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The Fireman and the Pole

This is my essay for week two of class that earned me a 82! I am quite thrilled since I was aiming for a low B. I know it is silly, but getting my B this week has given me the confidence that I am “teachable” and I am coming to terms with the fact that it IS OK to not know everything straight off. I think I have become so comfy in my position career-wise and having an area of expertise, that it flusters me to be in unknown waters now. I hope that with each week it will become easier for me to cope with and I won’t be so high stress about everything.

This essay is about how I originally met my husband for the first time, almost 13 years ago, and how we eventually became a couple 5 years later. 🙂 It was actually really nice to write about my husband this time. I know sometimes I get so caught up in the things I don’t like about him, that it was really good for me to focus on the things that I love about him.

The Fireman and the Pole

When I was 14 years old, the place to be was our local skating rink, Dazzles. On any Friday night you could find me there, hanging out with friends and “freak” dancing. That is what we called it then, but you could also call it dirty dancing. Colorful, flashing disco lights and neon carpet that glowed in the dark set the atmosphere there. Kids would be socializing in large groups and music would be blaring, hip hop songs like, Kilo Ali’s Baby, Baby. One particular Friday night, a girlfriend of mine was dancing alone, when a guy came up behind her and started dancing with quite a bit of enthusiasm. This would be my future husband. My very first thought upon seeing him was, “What a freak.” I can say without a doubt, that I didn’t know that he was “the one” on that night, but sometimes you find love where you least expect it.

I learned that his name was Michael. Also, that we went to the same school, and we even had Physical Education class during the same period, but with different teachers. Over the course of years our paths crossed repeatedly. We shared similar friends, so we ended up in social situations together. We would run into each other at the mall, hang out in the same groups and attend the same parties, but never forming more than a distant friendship. He was always flirtatious with me, but I never gave him any romantic thought.

Michael had spunk though, and I appreciated that about him. One of my favorite memories from those days happened the first time I learned to play the card game Rummy. He was teaching me the rules and we played quite a few games that night. He was in a teasing mood and at one point he looked at me very seriously and said, “Hey Crystal, why don’t you come be my fireman and I can be your pole?” I couldn’t help but laugh. Though, I still thought, “What a freak,” but in a more endearing way.

A little over 4 and a half years after originally meeting Michael for the first time, I began to date his best friend, Patrick. During the two months that we dated, Patrick lived at Michael’s house and I was there nearly every day. Patrick was the kind of boyfriend that gave you just enough attention to keep you hanging on and was distant enough to drive you a bit crazy. He spent the majority of his time playing games on his computer when I was around, so consequently I spent much of that time with Michael. During this time though, the friendship I built with Michael became essential to my life.

For the first time, instead of seeing “Patrick’s best friend,” I saw Michael, and he was kind of awesome. His personality meshed well with mine; we had a similar sense of humor, which tended to lead us into terribly inappropriate jokes. He became one of my closest friends and we talked about all kinds of things. I got to know him on a more serious level, one without all the barriers. I saw how ambitious, charming and thoughtful he really was underneath all of his goofiness. It changed the way that I perceived him.

He became my confidante. He was the one that I confided in when I admitted to wanting to break up with Patrick. One night, after a stiff drink and some encouragement from Michael, I finally managed to get the job done. There were no hurt feelings from this break up. It was a relationship working for no one, and I just happened to be the first to admit it aloud. Patrick and I stayed friends and I still spent most days hanging out at the house, so that I could see Michael.

I can’t pinpoint the moment when it happened; it was more of a slow progression of my feelings towards him changing.  There was just the overall feeling of being my happiest when I was with him. One night the line between friend and “something more” started to blur. We went to a club together with friends to have some fun. After getting back, we all decided to sleep at Michael’s house. I told him that I wanted to sleep in his bed with him; I wanted to be near him. We snuggled in the bed, his arms wrapped around me and that was how we slept that night.

On a morning not long after that, when I had decided to stay over again, I woke up to find a letter from him. Well, not quite a letter. More like a journal entry that he wrote about me before deciding last minute that he wanted me to read it.

“I feel a sort of emptiness when she isn’t around. When she calls and I hear her voice it’s like I fall into a trance. I love spending time with her…. My heart hurts when I think about her, when she is around me.”

It was actually about three pages long and I loved reading every bit of it, but it scared me. If I tried to be with him, I ran the risk of it not working out and then losing a friend that I wasn’t sure I was willing to sacrifice. I wrote him a letter back letting him know how I felt. Though, once it was out in the open, there really wasn’t any going back, was there?

I remember our first kiss. It happened at night, as I was leaving his house and he walked me to my car. It started out as a hug, but ended with a kiss. He wrapped his arms around me and my heart was beating so hard it throbbed in my ears. He ran a hand into the back of my hair and held me there. My whole body felt flushed, like I was on fire. It felt amazing, but more than that, it felt natural; like that was exactly the way things should have always been.

Looking back, I am thankful that life gave me the opportunity to see my husband for the person that he really is, not the one I assumed him to be, and that I took it! Eight years later, we have two amazingly, wonderful kids and a relationship that has endured many good times, as well as many bad ones. It hasn’t always been easy; sometimes it has been hard work, but it helps that I love him like crazy. He is still my confidante, that one person in my life that knows me better than anyone else. His presence and his touch are still the one thing that can make me feel better, even on the worst of days. Most days, we actually pass for grown ups now. Even though at our core, we are still the same girl and boy that liked to “freak” dance at the skating rink.


The Fireman and The Pole from Mike Bowden on Vimeo.

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The Cheater = C

This is the finished essay on the cheater from high school. The one that earned me a whopping C. I am sure I am biased but I really don’t think it is worthy of a C. Although, it certainly can be improved upon, which I plan to do, to try and get a better grade.

The assignment was to read an essay called “Cut,” and then write about my biggest rejection and weather or not it caused me to become an overachiever in life.

The Cheater

I was an idealistic girl at sixteen, the first time I fell in love. It was through this love that I experienced my biggest rejection.  Although, in Bob Green’s essay “Cut,” he asserts that public rejection leads to being overly ambitious in life, I think that how people will react to a rejection is as unique as people themselves. My story is one about heartbreak.

When I was in high school I kept a sketchbook that included drawings, paintings, collages, journaling, and pictures. It was a window into my soul, of sorts. What follows is something that I wrote about Danny, my high school sweetheart, which gives a glimpse at what I felt about him during our relationship.

“The Story of Us: There once was a girl, who met a boy and they became friends. Two years passed before they came back together and reunited as friends. This girl, outcast to the world, pushed away all love for fear of it. Including the love of the boy who had always loved her. Till, one day she woke up and looked into the boy’s eyes and saw the love there and she felt no fear. She loved him back. His arms slid around her and she felt safe. He saved her and she saved him. They were happy forever.”

This is a clipping from my high school sketchbook.

And I really did believe we would be happily together forever. Fast-forward two years and our relationship seemed to be in a vastly different place. Not quite so happy and carefree but I still believed that he was “it” for me. It had been two days since we had spoken. Two days since we fought, just one of many recent fights but this one had been particularly nasty. Two days of crying, thinking about the future, and weather or not he should be in mine.

I walked into his house unannounced, just like I would on any other day, and that is where I found them.  They were snuggled up together, half dressed on the couch. I froze, completely in shock. I felt almost nothing in those moments. I stood there for what felt like a very long time, but what was only seconds, just taking in the whole scene in front of me.

I noticed his lack of reaction, as if he didn’t care at all that I was seeing them together.  Then, her small smile, letting me know that she was happy that I had seen them. I never said anything and neither did they. I just walked forward and dropped his promise ring on top of them, then turned around and left. Only once I was away from the house did emotion sink into me and then I broke down. Hysterically. I felt betrayed, crushed, and humiliated.

I mourned the loss of him. Worse than that, I questioned myself. Why would he do that? Was I not pretty enough? Smart enough? Funny enough? What did she have that made her better than me? That he would take what we had together and throw it away on her? Did he ever love me? Had I wasted two years of my life on someone who never really cared about me? How long had he been cheating with her? Did he cheat with others that I didn’t know about? How many of our friends knew? How many people had been lying to me?

Danny’s rejection of me had many short-term effects, including the need to “overachieve”. I mean this more in the sense that I felt like I needed to prove the fact that I was a desirable, amazing person. I needed to prove it to him, but most importantly, I needed to prove it to myself. I wanted him to regret his choices. It took time and closure for me to move past the experience but once I did, I stopped striving to be the picture of perfection, as my husband can well attest.

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365 Project: Day 5 – Coffee House

Day 5

I went to Rev Coffee tonight. I LOVE Rev Coffee. I had a meeting with my co-teacher for the yoga class I am teaching with the homeschool co-op beginning next week. I got there early with the grand plans to try and get some reading for school done. I read an entire page, realized I didn’t actually absorb any of it and decided to ditch that plan. I enjoyed my latte, called The Razz.  Raspberry and white choclate. Umm, yum. Plus, a walnut brownie. The brownie was gone so quick I didn’t catch it on camera. 😉

More 365 Project Photos

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I Wanna be Smarter!

Michael has suggested that I work on gathering my thoughts about why I want to go back to school, so that I have something I can look back on when times get tough. Something to help me push forward and to remind me why I am doing this. So with only 3 more weeks until my very first class starts, I thought I best be getting to work on this. 😛

When I think about the reasons why I want to go back to school, the biggest one that stands out for me is that I want more knowledge. Well… duh. Being a homeschooling mother has put a pressure on me to feel like I need to know more and have more to offer my kids. I know that I am quite capable of homeschooling my kids with the knowledge base that I have now. I am resourceful and should my kids ever need instruction on something that I just can’t handle and they can’t self-learn, I have options. But, there are many days where I feel like even some of the most basic and simplistic information is just not in my database. Things I know I learned in school but did not retain. There is a HUGE part of me that wishes that I could answer more of their questions without the initial… “Well, I don’t know but we can find out.”

So I want to be smarter! Yay! One reason down.

I am also very genuinely interested in Sociology.  Just from the bit of self-study I have been doing on the topic since I decided to go back to school… it has been very eye opening. Looking at the world, at how social behaviors are influenced and viewing even the most mundane things through your “sociological imagination”, is just pretty damn interesting. I have no clue what I want to do with it yet, but I guess I will figure that out as I go along. So if I want to learn all the Sociology stuff, I am gonna have to get through my general education. 🙂

So I think Sociology is cool! Bam. #2.

Well, I really think that is all I got…

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Mondays… Bleh

I feel slightly proud of myself today. Despite the Monday BLAHS, going non-stop today trying to get things done that needed to get done…. I managed to not let myself get too overwhelmed. My kids trashed my house and it didn’t hurt as much inside as it would have in the past. I didn’t circle around them trying to pick up the messes as they made them. I didn’t run to clean them up as soon as they moved on to something new. Well… not immediately anyways. 😛 A day like today would have normally had my anxiety levels crazy high and I would have been snappy and on the verge of melt down at many points.
But I held it together! Progress? Or fluke? I don’t really care. I will take it.
I kinda loathe Mondays in general. The catch up on housework and other things that tend to get blown off over the weekend because we aren’t here much is a total pain. Now throw into the mix of Holiday stuff and that just makes things more fun! Yes. That is sarcasm. We did get 3 picture frames painted and decorated. They turned out so cute!!! I am tempted to take a picture of them but I don’t want to ruin the surprise for my family that will be getting them. 😛 So now only…. 5 more to go. Sigh. Not to mention all the other stuff I have to make. Christmas parties coming up…. Another sigh…..
I even managed to do yoga with the kids today. And when I say I did yoga with the kids today, what I really mean is… that I did yoga, while the kids pulled every book they own off the bookshelves and Haden repeatedly interrupted me to tell me stories or ask me questions. Cheeky Baby was halfway interested enough that she did attempt a few poses so I guess I won’t call it a complete FAIL.
So I have decided to move this blog over to WordPress and give it a bit of a revamping. I would like to change the name of the blog but don’t have any wonderful ideas floating around in my head, so I am open to suggestions. Anyone? I found the greatest theme for my blog, only to realize that it wasn’t set up for the most recent version of WordPress or some other bullarchy. It didn’t quite work right and I didn’t want Michael to have to spend a ton of time trying to fix it. I have found another one though but I have to buy it so that will be waiting until pay day. Sigh.
Have I ever told you patience isn’t my thing?
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Show Me The Money!

I survived Thanksgiving! Now I just have the stress of Christmas looming over me. I will feel SO much better once I have all my money for presents dealt with and the majority of my shopping done but I am not as close to that point as I would like to be. Just don’t think about it, Crystal. Don’t think about it. That is my new mantra. It is sorta helping.

Side note: Michael’s boss man is trying to close a big deal right now and if it happens would mean a VERY Merry Christmas to me! So send some positive, hopeful vibes our way.

Well, other than holiday excitement around here and a big family gathering that I luckily DID NOT have to cook for… We have added 2 new additions to the family. My parents spent Thanksgiving week in Myrtle Beach and came back with 2 Red Eared Slider Turtles for the kids. You would think they were for me though, since I seem to be the one that is overly excited about them.

Aren’t they so stinkin’ cute??!! The bigger one is Cooper and the smaller one is Bailey. I can’t wait to make their terrarium badass. To do that I need MOOLAH! Sheesh. It is never ending. Our house is turning into a little mini zoo and honestly I would like a couple more additions. I have some books that will hopefully be ready to pick up from the library soon about turtles, snails and fish so that we can learn more about our newbies.

A little sneak peek at a project we started working on this week…

We have started working on a wind chime! We are using our sea shells from MIL and some acorns and sticks from our recent Sweetwater trip. We managed to get 3 of the strands done and we want to make 6 more. I can’t wait to see the finished product. Hopefully we will get some work done on it today.

Registration for classes opens up on Tuesday! My financial aid is all squared away. Mostly. I just need to register on Tuesday and send in some paperwork and I will be set! Classes start on January 9th and I will be starting with English Composition I. I am excited and very nervous still. Reading the syllabus fuels my anxiety and there is a part of me that is sure that I am going to just struggle through this whole thing. Not just this class but my whole college experience. I am trying to have faith in myself that I can handle more than I think I can but I suspect that I probably won’t feel better about this until I get there.

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School Bound!!!

Of course nothing ever works out the way that you originally planned, so my whole idea of Oregon State had to be reworked. 😉 After getting some of my questions answered and hitting some road blocks, I decided that it might be best to look into some other options. Well, there really aren’t ANY other good options for Anthropology online.
My sister actually started college pretty recently, majoring in History online and she mentioned that I should check out her school (Columbia College) and look into their Sociology degree. Turns out… that Sociology seems like a much better fit for me and after that everything else just fell right into place. I received an acceptance email this afternoon and everything is in the works for me to start in January!
So I am really excited and looking forward to starting this chapter in my life. Being a student again seems so weird and I am completely scared that it will be terribly hard for me because I feel like I have retained nothing from high school and it has been so long. Sheesh! It was 10 years ago!
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The Good News

I meant to do this last night, along with a bunch of other stuff and it never quite worked itself out. 😛 So my very good news… to me at least… is that I have the awesome opportunity to go to college. So I am taking it. That is all. 😉

Really though, I got an approval letter for financial assistance yesterday and now I just need to work out all the details and get myself set up to start. I am hoping that I will be ready to go for the Winter semester. I originally looked at the Anthropology program at West Georgia before I was sure if I would even be able to go but then realized that they don’t offer it online. So I have had to do some searching around to find what I am looking for, since I really don’t want to have to attend classes. Not at this time in my life anyways.

I like the looks of the Anthropology program offered through Oregon States eCampus, so I am starting there but I need to make some phone calls. Ask some questions and that sort of thing before I can apply. Right now all the details are fuzzy until I get some answers that I need but either way I am excited! 🙂

Side note: When telling my MIL last night that we had good news, her face lit up like it was Christmas. Her first assumption being that I was pregnant. HA!