25 February 2008

Admitting Defeat

I feel utterly defeated. For the first time in many years I feel completely without direction or even the energy to pick one.
I had hoped the spectacular low that ushered in 2008 was a sign that things would only go up from there. So far, that does not seem to be the case.
I'm actually getting to the point of considering packing up and going to stay with my mom in Eugene for a couple of months. Not once, since I moved out at the age of 18 have I considered such a thing. Unfortunately, I'm only too aware that our demons follow wherever we go, but I feel like I need time and a change of scenery to help me sort them all out.

I feel like I've had nothing but a series of failures, professionally, personally...near misses that have left me full of uncertainty.

It's ironic...I get nothing but admiration and encouragement from some amazing, strong ladies. They tell me they admire my strength and courage... and it makes me feel like a fraud---I feel anything but.

This last emotional blunder has, if anything, left me more cynical than ever. I don't even want to get close enough to a guy to screw one (as much as some friends insist that's exactly what I need), let alone get emotionally close.

I'm discouraged by the fact that I can't seem to translate my photography skills (or Reiki, or writing for that matter) into a viable income.

And the blog may be the biggest professional disappointment I've suffered this year. Despite my repeated requests that he not pursue a treatment of my blog (for a screenplay), Snow White went ahead and started writing one, reassuring me that it was still my story. I argued that it would be his name on the check, he would be profiting from my work, if he continued to pursue it and actually sell it. I asked him again to drop it. When he brought it up again it was by way of some emails, from him and supposedly somebody at Warner Brothers, saying they liked his pitch, and asking to see a first act.
I asked him again why he had pursued it. I got more reassurances and I didn't really think more about it until...
I was unexpectedly presented with what looked like a promising opportunity to develop the blog into something more. It came through a friend and I confided in him my concerns about somebody else possibly developing my work. He tried to help me track down names and other details that we could glean from the emails Snow White had sent, but was unable to verify any of the "facts".
It's hard to separate fact from fiction in what Snow White said, but even the remote possibility that he might have indeed pitched it as his own work, and the fact that I might have to pursue legal action against him to protect my material, pretty much dashed any hopes of my opportunity coming to fruition.

I feel like if something doesn't develop with the blog soon, it never will. Let's face it, I can't keep "misadventuring" forever. I'm not in the mood and, really, people keep coming back out of prurient interest, a vicarious thrill. Few want to read about me learning English or growing up in Colombia---they want to read about somebody living out the fantasies they're too scared to, or so it seems.
It could make for a few dull years of reading. That is, until I'm old enough to officially be a "cougar" and start trolling bars in the Pearl for dumb, pretty 25 year olds.

One friend also suggested it may be the blog itself that has put me in an odd spot. He says guys will always hope they'll be the last one, that they will get a sweet, "crushy" blog and that will be the end of the Misadventures. Of course, having been the subject of some pretty scathing entries himself, he may have been projecting just a bit.

It's at times like these when I wish I could go back and be a "sleeper". I would work some mind numbing job, maybe as a bank teller or something. I'd go out and get drunk every weekend at whatever the latest hip club is, and the most pressing thing on my mind would be saving up for a cute pair of ridiculously overpriced shoes or something.
All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

24 February 2008

Weekend Wrap-up

I survived a night out with The Dry County Crooks...! (I suggested that for their next t-shirt.)

I met these guys recently when they were referred to me for band photos. I admit, based on their whiskey swilling rough-and-tumble image, I went to our first meeting with some trepidation. It has actually turned out to be one of the best experiences I've had photographing a band. They have shown the utmost professionalism and respect for my craft and my input. Together, we developed the look and concept for the new album and we had an amazing photo shoot. The band, their label rep, my assistant and I --- even the weather--- worked together seamlessly and created some pretty epic photos. After braving snow,rain, fire and ash together, we definitely felt like we'd bonded.

After my post on Friday night, about going to see their show, I received concerned calls and emails from friends.
"Milwaukie? Really?" and so on.
I grew up in a zona roja a "red zone" for Colombian guerrilla activity...I wasn't that worried about surviving a night in a suburb of Portland. Still, one friend made sure I had his number on hand as an emergency contact. A new online acquaintance, and coincidentally a long-time friend of some members of the band, also offered to come "rescue" me and keep me company.
There was hardly a need for such preparations, but it was endearing.

The band has definitely surrounded itself with some good people.
Vinny, the singer, emailed me recently with the quote "Behind every good man is a great woman" and these boys certainly seem to live by that idea. Their girlfriends and wives are all bold, sassy, and strong...and immediately welcoming and friendly.

Despite everyone's best efforts to make me feel included though, I couldn't help but feel a little out of place in the saloon-like atmosphere of the venue, at least at first. I was definitely out of my element, and as my new myspace acquaintance had predicted, I felt I stuck out like a sore thumb.
It was a great show though, and the crowd was enthusiastic.
My hosts for the evening invited part of the entourage back to their house for an after-party. It was pretty funny watching a houseful of drunk musicians try to play Guitar Hero. When everyone tired of that, we all moved out to the hot-tub.
I ended up having to dodge the advances of the "nice boy" one of the girls was trying to set me up with. I felt sort of bad. After all, it was pretty innocent---reaching for my hand or trying to "sneak" his arm over my shoulder---it was just awkward. He's seems nice enough, but I'd rather not get involved with anybody in their little circle of friends and risk awkwardness. They're too much fun!

It was a fairly innocuous adventure by CoatCheck Girl standards, hang-over notwithstanding. My hosts were impeccable in their hospitality. They saw me comfortably settled into the hide-a-bed after everyone had left, and the lady of the house even brought out some cozy slippers for me to borrow. They took me out for brunch the following afternoon, where we met up with some of the other revelers from the previous night. They were ready to do it all over again, at that night's show up at Government Camp. They tried to coax me along, but I realized long ago I'm not cut out for the rock n' roll lifestyle. And that would be three nights in a row hanging out with them--- I don't even do that with my closest friends.
Besides I had their photos to edit...

Here's a preview of the back cover from their upcoming release "When Hearts Break":




All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

22 February 2008

Family Entertainment

Before I receive too many indignant emails from my Dahlia family...

I debated tonight...Dahlia family or new acquaintances...I realized that in a very short time I got used to having Zig Zag at the Dahlia related shows and outings. There's a reason I rarely try to introduce new people to the group. I'm very selfish and protective with my extended family and I don't want anything to upset the dynamic we have. Today it feels a little weird, so...I'm off to Milwaukie, instead...

Though the Dahlia family knows how to have a good time (ahem, Miss Sassy Lass!), our bonds are based on more than partying. We play multiple roles in each other's lives---at turns spiritual advisers, relationship counselors, siblings, friends, lovers...I even have a Wife in there somewhere...My point is we're all close. There are times when it can feel like it's all a bit too close.

A change of scenery, some new faces...sounds like just the thing. There is something very freeing about spending time around people with whom you don't have much shared history.
I've done the growth, the self-reflection, made the decisions, blah, blah, blah all of it...and I'm exhausted. I need some light-hearted fun.

The Dry County Crooks are a fun and talented bunch---they'd have to be to entice me out to the 'burbs. They have their own little "family" made up of significant others, friends and a few die-hard fans, much like Dahlia.
When they heard I was feeling a little down, they threatened to "kidnap" me and take me to tonight's show. The wife of one of the boys even offered me a place to crash afterwards, since they live near the venue.

She also tried to play matchmaker...

"---- has been asking about you since the Kelly's show. He keeps asking about you...but that's all I'm gonna say....Oh, and he cooks!...but that's all I'm gonna say...He's a really nice guy....but that's all I'm gonna say" etc.,

it was cute. (Then it made me realize...the last thing I want right now is a "nice guy". A "nice guy" is why I'm feeling cynical, a "nice guy" is the reason I haven't had sex in two months, a "nice guy"?...harumph!)

Tonight should at least be...interesting---I mean, there are going to be Heineken Girls there! It will take me out of my usual milieu, to say the least, and that's always an adventure in and of itself.

Ok, so I am a little scared about the Heineken Girls...

All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

20 February 2008

A toast!

I feel like I have this lump in my throat...screams and tears of frustration and anger and... embarrassment.

About a week ago, I posted a myspace "status update" posing the question:

Is there such a thing as a wasted epiphany?

A reply came from an unexpected source, a British producer/musician who happened to spot the update. He could relate to the sentiment, and so he wrote:

"Dear stranger

Life is a series of wasted epiphanies. Or as a simpler soul might put it- no pain no gain.

Cheer up old bean."



Intellectually, I know it's not the case. There are no wasted epiphanies--- no knowledge gained is wasted--- but it's hard to see it that way right now.

In looking back through the last year, I thought I had made great progress; realizing how closed off I had been, and braving the daunting possibility of opening up to somebody again.
But it always comes back to choices, doesn't it? Epiphanies or no, I realize I am still making bad choices. Either I choose people unworthy of my affections or people who spurn them. To be fair, in Zig Zag's case neither is entirely accurate. He is most certainly worthy. As for the other...well, I do not doubt that he has a genuine affection for me, but he's..."not ready" and says doesn't want to drag me along as he tries to figure it all out.
I can certainly empathize with and respect his position. I also, am somebody who tries to engage in self-reflection, to take responsibility for my own baggage, and work on personal issues as I become aware of them. However, I also feel that when it comes to dealing with issues on how one relates to others, there is only so much work that can be done internally. In the long run all that theoretical work is just that--- theory. At some point it has to be put into practice...even if you end up having to dismiss a few experiences as nothing but trial runs.

I could make this or other arguments, but the truth is I really deserve to be with somebody who doesn't need convincing. It is no small feat for me to be willing to open up to somebody. I once likened it to pulling teeth--- it's difficult and it's painful and you'll pretty much have to knock me out to do it. If I'm willing to take a chance, the other person should be too.

Somebody had to make a decisive move, and I finally realized it had to be me. I couldn't wait around, risking further emotional attachment for "maybes". Maybe he'll work out his internal struggles, maybe he'll decide he's ready to explore something deeper, and maybe it will be with me...

I couldn't help but draw comparisons between this and the last time I felt I was ready to put myself out there, emotionally. I'm not the only one who has observed the similarities. Several friends have pointed out the comparisons between him (Zig Zag) and the last object of my deeper affections, my Freckled Friend. Zig Zag was originally offended when I mentioned it, as he'd heard nothing but the morally reprehensible things this individual had done.
They are nothing alike.
Zig Zag is more self-aware than my Freckled Friend could ever hope to be... and he would never betray my trust in such an unconscionable manner. The similarity my friends and I had noted was simply in my willingness to explore some level of emotional intimacy, and the hope and courage with which I approached them both.
Still, I can't help but hear echoes of my last attempt. The words "I don't want it" echo in my head, even if this time they are tempered with an unspoken "for now..."
But I'm not one to wait around.
Zig Zag made a wry observation about patience. I had to point out that there's patience, and then there's masochism--- I don't really go in for the emotional kind.
I wish I could approach this with my usual disregard for outcome but, then... this is not my usual type of "relationship". I normally go for superficial and disposable. I don't get emotionally invested. Unfortunately for me, this time that's not the case.

There was no other choice but to take a stand...and open that bottle of champagne in my fridge.
So, here's a toast... (or six or seven) to me... for taking a stand for what I deserve...Salud!



All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

13 February 2008

Hope, Epiphanies and Philately

I started writing my previous entry almost two weeks ago. I caught whatever horrible bug has been floating around and was pretty much bed-ridden for the better part of a week. It was during a fevered delirium that I had a realization about Zig Zag.
He was ill too, but had turned down my offers for any sort of assistance. The fever caught up with me a few days later. The Wifey and Uncle Cupcake both stopped by to look after me and bring me remedies and food. It struck me that Zig Zag and I are not close enough friends to merit that sort of confidence, nor are we good enough...well, anything else either, to have an implied understanding to care for each other .

I had nothing but time to mull things over as I lay in bed, feverish.

I remembered meeting one of his friends a few days before, at one of his shows. She was sitting with the singer's wife, and as we were introduced, it was very apparent to all present that she was not at all happy that I was there. I was a bit thrown by her chilly reception. She had been introduced as another one of (Zig Zag)'s "good friends". I did not miss the inflection and what it implied. There was definitely history there.
I've dated and befriended enough musicians to know that a certain air of "availability" can be part of the whole persona, so I've let Zig Zag dictate the level of familiarity we display in public. We weren't being particularly affectionate, but obviously his "friend" caught onto the fact that I wasn't just another show-goer, and was unhappy about it. As we were leaving after his set, I mentioned her reaction. He'd noticed it too and seemed baffled by it.
The next morning, he brought it up again, so I took the opportunity to ask what the nature of their relationship was. Just friends, coffee dates, movies, talks...it was beginning to sound somewhat familiar. He insisted she'd never given any indication that her feelings for him might be more than platonic. She had simply texted him the night before, asking what he was doing, and he'd invited her to the show.
I had to wonder...are men really that clueless? I had sensed she had more than platonic feelings for him within seconds of meeting her.
Days later, as I pondered this, it dawned on me...
He's a nice sensitive guy, very kind, smart, not one to jump into a physical relationship...and there is this ideal he has of the long-term partnership he wants. I could easily see him developing a string of intense, emotional relationships with female "friends", none of whom will ever live up to this ideal. By keeping things out of the sexual realm he is also absolved of any sort of obligation to them. They're "just friends", right?
I experienced a moment of such utter loneliness when I realized I could not comfortably call on him as a friend or as a lover, when I was feeling ill. It's one thing to be alone by choice, but to have the illusion of somebody being there and then realizing that they really aren't...It was just depressing!
I pictured myself in that girl's place, possibly months from now, wondering when and if this guy is ever going to see me as anything more than a friend.
I also found it infuriating that I cared.
I'm all for cuddle-buddies, bed-buddies, "just friends"---all of it---as long as there is an understanding between both parties, a mutually agreed-upon level of intimacy.
Right now I feel like a place-holder. An interesting little side-note in his search for "the one". (While I respect such dogged determination and adherence to an ideal, I don't share his beliefs that there is just "the one" person for each of us.)
Being mutual place-holders would not be such a bad thing. I'd benefit from having somebody around who is sweet and makes me re-examine my ideas and values, without sex getting in the way like it has for the past year and a half. He'd get to enjoy my charming company...
Considerable benefits for us both, n'est-ce pas?
It's the uncertainty that is maddening. If I knew for certain I was just a place-holder, I could enjoy the cuddling and making out, and still keep my options open. I could focus my energy on other things---personal growth, career, perhaps even a relationship that might actually go somewhere...

Asking him did nothing to allay my confusion.
My horoscope last week elicited a rather wry chuckle:

"Tibetans use the phrase "Gadrii nombor shulen jongu," which literally means "to give a green answer to a blue question." It's what happens when a person offers a reply that is unrelated to the question that has been asked. This is an apt description of a certain situation you're either dealing with now or will soon be. It may be that someone close to you is responding with irrelevant answers to your piercing inquiries. Or it might be that you have misunderstood a mystery that a friend has presented to you. A third possibility: A question you've been asking yourself is the wrong question."



I posed the questions I had pondered in my delirium. He made perfectly reasonable observations and counter-points.
It wasn't until later that I felt like I'd been had.
He'd posed more questions than he'd answered and had deftly dodged what I thought was a pretty direct inquiry.

He doesn't rush into things...he hasn't really dated in a while...he's figuring out his own stuff...I've only recently come out of a relationship...I've been living an exclusively polyamorous lifestyle for the past year and a half and he doesn't think I'd change that overnight...

I could only address his external concerns regarding me.
Snow White...not even a blip on the radar. I was over that the moment the words "fucking faggot" escaped his lips (read Snow White vs The Tranny)...
As for the poly/mono thing...Monogamy is not a new concept in my life. I've done the serial monogamy thing when I was with partners that inspired me to such exclusivity. It's always been on a case-by-case basis, though (the last year or so excepted).
It seemed the stage was set for me to explore something like that again. I am certainly willing and, well...I like this guy. There are never any guarantees and it could be that as we get to know each other we discover that we are better off as friends, but for now...I like him in that butterflies-in-the-stomach-at-the-very-thought-of-him kind of way.

Ah, but now I'm a holding pattern and I don't know if he realizes I've put myself there for him. I'm in an "exclusive" nebulous non-relationship, with somebody who, I suspect, ruled me out as a potential partner from the very outset due to my polyamorous past.
Our conversations remain pretty casual. Our physical interactions could best be described in terms of "bases" (i.e. I'm not getting laid). He stands by his principles, by his determination to save the intense physical intimacy for that true partnership he is seeking.
Funny thing about a man's principles though---they become rather flexible when he starts getting head on a regular basis...

I've had my realizations, I've had my epiphanies...
I'm ready to get back up and running with my usual passion and gusto...in all areas of my life (a month and a half of no sex makes for a Cranky CoatCheck Girl).

I feel tethered by hope.

It's affecting my appetite and my sleep. When I do sleep, I have strange dreams. The last one featured Zig Zag saying goodbye to me via a letter left on my pillow, telling me he didn't want to see me again. In the envelope there was also a card, the inside of which was covered in postage stamps from different countries and different time periods.

I think my sub-conscious is telling me I need a new hobby...

All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

12 February 2008

"This is your life"...

It was pointed out to me recently that I was blogging (projeving?) so enthusiastically about Zig Zag, and then suddenly it was word-play, childhood memories and photos. He actually pointed it out, rather amusedly.
Those who know me best, know my tell-all projev is usually anything but. True processing and growth are done internally, or sometimes by turning to a few trusted friends. Only they can read between the lines, separate the persona from the real person.
When I first started this chronicle, it was simply an exercise in writing. It was less about the telling and more about the writing---trying to develop a style, a voice. I simply drew from my experiences out of convenience, or perhaps laziness. The blog took on a life of its own after a while, at times making me feel as though it was living my life and not the other way around.
Now, with the help of my new friend, I have found it to be rather startling and revelatory.
Yes, your little CoatCheck Girl is growing up.
I see a movie-of-the-week, after-school special here...

The greatest gift one can receive from a friend or a lover is that of self-knowledge. There are people who are great mirrors or catalysts for personal growth, and Zig Zag has shown himself to be such a person in a very short period of time. I could not ask for a better, more unassuming teacher.

Though I myself practice energy work, or perhaps because of that fact, I am rarely a good recipient. I'm generally too aware of tracking what's happening here...or what I'm feeling there...I'm also unaccustomed to having lovers (or potential lovers) who understand, let alone practice energy work themselves. It's usually something that guys accept, with some amusement, as one of my charming quirks.
A few weeks ago, however, something happened which I have been struggling to understand and reconcile.
I was in a frenzy and had been for a couple of days. When I am feeling something so strongly, it comes off me in waves. I was feeling pure (though there was nothing pure about the thoughts I
was having) unadulterated lust. Friends who saw me during that time suddenly found themselves in a similar frenzy and calling their respective lovers.
Zig Zag and I were in mid-makeout session, which only added to that bottled up energy. As he caressed my face, he touched a spot on my forehead---my third eye point.
Everything shifted.
All of that frenetic energy was transmuted, diffused through my entire body and expanded beyond it. It felt like a lucid dream state. I was aware of him still kissing me, but through a haze. I couldn't move, but felt completely safe and peaceful.
The experience itself was pretty remarkable, but it has been the after-effects which have prompted all of the self-reflection.
The most immediately noticeable effect was that my energy felt much more balanced afterward. The desire is still there, but it is not so frantic and demanding.
I also spent a day or two curled up in a little ball, crying, struggling to process emotions I had not given due attention in some time.

My father would often tell me that he never worried much about me where relationships were concerned. He would say he admired my ability to turn my emotions off and on, seemingly at will.
It helps me in my energy work. It allows me to be compassionate without getting too personally involved, to be an objective sounding board for others.
In my personal life, however, I don't know that it has served me so well. For as long as I can remember I have been able to disconnect the head from the heart...and the heart from...the loins. It's the re-connect that takes some doing.
When I began my blog I had come out of a period of growth---figuratively and literally speaking. That disconnect had physically manifested as a rather large ovarian cyst. I had spent 3 1/2 years digging, peeling away layers of depression and walls I had built after what I officially dubbed "The Year From Hell".
My first entry was hopeful, if a bit timorous. I had met somebody who wore his heart on his sleeve. For all that he was gentle and vulnerable, he taught me a lot about courage and the strength to be found in allowing oneself to be vulnerable. I learned that opening up to somebody wouldn't actually kill me.
The next logical step was to actually open up to somebody, and do so without reservation. Of course, it helped that I knew that one came with an expiration date.
Baby steps, right?
Still, I chose...unwisely (my Freckled Friend).
I offered the most guarded parts of my heart to somebody unworthy of them, and what's worse, somebody who didn't want or believe he was worthy of love in the first place.
Can I pick 'em or what?
Had it been merely a case of unrequited affection, it would have stung---but it would have been otherwise unremarkable. The betrayal that accompanied it, however, was unforgivable (Part 1 and Part 2) and had far-reaching repercussions. It went beyond a breach of trust between lovers. Even as he invoked the word "friendship" (yeah, the dreaded "let's just be friends"), he made a mockery of it. Friends support each other during trying times---he was making a hasty exit at a time when he had pledged his much-needed support.

I knew that it had set me back. I knew that I had embarked on a bit of a rampage, keeping everyone, even some friends, at a safe emotional distance. It made for some entertaining blogs, but it was those very blogs which made me curl up for a couple of days after that unexpected bit of energy work. I went back and reviewed them.
A year and a half of my life.
Having written them myself, I could easily discern what was mere Infamous sassiness...and what was a very real bitterness creeping in.
I remembered bemoaning a loss of innocence to my Freckled Friend, but I had quickly tried to put it out of my mind.
Apparently, it didn't go far, since I saw it seeping through into my writing. This may not be news to my friends who have watched the whole process, but it was great revelation to me---one that greatly saddened me.
I allowed myself those two days to acknowledge and mourn that loss of innocence. Then, in my usual fashion, I picked myself up and set out to explore a new direction, armed with this new epiphany.
It was indeed a precious gift.

There's a drawback to spending more than a few days writing a specific blog entry. Sometimes, by the time it gets posted, the course of things has changed.
When I clear a hurdle, physical or emotional, I just want to take off running in that new direction. Life doesn't always cooperate, though.
I feel like I'm back on track, hopeful and willing to explore emotional intimacy once again, like I was before I took my rather scenic detour.
Now if only I would learn, once and for all, to be more discerning in my choices...

All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

11 February 2008

Nicknames

We have a winner in the nickname game...and the sibling takes it!
His entry:

"Zig Zag" (slow to burn)...also an evasive maneuver...


All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

06 February 2008

Remembrance

Recordándote en tu cumpleaños...



All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved