Friday, January 25, 2019

Sisterhood of the Traveling Panties

People often ask me what I do for a living because I travel so often. The short answer is that I'm self-employed and work special events for marketing companies. In theory, being self-employed means I get to make my own hours, but in actuality there have been times when the jobs were few and far between.

About 2 months had gone by, I hadn't picked up any work and was starting to get low on funds. My good friend Melisa, who I had met when we both worked an event for Google, was in the same unemployed boat as me. Over Blackberry Messenger, Melisa and I would chat about how we were spending our jobless days and send each other jobs to apply for.

So when she offered me a gig working along side her as a crew member on a cross country train trip, I was extremely grateful.

"Working on the train is hard work, but it can be really fun too," Melisa walked down the train's narrow hallway, leading me to the sleeper car I'd be using for the next three weeks. "There aren't a lot of rules, but the first one is simple: Don't fall in love with Tom."


"I'm just saying, every time some woman works on this train trip, she falls in love with him. Then I have to hear, 'Oh my God Tom is so hot! Do you think he likes me? Should I ask him out?'" She rolled her eyes.

I laughed and offered her my pinkie finger, "I promise I will not fall in love with Tom. Pinkie swear."

And I didn't fall in love with Tom on that work trip. He didn't make it easy though. He was a very charming guy with a strong jawline.

A few months after I returned from working with Melisa and Tom on the train, my Recruiter Jake called and asked if I’d be interested in working a three week event for Microsoft.

What are the job duties?” I could hear Jake typing while I spoke.

You’ll be driving a Microsoft branded Tahoe across the country and making a few stops for 1 day events along the way. You’ll have a partner to help you with everything and your final event is at the BET Awards in Los Angeles.”

Sounds fun. I’m in.”

In my industry, a coworker you go on the road with is called a tour partner. Jake was supposed to give me my tour partner's info so that we could get to know each other before hand, but he never got around to it. 

The night before I’m supposed to leave, I get a text from someone named Andre, who is apparently my tour partner to be.

Andre gives me his address so we can carpool to the office. I ask him for his last name and tell him it's so I can add him to my contacts list, but the real reason was so I could stalk him on the Internet.

I browse Andre’s Facebook profile and he seems normal. He doesn’t post much, but he has pictures of him smiling with friends and family. There are a few action shots of him playing various sports. We don’t have any mutual friends, but he doesn’t strike me as a Chester the Molester type. My mind is nearly at ease about traveling with a complete stranger.

You know how you start looking up something on Wikipedia and get sucked into researching a bunch of other things? Somehow you’re reading about flying squirrels when you originally wanted information about an actor you saw on a Sprite commercial.

Well an hour later, as I’m snacking on a fried chicken sandwich from the restaurant around the corner from my apartment, and scrolling through who I believe to be Andre’s sister’s church friend’s profile, I come across a photo of Andre that makes me pause.

Naturally I download it and text it to my best friend Tina.

This is my tour partner for the next few weeks.”

Tina immediately texts back, “Daaaaaaamn son.”

I reply right away, “Nothing is going to happen. We are coworkers and I am a professional.”

She replies with the quickness, “Girl you better GET 👏🏾 THEM 👏🏾 DRAWERS 👏🏾

The next morning when I pull up to Andre’s house, the photo I found of him on Facebook flashes through my mind. I’m super nervous for some reason.

Andre opens the door, and there stands one of the most attractive men I have ever seen in my life. He was about 6'3, which is the perfect height for me because I’m 5’9 and like to feel like I’m with my own personal bodyguard at all times. I also prefer guys who are at least 6 feet tall to ride this ride, however, I do make exceptions for shorter brethren with a good sense of humor and great cooking skills.

After his height, I noticed Andre’s muscular arms. He looked like he could chop down a tree without breaking a sweat. Another great trait to have if you're going to be a part of my life because I've always wanted someone to build me a treehouse.

Would you like to use the bathroom or get a drink before we leave?” He offers.


Andre looks confused for a moment and then I realize I didn't tell him if I needed to use the bathroom OR if I wanted something to drink. But he makes the choice for me and shows me to the bathroom.

Alone in the bathroom I start thinking, If he can figure out what I need without me giving him a straight answer, he's a unicorn, or at least boyfriend material. I'll wait for him to ask me what I want to eat, reply "something yummy," and see if he chooses the correct meal. If he succeeds at this task, he is the one I will marry

I realize I had been in the bathroom for a while. I was so nervous that I couldn't even pee. I just sat on the toilet thinking, “How on earth am I supposed to travel next to this gorgeous man, in an SUV, for the next 3 weeks, without farting?” 

On the start of our journey, we realize that we like the same type of music. This is a relief, because could you imagine having to listen banjos for 3 weeks straight, against your will? Instead of 20 questions, we decide to play 200 questions since we’re going to be driving for such a long time. Our first event is in Fargo, North Dakota and we have two days to get there from Milwaukee.

Why don’t we drive half way and stay at my Grandma’s place in Minnesota? That way we won’t have to pay for a hotel.”

You sure she won’t mind if you bring a guest?”

No, she’ll love it. My Grandfather passed away not too long ago and she likes the company. Plus my family from out of town is already there visiting.”

That night we start a bonfire and eat s’mores with his Grandma, Sister, Aunt, Uncle and his little cousins. There were as many fireflies flitting around the backyard as there were stars twinkling above us, but it felt like there were more mosquitoes than stars in the milky way. Not even bug spray or the smoke from the grill could keep me from getting bitten approximately 231 times. I'm slightly allergic to mosquito bites, so even though I was sure I’d look like this when I joined Andre's family for breakfast in the next morning,

the experience was still worth it.

Is that the North star?” I ask, pointing to a bright spot in the sky.

Andre’s Uncle replied, “No, that’s the planet Venus. It’s visible on clear summer nights when you’re this far up north.”

Venus y’all. The planet of LOVE. I took this as a positive sign.

Early the next morning, we say our goodbyes and make our way to Fargo. Andre has another Uncle that lives there who offers to take us to one of his favorite dive bars after we finish working our event.

So after work, I’m sitting in the bathroom trying to decide if I’m going to wear makeup or not when Andre knocks on the door.

Are you ready to leave? My Uncle is downstairs waiting.”

I quickly grab both my underwear and pants from around my ankles and simultaneously yank them up over my thighs. In the process I rip the elastic band of my Great Value granny panties. 

I look down at them in angst. “Ugh.” They are literally hanging on by a thread. If I were to take off my pants they would practically disintegrate, but I don’t have time to change.  

Fun fact: I still have these underwear. Not in a weird Monica Lewinsky trial type of way, but in a Marie Kondo, they spark joy in me when I think about that time of my life type of way. Also, this may mean that I'm a hoarder.

Side bar: Ever since I was a little girl wearing "days of the week underwear," I’ve hated the word panties. It seemed like a shameful word that you weren’t supposed to mention to others, even if they were really cute (the panties, not the person you were mentioning them to). Plus boys didn’t have to wear panties and they could scratch their itchy crotches in public whenever they wanted, but I wasn’t allowed to. It was all very unfair to me.

Days of the week undies
As I’ve gotten older, my dislike of most things undergarment related has grown as well. I think what I really hate is that there’s a smorgasbord of intimate apparel for women, most of which are uncomfortable and used as a way to make women look appealing for men. There are boa constricting shape wear, aggravating thongs and uncomfortable g-strings. Nobody cares if you can see a dude’s underclothes when he bends over to tie his shoes, but women jump through a lot of hoops to prevent the world from seeing bra straps, panty lines, or our colorful patterned knickers through our black leggings at the gym. Being a woman is mad exhausting yo. FACTS.

But forget about my disdain for women’s intimates for a moment so we can get back to the story.

Andre’s uncle drives us to the bar where he buys us a round of shots. He seems like a cool older dude. He is probably in his late 40’s, or early 50’s, with tattoos and a beard. Andre told me he’s the black sheep of the family: Does what he wants, has never been married, has a bunch a cool life stories to share.

Now for a short story about me: I like to sleep and I've never really been a party girl. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there’s nothing more fun than going out with your girls, dancing at the hip hop spots, and cruising to the crews like connect the dots. Sometimes you’ve got to live la vida loca.

However it's hard to be a party girl when you drink a few drinks and want to go to bed. I know my limits and they only include about 2 shots of anything strong.

But on this fateful evening, I was so nervous that I kept the drinks coming in hopes of calming my nerves. Andre’s Uncle bought us 3 shots of tequila each and I had a pitcher of hard cider by myself.

Did I mention that I'm not a drinker?

By the end of the night, I felt completely comfortable around Andre. Not comfortable enough to fart in front of him, but comfortable enough to ask him if I could run my fingers through his hair. 

I ran my fingers through Andre’s prickly soft hair, and that’s when I made up my mind. I am going to kiss himTonight.

I'm in a drunken daze as we leave the bar and I quietly chant “do not throw up, do not throw up,” from the backseat of the car. However, I probably wasn’t chanting as quietly as I thought I was because from the front seat, Andre reaches back and rolls my window down. The warm summer night air blows in my face as his uncle drives us back to our hotel and I keep chanting my “Don’t you dare vomit in this man’s car” mantra for what seems like an eternity.

We arrive at the Holiday Inn, say goodbye to Andre’s Uncle and then Andre gives me a piggyback ride through the hotel lobby, just like they do in Korean dramas. (My love of Korean Dramas is one of the facts about me I shared with Andre during 200 questions)

As Andre steadies me on my feet in the elevator, I’m wracking my drunk brain, figuring out a way to get him to kiss me. I immensely want to make Andre think it was his idea to kiss me, so that he makes the first move, without realizing I was the mastermind behind our first kiss. Then I remember a conversation his younger cousins and I had that morning over breakfast, before we left Minnesota.

Did you know that today is International Kissing Day?” I slyly ask Andre.

It's past midnight,” Andre replies, “So technically it's not International Kissing Day anymore.”

Now to most people his comment would seem like a red light. Case closed. But in my hard cider state of mind I looked at his comment like a yellow light instead. Speed up and you just may make it through the intersection!

I counter with, “Everyone knows it's not officially the next day until you go to sleep and wake up again.”

Damn. I was surprised at myself for thinking on my feet like that. I think I missed my calling as a CIA Field operative.

Nevertheless, Green light! Case opened for reexamination.

Andre helps me to the room as I zombie walk down the hallway, fumbling for the room key in my purse.

We reach the door and I spin around so we're facing each other.

When I like someone I get word vomit. I just have to let them know how I feel, by any means necessary, nervousness be damned.

This is it, this is my chance,” I think to myself. But there is also the possibility that I may have said that out loud.

Andre,” I hiccup. “Andre, I really want you to know that I really…”

And then the real vomit comes up.

 I open the door, rush into the bathroom and make it to the toilet just in time.

The next morning I look over to find Andre sleeping on the queen bed closest to the bathroom.I quietly get out of my bed, pull some socks over my feet, grab my phone and gently close the hotel room door behind me.

It’s 7am on a Sunday. I dial my bestfriend’s number as I sit down in the stairway. She works weekends at a veterinary hospital so I know she’ll be awake.

Tina answers the phone after a few rings, “Whats up?”

I got the drawers.

*I want to dedicate this story to my friend Melisa Tomanek, who I mentioned earlier for helping me find jobs but more importantly for being an amazing friend. She passed away a few months ago from cancer and I'll never forget the kindness and love she showed me. I told her this story in person, and she was proud of me for going on tour, making money, and making out with a hot guy at the same time.
Melisa and I at a Nicki Minaj Concert

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

One Date, Two Dates. Our date? Their date?

When I was in high school I always lied to my mom about the time my after school activities ended. Not because I was behind the gym listening to pre-Michelle Destiny’s Child and kissing guys who wore blindingly white Air Force Ones, I wasn’t that cool. I lied because then I’d only have to wait for her 10 minutes instead of 30. My mom was always late picking me up.

And dropping me off

I remember getting the itinerary for our senior class trip to Disney World and the meeting time was 7 in the morning. I told her we had to be there at 6:30 and I still missed the senior class picture in front of the charter buses.

In my adult life, where I only need others to drive me around because I’m too drunk to do it myself, I’m still barely on time. I guess tardiness is a hereditary trait my mother passed on to me, like our mutual love of chicken egg foo young.  

Although I’m perpetually late, one of the few instances in my life when I was on time led to me going on one of the best dates I’ve ever had.

I was working at a convention for a popular software manufacturer and on the last day of the convention, everything seamlessly fell into place.

I woke up before my alarm clock went off and had time to eat breakfast. There was no traffic on Lakeshore Drive and I found free street parking that was a close walk to McCormick Place. This may all sound like a normal day to you, but for me, getting places in a timely fashion is rarely an easy fete. I swear whenever I have an appointment an El train would derail, a car would burst into flames on the highway or I would get to the bus stop only to realize I didn’t have my wallet.

Or my phone.

Because it was in my other purse.

With my house keys.

And now I'm locked out.

But today, I was on time. I arrive at our booth 40 minutes early and start helping my coworkers, Monica and Stephanie set up game consoles when a guy approaches us.

Sorry sir. We’re not open yet.”

Sir?” he scrunches up his face deepening the faint crows feet around his eyes. “I’m a keynote speaker, not an attendee. Just curious about what you’re showing.”

I notice he has an accent, but couldn’t quite place it.

While connecting an audio jack into the back of a TV Monica answers him. “We have some of the unreleased Xbox titles and we let people play them. ”

I love games. I don’t often play Xbox, but I love both computer and board games.”

I love board games too I thought to myself. My interested was piqued.

What’s your nationality?”

I’m Australian. From Melbourne.”

He pronounced it “Mel-Bin”

Australian? What an interesting name.”

Chuckling the Australian says, “My name is Steve.”

He said it exactly like Steve Irwin the late Crocodile Hunter would have.

Monica, Stephanie, Steve and I sat on the couches at our booth and chatted about random things for the next few minutes. Steve was positively charismatic. Eventually I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. It was a text message from Stephanie.

It read: Stop flirting and come to work!!! ;) Our shift is about to start!

I looked up from my phone. I hadn’t even noticed that Stephanie and Monica were no longer sitting next to us. Steve and I exchanged Twitter handles and said our goodbyes.

On my lunch break, I direct tweeted him and we agreed to meet up at a booth that had 16 bit games. We played the original Donkey Kong and walked around the convention collecting emoji pins from different booths and attaching them to the lanyards that held our official Microsoft badges.

My emoji pins
Back at my booth, we played FIFA for a bit and then Steve asked, “Are you going to the Microsoft after party tonight?

As soon as Stephanie noticed Steve she peeked out from behind a flat screen TV and mouthed,“Your babies will be so cute!”

Stephanie popping out
Trying not to laugh at Stephanie I answered “I’m not sure. No one gave us a formal invite.”

Well I'm sure they won’t turn you away. How could they?”

So I went home, changed into a cute black dress as quick as I could and drove back to McCormick Place in record time.

Actual footage of me rushing to get back to the party
Microsoft pulled out all the stops.

They transformed the East wing of McCormick Place to look like downtown Chicago. There were food trucks lined up inside the convention center and multiple interactive games for guests to play.  
As the sun sparkled over Lake Michigan and started to set behind the Chicago skyline, Steve and I went outside on the balcony to enjoy the view. We sat on a bench and played two truths and a lie.

Ok guess which one is the lie,” I said enthusiastically.
  1. I’ve never been married, but I’ve been on a honeymoon. 
  2. A man crossed a desert barefoot to prove his love to me. 
  3. I think the best part of a Chick-Fil-A sandwich is the way the pickle juice penetrates the bread, the chicken and your soul.
All the talk about food made me hungry, so Steve went to get us some food truck snacks. My phone started to vibrate in my dress with pockets. Monica was calling.

Are you here? Isn’t this set up is amazing?”

Yea I’m with Steve on the Balcony.”

I’ll leave you two alone then. Have fun! Tell me about it later!”

Microsoft had built large sculptures that mimicked the landmarks around Chicago. Steve hadn’t had a chance to explore because he was working, so I acted as his personal tour guide. I explained the significance of the landmarks and we took pictures at each one like tourists.

My Friends and I at the Microsoft after party

Fall Out Boy performed that night too. I don’t have any of their albums, but I knew a some of their songs from playing Rock Band with my brother and younger cousins. When the lights went down and the smoke began to creep across the stage, Steve placed his hand on the small of my back and led me to the dance floor. I’m almost certain that the moment he touched me, I felt my left ovary release an egg into my fallopian tube.

Hey TK!”

Making his way through the crowd was one of the guests I had played Gran Tourismo with at my booth earlier.

Oh hi. Henrik right?”

I was once told there is a correct way to introduce people. You’re supposed to say this is so and so, and then mention an interesting fact about them. This way, the people meeting each other will have something to start a conversation about. 

Henrik, this is Steve. He’s a Keynote speaker from Microsoft and he used to play Aussie rules football.” I turn to Steve. “This is Henrik, he’s here from Sweden and was just leaving.”

I smiled and said it nicely guys, I swear!

But Henrik would not leave my side. I was sandwiched between the two like a reverse Oreo.

While listening to Fall Out Boy scream sing, This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race, I telepathically tried to get Henrik to scram. My grandma always told me I was a magical creature but apparently my telepathic super powers had not come in yet.

Now I don’t remember much from high school, as it was a long time ago but I remember a few things. Like the time my friends and I played laser tag and I pistol whipped our friend Jaime. She was supposed to get stitches, but we didn't take her to the hospital. I remember we learned that World War I was started because Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated and I was pretty certain that Australia and Sweden were neutral countries. And yet here I was, at the helm of the Microsoft Convention Cock Block of the century.

Nothing happened between Steve and I that night. I offered to give him a ride to his hotel and during the ride we sang Chop Suey, another Rock Band favorite of mine, at the top of our lungs. He hugged me from the passenger seat and then I dropped him off at his boutique hotel on Michigan Avenue.

When I got home I direct tweeted Steve.

Had fun. Thanks for tonight.”

He tweeted back, “We didn’t take a picture together, probably should have.”

No worries, I won’t forget tonight.”

Steve and I kept in touch through email for weeks after that. Stephanie thought it would be a cute story to tell our grandkids one day. That we fell in the love the day we met, spent the entire day together and kept in touch through letters, like Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy.

Ever thine, 
Ever mine, 
Ever ours. 

Signed, Microsoft guy

Honestly I’m not sure if we went on a date because Steve didn’t ask me to the party, He asked me if I was going. He also didn’t kiss me at the end of the night, although he seemed like he wanted to. He did bring me food truck ice cream and touched my back though… So clearly he wanted to marry me, no? Isn’t that what the lower back graze means? I was so confused.

The emails became less frequent and eventually stopped. I didn’t forget about Steve, but life goes on. Soon after, I had an epic cross country work trip with hot coworker (craaaaazzzzyyyyy story y’all) and I was focused on that for a bit. But about a year later, I happened to be in Seattle, home of Microsoft, and I reached out to Steve. He was excited to hear from me and wanted to meet up.

How about we go to a Lego contest? We can see what others have built and maybe even build our own Lego structure. Then we can go get dinner and drinks and afterward we can meet my friends for game night.”

I was still confused about our Microsoft outing, but I wasn’t at all perplexed about this meet up. Look, I don’t have a PhD (Player Haters Degree) but this sounded like a date to me.

When I arrived at our meet up spot, I saw Steve crossing the street. He was just as cute as I remembered from a year ago. As soon as he saw me he gave me one of those genuinely happy smiles that shows all your teeth and engulfed me in a warm hug. 

Sorry I’m late. I'm not sure how much of the Lego contest we’ll get to see after my friend gets here.”

When who gets where now?”

Here silly. I was at a church thing and my friend heard what we were doing and wanted to come along.”

I think this was the Universe’s way of paying me back for going on Mary’s date in Mexico City. Karma is real y’all.

Hey Steve!” A tall Asian guy jogs toward us with a smile on his face. He was dressed nicely, like he was going on a date.

This is my friend Johnson.”

He didn’t even introduce us the right way. If I was able to read minds I could have at least been able to tell if Steve was trying to tell Johnson to scram. My magical powers had failed me again. This time I was sandwiched between the two like a Mexican Polvoron shortbread cookie.

Brown, Yellow & Pink
We miss the Lego contest, so instead we walk around downtown Seattle before heading to dinner. The guys sit down and I excuse myself to the bathroom and call my guy friend Rafael.

"Rafi, I am so annoyed. I wore heels tonight! Ok not heels, I wore wedges, but close enough!"

"What's going on?"

This guy brought an entire dude on our date!"

For the record, I think it’s kinda funny when people use a measurement to describe something that you can only have a whole portion of. It’s not like Steve could have brought 3 quarters of a dude on our date.

Sorry to hear that babe. Just have a good time and eat well. Order something expensive. Tell me how it goes.”

When I got back to the table, there was a really pretty woman sitting next to Johnson.

What is going on? Is this a date after all? Or is this their date? Are we on a double date?

The conversation flowed easily that evening and to be honest, we had a really good time. Johnson and Anne were friendly and funny. The four of us played a board game, ate amazing food and Steve paid for everything. It would have been a great time even if he hadn’t paid for everything, but you know, cherries on top of the double date sundae.

At the end of the night, Johnson drove us to the parking deck where my rental car was parked. Steve asked Johnson to stay behind so that he could walk me to my car. We got to my car and awkwardly stood in front of each other. The parking deck was empty and you could hear cars whizzing by on the street.

Would you like to come with me to church tomorrow?”


My friend Tasha is flying in from Chicago tomorrow morning and I have to pick her up from the airport.”

Well we’re having brunch after Church. You’re both invited to that too. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet a cute guy there.

And that was that.

Actually no, that wasn't the end of my relationship with Steve. We continued to text each other for a few more months. In my defense, I was over my feelings for him, but I can't lie, he was a good conversationalist. Aquarians usually are.

After many late night phone conversations, I realized Steve wasn't the one for me. But he beat me to the punch.

Steve told me he didn’t think God had called him to be my husband. He literally said that. In this instance, He is interchangeable with God and Steve.

I've heard of people saying, "It's not you. It's me, but I have never heard someone say, "It's not you, its GOD. The Lord doesn't want us to be together."

What in the nondenominational hell? Who says that to someone? I mean honesty is the best policy, but damn. Does Christian Mingle advise people to say this?

So after that, it really was the end. Maybe my magical power isn't telepathy. Maybe its dodging relationship bullets.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

If You're Happy And You Know It

I remember exactly where I was standing when I realized I didn’t want to live anymore. It was January of 2017 and I was working an event for Facebook, at an upscale hotel in Park City, Utah during the Sundance Film Festival. Festival attendees came to the event to preview short films on Oculus headsets and it was my job to walk them through the experience. I was in the middle of giving a demonstration to Tristan Wilds (Also known as Mack Wilds). He smelled like things I can't afford to buy and had teeth as white as pieces of Orbitz gum. 

Tristan "Mack" Wilds
To be more accurate, I didn’t exactly want to die; I just didn’t want to feel pain any longer. I lost track of time while Tristan was watching his short film, thinking about what it would be like to no longer be apart of this world. I was tired of feeling heartbroken, worthless, and like a burden to people close to me because of my immense sadness.

You okay?” he asked in a surprisingly deep voice.

The film had ended and Tristan had taken off his headset without me realizing it.

“Oh yea I’m fine. Sorry, just spaced out for a second.”

You must have done a lot of these today.” He looked genuinely concerned. “Get a drink after work, go to one of the parties. Have some fun!”

Thanks,” I smiled as best I could.

It had been a while, but I was still sad over my break up with JC. I had also just found out that the guy I had been talking to for the past few months was married. Earlier that week a frenemy of mine told me some news about my ex that I had dated for 8 years. I didn’t think hearing about him would have effected me the way it did, but alas…

I excused myself from the event for a few minutes and retreated to the bathroom. I closed the stall door before sliding down the tiled wall, onto the floor in tears. I sat there crying for about 5 minutes. Then I washed my face, took a selfie and posted it to Instagram before going back out to finish my shift.I tried to act normal, but honestly I never thought I would feel okay again. I didn’t even remember what it felt like to be okay.

My post crying bathroom selfie

Something I’ve learned in the last few years, is that healing is not linear. You’ll be doing great one day, and another day you’ll see something that reminds you of your pain and it will knock the wind out of you. Almost like getting hit by a huge wave and being thrown off your surfboard. I’ve never been surfing because things that can eat me live in the ocean, but I assume that’s what happens when a big wave takes you out.

There were times when my grief literally made me crumple to the floor in pain or caused me to silently shake in tears on the couch. I actually remember not being able to get off the couch, I hadn’t taken a shower in days and I didn’t dare leave the house. My parents were really worried. My Stepdad cautiously asked me if my ex had ever hit me. My Mom offered to take me shopping and cook my favorite foods. They didn’t know what to do, and it hurt me even more to watch them, see me hurting.

But like a subsiding storm in the middle of the ocean, the waves of those painful times will become fewer and farther in between. The things that hurt me months ago, cause me to pause for mere seconds now. Eventually, the waves will become small ripples and I won’t think of them at all.

For me 2015 was like the eye of the storm. I didn’t realize how bad everything was in my life because I was in the middle of the chaos. 2016 is when all hell broke loose, and then I spent most of 2017 trying to reevaluate and rebuild my life. 2018 has been a great experience thus far.

An entire year had passed since I sat crying on the bathroom floor of a luxury hotel while celebrities drank expensive cocktails and watched films two floors above me. I went skiing for the first time and realized that I had fallen in love. Not with skiing, that was horrifically terrifying, but with life again (and maybe a guy too, but that’s a story for another day).

In February I got to work at the Eagle’s Superbowl after party. My job was not glamorous. I wasn’t a journalist, photographer, or fluffer, but instead I bussed tables. The party was self serve on fancy paper plates and all the drinks at the bar were free, so honestly I didn’t have to do much. A lot of the players and other guests didn’t feel like trekking over to the bar, so they’d ask me to do it for them, and give me huge tips.

Older gentleman with an Eagle's Jersey on: "Could you bring us 4 beers?”

Me: “Of course.” Runs to get 4 beers and brings them back. Guy hands me a $100 bill.

Me: You know these drinks are free right?”

Because I don't care about sports like that I didn't know the identity of the older gentleman. Later on my coworker told me he was a co-owner of the team.

Older man in Eagle's Jersey: “Yeah, they're free, but it’s a celebration, Enjoy the money!”

*Stuffs money in bra and walks away*

The party was set up like a football field. The endzones had tables and plush white couches. One side line had food, desserts and a candy station while the other side line was an open bar. In the middle, where the 50 yard line would be, was a dance floor and a stage. I got to watch Diplo DJ a set and Cardi B perform merely 3 feet in front of me.

I felt like I was back in college, but with men who had money, muscles and fashion sense. I watched an insanely giddy Zach Ertz passionately make out with his wife. They looked so happy together that you couldn't help but be happy for them. I danced with Malcolm Jenkins who had the dopest jewelry of anyone in the room. He wore an impeccably tailored maroon colored suit, with black patent leather loafers and I'm fairly certain that his cuff links alone probably cost more than my car. I participated in a soul train line with Bryan Braman and his friends. Everyone was in a good mood. 

Malcolm Jenkins 
It was crowded so I accidentally kept bumping into this really tall guy with big ole sexy arms. At one point he playfully grabbed me by the shoulders and said,

Hey this is the 3rd time you’ve bumped into me.”

Sorry, its crowded in here. And you have a big butt,” I added as an after thought.

He laughed and then turned around and poked his butt out. "Yea I guess it’s my fault then. I do a lot of squats."

This is the type of man I deserve to procreate with I thought to myself.  An athletic, juicy booty, Superbowl champion.

We kinda flirted throughout the night. He was super sweet and gentlemanly too but he never asked for my number. Before he left for the night with his friend Bryan, he made sure he had my attention and then smiled and waved goodbye to me.

Bryan Braman
If Cinderella had taken place in 2018, a time when more women are learning to shoot their shot, then this is what would have happened next:

I looked for that man everywhere on the internets y'all. I looked through the entire Eagles Roster of players but the photos weren't that great. I eventually found him on Instagram, BECAUSE OF THE SHOES HE HAD ON in one of his Instagram posts.They were the same ones he wore at the party. I’m not trying to put his business out in these streets, but if you’re interested in who he is, he ended up proposing to his long-term girlfriend the day after the Super Bowl. So that would explain why he didn’t ask for my number. Don’t cry for me guys. Its okay, because now I realize that guys are a dime a dozen. Even though they're not all NFL players, It’s literally raining men’s out here in these streets

At the end of the party, the servers were gifted with a ton of free Eagles Superbowl memorabilia. I got coozies, keychains, Eagles t-shirts, a 10lb bag of Eagles colored M&M’s with the Philadelphia Eagles logo on them, shot glasses and more.

It was a fun night that I’ll always remember, especially because one of the most attractive men I had ever talked to flirted with me, but I had no use for this stuff. I decided to keep a few things for myself and send the rest to my ex because the Eagles is his favorite team. I thought about not sending it at first, because it had been 2 years since I broke up with him and I didn’t want him to think I wanted to rekindle anything between us. My best friend said I should include a short note so he didn’t get the wrong idea. We settled on...

Hey I worked at the Superbowl and they gave me this free stuff. I knew you’d like it. Take Care

Meanwhile, I’m living my best life: Going on girl trips to Montreal, discovering my soul mate and being rescued by ski patrol off the side of mountain ranges. One night I’m at a bar in Brooklyn with an old friend/co-worker. We're sipping gluten free beverages and he and his wife tell me about a yoga retreat to Belize. I’m in the middle of telling them about my epic trip to New Zealand where I hitch-hiked with a perfect stranger, whose native tongue was not English. I excuse myself to the bathroom, hard cider runs right through me, and notice a text from a number I’ve never seen before.

It was the ex’s current girlfriend

I use the word text lightly, as what she sent me was more like the rough draft of her Memoir, entitled A Road map of my Insecurities and Other Short Stories.

First I’d like to say that I realize that there are ladies that would be annoyed if their boyfriend’s ex, sent them something in the mail and perhaps I should have asked if it were okay to send him the limited edition Superbowl Memorabilia of a team that probably won't win again for 50 years. I could understand if this ex was constantly being disrespectful to your relationship or wanted to get back with your boyfriend. If this is not the case, I think you should discuss this issue with your boyfriend. If it bothers you that someone (who doesn't want him/he doesn't want eithersent him something, you should also really ask yourself why.

Because I’m not going to be messy and include screen shots, her message basically said "don’t text, call, email, initiate contact through social media, send gifts or presents to my boyfriend because we love each other and are going to be together forever". I'm sure it said a lot of other things but I only got through the prologue. If she is out there reading this, I’m coming to her as a woman, and I want her to sincerely know that I didn’t read the entire message. I did however, cycle through a few reactions.

Okay she is crazy...

As I sat on the toilet I thought to myself, “Well this is the least thankful, 'Thank You' note I’ve ever received.”

Lemme tell ya’ll the difference 10 years can make. 2008 TK would have been petty and defensive as fuck let this girl have it.

Ten year's ago I was in my early 20's so I was still a bit wild. My friends at the time literally called themselves Gangsta Ass Bitches and homegirl would have caught a backhand like Serena Williams (ironically my Gangsta Ass Bitch friends and I played tennis at least twice a week and were very good, but I'm referring to physical violence).  I also would have given her reason’s why I didn’t want that man and pointed out that I had put him back on the shelf with the other emotionally immature & multiple personality having Gemini (read: evil) men for her to choose from.

On my list, I would have included:

1Like DJ Khaled, he won’t go down on you.
2. He will also expect you to do the emotional labor of fixing all his problems while showing little to no appreciation or acknowledgement for your hard work, examples include but are not limited to:
        a. Cooking him dinner after you’ve worked a 70hr week and he had the day off
        b. Canceling plans with friends, or entire work trips to do things with/for him instead
        c. Locating a carton of blueberries in the refrigerator after you’ve told him they were on the top shelf behind the almond milk and next to the block of cheddar cheese upwards of 3 times and then having to go retrieve said blueberries your cot damn self

The old TK would have followed up by chastising her for sending me the most ungrateful Thank You note I had ever received and reminding her of the reasons she should definitely be thanking me.

3. The only reason you are together is because I broke up with him and decided to let that 

4. Bish, I sent a 10lb bag of M&M’s, why you complaining? You mad because I'm killing you with kindness?

I also would have warned her to be careful...

5. In 4 or 5 years, when he takes off his dating invisibility cloak and starts to unveil the dementor that he really is, your relationship may have you feeling like a prisoner of Azkaban

Without even meeting her in person, I saw my past insecure and hurting self in her annoyingly wordy text message. There were times when I felt like I had to overcompensate or basically scream that I LOVED HIM from the rooftops to prove my worth and loyalty to him. Like that time his Mom told us she wasn't coming to our apartment and he blamed me for it. This long ass text message filled with all the reasons they are going to make it as a couple, felt very familiar to me. It's easy for me to respect their wishes never contact him again because I'm happy with how much I've grown since then and I refuse to do kind things for people who don't deserve them. I felt how Harriet Tubman must have felt when she encountered slaves she had to kill, “If only this woman realized she was a slave, I could have saved her too.”

2018 TK understands that people are complicated. Hurt people hurt people and insecurities cause you to act out. When you’ve worked on yourself (*cough* therapy and introspection) and you realize the psychology behind why people do the things they do, you can’t even be mad at them.

So instead of the actions listed above, 2018 TK told her to have a good life and not to text me again. To which she replied,

Oh I’m having a good life, stop bothering us.”

As I emerged from the bathroom to finish having a good night with my friends, I thought to myself, "Sounds like you're having a good life sis. Now if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands."

Just kidding. I'm not waiting because I don't care. He is not my man, and not my problem anymore. Emotionally intelligent people do things for others without expecting anything in return, but a small part of the 2008 TK that still resides in my psyche wanted to send her my paypal link for wasting my time on a Friday night.