Chapter one: All we have is Paris

 

Chateau de Liardet

I look back at this piece.  It is my very first blog entry the day I left for a new chapter in my life.  I have so many thoughts and memories of this time, it is almost euphoric. I smile; I smile because reading it takes me back, I can visualize exactly where I was every moment as if I was living it today before my eyes. I smile because I can still feel the excitement of my adventure into the unknown. The feeling hasn’t faded one bit in the 5 years since I have been back.

How ballsy was I? I like to think, pretty damn ballsy.  It was after all just two months after my college graduation; I had no money and no clue what I would do with my life, let alone during the great economic crash of 2008. People with 15 years of work experience and degrees were being laid off left and right. How the hell would a green yuppie like me get a job? It was a mere a month before I boarded the plane I hadn’t had this journey planned, just the seed of an idea. Pack a bag, go somewhere. Have an adventure.

I ended up deciding upon France. With my basic language skills and prior semester abroad I knew I would have a leg up. I did after all have to earn my keep while I was there, so I needed something to help me out. Though Italy appealed to me, France was calling my name. I smile at the thought of the country pulling me in with its language, beauty, and charm, and well, cheese too. Return to France it would be, do it while I still had the freedom, fearlessness and wanderlust to.

 Paris Bound

My, my, my …. I find myself here in la gare (train station) in Paris. I wish I could take a shuttle to the city to see it again for the day but I’ve got a train to catch in two hours so why not take  some time to share my adventure so far. My last Parisian train station experience was a very different one. It was 150 lbs of luggage in three inch boots, stairs and a connecting train with only minutes to transfer. Needless to say it was horrific and sweaty experience that I barely survived.

This time around I was, or thought I was, a genius to only bring one bag. Me? I know, impossible right?? Well  it was quite possible, that is until I arrived to the check in counter. I received lovely and not so surprising news that my bag was a little overweight…okay, that is an understatement. It was 17 lbs overweight. I couldn’t believe it (well this is the girl who’s last return from France was 150 lbs, but hell I tried). So I reluctantly pulled out my credit card expecting to pay the usual $50 charge when the woman said to me “That is going to be a $150 dollars”. I looked at her in disbelief, but what choice did I have?

She then spoke up and said “You can pay 11 $ to get a card board box.” Perfect! “Oh but it’s cash only.”  Whelp, what to do now?   Lucky for me, this woman took pity on the poor young girl that was visibly panicked and said “Forget the charge. Safe travels as she handed me the box and smiled. I knew my dad would be proud my charm (or near panic attack) saved me a pretty penny!

Plane bound, I was ready for the long flight ahead. From San Francisco all the way to Paris I flew on the same route as a gentleman who was friendly to me when we ran into each other on the plain or in the airport. While waiting for my train he and I ran into each other again and he bought me a 1664 (the popular beer in France). We drank and chatted while we waited for our trains to arrive. While chatting with this gentleman he told me about the best place to get margaritas where he’s from,“Sinaloas Cafe” he shared. Who would have known what a small world it is? I had been going to that restaurant since the time I was in my moms belly.

Arriving in my new home, Lyon

The moment I got into Lyon I realized it may take me a while to find my family, this place was as big as the New York train station! But as if fate hand intervened,  the moment I walked into the main entrance and paused to decide if I was going to go left or right I heard my name in a heavy french accent “Amber!”. Right in front of me were the warm and smiling faces of Virginie and Julie. Virginie is very beautiful and dresses very cute. I immediately could see myself becoming very close with her while I am here, her nature is friendly and kind. Julie is well, a jewel. She arrived in a pink halter dress with a crochet center and tan skin that lingered from her last family vacation. She has sparkling blue eyes and a smile that makes you want to smile back.

Virginie walked me to her Audi and explained to me that I will be using a BMW until they buy me a new car (poor me!).  We took the scenic route through Lyon and WOW it is a spectacular city. I can hardly believe that this city is my new home. The best part of it all though…is Dardilly, the smaller village that I will spend the next year living in. Its beautiful and their house is even better. It’s exterior is 18th century and the interior is newly renovated and modern. The first floor holds a kitchen, living room and a dining area. Its all very open and there are windows inside that show through the different rooms. I am looking at one now that shows the steep wooden stairs going to the second floor where is a guest bedroom, Julie’s room, and Michele and Virginie’s room. THEN up one more flight of stairs and you have the office, the play room for Julie,  a second living room, a small toilet and my very own room and bathroom. Its more than I could have ever asked for. There is natural wood going along one part of the ceiling and a skylight that opens to fresh air or like tonight allows me to hear the rain tapping on the window (which I love). There is a big storm tonight for some reason, but the weather is warm. I saw éclair or lightening it’s a storm for my arrival.

My nerves went away the first moments I spent with Julie and Virginie. Michele is also very nice and friendly. In fact he just poured me a glass of Spanish wine and we all said cheers or “chin chin” to my arrival here. I am sitting at the kitchen counter with Julie to my left playing on the computer and Michele having an aperitif while checking the mail and Virginie preparing dinner. I already feel at home.

 

 

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Storm Warning

hurricane

There have been a mélange of reasons for my recent blog hiatus, but the main one was the emotional hurricane that was brewing on the edge of my subconscious. Hurricane Amber finally came into town. Though there were many warnings, alarms that sounded and very obvious weather patterns that occurred, I ignored every single one of them. It wasn’t until I woke up one day with the hurricane overhead, that I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

 

Looking around me the hurricane was destroying everything underneath it. The rain came as tears, the wind as fear and the rise and fall in temperature were my emotions climbing up and down. I was in the middle of a storm without a single thing to save myself. I had ignored all warnings and was left with only one defense; myself. I had no choice but to brave the storm and tough out my own ignorance. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of hurricane Amber, but it took weeks of fear and total anguish before I hit the eye and was able to take a deep breath, grasp on and look around for help.

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Destruction was everywhere I turned and was a horrible sight to see. But I felt a sense of relief in knowing that what was destroyed was actually built faulty. What were still standing were buildings that symbolized various family and friends. The structures left standing were able to withhold the wrath of the storm because they were built with love and true care. There was no reason to mourn what was lost in the storm, it either didn’t belong or it was built on quicksand in my own stupidly and haste in life.

 

Since then, grayed clouds have parted, the sky has cleared and debris from the hurricane have been cleaned up piece by broken piece. Community groups and activities abandoned long before the storm warnings have been recommenced and have brought life back to the place I call home. Significant progress has been made in the rebuild and I am happy to share that this new town will be better and stronger than ever before though the adversities faced in the storm.

“Through tragedy and destruction comes rebirth and new life”

clouds-parting

Through my storm I have come out stronger and eager to continue to share life in my eyes through the written word.

– Baroness Bogie

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The War Against Me

For more beautiful images like the above please visit: http://www.jgallerie.com/

For more beautiful images like the above please visit: http://www.jgallerie.com/

We are our parents children, our sisters sisters, brothers brothers and our grandparents grandchildren. This is what we call family and it is a beautiful thing to be cherished. It is a love that knows no boundaries but a love that doesn’t always make sense.

Some of the best advice I have been given in life was long before I was able to understand it, yet it still resonates with me. I can remember each conversation as they happened and remember my confusion just as well. I held onto these stories and waited for them to one day become clear. They were stories and lessons about independence from our families.

I can remember the first one like it happened this afternoon. I was nineteen, a senior in college studying abroad in Pau, France and was barely able to hold onto the overwhelming amount of experiences that I was graced with everyday. I took 20 hours of language class at a university while I was there. While I was an outsider while eating lunch in the cafeteria, inside the classroom surrounded by foreigners from all over the world, I fit in. My classmates were comprised of students my age and adults all new to the country trying to harness a difficult new language in a difficult culture.

His name was Allen. He wasn’t English, he was Welsh!! And he always reminded us of that despite our confusion. Over the months I learned more and more about him during our daily 20 minute “petite pause” over the 30 centime espresso’s from the vending machine. He, his wife and his two children moved to the countryside of France to live a wonderful life. One day I asked him “What about your family, you know your parents, brothers and sisters?” He responded without doubt or question, “My family is here with me; my wife and children. My parents and siblings are back in Wales. We talk here and there”. My 19 mind couldn’t put the square peg in the round hole. The first feeling I felt was pity. Pity that he didn’t have his “family” near him in his life.

The second time it was with a dear girlfriend of mine whom I became very close with while working with her at my first job. We were twenty something years a part in age, but connected beautifully nonetheless. She was a story teller and after much time of learning  about the adventures in her life over our daily lunches it was by observation that  I saw the similarity that she had with Allen. She had lived in many different cities in her life and her sisters did as well. The whole family apart. This time I didn’t have to ask the question, I knew the answer, though I still didn’t understand it.

The third was only 6 months ago. I was told, “It took me 40 years to finally become my own person and to detach myself from my family. When I did it was the most liberating and rewarding feeling”. This was from an extended family member and when I heard this one I had my very own “aha moment”. It hit me deeply and instantly and it felt beautiful to finally understand. They never left their families, they just lived their own lives.

I may not have it all figured out myself, but I am lucky enough to have great advice from these three people whose opinions and choices in life I truly respect. By no means am I saying family isn’t important. In so many ways they are our everything. They are our core. The seeds from which we grow. They are our flesh and blood. What I am saying is don’t lose your individuality, your passion or your own dreams for the pressure (real or imagined) that you may feel from your family.

Three people in my life have shown this to me in their and choices and although when I was younger it made no sense – as an adult who has been on her own for several years it clicked with me one day that the life I have to live – is mine.

It is not without grief and guilt did come to this realization thought. Born with a heavy conscious I have struggled with guilt in many many ways.

Immediately after college I moved back to France. I was done with school, able to freeze payment on my student loans for a full year and had no financial support from my family. I arrived to my new life yet  I left home with guilt. Back home I left my best friend, a six month old beautiful godson, my boyfriend, my two sisters, my parents and their crumbling marriage. struggle

Many late nights were spent in the kitchen over several glasses of red wine and cigarettes with my loving French mother and I speaking about my inner turmoil. The guilt of what I had left behind. She told me many times with her warm voice in her impeccable spoken French that what was going on at home was not my burden to bear. That my parents marriage falling apart did not mean to stop living my life and my dreams. That I should not give up my life to live in an agony that I had absolutely no control over. She was right. But it didn’t hurt any less.

And what about my sisters? When I left for France, my elder sister was living in San Diego with her boyfriend. She had left home and I wasn’t angry with her, so why should I feel guilty with myself? At this time, she was at a crossroads in her life and shortly after I left to France she moved back home with my parents to go back to school. I was done with school and had no reason to live at home, but again came the guilt of being the sibling that just wasn’t there.

Over time the guilt only came on heavier. This was because I wasn’t there to protect my little sister.  When she was only 6 or 7 and both my sister and I moved out to start school, tears streamed down her young face. She said to us that if we left we wouldn’t be a family anymore. There was no reasoning with her. In her young mind family equates living together. It was heartbreaking to leave her. When our home started to crumble I feared that I wasn’t there for her. That I couldn’t shelter her from the horror at home.To this day I thank the powers that be that my older sister returned home when she did. She surely saved her from unnecessary pain and heartache. Another pang of guilt hits me in the core of my body, although my little sister was protected it wasn’t by me. I felt that by living my own life I selfishly let her down all the way from across the world.

It has been years since I have returned from France and just as many since I haven’t lived at home and a continued struggle for me personally to not be there for my little sister the way that my older sister was. For many years, while she was younger, the gap was felt from her. Like a deep gash she reminded me I was never around and too busy living my life. It was then that I could only hope that one day instead of resenting me for being gone that she would be proud of her big sister. That she could look up to me as a role model and an example of someone who has proven that with hard work and dedication you can achieve your dreams.

And did I feel guilty for leaving my elder sister in a storm of my parents divorce whilst I lived my dream abroad drinking champagne and exploring the french culture? The answer is yes. Absolutely. Everyday I have. As if I didn’t feel bad enough and to make things more difficult, combined with my self given guilt, she is harder to read than Ikea instructions in a foreign language. Her emotions are not offered on a platter, they are pulled out of her in a tough battle of tug of war.

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Needless to say this guilt of mine has been with me for several years. It has been like a war that has been going on for ten years too long. A war that I should have never even begun with myself. Why? Were my feelings unwarranted? No they were. But it is because of the right to my individuality that I had to wave the white flag. Both troops were expelled, ammunition was out and neither side could keep waging this war. It has taken a lot of time, a lot of reflection and stepping far outside of my own shoes to understand this.

Some people may disagree with my ideas on this and while we are all entitled to our own opinions, I believe that the people who disagree aren’t truly happy because they have not lived life for themselves. My individuality and revolution from my family may have come with a hefty price tag, guilt, but it came with an even heftier reward – my own wonderful life.

It isn’t until you truly live out your own dreams and pursue your own goals that you will discover the beauty in this freedom. There is no negation to family. There is not a drop less of love for them, but this freedom is a feeling of knowing  that you have learned to soar with your own wings.

I may still struggle with the guilt of leaving my family nest but I have so, so much to be grateful for in doing so. Learning to soar and feel the wind as I flew free has been a culmination of many experiences on my own.

  • living abroad
  • living with roommates (both great and horrible)
  • navigating new cities
  • starting new jobs
  • feelings of heartbreak, loneliness, confusion and dizziness of adult life
  • struggling to pay rent, negotiate salary, buy a car, pay off loans
  • figuring out how the hell to choose 401K selections
  • and maxing out credit cards just to get by

All of these experiences and feelings, every moment of pain, agony, regret, confusion and moments of “What the fuck am I doing with my life?”. It has all brought me to this amazing place in life. I have lived scared of tomorrow and it is in these experiences that I have come to truly value my life.

We only have one life to live and living it behind the shadow of our family or behind our own fears of independence will only bring us to a life of regret.

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So baby birds, jump from the nest. As high up as it may seem from the ground you will learn to fly. Your family and their nest will always be there to protect and love you even after you venture out, but until you leave the nest you will never learn the value of you and the power you have over your own life. Embrace you. Love your life – and when you look back at your family they will be looking at you proudly with love and admiration for your courage despite all of your fears of leaving them behind.

 

– Baroness Bogie

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Desperation

Found this fantastic young blogger and fell in love with her blog. Haleyduke13 is an aspiring writer and a fabulous one at that. This piece “Desperation” resonated with me so well and I was truly impressed to read such wisdom and perspective about life from a young girl. It’s refreshing to know that the youth and the “millennials” (In which I am too considered one) continue to bring forward inspiring and thought provoking ideas.

XO
Baroness Bogie

h a l e y d u k e

When was the last time you didn’t do something because you were afraid of the reaction you would receive? How many times have you regretted something because it made you feel embarrassed, humiliated, or foolish? How bout this – when was the last time you did something, and even with a little doubt in your mind said to yourself “I don’t give a damn what anyone has to say about it, this is my decision”? I encourage you to mull over these questions. I don’t know if what I’m about to talk about is more prevalent during teenage hood or if it spreads just as widely over the adult population, but I am a hundred percent certain that regardless of its prevalence, it’s an issue. We, as a society based around social media, technology, and the latest gizmos, are complicating the simplicity I so desperately long for.

He didn’t reply to…

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Heavy Hearts & Racing Minds- RE-DO

I wrote this blog a few weeks back and it disappeared on the WP platform. Instead of rewriting it as it was, I decided to write the same topic as I am feeling about it today. Here goes….

mind

A few weeks ago I woke up with a heavy heart and a racing mind of thoughts that just wouldn’t quit. My stomach was in knots and my mind was racing so fast that I couldn’t catch a single thought to try and figure out what was bothering me.

Like a child flailing its arms trying desperately to catch a butterfly. I was out of breath and at a loss. What was bugging me? Was it simply the unknown? I never realized that as you get older you simply wake up like it was any other day and realize something about yourself that you didn’t know was there before. This new found knowledge wasn’t delivered in a nice box with a bow on my doorstep, it was just there unlike the day before. So what was it for me?

butterfly

Well a few weeks back it was ironically the feeling that I desired to settle down in a way. I say ironically because I recently wrote a blog clearly stating that I wasn’t that girl, you know the one with a 5 year plan, her wedding dress in mind, exact ring for her engagement, an imagined proposal and baby names ready to go. Well a few weeks later (tonight), I realize I am still not that girl. I did however feel like her when writing this original post. I felt like a hypocrite since I just wrote and criticized the Peter Pans of the city. I wondered if there was an underlying reason that  I wrote that blog criticizing the men afraid of commitment.

Well tonight I sit here writing with a different view than I did before. I still sit here with the feeling that I do want to be with someone, but I do not sit here feeling like I did when I originally wrote this. I do not feel the same fog, instead I feel clarity.

I spent my early twenties entirely focused on my career and myself (I). I sacrificed love and put  every relationship second. I was very selfish. I do still believe that being selfish in your twenties is necessary, but I don’t believe anymore that this selfishness should push away people that you love and that love you in return. I did this so that I could have it all. A career, independence, my own life that I earned on my own without the emotional or financial help of anyone. I take and pride and hold integrity in these accomplishments. I achieved these things on my own. But I wonder what it would have been like to have done those things on my own with the love and support of someone by my side.

As a younger woman I promised myself I would achieve the things that were most valuable to me on my own. Before I settled down and met the “right guy” (“right guy”… that is an entirely different blog, hell its a 12 part novel series).

So I have achieved all of these goals:

  • Degree – check 
  • Living abroad (twice in fact) – check 
  • Mastering a second language – check
  • A career that I longed for and earned with hard work and no favors from anyone – check 
  • Financial and emotional stability – check 
  • Happiness and acceptance with myself (inside and out) – check 
  • Volunteering in my free time – check 
  • Having my own place and living alone – check 

And don’t get me wrong at all! I am damn proud of where I came from, what I have done, and that I never gave up even when I was told I couldn’t do it.

But now I sit here thinking about the morning I woke up with a heavy heart and a spinning mind questioning what my next move in life will be. Today I sit here questioning the same thing. But my heart has lightened and my mind has slowed.

Society says what’s next for me is: Babies and marriage.

Well to society I say Fuck you. 

My peers tell me I am too young to settle down as they go into a story of when they were 25 (that I can only relate to when I think back to being 18).

SO….what does an overachiever like me say to my peers.. Well not fuck you, those are my friends. But I do respectfully say “I appreciate your advice, but I politely decline since I cannot relate on any level.”

I will ultimately listen to my instincts. Hormonal, maternal, subconscious, whatever the hell they are, they have gotten me this far.

So what do my instincts say to do? Well one, they tell me to tell society and my peers to STFU and two they tell me to dive in to whatever comes my way. Dating (as horrific and terrifying as it may be)? Possibly. My instincts tell me to listen and to stop asking whats next. They tell me that although I want to share my successes and failures with someone by my side, to continue to keep kicking ass and the right time will come where I will be able to share my kick ass life with another kick ass person.

I invite you all to join me in this new venture in life. I have no idea where it will take me and I am sure it will be terrifying, emotional, exhausting and full of disappointments, but based on my instincts I am ready to take a leap of faith, several in fact.

As I am sure that dating will be involved in this new venture, single men beware, you may be on the horizon. No need to fear though, I don’t usually bite.

And to those bachelors out there reading this and running in the opposite direction, all I can say is keep running. You are too much of a pussy to handle a fantastic woman like me.

 

Baroness Bogie

Wish me luck!

 – Baroness Bogie

 

 

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Leap of Faith

Life is full of nothing but leaps. As children we leapt from rock to rock without fear only thinking of the joy and satisfaction of making it to the next rock. These leaps were always dangerous as the ocean waves crashed below them. Their stability and safety was completely unknown. Will they be slippery? Will they tremble or shake under our feet? All of these worries are tossed aside from the minds of children. Only the moments of joy and bliss are kept in thought.

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Onshore as the adults watch from a distance, every leap taken by a child is a halt to their heartbeat. Every what if in the book is flashing in their mind like an old film still as both feet take to the air in a leap of faith.

So why is it as adults are we so afraid of taking risks? Every decision we have made in life has been one. Whether it’s a graceful leap of a ballerina or a death defying leap taken on a tight rope 100’s of feet above ground without a safety net, these leaps are omnipresent.

The real question is: What kind of leap will you take?

ballerina leaping

The soft, graceful and safe leap of a ballerina?

OR

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The death defying risky leap on a tight rope?

 

I have taken both in life, the safe and the dangerous. Having experienced both I know it is the scary ones with the unknown answers that are the ones worth taking.

After college I moved to France. I just packed my bags with a one way ticket and left. It was terrifying – but it was by far the most gratifying leap that I have ever taken. After France I moved back to the states. I had another one way ticket, no job and not a dime to my name. But I figured it out. I have taken jobs and quit jobs for the hope (not guarantee) of better learning and experience.

When I moved to San Francisco a little over a year ago, I had no job, no friends and no idea of what to expect. But it was a risk worth taking. They were all leaps into the unknown and I don’t regret a single moment, not even the moments of fear. While your feet are in the air and you are terrified for what will happen you experience the fear of the unknown and question to yourself “Is this jump worth the risk of the outcome?” The answer is yes. Whatever the outcome, it is always worth the risk.

Some of you may prefer the more delicate and safe leaps of a ballerina. Humans do tend to gravitate toward safety and security, it is a natural instinct. That is okay if that is you. But I can tell you that you are missing out on a world of adventure. With every leap comes a new chapter, a new journey, a new way to see life.

Close your eyes and go back to the time you were a child jumping from rock to rock, do you remember the bliss, the excitement, the adventure?

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Now open your eyes. What are you afraid of?

 

Just jump.

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Take a leap of faith.

 

–          Baroness Bogie

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Cemetery of Past Loves

The ending of a relationship is always followed by a period of mourning. This mourning can be so painful that it can feel like death of a life. If you look at it like this it really can be a death; the death of a relationship. Death is out of our hands and it ultimately is an inevitable fate that we will all face. And though some relationships can be saved before their death, many times the loss is out of our hands.

Even if we chose this path is doesn’t make it less painful. The void of that person can linger, that ache that is so deep can last a lifetime for some of us.

The saying we all know so well…

It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

…was undoubtedly written by someone who had known both love and the loss of it. Someone who knew both the wonder and devastation that came with it.

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Those of us lucky enough to have known that love… are sometimes still left with a loss that can feel as fresh as the day it happened. We have moved on with our lives just like one who experiences a loss does and its only at random do we see or hear something or someone that reminds us of them. While we are reminded, the pain that seemed like a distant memory sears instantly into us as if it was yesterday.

Both in death of a life and in death of a relationship can we imagine how life could have been. What would things be like now? How would they have changed? We will never know. We can only imagine.

Unlike the death of a life, the death of a relationship has a chance of revival. Those fateful words when a life is lost “time of death” cannot be unsaid but like shocks to the heart of a near lifeless body with a relationship there can still be a chance for revival. The real question though, is what are the odds of survival?

heart monitor

Call me crazy but I see an undeniable connection between these two types of death. What I am wondering is if bringing a relationship back from the dead can be successful? I have had friends tell me “They are an ex for a reason.” Yet I have also had friends share stories of young lovers reunited years later in life only to be happier and more in love than they have ever been.

I suppose the answer is entirely subjective based on a multitude of things. What you had in the past, who each of you are today and what you want tomorrow. However if that innate connection still exists many years later and if that spark of love is still there along with two people who want it– then why not?  

 

Can the love be revived?

– Baroness Bogie

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Exes Hexes?

A few weeks ago I received a text on my phone, of course there is nothing unusual about that, but when I saw who the text was from my jaw dropped to the floor. There I was in my office in San Francisco, sitting on the sixteenth floor living my dream. The dream I had as a little girl, to be a career woman, and in my face flashed a name of the past; someone who I loved, who if I hadn’t stayed with could have changed my present life in so many ways.

I sat there in my office and looked out the window into the San Francisco city skyline, one that I never got sick of looking at, and asked myself “What was about to come back from my past?” It was a past that I could hardly remember in my daily life but on my screen with his name flashing it all came flooding  back. Every memory. Every tear. Every moment of those five and half years came rushing back to my mind.

After a few moments of hesitation I took that fateful swipe left to open my phone and reveal the message. What did it say? After four years of not speaking, on the terms we left things, what could he have to say? “Can I call you sometime?” it read. Again a flash of heat went through my body. What did he feel the need to tell me? He was engaged to his older girlfriend (who I always thought of as a sugar mama trading the comforts of her lifestyle for his youthful and very attractive looks)? Or maybe they are expecting? She is in her mid thirties so her clock is ticking. But then I sat there and asked myself why would he feel the need to call and tell me anything after all of these years? He was living in New York and me in San Francisco. The only connection we had was one that was severed quickly many years ago.

“What could he want?” I asked my co-worker and hilariously witty friend. She replied “He’s probably going to tell you someone died”.  “No!” I quipped back, “We didn’t share any mutual friends or family that he would feel the need to call and share with me.” The adorable gossip queen that she was told me when she left the office that evening “Tell me what he says tomorrow!” I laughed and replied with a reluctant and curious “Don’t worry, I will…”

That evening he had text me to ask when he could call and I let him know that I was working late and tomorrow evening would be better. That was a total lie. I was sitting at home with a glass of mine mulling over the potential conversation. I wasn’t ready to face the emotional baggage from what felt like a lifetime ago. He, who I refer to as my EX-EX, was my first long relationship that lasted from my teens to my twenties. We were best friends true and true, he knew ME, well the young me. The me who had been navigating life, but hadn’t quite found herself. The me at my core, yes, but not the grown up version. I needed some mindless TV and a night to sleep on it before I was able to listen to whatever news he had to share.

When he called the next night, the word awkward described a good portion of the conversation. It was like talking to a stranger that you felt like you knew your entire life. Everything about them was different yet oddly familiar and comfortable. We spoke for a good 45 minutes, catching up on life, work, our relationships (mine lack thereof) and then he finally got to the point. The reason he wanted to talk.

It’s not so black and white though. It was much more of a gray. He and his girlfriend (the one I called the sugar mama.  Though in her defense if I met her I would probably like her- She was a lot like me, motivated, smart and career driven- she could very well be me in ten years) had broken up and he wanted to talk to me. Apparently his girlfriend and his mom (whom is comparable to a Saint) had some sort of falling out and well, it caused a major rift in the relationship, one so large that it ended their 4 year courtship. This was shocking to me. One that they had broken up, I mean they moved across the country together and two, I always sort of thought he would marry her. So this gray, he wanted to talk to me about my relationship with his mom. Had there ever been any sort of tension between us or any reason for me to be upset with her? Well above I referenced her as a Saint so my answer was definitely no.

So then what, what else did he want to talk to me for? Here comes that blur of black and white again. He wanted to talk to someone that really knew him. It sounds like somewhat of a contradiction to say that right? I did just say we didn’t really know each other anymore. But as we sat on the phone, while he talked and I listened, I understood it all. We did know each other.

Although years have passed and we have grown and changed in so many great ways, I was still that 16 year old listening to my 18 year old boyfriend. When I say that I don’t by any means mean feelings of puppy love overwhelmed me, I just mean I went back to somebody that I used to know. For some people, and it’s not all, years can pass and although you see and feel the changes in people, you can also at the very same time feel like a day hasn’t passed -and that is exactly where we were. We ended the conversation and although awkward described most of it the other part of it felt nostalgic and right.

A few weeks later he let me know he was going to be visiting our hometown for the night and would like to get together to catch up if I was free. Many people would think, and they did, that “Oh well he is single now” and “He is probably going to try to make a move” but no. That wasn’t what it was. I knew that, so I agreed to make plans and was really looking forward to it.

The whole afternoon before we met up my older sister’s boyfriend (who has remained close friends with my EX-EX) kept making jokes and asking stupid questions like “Oh so are you guys going to kiss?” or “So do you think anything will happen?” That is always the assumption with exes isn’t it? Well, while it may be the assumption it is not in fact always the result.

What everyone wonders

We spent the better part of a Saturday hanging out and the overall sentiment was that it was just really damn good to see him and to spend time with someone who you once loved and shared so many years with. Without resentment. Without anger. Just each other’s good company and humor of ridiculousness from the past.

We were able to talk for hours about things from years before and just what we learned from many of those experiences.  How we have grown. How we have changed. And in the good ways how we have remained the same. I can happily say that today I am able to call my EX-EX a friend, and for many years after our breakup I wasn’t able to.

A lot of our exes will forever be just that, just men or women of our past. Most of them will leave us, when reminded of what used to be, with feelings or emotions like; anger, jealousy, resentment, sadness, depression, happiness, love, regret, wonder or even just nothingness. However for some of us when life is busy happening and we have moved on, we are lucky to keep some of those great memories intact. Exes aren’t always bad and they aren’t always hexes and nightmares of the past. Like this one, they can sometimes be wonderful additions to your life many years later.

“Some people don’t realize what they have until it’s gone, but that does not always mean they are supposed to get it back.”
― Stephan Labossiere

 

– Baroness Bogie

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The Bogie Monster

Although I am an old soul, I never said that I was a completely sane one! I believe that going a single day without laughter or a lighthearted take on life, especially the shitty parts (because those make the best jokes!) , is a sad one.

Below is a post about me from the eyes of one of my nearest and dearest, Miss Allie Adachi. She is by far the most awesome kick ass chick I have ever met. Among many other things she is a true friend, an amazing blogger, a smart whipper snapper and most definitely one of those fantastic women I reference in my “The Epedemic: PPS” post.

 


 

From the witty and inspiring blog: Chasing Raindrops

Written by the fantastic and talented: Allie Adachi

Amberisms

I want to say that in the last 5 years most of the good friends I’ve made have been through work. Because work is where we spend the most time, I cannot stress how important it is to like the people…it was one of the main reasons I chose my current job. So on Day 1, I was already on the lookout for my new bestie. Those of you who’ve worked with me before know this person had big shoes to fill.

amber-turkey-jerkyI can honestly say that the moment Amber came into my life, there’s never been a dull moment. It was a match made by our boss. My first week she admitted she’d thoroughly stalked me prior to starting, regurgitating random facts she learned from reading my blog. Even though she sits approx 4 steps away from me, she finds excuses to come into my cube…to “water my plant” or to eat my food…and never fails to leave a trail, from crumbs to guacamole chunks. If there’s a bag of turkey jerky lying around, guaranteed Amber has touched every piece and hoarded the best ones.

There are no boundaries. She’s ALL UP IN MY SHIT. But she leaves coffee on my desk and I know that I have lunch plans everyday. One time when my breakfast sand-o came without bacon she gave me half of hers. She’s also endured a juice cleanse with me. What do we think guys, is she a keeper?

Amber likes to humor herself by over-dramatizing everyday situations.  Like a good work wife, I started recording her ridiculous quotes to remind her what planet she’s on. Here’s a glimpse of what I’m dealing with.

Reactive

Me: “It’s really not a big deal.”

Amber: “So take the blade off my wrist and go throw up those 20 sedatives?”

Pre-Coffee

“I can’t live today.”

On Work

“Maybe I should quit life and join the Peace Corps.” (whispering over my shoulder)

“I want to jump out the window.”

Self

“Is there any facial reconstruction needed?” (makeup touch up)

“I feel like a beached whale. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror.”

“I need to shower because I am disgusting like a street hooker in France circa 1745.”

On Eatingamber-juice

“I am capable of murder at this level of hunger.” (juice cleansing)

“I wish I was allergic to all alcohol and food.”

 

Answering Her Own Question

“What’s wrong with me? Everything.”

On Being Robbed

“I’m tired of being violated of my personal property…and my body.”

On Love

amber-alone

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like I said, there’s never a dull moment. My dear Bogie Monster, crazy and all, I thee wed”

 

 


 

Oh yes, and most importantly, she laughs at my jokes! What’s not to love?!?!?

– Baroness Bogie

 

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The Epidemic; PPS

20somethings_main_image

Peter Pan, spotted here in San Francisco. Have you seen him? 

 

He is all around you, every guy you pass on the street could be him. He could be dressed in a suit or in skinny jeans with a trendy mustache. However, he is not identifiable by his looks, he is by his behavior. And he is not in fact Peter Pan but an imitator. He is a grown man on the outside and a child on the inside. He is a BOY caught with an epidemic running rampant in the city of San Francisco, he suffers from Peter Pan syndrome. Sadly for the women of San Francisco, there is no known cure or treatment options. It is only on occasion that he outgrows it, generally after reaching the age of forty, graying, and losing most of his athletic ability, youthful metabolism and sharp looks.

This syndrome is found in males ranging from 28 upwards to mid 40’s.

Why am I writing about this you may wonder? Could it be that I fall in to that stereotypical category of many women who are just looking for:

A man to settle down with, Mr. Prince Charming? NOPE.

Is it because I am looking to put a GIANT ring on it? NOPE. 

How about a baby? Clock is ticking for us women right? NOPE, not that either. 

Perhaps simply a boyfriend of my own? NOPE. Wrong again. 

Then why? What do I like many normal (hey lets face it were not perfect either and I have met a few crazies myself) San Franciscan woman want?

We want a man, not a fucking overgrown child

I have seen it happen one too many times. I have experienced it personally and have painfully watch many of my girlfriends date these boys pretending to be men.

When I met Peter Pan he was at the end of his time at Neverland. He had spent a good fifteen years enjoying Neverland. When I met him, I was only 21, so of course it didn’t bother me a bit that he and his near forty friends liked to party, so did I. But after a few months I, the 21 year old, grew tired drinking weekend after weekend. I had wondered to myself, is it just his group of friends? It wasn’t until I moved here 4 years later that I realized he and his friends weren’t the only ones. It was everywhere in the city.

We dated off and on for short periods of time, I had a relationship in between and ironically enough that 25 year old was more mature than half the “men” in San Francisco combined (of course he wasn’t from, nor did he live in the city). During the last period of the off and on relationship I had with Peter Pan, I could see that he was ready to leave Neverland. He wanted to settle down with me. But why? Well it is likely because he had turned 40, all of his other friends had left the magical island, started families and he surely looked around and found himself alone. At 40, well your not 20, so that great body you thought would last forever didn’t and that endless line of women ready to bed you started to become empty.

So what does a Peter Pan do in this predicament- simple- find the BEST option and lock her down. Peter Pan looked at me one night during an all night wedding reception where the near forty bride and groom were doing drugs to celebrate their union (I never said all Wendy’s declined to stay on Neverland) and he said to me, “Lets do this, I can take care of you”. Take care of me ? He said “You would never have to worry, I would take care of you”. Well what did a 24 year old women early in her career, struggling each month to pay her bills say? She said “HELL NO”. Well I politely declined of course. I needn’t get into the details of why (self respect, my own career aspirations, the actual desire to take care of myself on my own). 9 months after my polite decline, Peter Pan who was ready to leave Neverland found a suitable Wendy and married her.

Then there are the more commonly found Peter Pans, ones who have just arrived to the magical island of Neverland, otherwise known as the 28-35 year boys. They are newbies, very often self entitled  boys still with the silver spoons their mommies put in their mouths. Many of them still have mommy and daddy’s help paying for their frequent vacations to tropical islands and Vegas where the party is ALWAYS going. These newbies are under the false impression that as long is the world is turning (for them of course) that they will still continue to get play night after night from PYT’s and that they will keep that slowly disappearing 6, nope its now down to 4, pack that keeps those ladies lining up.

Meanwhile day by day fantastic women are passing them by going completely unnoticed because of the fear of commitment that keeps them shaking in their velcro strapped shoes. When I say fantastic I don’t just mean beautiful, she may be. I don’t mean young, although she could be as well. And I certainly don’t mean a woman with a five year plan that ends with a ring and a wedding. What I mean when I say fantastic women is motivated, intelligent and hard working. She stands on her own two feet and doesn’t depend on a man for her happiness. These women are happy already, the only thing a relationship would give them is more greatness in their already wonderful lives. They are happy on their own (a rare quality to find in either sex) and they take pride in being able to take care of themselves. If you haven’t figured it out by now, they are the women of our generation. These fantastic women don’t expect you to pay the bill, but would politely accept when a man refuses to split. They have a full life of their own that they would like to share. They do not want to trade in their lives just to glob onto another man’s, in fact, to a fantastic woman, that idea would make her want to throw up. She isn’t a leach, she is an individual worthy of a respectable MAN, not an over grown man child.

So what am I missing here? I don’t have a PHD in human relationships and I haven’t been anthropologically studying relationships for 10 years, but I have been observing. What I am truly curious about is if all men are intimidated by this breed of women, sane and successful. And is there a correlation between this and Peter Pan syndrome?

Its a mystery to me, and as much as I wish I had the answer, I don’t. If I did, it would surely removed the furrowed brows from so many female faces in the city. Until the mystery is solved, all  I can do is offer advice to the boys sickened with PPS in the city of San Francisco. Its fairly simple in fact, boys all you have to do is:

GROW A PAIR OF BALLS

pps

The choice is yours boys. Its not for me nor is it for the fantastic women you pass up everyday, it is yours and only yours to take or refuse. All I can do is remind those with PPS to be careful because before you know it you will wake up with an empty bed, a Firestone tire around your gut and an empty line of what used to be fantastic women and PYT’s. When you wake up and look in the mirror, you will be grayed and the years of partying will have taken their toll on you. Worst of all, there won’t even be average women around to date you. Why? Because no one but a desperate, insecure, sad and lonely person would be willing to date or marry a boy who has become an old man in the blink of his own eyes. No one wants a forever bachelor who spent his entire youth on the island of Neverland.

Women of this city, the fantastic ones with furrowed brows, what is my advice to you? Don’t settle for Peter Pan. Don’t put up with his childish antics. You will never change him, nor should you want to. There will be a man, yes a man, that deserves your greatness. He will not quiver in fear at the idea of commitment and will not run the opposite direction when he realizes you are a catch.

Until then ladies, keep living the fabulous life that you have be sure as hell not to forget some good advice that a dear friend once shared with me:

 Mejor sola que mal acompañada

English translation: Better alone than in bad company

 

-Baroness Bogie

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Copyright JGallerie Photogtraphy

Copyright JGallerie Photogtraphy

 I would like to make my first post for Baroness Bogie about the   inspiration for this blog. 

Since I can remember I have used the written and spoken word to communicate   my thoughts, feelings and ideas. One of my most memorable moments during my college days was learning about the basic definition of ‘communication’. There are varying definitions of course, but the one that always resonated deep within me was:

          “The successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings”

There was something so meaningful behind such a simple explanation. For me,  this meaning brought me back through moments in history. The significant and insignificant, but nonetheless I felt intrinsically connected to these imagined moments that happened since the beginning of mankind.

Perhaps I was just the ideal communications scholar, after all my professors did approach me to continue on in their program as a grad student, or maybe I really am connected, like a trees roots deep within the earth, to human communication.

Whatever the reason may be – I am inspired to share – the good, the bad, the ugly of my life. My meaningful and meaningless thoughts. Days that seemed like they were the end of all of my days, and ones that seemed like they were just the beginning of my life. The important and unimportant, because whether its just me reading my stories or unknown readers, I am doing what I am truly passionate about, I am sharing.

– Baroness Bogie

For more amazing images like the above – please visit the lovely and talented JGallerie Photography, award winning conceptual photographer who makes the ordinary look absolutely extraordinary.

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March 10, 2014 · 9:15 pm