Trying to Manage Expectations

This afternoon Riley woke me up by sitting in the doorway and meowing over and over and over again. He has a history of rude behavior like this, so I’m honestly surprised he’s left me alone until today. I guess he figured if vomiting and breaking dishes weren’t getting me out of bed at a decent hour, he’d try the direct approach. I’m all for stating your needs, of course, but I also wasn’t getting up easily, so that’s when Riley got on the bed. Like, on top of me. “What, did we win the lottery?” I said, and turned back over. Then Riley moved to the nightstand, put his butt in my face without even asking first, and proceeded to circle the alarm clock as if he’d recently learned how to tell time.

Fine, I’ll get up. But I’m not happy about it.

It did occur to me that perhaps Riley was trying to tell me about a problem. You know, Lassie used to do that sort of thing, so for a moment I envisioned walking downstairs and finding Riley’s brother, Oscar, dead. I thought, That would really, really suck. But when I entered the living room I found Oscar hanging out in the sun by a window, totally alive and unconcerned about the fact that I was awake. So I ran my hand across his back and said, “You’re my favorite.”

This evening I met my friend Tess for a photo shoot where she was the photographer and I was the subject. I’ve been a bit nervous about the whole thing since we planned it, and I meant to spend the afternoon getting ready. I also meant to lose ten pounds, but that didn’t happen, one thing led to another, and I ended up saying fuck it and showering and throwing on my clothes at the last minute. Anyway, I met Tess first, then we rode together to a secret location marked with No Trespassing signs, walked right past the warnings, and began shooting.

I felt like such a rebel. Sort of like James Dean, but I had a cause and he didn’t.

Tess started by having me dance while she took pictures. You might think I’d be a natural at this sort of thing, but I really do better when I’m dancing with someone else and not just myself, especially considering the fact that I was sober. But whatever, I tried to have a good attitude, and when Tess asked me to jump up in the air and touch my toes, I simply thanked god for my stretchy jeans and said, “Okay, on the count of three.” Well, all of this was in direct sunlight, and even when it came time to stop jumping around and pose for the “high school senior” shots, I couldn’t stop perspiring. So we’ll see how things turn out. Maybe I’ll just look “radiant.”

For the next set of photos, Tess wanted to go to a different location and recreate some pictures of Gene Kelly she found online, pictures where he was wearing a gray sweatshirt. When she originally told me about the idea, I thought, Awesome, and went to Walmart and bought a Fruit of the Loom. Suffice it to say, maybe we should have thought it through a little more because by the time I got out of the wet clothes I was wearing for the jumping photos and pulled out the sweatshirt to put on, I was still sweating like a whore in church. I thought, This is sweatshirt is not going to help anything.

So that’s my excuse for being half-naked in this selfie. I’ll let Tess speak for herself. Personally, I think we could all stand to show more skin. As RuPaul says, “We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.”

By the time we got set for the Gene Kelly pictures, the sun was going down fast. Still, we persevered, and Tess clicked away as I put my thumbs in my pockets, crossed my arms, smiled, half-smiled, and wondered if I should have used more hairspray. When it was all over, I was exhausted. I also think I was stung by a wasp on my neck. Maybe it was just a mosquito. I’m not a veterinarian, so it’s hard to say what it was. Regardless, I’m now convinced models earn their money. Looking natural is harder than I thought.

Now I’m back at the house, and every time I get up to go the bathroom, Riley follows me. And whereas my bladder doesn’t have stage fright, I will say it’s a little weird having an audience when I go to the john. Last night I woke up to pee and found Riley sitting in the sink, waiting. I guess he does this because he likes to drink out of the faucet, so maybe it’s not personal. Anyway, I’ve spent the evening getting the house ready for my friends to come back–washing dishes, doing some laundry, eating peanut butter and jelly, stuff like that.

Earlier I was searching for a way to make toast and mistook a wine cooler for a toaster oven, so I know it’s getting close to my bedtime. The day starts early tomorrow, and the rest of the week will be packed, since I’m going out-of-town. Honestly, I’m a little overwhelmed, as I’ve been meaning to flip my sleep schedule for my upcoming travels, but it hasn’t happened–despite Riley’s help. Part of me is also concerned about the photos. You know, I’m a control freak AND I’m vain, so the struggle is real. My therapist says a big part of being happy is managing expectations, so I’m currently trying to set the bar low, not demand perfection of myself and others, and “let go and let Tess.” I haven’t seen a single picture yet, but so far it’s working. One way or the other, this week will come and go, the pictures will come back, and–most importantly–Riley will put his butt in someone else’s face.

Quotes from CoCo (Marcus)

"Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not true."


Writer. Dancer. Virgo.
Full of rich words. Full of joys.

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