8
Jan

A Monthly Storage Unit Newsletter

When I moved in with my boyfriend, we thought it was going to be a temporary thing. My previous roommate was moving in with someone else, and I didn’t quite have the funds needed to rent my own apartment in Los Angeles. But moving into a studio with a guy and a dog meant the majority of my things have been sitting in a storage unit for what has added up to be over a year now.

And every month, an email from the storage company pops up in my inbox, and every month I delete it. It’s a newsletter. A monthly newsletter from a storage unit. And sometimes I like to picture what the email would say if it were written by my own personal belongings.

 

Thursday, January 8th, 2015: 478 Days Since Daylight

Dear Callie,

Sometimes the faint clatter of a metal lock startles me awake. I strain my eyes through the blackness, as if focusing on the light coming in beneath the door will help me make out the sound. Are the footsteps growing nearer, or fading away? I sometimes pass the minutes wondering whether you’ll ever come back, or if we’ll be in here for good. I sometimes wonder if there’s any point to anything anymore.

The soft imprint of your body as you laid down on me to sleep. The comfort I felt in knowing you were always happy to see me at the end of a long day. I’ll never forget the first day we met, when you picked my box up from the shelf and dragged me onto the kart. I was impressed a girl of your stature was able to maneuver me from that Burbank Ikea into the back of your crappy little car, and drive me all the way to your little apartment. You put me together with such care, such a gentle touch. And when you finally put Mattress onto me and Sheets and Pillows, I knew we were complete, like a family.

Bedspread still tears up when I tell that story. He’s tearing up now and has told me to stop.

When you met The Guy, I knew things would change. You stopped spending the night, and as the weeks grew into months, Lamp said what we were all thinking. Things were going to be different from then on.

You came to visit a few months ago. Or a year ago. Sometimes I lose track. You seemed distracted, rushed, as you pulled back the door with a clang. I could hardly believe you were back, and I was nearly blinded by the light streaming through the blackness, illuminating all of us who so eagerly awaited your return. But you seemed absent-minded as you rifled through Box, searching for something, but we knew not what.

Finally, when you shut Box with a sigh and placed him back upon Toaster, I had that sinking feeling that you weren’t taking us home. You were only here to find something, some lucky thing you needed, but you didn’t, so you left.

You looked older, but at the same time just like I remembered you. Your shoulder length chestnut brown hair was longer and darker, a pair of loose jeans rolled up to your ankles and a plain t-shirt. I wondered if you remembered Fleece, who had been waiting for you inside Bag ever since you packed us up in here. Those Wisconsin winters he tells me about, when you really needed him, are long since past.

The door slid shut and my heart sank as I heard the lock click. And your footsteps drew quieter and quieter as you retreated back down the hall. The elevator doors slid open, then closed, and you were gone. We were drenched in silence once again.

I hold onto that thought as I write you now, days, weeks, months later, and I wonder if we ever cross your mind. The box of Silverware you so lovingly used in college. Stereo you used to play at full volume while cleaning your room and dancing in your pajamas. And Desk, where you sat to apply your makeup in the morning light, and placed your computer on to type late into the night.

Sometimes I wonder if we’re just going to gather dust, if we’ll ever be unloaded into a new, bright, white apartment where you’ll lovingly unbox us and tell us you’ll never leave us, never forget about us, that you’re sorry and we’re all back together for good. But that’s something that is getting harder and harder to believe in.

Lovingly yours,

Bed

Storage Unit 551

 

5
Jan

Living The Dream Includes Mucho Guacamole

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Recently, I was extremely lucky to be invited to spend a week in Mexico with my boyfriend and his family. Now, I haven’t been on a vacation to a tropical isle since Hawaii when I was still going to school in my hometown, so needless to say I was more than a little excited. But in the week that I spent on the beach, riding ATVs in the mountains and eating tons and tons of guacamole, I learned more about myself than I thought I would.

For instance, I learned that, if I really wanted, I could run away to Mexico and be completely happy. But let’s back up. The person who made me realize such a thing was the absolute last kind of person I thought I’d meet in Mexico. A Canadian named Jerry.

Picture a real outback-type Australian man. Like the typical tan as heck, fuck the system, looks like he’s been working on a ranch for a long time type guy. But instead of an Australian accent, he’s got this really thick Canadian one. That’s pretty much Jerry in a nutshell.

We all signed up to go on this ATVing excursion for one of our days in Mexico, and I really didn’t know what to expect. But when Jerry pulled up in his big, dusty pickup truck and greeted us with a smile and a firm handshake, I knew this would be something to write home about. He said he was here to take us to his ranch and go ATVing, and just as I was wondering how all five of us were going to fit into the cab of a pickup, he gestured to the back where he set up two folding chairs in the bed. “I call these the rumble seats.” He said.

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What followed was a short drive to said ranch where he told us all about his relocation to Mexico, while I watched Kevin and his brother Sean watch the Mexican countryside fly by, the wind in their hair. Jerry used to live in Canada, but after coming to visit Mexico, he basically said, screw it, I’m moving here. He subsequently sold his successful trucking business he’d worked for his whole life, sold all of his belongings, and moved to Mexico where he bought a plot of land. He’s never been back to Canada since.

His ranch was beautiful. Stationed on a few acres was his house, which he built himself, a few buildings and a do-it-yourself RV park he’d set up. Latrines and all. And when we hopped out of the pickup and onto the ATVs, he gave us each a kercheif to cover our mouths (it was going to be very dusty), a quick run-through of the 4-wheelers (this is the break, and this is the gas) and without signing any waivers or anything, we were off. We drove down the road for a stretch, then onto a side dirt road that ran next to the farmlands and pastures, and finally cut across and into the woods, snaking our way up the mountain, pausing to look at ancient trees and navigating rocky paths. All the while, Jerry the Canadian was acting as our guide, telling us about the wildlife and the particularly poisonous plants that were surrounding us.

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Finally, after a particularly kick ass run through a river bed where we tried our best to get fully soaking wet, Jerry stopped us and proclaimed he’d dropped one of his gloves and had to go back. Little did we gringos know, it was merely an excuse to drive past our line of three ATVs, splashing each one of us in the face.

On our way back to Jerry’s ranch, he lead us to a restaurant perched deep in the jungle. It was like an oasis. As we drove up to this house in the middle of nowhere, we discovered a paradise, tucked far away from everything. We parked and dismounted, dusted ourselves off and sat down at a table overlooking the rolling forested hills, lazy dogs basking in the sun. Best of all was Grunion, the “pet” Coati, which pretty much walked around and did whatever it pleased, baring its teeth at anyone who crossed it, and having joyful romps with the dogs.

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We feasted on guacamole, drank Cokes with homemade tequila and listened to Jerry talk about how this was the best decision he’s ever made, to move to Mexico and never look back. We finished off our unexpected ATV pitstop with a tequila tasting which included a shot of a variety of their home made tequila to keep us feeling nice and warm as we saddled up on our 4-wheelers to head back home.

Some people dream of having a kind of “high concept life” like moving to Mexico and never looking back, but few people actually commit. But Jerry the Canadian had the cojones to actually do it. And that’s something to raise a glass to.

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9
Dec

Mountain Biking Ain’t Cheap

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Mountain biking isn’t a cheap hobby to get into. I realized that about a month and a half ago when this whole thing started. I have to admit, I was a little wary to pick up biking down a mountain side as a weekend activity. Not to mention put a bunch of money into it before I could even go. There’s the obvious first cost: the bike. But that’s only the beginning. You need tubes, tires, a helmet, shoes, a rack for your car… I could go on. For my boyfriend and I, this meant spending each weekend at either REI, local bike shops and driveways of random Craigslist sellers. And finally, after acquiring everything we needed (and many things that inevitably didn’t fit) we got to hit the trail this past weekend.

As we loaded the bikes into the car (one in the back, and one on the rack) we were on our way. But not before pulling over about three times on our way to the trail just a few blocks away. I have to admit, getting on my bike, all geared up and ready to go, and being faced with a giant hill wasn’t the most encouraging start. I’d never biked on anything other than pavement before this moment, avoiding hills at any cost. And now you’re telling me I’m going to ride up rocky hills for the hell of it?

We rode up the hill. Yeah, it was hard and I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but at the top I felt great about myself. I only had to get off and pedal a few times and now we were at the top. All smooth sailing from here, right? Well, not exactly. While the uphill was a soft path of wood chips, the ACTUAL canyon trail we were biking on was a hard rock/sand texture, and it was more uphill from there. After peddling my ass off and moving slow as hell, I managed to sputter, “People do this for fun?”

 

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Needless to say, as the day went on and my quads began to burn, my mindset slowly began to change. Going downhill, navigating over rocks and taking in some truly gorgeous views of Los Angeles was turning out to be worth it. So we went again the next day.

This time we left the Studio City and went up to Simi Valley. And after pushing our bikes up a three quarter mile incline (I ain’t kidding) we finally reached the other side of the hill, a little downhill as payoff for our aching muscles. And let me tell you, it was crazy. The seclusion was breathtaking. All we could see were rolling hills and a bike path stretching out ahead of us. We flew down the hills, peddled hard on the inclines, and got a little jostled from our rigid bikes. And as the sun began its descent behind the mountains, a huge flock of crows flew overhead, speckling the late afternoon sky.

Finally, on the way back to the parking lot, there was a nice hill to ride down. Of course Kevin sped down it without a care in the world, hardly touching his brakes until he reached the bottom.  Usually more cautious, this time I decided to ease up. I flew down the path, navigating over rocks, and around divots in the path. The wind was in my hair, and damn, it felt great. Finally I reached Kevin at the bottom of the hill. I did it, I’d completed my first weekend of mountain biking, and finished it off by zooming down a hillside. I felt great. That’s when Kevin hurriedly beckoned me to move out of the way. Satisfied look still on my face, I turned to see two three small boys race by us on the trail. “Poor guys. They were stuck behind you the whole time.” Kevin said.

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1
Dec

Things I Miss

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I was excited for my visit to Wisconsin last October. Very excited. I was going to eat the greasy food, drink the foamy beer, and hug my friends and family just a little too tight. I couldn’t wait to step off the plane and feel the crisp fall air. I wanted to fully take in all the fall colors and finally see my friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years. What I didn’t expect was an overwhelming sense of homesickness I’d feel upon leaving.

I’ve only gone back to visit twice in the two years since moving to Los Angeles. The first time I went back, it was great, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t wait to leave again. To get back to my boyfriend, the palm trees and the 80 degree weather. Living so far from home has its drawbacks, that’s for sure, but there’s something about being just out of reach that I think people starting off on their own need.

But this time felt different. I didn’t want to go. And not just that, but I really took a good, hard look at why I’d left in the first place. The wide open farmlands stretching for miles that had seemed boring and mundane before now seemed like a modern luxury. The cold fall air I previously couldn’t wait to get away from was like diving into a pool after sitting, prune-handed, in a hot tub for too long.

And the food. One night I was lucky enough to join some very old friends I’d known for years at a “Play Group Reunion Potluck.” Sure, it was more of a hair-brained scheme thought up by our mothers who wanted to coo over us twenty years later, but we weren’t going to complain. We smiled and caught up over some to die for home made grub, including venison lasagna, vegan cheesecake and oven-roasted squash, among others. And of course, later in the week, I had to stuff my face with some deep fried cheese curds at the local dive bar. After downing a few New Glarus Spotted Cows of course.

But the part of my trip where I felt most at home was the quiet, wind-in-the trees kayak paddle my mom and I went on in the Upper Dells. My headache-filled commute, stopping and going down the 405 was far behind me. The honking and car alarms and sirens and helicopters were nowhere to be found. And sifting through job boards and staring at screens till my eyes hurt were the last things on my mind.

Driving through the Wisconsin countryside on the way to the Milwaukee airport, I felt this nagging in my chest. Why am I flying a thousand miles away from here, not knowing when I’m going to return? Why am I leaving my friends and family to go write celebrity news? What if, after five, ten, fifteen years in Los Angeles, I never even get into television at all?

It was never harder to leave Wisconsin than it was that day. But I guess it sorta lit a fire under my ass. If I’m going to be out here, I should really make it count. And if it doesn’t end up happening, it really wasn’t meant to be. But at least I know, half way across the country, there are some swaying pine trees along a gently flowing river that will still be there when I come back.

10
Nov

Waiting

You’re sitting at home thinking, I ought to do something exciting with my night. So you get dressed up all nice, drink a few beers, and then head to the club. You know there will be a really long line, but you think to yourself, I don’t mind the wait. It will be worth it.

So you pack your clutch full of everything you’ll need. Lots of money. Your cell phone with your bffs on speed dial. And your best tube of lipstick. You think about packing an insole for your too-tight heels, but they don’t fit into your over-stuffed bag.

You ask your friends if they’re going. And some of them do. But some of them say the club scene isn’t really their thing, and they’re fine going to the local bar or staying at home with a bottle of wine. You think they’re pretty smart for saving all their money, but you secretly wonder if they’ll really be having that much fun. So you drive to the club, ready to have a good time, but knowing there will probably be a line out front.

And when you get there, yeah, there’s a line out front but it’s a whole lot longer than you imagined. Luckily you have an advantage: your name is on the list. So you park your car, you put on your hugely uncomfortable heels you bought for too much money, but not too much, and hobble to the front of the line. But it’s a smug hobble, because you walk past the long queue, past everyone who’s been waiting for a long time, and finally you get to the bouncer.

“Name?”

“Callie Mills.” You say with a smile, excited to be going inside but staying calm because only losers get noticeably excited.

He scans the list. His brow furrows.

“You’re not on here.”

“There must be some mistake. My friend’s friend who knows a guy said he’d put my name on there…” You say.

“You’re not on here,” He says. “End of the line.”

You throw up your arms.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” You say. But then you see her. It’s Allison, from work. At least, you think that’s her name. You’ve said hi a few times, but you don’t really know her. Like, you wouldn’t go out to lunch know her. But you’d nod on the way to the copy machine know her.

“Allison! Hey, girl!” You say, as she walks through the doors.

“Remember me? From work!”

But she doesn’t hear you. She’s too busy laughing and smiling and chatting and brushing her perfectly done hair behind her ear. She’s in, you’re out. So, it’s end of the line.

You take off your heels because they already hurt, and make your way back to the line. You feel like a dog that just got told to go to its crate.

Back here the people are still hopeful. They’re ready to have a good time. They don’t know how long they’ll have to wait.

And so you stand at the end of the line, as time goes by, and you wonder if there’s even a chance you’ll get in before bar close.

And that’s my metaphor for show business.

 

14
Oct

My Dad’s 90’s ‘Stache

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It was my dad’s birthday on Saturday, and in honor of the occasion, one of his oldest friends posted this photo on Facebook. Yeah, the pink starfish is me. I’m not sure where we are, but it looks terribly cold and windy.

Seeing my dad’s 90’s mustache reminded me of the day he decided to shave it off. I was few years older than I am in this photo, but I remember sitting outside of the bathroom when my dad came out. He had shaved off his stache, and went right up to me and picked me up. And I was terrified. I remember thinking something along the lines of “Holy shit, this is definitely not my dad!” And I burst into tears.

A video just like my childhood experience went viral on the internet a few weeks ago, and reading through the comments I found most of them to be negative. How could you play such a cruel joke on your daughter? That’s terrible! You are cruel!

My dad probably thought it was hilarious to see my reaction to his clean-shaven face, and so did the guy in that viral video. And years later, I can tell you I’m not some traumatized child because of it.

Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you.

25
Sep

Tru Life: I Was A Shot Girl

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If you know me, probably the last thing you would ever expect would be that I’d dress up in a short skirt, put on fishnet tights and heels, a tight t-shirt, and go flirt with strangers in a bar for a few hours. But back a few years ago, that’s exactly what I did. For $25 an hour. And no, it’s not what you’re thinking.

I was a shot girl. And for a few months back in college, I thought it was the right thing to do. Sure, it’s not as embarrassing as taking my clothes off and dancing on a pole for money, but it’s no 9-5 desk job. Back when money was tight and my class schedule was grueling, I found myself clicking on the ever-dangerous ‘Talent’ section of Craigslist, looking for a way to earn some extra cash.

I decided to take a job as a “Promotional Model” for a company representing various liquor brands, from Segram’s to Ursus, to my personal favorite, Captain Morgan. I say personal favorite, with a tinge of irony, because on those particular nights, we got on those fishnet tights, wore knee-high boots, and were given a skintight red lace-up leotard to wear under a short black skirt.

I remember the first time I wore that uniform. It was actually my first night ever working as a shot girl. Myself and a group of about four other shot girls met at one of the busiest bars outside of Lambeau Field on a Green Bay Packers game day. We all gathered to walk into the beer tent, our arms weighed down by huge amounts of flashing beaded necklaces with the Captain Morgan logo. And then, I remember the catcalls.

From the moment we stepped out of the car, whoops and cheers followed us everywhere we went. Now, being a somewhat shy person from a fairly small town, it’s safe to say I’d never had this much attention from guys, well, ever. The other girls on my team smiled and waved, because this was probably about the millionth game they’d worked, but I was understandably not used to it. I’m generally the type of girl who, when I wear a dress, I’m pulling it down to make sure I’m not showing off too much. And here I was, parading around in a slutty outfit, and encouraging guys to buy themselves rum and cokes. And I’d signed up for it.

One time, my coworker and I drove about an hour into middle-of-nowhere Wisconsin to find a tiny bar where we were promoting Segram’s for the night. It was Halloween, and we would be showing up to judge the bar’s annual Costume Contest. Now, usually when we showed up for a gig, it’d be a college bar flooded with drunk guys who were overly eager to participate in some stupid promotional games. But on this particular night, when we walked into the bar, it was filled with a bunch of old townies, who it would soon be clear, gave no shits about shot girls.

We walked around for about a half hour, going up to people and handing out slap bracelets and asking how their night was going. Nobody really engaged. But finally, one of the townies took pity on us. She was dressed as Raggedy Ann with a voice like she’d been smoking for 30 years. She put her arm around us and drunkenly asked what the hell we were doing at a townie bar, to which we answered we really weren’t sure. But as the night went on, and the drinks kept flowing, their distain slowly faded.

When it came time to judge the annual costume contest, they cheered us on. It was actually pretty endearing watching those locals who had probably been going to that bar their whole lives have such fun dressed in some dollar store Halloween garb. My favorite part of the night was probably when the unrecognizable old couple, complete with walkers and elderly sweaters, won the contest and ripped off their masks to reveal they were everyone’s favorites– “Tim and Angie from down the block. They really fooled us, didn’t they?”

The bar tender ended up passing around an empty pitcher when the end of the night rolled around, and those townies filled it to the brim with money for our tips. We smiled and took it to the back, where we started packing up our things. Sadly, our smiles were as fake as my coworker’s boobs, because we knew we couldn’t take their money. It was in the company policy that shot girls couldn’t accept tips, no matter how big or small. So, although our awkward night had turned into a rip-roaring good time with a pitcher full of bills, we were forced to leave it behind with a note saying “Thanks, but we can’t accept tips!”

That job only lasted a few months. Because although I was making a pretty decent amount of money, I just couldn’t take it anymore. The attention from the slobbering drunk college guys and creepy sixty year old drunks was getting to be too much. But my days as a shot girl sure taught me a lot. Namely, to always accept tips.

 

23
Sep

Drifter: The Tale of Judgmental Cat

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There are a lot of stray cats in LA, as there are in any other city, and the street I live on is no different. But there’s this badass cat who’s been hanging around ever since I moved in, and he’s not going anywhere.

He’s a black and white cat with a red handkerchief tied around his neck. When I first spotted him, I snapped this Instagram photo, and called him Judgmental Cat.

He got the name because whenever I see him, whether hurrying from my car struggling with grocery bags or walking the dog, he always seems to look at me with the most blank expression like, “You know, you could have it like I do. But you don’t. Must suck.”

I see him every day, moseying up and down the sidewalk, pausing only to lay in the middle of a driveway, the pavement still hot from the midday sun. He’ll roll around for a few moments, then sit down, taking in the surroundings– the birds, bugs and everyone who passes by.

But don’t take his contented disposition to mean he’ll pay you any mind. I’ve bent down a few times to rub my fingers together and say “Kitty, kitty!” and he acts as if I’m not even there. I’ve even tried “Gato” as if that would make a difference. It didn’t.

It soon occurred to me that this is the coolest cat I’ve ever met. He gets to lounge around all day, not a care in the world, pooping in the flower beds and taunting dogs on leashes.

This cat has things figured out.

Sometimes I wish we could all be as carefree as Judgmental Cat. Or at least on the weekends. Sprawled out in the sun and rolling in the dirt is something anybody could copy. But then our iPhones would buzz, and it would be a work email, or a 20% off code for Gap jeans and we’d snap out of our moment of solitude.

But while we’re driving to work on Monday morning with a coffee and our eyes half closed, Judgmental Cat will still be pooping in the flower bed or transfixed on a passing bumble bee. And that’s something I hope never changes for him.

 

**Editor’s Note: After writing this post, I told my boyfriend about it. He subsequently replied: “Oh, you mean the neighbor’s cat?” Thus, I apologize if this post has now lost all of its charm.

19
Sep

Do People Still Think College Kids with iPads Are Douchebags? Did They Ever?

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I graduated from college over two years ago now. But sometimes it feels like much longer. I mean, it seems like so much technologically has changed in that time. To put it in perspective, the summer before college started, I was using your typical Samsung flip phone. Then I graduated to something new, which I thought was revolutionary. My freshman year, I got one of those slide out keyboard phones. And I thought it was SO COOL at the time. And how did I know that? Because Blair was using the same one on Gossip Girl. And I watched that show AT LEAST twice.

My sophomore year, I got my first touch screen phone. It was an HTC Envy, and that thing was the bee’s knees. (And people who actually say “that was the bee’s knees” are probably rolling their eyes at this entire post, but that’s beside the point.) That’s when touch screen phones really started to take off, and my lousy HTC was uncool in a matter of months.

Finally, my senior year, I upgraded to a slightly larger touch screen phone, the Samsung Galaxy S2. Which, in all honesty, is probably better than my current iPhone.

My general point here is, things were changing pretty rapidly in the whole cellphone realm. And in other areas, too. I remember when the iPad came out, I thought it was the most useless piece of shit you could ever spend $500 on. People would chuckle (maybe scowl is a better word, here) at the students who brought their iPads to class, and set them up on a little stand to take notes on. Sure, we were attending the third largest University in Wisconsin, but if you had that kind of money, in all honesty, why weren’t you attending Madison like the rest of us wanted to?

But that was two years ago. What would I see if I went back and roamed my alma mater today? Would I still see the Ugg booted, Columbia jacket-wearing girls and LMFAO-listening guys? Probably not. But what about the iPad useres? Would there be more Apple screens glowing in the dimly-lit seats of the lecture halls? And would people still be mocking those kids like they used to, or would they be pulling out their own iPads, sitting down and having a normal, everyday class?

If I can go from a flip phone, to a now out-of-date iPhone 4s in four years, it kinda makes me wonder what else is coming. And after mocking the iWatch for a while, will we inevitably find ourselves waiting hours for one outside a sparkling Apple store? Who can say?

I just hope when I set foot on campus for the first time since leaving next month, I’ll at least see something more entertaining to blog about than technology.

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16
Sep

We’re All (Point) Dumed

photo 4 For the past few weekends, I’ve been flocking to the beach. Like any other midwesterner, I’m still enthralled by the whole experience. I guess growing up around lakes will do that to you. But this past weekend, we thought we’d try something new, and so instead of just going to our usual spot at Zuma Beach in Malibu, we drove a little farther down to Point Dume. It’s a gorgeous rock face that forms the northern end of the Santa Monica Bay. After a short drive and a $12.50 parking fee, we were surprised at the seclusion of Point Dume Beach. The short shoreline was dotted with people, but when we walked down a little ways, we were pretty happy to find a long stretch of shoreline all to ourselves. photo 1   We laid our towels down and relaxed in the sun for a while, dipping our toes every now and then. But what prevented me from having the full on beachy experience was one of my irrational fears of swimming in the ocean. I’m not sure why, but this summer I’ve been too uneasy about getting in the water, out where the waves break. I’m not used to swimming in the ocean, and when I tried it earlier this summer, it didn’t pan out too well. I mean, nothing catastrophic happened, but it was enough to make me want to get out. As soon as I got about chest-deep, each passing wave took my breath away. The waves grew and grew until I felt like I had no control over myself and had to get out, which is, of course, not entirely true. I guess that’s where my irrational fear began, and I haven’t gotten in since. So, on this gorgeous summer day, with the sun beating down and the sound of the waves breaking and washing up onto the sand, I was unable to join my boyfriend in the sparkling blue waves. And I felt pretty lame. He kept asking why I wasn’t coming in, and I kept spouting off all this worry wart bullshit, like “A wave is gonna break over my head and get water up my nose,” or “The undercurrent is going to pull me down and I won’t be able to come up,” or “I’ll crack my head on a rock and you won’t know I’m drowning,” and a bevy of other excuses for not doing something a 6-year-old could do: get in the ocean. v And that got me thinking about all my other irrational fears that really make no sense. Like how when I’m on an airplane that’s taking off, my only thought is that this is definitely, positively, my last fleeting day on Earth, because at any moment we could go down in a fireball of twisted metal. Or if I go to the Westfield mall without makeup on, I’m going to get so many patronizing and diminishing stares that I’ll never be able to love myself again. Or that the centipede on the wall of the bathroom is going to fall off, scuttle along the floor, crawl up my pant leg, up my shirt and into my hair, where it will be forever burrowed. Maybe my issue is, I never want to be out of control of myself. I want to control the way I look, by slathering a bunch of makeup on before I can feel good about myself while going to shop for jeans with my boyfriend. I want to control the things around me, like by not entering a room if a spider is in it. And on a perfect summer day without a care in the world, I won’t get in the gorgeous Pacific Ocean because I’m afraid of getting swept away by a wave, ten feat from the shore. As the sun started to go down and a cooler breeze picked up, we packed our beach towels, slid our sandy feet into our flip flops and headed back to the car. But before we left, we decided to check out Point Dume. People were standing on top of it and looking out over the water, and there were even people rock climbing up the face. We walked up a short path to the top, but kept going. We followed the sandy path until eventually we got a gorgeous view of the coast on the other side of the point. The golden light of the late afternoon was giving everything that storybook feel. After turning back, we walked out onto Point Dume, which stands about one hundred feet above the waves. The sheer drop was a little intimidating, but I couldn’t help but feel pretty great standing up there with the wind in my face and an amazing view of a secluded cove below. photo 2 So, why is it I feel fine standing on a rock face without a fence or barrier, but I’m too afraid to swim in the goddamned ocean? Irrational fears can take over, and ruin a lot of fun situations. A relaxing plane ride. A bathroom with a bug on the wall. Or a fun day at the beach. So maybe, just maybe, this summer I’ll step out into the water and forget about what I can’t control. I said maybe. d