So I have tried writing a post about this at least four times. Once when it first happened, then at 60 days, then 30 days, then one week, and none of those attempts has really captured exactly what I am ~feeling~ adequately. But now I am out of time and have to write SOMETHING before it’s too late.

on up

Tomorrow, my gf and I move 1600 miles to Kansas City, Missouri so that I can spend three months doing my dream job at a paid internship!

This is both exciting and terrifying! Exciting because: dream job, adventure, all that. Terrifying because: dream job, adventure, brand new place when I’ve lived in southern California for my ENTIRE LIFE.

The gf and I are trying to treat the traveling to Missouri portion as a fun and exciting road trip vacation extravaganza! We have to take both of our cars, so we wanted 9 hour driving blocks to keep from exhausting ourselves. I LOVE ROAD TRIPS. And I’ve never been through that part of the country (save Las Vegas, ’cause duh) so it is extra exciting to me. And terrifying. Because when we stop at the end of the road trip, I have to live there.

I also graduated from my MFA program on Saturday. After endless hoop-jumping to get my thesis approved by our idiotic graduate studies department and two years of feeling like I was constantly missing a step on a long, long staircase of both misery and joy, I AM DONE.

Right now I am really excited to be done with school, but I know I’ll be itching to go back in a year or so. I probably won’t, but I’ll WANT to.

I’m not going to miss my program. Or at least, I don’t think I will, not for a long time at least. But I am going to SEVERELY miss my classmates. Even when shit was bad, they continued to be awesome. I am going to miss them and my longtime friends and my family and WHY AM I MOVING 1600 MILES AWAY?!?!

Oh, right, adventure. Or whatever. Opportunity. Dream job. WHATEVER.


30 Day Meme -- What Is Love?

Day 5: Your Definition of Love

UGH. Again. I mean, seriously, meme. Failing me yet again and yet again, here we go.

I think this is probably not a TERRIBLE topic for someone who is into emotions and feelings more than I am, but I’m just not. Emotions are for other people to think about and for me to have and be really good at hiding, THANK YOU.

Anyway. I didn’t believe in romantic love or marriage or any of that stuff until the love thing happened to me. I think this is a normal/common/average thing coming from people who are weird/ugly/fat/geeky/outside the traditional norm because you just kind of get disenchanted about the whole thing. Love is an illusion! A shared hallucination!

I still believe that, I just get to participate now.

I knew that I was in love with my girlfriend because I wanted to be around her A LOT. And, like, let’s be honest: I did not, nor do I now have a lot of friends.

I have talked about being unlikeable before! I’m NOT LYING. And I spent a lot of time with those few people who WOULD put up with me.

But Crystal… I don’t know. We spent a truly astounding amount of time together and yet, when she was gone, I still really, really missed her. It was actually pretty disgusting and I tried not to talk about it to other people because it embarrassed me that I had feelings at all, let alone this weird needy desperate ones.

I think I realized in like, August of 2007 (four months after we met) that I was basically in love with her, whatever the fuck I thought that actually meant. I wanted to tell her one time, while we were walking around my grandma’s backyard, but I pussied out because I still wasn’t sure she was gay. And I thought she was a slut! (No joke! Untruer thoughts have never been had.)

And it was basically like, “Well, I guess I’m in love with this dumb bitch.” And she was my best friend and we didn’t start dating until May of 2008, so I spent a lot of months feeling really tortured and unhappy and TERRIBLE. Because you are not, NOT supposed to fall in love with your straight, slutty best friend. Especially when you don’t even believe in love.

I was all fucked up.

Basically, I know/knew that I love(d) my girlfriend because I want(ed) to be with her. I liked being with her. Spending a day with her was comfortable and satisfying and good. And even though I was miserable and hurting and wanting because I didn’t have her, because she didn’t love me back, it never once (ONCE!) occurred to me to just… stop hanging out with her.

Also, I like to hold her hand.

I have never in my entire life liked holding hands. I hold hands with my mom sometimes in public because she gets embarrassed and says, “ASHLEY, people will think we’re lesbians!” But otherwise, handholding is not an activity I ever engaged in. But now I want to hold Crystal’s hand all the time. Not kiss, not touch her boobs. Hold hands. In public and not. It’s gross. And I hate myself.

Also, the idea of not being a couple makes me uncomfortable and unhappy. And the idea of her dying makes me miserable in the vomiting all over myself and having a panic attack kind of way.

I think love is whatever the fuck you make of it. The girlfriend and I have figured out a life together that makes us pretty happy and I think the person you manage to do that with is worth hanging on to, generally speaking.

I think loving your family and loving your friends is just as important as loving your partner. I think cultivating relationships with people who will laugh at your jokes and take you to the airport and drive you around for three hours when you’re crying and losing your shit because everything is awful and buy you ice cream in the middle of the night is incredibly hard and important and scary and amazing.

Vulnerability is literally the hardest thing in the entire history of human beings. Being straight up honest about the fact that you have feelings and that you NEED things, the entire idea that you need things from other people? That’s fucked up! And awful.

Which is exactly why I prefer to leave emotions to people who are better at having a lot of them. Like… Mexican soap opera actresses and teenagers.

30 Day Meme — Your Parents

Day 3: Your Parents

I picked this picture because we all look equally terrible.

My parents are awesome. My parents are so awesome that the greatest guilt I have ever felt in my entire life has basically been that I am not a good enough daughter and that I have not been grateful enough for everything they’ve done for me.

Awkward admissions of offspring-guilt aside, my parents are awesome people.

My mom is one of the funniest people I have ever known, sometimes intentionally even. Her verbal filter is… minimal, so she says whatever she is thinking and never refrains from asking even the most honest and awkward questions. She has giant, giant boobs that neither me nor my sister inherited. Tragically. Or gratefully. I’m not really sure. She is really sharp, but really unobservant. She is the Occam’s Razor in the family.

She’s also one of the strongest people in my life and she’s survived, literally and figuratively, more than anyone else I have ever known. She also puts up with me and my sister and my dad and we are huge pains in the ass, so it’s really just another testament to her strength.

She likes to talk about her and my dad having sex or about the sluttier days of her youth because she knows that it HORRIFIES her daughters. We cannot drive east on Route 66 without her going, “I’ve had sex in that motel and THAT one and that one and THAT TEEPEE RIGHT THERE” because she is twisted and cruel. And was also kind of a whore. But a classy-ish one, I imagine/hope.

She loves animals and gets REALLY ABNORMALLY UPSET when people are mean to them. She has the BEST LAUGH EVER and if you get her laughing long and hard enough she will probably pee herself.

Fun facts: Mom doesn’t drive, drink, or think as highly of herself as she should. Because she’s awesome. She loves soap operas. And reality TV. And Elvis. And telling stories about getting stoned and/or drunk with her friends when she was in high school. She was the mascot at her middle school. She loved doing sports. SHE MAKES THE BEST BAKED SPAGHETTI ON EARTH. We are incredibly different, but eerily similar.

My dad is also really funny and smart and weird. He likes outlandish theories and tells everyone that he thinks Jesus was a time-traveler. He’s always been really, really good at his job and it’s something I was always really proud of as a kid. We were never rich, but I was always like, “YEAH, WELL, MY DAD’S CUSTOMERS LOVE HIM AND HE WINS AWARDS AND STUFF.” Because I knew how to throw down. My dad and I have always been really close and I look, sound, talk, and make an ass of myself just like he does. A lot of time when someone sets up a joke unintentionally in conversation, he and I both blurt out the same thing at the same time. And it’s usually stupid. And about poop.

My whole life I’ve been hearing, “OH, WELL HE SURE CAN’T DENY YOU, CAN HE?” every time that people see us together. And it’s still as annoying as ever. HE WOULD NEVER DENY ME BECAUSE I AM FUCKING AWESOME OKAY. Even though I grew up thinking the Japanese gardener that took care of our front lawn was my real dad. NO JOKE.

My dad was a slacker and a stoner and his stories about growing up are the BEST. Like how one time he broke his best friend’s face and how he fell on a stick and the NAIL JUTTING OUT OF IT stuck it to his face and how his mom (my sometimes uptight grandmother) got stoned with him one time. HIS STORIES ARE THE BEST. Or how one time he got an F in art and that same grandmother stormed into the class and was like, “HOW CAN YOU FAIL SOMEONE IN ART?! ART IS SUBJECTIVE!” and the teacher showed her what my dad had done in class and she said, “Oh, okay” and left.

My dad tries to be good at the internet and he has an angry political blog! And he’s pretty passionate about the US Constitution, which is a decent thing to be passionate about if you have to get all passionate and shit.

Fun facts: my dad collects guns (for target shooting) and likes the History and Military channels. He is really good at saying the right things. He played baseball in high school and was a boy scout. His high school principal called him Line Drive. He and his sister (my awesome Aunt Sisi) are a year and ten days apart in age. He is a really good cook and loves to fart. We are eerily similar, but incredibly different.

I was conceived on the Fourth of July 1984 shortly after my mom had her trusty IUD removed. They had sex (UGH GROSS — FOR THE ONLY (my sister and I have different dads) TIME EVER — DENIAL DENIAL I LIKE DENIAL) and my dad said, “Well, that made a baby.” My mom said that if she didn’t get pregnant by her thirtieth birthday, she wasn’t going to have another kid (my sister was already eight). She turned thirty on August 14 and I was already 1/9th of the way to being ripped out of her abdomen with medical instruments. TAKE THAT, AGING.

My parents are awesome enough that at different points over the course of my sister’s and my lives they have let one of her friends, one of her boyfriends, two of my friends, and my girlfriend live in their home. They’re letting me mooch off of them in my lost twenties. They have always encouraged me no matter what stupid thing I wanted to do. They bought me booze when I was underage in college. They used to come to my college apartment, buy us groceries, wash all of our dishes, clean our kitchen, and MAKE US MEALS.

These are good people, seriously.

I don’t know how I got so lucky, but if there’s any balance to the universe, I will probably have the worst children ever to be conceived. Like, the antichrist. JUST ANOTHER REASON TO NEVER HAVE ANY.

More narcissism here.

30 Day Meme — Your First Love

Day 2: Your First Love

I’ve talked about her before, extensively, but my girlfriend Crystal is my first love. We had a really weird and complicated courtship because we were friends for more than a year before we finally talked about dating and I thought she was straight and she didn’t think I wanted babies/marriage (I didn’t/don’t, but I tricked her good!) and she made me promise that I would at least consider the possibility of children and marriage before she would date me. (She will say that I am lying and that “it wasn’t like that” but she will be lying through her fake front teeth.)

And then we did like lesbians do and moved in together really quickly. Or, rather, she moved in with me and my parents. Granted, we’d already planned to live together as roommates once we got our shit together, but that still hasn’t happened and we have sex, so I don’t think you can really call us “roommates”.

We’ve been together for two years, three months, and three days. We plan to eventually get married — she cares about the marriage license-y part where I have to legally agree to share my life with her, I only care about the awesome party — but I have a really complicated timeline that I deem acceptable for the development of our relationship and I don’t think we should get married for at least another three years. Or at the very least until we’re not living with my parents anymore. Which will probably be like, ten years at this rate.

I love Crystal because she is funny and smart and generous and takes care of me even though I usually fight her about it. I threaten to break up with her about once a week over both trivial and serious shit. Sometimes I’m joking, sometimes I’m just trying to make her cry. Because I’m a dick.

We like a lot of the same things and we get on each others’ nerves a pretty significant amount, which I constantly have to convince her is normal. (She thinks people who are in ~love~ should never fight or bicker, but let’s get real here.) We live in a 13×12 room together, so we’re on top of each other a lot and it’s hard when we want our own space. I was a SUPER SOLITARY person before we started dating/moved in together, so it is still weird for me to have someone around all the time who wants to hang out with me. I DON’T EVEN WANT TO HANG OUT WITH ME.

She’s pretty big on personal hygiene for herself so she usually smells nice and has soft hair, but is kind enough not to care if I don’t change my clothes for three days or if I have B.O. Also, she laughs at all my jokes, which is REALLY IMPORTANT. And she always supports my writing even if I get all pissed at her because she was TOO ENTHUSIASTIC or NOT ENTHUSIASTIC ENOUGH or MAKING TOO MANY SUGGESTIONS or NOT CARING ENOUGH GOD DAMN IT.

She puts up with my fickleness and my insanity and she buys me stuff ALL THE TIME.

My family loves the shit out of her too, which would be a 100% dealbreaker if they didn’t.

Anyway, she’s my first love basically because she has boobs and she lets me touch them. Usually whenever I want. She’s the best.

More narcissism here.

30 Day Meme! — Introduce Yourself

AKA: A Bunch of Shit You Probably Don’t Even Want to Know!

So this is one of those internet questionnaires that probably went around in emails and then into the blog and online journal spheres until it became a narcissistic series of THIRTY POSTS that are supposed to reveal your ~true self~ to the internet. And since I am nothing if not a COMPLETE NARCISSIST, I’m doing it.

Day 1: Introduce Yourself

My name is Ash. I’m 25. I’m getting ready for my second and last year of grad school where I am trying to get an MFA in writing (fiction) and writing a book and being a reader for a pretty okay group of other writers.

These are the three most recent pictures taken of me, least to most recent:

The top and bottom were taken by my gf because she is obsessed with my hair and also putting things into my bun, like pens and flowers. The middle one is a self-portrait! Told you I was a narcissist.

I like all of the media things that I talk about: books, movies, tv shows, the internet, music, and comic books/graphic novels. I also like taking pictures of shit, but I think all of the conceptual/technical photography stuff is really, really boring. If I like a picture, I like a picture. Fuck your rule of thirds.

I’ve been writing since I was little and I spent all of third grade carrying around those black and white composition books where I wrote stories about the kids in my class then told them that I wrote stories about them, but wouldn’t show them the stories unless they did things for me and then always, 100% of the time, refused to show them anyway.

I was, and am, kind of a dick.

I am not a great or a dedicated writer. I have never been a devoted or hardworking person. Ever. I write because I like it and it comes easily and my basic number one goal in life is to never, ever have to work hard at anything.

My first novel is a young adult story and I love it even when it’s a huge fucking cunt that I want to punch in the face over and over again. I am pretty certain that young adult is really where I belong as a writer (and a reader!) so I am already looking at other MFA programs that specialize in YA/children’s lit to go to after I finish this program, since I am obviously not at all ready to try and be part of the real world.

Also, I have no marketable or useful skills to speak of. I have only ever taught and written for money. I am useless at everything else except for working at a video store, which I was great at! But is now totally obsolete as a career choice. God damn it.

I am really fat and loud and usually smart and funny. I am not into outdoor activities at all unless it’s going to Disneyland or walking from my car into a place of business. I am into fat acceptance and body positivity and feminism and equalism and gay rights and human rights and the general ability for awesomeness that I believe the human race probably does possess deep down inside somewhere under all the evil and body odor.

I’m an adamant atheist and I think religion is basically stupid. I don’t understand people who aren’t pro-choice or pro-gay marriage. Basically, I was born and raised in California.

I have absolute faith that there is intelligent life somewhere in the universe. I will absolutely punch you in the mouth if you somehow infer that believing in the statistical probability of aliens is comparable to believing in ghosts/werewolves/vampires/Jesus.

I live with my parents (fail!twenties, represent!) and my girlfriend and four dogs and two cats and we are all pretty awesome. I am close to my parents and my older (by nine years) sister. My family is really weird and one of my neighbor friends once said to me, “You guys are, like, really loud.” and she was totally 100% right. I don’t think she meant it as a compliment like we took it though.

I can be really rude and brash and obnoxious and because of these awesome personality defects, I have a really hard time making friends. The few I have are basically stuck with me whether they like it or not. I never know if the people around me actually like/tolerate me because I have a really hard time reading people and body language. I am also sort of bossy and demanding and I have unreachably high standards when it comes to public decorum. I AM A GREAT PERSON TO BE AROUND. CAN’T YOU TELL?! WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE LOVE MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE?!

Basically, I have spent my entire life being incapable of keeping my mouth shut, completely unable to stop the torrential outpouring of verbal diarrhea that makes up my personality.

I am fucking awesome.

More narcissism here.