Hi. I don’t know you but I will hug your face off.

For some reason people think I’m a lot more confident than I actually am.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms with acting a fool in front of strangers. I kind of thrive on those moments. In fact, in awkward situations with strangers, I tend to to start word vomiting up embarrassing and/or inappropriate stories about myself.

It’s a special talent really.

I figure if everyone is feeling as awkward as I am, I might as well make everyone feel a little bit better about themselves by letting them know that hey, at least they aren’t as big as a dumbass as I am. It tends to be a good ice-breaker. It also tends to give off a really awful first impression of myself.

That being said, I’ve realized in the last three weeks, that moving to a new city has really brought out the awkward in me.

I’m used to being the person that brings people together. In my old life, I had different groups of friends all over the metro-plex, who REALLY knew me. I was rarely in situations where I didn’t know anyone.

Here, I only know a few people, and most of those people are new friends and acquaintances, which I am very much  enjoying… but also lends itself for ample awkwardifying situations.

For example.

I recently started taking an improv workshop to brush up and get to know people. Last week, a guy in my class came in with a cast on his arm. I asked him what happened, and before he could reply I went into the story about how I recently fell asleep on my arm after a rough night at SXSW. When I woke up I had no movement in my hand. I did not regain movement in my hand for 2 months and had to undergo weeks of Physical therapy with a therapist that looked exactly like Jake Gyllenhall. Yes. I fell victim to a circumstance commonly known to old-man drunkards as “Saturday night Palsy.”

While a true story, this is not the kind of first impression I should be sharing with people whom I respect and would like to respect me. I have an opportunity here to exist in a world where this didn’t happen, but noooo.. I go and blab my shame-filled stories with could-be friends who will now be weary of sharing a drink with me.

Por Ejemplo numero 2.

Today, I was in a coffee shop chatting it up with a very David Grohl-esque barista. We shared the usual small talk. I’m new to town. He’s in a band. I’m all hopped up on the caffeine, pa and can’t seem to concentrate enough to write. He’s in 2 bands actually. I saw a band last night. What band was that?, he asked.

“Oh just one of my favorite bands in the entire world, Other Lives. It was a kick  ass show. Yeah, they play every instrument in the world. I think at one point they even pulled out a bazooka. I actually don’t know what a bazooka is… maybe it was a trumpet. And then this dude that made cool paintings started talking to me, and all his friends were really cute. I kind of wanted to make out with a guy in the band but that was stupid he was in the band and probably wouldn’t want to make out with me… I’m pretty sure he saw me pick a wedgie… so instead we went and hung out with these other guys. Yeah they were a Daddy’s with daughters meet up group.”

“Oh… hmm.. OK. Well nice meeting you.”

And then I hugged him goodbye.

I HUGGED him goodbye.

As if spewing a nonsensical, snoozefestivus version of my night wasn’t enough, I found it appropriate to two-arm hug a complete stranger.

And that’s not the first time I’ve found myself in the role of Uncle Creepster hug-girl in the last few weeks. No. It’s like I’ve completely lost my sense of barriers with strangers. I’ve found myself reaching out to hug a friend of friend’s mother after run-in at the mall. Rather than shaking hands at the end of an interview, I go in for a big embrace. “Hi homeless person, no I don’t have any money… But I will give you a giant sweaty hug to make you feel better for not having any alcohol. I feel ya bro.”

And every time I’ve been met with the same stiff armed pat on the back.

I don’t know what’s come over me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m loving being in a new city that makes me want to take every faux-relationship to the next level. Maybe I’ve just been feeling more insecure than usual and am asking the world accept me and love me for my awkward self. Either way, it’s very unlike me. In the past I’ve always had very strict rules about my personal space.

In fact, perhaps it’s time we review these rules and take note.

Hugging:  OK when greeting friends and family, saying goodbye to PEOPLE I KNOW, and meeting celebrities.

Not OK when greeting people I have not known more than five minutes, homeless people, gas station cashiers, sweaty people, or ex-boyfriends whom I dislike.

Shoulder massaging: OK anytime I’m the recipient or if there is a cute boy that I want to impress with my strong manly hands.

Not OK when I’m in the back seat of a cab and I mistakenly think that a massage will pass in lieu of actual payment.

Hand Holding: OK when crossing a busy street, playing Red Rover, on a first date at the movies, walking through a crowded music festival, or comforting an elderly person.

Not OK when I haven’t known you for more than five minutes or after I have had over three drinks under any circumstance.

Gently touching knees: Never appropriate. No. I don’t like it in a car. I don’t like it in a bar. If we’re sitting so close that our knees our lightly brushing against each other- back the eff off. It gives me the oogies.

Gently Tickling the inside of arms: I will never say no to this. Strangers, creepers, bums, hotties- BRING IT ON.

Tickling arm pits: I WILL PUNCH YOUR FACE!

Touching my butt: Only OK if you are boosting me up into a tree or over a fence.

So there.

I’m sure there are more but I will tell you if you’re over crossing any important boundaries. As for me, watch out, yo. My rule-breaking awkward ass is sure to hug you in the near future.

 

 

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Hovering over the cuckoo’s nest. And that’s OK.

 

I’m sure all five of  you are just dying to know what the hell I’ve been up to for the past 6 months. I mean, it’s not like I could have spent EVERY SINGLE SECOND of my free time giving myself multiple nerdgasms watching Doctor Who.

Well I probably could have, but then when would I have found the time to watch Firefly? HUH?

So basically, some really shitty stuff that I had no control over happened in my life. When it did, I tried my best to take control over the things that I could. I made it my mission to try to “find myself.” To work out every day. To meditate. To eat healthy. In short, to be perfect.

Until that point, I had always maintained a sort of  “controlled chaos” lifestyle. But I made it my goal in life to change that. I no longer wanted to be the funny girl. I didn’t want to be the person that people told stories about. I didn’t want to be the person that got herself into horrible, ridiculous situations anymore.

The truth is-by trying to calm the chaos in my life, I somehow created the perfect storm.

The harder that I tried to define myself (or find myself)- the further I fell from the things in my life that defined me. The aspects of my life that I had been trying so hard to control, began to control me.

I found myself truly depressed for the first time ever. I quit writing and doing comedy.  I fell back into disordered eating. I withdrew from my friends family… and THAT’s when the obsessive Dr. Who-ing occurred.

The one bright spot in all of this, is that I was able to recognize that I was in a bad place and that I wouldn’t be able to get out of it alone. I’ll go into it more one day when it’s farther in my past, but I will admit that much of my free time the last few months has been spent in therapy, group therapies, support groups and doctor’s offices. It hasn’t been fun, but it has taught me a lot.

When I got laid off 2 weeks ago-  I was sure I was going to plummet even farther into despair. In those first bleak hours, I figured I would lose even more control and that I would spend the rest of my days flying in weird octagons over the cuckoo’s nest. I imagined my parent’s selling everything they owned and putting on benefit concerts trying to raise enough money to give me a lobotomy.

Amazingly enough, the opposite happened. (You can read more about this in my previous post) It could be just temporary, but I honestly feel more like myself the last three weeks than I have in the past eight months. I’ve been sleeping again; albeit odd hours since I’m not currently working normal hours. I’ve been eating again, normally… when I’m hungry and not obsessing over every single thing that I put in my body. I haven’t even worked out except for the occasional walk here and there, and mostly just to get myself to a destination. I’ve found that I can find a balance in the meditating, obsessive yoga aspects my life and the crazy chaotic ones- and that I like it.

Most importantly, I’ve been recognizing that there is still so much that I love about life… and THOSE are the things that define me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ve Got to Break Free!!

I had a breakdown at the end of my first senior year of college. I had just finished failing algebra for the 4th time, and I was looking at an entire summer of leftover classes and working at the job from hell, literally.

Ironically, the job that the devil built had the clever facade of being a “Christian Costume shop.” Meaning: they played nothing but Christian music, hung up fliers about God all over the store, and rented church groups costumes at a deeply discounted rate. But they didn’t fool me. No sir. From the first day, I could feel the heat in that place.

The owner was one of those men who worked hard to make a good first impression. He would offer a “God Bless you” at the end of a sale and would fake-laugh his way through conversations with elderly women trying on wigs for a Senior Citizens ball;  but anyone who had the terror of working for him knew better.

The first day I was there, he informed me that I had “the handwriting of a five year old” and that “that was a sign of stupidity in women.” The second day he told me that it was inappropriate for me, as a woman, to hold such lengthy conversations with the male customers. The third day, I overheard him call his wife an retarded bitch in his back office. The fourth day I showed up in a jean skirt and he informed me that the vaccum cleaner had broke, and that I would need to get on my knees and pick up every sequin on the floor… IN A COSTUME SHOP. The fifth day, he decided to berate me in front of a customer. He came out and apologized to the customer for me being an idiot, and continued to talk down to me. The customer, a lovely older African American woman, asked to speak to him in private and when she walked proudly out of his office,  she  looked at me and loudly said, “MMM girl. Don’t you ever let any man talk to you that way again. If I was you I’d walk out of here right now. ”

The sixth day, he was extremely angry with me for embarrassing him. I tried to stay out of his way, straightening and re-straightening the costumes on mannequins, and organizing the piles of fake mustaches and prosthetic bloody noses into stacks. I tried hard not to let him see that I was crying when he told me he was surprised I was a college student because I “had to use a calculator to figure out the tax on a tuxedo rental.” Then I realized I was really in trouble when I went to the bathroom and found out, that unfortunately; my womanhood had struck once again at a very inopportune time.

I only lived a few blocks away, maybe a 5 minute drive there and back, but I knew he wouldn’t just let me run home to grab something real quick. So I decided to be honest. I approached him like I would a king or a really mean teacher- with my head down, and simply asked “I am having woman issues, would it be OK if I ran home for a second and changed clothes?”

He looked at me like I had asked him if I could take a body shot off of his man boobs, and said “No. You’re going to have to deal with it. You should have known that was going to happen today, or are you some sort of whore?”

At that point, I could no longer hold back my tears. I made my way to the bathroom and proceeded to have the biggest break-down of my 23 years. I cried audibly, and didn’t care if the customers could hear me. And then, I sat down on the dirty bathroom floor and called my dad. I told him I just couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t spend the summer being talked to like I was an idiot. My dad, being the amazing person that he was- told me to do whatever I felt I needed to.

I didn’t want to walk out and admit defeat; but the truth was- I was broken.

Looking back, it wasn’t just the job. At the time, I was heartbroken that a boy that I had been in love with for four years was now in a serious relationship. I was jealous that so many of my friends had graduated and were taking real jobs, some of them had even already moved away. The end of my college career was close, and I still had no idea what I really wanted to do with my life. So I packed up everything I could fit into my car, and I drove home.

It may sound rash, but it ended up being the best decision I ever made in my life.

The second I got home, I started applying for summer jobs with more tenacity than I had shown in my previous 4 years of college . I didn’t really want to stay at my parent’s house for 3 months, but I only had limited work experience, so I applied to jobs that I knew I could handle. Within a week, I had a handful worth of phone interviews with summer camps.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that my voice mail was a rap that said – “Hi you’ve called Carissa and she’s not here, she’s probably out studying or drinking some beer, so leave her a message or call her back- but if you don’t then that is whack, wicca wicca wicca.”

Luckily, I eventually landed a summer job teaching dance at a camp in upstate New York, (which is really another story in itself) but it was amazing.

Until recently, I had forgotten how invigorating it could be to take things into my own hands. For so long, I’ve let myself fall into a pattern of “I’ll change things when the time is right.” I thought that it was fine to continue with the same  mundane jobs, the same happy hours, the same nightly patterns of watching Netflix on my computer… I figured that eventually, life would hand me the opportunity that I needed to make things right.

And in a way it did.

When I first found out I was laid off, I was devastated. I bawled until I couldn’t breathe. I concentrated on the fact that I would no longer have health insurance and I wouldn’t be able to see my therapist, AND OH MY GOD HOW AM I GOING TO PAY FOR MY $140 A MONTH YOGA CLASS???

And then I took a step back and realized that life had handed me what I had been asking for for so long. For the first time since my first senior year of college, I wasn’t tied down with a lease, or a boy, or life I didn’t want to walk away from. I was free. So I took it. I packed up my bags, spent a weekend with my wonderful inspirational aunts, and started applying for jobs with a vengeance.

That was 14 days ago.

Today I started my first day at a new job in a new city and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been doing comedy workshops and RIGHT NOW I’m writing for the first time in 6 months. I’ve been reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

Long story short, I have no idea where this decision will take me, but I’m nothing but excited. I can’t wait for tomorrow. I freaking love the liberation of being free!

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Doctor Who Stole my blog but I’m Stealing It Back.

Well hello there little bloggy. You look like crap! What’s wrong!?

You’ve been abandoned, you say? You sure do look like it. It looks like you haven’t been loved on in at least six months…. and you have so much potential! You don’t even have any followers or anything? THAT IS SAD! How could anyone just leave you out to fend for yourself in this wide world of webs?

Well no… I couldn’t possibly…. I can barely take care of myself…. Blogs take a lot of work. So much maintenance, so much attention…

Although…

Well, I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I used to have a blog once myself. A few even.

What happened? Well I suppose what always happens. I got burned out. I got bored. I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer the blog anymore. That, and I discovered how addicting Netflix Streaming videos are. Oh yeah, I’m telling you. First it was just an innocent flirtation with Doctor Who, then all of a sudden I found myself printing out little Tardis pictures and taping them to every disaster picture in American history. Then I watched Firefly, then went back and watched the entire series of 30 Rock (again), and it wasn’t until tonight- halfway through my second viewing of Doctor Who’s season 3- when I realized how much I missed my little bloggy.

Yes there I said it… I miss my blog. Oh, don’t look at me like that… that doesn’t change anything. I still might be a horrible blog owner. I would probably still forget about my blog for days. I don’t know if I have the energy to pay attention to the other neighborhood blogs every day like I used to. I don’t even remember how to blog properly!What if all I have to blog about is Doctor Who and how crazy David Tenant’s tongue is!?

But well…. I did just move to Austin and I’m kinda lonely…. and I suppose it would be kinda cool to document my new life in a new city. But let’s take it slow OK?  I don’t want to feel any pressure for real commitment… Like I said, I just moved here and I’m really enjoying  all this new-found freedom… the potential for self discovery… the opportunity for change. I don’t need some stupid blog coming back into my life and making me feel guilty for not spending enough time on it.

Although, now that you mention it, I forgot how much I missed talking to you… You do need a bit of a makeover, but I bet I can handle that… OK well hells bells. I’ve never been a gal to say no. Let’s do this!

(PEE. ESS.)

I have been trying to get myself to blog again for like 5 months… but I didn’t know how to start. I didn’t want to be all blah blah life is hard, I have problems, I want to listen to old Death Cab for Cutie albums and cry… so I just didn’t write.  I decided that now that I’m in a new city, I can’t put it off any longer- and so I am posting the cheesiest, most stupid blog ever… AND I DON”T CARE WHAT YOU THINK. Honestly, if there is anyone out there still reading please know I MISS YOU ALL. It has been a crazy 6 months, but I’m honestly so ready to start writing again. I’m excited about life, and I’m excited about getting back in touch with the interwebs.

Hearts and rainbows and unicorn kisses til next time!!!

Carissa

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