Sunday, September 19, 2010
When I write I usually get triggered by some kind of outside force that inspires me. A song lyric. A strange encounter. A conversation. A smile. You know, just something. Anytime I schedule a time to write it is usually a pretty big steaming pile of shit. Everybody's favorite. Definitely.
As of today, I have been triggered by a said 'outside force'. Clearly.
I sat by a nun on the train today. If that's not reason to write, I just don't know what is.
Let me explain.
I got on the train today to head to work, completely reeling from my 40hr school week and my 35 hour work week and probably exuding a pretty pleasant "I hate the world and just want sleep" vibe. Just one of those weeks I suppose where everything is a personal offense, and you have to breath and think happy thoughts like Peter Pan suggests. But it didn't seem to be working to well for me today.
And then a nun sits down beside me.
At first, I think I was staring at her like she was Santa Claus, because I mean, I didn't know nuns really existed...let alone rode the train. Then I just started smiling really big.
She was about 55 years old give or take and she was wearing a Jansport backpack. Awesome. And then the thought dawned on me that we both, the nun and myself, were probably both virgins. The thought amused me quite a bit. I was on the verge of outwardly laughing but I figured that would be rude. And then at one of the stops there was one of those ever so lovely "ARE YOU STILL A VIRGIN?" posters and right next to it was a poster for a movie called "The Town." This is funny because the poster for "The Town" has people dressed as creepy nuns on it. I can only imagine that both those posters side by side were very unsettling for my nun friend, while only one of them is unsettling for me. Perspective.
After seeing both those posters my outward laughter was harder to contain. I made eye contact with a guy who was across from me, and he was smiling just as big as I was. We laughed. Little did he know, I was laughing because of the irony of sitting next to a fellow old virgin while he was probably laughing at the irony of a nun sporting a sweet backpack and a swanky wooden Jesus necklace, riding a train. I hope that's why he was laughing.
After the laughing urges settled I couldn't help but watch this woman. She was pretty fascinating. Her smile was one of the most genuine expressions I've seen in a long time. Everything delighted her. A little girl with pigtails, the mariachi band that sang songs for money, the man who gave his seat to a young lady...everything made her eyes turn into little slivers of joy and displayed her many laugh lines on her well lived face. I could tell she saw so much beauty in the everyday things and that made her one of the most beautiful people I have ever observed.
She was the embodiment of joy.
My heart has been kind of heavy over the past two months. I've looking at each day, thinking about what I have to do, what I haven't done, what I want, what I long for, what I lack, the stream of bad luck I've encountered and so forth. And as I result, I've been tired, I've been unpleasant and I've lost track of my joy.
I get on the subway train and I look for the least smelly person to sit by. I get pissed when the mariachi band is playing on the train because I can't hear my i-pod. I fill with rage when the train gets stopped for traffic and I want to throw my shoe at the creepy dudes. And I go through my day taking inventory of all the things I want to avoid and I seclude myself to the world with a cold demeanor.
But this nun. This damn beautiful, happy nun shook me up today.
I live in NYC. I am going to school 5 days a week and being taught by some of the most extraordinary professionals in the theatrical world. I can pay my bills. I am surrounded by love. I am doing what I love. I live in a place I love. So why a I choosing to only search for the moments I am turned off by? Why is it that this nun seems to only see the joyful moments?
Perhaps it's the power of choice. She chooses to see light and joy. She is a real life Peter Pan living in her everyday Neverland because she chooses the 'happy thoughts.'
Sometimes it's easy to forget that we are strong enough to choose our thoughts and see the world as a place we like. And I like this world. And I really like that nun.
If ever our worlds collide again, I hope that when she sits next to me our old virginity isn't the only thing we have in common...but our joy.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
When he told me about the signs thought he probably misread the sign. But I guess that would be too weird of a thing to misread because a few days later every single train stop I encountered was littered in the virgin bulletin posters. Sometimes the world mocks me.
Okay universe, I get it...
Saturday, July 10, 2010
You see, from a young age I've always been under the impression that ladies wake up with flowing luscious hair, with a perfectly chipper face and naturally we are supposed to run to the window, spring it open and let the little blue birds land on our finger and sing us a morning song all while the wind blows through our stunning tresses.
This has yet to happen in my life.
Like I said a typical morning results in me looking severely homeless, and I'm constantly haunted by certain voices in my family, asking why I don't date or where my boyfriend is, and me giving them a sarcastic response like "Well, if you'd see me in the morning you'd know why I'm single" and they then awkwardly laugh, feel kind of bad for me and then toy with the idea of whether I'm a lesbian or a strange recluse.
I'm not. A lesbian that is.
My sister and my mom gave me a lesbian time limit when I was in high school. My sister, who is absolutely stunning might I add, said "If you don't have a boyfriend by your sophomore year of high school, then you're probably a lesbian." My mother graciously said "No, if she doesn't have one by junior year, then maybe something is up." Thanks for looking out Mom.
Apparently, my ridiculous posters of N*SYNC and my obsession for all things Leonardo DiCaprio wasn't enough to convince them that I wasn't harboring same sex tendencies.
I could just see my mom telling the family, "Yes, Kelley is just as gorgeous as ever, all the boys are drooling over her and Colleen, well, she's just as smart and funny as ever…no attention from the boys, but that's okay, she may be a lesbian, and you know what I support her 100%."
The thought of these conversations happening between my mom and other family members really bothered me, for the shear fact, that I think they aren’t putting all the facts into play. My sister, looks like a Barbie doll with excellent hair and perfect skin and eats whatever she wants and maybe weighs 110lbs, where as I look like a Cabbage Patch doll, and have very bizarre hair and the pastiest skin this side of the Mississippi. Not to mention I watch very carefully what I eat, but I am still convinced my sister did some kind of magic trick when I was born to ensure that whatever she eats, I gain the weight for her. My sister gets hit on by the hot waiter, and I get hit on my the homeless man who really only wants the 50 cents he saw me drop from my purse. My sister has a gorgeous baby, and while I’ve yet to have kids, and won’t for some time, I can only imagine that my child will come out of the womb with his right leg attached to his forehead. You know, for consistency’s sake.
Although it is comforting to know that I have a family that supports me as a lesbian, even if it is a little disappointing to them, that I am as straight as ever.
Coming from a genetically blessed family is a burden.
Just when you thought starving children in Africa had it hard…
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Which means that a soul mate is more than likely defined as a the puzzle piece that fits perfectly into that immaterial part of a person. A mate that completes the picture, that ices the cake of the individual life. Right?
If someone asked me to define exactly what I would look for in a potential soul mate I assume it would be a short laundry list that was as follows:
- Effortless humor
- A manly protecting nature accented by sensitivity
- An artistic passion for life
- A good hugger
I actually haven't given it much thought, to be honest. But I imagine that those six qualities would be present in a potential soul mate.
I have been thinking about this alot lately. Wondering if I even believe in soul mates, if everyone is made to match another human being in the world. It seems incredibly improbable in this world, but the idea is nice. The idea is grand and intoxicating, sure but is it just something that we all cling to for security? Security against loneliness?
We all come into this world alone, as so many people like to bring up in the most depressing of situations. I mean how many times have you heard the phrase "We come into this world alone and we will leave the world alone?" I bet you've heard it more than you care to mention. It never makes you feel better either. It's a depressing thought and a depressing word of wisdom but is it true?
Technically, it's not. You are not alone in the womb, because well..
A. It's not your womb.
B. It's INSIDE someone.
C. You are fully connected to another human being by an umbilical cord when you are pushed out into the world. (Unless you were a test tube baby, and in that case I really don't know what to say to you because I don't know much about test tube babies and the image I have of them is something along the lines of a baby growing in a jar full of baby growing juices until they take the lid off one day and the baby is fully developed and equipped with a diaper already on. That's how it works, right?)
But essentially we are alone but not at the same time. It's quite a paradox. Just like the paradox that people surround themselves in when they say that they love to be alone but then their biggest fear is being alone. It's just a weird, weird mix of human quirks.
I've always wanted a soul mate. I've always fancied myself the type that will have this epic story of romantic proportions to tell my kids one day.
"I was trapped inside of a burning theatre on Broadway I was working in and everyone got out of the building except for me and your father came swooping in, flying towards me like a majestic phoenix and throwing me over his shoulder and then bringing me to safety almost immediately. He realized he loved me and how could I NOT love him after that, then he kissed me passionately and that's how me and your ruggedly handsome fire fighter father met. The rest is just history."
You know...something like that.
But apparently my life isn't a 1930's melodrama and my romantic encounters in the past have been far from heroic, far from romantic, and sadly, no fire fighters. Which makes me really wonder if I do indeed believe in soul mates.
The idea of a soul mate was never an original idea in my own head, it was always something I read about, saw in the movies, heard people crooning about in love songs, so I figured it was just a natural part of life that we all were going to encounter at some point or another before our time is up on this Earth.
Which gets me to think, how many people have an idea of their ideal mate? How many people can give laundry lists of all the qualities they want that said person to inhabit? And then on the other hand how many people can make a laundry list of the qualities that make up their OWN soul?
Chances are it's easier for people to say what they want rather than what they are. Perhaps I am being presumptuous in saying such things but I really feel like I am right in this statement. I don't think people spend enough time being alone with themselves, falling in love with who they are and what they have to offer and celebrating themselves. Why do that when you can look at someone else, fall in love with them, celebrate them? Seemingly it's absurd and selfish to be self involved, it's more romantic to be invested in this other soul, this other life and marvel at it. Because then you don't have to think about the things that bother you about your own self. And then you are not (oh no, here that word comes again) alone.
But what if?
What if we were more selfish with our souls? Just for a little bit. Just enough 'me' time to really get to KNOW ourselves, so that we can share again?
I mean yikes, scary right? What if you delve into the recesses of your soul and find things you can't stand? I know I've been finding some gems in my own soul that I'm not proud of, but I think I'm getting to know them better and mustering up some courage to change those things or at least I'm acknowledging them more.
What I think I am trying to say here is, maybe we should stop getting so wrapped up in definitions. Definitions that aren't our own. Maybe we would be happier and more satisfied in life if we took our time more, figured ourselves out more, if we looked at the fear of loneliness and spit in it's face and realized that we aren't really alone most of the time and that patience is truly a virtue alot of us (including me of course) know not of.
I have this hope that once I am truly at peace with myself, all my quirks, all my charms, all my flaws, then I will bump into that soul who is finds those quirks, charms, and flaws intriguing and wonderful and I in turn will find theirs just as intriguing and wonderful and the rest will unfold from there. The rest will adapt, thrive and flourish and maybe then a more realistic (and yes I'll be the first to say) CLICHE story to tell the kids will be along the lines of...
"Well honestly, I met my soul mate when I wasn't even looking."
But until that happens, I am going to spend some more time getting to know this Colleen character.
I'm getting more and more okay with that.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
These are not those times.
I am not in the era of Queen Elizabeth (although the title The Virgin Queen Colleen has a fantastic ring to it) and I have no intention on giving birth to the next Messiah, so naturally I feel a bit behind and a little out of place in the world I live in.
Back then, men heard the term virgin and they thought "good marriage material" and today men hear virgin and they think "woaaahhhh baggage, she'll probably fall in love with me and become a stage-4 clinger."
So it's no secret as to why I've veiled myself in ambiguity and mystery whenever I am dating someone or in a romantic situation that may bring up this topic of conversation.
And let me be frank (as if I wasn't being that already), keeping my v-card safely hidden in the wallet of my life has been quite stressful and has lead to many an awkward situation.
A little over a year ago I found myself in a dangerous dance of epic proportions.
It was just before the summer time and I was hosting an awards ceremony at my old college. My lovely step-mother and I went out shopping for a nice dress for the occassion and we found the perfect match for the event. Perfect price, bright color, funky cut and lots of sass. Right up my alley. So I come out of the fitting room and my step-mom brings up the idea of getting a spray tan to make the color pop some more. Which was probably just a nice way of suggesting to me that if I don't get some color on my skin, I will probably blind the audience and give Casper a run for his money. So I cooked on the idea, did some research on spray tans and thought that I'd give it a go.
So I head to Palm Beach Tan about 3 days before the event and I tell the guy that I would like a tan of the spray variety. He gives me a lesson on how to stand in the big weird machine, tells me exactly how to apply this magic lotion that will keep my hands from looking like the pre-stages of leporacy and then before I know it, I am 5 short minutes away from being the golden goddess I have always dreamed of being.
A few hours after the tan was shot all over my body, I start to see this golden color come to life on my skin. I looked in the mirror and thought "Wow, this looks great!" Aside from the fact that I messed up the hands and they looked pretty terrifying...but I was willing to look past that because HOT DAMN I was TAN!
The awards ceremony came and went, and I got compliments on my new glow (I hid my streaky hands well.) I felt unstoppable. I felt like everything I had been missing in life was just some pigment in my skin.
Slowly and quite surely I became a tan-aholic or tanerexic as it were. The second I saw that ghostly color come creeping back across my skin, you bet your ass I was back at Palm Beach getting my spray on. Some might refer to this as being vanity's bitch and oh boy I was a very bronze bitch at this point. Nothing could go wrong with this tan magic. I could have written sonnets and love songs about my fervid affair.
So time starts to creep on and tanning starts to become part of my weekly routine. Work, rehearsal, tan, rinse and repeat.
Now, I told you I was going to write of awkward love stories and right about now is probably when you are getting nervous that the kind of awkward love stories I am going to be writing of, are going to be about inatimate objects and vain obsessions, but bear with me here, I promise you will want to stick this out...
So in the midst of my tan era, I found myself getting all dolled up one night for an improv show I had. It was a Saturday, so naturally, I got up early, tanned, ran some errands, went home got ready, gazed lovingly at my sexy skintone and headed out to the show.
There I was, outside the theatre with some of the guys in my troupe when Pablo walked up. Pablo is a made up name and Pablo shall remain Pablo for many reasons that you will more than certainly understand later. Now Pablo was from out of town and was in Dallas to do a show. I had met him before a couple of times and he had certainly caught my eye because he was very talented, funny, had story book blue eyes that could melt your heart and a certain amount of quirkyness to set him apart from everyone around him.
Needless to say that when I saw him, I was excited I was seeing him on a day when I was feeling bronzed and beautiful.
The show came and went, laughs were had and I was feeling pretty good that night. As per usual a bunch of us went out to a local bar after the show to keep the good times rolling. Pablo came too and as per usual, I sat a little ways away from him, barely making eye contact and trying to play the "I'm cool and uninterested AND super tan" card. You know, THAT card, it's wildly successful as I am sure you can imagine.
Time passes a bit and then I look up and Pablo is grabbing a chair and plopping right down next to me.
"Keep it cool, O'Connor. Don't talk about how have a secret dream to be Annie Lennox or the fact that it's hard for you to sleep at night without three stuffed animals in your bed. Be the tan, super hip chick that you are...or at least that you THINK you are."
He brings up the fact that I'm moving to NYC with interest which then leads to a discussion about Shakespeare, Ibsen and Chekov. If you know me, then you know how much my heart was swooning at this point. We talk theatre for a good hour and before you know it, it's time to head home. Everyone says their goodbyes...I say bye to Pablo, fully satisfied with my interaction with such a charming and fascinating fellow and head to my car.
Now enter Fate STAGE LEFT.
Pablo has parked in the same general area as me.
"Alright O'Connor, you clearly would like to keep this encounter going because A. You have the opportunity to talk nerdy theatre for at least three more hours and B. If you had a type, he'd TOTALLY be it. Be bold, O'Connor. BE BOLD."
I see him. He sees me. I awkwardly dig for my keys and dig even deeper for the courage to ask him back to my place when...
"Hey, I'm staying at my parents house while I'm in Dallas and they are out of town. I've got some wine there too. We could keep talking, Ibsen if you want."
He's perfect to me in this moment. He's made the move that I was searching for in my purse and when I only found my keys, he found the exact words I was frantically looking for.
"Yeah! I'd love to! Where is it?"
"Just follow me."
I jump in my car, just as excited as can be, when sudden panic and fear creeped into my thoughts. Naturally, I grabbed my phone, called one of my closest girlfriends and she without fail gave me the validation and courage to see where this night is going to take me.
We arrive at a beautiful house, with beautiful old tress lining the entire street and he immediately suggests we continue our geeky thespian talk while taking advantage of the luxiourious pool in the backyard.
Cue screeching breaks NOW.
Pool? Woah. That's alot to deal with. I mean generally I would love to go swimming, but well...I umm...MY TAN PEOPLE! MY TAN!!! What if I got out of the pool and looked like a brown and white zebra? Or what if my lovely golden gleam suddenly turned into a third grader's version of a Monet painting?
No. I can't swim. He'll understand. He's great don't get me wrong...but this tan and I have history. And I'm loyal to my vanity.
I awkwardly opt out of the swim, where as he strips down to his boxers and jumps right in. I'm certain he feels like I'm this ball of complete insecurity, at this point. Thinking things like "she must have some serious insecurities because this pool is great, how could she not jump in?" And he's right about the pool, it was lovely but spray tans and pools are a recipe for disaster.
We manage to talk shop while he swims and I sit up on a perch (safe from chlorine) and he jumps out and suggests we watch a movie.
Hey...I've gotten this far, might as well keep going.
So we sit on the couch, pop in a movie and then we cuddle and talk through most of it.
Now, I like cuddling, alot. It's a very rare occasion where I find myself in a cuddling situation with an actual human being and not a stuffed animal or pillow but this was nice. Dare I say, special. I was finally taking a risk to be innocently intimate with someone who I deemed very worthy.
While the cuddling was great, the conversation was not. Not by any fault of his, mind you but by fault of my very odd circumstances.
He asked if I had ever been in love... "Nope."
He asked what my longest relationship was...."Define relationship."
He found my answers weird...he even said so...and while him being off put by incredibly evasive answers, I was very strongly hoping that he would dismiss it as me being some unattainable by man force of nature and not a repellent to all things love and romance (that and PLEASE GOD don't please don't ask me if I'm a virgin. I don't lie very well and we just talked about Ibsen and Chekov for three hours, everything is going so well, just DON'T ASK ME THAT!)
He didn't. He suggested we try to get some sleep in the next room and he pulled me into the room and gave me a kiss. Without fail, I was incredibly awkward and he labeled that kiss as such, describing it as an "awkward tree house first kiss."
So we crawl into bed, cuddle and talk and we start kissing some more. I wish I could tell you that this was great and passionate and romantic but honestly all I was thinking was along the lines of "Oh my god, he called it an awkward tree house kiss, I'm so terrible at this stuff! No, O'Connor, be sexy, be tan, be bold."
I take my own advice. I forget the tree house comment. I forget the fact he called my romantic history weird and I just let romance and passion take hold....for maybe five minutes.
This cycle of Jekyll and Hyde thoughts continues for a good while but eventually calms down after I realize that I have made progress. I have allowed myself to enjoy a level of intamacy with a guy I find pretty awesome. Yes, my brain was pretty cluttered the whole time but progress is progress and by god! I'll take it!
(If you are still reading I'm sure about five minutes ago you have made a mental note as to how long this blog is and for some reason you are still reading it. Your endurance is commendable. The conclusion is just about here...hang tight.)
I'm not going to go into full detail as to what happened between Pablo and I because I'm no Samantha...I of course fancy myself more of a Carrie (yeah I made a SATC reference, what?) but the time came for me to go home, so I picked up my shirt of the floor, he crawled out of bed to bid me adeiu and...
CUE SCREECHING BREAKS AGAIN
MY TAN! OH MY GOD MY TAN!
This golden beacon of confidence I had grown so fond of, this false pigment I so vehnemtly protected from the pool had....come....off...on...to...the...sheets.
My stomach sank, my heart raced, humiliation was now oozing out of my pores along with the backstabbing spray tan.
"Do you spray tan?"
"Yes! Er umm...bdjlsj...gurgle...giggle...you see I had this formal dress I had to wear and um...pale...me so very but spray...it's just I mean..errr...ummm....sorry, sooo very soorry...new sheets...i'll buy you new sheets...I should go."
"Hey it's okay. Last night was really fun!"
He was being sincere.
WHO WAS THIS GUY? This guy who can keep up with my Shakespeare references, who can challenge my Ibsen knowledge....who can so quickly look past the fact that the thing that gave me a false sense of pride and glow was now streaked all over his sheets, like straight out of a teen movie dream sequence??
He let me go quickly. He made a joke about having an awkward tree house kiss goodbye and we did. It eased my panic and of course made me like him more, which made me hate my tan even MORE and I ran into my car and drove off into the sunrise knowing that unfortunately, I would never see Pablo again.
But I learned a pretty valuable lesson.
Back in the olden days being pale and a virgin= beauty and value
Today being spray tanned and a virgin= hot mess.
I was born in the wrong era.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
No, I know, you are probably thinking something along the lines of:
"Did she just say she was a 23 year old virgin?"
"My God! That's old to be a virgin! She must be really ugly or maybe she is an A-Sexual...No, no...she probably loves Jesus a lot and took a abstinence vow, or she is hopelessly waiting for true love...no, no I was probably right the first time, she's got to be a dog or a socially inept Star Trek type."
Or you are thinking something along those lines. But nope...I'm a virgin yes...I don't think I'm repulsive to the eye (on most days), I'm definitely not A-Sexual, I think Jesus was a cool guy and all, but he isn't the key holder of my chastity belt and yeah, I'm not ugly (just ask all the bums and creeps that want to tap this in NYC) and I am not a trekky. Just your typical 23 year old woman who hasn't had sex before...heh (awkwardly clears throat)
If you are thinking something perverted or are turned on by this fact and want my phone number...let me just say that I find that creepy but keep reading because in 5 years if this blog is still going strong, perhaps you can take me to dinner and a movie one night?
All joking aside, I am what I am. I'm a minority in a time where the average person loses their virginity at age 15 or 16. Where it is thought of as weird when you are out of high school and a virgin...let alone out of college. Heh...(awkwardly bites lip)
Why? Why? Why?
Why am I still a virgin? Why am I telling you this? Why should you care?
Well...let me explain. The answer is simple. It just hasn't happened. I am pretty good at making sure most romantic encounters in my life end before they get too serious and I am incredibly cowardly when it comes to taking risks with the opposite sex. Mix that with a pretty painful ugly duckling/nerd phase, sprinkle LOTS gay men friends and you get yourself an oddly old virgin.
Now I am telling you this because I just found a new desire to be the voice to all the old virgins out there...all 8 of you! But not just that, I feel like we always hear and read about the successful love stories, the epic love stories, the painfully sad love stories...but what about the less popular stories of love? The unrequited stories? The stories of the people who fall on their face when they are romantically interested in someone? You know, the painfully awkward stories that are endearing and probably more common than any other kind of love story. The stories that aren't the ones that garner the "this is something I'll tell my grand kids" response. But in fact, the stories that make you feel a little less alone in your life.
So I've swallowed my pride and thrown out the mystery that I like to surround myself in and I'm setting out on a journey, stepping out on a ledge, taking a risk and this blog is where I will be documenting all my awkward encounters, my successes, my failures and hopefully the little moments that we all can relate to...no matter if we are Jenna Jamison or Mother Teresa. This will be my catalyst to experience more in life, to be more open with who I am...but most importantly my catalyst to become a big old slut.
...I'm kidding...I mean really guys, I get nervous that I'm pregnant if I get in hot tubs with fully bathing suited men. (The Virgin Colleen: a story of an old virgin's nightmare)
So stay tuned!