Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nothing More

I am sitting in my car trying to come up with the script of what, exactly, I am going to say. It needs to be sensitive, caring, and thoughtful, with a tone of finality. I just don’t think this is going to work out. No, too generic. It’s not you, it’s my busy schedule. Too much of a cop out. I really just don’t feel like we’re connecting at the level I had hoped. No, that’s not right either. Newman’s car pulls up next to mine in the Chilli’s parking lot. He gets out, gives me a broad smile and skips over to my door. I get out and hug him, a quick peck – the usual greeting. “I’ve missed you so much!” He tells me.

We walk to the entrance of the restaurant, hands in pockets. I open the door and hold it open for Newman and a perky blond family of four. “Thanks,” he says with a smile that makes me hate myself for what I’m about to do.

“How was your day today?” Newman asks as he rests his foot on mine underneath the table.

I move my foot and reply “It was fine, guess what? I got 20 out of 20 on that retirement plan project.”
“Really? That’s awesome!”

“Thanks, how was your day?”

He tells me about his day. He tells me about how he went to see his friend’s baby, but as he was pulling into her driveway she texted him to reschedule. He tells me about the purse he’s sewing for his mom, and about the conversation he had with his brother, the conversation in which he came out.

“So he took it well?” I ask.

“Yeah, he tried to tell me about all the gay friends he has, but none of them are really gay.”

“That’s funny,” I reply with a little less enthusiasm than the situation calls for.

With a look of confusion he asks, “Is everything ok?”

My heart jumps and I realize that what is bubbling and boiling inside of me, the things that need to come out, are slowly making their way to the surface. “I’m fine,” I reply. “Do you want to hear about the lamest kid in my business class?”

“Of course,” he replies. He is staring straight at me, straight through me.

I proceed to tell him about the kid who has come up with the next greatest asset to modern convenience since the Snuggie: something along the lines of a towel. That’s all he would tell us. I guess he thought that the class was going to steal his idea, patent it, and steal his millions of dollars. He was wrong.

Our food arrives and this is a relief to me. I no longer have to act the part of content boyfriend on just another date. Instead, I can focus on my Fiesta Salad Explosion. I busy myself with the task of corralling lettuce onto my fork, coating each piece with just the right amount of Explosive Dressing. We finish, pay and leave.

“Where are we going?” Newman asks while buckling his seatbelt and turning down the stereo.

“I don’t know. Let’s just drive.”


I turn onto the main road and head east. We talk about nothing in particular, some may call it small talk, others may call it shooting the breeze. We are simply making a verbal bridge from one moment to the next. The next moment, I know, is going to suck, and because I know this I try to delay it for as long as possible.

“Are you sure you’re ok? Are you mad at me?” Newman asks. The tone of his voice is concerned.

“What? No. Why?”

“Usually your hand would be on my leg or holding mine right now.”

He’s right. While driving, my hand goes instinctively from the shifting stick to his hand or leg, but this time my mind is so preoccupied, and I feel so disconnected, that my hand is resting ominously under my right leg, creating a barrier between us. I pull my hand out and put it on his leg.

“Don’t do it because you think you have to.”

“I don’t think I have to.” I say as I put my hand back under my own leg.

We drive in silence until the road becomes a dead end. I turn around and drive in the opposite direction.

“Have we run out of things to talk about?” Newman asks.

“No.” I dryly reply.

“Are you sure? You’re not talking. It seems like you’re mad at me.”

“I’m not mad. I’ve just been thinking.”

“About what?”

I don’t reply. Both my hands remain on the steering wheel as we pass Chilli’s - where Newman’s car is still parked. Dread is building in my chest. I open my mouth to say something, then close it. I open it again, then close it. Finally a bubble of courage comes from my stomach, travels through my chest, cutting through the dread, and out my mouth.

“I think….that my life just doesn’t align with having a boyfriend right now.”

Newman stares straight ahead, through the windshield. “You want to break up?” He asks without looking at me.

I steal a glance at him, and then turn my eyes back to the road. “I don’t want to break up.” I carefully measure my words. There is no way I could’ve properly practiced for this. “I just think that it is the best solution.”

“Oh.” He replies.

I steal another glance and notice that his chin is resting on his chest, but there are no tears. This is a good sign because I have never seen him cry before, and don’t know what it’s like. I don’t know if he’s a sobber, a silent tearer, a shoulder shaker, or a wall creater – like me.

“I feel like I am doing a disservice to you, and also to myself. I want to be a good boyfriend. I want to be there for you emotionally, physically and in every other way. But I’m not able to do that because of work, school, and distance.”

He sits quietly as we enter a construction zone. I maneuver around orange cones and reflective orange clad men. I wonder what they think of us as we drive past. What assumptions do they make? Can they tell that something dramatic is going on inside this car? What’s the weirdest thing they’ve ever seen going on inside a passing car? I've found that I hardly notice construction workers anymore. They have become part of the scenery. Not really important. Perhaps this is the reason why there are those commercials on the radio telling you not to hit the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters in the orange vests.

I watch Newman and drive with my peripheral vision for as long as I feel is safe. “What are you thinking?” I ask.

“That there’s nothing I can really do. I can’t say ‘oh we can make it work’ because I know that your mind is made up.”

I make a U-turn. We are enroute to Chilli’s. I’m trying to time it so the hard part is over by the time we get to the parking lot.

“What are you feeling? Are you mad? Sad? Numb?”

“I’m not mad. I understand. I know that you’re busy. I know that you have a lot of things going on. And I support you in all that you’re doing. I think what you do is great.”

An understanding dumpee is so much harder than an angry one. I can deal with the anger; I can’t deal with the guilt trip.

“Do you feel like the past three months has been a waste?”


“Good, because I have had nothing but great experiences with you. I have so much respect and admiration for you, and I will never speak ill of you.”

“Ok.” He meekly replies. He is crying now, not audibly, but out of the corner of my eye I can see tears rolling down his cheek. We pull into the Chilli’s parking lot and I park, unbuckle my seat belt and turn to him. It seems that I did not time it right. I hold the back of his neck, where his curly black hair ends and his neck begins. I pull on a lock of curls and they bounce back into place. I’m going to miss playing with his hair. I’m going to miss holding him, him holding me. I’m going to miss having someone always available to text or call. I’m going to miss all these things, but try as I might I cannot cry. I do not have feelings deep enough for him to cry.

Newman begins to sob. I hug him, his head resting against my chest. His shoulders shake slightly, but not enough to be considered a “shoulder shaker.” This hug has triggered something inside Newman. He is crying harder, shoulders shaking harder. I can feel tears dropping onto my bare forearm. I feel like shit. Slowly, he begins to reel himself back in. He pulls away from me and looks up, then back down again. I want to say something, but have nothing to say. “I think I’m going to go,” he says.

“I’m sorry,” is all that manages to escape my mouth.

“Don’t be.” He removes a black bracelet from his right wrist and puts it in his jacket pocket. I have a matching bracelet at home on my bookshelf, untouched. I never put it on, and this affirms to me that I have made the right decision. Newman did not occupy the top of my list of priorities, school does, and this is unfair to him. I know that he will find someone who can provide the level of attention and support that he deserves. A person who lives closer than I, who’s less self-involved than I, and who can be a compliment to him better than I. I am merely a stepping stone to that person. It hurts like hell to get dumped, but I hope that with time he will be able to see our relationship for what it was, a learning, growing, and fun experience. Nothing more.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


A few months ago I applied for the social work program at the university I attend. It’s a two year program, and they only take in 20 – 25 students each semester. I filled out my application, got two letters of recommendation, wrote a resume charting all my volunteer experiences, sent in official transcripts, and wrote a personal statement summing up who I am as a person, and why I should be accepted into the social work program in 3 – 5 pages. I turned in my application and have been waiting impatiently ever since. I frequented the mailbox 3 – 4 times a day in the hopes that my golden ticket to the world of other people’s problems and dismal pay would be waiting for me. I imagined how they would tell me that I got into the program.

Dear Captain Oats,

We are pleased to announce that you have greatly exceeded our rigid standards for acceptance. We have never had an applicant who exhibited such charm, such intelligence, such empathy, or such brilliance. We would be honored to have you study in our institution. Don’t worry about tuition; your qualifications are such that we’ve got that covered. Don’t worry about grades either; we understand that your level of social genius is immune to the lame-brain structures of tests and a grading scale.


Top echelons of social work

Certainly my greatness would not warrant a generic response, and I could not wait to get my personalized letter of acceptance. Every day I would get home from work, race down the drive-way and check the mailbox only to find catalogs and bills addressed to my parents. My excitement and anticipation for a letter of acceptance was suddenly replaced with a slightly more desperate need for a “we messed up, you really got in” letter. I didn’t get into the program, and I’m pretty sure I know why. My personal statement was dreadful. I wrote it about 5 minutes before I turned in the application, I was limited to only five pages, and I had the balls to end it with “Taylor the social worker, it just sounds right.” The essay was cheesy, unfocused, and hurried, which is perfectly acceptable for a lame blog, but not so for an application that will be read by people who don’t care about cutesy and topical, and whose decision will shape your future. I was crushed when I read the words “We are not able to accept your application at this time.” I cursed and threw the paper back onto my desk with enough force to change the word order into sentence that says “We are able to accept your application at this time.” I was pissed that they only took a limited number of students, I was pissed that I’ve busted my butt to get good grades, I was pissed that they couldn’t see past my lame personal essay and see that I really do belong in the social work program. I felt discouraged and lost because I was so certain that social work was what I am going to be doing as a career.

Monday night I was where you will find me every Monday night, at Kids Book Club in The Road Home. The theme of the day was fish, and I had just gone down to the copy room to make some copies of coloring pages. I was walking back to the room when I noticed the mother of a child exiting the room, then stopping at the door to continue observing the boy she had just reprimanded. She noticed me coming, and realized that she was blocking my path and she said “Sorry, I’m just watching Mark. They’re supposed to be reading, right? They’re not supposed to be messing around?”

“Yeah” I replied “But we don’t really have much luck getting them to focus on books for the full hour that they’re supposed to be reading. I usually make a deal with them, that if they read a certain number of books, then they can color or play.”

“I worry about Mark, he’s been getting some bad habits. He’s been getting into trouble.”

”At school?” I asked

“Yes, he’s been hitting and kicking other kids. I worry that he’s hanging around with a bad crowd of boys.”

“I see, well I’ll keep an eye on him and make sure that he’s behaving himself tonight.”

“Thanks, I just worry that he’s getting in with a bad group of kids.”

Hearing this mother’s concern for her son, Mark, reaffirmed to me that social work will one day be my career. This mother taught me a lesson: both mothers in poverty, and mothers like my own are striving for the same goal - get your kid a better life than your own. How easy it is for everyone to attain that goal is debatable, but the desire is there. It’s little lessons like these that I learned in Ghana, and that I continue to learn in my current work with the homeless children of Salt Lake City. These lessons are much more valuable than any theories that I could read from a text book or hear from a professor. This is reality. Real people living with real situations with no real solutions at their disposal. There will always be real people living in real situations, and if I can write an intelligent, reasonable personal essay, maybe then I will be accepted to the social work program, and eventually come up with real solutions for the people and situations I work with. I’ll take this failure into stride, learn from it, and try again next time better equipped to convince them of my brilliance. Taylor the social worker, it just sounds right.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Movin' out!

I have to write an essay as a part of my application to the Social Work program, so I'm going to start here with a little pre writing and get everything out of my head.

Sometimes random questions just pop into my head.
If you had a Parkinson's disease patient group picture, would it turn out blurry? I know that's incredibly insensitive, but I really want to know.
Can someone with a prosthetic leg use a urinal? How do they do the little getting 'it' out of your pants dance. Do they wear boxers for easier access?
If you counted all the steps you've taken in your whole life, would there be enough to walk around the world?

I want to live in a place where people don't talk about "my struggle with SSA."
I want to live in a place where being gay isn't a disease to be treated through therapies which don't comply with APA, AMA, and NASW standards.
I want to live in a place where suicide rates for young men don't lead the nation.
I want to live in a place where the state legislature meets with their constituents before a session, not a church.
I want to live in a place where it's not freaking snowing at the beginning of April.
I want to live in a place where I don't have to be like everybody else to be respected.
I want to live in a place where I can continue my work with kids and not be terrified of coworkers and parents finding out my sexuality and assuming I'm a pedophile.
I want to live in a place where the victim is not blamed.
I want to live in a place where having a husband and two kids isn't an "alternative lifestyle."
I want to live in a place where the needs of your neighbor come in at an extremely close second to your own needs.
I want to live in a place where I can listen to broadway musicals, watch America's Next Top Model, get overly excited about the season premier of The Hills, and not have all these things attributed to my sexuality.
I want to live in a place that defines "All American" as something other than a red neck bastard who eats red meat and watches baseball.
I want to live in a place where people don't get rich off of my healthcare.
I want to live in that place the declaration of independence was talking about. A place where I am endowed with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I wish I were in Love Again...

The incredibly talented and beautiful Audra Mcdonald totally sums up where I'm at right now in this great song. Listen. Or don't. I don't really care.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Everyone poops

I listen to a lot of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, not because I like what they say, but because I like to listen to their rants then imagine their penis size and the size of their country music collection. I'm convinced there is a correlation between the two. From what I get from Sean and Rush, the fabric of our society is decaying into a socialist sludge. No where is this more apparent than in public restrooms. Where is the decency?! Where is the outrage?! Where is the etiquette?! Surely Ronald Regan would look from his heavenly palace and feel shame about how far we have fallen. If he saw what our bathroom manners have become he would cry alzheimic tears. It really shows the signs of the times when I walk into a stall with shit in the toilet and pee on the seat. I've thought about it and I think in order to do my part in putting our upside down earth right side up, I'll share my expertise in bathroom etiquette.
  1. If aim is not your strength, whether it be because of size or an inability to touch your own junk, carry cheerios around with you. Drop a few in the toilet and you'll have a great target to assist your stream into the water. The cheerios sink quickly so if you are a long pee'er then be prepared with extra "targets"
  2. A buffer zone of at least 1 urinal or stall is required.
    Nothing is more awkward than making eye contact, through the crack of the stall door, with the culprit of the hilariously loud fart. If you simply must see, do so with much discretion.
  3. Don't be afraid to judge people's character based on these criteria: The shoes you see under the door. If you're at work and you see a nice pair of leather loafers under the door this would indicate an upper managerial position. This means you have the opportunity to share a great story about pinching one off with the boss for your co workers. Be sure to include details such as stink, number of times you heard the toilet paper roll turn, frequency of splash (I.e. lots of little splashes in a row or an occasional big splash.) Another criteria for judgement would be the audible quality of the business. If you hear long wet bottom burps, this would indicate a diet high in Wendy's and low in fiber. If you hear moans, airy farts, but no splashes. Assume that constipation is afflicting this poor soul. Sympathy should be administered and laxatives left on the counter if you have any on hand.
  4. Avoid conversations at the urinal. Exceptions can be made if the conversation started outside the bathroom and migrated into it.
  5. Never ever ever talk on your cell phone while in the bathroom. The bathroom is a sacred place to be respected and not marred by your conversation about Shelly's most recent abortion.
  6. No singing in the bathroom. Whistling is ok.
  7. If you huck a loogie in the urinal, make sure it goes down with the rest of your bodily fluids. Loogies in a toilet can look alarmingly like a different kind of pleasurable secretion.
    If you are going to listen to music while you release your bowels, please be considerate of others. The beats that unclench your sphincter may pucker another's. Keep that in mind.
  8. Take all reading materials with you.
  9. Please stifle all laughter in the bathroom no matter how loud or flabby the sound may be. Act as if you were at a baby birthing, no matter how slimy or disfigured the child is, it is never ok to laugh at it.
  10. Stall writing is an important subject to discuss. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling are important. Remember: your, you're, then, than, their, there, they're, it's, is.
  11. Be honest in all your stall wall messages. If Chad doesn't give great blow jobs, then don't say so on the toilet paper casing. Also make sure that you've written Chad's correct phone number.
  12. Remember, permanent marker does wash off, but etchings are permanent.
  13. Keep your political ideology off the stall wall. Keep it to pictures of anatomy and honest reflections of sexual encounters.

Happy and safe pooping.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

'Its not fair!'

There are two populations of kids that I work with, one with homes, the other without homes. Most of the time these kids’ actions mirror each other, but there are the occasions when a homeless child peels away their innocent skin revealing an individual who has been pounded, by circumstances, into a figure less representative of a child, and more representative of a grown adult. It’s in these moments that I realize how important love, trust, and empathy are.
Alex is a child who gives me many causes to believe that there most definitely some sort of abuse in his past. I’d love to think that this abuse has stopped, but I really don’t know. He’s a super cute kid with quick wit and a contagious laugh.

Monday night I had planned an activity which required the use of rice. “You get one cup of rice. If you choose to dump it on the floor or table you will not be getting another cup.” I explained “Do you guys understand?” They understood.

The floor had remained surprisingly rice free until Alex got frustrated with his sister. His frustration moved him to pick up a cup of rice and throw it across the room. “Alright, that’s it. Let’s go both of you.” I said in a less than pleased tone.

“We can go back to our room yet.” Alex’s sister told me

“Why not?” I replied

“We just can’t.” A simple sentence which, added with her firm facial expression, spoke volumes.
Instead of taking them back to their room, we sat down and talked about what had just happened.

“Alex, when you threw that rice at your sister it made me really mad.” I told him

“I don’t care.” He replied.. His eyebrows furrowed and his lips pressed tight. A big person getting mad because of something he did was nothing new to Alex. I could see the bricks being laid in his emotional blockade.

“Do you understand why that made me mad?” I asked

“I don’t’ care. She gets to have that cardboard tube and I want one too. It isn’t fair.”

“You’re right. That isn’t fair, Alex. That would make me mad too, but we’re not using those tubes for our activity, and I didn’t see your sister get it.”

“I want you to die.”

I excused his sister.

“You sound very angry, Alex. What’s making you angry?”“It’s not fair!”

Heavy tears welled up in his eyes and he hid his face from me. “Let’s go sit somewhere where no one can hear us or see us, ok?” I suggested as I put a reassuring hand on his back.

His body tensed and he growled in a low tone through his tears “Don’t touch me!” with an extra emphasis on the touch. I was taken aback by the rejection of comfort, and the strange way he said “Don’t touch me!” The situation was becoming bigger than a simple fight with his sister about a cardboard tube. Alex was becoming bigger than a 7 year old, which makes sense because his is a situation far bigger than any other 7 year old’s.

I suggested again “Let’s go sit over in that corner and you can tell me what is making you so sad.”

Tears dropped from his stationary face onto his lap, and he started sobbing. I’ve been with many many crying children at work, at The Road Home, in Ghana, and I like to think that I know when a kid is crying out of anger, crocodile tears, or whatever. The way Alex was crying reflected a deep and profound sadness.

I tried to reassure him again by placing my hand on his back and rubbing. This time he ran to the corner as he yelled “Don’t touch me!”
In the corner he continued to sob, and I left him there to cry and be alone for a few minutes. After the few minutes I moved and sat across from him.

“What’s making you so sad, Alex? Have you had a bad day? Did someone hurt you?” I was making reference to the giant goose-egg above his right eye and the scratches across his nose. He didn’t respond but continued to cry, and I let him cry to himself for a couple minutes.

“I’m never coming to book club again.” He declared

“That makes me really sad. I love seeing you every week. You make me laugh, you make Sam laugh, and you make all the other volunteers laugh. We would hate to see you not come anymore.” I replied“I don’t care.”“What could we do so that you would want to come to book club?”

“Nothing.”“Really? There is nothing we can do? Nothing at all? What if you help me plan next week’s activity. We could call it Alex's super awesome activity day. What is something that you really, really want to do?”

He thought for a moment contemplating whether or not to truly answer the question, and finally said “Make an instrument.” He was starting to warm up. He was looking at me now, and I could feel the bricks begin to tumble.

“Oh that’s a great idea!” I said enthusiastically “What instruments could we make?”

“A guitar out of rubber bands and a tissue box thing?” He suggested

“Perfect! Let me get a pen, I’m going to write this all down.”

The fact that a big person was going to take suggestions from him and write them down seemed to make him happy. It seemed to replace his profound sadness with a sort of self value. I came back with a pen and my trusty little black book and started writing down his suggestions.

“What could we use to make a drum?” I asked.

“Like a cardboard circle thing with paper and stuff. And we could make shakers.” He used his hands to illustrate his point. He was really getting into the idea now.

“Ok, we are going to do this next week so I will find a book to go with it.”

“Can I have a treat?”

“It’s time to clean up. How about if you pick up 12 things from the floor and show them to me you get a treat?”


I genuinely care about Alex, and I think he felt it that night. I felt a little bit of trust built and I hope it continues. I can see Alex doing great things if the right opportunities present themselves. I can also see him doing terrible things if he falls into the traps baited specially for the poor in our country. Its nights like these that remind me why I’m going into Social Work. Its nights like these that remind me that the issues of homelessness, and specifically child homelessness, are far bigger than I am. I can only hope that the little talent I have can be used to make a difference no matter how small that difference may be. Its nights like these that suck the apathy out of me, and make me want to smack the apathetic right upside the head. I’m reminded of a quote said by one of my professors “How can I, who has been given so much, do so little when there are those who have been given so little and do so much?”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Desperate Circles

There are some images from Ghana that will stick with me and haunt me forever, images of Gracie lying on the floor, crying because the malaria hurts so badly. Images of John, lying in the sun with flies all over his face and with feet and hands so swollen he couldn’t walk. Images of Kelvin and Ama Foli rocking themselves to sleep as a way to provide themselves comfort because they don’t get it from any other source. Images of Happy grunting to try to communicate her needs because she abandoned words a week after entering the orphanage, also images of Happy standing in her own waste, screaming maniacally when anyone came near to clean her up. I will forever be haunted by the “orphan stare” as we called it. They all employed the orphan stare, they would be normal, happy children one moment then the next moment they would stare and be unresponsive. It was as if they were stepping out of their childhood skin and stepping into a more mature, wiser skin which could see their own tragic past, and hopeless future. Another image I will never forget is my first experience with a young boy with whom I developed a very close relationship with. His name is Kwame.

7-14-08 Day 30
“Today, we arrived late to work, so all the kids had already gone to school and there was just Happy, Gracie, John, and Lydia left at the compound. There was also a new boy, Kwame his name is. I walked into the common room and saw this new boy I’ve never seen before with cuts on his face, and cracked and bleeding feet he was walking in a circle, impervious to all those around him. While he was turning his continuous circle he wailed the same Twi phrase. I did not understand exactly what he was saying, but I could tell he was desperate. My heart was wrenched. It was painfully clear that he was calling for someone who wasn’t there – someone who used to be there, but for some unknown reason has vacated his life. I don’t know what his back story is. I don’t know if he was found on the street, found by the police, given up by his mother, or given up by the hospital after his mother died. I’ll try to find out tomorrow. I want so much to scoop up this child, take him on the plane and give him a fighting chance in this ugly world.”

That day I couldn’t get the image of Kwame walking around in circles, desperate for that one thing that was most important to him, his mother. I later learned, from the aunties, that the phrase he was repeating over and over was a plea for his mother to come for him. Kwame had been at the orphanage a good week before he would even let me approach him. We started taking him with us in the mornings with the disabled kids. First, he would come with us as long as we didn’t touch or play with him, and then he let me hold him and play with him (but only me.) Soon, his actions became the same as those of the veteran orphans. Occasionally, though, he would break down and start to cry for no apparent reason. This is when I would pick him up, put him on my back like the Ghanaian women, walk around the cement soccer field, and go sit on the big water tank. I would hold him while he cried, humming some of my favorite songs until he cried himself to sleep. As he slept I would cry, although not always on the outside. I would cry for the injustice of his situation. I would cry for Kwame and his pain. I would cry for all the other orphans who had gone through this same process of grieving and forgetting. I would cry for my own mother who does not get the love and respect she so deeply desires and deserves from her own Kwame – me.
The other day my parents and I had it out. Our discussion wasn’t over my sexuality as it usually is, but the overall theme was that my mother was feeling disrespected, put upon, and ultimately unloved by me. I put up my usual wall, picked something to stare at and fixed my eyes on it while I listened to their argument. Finally it all became too much for my mom. She broke down and cried. I stormed off saying spiteful and mean-spirited words as I walked away. After a couple minutes in my room I decided to come back (something that is new for me.) I knew it was important for me not to leave the conversation as it was. I went back downstairs and listened some more. It became starkly apparent that my mother had it fixed in her head that I don’t care about her. Suddenly, the image of Kwame walking around in desperate circles popped into my head. I broke down and bawled. I don’t cry often, but when I do it’s not pretty. My shoulders shake, my face contorts, silent sobs come out of my chest and rattle my whole body, breathing consists of sharp intakes of breath from my snotty nose and restricted throat. All of this occurs until I put up that emotional wall. It’s as if I’m telling myself “Ok, that’s enough now. You’re done crying.” One time I went through this process with Bond, and he noticed that I was putting up that wall of emotional resistance. “Don’t put up that wall. Let it out. Let it out.” He told me. I found it so difficult to not cut myself off and cry for as long as I needed to. I simply could not do it. I tried, but I couldn’t.

That haunting image of the little boy walking around in circles, desperate for comfort, desperate for someone to please say “This isn’t real, this is all a dream. You’ll wake up tomorrow to your usual Bofrut and pure water, desperate for his mother, simply would not leave my head as I grieved over my jack ass behaviors towards my mom. My metaphorical Kwame was trekking that same depserate circle in my head - desperate for comfort, desperate to show that yes, I do love her, desperate to convey how much she truly means to me, desperate to make her understand that I care A LOT. I couldn’t tell her all of this that night. I put up that emotional wall, and along with stopping the crying, it stopped my ability to communicate. Maybe I’ll give her this post. I don’t know. Maybe I can show her how much she means to me through my actions. I don’t know.

A skiddish Kwame on the first day he let me hold him.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A metaphor for something, I'm sure...

Once upon a time there lived a boy who goes by the name of Raymond. Raymond, was a sweet, charming and charismatic boy. “You’re the best boy in the whole wide world. I will love you forever. One day you will grow up to do great things.” His mother told him this every day. Since Raymond was a good little boy he believed everything his mother told him. “I will, momma, I’m going to grow up and do great things.”

Raymond had lots of friends who also thought he was a pretty cool kid. He never had to worry about whether or not he would have friends to play with at recess. All the boys wanted to be just like Raymond, and all the girls wanted to be close to Raymond. “Walk home with me?” Suzie asked.

“I like your coat.” Said Tommy, “My mom is going to get me one just like it tomorrow.”

“George and I rock paper and scissored and I won, so I get to sit by you at lunch today.” Charlie told Raymond.

One day at school a new kid arrived. His name was Michael, and he was the talk of the school.

“Did you see his back pack? It had Diego on it!” Walter said.

“I heard that his mom packs him two Go-gurts in his lunch every day. I wish my mom would pack two Go-gurts. All I get are these lousy fruit roll-ups.” commented Suzie.

Now, Raymond loved Go-gurts, but his mom refused to buy them. Raymond decided that he needed to become Michael’s best friend so that he could have one of Michael’s go-gurts during lunch.

Raymond caught up with Michael on the way home from school. “Hey Michael, wanna come over to my house? I got the new Bolt game on Xbox 360 and its super cool.” Raymond said.

“Sure, I love Bolt.” Replied Michael.

They played Xbox until Raymond’s mom said it was time for Michael to go home. “Michael, you should sit by me tomorrow at lunch.” Suggested Raymond.

“Ok, thanks for playing with me. I’m glad I have a friend in this new town,” replied Michael.
Raymond knew that Go-gurt was as good as his. You see, Raymond understood people very well. He knew what to say and when to say it. He always got what he wanted.

The next day at the lunch table Michael and Raymond sat by each other. “Oh man, I love Go-gurt.” Raymond informed Michael.

“Me too, they’re my favorite. My mom always packs me two. Since we’re friends you can have one.”

“Oh boy, Thanks!”

So, Raymond took Michael’s favorite snack that day, without considering how much Michael loved his Go-gurts. Raymond continued to share his extra Go-gurt with Michael with the hopes that Raymond would continue to be his friend.

Raymond got sick of Go-gurts after a while, and decided that Michael wasn’t as fun to play with anymore. Instead of everyday, Raymond sat with Michael every other day, then only on Wednesdays, and finally he never sat by Michael again.

Michael felt so bad. He felt like he had done something, or said something to make Raymond not want to sit with him anymore. If only I didn’t show him that scab on my elbow, then he would still be my friend, Michael thought.

A couple weeks later, a new kid arrived at the school, his name was Harold. “Did you see his shoes?” Asked Suzie. “They are real live Air Jordans!”

“I heard his mom packs him a package of s’mores Poptarts every day for lunch.” Announced Ben.

Raymond LOVED poptarts and a package carries two, so he decided that he would become friends with Harold so that he could enjoy his favorite treat every day at lunch time.

This time it was easier for Raymond to become very best friends with Harold, and Harold loved having a new friend. Harold shared his poptart with Raymond every day, but Raymond soon got sick of poptarts. “I don’t want to be your friend anymore, you bug me.” Raymond told Harold.
Harold felt so bad. He felt like he had done something, or said something to make Raymond not want to sit with him anymore. If only I hadn’t told him about my sister’s bra, then he would still be my friend, Harold thought.

There was soon another new kid at the school named Brad, and he had two Fruit by the Foots in his lunch every day. Fruit by the Foot just so happened to be Raymond’s favorite snack at the moment, so he befriended Brad, then got sick of Fruit by the Foot, and stopped being Brad’s friend.

Brad felt so bad. He felt like he had done something, or said something to make Raymond not want to sit with him anymore. If only I hadn’t farted really loud that one day he would still be my friend, Brad thought.

All these kids grew up. Michael, Harold, and Brad had each shared their favorite thing with Raymond, and they had all been dumped and ignored when Raymond was done using what they had to offer, but somehow this made them all stronger. Michael grew up to be a famous R&B Singer. Harold grew up and became a doctor. Brad grew up to be a very successful lawyer. However, Raymond was too busy cycling through best friends to ever gain the depth and discipline of his former best friends. He ended up alone, sad and bitter. If only I had a real best friend, thought Raymond as he kicks three cats off his rat infested easy chair. With a beer balanced on his large belly, he yells out answers to the questions on Jeopardy (never the right answer), and scratches his bald head when his balls need a break.

If only, if only he had been a true friend,
maybe he wouldn’t be so gross in the end.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Therapy with Time and Budget Constraints

I’m feeling really really wound up and stressed. I feel mentally, emotionally, and physically overwhelmed. In an attempt to unwind myself so that I can calm down and focus on what I need to focus on I’m going to write. I don’t know what about yet, but I’ll see where it takes me. As everything around me shifts and changes I find myself relying on my past summer’s experience as a stable reminder of true happiness. It’s very strange to me the profound impact these little kids had on my life. They taught me things that I needed to learn. I miss them and find myself thinking back on the experiences, both happy and sad. Some of these memories bring a tear to my eye. Others make me laugh out loud in the most awkward settings. I’ll be sitting in Biology when my professor mentions something about a fish. The word fish triggers a memory about Ama Foli. School has been released and we’ve already changed the kids into their play clothes. Ama Foli, who is 2 or 3 years old, has a unique fashion sense and has selected a poofy brown dress with lots of lace and frills which is much too big for her.
We’re sitting in the shade of a giant tree in the middle of the orphanage compound watching some of the older orphans playing soccer, running up and down the cement “field” in their bare feet kicking the rock hard ball. Sometimes they don’t have a soccer ball so they use whatever else they can find – a plastic toy, a basketball, a shoe, anything that they can kick. Ama Foli is on my lap and singing one of her infamous songs and bouncing along to her own rhythm. I look at her and suck my cheeks in, making a face resembling that of a fish. She stops her song, pauses, and sucks in her cheeks. She can’t suck them in as far as I can so she kind of just looks goofy. She giggles at the facial expression then grabs my face and pushes my cheeks back in and giggles some more. Looks like we’ve discovered a new game, I raise my eyebrows and skew my upper and lower lip in opposite directions. Ama Foli tries to copy, then giggles and giggles at her failure.
Later that night we are sitting at the edge of the cement soccer field with our legs dangling into the deep gutter, I lay back and Tsulee comes and lies on my stomach. I hum Nora Jones’s “Sunrise” to him and he doesn’t seem to mind that, rarely, do the right notes come from my lips. The gentle vibrations coming from my chest to his head seem to soothe him and make him tired. As Tsulee and I are sharing this moment, Ama Foli deviously sneaks up and stands right behind my head. Without any warning she plops her naked butt onto my face. I pop up, waking up poor Tsulee and yell “AMA FOLI! What are you doing?!” She runs away laughing maniacally at her little prank.
Tsulee and I resume our position and I resume humming starting a new song -“Bubbly Toes.” I can feel Tsulee’s breathing become long and shallow, and I start to feel myself drift off too. Ama Foli once again creeps up behind me and plops her naked butt right onto my face. I jump up, waking up Tsulee for a second time, and chase Ama Foli. We do a lap around the soccer “field” when I finally catch her, flip her onto my shoulder, and tickle her until she’s hoarse from laughing so hard.
Wow, it’s crazy how some organized and thoughtful reflection can change a mood. I feel a lot more calm and ready for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pain yet Healing

I did it. I finally saw and talked to Bond. I’m having a hard time coming up with the words to assign to the feelings I’m feeling now that I’ve done it. I feel like I’m a much different person than I was when I was dating him. We used to fit together seamlessly: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our every action was in synch. We flowed; we had that way of communicating without talking, being intimate without touching, a way of dancing without moving. This is no longer true. It is like those toys infants play with where you have to push the shape into its corresponding slot. I used to be a triangle but now I’m a square and that square won’t fit into the triangle slot.

Out of place.

We’re both great shapes with sides, angles and points, we just don’t share the same sides, angles and points. My shape is meant to enter a different corresponding slot, and I now realize and accept that.

We could still read each other. We have enough history and familiarity to still possess that. During a lull in the conversation my leg started to bounce, my mouth set firm and I looked over his shoulder, out the window, focusing on nothing in particular.

“What are you thinking? You look like you’re thinking.” he says to me.

“I-I don’t know. It’s like umm like…I don’t know. I feel….different. I don’t feel awkward. I don’t feel like I expected to feel. I don’t know…. It’s weird.” My words stumble out of my mouth like Amy Winehouse exiting a pub at 2 in the afternoon. I couldn’t believe I finally had him there in front of me. The opportunity to pick his brain and ask all my burning questions was there, but all I wanted to do was sit in a familiar silence.

We joked, we caught up, we laughed and there was silence. Strange silence. Welcome silence. Understanding silence. Comfortable silence.

Healing took place, and I hope it was mutual. I can’t speak for him, and I honestly don’t know what his true emotions are regarding all of this. But, as for me, I feel a lot better. I feel like I can be me 100% independent of him and the ideas I’ve formed of him. It has been a long and strange journey as witnessed by the posts littered throughout this blog, but I’m really feeling like I have some tangible closure to the journey. Am I glad I went to dinner with him? Yes. Are my feelings mixed? Yes. Do I still love him? Yes, but not the same. Maybe I love the memory of him. Do I fear alienating him? Yes. Was I genuine in everything I said? Yes.

Strange is the only way I can think of to describe it. Familiar yet unfamiliar. Attractive yet unattractive. Weird yet normal. Pain yet healing. Wrong yet right.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snakes Don't Have Ears

I’ve found myself coming to a strange realization as of late. I am intrigued by people who do not fit our collective ideas of beauty. “Ugly people.” I don’t mean that in a condescending or pretentious way. I’m not like a zoologist observing a new species of unattractive beetle, or flightless bird. I am genuinely more interested in having a conversation with someone who is ugly than someone who is beautiful. I’ve found that, especially if the person knows they’re unattractive, there is nothing superficial about them. There is a certain depth to an ugly person that you will not find in a beautiful person. Take Chet from The Real World: Brooklyn for example. He dresses well (too well), has a symmetrical face, and a strong build. And with a name like Chet, he is the perfect candidate for an MTV reality show. I have absolutely no desire to be friends with him. Nothing about him would draw my attention towards him if I saw him at school, in a restaurant, or at Starbuck’s. I imagine a conversation with him would consist of a brief outline of the latest sporting event, an awkward conversation about girls (I think he’s as gay as anyone reading this blog), a short briefing of his daily gym routine and a glowing review of his latest muscle enhancement supplement. I know that anyone who knows they are not MTV material would never have a conversation like this.

I’ll use my latest “team meeting” from work as an example. I walked into the room where the meeting was taking place and a slightly obese girl with 2 chins and a deep voice was already waist deep in a story involving her best friend and that best friend’s boyfriend, who apparently has no respect for privacy. Speaking to the large man with a closely shaved mohawk she wagged her finger and said, “I told her ‘girl, you cannot let him do that. He’s acting like a girl; he’s being a little bitch. I’m the bitch here. I can be a real bitch. Vindictive Vickie, that’s what I am.’” A strange guttural noise busted out of her gut, I guess it was a laugh. Her laughed matched her personality and appearance, it was booming and punctuated by a loud and distinct snort. I kid you not.

“Vindictive Vickie,” she said. “That’s a good one!”

Then, sitting next to “Vindictive Vickie” was a red haired flamer who picked up a candy cane from the pile in the middle and declared in an animated voice, “I could thuck on thith all day.” His provocative statement made me choke on my own miniature candy cane. I regained my composure and whipped out my handy dandy Moleskine notebook I take everywhere with me, and scribbled out “I could thuck on thith all day.” And “Vindictive Vickie” These were little morsels of comedy which needed to be documented. We then were forced by the person running the meeting to go around and share a “fun fact” about ourselves. I opted to go first and said my first words of the meeting: “I have a fun fact, snakes don’t have ears.” My “fun fact” was met with blank stares and a further explanation as to why snakes don’t have ears from Vindictive Vickie.

We then went around the room with The Flamer divulging his “fun fact.”“I may have red hair,” He said with a snap of his wrist. “But, I am a quarter hithpanic.”

In my mind I retorted, so what you’re saying is your ethnicity matches neither the drapes nor the carpet?

We then moved onto the large man with the closely shaved Mohawk and he proceeded to unfold a story with unforgettable detail about the time he “matrix-style” dodged feces projected from an elderly woman’s ass. Gross, right? Wrong. It was fascinating.

You simply do not get these types of conversations from beautiful people. These “ugly people’s” stories were vivid, imaginative, and gross. I loved every minute of it. I left the meeting wanting to know everything about these people. I wanted to know about their parents, their friends, their passions, their likes, their dislikes, and their respective STI’s. They were beautiful to me. They had depth and personality. These were people I could see myself sitting down at Starbuck’s and just listening to. How does one go about doing that? “Hey, do you want to go to Starbuck’s? You can tell me more about the time you dodged the old woman’s excrement.” I guess with “ugly people” that’s as good as any invitation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I had a very productive break. I cleaned my car and my room (events which only happen on the very rarest of occasions.) I took my first trip to New York to visit my sister, I read 3 books (Holidays on Ice, When You’re Engulfed in Flames, and Possible Side Effects,) I started a new job, I wrote 20 lesson plans for that job, and I wrote in my journal everyday, which is really what this blog is, an edited and condensed version of my journal. Writing in my journal more was A New Year resolution of sorts; I really hate New Year Resolutions. Once you've put it out to the universe that this is what you want to accomplish for the year, you are pretty much guaranteed that you will absolutely, unequivocally will not accomplish it.
Anyway, my break is over, and it's back to "adult life" at a break neck speed. I'm wondering if I've bitten off more than I can chew. I'm working 2 jobs, a full school schedule and a volunteer job which is really like another part time job, just with no pay. I go to work 6 days a week, and school 5 days a week. I literally wake up, go to school, go to work, go to my other job or back to school, and then get home and go to bed. When I’m not in class or at work I’m planning next week’s book club activity, preparing things for the new job, reading for my next class, or trying to squeeze in a meal. I can’t eat breakfast because it makes me sick. I sometimes have time for lunch, but that requires me to go out and spend money on it, and if I eat when I get home I usually can’t sleep or have psychedelic dreams as a result of eating so late. I’ve adopted a 1 meal a day and lots of coffee schedule, and I’m not really sure that’s too healthy. This schedule really has no impacts on my social life because that would require me to have a social life. Strangely, I’m perfectly content. The intense schedule provides me with a comforting sense of accomplishment and productivity, and all the different activities are sure to provide some great and entertaining stories.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm in Need of a Good Pair of Balls

When I moved out of my house shortly after my family discovering my sexuality, I felt like I broke up with them. I treated it the same way I do with romantic break ups; I cut off contact and made myself hard to reach. I don’t know why I do this, but I do. I hadn’t seen or talked to my mom for a couple of weeks. She had been e-mailing me begging for a response, but I wasn’t e-mailing back. I was stubborn and silent, a dangerous combination. I finally decided to respond to her desperate e-mails . I’m much better at communicating through writing. I can think of what I want to say and formulate an acceptable way to say it. If it’s in person or on the phone I usually just blurt out the first thing that pops into my head, and then insert my foot into my mouth. “My dog died.” Someone might say to me.
“What did you do with the body? Did you bury it? Is there a headstone? How deep did you dig the hole? Did you touch the body with your bare hands after it died? Did you wash your hands? Shit, where's my purell.” would be my initial spoken response, but if I had a moment to write down a reasonable response I might say “Wow! That’s awful! Is there anything I can do for you? I scoop a mean bowl of ice cream!” Writing it down allows me to see what I am saying and then make a few edits as needed.
I e-mailed an appropriately worded e-mail to my mom letting her know that I’m still alive and that I do love her and the rest of the family. She wrote back and we exchanged a few e-mails. Eventually we set up a lunch date.
As the time came for her to pick me up approached I became increasingly more nervous. I paced the living room, walked in and out of the kitchen, walked up and down the stairs and checked my face and hair multiple times. The nerves created a strange itch, an itch that could only be scratched by chewing my fingernails to oblivion. I had decided that I should probably shower (a habit which I had fallen out of since moving out.)
I wanted to see her, but I didn’t want her to see me. I didn’t want to make her cry, and I didn’t want cry. There was a constant tear in her eye during that time. Every time my sister called to enlighten me as to what level of assholeness I had achieved so far, I could hear my mom crying in the background.
Her big red SUV finally pulled into the drive way and my nerves climaxed. We ended up going to a restaurant not too far away and proceeded to have a series of awkward conversations about the weather, how I’m doing and what I planned to do about school and a job. I could feel the restraint it took for her not to yell and scream at me, then lock me in the car and drive me to Wyoming to live with my grandparents, away from all the “sin” I was immersed in.
After the series of tactful conversation and tasteless food, she drove me back to where I was staying and gave me a hug. Her hug was the type of hug you give someone when they’re dying or moving to a foreign country.
A desperate hug.
I left the car and my mother, and went into the house where I continued to watch her through the blinds. I watched for 10 minutes while she sat in her car with her head on the steering wheel and her shoulders shaking uncontrollably. After what seemed like an eternity she lifted her head, wiped her swollen eyes, put on her sunglasses and drove away leaving me at the window with matching swollen eyes and shaking shoulders. Like mother like gay son, right?
I imagine, with exception to the tears, this is how my first friendly lunch, coffee/hot chocolate or whatever with Bond will go. Whether that is next week, next month or next year I’ll be a nervous wreck, pacing, changing my clothes, fixing my hair, and chewing my nails. The conversation will be awkward, at least at the beginning. Then I’ll be left to reflect on the occasion kicking myself for the things I said, and kicking myself even harder for the things I didn’t say.
My natural urge is to just shut completely down, and never allow a friendly lunch, coffee/hot chocolate or whatever, happen. But, that is no longer the person I want to be. I don’t want to be that beautiful island that is inaccessible because all the bridges have collapsed and burned. I don’t want to be that shut-in bachelor who sits inside all day and makes inappropriate pottery because he was too damn stubborn to reach out and rekindle a friendship. I don’t want to be that guy who doesn’t see flowers, trees, and mountains, but instead sees the shadows they cast. I guess what I’m trying to say is I want to be positive, and I’m feeling like that starts with a friendly lunch, coffee/hot chocolate or whatever. I just lack the social skills and balls to put out that inviting hand. Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Positive News

At the orphanage in Ghana I worked at there were a few kids I knew to be HIV+ (they don’t test every child that enters the orphanage, they only test the kids if they get really sick and have to go to the hospital.) I played and interacted with the HIV+ kids just the same as the others. I changed their diapers, got slobbered on, spit on and was subjected to ALL forms of bodily fluids. Now that I’ve been back 3 months I decided that it would be responsible of me to get tested for HIV. Apparently you have to wait 3 months since you participated in “risky activity” before they can get an accurate test. I researched HIV testing locations and made my friend, Fannie, tag along; he was due for a test anyways. Off we went to get swabbed and find out how heavily medicated our futures may be. We arrived at the Utah AIDS foundation and went down to the basement where they do the tests. Seriously? A basement? How Hollywood is that? Were my first thoughts.

While waiting for my turn to be swabbed, they gave me a clipboard with forms to fill out. I think I should be in charge of writing the questions on those forms. People are willing to sit down and check a box telling you their deepest darkest secrets, and that needs to be taken advantage of. I’d start out with the basics like:
1. In the past year have you participated in anal sex?
2. In the past year have you shared needles?
3. In the past year have you had sexual contact with someone you know to be HIV positive?

And then move to some more exciting questions like:

4. In the past year have you dressed in leather, assless chaps and been whipped by a man who insists on you calling him daddy?
5. In the past year have you gone to Gossip (the local gay club) and danced in the cage with the guy who has a sock in his briefs.
6. In the past year have you been in a committed relationship with a wonderful man who buys you everything you want and treats you like the king that you are, only to find out that he is a nymphomaniac and cannot function without being with at least 10 partners a night?

As it comes to my turn to be swabbed I feel a little sensation in my chest. Was that nervousness? Fear? Anticipation? I dunno, but I didn’t expect to feel it that’s for sure. A charming older man gives me a stick. “Swab in between your gums and your lips.” He tells me.

“That’s it?” I reply.

“Yup, just follow Patti up the stairs into the waiting room and your results will be ready in about 20 minutes.”

I follow Patti and get to a room with couches along 3 sides of the wall and a very small T.V. in the corner. There are about 5 other people waiting to hear their fates. Nobody makes eye contact or conversation. We all just sit, tweedle our thumbs and anticipate the news we’re about to get. There are some interesting characters waiting in the room with me.

I like to imagine the back stories of people I’ve never met. I’ll do it as I’m riding the train to school, while I’m in a meeting at work, or while I’m sitting in class. These people on the couches provided me with the best back stories. The girl who asked me for a pen as she walked in was probably the most interesting. She was Hispanic and had on incredibly tight jeans, they looked like they had been painted on. She also wore furry boots and her eyes were caked with so much make-up that I had to squash the intense urge to take my finger and press it to her face just to see how deep it would go in. The make-up made her face look like it could be molded into whatever shape you desired. In my head I molded it so that her left eye was wider than her right. I imagined that she is a single mother of 3 beautiful children, and in order to support those kids she gives massages with “happy endings” behind a Thai restaurant downtown. She’s applied for respectable jobs like a receptionist, T-mobile customer service representative or a Deseret Book sales floor girl, but no one would have her. They all were a little bit disturbed by the ratted hair, acrylic nails, tight jeans, and Plaster of Paris make up. This isn’t a judgment on her character I’m sure she’s a very nice girl. That is just the image that popped into my head when I saw her.

A young blonde girl enters the doorway and calls my number; not my name, my number. I follow her to a room where she closes the door and offers me a seat. My heart leaps as I anticipate the news she’s about to give me. After a few VERY personal questions she tells me that she does not have my test results and it will be another 10 minutes. What the hell? I’m all psychologically prepared for whatever news you’re about to give me and all you want to know is if I’ve ever exchanged sex for money? Back to the waiting couch room it is. My friend, Plaster Face, is nowhere to be found. I sit and wait for another 10 minutes, flipping through the Details magazine that I found on the table. Finally, a short girl with a bob cut calls my number. She takes me back to a room and we both sit down. She looks at me very seriously and tells me “I have some positive news for you.” She tells me breaking her serious look and giggling at her own crappy joke. “Your results came back as negative; you are free to go now.” That’s it? No plaque declaring my negative status to the world? No certificate of cleanliness? No button with a large negative sign and the words “Negative, it’s a positive thing” written along the edges of the button? No t-shirt saying “HIV? Not for me!” Oh well, I guess peace of mind will have to suffice.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Yes, I did go to public school. Why do you ask?

I had a very embarrassing moment yesterday at a job I just started this week. I was sitting down helping a 4th grader with his math homework. While I did get an A last semester in my math class, that was with the help of a calculator and given formulas. Math is my absolute worst subject. I hate math, and in return it hates me. Our hate is parallel to the hate between Israel and Palestine, it has existed for as long as anyone can remember, and there is no possible resolution in sight.
I’m trying to help this kid with his math which was multiplication; two digit numbers multiplied by two digit numbers. Intricate stuff, I know. I attempted to explain how he needed to set up the problem in order to find the answer. “Times this number and this number, now below it write a zero and times this number by this number. Now add it.” I told him. “Well, that doesn’t look right. Ok, try this…” I gave him a new set of directions and still came up with the wrong answer. I was getting frustrated. It’s no surprise that I never really learned how to do math when I was in the 4th grade. I was drawing penises in my notebook while the teacher was teaching this concept. I gave him different directions for the problem. “That still doesn’t look right.” I announced. The paper was smudged with eraser marks and his face was contorted with frustration.
“You lied to me!” He exclaimed. Right then and there I knew that I had lost any trust this child had in me. I was no longer a big person to look up to, but a big person who doesn’t know how to do little kid math. What a joke.
With a damaged ego I went to my other job right after and practiced my multiplication. I made those numbers my bitch. I’ll show you 4th grade math! I thought as I angrily scribbled out times tables. Thank you, public school education.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Genius Meets Moron

Sometimes, I feel dirty when I tell people I'm from Utah.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Dreams, Mac and Cheese, and that damn Abercrombie cologne

I’m not used to people disappearing, and I don’t like it. I don’t make new friends often, but when I do I keep them and hold onto them for a long long time. I had basically the same core group of friends from elementary school through to high school. I think that is why I am still being a boob over this whole break up situation. I’ve never met anyone like Bond before and I’ve never had such intense feelings and shared so much with someone else before. As a result the after math has been a disaster for me. I have made progress; I am nowhere near the boob I was a couple months ago, but while in New York I had a dream about him every single night, sometimes I would have multiple dreams with him as the star. I would have a dream where we were just hanging out as if everything were normal and I would wake up and think damnit why am I still dealing with this? Why is this still an issue in my life? While I’m awake I have somewhat of a grip on how I deal with situations that may arise that have to deal with him, but in my sleep I have absolutely no control. All of the feelings of excitement, euphoria, love, twitterpation, attraction and connection come streaming back, and I wake up wondering was that real? Once I realize that it was really a dream, I’m left to dwindle on whether or not I want that dream to be real or not. There are moments when I’m not sure I would deny access to him being a big part of my life again and start all over. There are other moments when I think hell no, absolutely not. I have grown into a better and stronger person. I have felt content for the first time in months. My brain tells me that letting him back in my life would somehow snuff out all the progress I’ve made in the journey to becoming the person I want to someday be. There are times when I wonder if we could ever be “just friends.” I don’t know if that is possible. [Brace yourself for an OC reference.] Am I the Ryan to his Marissa? Are we that couple that can never truly be “just friends” without letting it magically morph into something deeper? Rawr, so many questions! It would be nice to sit down with him and simply pick his brain, answer all my questions and then move on. But I’m not sure I could ever bring myself to ask all the questions I have, and I’m not sure he would have all the answers, and I’m definitely positive most of the answers wouldn’t be the ones I want. Whenever I’m faced with a hard decision or a trying situation I ask myself “In my own perfect world, what would be the outcome.” I’ve tried many times to do that with this situation, but I simply can’t figure out a scenario that would work in “my own perfect world.” I truly and honestly want to be over him. Where is that switch in my body and why can’t I flip it? He doesn’t consume my thoughts all day anymore I have made progress there. It’s just when I have a dream, eat mac and cheese or smell that damn Abercrombie cologne.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Amazing offer! Act now! Don't wait!

We have had a 3 week hiatus from Kid’s Book Club at The Road Home, so this Monday will mark our first week back. I’m afraid that we won’t have any volunteers to help coerce the kids into reading. In an attempt to attract new volunteers I’ve come up with an infomercial. I love infomercials. I love the acting and the dialog between the actors. When I was a kid I would sit down Saturday mornings and watch infomercials for the Miracle Blade III Perfection Series, the Gazelle and all sorts of steamers and cookers. Some kids watched cartoons, but infomercials were my Saturday morning entertainment of choice. I’ve cast Tony Little from the Gazelle infomercials as the main character, and Amy Sedaris (my new hero) as the intrigued prospective volunteer.
Spunky announcer guy: The following is a paid advertisement for Kid’s Book Club at The Road Home. Amazing offer! Act now! Don't wait! Are you curious about what a homeless shelter looks like? Do you find yourself wondering “If only there were somewhere I could donate my time and skills.” Do you want to make a difference? Then welcome to Kid’s Book Club.
*Setting is Tony Little walking past a line of obviously homeless people standing in line for the soup kitchen.*
Tony Little: In these economically tough times do you find yourself reaching into your pockets to donate to the homeless only to find gum wrappers and lint?
*queue montage of empty wallets and out-turned pockets*
Tony Little: Well do I have an activity for you. Let’s meet Amy inside for some more information on how you can do your part at absolutely no cost to you.
*Setting is the Playroom at The Road Home where book club is held. Tony and Amy are sitting at a small craft table.*
Tony Little: Hi Amy, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to come and learn how you can do your part.
Amy Sedaris: No problem, Tony. So tell me, what exactly is Kid’s Book Club?
Tony: Good question Amy. Book Club happens every Monday at 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at The Road Home which is located at 210 South Rio Grande Street (455 West) Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. It is a literacy program for kids living at The Road Home ages 5-11. That’s what it is on paper, but what it is in reality is FUN! Volunteers read one on one with the children for the first hour, then we all get together for a group book, and finally end on an exciting activity inspired by that group book.
Amy: Wow, sounds like a great program. How can I get started?
Tony: Simply show up at the Road Home at 7:00 on Monday, sign in at the front desk and wait for Katie or Taylor (who’s a stud) to show up. Or if you’d like more information you can email Taylor at
Amy: Wow that’s as easy as 1 2 3. What sorts of things can I expect in Book Club?
Tony: You can expect noisy, rowdy children who love to push every one of your buttons. You can also expect hilarious dialogue between the children and yourself. Kids really do say the darndest things.
Amy: That’s sweet, but I don’t know. 2 hours is a lot of time to cut out of my busy schedule.
Tony: Let’s look at it this way.
*Transition to graphs and charts*
Tony: There are 168 hours in a week. That means 10,080 minutes. All we are asking for is 120 out of those 10,080 minutes.
Tony: In the time it takes to watch a movie, you could be having a positive impact on a young child’s life. In the time it takes to clean your chinchilla’s cage, you could be helping a child improve their literacy.
Amy: Well, when you put it that way it makes sense, but I’m still not sure…
Tony: Let’s hear some testimonials from a few veteran volunteers.
*Fade out of the Playroom and into the hallway where veteran volunteers are giving their testimonials.*
Veteran Volunteer 1: I was nervous to come to Book Club for the first time. I wasn’t sure how to interact with the kids, and I didn’t know what to expect from them. I am so happy I went. The kids are great, and I feel like I am actually doing something with my life now.
Veteran Volunteer 2: It’s all worth it just to see a smile on the children’s faces.
Veteran Volunteer 3: All the kids are great. They can get out of hand and crazy, but you learn to just roll with the chaos. I’m so glad I went to Kid’s Book Club.
*Setting is back to Tony and Amy in the playroom.*
Amy: They sound like some satisfied volunteers.
Tony: They sure do.
Amy: This all sounds great, but I don’t know if I can come every week.
Tony: Amy, that’s a great point. We would love it if every volunteer would come every week, but we understand there are circumstances which prohibit that.
Amy: Wow, Book Club is so accommodating. Some people might say that they live too far away.
Tony: Well, that’s just poppycock. Pardon my language, Amy.
*Unified giggle*
Tony: The Road Home is at a prime location right by Trax and Front Runner. We have volunteers coming from Provo, so distance really is not a valid excuse. And as Veteran Volunteer 2 said it’s all worth it just to see the smile on the children’s faces.
Amy: Well Tony, I’m still not sure this is how I want to spend my Monday evenings. What is the activity this Monday?
Tony: I'm glad you asked, Amy. Our group book will be something about winter, and then we will be making some fabulous scarves with the kids.
Amy: Sounds great! Alright, you’ve convinced me. I’ll be at The Road Home, Monday at 7:00 sharp, and if I have any more questions I’ll just e-mail Taylor at

Tony: I can’t wait to see you there, Amy. You won’t regret it.
*End with a wink and a smile from both our stars Tony and Amy.*

Back from New York *sigh*

*Sister #1's place of work. I learned that they did a pitch for Tyra Banks last year!
*Me want foooooood!
*I'm nuts 4 nuts!

*If sex were a dessert it would be frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity. So much for my streak of celibacy.

In the new year I resolve to...
  1. Put someone, anyone, in their place.

  2. Lose the baby fat.
  3. Conquer post-partum depression.

  4. Have a moment.

  5. Take my relationship with Seth (my imaginary boyfriend) to the next level.

  6. Cure cancer.

  7. Cure AIDS.

  8. Laugh till I cry at least once a day.
Happy New Years!

*We weren't actually at Times Square on New Years Eve. We were there the day before and they were practicing the count down. That was good enough for me. It was frrrrrreezing.