If You’re Young and Feeling Lost

I imagine myself as a character from a Guillermo del Toro movie. I sit in a chair in a café and place my hands on the table. It rocks; it is uneven. The room goes black and white and my limbs snap and break and bend into new position. This is an exaggeration of growth. Bones snapping into new you.

If I saw myself walk down the street five years ago I wouldn’t recognize myself.

I read Lolita when I was a teenager. I read Henry Miller. I read Stephen King’s Desperation. I poured over Anaïs Nin. I could smell the smoke on the pages of Charles Bukowski. My skin smells like weed and beer bottles. My fingers are smooth from turning pages.

There is a lump in my throat from all the things I haven’t said, coming up. These things that have rotted inside of me aren’t useful anymore. I’ve been trying to treat the rot. I’ve been trying to treat the water damage, tears rolling back down my esophagus. Pull the rot out, rebuild.

Everyone should know what it’s like to turn twenty-eight. I’ve been walking around a body for all these years and it’s like my soul has slammed back inside of me.

I don’t know that you ever find yourself. Your self finds you. Quiet and alone one night in bed when you’re not sure who you are anymore. It crawls up under silk sheets and slicks itself against your skin.

Continue Reading

Weekly Update: Damn, Son.

Yoast says my SEO for this post is bad BUT YOAST CAN SUCK IT.

Elizabeth Friedland fosters children, as a single, working woman

Setting the bar so high for doing something good and hard and important. The older I get the more I see my ability for stretching myself grow. I can take care of myself and I can be there for my friends and I can get my work done and there is still something left over. A small accomplishment compared to this.

Portland: Hot as Balls / Glad I don’t have balls

Nothing else to say here, just really glad I don’t have testicles this season.

Our President, still not very good at pretending he’s not a scumbag

Here he is acknowledging Brigitte Macron’s body inappropriately. Trump kind of talks about women like, y’know, meat. It was a fine cut, wow. Grass fed. Beautiful. Sorry France.

General status update

Hair is longer nao. I curl for snek look. Sssssss.

Infidelity: a thesis

My on this day reminded me that a year ago I was in the heat of writing about infidelity! My thesis was about how women experience guilt before, during, and after infidelity in unique ways because of gender roles. Check out this post from July 13th, 2015 // What Leads to Infidelity?

Um, debt repayment?

I came up with a plan to pay off all my debt (~$10,000) before I turn 30! If I even make it 90% of the way there I’ll feel pretty accomplished. This does not include my student loans which are basically an inoperable growth that has suctioned itself onto my internal organs, slowly leeching away my ability to lead a productive life. But we’ve got progress.

What’s in and What’s out

In: Middle of the night sleep sex, middle of the night off-brand oreos, eating entire avocados cut up so you can’t directly see the amount of avocado you’re eating, rescuing bugs from the office and putting them outside, buying beer based on what the cheese counter guy says would be a good pairing, buying a $10 bottle of argan oil from amazon instead of a $50 bottle of oil from sephora jesus mother fucking christ.

Out: CRINKLE CUT FRENCH FRIES. $50 PICTURE FRAMES – THEY’RE JUST PIECES OF WOOD IN A SQUARE. MEN ASKING ME WHY IM NOT SMILING. DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY. Sit down, let me tell you a story. One day your mother fell in love. Her and your father made love one night in a room full of candles and nine months later she held you in her arms and she cried on your newborn skin. She raised you. She taught you how to walk, how to read. She laughed when she discovered your favorite food was brocolli. You liked to watch the old shows in black and white and you dreamed about what your life was going to be like when you grew up. AND NOW HERE YOU ARE, ON THE SIDEWALK, SCRATCHING YOUR NUTSACK. I CAN LITERALLY SEE YOUR TEETH FALLING OUT OF YOUR MOUTH HOLE, AND YOU’RE TRYING TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH ME. IM SAD BECAUSE YOU WERE BORN INTO A GALAXY OF STARS AND THIS IS WHAT YOU MADE OF IT.

 

(Then I fall into deep dispair about the prison industrial complex and honestly I can’t so let’s just say the sadness is a deep complex sad spiral about drug use and poverty.)

 

/whistles.

Continue Reading

Weekly Update: Working, Working, Working, Crying on my Laptop

Working from 8am-5pm means that I’m up at 6am and home at 6pm. I spend most of my day thinking about how excited I am to write, but when I come home, the only thing I can muster the energy to do is sit on the couch and stare at the television.

When I was in college people used to ask me how I managed to have so much time to write. At that time I think I was pushing out about 600 posts per year.

The answer is that I was an ignorant little noodle nut. I also didn’t really think about what I wrote before I wrote it. (I still don’t really do that, but at least now I’m a little more fastiduous.)

Here’s what’s been going on:

We watched Wonder Woman and it was good

Do you think to yourself oh my god it’s 2017 and people lose their shit when a women does something successful (?) It’s great that women in the arts are finally becoming more recognized for their success and talent…  it’s also kind of bewildering to realize how far we have left to go. Does not compute.

Best Friends Getting Married

One of my very best friends got married and I had the privilege of being a bridesmaid for the first time! I also got to wear fake eyelashes for the first time. 10/10 would do again (surprisingly.) I also got to meet another long-time internet friend which just added to the excitement of the whole affair.

Gratuitious Photo of Our Cat

This is Button, she turned one this May. Last night she alerted us to a very quick and scary looking spider. While we were in the process of debating who would kill it, she scaled the bookcase, booped it on the head, chased it around for an hour, and eventually killed and ate it. I’ve never been more proud of anything in my entire life.

Fountain Pen Obsession Grows

I don’t know if you want to go down this rabbit hole (because it can be expensive) but I added a fourth pen to my pen family while I was in Canada this month. A Lamy Fountain Pen (medium nib) with a dark blue ink. It writes so incredibly smoothly and is not very expensive (~$25 on Amazon) so it’s a good introductory pen for newbies. It takes place of my previous favorite, the Pilot Metropolitan. I plan my more lengthy article-style posts on pen and paper so it helps to have a pen worth writing with.

I hope everyone has a very happy Monday. Remember, Monday’s are crap, so it’s within your right to pick up a four-shot latte Give your barista a smile because, y’know, it’s Monday for them too.


SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER (HOLY CRAP A NEWSLETTER?)

ASK A QUESTION / GET AN ANSWER! (ADVICE, UNLIKE THERAPY, IS FREE)

Continue Reading

The Way The World Will See Us

Me: The imposter syndrome is kicking in again

Therapist: Talk more about that, what does it feel like?

Me: I CAN’T DO IT, THEY’LL FIND ME OUT! I’ve been learning one way of doing things, but it’s the wrong way! It’s been the wrong way all along! I’ve tricked them into hiring me. I’m no good. I’m a no good cat.

Therapist: And?

Me: This big project is hard and scary. It’s big and hard and scary.

Therapist: You know why it’s big and hard and scary?

Me: Why?

Therapist: Because it’s a real job. It’s an adult job. It’s a big, real, adult, scary job task. And you’re doing it. You’ve been doing it all along.

Me: I need a progress bar. A little progress bar above my head. So I can look at the little aqua blue filling to see I’ve made it this far, I guess, I’ve made it all that way, I guess I can make it a litte further. 

Therapist: You can’t trick someone into thinking you’re better than you are.

Me: Are you totally sure, though?

Therapist: You know how to do all these things because you’ve been doing them, you’ve already been doing them, you’re a person that does them.

We go on a walk, I see some dandelions. I look over to them. Look at all those wishes. I imagine in a second, running down the hill. No, rolling down the hill. Maximum impact. I’ll roll them down all at once like a steam roller of wishes. And every wish would be the same. Later on our walk, Jason tells me that all he saw were weeds, and that I must have some special way of thinking.

I tell him not to put the plant in the car because it will be lonely.

I tilt my head at the cat and she tilts back.

I tell my therapist she must have an awfully long day listening to people, six or eight of us, all day long, a very long day. She gives me a funny smile.

Isn’t this just the way everyone is?

We’re working on writing a book, and I think of another one. I want to write a book about the way you see me and how it has made me see myself.

 

Continue Reading

Weekly Update: In one week I turn 28.5.

I got a new job. An 8-5 job. Baby’s first 8-5. Baby’s first full day. Baby’s first office. I buy a pair of booties and I write while I wear them. I write in just my booties. My brown suede booties. I tell myself I am professional. I’ll buy a button up. I’ll keep my phone in my bag until it’s time to catch the bus and when someone asks me what time it is I’ll look at my watch. Quarter to five. Quarter to six.  Press pause on me, hopping on transit, one leg on and one leg off, measure with string my angles, my legs, my leap. I am a girl in motion.

I’ve been accused of romanticizing things. I accuse myself. Je m’accuse. I am a professional. People ask me what I do and I say I’m “in” something. I’m in sales. I’m in marketing. I’m business. It’s like you’re fucking the shit out of your career. Boom. Boom. Boom.

I got a manicure the other day and I had never felt more in tune with the way my fingers articulated. The clickity clack or the way the pages turned or how my ring slid delicately up and down the shaft, knuckle to knuckle. I’ve been accused of sexualizing things (par tous) and this I admit. That’s what she said. Now my polish is chipped and my fingers chapped and everything smells of day old salmon. These are the beautiful things. Not the way you feel when you leave the salon but the way you  look at yourself after a hard week.

Saturday our cat turns one. She has changed my life. She is always there. My little constant. She doesn’t ask for much and she spoons with me like I’m cutlery. Maman de chat, papa de chat. Une famille.

Next month we go to Canada to see one of my very best friends get married. I’m trying to find a bridesmaid dress. I think that I might very well cry.

I am 28 and everything is happening all at once like a rainbow that comes out before it’s even stopped raining. Look at me, look at me, I contain multitudes.

 

Continue Reading

I’VE BEEN IN THERAPY FOR ONE YEAR AND I’M HAVING AN EXISTENTIAL CRISIS

Going to therapy every week can be alarming. I’m still talking about this? It’s been a week! Going once every other week can be even worse. But… but it’s been two weeks! I haven’t solved this yet?

Imagine my surprise when I told my therapist how sick I was of complaining about the same shit every month when she told me i’ve been seeing her for a year.

year.

I’ve had relationships with people I was sexually and/or romantically attracted to that ended quicker than that.

Well, anyways, apparently I’ve made some progress. She said that when I started seeing her I said “I don’t really see myself as a career person” and now I have a well articulated five point plan for being incredibly successful. That’s what I like about my therapist. She’s like the best friend / computer algorithm you always wish you had. “You’re not ugly! Look at this photo I’ve saved from my database from last week! It has seventy likes!” 

She has good recall is what I’m saying. And in this particular moment I saw that I had made progress.

I realized that I judge progress in giant milestone chunks like “graduate college” “get job” “move in together” “get married” “have kids” “buy house”

Life, however, has tiny little flags along the way that ought to be celebrated. They also signify change and growth.

  1. Stopped feeling obligated to reply to business emails after hours
  2. Started giving fewer shits about peoples opinions of me when I don’t even like those people
  3. Realized it’s okay to not like people
  4. Decided that one day I wanted to get married
  5. Came to peace with the fact that I don’t always fold my clothes before putting them in my dresser.

You know, things like that. The baby steps. And I think the problem is that I think I’m a little holier than thou. Oh yes, I graduated from college. Puff puff. It was quite the endeavor. Pinky raise. Harrowing really.

Flash to me, EIGHT YEARS OF FEAR, CRYING, ANGUISH.

Everything that happened along the way, those were little milestones, little successes. They were progress. I just didn’t mark it as such until I literally had my diploma in my hand.

So, looking forward, this is how I judge my progress. Not based on how much money I have or what kind of job I have or what my relationships look like, but if I’m moving forward. At all. Even a little bit. If I’m growing better and stronger. If I’m making less of the same mistakes. If I’m making better, newer mistakes.

Do you have a question about sex, love, life? Submit now and I’ll answer it on my blog!

 

 

Continue Reading

Should You Take My Advice?

What is advice?

Advice is a recommendation about what someone should do based on a set amount of information.

When I give advice I combine (1) my knowledge about a situation with (2) filtered through my own bias and (2) the information given to me about that situation.

It’s really difficult to give advice without imparting your own bias! That’s because your bias impacts how you see the entire world. My goal for every post is to try and think about the situation outside of what I would do, and think about what that person could do or what would be healthiest to do.

How does advice work?
  1. Give the advice-giver as much information as you can about your situation and what you’re looking to receive from the advice. Include as much information as you’re comfortable with and any information you think might be relevant.
  2. When you read the advice, remember that it’s going to be biased, and based only on the information you’ve given the advice-giver.
  3. Take that advice into consideration. Ask someone else for advice. Remember that it’s just one person’s advice.

When asking for advice, the advice-asker usually has some idea of what they want to do.

SHOULD YOU TAKE MY ADVICE?

I don’t believe you should take advice. Advice isn’t a guidebook, advice is a set of suggestions. When someone gives advice they aren’t fully aware of the entire situation.

Advice may create a visceral reaction. There may be an instinctive pull towards one answer or the other.

The advice-asker might think this advice is wrong or this advice was helpful. Either way, the advice has done the job by assisting in strengthening your intuition or guiding you towards a more appropriate response.

The benefit of asking for advice often

If you’ve ever been on an advice message board, you might have noticed that a lot of people asking for advice have let their situation advance quite a bit.  For example, if they are in a relationship that is unhappy, they’ve likely been unhappy for a long time before asking for advice. A lot of the time people only ask for advice after they’ve already made up their mind about a a particular situation.

They know what they should do or they know what feels right or wrong, but they want someone to give them permission to say out loud how they feel.

It can be scary asking for advice before you need it because it forces you to confront and work through issues you’re having in your life. 

Asking for advice frequently can be useful if you remember that advice is not a set of guidelines. Use advice (or therapy, or counseling) to help guide you towards making better decisions that are all. yours. Confronting issues like this often and with heart can make you stronger, wiser, and happier.

Do you need advice about sex or love? Submit now at [Ask Suggestive] and I’ll answer on my blog. 

 

Continue Reading

Weekly Updates

Girl alone at Bar

There is something about going to bars alone that satisfies me on a cellular level. This bar is empty. I walk in and ask the bartender what I should get because I don’t know any of the beers on the list. I pick a table in front of the TV. The Mariners game is on which just feels fated because I’ve decided that I’m going to try and keep up with baseball this season. He gives me an order of fries and I start jotting down blog ideas. My friend arrives an hour later. We go see 1984 at a little theatre down the street.

There’s something that should bother 45 about being compared to Hitler or 1984. Sometimes the only thing that gives me any peace of mind is knowing how shit will go down. I make sure to write about it in my journal just in case.

We joke about getting a cabin in the middle of nowhere in case this all goes south, except it’s not a joke.

I’m reading again, it’s happening!

Are you into books & movies & television? Follow me @sloughavenue on Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress! Recent favorites include the graphic novel The Sculptor, which I read in one sitting, and The End of Everything which I also read in one sitting. Equally enjoyable was The Wonder and The Grownup. I’m all about the dark and twisty so if you’re looking for something that makes you feel good about humanity, you’ve got the wrong girl. (Which reminds me, I still need to see 13 Reasons Why. 

New posts are being masticated

Om nom nom. On the schedule(!!) our three year anniversary of cohabiting and our four year anniversary of dating! Each will get their own special little post. Have a question about living together (and/or) dating that you’d like us to answer? Let me know!

Don’t miss the latest posts on the blog!

How do I feel about “once a cheater always a cheater”?
Masturbation is healthy! Five reasons why!
No sex for FOUR WEEKS! On week three. Details inside.
My Summer TO-DO! Quite the to-do.
What does being unfaithful mean? What does it feel like? Readers chime in!
My LEEP Experience! Little cervix bits floating in jars, etc etc.

What I’ve been up to

Eating delicious things::

Loving on plants::

Hanging out in the sunshine::

Yeah, that’s my thumb. I’m embracing the imperfections.

xx st

Continue Reading

The Identity Politics of No Sex for Four Weeks

Sexual  identity is more than just your sexual orientation. Your sexual identity can also include things like what kind of sex you like, kinks or fetishes, or how frequently you have sex.

So what happens to your sense of self when certain parts of that identity aren’t being utilized? 

After my LEEP procedure my doctor said that I couldn’t have penetrative sex for four weeks. When the whole waiting period is said and done, that will be the longest time I’ve ever stayed abstinent.

A couple disclaimers: This isn’t a big woe is me because I don’t actually think four weeks is a very long time. It would be fine if someone did think four weeks was a long time, but I don’t. Four weeks goes quick. Also, my doctor didn’t say no sex for four weeks. She just said no penetrative sex for four weeks. There’s a distinction. But for me, sex almost always means penetration. So her saying no penetration was effectively saying no sex. There are a lot of other things to do, but it’s just different for me, and that’s okay. (Also with the amount of bleeding, pinching, and cramping, I’m not feeling all that sexy anyways.)

All of this got me wondering about identity

At a different point in my life, if I weren’t able to have sex for a long stretch of time (due to stress, anxiety, medical issues, etc) I would feel less than myself. I viewed myself as sexual and thought that to fulfill that identity I had to act out what a sexual person does. If I wasn’t doing sexual things all the time, I was, in some way, failing myself and the guidelines I’d set for myself and who I am.

At times, I would even go out of my way to try things that I wasn’t interested in doing or push myself outside of my comfort zone because I thought “huh, if my identity is this, I should say yes, because I’ll probably like it, right?” Big heavy yuck.

Be aware of false prophets. If anyone ever says “but I thought you were cool” tell them that cool is whatever the fuck you say it is. 

But people do this all the time right?  Women wonder if they’re actually bisexual if they’ve never kissed another woman. A guy looks at another guy he finds attractive and spends the rest of the day re-asserting his heterosexuality to balance it out. We have scripts for what a person of  identity does, and what being X looks like, and when we don’t live up to those arbitrary guidelines, we can start to feel off or less than ourselves.

Learning that my identity can be stable has been important as my life has become more fluid.

The reality is that we may not always be able to do the things that we define ourselves by. That’s hard. Especially if these things are deeply wrapped into our identity and who we are.

Sometimes we have no choice. We may develop a disability that in some way prevents us from doing the things that we used to define ourselves by. We may become sick. Our health may impede us. A writer may be unable to write for weeks at a time. A surfer may lose the ability to use his legs. This is getting grim, I know, but I’ve had the privilege in my young life to really not have many things impede me from doing what I want to do. I know that as I get older, that’s likely to change.

I don’t exactly have the answers here but I think it’s important to think about. When I let go of the arbitrary guidelines I’d set for myself, I found myself becoming a lot more chill. A lot happier. Some nights I might want to choose reading over sex and I don’t have an identity crisis about it. I might go weeks without wanting to write on my blog and I don’t second guess my ability as writer. And, one day, if I have to completely let something go, I know it won’t change who I am and who I was and what makes me, me. My life might just start to look different. And that might make me feel sad. But it doesn’t make me (less than) I used to be. It just makes me different.

How do you deal with feelings like this? Have you ever had to cope with a big identity shift, or even a short-term identity shift because you couldn’t do something or had to change the way you did something?


Subscribe to my blog! Get an email every time I post! Enter your email in the sidebar on the left for maximum email excitement!

Have a question about sex or love? Need advice? Have a suggestion for a post? Submit now!

Continue Reading

My Summer To-Do List

I read the other day that people bullet journal as a form of treatment for their anxiety and I was going to respond but my fingers were all covered in ink and I was having a serious moment with my copic pen. I guess what I’m saying is I can relate. When I buy a new journal I feel as though I’ve attended church in my Sunday best. Writing whatever you want to write on actual paper can feel a little startling in a world that is rapidily breaking down into upvotes and downvotes and likes and dislikes.

When I write something on paper the only person who knows its there is me.

And my echo dot, if I recite it out loud. She told me she’s a feminist; I’m not concerned about any feminist overlords.

Similarly, list-making brings me to utter zen. Is this what people feel like when they get stoned? Like, really stoned? Because this Leuchtturm 1917 is going to make me come.

What I’m going to do this summer (also known as: “the 2017 resolutions that actually happen”)

  • Be a bridesmaid for the first time ever because of one my very best friends asked me and obviously yes.
  • Travel to Canada (because the wedding is in Vancouver and I love Vancouver, it’s like upside-down Portland)
  • Go camping so many times that I finally justify to myself that I no longer need to use the coleman sleeping bag that I was given as a child.
  • Buy one new plant and not kill it (there are only about three plants cats arent allergic to, so that will give me some exciting choices.)
  • Go to the nude beach so many times that when the summer is over I can say “when we went to the nude beach…” and my partner has to ask “wait which time?”
  • Go on at least one Sunday Park way ride (A Portland Special where they shut down neighborhoods to cyclists.) Sidebar: Naked Bike Ride.
  • Host more than one game night. At least one outdoors. With BBQ and beer.
  • Go on a slip and slide. I don’t know where or how. I’ve been in Portland since 2009 and I’m just now realizing that this is kind of a big city problem. Where do city kids slip and slide?
  • Dye my hair, I think. I’m really non-commital about this one. It was like getting my ears pierced, finally, in 2014. I knew I should probably try it eventually and I knew I’d probably like it but there was nothing wrong with my ears the way they were so it took a little convincing to try it out. Of course I love it.
  • Buy more watercolor paper. This should technically be on my shopping list. Sorry.
  • Go from June-September without missing a snail mail birthday card. If I missed your birthday, I’m sorry! I don’t love you any less. I mean, technically I guess I kind of do because some people did get cards and some didn’t. But it’s me, not you.
  • Find “How to Love” wherever it slipped and fell in our bedroom and start reading it every night before bed again. Hashtag relationship satisfaction hashtag cuddle vibes.
  • Volunteer. Maybe not an official volunteer position. Maybe just like volunteer to go get the beer when we run out.
  • Actually volunteer.
  • Wear sunscreen every day because skincare is important and I can still freckle even if I’m wearing 50spf.
  • Find a pair of flippity flops that I like (sidebar: get a killer pedicure.) Also my shopping list, sorry.
  • Go see Portugal, the man at our favorite outdoor venue, get drunk, eat fries, watch the stars from the grassy knoll and feel alive.
  • Go outside more, in general.
Whatcha doing this summer? j/c.

 

Continue Reading