Going Wild

Hello, internet! Earlier this summer my boyfriend and I decided we would take off for a week and go on a camping adventure. My only wish was that we didn’t make a lot of plans. A spontaneous road trip with all we need to live in the back of our car! Some essentials for this camping trip were books. I relearned how to use a real map, we explored a book about distant unmarked camp sites, and we read up on every camp site we passed with a camp site directory. Our phones were more or less off the entire time, except for mine, which I used as a portable camera that I could shove in my pocket. (Little iPhone needs a bath.)

The forest fires made for interesting photos.

Night 1: 

Our first camping spot for the trip.

Our first night began off a fire road, down a spur, miles from any other living person. It was so quiet that this night we both learned the true fear of silence. We were completely and utterly alone, but also completely and utterly surrounded. At any moment an animal much more powerful, angry, or hungry than us could have walked up to our camp. It was a long night listening to every sound around our tent, eventually passing out in exhaustion.

The view of the river from our first camping spot.

The next morning I spent crafting horror stories in my notebook and drawing doodles of the things I saw in my head the night before.  Around our tent were animal prints of various sizes, and what my imagination took to be a small token of the Blair Witch Project (a small woven thing made of tree bark in the shape of a doll.)

We thought about spending another night to conquer our fears, but we were mostly proud we went out there to begin with.

Night 2: 

We packed our bags and thought we’d explore a similarly deserted spot. There are so many in the Willamette National Forest. We found one spot perched on high rocks above a crystal clear river. Another down a road along a creek.

Still feeling the fear of the night before, we continued to look for hours for a spot that had the right vibe. Eventually, after driving down a road nearly eaten alive by branches, we came across what looked like a shrine. Though there was promise of a pool at the end of it, neither of us were particularly interested in seeing who might be at the end.

A long and crushing fall down to crystal clear.

I’ll take a strong pass on this site.

Now nearing lunchtime we pulled off the side of the road into the trees down a dirt path. I peeked down the end of the road and saw a camp, maybe a mile downwards. One of our books had warned us about meth sites so we turned the car around and made sandwiches perched on the back of the trunk.

No where to be. No one to check in with. Nothing to do but what we wanted to do.

We settled in near a lake in the late afternoon, at a honesty-policy pay site. Slightly more populated but still empty of children and boom boxes. We took the time to relax, read, and cook dinner.

A place to read, sadly surround by bees.

What once were docks on what once was a lake.

Night 3 and 4:

The next two nights we stayed at one of my favorite camp sites along the deschutes river. Staying two nights in a row gave us time to hike, explore, and swim away some of the grime that had built up. We played cards and fished, watched the stars, and snacked on chips. We spied wild horses and kept our feet alert for rattle snakes. Our beer cooler saw some serious action. “It’s 11am, but could you hand me a double d blonde?”

On our way out of the deschutes

Navigating by maps.

Night 5: 

For our fifth night we packed up all of our bags and headed for Timberline Lodge. The outside of Timberline Lodge was used for the moving The Shining as the hotel our favorite all work and no play boy goes to die. The hotel itself is not scary – it’s the ultimate cozy. Giant fireplaces around every corner, little restaurants and bars, a game room with a theater for when it snows, everything in the original old wood that makes the place smell permanently woodsy. A warm ten foot deep pool resides just outside, heated for all year use. Hikers come and drop their bags before eating lunch and continuing onwards. We hiked around for an hour or so and caught some of the sights.

Timberline Lodge: A little extra moody with the smoke (and my heavy filter)

On our little walk/hike up.

The view from above.

Night 6: 

Returning home after camping always sends me into a mild fury, as though spring cleaning were a bug you could catch at any moment and the only cure is to throw away everything you own. Why do I need all these things I don’t use? What is wrong with me? I furiously emptied out my closet of things I hadn’t touched in years, a process that seems to happen every four months. Then we watched about four hours of Rick and Morty, because at the end of the day, there are some simple pleasures electricity affords you that you can’t get when you’re in the beauty of the forest.

Themes of the week: balance and rejuvenation.

Well, I /was smiling:

August 20th, 2015: How to turn your compliment around in three seconds or less.

Him: You have a beautiful face!

Me:

Smiling-Cat_o_16054

Him: Smile! Smile! Smillllllleeeeeee!

Me:

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lockemad

Separate Bedrooms for Cohabiting Couples

What do you think about separate bedrooms for partners who live together?

Great question! This is something that I’ve tried in a previous relationship. It was the Winter of 2011 and I had just moved in with my then-boyfriend for the first time. Being pretty independent, and in the heat of Gender Studies, a two-bedroom apartment seemed like a good way to keep space and take the step of cohabitation slowly. I also had have a lot of things. It looked a lot like this and as you can see, it really looks a lot like living with a roommate. Journal - 6

In some ways, cohabitation is about living with a roommate. You do many things that roommates do: share food, share space, share chores, are respectful of privacy. However, one thing I had neglected to consider was the importance of cohabitation as a choice within a relationship. In some ways, it was a way of avoiding the full responsibility of living together, even though that full responsibility was already signed and delivered once the lease received my signature.

I do believe that having individual space is super important, and that if you have the room to do so, each partner should have their own area to decompress or work on their individual activities. I believe it may benefit the couple if this space is not clearly marked off as theirs but rather the individual spaces meld with the rest of the apartment.

For instance, my current partner and I both have our own desks in our living space. My desk is often littered with books and paperwork and his is often tidy and surrounded by music equipment. These are clearly our spaces, but they are not intimidating. If I enter his space it is still my space – but I respect that I’m not just going to sit down and use his desk when mine is right on the other side of the room.

Having individual spaces meld together shows you respect each others need for privacy and individualism, while still working to build a space that is both of yours, together.

There are many exceptions to this. Many couples live apart by choice even if they are married or have been long committed. Some couples prefer separate bedrooms because they simply like sleeping alone better – and they’ve found a partner who feels the same. In my own biased experience, separate bedrooms created distance, when instead the act of cohabitation can be a great time to foster togetherness. Work together to create areas of space, and learn to respect your partners space when they need it. If sleeping apart from time to time is a necessity but also a rarity, invest in a really great couch, or use the guest room.

Have a question about sex or love? Submit at the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog. 

Submit now: Sex, life & love

Do you have a question about sex, life, or love? Wondering about gender identity? Having troubles with your partner? Not sure what to do next? Need a third party opinion? Submit anonymously to my site and your question will get answered on my blog.
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A Few Short Things Bloggers Say

  1. I wish I had more time to write.
  2. I haven’t been blogging much lately.
  3. I need more motivation to write.

All my little travel notebooks are stuffed with blogging ideas. One-liners and things I’ve heard in passing. Weird, funky ideas, and normal people-should-hear this ideas. But busy. So busy. And tired in a way that turns my body to slow churning cement.

Another thing bloggers do: blog about how they haven’t had time to blog. In a sense, your blog becomes your child. Do you have these nightmares too? Lucid and suddenly aware that you have something very important you’ve forgotten to tend to. In the dream, if we pretend baby = blog, I give it a nice little pat to let it know I remember it’s there.

Things I know I need to do (for me): finish composing my thesis posts, read this book about emotionally abusive relationships and write about that for a while, start reading the news regularly again.

What I have been doing:

  1. Running regularly (aiming for 7mi per week, in some fashion)
  2. Getting ready to start weekly yoga, thanks to my favorite lady!
  3. Reading, like crazy. My recent favorites include Bird Box by Josh Malerman Second Life by S.J. Watson, and Fashion Beast by Alan Moore. Horror, Mystery, and Graphic Novel, respectively.
  4. Cleaning absolutely everything in prep for fall and hating on the sun.
  5. Planning – we’re going on a week long camping trip and then a red-eye to Alaska!

Back soon, st.

Blogging vs. Journaling

Why do you refrain from discussing your own sexual orientations, experiences, etc.?

Hey, good question! There are a lot of great blogs out there that revolve around more personal dialogue. That just isn’t what this blog is about. Though I sometimes process things I’m currently interested in or thinking about, I like to keep it mostly educational. For the last couple years this blog has been a lot about breaking down the things I had learned in college. Now I’m trying to keep up that self-education moving by exploring books, answering questions, and remembering to find inspiration through other outlets (news, blogs, etc.)

I try to only include stories when:

1. It relates directly to the conversation or question

2. It adds something positive or helpful to the conversation or question

3. I feel like stating my perspective or bias is necessary to the conversation or question

Often times I do answer questions with advice that pertains to my own personal experiences, I just do it in a way that allows the reader to focus on the question and not myself. Readers are always welcome to ask questions (following the general rule of ‘ask respectfully’) if they want to know more about something in particular. Depending on the nature of the question I may or may not choose to answer it.

Girl Alone in Bar #2

Some of my friends are meeting at a bar downtown called The Lotus. I decide to show up an hour early because I can, and because I want to. No one is sitting outside, a sign that Portland is already sick of the sun. I go in and find the tables packed like a six pack clanking and swaying to16gether. It’s a sliver of a bar. I approach the stubby bar mat sick with beer foam. The bartender looks at me like I’m underage and asks for my ID, but he’s already poured my beer before I can hand it to him.

I ask if I can take it outside and he closes me out. The street smells like exhaust fumes, marijuana, hot cement.

A few seconds after I sit down a man with a heavy accent comes next to my table. I’m the only one sitting outside in a stretch of the street where there’s no where else to sit. He’s carrying a huge stack of papers with little sticky tabs popping out the sides and a few folders facing all different directions. He asks me something that I can’t understand and then he asks me again, where is the IRS? I likely point him in the wrong direction and he crosses the middle of the street to ask someone else.

I take a sip of beer. The bartender has turned the speakers on. I pull out my notebook and start to write. I plug out insipid storylines about detectives and dancers, murderous villains, disinterested cats. Jack Johnson starts playing.

Okay.

Fuck these memories wound up in sound lyrics like little neuronal dreamcatchers.

I write down every word and replace it with something different. Impossible becomes unlikely. Mind becomes grey matter. Wings become flight flesh.

A very large, bulky man walks by with his petit girlfriend. She’s got one of those bejeweled bags from Betsey Johnson. Some of the gems have unwoven themselves from the main frame and jangle together while she walks. She slams the bag down and Mary Poppins her way through it. Her boyfriend looks at me.

“I’ll help you finish your beer”

He starts laughing like it’s the funniest thing he’s ever said and I have to start laughing too because his smile looks like its crunching up into the rest of his face. They walk off and a few feet down the street he yells obscenities at strangers. His girlfriend is already on her phone. I can’t see her face but I think she must be rolling her eyes.