Life Without Mj

I am loosing steam. Like a flower that wilts without sunshine the luster from his visit has worn off and I am becoming droopy and lifeless. When I first found out he'd be leaving for so long just five months into our relationship I was devastated but determined to be strong and just deal with it. His after Christmas departure left me with an ache in my chest and gloomy thoughts of the long months stretched out ahead without him. I wallowed for a bit, but not wanting to be sad and make this separation even more difficult I began my mission to keep myself occupied with friends, family, and various outings. By focusing on short term activities perhaps I can trick myself into forgetting that Mj is not around.

We missed what would have been our first New Years together, but we got Thanksgiving and Christmas so I have to be grateful for that. Happy hour here, get together there. I was a trooper for a while until about April. Only 3 months after he left, 3 months until I'd see him again and 7 long months until he'd be home for good. I let my negativity get the best of me and had a horrible birthday. To pass the time in May I focused on looking forward to an end of month visit with my sister. Last year Mj and I had so much fun at the fair together and I made the best of it this year but it felt flat in comparison. At the end of June, I had my excitement over his July visit to keep me going. The joy of our 11 days together kept me fired up for a while and the Joe's Jeans contest provided a welcome and exciting distraction. Two months post visit and any remaining embers have long been extinguished and I am left with only ash and smoke as I find my self in a rut again.

When I watch a really good movie I still wish he was here to share it with me and sometimes I save and re play his old voicemail messages just because I like to hear his voice. My enthusiasm to "get out there and have fun dammit" has fizzled out. I am so tired most of the time during the work week anyways that by the weekend all I really want to do is cyber date Mj. Is it weird that I would rather stay at home in front of my laptop with my not really there cyber fiance then to venture out and interact with real live people? I don't care if I go anywhere or do anything else as long as I get to see his handsome face for a few hours. When I go to sleep at night I imagine what it feels like to have his arms around me. When he is beside me sleep isn't something I hope for, it just happens. Every song I hear reminds me of him and that dull ache has crept it's way back into the center of my chest.

Every month that passes, every care package I've sent, every phone conversation we have is one step closer to seeing him again.

I have lived alone for going on 5 years and have always prided myself on my independence. So what did I do before he came into my life? I was a fully sometimes dysfunctional human being before we met so why is it so difficult to be without him now? Well, that was then. Before I knew any better. Before I knew how wonderful loving and living could truly be. Before he let the sunshine in.

Oh how I miss that man. Eleven months is a long time. Simply put my patience for life without Mj has worn thin. A part of me is missing and I can't get it back until he comes home.

Dunce Alert

I enjoy sharing and writing about the good stuff, but I am also willing to share the stupid stuff too. I definitely know how to laugh at myself. I generally don't mind if others laugh along with me as long as you make sure I'm laughing too before you start laughing hysterically at my expense! My car has had some electrical problems not too long ago so I was only mildly surprised when on Friday I noticed that my interior cabin lights were staying on while driving. I didn't go anywhere all weekend so I didn't worry about it until yesterday. I played around with the light switch to see if maybe it was on the wrong setting somehow. I carefully verified that they didn't stay on while the car was shut off and exactly how long it takes for them to turn off on their own so I could tell the service center. I woke up extra early today so I could take it to the dealership by 7:15 am and get to work by 8:00. Annoyed by the task, but glad to get it over with-and within my warranty period.

I pull up into the service line and give them my name as I prepared to take things I would need out of my car. When asked what the problem is I say, "My interior lights stay on while I am driving." Well, he fixed my so called problem even faster then it took me to tell him about it. He promptly reached through my window and turned my interior lights off the permanent setting with the switch that was designed to do just that. "Uhhhh....oops. I didn't realize I had switched it on to permanent, I'm so sorry. I guess I don't need to leave it then." The service guy was very nice and told me it's OK and that I must have just accidentally hit it. Now that service guy has a funny story for he and all of his co workers to laugh about today. Glad to be of service.

I felt like such a "girl." Well, to be fair not all women are like this but apparently I am one of those!! I do have my moments of brilliance [according to me] when setting up equipment, putting things together and trouble shooting certain problems. But, I am 100% girly girl when it comes to my car, household repairs, most complex technological systems. I don't even know how to change a flat tire even though I know it's probably something I should learn. My garbage disposal is still out. The lights in my kitchen went out months ago but it's a huge fixture with multiple screws. It looks heavy and who knows what kind of dirt or creepy crawly things are lurking inside that fixture. Needless to say, I really don't even want to attempt to do it by myself. Good thing I don't spend too much time in the kitchen.

So, I went to work early to do some overtime after my aborted vehicle drop off and that was that. The good news is that there is nothing wrong with my car and because I got to work so darn early I managed to get a premium covered parking spot which is helpful when I relax in my car for lunch breaks on hot days. The bad news is that I am so freaking tired because I got up earlier and that I am officially a dunce for the day!

And Then There Were Five

I am filled with excitement as I board the plane to LA. I am in a great mood and just sort of taking in everything around me. After landing around 10:30 am I call the car service and soon after a black stretch limo pulls up. I felt like such a jet setting VIP as I step inside. I could really get used to this!! Three of the other male models are already inside the limo and before we head to the studio we pick up 2 more.

We arrive at Smashbox Studios in Culver City where our shoot will take place. It is this huge hollow open space with stark white walls that have no corners. The 4 other female models are already in hair and make up. They seem so tall and glamorous. There are flurries of activity coming from everywhere. Make up artists, hair stylists, crew, Joe's Jeans staff and a bunch of other people are all over the place. There is loud music playing making it a very upbeat atmosphere. There is a videographer floating around taking footage of everything.

Finally, it's time for me to get my hair done. I find out I will be given extensions to make a high very long pony tail. It is so tight I can feel the skin in my scalp stretch when I smile. My hair is now ruined and disgusting from all of the thick Crisco like wax used to slick down my hair. I have this pompadour thingy put in the front of my head. Definitely not your everyday look but it is so cool to being made up so differently then my usual [slightly boring] self. My wardrobe consists of black ripped tights, a long black sleeveless sweater top, and a cool biker type denim jacket. The shoes are stiletto Christian Louboutin boots that are super sexy but hurt like hell. I wait until the last minute to put them on. My eye make up is pretty dramatic with winglike eyeliner extending out from the corners of my eyes. There is a lot of waiting as the other female models shoot before me. I am starving by now. It's 2 pm and lunch has arrived but I don't want to ruin my lips and I am too keyed up anyways, so I don't eat yet. The photographer is Jiro Schneider. By the time I get on set I am no longer nervous-I'm just ready to get started. I catch a glimpse of one of my pics on the monitor but when they see me looking they turn it away from me. I know there are people watching but I am really not aware of it because I am so focused on listening to the photographer's directions and the bright lights make it kinda hard to see anyone. I am standing in front of a plain white backdrop. There are no props and you can't just stand there. You have to do something interesting with your body which isn't easy to do when you can't see yourself. I shake my ponytail, pose, and prance around. There are no smiles on this shoot. It's high fashion. I am having fun and then before I know it my shoot is over. I keep replaying the shoot in my mind trying to figure out if it went OK but I can't really know anything for sure until I see the pictures. We do group shots and then it's a wrap around 6:30pm. We have champagne, chocolate and strawberries to celebrate. The hard part is over and now it's time to let loose and have fun.

We are taken to The Standard Hotel in downtown LA where we'll be staying. The rooms are funky and very modern. There is a platform bed with a bedroom that shares a glass wall with the bathroom shower so you can literally see right through the wall and into the bathroom from the bedroom. Joe's is treating us to drinks and appetizers at the rooftop club/bar at 8pm. It is cool getting to know all of the models that up to now I have only seen on the website. Everyone is really nice and we are all having a good time. I can't believe I am out drinking and dancing on a Thursday night when I am normally in bed!! The night is warm and we have a great view of the high rise buildings that surround the hotel. I am soooo exhausted by now but having so much fun that I really don't want it to end. We hang for a bit longer then we all go to our own hotel rooms. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

The next morning we meet at 10am for breakfast on the rooftop. The mood is somber. The loud chatter and excitement of the day before is replaced with quiet murmurs as we all lounge around eating and waiting for the rest of the Joe's Jeans staff to arrive. One by one we are taken to meet Joe. He asks me some basic questions like where I'm from, what size I wear and how tall I am. More waiting. We are all getting pretty antsy by this point. It's well past 11 am and we just want to know who the winner is.

I am asked to go back over and talk to the owner of the Photogenics Modeling agency. She asks me a few more questions. I am only one of three who was asked back for a second chat-the other two are the winners. They say it was really tough decision to make as they ask all 10 of us to line up in front of the Joe's staff and judges and they announce the winners of the first ever Joe's Next Model Contest. Madeline and Craig will be the faces of their newest add campaign. We are handed plastic envelopes with full size prints of the pics they selected for us and told that we will be extended a gift credit to shop at Joe's Jeans online (in addition to the pair of jeans we were allowed to keep from the shoot). I am really excited to hear that!

Of course I am disappointed not to win. This was my last chance at an opportunity like this. I was hopeful but at the same time I had no expectations except to do a great shoot, have a good time and make my family proud. I'd say I accomplished all three. Madeline's shots were gorgeous and she is 5'11". I am honored just to be in the running with all of these other good looking people. I am much older then the youngest of the bunch but I fit right in and held my own. How cool is that? I am proud of myself for having made it this far. I had such an incredibly good time. Did I bring my camera? Yes. Did I take any pictures? No. I was a little bit devastated when my camera turned up missing. Unfortunately, one of the make up artist hijacked my camera by accident. She packed it up with all of her other supplies and took it. It figures that would happen to me!! She is kind enough to mail it to my home address but that doesn't do me any good right now when I am in LA. It really sucks that I didn't get to take pictures to document this amazing experience like I wanted to.

But I will always have my photo shoot pics. They are not your typical smiling beauty shots. I can't believe it's me looking like an add out of some funky fashion magazine. It was so out of my element but I think I pulled it off pretty well.

I am so tired right now. I am not a partier so just one night of being out on the town has worn me out along with the long shoot and the excitement of everything that's been going on. I am killing time in the hotel lobby while I wait for my 4pm ride to the airport. I am so glad that this is going to be a quick flight for me. I will have the car all to myself on the way to the airport which will be a nice way to wrap up this amazing experience. Joe's Jeans has really treated us so well and ran a great contest. I am just so, so happy to have been a part of this. I said that I would be OK if I didn't win and I really am.