The Animal Inside

So it seems it’s not that easy for two writers to ALWAYS be in sync…especially when life changes and growing pains are pulling in opposite directions. Gratefully, we adore each other (and this blog) enough, to make it work. This week, Melissa found herself feeling a bit out of her skin. Kelly, albeit hesitantly, obliged her request to write about her animagus alter ego and did a little soul searching in the process.

Melissa

Le chat bleu

I mustered the strength to shake off my incontestable attraction to the brilliant red orb of light glowing directly across from me.

Another message. I was growing tired of this game…But then I read his bio.

My breath caught in my chest as my eyes scanned the words, “Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting.” He quoted Murakami. Every inch of my skin now fully alert. Each and every hair standing at attention as goose bumps decidedly made an unannounced appearance (as goose bumps often do). I continued reading, “Hates dogs…” interesting.

Quickly, I plopped down lower into my roller chair, begging my racing heart to get in check. In the monotony of everyday chaos, I caught an unexpected bit of warmth seeping through an icy computer screen, now elevated by an intense swoony heat growing inside me.

As I reach for the mouse, my brain and body beckon, “can I come in?” while I silently pray I didn’t actually say that out loud. I peek over my shoulder to ensure my co-workers haven’t noticed me scanning my dating profile in my cubicle, when my mind slips off to another place…

.::I watch my body as the mutation occurs, transforming one goose bump at a time. My fingertips and palms are replaced by little pads. My fingers shrink down to form fuzzy little paws, and I arch my back to free my long, slender, shiny tail from beneath me. From head-to-toe, my shape is enveloped with soft luxurious fur. Streeeettchhh::…

I begin the ritual by circling his feet and then hop onto his lap, continuing my concentric ceremony while kneading the tops of his thighs with my tiny claws. His hand reaches my back and I let out a long relieving purr. (Did I just purr?) I raise my head and press it under his scruffy chin. A wave of calm flows down my spine. ‘Maybe I’ll stay here for a while’ my mental kitten notes, and I put my head to rest on his knee.::.

Snap out of it Melissa!

I break free from the moment of feline serenity and once again begin to paw at my mouse, regaining my composure, preparing to settle back into the mundane…but there is that little glowing red ball again. Another message.  A few amazing borrowed words and a bit of sexy snark compose a cleverly playful note and I’ve traded in my human form to curl up on the world’s most flawless lap.

MEEE-YOW.

I’ve surrendered to my alter-ego, a purring love-hungry kitten with a proclivity for sarcasm and stubble.  I realize that I’ve launched my pin-balling brain into a lucid fantasy world, rendering my earthly body nearly useless but…

Click click click. Send. He calls, and suddenly I’m…weaving between his feet as he walks, my tail wrapping up his leg, marking the hem of his pants with little tufts of fur mementos. You’re welcome.

Click click click. Send. He’s sitting across from me whispering stories of wolves and nightwalkers… my ears knit his voice into colorful balls of yarn that playfully roll around in my head. Swat. Swat. Swat.

I wake the next morning to a glowing light on my phone. I’ve got a message. “Have I told you how much I enjoy your collection of books?”  My heart purrs, sending me into a cat-like-tailspin, where the only remedy is a good scratch behind the ears.

.::I just knew how it would feel too. I could tell by looking at his long spindly fingers that they would know exactly how to push my buttons…those fingers would slowly massage right behind my pointed little ears…

 

Kelly

Afternoon Tea No. 8, The Otter

Alright, I’m Skeptical, but I Gave It a Try Because I Love Melissa

When Melissa mentioned that she wanted to write about Spirit Animals, I couldn’t effing believe it.

She made this request only a day after my new roommate had told me a delightful story of how she read her Tinder date’s spirit animal. He was an otter or something.

Two spirit animal remarks in one week? It felt like a sign from…spirits.

I had never, EVER thought about spirit animals, but I’ve thought about spirits and animals, separately. I think of spirits quite frequently, mainly due to my irrational fear of ghosts. And I think it’s safe to say that animals are generally ubiquitous.

So I gave in on what felt like fate, and plopped on my roommates bed as she took out what looked like a card deck ordered out of a Highlights Magazine.

My live-in shrink beckoned me. “Pick a card.”

Now, before this somewhat canned experience, I did try to think of my spirit animal organically, reflecting on what resonated within me. I do love blue whales. But I wouldn’t say we have a spiritual resemblance. Well maybe a physical resemblance when I’m menstrual. I once dressed up as a cougar for Halloween, but that doesn’t say much other than the fact that I can really rock being a ‘confident’ older woman.. I could be one of those neurotic dogs with crazy eyes that look not in the same direction. You know, some sort of alert terrier mutt that can’t sit still and is mildly trained. Most days, that feels right.

But this was my chance to really go out on a limb and discover what fate thought my animal could be.

OTTER.

Turns out fate can be underwhelming.

Sigh. I turned to the handbook to see what otter meant. I had to glean something from it all.

“Surrender. Let go of control,” it began. The first few paragraphs were too vague for my topical-mindedness. But a few sentences did strike a chord: “Letting go of control doesn’t mean giving up…It means opening your hands and heart and accepting the direction of your Spirit.” It also associated the otter with the words Sensuality, Merging, Family, and Playfulness.

Alright folks, you’re probably as skeptical as I am. But really, like some parts of some religions, I like a few of the ideas despite their root in not much. Reading the word “Family” reminded me that I should call my folks, which I think they appreciated. And letting go of control makes sense in my life right now, as I’m learning that New York is as untamable as the waters of Montana De Oro. Was that a San Luis Obispo reference? Yes, yes it was. Also, otters hold hands when they nap. How effing cute is that.

I think my spirit animal is still out there, watching from afar, if only from one of its lazy eyes. To that notion, and to holding hands while napping, I surrender.

 

(cover image credit: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/189165846/print-8×10-the-baphomet-goat-animal?ref=market)

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Resolutions

Hello, 2014!

Today we’re christening an experimental blog shared by two writers – a twenty-something in the thick of millennial culture and thirty-something just on the cusp of it. We’re writing about the past, present and future of our careers and lives, independently.

To kick off the year (and our blog), we listed our resolutions, without comparison or brainstorming. Simply one subject, two writers, ten years apart.

-Melissa and Kelly

*****

Melissa

You should know, I rarely make real resolutions, and in being honest with you and with myself, I would never EVER put them in writing. Making promises always felt like a guaranteed path to disappointment. Perhaps that makes me appear jaded (as one friend tells me, single women in their 30’s are), but drawing up a blueprint of the year to come feels constricting to me. I prefer to view each day like a blank canvas—anything can happen…right?

That being said, in the spirit of this project and confirming my dedication to this blog and my co-author Kelly, I’ve managed to muster up a few vows that I’d like to keep this year.

Here goes:

Unsubscribe.

This year I am going to clean out my inbox, my mailbox and my timeline. Dealing with messages that I’m not interested in is a waste of time and is, frankly, annoying.  It’s time that I set up a spam account to collect all the spamy gifts my online shopping habits have awarded me. Also, a very very enthusiastic “so long!” to Cheryl’s Cookies, Victoria Secret, and Oriental Trading Co. catalogs. Hopefully this act will help save a tree. Facebook has this awesome feature that allows you to remain friends with people for chat and occasional stalking without having to see their daily, hourly, minutely musings in your timeline—thank you Zuckerberg for “unsubscribe.”

Move.

I think everyone resolves to work out in the new year, but I had a much needed wakeup call on my recent visit back to NY for the Holidays. In between stuffing my face with struffoli and drowning my sorrows in eggnog, I came across photos of me from the holidays in 2010—pre cross-country migration. Have I let this motor-centric Los Angeles lifestyle get the best of me? Sure I’m eating healthier in the land of the gluten free and the home of the vegans, but hell, I’m sitting down a whole lot more and moving a whole lot less. New York afforded a free and effective daily workout that was a survival necessity in the city. If you wanted to get anywhere in a rush, and loathed the smell of hot urine baking on a rail track as much as I did, you walked. Even if I don’t join the gym this year (hate hate hate the gym), it will be my goal to take at least one significant walk each day.

Sing.

My desire to sing again has finally manifested itself in nightmares. Last night, for example, I dreamt that in a one-on-one training sesh with a vocal coach, all parties in the room were embarrassed by the Harvey Firestein frog in my throat—So much so, that my instructor would not allow me to sing in this year’s pageant. Not only was I mortified, but the lesbian girlfriend I somehow had in this dream was quite disappointed when I told her I would not be able to serenade her from the stage. Maybe it’s time I really get my singing chops back. The plan isn’t to land the lead role in the adult ed performance of West Side Story, but maybe work up the nerve to get my karaoke on.

Find One Good Friend.

Since my move here two years ago, I haven’t allowed myself to get close to anyone. It probably started out as a defense mechanism when I was uncertain I would be spending more than a month here, but, regretfully, it has turned into somewhat of a lifestyle choice. I’m too cool to be a hermit…or maybe the fact that I think I’m too cool for anything is what is keeping me from making good friends. Maybe this makes me sound 16 instead of 30, but I want sleepovers with pedicures. I want a Happy Hour buddy and I want someone to keep me company on my daily walk—or to go on late night Trader Joe’s runs with.

This year I will invest in a friend. Currently accepting applications.

*****

Kelly

  1. Improve my dental health
  2. Lessen my arm fat
  3. Paint my feelings

No, no. Those are just dumb goals. They resolve nothing, I thought on December 31. I started writing this entry then, but stopped until today, because I got pissed off.

In a sort of irrational manner, in a lens that you see the world through when you’re menstrual (if you don’t get your period, you could compare this mood to when you find out Dumbledore dies in Harry Potter 6), I kept going over in my head how trivial of a holiday New Years is, how it’s a forced excuse to celebrate, how I really don’t want to drink on a Tuesday, and how resolutions are fleeting. I was like a nagging toddler, stomping my feet in protest every time I tried to perceive anything with optimism.

But today, now that New Years Eve is over and we can all shut up about our weight loss plans, I think that my grunted exhales over self-reflection were a sort of embodiment of 2013 as a whole – one big fucking life adjustment that all happened by my decisions, but somehow felt out of my control.

In 2013, I went from living in a blender of diversity and working in a Trader Joes freezer in Berkeley, CA to starting a career in my alma mater town of San Luis Obispo, leaving a city I loved to one I thought I would never come back to. It was that whole life-is-a-book-and-its-a-new-chapter-unfolding thing. And after six months, I successfully transferred from my entry-level position in social media to copywriting. And that’s where I am now.

But I’m discontent.

Not with my job – I love my job – and not with my relationships, but with my thoughts. Second guessing and being indecisive. Regretting. Not speaking up when I should. Wishing I was somewhere else. And 2014 will be the year to find maybe a little more clarity, because 2013 taught me what it’s supposed to be like in your twenties: an anxious string of years where you’re inexperienced, under qualified, and can’t figure out what you want to do with yourself.

With that, I’m simply resolving to keep 2013 in my back pocket as a lesson of how well time teaches, and pledging to address restlessness and discontent, because, for lack of a more elegant reason, #YOLO.