Starting with a blank page. I have been remiss in my writing duties for a few days now. Well, actually, as always, I have been writing it just isn’t publishable.
I find my writing is too unintelligent for the interwebs.
Time for some New Years musings.
The ringing in of 2015 was done while listening to great music with a few great new friends and a dog named Georgia. A dainty little bar caught my eye when looking for places to dance. It was put into my field of vision by my hosts and their son. I am in the midst of a great family and am having a blast getting to know them. Chuck is the motorcyclist who has done it all. He has been a part of the Dakur. He was a photographer on the filmset of Bullitt. He has an amazing garage and he also has made it on to a poster for Aerostich Gear. He has lived a motorcyclists dream life. His wonderful wife, Marilyn, was a nurse and an artist. She has an amazing little painting space where she has let me hole up on the guest bed. She is a fabulous cook and has been taking care of her family and the neighbors for years, even though she would never say it. She is matronly beyond belief, and perfectly supportive. Their daughter, Liz, is a nurse of sorts as well and has the same traits as her mother. She is kind and has three children. The two I met, the 6 and 8 year old boys, were rambunctious, healthy, young boys. Good kids in a good family. Chuck and Marilyn’s son, David, is a musician and an artist. His thing is to do up art on loose pieces of wood which he hangs up in the allies around his place. It’s a form of graffiti which doesn’t involve destruction and the art always has something like ‘gratitude’ or ‘love’ on it. People come by and take it, but that’s what it is there for. Giving everyone the opportunity to get a little love. David was also a musician at the dainty little bar that I attended on New Years. His sister and her spouse were planning on going that way too so I joined their little car and we made our way down to the happening place after dinner.
Dinner on New Years was a feast prepared by Marilyn. Chicken, gravy, squash, stuffing, and noodles and ratatouille. The table was filled with folks. Chuck, Mariyln, their daughter, her two sons and spouse, and then a couple of neighbors who happened by to say hello before heading out on the town. We all sat, spoke, ate, and laughed.
Later at the bar we found that the cheery laughter followed us. I didn’t order a drink at all, preferring to be sober as we said farewell to a pretty superb year. This year is the third New Year I spent in a bar dancing and celebrating with friends. However, this is the first year that I have been of an age to order a drink, or not. I turned 21 in 2014 which is a pretty big deal. Before twenty-one I found myself in bars anyway. I wouldn’t drink, I wouldn’t shout my age out, but the bartenders knew. I got in based on my love of music and by being good. The bar owners would let me in and I would promise not to drink. I would listen to live music from fantastic Minnesotan artists and I would mingle with the musicians. Later I would play them on the radio (if I liked them enough, which I generally did) that I DJed at. It was a fabulous opportunity to get to listen and it meant I got to spend the phasing out of 2012 and 2013 dancing to great tunes as well. I was happy to continue the tradition, and I was even happier to not have to convince the bar owners they should let me. This being the case I felt no need to order a drink. The bands were great. David’s band played last, and actully welcomed in 2015, but we came in on the act before his. We entered in on an awesome guitarist and lead singer with a fantastic voice. The drummer also knew what he was doing. The dainty bar was small and it left a little bit to be desired in the way of class, but it felt comfortable. It didn’t feel like the type of bar where you had to watch your back or carefully select the people you wanted to talk to. The bar was in rough shape, and so were most of the patrons, but it was easy to tell it was just a working class place with working class people. It was comfortable. Since the bar was full I took a seat at a table with an older couple . They weren’t seated when I sat, but I knew it was theirs because I had seen them there when I walked in. When they came back to their seats I asked them if they minded and they were more than happy to let me have the third chair which they weren’t using. They were a prime example of the working class people in attendance. They had both seen better days, but they were kind and truley smitten. Two 50-somethings looking into each others eyes and saying kind words. Lovebird looks, and small pecks were floating between the two and I made sure not to get to close. Seeing from a nice distance and not offering interruption. The tables had paper placed over them in lieu of table cloths. There was a shot glass full of crayons as the centerpiece. Liz came over to the table, put a hand on my shoulder and directed her voice nearest my ear so I could here her over the loud guitar solo. “I want to see a mural on this table before the end of the night. I want to take it home.”
I laughed in response and was grateful for an excuse to pour out the crayons and get to doodling. Before the pair of cooing doves got up to leave, and left me alone at the table that they had the majority of claim to, the woman leaned in close and complimented the dog face I had drawn. It was a doodle inspired by the dog I had mentioned earlier, Georgia. She was a ten year old yellow lab who still acted like a puppy. She was loving and constantly searching for a new hand to pet her. She was David’s dog and when she wasn’t right by his side she was making her way around to every new face and giving them her puppy dog eyes. “Thanks!” I said. “You draw a dog.” I handed her a crayon.
She tilted her head and gave me a look. She was interested but unsure. “How about a horse?” she asked me over another loud guitar solo. I agreed with enthusiasm and then she went on to draw a well practiced horse head. It was smiling and happy and very reminiscent of her expression. I told her I loved the toothy grin that the horse was giving me and she smiled big.
When the act ended I realized I had to use the bathroom. There was one bathroom in the whole establishment and there was a line to get in. I told Liz I would try my luck down the street, assuming there had to be another bar with a pot somewhere. I ventured on down the street and saw lights and people outside smoking about a block down on the opposite side. I stepped lively, crossing the street, and as I got closer I saw all the smokers where wearing black in the form of dapper suits and slinky dresses. There was a big Black guy — also dressed in black standing — in front of the door. If I looked past him, through the large glass windows, I saw muted light giving a red orange glow over more fancy people dressed in black. I could here some heavy bass beats being dropped over a great speaker system that was allowing some of the sound to seep through. It was an electronic sound, but with the same classiness that all the guests were exuding. There I stood, in my Norwegian knit sweater, my red pants, and converse sneakers, looking up at the swanky Black guy. “Does this place have a bathroom.”
The bouncer gave me a look. All 6 foot and 300 pounds of him looked down at me. “Do I need an I.D to get in?” I quickly added. The bouncer raised an eyebrow and I hurried into the next sentence, “because I left my I.D at the other bar, there was long line to the bathroom and I really had to go.”
“I guess we should really ask —” as he told me a name, which I didn’t catch, he turned toward the door which was being opened by an Latino man who could have been the fraternal twin of the big bouncer I was looking up to. Another 300 pound man gaurding the door. The Black bouncer addresed this new giant, “She,” he pointed at me, “has to use the bathroom.”
The Latino giant looked down at me “it’s not a public restroom.”
“And we do technically need an I.D” the black bouncer added.
“But,” the Latino giant continued, “how can I say no to you?”
Inside I just cracked. I felt like laughing while simultaneously telling them they shouldn’t give in so easily to small chick standing in front of them because, for all they knew, I was a mass murderer. However, I really had to pee, and in reality, if I started murdering the masses either of these dudes could snuff me out with one large exhale. Besides, I felt as though I had more power by continuing to be sweet to these giants then I would ever have if I were to be mean. So what I said instead was “you really shouldn’t say no because I might pee on the sidewalk. Thank you!” Both men raised their eyebrows at me as the Black bouncer opened the door and I scurried in.
The bar was filled with fancy looking people, the same as I had seen from the outside. Being inside gave me a different feel. I felt as though I had just walked into a movie or TV show representing the mob. There were people of all color in the space but they mingled in a sort of segregated way except for one group of the most nicely dressed men who were having some sort of important discussion. There was very little laughter and this looked like the type of place where nobody would ever think to say “pee on the sidewalk.” I followed a group of gorgeous women with high heels into a fancy rest room. They walked slow, without thinking to look behind them to notice a small girl who felt as though she might “pee on the sidewalk.” Which only made sense because they fit into the small sterotype of gals who don’t wind up in the bathroom to use the toilet, but instead to look pretty in the mirror and chat about girly stuff. This meant that I had no line to get into a stall to pee but I had a long line to get to the sink. After washing my hands I made my way back to the door. I noticed I was the only person wearing any color in the place, but despite this bright advantage I had over all others in the bar when it came to being observed, I was actually ignored. No one bothered looking twice at the small girl with the knit sweater and street shoes. I made my way back out the door and gave a large smile to the bouncers, “thank you!” I said again. The eyebrows raised (again), but I swear I saw a small upturn of a lip, which could have been mistaken for a grin if the Black bouncer had ever bothered setting that precedent.
I made my way back to the comfortable bar where David and his band were setting up there gear with the help of Georgia. I looked around at all the jeans and beards, the home dyed hair and dollarstore mascara. The tables topped with beer glasses vs. fancy colored drinks and champagne glasses. I laughed. The dichotomy of the classes. And everyone at this rundown bar had a smile. No raised eyebrows when I told Liz I had gone ‘pee’. People whowho put emphasis on appearance vs. those who don’t.
We rung in the New Year and I got the chance to dance but we all started to feel tired. Liz asked if I was ready to go crash, and I was. We complimented the band and headed back to Chuck and Marilyn’s.
It was a great way to say farewell to 2014. I am not sad to see it go because that is just the way of things, but I was more than pleased with it. Last New Year I was twenty. l danced until ten minutes before midnight at which time the public television crew came into the bar to film the band bringing in the New Year. I didn’t want to be kicked out for the evening, or the bar to get in trouble, so I scurried off to the bathroom. I rung in the new year sitting on a bathroom sink and reflecting on my reflection in the mirror. I waited in that bathroom a good twenty minutes til I figured the film crew was done. The music was done too. My friends were packing up. The bathroom had been a nice place to sit because I chatted with quite a few gals. Sitting on the sink is a great ice breaker. However it was a bummer not to be dancing. This year marks the first of many legal New Years spent dancing in bars. No more Cheshire Cat moments on bathroom sinks. My big grin can be saved for the dance floor or sneaking past bouncers instead of for suprising ladies as they enter the loo.
Last New Years found me at an after party where I got to know a friend better. A boy I had admired but hadn’t got the chance to chat with all that often. I remember leaning against the kitchen counter watching everyone else mingle and celebrate while we chatted. I informed him of my plans for 2014. I told him that I was going to be taking off on a long roadtrip across the country on a motorcycle. He asked if I rode. No.
Did I know how to ride? No.
Did I have a motorcycle? No.
Did I know where to get one? No.
Did I have a plan mapped? No.
Was I serious? Yes.
“That’s cool,” he told me with an honest look.
It hadn’t even been 2014 for four hours and I had already had it all planned. January marked the start of a new year
February was the start of a schoolwide mural with the highschoolers I was teaching.
In March I turned 21.
In April I bought my Honda Rebel, and my truck broke down. I got my motorcycle endorsement two weeks later.
I started a large, four wall, mosiac in my communities favored coffeeshop in May.
In June I finished the mosaic.
In July I started a 14 by 98 foot mural at a threshing show off Highway 2. I applied house paint to corrugated steel for my largest piece of work yet. I bought a 2001 Suzuki Savage in July as well.
In August I finished the pole barn. I bought copious amounts of gear for a long trip. I fixed my truck and moved out of my best friends house. I towed my Honda Rebel, my truck, and my record collection to my Dad’s.
In September I took off on my year long adventure. I went to North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.
I made it to Nebraska, Colorado Idaho, Washington and Oregon in October.
Novemeber found me in Californian.
December happened upon me in SoCal. And ended with me back in the bay area where I said farewell to 2014.
It was a great year.
Two year ago on New Years I came up with a great resolution which I liked so much I have decided to keep recycling for the coming years. As I said good bye to 2012 I resolved to try new things. It was the best resolution ever. So easily accomplished while also being vague enough to allow a great amount of leeway. Anyway, that was last year’s resolution as well, and Im carrying it over to 2015. When I look at all the new things I tried and did in the last year I am more than pleased. I am supremely ecstatic about 2014. It makes me feel young but more mature to see all I have done. The best thing is that on paper it looks like a lot (which gives a large esteem boost to my competitive spirit), but I can also feel the changes in my personality. This year I feel like I don’t have to prove myself the way I did last year. I feel that with all I have done a few of my insecurities have been banished as well as a huge amount of of my little-big-man-syndrome. I handle myself better in front of people underestimating me, something that I have found to be challenging in the past, because I know that they are wrong. I am capable, and I have been told so by many of the capable people I admire. Beyond that, I have proved that I am capable. Being extremely logical it is the proof that speaks the loudest. Because many of you reading may not know the me that came before this blog I will explain a bit.
Being short and female born into a family that would consist of a dad and a sister all I knew is what strong meant. I knew that strong was doing the things you set out to do and doing them better than you imagined. My dad is full of accomplishments that he was uncertain about before attempting them. Maybe the best example of this is raising two succesful, happy, daughters by himself, regardless of the stigma or words placed around him. My sister was, and is, the smartest person I know. She is one of the strongest woman I know, and before I had seen a bit more of the world she was THE strongest. She still holds that strength, but in our childhood she was my rock and I was hers. She was the mother I didn’t have and I was hers. We were both raised to believe the same thing, which is that perseverance and a can-do attitude is all a person need to accomplish something. We weren’t raised to see things based on size and gender. Dad told us of the perils of the world quite candidly and then told us we were in charge of staying away from them. If we were in a situation where a girl might be at a disadvantage then either get away from it or dominate. If we felt like we wanted to be in that situation then we had the option to either keep the disadvantage or work past it. Get stronger, get smarter, learn self defense, or do whatever it was to persevere. When I hit the real world I didn’t see short or female, I saw me, a strong human who could do anything. It turns out that isn’t exactly how the world sees things. I went through a couple of years of having my face rubbed in my reflection as others saw it, and because of it I was passed up for raises and jobs. I was disrespected and I was around many people who thought they knew me based on my appearance. I found I could quickly weed out friends by listening to the way they spoke to me. Were they saying things that were harassing or disrespectful? Did they patronize me or make incorrect assumptions? I slowly learned that my appearance gave me an inside look at others psyches, but I hated it. Now, in the last year, I have learned to appreciate it. I can-do just about anything, but I most likely won’t be anything other than a 5 foot white female in my lifetime. Society can change, but it probably won’t change at a fast enough rate to change the way I’m perceived. However I can change the way I see it and I can also do as Dad taught me and persevere and work past it. Be me, and be stronger than the judgements. What I have learned in the last year is that I can easily do that by ignoring the words I don’t like. I can move past the words that make me feel like I have to puff up my chest and put my macho on full alert. I can be me, confident, capable me, and refuse to be the reflection I feel everyone else observes. In doing so I can embody the person I want people to see and move past all the other stuff. So far it is working.
I took off on a motorcycle trip with a very small bit of ego at work. Not much, but some. Mainly I wanted to see and learn, and one of the things I wanted to learn was how to be rid of the ego. The ego sat below the surface and said things like “prove them naysayers wrong. Show ’em that you weren’t kidding. Prove that gender has nothing to do with it.” I can safely say I think I might have left that shitty ego in 2014. Guess what? I’m trying something new. I’m letting my reflection go. I can’t change how people perceieve me. If bouncers think my bright blues and short apperance make me unquestionable than I get a place to pee. If the fancy people think I’m unworthy of their attention then it means I can get back to comfort quicker. If people think that being a small female has anything to do with it they will find it doesn’t. Why? Because it doesn’t.
It is such a relief to decide upon that fact.
2014 gave me a lot of chances to go after, and do, new things. Because of this I have learned the most valuable thing, how to be comfortable in my own skin. Taking my first adventure has taught me that the world is full of people who are more than the sum of their superficial bits, and despite that many people are struggling with the perception of their reflection as well. This has lead to the revelation that it is an over saturated market, and I should get out of it. Remove the ego from the stream of egos and allow the mind to be at peace regardless of the body. Esteem shouldn’t be centered around the reflection, the apperance. Esteem should be centered around the accomplishments. The abilty to go forward and live life the way one wants to, with confidence and a can-do attitude.
In 2015 im trying new things. In 2015 I’m getting rid of the ego. 2015 starts with a blank page.
There it is, the tall and short of it (hahaha =D ). My year in review. My year end review. New Years eve didn’t dissapoint, and neither has 2015 thus far. Enjoy it guys; why not?