A Hungover Love Letter For My Party People

Dear Party People,

I'm writing you a love letter today. Why, you ask? Because sometimes, the world tells you that you shouldn't stay out until 3am, have that next shot, or stay in bed until 12pm on Saturday. Every once in a while, you'll be asked to grow up, leave your late nights behind, and be productive earlier than is physically possible for you on a weekend. But you know what? It's okay. I believe in you. I believe that you are still able to be responsible when you need to be, pay your bills (mostly) on time, and take care of your fur babies.

Let me digress a moment - I think I did this all backwards. I didn't drink before I turned 21. I can honestly count on one hand how many "illegal" beverages I imbibed before I entered the golden age of Youthful Sobriety. Yeah, yeah... I was a goody-two-shoes and saved my parents from the headaches of underaged drinking problems. Not to say that I didn't cause them headaches in other ways - love you, Mom and Dad! Even after I came of age, I didn't drink all that much. I waited until I moved out and lived with a friend, and then began to "hit the clubs." We would take turns being the designated driver and it worked out perfectly. Then I dated a bartender for a few years and upped the ante on twilight shenanigans, learned more about which liquors I can trust, and that Gatorade is my best friend on weekend mornings. As much fun as that relationship was while it lasted, I've leveled up even further on party mode now that I'm single.

Actually, being single is probably one of the best things you can do for you. Sure, I do like being a good girlfriend to someone, and sharing in the awesomeness that comes along with having a partner, but at the same time - I understand that it's also okay to be alone. And being on your own allows you to do whatever you want, whenever you want. That includes getting home from work on Friday, sleeping from 6 - 11pm, and then hitting your usual haunting grounds at 12:30am. That includes buying shots for your DJ pals, dancing with your friends, and falling asleep fully clothed and in your entire face of makeup. 

Having a lot of fun also includes busting your knee wide open. Waking up in the morning, peeling off your already torn-up stockings, and realizing that you probably could have used stitches but never felt a thing. 

Every once in a while I'll hear someone say, "Damn, I'm so glad I grew out of that phase." I don't ever want to grow out of this phase. This isn't a phase at all. This is knowing my limits, testing them, and suffering the consequences. This is being young, human, and enjoying my life to my fullest. Sure, I definitely get more terrible hangovers at the age of 27 than I did at 21, but now I know to get my tush out of bed, put my big girl pants on (ahem, leggings), and march across the street to the corner market and buy Gatorade. It doesn't matter if I look like Hell warmed over while doing it, at least I'm taking care of my business. 

I like to have fun. I like to hang out with my friends, support DJ buddies, and I'm basically halfway nocturnal now. That's my lifestyle. I'm also focused on being creative on my own time, maintaining amazing friendships (shoutout to Marisa for putting up with my hungover self this morning), furthering my career, learning new hobbies, loving on my family, and so much more. Just because I like to party doesn't mean that I'm any less of a functioning, normal citizen. 

So, my party people, I ask you to support one another. Even if those party people are sober. Even if they are not. Even if they party in a different manner than you. Don't judge them. Step in if you feel it's necessary for their health or safety, but otherwise give them a mental high five when they manage to make it into work on Monday in one piece. 

Keep up the good work, y'all.






On Learning To Speak The Language Of Love

- - - By SOSM contributor, Sarah

February 14th. The day we all love and love to hate. The day we pull out that red dress, black shoes, and oddly negative attitude towards relationships, happiness, and love. Valentine's Day.

I for one have always loved Valentine’s Day. There was, however, a brief moment in highschool where I pretended to hate it because all of my friends did. Yes… I was that angsty girl who walked around and repeated the ever so popular line, “Valentine’s Day isn't even a real holiday! It was made up by a card company and it is sad if you only celebrate love one day a year!”

Growing up, I thought my best Valentine’s Days would come around when I was in a super serious relationship. I pictured a day full of every cliche in the book: roses, chocolates, jewelry I could only wear to a Ball that I would never actually be invited to, a puppy, a carriage ride, and a night of steamy passionate sex.

I would consider marriage to be a “super serious relationship” and to be honest, Valentine’s Day has changed a bit for me. I still love it, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I love it more now than I ever did, but only because I can give Valentines to my 337 students and they bring me cupcakes.

There is just something different about it now. Maybe there is a sense of permanency that feels new? Maybe other factors in the life we have started building overshadow a $10 box of chocolates (yes please…) and that $80 dinner? One thing I know for sure is that celebrating the love I have for my husband on February 14th is easy, but truly knowing HOW to love him takes hard work.

My husband Bradley and I are polar opposites. Something we have been figuring and working on since the day we met. The things I need to feel love are apparently very different from what Bradley needs. For example, I have always been a gift giver...that’s how I show my love and affection. So occasionally I will buy the fancy cheese at the store and some of Bradley's favorite spicy chicken… how romantic, right? It used to drive me CRAZY that he was not hanging all over me drowning me in appreciation, but it all makes sense now.

Our Love Language is different. We both took a quiz online and it showed us that we need certain things in certain ways to feel loved and appreciated. My top two scores where Quality Time and Words of Affirmation: So I need Netflix and Chill time as well as the occasional text message that says I am a Goddess. Bradley’s highest scores were Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation.

The fact that Bradley would feel loved the most when I am helping out around the house or running errands for him sounds like an absolute joke, but it is something I need to work on. I actually made an extra effort this week and took care of dinner and cleaning up after work. He was so happy and relaxed! IT WORKED!

So this Valentine’s Day, I thought about how to best celebrate my love for that tall drink of water... I was mindful to speak his Love Language and love him in ways he responds the most (Not in a gross way. Ok, maybe a few gross ways…). These are, after all, the best Valentine’s Days right? They will still be steamy and passionate, but maybe over a Netflix documentary and an evening that starts out with me vacuuming the couch. He loves that.

Valentines For The Similarly Pizza-Obsessed

So, for the first time in three years, I'm single on Valentine's Day. I honestly can't even remember what last year's Valentine's Day was like - does that happen to other people? Although that post last month may have made it seem like I'm in some weird hole of reflection regarding my last relationship, I'm really not. I feel very grateful for all that my ex taught me. I don't look at our relationship as a failure, but more of an intense lesson in love, understanding, and personal growth. He's a cool dude. But you know what? Pizza is cooler. 

Pizza doesn't let you down, unless the person who made it did a poor job. That's why I am pretty much in a relationship with the manager of my nearest Domino's, even though they don't know it. Every time this magical pizza maker named Vernette makes my pie (the Domino's tracker tells you who does what with your order), I know that box is gonna open up to one of the most glorious dinners ever. The toppings are evenly distributed, the crust is baked just right, and it's delivered still piping hot. Dear Vernette, you rock. I always leave a comment for you. I hope you see those. If not, just know you're basically my Valentine for 2016.

When Your Love Is Safe/Your Hope Is Gone

- Don't wanna be in love just with anybody - 

Warning: This post has all of the feels. It has some serious realness. I'm glad you're along on this journey with me, and if you can stick it out until the end, you'll learn a little about love, and a lot about what has shaped me into the person I am now. It technically qualifies as a Tune Tuesday post, because all of the highlighted lines are lyrics, and the images stills from music videos. Ready? Let's do this. 

Music is so absolutely incredible. People who don't find relief, comfort, solace, or hiding spaces within music are strangers to me. An ex-boyfriend once told me his parents didn't listen to music while he was growing up. He has no memories of them playing music in the car, talking about bands or groups, or engaging in conversation about albums. How is that possible? Are you so comfortable to be constantly entrenched in your own thoughts that music simply does not appeal to you? How do you escape the frustration of the everyday world? What do you do when you just cannot sit in silence? How do you deal with heartbreak?

In 2011, my darling friend Elizabeth introduced me to Active Child, which is the musical project of Pat Grossi. Armed with an electric angel's voice, harp, and dreamy pop tendencies, Grossi's sounds wormed their way into my heart. I spent countless nights listening to the album You Are All I See on vinyl in Elizabeth's living room while her sweet husband cooked dinner and we drank wine. Sometimes we drank so much wine we ended up on the porch during those thick, muggy Saint Louis summer nights, smoking cigarettes and laughing until our ribs turned to rattling, brittle cages. Time spent with Elizabeth was time meant to cast out memories. 

- Just trying to forget, but this ain't no ordinary love - 

At this point, I was newly single. I had spent the past 6 years weaving in and out of a relationship that was so gravity-based, I can't even begin to tell you how I survived. We were two comets that collided in our teenage years - in the most literal sense. I crashed headfirst into him on a water slide at the pool we both lifeguarded at. We were too young, too inexperienced, and too close to see that we couldn't be what the other person really needed for so, so long. The relationship suffered from differences, insecurity, and finally, long distance that crumbled to pieces between Saint Louis, Missouri and Lansing, Michigan.

I'd often ride home at night crying, muffled, through Tower Grove park on a hand-me-down baby pink bicycle that Elizabeth gifted to me. I blasted Active Child's You Are All I See through my headphones, catching onto every phrase and every lyric that so perfectly matched my emotions. Everything was so completely, overwhelmingly uncertain. Which way to go next? I would lift my feet from the pedals and spin along dizzing paths through the trees. I'd shove my bicycle into the basement of the apartment I shared with my best friend, wash the tears away, and crawl haphazardly into bed. I had loved too much, too deeply, too wildly. I had thought we could make it. I had thought he felt the same. When you feel that your love is safe, sometimes it means it's the exact opposite. Sometimes that feeling prefaces a great unraveling in your actual safety net. How ever could I deal with the heartbreak I felt at the time?

- This is happening, this is happening - 

This past November, I met up with that teenaged love for coffee. We rarely speak. I sent him a "happy holidays" message in December and never received a reply. Before we saw each other in person, our contact was limited to sporadic texts. He has been dating the same young woman for a couple years now. He is studying to be a doctor. The day before we met up just recently, I had broken it off with my only other long-term boyfriend. They both have the same first name, and the same first middle initial. Life and love are strange beasts. Before we parted ways, my teenaged love admitted to me, for the first time ever, that he had just not been ready to fully commit. That he had not been ready for me to move to Michigan to be with him. He went on to say that at about the age of 27 (my current age), he had looked around, realized a lot of his peers were "settling down," and he felt left out. He said he thought he was getting old and needed to be serious about finding a partner again. Now he's 30, living in a house with a girlfriend, a dog, and a career ahead of him. Did he jump into all of that for fear of being left out? Is he cultivating a true, honest relationship from love, or from dreading being alone?

- Wish that I could change enough to be yours - 

No one will change to be with you. When your chest aches so terribly at midnight on a bike in Tower Grove Park that you can't tell whether it's your loneliness or your poor stamina, you try to wrap your mind fully around that concept. A man can tell you within weeks of meeting you that he will change for no one, and will always be a bartender - and you will accept that. Over two years later, your branches have grown and shot in every direction possible, and his haven't budged. They haven't even blossomed. Nothing about him has changed. His ambition, his dreams, his willingness to learn more about you, his effort put into understanding you. Your blog takes on an important role in your life - he admits to never reading it because it's "only about stuff women like." You begin DJing as a way to have fun, become more involved with music, and perhaps have something to share with him - he only comes to two of your gigs ever, and once basically by accident because he locked himself out of his apartment. You send him songs you think he'd like or might mesh well with his live sets via email, text, Facebook message, you name it - and he almost never listens to them. You learn quickly that you crave genuine support and true camaraderie, and the lack of those things in your relationship is causing you to wilt and lose color. 

You learn that you are a crooked little creature. Your tail has been stepped on so many times, and yet you continue to loft it above like a flag of victory. You come out on the other side of your last relationship rather astonished that you just did not listen to the warnings directly from the horse's mouth. And you are confused for his future romantic interests. 

- I just can't keep hanging on to you and me - 

I want to be chosen. I want someone to meet me, get along with me, understand that I too am interested in them, and look at me and think, "THAT ONE." I want to eventually be chosen day in and day out, and not only hear from my partner every 12 hours because he's a bartender who takes smoke breaks to visit with his friends, but can't be bothered to text me "Hey beautiful, I know you're asleep, but I just wanted to say I love you." And I think many, if not most, of us wants something similar.

I do currently enjoy being single, because it means I don't have to be uncertain at this time.  And I do also understand that being in a solid, honest, open, communication-based relationship means that you are not uncertain.

You are not worried about your tail being stepped on once again. 

You are not worried about being told that you talk too much. When in reality, your ex-boyfriend kept dating you even though he barely spoke at all while you were together, which then in turn caused you to do all the talking... which in turn ended up with you being told "Sometimes I just want to say, 'Woman, you talk too damn much!'"

Your love for yourself is safe. And hope is not gone. Because maybe one day you'll find someone who isn't afraid to be real, honest, open, and ambitiously step in stride with you.

Until then, drink your wine, do your yoga, cuddle with your puppy, write on your blog, DJ your parties, and don't give a rat's tush what anyone else is doing or thinking.