Thursday, October 29, 2009

Conscious of my subconscious

The Athlete was never mine to begin with, so I think that minimizing the bummed out factor from yesterday’s news would be wise.

I should have known better.

He proved to me, more than a year ago, that he was just like every other professional athlete – collecting girls like trading cards. When he came home this summer, I chose to ignore it. Pretended that I didn’t know that he had drunk dialed me despite having a girlfriend elsewhere.

The attention was nice.
And he is adorable.
And the idea of him – living his lifelong dream, getting paid to do what he loved, living in Europe, great with kids, close with his family – was enough to obscure my better judgment.

But when it came to that bar crawl, I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t let down my guard enough to throw myself at him.

I thought, at the time, that it was because I was scared. Or too shy. Or too awkward.

But maybe I knew better. Despite not knowing that I knew better.

“You sort of subconsciously protect yourself,” Accidentally Me, one of my favorite bloggers, said to yesterday.

She might be right.

I want them although I shouldn’t. I pursue them despite their flaws. And it falls short. Is finished before it begins.

Due to, perhaps, a little more of my influence than I allow myself to see.

I wanted Colin. But I never let him in. Because I knew that he was selfish and immature and emotionally broken. I told myself otherwise. I fell for my own trickery. But my subconscious never believed it.

I wanted The Athlete. But I didn’t push it. I couldn’t make the move. And I thought it was because I am a coward. Not because my subconscious knew that I would never be nothing more than another conquest. A name on a lengthy list. While I was busy tallying everything adorable about him, my subconscious was broadcasting the truth. Manwhore. Manwhore. Manwhore.

And so I don’t allow things to happen. Even though I want them to. Or, to be more precise, think that I want to happen.

And so these things don’t work out.

Which I’m used to. I am used to these things not working out.

What I’m not used to, however, is the suggestion that the failures aren’t because of me. It isn’t how I look or what I wear or my personality.

It is because I’m picking the wrong guys.

And because my subconscious is unpicking them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ignorance is so blissful

I like Facebook. A lot.

But I do not like Facebook when it tells me things that I would rather not know.

Weddings and babies are fabulous. Honestly.

The girl flying from here to Europe to see The Athlete for a week? Not fabulous. That girl was not his girlfriend during the infamous bar crawl. And he left, like, four days after that. But she’s “in a relationship” and she’s making the transatlantic booty call.

Fuck. Not fair.

(Note to self: stay off of Facebook until the end of time because that girl is going to post pictures of her trip and my head is going to explode.)

(Did I mention that this girl is an acquaintance of my sister? [Awkward.] Or that she also has curly hair? Or that she is younger than me, which feels weirdly weird mcweirderson?)

Seriously, though. This kid was NOT in a relationship – not one that wasn’t super secret (or one of convenience, anyway) – at the end of summer.

He’s kind of skeezy.

Oh, of course he is. He drunk dialed me for a booty call when he had a girlfriend in Europe last summer. He was skeezy then. He is still skeezy now.

Hate that I’m fully aware of that and have a thing for him anyway.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sleepy and Sad

I thought, on Friday and Saturday, that I might be getting over the hump in terms of getting used to my new (insane) schedule. Thursday morning was an epic battle to keep my eyes open; I was quite relieved when Friday and Saturday mornings met me with a little more energy and much less of a struggle.

But, judging by how hard it was to lift my head off of the pillow this morning, I’d say that my temporary boost of energy was more due to adrenaline – worrying about my cousin Danielle – than anything.

Update on Danielle: my aunt bailed her out of jail, despite my mom strongly believing that their best bet was to leave her there, safe and uncomfortable, until they got to California. Somewhat surprisingly, they were able to find Danielle when they got into town. My mom says that she’s completely different. Very angry. She goes to court this morning. My mom, aunt and uncle will fly home tomorrow. Without Danielle. And, basically, without accomplishing anything. She doesn’t want help. She isn’t ready for help.

It is a shitty situation.

The worst part about it, for me, is the realization that it is very unlikely that Danielle will ever again be the Danielle I knew before her mental illness. The cousin who I didn’t see often but loved to death. Every second I spent with Danielle was fun. Every time she came home it was a treat.

It is almost as though a member of my family has died.

It feels awful.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mental illness

Oh, Danielle.

I'm really scared for you.

You've been on this downward slope for a while. From across the country, we've seen it. We. Your family.

I'm scared -- we're all scared. Because you can't see your behavior. You don't know. You don't know that you're irrational and impulsive and oh so very mean. You aren't aware of how dangerous your behavior is.

You're falling fast and you don't realize that you even stepped over the edge. We're below. Racing. With pillows and parachutes to catch you with. Furiously calling the fire department.

You don't even know you're falling.

I hope that last night is enough.

Can you try? Can you try to see that you're not okay? That knocking on someone's door for hours isn't okay? That spitting on a police officer and landing yourself in jail is not okay?

People that you love -- my mom and your mom and your dad -- are ready to fly across the country for you.

But they can't help you unless you want to be helped.

Please, please accept the help. Allow yourself to get the help you need to get better. We miss you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

April showers

I’ve known that Lucy occasionally hangs out with ex-friend April.

April, who was in Lucy’s wedding. April, with the toxic, engaged (to someone else) boyfriend. April, whose friendship with our group of girls went down with a dramatic temper tantrum at a bar. April, who crawled back to Lucy for counseling after the toxic, engaged (to someone else) boyfriend abruptly broke up with her...because he was getting married. Within days.

When April called Lucy for – I guess I don’t know what it was for. Support? – when she was dumped, Lucy told me about it. It was a sad story, honestly, but it was a story that we were all expecting. He wasn’t dumping the girlfriend for April. And, despite what he said, he never planned to.

April was devastated. She called Lucy for help. And, of course, Lucy obliged.

“Don’t you feel used?” I asked her. It was well over a year since she and Lucy decided (in the parking lot of the bar on the night of the infamous temper tantrum) that they couldn’t be friends any longer. April hadn’t made any attempt to rekindle their friendship. But she was happy to use Lucy’s shoulder to cry on when she was at her lowest.

Lucy admitted that, yes, she felt a little used. But that is the kind of person Lucy is. She’ll drop anything for a person she cares about. Even if they don’t deserve it.

April’s breakdown didn’t rekindle their friendship. She got her free counseling and disappeared again. Calling or stopping by occasionally, Lucy has mentioned. I don’t think – but maybe I’m just not told – that they see each other regularly.

When I saw that April had written on Lucy’s Facebook page about them getting together? It made me a little sick.

I’m not going to say anything to her. I don’t think it is my place. There’s a reason she doesn’t mention April in conversations.

But it just bugs me.

April is the kind of person who regularly – again and again (I could recite 5 or 6 examples of this) – “broken up” with friends. She clicks with a group of friends. Hangs out with them exclusively for a year or two. Gets in a huge fight. Cuts off all communication. Rinse. Repeat.

She can’t keep friends.

Personally, I feel like there is a reason for that.

So it bugs me to think that she may be pulling Lucy back in. Not because I don’t want to share Lucy. But because I feel like April can’t be a real friend. And Lucy is as real as friends get.

I just hate to think that she’s being used.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This morning can go to hell

I knew it was a bad sign when I dropped half of my bagel in the parking lot.

Yesterday, the office manager had locksmiths at our building. Updating keys and locks and whatnot - so those who needed to get into certain areas can, and so that those who don't need to get into those areas can't. Typical.

And, on a morning where I dropped half of my breakfast into the parking lot with a glorified splat (whipped cream cheese + cement = disaster), OF COURSE no one else is at the office yet. And OF COURSE the locksmiths screwed something up so that my key can no longer open the building.

I am so bitter.

The end.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monster in my closet

Among the worst feelings in the world: opening my closet on weekday mornings.

Generally, by the time I’m standing before my wardrobe, I should already be dressed and packing my lunch. But I get drawn into some story on GMA and I made the mistake of checking my email and then I’m running five minutes late. Or ten minutes late. Or twelve.

(I still get to work on time.)

But I hate that part of the morning, where I open up my closet and I have to find something to wear.

Something that is clean
matches
hides my self-conscious-zone-o’-the-week
fits dress code
doesn’t make me look like a 16-year-old
or a 50-year-old
is not a damn suit
preferably requires little to no ironing

And – most challenging – doesn’t bore me.

My work clothes all bore me.

Those pants? OMGhowmanytimeshavetheybeenworninthelast6months?
That skirt? I wore it to my high school graduation.
And I wore that blouse last Thursday. It is only Monday and I am absolutely certain that my coworkers intently scrutinize my wardrobe and will harshly judge me for not waiting at least a week between each wearing.

The moral of today’s story is that it is time to find a bit of motivation and do a bit of shopping.

Or maybe have my mom do it for me.

I’m busy.

(Lame excuse, no? What kind of woman is too busy to find time to go shopping?)

Truth: I would be happy to go shopping for clothes to wear to work if it were half as fun as, say, shopping for cocktail dresses. Or handbags.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spinster

While I was getting into bed last night (at 9:45 pm. Wearing a bulky hoodie and an enormous pair of matching sweats. And pink socks with figure skates on them.) I stopped for just a second, glancing over at the few pairs of pants I'd left on the other side of the bed.

"It's a good thing that I'm single," I thought to myself. "Otherwise I'd have to move those pants."

And with that, I took one step closer to becoming a crazy old cat lady.

"It's a good thing that I'm single," I'll mutter to myself. "Otherwise I'd have to clean those litter boxes for fear of scaring my man away."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My list is always growing

I wonder if there is a clinical diagnosis for this.

Around noon today, I was driving home from skating.
Well, I wasn't driving home. I was driving to work. My boss needed me to do something.
And, from there, I was going to Mom and Dad's.
And from there I was going to my hockey game.
And then to the grocery store to pick up supplies to bake a coworker a birthday cake.
And, when I got home, I was going to make a pot of soup.
And take a shower. And dry my hair. And go to bed as early as possible.

I'm in my car. Crazy driving from one commitment to the next. Weekend. Weekday. Doesn't make a difference. So typical.

And I'm thinking to myself about how I really should look into joining a knitting group that donates its projects to charities.

Because that is what I need. Another project. Another obligation.

(It is insane. But I think I'm going to do it. If I'm going to knit -- why not do it for something/someone that matters?)

Friday, October 16, 2009

On always having the shivers

At my full time job, I work with mostly men. My office is in the west wing of the building, where the president and the vice president (my boss) sit. The president and vice president, both former professional athletes, are big men. Huge men. Miniature mountains of humanity. They do not get cold.

As a result, I do not get warm.

I must have an imperfect circulatory system, because the tip of my nose is especially cold. I’ve been known to be caught pressing my warm coffee mug to my face in an attempt to defrost my sniffer. It is quite ridiculous.

I am not beyond putting on a pair of skating tights under my pants. And stashing a blanket under my desk is becoming a very real possibility.

Earlier this week, my boss suggested doing jumping jacks and a variety of other calisthenics to warm up. Lovely idea. Especially in heels.

I make do. With cup after cup of coffee and tea and hot water. And remembering to bundle up at home.

At my new part time job, I work with mostly women. I suspect that this has something to do with a critical difference: I was working AND could feel the end of my nose.

I don’t have the proper words to express the thrill that I felt when my body registered the temperature at the library yesterday.

I thought, for a moment, that I was on a tropical island. And getting paid for it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wide-ass Wednesdays: Week 2

This is probably a bad time to do this.

But that doesn't mean that I'm going to quit.

I've just jumped into Really Really Busy. And, while treading water in Really Really Busy is time consuming, it isn't much of a workout.

Not being a lazy ass takes a lot of planning. It requires me to go to the grocery store so that I have something to eat other than macaroni and cheese. It requires me to pack food so that my lunch consists of something other than Twix bars I steal from the office candy dish. It requires a fully stocked gym bag. And the time and willpower to get to the gym. And actually stay on the treadmill once I'm there.

This is not impossible.

It is just going to take some work.

Work that I'm willing to put in. Because I swear that the pants I wore yesterday were a little tight in the thighs. And I'd really like to finish this 10k in with a reasonable time.

Also: I need to establish a schedule and I need to prove to myself that I can work 60 hours a week and still have a life. And a decent physical fitness level.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reality and on

My diploma frame has been hanging on my wall since this summer. Empty.

Today, I finally fished my diploma out from the drawer I'd stuffed it in. I took it out. Put it in the frame. It looks lovely, hanging just above my bachelor's degree.

I'm official now. I have the matching job to go with the fancy paper. I'm allowed to be happy about my degree. It means something.

This week - the start of this new job (in addition to keeping my old job - at full time status for now) feels like the start of something more. Like perhaps I'm finally turning the page on a new chapter. From the working in a job I hate/living alone the East side/letting Colin continually break my heart chapter to the Living with Anna/working full time/going to school/being exceptional single chapter to... to... to whatever this chapter brings.

A new job is a good start. But I think there's more in store for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

An eye for an eye?

Emma and Anna's grandpa died last week. The funeral was on Saturday.

My immediate family all went to the service, obviously (we've spent many a holiday and birthday with Emma and Anna's grandparents). As did my dad's sisters -- even though he is my mom's sister's father-in-law. We're quaint and close like that.

Emma called me when we were driving to the church. "I JUST MET AUNT JACKIE!"

Me: "You have an Aunt Jackie?"

Emma: "Uncle Alan is here! WE have an Aunt Jackie."

Oh. Of course. It makes perfect sense that my estranged uncle would go to his brother-in-law's dad's funeral. Especially since he hates his brother-in-law. And hasn't seen the deceased in 10+ years. And can't be bothered to show up for a family function.

And what a great place to introduce your new wife!

My mom insist that Meg and I introduce ourselves to Aunt Jackie. I put up a little of a fight. But then Mom flashed The Look and I instantly complied. My mom can be pretty damn scary when she wants to be.

Uncle Alan and New Aunt Jackie are talking to my Aunt Annette and Aunt Lynn. We sneak over. Uncle Alan gives Meg a hug. Meg is introducing herself to New Aunt Jackie. Uncle Alan leans in to give me a hug. I step forward and extend my hand to Jackie. I was spunky, smiley. "Hi! I'm Aly!" She pulled me in for one of those half-handshake/half-hugs.

And there is Uncle Alan, holding his arms open to...nobody.

I stepped away from Aunt Jackie. And I stepped away from the group. I did what my mom asked of me.

In the meantime, I totally brushed off Uncle Alan.

I didn't think anything of it. Until Aunt Annette brought it up later. "You gave Uncle Alan the cold shoulder, hmm?"

It wasn't intentional.

I also don't feel bad about it.

He treats my family like shit. He does everything he can to hurt my grandma. (Include the exact thing I did to him.) He doesn't see his sisters. He ignores the existence of his nieces and nephews. He quit the family. Except for showing up for funerals - so he can occasionally look like a good guy to bystanders.

If my mom knew how I turned my back on him, how we didn't exchange a word, how I didn't make eye contact with him - she would be furious.

I understand that. She would want me to be a bigger person.

But I don't want to be the bigger person. I want him to know that I can turn my back on him. That he can't waltz back into the family and be greeted with nothing but hugs and smiles. I'm not going to do what they do. I'm not going to pretend to be happy to see him.

It might make me just as bad as him.

I might not care about that, either.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wishful Thinking

Conversation with my grandfather, whose mother was a librarian.

Grandpa: You start your library job on Monday?
Me: I do!
Grandpa: You know, my mother met my father when she was working at the library.
Me: ...

Friday, October 09, 2009

So I’m also a large nerd

I love blogging.

I love blogging for a lot of reasons. It gives me a reason to write. It is an outlet for my creativity. It’s a place to bitch so that my friends aren’t so burdened by my incessant bitching. I get good advice. I make friends. I get to see how other people think, live, write, feel.

And I learn that I’m not quite as weird as I’ve always assumed that I am.

For every one of my quirks – for every ridiculous thing that I love or feel or wish – there is another blogger who loves or feels or wishes the same.

It is unquestionably comforting.

Today my comfort came from Jenna Bans on Grey Matter, the Grey’s Anatomy writer’s blog.

"So I’m a large nerd. I like my parents. A lot. I like to hang out with them, I talk to them almost every day on the phone. I was the person in high school who was like, nah, I don’t think I’m going to that party, I’ll probably just chill with the ole’ parental unit. We’ll order a pizza, play a few board games – it’s gonna be a blast if you want to stop by…yep, I was that girl. (I know you’re wondering and yes, shockingly, I still had a few friends my own age.) Even now, I get a three day weekend and I’m usually off to Minneapolis to hang with the parents. Now I recognize that that’s super weird and slightly creepy to most people, including my husband. He’s all, ew nerd, stop being so obsessed with your parents. But I am. I just like ‘em. They’re good peeps. And they gave me a very happy and stable childhood – which I took for granted until I moved to Los Angeles and started working in television – because amongst creative types, I’m figuring out the normal upbringing is quite the rarity."


Maybe I’m still a freak.

But I’m not the only freak in the world. And that is always good to know.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Incoherent

I
don't have any idea
how I will balance.

This
beam
it is very narrow.

Disappointing
Anyone
Is not an option.

If it were manual labor
my fingers?
Perhaps to the bone.

I'm nervous.
Genuinely.

I'm capable.
Unquestionably.

Every day
Must be
taken individually.

With some planning.
For food.
Programming the DVR.

My boss
Agreeable
Not thrilled.

The time to prove
his worries wrong
begins Monday.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wide-ass Wednesdays: Week 1

I'm not dieting, exactly, so I am not overly concerned about the apple-cranberry crisp or the birthday cake or the Rice Krispie treats. I'm not dieting, but I'm putting a little more into what I pack for work.

And I'm actually eating lunch at work now -- I hadn't had the time to since the springtime -- and it does wonders. Who would've thought? Eating really isn't just for fun, but also for fuel. Shocking.

I need a little more work in the gym commitment area. I ran last Thursday and on Monday. I took yoga both today and last Wednesday. Hockey last night. Skating on Sunday. That probably seems like a lot. But my body is used to that kind of activity. It is time to step it up on running days. And probably squeeze some running in on Sundays and perhaps before yoga on Wednesdays.

Finding a balance is hard. I'm tempted to make a spreadsheet. Set my alarm extra early. Obsess and push.

But I don't really think that is what I want. It shouldn't feel like a job. It shouldn't feel like a chore. It -- when I'm done -- should feel like the right thing. I'm just being extra conscious. Training myself.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Getting an answer

Or not.

My boss has been blowing me off for almost two weeks now. He’s pretty much sitting on this and waiting for it to go away, which I don’t really appreciate. But it is sort of how he is. I’m not shocked.

We talked about it last week. We discussed me going part time. We discussed me working an evening or two at one of the company’s other facilities. He didn’t give me an answer.

“But you don’t want to lose your benefits,” he said to me in that meeting.

“It isn’t ideal,” I told him. “But I understand. I’m not putting you in an ideal situation either.”

He just pulled me into his office with the one-woman HR team.

“We want to make this work for you,” he said, “but I don’t see how we can.” His concern is that I would be gone on Mondays, which are busy. And his concern is that they won’t be able to find a part-time employee who would be willing to work only on Mondays. I understand that, too.

He basically said that anything but my dropping my benefits and going to part-time is out of the question. Which is okay. They’re increasing our contribution to our benefits. I’m young and healthy and can buy my own insurance policy. I’ll be making more money at the library. It would all balance out – possibly in my financial favor.

But this is all contingent on them being able to find someone who wants to work on Mondays. Only Mondays.

The one-woman HR team is interviewing someone right now. (Which I can hear. Which is awkward.)

She has someone else in mind, too.

I feel a little sick about the whole thing.

Giving up your benefits and vacation time is way less scary in the abstract.

Monday, October 05, 2009

I cut my hair a month ago

Yet have neglected to post a photo until now.

(Full disclosure: my camera isn't working.)





So far, I'm liking it.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Not cool

"I don't think I can go out with Colleen anymore," I blurted into the phone as soon as Lucy picked up. No greeting. Just the truth.

When we were in Ohio, Colleen was a mess.

Two weekends later, she repeated the same stunt. Minus the one-night stand.

We went out for my birthday. And, at 1 AM, I was dumping a bowl of her vomit down the sink.

She doesn't mix well with alcohol. That is the easiest way of putting it. When we were getting ready to leave for the night, she was going on and on about how she was going to do a better job of pacing herself. "I'll drink exactly what you two drink," she said. "...except for just a tiny bit more, because I have a higher tolerance."

And if a "tiny bit" means four or five drinks then, yes, she stuck to that plan.

It was awful. Absolutely awful.

When we go out with her, Lucy or I usually take on the role of Colleen's babysitter. Watching what she drinks. Watching what she says. Watching what she does. It is exhausting. Inevitably, at the end of the night, whichever one of us didn't babysit Colleen thanks the babysitter profusely. The babysitter always sacrifices a good time. And Colleen usually gets pretty damn drink and unruly anyhow.

She hasn't always been like this. Sure, she wasn't ever the most responsible drinker. But it wasn't like this. It wasn't getting ridiculously shitfaced every time she went out.

I despise how she's acting, how much she is drinking, the choices that she chooses to make. And I feel like, by going to the bar with her, I'm condoning her choices.

I don't go out with her so that I can go to bed feeling guilty.

I can't go out with her. I honestly can't do it anymore. Something must change.

Friday, October 02, 2009

27 for my 27th

I've been meaning to make a list, The List - call it a bucket list if you must - for a while.

I envisioned it 100 items long. Perhaps one day it will grow to such a size.

For now: 27 in honor of my 27th birthday.

  • Visit Norway with my mom
  • Golf 18 holes
  • Own a dog
  • Run a marathon
  • Carry absolutely no credit card debt
  • Make a quilt
  • See a show on Broadway
  • Attend the North American International Auto Show’s Charity Preview wearing a fabulous dress
  • Sing at a karaoke bar
  • Get a hot stone massage
  • Have my blog printed and bound
  • Eat at a Korean restaurant
  • Learn ice dancing: test through at least the Bronze level
  • Sew a Halloween costume for my child
  • Host Thanksgiving dinner
  • Go to a Winter Olympics
  • Have my teeth professionally whitened
  • Learn to knit my family Christmas stocking
  • Donate money – in the form of a 5+ digit check – to UM
  • Give snowboarding a try
  • Own a digital SLR camera, use it to take amazing shots
  • Fall in love
  • Coach a youth soccer team
  • Get so good at making pie crusts that I’m not crippled with fear every time I make them
  • Travel to Israel with Lucy and Chet
  • Knit a sweater
  • Volunteer at a hospital

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Shaking things up

This is always how it is with my life. This is always, always how it is.

There is a lull.

It is quiet.

There is a lull and it is quiet and I cannot. stand. it.

So I fill my life up. I apply for graduate school. I return to my job as a skating instructor. I decide not to renew the lease on my apartment.

I take my snow globe life and I shake it. I shake it violently and then I marvel at how quickly it all whirls around me.

I do it over and over again.

I can't explain what it is that compels me to do it. What draws me to shake as soon as it all settles.

But I wonder if, some day, there will be a situation that is so perfect - a time where I am so content - that it will transform me.

That's what I want. To be so damn happy with my life that I want to tiptoe around it. Just to be sure that it doesn't change.
 
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