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Bed Before Midnight?

In keeping with my strong desire to get some sleep tonight, I am going to make this quick.

Mondays usually suck.  Today, however, did not suck at all.  Instead, it turned out rather lovely.  Some highlights were:  getting my knee played like a guitar along with the music, a lovely strawberry cheesecake milkshake, MacGruber, Great Falls at the Potomac, and Dogfish Head for dinner.  Much better than the average Monday.

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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.

You Say Financially Questionable, I Say Necessary

Just a quick update to say that I am going to Scotland this summer! It was kind of a snap decision on account of me finding a good fare a solid $400 cheaper than anything else I had found, getting to see Julia, and taking a solid retreat into my favorite place in the world.

I cannot wait.  It’s been three and a half years since I was last there, at Christmas 2006.  So much has changed since then, but one thing’s for certain:  this is exactly what I need.

looking forward

i’ve just realized that i am absurdly excited about life right now.  i have a veritable smorgasbord of glory to look forward to — so of course, i decided to blog about it.  like ya do.

beyond simply being excited to get the hell out of class tonight (five hour lectures suck my arse), there is a lot in the future that’s gonna rock.

first of all, this weekend.  my friend mallory is coming to visit from denver — i haven’t seen her in well over a year, and i am so stoked to hang with her here in the great state of maryland.  (silver spring, represent)  so that’s gonna be sweet.

next weekend, albannach is comin back to the renn faire, and that’s just effing awesome.  especially because i was sick as a dog when they were here a week and a half ago, and i barely remember their set at all.  and i convinced the beautiful hannah to come with me so we can wear sexy corsets and show off our boobage, which, ya know.  is awesome.  and if i see the guy who said he’d give me penis to mouth, i’ll just grab a claymore and lob it off.  save him the trouble of trying to get it bitten.

next weekend after that, a couple friends may be coming into town (i am trying to bribe them), which would RULE…because the reason i’m trying to bribe them to come that particular weekend is cos my boyfriend’s band is gonna be playing a sold out show with far at dc9.  (yep, i said boyfriend — more on that later)  so if the dudes come from toledo, life’ll just freaking kick ass.

the weekend after that is halloween.  and there is no explanation needed for why that’s exciting.

the weekend after that, the fourth kind comes out, and i plan to go get the bejeezus scared out of me with my boyfriend.  so awesome.

then born empty’s comin to dc and also releasing their new album, the oddyssey chaoti-pop oddity.

then it’s my birthday, which i have decided will NOT suck this year.

and after my birthday comes another awesome holiday…goin to toledo for thanksgiving with le boyfriend, and that’s just going to be amazing.  so basically, the next two months are going to just kick some serious ass.  and tfa said i’d be in an emotional freefall.  psh.

sooo…back to the boyfriend thing.  basically, it’s a real long story.  if you know me, you probably know parts of it, but here’s the super-speedy nutshell version:  i met him in my living room in nashville, which also happened to be his living room.  we lived in the same house for three days, then he moved back to toledo…and i stayed in nashville.  we clicked.  four months later, i spent an amazing halloween with him in ohio.  three weeks later, i saw him at thanksgiving.  a month after that, we talked it all out.  we both ended up in dc…and now here we are.  that really doesn’t do it justice….not hardly.  but the point is that after a long 16 months of wondering if we’d ever get our chance, we finally decided to take the leap. he is, quite frankly, an amazing human being.  and i’m pretty much the luckiest woman in the world.

i have an awful lot going for me right now.  i’m gonna savor it, bask in it, and roll around in it.  so there.  🙂

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.

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.

signing my life away

As of right now, I have pledged the next two years of my life to closing the achievement gap in Washington DC with Teach for America as a special education teacher.  On my commitment webpage, they asked me to explain why I chose to join TFA.  So here it is.

I decided to join Teach For America because of the difference teachers made in my life and out of a desire to be the same for other low-income students who, like I did, maybe feel like there are barriers to their success.  I’ve made this decision because I strongly believe that all students, no matter how humble their origins and regardless of the color of their skin, are a wealth of potential for future success.  I believe that the achievement gap in America’s schools is something that keeps our nation’s greatest resource — the fresh innovation of brilliant minds — from being explored to its fullest potential.  I am committed to doing what I can to help tap that resource and show my future students the absolute ability they possess to grow, learn, and succeed in our country, as well as revealing to society the impact these students can have when they are given the chance.

So there it is.

Thanks friends, family — all of you dear ones out there — for your enthusiasm, your encouragement, and most of all, your steadfast belief in me.  Thanks for telling me to go for it so unequivocally.

Much love and happy smiles.

infatuation

but probably not the kind you’re thinking of.  or maybe, but that’s a whole other thing.

what i’m talking about is that font of effervescent joy, that bubble of feeling, that smile that tugs at the corner of my mouth when i realize where i am…and that i am home.  home.  haven’t felt like that in a while.  for god’s sake, i’m not even in my own place yet.  and yet.

call it love at first sight.  call it whatever you want.  but for the first time on this side of the atlantic, that plane’s landing gear hit the tarmac with a thud that infused me with utter contentment.  and i didn’t really think i would ever feel that on this side of the pond.  never in my life had i set foot in this city before thursday.  but here i am, and here i’ll…stay.  indefinitely.

what an amazing thing.

i realized last week before leaving nashville that my life has consisted of a series of expiration dates for as long as i can remember.  there was always another massive upheaval ahead.  nothing seemed solid.  each new home had a sense of the temporary about it.  and not temporary as in “move to another house in the vicinity” temporary — i mean that in the sense of another large, long-distance move ahead.  i was looking for something ephemeral, something i couldn’t quite grasp.  i was always pulled eastward.  i’ve known for a long time that if i were to live anywhere in the states on any kind of permanent basis, it would have to be on the east coast.  i’d planned to move to boston a few years ago with a friend, but she ended up running off with some polish guy and dropping off the face of the planet.

when i moved to poland, it had a timestamp.  scotland was always the same way.  when i returned to denver, it was the same.  always a nagging feeling of not-belonging in dcnver’s case — as for europe, there was always the knowledge that i carried the wrong passport.  i know people who have done it, up and left.  but those people without exception have a safety net in the states that i don’t have.  parents or family who could, if necessary, bail them out in a bind.  they may not agree with that, but they didn’t grow up at half the poverty level, either.  it’s always been too big of a risk for me, as much as i love europe.   wherever i’ve lived for the past six years of my life (longer, really), i’ve had this feeling that i’d have to leave soon.  for whatever reason.  that’s made life rough.  no continuity.  i think in a lot of ways, i’ve kept myself distant from people, knowing that i’d probably be leaving them soon.  it’s not really a good way to try to build lasting relationships.  and it’s not a good feeling, constantly seeing drastic changes on the horizon.

that feeling is gone.  i don’t see an expiration date in sight.  i don’t know if i will stay here absolutely forever, but let’s put it this way — i don’t see myself leaving any time in the foreseeable future.  and that is saying a whole hell of a lot.

i honestly don’t really know what to do with myself;  i’m that happy.  it’s still sinking in, and will continue to do so.  first job.  first bills (yeck).  first place of my own.  all that stuff.  but the fact that i don’t plan on leaving this place in a year or even two or three has filled me with so much happiness.

this city is freaking amazing.  i haven’t even seen all that much of it yet, but what i have seen is pretty sweet.  this, for example:

i could live there.

i could live there.

so right now, i’m nothing but joyful.  good things are happening in all corners of my life.  and the best thing about all of it is that there is no rush.  except maybe to find that first job.  🙂

calm

the chamomile tea burns my tongue as i sip gingerly from my cardboard cup.  calm. that’s the name of this magical herbal elixer.  so far, it’s not working.  the scents evoke memories in my mind.  plucking the little green herbs as a child, picking apart the yellow heads as the scent of fresh chamomile rose from the scraps.  the tea bag* now is filled with those little dried bits, sodden now in scorching water, combined with the tang of mint and some unidentified red specks that remind me, rather inappropriately, of pimentos.

as sweet and comforting as the scent and taste is on a normal day, today it may as well be listerine for all the good it’s doing for my nerves.

our brains are such fickle things.  greatest ally and archnemesis at the same time.  how sad.

this week has been a bit of a rollercoaster.  i have been surprised at a few moments, mostly pertaining to my job.  here they are in hodge-podge format.

our broker and i share a love for hardcore rock.  i always loved rob zombie and marilyn manson when i was a teenager.  this woman does not strike me as someone who would like that kind of music…and it just goes to show how much working in a corporate environment can do to strip people of their identities and hobbies.  we had a great conversation about music with lots of screaming.  it was pretty awesome.

i’ve realized writing this that a lot of people don’t know that about me, either.  welp, now you do.

i shouldn’t have gotten groceries for this week.  i’ve been treated to lunch so many times.

my boss’s dad took me out for a two hour lunch on wednesday.  it was honestly one of the most pleasant times i have had.  he is such a genuine, caring man, and i truly enjoyed talking to him the whole time.  he told me over and over this week how sad he is that i’m leaving.  and told me that his wife and friends (many of whom have come into the office) are really quite dejected as well.  he said they all had nothing but the best things to say about me, and that they really will miss me.  i was touched.  as i stood there smiling awkwardly, he told one of his guests that i would go out and do great things for the world.  his guest,  expressed a hope that he would see me again and echoed mr. andrews’s statement that i would go on to impact wider reaches.

my boss, the owner of this company, came up yesterday afternoon to say goodbye, even though he’s around today.  he told me this place was too small of a pond for me, and…as i write this, he just now came up to me again on his way out the door, handed me a check for $100, and told me he hoped i would come back to visit.  i’m truly blown away.

melanie, our office manager, gave me one of the sweetest and most touching cards i think i’ve ever received.  suffice it to say that i’ll miss her.  a lot.  she also printed out the recommendation she wrote for me to teach for america.  after reading that, i’m more than shocked.  i don’t think anyone has ever written anything so glowing about me.

two of our agents, a mother and daughter team, gave me a card with $50 in it.  they left before i could thank them.

one of our other agents (who recently transferred his license to another firm)  is taking me to lunch today.  he’s been one of the most friendly people i’ve met here, and a genuinely good guy.  his son is a great reader, and i’ve really enjoyed knowing them both.

another agent who also transferred her license is taking me to coffee on tuesday afternoon.  she and i really bonded over lunch breaks in the kitchen and talking about all sorts of stuff.

a good friend (not from work) has been driving me to work and back for the last week.  seventy miles of driving a day.  words can’t even describe how grateful i am.  it means so much to me.

another friend gave me $140 to help me out. others have helped pack and move boxes and given me tremendous amounts of moral support.

basically, i feel beyond lucky right now.  about work…even though this job isn’t something that i really aspire to, the people here have been absolutely priceless.  i don’t even know what to do with myself.

i’ve gone through a lot of my life being rather cynical.  but i have to say, more and more this year, i’m finding that people are surprising me…for the better.  and that’s something i’m going to hold onto through the next 5 days.  maybe that chamomile tea worked after all.

*i can’t think about “tea bag” without my brain going to a gutter place.  thanks, republican party and all your tea parties that spawned relentless jabs of tea-bagging.  yep.  thanks.

quirks, quips, faults, and foibles

this is something i’ve been thinking about for some time now.   what i’m talking about is a combination of things, really.  firstly, it’s made up of those little idiosyncrasies that everyone has.  foibles, quirks, oddities.  the second part is more serious — it consists of what people like to term as “issues.”  both of these things are parts of what make us who we are, some more negative than others.  the former can generally be considered endearing (or irritating).  the latter can cause some major problems.

the little quirks and foibles are just little habits, mannerisms, likes, dislikes — anything ever-so-slightly outside whatever is considered “normal” human behavior.  everyone has quirks.  they’re really what makes each of us a perfect, unique little snowflake of a person.  i have heaps of them.  for instance — i tend to go out of my way to look at animals or interesting bits of nature; i have a flair for — what i hope is — humorous hyperbolic melodrama;  i have what could be considered a compulsion to “lay my cards on the table,” so to speak;  i have numerous little phrases to which i am rather attached;  and i (subconsciously) bounce when i’m excited — i tell myself that i’m not really bouncing, that rather i’m standing dynamically, but there it is.  there are more than that, of course, but those are the ones i’m aware of.  they’ve been brought to my attention sometimes positively, sometimes unkindly.  i didn’t really notice my tendency to stand in dynamic fashion until an old roommate one day started laughing in the kitchen, where i was excited about some bit of food or another — i do very much enjoy muffins — and said, “aaaand you’re bouncing.”

i love finding other people’s quirks.  my best friend has a way of ending long monologues with a single word that sums up her sentiments about the whole story — often “dead” or “jackass.”  my roommate lets out a long sigh whenever he comes through the door after work.  another friend has the tendency to sing my name on my voice mail, and yet another has a penchant for smiling in the most evil possible way in every photograph.  the office manager at my current place of business talks back to her voice mail aloud.

to continue my fascination with good will hunting, robin williams’ as sean says at one point, “people call these things imperfections, but oh, that’s the good stuff.”  that sums up my feelings on the subject quite well.  i’m very much inclined to agree with him.  the difficult bit is finding people who feel that way about our little idiosyncratic ways — whether they’re sending a picture message of a particularly tasty cookie or taking a native rock from each new beach we visit.  some people will inevitably find our quirks annoying, but you know you’ve found a winner of a friend when your various foibles only make them like you more.

the second part of this is the subject of issues.  by “issues,” i’m referring to the deep-seated emotional hang-ups all of us have gathered — usually unsolicited — in our lifetimes.  from fear of commitment and lack of trust for others to the paralyzing fear of abandomnent or rejection, these are hard, heavy, and most often come complete with painful associations.

the sad part is that they’re seldom of our making.  usually they are due to what has been done to us, things we would have much rather avoided if we’d had a say in the matter.  my own in this category tend to be abandonment, rejection, and trust, with a healthy spattering of commitmentphobia for good measure.  fear of judgment and censure rounds out the bouquet of badness in my emotional cask of bitter wine.

i’m willing to bet i’ve got others.  in addition to that, some things i personally consider to be strong points can be taken negatively by others.  my candor can be seen as hurtful, and my forthrightness can be taken as a tendency to overshare.  my independence can make me seem aloof, and my sarcasm can make me seem angry or uncaring.  that really can’t be helped, although i do my best to ensure that i utilize tact and pay attention to the comfort levels of others when it comes to more personal things.  doesn’t always work, but i try.

when it comes to this second half, these gaps, these “faults,” the most important thing in my opinion is to recognize them for what they are.  we are, all of us, the products of our experience in the world.  our interactions with other imperfect people often leave us scarred and in pain, sometimes frightened and gunshy.  sometimes angry and bitter.  sometimes an intricate combination of all of the above.

the important thing, as i said, is to recognize what issues we carry in our repertoire and to try and figure out where they come from — although sometimes that’s painfully obvious.  that way, when we have one of those crazy-making moments we all get, we can take a step back and a deep breath, figure out if what we’re thinking or feeling is stemming from the actual situation or if it’s a product of past experience projecting itself upon our current lives.  it’s not surefire, and we’re bound to occasionally feel utterly nuts, but as long as we are honest with ourselves about our issues, we can work on them and work through them.

i’m also a firm believer in open communication.  if we’re trying to have a relationship of any kind with another human being — no man is an island, etc., etc. — these issues can cause some serious problems.  i try to be as up front with my own baggage as possible, in context of whatever situation in which i find myself.  for me, it provides at least a modicum of extra accountability.  that way, someone else can let me know if i’m acting crazy (hopefully with a bit more tact than that), and i can stop for a second to figure out why, then get over it and move on.

it’s a way to strive for a sort of complementary interdependence (as opposed to unhealthy co-dependence) in any kind of relationship.  not sure i succeed, but i’m trying.  and i do recognize the issues i have and make a concerted effort to resolve them as best i can, or at least limit the sphere of their influence so they don’t fuck with my head too much.  everyone has issues.  as long as we recognize them for what they are and take a proactive stance in dealing with them, they can’t get the better of us and ruin our relationships further.  in the end, i think that’s all we can ask of ourselves — just to strive, grow, learn, and find others who want to come along for the ride.