Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dallas does...all we ever wanted was everything.

Take note of this post's title for a moment.
Soak in the melodrama.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Now what does it call to mind?
For me, it's the title of a novel. A novel I didn't even read, but a novel whose title struck me so deeply that I repeat it as often as possible.
All we ever wanted was everything.
All I ever want is everything.
It means a lot to me. It describes that sensation that has overwhelmed me this entire second semester of my Junior year. A feeling that perfectly describes the way I see my future: It's a blank slate but I'm going crazy trying to fill it up with the perfect plans. I can be an astronaut, the president and, oh yes, a princess, too.
But right now what's echoing in my head as I read it is that unquenchable urge for a relationship that I've spoken about so many times before.
I've approached it from so many angles. The you're-your-own-soulmate angle. The right-guy-is-on-his-way perspective. I've played the devil's advocate who just calls for casual desire-chasing.
But all that I'm left with is the oppressive idea that I don't want anymore angles. I just want the right guy to show up!
And, if events of this past semester have anything to say about it, the right guy is still miles away, but I'm certainly not alone in my hunt.
I've been fielding late night phone calls, debating on the intrinsic merits of Ryan Gosling's character in Blue Valentine, and commiserating with best friends over the pain of loving a guy who will never love you back- all conversations that point to one thing and one thing only: even at this young age, we're all hunting for love.
But love doesn't want to be caught.
We pretend to find it in the wrong people, staying with them long after they've lost the ability to make us happy.
We drive ourselves crazy trying to be attractive, silly, flirty, sassy- ANYTHING to catch the attention of the room.
Even when it's in our grasps we do ridiculous things that chase it away. We become suspicious of it and go crazy with paranoia. We cry ourselves to sleep over lost chances and lost hope.
We resign ourselves to relationships that feel good...enough. Partners who are nice...enough. Who make us happy...enough.
And it all just makes me so sad.
Last weekend I was joking with one of my guy friends about how we could get married if we were both still single at a certain age. Instantly, he responded, "Don't be ridiculous. You'll be in love with someone great long before then." And it felt so easy to believe.
It still feels so easy to believe.
Somehow it has to be true that everybody who cares about love, wants it bad enough to wait for it, will find that right person.
There may be some bumps and stumbles and downright shoves along the way, but maybe if we all stop driving ourselves crazy with the waiting, we'd find out that there's joy in independence too...at this age, at least.
So my advice for today is to stop obsessing. To stop pretending like you have it all figured out and just let life take you by surprise sometimes.
To let stories unfold instead of drafting them in your mind ahead of time.
To know who to trust and who to share yourself with.
To believe in love always. And to believe that somewhere down the line your life's path will meet up with that one person that makes the wait worthwhile.

"And I will love you forever, but forever's so far away."

Peace, love and sappy sappy sap,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dallas does...a grandma goodbye.

In what was to become one of my most memorable monologues to God, I prayed, begged and pleaded with the man upstairs to guarantee that my Grandma Jenkins would be at my wedding some day. And, maybe, if I promised to be a good little girl, he would even allow her to live to see her great-grandchildren.
It's funny that my smaller self sitting curled-up on the same living room floor that I write this post from was concerned about many of the same ideas that my blog posts are filled with: family, love and marriage. Three elements that are all tied-up with the painfully beautiful process of growing up.
Grandma died early this morning. And needless to say I have neither married nor had children. So the question becomes, am I mad at God? Mad that he didn't understand that at 20 I still pray for the same things I asked for that day so many years ago?
And the answer is, of course, no. If God answered all my prayers, I'd be the wife of the fourth-grade dreamboat, Nick, right about now instead of a successful college student with an exciting and rewarding life.
It's easy for me to understand that death is a natural process. Even easier to be at peace with the idea that Grandma can now rest instead of continuing to live with the debilitating symptoms of a powerful stroke.
But it's so hard for me to keep from placing the anger that's still there squarely on my own shoulders.
Obviously selflessness is never the top characteristic of a college student, but I am still sick thinking about how much more I could have done for my Grandma over these last few years.
Now, a lot of people reading this have never met Mrs. Evelyn Jenkins. Except, you might know more about her than you think.
She was like a classic mash-up of all the most gramtastic qualities that exist in the world.
She made the best chocolate chip cookies (in TWO varieties), read my favorite stories over and over again when I went to her house after school and couldn't end a conversation without saying "I love you" at least three times.
She also shook her head in dismay when my hair fell in my face, warned me more than once about the arthritis I would be sure to contract if I kept texting with such voracity and forwarded on more crazy emails that I'd care to count.
Once, a stool I left out as the steps to my imagined princess fortress on the couch caused her to trip and even as blood ran down from her face she was smiling and telling me that everything will be okay.
It's the fate of the world's grandmas: to always take care, and to never be taken care of enough.
And as I've sobbed to my mom, I wish I had a few more days to be a better granddaughter.
It seems that the people who love us best are the easiest to not love enough in return.
When you can do no wrong in their eyes, it's easy to not do enough right.
But as I sit here knowing that her death offered her peace after weeks of suffering, I understand that it would be unfair to demand that she wait until I finally have my fill of grandma love before she goes on to heaven.
Because I wouldn't ever have my fill of grandma love.
When mom and I talked about what saying goodbye to grandma would mean, she tried to explain that I can't allow myself to drown in this guilt. That grandma was so incredibly proud of me that there was nothing else I could have done to make her happier.
And I have to accept that. Because if I don't, it will tear me apart.
And I think the fact that I was always strong enough not to fall apart was what grandma liked about me most.
It was her unconditional love that helped me become the bright, bubbly person I am today. A person who overflows with love because of the surplus I've always had in my family life.
So as impossible as it may seem right now, I know everything will be okay. And I think that even that little girl who desperately pleaded for her Grandma to always be around knew that Grandmas aren't things we can hold on to forever.
We eventually have to say goodbye and work hard to become that Kelsey that Grandma saw every time she looked at me.
A Kelsey who deserved every bit of Grandma love that she got.
And so this week I have to let my grandma go, and yet hold on to the way she loved me unstoppably. Loved me without pumping the brakes.
She won't be at my wedding. And she won't meet my kids. But she'll still be there in the way I love the people in my life, loving without accounting for what a person may deserve, and just loving them for being who they are. Loving them for who they are going to be.
I love you so much, grandma.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dallas does...Hotness or Notness

Fresh off a weekend spent with boys who couldn't pass a curly blonde without releasing a collective sigh of satisfaction, it's pretty easy to begin yet another lover's diatribe. Now, I love these guys, but, let's face it, this eyeballing approach to seduction isn't exactly the story being told in fairy tales.
Though I still can't fully believe it, I return again and again to the idea that being hot matters a lot.
And, as I've laughingly discussed with friends several times, the hotness portion of the attractiveness equation isn't exactly an equal opportunity area. It's genetics, don't you see.
Some of us will just always look better in braided pigtails than leather rockerchick pants.
I honestly believe that personality wins in the end, but those of us selected for the 'cute' portion of the population sometimes want to be at the receiving end of one of those "dayummm girl" looks. (And I for one am not afraid to admit that, no matter how weakly feminine it makes me)
So what is one to do? Surely the answer is not in buying all new sex goddess clothing or working out like a maniac to achieve a stunningly slender figure.
No, I think, the real answer is in taking a cue from those boys and their wide-eyed awe and seeing that there's no shame in desire.
Uh oh. The 'd' word. Not something that the nice girls are usually throwing around.
Quite the hot button topic in my Sexual Ethics, desires are something that everyone has and nobody wants to talk about. Sure, we throw it out there in our Good Girls Crave Bad Boys moments, but how often do members of the female population happily stare down a member of the opposite sex without feeling an ounce of guilt in that section of the brain that stores all the morals from Disney princess movies?
Well, at least in my case, not that often.
And so, with the hysterics of some of my favorite guys in mind, I'm issuing a call to action for myself: take a walk on the sexual side.
And LET ME BE VERY CLEAR- This is not a creepy public announcement of a newfound dedication to promiscuity.
It's just a class- and experience-induced decision to stop being so uptight about romance. And to stop believing there's a formula that each relationship will follow.
To leave the blushing behind to blow kisses at hot motorcyclists.
I can't magically become "hotter," but I can certainly work to stop comparing myself to every other girl in the room. I can own what I have to offer, and know that I deserve to go after what I want.
I'm not saying that I'll suddenly drop the moral code that I'm quite happy to live within, but I am desperately working to express a new understanding that there's sexiness in the ability to have fun with life and to own your own sexuality.
To be your own you and watch heads start turning.
To throw out a couple "dayummm boyeeee"s
And to not feel like you have to answer to any preconceived notions you have about how guys see you.
All that really matters is how you see yourself.

[and let me repeat for one last time: this wasn't meant to be horrifying (momma), it was meant to be a bit of a written walk on the wild side- Hope you enjoyed!]

Just a sexy side note:
"You feel like paradise, and I need a vacation tonight"

Peace, love and possible public embarrassment,