Week 12 (March 19 – March 25)

This week was busy! I’m going to try something a bit different and walk you through each day, as there was always something new going on! Let’s just get into it!

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Monday – A Nice Walk, Disrupted

I took a walk on Monday night, and when I hit the end of my street, a man approached me. I was a bit startled at first, because I hadn’t seen him at all, and suddenly he was in the middle of my walking path.

“Do you have a lighter?” he asked, waving a box of cigarettes in his hand. I told him no, sorry, gave a small smile, and kept walking. He followed then, asking how tall I was, saying tall is beautiful, saying I should go out with him. I walked faster, pretended to ignore his advances, and breathed a bit easier as I got to the main street, full of light, traffic, and pedestrians. I didn’t pay attention to when exactly he stopped following me – all I cared about was getting to a public area as fast as possible.

I was angry for the rest of my walk. Angry that one creep could ruin my otherwise normal, pleasant evening. Angry that I had to plot a different route home to avoid him. Angry that my automatic response to a strange man approaching me on a dark street wasn’t validated fear, but nervous downplaying – “well, I mean, at least he didn’t touch me or anything.”

It was a small moment, but one that stuck with me. Men – please stop doing this shit.

Tuesday – Drinks with Emily & Jessi

Tuesday night was much better! After work, I went to The Village in Studio City and got drinks with two of my close friends from college, Emily and Jessi. It was fun to surprise Emily, who had no idea I was coming. There are no other women I would rather gossip with than these two. We have so many shared experiences, but also so many varied ones. We can spend hours unpacking tiny, minute details that other people wouldn’t care to know about, but we do because it’s fun. WHAT A TREAT.

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Wednesday – Run & World Poetry Day

This was the only run I did during my work week (the only one at all until Sunday night – whoops), but it felt good! With the program I’ve been working on, I’m slowly building in more and more sustained running – this time it was two 5 minute runs, and one 6 minute run with a few walking breaks in between. I went around the Rose Bowl loop for the first time in a while, and was impressed by how much of it I covered in a relatively short amount of time!

It was also world poetry day. I read one of my favorite poems aloud on my instagram story (“Can’t Get Over Her,” by Ellen Bass) and I actually got a few positive responses! That made me really happy, actually, because so often social media is mindless, silly entertainment. I felt like I tried something with a bit more substance, though, and people were glad to accept it! Ellen Bass is the queen of the universe, and her words are magic, so honestly I’m not all that surprised.

Thursday – Reading in a Coffee Shop (typical)

I was literally cackling as I was reading Howard’s End this week. There’s this chapter about 7 different people listening to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, and bit by bit, it courses through the different ways each of them respond to it. The juxtaposition of their feelings – some incredibly moved, some incredibly bored – is timed in such a comedically fulfilling way. Forster! You wonderful man. He is definitely invited to my imaginary ideal dinner party.

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Friday – Work Friends meet College Friends

Friday night, Stephen had some coworkers over to the Duarte house for burgers and video games and alcohol. A classy affair. It was wild seeing two entirely different sets of friends interact – coworkers and college roommates. I tend to compartmentalize my life – I’m not very good at introducing different social circles of my life to each other. This was fun though, and it felt comfortable as there were multiple people from each circle there!

Saturday – San Diego Trip with Marissa, Kelli, and Amanda

Amanda, Marissa, and I drove down to see Kelli for lunch in San Diego! It was a quick trip – we only stayed for lunch before heading back North – but fun while it lasted. We had tasty drinks and truffle fries, and finally got to see Kelli’s apartment. Due to all the driving, I also got to have some unexpected, but important and long-overdue conversations with Marissa and Amanda.

It’s been a strange, wonderful thing to stay friends with people from my childhood. We have so many experiences unique to the little corner of the world we grew up in. This is mostly good, but sometimes difficult to reconcile with the “me” I’ve become since moving out of Orange County. I have changed in so many ways since then – and I’ve often felt like I couldn’t share those aspects of myself without being judged. Of course, when I finally did work up the courage to just talk openly with these people I’ve known my whole life, they were loving, and understanding, and curious. The judgement was entirely self-imposed (though, certainly influenced by a general cultures and attitudes I grew up around). I’m glad I got to finally be open with them, and in turn, they could finally be open with me. Here’s to continued openness!

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Sunday – Knitting, Taxes, and Love

And thus, we arrive at Sunday. This was the first year I did my taxes on my own, and it felt very… adult? Very – wow, I’m doing this. It wasn’t too difficult, and thankfully turbotax uses very simple language to dumb things down and make it palatable! I spent about half the day getting that done, while taking breaks to knit and watch Love (just started the second season). I’ve slowly been making progress on my second pair of socks! Part of this is due to smaller needles, part is due to adapting to a new pattern. No rush in knitting, though. As always – the magic is in the process.

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