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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A Throne of Roses for One Direction

Sometimes…you just need to tell the world how you feel—through writing! And a Youtube video!

***

Melissa

“Blahahaha!”

That was Kelly’s response when I told her last week that I was in love with One Direction. I don’t know how it happened, or where it came from, but I admittedly suffered (am suffering) from an unmatched and unrequited affection for a quintet of crooning school boys.

It’s cougar time synergy (that 90’s reference courtesy of Jem).

HOLD UP. Too young for “cougar” status, but too old for Zayne to tickle my fancy. Could I possibly be alone in this misguided obsession?

Like most things I hold dear, I shamelessly touted my adoration across social channels in the form of YouTube links, lyrics quotes, and textual declarations of love. #storyofmylife. Rather than being met with ridicule, I was greeted with compassion from commiserating 30-somethings happy to partake in an ooze-fest of shared boy-band fandom. Co-workers were eager to share links of their favorite One Direction shenanigan-packed music videos. Facebook friends were finishing the lyrics of songs I was quoting in posts.

One Direction got me in touch with my inner 13 year old, and when she came out to play, she found the playground waiting for her, and her friends were all there. I feel like Britney Spears in the middle of her “not a girl, not yet a woman” conundrum. I am clearly not the target—as I do know I am beautiful (in my own way), and THAT outlandish confidence is exactly what makes me beautiful—yet I can’t seem to shake my brazen desire to watch them, mouth agape, drool slowly seeping between the space bar and the “B” key.

I’m entitled. For that, I instantly declared that Harry Styles deserves a throne of roses in the form of a dreamy-eyed fan-girl diary entry on our blog…and so I am giving him one, because I know Kelly won’t.

In sharing my daily One Direction fix with Kelly each day this week, I realized that, while she humored me, she did not share my enthusiasm.

What’s wrong with you Kelleh?!? You’re 23. Shouldn’t this be your thing…and not mine?

Then I thought back to the days of the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and 98 Degrees, when I was a high schooler of proper swooning age, mimicking their crafty hip-sway-step-sway-thrust dance moves in the privacy of my mother’s living room (oh, if she could see me in my own living room now). Once college happened, real boys happened and boy bands felt like childish things. I traded bleached-blonde tips and perfectly chiseled waxed chests for the likes of girly downers like Mazzy Star, Fiona Apple and Bic Runga.

The boy band nearly disappeared for me. Kelly must just be going through some in-between-too-cool-to-care phase now too—one that required me to explain to her exactly who Harry is and why he is deserving of her undivided attention. Who can resist Zayne, Harry, Louis, Liam and Niall? They’re just so playful…like cute little hamsters bouncing around in a little YouTube box.

So here I am, at the intersection of walk and don’t walk, and yet…there’s only…ONE DIRECTION.

***

Kelly

Dear Melissa,

I’d like to be the first to say: Congratulations on your youthful renaissance! It takes guts to post to the world about your boy band obsession. Some would call this ‘creepy’ or ‘pathetic’. I would call it an enlightenment! Like you wrote, I didn’t lend a proper ear to your cries of love and squeals of emotional bliss. But I know love when I see it. Consider your rose throne granted!

I mean, of course Harry is the one for you. Did you know that you two are both born in the year of the rooster, only, like, 13 years a part? The stars are aligned, Melissa.

Now, let me debunk any hesitations you may have about your feelings (which, based on your outward and unrequited love, you don’t have), But for one, you are not a cougar. Cougars are at least 46, have about nine tattoos (one of which must be a frontal tramp stamp that says something like, “Daddy Like” or has pictures of hummingbirds everywhere) and cougars missed the generally accepted social cue that perms are no longer a thing.

I was a cougar once. It was 2010. I was 19 in need of a Halloween costume that would make the sluts say, “Is she our age?” And make the boys say, “Did I see that lady asking for change outside Albertsons?” I curled and teased my thin hair into an electric explosion, dumped on blue eye shadow, bought black heels at the Good Will outlet, wore an ill-fitting cheetah print tank top, and topped it off with Rite Aid fake nails. It was truly great!

Where was I going with that? I digress. So what’s it like hanging out with 13-year-old Melissa? Have you been wearing more scrunchies and stretchy shorts? My 13-year-old self would never hang out with me. She’d be too preoccupied playing The Sims and kissing her Lance Bass poster. And style tips are out of the question. 13-year-old Kelly was all about slicking her hair back tight enough to reveal her receding hairline. That and wearing huge sweatshirts. We couldn’t even bond over fun high school things like puberty and cargo jackets. We’d have an awful time. No member of One Direction—not Harry, Lars, Neil, Zack Efron or Zayne would want to hang out me. Not then, not now.

But you plus Harry equals a match made by cosmic fate. Surf the double-barrel overhead tubes that are his man-made ringlets. Laugh as you share hair products and foundation cream. Sing softly into each others’ face until your voices run hoarse.

Well, in your courtship, I wish you the best. You’ve broken down “age barriers” in the name of love, and helped me realize that I can too fall harmoniously back in love with my one and only…Lance Bass.

…Uhm…Ohp. Neverrrrmind.