Saturday, December 29, 2012

a lot going on

Just to end 2012 with a bang, I'm going through another kind of personal crisis (because, you know, the someday-everyone-you-love-will-die issue wasn't enough), and so I've been wrapped up the past coupla days. The one thing making this a tiny bit less awful is The Cyclist. He has displayed a side I did not know he had nor expected to see and holy cow, does that guy have class. How do you even thank someone for being a good person? For being amazing? I don't know.

He gets embarrassed when I gush, I think. Last time I saw him coming out of the metro, I wanted to throw my arms around him on sight because he looked so cute and was smiling. Hard not to feel affectionate for awesome people. Of course, THIS guy (date 2 years ago) wouldn't ever believe I'm capable of physically touching another human being, but chemistry is chemistry.

I'm supposed to do social things tomorrow but freelancing isn't done so will have to put that first. Plus I feel like lying low right now anyway. We'll see.

Looking back over this sad sack recollection of the past couple of years, it's kindof embarrassing to see such boring and self-centered moping all throughout this blog. But at least I accomplished what I wanted: a log for myself, in some way, to measure progress, remember and vent. I use it too -- sometimes someone will ask me a question ("when did you date so-and-so?" etc.) and I don't remember the exact time frame so I look it up.

This post is one of those. I don't really want to talk about all that's happening right now, or maybe ever, but I might want to look back one day and remember some tiny details.

Friends & family have also been awesome. A heartfelt thank you isn't enough. <3

Friday, December 28, 2012

random thoughts

Life feels so impermanent.

On the flight home, we hit terrible turbulence. We all knew we were flying into a storm and a collective din of nervous murmurs filled the air at every jolt. The engine closest to my window groaned noisily and I suddenly became terrified we would plummet from the clouds, that no engine could make noises like that without a failure imminent in its future. But fear serves no purpose. If it was going to happen, it would happen, regardless of how scared I was.

I closed my eyes & thought, "Pretend this is a bus," relaxing into the bumps and swerves. It's all about perspective. I love long road trips where I'm not driving, so I dozed off. (That was not the time to ponder the physics of flight!)

The worst thing about dying suddenly is not being able to say goodbye. What would you wish your loved ones could know if something ever happened to you? I would want to tell them, "please don't let this ending end your life too. Be happy. Give back. Don't think dark thoughts, those are so tiny in the giant picture -- please don't think about my last moments. If you can't help yourself, read The Lovely Bones, I dunno. Please be okay. No one can ever be okay with death but maybe you can pretend I'm still holding your hand. Love you. Keep living for me."

This is probably along the lines of what my dad would want to say, but we cannot speak of the end right now. The thought that there will be an end has made us too raw. But I have known people who didn't even have that chance. I know I am lucky.

Something strange happens when faced with mortality. You want to shake people into accountability: Own yourself. Live the fucking life you want. Why aren't you happy? What are you waiting for?

All the morbid thoughts I ever had in my life about loss are useless. They don't prepare you for it. You must push those thoughts aside to live, but ignoring them can be a lure into stasis.

"The trouble is, you think you have time." --Buddha

I've been thinking about an annoying side effect of shitty self-esteem. It's selfish. Because it makes everything about you. Other people's rejection, their feelings, their hard times, their wants and desires, well, it isn't about you. Paradoxically, feeling small equals a distorted sense of grandiosity if you think you can affect another that much. No one is that powerful.

We can be powerful, however, by helping others.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We are doers.

Okay, so I'm processing things. It really is a shock to hear scary news and start thinking about mortality but I'm out of morbid mode. I was a wreck pretty much the entire first day my Dad told me. This morning, however, I sat him down before leaving for the airport. "Information comforts me," I said. "So I went out and got this sought-after book written by a Hopkins specialist," and began pointing out certain sections.

"I wasn't going to tell you at first that I got this but I actually feel better after reading it and want you to take a look too."

I also told him my kidneys were his kidneys, when the time comes. "I would never ask for that," he said. "Well, I need YOU more than I need that other kidney I'm not using," I told him back. He laughed and hugged me. We're the same blood type and most similar physically, mentally and emotionally in the family.

It's funny, that I was the accident baby, kindof, coming at a time when my parents weren't sure another kid would be wise. But maybe I will save his life.

Shifting into standard problem-solving mode feels good. We talked more. I don't come from a family that had easy lives. None of us stays down for long. We're doers, and will do what must be done.

(Sent from my phone)

Monday, December 24, 2012

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

You weren't supposed to be the one who got sick, I thought. Not the one who swung me around when I was a little girl squirreling around the sturdy trunk of the tall man who entered the door at dinnertime laughing and kept all the monsters away. The one who taught me how to ride a bike and drive a car and took me on my first plane ride and who rebuilt a cracked Diesel engine block and fixed the roof and carried refrigerators and yet put it all down to hear me spell my first word. Nothing bad could ever happen to the giant of a man with an even larger heart, not the guy who thumbed his nose at adversity (and boy, did life throw its fair share of tests at you).

You worked hard and you cared and everyone could tell. I loved that everywhere you went, people beamed sunshine at you.

No, I never worried about you. I'm a worrier, but your grandma lived to be 101 and you never even caught colds. Doctors were amazed at your good health.

Maybe you shouldn't have used your body to carry those steel beams or those refrigerators. They think it was the ibuprofen that hurt your kidneys. That innocent over-the-counter drug with only the mild labeling not to take too many, and you, always careful with your health, never took too many, but somehow it was anyway. And now I am crying because somewhere someone is taking one tonight and doesn't realize in 20 years, their kids will look into a future for the first time without them and I want to say please, please take care of yourself.

But you had wanted us to have nice things.

You wanted to be an engineer but this was the family business and you were an honorable man. Life did not offer you a choice.

You worked hard your entire life and I thought soon you would reap the rewards; enjoy retirement. It wasn't supposed to happen this way. I was going to give you the money back that you paid for my school as a surprise because you believed in me, and then you would do something nice with it for yourself. You were always doing things for other people. Or maybe we would take a father/daughter trip to Japan or somewhere exotic. I would buy time. I wanted to buy time with you.

I would give you a kidney right now if I thought that would fix everything. I would change my entire life and give up everything I have if I thought it would help, cliched as these wakeup calls can be. But it really is true: nothing else matters.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A good way to usher in the apocalypse*

He dozed off, head tilted slightly away from me, and I soaked in his handsome face, grateful he couldn't see the tenderness in my eyes as I traced my fingers lightly over his rugged jawline. So this won't be love; it's already been decreed. What feels right: spend time with someone as long as you enjoy their company. When you stop enjoying it, stop doing it. Why end it prematurely? Because I'm afraid of being hurt? I'm going to hurt anyway. t is better to have loved and lost....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Great. I'll call you from the emergency room when my eyes explode.

(I wrote this a few years ago.)

Maybe it was brought on by whatever disgusting filth the dog rolled in. Maybe colonies of fecal bacteria disbursed from his ruffled and soapy fur like little aeronautic Gossamer spiders wafting through the air during last night's emergency bath. Or maybe the germs just splashed on my face. Whatever the cause, I now have pinkeye.

Halfway through the work day, I noticed my eye clouding over and burning. By day's end, it was raging red. No doctor's office was open by then but I live across the street from a CVS Minute Clinic and stopped there on my way home.

I walked in and the nurse stared in horror at my right eye. "What brings you here?" she asked.

"I think I have pinkeye."

She leaned forward and stared intently, eyes narrowed into little slits, assessing contaminant risk. Then with a slight measure of panic but still focused keenly on my oozing orb, she reached behind her and produced a bottle of antibacterial gel.

"Here," she said, and glorped a hefty pile of gel onto my hands. "Rub it in" she commanded. Then she took a handsome helping of the stuff for herself.

"Ok, now can I have your drivers license and insurance card?" she said, sighing in relief, face relaxing.

I gave her my insurance information, self-conscious of my infected fingers reaching into my wallet, positing bacteria along the way as I felt around. I handed her the cards and she eyed my hand as if I were one of The Infected*** before gingerly taking them.

The nurse then handed me a form, and froze, hands outstretched, realizing too late she had proffered her only pen to the diseased being in front of her. "You can KEEP the pen!" she hastily added, and I immediately understood this was not a gift so much as a command.

She began examining me. "Yep, it's pinkeye. Now what will you DO with your eye makeup?" She stood back, arms crossed defensively and waited for the correct answer.

Um. Lick it before applying heavily?

"I guess I will throw it all out and just buy new stuff," I said shyly.

"That's RIGHT!" she said. "But what will you DO in the meantime, WHILE you're using the medicine?"

I wished she would just spout out the canned recommendations instead of putting me through grade school question & answer period. But I complied. "I won't wear any, I guess."

"VERY GOOD!" she sang. I passed.

Then she tested me for a sinus infection by pumping air into my ears, a new experience for me. "If your eardrums flap in the wind, then your sinuses are clear," she said. If there was fluid behind them, they would be completely still. "We're testing for this because it's a common cause of pinkeye." I passed that with flying colors, at least.

"Are you sure you weren't around anyone with pinkeye recently?"

"No one I know has pinkeye," I responded.

"This is a VERY. CONTAGIOUS. condition. VERY. It's very odd that you would have it without being exposed to it."

I shrugged. "Beats me."

Her eyes narrowed again. "Is there anything else you need to tell me?"

I wanted to say, "yes, I forgot my hall pass" but demurred. "Oh! Last week I had dental surgery. Could that have anything to do with it?"

She brightened, happy that my oral trauma might lay claim to the disease overtaking my head. "Possibly!" she purred. "YES and your lymph nodes are all swollen too. I bet that's it!"

Thanks, I wanted to tell her. Glad to bring you so much joy.

She wrote me a prescription for Vigamox and sent me home. "Put drops in BOTH eyes!" she called after me urgently. "Even if you don't think you need to, DO IT!"

The first time I put the drops in, my eyes burned like I'd thrown acid on them, and then turned even more red, but not a blood-vessely-red, more like a scarlet-fever-chartreuse. Not an ounce of white existed.

I stared at myself in the mirror trying to refrain from clawing at them to relieve the itch. Then I called the pharmacist just to double-check that I wasn't having some kind of allergic reaction. After an extended pause, he put down his bong to look it up online.

"hmmmmm... hold on a minute, let me see... (long silence) Nope, doesn't seem like it's supposed to be painful and itchy when you put the eyedrops in," he said. "But try again tomorrow and if it's still a problem, go back to the clinic."

Great, I thought. I'll call you from the emergency room when my eyes explode.

This morning though, I was okay. The drops aren't bothering me anymore and even seem to be working. But it's loads of fun to walk around work red-eyed and teary and watch my coworkers either prepare to run from The Infected or place silent bets on my condition.

***just see the movie "28 Days Later"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"NO! Life with Roberto will be fighting over the GPS and cleaning the cat box!"

Mira Kirschenbaum sums it well:
"People who make smart decisions about who to be with tend to choose the highest quality person: the most sane, intelligent, honest, kind, reliable, sensible, generous, warm, good-natured person they can find." (More)
Although this seems intuitive, it's not enough to even agree. You have to embody it. Talk is cheap.

The Dark-Haired Boy and I once talked about this, the naïveté of the newly-in-love. He'd been watching a contestant on The Bachelorette dreamily fantasize about her romance while vacationing in Italy.
"Oh, this is what life with Roberto will be like! Frolicking in a fountain on the Piazza!"

"NO! Life with Roberto will be fighting over the GPS and cleaning the cat box!"
(You were forewarned! haha)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Infected at the store

So I'm standing in line at Marshalls buying a pillow and a fake plant when the woman in front of me accosts me. "That is soooo pretty! OMG! Where did you find it?"

"In the back," I point.

"Oh haha! You are SO bubbly! I love your personality! You know, I love this store. And HomeGoods too. I spent $1,000 there on house stuff. It's fantastic!"

"Yeah, I like that place too," I offered.

"YES! My husband and I were buying this teak wooden outdoor table and I thought $250 omg that's too much but we loved it and bought it anyway. THEN I called my friends from North Carolina, that's where we get ALL our furniture, and they priced it out down there, it would have been $1400! So see. That place is addictive."

me (smiling weakly): "mmm hmm." (thinking WHY won't the cashier hurry the FUCK UP!)

her: "OH you are such a people person! Would you be interested in a makeover? I LOVE your skin. You would just love these products, they are amazing. I mean, look at MY skin. A few years ago it looked much MUCH older. Mary Kay cosmetics. They are the BEST."

me: "That's nice but I'm not really into makeovers, I like doing my own routine."

her: "OH it's not like that! I promise! We don't touch anyone, we're not licensed to touch anybody. So we just offer you any makeup you want and you get to pick out what you want to try for your makeover. Call me for an appointment! There's NO obligation and you don't have to buy anything, it's free to try all the stuff."

She presses a business card in my hand, the obnoxious kind that needs to scream "SALES!" so loudly that it tents out into a miniature pamphlet.

me: "uh, you know I basically work two jobs and just do not have time for anything else but thanks anyway."

her: "TWO jobs? You should come work for me. I make 6 figures a year, then you wouldn't have to work so much. Don't you want to make six figures? I couldn't believe it the first year I made that. And they gave me a pink cadillac and everything. I've had 6 cars since I've been working for them. I miss the pink cadillac though, that was a good car." She stares wistfully out the window and I finally pay for my stuff and walk out. She's beside me the whole way.

"See, there's my car now! Here, I'll press the keychain -- look, there are the lights! It's a Saturn."

me: "That's very nice. I heard Mary Kay treats their salespeople well and I remember hearing that the best ones can sometimes get cars."

her: "What? Salesperson? No, I'm not a salesperson. I don't sell anything. Everyone thinks I sell stuff, I don't. Mary Kay just gives this to me. You could have the same exact thing too you know. It's not just me, they treat EVERYONE this way. There are women making as much as me only two months into it."

me: "No thanks, I love what I do and am not interested in anything else." (Thinking inside "yeah right! Mary Kay throws money at people for NO reason! Sure. Great business model, one sure to keep a company going for decades.")

I can smell an MLM scheme a mile away. MLM = multi-level marketing and desperate followers have the intensity of religious zealots, except they worship get-rich-quick schemes instead of gods. NuSkin, A&L Williams Insurance, Herbalife, Amway... those are all flake companies that infect the weak-minded and turn them into hysterical humanoids that, like the cast of zombies in 28 Days Later, chase down every living soul left in the desperate attempt to suck out their lifeblood and turn them into one of their own.

her: "OH what do you do? You love it that much! That's really great but you know who wouldn't want to make as much as me."

me: "Um, I work with computers. Anyway I gotta go."

her: "Well look at my website or call me if you change your mind. You wouldn't believe the stuff we have, the same lotion that J. Lo has for $600, we have and it's only $30. Vitamins A, C, & E. Antioxidants, very good for the skin. One time of trying it and you would be amazed. And you get all your money back if you don't like it. No matter what. Mary Kay just reimburses me, how's that? I mean, I have women all the time who try stuff and send it back saying 'I didn't really like this lipstick color' and that's fine. I could send it back to Mary Kay. Of course most of the time I just eat the cost because I make so much it's not worth the time to fill out the paperwork but still. You should try it!"

The whole time I am walking towards my car, an ever-widening chasm between us. And she's STILL talking! "OH be careful of that oncoming car! It was so nice to meet you. I hope to hear from you. I love people! I'm going into HomeGoods now, take care!"

Sheesh! So my advice to you, dear reader, who I've just made suffer as much as I did a few hours ago, don't make eye contact with overly-friendly women talking too loudly in checkout lines. If you grunt their way, they might fall for your "bubbly" personality and try to recruit (infect) you. You are forewarned...!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I feel very small now

I held it in all day until just now. The number of times I have cried on the way home over boys is now becoming epic and I feel more alone than ever. I'm in a mood but I won't really mean it long-term; I want to keep trying, it's just so hard to think about right now.

I pulled one of my guy BFFs aside today to ask him the questions I couldn't ask the Cyclist.

Why? Is it that I am fatter or not pretty enough or am I too easygoing and thus not opinionated enough?

Why am I so unlovable? And why am I even going there? Why do I suck so hard, not just at fucking dating, but at obviously being strong and not giving a fuck?

I guess I will never be the person who doesn't give a fuck.

I need someone who knows this dark, awful, cold place but I am too ashamed of my feelings to reach out right now.

I hate our society that worships the kind of beauty I will never have. I hate that I struggle with so much.  I hate that life looks so easy for so many people.
  • How to keep your heart open when it breaks:
    "Siena picked up their stiff little bodies and held them to her heart. She kissed them on their teeny lips and said, “You were so loved, little raccoons. I’m sorry you didn’t get to live very long, but one little girl loved you.”
  • Permission to break my heart:
    "And I told Siena that some day, someone she loved, someone she gave permission to break her heart... might break her heart, and she might feel just like she did now, like she didn’t want to give anyone permission to break her heart again. She might want to shut down her heart so it wouldn’t hurt like it did today.... And she said, “No, Mama....When you fall in love, you should leave a little crack in your heart, even when you feel like you should lock it. And that way, the right person can always sneak in.”"
This is my gratitude list because even though I am sad now, there were some nice things about getting to know him.
Dear Cyclist,
Thank you for:
  • Introducing me to some nice music (Floating Men)
  • Making me feel appreciated for a short while
  • Being good company
  • Introducing me to the fun HBO hit Girls
  • Being thoughtful and generous
  • Sharing your stuff & space so freely
  • Treating me wonderfully anyway
To those I tried to love: I am sorry it didn't work out. But one tiny girl cared for you.

Someday I will try again. I don't know when, but some day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012


It was when we were lying on the couch quietly reading together, my legs sprawled across his lap, his fingers absentmindedly skimming my pant leg that I decided I would let myself fall for him. Never mind the outcome, never mind if he ever returned the feelings, never mind how fragile I can be and how much it hurts when things end. I wanted to feel whatever I felt without shutting it down prematurely.

He walked me to the metro, 4 blocks away, my bag in his one hand and his other entwined around my own and swinging gently, laughter enveloping us in a cozy cocoon. But when we got to the station, he didn't kiss me. We hugged shyly and I got on the train and headed east.

It's been 3 months. We haven't had the "let's just see each other" talk and maybe we never will.

We had some friction the night before, but he's not the rough type and it passed in a way that left me still feeling warm afterwards. I hugged him as he washed dishes at the sink, quietly grateful for this difference.

I thought I know how this will end. I will become attached and then restless because you are not. Maybe your heart will always remain with the girl who cannot love you back and I am just helping you pass the time. So maybe this won't be love. But I will cook for you and you will make room for me and we can shelter in a pocket of togetherness until the cold passes.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Be the Chief Operating Officer of your life.

"Since I am the Chief Operating Officer of my life, I have looked over the budget, the staff, the product and the maintenance of my life and have begun to see what makes this life run more efficiently....Not everyone that I wish were in my life really fit, so forcing it is a waste of my time and energy…it’s the people and places that I love effortlessly and that love me the same way that are part of my authentic life path....

"When scientists do research about primates, they often come up with the same observation. They do better when there is a strong sense of fellowship, or community. They have less attacks, more food, less injury, more reproduction. Literally, their chromosomes are stronger when they are part of a peaceful, well paired, in-sync group.

"Today, I promise to take action to value the village that feels right for me. I will reach out more and be of service. To follow Don Miguel Ruiz,  I will try to do my best, not take things personally, never assume and be impeccable with my word. I will recognize when the pairing doesn’t work, and move on."

- Jen Smith,