withdrawing a bit from the relationships. This is one of the worst things about me, and I am telling you right now—I don’t like to put effort into a relationship unless I know there will be some kind of pay-off.

That sounds AWFUL. And maybe it is! But I think its also a little bit human nature. Let me elaborate on what I mean by “payoff.” I don’t mean favors, or gifts, or compliments, or hard drugs, or anything like that. I guess I just mean I don’t have a desire to invest unless I believe the relationship will grow and become deep enough to warrant the time and the small-talky fluffy conversations and the almost date-like pressure of the initial casual hangouts that all new friendships require.

I remember deciding at one point, during my junior year of college, that I was going to try and become friends with this girl. Before you get any ideas that I am confident, and outgoing, and awesome, let me assure you that it was a pretty easy move on my part. This girl had transferred to the university and knew not a soul but her boyfriend. We had met before, I knew she was a photographer, and she had even contacted me to ask if she could do a practice portrait session with me. She had already reached out, I was just at a place of such security relationally that I felt confident enough to reach back.

Anyways, we ended up doing a photo session that she only got like, two usable shots from because I was gabbing the whole time. During this time, we discovered we both LUVED Harry Potter—near obsession—and this led to me inviting her to come watch a showing of DH pt1 that was being shown at our school the following week.

This is where shit got weird. I don’t know why or how this happened, but the whole evening felt SO like a date. I took too long deciding what to wear, I bought candy for us to eat during the movie, I got to our meeting place early so she would know I was excited about spending time with her. Cut to the movie—she didn’t eat any of the candy I brought and it made me irrationally sad/insecure, I kept trying to make lame jokes, etc, etc. When the movie ended and we were saying goodbye near her car, my mind was racing with “Should I try to extend this hangout? Should I invite her to my place? Or would it be more appropriate to suggest ice cream or coffee? Should I just let it end now so we are both excited to hang out again?” and then “OH LORD do I hug her, how to I say goodbye? AHHHH!!!!”

We die laughing whenever we retell the story of our first hangout. We are great friends now, and she agrees with me—she was weirdly nervous and overly analytical that first night too. I think with any relationship (besides family, I guess, because you are too young and dumb when you first meet them to feel self-conscious) there is a period of awkwardness that you just have to fight through to reach the good parts.

The problem is that I am too lazy, when I know I won’t be staying at this job (or hell, even in the city I currently live in) past August. Why subject myself to all the stress and weirdness of a new friendship? I want the easy familiarity of people I can talk to about fighting with Will, and my weird obsession with Dramione fanfiction, and how I went and saw a movie by myself last week, and know that there’s not a lot I can say that will surprise them, because THEY KNOW ME.

Hmm. This post started as a semi-intentional dissection of the intricacies of starting a new friendship and has kinda devolved into whining.

Whoops! I’ll be good tomorrow, promise. 

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on sophistication…

You would never know it from the photo evidence, but at a young age I had a bit of a weird obsession with what I called “sophisticated ladies.” In fact, I still do. Granted, my perspective on said lady has changed from the mid-nineties, when I thought the final word on sophistication was a claw-clipped updo and a fur-collared, mid-calf length cardigan (am I the only one who remembers just HOW IN those long sweaters were for like 5 minutes? Of course, I got mine 5 minutes too late and wore it stubbornly for probably like a year past its prime, but hey, I’ve always been a late bloomer).

I’ll never forget the day I told my mom that when I grew up I wanted to be “sophisticated.” I was riding in the car, unsatisfied with my Goodwill outfit (my family had 5 kids, all of whom grew like weeds, and my dad was a working-class mechanic. Do the math.) and dreaming of the days when I would walk about a big city in a long sweater. The fact that I shared this deep-seated longing with her in the presence of my brothers and sisters was something of a risk, as my siblings were a dream-crushing bunch who had lived with my clumsy fashion efforts far too long to keep their teasing to a minimum—ya jerks, I was only 7 and I TRULY THOUGHT THAT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO WEAR TIGHTS UNDER MY HOLEY STIRRUP PANTS BECAUSE, DUH, THE TIGHTS WERE PINK AND THE PANTS WERE TURQUIOSE AND THOSE COLORS ARE TOTALLY PRETTY TOGETHER, JUST ASK LISA FRANK.

Anyways, her response after the laughter and groans and “here’s my impression of Audge trying to walk in high heels” died down was to say “Let’s talk about this when we get home.” A somewhat ominous proclamation, but I was happy to cut the conversation short and spare myself from any further teasing.

Once home, I was instructed to haul out the fat dictionary and look up exactly what “sophistication” meant. I remember reading it aloud to my mom, alone in the living room, and feeling my heart sink as the word “worldly” came up, again and again. (I’m too lazy to put the definition in here, look it up yourself you free-loader.)(Just kidding, I love you, please keep reading my blog.)

Growing up in a Christian home, I knew “worldly” wasn’t exactly the quality you wanted your young daughter to strive for. I listened as my mother explained that God wanted us to emulate His Son, not the world. I understood what she was saying, and in retrospect, I can picture the fears that were going through her mind: images of little Audrey, stick-thin and smoking a long cigarette ala Cruella de Vil, eating escargot and scoffing at her po-dunk parents from suburbia.

But what I didn’t have words for at the time is this: I didn’t want to be worldly, at least, I don’t think I did (still think that word has a somewhat ambiguous definition), I wanted to be respected. I wanted people to think that I had it together, rather than seeing me as a chicken-legged 10-year old with a used Limited Too tee-shirt and a stringy haircut. My mistake was thinking that this kind of respect would come from clothing and a fancy claw-clip hairdo. My other mistake was not clarifying this to my mom, because I think if she had understood what I really wanted, we could have had a really meaningful conversation about it. She’s a smart woman and I respect her input. But I was embarrassed and feeling sheepish and just wanted to let the whole thing die, so I said nothing.

As a fully mature 23-year old with every answer that my 10-year old self lacked, I am here to present you with my nugget of wisdom for the day: respect does not come from what you wear or how you style your hair (wow, that rhymes, I could turn this into a song for 10-year old females with low self-esteem. Hang on while I grab my good idea notebook. <-[I don’t have one, but how much cooler would I be if I did?!]). People will respect you if you respect yourself, and hang on, I’ll elaborate because I know that sounded trite. When you believe you have value and intelligence and experience and are trustworthy and have things to offer to the world and the people around you, it shows. I didn’t realize this until college, which is when I metamorphasized (??) from the small audrey cocoon into Audrey the butterfly who understood that she could and should impact the lives of people around here and chose to use her powers for good. Respect and value yourself, people. You’ll make more friends and they will think you’re awesome and then you’ll be happy forever.

And if you are thinking “Duh, Audrey!” well good-job. You are obviously emotionally and intellectually superior to me. Have a lovely day!

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an explanation

The first time I watched “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” I decided that contrary to popular belief—in this case, the populace was Mom and Dad and the widely-held belief was that I was Audrey because they “just liked how it sounded”—I had just met my namesake. This woman was who I was destined to be.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I am not referring to Holly Golightly. I am not even referring to Audrey Hepburn as the world knew her then. I am talking about the Audrey Hepburn I came to discover in the coming weeks and years through very sporadic research and mostly just imagining a personality behind the images and quotes I found relating to this pinnacle of elegance. (I didn’t use words like that when I was 14 though. I’ve come a long way.)

Let me back up for a second: what I have just told you and where this story is going may be unfair to Audrey Hepburn. I can’t emphasize this enough—I did not know very much about her. Her personal life, her family, her children; all are still kind of a mystery to me. But regardless of how informed I was on her as a true person, her significance in my life is a fact. Maybe it will help if I tell you who I decided Audrey Hepburn was. Here goes.

When I first saw her in Breakfast at Tiffanys, I thought she was beautiful. Being 14, that kind of thing was striking to me. (Who the hell am I kidding; 10 years later it still is.) From there, my image of her evolved to be dominated by 4 main characteristics: elegant as HELL, extremely sophisticated, eloquent, and a truly kind and compassionate individual. To flesh this out a little more, these 4 characteristics manifested as the following nebulous goals: walk with more confidence and grace/ become less horrifyingly clumsy, stop buying MALE SKATE SHOES FROM ZUMIEZ , start wearing better clothes, and stop consciously choosing to date guys who are borderline co-dependent because you feel like you always have to have the upper hand in a relationship, and true intimacy isn’t about power, and besides that, just because your first boyfriend ever of all time cheated on you doesn’t mean that you have to date guys you think are so emotionally needy that they will never leave you!!!!!!   !!!

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Full disclosure: this is probably not an entirely accurate portrayal of the psyche of one barely pubescent female. Luckily for you readers, hindsight is 20/20 so I can analyze my behavior and share the thrilling details with you.

In case this isn’t clear to you yet (and if it is, WOW, good job!) this blog in its most basic form will be an exploration of one girl’s journey to becoming herself. I could do this chronologically, but I feel like that would take more work on my part rather than just pulling random anecdotes and interspersing them with current haps and calling it good. So the latter is what we’ll do.

Here the hell goes nothing. 

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