Awakening

If you haven’t read The Awakening by Kate Chopin, you should. But you probably won’t so let me give you a quick synopsis. A Woman, living in turn of the century New Orleans finds herself stuck with two children she cannot stand and a husband who pretty much ignores her. She hates her life because it wasn’t one that she chose. One summer while her husband and children are away she takes up a lover. Her lover leaves her, as most men do, and she is unable to return to society – so she drowns herself.

I read the book for some class in high school. No one understood it. They thought the main character was a soulless she devil who should have shut up and been grateful that she wasn’t a seamstress. Even at 15, I got it. I never wanted to be that woman. I vowed never to lock myself into a life that someone else had chosen because it was the “appropriate” option. Now, at 25 I’m realizing that I have spent all of my adolescence and early adulthood doing exactly what I wanted to stand up against.

I feel an immense amount of pressure to be in a romantic relationship that’s going somewhere and to have a career that’s on the fast track to take me places. But I don’t know where I’m supposed to go or, where that somewhere is. I never took the time to learn myself or what I really wanted from life. So here I am, working in customer service, online dating, and continuously floundering through life.

I’m terrified to pursue writing, or music, or anything that makes me really happy simply because I do not know how. I have spent my entire life following directions and therefore never learned how to take the lead. I’m lost.

I made it to New York – I did that. I live under a train and beside a Popeye’s in a less than desirable part of Brooklyn, but I made it. I view the wealth and glamour of the city from my fire escape but I am not a part of it. I’m still the same shy little girl who never got asked to play kickball. I’m just watching from a far, fantasizing that I’m part of the game. I know, it’s disgusting that I’m sitting here wallowing in my own self pity – woe is me and so it goes. But I’m trying to understand what’s behind it. Why didn’t I just ask to play with the other kids? Why don’t I just try? Why is my fear of failure and rejection so crippling that I have spent years attempting to settle into a life that wasn’t meant for me? We could blame it on me, being a millennial, an upper middle white class girl born and bred in suburbia – I never had to try so I simply don’t know how. That however, is just a piece of it. The simple fact is, I never knew being my own person was an option – so I just chose to ignore the urge. I pushed it down and stomped on it until it was nothing but a squashed little dream.

“You’re not traditional, Liz..” I can still hear him say it. He stood behind me, zipping up my bridesmaid dress, gently wiping the sweat away from my neck. “You can find someone else, you can get married, you can have all of this…but I just don’t think it’s for you.” Hot little tears welled up in my eyes and I stared at the ground and then back at him. “I get to have this…I get to be like everyone else.” It came spilling out of my mouth so fast, that I didn’t comprehend my own words. On the outside, I had been a perfect daughter, friend, and suburbanite. I deserved to have what all of the rest of them had – a shiny rock on my ring finger and a man who would take care of me and impress my family. Someone so smart, tall, and perfect he could distract everyone from all of my flaws. A man to make me a lady – a partner to ease my family’s fears.

I am coming to terms with the fact that I may never have that – because it is never what I really wanted. I will never be successful at working 9-5 pushing papers, processing orders, or planning holiday parties because it is boring and I actually hate it. This is my awakening. I am opening my eyes and greeting a new way of living – one that I alone have chosen. I am accepting that the life I want for myself is untraditional and that my path is unpaved. I am taking in and coming to terms with my own expectations of myself – I am getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and using my fear to move me forward rather than shying away from it. I will be a writer with a voice that offers support and ignites change – I will love late in life and know that when I do it will be on my terms. I want something different and that is okay – I am okay. I am coming late to the party but I have never been one to be on time.

 

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Kiss Me Through the Phone

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Sometimes I feel like I’m on that show Catfish. Not because I’m in some weird online relationship with someone I’ve never met. Someone who could possibly be a woman, or a serial killer, but because I’m in some weird over-the-phone relationship with someone I never get to see. He got a job down south so when we considered establishing a relationship our options were limited. He refuses to give up his career and follow me to New York City next year and the thought of me living in Florida is absolutely hilarious. I burn under florescent lighting and it’s a known fact that the south is a dark place where feminism goes to die. Letting him go is easier said than done. So for the past few months this where I’ve been. Settling in some strange place between togetherness and separation, forced to navigate the uncharted territory of a long distance relationship.

We do as couples do. We talk when we can and make sure to support each other in our varying endeavors. We fight like typical twenty somethings, although I have to admit I do start most of it, because I get bored and restless. Everything is how it would normally be except for the underlying fact that we never share the same space, leaving us severely disadvantaged when it comes to sex. We’re average people with average needs and if it weren’t for a mutual attraction and romantic connection we would simply be friends. So how do we make the most of what we’ve got? Easy, we make it work with phone sex.

Skype sex is overrated and completely impractical. Have you ever sat across from someone and watched them masturbate? It’s disgusting. Made even worse by freezing screens and bad connections Skype runs the risk of making sexy time one horribly awkward moment. Honestly, I prefer not to Skype with him all together. Mostly because we are both so unbelievably conceited that we spend more time focusing on our own appearance than we do on each other.

Sexting is fun but there is no greater turn off than improper abbreviations or misspelled words. If you are making the attempt to sext then for God’s sake please spell out the word “you”. Illiteracy is not sexy. Thankfully he is not illiterate and understands that as a writer, I will judge him unfairly for any grammatical errors.

Words are great but then of course sometimes there is a need for a visual. I don’t mind sending pictures but even though I trust him, I would never send him anything too incriminating. As a general rule I avoid sending anything that has the potential to destroy my life. The exchange of naked photos will always be slightly unfair. Whereas I can get creative with lingerie or by positioning myself in various ways, men really only have one angle. And although I love his body, let’s be real, my phone can only handle so many dick pics. It’s also extremely dangerous to have anyone’s nudie pics living openly in your phone. I’m constantly transferring images from my phone to my office computer and the last thing I need is a close up picture of a penis to pop up on my screen. Needless to say, sexting is a little risky for my taste.

So really that just leaves us with phone sex. I know, “gross! That’s so ’97” believe me, I’ve heard it all already from my friends. ┬áBut honestly, what else do we have? Sometimes when I’m feeling melancholy I’ll think back to old movies or novels I’ve read where two people are separated by time and space and rather than give up on each other they wait patiently, romanticizing about the other’s return. It all sounds so old world and lovely but really it’s shit. We live in time consumed by the idea of instant gratification where we need to speak to, be with, or constantly be able to reach out and touch the ones we love. Having phone sex with him may be better than any actual sex I’ve had with past partners (and not just because masturbation is exceptionally more satisfying than some sweaty playboy grunting in my ear and wheezing with every thrust). but often it leaves me feeling emptier than before we began. The connection we share may feel invaluable, but there’s always a price.

One might think that doing the whole long distance thing would be easier with modern technology, and maybe for most people it is. For me, it seems to unjustly prolong something that will inevitably end. Facebook, Skype, and cell phones keep people connected to one another. For people like us, it maintains a connection that perhaps was never meant to be. Our lives are moving in two totally different directions and these communication platforms aren’t helping us build a relationship, but are instead forming false hopes. So really, if you can’t see a future in a relationship you’re holding onto, whether it be a friendship or one that’s romantic, what’s keeping us connected to it?