Thursday, December 31, 2009

Aunt or Auntie?


My sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. MM, have had their first child! He was born December 30th, 10:24pm and weighed 7 lb 4 oz. He is the cutest friggin' baby EVER and has a ridiculous amount of red hair.

I am so ridiculously excited to cuddle my brand new nephew! I leave on the 1st and almost wish I could leave earlier.

But considering I haven't cleaned, done laundry, run all my errands or packed - the 1st is still the best option.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Fuckmas

Christmas ceased to be my favorite holiday a long time ago. There comes a point when you become all too aware of the family drama and the stresses of the holiday season while still living at home - even then it is tolerable because everyone wears a happy face. When I was in college I was still going home for Christmas, except for the year spent with Miss L and Miss K in Germany. Since then, though, Christmas has been this awkward day spent with strange families or, in this case, in a cloud of marijuana smoke and in an empty bar.

Christmas eve is a great night for the twenty or even thirty somethings - unless you have kids, Christmas eve is just another occasion to stay out late drinking. No need to tuck in to wait for Santa to come. I had a pretty good Christmas eve, really, especially when all the other bars closed and everyone came up to my bar to drink. By the end of the night most of the food was gone and I had made some decent money in tips.

Christmas is another story. I don't believe in God. I don't believe in Jesus. I also don't celebrate any pagan holidays like solstice or Yule or anything. It should be like any other day. December 25th should be just like October 25th or January 25th or any other cold, rainy, wintery month. It must be the media, the entire marketing field, the cities with their lights - they are all reminding you that today is Christmas and that it is a day to be spent with family. I don't even necessarily get along with my family all that well and this stupid day makes me miss them. And it feels weird to be part of other families' Christmas gatherings, too.

I think my best time this entire evening was sitting in the bar with another bitter non-believer, drinking hot buttered rum and bitching about Christmas.

I didn't used to hate this day like I do now. Hope everyone else enjoyed theirs.

I went to a friend's place for Christmas dinner. Late. It was cold and they don't have a microwave. Everyone was smoking pot and staring at the television. The friend who was my main reason for being there wasn't even inside. I sat quietly, wishing I could have entered the night with a better attitude. Or wishing I smoked pot so I could join the stoned masses. But no, I just let my hair and clothing absorb the dank scent while I moped in a crowd. Stupid holidays aimed at making single people feel lonely. If I didn't know better I'd blame fucking e-Harmony or some shit company, trying to make us feel like we need a partner to be happy.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

It says it in the muthafuckin' declaration of independence - we are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Or, I mean, that's what we were going for.

I pursue happiness a lot. I don't consider it to be an always elusive goal, there are definitely times when I am happy. But Happiness, once reached, is not a constant state. A person must work to maintain happiness. Sometimes, in my pursuit of happiness upkeep, crazy things happen.

1. I've quit my day job. I've always felt it is not a good idea to quit a job without having another job lined up but I've also determined that if something makes you absolutely miserable - don't do it. I like the goal of my job, I just can't stand the means. I would wake up dreading it, I would go to sleep dreading it, I would spend all my time dreading it. Not really on the path to happiness there.

2. I've consumed copious amounts of alcohol. Now, this may seem counterproductive, alcohol being a depressant and all - but as many of us in the world know, going out to bars and parties can be a lot of fun and going to bars and parties is the most fun when you and everyone else are similarly intoxicated. Being the sober person can be exasperating.

This weekend was a good example of alcohol in pursuit of fun and happiness - nothing bad happened (hooray) and we all had jolly good times. There was dancing and singing (I did some karaoke) and flirting and Apples to Apples and talking and laughing and crafting and brunching and all sorts of happy things.

3. I have been filling my time with friends and activities. Sometimes I can really enjoy sitting at home and reading or writing or drawing or doing yarn sports, but other times I need to be around friends. The past week or so have been packed and it only continues in that grain:
Thursday was girls' night, Friday was Miss S's return and live music at the Alaskan, Saturday I worked but had tons of fun, Sunday was craft brunch and the 'SINful' Holiday Party, yesterday I had dinner at the L house, this afternoon I'll be hanging out and drawing with my friend Mr. J, tomorrow I have a dinner party to attend at Miss J's house, Thursday is Santacon Juneau, Friday is a fundraiser and ugly sweater party, Saturday I work again, as goes for Sunday, then it gets to a week which is too far away to have planned for, but it is just about Christmas time.

4. Inadvisable vacations are my forte. I will be leaving town for three weeks. THREE WEEKS! I have just quit my job and I am a paycheck to paycheck kinda gal, anyway. I should probably not run off on vacation for three weeks, but somehow I've been pretty good and I have enough money in my bank account and enough coming in that I can go to Oregon for a week to see my sister and my nephew to be and then go bask in Mexico's sunshine. And maybe I'll come back with no money (except what I've set aside to be sure I can pay rent and whatnot) but I will be happy and another job is inevitably around the corner. I've been underemployed before but never for long.

So, all these strange and inadvisable things, are they making me happy? Yes. I am pretty happy. I am happy with my decisions and happy with my future plans (the two month plan, I don't have a plan beyond that, really) and happy with right now, sitting on my couch and blogging about this nonsense.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dating a Professional

Today I went to the dentist for the first time in at least three years. I figured I have a dental plan right now, so I had better go and get things taken care of. I got a brutal teeth cleaning and had to schedule more than one future appointment to get some cavities filled.

For those of you with absolutely perfect teeth, congratulations. My teeth have deep grooves and I also enjoy chocolate. I don't think these babies had a chance.

That's not my point, though. I didn't come here to point out my dental imperfections, though my dentist did point out that they could probably stick something to the weird half tooth so it would look like a normal human tooth. My point is, and you can tell by the title: dating professionals.

I didn't ask for recommendations for a dentist. I didn't read up on it. I chose my dentist based on proximity and the fact that I walked by his office most days. It's right by my office. I determined, when we were introduced, that my dentist is not a bad looking guy. A handsome looking professional like that - probably married.

But could you imagine dating a dentist? OK, again with the readers with the perfect teeth, whatever. I have crooked teeth, that weird half tooth (it's a genetic mutation or something - no super human powers), and I am more likely to use my floss for fixing something than its actual purpose.

The pressure of dating a dentist would be TOO MUCH. I can just picture going out to dinner with a dentist and excusing myself to the powder room every 15 minutes to check to see if things are in my teeth, check my breath, make sure my gums aren't even slightly swollen. I'd probably floss and brush directly after finishing the meal so that when we are leaving the restaurant and I smile and thank him for the lovely dinner, he isn't horrified by the piece of pepper stuck between my two front teeth or something.

And that's just the first date, right? What about when you have sleep overs. You would probably have to carry a toothbrush with you just in case you end up sleeping over. Then you get there and you wonder if you start making out or if you wait to brush your teeth. Are you going to have coffee? Or is he concerned about stains - should you be concerned about stains? And then when you are going to bed, are you trying to brush your teeth for just as long as he brushes his? Are you watching the motions he uses? Or maybe you are eying his sonic toothbrush and thinking that it is way stronger than your... never mind.

All I'm saying is that I could never date a dentist because I'd be way too worried that he'd be scrutinizing my teeth and dental hygiene 24/7 and I just can't deal with that. But maybe you are planning ahead and figure that if you end up marrying the dentist you can have free teeth whitenings and you'll have the best in dental hygiene technology and that you'll never have to worry about whether you have a dental plan again. After all, would I be so self conscious about my teeth had I had them cleaned professionally in the past three years? Or had I maybe gotten little ol' halfy the tooth crowned? Or had I gotten braces when I was in grade school and it would have completed my dorky look?

A couple notes:
The half tooth is half longways - it's a super skinny tooth. I know, it's sort of cruel that I'd get an anorexic looking tooth when the rest of me is anything but.
I did have a retainer in elementary school, my orthodontist was all about the minimal equipment to get a job done, little did he know (apparently) that elementary school kids are horrible about wearing their retainers or that my parents would decide to move and his whole plan would be foiled.
Between my hygienist and my dentist, I was talked into buying one of the sonic toothbrushes - I used it for the first time tonight and OH EM GEE was that strange. I hear you get used to it. I kind of sprayed toothpaste all over. But my teeth do feel clean. And satisfied.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Alt Art AK

WE FRIGGIN' DID IT!!!

Mister D, Miss B, Mister M and I did it. We got the art, we did the publicity, we put together the show and we were a hit.

For many we may have been just another stop, for some we may have been the red headed stepchildren of the art scene, but for some we were the only stop, we were it, where people wanted to be.

We featured around 12 artists, we had everything displayed properly, though we definitely got a little creative with some of our displays, and we even sold some art. Hooray!

We will be keeping the place open by our volunteer hours for the next few weeks or a month.

If you are in Juneau and would like to drop in, we're at 127 S Franklin next to the skate shop.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Woman Silenced or a Woman Scorned

Warning: This post is one of a very serious nature about a very serious and potentially controversial topic: Sexual assault. It is a personal account and I hope that through my sharing, there are others who feel like they need no longer be silent.

I recognize that, as someone living in a small community, this post may elicit some concern or some criticism. This is what I choose to share, no more. This is as far as I go, no further.

If your iPod got stolen, if your car got broken into, if you were involved in a barroom brawl, you would talk about it. You would complain to your friends that now you have to buy a new iPod, that your stereo was so nice and now you can't afford a better one, about how the fight started and ended and how everyone should see the other guy. Bad things happen. You can talk about it.

But not always. When a woman is subject to sexual assault or domestic violence, she is silent. Women make up excuses for why their significant other hit them, they contemplate all the reasons it may have been their fault that they had non-consensual sex. I was wearing a short skirt. I was flirting. I don't really remember what happened because I had been drinking, but maybe I did want it. A woman may feel more guilt for being a victim than the perpetrator feels for sexually assaulting a woman who did not consent.

Only a very small number of instances of sexual assault are reported. To speak up is to be scorned. A woman I know filed a complaint about sexual harassment in the workplace and not only has nothing come of it, people mumble and grumble about her stirring up trouble. There is also a question of what constitutes sexual assault? That would be sex without consent, right? But consent is this awful gray area. If a woman is blackout drunk, can she consent to sex?

I choose break the silence. I choose to speak. I will not speak in full detail, but it is a story shared by many women, many of my friends.

I enjoy drinking. A lot. It's probably awful, I started drinking in college, engaging in college binge drinking culture. I would drink copious amounts of alcohol on my weekend nights, waking up to horrible hangovers and a very patchy memory. It didn't stop when I graduated college, though. I work at a bar myself and hang out with other people who work in this industry and I'm not going to hide it, many, if not all of us, are alcoholics by some definition or another. We drink often and we drink a lot.

I can't count the number of times I have gotten carried away and consumed so much alcohol that I have been slurring my words, that I have blacked out, that I have vomited. It's an unacceptably large number, I assure you.

Not too long ago, I awoke in my bed with a throbbing headache, a dry mouth, and hardly any memory of the night before. On some mornings like this, I might chuckle to myself and think, “Must have been a good night.” but on that particular day I awoke feeling awful. It wasn't just my pounding head or my dehydration, nor was it the fact that I had fallen asleep face first in my pillow with my clothing still on. I had no idea how I had gotten home or when I had gotten home or what I had been doing for however many hours prior to having gone home. I did my best to recover, showering, drinking liters of water – then I went to work. In the afternoon I received a text message teasing about me and a man – I suddenly remembered that he and I had been talking – no – making out. Not someone I would choose to make out with, but we all make mistakes. Then I got more and more teasing. Friends texting, friends who dropped by.

Then I got a message on facebook that said, “I know.” and I was confused. Was this like a teen slasher flick? You know what I did last summer and now you are going to kill me? I didn't get an answer, which was strange, but I have a lot of friends who smoke a lot of pot, so I don't consider any interaction too weird.

On Monday I got a phone call from one of my best friends. She asked if there was something I wanted to tell her and I was again frustrated that everyone seemed to know about my making out with this guy. I responded with, “Oh, about making out with [man's name]? I figured everyone already knew.” She was quiet for a moment and said, “What I heard was not making out, Melissa, what I heard was much worse. Did you?” “Did I what, have sex with him? No. Is that what he is saying?”

But then I thought about that night and I realized that I didn't have any recollection of having sex with this person, but had I possibly had sex with this person? I concentrated as hard as I could and managed to piece together a few more vague memories, patches, here and there. I told my friend I didn't want to talk about it and that I had to go. I ended our conversation and spent the rest of the evening locked in my mind, trying to uncover any clues. I scoured phone and social networking and, aha, I discovered a very drunken message sent, likely via facebook mobile, rather incoherent, encouraging the person to call me. No recollection of sending that. In a sober state, or even in a less drunk state, I would not kiss this person, let alone have sex with this person. I even recall pulling away a friend of mine who had been talking to him, a couple years ago.

What had I done?

Well, really, I had no idea what I had done, but the slurring, sloppy drunk me had apparently done something. And not only that, apparently everyone knew about it. Could I have consented to whatever happened? I could have possibly said. “Oh, yes, please!” but whether it is strict law or just ought to be, a person in an altered state cannot really consent.

Here I was – here I AM – feeling awful, staying at home, avoiding people and places, thinking constantly about what I had done, what he had done, knowing that I was a “slut” and that he was a “stud” and that I was looked down upon and mocked and that he was probably congratulated and high-fived. That I had been a victim of sexual assault, and that he will be unaffected. I went to dinner with my friend who had informed me of the depth of the rumor and she got me to talk. I told her everything and I told her how hopeless it all was. There was absolutely nothing I could do but let it all blow over and try to never allow myself to be in that position again. But there is one thing I can do.

I, a victim, choose not to suffer in silence, but to share this story. I share this story here because I can't do anything better but make people aware of a major problem. It's nearly a week later and I have no evidence that anything has occurred, had their been witnesses they may have said I wanted it, I also have no proof of my level of intoxication. To file a report, to try to press charges – it is futile. I would waste time and money, I would, like the woman I know, stir trouble, and I would be stressed out. And when it is all over and the case is dismissed because there is nothing really there but a woman who says she was too drunk to consent – I'll be a woman who is both scorned AND silenced.

So if I must choose, scorn me for sharing this story, but do not silence me. By sharing my story, I feel that there is one more voice calling for laws to be changed so that women are not victimized by the legal system as well as by the men who take advantage of them or assault them.

One of the worst things is that, despite having been taken advantage of and having to hear the worst of it as a rumor, I still have to force myself to call it what it is – I feel guilt and I feel shame and I am the victim.