Tag Archives: Anxiety

The First Kiss Is The Weirdest

Jana: Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Congratulations on Valentine’s Day!

I’m sorry, I don’t know why I congratulated you. It was an awkward way to fill a sentiment about this holiday that people have such varied feelings about. Like, I’m sorry if today is sad for you but happy if it’s happy for you! I don’t know. Today is weird.

Catherine: TODAY IS AWFUL. Today is the day where I go out with my lady pal and we  get drunk but not so drunk that we can’t drive safely to work the next morning. It’s a bad day, guys. A BAD DAY.

Jana: Regardless of where you are romantically today, at least you’ve all at this point been kissed at least once. Right? Well, most of you I guess. Or I’m gonna say it: if I have, I bet all of you have. And I have, guys. For lots of obvious reasons (social anxiety, recurring nose warts) the first kiss didn’t come until 2002, but it came. This is the story of my Very First Kiss.

Like so many of my tales, this one takes place on a high school chorus/band trip. Let me explain a little bit about the chorus/band trip. These trips were simply weird excuses to take hordes of eager, hormonal students on a bus and let them stay in a hotel. As cover, we always did one “concert” for some poor unassuming middle school audience, but the concerts were never the point. The point was the bus ride and the hotel. They were the entire reason for anything. They were EXCITING AS FUCK.

This particular story occurs during my second chorus/band trip, in April of my sophomore year of high school. Having somehow survived the tumultuous ending of my first, kiss-less relationship the previous year, I decided to hop back on the bus and give it another whirl. Things had changed since last year: I’d started wearing eyeliner, for example, and I had a few more t-shirts from the Gap. Despite these leaps forward, I remained, as my friends lovingly put it, a lip virgin. And so I was. My lips were untouched by man or anyone but my mom, really. And I didn’t have any plans to change that – I really think that I felt pretty content with my fate, which I assumed to be no kissing until at least college and possibly age 40. I was cool with it.

So, that’s how I started the trip.

The journey was long: for some reason, we were going to Quebec. On the bus ride there, we watched Goodfellas, and when we finally arrived we went to a Hard Rock Cafe. It was all very exciting and new, and even though I didn’t drink yet, I felt something similar to an alcohol-induced thrill – there were so many cute upperclassmen and we were all staying in a hotel! My sober delirium continued when, on the first night, a bunch of the cute upperclassmen guys came to HANG OUT IN MY ROOM. See, I was rooming with a girl who was – while still a band geek like me – just cool. She’s just somebody who has it together, and isn’t scared to talk to people, and knows what’s up. I shall call her Stella. So Stella just like, invited the dudes to come hang out, and they DID. It was, in my eyes, miraculous.

During that first night, I spent some time flirting with one of these cool upperclassmen (truth: he was younger than me, because I’m so old for my grade. THE BOYS ARE ALWAYS YOUNGER THAN ME. But in this case, he appeared entirely older because he was a junior). I didn’t dare to imagine that anything would come of the flirtation, but I did sort of admit to myself that it was happening, and I went to bed elated.

Here I am on the boat cruise! I'm pretty sure I felt GREAT about my belly shirt, long jean skirt, french braids, flip-flops combo.

Here I am in Quebec! I’m pretty sure I felt GREAT about my belly shirt, long jean skirt, french braids, flip-flops combo.

Stella had also noticed the flirting, and the next day she knew what she had to do. I think we went on a boat cruise of some kind, during which she hatched her plan. Afterward, back in the hotel, she made the arrangements. It was like this:

She cleared our room.

She talked to the guy in question (we will call him MICHAEL).

She ordered me into the room. “Michael is waiting. Get in there,” she said.

I went to the bathroom in the hallway and almost puked from anxiety.

I entered the room, where Michael was, indeed, waiting for me.

The rest is a little blurry, but I know that we began by sitting side-by-side on the bed, and that he made a joke which I believe referenced Tigger, from Winnie the Pooh, although I really can’t imagine how he worked that in or why it was relevant. But whatever, I laughed – or, more likely, I choked on nervous sounds. And then it happened: he reached for my head. WE WERE KISSING.

That’s mostly what I remember. I think at one point we like, laid back, and kept kissing, but that was it. I wasn’t at ALL focused on the sensations of the kiss, because all I could think was HOLY FUCK I HAVE TO CALL MY BEST FRIEND AND TELL HER ABOUT THIS. My best friend, see, had also not yet been kissed. She and I were the last holdouts, like nervous, adolescent WWII buddies. All that mattered about the experience was sharing it with her.

I don’t know how it ended – how do makeout sessions end? I guess we just got tired. I think we joked around a little bit more, and then he left. And I RAN to the payphone booth, located in the hotel hallway, to call my friend.

Michael and I never dated, although we remained friends throughout high school, and I think he knows that he’ll always live in my memory as the first guy who was willing to kiss me. Also, he’s very successful now, whereas I actually have less money than I had in 2002, so I’m sure he doesn’t regret that we never repeated our tigger-fueled makeout sesh.

So there you have it. I owe Stella everything.

Catherine: Just so it’s crystal clear, not having a first kiss till Spring, 2002 would make Jana 16 but VERY NEARLY 17 at the moment of impact. I want like, everyone to be as aware of that fact as possible. That, to me, is very informative information (and yes informative and information mean the same thing, but I think they couple really well together in this instance so shut up about it.)

When I was in eighth grade I also went to Quebec and ALSO went on a weird boat cruise. What is it with schools and Quebec? Weird. I went with the French class, which makes more  sense than your trip, since they speak french there or whatever. But I didn’t take french. So I’m really not sure how or why I was allowed to go. Like, everyone else on the trip spoke french but me and I DON’T KNOW WHY I WAS THERE. One of the main things about that trip that I recall was that a bunch of the girls let the guys write stuff on their stomachs on the back of the bus? And I remember thinking, this is so SEXY. Also that I had a really bad haircut and pants with stripes down the leg were IN.

But besides all that, if you’re happy today – fuck you.

Just kidding.

No, I’m not kidding.

Jana: She’s kidding.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adventures in Summer Misery

Jana: How’s everyone’s summer going? Good, yeah? Does everyone love summer?

That’s so great. Unfortunately, I really hate summer. Summer has always scared me because A) I’m anxious all the time, so the anxiety doubles when there’s no structure in my life and B) I’m not an adventurous, fun person, which becomes much more obvious to those around me during the summer. Any other time of year, it’s fine to suggest activities like going to the movies, reading next to each other at coffee shops, or staying inside to eat. But in the summer, people want to be outside! Every person in the facebook universe has spent the weekend at the beach! Everyone is tan and happy, while I am pale, scared, and sad. It’s a nightmare.

This is true now, but it was also true in my childhood. As a child, summer signified the coming of thunderstorms (definitely a sign from god that something terrible is about to happen, and yes I know most people find them cool and exciting), the end of sitting in class and feeling useful and interesting, and, of course, CAMPS. Ohhhh day camps. Ohhh you miserable organizations reeking of suntan lotion, spilled juice, and tears. Ohh god meeting new people. No no no no no. Please don’t make me go.

But, I did have to go. And sometimes I went to theater camps, which was ok. But one summer, for some reason that I CANNOT FATHOM, my parents signed me up for something called “Adventure Camp,” hosted by our town’s rec department. Why I agreed to this in the first place I really and truly cannot say. Why I did not start screaming at the mention of “adventure” makes absolutely no sense to me now. But, somehow, I was enrolled, and I attended. And it was hell.

I went with my best friend at the time, a similarly non-adventurous and awkward kid. Obviously, we were outcasts from the start. My main memory of this is arriving late, having almost forgotten my lunch or something, and desperately running across hot pavement in order to stand in line while attendance was called, all the while terrified that I’d forget my name or forget how to say “here” or that I’d just drop dead from all the pressure. Once I survived that, it was on to trust falls, in order to build up the group dynamic. This was, obviously, terrible. Nothing is worse than trust falls with a bunch of kids who definitely think you are very weird.

The two-week ordeal consisted of more trust falls, various physical drills, and then a full-on ropes course, including a zip line. I hated and feared every minute of it. But there was one redeeming factor: a sweet, cute, male counselor who took pity on me and joked around with me, making me feel like less of a total loser. One day, during lunch, this awesome counselor was getting everyone all riled up over some mind-game riddle thing he’d told us. It was one of those things where he was like, “I’m going on a trip, and I’m gonna bring a tree but not a forest,” and everyone had to be like, “well can you bring a monkey?” and he’d be like, “not a monkey but I will bring a carp,” and everyone was  like “WHATTTT!” and he was like, figure it out. So, I could not figure it out, but I was having fun participating, which was rare. I got really into badgering him to tell me the secret answer, and he finally did on the condition that I promised not to tell anyone else. WE WERE BUDDIES. It was great.

After lunch, I told my one and only friend the secret riddle solution. And then, she must have told someone else! I don’t know what happened! All I know is that my buddy friend counselor cornered me later and was like, jokingly, “I thought I could trust you, kid!” And I thought: Oh My God, my life is over. I was mortified, and tried desperately to explain that I had really, really, really meant to keep the secret. In my desperation I believe that I almost cried, or potentially that I did actually cry.

Looking back, I can see that this counselor obviously did not give a fuck about this situation. But at the time, it felt very monumentally disappointing and upsetting and embarrassing.

Somehow, the weeks continued. I zip-lined and ropes-coursed and hated it, went to sleep in fear, and then woke up and did it again, until the damn camp was over. I don’t remember how I left things with counselor friend buddy, but I can assume that our relationship was very compromised by my severe overreaction to the weird game thing.

So there you have it. I do not like summer, or adventure, and I cry at inappropriate times. If anyone wants to do something fun, it would be best not to call.

Catherine: Poor, poor Jana. Jana, who hates the beach, but who cannot deny that she actually has fun while she is there as long as she is huddled beneath an umbrella with a beer and a book, and an equally pale me by her side.

SEE HOW HAPPY YOU WERE??!

SEE HOW HAPPY YOU WERE??!

Summer has been hard for you for awhile, it seems? Tragic. I can see that this particular camp played perfectly to your weaknesses and probably caused damage that we continue to see the effects of. I wish I could go back in time to your scared Janaself and tell you to CHILL OUT, but I imagine your Janaself  would just blink in confusion and try to give me a bobby pin.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,