Monthly Archives: December 2010

If You Can’t Change Your Situation, Change Your Attitude

Carrie Bradshaw

Image via Wikipedia

I remember when I used to think I was Carrie Bradshaw. I was 17, and I used to walk around in 4-inch heels from Frederick’s of Hollywood and Charlotte Russe (which was hell on my ankles! You would think as expensive as shoes are from Frederick’s that they would have some kind of cushioning–but no. Charlotte Russe was not so surprising).

I used to take those quizzes, the “Which Sex and the City Character Are You” ones, and I used to tailor all of my answers so that–surprise! Carrie!

Every time I met three other people I wanted to hang with, we would immediately designate who was who in the SATC character equation, with me gently nudging myself in the Carrie Bradshaw direction: “Well…I mean…I am a writer….”

Every time I had an unstable relationship, he immediately became my Mr. Big.

And this went on for years, until one of my mentors put it in perspective:

“Oh, believe me honey, you do NOT want to be a neurotic 30-something woman who is obsessed with men.”

And ever since, I have been deconstructing the character of Carrie Bradshaw to find not a strong, fashionable woman, but a silly, man-obsessed girl who spends her money unwisely and has no relationship with her family.

And it has occurred to me that Carrie Bradshaw may just be the opposite of the type of woman I want to grow to be on every level.

Except in fashion. I admire any woman who can get away with the things she gets away with.

…and OK…the writer thing. I really want to be a woman who lives in the place of her choosing and has structured her days around the successful practice of the career she’s passionate about.

I really wish they would make some sort of TV show that covers the time in the life of a woman that’s before she’s 33 and desperate for a man and successful in her career but after freaking high school or college. I can’t relate to either of those yet! How do other people like me live, Hollywood?

And don’t give me that One Tree Hill “we all graduated in 4 years despite having babies, launched successful careers, tired of them and moved back to our hometown and bought houses by age 22/23” bullcrap.

I watched like two episodes of that smut and had to turn it off.

I’m just saying, I wish I knew what was expected of me at this point in life. But, you know, REALISTICALLY (I’m still pissed at One Tree Hill). Do any of you think people would watch a TV show about a group of young women who were ages 23-25, who were just graduated from college, who were NOT looking for men to define who they are, who were working jobs outside their degree field, who were still trying to get on their feet financially, who just lived in normal ass apartments with little furniture and drove the same cars they had in high school or were trying to save to get new used ones?

WOULD ANYONE EVEN WATCH THAT SHOW, for crying out loud?!?!

I doubt it.

I have this ex boyfriend from when I was 18, and he still stays in touch with me despite the fact that I was extremely rude to him when I was 19 and am still pretty snappy toward him to this day. He used to live on the East Coast, but he moved across the country for a job. He’s 28, and he has some great career that I know nothing about, he has his MBA and overall he’s a pretty responsible, settled guy.

He called me last night because he was on my coast and wanted to know if I could be where he was. But I can’t because my car is not good for long distances right now.

So then he asked if I could meet him in Vegas over spring break. But I can’t because I’m buying a car within the next month and starting grad school and paying rent and paying off my undergrad student debt. And feeding myself. And slowly furnishing my apartment.

And by slowly, I mean like snail’s pace.

But whatever.

I was one of the lucky ones: I found a full-time position within my first two months of finishing undergrad (and by lucky, I mean blessed beyond measure).

I try to remember to thank God every day for that.

But up until recently, I have been experiencing a great deal of frustration with my post-graduate life because for the first time in my life…things are hard.

I mean, they’re not like ill-health, hungry belly hard but they are “I have to find a way to obtain everything I want on my own in very small increments” hard. They’re “what’s the point of even saving this $100/month when I’m paying down this massive student debt” hard. They’re “yeah, I would love to meet you in Vegas but the reality is I’m sleeping on an air mattress that my friend loaned me and I can’t even start saving to buy a bed till I get this car situation situated” hard.

And for a little while, I was pretty mad about these tiny troubles because up until this point, things have been very easy for me in my life. I originally moved out of my mother’s house when I was 19.  I took a cash advance on my credit card (which I’m still paying for due to 19.8 percent interest rates on cash) to pay for moving expenses, got my apartment, applied for a promotion AFTER getting the apartment, got it, applied for a second job, got that too, and was able to live and sleep on the furniture my mom so graciously donated to my teenage rebellion.

It was EASY, except that I didn’t like my jobs so I decided to give up all of that life and go get my degree so I could make my life even sweeter and easier by having a job I love. So I did that. Applied, got in, applied for housing, got it, applied for financial aid, got it, and came to college.

Other than the patience it takes to go through the processes that these things require, it was all still very EASY. And even though paying for college got to be kind of worrisome at times, and even though managing the classes I needed to take for my transcript became kind of worrisome at times, and even though balancing classes with activities with work with partying became kind of worrisome at times, it was all still pretty easy because there always seemed to be somebody I could call who would swoop in with $100 when I was short on rent or whatever (and by “somebody” I mean my parents).

…but now I’m 24 and edjumukated and working and nobody wants to give me money anymore and I destroyed all the furniture my mom donated to my teenage rebellion and so I have to get all these things I want and need…for myself.

And that took a lot of mental adjustment. I was so frustrated at first because I expected things to continue to be easy and given to me, but I’m not a kid anymore. I really had to make myself think the thoughts that put my situation in a perspective that could be viewed with a sort of wistful pre-nostalgia, if you will.

I just finished school in August.

I’m JUST starting out.

There will come a time when I will reminisce about this stage in life with my friends, laugh about how we all had to sit on the floor and long for the mornings when I was off from work and could sit alone for as long as I wanted, blogging and watching SATC reruns on the TV I juuust acquired (i.e. took from mom’s house). Life was simple then.

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Christmas, Communication and Notions Undone

Santa Claus with a little girl

Image via Wikipedia

 

Though I am aware that it is the day before the day before Christmas, this post is not about that.

Though it could be, because this is definitely the least-Christmassy I’ve ever felt. I don’t have any presents for anybody; I’m not expecting to get many presents and, most importantly, my mom and I will be spending our Christmas together while everyone else in the family gathers at my dad’s parent’s house.

I guess this is befitting in a way, since 2010 seems to have unofficially become The Year That Challenged My Notions About Everything In Life. Of course I would be spending this Christmas with few presents and fewer family members–those are the two things that Christmas brought to me; they’re the reasons I got excited about this time of year.

Now it’s December 23 and I’m sitting here surrounded by no cousins and no smells of food and no Christmas music and there no accusations of cheating at card games being flung about and no little kids are climbing up my legs and I’m not really sad about it, but it’s just kind of like…so then what’s Christmas?

But like I said,

This post isn’t about that.

In the same vein of All of My Notions About Everything Being Challenged, I have recently encountered a situation where I’ve had to deal head-on with the different communication styles of other people.

I don’t know how I managed to live my life so long without having this conversation (so to speak), but I have, to this point, pretty much always been around people who are direct in their communication styles.

On the playground, I found the kids who had absolutely no problem telling me they didn’t like the way I pronounced my “r”s in words like “refrigerator” (I swear to goodness, kids will freaking find anything to tease you about). As a teenager, I found the ones who unhesitatingly pointed out that though I drew a moustache on for opposite day (who remembers spirit week?), I definitely didn’t need to (tactful). Even in my work environments, I have, for some strange and charmed reason, found people who have been trustworthy and straight-talking (the workplace is  actually where I’ve found most of my best friends, a phenomenon that I am now being told is pretty rare).

Basically, by the way I was raised and the places I’ve lived, direct communication is considered a virtue. It gives you the opportunity to address problems head on, while they are still small, and devise strategies to fix them with little-to-no-damage to the relationships of the parties involved. You have an issue, you deal with it, you get over it. Bada bing, bada boom.

I guess one of the crazy things about life is the way we’re all raised to think of our “way” as the best (and/or only) way. My “way” of communication is the best (and/or only) way of communication, for example. But the thing is that there are billions of people on this planet, and nearly all of them are walking around thinking that their ways of being are the best (and/or only) ways of being. And so you run into these situations from time to time where there is no best (and/or only) way of handling things, there’s only the way you would have handled it and the way another person handles them.

You never realize as a child how often you are just not going to get your way in adult life. The longer I live, the more thoroughly I am convinced that ego is incredibly damaging to a person’s life and well-being. When you’re a kid, you think it’s normal to call a guy gay because he’s not interested in you, or to collectively point out other people’s flaws. You think it’s normal to get hopping mad because your parents told you to tell them where you were going and to call if you were going to be late (gah! It’s like I can’t do ANYTHING without being under their thumb!). It’s not normal though–it’s ego. And just wait until every day of your life involves little teeny challenges to your ego as you find your way being pitted against the ways of others and you have to decide whether it’s more important to you to feed your ego or feed your stomach.

A little while ago, I was told that my attempts to facilitate open and direct communication could be seen as confrontational to the people with whom I was attempting to fix a communication issue.

Imagine my surprise.

A Flash of Silver, A Fleeting Light

Annabelle had been walking down the crowded New York street half-listening to her coworker’s office chatter when she suddenly snapped awake with the longing and knowledge that she was missing something that, now that she’d noticed it’s being gone, was something she would have to make herself adjust for a very long time to not having.

The realization was enough to make her stand in her tracks, and she felt that every person who jostled her as he or she passed was nailing in the fact that she was suddenly terribly aware that she was incomplete.

What was it?

It had been just a flash of silver that started like a beam of light at the tip of her periphery and worked its way into her consciousness; too late, it clicked that this thing was the thing she never knew she needed, and the flash and the person carrying it were gone and down the busy street.

She felt her body pitch forward. Her coworker looked uncomfortable at Annabelle’s sudden display and seemed not entirely certain that reaching out to catch her falling acquaintance was a better idea than stepping out of the way and ensuring that she was not taken under with Annabelle’s fall.

Her coworker, Holly, was a decent enough girl; Annabelle had faith that she would make the best choice as the situation called. She understood that nobody wanted to be trapped under a fallen coworker on a crowded and dirty New York street, but she also did not want to be the person who suddenly and without warning fell flat on her face onto the crowded but dirty New York street because nobody cared to stop it.

She pictured herself, sprawled, facedown in the dirt and urine-stained sidewalk, with people stepping over her, stepping on her, stepping around her. Some would look down in disgust, some would shake their heads. A few wouldn’t even notice.

She laughed, threw her hands out to catch her balance, and slowly sank down.

“I am so alone,” she said out loud to no one and everyone on that crowded New York street.

Holly looked shifted on her feet, eyeing her coworker. But she remained a reasonable distance away.

Annabelle fretted as she got ready for work the next morning, but it wasn’t about any of the right things that a young and social woman should be fretting about. By now, Annabelle figured that everyone in the office had come to their own conjectures about her “episode” from the previous day–Holly had reassured Annabelle that she would keep that moment between them as they walked back to the office, but when Annabelle walked into the breakroom an hour later she’d encountered a wall of silence that could only mean that the two people who were in there, Holly and Jake Something (from Accounts Payable), were talking about her.

Still shocked with the knowledge that she was woefully incomplete and terribly alone, Annabelle had filed it away in the back of her mind as an incident to get worked up over once she returned home, had a glass of wine and called her best friend Nahla.

But Annabelle hadn’t called her best friend Nahla when she got home that evening, and she hadn’t enjoyed a glass of wine as per her normal routine. Instead, she’d sank into her couch, popped the cork off a bottle of Shiraz, and drank it straight from the bottle while listening to the peculiar silence of her solitude.

“I am so alone,” she’d said once.

Then she burst into the free-flowing tears that a glass too many of alcohol, combined with a soul-shifting life realization could induce.

Surprisingly, she’d woken on time the next morning curled on her couch, cradling the empty bottle of Shiraz.

Her head ached. She recalled from a college fitness class that her aching head was the product of alcohol-induced dehydration.

She stood to get some water, then she sank back down.

“I am so alone,” she said out loud to no one, or maybe to herself.

Her mind tried to fight this onslaught of loneliness with anger by reminding her of Holly’s betrayal. For a second, Annabelle straightened, preparing to get up and feel the surge of energy that anger produces.

But nothing came.

And then just as suddenly she saw the silvery flash on the crowded New York street and without even realizing what it was that she was lamenting she was crying all over again because without that thing, nothing in her life could ever be quite as it was.

You’re being too dramatic about this, Annabelle’s left brain told her right brain. Of course things will be the same. You’ve gone this far without it, and you were happy then weren’t you? Weren’t you just walking with Holly from Starbucks, talking about your date with Chad and your weekend plans?

Annabelle listened to her left brain and thought she made a good point, and so she tucked her sorrow neatly into a box in the corner of her heart and got herself up to pull on some work clothes and give Holly the cold shoulder for the entire day to show that she didn’t care for Holly’s brand of keeping secrets.

And yet, as Annabelle applied what was possibly the most disinteresting coat of mascara in the history of makeup, she realized that she really didn’t care about Holly’s brand of keeping secrets; that she really didn’t care about going on any more dates with Chad; that she would just as soon lie in bed as go on and get the workday done with (she couldn’t even care enough to face her workday with her normal mix of dread and anticipation).

The only thing she cared about was what that flash of silver was, and why it made her so acutely aware of something she’d never known she needed.

Annabelle had studied Literature as an undergraduate, and so she knew there were a few universal themes that any symbol worth its salt would represent, and so she sifted through those mentally. The most obvious of course was love, and probably the most pertinent to a young single woman smack dab in the middle of a career she’d given up many chances at love to create.

But she was generally happy with that decision and with where it had led her life, and if she were a little worried that she would end up a little The Devil Wears Prada she drew immense comfort in the fact that she would be wearing Prada, a brand that lasted much longer than many of the so-called loves she saw her friends constantly falling in and out of.

The next one she thought of was religion, and she gave that thought pause because it was true that she didn’t make it to church more than once a month and sometimes wondered while she was there whether she wouldn’t be happier or more content in a synagogue or mosque, or possibly on the streets of LA whirling her way into mysticism.

But she satisfied herself that she was no more or less lost in that regard than any other person trying to make tangible sense of a belief in the intangible in a world that was screaming at her that if you can’t see it than it doesn’t exist.

Maybe the flash of silver was her own innocence lost. That was another popular literary theme. Maybe somehow she’d crucified her own childhood to become the person she was today, and that flash of silver spoke to the part of her that wasn’t gilded and tarnished.

Annabelle shook her head–she was profoundly confused and crushingly sad as she moved about the airy, sun-lit apartment performing her morning tasks by rote with her mind a thousand miles away at least.

She found that she was aching.

Sitting in her cubical at the corner of her company’s office space later that morning, Annabelle found that she was literally aching in that space where she’d neatly sealed the longing induced by the silver flash. It was a curious feeling. She imagined tiny box inside her chest, resting in the soft folds of tissue surrounding her heart and lungs. She pictured it lodged neatly between two of her ribs, swathed and guarded and safe.

She pictured it brimming with blood, and she wondered if her tiny box of pain had cut something inside her because how else could she be physically aching?

Annabelle wanted to laugh but she figured she should probably keep the unprovoked laughing spells to a minimum, especially after the incident yesterday with Holly, who’d managed to avoid catching her eye for the entire morning.

Though the only thing she could feel was longing for whatever it was the silver flash represented, Annabelle was thankful that she still had the presence of mind to understand that it would be easier to figure out what she didn’t have if she held onto the things she did–things like her job and apartment and high credit rating, for example, though her debt-to-income ratio was really preventing her from having the stellar credit rating the world would judge her life’s value by.

She shook her head to rid it of the bland yet ironically humorous thought.

“I am so alone,” she said out loud to no one, or maybe to everyone in her office.

Behind her cubical wall, Holly raised an eyebrow.

Annabelle’s melancholy was starting to creep her out.

Love, Addiction, Balance and Snow

Last night I had a conversation with one of my friends about being in love and being happy.

It started because she’s taking a sociology class and one of the questions on her final had to do with whether or not she thought being “in love” was a requirement for a marriage. She’s married. I, clearly, am not, and yet we both agreed in our assessments that, no. Marriage has little to do with love.

I listened to her perspective as a married woman who had married for love, and she listened to mine as a single woman who often finds herself most miserable when falling in love and we agreed that being “in love” does not always (or even usually) make for a happy, solid, stable life.

I told her I’d rather marry a man I liked and thought had similar values to mine than one I was in love with because my experiences with being in love are that it is tricky and volatile–sort of like a street drug. You experience these high highs and these low lows and you find your emotional well-being intrinsically linked to whether or not you can get enough of your beloved. And, as with any street drug, depending on what the love is cut with (insecurity, possession, baking soda, etc.) you will experience a variety of highs and lows throughout your addiction (relationship).

No thank you.

I don’t even like being in like.

Yesterday was a day for contemplation of this sort because yesterday it was snowing, and you know how it is with all manner of extreme weather: everyone’s looking for a boo to be trapped and share their rations with (“Me and my booski are snowed in together…hope we can find a way to keep warm” *ACK!*)

And so I found myself thinking of a very short-lived courtship I’d had with a young man I met about 3 weeks ago. When I met him, he’d been exciting and attentive, and he constantly thinking of these really cool dates for us to go on (how many of you all can say you went scuba diving in December? I can)…all the way up until a series of unfortunate events took place that I like to call The Day [names changed to protect the guilty] Called Campus Police On the Guy I was Dating Because That was The Most Sane and Rational Way She Could Think of To Get Me to Care that She Thought He was Crazy, better known as the Ultimate Cockblock.

Since then, naturally and quite sanely, his ardor toward me has cooled, and his attentions have waned. And, I mean, you know, there’s nothing I can do about that. Can’t change his mind and I don’t blame him–I wouldn’t want to deal with anyone whose friend called the police on me, law-abiding and harmless as I am. That’s just way too much drama.

But yesterday, as everyone was preparing to share their limited water supplies and food rations with that special someone, I couldn’t help but to think that if it hadn’t been for the extreme actions of someone I’d mistakenly trusted…I might have been among those with reinforced ranks to defend their humble abodes in the event of anarchy breaking out after the food and water supplies ran low.

…but then an even more compelling thought knocked its way into my brain and I went outside and across the street to take pictures of my neighborhood beaches covered in snow.

It was just incredibly beautiful and soul stirring to see so many opposites working together in nature.

Then I went over to my neighbor’s house and he very graciously fed me breakfast and we talked a little theology (he’s a Mormon preacher). Then I went home and spent some time with my boyfriend Eric (better known as read some of book 8 in the Southern Vampire Mysteries), then I worked a little with my friend K on an event we’re trying to throw, then my friend picked me up and took me to her house and we had dinner and cheesecake and drinks and watched movies and then she took me home.

Poor,

Poor,

Lonely Single Me,

right?

Exactly. Completely and utterly wrong.

And yet, when I got home last night, I thought about the young man again. I was standing up in my kitchen over the stove, absently eating some leftover out of the pot (that’s where I get all of my best thinking done), and I thought, “Well that’s disappointing…but I’m over it.”

Which surprised me and made me feel really good.

At any other point in time in my life, I would be extremely bitter toward this meddling friend for destroying my only chance at happiness with a man who could possibly be my soulmate, yanked cruelly and prematurely from my grasp (and/or clutches, depending on how you view those kinds of things). HOW would I ever live the rest of my life, painfully, dreadfully ALONE, LOST without the ONE PERSON who could have loved me away from my sad small existence and into the only stage of life that actually validates my being born a woman: that of being half of a couple?

I would have held onto this grievous wrong, feeling bitter and alone. I would have tried to use my womanly wiles to try and force him to see how great of a cook I am, how manically I can laugh at his jokes, how well I can ask follow-up questions about stuff he mentioned two days ago–anything to make him love me!

I would have made myself miserable.

But instead…I just kind of shrugged it off. Because I had a nice snow day yesterday, and it didn’t depend on whether or not I was snowed in with some dude. None of my nice days depend on whether or not I have contact with some dude.

Do any of you guys understand how freeing that is? How relieving? I would love to be in love right now, but only if it’s with someone who I love loving and like liking. And I can afford to let these dudes come in my life and go out of it while I wait for that one because I’m not looking for anyone to save me from my single self. I like my single life; I don’t think I’ve ever been so not worried about who texts me and how long it’s been since they last replied.

…and anyway, he dropped me off at my car one day and didn’t wait for me to get in and get it started before taking off. I think that says a lot about a person.

Falling in Love With Fictional Characters

Take a minute and drink him in...no pun intended

I have a confession to make: I am in love.

OK, probably more like obsessed.

The man I love is tall, he’s brooding, he’s wickedly funny, he’s attractive, he’s mischievous, he’s enticing…oh, and he’s a vampire.

His name is Eric Northman.

He is a fictional character, and I am completely and totally hot for him.

The most distracting thing that could have happened to me during this time when I should be focused on working and preparing for grad school has happened: I discovered that my phone has an app for all of the Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire Novels (the books on which the series True Blood is based).

Now, I’m already obsessed with True Blood. And ever since Eric cut his hair (something that actually should be impossible for a vampire to maintain according to lore, but at least they’re not glittery daylight vampires *ahem*), I have been shouting at the TV for Sookie to drop Bill’s dark and brooding behind for Eric’s darkly comical, irresistible self.

It doesn’t help that the actor who plays Eric is just ridiculously hot. Seriously. I have read myself to sleep every night for the past four nights the way a person falls asleep on the phone with their newest infatuation, blinking sleep away and sighing softly, saying to myself nearly inaudibly “Oh, Eric.”

Oh, Eric.

If only you were real.

I don’t know if it would make me sound any more or less normal if I could say this is the first time that I’ve fallen in love with a fictional character, but I can’t.

Anyone remember Animorphs?

Animorphs is the book series about the kids who were given the power to morph into animals to save the world from an alien takeover. My cousin T put me onto the series (he was good for that when we were kids, but I haven’t heard any recommendations from him in a while *ahem*) (I happen to know he subscribes to this blog).

Anyway. They were given the power to morph, but there was a catch: they had to go back to being human within 2 hours, or else they’d be stuck in that form as their original form (though I think they could still morph for 2 hours from there but I don’t know anymore, my memory of this is hazy now).

In the series, there was this poor unfortunate character named Tobias, who got stuck as a hawk. And somehow, between the fuzzy character illustrations of him on the cover of the book and his telepathic hawk-thoughts that the author had written in him, I developed this huge crush on this fictional character who was a hawk to boot.

What can I say? I like ’em when they play hard to get.

Last night I was thinking about this, and I started to chide myself about falling for fictional characters, but I stopped because it occurred to me that even though these guys were figures from books and movies, there were plenty of fictional characters walking around outside in broad daylight, and I couldn’t really see the difference between falling for them and falling for my book and movie guys.

I don’t date.

I have said that before.

I have a very unhealthy pattern of becoming enamored of guys way too soon and then tormenting myself with my own insecurities until it either chases them or ends in some other overly dramatic way.

Hey,

At least I can recognize it, right?

Last night I was laying in bed and I was dreaming of Eric and I was kind of laughing at myself for being in love with yet another fictional character, when it occurred to me that people constantly redraw their characters in a more favorable light.

You know,

Fictionalize them.

How is me falling in love with Eric different from me falling for the guy who paints himself as an understanding and compassionate listener, only to use the information I’d trustingly shared with him to try and get in my pants?

Oh,

People do that.

And, for that matter, how is it any more or less sane for me to get carried away in my fantasies of the dark and brooding and very fictional Eric who, I was just sure, was capable of a deep and enduring love that he would bestow upon me and me alone as soon as I got him to give away my heart (according to hints that author Charlaine Harris dropped) than it is for me to get carried away in the hints that a guy may have dropped? Am I or am I not fictionalizing both of these characters’ characters?

All I’m saying is that there are plenty of fictional characters out there in the real world so don’t judge me for my latest love and I won’t judge you for yours.

Anger is when the crop you were planning to feed your family with gets bombed by careless U.S. planes

As I sit in my bed to write this blog, I think I am frustrated in just about every sense of the word.

I am not angry.

I am not sad.

But I am dealing with a base level of frustration so constant that it is more-or-less my default emotional state as of late.

I would try to blame it on my circumstances, but the fact that I’m sitting in a warm and comfortable bed with a healthy body and sharp mind, relative personal safety and a still-working car tells me that can’t be it.

I had a long conversation with one of my good friends today about personal habits and their nasty little ways of seeping into your professional life. And professional habits and their nasty little ways of seeping into your personal life.

I was telling my friend that though I am completely aware that there are 24 hours in a day, for some reason my 24 hours seems to pass much quicker than other people’s 24 hours, causing me to be told on a Saturday, “You haven’t spoken to me since Tuesday!” and causing me to react with genuine confusion, because I really and actually just do not have a sense of that much time having elapsed.

Right now, I feel like I am so far behind in all the things I need to do to be a focused and productive person that all it makes me want to do is hide in my apartment and read Southern Vampire Novels from the ebook app on my Droid (fabulous! There are so many free/dirt cheap/free books available! DROID does–but I digress).

I think I could be a hermit.

.

..

*pause for incredulous laughter*

Well,

OK.

Not really.

But I do find myself drawn to the fantasy of just holing up in my place and reading all the books I keep buying but not reading for a week or two. Just starting there. And then maybe I’ll unsubscribe to some of the things that keep my phone buzzing at all times of the day and night and stressing me out because I don’t read them and I have this thing where it sincerely makes my head hurt to have 445 unread inbox messages and 353 unread Facebook messages.

Don’t ask.

I don’t get it and I try to ignore it for the most part, but I can’t. I get a very concrete form of satisfaction from opening my inbox and seeing just, like 1. Three is pushing it.

That’s just the way I am.

I have been told that I am very self-aware, but there are times when I don’t even know that I am not functioning at my highest level until some sort of slip brings it to my attention and I have to examine my external circumstances for clues about my internal state.

Three-hundred-fifty-three unopened Facebook messages is one. And they all come to my damn phone now too. That stresses me out so much. The pile of clothes that just goes from my corner to my bed back to my corner as needed is clue number two. The unwashed cups and the dishes that have been sitting in that drainer thing (whatever that’s called) for weeks (the dishes, not the unwashed cups) are going to be rolled into a combined clue number three.

Something ain’t right.

I told my friend that I know what the problem is and I know I need to fix it, but that I spend so much time and energy during the day keeping my base level of frustration down that at the end of the day I just don’t even want to come clean my house and work on the projects and things that will put me closer to my dreams.

Like failing a class because you don’t like your teacher–I guess you really showed him, huh?

That’s about how much sense me letting the areas of my life that I could actually take refuge in slip because I am so dissatisfied in other areas makes. None. And I am really, ultimately, and most importantly, only hurting myself.

I am thankful for this blog because it is just about the only healthy way I have of processing my emotions, as well as one of the few hobbies I have that does not come with the added stressor of expense.

I thought I could go about my life with one hand holding down the monster of my growing frustration, but ignoring it is causing me to slip in other areas because it drains my energy and takes my focus.

I don’t have a resolution to this post, only a thought: I need to find a better way.

Why I’m Single Reason No. 864: I Just Can’t Quite Get This Flirting Thing Down

Sploosh

…So today I was on the Face Space (Facebook). And I was geeking off a conversation I had with my girl T last night about how I can’t be dealing with dudes right now because they distract me. I was telling her that the only things I need to be obsessed with right now are my money, career and grad school–my life. I literally cannot afford to give a dude a spot in the preciously limited real estate market of my mind.

And I know myself well enough to know that if I get involved with someone, they’re gonna get acres of brain space. For FREE.

Not a good investment.

So I made a facebook page and named it DaGame Jackson and married myself to it on FB so I could say I’m married to da game.

So I have this friend.

And, see, he doesn’t know we have a love/hate relationship. I’m pretty sure he just has a regular old “that’s my friend” relationship with me.

But I have a love/hate relationship with him because I think he’s sooo cute and smart, and yet he has the NERVE to not be trying to be my boyfriend.

Not that I necessarily want a boyfriend right now, but still. Positively insufferable.

But…here’s the thing. I think that like once a year or once every two years…this dude does flirt with me. And…see…what I think I’m doing is flirting back.

But what I’m actually doing is shooting him down or jokingly brushing him off.

Today I was talking to my girl K (she’s one of the few people with whom I can share the absurdity of my make-believe love/hate relationship with my very consistent and overall cool ass friend without being labeled) about how this time, I got it. This time, he sort of flirted with me and I sort of flirted back and it was perfect. PERFECT. A glorious mix of subtlety and openness that signaled to him with complete clarity that if he thinks he might want to take it there then I’m sort of thinking that I might be kinda ready to release my sensual womanhood on him, at least in part. A little.

So I’m telling her about my triumph, and I’m laughing like, “Yeeahhh, damn it feels good to be a gangsta.”

And she busts out laughing, like “What?! That’s not flirting! That’s joking!”

Bubble? Meet pin. Pin? Meet–oohp! No more bubble.

What the?

Who the?

And for a while, I was making my case about how I was definitely flirting, until she reminded me that the last time I thought I was flirting with this dude what I was actually saying was “Shut the fuck up. HAHAHAHAHA.”

…so I conceded that I may have missed the mark on flirting just a tad this time as well.

I can’t flirt. And I have no idea why! When I was like 16/17, I used to be all about the sensuality. Lingering eyes, shirts that dip just a little past the crests of my newly-developed breasts, giggles–I was too much for my own damn self. A self-decided seductress.

But sometime over the years, I dropped the ball(s) (pun intended), and I have drawn so far into myself that I am, at my most mild, extremely awkward when trying to flirt, and at my most drunken, probably actually bordering on lecherous/harassing.

But I’ve completely lost the art of the flirtatious tete-a-tete, of coming toward, then running away. I’m either barreling forward or, if I really like you, staying the hell away so as not to drive you away from me.

Today, I was talking to one of my aunts about another guy friend of mine whose company I really enjoy. I was asking her what would be the best way to approach being in each others’ company more often. But even in that conversation, I was running away, telling her, “You know what? I have too much fun with this dude–I just need to not talk to him for a while.”

“What?!” she said, laughing. “That’s completely opposite!”