Quotes.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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I Got Married Today.

{Two years ago today…}

It’s the night before the wedding, when most brides get their beauty sleep for their special day. Me, I’m headed toward nuptial bliss tending bar for boozed up, tarted up, cross dressing fedora’d party boys and girls in a scandalously dark Hollywood bar.

It’s New Year’s Eve. Actually, it’s just after midnight, January 1st. My wedding day.

I’m pouring drinks, two vodka cranberries. It just turned 2013 about eight seconds ago, and all the typical New Year’s hoopla is going on around me—the screaming, the horns, the kissing. And I’m just wondering how early the flower place opens, about blush vs lavender roses, and what were those purple flowers called? I might need them, and ribbon to match…

Oh, the bride pressure…

My fiancé grabs me from behind. It’s loud in the bar but I’m pretty sure he says “Happy New Year, Wifey!” I start laughing and crying at the same time. We stand there making out like teenagers, and the two party people are still waiting for their vodka cranberries. By the time I make them, I’m crying so much I have to explain to the people looking at me like I’m a lunatic, “I’m marrying that guy today!” (I say it mostly because I only have one day to say it, and I’ve decided to enjoy it to the point of silly.)

I didn’t ever think I’d care so much about different shades of purple flowers. I’m just not very bride-y, even though when Prince William and Kate Middleton got married, I obsessed on that girl’s dress for days, and her sister’s dress. (Biggest bridesmaid upstage ever. I’m glad I don’t have a sister with a great ass like Pippa’s.)

Do I feel like a princess? Am I Cinderella? (Muffling a very yucky gagging sound…) Not in a million years.

This is reality. I’m not 18 years old and it ain’t prom, where I spent more than a little time throwing up from too much Ouzo. Charming. Thank God there was no Instagram in those days.

My life certainly isn’t a fairy tale, I’m not wearing ruby slippers and I have no confusion about where home is. Home is with the man who had tears in his eyes the first time he told me he loved me, with the man who took care of me when I hurt my back and ended up in the emergency room three times, who told me “I’m your family now” when my widowed mother went into an assisted living facility three years ago, who spread her ashes with me in the ocean. In that moment back in September, I knew what was next.

“Baby, I think we should get married.”

That’s what I said, four days after the ashes. He had already proposed in so many ways. That exact second, I think I was more stoked than I had ever been about love.

Flashing neon sign: You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby.

We get home from the bar after New Year’s at 3:00 a.m. I give myself a spray tan and decide now is as good a time as ever to go on Ebay until 4:30 in the morning, like I have nothing else to do in life but bid.

In the morning, I wake up extra early and go to yoga. My teacher/mentor/friend Jenny is astounded I’m there, considering I kinda have stuff to do. She asks the class: “What do you want to bring into your life this year?” I don’t know about the whole year, but I can tell you about today: I’m a yogi. I’m a warrior. I’m a flower chooser. I’m a cake lover, especially coconut, and chocolate (but never together). I’m a dressmaker. I’m a daughter-in-law. I’m a bride.

Did I mention I’m making my own dress? What an awesome way to bring on a nervous breakdown.

Back at home, my best friend picks me up to go down to The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. We forget my dress, the one I’m not even done making, and all the backup dresses in case I don’t finish. We actually forget the dress.

Best Friend: Nervous yet?
Me: Nope.
Best Friend: Not at all?
Me: Didn’t even occur to me.

I wish my parents were here.

We get to the hotel room, and I’m sewing my dress on my grandmother’s sewing machine. Would it be so bad to blow it all off for 15 minutes to go downstairs and walk on the movie stars’ footprints at the Chinese Theater? I need air. Bride pressure! My machine breaks. You’ve gotta be kidding me. I have a half hour left. You know that old story about Marilyn Monroe, where she was sewn into her dress to sing happy birthday to JFK? Yup, you guessed it.

weddingkbwAt the restaurant, 55 people look on as we say our “I Do’s.” The first person I go to is my brother; I’m now sobbing, and I actually lose track of my husband. I know he’s in the room somewhere, probably sobbing with someone else. There’s a wardrobe change into a dress that most people say is way too short, I give away my bouquet to my friend Amanda and take about a billion pictures with my gorgeous, generous, amazing scruffy hot Australian husband. G’Day, mate.

Is it possible I’ve taken to this bride stuff like a koala bear to eucalyptus leaves?

Back at the hotel, after the wedding, we order enough room service for three days. We eat, we laugh about everything and I take a bath. At one point, my new husband stands up and looks at me with a strange expression I’ve never seen… it briefly occurs to me this is all an elaborate hoax, the last three and a half years were a set up and he might actually be some kind of kinky bride killer… or maybe he’s the “Nuptial Neck-Breaker?” I watch too much Dexter.

The next morning, we sit poolside under the palm tress. I just paid $10 for two cups of coffee. I don’t even care.

I’m saturated with sweet, pure, authentic, honey soaked love.

What I don’t like about marriage: It’s just so 1950s.

What I like about marriage: It’s just so 1950s.

I still have a little glitter on my eyes from New Year’s Eve. I hope I don’t get it all over the wedding cake I’m about to have for breakfast.

October, 2002: “Hey Anthony, it’s Annie. Do You Have Any Shifts…?”

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Last night, August 30th, 2014: “Got a minute?”

Three weeks earlier: I’m gonna quit. That night, I had a dream that I had a loose tooth that fell out.

You know how there’s a major life decision you have to make, and once you make it there’s some kind of cosmic shift that happens and all you can do is cry because (again) you’re faced with having to grow up and redefine your place in the world but you know it’s going to be OK? This one’s like that; a little bit After School Special, and a little bit Barfly.

12 years, baby. 12 years I stood behind that bar. I wonder how much black eyeliner I went through.

Earlier this year: I’m giving myself ’til my birthday in November, and that’s it.

Early 2013: I’m giving myself ’til my birthday in November, and that’s it.

Early 2012: I’m giving myself ’til my birthday in November, and that’s it.

Early 2011: I’m giving myself... you get it.

To be clear: it didn’t suck. I got to see the Foo Fighters from 20 feet away. (Dave Grohl, if you’re reading this, I fucking love you.) 

***

“Let’s talk about me quitting.” I didn’t know how else to say it.

I held on to that job so I could be free to do what I love, and teach yoga. Many times I went straight to the bar after teaching (I don’t recommend this—it’s weird). And I wrote behind that bar. I wrote on cocktail napkins, which would sometimes get stuffed in my pocket and forgotten about until I found tufts of white paper in the washer. Oops.

I held on when I was paying $1,600 for my huge apartment up near Lake Hollywood. I held on through some pretty miserable times, when I had to get up early the next morning and sell shit to stay in that apartment, when I had a ruptured disc and when my dog was at home alone chewing everything.

I didn’t have Shamus McDog when I started that job, and I don’t have him now. I wear his name tag around my neck, the one shaped like a dog bone, with his name on one side and my phone number on the other.

One night I was there until 3:00am, and I had to be on set for a wardrobe job at 7:00am all the way across town in Marina del Rey. I pushed myself.

12 years. Weddings. Meltdowns. Fist fights. Divorces. Jail. People drinking/sober/drinking/sober/drinking… Memorials. Old Hollywood soldiers still prowling around would slink in, hold a glass of Jameson in the air and say things like, “Damn, this place will never die!” 

And love. Tons of it.

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***

Out back on the patio there’s a rounded patch of ground that’s a little newer looking than the rest, where there used to be a fountain. The water (if you could call it water) was dirty and plastic cups and cigarette butts would be floating in it, and I’m sure there was probably a whole lot of broken glass at the bottom. People fell in all the time.

Last night I stood staring at that patch of ground, and I wondered how many people know there used to be a fountain there.

***

There was a sound guy working there when I started, a very foxy dude who I never really got to know for the first 6 1/2 years we worked together. From Love, Passion & the Garish Sun, June, 2012:

“Ten years ago I got a job bartending in a Hollywood nightclub. There was a man who worked there, who also grew up by the ocean far away in a land down under, where the seasons are the opposite of ours here in L.A. and where they speak in curious rhyming slang. Back at home, this man would imagine making his way to L.A. one day, playing music and maybe hanging out with a blonde California girl.

We worked together for over six years, never really getting to know each other. And on a particularly warm July night, off in a corner shrouded in a cloak of darkness, I shared a secret kiss with this tall, handsome exotic man. Time stood still. The angels sang out and the Gods high-fived.”

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 ***

There was one last thing I left ’til the end of the quitting conversation, the most important thing: “Thank you for introducing me to my husband.” And I lost it, just like I knew I would. We were married New Year’s Day, 2013. Anthony performed the ceremony.

Thank you for marrying us.

Thank you for being my friend for 20 years. Three words: Freddy Mercury’s moustache.

Thank you for giving me a job when I needed it.

October, 2002: “Hey Anthony, it’s Annie. Do you have any shifts…?”

“I’m a yogi. I’m a warrior. I’m a flower chooser. I’m a cake lover, especially coconut, and chocolate (but never together). I’m a dressmaker. I’m a daughter-in-law. I’m a bride.”

From January, 2013, read “I Got Married Today” on elephant journal. ‘Cuz it’s about love, baby ♥ ♥ ♥

***

There’s More To Life Than Slut Bashing! A Yoga Manifesto.

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So I got a ton of hateful comments on my elephant piece, Sucker Punched! about the slut bashing thing. It’s so fucking weird to me how people can take one word out of a sentence and distort the meaning and the message of the whole thing.

Apparently, “slut bashing” is the new bullying.

And I’m wondering: do you know what it is you are actually saying? Have I spit on your right to bang a different guy every night of the week, and them some? I don’t know, you guys… but I definitely wasn’t shaming anybody, mostly because it would never occur to me. Seriously, it would never, ever occur to me this was such an important, sensitive issue.

C’mon now, grow up. There are far more important things going on in the world besides your sex life. At least once a day, I get this: “I’m quitting elephant journal! This is just offensive!”

You tell me if I’ve gone too far…

There’s More To Life Than Slut Bashing: A Yoga Manifesto.

Tons of love to you for reading!