Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sorry for the Lazy Blogging...

...I had some minor stomach issues on top of a cold on top of some lovely cramps. Anything I'd written Sunday or Monday would've involved more obscenities and rage than even I am comfortable with. Even I don't feel the need to share everything.

And if my post previous to that was a little emo, I apologize. One of my 101 things to do is to make peace with myself. It sounds lofty, but really, I spent a long time hating who I was and what I was doing. I am trying very hard to get to a point where, though I may not be my own biggest fan, I am at least comfortable with who I am and where I am. It sounds so pretentious for someone my age to talk about wisdom and finding self-acceptance. What, in the grand scheme of things, do I really know? But I haven't had an easy life, and nothing I've ever had has been handed to me. Even self-acceptance is something I've had to work for, a goal I've had to achieve on my own. I have had a wonderful support system, but the work has been my own. And so, if I sound overly emotional, or cliched, or even pretentious or arrogant, my apologies. This blog is more about my life and my experiences than any one other thing (so much for knitting, eh?), and I try not to censor or edit my thoughts too much. If there is one thing I am not, it is fake. This is me, love me or leave me.

And that's enough of the melodramatic self-examination. On to more interesting topics! The random one-row scarf nears it's completion. I'm just knitting until I run out of yarn, or get close to it. I'm debating some tassels for it, but I think it might look better plain. I spent two miserable days sitting on my couch drinking insane amounts of fruit juice and knitting, so I got a good couple of feet done. I am working the toe decreases of my (first) TDF (tour de failure) sock, and trying to remember to buy a scale to make sure I'll have enough yarn so I don't spontaneously combust on my couch. Everything else is still in stasis, but progress is slow and steady. Right now, that's just about all I can manage.

I am reading, though. When work gets too distressing, I find a little escapism is in order. Knitting is a productive, interesting hobby, and I enjoy it quite a bit. But reading, oh that's my passion. I go through books the way some people go through, well something they go through really quickly. My favorite room in the house is the library, because I can always find something to read. And right now, escapism is a good thing. My company is switching our service writers (that's me) to commissioned pay rather flat hourly rates. They tell us it's going to work out better for us all in the long run, but I am not stupid, and I have been around the whole corporate block a few times. My company is failing, and at this point, they are not trying to put more money in my pocket. I'm trying to keep an open mind, but at this point, I have a gut feeling that the company is doing this to weed out the people who aren't performing well. And if it does turn out we make more this way, it won't las much longer than it takes to get rid of the lower-performing employees. Ah, well. Just one more issue at work. And I have yet to hear from my employment agency in regards to a better placement. I think it's time to move on and try another department or another company.

And that, my friends, is about all I have for you today. I'm going to drive to the grocery store and buy a pre-cooked meal. Don't tell the Bureau of Adults Behaving Like Adults. I'm already on their watch list for spending the last two days in pajamas!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lazy Blogging

Your result for Reincarnation Placement Exam...

Starfleet Crewperson

49% Intrigue, 68% Civilization, 59% Humanity, 52% Urbanization.

As Mister Spock would say: Fascinating. It seems you've managed to hit the edge of the curve on all metrics. An extraordinary life is almost certain.

According to your answers, you want it all, you want a lot of it, and you're willing to do what it takes to get it! Adventure! Romance! Technology! Challenge! You love civilization. You like people. You love the complications and joys of a big, weird crowd of humans plus lots of other beings wandering into dangerous and complicated corners of the galaxy.

There is an ideal place for you, and you are ideal for it: Welcome to the crew of the starship Enterprise. Captain Kirk would have welcomed you aboard himself, but his head was too big to fit in the landing bay.

Take Reincarnation Placement Exam at HelloQuizzy

Monday, September 15, 2008

Learning to Let go and Live

You know that person in high school who knew what they wanted and where they were going and had a Life Plan? The kind of obsessive person who didn't miss school because their attendance records might be considered when they applied to colleges? The one who participated in EVERYthing in the hopes of looking as well-rounded and accomplished as possible? The relentless one who never wondered, never questioned where they were going with their life, because they just knew? Remember that person? Me, too. That was me. And you know, I lived a charmed life. I truly believed that if you worked hard, you would be showered with financial aid and a school would try hard to educate you. I knew where I was going and what I wanted to do with my life. There wasn't any room for compromise, I had a tight schedule to keep if I wanted to graduate law school with suitable honors, plan the wedding, and pop some children out while keeping my fabulous career on track. In my defense, I worked my little butt off to make my life into what I wanted it to be. And for a while, it worked out.

Now, you've all been reading this blog for a while. You all know that that is now how my life has turned out thus far. For a lot of reasons, which stem from one main cause. I failed. I found my limits, and I couldn't move past them. I spent my freshman year of college working forty hours a week, doing my assignments, and trying to participate in my new sorority. And I actually made it through freshman year that way. I think I got four hours of sleep on a good night, and I learned the hard way that your body shuts itself off after about sixty hours without sleep, whether you want it to or not. Sophomore year, I moved into an off-campus house with my roommate from freshman year, completely ignoring the (logical, reasonable, rational) objections my family and friends made. For six or seven months, Reading, PA was my home. My financial situation was abysmal. My social life was nonexistant. I was still working forty hours a week, but I was taking more difficult classes. My roommate stopped being friendly and started being a little crazy and my living situation got terrible. Tense, angry, and miserable. I stopped going to class, I stopped doing my work, I stopped going to work when I could manage it. I shut down and started spending a lot of time in my room, because I was too afraid to come out. My professors, I think, noticed that something was not right. They gave me opportunities to make up work I had missed. I thanked them, and didn't. My life got worse and worse and narrower and narrower, and then the killing blow came--there was no way I could finish the year out at school. I needed an extra ten thousand dollars to cover my tuition before I could register for classes.

And so, armed with the knowledge that I needed what was (at the time) a year's wages in the matter of a few weeks, with terrible credit, no references, and no time, I cried, I begged, I pleaded, and I wrote some letters and essays. And in the end, I didn't get ten thousand dollars. What I got was one failure, two incompletes, a B and a C. What I got was a shaky, sobbing phone call to my parents, begging to come home because the idea of having to see or deal with my roommate filled me with such anxiety I was afraid to leave the room to use the bathroom in case she saw me and we argued some more. When I tried to send my landlady a check and a letter (she made me pay three months of utility bills at once, the week my rent was due, because she hadn't bothered to let me know what i'd owed her before and she happened to be my roommate's mom) explaining the many reasons I wanted to be released from my lease early, I got sucked into a rousing game of phone tag where I was told the landlady's local post office had collapsed and she had no idea what was going on, though I had sent the letter through a priority-certified service. And so, I did the irresponsible thing in the eyes of real estate law, and the only thing I could do and I ran home. Everything except my basics went into storage and stayed there. My dresser, my bed, and my clothes came to live at my parents' place with me.

I eventually got my old job at my old store back, but I was still miserable. I had failed. My life was ruined. I was worthless and stupid and probably a terrible person, to boot. I had spent my life leading up to this working for nothing. To say I hated myself would be wrong, at the time I was more interested in blaming circumstances for things I should have handled or been aware of. I hated the school, the landlady, the roommate, and most of the whole world. Not me, though. I had something better for me--contempt. I was so worthless, I probably wasn't worth hating. So I pushed my family away, I tried to push Jim away (he's a little persistent), and I was just broken for a while. I cried a lot for no reason, I had crazy bad mood swings, and I was just generally pretty rotten. But slowly, over time, I healed. Never really completely, I think, because I was still divided. Jim had moved to Reading with me, and when we moved back to New Jersey, moved back in with his parents. We were separated and it was terrible. I was trying to put myself back together, and my heart was forever torn in two. I started sleeping at Jim's place more and more often, alienating my parents even further, until having my bed in their house was a formality. And I was still torn. My parents told me I wasn't home enough. Jim told me I didn't see him enough. I muddled through a bad (though better than the previous by far) situation as best I could and I started this blog.

You've followed me through the trials and tribulations of the search for a house, and the search for moving, we don't need to discuss those again. Fast forward to the present, to a little house in Royersford, that I share with Jim and Mike and Colleen. Not perfect, but good. Not where I wanted, planned, or really meant to be, but still safe. And talking to Mom a little while ago, I realized that for the first time in two years or so, I am comfortable with where I am in my life. I am okay with who I am. I am not perfect by a long shot. I still am not where I want to be, but I have set out realistic, achievable goals that (hopefully) won't burn me out. I have a family here with me, rather than being a hundred miles from my support network. For the first time in a long while, I am comfortable. I feel like my life is worth something. Like I am contributing, and like there is somewhere to go from here. I don't look in the mirror and see a failure, or an idiot. I just look in the mirror and see me.

I guess what I'm trying to say, through all this drama, I have learned a thing or two about Life Plans and plans in general. I have learned that I, too, am human. I can fail. I can fall on my ass--and fall hard. But I can eventually pick myself up. I can come back from losses, from anger, from pain. I can come back stronger and more determined. And I can learn to let go of the Life Plans, of the desperate need for perfection, and I can live my life. That life can be messy, and it can still hurt, but it can make me happy, too, and it can be worth some small measure of goodness. I am slowly, a little at a time, making peace with myself. I'm still a little fragile, sometimes, and still defensive. And I'm still not sure how I'm going to make everything work. And, looking at the pieces of me, they don't fit in the picture quite the way they used to. I will never "come back" to who I was. I've lost my innocence and my niavete and a few other things I will never get back. I'm not so optimistic, not so driven. I'm more timid, more shy. I'm less comfortable in new places and situations, because they are so ripe with potential for failure. I'm more indecisive and much less likely to blindly jump into a situation. But, at the end of the day, I'm still me. I've come back around to somebody I recognize, somebody who feels pretty good to me.

I was thinking about all this today, when I was looking in the mirror. I found my first wrinkles today. Wrinkles ("fine lines") were definitely not part of the Life Plan yet. Twenty-two, and already I'm finding them. In a few years, it'll be gray hair, and the dye will be for a different type of vanity. Looking in the mirror will be more aggressive, less passive soon--hunting for signs I'm too old for my years. But it won't be the end of me, or the end of the world, to stop looking like a teenager. And do you know how I could tell I'm doing all right? Those wrinkles? They're laugh lines.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

So Close, no Matter How Far...

...couldn't be much more from the heart. Jim and I had dinner out last night to celebrate our third anniversary. It's hard for me to believe sometimes that it's already been three years, because when I see him, my heart still jumps a little. We've had your typical tough times and your typical good times, and some of both that I like to think are unique to us. And here we are. Still together, still a unit. I think that may be what amazes me most. We are more than just a couple, we're a team. We love each other, but we also respect one another. Like any two people in close proximity, we drive each other crazy. But somehow, we do it in an endearing way... Mostly. Jim is amused by my penchant for freezing or microwaving yarn when I sight suspicious winged insects, and his ability to re-invent the English language (he likes to take an accepted term like "socks" and turn it into something else, like "foot mittens") makes me giggle helplessly while my brain leaks out my ears.

I mention the strong women I'm surrounded by all the time, but maybe I don't give Jim his due. He is a strong man, a good man in a time when there aren't a whole lot of those left. When we first started dating, I didn't think we'd last more than a few months--we have a lot of differences. I thought we'd end up as something light and simple and fun. And somehow, that tricky guy made me fall in love with him. He's the most amazing mixture of practicality and heartbreaking sweetness. He is strong and funny and smart and punctual (even under my influence) and generally amazing. I know without doubt there is nothing he wouldn't do for me, and he knows that devotion is returned. Simply put, we're stronger together than apart. And it doesn't hurt that he's cute, too.

And here I will leave you, before things get too mushy. We're dealing with a tropical storm today, so I hope your weather is better than ours, at least, and that the weekend is peaceful.