What’s Your Fantasy? March 24, 2003.

March 24, 2003
11:08PM

Dear Journal,

everyone knows that we’re going out. lol at least I don’t have to go around telling all my select friends. In directed study Mike comes over to me and he’s like “hey ms. josh lover!” OMG you just had to be there it was so funny. Wow, I love Mike, he makes me laugh so much. It was funny be-cause everyone was like “Oh really?” Josh told me Mr T said we were a good couple, and we both agree. I just have to let him know that I’m not someone he’s going to take advantage of. Just have to speak up. k going to bed now.

—–

This is seriously all I had to talk about this day. Just my classmate’s reactions to learning Josh and I were now “going out”. Fucking pathetic, Little Allison. THe only redeeming note is that I was ready to take a stand and let my new boyfriend know this is my hot body and I do what want! In my last post, Little A got her first kiss and we touched on the blurry lines of sexual assault. While it was an exciting time, “dating” this boy was the beginning of my sex life which I argue, like many others’ have been, acquired a shaky foundation to grow on thanks to ill-informed, hormone-dominated teenage brains and skewed messages about priorities.

Here’s yet another problem with adolescent relationships: at least back in Burbsville, Massachusetts, in 2003, it was all about the status, the talk, the meaning that had little to do with the actual connection I felt with this boy. Well, it did have enough to do with the connection in this case (certainly NOT with the next boyfriend, who you will read about far too shortly). We were good friends and clearly were attracted to each other, although this guy was attracted to nearly everyone with tits in a 50-mile radius. But to be frank, becoming this guy’s girlfriend was more of a settling/thank-God-ANYONE-wants-me! move than an I-genuinely-love-and-respect-this-person-and-would-like-to-explore-life-together thing. That second option frankly wasn’t an option in my book, which is weird because my grandparents who I absolutely adore and practically raised me were together from 7th grade on and lived the most real, amazing relationship-centric life I’ve ever heard of.

Reality check: you will have these moments with your significant other, but they will be in your apartment on a Tuesday night, waiting in line to buy tickets to the game, or, if you're lucky, every morning when you wake up. NOT on the beach, or in the rain.

Reality check: these moments are best served in your apartment on a Tuesday night, waiting in line for the game, or right when you wake up on a lazy Saturday morning–NOT on the beach, in the rain, or in some exotic locale you can’t afford to travel to at sunset.

I definitely idolized my parents courting story at the time, and for years after that; inversely, a huge mistake realizing in their divorce five years later that much of their time together, while paired with plenty of good times, was marred by hate, hurt and serious sadness between the two. Regardless, their getting-together story was beautiful to me. Long story short, mom married her best friend’s older brother. And as a story, it is beautiful. In reality, and retrospect, it just kind of makes you want to cry.

I loved all the romantic scenarios. So when it got down to it, I would either end up marrying my male BFFL, Mike, after years of crushing but mostly just genuine friendship and adoration (the closest I could get to my grandparents’ story); one of my best friends’ brothers, which initially could only be imagined as an older brother but that fact was challenged when I experienced a brief crush/fantasy about a younger bro even AFTER COLLEGE (the sickness is real); or my father’s roommate’s son Dana, who is seven years older than me, but who I had loved deeply for as long as I had known and who I just knew had the hots for me too but couldn’t do shit about it because he is an angel and I was only fourteen… then eighteen… then 21… now 25 and no, he has never asked me out (but you don’t know me if you think I’ve never asked him!). If none of these panned out, in Little Allison’s mind there were a thousand other romantic scenarios that would, including marrying my high school sweetheart. Unfortunately for my young romantical self, I was corrupted and frankly put my hands in too many baskets (mostly theoretically until October of 2009), so while I technically only had one high school sweetheart, in my mind I had two: my actual high school boyfriend and my best friend, Aaron, my platonic friend of choice, who I slowly became convinced was the real deal, The One. In reality, he was just one of several Ones, all of which never, and will never, be The One.

So what am I rambling about today? I guess the theme of this all is the trouble with reality, and the choices young women make based on a combination of fantasy and manipulation. Yuck. Honestly, why was Little A so desperate for attention from these guys? I can definitely recall a sense of increased social worth once this “dating” period began. It raised my stock that these boys wanted me to be their girlfriend. It’s also making me sick to think about it this way, which is fun right after my fruit binge this morning. But this stock isn’t real, and thankfully its importance faded after some time. I’d love to hear from readers–did you experience similar social pressures to be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend? Please share in the comments! And thanks, as always, for reading. I’ll try to keep this up a bit better than I have for the last three years.

Practice on the Shower Walls Pays Off: Little Allison Finally Macks It. March 23, 2003.

March 23, 2003
around 6:45PM

Dear Journal,

guess what–I got my 1st kiss today! Well ya I’m special right, I’ve been to first.

Unfortunately it wasn’t that great. I thought my first kiss would be really special and romantic, but, basically, it wasn’t. It was in my garage for God sakes lol. And um, Josh is a pretty bad kisser. Not that I would know from experience or anything, but I could tell. He kisses kinda fast, like his tongue was just in and out (sev repeatedly), It’s just not good. And he was using way too much of it. ugh.

It’s kinda weird how he does stuff. like he has set plays. He followed me into the garage when I went to get a ball so he could kiss me (which I would’ve liked more if he knew how to kiss) (oh ya I bit his tongue a little like it said to do in a magazine if they’re using too much tongue lol) and like I was reading a letter Charlene brought for mom and dad about Chuck’s surprise party and he was right next to me w/ his hand on my butt. Come on man, Charlene was just driving out of the driveway!

He wanted to go walk towards the river, prob so we could make out, but I’m like we’ll do that some other day. lol denied! I know he likes me, but he could be a little more subtle, ya know? And like I went to sit w/ him on the rock steps and he had his arm around me, which I don’t really mind, but then he was like rubbing my leg and stuff. hello! parents prob. looking out the window duh! w/e well gotta take my shower so I’ll write later.

—–

Talk about anticlimactic! Isn’t this what we’ve been waiting for for, what, fourteen years? Be careful what you wish for, Little Allison. Be careful what you motherfucking wish for.

Thankfully, despite the lack of fireworks and rainbow-shitting unicorns that appeared when my lips first touched those of a young, spry male, I was prepared. I had been consuming CosmoGirl for years at this point, along with Seventeen Magazine and any other publication that might give me the knowledge I need to make a man fall in love. Even Girls’ Life, the Girl Scouts magazine, offered romantic advice for tweens occasionally. I’m not ashamed to admit I practiced like a motherfucker on the shower walls. So even though Josh sucked at kissing and he was a little rape-y in manner, I was willing to work with him. Trust, this is not the last time you will hear of Little Allison getting her gams rubbed forcefully in public and liking it (in a confusing, I-don’t-think-I-should-like-this way).

Which brings up a topical topic–that magical, grey-area land of sexual assault. Yup, we’re going there. As someone who grew up vying for the attention of young men as if it were equivalent to water and nutrients, the kind of attention I got from Josh on this oh-so-special day was thrilling. It was what I’d wanted all along, right? What I was asking for, perhaps? And being outwardly, physically pursued gave me a rush. I can still feel the butterflies I got, a combination of fear and hormonal raging I’d only experienced in my wildest dreams at that point. It was dangerously hot. This was my introduction to the physical side of relationships, and, as happens often in writing this blog, I’ve never deeply analyzed before how my first kiss might have impacted my experience with the rest of the kisses down the road. I don’t think in retrospect I should have felt the way I did.

How I wish I’d felt was repulsed that someone, even my “official” boyfriend, would lock me into kissing them by bear-hugging me (Josh was a good foot taller than me and a big, athletic dude). There wasn’t anything romantic about it. We didn’t lock eyes and smile at one another, like I’d read would happen in my magazines. We didn’t both lean in slowly. He certainly did not ask if he could kiss me. What actually transpired was he followed me into the dark garage, opened up for a hug, wrapped me up in a big, feely hug, and smooshed his mouth on mine when I moved my head to look up at him with Disney princess eyes, waiting for *that moment*. He stuck his tongue right in my mouth, in and out several times; it felt like a small, slimey banana that tasted a bit on the garlicky side (typically, my first thought when this event crosses my mind is “what the fuck did he eat that day?”). All the while, I’m pretty positive my father was inside the house. Both of my parents might have been, but any traditionally-raised lady from Middleboro, Massachusetts, has much more fear in her heart that her father will catch her making out than her mother. Especially when your mother has already told you that when she was in eighth grade, a boy she was making out with at a party put her hand down his pants. Thankfully, this did not turn out to be a family curse and I escaped eighth grade with only mouth-to-mouth and aggressive thigh-rubbing experiences.

It was disgusting.

It was disgusting.

I don’t mean to lament on my first kiss as an unromantic event. I do mean to point out that my state of mind about physical relationships, and this guy’s tactics, were wrong. Entering the era of sexual exploration on this blog is fucking terrifying to me–I repeat, FUCKING TERRIFYING. I am sharing real life stories here that affect me profoundly to this day. While it’s not my favorite part of myself, I am someone who tends to live in the past and the future simultaneously (some call it struggling with depression and anxiety) unless I make a conscious effort to stay in the present, which today, right now, means writing this blog. In terms of reliving the past, I constantly see how events I otherwise would have forgotten have made me who I am today–and that ain’t always pretty. A lot of the time, it’s totally fucking upsetting. Like right now, realizing that my favorite pastime at a particularly dark stage in my life–”going out” (binge drinking) and “meeting guys” (engaging in a range of sexual activities with young men I knew or didn’t know to a variety of degrees)–was even a thing because my foundation was broken. My perception of physical love was, for a very long time, totally fucked up and wrong.

Part of my goal in spreading the APJ story and expanding this project is to help you guys look back in similar ways and better yourselves through reflection, but another part of this all is that I want to make sure my generation protects our girls. I want my daughter or daughters, or sons, or my friend’s kids or a million kids watching some Youtube-of-2030 channel to be brought up with better foundations than I was when it comes to sex and self-perception and really knowing what’s good in life. It’s not how hot of a guy you can snag as a freshman in high school. It’s certainly not how well you keep up with the trend-setting crowd in rounding the bases. What’s good in life is so much more, which, thankfully, I did have a grasp on, but putting physical milestones at the forefront of the teenage mind, rather letting sex be an organic process that comes about when you’ve met only the special fellows or ladies (which, I must note, should really be part of the self-discovery process and not the other way around–discovering yourself in a relationship will get you in an exceptionally sticky predicament from which you may never escape–TRUST!), is dangerous physically and emotionally. Being consumed by the race to losing your v-card is just, ugh, just RELAX.

As a teenager, all I wanted was love. I actually did an okay job of pursuing that without fucking around (no pun intended) before I met the first One. Things got a little confused down the road, but I’m thankful to say I made it through the fire. Still, as my ex-boss says with a you-are-such-a-25-year-old headshake, “There’s always fire.” And so we’ve got to remind ourselves always where we came from, where we need to be, and, so importantly, how far we’ve come.

The Blinding Light of Priorities. March 22, 2003.

March 22, 2003

Dear Journal,

I am officially going out with Dan M.! So this is my first real boyfriend in what, 2 years? Wow pretty sad, but that’s OK. I just talked to him like 5 minutes ago on the phone. I was a little skeptical at first, because just this weekend he’s gone out or asked out 3 dif girls! SO I told him he kinda seemed like a player, but he laughed and was like no way! HE had a pretty decent explaination, especially about how he def doesn’t like Nina anymore (gave up since it was only a 1-way deal). So I asked if that would be the case if we went out, and he was like believe me, it won’t be a 1-day thing. :) Ya, this is good. I told him I might feel a little weird in math, but he brought up a good point–it really won’t be a lot different. The only thing changing is that it’s official, we’re usually just having fun together. Now we just can go out together and get some action! hehe (but I won’t be easy ;) )

—–

Spoiler alert: this relationship was NOT a 1-day thing–it was a 4-day thing. Oh, Little Allison. How I’ve missed you. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted on APJ, so let’s paint the scene. Little A is slowly but surely growing into Adult Ali, who we all know was only able to adapt her naive nature to this cruel world over the course of many years and heartbreaks. She is nearing the end of 8th grade, has recently been accepted to college preparatory school, and is on the hunt for her first kiss. This milestone was narrowly missed when her mother ripped her away from Soulmate Tom, the mohawk-rocking punk junior in high school she so desperately pined for during a 4-day cruise in February. She’s also got a pallet expander in her mouth, which is slowly but surely pushing apart her top molars and keeping her food-loving self away from the table. It is the first time in Little A’s life that eating is not a go-to comfort activity. This, as you can imagine, has incurred rapid weight loss that is quickly gaining positive attention as she blossoms from a hungry caterpillar into the beautiful butterfly she’s always known she is. All around life is good, and Little Allison is ready to hit the important teenage goal of making out.

Enter Dan M. Let’s talk about Little Allison’s choices here. There’s clearly not a lot of thought besides “I like this guy and I want a boyfriend/my first kiss/’action’” going on inside that obviously not peanut-sized brain of hers. She is not only skeptical of his previous relationship, but also knows she’s the fourth (fourth!!!!) girl he’s asked out in days. This guy is blatantly trolling for ass. But, in a tamer light, this is all Little Allison wants too. Or is it? I certainly don’t believe I, or any girl besides a very few on this planet, ESPECIALLY in high school or middle school, enter relationships for the nookie (please keep in mind any type of “action” in 8th grade Allison’s mind means kissing; thanks to CCD and very forward parental instruction, she does not consider anything below the belt, or under any clothes for that matter, to be acceptable for her 13-year-old self). We’ll go at this as if Little A thinks this could be something good, as she says. Well, I’m not too sure where to go with that. Good luck, dumbass? You’re lucky all he did was rape your mouth with his tongue the next day? Little Allison has set herself up for failure, and, unfortunately, this didn’t provide the lasting moment of clarity I wish it had at the time.

Unfortunately, dudes do not come equipped with lie-detector noses.

Unfortunately, dudes do not come equipped with lie-detector noses.

It should be crystal clear to girls that what a guy tells you means dick unless he shows you those sentiments in action. This young man was all talk. “You seem like kind of a player (giggle giggle).” “Hahaha (slaps knee), no way! (smiles and touches Little Allison’s cheek)” “Ok, I’ll be your girlfriend.” Game over. There’s a lot more process that needs to go into evaluating dudes for your affections, but this integral part of the plan is crucial. Don’t be that girl who’s won over by talk when reality is laughing in your face. I’ve been that girl, clearly, and I’ve been that girl enough times for me to lose a little respect for myself every time I think about it. Talk is talk. Dreams are dreams. I apologize for the cliche, but it is completely true that we are what we do, not what we think or what we want. Know that this is true of not just ourselves but even more so of other people.

I used to think my problem was that I’m too trustworthy, but I’ve learned that being trustworthy is not a problem when you see others in an honest light. Little Allison demonstrates here how easy–SO easy–it can be to be blinded by desire for someone or something. Oh, I’m the fourth girl you’ve asked out this week? Oh, you’re kind of ditching out on your current girlfriend for no reason who you just asked out yesterday? By the way, what is a 1-way deal in 8th grade terms? Oh, never mind, fuck it, I want that first kiss dammit! Sometimes we’re not even sure what our best interests are, and this is a problem in itself. But other times in life (READ: times when it is actually okay to explore relationships) we do know what our best interests are and choose to engage in relationships, activities, or what have you simply because other desires outweigh the need for what’s really good. I know it’s hard. I know sometimes this is impossible. But being strong for yourself is the most important thing you can ever do in life–you’re all you’ve got in the end! So ladies, and gentlemen, no matter how bad you want your first kisses, make sure your smooching partner is void of clear issues that may affect you–visible herpes included. If you want something so terribly, you are sure to find it with someone who better suits you, or in a place that makes more sense, or at a time that works without neglecting other important parts of life. Of course you can take my advice, or do what I’ve done so frequently in life: jump head first and build your unlimited wealth of material. Both routes certainly have their perks.

 

Don’t Fu– I mean, Flirt, with Me. March 9, 2003.

1:14 AM

March 9, 2003

Dear Journal,

I got into Thayer!!! I am so excited OMG I’m so happy. Well ya so besides all that guess what horrible (+ awesome all @ once) news I got yesterday. Steve C. told me online that Craig was going to ask me to the semi, but since he’s going out with Abbi now he’s going w/ her. Aaahhh! And Steve (who set them up) likes her sooo much.

I went extreme skating w/ Abbi, Eve, Jess, Jon, Steve ~ it was pretty fun. Jon is the biggest flirt and he just sucks me right in when I’m around him. I feel so special when he’s all flirty w/ me and I shouldn’t because he does the same thing to everyone. He was like pushing me around the rink for a min and it was so fun! lol I really have to get over him. Plus he has a girlfriend…

—–

It’s turning out that the biggest theme in Little Allison’s life as she finished up 8th grade is how motherfucking distracting relationship/love life drama can be. Especially in the past year, I have thought endlessly about the benefits of accepting the love of another vs. focusing solely on the love of self. This was clearly a non-issue for me at 14–it simply was not a problem. I was reaching my goals in academics; there wasn’t much else to do besides indulge myself with social titterings, play Spyro and DDR, and write in my journal. At 24, I have had to reshape my life just to give myself the time to write every day. I’ve had to make choices that go against the grain of what the average person my age is doing. Where getting into prep school was a clear, major positive step in life ten years ago, deciding independently to work as a waitress and write for free as much as possible has been, well, not so much.

As I grow older, it seems the higher the stakes in ones personal life, the less bullshit you can deal with in your spare time. I have gotten less shit from my friends and family about my current relationship as time has passed, but when Matt and I jumped right into full-blown commitment mode a little over a year ago the disappointment in the air was tangible. “You shouldn’t tie yourself down to one guy” was by far the most popular piece of advice given by friends and family of all ages, besides, of course, my grandmother, who has always been supportive of and delighted by my monogamous trysts. I’m still not sure whether the popularity of such advice was based on my history of burns after one-dude-at-a-time dating episodes or if people really think, in general, it is best to try as many flavors at once as possible. I can say proudly that I have never dated (i.e. explored serious romantical inclinations with via dinners, play dates, and periods of physical affection) two or more dudes at once, and not one bone in my body holds hints of regret for that. So, back to the bulk of this story, I would like to attribute this mindset to the fact that I simply, for many years, have not had the time, energy or patience for the bullshit of playing the field.

A recipe for pain and self-loathing.

A recipe for pain and self-loathing.

I often use this blog to bitch about how my younger self was a naive and delusional girl, but this entry shows the true beginnings of being fed up with the dating game–and I hadn’t even actually dated yet! I am foundationally not fit to cope with flirting, cheating and mindfucking on any level. Hence, why I was ecstatic (though hesitant by experience) to meet a man I loved immediately who wanted nothing more than to love me too. Not to say I wasn’t resistant: after I met Matt in September of last year, I spent months crying over how just before we met I had finally been 100% ready to “do me” and be single for a while. Well, guess what. After shedding the opinions of a thousand others, it boiled down to the reality that a large part of “doing me” was simply being with someone I shared a deep, mutual, trusting relationship with, despite the fear of failure without perfection everyone else seems to be riding on. I had to get over the thought that in life it is best to deny your passion for another and beat yourself into freedom from monogamous affection in order to succeed. That may work for others, but for me, success lies in love.

So hey, like so many other posts, this one has gone off the deep end of tangentery, but you know what? I’m really okay with it. The moral of the story is that you alone know what works for you. The balance between work and life is living in a way that best sets you free–the easier you soar, the more productive you will be, and before you know it you’ll be busting out the start of your life’s work. Just do you, the way only you know how.

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