Thursday, July 30

White Girl Thinking Time

I made it.

Yesterday was my longest drive out of the three days I was traveling: Bozeman to Seattle, roughly 700 miles. I left the Super 8 with a pleasant experience with Matt the Manager. Matt the Manager comped my room for the ensuing battle between light switches and kitchenette appliances which caused my insulin to possibly go bad. He gave me his business card and was more than willing to pay for the costs of replacing my insulin if it is indeed no good in 28 more days. I was going to write them a scathing Yelp review, but after the positive experience with Matt the Manager in the morning and the fact that no one is probably viewing Yelp frustrations in Bozeman, Montana, I let it slide.

I left around 9am and pounded west. Parts of the drive were sad, which were mostly based on what music came on during the journey.


Screaming Trees - Nearly Lost You (because 90s)

It's hard to regulate your emotions when you're in a speeding cube for three days in a row. Somewhere between the rolling hills and the ample amount of road construction, I decided to drive the rest of the way home without stopping for another night. It would have been silly to stay in Spokane or even Ellensburg (where the Screaming Trees are from and where the above video was filmed) when Seattle is just on the other side of the mountains I've missed so much. I gained an hour due to the time change and hauled through the Continental Divide, Missoula, the Idaho panhandle, Eastern Washington, and Snoqualmie Pass.


Anaconda and Opportunity, Montana. Bonus: bug guts.

The drive across Washington State was the longest part of the decrescendo of my journey. Lots of wheat fields and tired truckers. I inadvertently timed my drive to enter the greater Seattle area at the start of rush hour. I slogged through Issaquah, Bellevue, Mercer Island, and finally West Seattle to get home. 

Home. 

I entered the condominium with my backpack, purse, and cooler full of possible functioning insulin. And there he was. Yelling at me, sniffing me, rubbing his sides against my jeans I've never washed. Patrick was with my mom for about three weeks while I tied up loose ends and made plans for my return to Seattle. I brought his bed with me in the car and a few more toys that I discovered behind couches and underneath the refrigerator. He slept with me last night, nestled in the bend of my legs. I'm so happy to have him back, the friend who won't judge me, shame me, or leave me. 

My body took a beating from eating fast food for the last three days. I'm looking forward to eating meals at a table and not in a car, having a cheeseburger with coleslaw and corn-on-the-cob and not a "#2," scraping my plate clean and not stuffing wrappers into the supposedly biodegradable sack in which they were handed to me. There's an abundance of snacks I purchased in case my blood sugar dropped while I was driving. Now that I'm staying put, sour watermelon candy and peach rings are daunting me from my new kitchen. Hopefully someone will want these horrible confections that destroy tongues and teeth. 

Today I woke up to the sounds of manual labor and the Blue Angels doing a practice run over Puget Sound to prepare for Seafair weekend, a drunken weekend filled with friends who have boats and hydroplane races and regrettable decisions. Even now they're twirling overhead, booming through the air as a sign of coming attractions. 


Seafair: Not For Sobriety!

I think the effects of my Wellbutrin dose are finally hitting me. I'm now just able to "wake up." I open my eyes, toss a bit, check Facebook, and then I'm just up. My circadian rhythm is finally beginning to match up with productive members of society. One of the unexpected side effects is that I'm not really interested in smoking anymore, which is an extremely weird sensation. I finish a meal, start my car, or get ready for bed, and I know that normally I would be smoking or dragging my vaporizer. I think it's the routine that Wellbutrin is helping me break. Under usual circumstances, I would have smoked two packs on the way across the country. Instead, I had two cigarettes and sort of forgot that I even had an e-cigarette. Finally, a positive side effect. If only medications had these more often. Your student loan debt has been absolved! Your calves will be more proportioned to your body! You'll no longer lose your hair when you're stressed out!

In typical home body fashion, I'm drinking an iced latte and watching a Law & Order: SVU marathon on USA. Well, I shouldn't say "watching." It's the background noise to me writing this post. I think it helps me feel not so alone. I've done the same thing in the past with Seinfeld and The Office while I've dicked around on the internet because television alone can't keep me amused. Kitty is asleep on the ottoman in front of me with all of his feet up, and the fans are running full blast to keep the apartment cool. Air conditioners aren't really a thing in Seattle: it's usually never warm enough to need one. Six years ago, the summer I was working at Domino's and making nightly trips to Olympia for drunk sex, the summer was disastrously hot in July and August. People were moving their couches outside and placing their TVs in their windows to stay comfortable while enjoying entertainment. I remember being somewhat perplexed about why people would want to order scalding hot pizza and Bread Bowls when the temperature remained above 100 degrees. But my car had air conditioning, an iPod, and I could smoke between deliveries. Working for Domino's helped me save up for Europe and gave me some flexibility with my hours while I made a decent wage. I figured I could always go back to driving delivery, but I don't want to put my car through the ringer because people want cheap wings with their Meatzas. 


What should we add to this carb bomb? More carbs!

This weekend I'll get to spend some much needed time with my mom. How I've missed her so. I kept my word about staying in close contact while I was driving here, usually with short texts.

In bad storm. 
Gassing up in Sheridan. 
Hotel in Bozeman 135. 
80 miles to go. 

I keep getting the feeling I'm only here to visit, as if I'm going to be flying back to Minneapolis in a few days. But I'm here for the foreseeable future. It's strange living in a home that's so perfectly furnished, unlike the haphazard IKEA sauna I was living in. I have my kitty and my loved ones who support me. And that feels really good. 

Tuesday, July 28

"The hottest part of the flame is blue."

Leaving home was hard. Once the car was packed up and I was ready to go, I procrastinated a bit. I smoked a cigarette outside my car, took some pictures, kissed the door. That house kept me safe and warm, if not too warm. I'm happy to be moving on because even though I lived there for a long time and it felt more like a home than a house, I did the majority of my drinking in that house. It was kind of like saying goodbye to booze all over again.

Right now I'm in Bozeman, Montana. I've driven roughly 1,000 miles in the last two days and my car has been a trooper the whole time. Speaking of which, I got to spend some time with two Wyoming State Troopers today.

I was in Middle of Nowhere, Wyoming, doing 84 in a 65. I was on my way through the state after visiting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, where I spent roughly 10 minutes taking selfies among the hordes of visiting families in matching Favre jerseys and Harley Davidson jackets. The road was wide open. The hills around me gaped with sunshine and rural, relaxed lifestyles. I hadn't passed a car in about 20 minutes when the State Patrol vehicle sped past and flipped a quick u-turn. I mean, there was NO ONE else on the road. Of course they were coming for me. They hit the lights and I pulled over on Highway 16.


#filmthepolice

Both troopers exited the car and came around each side of my vehicle, and I was half expecting Mac to count how many times Foster can say "meow." I rolled down all of my windows because I didn't know who was going to speak first. The young trooper on my passenger side asked for my license and insurance. I promptly provided my driving related documents. He peeked at me from over his sunglasses.

"We pulled you over because of your speed. The speed limit here is 65 and you were going 84."

Haha, fucking duh. I was listening to the Young Jeezy album that came out my senior year of high school, of course I was speeding. Plus, I hadn't seen a speed limit sign in probably 50 miles so that meant let it fly. He started a short interrogation with me and my half full Starbucks cup.

"Where are you heading?"
"Seattle."
"Oh yeah? Where ya comin' from?"
"Minneapolis."
"Well that's neat! I'll be right back with your license and registration."

Neat. He ran my plates and all that specific jazz and returned to my window about 10 minutes later.

"I'm gonna give you a warning because everything checked out with your information. Watch your speed. When you get to the interstate, the speed limit is closer to 84."

Haha, what a jokester! I turned off my hazard lights and slowly crept back onto the highway. The statie car sat there for a bit as I watched it disappear in my rear view mirror.


NATIONAL TREASURE II

Yesterday and today were both long days, sitting at about 500 miles each day. Yesterday I was about 5 minutes from my hotel in Rapid City and the biggest thunderstorm ever was like, "BOOYAKASHA" all over the place. I pulled over with a few other drivers to wait for the storm to pass. It was amazing to creep up on the storm, seeing it off in the distance, slowly emerging over the horizon and swaying hills. I took a picture of my side mirror reflecting the serene blue behind me and the menacing turbulence surrounding the interstate. I survived and went to Denny's, where most South Dakotan dreams come to an end.


Out of the blue and into the black

Today was easier than yesterday. Montana is a big fucking state. Because I took I-90 instead of coming down from I-94, there's a lot more to look at. When I say "more to look at," I mean the hills are a bit greener and there's more refineries lacing the highway. My windshield is buggy and my passenger seat is less dirty than I thought it would be, a sea of fast food wrappers and Starbucks cups.


Baby car, big sky.

I had my first mishap today and I went into crisis mode momentarily. When I've been calling ahead to book a hotel room, I've been requesting rooms with a fridge to keep my insulin cold (once insulin gets to room temperature, it's only good for 30 days). In the car, I've been using an icepack and coldpacks to keep the temperature below room. It's been about $15 more to book these double queens/one king, but it's better than warm, unusable insulin. OR SO I THOUGHT. Foreshadowing.

I get into my room at the Super Hate and I immediately take my insulin out of my cooler and into the fridge. I lay down for a bit, and then head out to eat dinner at some place called Naked Noodle, which is kind of like a more eclectic Noodles & Co. I return to the hotel room and try to turn on the TV. I push the button located directly on the television and smash all the buttons on the remote for a few minutes before calling the front desk.

"I don't think my television is working."
"Oh, you need to flip on the light switch to turn on the television and the mini fridge."

FUCK. The fridge. I tear open the door and find room temperature insulin. The fridge was never turned on because I needed to flip a fucking light switch for it to work as intended. I called the front desk to complain, and I may have been more lippy than necessary.

"Most guests don't know that they need to flip the light switch for the refrigerator to turn on."
"Okay, well you should tell your guests about it. I'm diabetic and I need insulin to keep me alive. Once insulin gets to room temperature, it's only good for 30 days, so now it's basically useless but I won't know if it's bad for another month. That's why I requested a room with a fridge, assuming it was actually running."
"I completely understand."

If there's anything I hate, it's people telling me "they understand" when they have no awareness or idea about what I'm experiencing. I know it's the polite customer service thing to do, but trying to "completely understand" what I'm going through is impossible.

"I actually don't think you understand. I don't have health insurance right now. Without health insurance, the cost to replace that bad insulin is roughly $800, and I'm not looking forward to paying that because of a fucking light switch."

He had his manager call me after I laid into him some more, and he's going to meet with me in the morning to see what they can do to help me, whether it's comping me the room or giving me the funds to replace my weird smelling nectar of life. I took a shower to wash off the anxiety and smoked a cigarette in the parking lot of the Super 8 / Panda Buffet / truck stop / pawn shop. The fact of the matter is that I won't know if my insulin went bad for 30 days. But that means I have 30 days to figure out a solution, and I don't need to figure it out when I'm hundreds of miles from what will be home and what used to be home.

Drinking hasn't really been on my mind that much. Before I left, I assumed I'd be experiencing some cravings because I've been completely unsupervised for the last two days. I made it through my traffic stop without freaking out, and I've been more focused on eating a good meal for dinner rather than if I should secretly place my sobriety in jeopardy. It isn't worth the guilt, being hungover is dumb, and I'm committed to my path, even if it leads me to a Super 8 next to what could be a meth lab or a home with one too many tricycles in the yard.

Tomorrow I'll be heading to Coeur d'Alene, maybe even Spokane if I can hold a conversation with myself for another hour of driving. I located the Starbucks for the morning, and I'm watching a Hilary Duff movie. I miss my mom. The towels in this hotel room are purple because of my hair. My face looks tired and my left arm is super tan from driving west. The water tastes weird here. The halfway point is a nomadic limbo of this journey. I need to keep going.

Friday, July 24

Winding down.

The last 24 hours have been incredibly emotional. I said goodbye to my AA homegroup and presented a friend with her 6 month medallion. Within those 24 hours came an outpouring of support, well-wishes, and salutations from comedians, fellow sobriety chasers, and Craigslist roommates turned friends.

Tonight will mark my last open mic in Minnesota. One of my first open mics ever was at the Comedy Corner Underground almost four years ago. I was nervous and chatty with other hopefuls trying to make a basement full of college students laugh. It went over well and I returned each Friday for a little over two years. Despite the hiccups of temporarily quitting comedy and break ups and rehab, that room has been my favorite room in which to do comedy.

Sunday will be my last official show (Universe Games in Uptown at 7:30) for Boy Kisses Comedy. They have a local and loyal following who are interested in experimental and alternative styles of comedy. The theme of the show is "Ethics," so I'll be giving a lecture on the ethics of sex in the comedy community. It will be my first time ever doing a character on stage. I even made up a fake name for myself. I'm also buying shoes for my outfit at DSW tomorrow and returning them on the way out of town because I'll only be in high heels for 5-7 minutes and all of my shoes with considerable height have been relocated. "They were just too tight." Speaking of ethics, this probably isn't ethical.

I have completely bagged my Yellowstone trip because at this point, I just want to be home. The national park is roughly 15 hours from Seattle, and there will be no doubt that I'll be back that way again. A week from today, I'll have an angry kitty on my lap and an SVU marathon on the television. I'm really excited to see my mom and to really soak in that I made a good decision. For the last few months, I've felt stagnant, pointless, and lonely. I'm going to break that pattern and search for the elusive serenity in the place I call home. The majority of my belongings are by the front door and the remainder of the things I am using will be left on the curb for whoever needs refurbished IKEA stuff. Oh, this chair? It's a rescue. We found it on the corner of 20th and Polk in the middle of the night. We're so happy it finally has a forever home!

One year ago today, everything changed. Space was violated, frantic phone calls were made, confusion was rampant, assumptions were drawn upon too early, conclusions were jumped to too quickly, people were shunned, insults were hurled, reputations were ruined, unhappiness swelled. The circumstance in which I'm referring to was a hot topic of debate for sometime, perhaps too long of a time. At this point, I am gracefully bowing out of participating in this situation. I no longer have ties to the involved and I'm excited to live in a town where I won't be harassed on the street. I may be running away from this problem instead of facing it head on, but I literally have no interest in trying to make amends with people who continue to badger me for the sake of being immature and abrasive. I no longer need to defend the hurt, and I no longer need to worry about the unfavorable light in which I am consistently seen. I am tapping out. I am bowing out. I am walking out. The only thing I can do is hope that people can become enlightened to their mistakes and realize their wrongs. It's officially out of my control, and I wasted so much time trying to be in control. It's unattainable, a figment of possibility. I can only be in control of myself.

Certain things occasionally show their ugly faces that enlighten me to how bad my drinking had really become. One night I blacked out and painted my bathroom, and I did not paint it well. It's a melange of yellow and blue and green paint that somehow came to resemble something out of a Brazilian beginner's art class. It's horrible. Paint splotches are on the formica floor that I cannot remove. Every time I pee or shave my legs in the sink I'm reminded of how many hours I've spent getting plowed in a Buffalo Wild Wings.

And then I saw the ignition to my car. To be more clear, not the ignition itself, but the area around it. The fiber glass casing to my ignition is covered in haphazard scratch marks from trying to start my car when I definitely shouldn't have been driving. I can't believe I didn't notice this until the other day, considering I've been sober for almost six months. How on earth I escaped drinking with no DUI is beyond me. I thought that as long as I didn't get caught, I was impervious to alcohol and my  subsequent allergy. They never caught me, but my drinking did. These little insights into my addiction have shown me how bad a relapse could be. With motivation and the help from sober peers, I've been able to remain strong and really become aware of my addiction and all of the negative thinking, ruminating, and poor decision making that comes along with it. There are only a few more weeks until football season starts, and that will be my real test. I survived open mics, comedy shows, personal crises, emotional hiccups, even the VFW on a night where the karaoke is especially poor.

But I'll get through it, me and my club soda with a lime.

Wednesday, July 22

The Coronation of Queen Anxiety

Purging.

The official pile has been placed in the corner of my increasingly empty room. The collection of things accompanying me to Washington has grown, shrunk a bit, and then grown some more. I went through books, various cords and their electronic components, artwork, kitchenware, bedding, and toiletries to cleanse my life of things that will simply not fit into a Kia Soul.

And then there was a different pile containing movie ticket stubs, gifts I clutched in the middle of the night when I was alone, handwritten notes, music, movies, clothing, and comfort. I sat with these things individually, holding them as if I was just introduced to them for the first time. What do I do with these things? Who would want them besides me? Do I want anyone to have these things that now have negative connotations within them? They are not welcome in the car, and they aren't exactly things that can be donated.

I went to get a trash bag. In they went, separating the plastic as they tumbled to the bottom of their ill-fated home. I cinched the top and walked out to the trash bins behind my home. I wasn't crying, but I felt heavy and lethargic, like I was going through a break up all over again. What should have been a quick and easy bandaid removal ended up being a long, detailed surgery over many weeks. Communication withered, texts became blips every few days, anger poured from the mouths of two people who once had everything. I lifted the lid to the trash, dropped it in, and started crying. The only thing left to remove is the bed, but it won't fit in the trash bin.

I went back up to my room. No cat, no boyfriend. Just a pile of things awaiting transport. I sat with the cat toys I found behind previously removed furniture, a little clown fish and a mouse. I felt empty for hours, a blank mind and body alone on the carpet. The removal of those things made this move very real today. It's happening. It's imminent, lurking and undulating. I now just have myself to worry about. So why is that so scary? If it's just me I need to care for, why do I feel helpless to past romantic voids? Maybe the drive will help.

Yesterday I went to see my endocrinologist for the last time. He was excited to see that my blood sugars have been better than ever since I quit drinking. He tickled my feet for signs of neuropathy and wished me well with my travels. My A1C is down to 6.4, the best it's ever been. When my drinking was at it's worst, I was sitting somewhere around a 7.3, which isn't great but not bad either. He told me he'd prefer me to be somewhere between 5 and 7, and today I'm at exactly that.

My car also had an appointment to prepare for Monday's departure: oil changed, fluids flushed, tires rotated, rumination refilled.

So now I just wait?

I spent most of today just trying to pass the time and distract myself from the garbage bin anxiety. I wrote a monologue/lecture type thing for Boy Kisses this coming Sunday, my last show in Minneapolis for the foreseeable future. I'm debating about coming back for 10,000 Laughs, but I'm not sure if I want to spend the money to come back so soon after leaving. I'm going to miss Minneapolis with its giant spoon and oblivious drivers and too many breweries and weird accents and cheese curds and sticky summers and abrasive winters and Uptown elitists and crying cicadas and you.

I have minimal plans the next few days, an AA meeting here and there and maybe an open mic or a July Fighter show. This week has already gone by faster than I anticipated. I need to remember to breathe and take a step back when I'm anxious or panicky. I'll be okay, it's just driving. I've felt extremely uncomfortable being alone the last few days, like I need to be in constant contact with someone to not feel afraid or worried. I haven't been able to get off Facebook, Reddit, or my phone for the fear of being alone with myself. I'm not comfortable with silence, especially in the fall when I no longer need the constant hum of the air conditioner and the air is just thick with nothing.

Being sober is scary. All of my thoughts and delusions are real. My dreams have become violent and I'm not sure how to interpret them in a comfortable manner. High school enemies use my sobriety against me. I drink and then wake up feeling extremely guilty and ashamed that I subconsciously threw away my sobriety at a bar I would be caught dead drinking in. Am I drunk in my dreams? Is that why I've been screaming but no voice is expelled from my mouth? Or why I run and fall and scrape my knees but no one stops to help me? Every dream is a nightmare and I've been procrastinating on sleeping because I don't want to face feeling guilty in the morning for something I haven't done. I'm approaching the six month mark, and supposedly it's common for people start getting a little too comfortable with their sobriety. They start to think they can moderate themselves or treat themselves every once in a while, and before they know it, they were even worse than before. I can't let my mind trick me. It used to trick me all the time when I was drinking. I can stop whenever I want. I don't have to drink today. I should go to the liquor store, I mean it's Thursday for fuck's sake. 

Empty, barren room. I think I still associate this room with drinking because this very room I'm in right now protected me from the outside elements. It didn't judge me, it didn't accuse me of anything. It just let me drink in peace. And now I need to find my sober peace elsewhere. The room will only get emptier as the days tick down.

I just wish I wasn't alone for so much of it. I need to not psyche myself out so much. Everything will be okay. Maybe not right now, but someday.

Monday, July 20

I had no idea so many people liked Kenny Chesney.

Saturday night was soo shitty...

How shitty was it?!

...if your dog barfed, then ate that barf, then barfed the barf, then ate the barfed barf, then shit it out, that would come pretty close to how shitty last night became. 

I drove home screaming, screaming because I wanted to drink but couldn't. Screaming because the bars were closed. Screaming because I thought last summer's drama was over but I was horribly mistaken. Screaming because all I wanted to do was go home. 

In the torrential downpour of my pity party, I hugged the one blanket on my bed while leaving my legs free to feel the artificial breeze of the air conditioner and had one hell of an ugly cry. The one thing I've noticed about my absence from drinking is that when I'm struggling in the wee hours of the morning, I don't want to bother other people, either because of the present time or time zones. I panicked. All I wanted to do was go home where I was safe from the onslaught of immaturity I've encountered. Who do I talk to?

Reddit.

I know. The "Front Page of the Internet" is surely why my insomnia is so rampant. For the last few years, Reddit was a source of entertainment while I was working or trying to pass the time in the airport or the car. But last night, I needed the reassurance from strangers across the globe that everything was going to be okay, and that drinking isn't worth it and will not solve my problems. I posted my conflict of experiencing anxiety and really wanting to drink, and within mere minutes, anonymous friends responded:

"Recovery teaches us not to rent space in our heads to others, especially toxic people."

"Some people don't like me. That's ok, I don't like a lot of people too but I never had a problem with that because it was what I wanted and I had to learn to be less selfish and more tolerant. Including the people I did not care for. It sounds trite and almost like being a pushover but it's true and it took a while to start to be okay with that. Drinking has never made anyone accept me but my actions when drunk have without fail had a negative impact on my relationships with others. Sobriety however has helped mend some broken relationships and given me the clarity to realize some things aren't worth the energy and I have to let them pass. Hang in there, this is just a blip on the recovery radar. It will pass."

"Feelings can't make you drink. They can be shitty as all getup, but anger won't kill you. It will pass."

And it will pass. I'm amazed by the 20-something responses I've received. Each response was a reminder that I'm still early in my sobriety and that I still have a lot of learning to do. Inpatient provided me with a particular set of skills to use in the outside world to help me in sobriety and keep track of my kidnapped daughter. I've been letting someone else control my happiness for too long. I'm not sure how I became that weak or overly sensitive. For years I've let people sneak under my skin and rattle my bones until I was nothing but a naked windchime. I need to be strong and remember that others don't control my sobriety: I do. 

Do I need to tag "barf" in this post? Hmm. 

I made the decision to leave sooner rather than later, yet again. All I really want to do is go home, so I'll be leaving a week from today. Home is the best thing for me right now, and that's where I want to be. I'll be leaving next Monday and hopefully arriving in Seattle on Friday. My car and I both have doctor appointments before we shove off into the western abyss, and I'll have my last therapy appointment on Friday. I'm going to miss my therapist, kind and gentle Margaret. I'll be very lucky if I ever have the pleasure of meeting someone like her again. 

There's a few people in Minneapolis I'm really going to miss, people who have made me question whether or not moving home is the right decision for me. People who are on my team, people who stood by me when times were toughest, people who see me for who I really am. Undoubtedly, moving home is the right decision. But there's the dangling "what if" in the back of my brain that feeds on anxiety, early morning rumination, and lack of sleep. Moving home is the opportunity I can control, an opportunity that won't give up on me or lie to me. I need to be excited and strong on this path. If something is conjured in the future, so be it. But for now, all of my roads lead to home. 

I am in desperate need of a mom hug. I miss my mom's smell. She smells like a mix of fabric softener, powdered foundation, and good blankets. I only saw her last week and I miss her. She's been my Number 1 supporter of everything I've accomplished in the last five months. She's the best cheerleader, the warrior for love and kindness. A little over five months ago, I was sitting in a hospital bed with blood matted in my hair and bruises across my chest and back. I called my mom between fluttering nurses and caseworkers. 

Me: I think I need help.
My mom: I'm so glad you asked. 

I had never felt closer to my mom than in that moment. The adult child, admitting to faults and weaknesses, reaching out to a listening mother. I really can't thank her enough for everything she's done to help me. Having a strong family has enlightened me to how fortunate I am in my sobriety. I'm not battling extensive legal fees, losing my offspring to the system, or sitting in a jail cell while my prison wife calls me "Chica" and eats my sandwiches without my permission. I am incredibly grateful for the people who support me. 

I saw Trainwreck this evening. I saw a lot of myself in Amy Schumer during the movie and being able to relate to her character made me like it that much more. The movie is definitely a comedy, and every comedy movie has it's sad, dramatic, heartbreaking, nostalgic parts to it that tug at all the feelings you were trying to escape from by seeing a comedy in the first place. Also, Lebron James is a great actor and his future is bright in cinema. The cast had some notable names from comedy speckled through it, making each scene enjoyable and exciting. I recommend it. I haven't exactly been following the latest or hottest gossip on Amy's career choices, but I think she's owning it so she can do whatever the fuck she wants. 

You know what? Fuck it, I'm tagging "barf."

Friday, July 17

Everything You Wanted To Know About Sober Sex But Were Too Afraid To Ask

Sex. Let's talk about it.

Drunk sex is wild. Your inhibitions have temporarily been left on the floor along with your pants, car keys, panties, complicated shoes, and maybe some big earrings. In the morning, the bed has become an island surrounded by an archipelago of condom wrappers, unused drink tickets, the cardboard from a frozen pizza, and a few empty beer cans or a cheap bottle of whisky. You say goodbye, maybe kiss, and think back to the rules of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine try to work out a friends with benefits relationship: no calls the day after that, spending the night is optional, etc.

I've had my share of drunk sex, drunk sex I was insanely proud of, the drunk sex where I wore a badge of courage in the shape of a handprint on my ass. The drunk sex where I would stop at a Super America the morning after and give the cashier a big shit-eating grin because it was uncomfortable not wearing the underwear that had gone AWOL during my adventure the night before. Only 10% of the time did I really regret being so inebriated during sex that I had plot holes missing from a sensual script.

That alliteration just gave me the heebeejeebees. Also how the fuck do you spell heebeejeebees?

Drunk Liz did not give a fuck when she was drinking. I let myself be used and convinced myself I was okay with it because "I was drunk and didn't matter." I thought as long as the person opposite of me was pleased, I didn't have any reservations about what I had or had not performed. I drank to lower my inhibitions to the lowest standard while letting myself become another notch in the figurative bedpost (because no one has bedposts anymore). I was too drunk to enjoy or even care about anything that was happening to me.

Sober sex was initially frightening. You're suddenly aware of all your surroundings and you have all your senses about you. When I was drinking, I just did whatever it was that came into my head during a roll in the IKEA hay. But with sober sex, it was like going through a mental checklist of how to proceed with sexy times.

1. I'm making "fuck me eyes" but I don't know if it's working. I hope he doesn't think I'm having a stroke.
2. What underwear am I wearing? They aren't black. I should have worn black underwear.
3. How do you foreplay again? Is it just a crotch grab followed by a boob honk, or does the boob honk come first?
4. Don't look at it. Don't look at it. Don't look at it. Don't look at it. Don't look at it. Don't look at it.
5. Nod at him. He'll think that it's hot or at least get some idea that you're okay with what's happening downstairs.
6. Oh, god. It's everywhere.


In the last few weeks, I've reawakened myself sexually. Now that I'm sober, I'm fully aware of different sensations, techniques, and methods being practiced. It's almost like learning how to have sex all over again.

I remember watching porn as a teenager. My high school provided each student with a laptop and the freedom to search anything within Internet Explorer's shitty reach. What could go wrong! After eluding hundreds of pop ups, you could a category which suited your liking. Initially, I was using porn as a tool to help me excel in the sexual arena. The platinum blonde with bolted-on tits and a fake 'n bake tan clearly knew what she was doing! All of my sexual encounters have never panned out like they did for Mary Carey or Sky Lopez because they were acting. No one has ever come over to fix my cable and stayed for a hayjay. It's unrealistic. Even amateur porn is staged and sensationalized. So what is a real sexual experience like?

It's fucking awkward. But after the initial awkwardness of making the first move (or not), you lose yourself within the other person. You become encapsulated with exploring the human figure. Time doesn't exist outside of those sheets. Clothes become the lace to the hardwood floor, delicately dropped over the edge of the bed. The cautious removal of lingerie. Eye contact. Fingers trying to find each other without looking. A breath close to an ear. Shifting weight to accommodate physical features. Positioning angles with the best aesthetic.

I never had that when I was drinking. Sober sex has enabled me to feel everything that's real, and each time I drank before or during a sexual encounter, I deprived myself of a sensual learning experience.

Today, I still watch porn, but I'm no longer using it as an instructional tool to Pound Town. I've become enlightened to specific actions that intrigue me for future reference. While I was drinking, I experienced what I've referred to as porn anxiety: my past boyfriends have watched porn, and I subconsciously placed pressure on myself be exactly like those women. Hairless, outgoing, uninhibited. I drank to make myself feel more confident in my sexual encounters. And if I blacked out, it never happened so there was nothing to worry about. Somehow, I forgot that the majority of these women are acting and their beauty standards have been forcibly glamorized to people like myself. No wonder I drank when I was engaging in sexual activity: it made me forget about my damaged self esteem. I drank to feel confident and social, and it worked...for a while. Retrospectively, I was hindering my sexual experiences, and today I feel like I'm making up for lost time.

Being active in sobriety has awakened my sexual pride, another plus for Team Club Soda. I've never been more confident than I am today. My absolute awareness in regards to my sexuality has been crucial for me to become a real person. For those of you that know me better than others, I often joke about not being a real person. "I can't have dinner tonight because I'm not a real person yet" was a text message I often sent to others. For the first time in years, I feel real and not drained, obliterated, or scared.

I successfully conquered sober sex, even though it took a few attempts. Keep in mind, my situation will not be the same for you or your mailman or the guy from OKCupid who can't take a hint. I had a disgustingly long absence from my sexuality and entailing emotions. It's good to be real again.

Wednesday, July 15

Do they sell hope at Target?

It's 2:07am. I'm drinking a protein shake, which is basically like drinking a glucose tablet. It's chalky, and it doesn't taste like Vanilla Cappuccino! I'm not even sure why I'm drinking it because I always skip leg day.

Tonight I had the sublime opportunity to drive down Lake Street in the wee hours of Hump Day morning. Within a span of thirty seconds, I saw what I assumed to be a shitty hooker and a bum ran up to my window loudly asking for a cigarette. This is why I need to smoke an e-cigarette full time, so that I'll be elusive to bums running up to my window while "I Just Had Sex" by The Lonely Island was expelling from my speakers.

This past weekend, I flew out to Seattle with Patrick. He's quite comfortable in his new home with my mom and step-dad. Getting through the airport alone with a cat, a 40 pound duffle bag, a too big purse, and a backpack was an expected struggle. It was my urban edition of Tuff Mudder. Patrick cried most of the time. With LIVE ANIMAL stickers plastered on his FAA approved carrier, he was checked in and x-rayed in a giant MRI machine to make sure I wasn't the type of person who would hide anything in him.

The flight and entire airport experience was easier than expected. In the past few weeks, I was worried about flying sober. It really wasn't much of a thought as I was browsing Reddit at my gate and people watching. When I got to my seat on the plane, a flight attendant handed me a sticker that said "I'm on board, too!" Patrick was underneath in cargo, which I'm assuming was the loudest experience that's ever happened to him.

Sister and step-dad met me on the other side in Seattle. I went to customer service for Alaska Airlines and asked about where to find kitty. They pointed me to Oddsized Baggage a few carousels away.

I shuffled down the atrium, then I saw him. All alone, carrier on the floor, unattended and crying. I ran up to his minimum security jail and talked to him like I usually do. "You're okay, I love you. Everything's going to be just fine." With the exception of getting stuck behind the washer and dryer in my mom's condo, he's been adjusting well. He's been sleeping in the spot where I usually sleep when I'm in Seattle and he's taken quite a liking to the family matriarch:


Mom and Patrick, which is weird because my dad's name is Patrick. 

This fucking protein shake. It's awful but I can't stop drinking it. 

My return flight to Minneapolis was delayed mid-flight due to bad thunderstorms. We circled the city for a while but it was deemed unsafe to land, so instead we got to refuel in glamorous Des Moines, Iowa at 1am. We finally made it to Minneapolis by 3am, where I was able to catch up with a friend from high school who was on my same flight. I graduated from Seattle Academy nine years ago. In that nine years, I ate a bunch of acid, developed a drinking problem, backpacked through Europe, graduated college, moved to Minnesota for a guy I'm not with anymore, started doing stand up comedy, sold belongings to acquire more tattoos, went to rehab after a tiny cunt assaulted me and enlightened me to said drinking problem, and promptly admitted all of my failures and character defects. I'm not sure which one I'm going to use when I'm asked, "What have you been up to?" at future alumni events, but I'll probably settle on, "Oh you know, this and that." 

Blogger thinks I spelled "cunt" wrong.

I was driving home from the airport when something hit me: it wasn't the comedy community in Minneapolis that was toxic, it was my relationship that was causing me to see it in that way. And then my anxiety started. I was pounding home on 35W in the soggy afterglow of the thunderstorms that delayed my plane, and I was wondering if I was making a huge mistake by moving to Seattle. Naturally, moving to Seattle would eliminate all of my problems! Not really, but Seattle would provide me with family, a safe haven for continuing my recovery, and a mild fucking winter. Those three things are more than enough solidified reasons to return to my hometown. But I don't really think there's anything wrong with the comedy community in Minneapolis. Of course, there were some rough patches last year, but I don't think they currently reflect on the present status of the community. People are being funny, and people are becoming funnier. It's nice to see comics supporting one another again. In reality, I was extremely bogged down due to the relationship I was in and the encumbering strings attached. I was seeing the comedy community through a pair of lenses that were tarnished and obscured. But that night, driving home in the sopping soak of the summer humidity, I had the mildest of epiphanies. If I had kept drinking, I wouldn't be this clear and aware of the decisions I'm making. I don't have any regrets by deciding to move, and I'm hoping to return to Minneapolis to visit in the near future. You guys are good people. Keep it up. Except you, lady at Cub Foods who asked me what ginger candy tastes like. You can go straight to tasteless hell. 

THIS FUCKING PROTEIN SHAKE

Two nights ago, I was trying to go to sleep. And by trying to sleep, I mean scrolling through expat subreddits until my eyes get tired. I checked Facebook for a quick second and noticed a lot of people sharing a specific New Yorker article, found here. THE BIG ONE has been a topic for years, but I never really knew why it was such a hot topic of conversation. The science behind an imminent earthquake in the Pacific Northwest was astonishing and scary. My anxiety was sitting at a strong 7, and in the dark with my phone with three inches away from my face, it went up to a 9.2. Fuck thoughts about having cereal but no milk! There were possible catastrophic seismic events to worry about! In Minnesota, there aren't really many cataclysmic phenomena to worry about aside from the occasional blizzard or a tornado that happens to touch down in a bad part of town. But in Seattle, a big earthquake means a tsunami, and a tsunami means you should have bought a boat. So I stayed up, researching the biggest earthquakes recorded, death tolls and injury margins, stories of heartbreak and miracles, and in hindsight, losing your entire family and everything you own made my anxiety about not having any skim milk seem ridiculous. I fell asleep holding my phone and woke up to a related article on earthquake preparedness. Flashlights! D-batteries! Enough water for 72 hours! A plan to move out of state!

My Yellowstone plans are coming along nicely. I'm planning on spending eight nights on the road home at the end of the month. I'm going to sandwich Yellowstone between Cody and the town of West Yellowstone, Montana. I was able to find some affordable rooms in the height of summer, and it will be nice to mosey through the park at my own pace and surround myself with big wildlife and bigger RVs. Of course, knowing me, the giant thing below Yellowstone is going to blow up while I'm passing through, and the visual travesty of 2012 with John Cusack will become a short lived but very real experience. 

While disposing of my IKEA furniture, I discovered a CD of Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Lawrence and I go way back, back to my poetry camp and Northern Lights Bookstore days. I think he'll be a nice companion to have on the long drive. I'm happy to do this trip alone. I'm almost certain I'll reach a point, probably after two thirds of the way home, I'll be constantly talking to myself in the car, narrating the details of each exit along the interstate. My car is going to be so sick of me. 

I need to buy pepper spray, but I'm not exactly sure how one procures pepper spray. I don't know Dwight Schrute and there's no Pepper Spray and Beyond. I ordered a bowie knife from Amazon but the six-pack of cock rings and a DVD of Three Amigos! aren't necessary for a road trip. I want to be well prepared to thwart a Mad Max style attack on my Kia Soul. Plus I have to pass through Sturgis during the motorcycle rally, which is perfect for a young woman enthralled in her sobriety! HURRAY. 

After reading the label to the shittiest of protein shakes, I discovered it has caffeine in it, so I guess I'm up for the day. I'm not exactly sure what I can do quietly in the middle of the night, but it certainly won't be buying pepper spray and putting it through a test run. 

Tuesday, July 7

The Velvet but Mental Fog

It's 4:22am. I can't sleep and kitty has to be at the vet in three hours. I'm watching Seinfeld and this bowl of Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs was supposed to be smaller.

I took all my posters, maps, and flags off my wall. My room has become bare and enlarged in preparation for this move. I took two more boxes to the post office today and ran into an old friend who I haven't seen in a few years. We used to work together when I was at my first real grown up job after college. It was nice to exchange chatter about workplace drama and what's coming up for me. I'm sure we'll cross paths again someday. I've always enjoyed his company. 

It cost $45 to ship most of my shoes because I'm Liz and I have a shoe problem. 

Tonight (yesterday? I don't know, my night hasn't really ended?) I did a show called New Television, a show two friends put on at the Acadia. It's fun seeing what brain children my friends are thinking of and participating in. It was a nice change of pace from the Monday Night Comedy Show, as in I wasn't in a basement pretending three dollar You-Call-Its don't bother me. I was able to do five-ish minutes and some new material worked, so it's a win in my shoddy unleatherbound book. 

It's 4:28am. 

My room is a complete pit. Random things are scattered all over my floor: lighters, pens, broken sunglasses, bras, black books from serving, extension cords, zip ties, crumpled papers for wrapping breakables, an empty bowl of cereal. This room is so big. I have the entire upstairs of my house, right underneath the A-frame. There's real wood paneling slanted on both sides with a drop ceiling. It appears to be Scandinavian but I don't know why. Probably because of the IKEA accents or that it's sauna-y. 

This last week has been rough, but I feel strong. If situations like this had arisen in the past, I would have immediately buckled under the Silver Bullet. Instead, I can't sleep and I'm eating cereal marketed towards children who aren't running away from their problems. I unknowingly survived a break up and didn't even realize I persevered without drinking until the storm had calmed. I made the right decision in regards to a friend who was in grave need of help, a decision I originally questioned because I sympathized with the pain. Today I actually thought to myself, "well, it's in the past - let's move on." A major and personal development. I'm anxious to get to a point in my life where I'm living and not just trying to survive, but perhaps it's because I'm still somewhat early in sobriety. 

I'm starting to plot out my trip to Yellowstone on my way home to Seattle. I'm thinking I'll take a week to get back home and time it right so I get into town when my parents are home on the weekend. Ultimately, I'll have a week to chow some asphalt and take in some sights along the way. I've heard Mt. Rushmore is largely overrated and that the monument is smaller than people anticipate. I'm also looking to check out Devil's Tower in Wyoming on my way to Cody. I went to Yellowstone with my parents in 1995 but I don't remember much outside of getting eaten alive by an insect that scientists recently deemed would have no crucial impact on the environment if it were forcefully eliminated. Cody, Wyoming also has the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, which I'm sure is a positive experience sans lotions and baskets. 

So I'll have a week to myself. I should probably organize my music and download podcasts that aren't Russian language lessons. Eventually I'll have to play Tetris with my car to fit everything I've pushed into one corner of my room. Of course, not everything is a perfect cube. Giant Angry Bird and IKEA plush shark "klapper haj" will be more forgiving of the inner confines of my Soul than the boxes full of N64 games, cowbells meant for actual cows and not Will Ferrell, and a giant tube full of Neil Young posters and obscure National Geographic maps. 

Tonight, later today after it gets light out and the dark again and I'm aware that's confusing because I haven't slept and it's 5:04am, I'll be downtown at the Pourhouse doing what is probably my last show in Minnesota. I'll be doing a whole ten minutes and not unfinished new stuff that I'm questioning on the way to the venue. I'm actually really looking forward to it. 

It's starting to get light out and kitty is hiding his face in the blanket we're sharing. In two hours I'll have to shove him unhidden face first into his carrier and then reward myself with McDonald's breakfast. 

It's 5:14am, and George likes his chicken spicy.