All it takes is a look and I know

Sometimes it's when we're driving in the car.

Or when we're in the kitchen and trying to get dinner ready.

Other times it's when we're watching TV or when we're simply alone at the end of the day.

Whatever it is that we're doing, it's that moment that she stops. She looks at me. I look up at her and she's smiling. I smile back. Sometimes the look in her eyes makes me shy even after all of these months. Her smile grows when I smile. The look in her eyes is so intense sometimes that I feel like she's looking straight into my soul. Feelings like that used to unnerve me. With her, they just make me warm inside. I feel like I have been waiting my whole life just for her. For these exact moments. I can have the worst day ever, and that one look turns it completely around. Whatever is wrong with the world, she makes it right in my world.

Sometimes she reaches and touches my face, other times we just sit there staring into each other, lost in the moment. I know what she's going to say and my heart races every time as if it were the first time she has said it.

"I love you."

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The light at the end of the closet

My closet is collapsing. Quickly.

Apparently my closet was never really stealthy to begin with. When I come out to people, most say, "I know." A lot make it about themselves.

"I just don't understand why you didn't feel you could trust me?" "Did I do something to make you feel like you couldn't tell me?"

Others don't understand why I just don't come out already. I mean, everyone already knows anyway, right?

Obviously, I can't speak for every gay person who has been in the closet, so I'll just speak for myself. I thought the closet was my lifeline. I thought I needed it. There was a time, not so long ago, that I thought that I needed to hide this part of me for the rest of my life. I felt like I could be gay as long as no one close to me knew. I thought that I could never date someone in my same city because *gasp* people would find out. I was afraid that if some people in my life found out, that I would be physically harmed because I grew up believing that it is not okay to be gay. So, I tucked myself firmly in the closet and decided that I could be happy there. The world is scary. My closet was safe. I mean, security blankets are a good thing, right? The closet was my security blanket.

Except that it wasn't.

Oh, at first it was. I felt happier than I had been in a long time because I had admitted to myself that I liked women and that was okay. But the more and more that I discovered my true self and strived to become the truest version of myself that I could be, the smaller my closet became. I didn't like hiding who I really was. So, I made a decision...

I would tell a few people. That is what I would do.

With a few people knowing, my closet didn't seem so small anymore. I could breathe again. There were times now in which I could be myself and the other times, I could just hide out in my closet and I could be happy with that. For a while, it was all I needed. I was once again happier than I had ever been. Until that wasn't enough anymore. Once again, my closet was suffocating me.

It had become my prison.

I knew at that time that I couldn't stay in the closet. I had to come out to everyone, including my family. And exactly how does an analytical coward do something like that?

She makes a game plan. Slowly but surely, I began to come out.

I'm still coming out.

Right now, my parents do not "know." I say "know" because I know my mom knows. And I think that she knows I know she knows. I just haven't said those three big words. Despite all of the reassuring words that she's given me and the fact that she loves my girlfriend and the fact that I know she loves me and just wants me to be happy, I just haven't been able to come out with it. I'm a wuss.

Here's the thing about coming out (for me anyway)... You have to feel safe. You have to know that all is going to be okay before you put yourself in a possible life changing situation. I didn't always feel safe. In fact, for a long time I was so afraid that I thought I could never come out. I thought I had to deny myself love. All it took for one person that I thought would reject me to tell me that "it's part of who you are" and "of course, I still love you" for me to know that everything was going to be okay. When I look back on this past year or so when I began to make my game plan, I feel.... proud. Yes. I'm proud. I've come a long way to that scared woman who didn't think she would ever be able to be her true self all of the time. I know that I need to completely come out and I know that the longer I wait, the harder it may be in certain situations, I also know there is no "perfect moment" in this situation. But, I will come all the way out of my closet. I can see the light, and for right now? That feels good.

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We were just watching TV is all

While watching TV on my couch, I look down at the six year old who has firmly planted his head in my side while playing the DSi. How he was able to maneuver his body so that he was able to lie down between me and his brother is beyond me, but he did it. He's such a sweet boy. When you look into his eyes, you see a boy who loves life to the fullest. In one minute, he's trying to figure out how to play checkers, and in the very next minute he's trying to fly because he's wearing a cape, and all superheroes with capes can fly, right? He amazes me with the wisdom that oozes from his six year old brain and his laugh is so very infectious. He cannot sit still right now, and I smile because I am reminded of something my great-grandmother would have said. "He's wallerin' me to death."

I look over at his brother. His eyes are glued to the TV. He's sitting on the edge of his seat as we watch Ghost Hunters together. His eleven year old eyes can be so serious at times. He reminds me a lot of myself at that age. He's sensitive and when you first meet him, you'd think he's a quiet child. When you get to know him, is when you see his full personality. He's an actor, a cartoonist, a movie artist in the true sense of the word. His talent puts mine to shame, and I'm so very proud of what he's accomplished already. I love teaching him what I know and seeing him take what I've shown him and develop his skills. I have no doubt that one day, he will be teaching me things. His smile warms my heart.

They are both so different, yet I love them both so much.

I smile again. In these past eight months, this has to be one of my favorite moments. I've lived in my house for seven years, but now, I am truly home.

I look over at her, our eyes meet, and we communicate without words. She whispers, "I love you so much." She tells me how warm her heart feels right now in this moment, and I know that she is feeling the exact same thing that I am.

As I turn my attention back to the TV, my heart says, "Welcome home."

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They're all just words. Or are they?

I stare at my computer trying to decide what to write about. I love how the keyboard feels beneath my fingers. I smile to myself because I never fancied myself a writer. Not once did I ever look at myself in the mirror and say, "April, you are going to be a writer one day."

Yet, here I sit trying to decide which part of my heart to pour into my tiny little corner of the internet. Here I sit planning on one day writing a book with hopes that people will fall in love with my words as I have fallen in love with other people's words.

Maybe I'll be funny today, I think. I like being funny. And I'm pretty damn good at it. Or. Maybe I will try to touch someone with my words. If one young gay person reads my words and knows that It Gets Better, and that everything will be okay, then I consider my whole writing career a success. Or. Maybe I'll make people cry. Not that I particularly like making people cry, but I do like making people feel things. Or. Maybe I'll just randomly write.

I smile again.

I realize that it doesn't really matter what I write about. It doesn't matter if I'm funny or sad or inspiring because I write here for me. Mostly. And I write here because it makes me feel better. Those moments when I'm writing give me such a satisfaction that no "job" has ever given me before. My writing, at least for now, is for me.

I get up. I look at myself in the mirror and I say, "April, you've become a writer."

No, it doesn't really matter what I write about, I think again. As long as I Just Write.

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This is when my life began. Again.

I looked up from the book I had just finished reading. I had tears in my eyes. From my front porch, I could hear a bird singing nearby. I felt a breeze on my face. I looked around my yard and neighborhood and sighed. Something big was about to happen...

I absorbed what I just read.

My life made sense now. My whole life made sense all in this moment.

I smiled. And I cried.

I cried because deep down I knew that in reading Like Me, my life was going to change. My life had to change. I had been stuck in limbo for far too long. I was living a lie and I was ashamed of myself.

I cried because I was so very scared. I knew that in telling people, I may lose people that I cared about.

I cried because I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to go about telling people.

I cried because I knew that I had finally found my path to happiness.

I smiled again.

My whole life I searched for someone who was like me. I couldn't understand why I had the feelings that I did and I grew up being told that being gay wasn't "right." As I read Chely Wright's words, I found myself saying "Me too!" and I was proud of Chely for having the courage to come out to the world. All of a sudden, I wanted to come out to the world too!

Living a lie was tiring. I wanted to live life instead. I needed to tell my world.

I closed the book, stood up, and began looking at the world with whole new eyes.

It was all going to be okay. Life would be good.

Life is good.

Thank you, Chely.

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Every now and then time just stops

I didn’t really want to go out that night. I waited until the very last second to take a shower, then I waited until the very last second to decide what to wear, then I waited until the very last second to get dressed, put my make up on. I waited until the very last second to decide to actually go.

A friend wanted me to go out with her to our ONE GAY CLUB. The problem was that I just didn’t FEEL like going. I mean, I had only been to that club once or twice and that was years ago. When I was “straight.” What would happen if someone I wasn’t attracted to asked me to dance? What would happen if I got there and felt uncomfortable? What if I got there and hated it, but felt obligated to stay because I didn’t want to leave my friend? What if I went there and no one wanted to dance with me?

I told myself that I didn’t feel like going, but now that I think about it, I was afraid. I was afraid of what might happen. Of might not happen. I was thinking exactly how I did when I tried so hard to be straight knowing that something just didn’t feel right.

I have a lot of feelings.

In a split second I decided to go. I would go and just have a good time.

My friend and I sat at the bar. I think I had been telling her about how I wasn’t sure if I would ever meet anyone who was my type in our town. I say, “I think” because right after that, my whole night, my whole world changed.

She walked in.

I felt so many feelings all at once. My head rushed, my heart slammed. “There is my type,” I told my friend and pointed to the beautiful woman who was standing near us at the bar.

Our eyes caught and I tried to smile, but I’m not sure if I did because I suddenly felt shy. I watched her as she walked off. I watched her with her friends. I watched her walk outside. I watched her as she stood in front of me, looked back at me and smiled. I watched her as she danced with the girl that I thought was her girlfriend.

My heart sank a little.

After a while on the dance floor, my friend said she needed to go out for some air and when I turned, there was the girl. I smiled. She smiled. Her hand touched mine, our bodies were pulled closer together by magic, or maybe it was her hand, who knows. All I know is that in that moment, when two people meet, there is a magic in the air. Time slows and you are the only two people in the world who exist.

Reality struck again when the one that I thought was her girlfriend approached. I backed off, put my hands up as if to say, “I’m sorry.” She smiled. “She’s not my girlfriend.” She pulled me back to her and we disappeared back into the world that we had created.

I’m not sure how long we danced. It could have been five minutes. It could have been five hours. I was so overwhelmed with feelings but the one that I felt most was that this? It felt right.

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Just a few random (or not so random thoughts)

One week and two days until my 33rd birthday. I haven't written here much. I am blocked. I let stress take over, and words have left me. Or I should say that perfect words have escaped me. I have questioned my ability as a writer.

"Maybe you can't make it as a writer after all, April."

I write those words and half smile to myself. They seem silly to me. I am a writer. It's the first thing I tell people when they ask what I do for a living. Of course, I use the disclaimer that my writing doesn't pay the bills. Yet. Which, if my writing never pays the bills, I'm okay with that because I love to write.

So, why am I blocked? This blog doesn't have to be perfect. It's about me and I am far from perfect. I actually love that about myself.

I love that I am constantly figuring out who I am and what I like and dislike. More than one person in my life has told me to never change, and I feel like that is the worst thing to say to a person. I spent the majority of my twenties being a person that I wasn't. Now, most days I feel like a small child who is discovering new things in this world every single day. I feel myself becoming more and more comfortable in my skin.

It's quite an amazing feeling, but I'm thinking maybe that is why my writing fails me. I was sitting in a session at a recent conference and I thought, my blog is about to go somewhere. I don't mean make it big because I don't really care about that. I care more about touching lives. What I think those thoughts meant is I feel myself changing. I feel my writing changing. (Or maybe some of the focus of my writing changing? Hmm. Maybe I just think too much.) Maybe I just don't know what to do with all of these feelings I have yet. Maybe, what I mean is that maybe, just maybe, this blog is about to become more "me". Hmm.

Should be fun to see what happens.

PS. I should note that I made a deal with two people in particular that I would show off my rapping skills. I'm sure that alcohol will need to be involved to have this happen but expect this deal to be paid in full right here on this blog soon.

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Who needs The Biggest Loser anyway...

I pulled into the garage and my first thought was, this isn't right. Instead of trusting myself and turning around and leaving the garage, I parked my car. I also figured when I couldn't find the floor that led to the hotel, that something was wrong, but again, instead of going back to my car, I walked out to the street and into the Hilton

This just isn't right, I thought. I remember the hotel we were in last year, and this isn't it.

I checked my phone (because you know, it's always better to do that after you have that gut feeling that you're wrong and walk into the wrong hotel), see that the conference was at the Marriott, and think, oh good! I saw one of those just about a block down!

I walked into the Marriott, and once again, I knew this isn't right. I looked at the address again, marched over to the check-in desk (because, you know, it's always better to do that after you've been to the second wrong hotel), stuck my phone in the poor employee's face and said, "Can you please tell me where this is?"

I went to the wrong garage and two wrong hotels for the beginning of my FitBloggin. I am that cool. I admit, Now, let me tell you about the rest my FitBloggin...

I was in it for the shoes. OK, not really. Only sort of really. I was all kinds of stupid excited about those shoes.

Even though I have a touch of social anxiety, I love FitBloggin. On The Biggest Loser, each season we watch a group of people who have struggle a good portion of their lives with being healthy come together to change their lives. (I know some of you don't like The Biggest Loser, but stick with me here.) They also create bonds with the people they go to the ranch with. They laugh, they cry, they work hard, and together they change their lives.

The problem with The Biggest Loser is that it isn't really real. Sure, the contestants create bonds, but for you and me? It isn't our reality. How many of you have watched that show and thought, I want that. All of it.

Guess what? We have it. FitBloggin is like our Biggest Loser ranch only better. The internet is our reality show. Only it's better. I never expected to become close friends with the people I met online. I never expected to create bonds in which we laugh, we cry, we work hard and we change lives. But I did. The friendships I have made online through blogging about my journey and fitness are some of the most amazing friendships I've ever had.

When Roni created FitBloggin, she created so much more than a conference. She created a safe place where we could all come together and celebrate the healthy changes we are making in our lives and either strengthen bonds and hopefully form new ones.

I spent the weekend with my Shrinking Jeans family. I met new people. I witnessed friendships being strengthened and friendships being born. I heard laughter and squeals. I saw and gave many hugs. I did this all while learning new things (like Zumba is fun--holy crap, did I say that out loud?) about health and fitness. I had the time of my life.

Roni, thank you for creating this place for us to come together to celebrate these wonderful life journeys that we are all on. It is an amazing reminder that we CAN DO THIS. We WILL DO IT. And we are all in this together.

That? Was my FitBloggin.

PS. To every single one of my Sisters: I love you and miss you all!

The day I became a Hokie...

We walked across campus that Spring Game. For the handful of football games that I had been to, we parked in a private lot close to the stadium, but this was different. This was the Spring Game, and we decided that we were going to make the trek across campus.

This was something I had never done before at Virginia Tech, so all sense of direction was lost to me. My friends knew which way to go. Happily, I let them lead the way and enjoyed taking in everything my eyes, ears, and skin would allow. Campus was beautiful. The architecture was amazing. Students were happy. If I were once again a teenager searching for a place to go to college, I would have said, "This is it! This is where I am meant to be! I have found my place!" I found myself wondering why I never even had Virginia Tech on my lists of schools to go to.

I was so thoroughly enjoying taking in campus with each step, that I had no idea what was coming. I think we made a turn. Or something. Immediately I knew where we were...

The air turned thick. The building on my left was surrounded with a heavy feeling of sadness. A weight pressed on my shoulders. I knew that this was the building that had experienced such tragedy just one year earlier. We were at Norris Hall. The mood here was somber. The air was still. The sound was silent. I allowed myself to feel the loss that had taken place there. I mourned for the people who had lost their lives. My heart hurt, and I silently cried.

We turned our direction again and walked just a bit away to the memorial for the 32 people who had lost their lives that tragic day. I prayed as I passed each name. I thought of every single person as I studied their names. I thought of their families and friends. When I reached the last I gave one last look at Norris Hall, and the weight on my shoulders lifted.

We continued on and headed to the stadium, and once again, campus was happy. However, my thoughts lingered with what I had just experienced for a few minutes. I did not attend Virginia Tech. In fact, not too many months before that exact moment, I didn't even like Virginia Tech. I would have never thought in five million years that I would ever even want to be a Hokie. Yet, I could not deny what I had just experienced. I knew that right there, in that moment, I became a Hokie. I smiled to myself and rejoined the happiness of the day.

Tomorrow is April 16th. Four years ago, that tragic day forever changed many lives. Tomorrow, I will proudly wear my Hokie colors. I will do something happy in remembrance. I would love it if you would join me. Will you wear maroon or orange (or both!)? For just one day, would you please be a Hokie with me?

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Sometimes glass walls aren't a bad thing

One wall of the cafeteria at work is glass. It begins at the floor and then shoots to an angle so that it becomes part of the ceiling. For decoration, there are a few plants and two banana trees.
Outside, the back patio is bordered by wisteria that becomes a wildlife habitat for birds and squirrels. For three years now, a female cardinal returns to the same area of the wisteria. I know it is the same cardinal because every single year, I have watched her during lunch as she tries to fly inside of the cafeteria. She flies the same pattern over and over again only to realize that there is glass in front of her and that she can't get in.
I feel so bad for this poor little bird. She has no idea that the glass is there for her own good, I thought today. Yet over and over she tries. Determined to get inside.
As I sat there and watched her today, I began to think of things in my life. I try not to ask why things have happened the way they have. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I fail and end up asking why, but I try not to. I do think in "what if's" a lot. I can drive people crazy with hypothetical situations. "What IF, I had mad this decision instead of that decision. How would my life be different?" I have no regrets, but I do wonder.
And then I thought...
You know, I'm not so different than the cardinal. I have wandered down many paths in my life. Often, the paths look similar and on each path I have reached a glass telling me that I need to turn back. The glass may have brought a time of confusion, but ultimately, it didn't keep me from trying to find the path without the glass.
Now, I know the glass was there for a reason. While I didn't know it at the time, it was for my own good that I couldn't continue down those particular paths. As frustrated as I was with the glass then, I am so very thankful for it now.
My hope is that one day, the little female cardinal will realize that she cannot get into the place she so desperately wants. That she'll somehow figure out, that our inside of our cafeteria is the wrong path for her.
And my fingers are crossed, that I am on the right path...

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"Yes, of course." That is what I would tell her now.

I'm standing with a group of friends, leaning against a fence. My friends are all excited. We are going somewhere. A party, I think. I am not excited. Someone is next to me. She is next to me. I know what she is going to say before she says it.

"Would you mind it much if we went together? As a couple?"

"I can't," I whisper back.

"You mean you won't."

She drops her head and storms past me. I've hurt her. I can feel it. I watch her as she disappears into the house. I know immediately that I have made a mistake. I need to tell her this. I chase after her.

I enter the house through a sliding glass door. Four people are standing in the room and are looking at me.

"Can you please tell me which way she went?" Without saying a word, all four people point up the stairs.

I run up the stairs, reach the landing. I have four doors to choose from. I choose the one to the far left, open the door, the room is empty. As I shut the door and turn, a young man is standing and looking at me. He is wearing jeans, a t-shirt and has long sandy hair.

He says, "That is the right door, but this is the wrong floor."

"Please, can you tell me where she went?"

He simply pointed up the stairs.

I start up to the next floor. The stairs feel much longer and steeper than the previous set of stairs.

I reach the next floor and facing me are the same four doors. "You have the right door..."

I choose the door on the far left, walk in, and...

...I wake up.

This was a dream I had many, many months ago. I don't remember what the girl looked like. I just know my feelings for her. I told her I couldn't. She was right; I wouldn't. I would like very much to go back to that dream so that I can take her hand, and say yes.

Why Kids Inc. was the best show ever

I'm not quite sure how it started this week-wait. I do know! OK. The song "We Built This City" has been stuck in my head for almost a week now, but instead of hearing Starship's version in my head, I had the Kids Incorporated version in my head. I could even see the particular scene they did for this song in my head.

That, of course, led me to YouTube. That, of course, led me to watching a ton of old Kids Inc. versions of 80's songs. (Of course, if you're not around my age, you may have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about and when you DO Google it, you'll think I'm nuts.) That, of course, led me to making the statement to one of my best friends that "Kids Incorporated was the best show ever made."

"OK-wait. You're serious," was her reply after a few emails.

Yes. I'm totally serious.

Long before The Black Eyed Peas, Fergie was Stacy. Before Mario Lopez was Slater, he was "drummer guy". And before Jennifer Love Hewitt was the Ghost Whisperer, she was Love. If you've never seen the show, it's about a kid band that hangs out that this diner called The P*lace and they perform. Think an 80's version of Glee.

Even as a young kid, I always felt different and like I didn't always fit in. I had friends, but I was always different. Kids somehow just know when you are different. At times, I was bullied and at other times, I was laughed at. When girls started talking about crushes on boys, wanted to wear make-up, and shop, I just never really understood. I'd rather be playing ball or drawing or reading. It's like I had friends, but I didn't really fit in with them. Part of me didn't mind, but another part of me just wanted so badly to fit in. And it was like, the harder I tried to fit in, the more I stood out. Or that's how it felt to me.

Now that I look back on things, a lot of things just make sense now.

I watched Kids Incorporated every day after school. (Usually followed by the Mickey Mouse Club.) I would make up stories, as if I was part of the show and in the band. Sometimes, when my brother was still young enough to be bribed into playing make believe, we would "play" Kids Inc. We killed at air guitar.

While the show was completely silly, I watched every episode that was ever made. Several times. That time each day was a time where I could escape and not have to think about fitting in because I could create my own space where I was the star of the show. So, the part of me that didn't mind about not really fitting in was because I had my own little place that I created where I did fit in. And while my brother would never admit it, those were some of our best times together.

Stacy grew up to be Fergie. "Drummer" grew up to be Slater. Love grew up to talk to ghosts. And me? Well, I grew up to be the lovely, amazing, wonderful, and geeky girl that you know me to be.

And that is why Kids Incorporated was the best show ever made.

Now. Does anyone know where I can buy the DVDs?

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The best song ever

Most people don't know that Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles had a solo career once upon a time. I love Sugarland a lot, but I LOVE Jennifer Nettles' solo music. This, to me? Is the best song ever written:

Story of Your Bones - Jennifer Nettles

It's been two long months since I took a good look in the mirror
And in that time I find these lines on my face have gotten clearer
It's time I reintroduced myself to the world
Show them what I'm all about
Even if it's just so they can chew me up, turn their heads, and spit me out.

These bones in my face are from my mother
These lips I use are from my father
And the nose that rests above them is from another man
Somewhere who didn't even bother

I wonder what would he say
If he knew I got up here and rambled on this way
Would he then be proud and make it known
That he was part of me and I was one of his own

It's been five long weeks since I've been able to kiss your face
And that always makes me question if this bullshit is worth it in the first place
'Cause I have to know the story of your bones
And I long to rove the map of your skin
And I'm tired of us both feeling loved yet alone
I want to feel where you've hurt, I want to taste where you've been

But what will they say
Will they still come and hear me when they know I love you this way
As I read you with my mouth and my finger tips
Like berries you color my hands, like wine you stain lips

It's been two long months since I took a good look in the mirror.

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Ten things of awesomeness

It's Saturday, and for once, I have a busy day, so I'm going random. Some of these things you may or may not know about me. Either way, I hope you enjoy.

1. I can play the mandolin by ear. I cannot read music even though I tried once to learn. I can't sing, but I can rap almost all of "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.

2. I can say all 50 states in alphabetical order in less than one minute.

3. I can throw a football better than most boys. When my brother played little league, I had to practice with my brother in the backyard for hours. Result? I'm pretty damn good at football.

4. My brain thinks in pictures. I see flashes of memories in my head all the time. Even when I want to write, I "see" what I want to write, then I translate it to words.

5. I'm scatterbrained. My mom can call me and tell me to bring her something when I come over, and five minutes later, I may forget about it. However, I remember the most random facts. Some of them all the way from when I was a kid.

6. One of my favorite things is that I once visited the set of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

7. I'm a romantic. I big one. I didn't always think I was. Laughed at people who were, so when I realized that I am a romantic, I couldn't believe it. Now, I think it's awesome.

8. I am a worrier to the core. I will think and think and think on something then worry about it long before I ever do it, but once I set my mind that I'm going to do said something, I do it. No turning back.

9. I am left-handed. Being a lefty is the best thing in the world.

10. I am constantly learning more and more about myself. It is the most bizarre and surreal yet amazing and wonderful thing in the world. When people tell me, "Don't ever change." I truly think, why not? Changing and evolving to become the most authentic versions of ourselves and better human beings is the best thing in the world, really. And despite me claiming to be half Vulcan (which I am), I truly want to be the best human being I can be.

The End. :)

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I'll love you forever, like you for always...

I can't remember how many times I heard the sentence, "The people you meet in college are the people who will be your friends for life."

Tell that to a shy, quiet girl who lived at home through college. Don't get me wrong, I did make a lot of friends in college, and I'm certain that if I needed any one of them, I could ask and they would be here for me in a heart beat. The thing is, though, I see on facebook how close some of them are, and I know, I just didn't make those bonds in college.

No. The friends I have made in the past five years are so are the friends that will be my friends for life. The ones here are people who truly get me down to the core. They love me for my geekiness and accept my quirky ways. I love them for that.

One thing, that I really love (in case you couldn't tell) is the internet. The internet re-connected me with a friend from grade school who has become one of my very best friends. It also gave me a space in the world to discover how much I like to write and am pretty good at it.

I never expected to meet people through my writing. People who matter. People who have completely touched and changed my life. I'm quite certain that without every single one of you have helped to shape and mold me through my journey. Some of you have shown me things about myself that I didn't know existed. Sometimes, people I least expect to make my day do.

Never underestimate the power you have to influence someone. So, when you guys tell me I'm awesome, please know that it's partly because of you.

Yes. Part of the reason I am so awesome is because of you awesome, beautiful, lovely, amazing people. And for that I am so very thankful.

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How nerd became awesome

Do you remember the time in your life when the words "nerd," "geek," or "dork" were bad things? And do you remember how all you ever wanted to do was avoid being one or all of those three things?

I was always pretty smart. Good grades just happened without much effort for me. I never studied for tests, wrote papers at that last second, and completed projects the day before they were due. I most always got A's. I actually liked the lectures my teachers gave. That's how I learned.

When someone called me a nerd because I was smart, my response was always, "I can't really help it. I never study." That seemed to be an acceptable response.

However, when someone called me a nerd or geek or dork because I liked things like Star Trek and space and books, I became self conscious. I read The Baby-sitter's Club way after all the other girls my age had stopped. I loved the stories so much that I had to know what happened next, even though it took me only a couple of hours to read through the book. I hid the fact that I still read them. (Sometimes I still read them.) When someone mentioned how stupid Star Trek was, I would laugh and agree. Secretly, I thought how I couldn't understand why Star Trek was stupid. I mean, come ON. Space is cool! No? Oh.

Even as an adult, I found myself not making it really known how much I loved science fiction. I had a friend or two at work who understood it, but I still felt different, and for some reason, that still wasn't OK.

One day, two of my friends at work were starting to listen to these things called podcasts. I was so sick of what the Bradys were up to on Days of Our Lives (I listened during work) that I said I would give them a try.

The first one I listened to was called Buzz Out Loud from CNET. There were two girls on the show and oh my god, they loved video games! I loved video games! And! They also love science fiction and talked about shows I loved. This was amazing to me! They called themselves geeks on purpose and loved it. I loved it. (Molly Wood and Veronica Belmont? THANK YOU.)

Listening to Buzz Out Loud (and the 20 or so podcasts about the show Lost) actually made me realize how much I had in common with the those two friends at work. We loved all of the same things. We shared a cubicle and it was a every day occurrence to walk by and see us trying something one of us had seen on the science channel. (Did you know that duct tape holds the world together? Seriously.)

People stopped by all the time to ask us what we were doing. They seemed to love it. We were cool. Being nerdy, dorky geeks was awesome.

So, in case you don't know. I am April, I love video games and space and Star Trek and science fiction and that is awesome.

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If I could buy him all the toys in the world, I would. I may do it anyway.

"He's here," is what my brother's text message to me said.

I replied with, "Congrats, Daddy!"

"When are you getting here. Hurry up," he texted back.

"I have one more hour of work," I responded back.

When I got to the hospital room where my brother was waiting to show me his new son, I had no idea what was about to happen to me. But in the exact moment that my brother placed that tiny little 4lb 9 oz human being in my arms, I knew what it meant to fall completely in love at first sight.

Now, at almost 3 years old, he can be a little pain in the ass.

I cringed the day he learned the word "NO!" When the word "Why?" followed "NO!", I thought my head was going to spin from the 2076 times I heard "why" in one day. Then a couple of Sundays ago when I picked him up, I heard "Are we there yet?" over and over and over until I finally I said, "Hey! Do you want to go to Target and pick out a toy?" JUST TO MAKE IT STOP. (No, really. A Sunday trip to Target is our thing.) And when he is in a bad mood, woo boy, just don't look at him. (I learned that one quick!) He steals my things and never gets tired of playing hide and seek.

Yet, he could care less about things like how much I weigh or who I love or that his daddy and I have a very strained relationship right now. All he knows is that I am his "Apul" and I love him so very much. Therefore, I have made it my mission in life to spoil him rotten. I take this mission very seriously.

After a bad day, when I walk in the door, and hear, "APUL!!!," then see his smile when he runs into my arms, he makes all the bad of the day melt away.

And I am happy.

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A Valentine's Day letter to myself

Dear April,

So, I see you have no Valentine this year. We're good at flying this holiday solo, huh? I know, I know. You're not feeling yourself right now. You're ready to spout off a lecture to me about how you've only had one Valentine and that Valentine was long distance (not to knock said Valentine, but that you would have just like to have been with said Valentine at the time), and you love all of that stupid Valentine's Day shit.

I know. I've heard this all before. I live it. I understand it. I feel it. I completely agree with you. Trust me, I do.

But, let me tell you something that I think you're missing right now. Don't give me that look, you know you're blinded by all the pinks and reds of this day. You know you are.

Hey. I love you.

You are really wonderful, and a lot of the time, you have no idea. People tell you this all the time and during times like this, you just don't want to listen. You're stubborn that way. You're lucky they love you a lot. It's a good thing I'm here, you know. I'm going to tell you some of the wonderful things about you. You can sit there with your arms crossed all you want, but I'm going to tell you anyway. You have to listen because I am you. (Ha!) Ready?

Your eyes. God. They are to die for. Not only are they the most brilliant of greens with these little flecks of gold, but also, when you look at someone, you don't just look at them. You look into them. It's like your searching inside of them to see how kindred their spirit is. Your eyes are also a window to the inside of you. A lot of the time people can look right at your eyes and know exactly what you're feeling. (Yeah, I know that's a pain in the ass sometimes.)

You are geeky and quirky and a lot like a kid in many ways, but you also have this old way about you. While you feel like you are experiencing life through a whole new set of eyes lately, you also have a wisdom that must come from your ancestors. You can be so serious with your thoughts sometimes. It's no wonder Mom calls you an "old soul".

You love to laugh, but more importantly, it gives you great joy to make others laugh and smile. You have an odd sense of humor sometimes, but you seem to just know how to make others laugh. You like to send silly notes or jokes just to say hi because you know that it could really brighten someone's day. The number one thing that makes you laugh most is making other people laugh.

I'm sorry, love, but you're a klutz. You have very little balance, and the floor just seems to jump up and trip you a lot. I know you're thinking, how is that good?! Well, it makes you cute and charming (or so you've been told).

You think that you are a coward most of the time, but you're really not. You are so brave. Only a brave woman could talk about her feelings in such a public way or post photos of her imperfect body to show the world how much she loves her imperfect body. It may take you a bit to think out your courage and plot your course of action, but please know, a coward, you are not.

The most important thing is this: Your heart is so big. You have a lot of feelings a lot of the time. Your brain and heart seem to be connected so you don't always just think things, but you feel what you're thinking. Sometimes, you feel like you may explode from all of the feelings you have, and while sometimes that doesn't feel good, I promise you it isn't a bad thing. Whomever wins your heart will be one lucky girl.

I know that this day is a hard day for you, and that's okay. It's almost over now, and tomorrow will be better. I hope I have reminded you of what a fantastic person you are. You have so much to give to this world. And I know that in time, you'll find the perfect girl for you and then every day can be Valentine's Day. You just have to trust that she's out there.

And for the times like today, I want you to look back at this letter and know that I am always with you.


PS. Your calves are hot.

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Just go talk to her, I thought... No. I can't.

The city I live in has exactly one gay club and one gay-friendly restaurant/bar. Many moons ago during the year that I had a roommate, my roommate's aunt, who is gay, wanted to go to the club and didn't have anyone to go with her. My roommate and I agreed we would go with her. While my roommate was kind of reluctant, secretly, I was kind of excited.

I am convinced that my ex-roommate took years off of my life. She would go through spells where she wouldn't talk to me for weeks, she would bring home random guys (one of said guys burst into my room in the middle of the night and caused me to start locking my bedroom door), and sometimes, in the middle of not talking to me, she would go out, then call me at 3 a.m. to come pick her up from whatever bar she was at. She also constantly accused me of being gay. Her ex-husband had convinced her that I was in love with her and was trying to get into her pants. That was not true; she was never anything more than a friend to me, but she was convinced of what he said. As someone who knew she was attracted to girls but didn't fully understand what that meant (because I didn't fit the description of what I knew as "gay", which was ignorant) and constantly being hounded about it, I denied it every single time she said something.

The night we went to the club, was an amazing experience for me. I had never been around so many gay people in my life, and while it was a bit of a shock to my sheltered self, I also felt oddly like this was normal. But also, I was so scared that my roommate would see how much I was enjoying myself. I was so nervous I could hear my heart beat in my head. It's a wonder I didn't explode from having so many feelings.

At one point, I saw a girl who was my basketball teammate in high school. It didn't surprise me that she was there, and I found myself watching her for a long time. I felt some sort of pull towards her. I wasn't sure why, but I really wanted to talk to her. Instead, I tried to make sure she never saw me.

I've been thinking a lot about that night at the club and now I understand what that pull was. I wanted to go to her and say, "Help me. I'm having so many feelings that I don't understand, and I need to talk. Can I talk to you?" Or something like that. Instead I was a coward. Instead, I stood there and watched her, then an older lady wearing Wranglers and a leather vest stumbled up to me, handed me a beer, almost fell into me, and burned me with her cigarette.

I often joke how that night scared me all the way to the back of the closet for many more years. Seriously, what scared me was a number of things, but it's more fun to say it was that night.

I wonder how my life may have been different if I had been brave enough to talk to my old friend. Would I have found the courage to come out sooner? Would that have been better? I'm not certain. That time of my life was mostly lived in fear, so I'm not sure that accepting my sexuality was something that I could have handled. Survival was key during those years, and I did what I had to do to just survive.

Regardless, my friend from high school is one of my heroes. I remember her as being one of the shy ones (like me), and she always was one of my favorite teammates. I know through the magic that is facebook, that she has a very happy life with her girlfriend here in this city. That makes me happy for her and gives me hope that I can maybe have the same thing one day. (If I stay here, that is.) I would love to talk with her still, but again I find myself being a coward. I guess old habits die hard.

Yeah, she's totally one of my heroes. Maybe one day, I'll tell her so.

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"It's who you are. Doesn't change anything."

I wrote this whole post last night based on a whole lot of feelings. Feelings about going against my nature and trying to put myself out there to make new friends with little success. While, I felt every feeling in that post and cried most of the evening, I decided to sit on the post and edit it tonight. This morning, I got a tiny (and I mean TINY) sign, that maybe things are paying off. So, while that post was true, I have decided to keep that post to myself for now. And after that tiny sign came another great thing, and that is what I want to share with you...

Actual text messages between me and my cousin, J. :

J: Have a question for you, if you're willing to hear it?

Me: OK

J: Have you known this about yourself for a while and sure this is what you want or is it an experimental thing? And I'm not trying to get too personal. (This made me giggle just a bit.)

Me: I've known. I didn't want to bring shame to the family so I tried to be straight. I failed.

J: You didn't fail. It's who you are. Doesn't change anything. When the time is right, our family can know. If it doesn't feel right, then they can wait. Don't ever feel ashamed.

Me: Thank you. I'm not anymore.

I should explain something about my cousin. A long time ago when I dreamed of getting married (OK, fine, I still dream of that sometimes.), my dad told me that if I ever tried to make him wear a tux, he wouldn't come to my wedding. I'm not sure, but he may have been serious. When I told J this he said, "Then I'LL walk you down the aisle."

When I tell people about my family, I say I grew up with three boys. J was one of those boys. He's like a big brother to me. When I was dealing with a bully in junior high school, J drove to my house, marched me down to the kid's house and asked the older boy what his problem was. It's a funny thing that after that, the boy's problem with me magically disappeared.

When I came out to him back in the fall, I asked, "Do you still love me?"

He said, "Of course I still love you."

This? Is my biggest fear when it comes to telling people I'm closest to. J and I were raised in a family whose beliefs are that being gay is sick, not acceptable, gross. Horrible words are used to refer to people like me on a regular basis. Hearing these words over and over my whole life makes it hard for me to use anything but the word "gay" to refer to myself. (Gay was never used.) While I know that the core of these beliefs is ignorance, it still hurts. Sometimes, it hurts a lot.

The second that J told me that he still loved me, I knew that it was going to be OK. And most of the fear left me. I know some people I am related to will not change, and that's a shame, but if they can't love me because of who I love, then they don't deserve me anyway.

"You're an awesome big brother," I told him today.

And he is.

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I wonder where this path leads, she thought.

Back in the summer, a really good friend of mine and I took her daughter on a hiking adventure. We were in no hurry, so we let her daughter lead the way. This nine year old girl has the most amazing imagination I have ever encountered in my life. What happened on that hike, was nothing short of extraordinary for me.

We were magically transported to a far away land, where we met a caterpillar named Sean. He told us his he would be our guide and protector throughout our journey. (Sean appeared to us several times. Our only conclusion was he could transport himself to where we were.) We met butterflies (My apologies. I forget their names. I have them written down some place.) and saw ruins of castles and caught glimpses of King Edmund and Queen Lucy. And! Of course we saw a dragon.

It took us twice as long as that hike should have and it was the best hike of my life. That night, I had a dream of a young woman walking through the woods with a protector. She was on a journey that not even she was sure of. She was a bit afraid and unsure, but she knew that if she didn't make this journey, she knew all would be lost. I can still close my eyes and see the scene.

Back in the fall, I made several trips to Charlotte. For the most part, the three hour drive is pretty boring, but there is one part of the drive that is absolutely breathtaking. The view, which is from the side of a mountain, leaves me at a loss for words.

On those drives, I began to imagine that the girl from my dream is from this wonderful land. I decided to ask her. She acknowledged that yes, she is from that land. And she's has been with me since. She has been telling me little things about herself and sharing her story.

It's a fascinating tale.

I think I should write it....

...would you read it?

It may take me five thousand years to finish this, considering that I will only be writing part-time, but I think it's made of awesome. While the story I write isn't exactly like what my hiking adventure with my friends, it amazes me that all of this began with a girl on a hike, and a caterpillar named Sean.

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Does anyone know where I can find my own dragon?

I've been having a love affair with a dragon. NOT THAT KIND OF LOVE AFFAIR. Come on, people! No, I'm reading Eldest by Christopher Paolini and one of the main characters is a dragon called Saphira. Saphira's mind connected with her Dragon Rider, Eragon. (Another main character is an elf, and she's hot, too, but I love Saphira best.)

Anyway, yesterday, Eragon, Saphira and I just completed Rider training for the day and Saphira said something that, when I read it, I actually felt some sort of feeling hit my heart. I've thought and thought about what Saphira said, and now, I want to share it with you.

She said: Live in the present, remember the past, and fear not the future, for it doesn't exist and never shall. There is only now.

"Live in the present,"

I have always had a hard time with this. I can't always just enjoy the moment. I'm constantly thinking, well what about this or OMG! What if THAT happens? What ifs are sort of my thing. Some of my friends limit the number of hypothetical situations I'm allowed to ponder on with them. I have a really hard time just relaxing and enjoying the now.

In case you haven't picked up on it, "worry" is my middle name.

"remember the past,"

I got this one down pat, but what I need to work on is to not linger in the past. I still think of things that happened years and years ago, and I admit that I need to learn to let it go. I need to learn to forgive for those things that happened years and years ago. (This is going to be hard. But I'm going to try.)

"and fear not the future,"

I admit it. I'm all kinds of scared of the future. Especially right now. I like straight lines and clear paths and right now, I feel like I'm stuck deep within a dark maze with no hope of finding my right path again.

I'm afraid of ending up alone. I'm afraid of discussions that I still need to have. I'm afraid of losing more people. I'm afraid of things that could happen.

I liked to call myself brave, but I don't feel so brave right now.

But then she said, "for it doesn't exist and never shall. There is only now."

You know? She's right. (Dragons are so smart.) If I want to continue on my journey of uniting my mind, body, and soul, I need to live more by Saphira's advice. I'm going to work harder to live more like this. The future doesn't really exist. Because once the future gets here, it's the now. I can't promise to never worry or fear or ponder over things, but I can promise (myself) to work on it.

I guess, the awesome things about mazes is that there always IS a right path. I just need to find my right path once again. Find it, I will. I hope. No. I will. Right? (Hey. Rome wasn't built in a day.)

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Just like any other day. Sort of.

Not too long ago, I decided to give up my fight against sleep and take Nyquil. Twenty minutes or so later, I was out. Usually, I wake up at least once during the middle of the night. Not this night. The next thing I knew, my alarm was screaming at me to get up.

I had one of those, "I'M UP!" moments where I sprang to life and out of bed. My dogs; however, did not. My German Shepherd groaned, and my cocker spaniel just looked at me. (It's usually the opposite. They're springing up, and I'm slow to move. Something about this should have clued me in.)

They both just looked at me, so I gave them, "Come on! Let's go outside!" Reluctantly they both got up and followed me to the back door.

I made my way to the bathroom and took my morning shower. While in the shower, I felt like something was off, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I thought maybe it was Saturday or something, so I counted my days. No, I thought, it definitely is not Saturday. I concluded that my "off" feeling was because I had taken the Nyquil and slept all night long.

Usually, by the time I get out of the shower, let the girls back in, and head back to my bedroom to get ready for the day (Read: Lie back down for 15 mins and "watch" the news with my eyes shut.), I can start to see the light of day. Not that day. It was still SUPER dark out. Must be overcast, I thought. Al Roker will tell me.

I let the girls back in and my cocker spaniel gave me a look that clearly said, "What in the hell is the matter with you?" I shrugged and off to my bedroom we headed.

When we reached my room, I saw what her problem was. The clock read: 2:00. That's A.M., people.

I dreamed that my alarm had gone off, and instead of checking the time (Because my alarm had gone off! In my head.), I just got up.

Nquil's awesome like that.

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How I was ever able to get my belly button pierced, I'll never know.

When I was little and would see my mom get the nail clippers out, I would cry. I hated having my nails cut. I tensed up and cried and fought as hard as I could to try to convince my mom that cutting my nails just wasn't worth it. I lost every time.

To this day, I hate to cut my nails. It makes my hands feel weird. After cutting my nails, it's possible that I will walk around with my hands balled in fists for a long time.

I was the child that all my parents had to do was say my name a certain way and I knew I was in trouble. Promptly after hearing my name being said that way, I would start crying. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Toughen up." or "You can't be so tender-hearted." My parents never really had to ground me. When I was in trouble, I would sit and think and think and feel guilty about what I had done wrong. I can still think about things I did YEARS ago and feel terrible about it.

Things that some people may think is no big deal can send me into a deep cave of guilt/despair/or whatever feeling comes with the situation. Sometimes emotional pain can equal physical pain for me. (I'm wondering now if the "cold" I can't seem to get rid of isn't caused some by emotional things. I've had a lot of feelings lately, eh?)

The plus side to all of this is that I'm probably the most empathetic person you'll ever meet. When someone I love hurts, I feel all of their pain.

Only recently did I discover that there is a term for this state of tender-heartedness. I am what is called a Highly Sensitive Person. My brain is hard-wired to react this way and when I factor in ghosts of my past, it amazes me that I'm still functioning.

I have to work incredibly hard to not overreact to things. When compared to say, ten years ago, I'm loads better and can "breathe" through it. However, sometimes I fail.

It's been a struggle lately for me to not think the words "worthless", disappointment", "unwanted" about myself. A few times I have failed. My head knows my heart is being ridiculous. My head knows I am beautiful and loving and sincere and sweet. Instead of my head telling my heart it's being silly, it says, "Heart, it's OK. We'll make it through, but you're going to have to let me take over most of the time." My heart has agreed.

But my heart still has its moments. Like today. I cried today. For no real reason at all. At work.

I'm not fragile; I've survived some tough shit in my life. It's just that I sometimes feel things differently than others. I know things will get better, and I thank everyone for being so understanding.

I brag that I'm half Vulcan, but what I really am is Tender Heart Bear. Do Care Bears get to wear capes?

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One Starbucks down, about one hundred to go.

Two times in the past week, I have done two things that I never thought I would do. First, I went to Panera and had lunch and read a book for an hour. Today, I headed to Starbucks for no other reason than just to write.

Today, especially, was an interesting experience for me. It took me twice as long to write because I was constantly watching people. (Is that normal?) I chose to listen to the score of Lost to silence out people's conversations. Then I found myself wondering what those people were talking about. The microwave sounded like a rocket taking off. Even through my ear buds, I could hear it blast off! and so I would jump. (And let's not even talk about how my netbook was being an asshole.)

I've struggled with understanding why people read and write in public. I can read and write at home, so why would I go into public to do these things? There are less distractions for me at home. OK. That's a lie. There are plenty of distractions at home (Read: video games and TV) but there are no other people at home, and I've never seen that as a bad thing.

But here is a contradiction of me: I say that being around no people isn't a bad thing for me, yet a lot of the time, I feel lonely.

I also struggle with the logic of going to public places to read or write because even though I'm around people, I'm still alone. I'm just alone in public. I'm not scared of being alone or doing things alone. I've lived alone for seven years now. So, alone doesn't bother me; I just don't really like being alone anymore.

I think part of my problem is that I imagine going to a coffee shop, and while working on the next best seller (guess I need to start the next best seller, huh?), I look up and see the most beautiful pair of eyes watching me from across the room. After we make eye contact, we smile, and then who knows what happens. Clearly, I watch too much TV.

I guess I need to look at it differently. I'm doing things I've never done before to help me become a more well-rounded person. (Or something.) That is a good thing. (I guess.) I do know that neither place I went to really felt like "my place". Maybe I just need to keep looking. There are plenty of Starbucks in my town, after all.

Maybe one day I will find my place. And maybe it won't always be alone.

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You see, I have this spare glass slipper

I love the story of Cinderella. It's probably my favorite fairy tale. Despite using British accents in a movie that is set in France, one of my favorite versions of this tale is the movie Ever After. I've been thinking about this scene from the movie a lot lately:

Henry: Well then how can you be certain to find them? And if you do find them, are they really the one for you or do you only think they are? And what happens if the person you're supposed to be with never appears, or, or she does, but you're too distracted to notice?

Leonardo da Vinci: You learn to pay attention.

Henry: Then let's say God puts two people on Earth and they are lucky enough to find one another. But one of them gets hit by lightning. Well then what? Is that it? Or, perchance, you meet someone new and marry all over again. Is that the lady you're supposed to be with or was it the first? And if so, when the two of them were walking side by side were they both the one for you and you just happened to meet the first one first or, was the second one supposed to be first? And is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?

This is totally how my mind works. Not just about love, but about EVERYTHING. I can't help it. Most of the time, my random string of hypotheticals somehow manage to turn into something logical, but it seems in terms of love, I'm still confused.

As soon as I think that I have love figured out, life decides to throw me a curve ball and I'm left thinking, "Well, now what?"

There was a time when I decided that I was not made for love. I was content with my decision, and I made it work for years. (Let's ignore the fact that I was afraid to face my fears and admit and accept what was in my heart, and that's why I made it work for years.) Now, I know that I was wrong. I don't want to spend my life alone. I capable of love. I think I'm good at loving. My heart is good. (And dammit, I'm a catch.)

If there is someone out there for me, then where is she?

I know I need to be patient and time, and I can be patient. (I think I can be patient.) But damn, this one has me stumped. I thought I had it figured out- or I thought it had figured me out. Whichever.

Maybe instead of wondering who/what/when, I need to start telling myself that someone IS out there, and it WILL happen one day exactly when it's meant to. The least I can do is give that line of reasoning a try, huh?

I guess now I know why I never played softball... I can't hit a curve ball.

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How Jennifer Nettles saved my life. Twice.

I was in my early twenties the first time I saw two girls kiss on TV. I wasn't sure that I liked the way my body responded to what I had just seen. Okay, no. I did like it, and that scared me, and that's what I didn't like. So, I tried to tuck it in the back of my mind and forget about it. (Except that I was totally hooked on the story of the two girls and needed to see what happened next.)

For many years, I kept that buried deep within me. Until...

In case you don't know, Jennifer Nettles is one half of the country music duo, Sugarland. One day, I set off on an internet adventure to find out more about Sugarland and I happened upon Jennifer Nettles solo site. An hour and thirty-one dollars later, one of her solo CDs what on its way to my hands.

The CD I purchased was a live acoustic concert she gave one year on New Year's Eve. What I discovered in that performance was a Jennifer Nettles that you don't normally see with Sugarland. She was amazing and I loved her solo music. I listened to it over and over and over. And over.

One night, in my dreams, I was on a tropical beach with my ipod and my sketchpad. I, of course, was listening and singing along to my Jennifer Nettles solo CD. The next thing I knew, there Jennifer Nettles was! And she liked me! One thing led to another in my dream and I woke up with a start and said, "Well, that's something new." (Except that it really wasn't, was it?)

I couldn't wait for every day to end so that I could go back to my dream where Jennifer was waiting for me. It was the best romance I had ever experienced. It was beautiful and lovely and it was the first time I felt normal in a romantic situation. However, it was just a dream, and soon I knew that what I had tried to bury for so many years needed to surface.

When I'm sad, I can't listen to music. I'm not sure why, but it's like my brain needs the silence so that everything can process. When my brain gets tired of the silence, I'll start listening to music again. A couple of days ago, I absently turned my CD player on in my car and the first song that played was Sugarland's "Little Miss". It touched me so deeply that it's the only song that I've been able to listen to.

The song repeats the words "It's alright." and "I'm okay." over and over again. And you know how they say that if you hear something long enough, you'll start to believe it? I believe it now. It's alright, and I am okay.

So, you see, Jennifer Nettles didn't really save my life, but she's helped me twice to know that I am okay. For that, I am thankful.

I'm not sure where life is going to take me now. But I know that no matter where it leads me, I am okay.

I am okay.

"Little Miss" -Sugarland

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When my brother and I reached the ages of know-it-all and smartass, my mom would so rudely interrupt the awesomeness of playing Nintendo or watching Saved by the Bell and tell one of us to "hit the shower". Either my brother or I would promptly get up without complaining, walk to the bathroom, literally smack the tiles, walk back to the living room and continue what we were doing. Were we cool or what? OK, no. I still think that's funny.

Clearly, my mom has not learned her lesson in the past 15 or 20 years...

My nephew will be three in March and he LOVES TO TALK. Like, talking is his favorite thing. (Unless, of course, he doesn't know you. Then he reminds me of the Warner Brothers frog.) When he gets super excited, he sometimes stammers. I think this can be typical in youngsters. (I hope he grows out of it. When I'm REALLY upset or nervous, I have to really work not to stammer.) Anyway, here is how a conversation between my mom and my nephew went the other day:

Clay: "Grandma?"

Mom: "Yes, Clay?"

Clay: "Grandma?"

Mom: "What, honey?"

Clay: "Can I- Can I- Can I- Can I-..."

Mom: "Spit it out."

My nephew looked at my mom sort of confused-like and then spit on the living room floor.

I admit it. I laughed.

God, I love that kid.

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Just add sprinkles to it...

Today was my mom's birthday. I wanted to bake her a cake and decorate it just like they do on TV. I spent all Christmas Day lying on my mom's couch dying of the worst cold known to man and together we watched this show on TLC about decorating cakes. (Not Cake Boss, but that other one.) And I said, "I can do that." So, I decided that for my mom's birthday, I would bake her a cake and make it look all pretty because I am awesome that way.

So, today, I took my mom to the mall so she could pick out a birthday present, then we went back to her house to bake her the most awesome cake in the world. Then the power went off. The cake had 10 mins left to bake. So, I left the cake in the oven for way longer than I was supposed to and hoped for the best.

I let the layers cool then decided I would layer the cake, piece it together (Just like they do on TV. I mean, come on, it looks easy on TV, right? Right.) and all would be well. When I put the third layer on the whole fucking thing fell apart. And so did I.

My mom knows I'm heart sick, but she doesn't know why. She's trying everything in her power to be cheerful and to help me through this, but she can't. I've opened my mouth a thousand times to say, "Mom, I fell in love with this woman. She is so special and wonderful, and it didn't work out, and I lost her." But every time I open my mouth, something happens and it doesn't feel right. Also, I'm afraid that if I tell her, I'll break all over again. I couldn't handle that right now.

It's been a week since we've talked, and the only thing I know is that my life doesn't feel good without her in it. I'm not sure what that means or if it means anything at all. I'm not sure of anything. No. I know she is still special and wonderful, and sometimes things just don't work out. But nights are long and lonely, and the only way I can escape my thoughts is by reading. So, I read a lot.

I know what every single one of you are going to say. Some of you have already said things to me. I appreciate it. I do. I'm just... Well you know.

One time I gave up dating. I found contentment with being alone. I hope I'll find contentment with alone again.

Maybe I'll dig a hatch on an Island and live in it until Elizabeth Mitchell comes to rescue me. Or Jennifer Nettles. (Lame attempt at a joke.)

My mom pieced the cake back together, by the way. It looked like crap, but we ate it anyway. Complete with the sprinkles my nephew put on top of it. Sprinkles make everything better.

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I'm a walking contradiction. While I love to draw, paint and read, I also love all things gadgets, science and even science fiction (I know). My animals (two dogs and two birds) are my heart, and if I could figure out how to legally own a giraffe, I would. That all said, I have my BS in Mathematics. :o)

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