New Tattoos

I’m a big fan of tattoos and already have several small ones, and now I have added tattoos #8 and #9.

These were both tattoos that I had been thinking about for a very long time. The first one, actually, I almost got done in college and didn’t because of last minute plans that got changed. Now almost 6 years later, I finally got it done.

gravityThere are two songs titled “Gravity” that hold a lot of weight to me for different reasons. One is by John Mayer, and the other by Sara Bareilles. The idea of “gravity” allows you to be pulled towards different directions, and can have forces working against you. You may feel a magnetic connection to something and can easily be swayed as a result of it’s pull. We can allow ourselves to be influenced, or we can stop it from keeping us down. Gravity is also what can keep us grounded, and keep our heads out of the clouds. I got the word “gravity” tattooed behind by left ear, as a reminder to be in control of my life and to keep myself grounded. (This was also written in my mom’s handwriting.)

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My other tattoo is on my upper/inner right forearm. This tattoo is of the Libra constellation, depicted by flowers. I always resonated with being a Libra, but the idea of “balance” is something I can’t always connect with. Balance is something I strive for, but rarely achieve, so I didn’t want to get the Libra scale as my tattoo. Instead, there are two flowers, whose blossoms represent the stars in the constellation. This shows that despite expectations, we will bloom where we are planted, but we will grow how we want to.

I’m super super super happy with all of my tattoos and look forward for more to come!

Thanks for reading.

My Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Experience

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I was FRONT ROW for the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy even said hi to me! This was my first experience with going to a taping of the Tonight Show, but I hope it is not my last.

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Getting tickets was a process. You have to put your name in a drawing, which is time sensitive, and then just hope to get picked. The tickets are free, but just not guaranteed that you’ll get picked. I followed @FallonTix on Twitter, which tweets when the ticket drawings open. Typically they release the drawing the month prior, and the spots fill up really quickly. You are limited to putting your name in for 3 different dates, and the celebrity guests are not listed. Basically, you just have to make sure that the date works for you. If you want my opinion on how to better your chances of getting picked, you have to spend time writing something in the comments. The audience of the Tonight Show is the only laugh track for the show, so they want fans of Jimmy’s in the audience. I wrote in the comments about how I was a huge fan of Jimmy’s and that I watch the Tonight Show religiously, etc. I can’t guarantee that this is the trick, but I do think it helps.

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I got an email confirming that I received tickets about 3 weeks prior to the show. It gave me the date and asked for a confirmation of who will be taking my second ticket, and just like that I was all set. I tried to research who the guests were scheduled to be, but that information was not released until the week before.  Now, I do my research, so I read a blog that someone else wrote about attending the Tonight Show, and in that person’s experience, the show taped and aired on the same day. Since I assumed this to be true for all shows, my best friend and I were under the impression that we were going to see Jada Pinkett Smith and the Backstreet Boys. Welp, we were wrong. You see, we went on a Thursday, and they do two tapings on Thursday so that no one has to work Friday’s. Since we were attending the second taping, we were actually going to the Friday show, not the Thursday show. So, no Backstreet Boys and no Jada, but don’t worry it all turns out okay!

tonight show 2We got to Rockefeller Center with enough time to sort of explore, get something to eat, and get in line with plenty of time to spare. The check in deadline was 5:45, but we were allowed in up to half an hour prior. We were given new tickets at check-in that had a letter written in Sharpie on the back, which is what they used later on to line us up alphabetically. Our letter was H, and when they called up the first half of the alphabet, the only ones in front of us were two girls with the letter G, which resulted in the four of us being front row! The NBC Pages and staff do a great job of really hyping you up along the way, as well as keeping things orderly in getting everyone to their seats.

tonight show joThe show we saw aired on Friday, January 25th, and the guests were Matt Le Blanc, Nikki and Brie Bella, and Jo Firestone. Of course we all know Matt Le Blanc as Joey from Friends, and the Bella Twins have their own reality show (Nikki was also on Dancing with the Stars, which is what I know her from). Jo Firestone is a comedian that used to be a writer for the Tonight Show, so I actually recognized her right away, but I don’t believe she is super well known yet. It was a great show to go to, there was a lot of laughter, and being in the front row was just so super cool.

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When Jimmy walked out for his monologue and we all started cheering, my friend and I waved our hands and jumped up and down excitedly. This of course got Jimmy’s attention – AND HE LOOKED RIGHT AT US, POINTED, SAID HELLO AND THANKED US FOR COMING!! It was seriously so awesome. At the very very end of the show, Jimmy walks through the audience and gives everyone a high five. Since I was in the front row, he kind of high fived me but it turned into more of a handshake, and then he leaned past me to high five the guy behind me as well. I seriously thought about just going for it and giving him a hug since we were already almost there, but I was afraid that NBC would give me some sort of restraining order and I wouldn’t be allowed back.

tonight show 4We got home in time to watch the show with Jada and the Backstreet Boys that we originally thought we were attending. I was honestly confused by the Backstreet performance in chicken suits, but it was overall a good show. The following night was when the show we saw aired, and of course I had it turned on to watch. Seeing Jimmy’s “hello” to us back on screen was awesome, and you can see my friend and me at the very very end during the credits as well.

Definitely check out the episode (again, aired on Friday, January 25th, 2019) and for sure put your name in to try to get tickets to go to a taping of Jimmy as well!

Thanks for reading.

Coming Out: An Update

Wow. You all really showed up for my last post, huh? I mean, I post links to this blog all the time and I’ve never gotten the buzz that I did last week. A whopping ten people felt compelled to click and read what I had to say about JVN, but over one hundred of you wanted to get the details once it got super personal. I guess everyone wants in on the spilled T.

Let me just say that my parents are very understanding and open-minded people, and I never for one second thought that this was going to be an issue in my family. Truthfully, I was very much under the impression that they probably already knew. I had been playing with the idea of “coming out”, not even knowing if I felt the need to. This never felt like some deep dark secret to me, so I didn’t feel like I had to make some grand announcement.

Well, apparently that’s what I did last week.

When I wrote that post, I wasn’t thinking about who would read it – I know what my stats usually looked like, and there’s not often a lot of traffic. If anything, I thought it would just be helpful for me to write this out and maybe to collect my thoughts and figure out what I wanted exactly. Looking back, I’m regretful that I made that post public before talking to my parents. I think I was just trying to figure things out for myself, and I didn’t think it all the way through. Sitting someone down and telling them about my sexuality didn’t seem like the right thing for me personally to do, but maybe it’s also about who is on the other end of that conversation as well. I certainly didn’t mean for all these conversations to be had without me there.

That being said, I’ve had wonderful conversations with my parents and I feel really good about where things are right now. There was a lot of open dialogue that I knew would be there whenever I was ready to have it. And of course, there was a lot of love that will always be there to make me wildly uncomfortable when directly pointed my way.

So to anyone reaching out to my family members asking if they “are okay”, yeah they’re fucking great, thanks for asking.

To anyone who has reached out to me directly, thank you so much and please know that I really appreciated your words. It was very validating to hear from other bisexuals, and having that support means a lot.

I’ll try not to get on my soapbox about this, but it’s annoying that I had to “come out”. It’s annoying that the default is set to ‘straight’. It’s annoying that I have to tell everyone if it’s different. And it’s annoying that once I do, it’s a hot topic of conversation. I know I’m not a very private person, and I don’t really have secrets of my own. But being bisexual somehow by default gave me this secret that I never even wanted to keep in the first place. I will admit that while I usually love having all of the attention on me, I think I would do things just a little bit differently if I was given a second chance.

This whole experience was truly more than I signed up for. Without meaning to, I made myself feel exposed, uncomfortable, and embarrassed. But now, I also feel relieved, supported, and content. I’m out! And I’m totally done paying my gay dues for now.

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Thanks for reading.

Bisexuality

Hi, I’m Gina and I am bisexual – this may or may not be the first time you are hearing this, but it is most definitely not the first time I have said this.

I’ve known that I was attracted to both men and women from a very young age, even if I didn’t have the terminology for it. I spent most of my youth under the presumption that people are either gay or straight, and there weren’t really any other options. I always liked boys and never had any trouble feeling comfortable around them, so in my head that meant I must be straight. Sure, when I was alone I spent time finding Tumblr videos of girls kissing, but I was kissing boys in real life, so come on I must be straight, right????

If you get super super technical, the first person I ever kissed was a girl. I don’t really consider this my “first kiss”, because we were just little girls playing stupid games and it wasn’t anything meaningful – I may not have even been 10 years old yet. In middle school I started kissing boys and having boyfriends, and I was always a little ahead of my friends in terms of “experience”.

In high school, I had a female friend who I got super close with, got drunk for the first time with, and had my first lesbian experience with. The experience itself was very PG, but this was the first time where I was kissing a girl who was kissing me back and it was intentional – even if heavily influenced by alcohol. After my straight guy friends learned about this, there was a lot of encouragement whenever we were drinking for me to make out with the other girls. I happily obliged of course, but I continued to date guys exclusively. By the end of high school, I had probably kissed just as many girls as I had guys, but I only had experience past that with the guys, and I had never been romantically involved with a girl.

This didn’t change much as I entered college and I continued to be involved with men romantically, but fantasizing about women in my alone time. I was still under the impression that I was straight, I just figured I was more sexually open than most people. I believed myself to be more open in general than most, so I didn’t put too much extra thought into my sexuality as a whole.

Enter the world of Tinder. Tinder became a thing sometime while I was still in college and it was common on my campus. As I set up my profile to start swiping, I was faced with filling out some preferences:

Are you interested in:
○ Men
○ Women
○ Both

Both? OMG. BOTH?! IS THAT AN OPTION?! CAN I DO THAT?!

Both. BOTH!

That’s when things clicked for me. That’s when I stopped thinking that I had to be on one side or the other, either gay or straight, and maybe I could actually sit somewhere on the fence.

I clicked both, and started swiping on both men and women.

For a while, this was just an internal thought. I hadn’t fully identified with the word “bisexual” yet, even if I had rolled it around in my head a few times. Even though I was matching with and talking to girls on Tinder, I wasn’t meeting up with any of them in real life and was instead still spending my time involved with men. I even started dating someone towards the end of college, and I would think to myself, “I’ll explore girls more if/when we break up.” In my head, I had put my sexuality on hold (even though I was still swiping and talking with girls here and there when my boyfriend was being a dick).

By the time we broke up, I was sure that this was something I wanted to explore. I had had plenty of experiences with men, and I wanted to bring my female experiences up to par. I started hooking up with a girl that I had a crush on who was sort of in my friend group and identified as a lesbian. When our friends first got wind that we were a thing, they asked me if I was a lesbian also. This was the first time I said the words out loud: “Nope, I’m bi.”

* Insert fireworks and celebration sound effects here *

Since then, I’ve dated both men and women openly and happily. I spent over a year in a relationship with a man, and now that I am single again I would like to focus more on being with women. I believe my sexuality will always be fluid and I will always pride myself in having an open mind and an open heart.

That’s as much of a “coming out” story as I have so far. My friends have kind of organically learned about it over the past several years as I told them about my involvement with different people. I’m open about it with new people I meet and become involved with. My coworkers all know I am openly bisexual and I even indicated this in my voluntary demographics.

However, I never had that serious sit down with my parents (if you’re reading this – sorry, Mom and Dad!) where I look them in the eye and tell this deep dark secret that I’ve been hiding for years and wait to see if I still have their approval. It’s not like that for me – it wasn’t something I was ever “hiding”, it was something I was still figuring out. I also don’t need anyone’s approval about it, not that I think anyone would really have an issue. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about telling them in some way that was maybe more casual, but it’s been hard for me to conceptualize the right words. There’s a lot of stigma that comes with the word “bisexual” (watch the Hulu show, The Bisexual), and I think this could be potentially difficult to navigate with my parents. That being said, I want to be open and honest with my family. I would also feel bad if they were to learn about it from someone that wasn’t me, making them feel sad that I wasn’t the one to tell them. Maybe I’m dealing with having some feelings of guilt or something, that’s for my therapist to figure out. The point is that I have gotten to a place now where I would like them to know.

So, instead of coming out in some formal way, I’ve been passive aggressively reposting outwardly bisexual things to my Instagram story and allowing my family to view them. Not kidding – my parents both have Instagrams and see everything that I post and I’ve just been making it semi/extremely obvious:

 

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Am I being too subtle?

So yeah, that’s my experience so far. To be honest, I feel pretty good about it overall. And I’m excited about what is to come in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Therapy

I absolutely love therapy and have no problem in the least bit talking about the fact that I regularly attend. Therapy was a decision that I made for myself, because it’s not healthy for me to keep certain things bottled up. There were periods of my life where I felt stagnant or stuck, and I wanted help moving forward.

My first experience with therapy was in college. I had gone through some upsetting situations while I was in a sorority, and I was feeling extremely depressed. I reached out to the program at my university that connected you with a counselor on campus, and I attended weekly sessions for one semester. My therapist was an older gentleman who was extremely kind and open-minded. I had a great experience with him, but after one semester, he unfortunately had to move on to other students.

Last year, I decided therapy was something I wanted to do again. I was feeling extremely anxious for a variety of reasons and I recognized patterns in my behavior that resembled when I felt depressed before. I want to be someone that takes my mental health seriously, and knowing that I am someone who likes to talk, I knew therapy was something I had serious interest in.

So, to begin my search for a therapist, I went to PsychologyToday.com. It only took a few quick google searches to end up there, since they have a “find a therapist” tool. You can put in your location as well as other preferences such as gender, certifications, insurance, and other filters. Using this search, I came up with a list of 8 or so counselors that seemed decent enough based on their websites/descriptions/pictures. I sent them all emails, and based on who had availability and took my insurance, I set up some phone screenings to talk to them. I had heard that finding a therapist you like could take a while, so I thought this extra step might help. I talked to maybe 3 or 4 therapists on the phone and based on those conversations, found the woman I wanted to move forward with.

My experience with my therapist has been amazing, as she is very focused on what I want and how I would like to use my time. I am not someone who likes being tied to a set schedule, so at the end of each session is when I book the next one. I typically try to go every week, but depending on what is going on it may be more like every other. My therapist is also wonderful about allowing me to talk about what I would like, so the time truly feels like “mine”. In my first session, she let me know that I am the driver of all conversation and that we can use the time however I would like. When I was going through a break-up, that took up a lot of our discussion time because it was topical in my life at that moment. After a couple of weeks, I told her, “I think I’m done using my time to talk about him, I want to start talking about me.” And that was that, which was exactly what I needed. There’s always things she has for me to talk about if I don’t come in with something to discuss, but it’s nice to know that I am in control.

therapy 1There are a lot of benefits of going to therapy when you have the right therapist. It really is time that is focused completely on you, and it’s important to take that time for yourself. Your therapist, in theory, is a non-biased person in your life that you don’t have to see everyday, so it’s different than talking with your friends or family. You can be completely honest and know that everything in confidential. It’s healthy for me to speak about what is going on in my life and in my head, and I’ve had a really wonderful experience overall.

A lot of the people who know I go to therapy also currently or previously attend therapy sessions, and some have asked me how they could start the process. Basically, we all need a little help to get by and no one should be afraid to reach out. Take care of yourself!

Thanks for reading.

Wedding Season

Basically half of my summer has been taken over by weddings and its festivities. Two bachelorette parties down, two weddings, and three more to go before 2019 hits.

As somebody who doesn’t really envision marriage in my future, this is an interesting time for me. I do love weddings, and I will gladly tear up a dance floor after they say “I do”. However, I just don’t really see myself as a wife. I’ve always felt this way, despite being told over and over again that I will change my mind. (Insert humongous eye roll here.) That being said, I did spend a lot of time thinking about the way I would want things at my wedding, even though I don’t even necessarily picture myself having one. I think a lot of these thoughts are ones that as women, we are programmed to have ideas about. Who would be our bridesmaids? What colors would we pick? What kind of dress would we want to wear? But a wedding does not make the marriage, it’s just the celebration.

And weddings are expensive. Even as a bridesmaid, I shelled out a decent amount of money for my friend’s big day (and bachelorette party of course). This can really add up.. between bridal showers, day-of expenses, and not to mention the additional gift of money that is expected inside a card as well. Unless the bride is someone that I am super close with, I’ll gladly skip out on a bridal shower to save some change.

I had two close friends get engaged this year, which of course led to their bachelorette parties. I was in one of these weddings, and the bridal party flew out to Vegas to celebrate the last fling before the ring. It was a small party, so traveling was in scope, and it was many of the girls’ first times to LV. We truly had a blast, but my bank account was really feeling that trip hard when I got home. The other bachelorette party I attended was in Ocean City Maryland, and I hardly knew anyone going into the weekend. This can definitely provide you with some awkward situations as you start to get to know everyone, but it’s best to just remember what you have in common – the bride. It’s also fun to buy into the “let loose” atmosphere and the penis shaped decorations.

It was very easy for me to feel a little lost throughout these processes. It’s not like I am against marriage in any way – my parents are celebrating 30 years of happy marriage this fall. I’ve seen my loved ones spend their entire lives with someone and never regret a single thing. I think marriage is a wonderful foundation for a family, and I don’t fault anyone for wanting this out of life. That being said, I often feel “different” for not wanting the same things as everyone else. Yes, I have some preferences for wedding choices in my head, but I don’t see myself walking down an isle someday. So in the midst of the “when it’s your turn…” and the “I’m next” comments, it’s safe to say I felt a little broken. Like maybe there is something wrong in my head for not wanting all this, too. I feel very reminded of those who may be disappointed by my decisions, and it’s often a lot to swallow. That being said, nothing stopped me or will stop me from having fun at the celebrations.

Weddings are basically just a big party about love, which is why I enjoy them. Everyone has the chance to get all dressed up for a special occasion. Pictures always turn out nice, and it’s usually a good chance to catch up with far away loved ones. It’s also a great atmosphere for all involved, with reminders of love everywhere. I definitely found it moving to see someone’s special day come together. The ones who matter most get highlighted during the ceremony and reception, and everyone else gets a chance to share in that love. It’s easy to get caught up in it all, because love can be truly intoxicating.

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Like I said, three weddings to go!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

My Tattoos

As my most recent tattoo fully heals and I prepare myself for my next design, I decided to write out the current list of my tattoos. I got my first one when I was 18 and the most recent just a month ago, but I am far from done. I am always working to design new tattoos and figure out what to get next. So, here’s what I got so far:

Rest with Life: My dad agreed to take me (and pay for) my first tattoo on my 18th birthday as long as I got something that he was okay with. He didn’t want me to get a tattoo that I would regret or wouldn’t like later in life. I settled on a simple text tattoo to honor the passing of my Pop-Pop, since my first couple ideas were shot down by my dad. Truthfully, if I had been able to get what I had really wanted, I’d probably still love it. But instead, this is honestly my least favorite tattoo. It’s too simple, too boring, doesn’t represent me and doesn’t hold the true meaning that I wanted it to. I have plans to cover this and turn it into something else. When I was in college, I took a creative writing class where I wrote a poem about my family using tree imagery. Recently after, I did a drawing of a tree for my Grams, where I put her and my Pop-Pop’s name in the trunk, their children in the branches, and their grandchildren in the leaves. Since my tattoo was originally family-driven, and this particular image holds a lot of significance, I intend to work up a tree design to re-create that space on my upper right back into something that means more to me.

Dove: This one is a simple dove with the script written underneath it; “Let it go”, tattooed on my left side above my ribs. I got this tattoo when I was on senior week – but don’t worry, I was completely sober. I actually had designed the tattoo prior to the trip with intent to get it done one morning on the boardwalk. The tattoo itself for me symbolized letting go of anger and not letting things affect you negatively. At the time, I perceived a lot of anger around me and I did not want to live being suffocated by it. I think this held a lot of significance for me at the time that I got it done and I appreciate the message and reminder that I send to myself.

Cross: A lot of tattoos I have seen revolve around things like scripture and other religious aspects and I wanted to tie my faith into my tattoos somehow. I found a simple cross drawing which I made even simpler to represent my Christian faith. Even though I grew up Catholic, I identify as a Christian (non-denominationally). I believe in a God-type figure and I believe that a man named Jesus walked the Earth – but I also believe that religion is man-made. I believe that religion should be a form of love and belonging, in whatever form that takes, to promote just being a good person overall. So yeah, this is my religious tattoo, located the back of my right ankle.

Marilyn Signature: If you don’t already know that I love Marilyn Monroe more than life than we probably aren’t friends. If you don’t already know that I have Marilyn Monroe’s signature tattooed on my ass cheek, then we definitely aren’t friends. I got this in college for no reason other than my undying and unconditional love for Marilyn. I have full intention in getting more into why I love Marilyn Monroe in other posts, don’t worry.

Key: I have a skeleton key tattooed on the back of my neck, and my little sister has the lock tattooed on her ribs inside a heart. We planned this out for a long time with the date of Julia’s 18th birthday in mind. I actually sketched out the key and lock design myself, and we sent lots of pictures back and forth before landing on the final design. This tattoo might have been one that hurt the most, but it was also the shortest by a long-shot that I had to sit for. Pen to skin, only took about 3 minutes.

Moon: This tattoo also has a counter part – my best friend, Sarah. Just like the tattoo with my sister, Sarah and I sent lots of pictures back and forth and had tons of discussions before settling on what we truly wanted. One of my other best friends, Kelly (www.kellyoharadesign.com) helps me design any of my tattoos that I don’t design myself. I sent Kelly an image I had found with a long list of things I wanted changed and that’s how we got to the design that is tattooed on my left arm on the opposite side of my elbow. Sarah’s design is much simpler, just a circle with some rays to represent the Sun, tattooed in a small spot on her ankle.

Succulents: Kelly played a LARGE part in creating this tattoo – taking over 4 different pictures I sent her, making changes, and combining them into one design with 4 little images of plants for me. It honestly turned out so cute and perfect, and once I had the design it only took me about 2 days to get it tattooed on my right thigh. This tattoo holds a lot of meaning for me regarding being on my own, growing as an individual, and what I am able to influence and create. On the surface level, I’m also obsessed with cacti, succulents, and other plants.92C3D284-3582-4D09-B760-610E70E2CADASo, I have some work still to do. I need to start working on the re-creation I want for my first tattoo. I’m also working on a Libra constellation sort of tattoo, and for a long time I have wanted the word “Gravity” tattooed behind my ear against my hairline. Plus there’s always new ideas and designs flying around so like I said, more to come.

Thanks for reading!