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<editorsnote> Hi, I'm Jen Friel, and we here at TNTML examine the lives of nerds outside of the basements and into the social media, and dating world.  We have over 75 peeps that write about their life in real time. (Real nerds, real time, real deal.) Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the stories!! </editorsnote>

 

 

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Tuesday
Dec052017

#NerdsUnite: An algorithm for happiness (an understanding of expectation vs reality)

Sunday night, I went to the Night Vale podcast with the Modern Day Shaman. Before the event, we met in downtown so I could take him to my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BAR ON THE PLANET.

"It's like Cheers," I said, "but in LA, and not a lot of people know about it."

"I know I've driven by but never been in." 

I have some of the most randomly intelligent conversations with people here. No one cares about what you do or who you are, which means they don't want anything from you other than temporary company. I come here when I kinda want to be social, but don't know if I actually want to talk to someone; it's a case by case determination of companionship. 

"This place is incredible," he said staring at the non-ironic decor. 

As we were going to leave, I got stopped by one of my temporary company acquaintences (that I acutally like)

He asked what we were up to, and I told him about the Night Vale podcast. 

What's that? he asked. 

Nerd thing, I said. 

"You're not a nerd," he said. 

Eyes like daggers I shot back to the shaman and smiled. 

Have a great night! I said with a hug. 

Now onto a story with a polar opposite approach.

I went to an event last Tuesday with with two intentions: 1) I wanted to meet high level automotive executives and 2) I wanted to consume good food and an open bar. 

Maestro ... 

Last Monday, I sent out over 200 invites to my "non-birthday party." Everyone that knows me knows that unless it's a big birthday number, I have zero desire to host a birthday party, have a dinner, or do anything anyone tells me to. I spend 364 days of the year making sure shit gets done for other people, that I take my birthday as THE ABSOLUTE ONE DAY for myself. Parties are work, and as someone who works a lot - I'm good.

This year, however, my parents are coming into town (something that has only happened one other time in 12 years) and I wanted to introduce them to people they have heard a lot about.

I created the Facebook event and as I went through clicking people to invite, I thought well, if this person comes then I have to invite that person.

Fuck it, I said I'm inviting everyone.

I don't care if we haven't talked in years, I don't care if you don't even have my current cell number, if you've been in my life, you've been in my life! And as the non-birthday girl this is my fucking party and I can have it the way I want it.

One of the invites that went out was to my buddy Josh whom I hadn't seen in years.
He DMed me on Insta ... 

I don't normally do the "Hollywood event scene" anymore, but considering I'm part of an automotive startup, I viewed this as an opportuntiy to get a face to face with the executives. (Chevrolet was launching their new Corvette.) I left work early on Tuesday to get my glam game on.  

One super puffy/ furry coat, retro looking skirt, and heels (I could actually walk in) later, I grabbed an Uber and headed over to Bootsy Bellows to meet the group. I left with plenty of time to catch the shuttle (which was our ride to the party)

I was slated to arrive right on time at 5:45 and to my surprise, the driver got us there 15 minutes early. Since the club was far from being open, the "soon to be group" was instructed to wait outside.

Not a problem, I thought literally being the first person there. A few more girls arrived moments later and as we briefly chatted, we discovered none of us had any idea what was going on. Clearly, good free food and an opening bar is effective enough marketing to get any woman to your party. 

Color me every shade of WONDERFUL!!! 

My friend arrived about a half hour later, along with the other seven people in the group. By 6:30 (an hour of sidewalk standing later), the crowd grew to around 150 people as two big tour buses pulled up. The herd of randomly dressed 20 somethings gathered by the door as I purposefully stayed on the fringes. (I absolutely hate crowds.) My ADD went through the roof as I saw lots of shiny things, and forcibly had to keep my mouth from dropping when one gal showed up with her ... uh ... own show in tow.
To put it in proper perspective, let's just say her shorts were so short that I could tell she wasn't on her period. 

<tangent> I give people like that a lot of credit, man. As per the invitation I received this was a "red carpet" event. You've got the balls (er, technically lack there of in this case) to show up in THAT? 

Good on ya! </tangent>

Anywho, back to my own business, the busses quickly filled up and we were informed that they would not send more, or come back.

"Why can't they just come back?" we all wondered. 

Typically when you are offered a shuttle to the party it is because it's in the hills and they don't want the traffic. Considering we were at Bootsy Bellows on Sunset, (at the base of the hills) this was the most logical projection given the available information. 

My friend then texts HIS friend (who was one of the promoters) asking what to do. I'll give you the address and you can drive straight there. 

Done, we all thought. 30 more minutes later, (time is now close to 7:30pm, TWO FULL HOURS OF sidewalk standing later), we received the address and noticed it was downtown. No way, I said, grabbing my phone and walking over to the managing "wrangler."

This address can't be correct, I said. 

Oh it's very correct, he sharply replied. 

We're taking shuttles all the way to downtown???? (In rush hour mind you.) 

Yes, he said. 

Fuck me, I thought wondering if I should just ditch the event all together.

Before I finished the thought I heard, "I can take you in my car," from one of the girls. 

There's gotta be a life experience here, I thought. Keep saying yes and just do it. After all, this is a lot of makeup and it would be a shame to be wasteful ... 

We then make the trek up the hill to my new friend's car, and I could tell within .25 seconds we were going to be friends. Out of everyone in the group, I could tell how down to Earth she was, and could intuitively tell she was going to utter the same sentence of "this isn't really me." I entered in the address quoting that we would arrive by 8:30 (FUCK ME, I thought but didn't say ... my stomach growling, I just want a burger ... and a glass of wine ...). Before we hit the highway we had discovered that we're both obsessed with our dogs, and are both from back east (she happened to be from MASS and I'm from CT).

The majority of times you meet people from either Massachusetts or Connecticut, they've summered in either Cape Cod or Lake Winnipesaukee, I used that as a lead in. 

We drove through Massachusetts all the time as a kid when we were en route to the lake. 

Which one, she asked?

Lake Winnipesaukee. 

I've been there too!! she said. 

I smiled and continued ... 

Yeah, you have Weirs Beach and Funspot. 

"I cannot believe you are mentioning Funspot right now. Have you seen the documentary on Funspot?"

"WHAT?! I said matching her enthusiasm. THERE IS A DOCUMENTARY ON FUNSPOT???"

I immediately began googling and found this ...

I found it, I said. 

She glanced over and said no, that's not it. It was an actual movie. It had something to do with Donkey Kong. 

I then googled "donkey kong funspot documentary" and found this ... 

I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE IMMEDIATELY, I said upon completion of the trailer!!!

The now genuine conversation we were having made the hour long car ride feel a whole heck of a lot shorter. 

"I'm so excited for a burger and a glass of wine. I got there at 5:30, it's been almost three hours and I purposefully didn't eat a lot before the event knowing the level of expected food quality.
I only have so much room, but now I'm borderline full blown vacancy and I'm not sure how much longer I can last." 

I tried to stay as calm as possible in front of my genuine new friend. The clock had long been ticking, and I don't think people understand when I say I get hangry, I actually get hangry. I've discovered it's from being anemic that I get extremely curt, dismissive, and singularly focused. I go into like a nerd survival mode where my body knows what it wants, and it's my brain's job to get it. Anything and everything in between COMPLETELY disinterests me - I just want that. A burger. Food. Preferably something with iron. Popeye me a can full of spinach, I don't care, but I know I. need. to. eat. or something really, really bad is about to happen. 

By 8:30 we arrive at the event. We were past downtown and somewhere borderline East LA, but I didn't care. Again, my focus was on food. Good food. Good food I had waited THREE HOURS to consume, and was now a mere moment away from actually consuming.

As we went to park, one of the drivers came out to help us with his flashlight (as we couldn't confirm if the sidewalk was red or yellow). Once we were good to go, I thanked him for his help as I introduced myself. 

"I just dropped off these reporters from Detroit. This is apparently a car event." 

Yeah, I said, that's about as much information as we all have too. It's the unveiling of the new Corvette, but I'm really only here for the food. 

Enjoy, he said as we walked down the super creepy looking alleyway into the event. 

Now at the door, the very intense security asked us for the QR codes. I scanned back and found my friend who invited us and asked him for the info. 

As he endlessly scrolled through his email the crowd grew yet again (both busses had arrived at this point) and we were asked to stand against the wall. 

NO ONE IS GETTING IN WITHOUT THE CODE, shouted the security guard. 

Personally, these types of people are my favorite to mess with. I truly do live by the mantra of "where there is a will there is a way" and events that announce their "security" with such "command" are typically the ones I can find the easiest way into. (See this post on Crashing The Grammy Awards.) 

This scenario however, wasn't my rodeo. I wasn't willing to put my friend's connection on the line, nor did I logically think I could get all seven, SEVEN of us snuck in. Whatever was going to be was going to be, and I had to just let it go. 

My stomach however, couldn't handle the laissez faire attitude and as I watched my friend try and talk his way into the event ... I secretly began crying on the inside ... just ... wanting ... food. Any food now. Food. Food. Need food now. 

No one is getting in without their QR code announced security, and we're at capacity, so you guys should figure something else out. 

Wondering if this is what thirst is like in the Sahara, I drifted away into a barely coherent hunger bliss as I watched the 20 somethings throw a fit. 

"I can get you bottle service at 1OAK tonight. Come by, ask for John. I'll take care of you." 

"WHAT?! she scoffed back. I can get bottle service at any club, anytime. I came here for this party, and now that's ruined." 

Not that I was capable of responding or being involved in any capacity, but the only thought that entered into my mind was "god, I'm so glad those years are over." 

"How about we head over to The Standard and first round is on me," said my friend. 

My own hunger aside (WHICH IS REALLY HARD TO DO), I felt bad for my buddy. He was just trying to be nice inviting us all to this event and for one reason or another the gatekeepers decided to deny entry. Totally not his fault! 

"I will take you up on that offer," I said to my friend as we got back INTO the car and Butabi-ed our butts over to the Standard. 

Immediately upon arrival, I darted up to the rooftop and ordered a $16 burger that independently would have tasted like shit, but in that moment was the most wonderful thing I have put in my mouth (in recent memory)

While experiencing a current state of actual bliss, my new friend told me that there is this "super trivia" game over in Santa Monica that I should check out. It's all run by Super Champions on Jeopardy. 

THAT SOUNDS AMAZING, I said with a full mouth, finally showing accurate levels of energy and excitement.

Mouth still full I continued, done - let me social engineer the team. 

There are two winners each week. One winner from the Jeopardy side (you compete with people who have been on Jeopardy before) and one from the team that hasn't ever been on Jeopardy. 

I look forward to winning, I said, and by winning, I mean getting one question right the first time and working our way up from there. 

Once I was done eating, I grabbed an Uber heading back home and to my surprise, I was satisfied. 

I somehow had BY DEFINITION survived own version of personal hell (the club scene, crowds, idiotic people) and chose to not focus on what I couldn't control in the evening, rather accept that and be genuinely happy for what did happen - ALL IN REAL TIME (which was a first)!!!! 

If you would have told me that I would have gone on an adventure where I'd spend the evening discussing Lake Winnipesaukee, Funspot, dogs, learn about "the world's most difficult trivia game (and gain acess to it), oh yeah and at the very end of it, I'd eat a burger ... I'd say that's a pretty fucking awesome evening. 

I was immediately reminded of a video I saw on Facebook a while back from a google exec ... 

"Happiness is what you think about the world gives you." 

My current version of happiness? See realization above. Oh, and then there's also the fact that this is complete ... 

 

Just because Les Moonves picked (the now cancelled) "Great Outdoors" in 2016 over Talk Nerdy To Me didn't mean that I was going to stop.

What's a "Les Moonves?" you ask. I had the same question, and will explain (finally) how everything happened in the next post. 

#nerdsunite  

Oh, and I'm also hiring for a project. See below and please tag your friends in my Facebook post. I'd love to look at their work. Thanks nerds!! xx 


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Friday
Oct132017

#NerdsUnite: The cost of "whatever it takes" ... is it actually worth it - (Part 2)

Click here if you haven't read part one 

Here is the actual text for part two & I love how much you can tell about a person by the restaurants they choose. These series of texts are why Rosanne and I are friends ... but more than that later ... 

Maestro ... 

<editorsnote> 1. If you haven't heard this song, do yourself a favor cause this version is incredible. 2. 9/10 there is hidden sub text in the songs that are posted within each blog. 1/10 times I just like the beat. Anytime I write though, I listen to the same song over and over on repeat to set the mood. Listen if you so desire! xx </editorsnote> 

Wow that was fast, Rosanne said upon arrival. (When people who aren't in the hills say you're heading back to the hills they just assume it will take forever. I'm good at finding shortcuts.) 

"I get really overwhelmed by the menu here. Like legit anxiety over having so many choices," I admitted.

"Yeah but their menu is their money maker. They rank in 25K each month strictly from ad revenue," she said. 

"Wow, just wow. I mean good for them ... but ..."

Wow is right. Ads are so expensive! lol (She typed the lol in text when I confirmed the ad revenue. Even in a flashback, I'm still shocked at how much they make.) 

So, what happened to your parents? 

Oh! Yes, let me continue the story.

Cue flashback sequence ... 

I got the news that my test was "unremarkable" (which is the MRI term for you're all good in the hood) on a Friday. I chose to work from home since I had absolutely no idea which was the pendulum was going to swing.

Out of all of the theoretical outcomes, the "you're good" made it worse in my mind. I recognized that I had allowed stressors to overwhelm me to such a point that it had finally (as predicted) affected my health.

I wasn't okay with that, and knew I had to immediately make life changes.

It started with closing my laptop and taking a nap that afternoon. 

Somewhere in between what is normal sleeping hours, and the late afternoon I got a call from El Boy-o. 

"What do you want to do this weekend?" he asked. (It was Labor Day weekend.) 

"I want to not think. I want to stay home, and not be responsible for anything or anyone (other than Buster, my dog)."

"I had a feeling you were going to say that. What if you took an actual vacation and come over to the island?:

(My previous version of "Vacation Jen" wasn't Vacation Jen. I really believe in Chalkin' Social aka the chalkboard hats, and was running around all weekend handing them out to people. They're also not a sponsor or anything, I don't do that anymore.) 

"I don't think I'd get a ticket on the boat," I said knowing that the previous weekends (during season) were absolutely packed.

Even though the boat doesn't look at full capacity, it is. They go by weight and I've had to talk my way onboard (on more than one occasion) justifying that I am a small person with a small bag. (I never carry more than a laptop backpack.) 

"Then, what if I put you on the helicopter?" 

"I've never been in one before." 

"WHAT?! Don't your business partners own multiple helicopters?!" 

He is right, I do hang out in a helicopter hanger while kicking it with Rooster, Butch and Gil - but I've never been there when they were taking them out ... 

"Well then let's change that. I'll get you a ticket." 

At this point, I wasn't about to refuse a ticket specifically one based on the ONE SENTENCE I HAVE LONGED TO SAY (with proper reference) FOR TWENTY FOUR YEARS!

The next morning I woke up, packed a bag, and called Uber. (I'm lucky that Buster has people that come in our home to take care of him.) As I got in the car, the arrival time was doubled (plus 10 minutes). I had (luckily) allowed myself enough time, but somewhere past the point of no return, I looked down and noticed I didn't have my wallet. 

Stress head and me do not get along. Anytime I am stressed I will forget very very simple things. I have walked out of the house without shoes not once but TWICE.

It takes so much more energy to focus that I become oblivious to my good friend Captain Obvious. 

I texted El Boy-o ...

I knew once I was on the island I was fine (between El Boy-o and the fact that people around town knew I wasn't a douche meant that if I needed an I.O.U I would more likely than not get it). The getting on the chopper was the variable. I had no idea what kind of identification they required and what was mandated in "helicopter land."

In that moment, I had two choices - one, go back and miss the flight.
Two, pray that I can be quick witted enough to talk my way onto the chopper. 

Given previous history, I was willing to take the calculated risk. 

I arrived on time, and immediately approached the counter, taking a deep breath.
It's a guy! I thought looking down at my outfit thinking out of all of the days to dress like an actual girl, I was glad I picked today!! 

I didn't have to say much. He was just REALLY happy to see me.

One weigh in, 30 seconds, and one apology for using my IMDB page as my form of identification later, I got clearance to fly. 

There were approximately nine people in the small waiting room for the flight. We placed our life vest (of sorts) on as we watched the information video detailing the dos and don'ts of helicopter safety. I was pumped to say the least, but most excited for my own moment of truth (24 years in the making).

While standing in line, my arm is grabbed. 

Fuckkkkkk, I thought. This is it, I've failed, and couldn't talk my way on. 

"You can ride up front with the pilot," said the attendant. 

"Wait, WHAT?!" I thought split seconding myself out of a place of fear, and climbing into the cock pit like I owned it. 

 I then introduced myself to the pilot, and explained that this was my first time riding in a helicopter. 

"What a coincidence, he said, this is my first time too!" 

When you sit up front you get a special kind of headset that allows you to have direct communication with the pilot when you are in air. I immediately took advantage of this. 

Being separated from the other passengers meant that I unfortunately couldn't say MY ONE SENTENCE 24 YEARS IN THE MAKING, but instead of being sad about it, I seized the unpredicted special opportunity ...

"I have three questions," I said.  

Go right ahead, he said with genuine enthusiasm!

Number 1. How many times a day do you say this exact sentence ... 

That's where this post came from ... 

He immediately burst into laughter thinking I was kidding.
I wasn't.
I moved onto my follow up questions ... 

Number 2. Does this ever get old? 

He smiled and said, "never." 

I reciprocated the gesture - that made me happy. 

Number 3. Tell me everything. What do all of the buttons do? 

The pilot then gave a general description of each of the control panels while I snapped away replying with wow after wow, followed by a "that's so cool!" 

Struck by the hilarity of the situation, I sent this text ... 

The flight lasted a very productive 15 minutes. Upon landing, I met up with El Boy-o at the local watering hole. His friend joined moments later.

"YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS!!" I said practically jumping out of my skin. I opened up my iPhone showing them the controls and explained (as best as I could) what each one did. 

They paused, before saying "You flew in the front seat of the helicopter and all you did was take pictures of the control panels?" 

I said still TOTALLY excited. 

All in all, I had a phenomenal Labor Day weekend, which was fitting considering the intended nature of the holiday.

I thanked my friends and headed back on the boat.

THANK YOU ISLAND LIFE!! 

I got back into the office on Tuesday, and saw that the intensity behind a hurricane (Irma) was increasing. I had previously texted my friends on the OG Island (located in the Florida Keys) asking if everyone was okay. They all admitted to being scared but since the "cone" prediction regarding landfall was still a few days out, there wasn't really much anyone could do. 

Wednesday morning, I got a text from my parents asking if I was okay with them giving their pet sitter my phone number. 

I completely forgot that they were even traveling, let alone potentially within the path of the storm. 

The Bahamian government shut down the airport two days earlier than they were "supposed to" which cancelled my parent's flight back to Miami.

As official "Emergency Contact" for their animals (two dogs and one Bengal cat that acts like a dog), it was my call/ responsibility in terms of decision making on their behalf. 

 

 

Here is Buster high pawing Luci to the face - I am an awesome dog auntie (and still can't believe I captured this on video)

 

Buster high fives luci to her face. #happybirthdaymom #bdaydinner #familytime

A post shared by Jen Friel (@talknerdytomelover) on Nov 3, 2014 at 2:54pm PST

 

Anywho, since the phones systems in the Bahamas aren't the greatest, we continued texting throughout the day ... 


TAKE THAT IRMA! A few hours later, (much like the storm) the tide had begun to turn ... 

The storm shifting to Miami landfall meant that places of business were already beginning to shut down. The vet cancelled all boarding options, and with my parent's pet sitter also getting the eff out of dodge - that meant the animals would be alone (fending for themselves) which puts Noelle, Luci, and Blanquito in the animal kingdom version of the Thunderdome.

My money is on the cat. When that little thing was a kitten it attacked the shit out of Buster (70 lbs). As you saw, Luci cried getting bitch slapped. All bark, little bite. 

All joking aside, I've been the Emergency Contact for my parent's animals for half my life. While I've never been called to the floor, this was WITHOUT A DOUBT a moment in need, and I would do whatever it took to keep them safe. After all, that's my job. 

I needed to get my parents off that island. If the main airport is closed, does that mean charter airports are closed as well, I wondered? Having friends in the Keys meant I had heard all about the charters into various parts of the Bahamas.

I placed two phone calls, and approximately 20 minutes later I had my answer. 

Since the storm's landfall was still on shaky ground, my parents decided to wait and not take a charter. (This is where that whole having more money thing would have come in handy. You'll see why in a minute.) 

As a family, we settled on the idea of me coming in on Monday (after the storm) instead of Wednesday (before the storm) because no one with a sane mind would want to put themselves in the middle of a CAT 5 hurricane. 

 

On Thursday morning, I shot out of bed like a bullet, turning on the news to catch the latest information on the storm. They were predicting landfall in the Keys with Miami also getting a direct hit. 

This was not good. 

 

I immediately got on the phone with the hotel and asked for my parents room. The operator said the entire hotel has been evacuated and now she had to go as well. 

Not knowing what to do, I quickly texted, and fortunately got an answer from my parents ... 

 

I don't know what scared me the most in that moment. The fact that my parents were getting on a plane not knowing which COUNTRY they could be going to, or the fact that my mother seemed so calm in the process. 

As I put down my phone, I lost it. 

My parents are on a plane going to a destination unknown, a cat 5 storm is heading towards Miami and the animals I have sworn to protect could now be in danger ... could I live with the guilt if something happened to them?

Did I have a choice? 

WHY DIDN'T I JUST PUT THEM ON A FUCKING CHARTER, I thought?!?
THIS IS WHY I NEED TO MAKE MORE MONEY (and have access to it in emergencies)

End flashback sequence ... 

"So, what about your parents? Did they make it out okay?" 

Four hours later I got a call from my father saying they were in Miami. Their resort spent a solid 24 hours on the phone with the government pleading with them to open up the airport and take their guests to a safe place. (Funny again considering where the storm was predicted to hit.) The government allowed one more plane to leave - it held 58 people and my parents were among the first 58. 

FIVE STAR YELP REVIEW, I said jokingly, but also serious. 

They were obviously shaken, but they could go home and protect the animals. They would all be able to wait out the storm together, and whatever was going to happen was going to happen. It was too late to evacuate (the roads were clogged), and with the storm projected to hit all of Florida there really wasn't a "safe" place for anyone to be with such short notice. 

"Did you go back?"

Not yet, but that's another story. Should we order some food first?  

#nerdsunite  

Wednesday
Oct112017

#NerdsUnite: The cost of "whatever it takes" ... is it actually worth it? 

I said something out loud to my girlfriend a few weeks back that I had yet to admit to another living being, and said statement was followed by a solid understanding that my life is coming full circle. 

Maestro ... 

"So what has Jen Friel been up to?" she asked as we sat down for an impromptus happy hour (my office happens to be across the street from her building)

With a straight face, and little to no emotion I said, "I've experienced a fundamental shift in the last 30 days, I'm ready to get married and have babies." 

YAY!! She said super excited. 

My actions weren't mirrored, and without an actual mirror, I'll just have to assume that my face looked something like this ... 

"What happened, what made you come to this conclusion?" 

"My health," I said. "It's no big deal, but I had an 'episode' a few weeks back."

I might have been capable of admitting that I was ready to start a family, but that still didn't mean I was capable or willing to admit what the "episode" actually was. 

Cue flashback sequence ... 

Back in July, I was warned by my doctor that if I didn't start to find balance with my work and actual life, it would start to affect my health.

That's where this post came from: 

Four letter words are becoming a trend - my favorite of them being "sold." Remember that "other" TV show I mentioned during talk nerdy's relaunch? It sold. (I'm in front of and behind the camera on this one.) Upon finding out the news, the handful of people I told asked, "how are you going to celebrate?" Celebrate? I thought laughing. I have to get ahead of the announcement, and push along xyzabc123 projects. Then yesterday, I went to my doctor (unrelated), and he told me if I don't take a break it's going to start to affect my health. "You look like shit," he said, "which must mean you sold something." Mind you, not only does this man have a successful practice, he's also the bassist for Ryan Adams (even has a thank you note in his waiting room from @taylorswift ). Before I got back into my car, I reached out to my buddy Hugh and asked if I could accept a standing invitation to Catalina. Not a problem, he said! So now I'm on a boat heading to an island to hang out with my second favorite Irish family. Fingers crossed we end up on @lisavanderpump Instagram again ... #nerdsunite

A post shared by Jen Friel (@talknerdytomelover) on Jul 27, 2017 at 1:07pm PDT

I took his words very seriously, and once I found out a project had received a pilot order (a big deal in TV), I left for an extended weekend vacation on an island (not far from LA). While there, I had met someone who I was not only attracted to, but in his previous life, built homes. THAT'S PERFECT! I thought knowing I wanted to renovate my apartment. 

<tangent> See, I want to take the money from both TV projects and invest in homes. (This is how my parents made their money.) Since I don't own a home yet, I figured why not build a design portfolio using my own apartment (which could later translate into a career in staging homes). I have no idea if I'd be any good at it, but I viewed it as a calculated risk with the plus side of creation satisfaction in a tangible realm. Everything I build professionally is online. I wanted to find balance between both worlds. </tangent> 

I then purchased all the supplies required (which was hilarious because it was the first time I went to the hardware store and actually bought supplies for my home).

I've previously bought a 3 gallon bucket for an ayahuasca ceremony, chicken wire for the sliding mechanism on my freelance Charlie Chaplin costume ... 

The costume needed the stache and to keep it on I used fishing line and chicken wire which allowed me to slide it left or right and still keep it on.

The sign on the back made it a little weird past midnight. I did not anticipate people taking me seriously.

Freelance Charlie Chaplin meant that pants were optional.

... and spackling (bought to mimic frosting for my Katy Perry costume). That was a fun adventure!!

Anywho, we began painting one Saturday and somewhere in between the long strokes and reminder of wet things, we began tearing each other's clothes off. 

There were no lonely trees in this picture. There was wood however ...

The sex was incredible (sex really does change as you get older and become more comfortable in your skin), and close to my own climax we switched positions to the back of the couch. (A fun perk of home renovating is all the new angles you can utilize with your newly placed furniture.) 

As I began arching my back sticking my butt out (this makes your butt look amazing before doggy), time began slowing down - rapidly. I took a handful of deep breaths but before I could process what was happening, the world began moving in a circular motion like a fast/ forceful stream of water being sucked down the drain. 

My body then involuntarily fell forward (thankfully onto the back of my very soft couch), as I felt a "spark" inside my brain. I tried to speak, and realized I couldn't. It wasn't until my arm began violently shaking that el boy-o realized something was wrong.

He was coming in hot from behind, so there was no way he would have noticed something any sooner. 

When I was finally able to speak (the entire "episode" lasted a handful of seconds), I said "I'm okay, I'm fine. I'm okay, I'm fine," only, I wasn't. I just couldn't stop trying to take control of whatever situation I had involuntarily found myself in. 

"You are very clearly not fine or okay," he said immediately going into action grabbing towels from my bathroom, cooling them down with water and placing them on my body. (He's been trained in the military so if this was ever going to happen to me, I was glad it was happening with someone logical who could help and not freak out.) 

Not knowing what to do, I put on pants figuring pants were the minimum requirement should I need to be taken anywhere. 

Cautious to make sudden movements, or really any movement, I was immediately reminded of my doctor's prediction. 

"I need to make more money, and I am going to work less," I said. Everyone knows startups are notorious for paying peanuts, and my problem is that I'll be the last one to take. I'm a stubborn asshole who has survived off of bartering, but I can't continue to gamble with my own life. 

This was a full blown wake up call that I need to add balance in my life and if I chose not to listen, my body would do what it needed to do. 

I waited a full 24 hours before emailing the founder of my company.

You feel this weird residual after effect with an "episode," and I wanted the email to not come from a place of fear or disorientation, but rather a place that was honest and grounded (or as grounded as I could be)

El Boy-o was surprised. "You've got a lot of balls emailing the founder on a weekend saying you're going to take more money and work less." 

I smiled knowing that I am going to make a lot of money at this company (something I am going to need if I end up down the road being a single mother), but what good would all that money do if I'm not alive to enjoy it?

I created my own bottom line realizing that if I am going to stay I would have to have those needs met. If not, I totally get it, I wouldn't take any of it personally - I fiercely admire the people I work with. 

I arrived at the office on Monday (a little later than I planned). The founder and I walked outside as I began telling him what happened. "Zero history of this. Nothing in my family. Nada. It has to be stress, just like my doctor warned."

He asked why I wasn't in bed, and I explained that I had a big meeting to focus on (I know ... I know ... but I really did relax the rest of the weekend, but relaxing to me is also doing whatever needs to get done so I can stop thinking about it). "Whatever you need, we'll take care of it."

He then connected me with a doctor friend of his, and I immediately broke down what happened (including the previously received warning). It all felt so cut and dry in my head that this was stress related, but his response caught me off guard ... 

The doctor sent that email at 2:38 pm. By 2:45, I was out the door sobbing the entire ride home. 

I don't know why it upset me so much the idea of having an MRI, but it was this jolting reality (literally) that I wasn't in control of my life. As a strategist/ planner, I can quickly assess possible outcomes but this time I forbid myself from "going there" and feeling sorry for myself. Whatever it is, I will handle it ... quite frankly, I have no choice. 

When I got home, I googled low cost MRIs. I didn't want to go through insurance and the reality that I need to see this doctor to get the referral to that doctor who is going to hand the results off to this clinic where I can get tested on even numbered days that aligned with the return of Halley's comet. 

I had already lined up three doctors who agreed to analyze the photos (one of whom works at Harvard). I just needed the photos done well, and fast. 

Three days, and $275 cash in hand later, I arrived at the testing facility and signed in with a fake name (no ID was required). I had no reason to use a pseudonym, but I figured if I was in the process of going full blown cray, I might as well be authentic and just start doing weird illogical shit on the reg. 

A very long hour and some change later (someone moved in the machine causing them to have to redo the exam), I entered into the back room. For a cash place that lets you get an MRI without showing any form of identification, I was pleasantly surprised at how clean and inviting everything felt. This experience shook me to the definition of my core, yet here I was questioning what kind of Lysol they were using. 

 I removed my earrings and placed my bag in the locker adjacent to the exam room. I grabbed the key and placed it on the table inside. On a scale of 1-10 my fear was ranked at a 100.

I didn't expect the trajectory of my 32nd year to potentially include the word "tumor" or "cancer," said every person that has said those words ever. 

 

I was placed on the table (which was actually quite comfortable), and given a blanket. I was instructed not to move. I laughed thinking movement wasn't an option as my body was already paralyzed with fear. 

The operator went back behind the partion as the procedure began. Surprised by the sound of the machine, my body continued to involuntarily shake. (Enough to know I was shaking, not enough to disrupt the exam.) It was the sound of the machine that surprised me. 

For some reason, I expected it to sound like a dot matrix printer ... 

I was wrong. Very wrong.

Here's what the machine actually sounded like ... 

... only in the one they were using the sound wasn't constant. Every time I attempted to lull myself into some form of advanced meditation, the high pitch pierce would come back providing that additional reminder that yep, this life moment is happening. 

To make matters worse, the clinic was blasting KOST 103.5. Normally, I love that station, but on this particular day, in that particular half hour, I resented their every being ...  

FTR, I'm not crazy or unwell Matchbox 20!! 

SHUT UP with your, "I want something just like this" Chainsmokers & Coldplay. 

This isn't my fight song Rachel, but if I make it out of this I will be taking my life back (whatever that really means).

30 minutes later, I emerged a grumpy mcgee pants. I was scared, angry, and sad. I executed the motions, but still couldn't handle the e-motions. 

After the test, I drove back to the office where I attempted to have a meeting. Fortunately, it was with a guy I had previously dated, so when he asked if I was okay, I felt comfortable enough admitting that I wasn't. I sobbed in his arms saying I could barely even drive back. 

"YOU DROVE YOURSELF TO THE CLINIC?" he asked shocked. 

"I know, I said, I should have taken an uber." 

"With all the people you know, you didn't ask someone to go with you?" 

"I didn't expect this kind of response. I normally stay eerily calm when I'm nervous or scared. I'm also a stubborn asshole who needs to learn it's okay to show/ admit any sort of vulnerability to another living being." 

I paused for a moment. 

"I have zero problems showing vulnerability in relationships now. I guess I still need work on extending that outwards to my friends." 

"What about the guy you're dating?" 

"He offered to take me. I told him no." 

"Why?" 

I paused. 

"Fuck, you're right. I'm causing all of this. I have the help all around me, and I'm not accepting it." 

He then gave me yet another big hug as we agreed to postpone the meeting to the following week. 

End flashback sequence ... 

 

"Wow," she said. "I don't think I've ever seen you stressed." (We've all known each other for over a decade.) 

I laughed saying I feel stressed all the time. 

"That's when you know you're good at what you do," she said. "Even if you feel that way, it never shows." 

I thought about it for a moment, and wondered if that was a good thing. 

"So, you're okay now?" she asked. 

"You can say that. There's no going back from that kind of a wakeup call though. Everything came back 'unremarkable,' which is ironic because on the contrary I thought the experience was quite remarkable." 

"All that made you realize you're ready to start a family?" 

"No," I said. "This was just the first part. The following week, my parents got on a plane not knowing what country they were going to, and for four hours I had no idea if they were safe or not. And then the week after I rescued pussy on Hollywood Blvd. Out of all three experiences, that one impacted me the most (from a maternal perspective)." 

"WHAT?!" 

"First, let me go and take care of Buster (who was still hanging out at the office). Let me drop him off at home, and I'll meet you for dinner."

DONE! she said. This I have to hear. 

Me too, I thought. 

click here to read PT 2

#nerdsunite 

  


 

Thursday
Aug242017

#Fetish: I had read this one on Urban Dictionary, but yep, it's actually "a thing!"

I spent this past weekend in a tent off the grid on the island of Catalina. I met a buffalo, golden eagle, bald eagle, and was happier than a pig in shit ... which reminded me of this story. 

Maestro … 

 

In 2013, I fell in love and ghosted this website, my life, (which at the time were one in the same), and moved to an island without telling anyone. (Family knew, but that was it.) I had discovered a handful of months prior how unhappy I was, and since my ultimate goal was to find a lover to talk nerdy to me - in my mind, I succeeded! 

(As most of you know) I then moved to the island with said gentleman, but by the end of November that year, we had broken up. Never one to go down without a fight, I negotiated the terms for a solid month and some change. After all, it was like this person was telling me my arm didn’t exist. It was (in my mind) like oh no, this isn’t possible, let’s strategize steps a) b) c).

He gave me a gift at that time, I just didn’t/couldn't see it. What I did begin to see was the reality that I had to get my shit back together, and at 29 reinvent myself (yet again ... only this time as a person, not a persona)

<tangent> Remember that morning after I was placed in a mental institution on the 5150? I had to pick myself up by my bootstraps (even though I wasn’t allowed to keep the laces).

The cockroach infestation? That sucked. Had one box left to represent 27 years, but looking back, had it not been for that life experience I wouldn’t have “given up everything I owned” to live in the corporate sponsored Ford Fiesta.

Your perspective is like prescription lenses. Your sight is the result of a series of choices you have made that have framed your reality. I didn't pick these experiences, but I was at all times consciously aware that I had a choice ... do I choose to "learn from these experiences" (whatever that means), or do I allow myself to be blinded by my own misery. </tangent> 

I spent a month and some change feeling scared, lonely, and constantly wondered what was next. (I got my own place in town not to remain close to him, but because I liked the person I was becoming in that space.) 

Then one day, my neighbor knocked on my door and very seriously asked if I was “alright?”
Confused, I paused for a moment, then remembered the night before (and the 30 more nights before that) I listened to "Nobody wants to be lonely" on repeat over and over and over (I was also using an apple TV with bose surround sound.)

Don't judge, we've all done things we're not proud of. 

I thanked him for the concern, and realized that being called out made me want to change my tune. I can keep doing the same thing over and over (which is the definition of insanity), or I can take action.

The next day I woke up and said "one foot in front of the other, Friel, you can do this. If not, well, fake it until you make it."

Previous iterations of reinvention occurred in familiar territory, island life was all new to me. Also, now that I was becoming more honest with myself in terms of my emotions, I wasn't sure how happy tech was "actually" making me. Afterall, I had reached all of these goals I had wanted to accomplish, and still felt empty.

I then typed up a resume and immediately deleted it. I wasn't sure if anyone was going to believe half of what was on there. Have you read my LinkedIn profile? Nothing has ever been normal (and I still to this day don't have a resume).  

Fortunately, while having lunch with my parents in Miami one day, my father said the founder of his company (who happens to have previously been Pablo Escobar’s surgeon) could possibly point me in the right direction.

DONE! I said, as we had our first of many dinners.

I would sit and listen, wanting to understand his world. He’s a 33 degree Cuban born mason who was against the embargo being lifted (he actually told me before it was going to happen, and I equally connected the dots once the Carlyle group started buying up properties on the island for their ports).

Any who, I knew I could help him with my entertainment connections back in Los Angeles, but LA was the last place I wanted to go back to. 

“I have someone for you to meet,” he said. 

Never one to ask a lot of questions with someone I trust, I just said DONE! 

I then met one of his friends (who happened to be involved with local politicians)

THAT'S IT! I said. I can help with digital on one of the campaigns, or speech writing - I don’t care, I’ve scrubbed floors before!! I can do that!! I just know I want to stay here, and need to find work to support myself. (I had previously done work with the #Tech4Obama campaign, and even quietly helped the governor of a neighboring state with his re-election.) 

How did you get here, she asked, and why the Keys? 

Tale as old as time, I said laughing, “it was all because of a guy.”

Here, she said grabbing a piece of paper. I want you to meet my nephew. 

I smiled immediately knowing that if her nephew was single she was going to try and set us up. 

I looked down, and saw that it was the address of a harbor in Ft. Lauderdale. 

“He’s a fishing captain,” she said. 

I tried to hold back my excitement and love of fishing (and the sea in general). 

“He’s looking for someone to help with his marketing for the charters on his boat,” she said. 

I immediately drove over to the address, and eventually found the ship. 

Hi, I said waving from the dock. My name is Jen Friel, I just met your aunt. His deckhand started laughing as I wondered if my suspicions were about to ring true. 

Sure, come on in, he said inviting me to take off my shoes and tour the boat. 

If someone had to play him in a movie it would be Eric Dane’s tanner cousin from South Africa (+1 for the accent, swoon!). He had a squint in his eye that could mean 1) he’s been in the sun for too long, or 2) he was attempting to be aloof.

Focusing on my own bottom lines (and not his), I asked if he could tell me more about his world. I grew up fishing, I admitted, but know nothing about commercial fishing and the business models of charters; I want to learn. 

Why don’t you come by at 4:30 tomorrow morning. I have a charter, and we’re going out to catch tuna. 

Done, I said shaking his hand as I grabbed my shoes choosing to stay at my parents house that evening (to be closer to the boat). The next morning, I grabbed a cooler and some beer from my parent's house. (I wasn't sure the laws in Miami in terms of purchasing alcohol at that early of an hour, and I wanted to "win" the crew over by bringing something I knew they'd enjoy.)

The charter guests arrived around 5 am, as I watched the crew sprint into action from the top deck. I have a lot of respect for not only the ocean but the discipline it takes to run a boat. 

As we pulled out of the harbor, the captain sat down next to me and he asked if this was my first time deep sea fishing. Not wanting to be a "fish out of water," I lied and said no. 

"So you don't get sea sick?" he asked. 

Nope, I said cool as a cucumber. 

The water in the morning was calm, and as we got out to where I'm assuming the "deep sea" begins, I learned the true definition of the color "Caribbean blue;" I had never seen a color like that with my own eyes. 

Hours later, the waves started to pick up and as the fish started to pile onto the boat I was reminded of my own hunger. I then climbed down from the top deck, and went inside the galley to grab my cooler. Once inside, the waves gathered strength as I was knocked off my feet and onto the couch.

The sudden change in direction created an instant disruption in the pit of my stomach.

Not wanting to pull a Blair and exercise the contents of my breakfast ...  

... I quickly grabbed the cooler remembering the worst place to be with motion sickness is indoors. 

Climbing back up to the top deck, the captain laughed asking how I was feeling. Judging by his confidence in the question, I'm assuming my skin turned to a shade of seaweed. 

Fine, I said, again lying to myself. 

Unzipping my cooler, as I went to pull out my sandwich, we got knocked by yet another big wave. This time the captain seemed more concerned. 

"Shit," he said.

Not knowing what was happening, I just held onto the closest bar and remained calm. The captain went downstairs to check on the guests, as the waves swelled up past 12' (the boat was 50'). At 5'7 and 120 lbs, I America Ninja Warriored myself to the safest spot to anchor on the top deck. 

The captain laughed upon his return. "You really do know your way around boats, don't you?"

"Common sense," I said, "but I've never experienced waves this strong." 

"This isn't even that bad," he said. "It's bad, but not the worst that I've seen." 

He then navigated the boat back to safety, and before sunset we were back at the harbor. 

I then helped the charter guests off the boat, as I asked if there was anything else I could help with? 

"I'm impressed," the captain said. "You didn't get sick, and you held your own on the water today. We should go out for a sunset cruise sometime." 

"Why not right now," I said pointing at the sun that was actually setting. 

Surprised I was still game to be on the water, he agreed and as the crew wrapped up their work, I began mine.  

On much calmer waters in a literal sense, we again sat next to each other on the top deck, this time with a drink in our hands. I wasn't sure what I wanted in that scenario. Yes, I was attracted to him, but I don't ever let that come in between me and a job. My ultimate goal was to stay on the island and support myself. That was all I could focus on in this exact moment. 

That is at least, what I told myself ... 

WHY MUST YOU BE SO ATTRACTIVE?!?! 

The first sunset was followed by a second, and shortly after we started dating. I remember looking at him on our second date, and being surprised by what I was feeling. I was genuinely starting to like this guy.

Having given myself so wholly to my last boyfriend, I wasn’t sure if all of the pieces had come back yet. 

Stop thinking big head, I thought. You have butterflies again!!! This is amazing!! Figure the rest out as you go!! 

My trips to the harbor then became an every day occurrence. I became a bikini barnacle of sorts spending part of the day hustling to win over walk-in charters on the dock, strategizing digital marketing, and then having sex. A lot of sex.  

After about a month of dating, he introduced me to his family (remember, I already knew his aunt) and weekly dinners became a "thing." I could tell that they really liked me, and I really liked them. Everything and everyone was a win, and that was something I desperately needed in that moment. 

As we got more comfortable with each other, he asked what I was "into." Oh I'm a F.R.E.A.K, I said (now finally able to talk dirty in bed). In a cocky manner (hehe), I continued, "between running a "relationship/sex blog" and my own experiences, nothing surprises me." 

"I like that," he said. 

Later that night, he poured me a glass of wine (red, which was surprising since we were on a boat), and poured himself a glass of scotch as we cuddled up on a couch inside the galley ready to watch a movie. 

A glass of wine past my bedtime, we proceeded to make out like the world was ending moving from the galley to the bedroom. (There were two small bedrooms below deck.) He then threw me onto the bed (something I am into), and as we began having sex he kept whispering in my ear "I want you to relax." 

Not knowing what he meant, I took the talking dirty cue playing along by saying "oohhhh, I'm relaxed baby, so relaxed ..." 

A handful of pumps later, I felt his hands on my backside as he cooed for me to "let it go." 

Continuing to play along, I moaned ...  

"Let it go," he said now distancing my cheeks. 

Finally catching the actual cue, I realized he wanted me to expel the contents of my colon ... 

Being jolted into my head meant that my own orgasm wasn't going to happen. Not wanting to spoil his, I talked dirty in his ear choosing words as my weapon against mass deconstruction. 

He quickly finished, and as we rolled over ontop of each other (the only way you can sleep on a boat), he went straight to sleep and I was scared straight. 

"This is ACTUALLY A THING?!?!" I thought. "Maybe it was the alcohol. I know I'm an open minded person, but am not sure if I'm THAT open minded." 

The next morning he woke up, and it was game on. Not wanting to put myself in an uncomfortable position, I immediately got ontop of him as we began having sex. 

"One second," he said getting out of bed. "Let's use this," he said placing a towel down underneath me. 

OHHHHHHH.MYYYYYYYY.GOOODDDDD. I thought. This isn't just a drunken request, this REALLY IS HIS "THING!!!" 

Never one to leave a partner hanging, I method acted myself back to a place of back door comfort.

Here I was thinking I was so bad ass the week before for finally being able to pee off the side of my girlfriend's boat. Now you want me to plan a trip to Cleveland? I wasn't even questioning if I could do it, I was confident that I wanted to keep my shit to myself. 

Unable to even articulate exactly what kind of fetish he was into (I guess my mouth isn't as dirty as I thought it was), I avoided the conversation at all costs and focused on something I could wrap my brain around - work. 

"You need a brochure, I said, basic marketing materials. Let me reach out to some people and find you someone." 

That'd be great, he said. 

A few days later, I had a basic mockup of the brochure, and was ready to show him.

"What's your schedule?" I asked calling from the island (a solid hour and a half drive)

"Let's meet at 3:30."

Done, I said. See you soon!  

As I arrived on the dock an hour and a half later, I took off my shoes and hopped onto the boat opening the galley door - only this time, it was locked.

Weird, I thought looking into the boat and seeing no one. He must have gotten stuck in traffic somewhere.

I then sat down on one of the plastic chairs on the dock and continued to edit.

15 minutes later, I saw his neighbor (whom I had become friendly with).

"Do you know when the Captain is coming back," I asked? 

"Coming back?" he said confused. "He’s on the boat."

I then went to try the door again, and it was still locked. I couldn’t see anyone in the galley and there were only the two tiny bedrooms below deck. It was so illogical that he was in there that I didn’t even knock on the door, I just went back to the chair and resumed working. 

15 minutes or so later (total time on dock :30), I hear the door click open. 

Without moving my head (I was wearing sunglasses), I lifted my eyes above the laptop screen and saw him with ... another woman. 

I immediately froze not in anger, but genuine shock.

I took a deep breath and quickly assessed the situation. Logic, Friel. It was pretty clear that he just put his dingy inside her thingie and for whatever reason (like the fish he fries) he wanted to get "caught." 

<tangent>Truth be told, I can’t remember if we had the “what are we” conversation, but I had been completely embraced by his family, even helped fix a washer and dryer in his mom’s house. We were beyond the “implied” stage of commitment, but again, in fair honesty, I can’t remember. </tangent> 

He may have been freshly fucked, but he had no idea who he was fucking with. 

Without a stroke of blush (which is hard to do with Irish people since we turn red at almost everything), I calmly closed my laptop, and hopped on the boat. 

“Hi, I’m Jen!” I said perky as a peach out stretching my hand. 

Hi, I’m so and so. (I can’t remember her name, I just remember she was super beautiful, and clearly a bit thrown at the GPS coordinate of a Bermuda love triangle)

"So and so wants to do a bikini shoot on the boat for her fashion line," the Captain said. 

Uh huh, I thought, wondering if that's what the kids are calling it these days. 

"That’s awesome!" I said again method acting myself back to a place of comfort. 

The captain then said that he was going to call her tomorrow to discuss scheduling with the models. 

"Not a problem," she said, extending her hand again saying it was nice to meet me. 

"The pleasure is all mine," I said with a smile knowing that this next conversation had nothing to do with her.

<tangent> I’ve never believed another person can “take” you from another person. We’re all adults, and actions have consequences. At the end of the day you have to decide what you stand for, and what you are willing to accept. Boundaries, bitches. It took me 10 years in therapy to understand what Swayze was saying in, “this is my dance space, this is your dance space.” </tangent> 

I hopped off the boat for a second to grab my laptop (Florida sun), and walked into the galley. He remained standing as I sat down opening up my laptop. I could tell he was mentally counting down until some sort of explosion. 

Before I let him speak I opened with, "just so we’re clear, my personal time is no longer on the table. Now, in terms of this brochure, I need your email address to send you the copy, and connect you with the designer. I can see the design in my head, but need to make sure it’s done right. I wish you nothing but the best, and will not speak of this to anyone on the dock, or our mutual family friends - but so we are clear we are done."

He remained silent. 

I couldn’t tell if he was shocked or still trying to remain aloof.  

Giving zero fucks in figuring that part out, I stood up and opened the now unlocked door. 

He quickly followed. 

As I exited the boat I peripherally noticed that his friends were watching (obviously seeing/ knowing that she was there the whole time). Instead of causing a "scene" I abruptly turned around and shook his hand. 

“It was a pleasure doing business with you Captain.” 

“Thank you, Jen” was all that he said.

I then Nsync-ed myself off the dock keeping my composure past the gate, into my car, and made it all the way to the security guard at the front (that I had also befriended)

“Will I see you tomorrow?” he asked as I lost it. 

WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE SIMPLEST SENTENCES THAT THROW ME?!?! 

I then proceeded to cry like a sea lion barking ...

...  the entire way home.

Barely able to speak, I called my close girlfriend telling her what happened (still in shock hearing the words come out of my mouth).

"Say no more, she said. We should grab drinks at sunset. Would you like that?"

I would, I said still sniffling. 

An hour and a half and one full mental state later, I arrived at the island version of “Cheers."

Continuing the trend of being in shock, I surprised myself at the fact that not only did I keep my composure throughout the entire evening - I also genuinely enjoyed myself. 

"What’s done is done, I said to my girlfriend. Not only did this guy teach me that I was capable of loving again, but I ACTUALLY SAID WHAT I WANTED TO SAY IN REAL TIME!!! THAT'S A FIRST!!" (The second time was last year in an elevator with one of my favorite pop stars.) 

<tangent> When I was younger I would play out conversations I had earlier in the day strategizing what I could have said and what I actually wanted to say. Of course these conversations frequently occurred at 2am, but that's neither here nor there. </tangent> 

My girlfriend was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't sulking since she knew how hard I took my last break up. No matter what, I knew she would be there, but it was nice in that moment to not have someone feeling sorry for me. Even through the "heartbreak" I could recognize that I had learned a lesson, and it was time to move on. 

The bartender then turned (obviously overhearing part of our conversation) and said, “Jen, island rule, don’t date commercial fishermen.” 

"Noted," I said with a smile.

I was proud of the fact that I wasn't willing to take his shit ... ::whispers:: nor was I willing to give him mine. 

#nerdsunite 

Tuesday
Jul182017

#Confession: I had sex with a married man (and btw, I don't regret it) - Part 2 

No intro needed. Click here to read PT 1

Maestro ... 

Our intermittent messages continued. I love to learn and have my hands in a lot of projects, so I used work and my schedule as a reasoning for lack of communication. I was afraid to tell him that I was questioning him, myself, and the value I place in the sanctity of marriage. 

 

One aspect of my personality that people often get wrong is that I seem like I "jump" into things. I don't jump into anything, I'm calculated crazy. I just so happen to have a super fast processor, so it never takes me long to make a decision, and I stand by which ever way the wind blows. I've never believed in regrets, only learning experiences. 

I joke that I live in my own little world, but now I was truly beginning to feel like an alien. I've taken great pride in my morals, not because of how they are reflected on other people, but based upon my own reflection in the mirror that I see every morning. What would that next morning feel like? Next week? Would I look the same? 

Having been IN THOSE SHOES with being cheated on, it affected my self-esteem, my body physically. Sure on the other hand it launched this website, but it doesn't mean it was a life experience I would ever wish upon my worst enemy. (I did a year and a half ago meet up with said guy again. That was ... well, what it was.)

When a girlfriend of mine has been cheated on, I've warned them to keep me away from the guy. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've cussed a guy out (sometimes ... come to think of it most of the time publicly). Loyalty is something I carry deep in my heart, and here I was branding myself to be a hypocrite. 

<tangent> Even growing up, my parents met in grade school and have been together their ENTIRE lives. I am the product of a loving marriage (albeit one that takes work, but apparently all marriages do). I come from a super old school Irish-Catholic Connecticut family!! Outside of murdering someone, adultery is right up there on the big guy upstairs' list of things one shalt not do!!! </tangent> 

Not recognizing who or what I was becoming, I talked to a select few about my dick dilemma, and each one carried their own colorful commentary. 

"You always surprise me Jen with what you're up to, but never did I suspect you would want to put yourself in a situation where you're the sexual equivalent of 'Make a Wish.' Out of all of the people to be with, why this guy?" 

"I don't know. I keep asking myself the same question."  

The messages continued ... 

 

I did my best to keep it "friendly." The last thing I wanted to do was lead this guy on. I knew I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, and that left me in this weird sexual limbo of wanting to be fair to both him and myself. 

While most of his messages (during this time) involved various fantasies he was curious to explore, I deliberately kept my shares work related. (Somewhere along the way I developed that skill where people think you're sharing something about yourself, but you're really not. The worst thing you can ever say to someone is "I can't tell you this ..." or "don't push this button!") 

I then texted that I closed a deal - and no, it wasn't the same deal he was looking to close ... 

Two MORE weeks passed, and I still hadn't arrived at my decision. I had already decided that I was attracted to him both mentally and physically, but I wasn't sure if that was enough. 

One thing that was winning him HUGE brownie points was his honesty and openness to discuss what he's explored and wanted to explore sexually ... 

Paging Dr. Freud ...

 

A few years back, I made a rule with partners in terms of boundaries; anything goes as long as it doesn't involve kids, the elderly, disabled, or animals. Anything else? Full throttle. We all have fetishes. Hello! porn has categories for a reason! What I've learned about intimacy is that it begins the moment you're willing to share those fetishes/fantasies with another person. Naturally, once you start sharing (if your partner is not a cold hearted asshole) you pretty quickly realize how sexuality is like an onion. It's layered, sometimes can make you cry, and can be chopped into little pieces and caramelized to deliciousness. 

Wait are we still talking about sex? Or am I now thinking about cooking ... tangent, Friel tangent. Fetishes, yes! 

Fingers crossed that one day I find a guy that has a thing for Mario. I REALLY want to wear this costume again ...

  

My 30th birthday party was so. much. fun.

Out of all of the adventures from Talk Nerdy V.1.0 there was one piece of advice I specifically go back to. I received it from a Vegas taxi cab driver named "Lucky." (I wound up doing a ride along with him between 4-6 am during CES. I got kicked out of a casino for sleeping, and he said it wasn't safe for me to walk around alone.) I asked him how he felt safe doing his line of work (which was equally funny considering Lucky himself spent over a decade in prison for an assault charge - people really open up to me quickly)

He turned and said, "you know the people I fear the most?" 

"Who," I asked. 

"You, the people I pick up at the massage parlors at 4am and drop off at the convention center at 6am. Murderers, rapists, crack heads - you know where they stand. You people though, you're the worst - your insanity is repressed, THAT is dangerous." 

I have a deep deep respect for people that are willing to not only admit what they want, but also go after it.
He was doing both.

 

Reaching the end of what I viewed as a fair period of time to still be milling over a decision, I asked one final person for advice. He is the founder of my company, and I'd say in the top three of people I highly respect on this planet. 

We had lit up a J in the back alley outside of the office, as we began shooting the shit. (We were friends before I started with this company. Technically, I was hired for another project then fired [but stayed friends] and then rehired again for his next venture.)

"I haven't made a decision about having sex with the married man." (I had told him one other time in passing about my new night night buddy.) 

"You know one of the things I learned in prison (he has an utterly fascinating story - read this article) is that people don't regret what they do. Locked up, everyone talked about all of the things they regretted not doing - they didn't necessarily hold any regret for what got them in there in the first place." 

I sucked the J, and as I blew out the smoke I knew what was coming ... 

 

The planning the next day was intense. He had to put his phone in airplane mode, to be truly "off the grid." My directions had to be CRYSTAL clear. 

  

Fortunately, they were and 20 minutes later there was a knock at the door. 

I took a moment before answering. For a split second I thought about all of those corny memes people post in social media ... 

 

I hadn't just passed comfort zone, I was past Guam, Mars, and currently circling Uranus. 

I was scared. Not of him, but of who I was going to be after this. 

Come in (pun intended), I said, it's open. 

 

He entered, quietly placing his bag on the floor (his cover was that he was going to the gym). For my part, I purposefully didn't wear perfume (incase it transferred over)

I sat on the ottoman to my big oversized love-seat. I thought the couch was a bit too inviting. The chair felt safe. The ottoman, even safer. 

He sat down wondering if I was going to make a move. Frozen like a deer in headlights, I just sat there. Stone cold emotionless face (not intentional, it's just what happens when I get like that)

 

I'm PAINFULLY awkward with any type of flirting. 

He asked if I was okay, and I think I replied with a yep, or uh huh - I can't say I remember anything other than being frozen. 

He then leaned into kiss me. Soft and gentle at first like a grade school peck.

 

He quickly graduated to an 8th grade make out (including tongue). Followed by a hand behind my head as my body moved backwards onto the chair. 

Buster then made some sort of noise which spooked him. "Let's go in your bedroom," he said. 

"Uh okay, yep," I think I said. 

We then undressed. Not in like a sexy way where one partner pulls the clothes off the other - we undressed like you would if you were going to the doctor. 

He neatly placed his clothes in a pile, as I sat on the bed and discussed what I was into (finally)

Oh yeah, remember before when I said I couldn't even talk dirty in bed? Those days are long gone. I am an absolute freak and fluent in fucking. 

I knew what I wanted, and I was very willing to go over the play by play. 

 

He listened and respected while fulfilling one of his own desires ... 

Personally, I've never been a huge fan of oral. I love the concept - a lot, and maybe it was the guys I had been with, but I find myself 90% of the time wondering how long they're going to be down there, and then I'll catch myself reviewing my laundry list of things I still need to do during the day. It's not at all an insult to them, it's just a matter of fact observation of how far I live in my head, even while getting head. 

He laid me down on my bed, as he stood up then bending over to an uh, appropriate level as he began the introduction to my ... 

 

and after a certain amount of time (I was enjoying myself too much to even contemplate time), I received an introduction of my own ... 

 

Then a second introduction was made, followed closely by a third. 

Scared there was another one in there, I just laid back trying to breathe. 

"That was amazing," I said. 

Thank you, he said beaming with pride. 

Not fulfilling his Princess Pillow Fetish, I returned the favor, and we each let out our inner Rick James. 

 

He then quietly unfolded his neatly placed clothes and got dressed. Still unable to talk, I laid there indicating he could show himself out. 

 

I wasn't intentionally being rude, I was just also trying to process what I had just experienced and needed a moment by myself. 

Sometime when I was able to move, I checked my email and saw that he had messaged. I replied ... 

 

Continuing the night night trend, he also messaged on KIK ... 

 

I had to stop focusing on getting ahead to get out of my head, and into receiving head. 

I knew I could learn from this guy, but I didn't realize I'd end up learning so much more about myself. I had sex without expectation. There were no labels attached to either of us, and no "hey maybe we can do this again." I was perfectly content in that moment, and present enough to gift myself with the ultimate pleasure (multiple times)

In my 20s, when I had one night stands, I never knew they were one night stands. I didn't lead with sex, but I would have sex thinking it would lead to something.

 

Yeah, doesn't happen. 

Now, I'm so far on the other end of the spectrum, and I'm not sure that's the best place to be either. 

The next week, I went to San Francisco for an insurance conference, and wound up saying the second sentence I DEFINITELY never thought I would say ... 

"I met someone ... at an insurance conference." 

 

He's an actuary, and without a doubt one of the most attractive men I had ever seen.

He's a combo of Collin Farrell and Gerard Butler.  

  

 

 

My company had a sponsorship at the conference, and as I was demoing our drone capabilities he came up and just stood there. He didn't ask a single question, he didn't stare awkwardly, he just waited. 

It took about 20 minutes for the crowd to die down, yet there he was ... still waiting! 

Still in business mode, I asked him what he did. 

He explained that he's an actuary (I had no idea what that meant at the time), and he lives in Los Angeles. 

Woah, I said, me too. 

He then sat down, and we chatted for over an hour before he had to catch his flight. I found out that he's into extreme sports and is a "wild man" of sorts. 

Dude, not only was this guy absolutely smoking, but he was smart, AND he's not the typical GQ LA "don't get me dirty" kinda guy? Who the fuck are you and when are we making babies?? 

 

When we both got back to LA he took me out on our first date (at a book store). ::awwww:: 

I quickly forgot all about my night night buddy, even though the emails kept coming in. One right after the other, I didn't respond. 

Then, I realized I was being an asshole and I needed to "adult" and explain what was going on. 

 

 

And that was the end of that! 

Oh, and the super hot insurance guy? We dated for a month, and equally had OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD. experiences because he was hung like a ... 

 

At the end of the day, our travel schedules couldn't make it work (I was traveling about every other week at that time), and so was he. Great guy, not my guy.

When all was said and (literally) done, I didn't go back to my night night buddy. There was nothing to go back to! I intuitively knew I was going to learn something from him (although never in a million years expected that), and I did. I allowed myself to have an awakening of sorts, and when I look in the mirror I don't see an "adulterer" or a scarlet letter. 

I just see Jen. A little bit older, maybe a little bit wiser (debatable), but definitely one hell of a fucking freak, and I'm okay with that. 

For now ... 

until the next adventure ... 

#nerdsunite