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Epiphany With a Side of Joy

I’ll have two, please.  Thx.

Today I finished reading the first draft of a book that a woman from my writing group sent me.  It left me with a couple of epiphanies, one that left an ironic aftertaste and another that made me smile.

The first was that throughout the book, the characters made these decisions based on what they thought would protect the people they loved from their own actions, when in reality, it simply continued to raise the stakes.  People do that a lot.  I was exposed to a real life example this week — and the sad reality is that this happens way too often.  I mean, let’s face it:  only the world’s token sadists actually like hurting people.  The rest of us try not to do it, because it makes us feel bad.  The trick is to know when you’re only choosing between the lesser of two evils.  In the book, the main character had a decade-long affair.  She could have left a loveless marriage much earlier…but she didn’t.  You can imagine how it turned out.  I’ve never cheated on a boyfriend.  I know people who I consider generally good people who have, but I honestly do not understand cheating.  One common thread is that usually those who do it think that telling their partner would hurt too much, so they let it go on and try to bury it deep so the partner never finds out.  But that’s like letting a wound fester.  Eventually the pus is going to break the surface, and by then, you might have to have something amputated.  Which is something easily avoidable if you had just gotten it fixed first.

Seriously, once you cheat, you forfeit the right to decide what happens to the relationship.  Once you’ve broken that trust, which to me is one of the deepest betrayals one can experience on this earth, it’s your partner’s choice what happens.  By not coming clean from the get-go, you add robbery to the list of errors and you actively conspire to make someone else a fool.

It doesn’t just happen with cheating — I mean, parents don’t tell their kids about divorces.  People put off talking about bad news.  I knew someone once who didn’t find out their grandma had died for months because the parents hadn’t wanted to ruin something happy.  People didn’t tell me about a friend who had passed for weeks after it happened.  When I found out, the grief of her loss was compounded by guilt of not sending her cards or letters during her months of illness (it was cancer), anger at those who knew me and didn’t let me know, and helplessness.  There are some things people have a right to know.

All of that was wound up into the little ball of epiphany that just says:  if you think you have to protect someone from information, you’re just propping up a falling bridge with an umbrella.  Leaves an ironic tinge in my mouth just thinking about it.

The next one was just about the things people do because of insecurities.  I wrote a bit on my other blog about this that I’ll repeat here.  There’s that old saying:  you can’t see the forest through the trees.  People are like that with their insecurities.  Some of our issues are rooted deeply in fear and pain and a welter of other emotions.  Trauma.  Those trees are like old growths.  They are there, immutable.  You can’t just cut them down and get rid of them.  And sometimes it can be hard to see the beauty of the forest around us when we trip over the roots of one of those giant trees.  Sometimes we stumble into it, and it’s all we can see.  Our pain.  Past betrayals and hurts.  When that happens, some people throw their arms around this tree as though it’s the only safe place, simply because it’s familiar.  We’d rather stay there where it’s easy than have to grapple with it in context of the newer trees, the ones we’re afraid won’t hold our weight if we try to climb them.  We forget that like any old growth, it’s old.  We have to stand up, back up, and look around at the other trees around us to get the sense of the whole forest.

So my last epiphany was this:  instead of getting bogged down in the old growth and tripping over its fallen branches and roots the size of trunks, I’m going to climb up into the newer trees and trust that their branches will hold me.  I’m going to let their boughs embrace me and look out over the beauty of the forest, because true beauty comes from seeing the whole picture, not just the good or the bad that exists.  And in knowing that, there’s joy.

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Scotland, ho.

It’s less than two months away now, and I’m really getting more and more excited.  For one thing, a conglomerate of my lovely European friends is getting together to descend upon Edinburgh purely for the pleasure of my company while I’m on their side of the Atlantic.  For that I am grateful to the point of delirium — never before have I had such friends who would hop a plane and come see me like that.  I hope I’m that kind of friend.  I did jet to New York City when Karsten and Daniel flew over from Germany for New Years a couple years ago, which at the time was nearly across the entire US of A.

I’m lucky to have people like that scattered across the planet.  Makes me feel special.  🙂

This is going to be a busy summer, but I hope it will be a good one.  I think it will.

In other news, tonight I engaged in an epic battle lasting two hours and several rounds:  Emmie vs. Phone.  After many hair-pulling moments, almost tears and recriminations, I emerged victorious.  This came about because of a bit of a mishap that befell my old phone last Friday, in which it sustained significant injuries that couldn’t simply be tended to with a trip to the corner between bells — no, this involved the necessity of complete renewal.  Replacement.  The old phone was down for the count.

However, it didn’t surrender without a fight.  Determined to take with it all 167 of my personal contacts, it fought tooth and nail as I wrestled with the Backup Assistant that was supposed to be on my side.  Little tramp.

Instead of sneaking into the old phone like a veritable Trojan Horse to unbar the way to my contact list, it instead shrieked at me, “INVALID PIN!  YOU HAVE ENTERED AN INVALID PIN!” which I had most certainly not.

My pin was valid.

Imagine my fury.  I called in the Big Guns.  The Big Guns goes by the name of Ben, from Verizon.  With his help, we had the old phone and the traitorous Backup Assistant on the ropes in no time at all — and we even managed to suitably cow the new phone, just to ensure it doesn’t get any ideas from its predecessor.

Yes.  A victorious day.  A glorious day.

Emmie vs. Phone:  Emmie Stands Triumphant.

Crazy Pills

I have been doing a lot of thinking today.  This thinking was catalyzed by the fact that I pretty much have had two major freakouts in the past week, both of which, disturbingly, possess no real basis or logic to them.  Yes, I have been under a lot of stress this year.  Yes, my life is kind of a mess.  However, people have noted — and i agree — that lately, i have had the majorly unattractive tendency to zoom in on small things, which magnifies them to the point that they completely take over my entire field of vision, and then i panic and freak.  That’s not normal for me, and it’s kind of disturbing.

I also think I know what’s causing it, or at least what is exacerbating what, under normal circumstances, is a rather benign tendency that I am perfectly capable of talking myself down from.  I think I am actually taking crazy pills.  By crazy pills, I mean Ortho-Cept, which is a form of hormonal birth control.  It’s pretty high in estrogen, which can cause moodiness, and I really think there is a good chance that this is what is causing the massive apocalyptic freakouts.

The reason I think it’s this is simply because I went off the Ortho-Cept for about 6-8 weeks due to the fact that I thought it could be causing me to have high blood pressure and abdominal pain, and my doctor recommended I stop taking it.  During those weeks, I didn’t have a single unexplained tearfest, no blowouts, no inconsolable black moods.  I went back on it 3 weeks ago because the blood pressure and pain stuff turned out to be from my job (whee), and since then my moods have been insane.  I actually feel crazy.

So I’m going to ask my doctor for a prescription pill that contains significantly less estrogen.  I’ve gotten a couple recommendations from people, and I think that it’s worth a shot.

If you read this, what do you think?  What has your experience been with hormonal birth control?  If you’re a dude, but know women who have dealt with this stuff, what’s your take?

I gotta say, being a chick kind of sucks in terms of reproduction.  Not only are we the ones who get to go through labor pains, but we spend about half our lives actively trying not to get pregnant, which involves the use of crazy-making hormones, stuff stuck in our uterus, and/or surgery.  Torture.  I wish there was an off switch.  I do not want to be nuts — it freaks out my boyfriend, and then I feel worse, because he deserves a happier me.

Museless Maunderings

I wanted to spend some time writing my book tonight.  What did I do instead?  Took a “nap” at 4:30 and slept until 10.  That’s what I get for this sleep schedule — I run myself to exhaustion, and then my body shuts down and I pass out.  That is not a good thing. Tomorrow is going to be a long day; we have a meeting at work (awful), I have a doctor’s appointment for my treatment, then I’m meeting a friend about living together.  All that is a long day for me with this injury.

In other news, I’m thinking a lot about the UK election.  The Tories made some significant gains.  I’m not hugely well-versed in UK politics, but I know enough to get by, and I’m not a fan of the conservative party.  For one thing, they’re super anti-EU.  They say they’re not, but when they say they’re going to introduce a big referendum on UK sovereignty immediately, that speaks to some sentiments I don’t like a whole lot.  But then again, I’m not a huge fan of the political UK as it exists — I think that Scotland and Wales should have sovereignty over their own issues.

Specifically, about Scotland, I cannot imagine that they are happy with this new government and with David Cameron at 10 Downing Street.  Only 15% of Scots voted for the Conservatives, and that leaves a whopping 85% who didn’t want the Tories in power, yet because they are still subject to UK sovereignty in many ways, they are going to have the Conservative agenda imposed on them.  I find that hugely immoral.  Even in the reddest of red states in the US, democrats get a higher percentage than that.

With the Scottish National Party in power in the Scottish Parliament, I really wonder what will transpire in the future.  It seems to me like this election is a decent chance for them to push their agenda, which is an independent Scotland.  I’m a big fan of devolution, and if independence is the right route for Scotland, I would support it wholeheartedly.  As long as her people want it, I say go for it.  I’d like to see a free and independent Scotland again.  I think she got bullied into signing the Act of the Union in 1707 and was treated infamously in the 18th century and into even the 19th and 20th centuries.

That said, I don’t think it would be as easy a route as the SNP would like it to be.  Even though Scotland does provide the vast majority of the UK’s energy between North Sea oil and other sources, it would necessitate a lot of very careful and diligent planning, as well as an attention to the actual needs of the people, which I’m not wholly convinced any government can really do.  We’ll see where it leads.

On a fully emotional level, the thought of an independent Scotland is enough to bring a lump to my throat.  I hope I live to see it happen;  honestly, I think it really is just a matter of time before it does happen.  I just don’t know if it will happen as soon as the SNP wants it to.  I’ve heard tell of a possible referendum as early as next year — if that’s the case, then wow.  We’ll see though.

Sigh.  I’ll admit, the biggest issue I have with the new gains of the Conservatives in the UK is what I’ve read about their stances on immigration.  What is it with conservatives in any country that immediately think slashing numbers of immigrants is the way to go?  It’s not a cut and dried issue at all, but in general, I think immigrants benefit countries.  It’s a large scale indicator of prosperity — if people want to move there, you must be doing something right.

Anyway, that’s really all I have to say about that.  I feel a little foolish dabbling in others’ politics, but those are just my two cents, unsolicited.

blog 2.0

i realized last night that i desperately need to write.  i also succumbed to the very first glimmering flash of inspiration to grace my mind within the past several months.  i thought my bulb had burnt out for good.

whenever i’ve gone for a good long while without allowing myself to write, or being too exhausted to even tap my little paws on keys, it always just sort of bubbles over into a badly written, stream-of-consciousness sort of protobabble.  sound familiar?  see current reading material for an example.

however, it is often the prelude to something else.  last night for the most fleeting of moments, i had that flash of light.  actually, that’s not right.  for me, it’s not necessarily the lightbulb experience…if you will allow me to mix my metaphors up for a bit.  for me, it tends to be a voice.  before you call me a schizophrenic, try to remember that all artists are a wee bit on the loony side of things, and the voices in my head don’t really hurt anyone but each other.  so fear not; they’re contained.

i have a pet story i have been working on for a year or so now.  i love it–it’s fun, snarky, and occasionally campy.  the best thing about it for me is that it has a truly distinct voice in my mind.  sort of like a bulldozer might sound if it trundled happily over a field of broken dreams.  that.  that’s what it sounds like.  rumbledy rumbledy, tra la la, crunch.

i like it.

and the kicker?  it’s not the novel i finished.  in fact, i’m barely two chapters into it.  non sequitous chapters even.  but it’s there, and it’s vibrant, and it is going to come out, whether i like it or not.  which is quite a lovely feeling for a writer, especially a somewhat stunted one such as i.

we’ll see where it goes.

apart from that, i think my fingers and the thoughts they try to hammer out have been shackled by this mountain of stress.  or not shackled; smashed.  at the end of the day, all i want is to shed my skin, crawl into my soft, warm bed, cuddle up to my modal pillows, and snuggle with nothingness, toes wiggling outside the cocoon in the breeze of my fan.  hardly a good vein of creative pursuit.  i’ve found it exceedingly difficult to accomplish anything in that state of being, heavenly though it may be.

i’m trying to figure out what has breathed a little spark of life back into me.  it’s certainly not my job–no, that is the wet blanket continuously determined to slosh and slop its way right over this little light of mine.  so not that.  i have a sneaking little suspicion that the responsible party is none other than my sewing class.

“whamph?” asks the sewing class through the pins in its teeth.  “meh?”

yes, my friend.  you.

you see, sewing is something i have always wanted to do.  i used to make my grandma teach me little bits and pieces on those rare visits to florida in the summers of my youth.  the only project i ever made was the tiniest little quilt with a lion in a jungle.  i wonder whatever happened to that.  so this year, i decided to fulfill that, along with my long-term desire to purchase a decent camera.  check and check.  as i drove home from my class last night pondering the intricacies of the olive green assless chaps i had managed to create with little to no guidance, i heard the familiar happy bulldozer in the distance.  the moment i could open my catalog of ideas, i jotted down what it had mumbled in my ear and pondered what i had there.  it was a missing piece in a story that already was pretty awesome.  and i can’t wait to take it out for a spin.

to go back to a point i didn’t cover as well as i wanted, by doing something i genuinely enjoy (something no one–NO ONE!!!–is making me do) purely for the pleasure of doing it, it reminded me that there was more to me than i have been living.  this little 6 week class is quite expensive…i can safely say this is the most pricey bag and pants combo i have ever before spent money on.  however, in spite of the expense, i have learned a very valuable lesson:  do what makes you happy.

for the love of pete–life is way too short to do anything else.  i may have to work my ass off day in and day out at a thankless job that seems constantly poised with a microscope to point out my pitfalls.  i may be in dubious health.  i may be slightly schizophrenic.  but by golly, i’m going to try and be happy while i’m here.  i maybe have 60-70 years left on this rock, and i really don’t want to look back after 50 of them and wonder what i did with my youth, why i was killing myself for money.

so i may be broke for the next few years.  i have a lot of bills, and hobbies, quite frankly, are incredibly expensive.  the irish dance class i want to take next year?  about $630.  hello, good use of grad school loans (not kidding).  that covers september through may, but still.  that’s a lot.  my sewing class ran about $300, all supplies included.  at least for the next one, i will know to shop at joann for fabric (g-street, not so cheap), and i will already have the staples, like the $20 pair of shears i bought.  (lessons, lessons, expensive little life lessons)

anyway, the bottom line is, i need to get back into the things i enjoy:  writing, sewing, photography, dance, music.  those are things that are near and dear to the ole ticker, and i think that if i am able to do them, i will have a better handle on this stressful commitment i signed up for.  thankfully, most of these hobbies are “front end loaders,” which just goes to say that if you put money in on the front end, it will taper off later…unless i upgrade my camera to a flashy flashy bang bang sort of deal, which won’t happen for at least several years.  writing, i’ve got my laptop, macasaurus rex.  sewing has no machine yet, but this will come.  photography, got me a nice camera that takes awesome pictures…as soon as i get a good low light lens with a solid aperture, i will be happy for a while.  dance, i have my gillies, and when i get back into irish dance, i won’t have to get hardshoes for a while, though the class payments are a bit steep.  music…i have my bodhran.  so really, i am pretty much set for the time being.

i also realized that though it’s good to have some money put aside, i honestly don’t think it’s always the best thing to do.  maybe it’s the fact that i’ve never had the sense that money would be there later, so i’ve always felt it’s good to spend on what makes you happy as long as your necessities are covered.  i’m not sayin go buy ten thousand things you can’t afford, or even to go buy ten thousand things period.  but if you have a hobby, i consider that somewhat as an investment.  it may not have a monetary return, but peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment are worth more than money to me.

a proper dose of meandering

so long since i’ve written…at all.  maybe that’s why i’ve been feeling the way i am — i haven’t had the outlet i needed to just get stuff out.  mainly because i haven’t had the time, and when i do get a minute, i immediately enter this vegetative state that is completely prohibitive to anything creative.

and yet.

there’s a yearning here i don’t know how to describe.  to create, to build, to make something that wasn’t there before, to mold ideas and shape essences.  but at the end of the day, i mostly feel dead.  perhaps that’s melodramatic.  oh well.

i feel like nothing more right now than a burden to those around me.  i feel like i can’t open my mouth without some stress-filled fungus spilling out.  it’s polluting me and everything i say.

on the other hand, in a way there’s peace.  but that always comes with this wanting…something.  in so many ways i always find myself thinking that if i can just get past this next hurdle, something will give, and i’ll be able to rest, collect myself.

i realize how all of this sounds.  it’s awfully…depressing thinking that i’m not the only person who feels like this and who harbors the fears of being held captive to the endless monotony that is constantly scraping for a living forever.

maybe if i didn’t have to take extra classes and deal with constant hounding by various parties…maybe my job would be more bearable.  but as it is right now, i’m already feeling completely burnt out.  and i’m only 1/4 of the way through this commitment.  they say the second  year is easier…and the third even easier.  that last i can believe, because i won’t have the aforementioned extra classes and constant hounding.

i don’t know what i’m saying right now.

what i want most right now…more than anything at all…is quiet.  it’s warm arms around me and soft light.  right now it’s the only place i find peace.  such a simple thing really.  i don’t know how this world gets so very complicated.  i really don’t.  i guess that’s why it’s those very simple things that are what i need so much right now.  and in spite of that, i’m terrified to ask for it.

oddities, life lessons, and a starless void

maybe it’s working at a school, but i’m realizing lately just how much i’m learning about myself and how i work.  for instance, i’ve been trying to work on appreciating the small things in life as much as possible, like people who don’t tailgate and days when i can sleep in.  i’ve always sort of noticed the little things.  you’ll notice if you look at my facebook albums that i take an inordinate number of squirrel pictures.  i’m quirky.

i’m learning to appreciate a good quirk.  the squirrel thing is one.  i also tend to bounce when i have food — that’s something that i’ve mentioned before.

i really like sleeping.  as in…really like it.  so much i might even consider it a hobby.  first on the list is probably staying up late and sleeping in.  that is a glorious use of sleep right there.  there really isn’t much i find more personally satisfying than that, except perhaps adding a nice cuddle into the mix.  behind that is naps — the kind where you can get cozy in bed and curl up with a pillow.  again, also very nice if you add in a cuddle.  it’s one of my favorite things on the planet, sleeping.  maybe because the world just isn’t built for people like me, who function best between the hours of around 9 pm and 4 am.  add to that the fact that i get so anxious when i try to go to sleep that i have to drown out any little noises with a fan and have it completely dark, and i’m just not really made for this world.  so whenever i do get a chance to sleep and sleep well, i treasure it like it’s the last flower petal after a nuclear holocaust.

maybe that’s a little melodramatic…or not.

i also have some really ridiculous fears.  one i realized on the way to work this morning is that i’m afraid of the “friend zone.”  i think it’s an after-effect of one of the most favored relationship cliches:  “i think we’d be better off as friends.”  shudder.  what an awful thing.  of course, i’ve always been of the mind that the best relationships are passion rooted in very deep friendship, so hearing “we’re such good friends” as a reason to not be together is really counter-intuitive for me.  but maybe i’m weird.

on that note, and just because i thought of it, i’ve been thinking about just how many relationships begin about 2 seconds after meeting someone new.  you meet, you date — with dating as the way to get to know someone.  i’m a pretty picky person, so the percentage of people i like after a couple dates is pretty dismally low.  i think that’s one of the reasons i kinda hate dating.  i mean, face it — how often do people meet someone they really click with enough to have a relationship?  and i mean not just someone they can stand to be around for a few months — i mean someone who they genuinely like enough to get serious about.  that doesn’t happen very often.  and i see a lot of people who do the former and try to force it into the latter, which usually just makes a big, big mess.

maybe that’s why i’m so happy right now.  i’m in a relationship with someone i’ve known for almost a year and a half.  we didn’t start anything till now because of distance, but it sort of forced us to find out how we worked together.  and we work rather remarkably well.  i could get into this fully because frankly, i already knew that we still liked each other after over a year had gone by.  more, even.  i don’t have to worry about what i’m gonna think of him next month, and even better, i don’t have to worry about what he’s going to think of me.  he knows me pretty damn well, and he’s quite fond of me just as i am.

anyway, my current happy place aside.  i’m just sort of rambling.  i think i had other interesting things to say.

oh, right, that.  i remember now.  i wanted to talk about my fascination with preternatural critters.  you know, the ghoulies and ghosties, long leggedy beasties, things that go bump in the night, etc.  those ones.  (after seeing paranormal activity, “things that go bump in the night” take on a whole new level of yikes, by the way.  sheesh)  i have always, always, always liked the supernatural.  anything weird or creepy, gimme fangs and a full moon over sleepless in seattle any day (seriously, see above, re: sleep.  sleep > sleepless, hands down)

first of all, we’ll start with vampires.  and for the record, i’m not really that big a fan of the tragic vampire character.  you know, as in interview with, or angel from buffy.  or, *gasp, egads, the horror*, edward cullen.  i’m a big fan of the self-actualized vampire.  gimme a fanger who is quite fine and reconciled to her or his situation in unlife.  those characters are much more fun, because they’re just not so goddamn whiny.  “ooh, poor me, i’m beautiful and immortal and virtually indestructible, i don’t want to drink blood, call the waaaaambulance, wah.”  stake me now, why don’t you?

obviously, vampires in general are a rather interesting concept.  first of all, it’s not so entirely out of the ballpark of the conceivable.  there are plenty of critters on the planet who sustain themselves fully upon the nourishment of blood.  even some mammals.  so why not vampires?  plus, they’ve been so sensualized that they’re just so sexy.  vampires are irresistible.  even the ones who are supposed to just be ravening monsters (what you’d expect from say, 30 days of night if you only saw the movie and weren’t awesome enough to read the graphic novels).  they have an allure about them.  maybe it’s the fact that they almost always go for the neck, and that’s an erogenous zone for most people.  yep, i said it.  i think that might actually be one of the biggies in terms of why vampires rock people’s socks.  sexy little bloodsucking bastards.  bite my neck.

next, i’ll go onto witches.  i’m also gonna say here that they are not entirely out of the realm of possible.  who hasn’t looked up at the harvest moon in fall and felt that something magical could exist? there are plenty of unexplained phenomena out there that we don’t understand — not that they’re conclusively and ultimately unexplainable, but it’s usually enough to make you wonder on occasion.  witches are interesting as hell, because they can control things.  sometimes thoughts, sometimes manipulate the physical world or create something ex nihilo — all of which are really quite nifty tricks.  plus, they make great scapegoats.  someone in your village got cholera?  that’s because that grouchy old lady put a hex on her!  cows not givin milk?  damn witches must have spelled those titties.  better use them for combustibles.

which brings me to my main point about witches (not that they are flammable, weigh the same as a duck, or float).  witches are intriguing because they have power that allows them to change what is into what could be.  and we all know that human beings covet power.  that’s probably why witches have been both the subject of extreme interest in all of the literature, films, etc they have spawned/inspired and also got the whole short end of the scapegoat stick.  personally, i like them because they gots some shiny shit.

now for the furries.  and no, i’m not talking about people who strap on tails and perform bizarre sexual rituals (hey, to each their own.  if you wanna get some tail in a real and literal sense, at least it’s attached to a human and not something of the bestial variety.)  first of all, how freaking awesome would it be to change into another animal at will?  i can’t say i’d really enjoy having the moon dictate when i got furry with it, but if i could shift on command, that’d be sweet.  plus, the lycanthropes usually end up with the animal magnetism goin for them as well.  notice a trend with that?

on a very basic level, i think that psychologically, the furries represent the primal animal nature that we’ve (mostly) learned to eradicate in our oh-so-civilized culture.  the draw is about surrender to the instinct, surrender to the id.  (go, freud, go.)  so go for it.  take your tail and howl at the moon.  of course, lycanthropes are probably the most far-fetched of our preternatural critter zoological journey.  while you can stretch to think that psychic activity and bloodsuckers are within the stratosphere of the quasi-believable, shapeshifting is something that is like taking macroevolution and turning it up to eleven.  but they’re still fun as hell.

so that’s that bit.  now, since it’s about 2:23 am, and i’m wide awake, maybe that’s something to write about.  i really like nighttime.  first of all, i like the dark.  i have a hard time sleeping unless it’s as dark as possible.  cave-like, if at all feasible.  second, it’s peaceful.  maybe that’s the introvert in me; there are less people around after midnight.  i like the quiet of it, the serenity.  i also like stars, and i’ve always been fascinated by things in outer space.  nebulae and star clusters and galaxies far, far away……….. 🙂  ………..but really, there’s plenty of light when the sun goes down — it just doesn’t seem like it because it’s farther away.  i like night.

i think i’m kind of a weirdo.  i can’t help it, i suppose.  i like all manner of odd things.  i’ll go out of my way to step on a crunchy leaf in fall (look out, cos here they come).  i like looking at animals.  i’m very fond of tea.  i like books, movies, and videogames when they come with creepy crawlies and lots of blood and guts i can squash or shoot or pummel (or watch).  one of my favorite things is when someone brushes my hair back from my face.  i like the word “marmot.”  i cry when i think about world war ii.  i love all things celtic and handmade leather shoes.  i mostly don’t care for fashion, cos most of it doesn’t seem to really be me.  there’s an awful lot more to me than just that, i suppose.  when i read over that, it doesn’t sound all that weird, but i still often feel like i really don’t fit in.  i’m not sure what the reason for that is.

it’s another quiet night after a long sort of day.  my whimsy seems to have deserted me, and at the moment i feel sort of…lost and alone.  somedays the world seems so small that i can reach out and touch every part of it — see the rolling highlands of scotland with their heather and gorse, feel the grass of the planty under my hands with wawel castle in the distance in krakow, smell the olive trees in spain as the rainclouds roll in over the hills — but right now the world seems very vast, very much bigger than a very small me, with only a void slipping between my fingertips.

you can’t bleed a stone…

…at least i’m pretty sure that’s what a stone would tell you.  i mean, who wants to be bled?  better to discourage people from trying.

i used the above as a beginning to a short story i’m writing…sort of a tragic farce sort of a deal–with zombies.  you know.  for that je ne sais quois…or just for the ambience.  it’s still very much in vomit draft format, but i’m excited to see where it goes.  gore galore.  you know it.  i thank r.l. stine for that; his descriptions of purple rotting flesh have stayed with me since i was a wee thing using fear street as my bedtime stories.  always did like to be scared.

funny thing about that.  gimme monsters, zombies, vampires, ghoulies, ghosties…long-leggedy beasties and all those who go bump in the night, and i’m fine.  what really gets me quaking in my stylish, yet affordable boots is much more prosaic.

it’s life.

life is…really damn scary sometimes.  there have been times in the last few years where i have found myself reeling, thrown from hand to grasping hand without a clue of where i might land.  now is one of those times.  i’m scared shitless.

joss whedon really had it right — life is the big bad.  and i don’t know how to fight it.  i think if you handed me a stake and said, “vampire.  go, kill.”  i’d be fine.  that’s something you can fight — kill or be killed.  life’s got a much bigger gray area, and i don’t know where i fall right now.

some days i think i’m floating.  treading water, maybe.  other days — like the majority lately — i’m fairly certain my lungs are half-full (i’m an optimist, even in the face of sudden death) and i’m starting to see spots.

i’m working a job where i feel…grossly underqualified.  every day i walk through the doors of my high school and wonder who decided i had the right to teach these students.  i don’t have a license.  what makes me able to do this?  add to that the fact that someone has a rather quirky sense of humor and has decided to bypass regular curveballs for heat-seeking missiles, and you get…a mess.  i’m a mess.

i realized a few days ago that i needed to get back to myself.  somewhere in the last few months, i lost me.  not sure where.  this weekend, i wanted to go to the renn faire to see albannach — they’re my go-to for me-ness.  something about the drums, the kilts, the pipes…yes, the tattoos…it brings me home for a while.  although unfortunately, my body decided to pick this weekend to crap out on me, and i almost passed out from a fever mid-set.  probably didn’t help i was wearing a corset.  nope, probably didn’t help.

on the way back to my car, a guy started hitting on me.  being woozy, uncomfortable, and a little oblivious, i tried to politely tell him i was sick and needed to leave before i fainted.  to that, he replied, “i could give you mouth to mouth.”  i stared at him for a second, processing that.  before i could get my fuddled brain to compute a suitable response, he went on, “i could give you penis to mouth.”

now, if i had all my wits about me, that guy would have found himself the recipient of fist to face.  first of all, who the fuck says that?  it’s almost funny in a way…but then i remember the way i felt, standing there, feeling awful and sick and weak as a kitten…and how absolutely dirty and…violated i felt by that.  i turned and walked away as quickly as i could manage.

i spent this weekend home in bed, shooting shit on xbox.  and i realized that i need to get back to myself.  my life has been almost entirely taken over by work.  when i get home, all i want to do is sleep.  i never see my roommates; i have virtually no social life and very few good friends.  so i did some thinking, and this is what i came up with.

i need to write. i need to get back to my stories and being creative.  i think part of my problem is that i’m sort of…constipated.  in a creative sense.

i need a social life.  as usual, i’m stuck with the problem of most of my nearest and dearest being ever-so-far away.  and frankly, i’m lonely.  which may or may not be my own damn fault.

those are the biggies.  which is funny, cos they’re more personal life than anything…mainly i think because my professional life is so out of balance with my personal life right now.  some aspects of my personal life are in a healthy place and are good…but i feel so out of balance.

i’ve been listening to this band called hey rosetta!, and i’m loving it.  specifically the following songs:  new goodbye; i’ve been asleep for a long, long time; death is quick.

in congruence with my flustered state of mind…i’m gonna end this blog now.

take the leap

i’ve been meaning to post for a week now.  i’ve had an extreme amount of stuff on my mind in the past seven days, and i’ve had a lot of need to get it written out into some semblance of release, but i haven’t had the will.  i wrote some on paper, and that helped the most pressing need of my itchy fingers, but not all of it.  i’ve been thinking of a great deal of things.  this week has been one of upheaval, confusion, pain, and worry.  a couple themes have come through to me, and those are the ones i am going to try to write about today.  so here goes.

recognizing value
this is something i try to do all the time.  my favorite vampire slayer likes to say, “seize the moment.  cos tomorrow, you might be dead.”  or, as one of my favorite movies reiterates, “carpe the diem, man.  seize the….carp.”  if you don’t seize that carp, it’s gonna slither away, and you’ll never get it back.

this is something that has been on my mind for months now.  and that is that life is short.  at best, i’ve got about three-quarters of my life left.  time slips away, it slips away so quickly.  days roll into months, which turn into years, and before you know it, you’re looking back on a decade wondering how you got here.  apart from that, we never know what will happen.  a thousand times a thousand things could happen to truncate our already fleeting existence.  it’s weeks like this when i am reminded of the lessons learned by our mortality.  my mom landed in the hospital this week with a couple very serious conditions — a blood clot in her leg and 16 pulmonary embolisms (a fancy doctor way of saying that her the arteries in her lungs are blocked partially).  she didn’t get admitted, but she will be monitored very closely.  her health has been deteriorating for a while now, and it worries me that they didn’t catch this when they did.  she went to the ER a few months ago as well, and they didn’t catch this blood clot then.  my mom isn’t yet sixty.

my friend’s dad got in an accident, as well.  ended up in the hospital with a possible collapsed lung and internal bleeding.  two things, and they serve to remind me of how precious and fragile our time here is.  we can’t take a single breath for granted here.  as i sit and listen to the pounding of my heart, beating so quickly lately from all the stress, it is a reminder that i’m still here.  i’m still alive.

i try to live every day knowing that my time here is short.  i moved to dc because i had to do it for me.  for my own well-being, my own life.  and the things i am doing here are things that i will look back years from now and be glad for.  some situations are difficult for me right now, but i never want to look back and feel like i didn’t try my hardest.  there comes a time when that’s all you can do.  and then you just have to see what happens.

which brings me to the second theme of this week.

timing
i’ve heard a lot of people talk about timing, as if it were a separate being in and of itself.  when i look back over the events of the last several months, i can categorize the timing of events in a lot of different ways.  but at the end of the day, this is what i think:  there will never be such a thing of perfect timing.  our lives just keep moving.  time keeps going, and it waits for no one.  there will be ups and downs, obstacles and challenges no matter how good or bad the timing feels.

a for instance is my move here.  it might have been more prudent for me to move later rather than sooner, especially financially.  that said, if i had planned to move in mid-june instead of mid-may, my car would have still died the first week in may, and i would have been pretty royally screwed.  as it was, i landed here, with a place to stay and ended up getting the job i had been hoping for for months.  it was a gamble moving here; it was a big fucking risk.  and yeah, the timing’s not perfect.  i have a whole hell of a lot to do in not very much time, and i’ve spent a lot of the last week feeling distinctly overwhelmed, but i’m glad i took that leap.

there is a much more personal side of this theme that i can’t bring myself to line out here in detail, but my thoughts still hold, however vague this paragraph will sound.  after a year has gone by and countless hours of thinking, wondering, hoping have passed, i’m here.  life will always be full of complications and interruptions.  if we go through life always looking for reasons not to jump, not to take the leap, they’ll be there.  there will always be reasons not to.  i’ve thought a lot about the season finale of how i met your mother, which is where i got my phrasing — it’s called “take the leap.”  marshall spends a good part of the episode perched on the concrete firmament on the building’s roof, trying to jump to the next building over.  he has a lot of reasons not to.  he could fall several stories — that’s probably the biggest one.  but in the end, they all do it.  they all jump.  one of the other key lines is that life never takes you where you think it will.  unexpected things crop up all the time.  the point is, if you want something, whether it is a canadian “suit” or to reach a garden the next building over, there comes a time when you have to take the leap.

all that said, you see, is simply to say that life, in all its twists and turns, rollercoaster days and weeks — it’s just life.  and in the end, all that means is whatever we make of it.  you can let it just happen to you and wonder why the things you want pass you by, or you can jump out on that limb and see where it takes you.

all of the risks i’ve taken in this life, not a few of them being in the last several weeks, have led me somewhere.  i might fall flat on my face.  i might end up really, really hurt.  but i’m still here.  and all the trouble, all the anxiety and worry — it’s all worth it in those moments when everything just goes still and tranquil.  when i know with perfect clarity that i am right where i am supposed to be, and when for a while everything is effortless, and i can just…rest.

so to end right back where i started, although i do feel a bit better…where do we go from here?  i know where i would like to go, but you get nowhere along the long roads in life if you can’t take the first steps.

up too late, no sleep in sight

i’ve just teared up for the second time in a few hours.  the first was because i watched the bucket list, and aside from the point the movie was trying to make, i couldn’t help but be moved by ray’s wife.  it shows in the movie that theirs was a love that had fallen into ruin over the course of years.  yet when he came home finally, she lit up like a young girl.  she was ready to put on her sexy lingerie and make love to her husband…only to have him collapse on the floor and then die days later.  my heart wrenched for her as she came out of the bathroom glowing.  and saw her husband’s twitching legs on the other side of the bed.  to see her smile change to absolute agony was really…affecting.  she’s a secondary character in the film, and i felt like her story was tragic and painful.

i teared up again tonight talking to an old friend.  i’ve known him since 2006 — we were in poland together.  he told me the story of how his girlfriend and he got together.  it’s a beautiful story — they met four years ago and had a summer romance and never forgot about each other.  she found his number last november, and now they’re together, although they live three hours apart.  that’s not what made me teary though…sweet as it is.

karsten told me that i am strong.  he was the second person this late night to say that to me, and it kind of got to me.  today was a surreal day.  got up, was going to go to the arboretum, ended up doing paperwork for tfa and then going to see star trek…in the midst of the hum drum, i got a friend request on my second facebook account from an unwelcome source — a source i blocked on my normal account months and months ago — and a package of very odd easter trinkets from my dad, from whom i’ve barely heard in months.  he called me literally about 20 minutes after i got picked up at the airport last week here.  add to that a couple other slightly odd (but not bad) happenings and a bout of my chronic insomnia, and i was feeling a little less than strong.  karsten went on to say that he’s always thought i was a very strong person.  maybe i am, but i don’t feel like it.

a lot of the time i’m confused.  i don’t know what is expected of me.  i tend to be so blunt and candid that i forget that most people aren’t used to that.  there are all these nuances of human interaction that escape me.  i feel unsure of myself and nervous about how i’m perceived.  and i hate that something so arbitrary as a facebook friend request can send my heart into flutters and tie my stomach into knots.  i hate that i get nervous and a bit tongue-tied and shy.  there is so much to my personality that a lot of people never get to know because i’m afraid to let it show.  it’s stupid.  i’ve come out of my shell a lot, and i really like myself, but even when i feel strong, i never think of others seeing me that way.  not sure why that is.

so i teared up at that.  karsten told me that he thinks it’s amazing that i live my life and do what i need to do, wherever it takes me.  i always figure that people just see me as flighty.  i spend so much time trying to…i guess offer up what i have to give and wanting so much to share myself that i think i’m afraid it falls by the wayside.  not so much that it goes unnoticed but that it goes noticed and unwanted.  it’s almost five a.m., and i’m really not sure what i’m trying to say here.

i guess that…after an odd sort of day…watching a new day dawn from my own bed, i feel strangely hopeful.  maybe there’s hope for me after all.  so many things in my life right now seem to be falling into place.  some neatly with virtually no effort, others that will take work.  right now, at this moment, i feel like every one of them is worth the effort.  so i’ll keep moving forward and see where i end up — with teach for america, with washington dc, with people.  everything right now is the product of months of striving, toil, wondering, planning, hoping, working, and waiting.  and i’ll see it all through to the best of my ability.  maybe that’s strength.  if it is, i’ll take it.