These Love Letters

When do I get rid of the memories he gave me on paper? Do they loosen their grip on your heart the way they let go of your throat when the wounds went from hours to days old? They can’t run around your brain with their epic fascination forever. I lost the ticket to our first show when my last journal’s rope wasn’t tight enough. He kept photo strips. Photographers love their photos, even the bad ones, kissing you every third frame like tradition. Remember when I dreamed one day there would be a ring in the fourth? It pays to love an artist sometimes.

Focus darling, this is about letters. Lovely words, promises, arrangements, meant to bind your bond to the tangible world. These letters you keep are proof of love’s gentle touch. Caressed your face, held your hand, still hold onto a part of you, if you are holding the words right now. Does he still keep my words or play through the slideshow I left? I know exactly where he would keep them. His mother’s house was different then. We were different then. I read in my journals from those years that I stayed awake waiting for his calls. “Calls from him are better than sleep.” I wrote to myself. Should I say goodbye to those too? I could tear your pages from the library of my life like an editor.

I wonder about my volumes in yours. My acts, and scenes, and smiles. We were talking about that, the girls and I, at dinner the other day. What you’ll think of when you think of me. Of others too of course. In twenty years will we remember any of the things we did together with anyone we’re caring about now? The way we loved each other? Our names? Maybe you’ll just remember that you spent years watching my hair change colors and sleeping on the right side of the bed when I knew you liked the other. Believing in passion that burned away reason and promising to never forget what we needed. Maybe to put these letters to bed, I needed to give a last one. I’ll fold it up and put it in a box outside and lose it to time with the others and love. There’s no more postage necessary.

My Day with the Unicorn Frappuccino

Do you have one of those friends that you do everything with? You can pretty much always call them and they’ll be up for anything. They’ll never say your idea is stupid. You can be your whole and complete self around them. If have one, you’re picturing them right now. It’s an “I promise I hang out with other people, I just have the most stories with her.” kind of friendship.

Luckily for me, I work with mine. So when I roll into work on a gray April morning, double-tap the horn while blasting Joyce Manor because we’ve arrived at the same time on Unicorn Drink Debut Day, it’s totally fucking obvious what is about to go down. Now, I don’t go a day without coffee, so it’s not like I replaced my typical 16 oz medium roast with this grandiose American monstrosity. It was my second Starbucks consumption of the day, if that makes it better.

The baristas at the Starbucks by work are awesome. They remember my bland, normal person drink order from every other day and their jaws hit the floor when they find out what I’m getting. They take a picture of Best Friend and me with our drinks for their store’s Instagram. We’re honored.

As I begin to experience the same cognitive dissonance I felt in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, it’s time to inhale Suspension of Disbelief and exhale Any Idea That I Am or Was Ever Cool. We take photos of our drinks with our names at different angles on the Starbucks bar. Then selfies. Then we go outside and take turns posing under the cherry blossom tree. Then next to a cop car because we could be “arrested for being so basic” lol get it?

If you want to know about flavor, I don’t know if I’m really the one to ask. It tasted kinda like cotton candy, pixie dust, and pop rocks? It was sorta chalky? I drank it all. I have impulse control issues. Above all else, it was just a fucking blast to drink. Truthfully, it was like eating a TV dinner. If my mom saw me, she would yell at me.

When half of the non-biodegradable plastic is empty and the glitter it once held is now painting my insides, I can no longer concentrate on work. I suddenly need to build a playlist for the day, remember what I learned in 11th grade history, and enthrall my co-worker with a fascinating story she couldn’t give a fuck about. YO THE RIOT FEST LINEUP IS LIT! I’m like a coked up 22 year old at an after party for the first time. Sure, I like candy and shit, but I am just not someone who consumes sugar in large quantities. When I’ve tracked food, I naturally cap out at 20g of sugar a day unless I’m stress eating entire creme brulees. As if I don’t punish my poor liver enough with all of my binge drinking, here pancreas HAVE AN INSULIN SPIKE!

I decide to GTFO of the office so I can get my activity up and actually make things happen. It works for awhile. I drink a ton of water with the idea that it can cleanse my system. I’m craving more and more sugar. Obviously I resist because I have exactly zero interest in continuing this cycle.  

Sitting in my car at 2:30, wondering why I feel like plagiarizing the words “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” Morgan Spurlock’s floating head materialized on my dashboard to lecture me about putting poison like this in my body. When was the last time I updated my will? Who wants all of my old journals? No one, probably. But someone is going to get them because they are hilarious. There was an article in Vice a few weeks ago that said millennials are getting stomach cancer at an “alarming rate” and everytime I do something bad I think about it. In the summer of 2011, my nihilist uncle coined the term Russian Ballerina Diet, meaning a shot of vodka and cigarette. It feels like an RBD could appropriately complete the self immolation.  

Around 4:00, a migraine starts to form on the sides of my temples. It’s pushing out the suspension of disbelief. I’m starting to remember who I really am. I hate pinterest food and time lapse facebook videos with questionable cheese content. I despise people who over post these things they will never – and frankly should never – have on their dining room table. Fast food gimmicks make me suicidal. Chain restaurants are for midwesterners, aside from their comedic value on the Doughboys podcast. If the future of gastronomy lays in the hands of franken features like the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, we are all doomed.

Over the River

Over the River, where East Siders fear to tread
a culture divided by the volume of garbage
in the sidewalks, in the streets.
People are stacked on top of one another,
spilling their siloed designs to our bank more every day.

Across the River, more noise
People, cars, politics
Dogs over here walk in parks, not park blocks.
We whine and protest every time you beg us to go over “there”

It’s his birthday, her baby shower.
Any excuse to pay for parking
Another tourist dinner at PCG
Next time I’ll jump.

 

Four Things Less Awkward Than Hiding From Your Therapist in the Whole Foods Bathroom

These days, the least embarrassing thing we can admit about ourselves is that we have a therapist. Hell, most of us have a couple of them! We’ve unravelled the mind over hundreds of years and thousands of traumas. It’s your job as a citizen of the future to exploit that research. If you don’t already have a therapist, in preparation for Trump’s America, I’m formally recommending you get one. If only for the Xanax prescription you’ll need this holiday season.

“Portland’s the biggest small town there is!” -Everyone ever

Hypothetically, you may run into your therapist in public. I just want you to be prepared, you know, in case it happens. Maybe you’re aimlessly contemplating grander next steps. Maybe it’s your fourth grocery store of the day because you can’t get your ingredients for the week right and it makes you doubt your ability to do anything right. Maybe you’re killing time until you feel it’s acceptable to down a whole bottle of rosé on your couch.

That’s when you see him. You’re midway down the aisle, staring at the different kinds of soup and wondering why they discontinued that brand of curry you liked. He rounds the corner in his hipster glasses by this week’s end cap boasting a sale on organic peanut butter. You freeze. Spin around with your back to him. Shuffle away. What do you do? Well here’s for damn sure: The answer isn’t skirt the edges of the fucking Whole Foods to the bathroom. The answer isn’t  proceeding to hide there for 20 minutes until you feel like he’s gone. Hypothetically, if that was something you did or were thinking of doing, here are four things our could have done instead.

1. Say Hello

This is by far the most obvious. Most people have reasons to go into Whole Foods. Even if you’re at it again with the casual eating disorder, you could be there for bubble bath or wine or t-shirts or dog food. He signed off on your anxiety dog. He’d be glad to know you’re still feeding it. “Hey Dr.Blah Blah. Good to see you eat. Yeah so does my dog! Well bye!” That’s all you needed to do. Instead, you’re sitting in the bathroom, wondering if his basket is full. He didn’t even have a cart! It cannot possibly take much time to fill a basket.

2. Wave and Walk Directly to the Cashier

Slightly weirder, but you’re not reaching completely ludicrous territory here. Just toss a waive, pick a soup, toss it in the basket, and head for the guy whose wife has the same birthday as you. Yeah, you come to this Whole Foods a lot. Maybe grab some La Croix before you leave. You’ll be pretty pissed in the morning if you don’t get that.  

3. Ignore Him and Collect the Rest of Your Groceries

Sometimes people just don’t see each other. You get over it. If you still want to pick up a few things, but not engage in conversation, then proceed. Sniff citrus, analyze squash, and compare cheeses. All up to you. Keep your eyes solely on inanimate objects. The next person you make eye contact with will be the cashier. You can’t risk accidently bumping into him in front of the orange juice, right?

4. Drop All Your Shit and Bail

Alright nutzo, this is just one level below hiding in the bathroom, but it’s still better. The second your hands start to sweat and panic rises in your stomach, drop the basket where you stand and book it for the car. I mean, in a casual nonchalant way. You shop here all the time and you don’t want the employees to see you get weird about it. When you’re in the car, listen to Hit the Switch by Bright Eyes because you’re nothing if not a cliché. Repeat “No one saw anything” until you get home and just pop that damn rosé.

So, a zombie apocalypse, a surprise pregnancy, and seeing your therapist in public: always have a plan. Avoid sitting in the Whole Foods bathroom for twenty minutes or honestly any public bathroom. Not that I know from experience, but the reception is terrible and you’re most likely locked in a concrete cell with your own depreciative thoughts until the world seems safe. Is that what hell is?

We’re all hacks here.

Don’t you hate it when the wifi’s out and you actually have to write something? Oh thank God my sandwich is coming and I can take a break. I don’t want my $1,500 computer that I put on a credit card and actually paid $1,750 for to get potato chip grease and side pickle juice on it, right? Right? Okay, this is a fucking weird sandwich. It’s delicious and everything, but you can’t trust anyone who puts mixed greens on a sandwich. This judgement even comes from the girl who prefers purple kale. Why God why did I sit by the door. It’s so cold and distracting. Cigarette smoke is coming in with each open and close, but it’s also mixed with patchouli. Usually that would be fucking annoying, but now sensory memories engulf my thoughts and I taste PBR, American Spirit Menthols, and warm grass when I was packing picnics for a college fling. You can’t be mad at people when they remind you about days like that. It was so much more fun you didn’t give a shit about anything. This gray February day in a hipster cafe surrounded by other idiots smashing at their keyboards, scrolling memes, and writing shitty blog posts is the opposite of 19-year-old summer love. These door opening assholes reminding me that I quit smoking. Well, I quit “during the daytime and before two drinks” like that’s an actual rule people can use. I hope they are fucking happy with their fucking coffee and fucking top buns. Could you imagine Hemingway using the only when I’m drunk rule?

This girl wearing overalls marched in and moved a chair from one side of the table to the other, even though it’s farther away from an outlet and closer to another person. The person is reading a copy of a book called, “This Little Piggy Goes to Murder.” Jesus Christ I will never be talented enough to write, “This Little Piggy Goes to Murder.” Maybe I can go work for James Patterson  or something. Anyway, I can guaran-fucking-tee that girl is a writer. We’re all weirdos who need to be in corners. I wonder if it’s a vulnerability thing. You’re about to spill your soul so you need something to watch your back. You just have to finish your sandwich first.

I was an immature asshole. Will you take me back anyway?

I’m so sorry to have a to write a cliche like this. Such self-indulgent dibble on blogs makes me want to tear my eyes out, but hey, it’s 2017 and what’s life without a little hypocrisy? That’s right mother fuckers. Welcome to The Relaunch.

If you’ve noticed my blog blackout over the last six months, do not be alarmed, I wasn’t maimed by a bus and comatose. Unless, the bus was called Writer’s Block and the treatment was a whiskey IV. After an essay I had written got some press in Seattle and Portland, someone I deeply care for expressed a disappointment in how they were portrayed and it made me reconsider how I was writing. Hence, I decided to dick around Portland, not take any freelance work, and decide what I wanted this to look like moving forward.

Since I’ve had this blog for 10 years and never done any maintenance, these posts were chronicled in an immature and frankly annoying way. Even my non-relationship posts had my relationships painted all over them. It’s not a bad thing exactly, that was just the way I wrote in college. To read over them now, it’s kind of fun to see how in love I was with my ex, which freshman philosophy classes made me feel like big shot, and the way my friends and I have grown. That’s what happened though, I had grown. Go figure – people actually can grow up!

Using this writing as a professional portfolio didn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s what it was starting to try to be. It was like handing in my diary as my resume. Oddly enough, it worked quite a few times. Which is why I feel comfortable keeping some highly trafficked posts up here. Maybe it’s because you’re 22 and going through some shitty breakup, or maybe you’re just a misery tourist, but I’ll keep my popular posts like What to do When You’re Ex Gets Engaged and How to Cry at Work archived, but everything else got rek’d.

I just can’t write that way anymore. I just don’t act that way anymore. Especially with the way our country is right now, it’s important to be completely honest and completely yourself, so that is what I promise you. Also, for some reason you people think I’m relevantly discussing pre-22, A Million Bon Iver, so that’s staying.

If you’ll give me a chance, new words will be here and I’d love for you to read them. Plus, you know I still have my own stories. I still write my characters’ fiction. I still hope I can make you laugh and maybe feel something more too.

Or maybe I’ll just go drop a bunch of acid in John Day and write about that. Are people still dropping acid?

XOXO. Victoria.

p.s. I let my domain name expire while I was out there “finding myself” so give me a break while I shop for a new one.

What To Do When Your Ex Gets Engaged

In September, my many exes ago ex told me he was engaged…and the wedding was a month away. Since I’m a big fan of How-To guides, here’s how to and how to not deal with this.

First things first, tell yourself that your behavior for the next four weeks, doesn’t really matter. You have a free pass until the wedding! Do you know how often those come around? You only have one first love and they (maybe?) only get married once. This is the real one that got away. Or whatever.

Day One: This is going to get really really ugly. You’re going to cycle through emotions like a Snapchat story and painfully grasp for closure – which you absolutely won’t get. He tells me at about 9:00p.m. on a Monday. So, immediately afterward, I drag my glorious roommate to our neighborhood bar and get black out drunk. I had so many questions, and obviously had to ask them all. And because I’m not not psycho, I started with these:

  1. Why so fast? Is she pregnant? You’re an adult, have you learned nothing?
  2. You know you’re going to get divorced, right?
  3. WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME????

Also, he had completely reasonable responses to all of these. Like “This isn’t fast. I just avoided telling you because I knew you’d get upset.” and “Of course I love you, you’ve been my best friend, but we’re growing up.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Pro Tip: Make sure your drunk texts are extra pathetic. You won’t regret that at all later.

Day Two: Stalk his fiancée on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Insta, whatever you can get your hands on. Learn about her hometown, where she went to school, pictures of her with her ex boyfriends. Her food pictures suck and you’re obviously better at cooking and your IQ is probably way higher. Decide no grown woman who isn’t going through a major life crisis has bangs. Drink half a bottle of Grey Goose and show your dog pictures of her and laugh together about how she’ll have bangs in her wedding photos. HAH. STILL FUNNY.

Day Three: You fucked up and invited a friend from out of town to come visit, so you have to hold it together for three days because they’re staying with you. Solution? Continue this bender through the end of the week so you don’t have to deal with your feelings. Scare the hell out of said hometown friend with your coping mechanisms. You already had the time off work anyway and got a bunch of great photos.

Day Five: Go to a huge event with all of your friends. Remember you’re not a bad person and tons of people love you. You’ll run into people you haven’t seen in a while and see that your conversational skills aren’t just naturally repulsive because that’s totally what you’ve been thinking. Hey, strangers think you’re pretty! The world is okay!

Day Seven: You have to go back to work tomorrow. Have a Get Your Shit Together Sunday. Go to the gym, wash your laundry, respond to emails and get a jump start on the week. Then decide not to because it’s Harry Potter weekend and you already have wine. Remember what I said up there? You have a free pass. Tell your friends, strangers, your mom, whatever, and warn them of the storm to come.

Week Two: You’ve made it a whole week! That wasn’t so bad! Sure, you never actually dealt with anything other than a hangover, but that’s okay. Tell yourself you can heal slowly. Up next? Get ready to listen to A LOT of Tom Waits. I chose Ruby’s Arms and Kentucky Avenue. Speaking of music, post 500 snapchats of you singing I Really Don’t Care by Demi Lovato and Whatever Forever by The Mowgli’s because you know that little bitch is going watch every single one. Also, add All Your Favorite Bands by Dawes to every playlist you have. You are an adult and you wish him nothing but the best, after all. Maybe even drunk text him the lyrics to that. 

Week Three: After you go to Seattle for the weekend and spend the monthly income of a family of four on things you don’t really need because capitalism is great for dulling pain, get ready for a Mount St. Helens type breakdown. All those feelings you were avoiding are suddenly all popping up. And you are going to be ANGRY. Get on the phone with your mom for an hour and talk about how mad you are. Throw a light up ice cube at your roommate’s head because “HE DOESN’T DESERVE TO LIVE IN A WORLD WITH LIGHT UP ICE CUBES OR BATMAN.” Get mad at yourself for being a good friend when you should have walked away. Remember you haven’t actually eaten in two weeks. Unless you count that saltine cracker from two days ago. Cry to said roommate and she’ll make you lunch all week. Talk about him on the podcast. Dropkick a gingerbread house. Maybe cut back on the wine nights.

Week Four: After your breakdown/epiphany, you’re going to feel a lot better. Week Four goes alright, and you are actually capable of dealing with things now. Realize this hurts, and hurt for a while. It’s going to be incredibly tough, but sometime it’s going to stop. As personal as this feels, it’s not really about you, which sucks in itself. Someone you held out hope for, isn’t thinking about you because they love someone else now. But you’ll move on too, because that’s life and that’s what we do.

Also, under NO circumstances should you text him all of the lyrics to “I Will Always Love You” when you’re drunk. You should also absolutely not call him and leave it on his voicemail. You should also listen to this playlist I made.