6.11.2013

THE BIG APPLE BBQ + THE IRRESPONSIBLE SUMMER OF MY SOUL


i'm crazy in the middle of the irresponsible summer of my soul just now.

oh you know what i mean.

i've never been a gemini, i have no way of knowing, but lately i am wondering if this is what it might feel like to be a gemini. i am talking inner conflict here! there's the one side of me that dislikes smiling politely at people and making small talk in grocery store check out lines and doesn't give a crap what you think about me and likes the hustle and bustle, and then there's this other side of me that just wants some danged wheat fields already. sundresses, unbrushed hair, the farm house with the blue pick-up, and all those old horses and chickens and fresh eggs and the day's menu planned around whatever's ripe in the garden, and feeeeelings. aprons dusted in flour. what am i baking, it really doesn't matter, just  . . . why not, mason jars too. shall i keep going?

i'm coming to terms with the two sides of me, the city vs country, the ornery vs sensitive, and starting to hopefully find the right balance between the two. sometimes my ornery side needs to be fed in order for it to be kept in check so i can keep on being a "good girl." if you know what i mean.

so, i'm jonesing for a tattoo. i knowwww, but that's the point. i want something stupid and borderline meaningless and very permanent, and i want it somewhere really, really obvious. that would be so dumb. it's such a bad idea. i am a thirty-year-old and i want to be making decisions like i'm sixteen. i want to do potentially dumb things. not too potentially dumb, but just level-2 kind of dumb, maybe. nothing i'll really regret but something i'll regret just enough to shake things up a bit. it's really not the end of the world if i do get a tattoo and so it's tempting to me in that kind of empty way if you know what i mean. oh, how sad the rebel fantasies of a (not always so) good mormon. ;) so maybe i should just pierce my nose instead. that's what brandon says. wouldn't that just be really stupid and grand.

"i'm just feeling boxed in!" i said to brandon one evening over the weekend while listening to joni mitchell. joni mitchell is dangerous.

"hey, you don't have to tell me!" brandon said back, because that brandon always knows. ever the poet in tax attorney's clothing, that's my husband for you.

i am just itchy. it's the irresponsible summer of my soul! just like i said. i think it's leading to good things. i'm coming into my own and it feels damn good, in an itchy type of way.

on sunday we broke some rules to stop in at the big apple bbq, which goes on once a summer at madison square park. it's so much barbecue. soooo much barbecue. and it was such a metaphor FOR MY LIFE (i am being uncharacteristically silly about things) (hah). my southern friend from louisiana with her big southern drawl was there and there was all this pulled pork and pickles, and we were in the middle of the city, but if you squinted real hard it could very well have been someone's back yard in the middle of nowhere off a dusty side road and in some dumb cosmic way it was exactly what i needed. 

i can't have it all. except for sometimes. when i can.

(i'm pretty sure anyway.)




a special thank you to the checketts who let us mooch off their bbq passes. WE LOVE THE CHECKETTS. in all caps that one because it is truth. and i'm sorry again mary martha that your louisiana drawl always brings out my latent paternal south carolina drawl, i swear i'm not doing it on purpose, it's so sad and embarrassing. my inner pretentious madonna accent-sponge just happens to be an ozark hillbilly, that's all.

87 comments :

  1. So, I feel you on so many of these points. Restless dreamer here - when I live i a loft, I crave a little bungalow. When I live in Chicago, I crave SF/NYC - you get the point.

    I have three tattoos - and I was always a shy, toe the line type of person.

    Seriously, I adore them, especially my first one (calligraphy of "a little faith" which is meaningful to me, on my forearm) - and that's almost four years later.

    Granted, I made sure I wanted it for awhile before getting it. But seriously, wouldn't trade it.

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  2. Ah...so good. And so true. As an Aussie in London my soul is currently shrieking at me to get the heck out, because each summer here seems to be getting worse. And I just got engaged to the most wonderful English man, which means I'm also kind of engaged to living in England for the rest of my life. Which I'm happy to do, but oh! How my heart misses those hot, shimmery wide open spaces!

    C
    http://www.theafternoon.co.uk/

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    1. It IS getting worse! You summed it up perfectly...what I would give o move to Oz for a year or two :)

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  3. You articulate complicated feelings so well, I am envious!

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  4. OH but if the grass isn't always greener. I live in Phoenix because I hated Ohio, where I grew up, but now if I don't just pine for Ohio every dang day of my oppresively hot existence. And CLOUDS!

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    1. haha.. i was so sick of smoggy, overpriced, crowded l.a. and moved to richmond, va with my fiance (who's from here). i relished in the clean air and trees and seasons for a good 5-6 years and *bam* last summer i started pining for the beaches, the desert, the viewable horizon, the dry air. it's ramping up again with summer coming on.

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  5. Reading this for the first time I realized it was a blessing to be born into my super ultra conservative family. It allowed me to "rebel" with out doing anything drastic. That Kimberly had to go pierce her ears (only girl in my family to do it!) and she paints her toe nails! Such a loose woman, that one. And I wore short shorts and tank tops, but now that I'm married I wear shirts as low as garments allow (and they allow me pretty low!) My mom will say, Can't you wear that shirt backward so maybe it's not so low? And I say, I LIKE it this way!

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  6. Great post. I get that bad girl itch too but I've never put it down in words. I get it. How do you scratch that itch? I'm 32 with toddlers and everything always seem inappropriate. Now I've turned to dreaming about bright clear blue water and white sand... A perfect getaway. Really loved this one.

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  7. I can't say I totally identify with being a "bad girl;" but I definitely go through these phases where I just want to be reckless--I want to throw caution to the wind and just live by my heart and the seat of my pants. And it's true. It leads to this crazy internal battle, multiple personalities being pulled in multiple ways like I'm constantly at the climax of a "choose your own adventure" novel. I thought I'd outgrow these feelings, but they stick with me. Here's hoping we find outlets for both sides of ourselves. :)

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  8. I have a forearm tattoo planned that I have told myself I will get on my 30th birthday if i still want it then. I'm wondering if I'll chicken out in six more years... it's nice to know the bad girl itch doesn't go away too quickly!!

    <3becky
    www.loosefromthezoo.com

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  9. haha i love this :) i'm feelin pretty boxed in too-let's go get tatoos! ;)

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  10. How about trying out one of the Tattly tattoos first to see how it feels? I never thought about getting one before until I saw the lemon tattoo. Adorable. http://tattly.com/

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  11. Oh, I hear you on the "good" Mormon wanting a tattoo thing, right down to the needing it to be in an obvious place. An added layer of complication: I work in an office. What are the odds that my ward and my employer will tolerate a big dumb anchor on my arm. I vote you do it and be my inspiration. The only problem: what if it doesn't get rid of that itch?

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  12. I love this post. so. much.

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  13. Inner conflict is the worst. I totally know how you feel. Why is it so hard to be content with what we have? You know that if you left the city you'd probably miss it like crazy. I'd really like if I were able to be two places at once.

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  14. after watching Duck Dynasty I talk in a southern accent for at least 2 days. It can't be helped.

    I'm feeling boxed in as well. I want to break free like Julie Andrews in Sound of Music. THE HILLS ARE ALIVE!!! ...and then actually so something crazy or fun. I just haven't figured out what yet.

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  15. I always find that the best cure for those pastoral farm fantasies is to focus really hard on the things that never show up in the fantasy: bugs, pesticides, chickens and pigs dying from actual diseases that my anxiety forces me to wonder if my kids could actually get, drought, no access to a target or nordstrom when i'm bored on the farm, etc. Just go read a couple of actual farm blogs. . .if you're like me it'll cure that itch pretty quick. I'm no stranger to hard work and i already do the bake-our-bread-from-scratch-every-week thing, but i know enough to know that i have no clue about THAT kind of hard work. Farm work is in a whole different ballpark. Also, as a fellow mormon i just could not help finding it interesting that you share just a tiny little glimpse of your feelings about yourself as a mormon. Just yesterday i couldn't help but wonder if you still wear you-know-whats. I'm sorry! It's not something i'm looking for! But my brain just automatically goes there when i see a picture of you in jeans shorts (not short shorts by any means, but definitely mid-thigh in that picture), with holes (you know, visible skin in the hole) up to there. Truly, it's so icky for me to say this to you! But it's an uncomfortable truth that's out there. . .i certainly can't be your only mormon reader thinking this, can i?

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    1. I can't speak for any other Mormon readers but that's definitely a sad side-effect of sharing your life online that I've come to a Celt (that's supposed to say accept but if I erase it my phone browser won't let me keep typing, weird bug in the iPhones have you noticed? ugh that's the worst.) anyway, yes I wear my g's and always will, and also I just haven't bought new ones in a long time because they just keep getting longer and longer and I like mine the way they used to be--mid thigh length. ;) our church officials must think we're all bordering on six feet these days because ouch! those new g cuts are not short person friendly! :)

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    3. i relate to this in every way and i'm so glad i do. so nice to know i'm not the only "good" mormon who is constantly dreaming of doing something hella rebellious (obviously not the only one, and i suppose i did know this) but dang! something's gotta give. but i feel it's an incurable itch. i say go with the nose ring. honestly@ i have wanted one for a long time (granted, i'm only 20 and leaving on my mission (TO IDAHO!!!) in a little over a month, and i don't think that's mission apparopriate am i right? ;) oh and do tell how you get your g's so ........mid thigh-like. believe you me, at 5 feet, i'm afraid i'll never find some that will hit mid thigh. Anyways thanks for the brutal/not-brutal-enough honesty here. ya my numbuh one

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    4. My mind was just blown. I was like, "What the hell are they talking about?!" and just did a google search. So...that's odd. But thanks for your honesty! I think... :P haha.

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  16. i recently made a deal with my mormon bestie to live out all her tattoo fantasies for her.

    loved this post. i've been feeling extra rebellious and boxed in lately, too!

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  17. Love this post! I feel the same way about the boxed in rebellious type...I'm 24...I can still get away with the stupid 16 year-old decisions....right??

    xo Lisa
    Making Life's Lemons

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  18. I consider myself to be a "good" Mormon girl (you know, don't break any of the rules, wear the g's, etc.) but have a rebellious streak too. Do I need attention, or just to be a little different? And as a 31-year-old Seattle, stay-at-home mom of 3, Mormon lady I sometimes feel like I'm loosing some of my cool, spontaneous self and don't want to be the stereotypical lds mom. Like there is anything wrong with that. Cause there ain't, I just want to be "myself." Anyway, my hubby and I got matching tattoos on our honeymoon, three days after being married in the Portland temple. what the? It is in a kinda obvious spot (top of my foot) but I don't regret it. ever. I like it. It's kinda edgy. So that's done and done. And yes, whenever I am feeling rebellious, I just get my nose pierced. A much less permanent fix. And yes it works as a fix. So I say, I know we aren't supposed to, but I doesn't make you any less of a good person. Just a little bad :)

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  19. I consider myself to be a "good" Mormon girl (you know, don't break any of the rules, wear the g's, etc.) but have a rebellious streak too. Do I need attention, or just to be a little different? And as a 31-year-old Seattle, stay-at-home mom of 3, Mormon lady I sometimes feel like I'm loosing some of my cool, spontaneous self and don't want to be the stereotypical lds mom. Like there is anything wrong with that. Cause there ain't, I just want to be "myself." Anyway, my hubby and I got matching tattoos on our honeymoon, three days after being married in the Portland temple. what the? It is in a kinda obvious spot (top of my foot) but I don't regret it. ever. I like it. It's kinda edgy. So that's done and done. And yes, whenever I am feeling rebellious, I just get my nose pierced. A much less permanent fix. And yes it works as a fix. So I say, I know we aren't supposed to, but I doesn't make you any less of a good person. Just a little bad :)

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  20. sometimes I feel the same way, not the rebellious way. just that my life seems to drol on, it's the same thing every day. I've lived in the same place (city, state, almost neighborhood) for my whole life. I'm so ready for something new and adventurous!

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  21. Come be crazy irresponsible responsible crazy with me here in the Sf Bay Area girl. I promise youd get some of that anx out of your system!! ;)

    Oh and a tattoo in a highly visible spot is all that its cracked up to be. Youll learn real quick who to avoid in your ward and who the genuine ones are. To me that is a great thing!! ...lol maybe one of those tempoary ink tats... You can enjoy the whole experience and it goes away........ not that Im trying to promote anything. JUST SAYIN'

    xoxo, fellow ornery infertile myrtle here

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  22. Thank you for being honest with us Natalie-- it is so easy to romanticize what is on blogs nowadays (both readers going OH BOY SHE MUST BE PERFECT and the author going I WONT POST THAT, IT ISN'T "UPBEAT") and you are straight-up refreshing.
    It is incredibly reassuring for me to see you, a gorgeous young mother in NYC, feeling the same things that I do sometimes.

    We all get this strange human longing like we don't have enough...it reminds me of "well baby you're already in that cage...t's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It's wherever you go."
    It is a lifelong struggle to be satisfied with what we have and exist between apathy and avarice.
    Well now I'm getting long-winded and confusing myself! You get it, don't you>

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  23. I think we always long for what we don't have. I'm living in the suburbs of my soul's very own dreams, but sometimes I just drive downtown so that I can trot along sidewalks and look at buildings that reach the heavens. Then other times I think we really should build that house on the old family farm. Restless that's what I am.

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  24. Wow. I know what you mean. But as a (used-to-be) rebellious Mormon who has a tattoo, let me tell you that it's not all it's cracked up to be. I mean, my kids are old enough to know what it is and I have to tell them what a terrible mistake it was and how it'll cost 50 million times what I paid for it to have it removed.... anywho. this too shall pass. Hang in there ;)

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  25. I'm friends with MM too and she can tell you that the minute she opens her mouth I suddenly think i'm from the south too! I was always so embarrassed that I would start talking like her but I had no control over it!

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  26. oh! such perfect timing this post is for me. We landed back home today after a week's vacation by the ocean. Usually I'd be reveling in all of the familiarities of home, the comfort of the small things that I forgot about here. But, I'm not this time. Even though I know I should be feeling so grateful and blessed and excited for the (really) wonderful life we have now, I'm in the mood to start something new, a new life in a way. I came to your blog expecting to see you glorifying something in your own life, hoping it would rub off on me. Though I didn't recognize it at first, you did glorify something... that lovely itch that IS the beginning of something new---just around the corner. Here's to an irresponsible summer and all that it starts!

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  27. Hahah! I vote for the nose ring. At least it's not quite as permanent, but still as fun! :D
    xox
    giedre
    www.walkingdotphotography.com

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  28. ummm i freakin love you natalie. nose ring all the way. i have a hole in my nose, and when i dont have a ring in it you cant even see the hole. no damage done! and it seems the hole never closes in my case, so on my rebel days i just throw it back in! i feel like i have a honker of a nose and the little diamond stud just makes the nose look a little cuter, in my opinion! plus i DO have 4 tattoos and really wish i only had 1. eh, no biggie, but tats can cause minor regret. p.s. i need to chat with you about sponsorship! for purusha. ill email you. xoxo

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  30. Being an adult is such a mixed bag of tricks, isn't it? With age comes more societal pressure to be "good at life," but it also affords us the freedom to do whatever the heck we want to do! So I say, live your big beautiful life and pull the trigger on that tattoo!! Find a design that has real meaning to you and then ink away, baby. (Except maybe go easy on the face tats?

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  31. I imagine you with a moon tattoo, for some reason. And: your husband's beard is RED.

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  32. hahaha level 2 dumb. girl you are too much sometimes, but I completely agree that those feelings of restlessness aren't at all bad. I would rather feel like I'm striving for something and mixing things up than playing at the same game all of the time!

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  33. I love that you're a good-bad Mormon. Or a bad-good Mormon. The world needs shaker-upper-ers. Go shake woman!

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  34. oh man, forget the tattoo just come have a glass of wonderful, beautiful, perfect, god-given red wine with me. i've read your blog for years and i'm always like "i could see natalie and i at a little nyc cafe sharing deep thoughts over a great glass of wine". but alas! 'tis not to be. although i do have a mormon friend who drinks alcohol. i suppose it's his little secret.

    anyways, KIDDING. but i think being mormon can be very stressful because of all the rules, rules that were essentially made up by men. i say that as a catholic who struggles with a lot of rules in her religion - the theology and logic behind ones that make sense and ones that are senseless. and what does god want from me at the end - to follow rules someone made up in the 14th century, or to live my life according to the lessons of jesus? but the difference you see in mormonism is the community is very vigilant about making sure others are not breaking the rules and being a good mormon - if I break a rule as a Catholic it is my choice and no one shames me, or says I can't come to mass, or I'm not a true member, or questions me etc. (see, above, the comment about whether you wear garments or not). And that has always struck me as something that must be exceedingly difficult in Mormonism.

    But really - pierce your nose. You can always take it out. Or get that tattoo. Whatever. Get out of that box.

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    1. girl, you always get me. thank you. fist bumps. all of it.

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    2. BOOM. {that was the sound of my fist meeting your fist}

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  35. Well here's something to browse whilst your soul is summering: http://rodeo.net/tattoologist/
    PS Sorry I was not a good friend in advising you not to do this. I need to grow up. Or do I?

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  36. Great post. But what I really loved was seeing those cute smocked bubbles in NYC! That's like spotting a unicorn or something. Please put Huck in one of those! Love, Your Loyal Southern Reader

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  37. I really enjoyed your post. It was like describing something very specific without actually having to say exactly what it is (isn't all enjoyable writing like that). And the lighting in the pics was awesome and I loved the picture of all the little kiddos facing the fence. I just love toddlers, my little guy has just entered toddlerdom and am loving it! Yeah, lots of things to love for sure and you put it all into one post.

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  38. The photo of the 5 little children standing in a row is too adorable!! Huck seems really happy to be with them. :)

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  39. Oh my goodness the legs on that little guy. TOO CUTE!
    this looks like such a fun time!
    Leah Faye
    e plus l

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  40. Oh man! I get you on the boxed in thing! I don't think it comes from trying live the gospel per se so much as it comes from the cultural side of church, which as much as I hate to say it, comes from the oppressively judgy members. I've been itching to do some rebellious too. I have an entire secret Pinterest board filled with tattoo ideas. So if you do decide to get one you certainly wont lose this reader. :)

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  41. Love the photos. Happy, beautiful moments that you capture so well! Love this post, once again i shall say it, i love how you write! I get those itchy phases too (for me it's not tattoos but piercings) and i love knowing i'm not the only one out there...far from it :) X

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  42. I love what you said about feeling the need sometimes to escape the city and go live in the country! All you said about the country is what I love about it as well :)
    I liked reading about how sometimes you just want to be rebellious. It's funny though, because I've never really felt that way really. Sure, I've thought about wanting to get a tattoo, or have my tongue pierced (when I was young), but I always think it would be weird if I did those things. For me. I just can't really picture it. Maybe I need to be more brave sometimes
    But loved this post, like all your others!

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  43. I love your photos. You may have answered this before, but what camera do you use? What digital process?

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  44. Lately I have been wanting to dye my hair purple (aubergene, my stylist says, that deep, dark purple that could maybe be brown or black except it's so clearly purple it makes your heart kind of sing, if you like that kind of thing, you know?) and get a big, bold, beautifully coloured quill tattoo on my forearm and I might do neither or both of these things this summer and either way I kind of like that vision of myself. So I hear you, I do.

    And yes, I think this is what it feels like to have Gemini rising in your heart (but probably some earth sign in your head, just to keep you grounded).

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  45. do it!!! you have such a cute little nose that would look awesome pierced! my nose is less perky, but im dying to pierce it this summer.

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  46. get a tattoo!!! but don't make it meaningless and pointless. make it beautiful and full of story and awesome. i have my husband and son's names tattooed on my back and i love it oh so very much. #yolo as they say!!! :)
    www.thismomsgonnasnap.com

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  47. my husband and i are LDS (though currently inactive for no particular reason other than for living in salt lake and ohhhhboy....i digress) and he is COVERED in tattoos. he has a 3/4 sleeve and the other arm covered, also a huge chest piece. i have two myself. but let me tell you, i thought looong and hard before i got my big back piece. it took me a YEAR to decide on where i wanted it. i was thisclose to getting it on my upper arm, and i'm glad i didn't. i'd think forward to how it would look to show up at church when i'm 46 with a big 'ol tat on my arm. thus, ended up going with my back. and i love it! i don't regret it one bit. but i hear you, these thoughts count! think long and hard, lady ; )

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    1. and for the record, hubby's excuse is 'i can still go to the temple with tattoos.' ha!

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  48. Oh Natalie I just adore you. I have that same dilemma of city or hippie me. Although I'm still in college and don't quite need to decide where I want to move after graduating, it's constantly running through my head. New York! Hawaii! Seattle! California! Oh my! But whatever's meant to be will be and remember: if you don't like where you are, move. you are not a tree. ;) And sometimes we just have to be ourselves in a city even if that means dressing like a hippie and growing your veggies in your apt! Idk! xo

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  49. I've always pulled myself in two directions, and I think it's about authenticity in some weird way. Either live in a city where things are honestly urban. Where sometimes the streets stink and people are hungry, because that's real life. Or live on a farm and gather your eggs in the morning, somewhere where you can't see your neighbors and your babies are fat and naked and roll around with the lady bugs. The city fulfills me, but sometimes I want a white paneled house with sheep. I swear I cry every time I go to the central park petting zoo and try endlessly to figure out how to get one of those animals home with me.
    I think it's good to feed both parts of yourself. I decided last week that I was going to pierce my belly button. I figured it'd be the perfect thing to do because it's not very public, but I haven't yet worked up the guts. But to be perfectly honest, the thrill of anticipation and approaching change is just as invigorating as the change itself. So I might hold out a few more weeks :)

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  50. I sometimes think thatk life just gets tooooooo much...too much reading, to much seeing, too much wanting. I keep thinking I am on the verge of an epiphany and it never quite happens!
    It would just be so freeing to step out of the daily day and try a whole new life. Just for a bit. And it's not down to under appreciation, just the opposite! Does that make sense? Besides all the typos the iPad is grrrrrrr frustrating to type comments with....anyway ....love your writing.

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  51. I feel ya girlfriend.. I'm not married, still single and in college.. but man oh man how sometimes I wish I could just drop everything and runaway and forget who I am for a minute. I'm a good mormon girl too but there are times where I wish I could just do something stupid like that too.. I wanted to pierce my nose so badly in high school but holy crap my mom would've killed me. I don't have to wear garments yet so I push it with short shorts, tank tops etc. And you know I'm that mormon girl at the pool with the skimpy bikini cause man, tankini's just aren't that cute!! And I'm young, gotta show off this bod while it's not saggy am I right?? Hahah anyway I just love this post because I feel like all of us have a little of that conflicted "I'm a city girl but hey like I wanna ride a horse bare back through the country side" in us....oh how I feel like you've posted the words of my soul here. And this is why Breakfast at Tiffany's is my favorite movie.... Holly Golightly's we are...

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  52. ...about your tattoo wishes...
    yeah. get out of my head. yes, you.

    i have a major "grass is greener" complex, so i totally feel you on the dichotomy of city vs. country longings.

    ...and i'm a 30 year old gemini.

    like i said lady, out. of. my. head.

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  53. This post is amazing. How do you do it?! Resonate with someone's (obviously a lot of someones, mine included) complicated and seemingly indescribable feelings about life in a simple post about country living and tattoos. I REALLY hope you talk about your feelings and journey with Mormonism in your book. PLEEEEASE?

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    1. she's writing a book??? where have i been?

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    2. I think she is...haha! I think she mentioned it once in a post, asking about if she wrote a book what should she write about...She's also mentioned her editor? She should write a book anyway with her amazing talents:)

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  54. There is no such thing as a 'good girl' and you aren't a girl anymore anyway. Do you ever think of yourself as a woman? Personally I would really love it if you and many of the other 'girl' bloggers started being women. Nothing wrong with being an adult female. Women are strong and capable and do what they want. You might as well start now or risk ending up like Madonna who is still claiming to be a 'girl' past 50.

    Maybe you need a little more autonomy? I'm just assuming the institutionalized expectations for women are just as rough on Mormons as they are on pentacostals. If you feel like you need to break free then you are probably right. Trust yourself.

    And lots of thirty year old mothers get tatoos, maybe just not in your social circle. Nothing wrong with that :)

    I hope you get what you want (tattoo, nose ring (that would be cute), farm house, new baby). I'm rooting for you.

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    1. this comment has really stuck with me since i read it this afternoon, and i wanted to tell you that i completely agree with you re: the "girlhood" and "womanhood" issue. i certainly feel i'm not purposefully immature like some of the other bloggers you may be thinking of . . . but there is definitely room for improvement on my end, for sure, and it's something that's been really rolling around in my head for a while now. there's a stigma, for sure, about being "girly" and "sweet" and "pure" and "innocent" that i think is a cultural byproduct of my religion, especially considering how early in life most mormon women get married and that damn "modesty doctrine" which, well, don't even get me started, but it's also a real trend on the blogosphere for sure, to be sweet and silly and immature and x and y and z for long after it's age appropriate (to appeal to younger readers maybe? beats me) and it really bugs the hell out of me, too. anyway, i hope that--at least most of the time--i portray myself as the woman i consider myself to be, but i'll be taking this as a challenge to be better at it, and more aware of it, for sure. thank you! (and thanks for the support ;).

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    2. Awesome exchange. Love your candor and willingness to engage on this stuff.

      Although I have to tell you, when I turned 40 this year, I actually thought, "Man, so glad I never got a tattoo!" Love you though!

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  55. What a fun day! And ribs! Yum!


    xoxo PARIS BEE kids blog

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  56. It's a woman thing, I'm fairly sure. We want what we can't have. Hello, I'm a Mormon and I am dying for a tatoo. My husband would kill me and his family would shun me but sheesh. I find myself thinking "Why didn't I get the tat in college before I got married?!" Curses. I'm a woman- a "big girl" if you will, and I make my own choices, but when I think about explaining a tattoo to my three boys, that's when I decide it's probably not the best idea. After I die I'm sure I'll be able to do those kinds of things when I get "the itch"

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  57. oh natalie, you slay me. And you always speak the truth, and I love it. p.s. get the tattoo ;)

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  58. You're a wonderful gal, Natalie Holbrook. DUH.

    Loved reading this, it was like the most delicious nosh for my soul on this cold southern winter evening as I battle a gnarly cold. (Bleargh.) Thank you for the nosh!

    And you know what? If you want that tattoo...then, heck, get it! I know, I know, but...meh, why not? WHY NOT.

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  59. This is seriously one of my very favorite posts in a long time. it speaks right to my heart. You're such a fantastic writer, and when you express yourself like this, it's magic.

    PS: Nothing in the temple rec interview about tattoos or piercings. Just saying.

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  60. Oh Mama- I Love this. I'm 30. I'm a rebel. I have an itsy-bitsy butterfly tattoo. I'm Mormon. I wear my G's. I teach primary, bake bread, wear bikinis and swear like a sailor. Oh, and I'm a nudist at heart. Luckily, I know what's important and I've got awesome gal pals and family that accept me even with all the irresponsibility in my soul.

    PS. It's true. No one has ever asked me if I have a tat or say shizz too much. But...I do.

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  61. i just skimmed these comments. my takeaway: i never want to live my life because of others exepectations. if i get a tattoo it is no one's business but my own. i'm lucky to have a husband who would never have an issue with me getting a damn tattoo.

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  62. one more thing. the people who mentioned they regret their tattoos. i'm guessing they didn't get them in their 30's. my guess would be that they were younger and not half the adult you are today. i'm guessing you've got much more foresight now than those folks did when they were younger. the same goes with marriage. just because someone married the wrong guy when they were 18, if they were saying to you, "i really regret ever getting married-don't get married!" and you'd found the perfect brandon at 30, would you listen to them? i doubt it.

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  64. I keep feeling that I should come back here and comment. You are beautiful and brave for sharing yourself with all of us online. Something I learned (I think we are the same age and same religious background, both active Mormons to date) is that because of our separation from God, we have this longing that can't be filled. Here's a quote from a book called The Second Comforter by Denver Snuffer: "This process is perfectly natural. We are all incomplete with a universal void inside us which we all long to fill. The void within us was meant to lead us to search for a substantive way of filling it. People attempt to fill this void with any umber of unsatisfying and unfulfilling movements, causes, and things. But it is only through finding God that this void can be filled." Even being LDS won't fill this void since we are mainly taught to focus our lives and obedience on man - Church authorities and keeping tons of carnal commandments that will never save us. (Cursed are we if we put our trust in the arm of flesh). Our religion is a wonderful springboard, but until we move past the dead and the carnal, the mortal and the Babylon we reside in, and become changed (born again, the mighty change), and re-connect with Christ, we will never feel satisfied, never be content. We will continue to wallow in the dust, and the only way out is to connect back with the Lord and have Him lift us out, call us His, bring us to His glory. This can happen during mortality, and it should, if we expect to go where He and Father are after we die. I've noticed that this subconscious longing is why many people worship or idolize sports stars or celebrities or get really into politics. We have this longing to re-connect with the very best thing and be numbered with Him....we just can't quite remember all the details and where to turn, so we start thinking up ideas of things that might curb our restlessness. Unfortunately, if those things are rooted in the world, then they're of no worth to lift us into a state of mind and heart/soul that gives relief and joy. Hope this helps a little. It was a big relief for me to learn what I was missing and subconsciously looking for.

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    1. Wow... Thank you Elizabeth. Very thought-provoking and touching.

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  65. You make me laugh so hard. Your writing is so beautiful, as usual. I think lots of us have inner dialogues and dilemmas and paradoxes that we just keep inside. So it's fun to hear them shared. I feel ya on the city/country thing. We have moved a lot, including a little stint in Europe, and my husband and I both have this sort of insatiable wanderlust. Not exactly convenient with five kids. But we both get an itch of sorts and I have had to fight mine, because I'm convinced at some point enough is enough! My kids are old enough that they need us to stay put now, but a girl can dream! I've decided there is no perfect place. We have tried some half-urban farming and it is fun, but I dream of your life in the city some days-- the excitement! opportunities! Then I do what another reader said about envisioning the bugs, etc in the country, only the opposite-- I think of no back yard and strollers in the subway (I have to try hard, because New York is amazing!). And when it comes to moving more country-ish, I envision lots of Republicans, and my mind is made up right away never to move to the country. Lol. I get you, though.

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  66. Oh Hey! That was fun. And yummy.

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  67. That photo of the babies all in a row, in those romper outfits? Yes. Yes yes. I bet if you feel the calling strongly enough, you'll get the tattoo..piece the nose..dye your hair pink.. and so on. Because you are a human that hears herself, which is more than so many can say. For what it's worth - tattoo at 19, in a place that very few could ever see, I don't regret it but it does give me pause when I'm toying with a second. Dying a section of my hair purple earlier this year? Despite agents/headshots/silly business? Best. Thing. I. Ever. Did. Because the voice was loud! And the career? Improved from it. Trust.

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  68. you take great pics. love these. umm.. but i look redic in the one where i was taking the kiddos pic. thats okay though.

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  69. Dude, just get the tattoo if you want it. I have a bunch, including a giant chest piece, that I got in my early 20s when I was OMGSOCOMMITTED to the ~body modification lifestyle. I'm 31 now, and I've already been through a whole cycle of regret and come back around to loving 'em. I don't necessarily think there needs to be some deep meaning behind tattoos- "I just thought it looked cool" is totally valid. Ask me again when my son is old enough to be mortally embarrassed by them, but honestly I feel like that's going to happen regardless at some point.

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  70. A nose ring. that is where my mind lives these days. and I'm 40!! the rebel never dies unfortunately, it's the reining it in to a reasonable spot that's the trouble.

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  71. I was a "rebel" mormon growing up. I listened to heavy metal rock and even got a henna tattoo on my back and wore sheer tops to church just to show them. I was labeled as the girl least likely to go on a mission and get married in the temple. Well, I'm 31 now, an RM and married in the temple --- the only one in my YW batch who did those --- and still a rebel. but hey, at least I learned how to make decisions on my own and not be influenced by others, which made me feel not too boxed up at church. That's just my opinion, though.

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