Saturday, July 31, 2010

Teacher Mode

This girl (or "gal," according to that one neighbor, who I still can't get out of my mind) is in teacher mode. I've been prepping to teach a mini-lesson at the private school I applied to. I'm very excited. But what the hell does one teach 9th, 10th, and 11th graders? I'm figuring that out, and I'm having a good time doing so. (Nerd alert, I suppose!)

Along the lines of teacher mode, I've been wanting to share the things that I've been reading. I've been trying to get more into Oklahoma literature, and a few weeks ago I finished Carol Johnson's novel, Everlasting. Johnson got her MA from the University of Tulsa, and Everlasting was published by a local company owned by another TU graduate. I liked the feel of the book, and it was exciting to read a local writer's first work (it gives one hope, you know!).

Everlasting has a character named Addy, which is the same name as Woody Guthrie's sister (although I think her named was spelled "Addi"). I've been reading Guthrie's autobiography, Bound for Glory. It turns out his house burned down when he was three . . . I'm so much like Woody Guthrie [heehee!]

In other Oklahoma news, I've been rereading S.E. Hinton books. I have a current fantasy of becoming a local English teacher and getting her to speak to the school. It's just so much fun to connect with local authors!

In poetry, I'm currently in love with Rachel Zucker. And when I say love, I mean love love love love love. Here's a link to one of her poems, from her book Museum of Accidents.

I also started the Twilight saga. Should I be embarrassed? I don't know yet . . . but I do know that that girl's internal monologue sounds a lot like mine. I think Littlest Sister is right--I pretty much have cued in to the 17-year-old female psyche . . . forever.

Oh, I also picked up a Wayne Dyer book, based on a quote Sister Ellie posted on her blog.

These books, among others that I've been picking at forever, are on my shelf.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Compliments from Men

Compliments feel so nice, and I'm learning to just accept them. So last night, when I was walking past an older man who camps out in his garage in a lawn chair, topless, I accept his encouragement: "You're doing good, gal. You sure are."

Ok, thanks, random dude!

Alas, in younger random dude news, I had a coffee date last night with a new, totally cute boy.

This dating thing is fascinating, and I enjoy meeting new people. I do not, however, enjoy having to do things like shower and wear nice-ish clothes. (Knocking on wood) I really could use some more outfits. Or I could stop dating someone beyond date three because I basically have two outfits. NOTE: This is coming into play, too, with my interviewing life. I have another interview at a school on Monday. I'll be teaching a mini-lesson. I'm really excited, and I also really need something new to wear!

My favorite gay boyfriend had the best line last night when talking about his dating life. He said that when going out with someone he can resist sex and resist sex and resist sex . . . until about hour five! And here I was worried about months! It reminds me of some LGBT theorist who was proposing that LGBT individuals experience time differently (his argument was purposefully engaging without taking itself too seriously); I guess it's true. Four hours to a gay man is equivalent to three months for a straight woman. Or whatever. Anyway, Hour Five is now the term for sex time. And I am no where near Hour Five, and it feels pretty exciting (even though I would love to have a nice snuggle--from a non-dramatic dude--right about now).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back in Tulsa

I have some more cute pictures of my weekend back home . . . but I brought my phone charger with me to the library instead of the camera-computer cord.

I really hate so many cords. Thanks to a darling friend (not that other friends haven't offered), I have committed to owning a tv. I was really hesitant about it (for a variety of reasons, mostly what may be classified as Courtney Reasons), but then I thought, "What the hell! Live the life, girl!" But then Beamish and I were talking about tv last night, especially about tv accessories, and I started feeling overwhelmed about power sources and space and energy drains . . . but, whatever.

Some random news: I am almost ready to go for a jog in a little bit after not having gone in a week. I have been frustrated with jogging lately, mostly because it's hot as goddamn hell out here (no exaggeration--I measured) and because I feel so hopeless when I'm only halfway through the jog.

It makes me think that when I'm halfway through something that I'd like to still have half my energy left. But that's not really how it goes. I've noticed this with a lot of things I do. If I think the end of something is still way off and I don't have enough energy in the moment, then I stop. This, of course, is related to this job search. Today I found myself sad and scared, and I didn't really know what I was sad and scared about--it just hit me! So I cried and laughed it out. I'm really trying to refuse to give in to depression.

Something that's related to that has been my question of whether I'm more extroverted than I think I am . . . and, no, I'm not! I read something about my Myers-Briggs personality test (Mom, Dad: take the test!), and it says that INFJs are "affiliative" and can have a hard time separating who they are from those around them. I think this is totally me. Company left this afternoon (Beamish and my long-lost friend, Michael were over!!), and it was my first time to be alone since Saturday. I quickly felt alone and sad, just like I did when I was at the airport on Tuesday. Christ--I think I need to line-up some babysitters for myself! Actually, I really do think that. I think I'm learning to be careful about taking care of myself while also spending time with people who can add to my energy . . . I guess that's basically what healthy relationships are like!

Going jogging now . . .!

I Have Smart Friends!

Beamish has finished her dissertation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Everybody dance!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Marzipan!

I realized last night that I always talk about Super G, but hardly ever about my little niece. I think that's because every time I see her, she cries! Vic and Billy are teaching her some sign language, and whenever she sees the sign for "aunt," she starts screaming. But, she is still the cutest thing ever. And, she's a budding technophile--she loves cellphones!



Crying around Aunt Courtney?! Par for the course!

Workin' the Demons Out

The other night, I had a horrible horrible dream. It made me realize how much stuff I carry around with me, and I'm just done with it all. This job search thing has been so demoralizing, and I've absorbed a lot of that negativity without question. Well, that's just not necessary! I'm reminded of how sensitive I am and how I really need to keep a positive frame of mind.

I've realized that I want to keep my apartment--I don't want to have to move in with someone else. So I've started applying for jobs that are more entry-level work. Mom says that if I knew I wanted to keep my independence, then maybe I wouldn't have jumped from the frying pan and into the fire! Well, that's so true! I just didn't know what I wanted when I quit school. I just knew what I didn't want! Well, I knew I wanted to be happy. And that still stands.

Anyway, what is my point here?! I think part of my point is that I need a ton of help, and I'm starting to learn that I need to ask for it. I need help in getting a job interviews and connecting with people who could use my skill set. And in the meantime I need help staying connected to people and not drooping into depression. I'm hanging out with a lot of people and volunteering and stuff, but it may not be enough! Even though I feel more connected than I ever have before, it still may not be enough! It's made me wonder if I'm more extroverted than I have thought myself.

Ok, I think I'm done rambling about myself! I hope everyone's week is starting out well!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Impromptu Family Trip

So, Mom generously flew me back home this weekend to celebrate Dad's birthday--it's already been a great trip, and I'm so happy being around my family.

Super G has been working for Dad on the weekends, helping with yard work. Super G and Dad have planted flowers and cleaned a lot of dog doo. Today Dad and I go to pick Super G up from his (cute!) parents; we're walking out to the car when G says, "I've had three good days in a row!" He's been having some behavioral problems in kindergarten and his daycare, so he's especially attuned to having a good days.

Dad says, "You should be having good days all the time."

"I'm working on that," Super G says. "I'm trying to get my toys back."

"You should be good just to be good."

"I'm working on that, too," he replies, nonchalantly. This kid cracks me up! He proceeded to tell me about his trip to the Denver Natural History Museum, where he says he liked the body exhibit and the mummies, but that his favorite was the dinosaur exhibit. While working in the yard, we had a water fight, and while I was weeding in the garden, I overheard G declare "Bonanza!" whenever he found some dog doo. It was so funny!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some Things That I've Written About the Fire

Here are a couple clips of things that I'e written since the fire. (In some cases names have been changed!) I've been storing them up, thinking they would be useful somewhere, but I think they will be useful here, today!

I can write around the fire forever. That’s the truth. I can write around everything I ever wanted to say.

So let me just say this.

It was around 4:30 pm on Monday, July 21, 2008 and I was driving home after working my summer job teaching a section of introductory college English and tutoring in the writing center. I was a little fried from the day and it was hot outside. I had a text from my friend Michael saying that he was going to stop by soon and pick up the tater tots he left at my place the night before. The previous night Michael made dinner for me and we played some games. Or maybe we tried to play some games, but didn’t get very far. Maybe we also tried making some art or do some crafts—I’m just not sure.

When I got his message, I was a little frustrated because all I wanted to do that evening was be by myself. I didn’t believe I had any energy left in me to see anyone.

As I pulled into the parking lot of my apartment complex, I noticed that the tv station was broadcasting. I thought, what crime has happened here now? (It was not the nicest of neighborhoods, and there were certainly some shady characters around. There are always shady characters around, though.) That thought lasted a split second until I saw that my whole apartment building had been on fire. My next thought was, did I turn the coffee maker off this morning? I drove slowly by my apartment building. My apartment was on the second floor, and it looked the most burned out of any of the apartments—it looked like the fire originated from my place. Where I normally parked was now being occupied by the Fox news van and some young, attractive woman was being taped right in front of the walk to the stairs.

I drove forward to the apartment office. I went inside. I took my sunglasses off. I asked the manager what happened. I told her which apartment I lived in. The complex maintenance man was in the office, too. The manager asked if this was the first time I was hearing about this. I said yes. She said they tried calling me, that I had to believe that they tried calling me.

She told me that the man in the apartment below me had a cooking accident around 9:30 that morning. The maintenance man told me that no one was injured, but that my neighbor’s dog, Zeus, had died.

Sherri, the manager, began giving me information. I got the number for Red Cross, because they were offering help, and I got a list of sister complexes that I could move into. I learned where my neighbor moved.

It was then that I started crying. It was then that I realized that not only did I not have any more stuff, but that I didn’t have a place to stay any more. It’s not like I could grieve my lack of stuff in the privacy of my own home—my own home simply did not exist anymore.

So, as Sherri was telling me my options on where I could move, I tell her, “This is going to be an easy move!” And I’m laughing and crying at the same time. She is immediately even more concerned and calls me “dear” and offers me a hug that I refuse. I didn’t want pity—I didn’t know how to accept it.

I leave the office with papers in my hand. My apartment building is fenced off and a helicopter is flying overhead. A cop is sitting in his car, which is parked right by mine. All that I own is either in my car, on my body, or in my bag, which happens to be also on my body. I pull out my cell phone and the first person I call is Dan, who is about two minutes from leaving for work for the day. I’m crying, and it’s the first time that I’ve ever cried when talking to him. I tell him what happens, and he doesn’t know what to say other than he’s sorry that this has happened. I can barely hear him over the news helicopter. I wonder if the cop knows that I’m the girl with the most destroyed apartment. If he realizes what he is watching.

At that point, I think I get in the car. I call Sara and leave a message. I call Michael and tell him not to come over because I’m sorry but his tater tots no longer exist. I’m really concerned, all of a sudden, about the tater tots. I call Marie and leave a message. And I think that’s when I call my sister. And that’s when I call my dad. And then I call John. Somewhere in all of this, Marie calls me back to tell me that I should go over to her house and stay with her. She asks me if I can drive. Of course, I say. I think, why wouldn’t I be able to drive? Is something wrong with me?

While I’m driving, I talk to John. He says, somewhat reluctantly, I assume, that I could stay with him if I need to. I tell him I have friends here who I can stay with. I just wanted to let him know, I tell him, that I’m ok. I figured the apartment complex had called his cell phone, since they had that number instead of my new number, and I didn’t want him to be worried about me.

I get to Marie's. Sara shows up and has pajama pants for me. Marie drives us to the Red Cross, after I finally get a hold of them. The woman on the one end doesn’t seem very happy to be meeting with me because her day is coming to a close. On the way to the Red Cross Jodi calls me and I tell her what becomes my positive-thinking story.

My positive-thinking story includes the line, “And just this morning I was thinking that I needed to buy new shoes!” It’s true; I was thinking that. My positive-thinking story also has the clichéd line, “Be careful what you wish for!”

And just two days earlier I had been camping and hiking by myself. I had told the Universe that I finally understand what impermanence means. Sister Ellie admonished me when I told her this in our session after the fire; “you can’t say that!” she exclaimed.

And it’s true—I shouldn’t have said that. And I shouldn’t have said that I needed to go shoe shopping. And I should have listened to myself when I wondered if I should bring my journal with me that day. You see, I was beginning work on my memoirs, recounting my separation and impending divorce, and I was thinking my journal might be a good starting point for my story. My journal had become my lifeline when I moved into my new place.

But I kept it at home, but thank the Universe that I listened to myself when I said I should bring my computer with me. Looking back, I can see that I asked myself many more questions that I usually did when getting ready for the day.

The apartment fire was started by the man who lived below me. Our apartments were efficiencies—tiny. They even had tiny refrigerators and tiny dishwashers (I loved that dishwasher). The only doors in the apartments were on the closet, the bathroom, and the linen closet that was in the bathroom (I say, “was,” even though I’m pretty sure that the apartments are built again). The bedroom was big enough to line the walls with two bookshelves, Grandma’s old writing desk, my dresser and hutch (Andy kept it’s complement), milk carton bookshelves, and a filing cabinet (with, yes, more milk cartons and books on it). In the center I kept, please stay with me here, my bed, a papasan cushion. That round mattress, I fancied, allowed me to face any direction I wanted. I was never held by convention. In fact, I was a badass, and even my favorite, a Transcendentalist, because I was roughing it when I didn’t even have to. I kept a futon in the living room; it and Grandma and Grandpa’s round, antique end tables took up the whole wall. Another wall was taken up by the sliding glass door that led to a little balcony. Between the balcony rail and the edge of the apartment wall, birds had built a nest. The day I moved in, John went out on the balcony and saw the nest-hole. Someone had filled it with paper towel. John pulled out the paper towel and dropped it on the balcony floor. Sara and I kinda scoffed at him behind his back—couldn’t he have thrown the paper towel away? I watched that paper towel slowly deteriorate over the next weeks, as snow and rain hit it and decomposed it’s white, absorbent remains. And then I was so fortunate to watch birds pull twigs and pine needles into the hole John left behind. Over the course of April to June, there were two sets of babies born in that nest. On my 28th birthday, I discovered one, dead and featherless, lying where the paper towel used to be. I took a picture of it with the new digital camera my parents gave me for my birthday. I then, gently, moved the body from the balcony to the dumpster. A harsh burial, but it could not, of course, remain outside my door.

I lived most of my adult life in second-floor apartments. Well, that might be an exaggeration—it’s just, I love the second floor. During my freshman year of college, an arm of a hurricane came twirling through central Pennsylvania and it rained constantly (during move-in time) and for about a week afterwards. I didn’t know it was the arm of a hurricane; as a disconnected freshman, I had no idea we were in a hurricane. As a Colorado girl, I flipped my shit when I heard that it was a hurricane! I thought I was (again this theme) a badass because I had spent the previous year in a suburb of Seattle with nary an umbrella to my name. Natives didn’t need umbrellas. So, as I said good-bye to my dad and sisters, who had driven me out to college with a mini-van load of clothes, supplies, and Smashing Pumpkins posters, I sent along with them the Bucknell University umbrellas Dad had bought at the bookstore. One of these dear umbrellas would later return to me, via mail, a week or so later. The point being, I was happy to be on the second floor because I knew my stuff would remain untouched if the dorm was to flood. (And I wasn’t being completely dramatic with this worry—other buildings in town and on campus did flood.)

That was my first experience on the second floor. Here, in my new apartment, I watched everyone’s comings and goings from that sliding glass door. Sometimes I just watched the birds go in and out of the nest, but mostly I watched the family gatherings across the parking lot. One apartment housed Gail, one of the complex’s employees. Gail showed me such compassion as I was moving in—I had told her and Sherri that I was going through a separation. This information was, instead of pity, met with a kind of quiet understanding. Gail's sister lived next to her and sometimes their two families would bring out chairs and sit on the common lawn and talk. I both envied this close family time while also feeling sorry for them. Why were all these people in these little apartments? I wondered about the kind of food they were eating and if they were speaking in Spanish or English.

The apartment complex was comprised primarily of Latinos and Caucasians. There were some African American residents, too. Like, for example, the man who lived below me. I introduced myself to him, once, as I was walking upstairs and he was leaving his apartment. I had moved in a couple weeks ago, and so I viewed him as somewhat of a roommate. Or at least a companion. Well, never mind—I viewed him as a beautiful specimen of a man and I wanted him to develop the deepest of lustful feelings towards me. Actually, well, now I would have wanted a strange, beautiful man to lust after me; then, though, I believe I was content watching him through my window. I gathered that he worked the night shift—somewhere where he had to wear a somewhat utilitarian uniform. He drove a white truck, which he used “The Club” on. Once he was bringing his laundry out as I was bringing my laundry in—I’m pretty sure he left a black sock behind in a dryer I went to use. I fantasized about him the way, I imagine, many educated white women fantasize about black men. Not with the eye of eroticizing the exotic “other,” but with a kind of metropolitan detachment. He was beautiful because he was beautiful; being black just made my crush feel more sophisticated. So, disregard those high-minded attempts at refuting racism. I don’t know how to talk about cross-racial desire, other than to say that I fully advocate it.

This man who lived below me, though, had a crazy ex-girlfriend. One morning, around 4am, I heard yelling and knocking. My neighbor’s ex-girlfriend was beating on his door and shouting that she knew he was in there. After a few minutes of hearing her screaming and banging, the complex police showed up and told her, gently, that he’s sorry, but the guy just doesn’t want to talk to her right now. He coaches her away from the apartment and succeeds in convincing her to leave.

I was both angry at this woman (who, despite my attempts, I was unable to catch a glimpse of) and yet completely sympathetic. She had some nerve, waking me up at ass-early in the morning, and yet, I admired (and still do admire) this very same nerve. This guy, this beautiful man, had somehow done her wrong and she wasn’t going to take it lying down.

This is what I know about the man who, on July 21, 2008 had a disastrous cooking accident. This is one man, at least, who had a way worse July 21, 2008 than I did. This poor, poor man.

So, I feel fine in blaming the apartment fire on him. I just mean, the source of the fire can be traced to him, but I certainly don’t feel any ill will towards him. Some of my friends, though, have not been so willing to not take the blame for the fire. I’m not sure when, but shortly after the fire, both Marie and Sara told me that they think they were responsible for it. It was Marie who let me sleep on her and her husband's bed that first night. He was out of town and Marie was unemployed and looking for a job. That first night, Marie, Sara, Spring, and Spring’s daughter and I hung out at Marie's. Marie believes that she caused the fire because she was lonely and was secretly hoping we could all hang out.

Sara, too, is one to not let blame lie with others. Sara was the one to help me move out of the house Andy and I shared. She saw my place and helped me furnish it by giving me two foldable papasan chairs, a card table, and two card table chairs. (She probably gave me other stuff, besides emotional support, but I just don’t remember them right now.) After the fire Sara, somewhat sheepishly, confessed that the card table and chairs came from an ex-boyfriend’s mom, a mom who had committed suicide while her son was in his early 20s. Sara believes that this energy haunted my apartment and caused it to catch fire.

[Ok, that's all I have written so far. But where this was going, once, was that everyone takes the blame when there is no need for it!]

Second Annual Less Is More Day!

Look, y'all! It's been two years since Ye Olde Apartment Fire!

In that span of time, I've learned so much about myself--stuff that I don't think I could have learned any other way. We celebrate today by getting rid of something that we don't need. Last year I got rid of--well, never mind. I don't remember what I got rid of. This year I'm getting rid of my inclination to second-guess myself without losing my ability to see things from many perspectives.

Today I'm getting rid of some sadness and gaining more joy. I'm getting rid of some dirty dishes and gaining more clean dishes and counter space.

Anyway, we all get the point. Part of the point is that I know I would not be here if it weren't for the love and support of everyone around me. It has made all the difference!

What are you giving up today?! Please share!!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh, Holiest of Craps!

Earlier today I thought to myself: I think I love myself! I have been strict about eliminating my negative self-talk, usually by assuring myself that there is no room and no reason to be so hard on myself (especially if I wouldn't say what I say to myself to a friend).

Also, I'm cutting out other people's drama by asserting what it is that I want. And in asserting what I want, I'm discovering that I know what I want (somewhere in the mix of all the other things going on in my head and heart) and that others want to help me and want me to be happy.

I have no time to write more, but keep in mind that tomorrow is Less is More Day (Second Annual!)--so get ready to get rid of something!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Did the Hair Test: I'm Boy Crazy!

So, Mr. Marriedpants and I hung out last night. Oh, I've laid down the boundaries of we can't be exclusive or intimate partners until he's divorced. But if he wants to date me and be nice to me in the meantime, then I guess I will let him. And if he wants to add worship me to that list, well, then, we can see where that one goes, too.

I don't know about all of this, but I do know that it feels good to have some companionship with this affectionate, sweet man. I can't put all of this into words yet, but last night was really nice. And this song is kind of captures how I feel right now!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Announcement: PMS and My Awesomeness

So, my period is going to start soon, and my energy and optimism (that natural, light-shining ability of mine) have taken a large dip. I find myself cranky and wanting to give up on everything.

Lo, I do not give up! Yesterday when I found myself at the wrong building for my rare job interview, I did not give up! The other day when I was jogging, I did not give up! Today, filling out repetitive job applications?! Today, I do not give up! For I am awesome.

I have two weeks left in Tulsa before I simply can't afford it and need to live with my parents . . . what will happen in these two weeks??

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Attractive People, A Thank You, Job Update, Car Trouble, and God

I watched Oliver Stone's movie, W., last night and this morning. I though Josh Brolin did a really good job capturing Bush's mannerism and speaking style. Now, I've always known Josh Brolin was attractive, but I didn't realize how much better looking he was than Bush until I watched one of the DVD's special features. As I was watching the movie, I found myself fairly sympathetic to Bush, as a character in the movie. But afterwards I realized it was probably because Brolin is attractive. And I know that we are programmed to like lovely people more than we are homely people--our brains are programmed to respond favorable to symmetry.

I don't have a lot of insight to share about the movie or politics. So, in other news, I would like to say thank you to all my fans who voted for my OWN show! The results are in, and I did not make the cut--you can look it up and find who did! ;) While I was both serious and not serious about applying, it was still one of the harder things I've forced myself to do. So I appreciate everyone who helped me along the way--especially Ms. V, who helped me with the recording and the camera!!

Also on topic of brave things, I made a call-back to the school I interviewed with a couple weeks ago. I left message, and I was happy to not talk to anyone in person--I did not have the nerve to ask about how the search was going! I have another interview tomorrow at the Department of Human Services, and I'm looking forward to it. Thanks, again, to Ms. V, I have also met a person who's interested in hiring me for some writing work. And, last but certainly not least, Mom and Dad Bailout July 2010 arrived . . . so things are looking up for me! I feel so grateful to have so many people watch over me and watch out for me.

I've had to rely on my support group more than I have wanted to, and that has been a difficult thing for me. The other day I was ready to bow out of a writing class because I was afraid my negative energy would bring others down. But the leader, the fabulous Sheila, and my dear friend, J, encouraged me to just be myself and to show up. So I did, and I was so happy to do so! I had to realize that others wanted me to feel better and I had to trust that I may not be seeing my emotional state for what it was (depressed and isolating).

At the end of class, my car wouldn't start! Luckily Sheila had some people from class over, and one of them ended up giving me a ride home. The car ride was filled with listening to this woman's story and her life work--I tell you, it is fascinating! How do people end up with such fascinating lives?! When I left her place, Sheila told me not to worry. And when I got home, I threw a fit--a broken car?! Did I really need a broken car right now?!--and got angry. I've been practicing praying (since the ol' ex-husband recommended I "give it up to God"--whatever that means and whatever That Guy meant by it), and so I prayed. I prayed a big angry prayer and said that there was no piece of this life that I asked for (even while LZ was purring and running his body along my face while I was saying these words). I knew I was lying, but I was so angry, and I didn't know what else to say or do at the time.

I realized there was nothing I could do about my car that night, and that in the morning, I could call around and see if I could learn what the problem might be. Having the Mom and Dad July 2010 Bailout on the way did a lot in calming me down, too. And, from having once been married to That Guy, I knew I could do a lot of simple car repairs myself (and with a manual).

To make a long story shorter, the next day I did call around, and I depended upon my friend's dad for a ride back to my car, which started up without a problem. It started up without a problem at the parts store, and it started up without a problem at a mechanic's.

That car! The mechanic advised that the fuel pump may be going out, and he told me what I could do to diagnose that problem.

In the midst of this, I remembered my angry words to God, and was left realizing that God didn't care. I realized that it was ok to express my anger because that was part of the human experience, and that God was pretty down with the human experience. I mean, it's not like I know anything about God, but I do think it's fine to pray to a concept that accepts me the way I am at any particular time. This combination of things: asking for and accepting help, being angry, being appreciative, and praying has challenged me and has helped me learn a lot in a really short amount of time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Am I a lady now?!

The other day I borrowed Steve Harvey's Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man from the library. I stayed up that night and read it through--which maybe I wouldn't have done except for the fact that Aretha Franklin endorses the book on the back cover. I am not going to say no to something from Aretha Franklin--that's just not in my nature. Anyway, Harvey borders the line between being sexist and offensive (on one side) and helpful (on the other side). With a large grain of salt, I, overall, found the book to be worthwhile. The main things that I thought were worthy were his ideas that you should wait 90 days before sleeping with someone; be clear right up front about what you want; and discover what his goals are, as well as his views of relationships.

This came in reeeeeally handy last night when I was out with that guy I saw last week. Not to spoil the story, but let's just refer to him as Mr. Marriedpants because, well, he's still married. Sure he's separated and by all pretense, except for that legal pretense, he's divorced.

Yesterday he invited me over to watch a movie, and we saw a documentary on the natural gas business in America (it was a great movie). Then he had some class stuff to do because he's gone back to school for his nursing degree (which is a total turn-on). In fact, everything about him is a turn-on, except for his marriage. So when we got together again last night for a late dinner/coffee, and I was employing Steve Harvey's advice, I found out what I didn't want to know. Only now I know it a lot sooner and I put down a boundary.

Yesterday I went to the jail to observe the class on dv, and the class was on how to have healthy relationships. A hand-out went around on what healthy boundaries look and feel like; one woman started crying because she said she felt so powerless to establish a boundary. She shared that she had four kids and that her and her boyfriend have never been clean and sober together. She said she is so accomodating and would much rather deal with other people's issues than to have to say what she needs or wants. It was a really vulnerable moment, and I thought: I hear ya, lady.

I couldn't really say a whole lot in the class because I was just an observer and two other teachers were there; one is a clinical psychologist and the other is a minister. So they have more training than I do, yet I still wanted to console this woman. I didn't, but I hold out hope that she can soon start to practice setting boundaries.

I feel so strongly about all this relationship stuff (Steve Harvey's book, these women in prison, my dating life). After dinner last night, Mr. Marriedpants commented that he knew that I thought he was annoying, and I said that he was right only because he's really talkative and would interrupt me when I was making a point. We talked a lot about politics and relationships, which are two of my favorite things, and I was so engaged in our conversation! I told him the annoyance was worth it, though, because I enjoyed being around him.

We get to my apartment and chat outside my door--BECAUSE A LADY DOES NOT INVITE A MAN IN FOR A NIGHTCAP, I learned. He shared why he became a CNA and works in a nursing home. It's such a powerful story. We shake hands good night, and he later sends me a funny text that says even though he knows I don't like him, he thinks I'm "incredible."

This begins our text exchange where I tell him that I do like him (he's attractive, funny, smart, kind) and to (THIS IS KEY): call me when he's divorced. By this point I've made it clear a few times that I want to get married again and start a family.

He says that with school being the way it is and tuition and credit hours and what his wife needs to do to file and what a piece of paper really means that he just can't, right now, get the divorce. Even though I am "worth every penny of that $300 (filing fee) to date."

And I am so beautiful, pretty, smart, fun to talk to, amazing, appealing, and, yes, even a goddess. So maybe I could just have patience with him? Maybe if I just decided he was worth it and that I liked him enough to see where this is going . . .?

Yeah, maybe! I'm sure it would be really nice to continue seeing him. But I also know that I can't hold out hope that maybe one day he will decide what he wants and that he will decide I'm worth enough to get a divorce over.

I think that's the thing that makes me angry. I've played second fiddle (so to speak) for all these other men's goals--I've given over parts of myself and have found depths to myself that I didn't know I had just because a man wanted what he wanted. The game starts to feel like if I mold myself this way, then maybe he will give me the attention and support I need. So then I mold myself, and I still don't get the attention and support. I think it's because the man is still looking for his own confidence, and that's something that I can't give someone--he has to already have it on his own.

My ability to listen and get to know a man for who he is--and for better than who he is--a lot to give someone. My ability to support his goals while also tending my own is also a lot to give someone. I just want to know that someone is willing to challenge himself and be brave enough like that to be with me.

First step then, men, is to make sure you are actually single.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What's Happening Today

So, what's happening today is that I think I ate some bad ground beef last night because what else could explain this bellyfully of gas? I couldn't even jog it out this morning . . . still gassy and feeling gross.

I went to the prison today to volunteer, and it turns out I was dressed inappropriately. I cannot wear a hooded shirt, like I was wearing over a tank top, which you also cannot wear. I was so bummed about this, especially because I was feeling nervous to even show up today. And, of course, my gas situation has become a concern, so driving across town in order to be sent away left me feeling really sad. (I'm sure I'll cry about it later because that's just what I do these days! I feel optimistic and such, and then I have a minor, daily break-down!)

Things look up, though--I applied for a position as a seamstress at a local dry cleaners' shop! Oh, yes, I can do hems, zippers, and let-out or take-in seams! Can I do suits? Well, I kind of avoided that question . . . I'm sure I could do a suit, but I haven't tried (yet).

Today I ran out of kitty litter, so I'm trying an experiment. I put down some shredded paper on top of their remaining pine litter. In addition to seeing pine litter, I have also seen newspaper pellets, so I thought using recycled paper would be pretty similar. This morning I didn't see either cat poop or pee on the paper, but I did see each of them lay down, as if they found a new cat bed. So that's pretty awesome--my cats now think their shit box is their bed.

In other news, a dear friend from college is defending his philosophy dissertation today! He read me his postscript, which is a poem from Rilke. I cannot remember the name of the poem, but it is beautiful. Thank goodness for our philosophers, though. Truly.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Update: Love Life

So, Charlie, my friend's brother's hulking 100-lb. yellow lab, is apparently fine lounging outside instead of sleeping in bed with me on this sleep-over morning.

That's fine, Charlie. I won't remember that forever and then hold it against you later--I'm just not like that.

So, I've been shedding some views of my romantic life that I've been carrying around with me, and that feels really nice. It feels really nice to not feel guilty anymore over relationships that just didn't work out. As if my guilt is ever going to help anyone out or prove anything.

Yesterday (it took me until yesterday!) I realized that I don't need boys as friends (although I do have boys as friends) because I have two brothers-in-law, who are obligated to talk to me and support me while simultaneously proving their worthiness by adoring my sisters. It's a task they are up to, although I've only made one of them give me advice.

And in the process of getting advice, I've also learned from him that there such things as "meels" exist--man heels. Brothers-in-law may be the gift that keep giving; I'm a big fan of 'em.

Now that I know I don't need boys as friends, it makes letting go of exes easier. And I'm not a letter-go-er. I'm probably more of a never-pick-up-er. Actually, that's probably really true of me--I'm not good at getting to know someone or something. I'm very all-or-nothing in that regard!

Good to know because, kids, I am officially dating again. And I'm just dating . . . I still have that promise to not be in a relationship until April.

Additionally, today is my last day of Lent II; I have gone two whole months without having sex. That's a world record! That's me winning the Noble Peace Prize in Abstinence! And I know this abstinence thing is going to continue for a long while. I think I respect my emotional self more to know that I need to take more time when getting involved in relationships.

So my adventures this week have been way less community-oriented than last week. Instead, it's time for girl talk: I went on a blind lunch date yesterday! I had a great time talking with him. He called me gorgeous (not to my face, but in writing) multiple times. I preened! And who even knows about this guy--maybe he's full of shit! But whatever! He made me feel really pretty and I enjoyed my time with him, and that feels so nice.

And now Charlie has been snuggling with me again--I feel so loved! There is nothing like big dog love!