Tag Archives: friendship

Not Faking It Until I Make It

I am back from my New York City trip. It was my sixth visit and also my hardest. Just two days into the trip I experienced a falling out with a friend. I felt blind-sighted, disillusioned, angry, heartbroken. I had previously felt so certain that this person was the safest person with whom to have a friendship. He was just that nice and that good. Unsure about what kind of relationship I wanted with this person, I cried and leaned on a few of my other friends. Sometimes clarity comes with well-intentioned advice that feels wrong. A couple of my friends suggested I “fake it till I make it.” They urged me to just act as if I am fine and not give the person the satisfaction of knowing he had that kind of power. “That would really show him!”

I have a long history of swallowing grievances for the sake of pride and winning. My parents raised me on many of their own mantras, one of which was, “Don’t cry about people who aren’t crying about you.” I was raised by parents who were also taught to never let people see you vulnerable. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized in learning to silently and secretly bear trespasses, it kept the perpetrators in my life for much longer than was healthy. A defense mechanism that developed as a byproduct was very high tolerance for pain. Pain is how we know when something isn’t working or isn’t healthy. So consequently, I also developed high tolerance for people who were bad for me.

It wasn’t till my late twenties that I learned the value of pain. Like a lot of people, I’m hedonistic by nature and I lean on the pursuit of pleasure as my most sought out cure for pain. Sweep icky feeling under the rug and go on a trip or eat a whole half gallon of ice cream! But pain is good. Pain tells you when something isn’t working.

Another thing my loving but humanly misguided parents taught me that I had to unlearn was not using my words. They commanded me to always hold my head high and never let anyone suspect that they hurt me. With a lot of practice, I got to be very good at silently suffering until I felt numb. Which enabled a lot of mistreatment. Which toughened me up for more ensuing pain from these toxic people because they learned they can do anything and I wouldn’t speak up.

Terrible cycle.

So when my friends suggested I fake it till I make it with this person who made me crumble on what was supposed to be a fun trip, I felt a very clear resolution rise from my stomach and into my heart.

I am no longer pretending with people who hurt me that they didn’t hurt me.

In deciding that, every superficial conversation initiated by this person felt like an uncomfortable game of charades. I took two more days to steel myself to speak up and when I did, it felt so good to be honest. Not only to him but also to myself. I felt strong. Powerful.

Who would have thought that in admitting feelings of hurt, you can actually feel strong and powerful?

August On & Off Instagram

In August, I had a photo-taking meet up with a friend. We chased the light around downtown Austin and snapped photos to hone and practice our skill. It was during this endeavor that I met a unicorn.

I met up with a couple of guy friends. The three of us sat on a balcony, drinking sake and eating chocolate and shared painful stories, punctuated with humorous anecdotes that relieved us of the ache. After I peeled myself from the refuge of the balcony floor, I received a Snapchat photo from another friend captioned “boys’ night”. I responded with a group selfie with the same caption. We made an unlikely trio and our night of being vulnerable with each other is not typical for us. So much so that I doubt we’ll ever do it again and yet this night was the most comforting night I had in August.

August ended with my leaving for my big trip of the year. Anita, MJ, and I left on the 28th to fly to Athens. By the end of August we had started island hopping in Greece. We sunbathed in Mykonos and walked around Santorini. I can’t wait to show you the rest of the photos from Greece in the September recap.

Not depicted on Instagram, I went on a couple of dates with someone I’ve been harboring unrequited feelings for for months. It hasn’t progressed much after that but it remains a highlight of the month. As painful as it is to not see reciprocation, being around him makes me smile. Oh the angst!

Watermelon Popsicles  Unicorn

Boy's Night

Downtown Austin

Odd Duck Brunch

Pay it Forward with Daniel Curtis

Mykonos Street Artist

Ferry to Santorini

Santorini

Mykonos

Santorini

Santorini

You can follow me on Instagram @curiousnotions.

Rappelling Down 38 Stories

rappelling

I rappelled down 38 stories this past weekend through fundraising for Make-A-Wish. It was by far the scariest thing I have ever done. I cried when I was literally hanging on top of The W Hotel by my toes. I have done a lot of scary things in my life but don’t remember being reduced to tears. As I was crying and stalling, I heard my friends on the ground cheer me by name. Hearing my friends cheer me for the first time finally motivated me to take the first few steps.

rappelling
photo by Thomas

I inched down slowly and clumsily. I’ve heard the term “spaghetti legs” a few times from unique sources describing my ungracefulness. I was instructed to descend until my butt touched the ground. After the volunteers unhooked the ropes from me, they asked me to stand up. That was when I realized I couldn’t without help. This was the second time in my life where I felt pins and needles throughout my entire body and all my extremities from the adrenaline and nerves. (The first time was when I heard upsetting news during my first experience with heartbreak.)

The Make-A-Wish volunteers hoisted me up on my feet when it was clear that I needed help. I numbly smiled the biggest smile I could muster to my excited friends waving at me. The volunteers told them I had to return my gear and get my belongings before I could join them.

After returning my gear and retrieving my belongings, I checked my phone. I received so many texts of encouragement from those who couldn’t watch in person. I was stunned by how big of a deal my loved ones were making this to be. I didn’t quite feel like I owned this challenge. I tried to tame my helmet hair before heading out. I was to go on a winery tour for the rest of the day for my friends’ surprise birthday party and my freshly washed hair was now damp with sweat.

Still in a daze, I walked out and was greeted by a neon group of smiling faces, signs, and silly string. Some of my closest friends made it and were meeting each other for the first time. Treavor met my best friend from high school. My best friend from high school met Anita. Thomas was no longer there but he got to meet some of my Austin friends. I felt so loved and lucky and yes, a little undeserving.

The thing is, I often downplay my accomplishments. I was hard on myself for being so scared and not enjoying it. The only enjoyable part for me was being done. I also thought it wasn’t that big of a deal. A lot of people rappel down buildings. No one cares. It isn’t that special. But almost a week later, my friends are patting me on the back still and just today Kim tagged me on a Facebook status bragging about me. I’m seeing myself reflected through their proud eyes and am finally reveling in this feat. They are patting my back not only because they’re sweet and loving, but because I rappelled down 38 stories!

I’ve walked by The W Hotel twice since rappelling this Saturday and each time, I looked up and thought, I rappelled down that. Just as I don’t think I could have made it down if I hadn’t heard my friends’ cheers, I don’t think I could have been proud of myself had I not got a glimpse of my reflection through their eyes.

It’s amazing what you can do if you surround yourself with people who believe in you.

The Beauty of Treavor

I’ve once climbed a mountain with Treavor. We met during the first year of Vlog Every Day in August. I had an innocent crush on him before I knew he didn’t like girls. We’ve explored Texas, Arkansas, Oregon, and Nevada together. That’s more than I’ve ever explored with any boyfriend. How fitting that he calls himself my blog husband.

Recently, I called him because I needed to cry to someone. Just sob and hiccup. I asked for fifteen minutes and sobbed on the phone for fourteen. When the phone call ended and I saw the timestamp, I texted him to let him know I kept it under my request. He responded, “You cheated me out of a minute.”

The beauty of Treavor is more than the dimples of his flirty smile or the melody of his singing voice. It’s more than his fashion sense and ability to rock colored pants. It’s in his generosity and gentle but unflinching honesty. It’s in his courage to be exactly who he is despite who may be watching. The beauty of Treavor has contributed to the beauty of my life.

Friendship Dates


I have a handful of friends who are always up for things. Skydiving? Sure! Go to a new country because you’re turning 30? Okay! Paint something pretty because Instagram inspired you? Let’s do it!

I’ve met Anita through Bloggers in Sin City last year and in just a year, I’ve learned that she is one of the people in my life who is always willing to say yes to a new adventure, however big or small. It’s such a fortunate coincidence that she lives in Austin too. She recently sent me a Groupon for a splatter Pollock date. Since we both recently have a shared interest in saving for a house, I suggested for a fraction of the cost, we can just have our own painting date. I’ll bring the sheet to protect for paint splatters! She offered to cook a Smitten Kitchen Cookbook dinner because one of her 2013 resolutions is to cook her way through the entire book. And there we have it, a perfect girls night in to brighten a week day.

Most of my close friends don’t live in the same city as me. Through the years of having quarterly phone dates to catch up, I noticed a theme in all the conversations. It can be quite lonely in our age group. Friends move away to pursue careers. Friends get married and all of a sudden common interests shift. There’s hardly any time outside of work and home life especially if you’re also juggling a family or a long commute or both! When I trace back the friendships I cherish to see what was the moment that caused two people to realize they like each other and want to continue seeing each other, most of the time it was someone going out on a limb to invite a near stranger to an outing. It could be as mild as sitting at the same table for lunch at work or as huge as skydiving.

There are these endorphins that release when you do something new and fun. It feels good. And when you’re doing something that feels good with someone, that’s a form of bonding. (Refrain from TWSS jokes. I’m trying to be semi-serious here!) And when you find that you’ve made a new friend and you both like each other, keep doing new things with your friend.

You might even get free homemade desserts.

Question: Tell me about your last great friendship date.

The Curly-Haired Girl

In first grade, there was a curly-haired girl who always had the sniffles. We played group games during recess but always on opposite teams. I didn’t know her name because although she was in the same grade, she was not in the same first grade class. She left our school after first grade and I quickly forgot about her.

In sixth grade, I was still in the same school. My friend and I were both at a Catholic high school competing in an academic contest. I think I was in a math competition. Before the test was passed out, my friend turned to a curly-haired girl and asked, “Did you go to St. Jeromes’s?” The girl surprised, blinked and confirmed. It was then that I recognized her as the sniffling girl from first grade.

I forgot about her again. Three years later, our paths crossed again as freshmen in a new high school. It took us a couple of years there but we grew to be each other’s best friend. I like to call her my brain. Whatever thought I have, it’s almost instinctual to share with her. Alan knows that when he swears me to secrecy, she is an exception. Luck was on my side when our paths cross three times before we got it right.

Happiest 30th to my BFF! I cannot wait to see her this Christmas!

Related: Last year’s post

And Then It Was Over

I’m back home from an awesome time in Vegas for Bloggers in Sin City.

I will recap soon. For now, I wanted to show you the only video footage we managed to get. I just saw this for the first time and it just made me want to invent a time machine. Miss these girls already.


Youtube Link

Friends of Proximity

Making friends with people I routinely see is easy. Be along side someone every day of the week and the chances of stumbling on some awesome commonalities go up. I think that’s why people label friends in their lives by venue. High school friend, college friend, neighbor friend, church friend, work friend, camp friend, Internet friend. We pay homage to the chapters and locations of our lives that made these friendships possible. As I’ve grown older and became more keen of life’s patterns, I recognized that most friendships don’t survive the ending of proximity. Most people I meet aren’t still in touch with their high school friends (My tiny high school and the friendships I see still fostered on Facebook are an aberration.) I’ve adored many coworkers but have managed to only keep 4-5 as friends after holding 10 jobs in my life time. I’m always saddened when I leave chapters not only because I know that life will be uncertain until I find my next groove, but also because I have to leave the people behind. There’s just not enough time and room for everyone you meet and share french fries with to continue on in your life.

My college friend, Deesh likes to remind me of that one time we took a final in our final semester in 2005 of college together. I had asked him if he thought we’d still be friends after college. He laughed because he couldn’t imagine it otherwise. Cynical, I just thought he was being a bit naive. Maybe he was, but it’s now been over 5 years since graduation and I’m having dinner with him Thursday. In September, I blogged that I was sad that Jessica moved away and got married and I mourned the loss of our friendship. Just a couple months later, we reunited for a weekend. Last year for VEDA, I watched 20-30 people post a vlog every day for the month of August. It was our first year doing it and at the end, I thought, “Man, another chapter done. I probably won’t keep in touch with most of these awesome people.” Now I share a collab channel with four of the girls I met and tweet at a slew of them still. We make plans to meet each other even.

I wanted to take a moment and marvel at some of these friendships. My college friend Kym and I really just spent one summer together 5 years ago and yet I email her weekly. Kim and I met in 2001 in college and I email her DAILY and see her when I’m in Houston. Cindy and I only really shared a few months of living in the same town when we first met. I respect the importance and fond memories of friends whom life physically moved away and with them the friendship dissipated, but the friendships I managed to keep alive with emails, phone calls, chats, letters, and care packages, they really have a special place in my heart. You can say there’s no closer proximity than the friendships you carry with you.

This post is written in dedication to my BFF, a high school life friend.

Jessica’s Married


Bracelet stuck in veil!

Jessica, Brandi (previous roommate), and I worked at a now closed indoor playground called Radijazz while we were all still undergrads. Usually, you leave a place of work and the work friendships kind of taper off. Knowing this, I really cherish the friendships that survive after leaving a work place. It’s now been 6 years since we’ve worked at Radijazz and I feel blessed to have them still as close friends.

While we worked there, we had a weekly dinner club that met every Thursday to cook and watch Grey’s Anatomy. We always had to really make sure our food wasn’t terribly interesting because Jessica, as adventurous as she is (she hunts and fishes and can spit farther than any boy I know), is not adventurous when it comes to food. She loves her Wishbone’s Thousand Island, chicken tenders, and ketchup! In fact, Brandi approached me during her wedding this weekend and said, “Guess what we’re having for dinner? It’s her favorite.”

I erroneously guessed chicken tenders and ketchup, which got all around me giggling because it was the best guess!

We had Mexican. Her other favorite.

So Brandi and I trekked it four hours to Texas’s coast to see our Jessica get married. She’s been out of Austin for about a year now and I miss her so terribly. The last three years she was in Austin, we shared a parking lot. I could come over unannounced and pop myself on her living room floor to go through her magazines as if they’re my own. She’d come over to bum an egg or two. The only thing I hated about going to her apartment was her crazy pet squirrel who attacked me once. Even then, I loved her too much to let the most demonic squirrel I’ve come across keep me away.

Seeing her this weekend was the first time I saw her in a year and it was simultaneously a joyous and heartbreaking time for me. I loved seeing her in her white dress and happy but I’ve never missed being able to just walk across the parking lot to see her as much as I did at her wedding.

I’m back in Austin and I find myself grieving a little. I’m wishing her the happiest married life and will cherish our memories. Maybe we’ll catch each other once in a while?


She got dressed so fast she forgot to take off her shorts!

Happy Birthday, MEF!


photo credit

It’s my best friend’s birthday today. 13 years of friendship. 10 years of it a best friendship. She’s lived in Boston for quite some time now. Now that she’s bought a grown up house, it looks like there’s a likely chance that we won’t ever live in the same state again. Except maybe when we are little old ladies moving into the same nursing home. In the meantime, we make due by sharing everything mentally (I like to call her, my brain) and seeing each other at Christmas and occasional visits. We’ve agreed to visit each other once a year, alternating our states. I start next year so I can see her new house.

I like to marvel at the scope of our shared experiences. She’s literally been my refuge after major break ups, offering up her miles and and East Coast home. I’ve seen her meet, date, and marry her boo. I have a random memory of her as a 1st grader with boogers in her nose from when we crossed paths as munchkins. I’ve grown to fiercely love her family and her husband. We’ve walked each other through familial falling outs. We bumped heads repeatedly as teenagers. We’ve traveled to Europe together. Hell, we once invited a strange man into our hotel room as high school students just to hang out and managed to not get sexually assaulted or killed. It’s just been quite a ride with this girl and I cannot wait to see where our lives take us. I always know we’re going to be okay because we have each other.

I love her and am wishing her the best birthday. :)