Lifestyle

Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. We just don’t speak the same language.

Terry and I kept getting into little tiffs the other day. Every conversation just felt off. He didn’t see it this way, but I noticed it in our first discussion – I just wanted to talk and complain, and he just wanted to give me advice about what I should do. But that’s not what I needed. I know what to do. I just wanted to vent about it.

We made up well before dinner and just as I was about to fall asleep, I realized what the problem was: I wanted to talk about something that was happening in my life, and I wanted a sympathetic ear. I wanted someone to empathize – to say, I totally get it. I wanted a conversation with a woman.

Talking to Terry is great, but I’m talking to a man. Men are natural problem solvers. I see this with Terry, with my father, my brothers, a lot of male friends – you frame up something as if it’s a problem (because why else would you be complaining about it?) and they solve it for you. There you go! You have your solution. Now everyone can go back to being happy. It’s a rather convenient way to shut someone up, isn’t it? Provide a solution that, if implemented, will cure the issue and all complaints. But it’s not that simple with females. It never is.

Sometimes it feels good to complain your ass off, and to know that someone cares enough to let you do it. It helps to know that other people out there deal with dumb shit, too. And we can be annoyed together! And when we’re all good and irritated, only then will we voice the solution. Only then.

This rift reminded me of a gender studies class I took my last semester of college. Admittedly, I signed up for the credit hours, but it ended up being one of my most interesting and favorite courses. It was a class of maybe 15 to 20 students – all different levels, races, genders – and we basically just talked about what it meant to be men and women in society. We hit on double standards, dating, grooming, sex, education, physicality, personal and societal expectations... But the class dedicated to conversation styles intrigued me the most.

Speaking generally, women tend to be more open and inviting in their conversations, especially with those whom they have close relationships – or as a way to establish, grow, improve or repair. Between girl talk and gossip, there lies a safe space where women feel empowered to share and speak freely. They’ll sit, and spend time and energy talking through every aspect of an issue, uncovering all its mysteries, subtleties and meanings. 

Again, speaking generally, men are straight shooters. They get to the point. They might think on an issue for a while, but the fewer words they need to convey their thoughts, the better. They're described as 'the strong, silent type', 'stoic', and 'a man of few words'. There's even that movie with John Wayne, "The Quiet Man". And everything I know about being a man I learned from John Wayne.

These conversation styles are not dissimilar to our genitalia, or even the way men and women have and experience sex. Vaginas, by design, are open and inviting. Because of an internal system, there’s a lot of exploring one must do to achieve orgasm, which requires time, energy, and an intimate understanding of your partner or self.  

Now let’s think about the penis. It’s literally a point. It’s all hanging out there, and the solution is obvious. You don’t even need to get fancy. Just get to work. It’s pretty much the same technique across the gender and it has yet to fail them.

When we were working it out, I told Terry that I just wanted to talk. I didn’t need him to come up with a solution. I just needed him to listen to me. But he thought his guidance was part of the conversation. It's interesting. Neither one of us is wrong. We’re just seeing the same thing from two different sides. 

It’s raining.

This is the first time I’ve seen it rain in San Diego, and I’m not sure what to do. Should I take my cactus plants inside? Can they handle this type of weather? Should I take my indoor plants outside? Do they need a drink? Should I do a little dance? Maybe when Terry gets home he’ll skip the beach, stay in and watch Netflix with me. Maybe we’ll light candles when the power goes out, and tell each other spooky stories about the ghosts that live in our house.

Hummingbirds are crazy.

I’m just looking out the window and writing my thoughts.

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And although it’s not the bright blue sky with whimsical clouds and sunshine that it usually is this time of day, I’m rather enjoying it.

Another hummingbird.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I woke up around 3am to Terry telling me to put my homemade yogurt* in the refrigerator, and I couldn’t quiet my mind after the chore was done. I woke up late this morning to low energy and a cloudy sky. Knowing that there was laundry to do and a whole list of goals I wanted to accomplish today, I slowly made my way to the kitchen, poured myself a cup of coffee, fixed up a nice little bowl of yogurt, and indulged in Facebook at my leisure. Maybe my body knew it would rain today. My extrasensory abilities kicked in and had a chat with mother nature, telling me to be lazy and relax. Just a short while later and the tiny droplets began to fall. It’s funny how impactful weather can be. How much it can affect or manipulate your mood and mindset.

As eluded to in my last entry, one of my gripes about San Diego is how perfect it is all the time. The constant change in Chicago’s weather, although extreme, was for the most part welcome. Perfection can be wearing. And up until this point, I wondered if I’d ever see any variation in this paradise.

When I said San Diego wasn’t my first choice, it’s because Seattle was. Now that I think about it, it’s strange that I moved to a place that’s nearly the opposite of what I had in mind. Terry and I went for Halloween last year. It rained the entire time and we loved it. There’s something very cool about that city. So hip and underground. Like in the way that New Orleans feels mysterious, or that Austin feels weird. It has a very distinct vibe that I fell in love with.

Me, falling in love.  

Me, falling in love.  

I felt in-place there. Like that gum. It felt like home. And maybe the weather had something to do with it. It’s certainly a defining characteristic of the city. I suppose by nature, I’m an artsy, indoor girl who likes music and greenery. So yeah, Seattle is the place for me.

I can’t pinpoint San Diego. It doesn’t feel a certain way to me yet. But witnessing this exaggerated drizzle makes me feel a little more connected to it. Like the first time you notice an annoying habit of a new love. There’s something intriguing in their imperfection. One more truth seen. One step closer to becoming real.

I encourage San Diego to give me more truths, more imperfect days. I guess that’s a lot to ask of an entire city, but that much expanse affords great opportunity.

One little quirk I’ve noticed about these hummingbirds is how territorial they are.

How beautiful.

 

* I’ll share this recipe in another entry. It’s a sensitive process, but if you just time it correctly you won’t have to wake up in the middle of the night. Promise. 

Making friends as an adult. But how?

I took off with my partner, Terry, from I-can’t-decide-what-the-weather-will-be-like-today Chicago to always-sunny San Diego: The finest city. And it is fine, in every sense of the word.

How’s the weather out there? Fine.
How are you liking it? Fine.
How are you two getting along? Just fine.

We moved here for Terry’s job a few months ago. And since I just type words all day, I can pretty much live anywhere. It was a no-brainer to go with him. But I have to admit, San Diego wasn’t my first choice. We moved from an urban metropolis to the beach – a part of the country that’s 75 degrees and sunny. Every day. And although I love feeling like I live in paradise, at my core I’m a city girl.

Chicago isn’t always lovely, but it is always changing. There’s always something happening, and I knew how and where to find it. But my love’s dream was to live near the ocean, so the ocean is where we went.

I don’t want to sound like a martyr. The first time we went to the beach and I looked out onto the Pacific, knowing that there was nothing for miles and miles and miles, I felt a huge sense of awe. A great respect for this place overwhelmed me, and I was happy. Besides, I’ve been wanting to live somewhere new for years. I just never had a “good enough” reason to leave what was so familiar to me.

My friends, family, comfort and connections all lured me to stay. Until one day, I said I was moving, and everyone was excited for me. And they all said, “We’ll still be your friend!” “You can still work with us!” and “Our door is always open if you ever want to come home.” And with that blessing, I was empowered to pack my bags and head out on an epic journey with my greatest friend.

And thank the higher powers of the universe that Terry and I get along so well, because we don’t have anyone else to hang out with around here. Sure we have a couple family members who live just a mile away (I am incredibly thankful for this). But family is a different bond. And considering those relatives are my second cousin, her husband and their 9-month-old, there’s only so much time a brand new family can dedicate to showing us around.

The interesting part about not having friends is how comfortable I am with it. I learned back in Chicago how much of an island I could be. I lived alone for 9 months between October and May, and if you don’t know anything about Chicago winters, it’s the time of year when no one leaves their homes until the snow melts and the sun comes out again.

Nexflix was my friend then. And I suppose Terry would drop by every couple of days to make sure my face hadn’t been eaten off by a mischief of fierce Chicago rats.

Netflix is still my friend. I’m halfway through season 8 of X-Files. (I wanted to watch all nine original seasons before I watched the new one.) I even carved out some time for the Gilmore Girls series in preparation for the new four-episode season coming in November. I don’t know about you, but I know how I’m spending my Thanksgiving weekend. And so, this is the life of a human island.

Regardless of how comfortable I am hanging out with myself, I realize that it’s unhealthy. And that’s my motivation to make friends. That, and I desperately miss collaboration. As a freelance writer, you’re often the only writer working on a project. You can absolutely chat with your team, but content is often a low priority compared to design, tech or even project management. Plus, there are so many people in the world who can’t write. Because of that, they leave it to the expert. And if you’re the only expert, you’re out of luck.

During a visit to Chicago last week I had breakfast with my friend Lauren. She runs her own website, Lauren Ignited, and is a social media wizard. I was having trouble figuring out how to start this blog, and if I had relied on my own ideas, it would have looked much different.

“Why don’t you just start the blog on your portfolio site?”

Brilliant. And all it took was a ride up to Roger’s Park and some time with a friend.

I should clarify. I’m certainly capable of making friends. I met Lauren only a few months ago when we were both working Lollapalooza. And look at us now! 

We look amazing together.

If I can look this good with a friend I've spent only a handful of days with, imagine how awesome it will be when I finally make that first San Diego friend and latch on for life. 

I don’t know why I rock. I just do.

To tell you the truth, maryscannell.com was taken. But I think this URL describes me so much more accurately. And after some debate, and a soul-searching conversation with a friend of mine, I came to the conclusion that I should combine all my passions onto one site.

My writing career is now melded with my jewelry business, my new found sewing and embroidery hobby, my garden adventures, and anything else I feel like putting up here. It’s all on the table for everyone to see. So please, check your judgement and join me as we rock the blog.