Saturday, December 31, 2016

Taking Stock and Looking Ahead

It is 9:26pm on the last day of 2016.

Damn.

When I look at the calendar, I can't figure out where the year went. How did I let another year slip by without living it?

However, that is my brain working against me. I lived A LOT in 2016. It wasn't always happy living but I did it. I've talked about feeling like a disappointment and failure and just not being okay a lot the last few months. But today, I want to remind myself of the living that happened this year. Please forgive my self-indulgence.

I started off the year by getting new glasses, and seeing one of my all time favorite musicals with my family, both blood and found.


I told February to fuck off by cutting my hair (uh oh!). I've been known for my long hair for most of my life. It has always been long (and still is) but this cut was really liberating. Like I was cutting off my baggage with the split ends. I also started a full time teaching job in a city district which was (and continues to be) an adventure.

In March, we proved that musical family is forever no matter who tries to tear you apart. My great uncle also passed away in March. I had only been working for 2 weeks when I had to take off to attend his funeral in Philadelphia.

THOROUGHLY MODERN MIRELLA released in April and it was amazing. I had a fabulous release party with all the wonderful people in my life. Except my mom. It sucked that she wasn't there but my grandmother (who has lived with us since I was 5) had started to go drastically down hill and she had to take care of her.  I also went to Lake Placid for a conference in April. That was kickass and a great weekend away with grad school friends.

May saw me graduate (without my thesis done) from graduate school. Again my mom was not there and it felt weirdly anti-climatic without her. However, I am glad she spent the time with my grandmother because at the end of the month, my grandmother passed away. She was 91 and lived an INCREDIBLE life, but it was hard to say goodbye.

One of my very good friends from high school got married in June. It was at a beautiful vineyard and my best friend and I had the best possible time. Big hats, salsa dancing, and shirley temples! Woohoo!

I checked off a major bucket list item in July when I went to Europe for the first time. I chaperoned a high school trip with my old teachers and students I love from the musical. It was amazing. I cannot wait to go back. I also painted one of my houses purple - suck it elementary school bullies!


In August, I got my ass back in the studio and started with intense ballet class and Nutcracker rehearsal. We also cleaned out and sold my great uncle's house where we found an old strong box. It turned out to have the original house deed and a pillow case full of silver coins in it.



In September I went back to work teaching (I was working full time over the summer doing online teaching but I went back to the classroom). With my first paycheck, I splurged and bought tickets for my BFF and I to go to the Theatre Gala in our city. It was perfection. And wine. So much wine.


I turned 27 in October! I also went on a boozey Halloween bike tour and had a one night stand. October was a weird month...


November took me to an all time low. My teaching job was crushing my soul. I was working my ass off for Nutcracker and still trying to be a regular human. My purse was stolen. I failed a lot in November. On a literal daily basis. But I survived.

December was Nutcracker. It was making costumes, surviving the worse cold I've had in years, and dancing more than I have in almost a decade. My life felt like a cluster fuck but it was actually pretty great.


Some bad stuff happened this year. It wasn't perfect. But a ton of great stuff happened too. I'm surviving. It isn't always easy but I'm packing as much as I can (even if it isn't as much as I'd like) into each day.

Here's to surviving 2017 in much the same way but with a little more emphasis on self-care.



Friday, December 23, 2016

bitty words #8

After denial & garbage bag pants
I found cider & wings
After birthdays & baseball
I found bike tours &Halloween
After meltdowns & Cabernet
I found yes.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

bitty words #7

I sat in the driver's seat of his car and could reach absolutely nothing. "Are you even human?" I asked. "How do you drive from this position?"

"Stop whining and just adjust the seat, you big baby."

I stuck out my tongue and decided I wouldn't be returning the seat to this position as payback for that comment.

When I could finally reach the pedals and steering wheel, I started up the car and pulled out of the tight parking space, silently praying it would still be there when we got back because street parking in his neighborhood was thin on the ground.

"So where exactly, are we getting these tacos?" I asked as I approached the first stop light and needed to know where I was going.

"Tacos & Subs is closest," he said. "But Mighty would be way better."

"Mighty is farther away." I pointed out but still put on my blinker to go in that direction.

He laughed and turned up the heat. Fall was fast slipping into winter and I was definitely regretting leaving my tights even if I was coming back because my legs were shivering.

As I flicked on my blinker at the driveway to Mighty, I chanced a look at him. He didn't seem at all bothered to have someone else driving his car. Far calmer, I could guarantee that I would have been in the opposite position but ... details.

"You better know what you want." I said, nosing the car into line.

"Oh, I know," he answered with a Cheshire grin.

I had the distinct feeling  he wasn't talking about tacos. I cleared my throat. "Are you going to tell me so I can order?" My window was already down and we were the next car in line.

"No."

I drummed my fingers impatiently on the steering wheel. "So, what? I'm supposed to guess? Is this some kind of weird test? 'If she can guess my taco order we can keep hooking up?'"

He squinted at me for a moment. "That would be an excellent test but I just plan to lean over and order myself. Don't want to risk a translation error - tacos are very important after all."

I rolled my eyes so hard they nearly fell out of my head. Rather than dignify that statement with a response, I  pulled up to the speaker where the crackling voice asked what it could get for us.

Turning to him with a snarky comment poised on my tongue, I found him already leaning over the console toward my lap. He placed a hand on the seat between my legs (good thing I "man spread" when I drive) and hauled his entire upper body into my personal space as he ordered. I might be sleeping with this guy but it still felt awkward to have him so close.

"See," he said, his face very close to mine. "It's more fun this way."

I was milliseconds away from disagreeing when he kissed me.  My foot nearly slipped off the brake in surprise. But good surprise. Very good surprise. As I returned his kiss, I felt him shifting his weight off the hand he had so casually planted between my legs when ordering.

"Isn't this more fun?" he whispered, dropping kissing down my neck like we weren't waiting in a drive thru line at midnight.

A breathy "yes" was all I could manage as his fingers danced across my inner thigh. Just as his finger hooked around the lace edge of my underwear -

HONK !!

This time my foot did slip off the brake as the car behind us got impatient that we weren't moving forward with the line.

We both laughed, the strange bubble of illicit desire broken, and he moved back to his side of the car. His hand stayed on my thigh as I pulled up to the window.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

bitty words #6

(originally posted 12/16 as #4 but renumbered and reposted for chronology of story)


He had been right. It didn't have to just be a one time thing. And it wasn't as I found myself staring at his ceiling again the following weekend.

"I want tacos."

I turned my head toward his voice to find him propped up on one elbow, already looking at me.  "You want tacos? Now?" I asked, still lazy and sluggish in the afterglow of our activities.

"Yeah," he used his free hand to draw circles on my sternum. "I'm exhausted but I don't want to be done with you yet."

Even the shadows I felt myself blushing. A week later, I still thought he was an asshole but he was also right that the sex we had together was amazing. The whole situation made me feel powerful and confident but the casualness with which he talked about it still caught me off guard. Sex before him was a whispered behind closed doors type of thing. Now sex was a topic of conversation. Pretty much all of my conversations with him, actually.

"So, what, you want to go on a taco run?" I looked at the digital clock on the shelf. "At midnight?"

He laughed, sliding his hand up my neck and pulling me to him for a quick kiss. "Midnight taco runs are the best taco runs...but you're going to have to drive."

I heaved a sigh and moved to get out of bed and find my clothes. He continued to lounge in bed and doubt crept into whatever fantasy land we'd been existing in before I left the bed. It wasn't a sad doubt, just a logical realization. Perhaps I was outstaying my welcome. "This is a clever ruse to get me to leave, isn't it?" I said it with a smile and I meant it.

He joined me at the discarded pile of clothes we'd so quickly shed earlier. "I promise I'll tell you if I want you to leave."

"Okay, so tell me," I pressed. "Should I take my tights with me because you're going to say goodbye to me at the door when we get back."

"You're ridiculous." He snatched the stockings in question from my hand and tossed them onto the bed, out of reach. "Leave them."

I was smiling when he pushed me up again his door and kissed me with such ferocity that my lips were surely bruised as we walked out together.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

bitty words #5

Wow. Just wow. I was no longer a person. I was melted pile of cells that had once been a human but had come apart at the seams. His hand snaked across my stomach and he nestled into my side with his curly hair fanned across my chest.

"Are you okay?" he sounded sleepy and I resisted the urge to pet his head. That was basically asking for an emotional attachment and that was so not my intention. 

"Mhmm. Better than okay."  

"See. Sex is awesome. And you're really good at it. So..." He let his voice trail away into the darkness.

He was clearly trying to make sure I wasn't regretting what we had just done but it was making  me uncomfortable. 

"Um... okay." I wasn't sure if I was supposed to say thank you or tell him he was good too. Well, fantastic actually. But ....details.  I decided to deflect. "Is there a rest of that last sentence?"  

"Well, I just, I didn't want you to be hard on yourself or anything. You were literally made to do this." He hands were starting to wander from my waist. 

"Arguably, everyone is made to to do this." I smirked down at him, pleased at dissecting his compliments and making him have to keep rewording things to get his point across. Yes, I was a word monster. 

His fingers danced in a threatening tickle. "You know what I mean." 

"Do I? Perhaps I am particularly obtuse. What if subtlety is entirely beyond my cognitive abilities." I was just having fun now. 

"Obtuse? Cognitive?"

"They mean -" I began.

"I know what they mean but only you would use those kinds of  words in my bed right now." He was laughing at me again but I didn't mind. 

"I like words." I shrugged beneath him and watched his hair jostle slightly. 

He turned his head to look at me. "More than you like me?" 

"I don't like you." I said matter of factly. "I like having sex with you." 

His laughter shook the whole bed. "Yeah. You're definitely welcome back in this bed any time you want." 

I put on my most pretentious voice. "Why thank you. And assuming I would like to return, how do the logistics work? Do I get a password to a private google calendar and all the girls are color coded so you don't accidentally double book your bed?"

He nuzzled against my ribs, almost shyly. "It's really nothing like that." 

His hand found mine in the blankets and before I knew it, I heard the soft snuffling of his sleep breathing. I might have gotten into this for strictly casual sex but this gorgeous man asleep on my chest was a nice bonus. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

bitty words #4

"Whoa, whoa," the laughter was back in his voice but it wasn't as annoying this time. I kissed him to make him be quiet but he pressed his gym-calloused hands to my shoulders and broke away.

"Are you sure? We don't have to do anything. We can just lay here if that is what you want." A coy grin played across his gorgeous mouth, like he was pretty sure he knew what I wanted but he liked asking anyway.

In the shadows of his room, his body was moonlight and muscle beneath me and his Adonis-worthy face was so damn pretty it felt like a sin just to look at him. I leaned forward, matching our bare chests together.

"I want you." I heard his intake of breath and added, "Now."

In an instant he had flipped me onto my back, positioning himself between my legs. A shiver ran through every cell like an electric shock. This was going to be amazing. I reached for him, catching his mouth in a messy, urgent kiss. I could feel myself drifting away from logical thought, becoming a heated ball of raw desire, but I had one more important question to ask first.

"Have you been tested recently?"

Laughing a yes against my collarbone, his fingers trailed up my thigh but not quite to the place that craved his touch most. "I'm good, but are you on the pill?"

We were still close, still touching, still kissing between the questions but this conversation felt a little like a buzz kill. I mean, it was super important to be safe, careful, and responsible but if he was about to fight me over a condom I might just have to leave for real this time.

"No, but even if I was -" He was off me before I could finish my sentence. "Where are you going?"

He back standing at the foot of the bed in seconds. "Just getting this." He threw an unopened condom onto my stomach. I snatched it up just before he launched himself on top of me again. Our already urgent kisses reached a new level of frantic.

"Put it on me," he breathed across the soft skin of my chest.

Fresh desire rocketed through me as I tore open the package and rolled it over him. Thoughts came to me in disjointed clusters without much meaning. All I knew for certain was that at that moment, I needed him.

"You're sure?" he asked again, throbbing against my thigh.

Why was that question so hot? Consent, as it turned out, was seriously sexy.

"I'm more than sure," I said, then reached for him and proved it.

Monday, December 12, 2016

bitty words #3

Something about the way he looked at me in the dark made me tell him. And like the asshole he truly was, he laughed.

"Wow, that is definitely not what I expected." He couldn't keep the mirth out of his voice. 

Embarrassment flooded every inch of my body and I felt my temperature rise. At a loss for words for the first time in living memory, my fight or flight reflex kicked in and the response was definitely flight. I rolled away from him and sat up, calculating the quickest and least revealing way to extricate myself from this situation. 

What the fuck had I been thinking? I didn't know if I was more upset with myself for being stupid enough to tell him why I was hesitant or that I was idiotic enough to have gone there in the first place. 

I felt his arms around my waist, pulling me back to him but I planted my feet on the floor and didn't budge. 

"Hey, hey, where are you going?" 

I tried to pry his arms off me. "I'm leaving. This was a mistake."

"What are you talking about? We haven't done anything yet."  He was still on the verge of laughter. Why was he incapable of being serious? 

"It's obviously better that way."

"Oh, you're like having a thing. Maybe I should serious it up a bit."  

My desire to slap him was unreal.  I made to stand up but instead of breaking his grasp, it gave him the leverage to pull me back into bed with him. 

He kept himself wrapped around me. "Seriously, I'm just surprised. You don't seem like the kind of girl to have hang ups about sex." 

"So you thought I was easy." Even I find a little laugh this time because it is so untrue. 

"Not really." He still didn't moved his arms. "I just thought you  would have slept with who you wanted when you wanted. That's just your personality." 

I couldn't fault that. I was a take what I want, screw what anyone else had to say about it kind of person. 

"Well, I've got baggage apparently." 

He laughed again and I squirmed to get free. "You can't have baggage from one person. You have the opposite of baggage." 

I cracked a smile despite myself. He was right. One person shouldn't have felt so heavy and saying it out loud helped me see that. 

Then he tickled me. In hindsight I could see his logic in trying to take my mind off the heavy stuff but it was still a stupid thing to do. I started writhing immediately. I had always been irrationally ticklish. 

"Stop." 

He didn't.

"I'm serious. Stop." I repeated. He still didn't. 

"I'm going to hit you if you don't stop." He laughed. 

Thwack. My elbow connected with his sternum and he let go. And I burst into laughter. 

"You're a monster." He gasped, catching his breath. 

"I warned you." And then, because it felt like the right thing to do, I crawled on top of him.




Friday, December 9, 2016

bitty words #2

Panic raced through me alongside adrenaline and desire, but stronger than both.

Number 2.

Every girl regrets the second guy she sleeps with.

I rolled away from him, overwhelmed and breathing hard.

"What's wrong?" His hand crept across my hip in a soft caress.

I stared at the ceiling, lost in the popcorn texture and my own doubts. "I can't do this."

"What? Why?" I felt the surprise in his fingers. "You called me, remember?"

The ridiculousness of the whole thing forced a laugh from my lips. "True."

After a moment of thick silence, he moved his hand from my hip, wrapping it instead across my waist and throwing one of his long legs over my own. He pressed the front of his body against the side of mine as I continued to stare at the ceiling.

"You're safe here," he whispered in my ear before dropping his head onto my chest.

The sudden change from brash, sarcastic banter to such a tender moment  pushed me further off balance. Who was he? What was this? What was I doing here?

"Tell me what's wrong," he asked, pulling me closer.

How could I tell him he was only number 2? That the seductress of casual sex I had been three minutes ago was all an act? Did I want to?

I turned on my side to face him, still within the embrace of his limbs. "Nevermind." I pressed my lips to his, urgently, trying to remember why I came here in the first place. He opened his mouth to meet me and my panic receded. "It doesn't matter," I said, in gasping breaths as his scalding fingers danced across my back.  "This is just a one time thing."

It was his turn to pull away, finding my eyes in the dimly lit room. "It doesn't have to be."

Thursday, December 8, 2016

bitty words #1

I broke away from his kiss as his chauvinistic words sunk in.

"You're an asshole," I said, no hint of laughter in my voice. "I don't think I want to do this anymore."

Despite my tone, he laughed. "I am. And you're a pain in the ass but this is going to be amazing."

I was still processing this latest statement when his lips crashed into mine again. It took approximately ten seconds for me to agree with him but I wasn't sure which of us was in for more trouble.


Updates

Humans of the Internet, 

I've been kind of MIA lately. I have dropped so many balls in the last three months that I have lost count. I have failed. 

It is really hard for me to say that. I am accustomed to not meeting my own expectations and having to adjust goals but I straight up failed this fall. 

And it sucks. 

But I am slowly trying to make the changes I need to in order to recover but it is hard. Adulting is hard. Life is hard. Writing this is hard. 

I told Twitter a few days ago that I am not okay and I meant it. I am struggling with my day job and balancing my other commitments. It is even making my excitement about performing in Nutcracker stressful instead of the best thing ever. 

My word of 2016 was BALANCE and I sucked at it. 

So I'm struggling but you know what helps? Writing. 

I don't have time to sit down and really work on any of my book ideas/outlines/WIPs but I do occasionally have a few spare moments to let the words flow a little and it really helps.  I'm going to start sharing those words here. I'll probably come up with some snazzy hashtag and compile them on their own page. I haven't figured that bit out yet. 

Now, more than ever, I would love to hear how things are going for you. Personally, professionally, bookishly. Share with me. 

Have you seen Magali Frechette's MY SOUL TO GIVE yet?

When Celina Leviet escapes the brutal home invasion that kills her husband, she’s left with a bullet in her gut and vengeance in her...