I remember you

I remember you,  when we were young.  We unzipped a sleeping bag, spread it out on the carpet, and sat on the floor picnic style to watch a video tape.
Who needs a couch anyway?

Our backs would ache and I would lay my palms flat behind me and lock my elbows.
Me, I a couch.

You offered to let me lean on your chest for support, but I didn’t trust you.  If I put my head on your shoulder, I knew you’d want to kiss me; and I didn’t trust you not to try.  And sure, I could pull away and say no, but that’s not a conversation I wanted to have.

So I shifted my weight from one arm to another and ignored my palms’ protests.

Eventually, I finally did take you up on that offer to lean on you.  And I was right not to trust you, but I was surprised that you accepted my rejection.  You said, “okay,” and we watched the movie.

(You were just being a decent human being, and maybe it was rape-culture that made me believe the fact that you respected my answer made you a gentleman.  But that’s not my point.)

I remember you that July.  I remember your face in the pinkish glow of Christmas lights I hung in the living room.  I remember your drive and uncertainty and how you were filled with so much life and energy.

And now you’re still driven, and a little more certain, with just as much life and a little less energy.

Do you remember me?  Miss Independence?  Not needing anything from anyone.  Swallowing her depression, inwardly falling apart while outwardly taking her pills and eating her happiness.  Do I remember her right?  She was waiting for her chance to take on the world.  I’m not sure she ever took it.  Or if she and me are still the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Observation at Starbucks

My eyes glaze over as I watch the girl begrudgingly shrug off the sleeves of her faux fur coat and wrap it around her waist, creating a fluffy mushroom-like plumage around her midsection; unevenly cascading over her bottom and revealing expressive, zig zag leggings that her mother undoubtedly made her put on this morning because, “You never wear these, I thought you liked them;” and she decidedly did not bother to argue the point because at least today is Saturday and no one from school will see her.

And it’s not like the leggings themselves are ugly or even unfashionable. It’s more that they are just too much.  They’re too pink and orange and not enough purple to downplay the massive amounts of pink and orange.  And the only shirt she can bare to wear with them is this plain purple top with a single white flower in the center of her chest.  She tugs uncomfortably at the ends of her sleeves, willing the fabric to stretch just a little bit further to reach her wrists.  She feels the seams along her shoulders protest and she gives up with a sigh.  “Megan,” the barista calls, surveying the shop.  She hops forward to collect her beverage.

She turns, briefly uncertain of what to do with herself before following her mother to the island where the napkins and creamer are kept, and pretends to appear disinterested as she takes a moment to admire the only half-way redeemable part of her outfit: brown, soft fabric, lace-up, faux fur-lined, knee-high boots, as seen on Good Luck Charlie.  Beautiful boots that her Aunt Joan gave her for Christmas and she unwrapped with unparalleled glee as her grandmother held her tongue about how young ladies have no business wearing hooker shoes.

I’m Publishing This One

I’ve written and rewritten a lot of posts and never posted them.  Because of insecurity.  Because I’m afraid I’ll be judged.  Probably judged by you, my millennial peers for always talking about insecurity.  Or judged by you, generation x, for my self-righteousness and poor understanding of love.  I’m tired.  I can’t please everyone, and my following is so impeccably small that I what I publish is really just the parts of my writing that I don’t think my mom will hate or cause her to worry about me.

I suppose you’re judging me now for being so fucking depressing.  Or unnecessarily swearing.  But here’s the thing, I write in here, google docs, and in text edits about not letting fear consume you, that it’s import to live your life to the fullest and sometimes that makes me feel better but at the end of the day, after a ten hour shift at a restaurant, I’m still applying for copy writer positions and unwilling to supply the link to this website because I haven’t updated it in months.  Yet I have the gall to call myself a writer.  Maybe I’m not even that anymore.  Thanksgiving was last week and this girl at dinner asked what I do, and I immediately said I was a line cook.  There’s nothing wrong with food service, but it’s not what I’m made to do.

I tell myself that’s not what I’m made to do.  As if I only have one function.  As if I am just some one-dimensional extra in a coffee shop scene who order’s coffee and has no plans to leave because their lives aren’t worthy of character development and they need to fill out the background.

I am a person and I am not defined by any one thing and it’s about damn time I recognized that about myself.  I am a daughter, a bad Christian, a college graduate, a friend, a a girlfriend, a villain, a comedian; and yes, even the coffee-drinker in the background of someone else’s life.

Don’t you sneer at me.  I’m not the only one.  We all love to define ourselves.  By our jobs, our degrees, our tattoos, the stamps on our passports.  As if it means anything.  As if the things that make us unique are the same things that make us interesting.  As if we can waltz into our high school reunion and impress people with our so-called accomplishments.  Make him feel bad he didn’t take me to prom with my beauty, or show her that I’m smart because I have a good job, or show them that since I am married, that makes me worthy of love.  They’ll still think you’re the same person you were in high school.  Because to them, you are just a secondary character in their own lives.  Don’t do anything to make someone else happy.  Not unless making them happy, brings you joy.  If something that makes someone else happy, brings you pain, don’t bother.  You’re opinion of yourself is what matters the most.  If you can look at yourself and be okay with who you are, then you’re on the right track.

I have a boyfriend.  And I hid my pain from him.  He always knows when something is wrong and he asked me what was wrong and I would never tell him.  I either kept smiling or I lashed out.  It wasn’t healthy.  It wasn’t okay.  I gave him the version of myself I thought he wanted but what he wants is for me to be who I am.  So I try to be.  It’s hard letting someone in. It’s hard NOT to hide.  It’s hard to be fully yourself and let someone love you.

I’m not editing this.  Not even for grammar.  I don’t care how much of it makes sense.  I didn’t write this for you and I’m not publishing it for you.  This is a place where I am myself.  Don’t forget to like and subscribe.

Drunken Middle School Conversations

The title is obviously click-bait, but you and I both know you’re going to read it.

A fairly common conversational prompt in drunken and middle school conversations (hopefully on very separate occasions) is, “What would you do if you only had a year to live?”  Or six months, or one month,  or one week.  But no one asks what someone would do if they only had one day, twenty four hours, to live.

Imagine if a doctor told you that you were dying and the moment the words escaped their lips, and the sounds bounced off of your eardrums, and your brain registered the sounds as meaningful language; a timer was set on your life.
What would you do?

In these conversations, no one sets the perimeter of only a day when asking this question because it would feel too short.  At least with a minimum of a week, or even just three days, you have a few hours to cope with the situation and plan for the end of your life.

When someone asks, “What would you do if you only had ____ amount of time to live?” they are are not really asking how you would cope with the presumed illness and immense sadness and fear that would likely consume you.  They don’t expect you to say you’re going to quit your job and spend that month with your loved ones every waking moment.

They expect you to spit out a list of amazing things you’d like to do before you die.  But even then, they’re not asking what kind of strings you would have pull and weird Wikipedia edits you would have to make in order to get away with traveling the world with money you don’t have, kissing the Blarney Stone with strength your terminal illness won’t allow, and meeting Beyonce under the guise of a lie you’d probably never get away with (provided your Wikipedia edits about your alleged relation to Beyonce that you previously made were deleted) in just one week.

The question isn’t really, “What would you do if you only had a much shorter amount of time to live than initially expected?”  The question is “What do you want to do in your lifetime?”  The problem with people (especially myself) is that they think they have all the time in the world to do everything they want to accomplish.

-Fix the shingles?  Why?  The weather will be fine tomorrow, and I don’t have time today.
-Do laundry? Why?  I have one more set of underpants, and I don’t have time today.
-Iron the curtains?  Why? Who does that?  Plus, I don’t have time today.

If you are a human who has ever lived a day in the normal adult world, then you know very well that you have time for these things.  What you really mean is it is not a priority.

-Exercise? Why? I have plenty of time to get that six pack I want, and right now, it’s not a priority.

Honestly, if you have something better to do than crunches and push-ups, I am certainly no one to judge.  But when you replace “I don’t have time,” with other things, it sounds really different.

-Play with my daughter?  Why?  I’ll have so much more energy tomorrow, and it’s not a priority.
-Lunch with my boyfriend?  Why?  We haven’t eaten together in months, we’ll be fine today, it’s really not a priority.
-Call my sick grandparent?  Why?  They’ll probably be there tomorrow, and it’s not a priority.

This is what we do, we tack on a flimsy excuse for not doing the things we want or should do, so we don’t prioritize it, and it doesn’t happen.  So we miss out on the things that are really important to us because we always assume there will be time to bond with our kids, or travel, or write, or paint.  And there is.  I promise you, there is time.

People complain there aren’t enough hours in a day, or the little ones grow up too fast, or more broadly: time is not on our side.  The problem isn’t time, it’s that we have too much of it so we don’t do the things we say we’ll do because we think there’s time for it.  But instead we squander our time by wasting away in front of the t.v. watching actors do the things we always say we want to do during those drunken middle school conversations.

 

I kind of got married last week.

I read somewhere once that the first year of marriage can be the worst.  Because you have two people who are suddenly living together and are trying to find a balance in their coexistence.

I understood the struggle of living with a new person (I’ve lived with many very different individuals all four years of college and then the first year after graduation), but I’ve also found that it is only difficult during the first month or two, and then people tend to fall into harmony and routine.  I didn’t understand how a couple, two people who are supposed to know each other well enough to fall in love and get married, can have a difficult time living together for a solid year.

Now I understand.
Admittedly I didn’t get married last week, but I did move in with my boyfriend The Photographer, and his family.

These last three weeks through this whole moving process have been Hell.  The Photographer and I have had arguments before, but we’ve never fought like this, ever.

Every fight was essentially just variations of the following:
Him: I’m frustrated because you’re moving in small trips rather than one big one like the last two moves that I helped you with.

Me: I know, and I’m trying to move as much as I can in my little car, so you don’t have to come in your truck to take as many things.  And I’m moving boxes to your house as I pack them because my roommate, M, has claustrophobia, and get’s overwhelmed by lots of boxes, and I can’t keep all the packed boxes in my room, because my room is too small.  And I’m frustrated with you for being frustrated with me, because you said you’d help me, and you’re acting all inconvenienced.

Him:  I AM inconvenienced!  It takes half a tank of gas to drive from my house to your apartment and back, and my tank takes $60 to fill, so it’s really not worth driving all the way over here for just a few boxes if they don’t fill up the back of my truck.  Tell M to get over it! And I’m frustrated with you for being frustrated with me, for being frustrated with you.

Me:  Telling M to get over it is not going to cure her phobia!  And she’s aware that’s it’s stupid, but she does have a right to feel comfortable in her own home!  And I’m sorry!  Like I said, I am moving everything I can that will fit in my car so you don’t have to make as many trips, and I’m trying to accommodate my housemates, because they’re my friends!  I’m kind of between a rock and a hard place here!  And I’m frustrated with you for being frustrated with me, for being frustrated with you, for being frustrated with me!

Him:  Well if M is your friend, and she knows this, shouldn’t she understand?! Why do you have so much shit anyway?  Who needs all this shit?  Can’t most of it go in the garage or Goodwill?

Me:  She is trying!  And that’s all I can ask!  And I’m frickin trying to get rid of things, but you have to recognize that I am moving my entire existence from one place to another, AND I’m a girl, so stereotypically, OF COURSE I’m going to have a lot of shit!  Most of which IS going in the garage!

Him:  It’s just that it’s everywhere!  It’s overcrowding the house!

Me:  Yes!  Yes it is!  I can either pack and move, or unpack and organize, I can’t do both!

_________________________

We both have valid points and grievances, but we’re too annoyed and angry to really see them in the moment.  It’s been rough.  It doesn’t help that we’re both stubborn as all get out.  This last week has been better, but we’re still bickering over things that don’t matter.

I really thought this would be like every other living situation I’ve been in, but it’s not.  And it’s not because his parents and sister are there, it’s because it’s him.  It’s because both of us recognize that on some level, this experience is representative of how our marriage will be and we desperately want validation as quickly as possible that we can survive as a couple.  So we’ve been impatient and resentful when things don’t automatically fall into place.  At least with regular roommates, if the living situation isn’t ideal, you can say, “Oh well, just a few more months till the lease is up.”

We’re not married, and we live with three other people, but I suspect the article was talking about this: two people who need to know that they haven’t made a horrible mistake.

If, When, Then, I Would Have___

 

First, I would like to mention that I AM working on Part 3 of Pretending to Be a Grownup. But today I would like to talk about my current life.

I quit my job as a cook at the retirement home somewhere in the beginning of December 2016.  The job was suffocating me and I needed out and a change of pace.

I decided I would make money through an online transcription company so I would have more time to pursue my dream of being a writer.  For those of you who are unaware of what a transcription job is, the basis of it is listening to audio and then typing what the speakers are saying.

I can describe the experience of this seemingly simple job fairly accurately as what Hell is probably like for people who rely heavily on their auditory ability because of a lack of sight or ability to feel or smell.

If you’re lucky, the recording was done outside with the sounds of wind, cars, lawnmowers, and skateboards brrring, rrrring, and ffllllllpppping over your dialogue.

But even if you’re not faced with the outdoors, you still have to deal with the speakers’ slurring, mumbling, or faster-than-a-car-salesman voices.  The microphone is always too close to one speaker and horrendously far away from another.  So every time a new speaker begins talking, you’re either bringing up the volume and having to back track several seconds to hear what they’re saying, or having your ear drums destroyed with a heavy, screeching Chinese accent.  I wish I could say I was being racist for comedic effect, but unfortunately I’m not.

It’s not a great job, and since I set my own hours, I haven’t actually worked in weeks. I wish I had just taken a month off from the retirement home and then went back to cooking.  That probably would have been wiser.  I’d have a steady job that actually got me out of the house, and when my boyfriend asked how my day was, I’d have more to say.

Life is full of would-of’s and should-of’s.  Maybe that’s why we’re so obsessed with time travel.

  1. Back to the Future (I, II, and III)
  2. The Butterfly Effect
  3. Groundhog Day
  4. Deja Vu
  5. Edge of Tomorrow/Live Die Repeat (or whatever we’re supposed to call this movie)
  6. Midnight in Paris
  7. Any television episode where a character goes back in time and usually at some point kills Hitler

And a hundred zillion other movies and tv shows about or involve time travel are about one concept: changing the time-space-continuum so that life is improved.  Usually the character learns that fixing one problem only creates bigger problems and doesn’t actually fix their own issues.  In other cases, time travel  is recognized as a positive thing that allows a character to improve their lives, their personal character, or even the world.

Regardless of how time travel is viewed, it almost always begins with a scriptwriter who says, “I wish I had known ___, back when ___, so then I would have ___, and everything would be infinitely better,” what a great and original idea for a film.

As for me, “I wish I had known what an unemployed rut I would be in, back when it was somewhere in the beginning of December 2016, so then I would have not quit my job, and everything would be infinitely better.”  But I know that’s not true.  It doesn’t really matter if had I quit my job or not, because either way I would not be doing something worth while that I love and that must be at least a part of why I am in a state of discontentment.