Revisiting Sex And The City Fifteen Years Later

The other day, I decided to turn on Season 4 of Sex and the City. No reason for selecting that particular season, only that I saw it on my Amazon Prime homepage and thought, wow, it’s been a hell of a long time since I watched the show that meant the absolute world to me way back in the early 2000s, so why not put it on while I decorate….

Well…. one thing led to another and I watched the entire season – all 18 episodes – in a matter of five days.

And yes, I will admit, watching in hindsight makes me realize it wasn’t as far-reaching or convention-defying as I thought it had been but still… at the time, it pushed boundaries the status quo imposed and allowed women to explore their sexuality and individualism in a way no other show had before. It empowered a whole generation of people.

And it showed women were not the lesser sex; simply a different sex than the one who had been dominating.

For all I mention, I will never forget this show. Sex and the City made me feel not so alone, not so crazy to want to explore life rather than have children right after college (or ever, for that matter) and defined us women as strong, powerful humans with the expectation to have every right a man has. It didn’t show us in the kitchen or watching children, it showed something else I will state after a quick story….

Post college, my dear friend would recap entire episodes since I didn’t have HBO (or a TV for that matter, haha!) She would detail every moment, every scene, and I was captivated, waiting until I could make it over to her place to watch what we had just discussed and dissected.

Watching the show present day, however, showed me the difference in which I viewed the material, especially in relation to marriage.

When I was in my twenties, or even early thirties, I wasn’t sure marriage was for me. I thought perhaps I liked my independence just a tad too much to be good for someone or have someone be good for me, not to mention I had determined children were not going to be in my plan, so that was limiting in selecting a partner as well. You’d be surprised how many men want children. Not just women.

Exactly the type of material Sex and the City explored, right? Which is why I loved the show so damn much. It was almost a religious experience for my friends and I, but that’s another discussion…

Now, though, having found a man whom I genuinely want to spend the rest of my days with, I realize Sex and the City no longer confirmed my singlehood, but rather, what it really did, at its core, was show us CHOICE.

And I will never forget that it did that for me and still does. And I’d imagine a ton of other women would agree. I believe it gave us, in particular me, a voice that marriage, kids, sexuality, all of it, was a matter of choice, not a predetermined route to be defined by society or religion or anyone else other than the person(s) involved.

So, thank you Sex in the City, and Sarah Jessica Parker, and all those who created the show, for having the courage to do so when it wasn’t in vogue or so readily accepted, and while, sure, if the show was made today it would be different, what it was is precisely why it was so perfect at the exact time it was made.

It helped paved the way to be where we are today.

And that is a beautiful thing. At least to me.

#sexandthecity

 

40 Years of Wisdom

In five days, I will be forty years old.

The twenty-one year old Christina would probably be in awe of a few things, like the fact I’m not a size 0 anymore and I quit smoking cigarettes and my husband is in the other room…

As I was driving home from work last tonight, I was thinking of the coming of this new era for me and some things I’ve learned along the way, like when I was six and I backed my little legs (both of them) up against the exhaust of a newly parked 1970s motorcycle muffler.

You can see #6 below for the lesson learned on that one because I decided to list my “words of wisdom” in order of age, taking some creative license with the first couple seeing as I’m not quite sure I remember being two.

Each of these lessons have remained important to me to this day so I thought I’d pass them on in honor of turning forty. I hope you enjoy them… and the little stories I included along the way.

40 Years Of Wisdom

1. Breathing is a most important thing.

2. My mother makes me more at ease than anyone in the world.

3. I love my family but my brother and I are very different.

4. Playing outdoors is a really fun way to spend your time.

5. School is interesting. But I question if all rules need to be followed…

6. Engines are very hot and second degree burns are no joke. The scars have lasted to this day so point being – Be Aware Of Your Surroundings.

7. We all make bad judgements. Such as being in second grade and pooping your pants and not doing anything about it until you get home… (TMI?)

8. Teachers can be very effective. Thank you Mrs. Riordan. We all hoped to get your class!

9. I love my family, with props to my father who works very hard for his family and my Aunt J. who speaks her mind bluntly but has a heart of gold.

10. Life can suck and be beyond your control.

11. I am different from many other people I come across.

12. Fight for what you want. A big thank you goes to my parents for allowing me to make the choice to go to public school rather than private Catholic school for seventh and eighth grade.

13. This monthly interruption of your body is a thing all women must go through. Men do not. (Which begs the question, would men want to if it meant they could experience childbirth? Talk amongst yourselves…)

14. Boys are fascinating and the dark-haired, tall ones seem extra appealing to me… I am one of those with a type, considering all three of my long-term boyfriends (with one becoming my husband,) were dark-skinned with dark hair and had a height of 6’0 or above.

15. My parents and I will not always agree on things.

16. Driving = freedom with responsibility

17. I am much better writing essays than I am solving math problems.

18. College = freedom with responsibility

19. Friends can be your family too.

20. Whenever I try to fit in, I end up sticking out even more. Faking things just isn’t in my blood. (Sorority life was not for me, though I did meet some amazing girls when I lived in for the year, and one of whom has become a best friend for life.)

21. Drinking Alcohol = freedom with responsibility. (Bonus lesson learned – no matter how much you win, you will lose to the house overall when playing video poker in casinos in Vegas BUT you will likely have a lot of fun doing it while drinking free watered down cocktails at one in the afternoon so it’s important to question first if you’re okay with that.)

22. Difficult choices bring lots of pain. Make them anyways.

23. The road of post-college life is not straight. Not. At. All. And you are the driver so don’t let anyone else take the wheel.

24.  Servers make a lot of money in Los Angeles. But you earn every penny by directly dealing with people who are hungry and been sitting in traffic for two hours to go ten miles.

25. Age creeps up on you. But question, what’s really in the number?

26. Making films is the main thing I want to do in life, though I adore the hell out of writing and should do something about that.

27. Fulfilling a life goal is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can go through. I made my first short film after working odd film jobs for years and just talking about it without doing it. (I have now made seven, played at festivals around the world, write about filmmaking and have a feature script getting some nice attention, which hopefully will lead to making it as my feature film directorial debut… stay tuned!)

28. The years of life go by fast. (Oddly, 28 was a hard year for me. I was tested plenty by the universe and did not pass them all…)

29. My father is my biggest fan. And I am so very lucky to have him as a father. (This is around the time I finally realized it.)

30. I am not always as in control as I think. It’s important to see things as they are, not as I wish them or want them to be.

31. I am not perfect. And neither are all my choices. And I do not have all the answers like I thought I did at 21.

32. My parents are my true best friends.

33. Love comes in all forms. (My nephews taught me how to break down the wall I built, not wanting others to get too close… that is until they entered my life.)

34. I can be the change I want.

35. I must try. I must earn what I want. I must be honest with myself. The rewards will come. (They honestly do!)

36. True love does indeed exist. And holding out for it was one of the best choices I ever made.

37. Relationships take work and are not one-sided. Being in one means thinking beyond oneself. (Ask my husband, as this is not always easy for me but he shows me how through his own actions Every Single Day.)

38. Positive energy begets positive energy. Period. Just try it. You get what you put in. Yin and Yang. Cause and effect.

39. Marriage is a journey, not a destination. And when two people support each other, the sky is the limit.

40. Breathing is a most important thing. (And aging is inevitable.)

Why I’m happy my husband and I waited five years to become Facebook friends

I met my husband, Don, on Labor Day 2012 and sparks flew as we walked for hours around Manhattan Beach, talking and getting to know each other. This was followed with a drink by the pier and a couple more hours of conversation.

Talking to Don was like talking to an old friend who suddenly came back into my life. It was like we knew each other but didn’t. And he somehow made me believe true love did indeed exist.

So when a few months into our relationship I asked Don to be Facebook friends, and he declined, let’s just say I was most certainly thrown for a loop.

“How dare he?!” “What in the hell!” “That’s it. It’s over.” 

These are a few things that ran through my head when he told me he didn’t want to be Facebook friends. And then a big one sank in….

What in the world is he hiding?!”

Now, up to this point, Don had not done a thing to make me distrust him and in fact, he did a lot of things that made me trust him, so this was mind-boggling.

The next night we were together, probably within fifteen seconds if I know myself, I unleashed on him. I questioned him and our entire relationship.

I simply couldn’t understand how we could date and be falling in love and yet he didn’t want to “friend me” on social media.

Then, he said something calmly and uncomplicated.

“I don’t want to get to know you through Facebook.”

My inner rage was jolted. And as though it was controlled by a gas-stove dial, the flame went from bursting to barely there.

He had a really solid point. And I liked it. I respected that he didn’t want to learn about me through a social networking service.

So I agreed. We would not be Facebook friends until we were ready.

There was one stipulation though – I would be able to see his page whenever I wanted to, under his login. Come on people, I’m no fool. But he not only agreed, he also invited me to do so right then and there.

Which, of course, I did. But after that, I’ve probably asked him to look at his page maybe five times in the five years we’ve been together. And that was only to see pictures.

Now… flash forward to last week.

After being married for a year and a half, I turned to Don while we were grabbing a drink before dinner and said, “Babe, you think it’s time we become Facebook friends?”

He gave me one of his adorable side-tilted smiles and said, “You want to? Let’s do it.”

He sent me an invite ten seconds later.

And then I realized, after all this time, it’s really fun to suddenly get to see each other’s Facebook life. Not that it’s much different from non-Facebook life, but it is its own entity and I’m not sure Don realizes it, but he discovered a whole new way for us to get to know each other.

What we talk about when we talk about love

The other day, a friend asked me if I had been to Sicily, the place where my parents were born and the root of my culture. I said “no, not yet” and it made me think of something…

First, a little background.

My husband is not from the state we live in. While I have my immediate family here and have had a life in Los Angeles for the past thirty years, my husband has not. His family and friends are on the east coast but his passion for music and the Pacific Ocean led him out west. (Thankfully!)

A little over a year into our relationship, we decided to step things up a notch. We moved in together. And we wanted me to meet his parents. At that time, roundtrip flights to Orlando were going to cost us nearly a thousand dollars. Having just moved in together and needing to pay for a few surprise expenses like car work and dental bills, we did not have an extra thousand to spend.

A little more background.

I am Sicilian, as most my readers know, and going to Sicily has been on my goal list for as long as I can remember. I have a ton of family there and when I was single, I was planning to go visit there for a month. I had been saving up my frequent flier miles for a round trip ticket for almost a decade.

Then, I met my husband and though I was able to take the trip for the first time in my life, I had postponed it because I wanted to get to know him and felt like something magical was happening.

It was indeed and flash forward back to where we were… moved in and wanting to go to Florida so I could meet his parents but lacking in the funds department.

I went online and looked up how many miles I would need for two round trip tickets to Orlando. It was the exact amount for my Sicilian trip.

Though this even surprised myself, I immediately offered them to be used to fly to Florida. My husband insisted I not give up my trip but I was steadfast on the idea and ultimately, he accepted the gift.

We went to Florida and had the most wonderful of trips. His parents were an absolute pleasure and welcomed me in with open arms, thrilled to see their son and I in love.

I had zero regrets on using those miles. And that’s when I realized I was deeply in love with him and my priorities had shifted. Though Sicily is extremely high on my list, he’s higher.

Six months later, my husband’s father fell ill and passed away.

And that was when I realized those miles were never meant for Sicily.

Relationship Fun

I loath routine. And both myself and my husband have a great dislike for boredom.

When we first moved in together, I asked if he’d be willing to do something to keep the intrigue alive and not only did he agree, but it’s since become a part of our romantic life…

Okay… So, what did I ask him?

I asked if he would allow me to get ready for our date nights without him and if he could knock on our bedroom door at a designated time to “pick me up.”

He said yes and got ready in his home studio.

That was three years ago and we’ve been doing it ever since.

See, you still get the mystery of it all. You don’t know what the other looks like for the date and whether they may have a surprise for you. You get to see each other looking nice in full form, not in each stage. You get to plan surprises for the other. And you get to wait and do your own thing before going out.

Give it a try.

Or maybe you have your own fun device? If so, please share!

 

 

Ways to know you’ve reached the comfort zone in your relationship

Maybe it happens after the second month of dating. Maybe it takes you both a year. Whatever the length, there will come a time in your relationship when you both will either separate or reach a point of comfortableness. (And yes, the later is a good thing! I realize that now, after thirty-something years…)

11 WAYS YOU KNOW YOU’VE REACHED THE COMFORT ZONE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

1. you no longer have underwear the other hasn’t seen.

2. things that were once cute are now NOT CUTE AT ALL.

3. you’ve seen each other pee.

4. they’ve seen you at your worst, and stayed around past morning…

5. you both weigh ten pounds more than when you first met.

6. they’ve seen it all – nose spray, hair remover and control-top pantyhose.

7. you’ll have at one point or another asked your mate if they were okay because of how long they’ve been in the bathroom…

8. you two speak your own language, that only the both of you fully understand;

9. you understand each other without speaking.

10. you’ll have at one time or another disappointed the other because, yes, you did in fact watch the next episode of the show you both love.

11. the mystery has been replaced by a sense of home, and it feels unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in the best way imaginable….

Outweigh

My boyfriend is returning today after working in San Francisco since Friday. And I miss him. Honestly, much more than I thought I would…

See, I used to live alone. For seven years and to be frank, I loved it. I enjoy my alone time and relish in it so living with others has always been a bit difficult for me. I tend to hurt other people’s feelings simply by wanting to spend time alone so needless to say, I was looking forward to a three-day weekend flying solo.

Or so I thought.

After about twenty-four hours of all me time, which included cooking shrimp (something my boyfriend hates!), I began to notice a few things…

First off. Sleeping sucked. I woke up every three hours for some reason. And sleeping diagonal with one knee out just wasn’t what it used to be.

Also… I noticed he wasn’t there to show that I washed the floors and it made it not as satisfying. And arriving home after a long walk wasn’t the same without him being there to give me a big hug and ask about it, genuinely wanting to hear about the heart-shaped leaf I found or the funny saying on the corner church (“Soul Food Inside”). Cooking, even if it was shrimp, wasn’t as much fun without seeing my boyfriend clean his second helping. And I would have bet against it if someone told me I preferred to watch films with him rather than alone but it’s true. After watching both Indie films “Afternoon Delight” and “C.O.G.”, I wanted to hear his thoughts on them and wished he was beside me.

I began to think back on living alone all those years and suddenly, they weren’t as sunny as I remembered them. Lonely nights. Over indulging in vices. Days without human contact. Going in circles in my head with no one to pull me out…

I started out on Friday thinking I was getting a piece of my freedom back, living alone and answering to no one. But I ended up learning a valuable lesson.

I will always like my alone time but I like being around my boyfriend so much more.

Together, Not Against

My boyfriend and I have been in our new place for a few months now but we have yet to accept that we have a third roommate, our neighbor’s television.

Our neighbor is LOUD. And she watches television incredibly often (does she work, I don’t know?) and it’s always on decibel 900. (I hope that’s loud, I’m actually not so sure about the whole decibel thing…) She also SLAMS her front door shut and talks at the TOP of her LUNGS as she yaps on the phone for hours. And did I mention she likes to do wall-shaking laundry at two o’clock in the morning?

But hey that’s life. I’m very fortunate and I know it and if this is the worst of my problems, I should shut the hell up. But there was one particular morning, my boyfriend and I learned an important lesson and I’d like to share it with my readers.

We had gone to bed the (Sunday) night before around one in the morning. The television in our neighbor’s apartment, which happens to share a very THIN wall with us, had droned on and on from eight until only God knows since we managed to fall asleep despite the noise.

Then, at around 7:30 in the morning, the television came back on. It sounded like Oprah on crack and a LOUD studio audience. My boyfriend and I were jolted awake and neither of us were happy about it. I grabbed my eye cover and yelled about the noise all the way to the bathroom while my boyfriend grunted and sighed. Under the covers, I tried to will the damn thing off. My boyfriend covered his head with the blanket. Nothing worked though. Cackling middle-aged women were practically in our bedroom at eight o’clock in the morning.

We got more pissed as the minutes passed. I started devising a plan and spoke it out loud despite my boyfriend’s snap, “No talking. It’s too early.” I continued talking about the letter I was going to write to my neighbor and how I would make my point as effectively as possible, using manipulation even if I had too (the things we say when we’re tired!), and I wasn’t done… But my boyfriend got upset and said that we could kiss our apartment goodbye (dramatic much?) and how I’d only be rocking the boat and causing trouble and that she’d probably start to do it even louder.

We laid opposite each other, having gone from practically hugging to no longer touching. I was upset. He was upset. And then, practically at the same time, we both breathed and looked at each other and realized what was happening. My boyfriend hugged me and said that it’s crazy for us to be taking it out on each other right now. I agreed and squeezed him back, thinking, this isn’t about me. Or about him. Or about our neighbor.

It’s about US.

We’re in this together.

We are not against each other.

It may sound simplistic but I’ll tell you this, my whole perspective at how I see the world changed in that moment of realization. Dramatic, much? Yeah. But moments that shape us qualify for such, no?

Differences

I will be moving in with my boyfriend next week. This will be my first time living with someone who isn’t family or a roommate. I’m very excited but also a bit nervous. I love change but it’s not the easiest thing for me to do.

As we make preparations for our new abode, I’ve noticed that moving in with someone really magnifies the differences between you both. Fortunately, my boyfriend and I agree on the big things, the deal breaker stuff, you know things like “you don’t smoke crack, right?” and “alone time is important!” But we are most certainly different and this whole moving-in process has had an interesting way of illuminating these differences…

I think moving in with someone can go one of two ways. Yes, I’m basing this on what I’ve seen from others who have moved in with each other and I’m generalizing, but I think it all boils down to two roads: either you allow your differences to conquer your relationship and you two become opposing sides rather than a partnership OR you allow your differences to compliment each other and provide each of you opportunities to demonstrate love, patience, understanding and compromise.

I believe in washing towels after every other use, my boyfriend does not.
He likes the sheets tucked in when making the bed, I leave them hanging out.
My boyfriend likes the sink counter to be dry while I don’t notice it either way and therefore, often leave it wet.
I need a fan on while I sleep, even in the cold. He hates it.
I like to snack. He likes full meals.

We are different. Compromise is needed.

I love to vacuum and sweep, he’s great at dusting.
He cooks healthy protein-based meals, I cook Sicilian-style.
I buy the first thing I see, he researches and asks questions.
He’d rather not deal with it, I face it head-on.
I’m obsessive about organizing, he’s obsessive about detail.

We are different. Sometimes it works to our advantage.

But allow me to get to the point. This whole moving-in-with-my-boyfriend process has been quite enlightening for me. I’m glad I waited to live with someone until I thought it was really right, especially because I don’t think I would have lasted longer than a month. Differences often have a negative connotation with them. And personally, I’ve been from the camp of liking things the way I like things. Sure, I thought I had great reasons for such but now, only after I found someone who was able to reach inside me in ways no one else ever has, I’ve come to realize differences aren’t so bad and in fact, are often great.

Perhaps it’s a good barometer for a relationship – the more the relationship is right for you, the more the differences are right for you too?

Communication

There are times I like to be silent. Not talk. Not listen to others talking. Just be with me and my thoughts.

Sometimes though, these moments don’t exactly match with what my boyfriend has in mind. I love him, but he does like to talk and I love getting excited when he gets excited and I love reveling in his good news or comforting him with bad and I really love hearing how passionate he is about music and his business.

But…

There are times I like to be silent. Not talk. Not listen to others talking. Just be with me and my thoughts.

At first, my conscience spoke to me and sternly said, “Christina. You love him and you should listen to him even when you don’t feel like it.” So, I did. Two things started happening, though. I either zoned out and let my mind drift or I forced myself to listen and felt phony about it as I made impatient faces to myself (and perhaps the car occupants nearby…)

Not particularly enjoying either of those, I decided my next option was to change the subject and then slyly get off the phone/walk out of the room. This didn’t work either. All that ended up occurring was me interrupting him. And that’s just rude.

And then came tonight.

As I drove home after working a double, I called my boyfriend to say hi but my mind was exhausted and I was realllllly wanting some alone time. After several minutes of talking and a story started that didn’t appear to be too short, I decided I was just going to be honest with him. I simply said, “Baby, my mind is tired and I can’t really listen right now and I don’t want to zone out but I can’t talk right now. I’ll call you later, okay?”

There was a brief pause but then he said, “Sure, baby. No problem. I understand. Call me later.”

We hung up and I began to think about this…

Then, I decompressed. Got home, took a hot shower, did a facial scrub, wrote a blog post. And now, I feel a whole lot better.

Off to call my boyfriend!

“First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.”
Epictetus