Tales of a wandering lesbian

Category — Workin’

Ready

“Honey, I think what you’re putting out there is, ‘roadblock’.”

I’d asked my roommates for a little reflection.  It’d been an interesting few weeks on the dating front.  I’d gone from nursing a broken heart, to not wanting to date anyone, to playing around with online dating, to realizing that I value the shared experience of a long-term relationship, to finding myself in a love triangle, on a date with a straight woman, considering dating women living in other states, and falling for a wonderful, but unavailable woman – all as I prepared to continue my personal journey on two other continents.  It was a bit much.

My poor roommates.  I love them so very much.  They’ve watched me through all of this.  And the roadblock comment seems pretty right on the mark.

I’ve been identifying my warning labels, sharing my limitations, and holding back the parts of me that might overwhelm.  Or pushing them forward as a kind of test to see if they will.  It’s like when I get someone a present.  Or make a fabulous dinner.  I lead with an apology. “They didn’t have what I really wanted to get you, so I got this…” “The onion isn’t exactly what I’d wanted, but I hope it’s okay…”  It takes the sting away if they don’t’ like it.  And it’s the same for me.

If I don’t give my full self, and I’m rejected, the other person isn’t rejecting the real me, so it’s not so bad.  If I overwhelm the person on purpose, I’m getting what I expected, so that’s not so bad either.  If I throw up a roadblock, or make sure there’s one in the way, it’s a bonus if I can find a work-around.  But it’s only what was expected when it falls apart.

I’m done with that now.

So here’s my statement to the universe:  I am ready.  I am ready to accept into my life adventure and passion and abundance.  I am ready to unleash the full me and to welcome with open arms all of the beauty that comes.  I am ready.  For a life of radiant love.  For a life of wonder.  I am ready.

Oh, and also thank you.

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May 4, 2010   1 Comment

Awesome

Since I’ve returned from my first leap (gallivanting through Italy – you might remember it), I’ve slowed down a little with my MidLeap posts.  For some reason, I don’t feel like my days are filled with as much interesting stuff as when I was eating my way through Rome, or trudging through a Venice flood.

I’ll be headed to Hawaii in less than a week, which should make for some good outdoor, undersea, and culinary adventures.  So stay tuned.  In the mean time…

To prove that I’ve actually been doing something with myself in the month since I’ve been back, I’d like to introduce you to a new project – another website you can check every morning for good stuff:  365Awesome.com

365 Awesome

The idea behind 365Awesome is a pretty simple (and awesome) one.  Each day, we present one awesome thing.  That’s pretty much it.

My friends Michele, Celia and I look for awesome things, and then share them on 365Awesome.com.  We’ve assigned categories to each day of the week, so if you’re more into food and drink than books and arts, you can check out that category.  There’s pretty much something for everyone – unless you’re un-awesome.

We’re always on the look-out for awesome things, so feel free to send us your ideas.  See a story about an awesome person?  Use an awesome product?  Eat at an awesome restaurant?  Let us know!

So there it is.  I’m going to be posting more often on MidLeap, but if you just can’t get enough of my food and product recommendations here, head on over to 365Awesome and check it out.  You can even sign up for an awesome newsletter.  Awesome.

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January 15, 2010   1 Comment

An open letter to the folks at SURVIVOR

Hi.

I know it’s been a while.  Frankly, I was hurt when I didn’t hear from you.  I thought I would be okay.  That the expression of my feelings was the most important thing to me.  That I could tell you how I felt, and that would be enough.  No expectations, no judgment.  That’s what I had intended.

But it’s not the reality of the situation.  That’s funny.  REALITY…

I can’t script my feelings –  and I really don’t want to.  I can’t cast who I fall for – and I fell hard for you.

I mean, I poured my heart out.  Videos, pictures, “three words to describe yourself”.  I did what I was asked.  Not even a phone call.  It’s true, you said you probably wouldn’t call, but I had hoped.  I had dreamed.  I had even planned and schemed a little.  And no call.  I was obsessed with you, studying your every move, your every word.  Enamored.  So, I took some time.

I took some time for myself.  And here I am, making myself a better person – not for you – for me.  I’m making myself a better friend, a better partner, and yes – a better applicant.  And do you notice?  No, it doesn’t matter.  I’m not doing it for you.  Still…

I thought maybe you’d like to know what I’ve been doing while I’m away.

For one thing, I’m building fires.  Yup, I’ve gotten pretty good at it.  One match every time.  If I had a flint, I’d be all set.

And I’m gathering food.  I can find food in strange settings, searching for local delicacies.  And I eat what I find.  I’ve made myself sick a couple of times eating strange things.  But it’s worth it.  It’s all worth it.  I’m growing.  Learning a lot about myself.  And the language.  Oh yes, I’m even learning the language.  When I do something, I do it right.  But you wouldn’t know about that.

It’s okay, really it is.  I wouldn’t be here on this adventure if you’d put me on your island.  So, I guess I should say “thank you”.  Thank you.

So now it’s my turn.  You probably won’t hear from me.  Now I’m the interesting one.  And what are you?  An aging fad?  We’ll see who outlasts whom, won’t we?

Well, I’m off to see the world.  I’ll let you know if I’m in your neighborhood.  Or, I mean, I guess you could call sometime if you wanted.  Or something…Oh, who am I kidding?  I still love you.  I still want you.  Maybe we could give it another go?  Tell you what, I’ll send you a video and three words that describe myself.  But only if you’ll call.  Can you handle that?  Just one phone call?  We can take it from there.  We have the whole world in front of us.

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November 23, 2009   No Comments

Hair

First things first. This is an emotional post for me, so I want to set some things out at the top. To my family and friends: I love you. End of story. To the girls in middle school: I hope you have fulfilling lives and are nice to people who are different from you. To the hiring attorneys: I really want to curse you, but that would only hurt me, so I hope you have gay children and that they teach you compassion. Oh, and thanks for not hiring me. There’s no way I’d be bumming around Italy right now if you had. Okay, on with the show!

Going on holiday has a certain energy about it. There’s excitement, and curiosity. There’s a sense of escape. You can be anyone on vacation, and everything is new.
An extended vacation brings with it a different set of emotions. You get the excitement and curiosity that comes on a vacation, but then you settle into your surroundings. Maybe you pick a favorite coffee shop or restaurant. Maybe the clerks at the grocery store start to recognize you.

And then there’s the experience of moving. There’s excitement, yes. Apprehension, probably. Fear, maybe. There’s a certain finality to a move.
What I’m experiencing right now is a combination of these experiences. It’s more like going away to college, or an all-summer camp. I’m not on vacation, but things are certainly exciting. I’ve chosen a couple of regular coffee shops, where the people start making cappuccini when I walk in. And my Italian family shows itself as family in unexpected ways. Like with my hair.

I keep my hair fairly short. About once every 4 weeks I shave it down to no longer than ½ inch. At about the 4-week mark, I start to go a little insane with all the little curls that appear. (Yes, Mom, I know they’re precious. They’re also distracting and frustrating.) If things get crazy, I might trim the back and sides and go 6 weeks between a cut.

And, I cut my own hair. Maybe 10 years ago I realized that I was paying someone else to cut it and then going home – or even to the car – to re-cut it the way I wanted. So I learned how to give myself a pretty darn good haircut in the shower with scissors. Then I found that I really do enjoy having really short hair, and I started shaving it regularly.

I just feel lighter – less attached – when I cut my hair. There’s no good way that I’ve found to explain it, but it is clear that my hair is a source of control for me. It’s been a source of struggle, and one of pain, and I’ve tried for years to take control of it. And an oddly large number of the people in my life have tried to take control of it as well.

Like in middle school, just for example. I’m not sure what my hair did to the people in my school to earn their ire. Maybe it was the way it poofed out, all frizz, bushy and unmanageable – different from everyone else. Maybe it was the way I slicked it back, pulled hard into a giant ponytail. Maybe it was just that it was MY hair. (It’s true,my intimidating good looks and intelligence can be hard for others to handle.) Who knows? All that really matters is that it was enough for girls I barely knew to kick the crap out of me when we played flag-football in PE, shouting “bushwacker!” as they pulled me down. Yeah, “bushwacker.” They had no idea how funny that would be.

And I remember vividly the night of the high school dance when one of my friends brought over a giant bottle of gel and did my hair. Over the course of an hour, we used probably half the bottle on my crazy hair. The effect was good. The frizz turned into curls. I was unrecognizable. I actually had multiple people come up to me at the dance and ask me if I was new. So I spent the next few years applying insane amounts of gel to my hair daily – eventually just to the top of my head (no, I don’t know why, and yes, I’ll try to post pics). I was never really able to duplicate the style, though.

When I left for college, I had sported short hair for a couple of years, but my hair was still ridiculously bushy. The pictures from that first year of college are hilarious. Me with my mushroom head, knowing that I was the shit. It wasn’t until my second year that I finally cut it all. Without telling my family or friends, I got up my courage, walked the mile or so to the salon and told them to cut it – short. Even the damn stylist – WHO I WAS PAYING – didn’t want to cut it. After the second round of cuts (she wanted to make sure of how short I wanted it, so she cut it about half the way and tried to convince me to leave it there), I walked out feeling exhilarated. Aside from the enormous amount of product the stylist had put in, trying to make it look curly and sweet, my hair was the closest it had ever been to the way I wanted it.

I waited about a week before I had my friend Jason shave my head. And at least two weeks before I told my family. From that point, there was no going back. I’d call Jason every month or so for a cut (we’d call him “Frederico Choo-Choo!” when he was my stylist), and I’d have an internal battle about whether to cut my hair before going home for holidays. If I didn’t cut it, was it because I was letting my fear of disapproval control me? If I did cut it, was it because I was responding to that same fear, equally controlled by it? An unwinnable battle. And one I still struggle with.

I learned two things about my hair in law-school. First, it can be a convenient excuse for a reason not to hire someone with great credentials. A couple of male hiring attorneys had told the director of career services that they would have hired me, but they were concerned about the blonde highlights that I had put in my hair. She told them it would grow out. I told her I didn’t want to work in a place where they wanted to control my hair (read: apparent sexual orientation. It was clear they weren’t really concerned about my hair).

When I worked as a GLBT organizer, I wasn’t so concerned with my hair. In fact, I grew it longer than it’s been in years and years. The day after we lost the election, though, I shaved the four inches of hair, looking for some kind of a fresh start. And I was relieved – and devastated by the loss of the election. Working with school districts, or fundraising for babies, I was always conscious of how I was perceived. Would people be less likely to work with me if my hair was too short for their liking? Ultimately, did it really matter if I had long hair, if I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin – in my own hair.

The girls in middle school were lashing out at someone who was different. The hiring attorneys were acting out of fear and ignorance. Anyone who might choose not to work with me is someone I can afford to lose. But, my family and friends care about me, and I love them. And that complicates things. My grandmother has finally stopped crying when she sees my hair. That’s a definite bonus. Now she just asks me to grow it long for her funeral – every time I see her. My sister tells my mom to leave my hair alone, and that’s nice, but even she asked me to leave it long for her wedding. My girlfriends have all had input as to how they think my hair should be. The smart ones, however, told me how much they liked my hair more often than they expressed their opinions about what I should do with it.

And that brings me to my Italian family. Last week I announced that it was time for a haircut. “No!” was Sandra’s response. “Yes.” This was a familiar battle, but one I hadn’t really expected. I was just looking for a place to get an electric razor. Yes, I feel a kinship with my new friends – one I can’t explain. Yes, I love them dearly. Yes, I feel that they care about me as well. But why my hair? I know we’re in Italy, in little, conservative towns. But, I’ve had a shaved head in Idaho, and in Salem, and Albany, and many other little, conservative towns. And it’s not like I’m going to take a straight razor to it and spit-polish my head. Maybe it represents an overt statement that I am, indeed, an unapologetic lesbian that makes everyone nervous, but I don’t think so. Almost everything about me is a statement to that effect. It could be discomfort with the gender-non-conforming nature of a woman with really short hair. But, I get called “sir” MUCH more often when I have longer hair than when it’s shaved. It could be that other people like my hair longer and I like it shorter, but the attachment to my hair – on all sides – seems more than a style-preference. I really don’t know what it’s about. What’s more, I don’t know why it’s so important to me. Last night I had the opportunity to examine this in a new way.

Tommy, the 14-year old boy I live with, has weighed in with his opinion of my hair – which has been the subject of a couple of dinner conversations. “NOOOO!” He motioned to the sides of his face, indicating the curls that are starting to form in my sideburns. “Yes, Tom. Anyway, I’m almost out of gel, so that will be it. Two days, max.”

Last night, when Tom came back from the salon where he was having a trim, he had a bag for me – a present. “Now, there are no more excuses,” he said, putting the bag proudly in my hands. It was a bottle of gel. Tom stood in front of me, waiting for a reaction. And, I felt completely out of control. Here stood this beautiful boy who, with a sweet and misguided gesture, had tried to help. I turned my back on him. I muttered “thanks, Tom, but I’m still cutting my hair.” I couldn’t find the way to be kind. I couldn’t find the way to be gracious. All I wanted to do was run to the nearest barber shop and shave my head. And I felt controlled. By a 14-year-old boy, and by twenty 14-year-old girls shouting, “bushwacker!”

When we all got home, Tom asked me if the gel was alright. “Yes, Tom, thank you very much. It’s very sweet. But I’m still cutting my hair.” I must have had a look on my face. Sandra asked “what’s happened?” She’s incredibly intuitive. “Everyone has to stop caring about my hair,” was all I could get out before I had to walk away. I was now in the position to have to tell a wonderful child that he had wasted his money and his emotion on something that I can’t even explain. Hiding in the bathroom, I found some space to think about just exactly I could tell Tommy about why I reacted to his gift the way I did. I felt like I owed him that much. But I didn’t have the words. So I thought. And in the context of Tommy’s gift I was able to come up with this: There are times in life when people want you to be a certain way, whether it’s how you act, or what you do for a living, how you raise your kids, or how you look. And it can be very hard sometimes to know the difference between what it is that other people want you to be, and what it is you want to be. It can be very difficult, but very important.

I have no idea if that realization will mean anything in the battle for my hair. I’m hoping maybe I’ll be able to disengage from it; to neutralize it. The only reason I see it as a battle is because I’m fighting in it; invested in it. That might be too big a step. I’m not sure. Maybe for now we could just declare a truce while I work out my exit strategy. At least now I have some gel while I’m working it all out. And people who care enough about me to share their opinions of my hair.

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November 20, 2009   13 Comments

Can I sell out now?

As you may have noticed, there are now ads appearing on MidLeap.  No, the site was not hijacked.  I just want to be prepared when my site goes viral.  It would be a travesty not to have Google ads up and running when the hordes arrive.

For those of you who don’t know how bloggers make money, here it is:  advertising.  Companies pay Google to place their ads on websites, and Google pays the websites to actually host the ads.  The payments come for one of two things.  Some websites get paid for each click.  If a reader clicks on an ad, the hosting website gets paid.  Other websites get paid by the view – usually they get paid less for a view than a click.  For every reader who views an ad, the website gets paid.

This means a couple of things.  First, there is now content on MidLeap that was not written or designed by me.  Second, I have not put a stamp of approval on any individual ads.  That means I don’t personally endorse any of the products or ideas portrayed in the ads. This will be come quite evident…

Google is very secretive about how it matches ads with website content – but it does try to match these two things.  Makes sense, right?  Tell people who are reading about the Italian language that they can purchase language instruction.

Chinese Ad

But why Chinese?

And, I understand that I’m writing about a lot of food in the Portland category, but seriously?

Weight Loss Ad

Not so sure this is my audience, guys.

And this.  This is perhaps my favorite.

ObamaCare Ad

For real?  This is the ad placed in the “Politics” category?  Wow.  Yeah.  So, let me reiterate the fact that I have not approved, nor do I endorse these ads. I do, however endorse and approve of Google ads, as they will soon be paying me.

I haven’t clicked on any of these ads – I think I’m under contract not to – and I’m not supposed to ask you to click on the ads (I know I’m under contract for that).  Fotrunately, my mom clicked on one, thinking I’d put some new fun link on the site, so I got a full report.  That was before this post and before I’d put the qualifying “Ad” above the little ad box.  Not sure how I’m supposed to trick people into clicking now.  I’m sure as heck not relying on the ads to be matched with the content…

Hiker Ad

I mean really.  How does this relate to working?  Then again, maybe I should cut Google some slack.  I’m not sure what kind of ad I’d match with articles about superhero dress-up and getting bit by a parrot.

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September 20, 2009   No Comments