Lola for the Win

I had been struggling all week wondering what I would write for this week’s blog post. Since this is my third…fourth? blog that I have started it is the only one that people are actually reading so the pressure is on to create weekly posts that continue to get views…right? So what to write about? Do I write a hilarious recap of the Real Housewives of New Jersey? Show hidden footage of me and my best friend watching trashy reality T.V. and have our own version of The People’s Couch? So many ideas floating around, and I couldn’t decide on what to do. Until…

I had come home from work on Friday pretty late…later then I had wanted to come home but when I did my dog Lola was waiting for me. If she is a good girl while my boyfriend and I are not at home she usually greets us at the door with a toy in her mouth and runs from one end of the apartment to the other. It’s pretty hard to even pet her hello since she is a spaz and gets so excited you’re home she forgets that she can also get a welcome rub. Friday night wasn’t any different. Lola had been a good girl during her alone time, and was extremely excited when I got home. We went outside to use the bathroom, we had some dinner, she received some fresh water and I took my place on the couch turned the T.V. on for noise only and proceeded to get on my phone, obviously.

After a few moments I had noticed that Lola was acting a little weird. She was pacing around our coffee table, and she just wouldn’t settle. I watched her for another moment and then told her to go get some water, she sauntered over to her water bowl but didn’t drink anything, I gave her more food but she only sniffed it. I sat back down on the couch and continued to watch Lola become more and more restless, I grabbed her leash and asked her if she wanted to go outside again to which she ran and hid under the kitchen table. I now couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She had continued to pace around the apartment, and now she had started panting. As she became increasingly more restless I became more and more nervous as to what was happening. Our vet is 24 hours and right down the street, I reassured myself and continued to observe.

Still panting, she hopped up on the couch and leaned on the back of the couch with her butt to my face. Intently watching her, my mind was racing as to what could be wrong. Finally, I made the realization that when I came into the apartment when I got home from work the air conditioner was not on. When I walked in the door I had automatically opened the window to let a breeze in. It wasn’t roasting in my apartment but I also hadn’t been sitting in here with no air and closed windows for hours. I had left my apartment with a friend still here, this friend is also a friend to Lola and although I know that they would never do anything to intentionally hurt Lola they don’t have pets, so leaving the air on when no one is home didn’t cross their mind. I looked at Lola who was still leaning against the couch panting.

“Are you hot?” I asked her. And she instantly turned her head to look at me, like so fast I thought her neck would break off.

“Is that it Lola are you hot?” I kept asking, and she kept looking at me. At this I went over and closed the window and turned our air conditioner on. I sat back down on the couch and Lola came over to me tail wagging. She sat down on my lap (she is not a lap dog) and started licking my everywhere. She was thanking me.

And then I started to cry.

In that moment everything that Lola and I had been through culminated into that brief moment of connection that we had.

I had received Lola during the darkest time of my previously mentioned depression, and we created a secluded home for ourselves on the couch in our pajamas in the dark. Because of my issues Lola developed a dog form of agoraphobia, she is terrified of going outside. This is 100% my fault, I made her that way and it is my responsibility to help her with her fear of going outside; so we go on walks daily now, we see other dogs on the street and she is better at saying hello and maybe sniffing a butt. But strange people are Lola’s mortal enemy, just like mine. Her awkwardness towards strangers is every feeling that I have in social situations and we have to rely on each other to get through social situations and to keep on walking.

When I didn’t have any friends Lola was there, she is my best friend, she is my dog. She is mine because she is me. And even though I know that she is a dog and she will leave me before I leave her, I will take everything that we’ve accomplished and continue to keep walking. So not only did she give me a great post for this week, but she’s also given me my longest post. So like I said…. it’s Lola for the win..every time.


You Can Go Home Again…But Wait Ten Years

Having a Ten Year High School reunion seems a little bit redundant in this day and age. Am I too young to say “this day and age”? I mean with all of the connectivity that is available to us right at our fingertips it seemed a little silly to hear that one of my friends that was on our High School Senior committee was experiencing high anxiety  trying to plan our NFHS Class of 2006 Ten Year Reunion. Was there even a point? Most of the people that we had graduated with still lived in our hometown, and if they didn’t there was indeed always Facebook. But still, in a stance of support I flew across the country for 5 days to participate in the festivities planned out by classmates I haven’t seen (some of the them) in ten years.

And I must admit…I was pretty damn glad I did.

Leading up to the days of my leaving for my reunion, life was stressful. Everyday there was something that needed to be done, that of course is life but I felt as though I was chasing an ultimate goal, a constant struggle between being busy all the time and actually being productive. My relationship seemed like it was circling a drain, my job was annoying and I found myself counting down the days for a break. I NEEDED a break….I also it turns out needed a really good laugh.

And that is what I did for 5 days, I laughed until I cried everyday..I also ate pizza everyday. But hey it’s Buffalo and in Western New York we don’t judge you based on carb intake. And of course I still have those friends that I see and speak to on a daily basis, best friends for life that I had left behind when I moved to Los Angeles. But when I went to my reunion I couldn’t really tell the difference between those friends and the friends I haven’t seen in years, the jokes were the same, the laughs were deep and hearty. There were also people that I hadn’t spoken to even during our high school years, and I found myself laughing with them too. Time had passed and we had all grown older. On the walls of our High School there would be posters that said “No one will care what you wore in High School” and “No one will care if you were popular or not” they would stare at us as we walked from class to class attached at the hips of our best friends and cliques; always brushing off these statements because we would be popular and best friends forever. But of course those posters were right about us, of course our cliques didn’t matter anymore and everyone was okay with that.

Living in the past for five days allowed me to come back home feeling refreshed and relaxed. It was a weekend of effortless fun. Fun that didn’t need to be thought about or explained. My everyday life is a constant worry about what I need to do, what my goals are, what is due soon, what I want to do. My crazy L.A. life was waiting for me when I got back, my bills are due, my apartment needs to be vacuumed, and the fires are still burning in the mountains. But for five days I forgot about what I needed to do and instead spent time enjoying what I have done.

Essential Friendship & Essential Oils

I haven’t been very open in regards to friendships in the early years of my adult life. It is a hybrid marriage of a strange side effect from depression in my early twenties and the fact that I am just a homebody person by nature. It got very bad, being “blatantly anti-social” my boyfriend called it and I just agreed and continued on. I hid behind the busyness of school work and deflected the fact that I have no social friends because I had work friends and that was enough.

But there was no life.

In an act of triumph against my depression I made one social friend, and he is an awesome friend. Tony will forever be a piece of my life, and has inserted himself as family. It also helped that he could be a homebody himself, and our personalities like all great friendships were not the same but compatible. He was the first step into finding a new version of myself, one that is not awkward and uninviting. It was much easier to be in a social setting with a friend to do this with. You never think about it like that until you literally don’t have a girlfriend to do things with. I should mention that Tony is a gay man and loves himself as I love him just the way his is.  Getting my girl time back allowed me to realize just how much I was missing it. Not only was I able to slowly come out of my shell in my own time, but pushed to break through it as Tony saw fit. Pulling me out of my comfort zone as girlfriends often do, and allowing me to realize things about myself that I didn’t think were issues. For me those issues were being social, and not just being social but actually liking being social.

I carried my progress with me to new jobs and sporatic new acquaintances until setting at a job where I’ve been for a few years now. This job has allowed me to gain more friends that have not been pushed into the “work friends pile” in my social setting. I find myself remembering what it was like to have people to confide in, to laugh with and have inside jokes with. I haven’t had that in such a long time that I had become lost in the secluded world I had created for myself. And it wasn’t easy on their part either, prying into my personal life, creating space for themselves into my daily happenings with the interest that only friends have.

And I unbeknownst to myself I allowed them in.

I slowly but surely found myself in the middle of friendships. Without even trying. That’s what makes it easy doesn’t it? The fact that it is effortless? And I hadn’t realized what happened  until I found myself sitting in an essential oil seminar on a Saturday morning before my work shift. Sitting there allowing a stranger to spray me with Peppermint oil (“for cooling purposes”) I had a friendship epiphany. Not only was I there to support a friend who was holding a class, I was there so my other friend wouldn’t have to sit through an oil seminar alone. I was being a friend to two people at once. I must admit that I blacked out a little during this seminar to really take in what was happening around me. It could have been the oils, it could have been the fact that the Peppermint oil was placed somewhere around my temples and my eyes started watering but I almost lost my composure in front of a stranger and cried at where I had found myself on that Saturday morning. I had found myself being a friend.

Everything that I had been missing with close friendships I had found, but I hadn’t really understood that by doing something for them, I was doing something for myself. If they were friends to me then I had to be a friend back, and I hadn’t been a friend to anyone including myself in a very long time. But that’s the great thing about friends right? You don’t know what they do for you until you actually do something for yourself. You don’t know how cooling Peppermint Oil is until you let a stranger spray you.