Sex: It’s in All of Us

When was the last time you had sex?

Go on…really think about this. Was it last night? Maybe it was last week? Was it perhaps last month? It could have been last year. I want you to stop and ask yourself, “When was the last time you had mind-blowing, bed-breaking, headboard smashing, insanely wild sex?”

It was March of 2016, but since then it has been the longest dry spell. For a brief period of time, I had broken up with my boyfriend, so he and I clearly were not getting it on. I had cut ties with the friend with benefits long ago and I really did not do the whole one-night-stand/dating thing. I find that my brain is just not programmed for it and I end up getting attached to that person’s company. It is more the comfort and attention offered by that person than anything else. I tend to have a bad taste in men so they are all really just jerks in the end.

My boyfriend and I got back together this past June and I have been giving him a chance to redeem himself and our relationship since moving back to New Haven. So far, so good…except for the fact that there is this unspoken tension between us but we are working through it – slowly. I am currently withholding sex from him because he can’t just trash our relationship and think he can get back in the sack, does he? He doesn’t even know that I am actively withholding sex from him. We just don’t have sex at this point. I actually feel like our relationship is going up in flames because lately (always) communication has been getting worse and worse between the two of us and little things he does really get on my nerves.

He tends to get into these moods and it’s really hard to get him out of them. I understand having a bad day, but I think it is something more than that and it’s no fun for me to ALWAYS have to be the happy, optimistic, positive one. Some days, I just want to be a little negative and express my upset about somethings. It’s not fair. Is it just sexual frustration? I don’t know. We used to have sex and it was fun and he was a much happier guy, before, during, and after. But now…how can I do something so intimate with someone who right now I am completely doubting his loyalty? If the trust isn’t there, how can there be intimacy?

Living with Cooper

I moved into my apartment all on my own, and I NEVER planned on having a roommate. Then, I met Cooper – the domestic, long-haired cat in my life, and within 24 hours there was a little man living here.

He is only a year old, but it is like having a young child as well as another twenty-something around. When Cooper is sick, I sit up with him and make sure that he stays hydrated and that he isn’t cold. I take him to the vet, I feed him, brush his hair, and I provide him with all of the toys he could ever need or want. Actually, this reminds me that two of his toys are busted and that I should replace them soon.

IMG_2245When I can’t sleep, he hangs out with me until I pass out. If I have home-work to finish, then he hangs out until I finish.  When I am upset about something, he is there to listen. While I know he will never be able to respond or give his opinion on anything, it’s just nice to have someone else in the room to hear my rant.

He and I fell into a nice rhythm from the first day he arrived here. I work in Manhattan so our day starts very, very early every morning. I wake up at 4am to Cooper’s very warm body snuggled next to my back, and then I fill his food and water. I’ll take a shower, but I will leave the door open because he likes to climb up and sit on the low shelf in the wall where the towels are stored. By 4:30, I am showered, dressed, and packing my bag for the train ride to the office. I make sure that all of Cooper’s toys are in the center of the living room and that the blinds are pulled up half way so that he can look out the window while he is home. Sometimes, I will actually catch him sitting on the windowsill when I walk back from the bus stop.

It can also be very stressful having a pet. When you go away, you need to make sure he has enough food and water and there is nothing laying around that he can get into. Some nights, I just want some alone time, but he just cries at my bedroom door, if it is closed, until I invite him in. Some days I just want to be by myself, which was the perk of having my own place. He is such a good boy though so having him around even when I want some privacy is okay by me.

#MeToo

Earlier this week, social media outlets exploded with the use of #MeToo.

Normally, I just share things like this with as many people in my network as will listen because sexual violence is something I fight very hard against, especially in this current culture. This time, I chose to voice my own experience and enter my name into the unfortunate pool of men and women affected by this. I want to talk about what this social media campaign meant to me because I have only ever shared my experience with one person and then I shoved it out like it didn’t happen. It was as if I had removed a cork from my thoughts and once it was released it was gone but that is not how this works.

It was senior year of high school – I had been working at my public library. One day, a guy was hanging out in the mystery books section and he asked my opinion about what he should read next. Of course, my interest was peaked because someone was talking to me about books. We talked for a little while and he made his selections, and then asked how often I worked there. I said, “Only Tuesdays”. He asked for my number and we texted for a little while. He came back the following Tuesday and once again, I helped him select a book to take out that week. We had been texting on and off during the week. I didn’t know his name or if he was in school or even how old he was. I just knew he had dark hair, really blue eyes, a penchant for mint gum, and seemed to like mystery novels.

The third Tuesday in April, he comes in, asks me for a book suggestion and this time we are talking for a while longer. I am re-shelving books and he is walking with me and we someone how end up cornered by the audiobooks. He backed me up against the shelf, grabbed my hand and started kissing me. I still did not know his name or his age. I do know that I never asked to kiss him and as soon as I could I told him to leave and that I didn’t want to see him in the library ever again…and I never did. Not even now when I return as a patron. To this day, I cannot chew mint gum because it takes me back.

I never felt the desire to share my experience with anyone – my therapist included.

Making Moves

Please forgive me for vanishing. A lot has happened. So much has changed that I am honestly not sure where I should begin. I think I will start with the best parts.

I moved – to Connecticut. I now live and breathe in New Haven, am employed in Manhattan and I am riding the Metro-North to and from New York every day. Some say I am crazy, but I say I am passionate about living my best life! It’s not that I was unhappy while living at home. I think I just felt incomplete in a way. We live life in a series of chapters and the West Hempstead chapter is over for now. I have turned the page and we begin refreshed and ready for the adventures that are to come. My family is still on Long Island so I will absolutely be back. This is the perfect combination; it is the best of both worlds. I can live in the city I love, while working in another and I have easy access to my family whenever I want.

The move itself was tiring and sweaty. I spent two days cleaning, re-shelving, and un-boxing and to be honest, I am ready for a long nap. I will share photos soon – I promise! Right now, I am just enjoying having my own space. Once the cooler weather comes, my furry friend, Chestnut, will be joining me in my apartment. Right now, it is simply too hot in the apartment for my hamster but I am sad that I had to leave her at the house. I have been here for two months just about and I still have yet to empty out one final box and to place all of my decorative items someplace. When I have a little extra money (not likely to happen), I want to buy another shelving unit with a glass door.

Not only have I changed my address, but I have also launched myself head first into a healthier lifestyle. I became a member of Jenny Craig and signed up under their $20 to lose 20 lbs plan! This is a really big step for me because lately my eating habits have been deplorable: chicken nuggets, cake, ice cream, tacos, halal food, etc. The list of unhealthy food choices could go on, but really I just want to feel healthier when I wake up in the morning. If cake were a diet supplement, I would be a pro at remembering to take one everyday. Unfortunately, that is not how life works so I must stop inhaling dessert. I have actually lost about 4 inches overall, even though I kind of yo-yo’ed while on the plan. I will just have to keep pushing myself to do better.

I work a desk job. From 8:30 AM to 6 PM, I am in my seat, with the occasional jaunt to the Bevi or into the kitchen…to grab snacks. Mainly, I am sitting and eating and sitting and eating and it just needs to stop. My goal is to lose over 100 pounds, BUT since that happens with baby steps, we will start with a smooth 20. It will  not be easy, but I think the challenge of changing your life is all part of the fun.

As if I had not already changed enough about my already stressful lifestyle, I decided to become a cat mom which means I am now solely responsible for the well-being of what is essentially my child. Every morning, I make sure he has food and water, I brush his hair, and I make sure that he has all the toys he will need to entertain himself while I am gone for the day. Cooper, is a one year old, Domestic Long-haired cat and it just so happens that I ended up adopting him on his first birthday!

He is an endless vat of energy — constantly pouncing inanimate objects, chasing his own tail and running from one end of the apartment to the other. Of course, he spends a good part of the day trying to break out of his collar — with a 99% success rate, but as his mother, he needs to learn who is boss. For me, the hardest part is cleaning the poop out of the litter box. I must apologize to my mother because, while Cooper’s shit is gross, I cannot even imagine the stench of baby poop and actually having to wipe a baby’s butt.

My first day heading back to my office after I adopted him was definitely tough. I think I had and probably still have a little bit of separation anxiety. At the same time, it was nice to be out of my apartment. I wake up to a cat stretched out behind my back almost every morning. The first morning, I just felt a warm body next to me and my brain told me it was my boyfriend. I turned to my other side and sure enough it was just Cooper. Those are the mornings that I wish I lived with my boyfriend, but I love having my own space so I am glad he is not living there. I love when he visits me though! He comes to visit me just about every other weekend and he is so good with Cooper. Actually, I think the cat loves him more than he loves me — maybe I am just jealous?

While we are on the subject of my boyfriend, I think I owe to it myself to dissect how I feel our season 3 renewal is going. We are still building up to an epic midseason finale, but so far, so good. He is much more open and communicative; he actually has made the effort to come to my apartment and see me. My only hesitation is trusting that he can keep this going if I ended up moving out of New Haven again. He did not do well at all the first tine around. I love how committed he seems now, but I could not stand it if I left again and he completely forgets how to be a boyfriend. My biggest fear is that this happiness is only temporary because I am really happy with him right now.

Our relationship is in this phase of getting to know one another again and I think that there is still a lot that he and I will discuss and need to discuss. Right now, I am just enjoying spending time with my favorite guy again. We will see where this road takes the three of us – me, Zack, and the cat.

 

Walking with my head toward the sky

When you walk through the streets of Manhattan, do you ever notice the people around you? Do we ever take the time to lift our heads and our noses up from our phones and just really see the people or the buildings?

I will admit that on days when I am stressed out or feeling insecure, I will walk with my eyes glued to the screen of my phone, but I do my best to keep foot traffic flowing and avoid bumping into strangers. No one is perfect.

During my brief walk from Bryant Park on 42nd to the Fred E. French Building on 45th, I noticed that everyone walking next to or in front of me was staring down at the screen of their cell phone or behind the viewfinder of a camera. A young girl was moving at such a pace that she tripped into a woman because she never looked up – not once. She never thought to take her eyes off the screen and stop texting to check to see if someone was in front of her.

Texting while walking really grinds my gears. I cannot stand being stuck behind someone who is moving at a snails pace because she has her nose in her phone. In this digital age, it is so important that you look up and take in the sights once in a while. Not only is it rude, but it is actually dangerous! The New York Times, the Washington Post, Fortune Magazine, USA Today... the list goes on. These major journalistic outlets have studied this exact topic and have shown just how dangerous this nasty habit is. Take a look at this video:

NYT Texting & Walking

In Gait & Posture, Eric Lambert found that texting while walking produces navigational errors and that gait velocity is reduced when using a cell phone to text or talk. (2012) When you are looking down, you are limiting what can be seen around your person. You develop multiple blind spots, whereas there would only be one if you walked with your head up and watching for danger. Basically, walking and texting is like you are wearing a blindfold and you are prone to serious injuries. According to the NSC (National Safety Council), between 2000 and 2011, walking while using your cell phone accounted for 11,100 injuries.

There is also the courtesy factor.

It is completely inconsiderate of texters to come to a complete stop in the middle of a busy NYC sidewalk, staircase, or entry-way. Blocking foot traffic in Manhattan is a dangerous all by itself, but then you factor in that people are not even noticing that bodies are moving towards them!

What’s the considerate or proper technique you may ask. Well, you should really pull over to the side of the sidewalk, complete your text, Google searches or whatever you need to look down and view and then proceed down the street. Practicing pedestrian etiquette will allow for others to continue walking without obstruction and will lower pedestrian accident rates.

“Petextrian” accidents have risen to more than 3.5 percent, according to a report by the GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Association). Teenagers make up more than 40% of these accidents because they cross streets while texting and cannot detect the oncoming dangers while being distracted by mobile devices. Of course, driving while distracted or impaired will ALWAYS be the number one cause for accidents, texting while walking is a menace to pedestrians just trying to make it to the end of the next block.

Please, next time you are out, do me a favor – pick your head up and notice the world around you. Notice the world outside of the cell phone!

Counting the days

My first graduate class starts at the end of this month, and I am nowhere near ready to be back inside of a classroom quite yet. I need to figure out if I am going to do the whole laptop in class schtick or my classic hand-written notations approach. I prefer not having the distraction of my laptop for class, but after a full day of work will my brain be able to keep up otherwise?

What should I do?

I am enrolled, part-time, in Pace University’s Dyson College of the Arts & Sciences Book Publishing Certificate Program. This could lead to big things in the publishing world, in terms of my career. On the other hand, it could show me just how much I do not want to work in there…though, I doubt it. The trick is going to be working my full-time job and going to school two nights a week. Luckily, I just found out that I have July 4th off for the holiday. Bully for me!

I am starting with one course: The Principles of Publishing. The textbook cost me about $27.73 on Amazon, depending on who is selling the book to you. Compared to my Undergraduate textbook costs, that was a bargain! Check out Publishing: Principles and Practice by Richard Guthrie if you are looking for an interesting background on all things publishing.

American-born and humiliated

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Muhammad Ali’s son was stopped and questioned at an airport Friday for the second time in recent months, his attorney said. The attorney said Muhammad Ali Jr. was questioned at a Washington airport before he was allowed to board a flight home to Fort Lauderdale, after meeting with lawmakers to discuss a…

via Attorney Says Muhammad Ali’s Son Stopped Again At Airport; TSA Says They Only Confirmed His ID — CBS New York