Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sappy Sap!

Forgive me, but right now, I'm a total sap. A mushy mush sappy sap. Ok...ya can't say I didn't warn ya...

I am in love. And it happened in the most unconventional, unexpected way.

Today, he said something so sweet and perfect. In that moment, everything just clicked. He was teasing me about something (oh how he loves to tease me), and he said that I was tender. I said, "Tender?" I had no idea what he was talking about. He said, "Sensitive," and grinned.

I know that I'm sensitive. Too sensitive. I care way too much about other people. It's a fault of mine, and one that's been pointed out to me countless times so I said, "Oh...yeah, I'm too sensitive. I know, I's a fault..." And he said, "Aw no, it's what endeared me to you. You think with your heart and not your head. I love that about you."

And that's it, isn't it? That's love. When someone loves your faults. Not just that they love your faults, though, but that they love you for your faults, because of them not in spite of. And it hit me. This is good. This is something I've never experienced before. And I love that I'm learning new things about relationships. I hope I always do.

There are little things that fit together with us. We like the same things. That's what my mom always told me, that was her big advice. Just find someone that you have fun with, someone who likes to do the same things you do. She said that she and my stepfather both love going to see plays and movies and traveling. They do have a lot of fun together. And really, it's good advice. If I'm going to spend the rest of my life with someone, it's gonna be a blast.

So we like to do the same things. We share the same politics and values. We both love to drink in the sunshine and be surrounded by all of our friends. We like the same music. We're big cuddle bunnies and total goofballs.

And he gets me. He knows me better than I know myself, and to the point that I'm not sure I really knew the meaning of that phrase before now. But I think it means that he reads me better than I read myself sometimes. I have a very readable face, people can always see something on my face and they think that's the whole picture. It's my biggest pet peeve when someone thinks they know me, and I know they're way off.

He's almost always on. That makes what he said mean so much more. He knows me inside and out - better than almost anyone - and he still loves me. He sees all the good and the bad, the big and the little, all the dirt and mess I hide so well - and he even loves that.

And another thing. I take good care of him; as liberal as I am I'm still a bit attached to traditional gender roles. I love to cook, and frankly, I'm good at it. I do little things for him to let him know I care, and I love to pamper him.

We spent last night at a mountain house his parents have (they weren't there). This morning, I climbed out of bed quietly so that I could let him sleep in. I took a shower, made some coffee and started working. After awhile, I woke him up. He took a shower, turned on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and moseyed around. Before I could even look up from what I was reading, there were two Eggo waffles in front of me. And my coffee cup was refilled. He is so good to me in big ways and small. And it's the small things that sometimes matter most of all.

We have fun together, and we take care of each other. This is what "together" is really all about. And I'm finally learning that. Yay! :)

(hee hee...ok...sappy sap is doney done...)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Always Have and Never Hold

I can't sleep. I drank a glass of wine. I took a Tylenol PM. I'm so exhausted, and I really need to sleep, but closing my eyes right now tonight feels selfish.

I went to a wedding this weekend. Two of my friends fell in love and are married. And I went with good friends and my sweet boyfriend. It was so beautiful, surrounded by so much love. It makes you feel protected. So I can't imagine how safe and happy my two friends must have felt.

That ended yesterday. The bride's mother suffered a sudden stroke, and today was taken off the machines keeping her alive. Three short days after her wedding, the most love-filled day of her life, she feels the most intense sadness of her life. I am constantly amazed at the suffering this world allows. It just doesn't seem fair.

And it doesn't seem fair that I'm safe and warm in my apartment, all my most loved ones still alive and well. It doesn't seem fair that I should sleep soundly tonight when a good friend is hurting so deeply.

I really can't imagine losing my mother. It's naive of me to admit this, but you know that saying? That God will never allow anything to happen to you that you can't handle? I think maybe it's in the Bible or something. Or at least I had Sunday School teachers tell me it was. Anyway, I always thought that was why I still have my mother. I'm afraid right now of writing these words and putting them down, like I'm tempting fate or the devil or some force in the universe to prove me wrong. It's especially ridiculous to write this down today when my friend is experiencing a tragedy she thought she was protected from for many years.

I could not imagine life without my mother. She's on vacation right now, and it's been hard not being able to speak to her these past few days. I can't imagine a lifetime without her nagging or her laugh or her unsolicited advice. I moan and whine, but I love her so much. I can't imagine trying to navigate through life without her or without any of my most precious people.

How does anyone manage to survive such dark places? I guess by focusing on the ones they love that are still here. Thank God she has her husband. Maybe that's it. She couldn't have survived this any sooner than the moment it happened. I'm taking this too far, I know. No one can find an explanation for tragedy, but I think part of that saying comes from the belief that God loves us. And other people love us. I love my friend. I wish I could be with her now and that I could take her pain away and put her on her honeymoon with her sweet, loving husband where she belongs. I would do anything for those I love.

I'm mesmerized by the trailer for that sad movie Things We Lost in the Fire. It looks heartbreaking, doesn't it? The song from that trailer gets stuck in my head.

Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Be my baby
I'll look after you

It's always have and never hold

When tragedy strikes us or nearby, we're reminded of how short life is and how unpredictable. It makes us want to reach out to those we have and make sure they know how loved they are. And the difference they make in our life.

Go call your mom and tell her you love her.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Teachers' Dirty Looks

School's out for summer
School's out forever
School's been blown to pieces

No more pencils
No more books
No more teachers' dirty looks

Do you know why teachers have dirty looks? Because students are annoying and dumb.

Ok, ok, not all of them. But a lot of them. And freaking lazy. No wonder there are so many people in the working world who are unqualified, can't write a complete sentence let alone appropriate comma usage and no wonder there are so many fat people. Because once you realize that you really can coast by with laziness and still end up in the average or above average segments, why even bother trying to realize your full potential?

I gave a test a couple weeks ago. When I asked if there were any questions about the test, one student asked me how hard it was and another asked if I really expected them to read the loooong chapters they were being tested on. I told them if they studied, they should do fine, but if they didn't want to read the book, they could just study their notes and see how well it works for them when they get their grades back. Ha.

I think some of them took me up on that. The highest grade in the class was a 90, meaning that student missed 5 questions. The average was a C. I immediately felt guilty and blamed myself because, after all, it's my responsibility to teach them before they can begin to learn anything. I apologized to the students, facilitated an open discussion about the test and ended up giving the highest curve since curves were invented. Only to hear yesterday from one of the students that the majority of the class didn't actually read the book as instructed. Shocking.

Oh but the whining doesn't end there. Students turn in assignments late because they "had trouble with it" and assume that's a valid excuse to save them from any penalties. I had two students scheduled to give presentations yesterday that didn't show up at all. Of course, at the end of the day, one of them emailed to tell me he's had the flu for days and beg me to let him make it up because he's trying to graduate in the spring. Not trying that hard, I can tell you.

They're not just lazy about school, they're lazy about the real world too. One of my colleagues told me a funny story about a stupid comment someone had about his test (they all bombed too). My friend included an "application question," meaning a question that requires you to apply a concept or identify which concept has been applied. Simple enough. They have lots of those on the SAT so surely this is not their first encounter with them. My friend's student told him that it was unfair of him to put that particular application question on the test because he hadn't used that specific example in class. He told her that the point of an application question was to test if they understand the concept, not how well they can memorize their notes.

Another great "I'm too lazy for the real world" example. I decided, being the darling that I am, to give them an extra credit question on the exam. I thought I'd be nice and give something so easy that everyone would get it. I even made a bet with a friend that five or less out of the 40 students would miss the question. Uh...yeah...I was wrong. 14 out of 40. 14 out of 40, get this, could not name one presidential candidate in each of the two major parties. Wha-huh? Yes, that's right! These idiots vote! And they serve on juries, by the way. Oh the future's so...not bright.

I don't even know if it's laziness as much as apathy. Yet as graduate assistants, we depend on those student evaluations so immensely that we're encouraged to practice grade inflation. Hence, my steep ass curve. What we're teaching these students, in my opinion, is that they can get by or even soar with flying colors by doing a minimal amount of work. And once they've learned that lesson fully, we're shipping them off to your offices, my dear friends, to ask you stupid questions like, "Do you really expect me to write that proposal today? But it's so loooong!" and "I had trouble with that powerpoint. It's haaaard! And then I had to leave because it was 5:00 and I had plans."

Make sure your business is stocked with Kleenex for all the sorry tears they'll cry.

Woman, Be Strong

I always thought I was a strong person. I've been through a lot in my life and managed to make it out alright. I struggle daily with more than most people. But then there are those whose lives have been filled with more obstacles and difficulties, whose daily burden outweighs mine. I always try to keep that in mind when I feel down about something. What I don't think about is the difficulties that may lie ahead.

We spend a lot of time thinking about the past. And then a lot thinking about the present or the future as far as next week. But we don't spend much time thinking about the real future. "Right now" is about all I think I can handle. I torture myself still with memories from the past. But the future is too fuzzy, too far ahead, too early to tell to even spend any time thinking about it.

I just had the toughest conversation I've ever had about the future. I even cried a little. There are a lot of scary possibilities in the unknown that is the future. A lot that I never imagined in a million years I'd ever have to think about personally.

I am in love. Aw. It's true. Totally and completely. After two years of on/off, the timing was finally right. And when I say timing, I mean me. Because I'm a dysfunctional slowpoke. Ha. Well, maybe not that bad. I had a really rotten relationship, and after that, I just wasn't ready. It took me a long time to feel comfortable and to be at a point where I could truly open up and truly trust someone again. And through a series of events over the past few months and the feeling that it was "now or never," I opened up and let go.

All of that is puppy dogs and ice cream as my someone would say, but the real meat of this future talk I mentioned was more like dark clouds and stormy weather. He risks his life for a living. And will for 25 years until he hits retirement. I've always loved firefighters. I experienced New York in the aftermath of September 11th, went to firefighters' fundraisers, watched the first anniversary ceremonies and even was helped out by a few firemen when my own apartment was on fire.

But firefighters risk their lives. Every day. And so do the people they share their lives with.

He's technically not a firefighter just yet. Still in the academy. And this week the theme is 'Saving Our Own.' They're learning how to save their own ass in tough situations and how to rescue their fellow firefighters. More than any other week at the academy, his mind is on the very real possibility that bad things may happen to him. This, of course, has been on my mind since the first day he mentioned that he wanted to apply to a fire academy, but it hasn't been a real concern of mine until recently.

Shit. And I thought I was strong. I don't know strong. Can I be strong? Will my strength ever be really tested that way? I don't really know what I'm capable of, and I'm not sure I ever want to know the boundaries of what I can and cannot handle. How do people do this? It makes my stomach hurt.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Alone, Alone, Alone.

Oh man do I ever have the blues. Can I just rant a little here? Great, thanks.

I am so lonely. The reason they say that loneliness is the human condition is because it is such a pervasive part of life. It's something you can feel in a room crowded with people or at home alone on your bed like I am tonight. It's not a feeling that you experience all the time, thankfully or I don't know how I'd survive, but it certainly seems to surface rather frequently. I wonder if part of that is because my life changes so often. I'm not really stable yet or settled down. But really, when is life ever really stable? I think that by the time you realize that things are stable, something changes around.

So here I am. In this town I've never really liked. Living alone. Spending all my time either sleeping or studying. Not only do I not see the few friends I have here that often, but I don't even talk to my friends who are far away that often. It makes me feel like a rotten friend and an awful person, truth be told. But my day is spent either in class, preparing for class or sleeping. It's a sad, lonely existence.

I log onto MySpace every day just to see pictures of my friends. It's becoming a bad habit, really, because it usually just ends up bumming me out. I have good friends in DC. It's a great town. I had an awesome apartment in the best neighborhood the District has to offer. Not only are two of my best friends in the world there, but now I have a boyfriend there too. Lucky for me he's dedicated to seeing me as often as possible, but that also makes me lonely. I love him to bits, and I'm so grateful that even though we're far apart, we see each other regularly. But I miss my friends too. I want my friends. I want a night at the Mug. And a night on Wendy's couch. I even miss that crazy cross-eyed waitress at the Black Rooster. And every damn thing about Capitol Hill.

I remember when I was younger, I was confused about something I heard at youth group. They kept saying over and over that all you need is God. God should be the absolute most important person in your life and He can sustain you alone. He should be above all the other people in our lives and we need only Him and no one else. Heavy stuff for a kid to understand really so no wonder I had questions. I asked a Sunday School teacher what all of that meant. I told her that maybe it was a sin, but I needed other people. She smiled and told me that was ok, that God never intended for us to be happy and satisfied living alone secluded in a cave somewhere. She said that God put people in our lives for good reasons and that He meant for people to help each other through life. That no one was meant to make it all on their own.

It was comforting at the time, but since then, I've realized that I really am just one of those people who need other people a lot. I need them. I'm not good if I spend too much time alone. I'm not productive or happy. I'm distracted and vacant-feeling like someone's turned off the lights.

Hmph. Everything is temporary, he said. This is tough, but I will make it through. Thank God I have pictures. And thank God for cell phones too.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


When I was in high school, my friend Laura Goss got dumped by Ryan...something-or-other. She was practically inconsolable. We were sitting in the school parking lot in her car after school. And she was going on and on about how he was the love of her life, they were going to get married, she'll never meet anyone, boo hoo. (Wish I could tell Laura at 16 how much fun she was having out in Buckhead a few years ago at her bachelorette party!) I did my best to comfort her, and then, in an attempt to make her laugh, I pointed at a license plate that said - "ITLBOK." We laughed. It'll bock. Then we realized it said - "It'll be ok." - and we went to TCBY.

A few weeks ago, I started making a mix for a friend (sorry I haven't mailed it yet, E, but I will this week! promise!). It ended up being so full of songs that it's now my favorite playlist on ITunes. It's a compilation of songs that make me feel like everything is going to be alright. No wonder I've been listening to it a lot, right?

59 songs, in fact, and that in itself should make me feel better. Lots of positive messages out there in the universe to be grasped hold of. But if that's true, then why is it that we keep replaying the negative ones? Why do we listen to hurtful things that people have said to us and forget all the encouragement and love others have given?

Don't worry up your mind.
People are sick and mean sometimes.
They're only words.
They're only words.

I don't know why, when I have so many great things going for me, I think about all the people who have left me or hurt me more than the ones who love me and have stuck with me through good times and bad. I don't know why we let another person's problems affect us so deeply. And that's all it is sometimes. Like Ryan says. People are sick and mean sometimes. No amount of analyzing on my part is going to help me understand why some people just shit all over others to make themselves feel better. So why then do I spend so much time trying?

Get up, get out.
Get away from these liars.
Cuz they don't get your soul or your fire.

I don't know why we cling to the negative. Maybe we think that if we can just understand why and what happened, we can somehow reverse the damage. Of course, we can't. And thinking about something too much just seems to reinforce that damage and give it a greater power over us. When we're hurt, it's hard to think about anything else but the pain that we feel. If someone says something hurtful to me, I take that hurt in and let it walk around for awhile. Letting it stop at every insecurity I have, every mistake I ever made and find a way to squeeze itself into those memories. Ultimately, though, the positive has to win out.

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won't all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good

The positive is stronger than the negative and after many sleepless nights, something will happen that uplifts us and we'll remember again that life has more love than pain, more good than bad. All it takes is time. I look back now at the most painful things that have happened in my life, and while some left scars I will never forget, almost all of them no longer have control over me. Of course, life is a cycle so while those things don't twist my stomach into knots anymore...other things do but will hopefully rotate out soon.

Square one, my slate is clear
Rest your head on me my dear
It took a world of trouble, it took a world of tears
It took a long time to get back here

Monday, July 2, 2007

An Ever-Fixed Mark

A couple weeks ago, one of my good friends was in a fight with one of her friends. It happened at a bar, so it was unfortunately in public. I tried to ignore the argument and let them settle things while talking to another friend, who happens to be a guy. He was entranced by the fight, and I literally had to tear his eyes and attention away from the two girls.

We started talking about what was happening. I tried to explain what they were arguing about. I also told him that my friends and I are not those "catty girls" who revel in loud, public fights, or fights at all. I'm pretty laidback and prefer to surround myself with similar people. I explained that while one of the girls was always trying to stir up drama, the other, the one I'm close with, is not at all like that.

He snickered and said that girls fight a lot. I said maybe that's true, but all girls are not drama queens. The girls I'm friends with don't fight with their friends. He said that he knew a lot of girls that were like us and aren't so argumentative ...but...there are a lot of girls who are. He said girls are more competitive with each other than guys are.

Then he told an awful joke. He prefaced it, warning me it was bad and not a representation of his true sentiments. But nevertheless, he told it. He said, "Girls don't have friends. They have temporary alliances."

Throughout the history of the women's rights movement, women have been women's own worst enemy. Suffrage wouldn't have taken as long if there weren't so many women opposed to it who were just as aggressive in their protests and lobbying against it. Same thing with the ERA. I think that when you have one group with less power, there's a lot of infighting within that group grasping for the little power they can have.

The past year, I've had troubles with friends. It all took me by surprise. The last time I fought with a friend, seriously fought, I was in high school. In middle school, I was always the girl that the clique picked on or singled out, and it was a horrible feeling. I just wanted friends to have fun with, and I didn't understand all the meanness.

I find myself now just as confused. Though also wondering what could be wrong with me that I've had these problems. I am dumbfounded at the behavior I've encountered. I can't believe people act this way, much less to people they called friends, and I'm extremely surprised that the behaviors are coming from the people they're coming from. That makes me even more convinced that there must be something wrong with me, I must be doing something bad or awful, I must be causing this.

But the more I go over and over situations, I can't find major mistakes that I made. And certainly nothing unforgivable. So what is it then? This girl/girl competition? No. That I know is not it. Because I have wonderful, rich, deep friendships with other women where such competition does not exist.

Looking back at the past two years, I feel that I've changed and developed a lot. I'm deeper than I was before. And my outlines are a little darker. Maybe as we get older, we become more complicated, more principled, and it becomes more difficult to maintain friendships. Not every relationship can withstand the test of fire, after all, or the test of anything sometimes. But oh, the ones that can are invincible, indestructible. I may have lost friends, but I've also gained friends.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

To be continued...

Ok. It's seriously been a long time since I've written anything. Sorry 'bout that. I was obsessing and spending all my free time on something for awhile. Then I went to the beach to wash it all off. Now I'm back in the real world, though much tanner. I look good tan. If I do say so myself.

A few weeks ago, I had a birthday. I wanted to come up with a long list of all the things I learned in the past year, all the ways that I've grown, that I'm a little brighter, a little better. Though certainly not done yet. And that's been hard. This is the list I came up with.

  1. Tuesday is a day that needed a little something. An ordinary, mostly overlooked day. No one's favorite. It needed something special, and it got it. Now Tuesday will never be the same to me. And I'll miss it very much.

  2. I get myself down more than I should. Thinking about ways I should be better. But what I should focus on is that it's awesome that I want to be better. I care about being better. And that's more than some people who sail through life without ever stopping to gauge where they are.

  3. I do not like Grand Marnier.

  4. I am becoming intolerant of those that I think practice intolerance. What's that old saying? Show me what a man hates, I'll show you who he is.

  5. I do not want to go on any more bad dates. And so, after 12 years, I am letting go of my philosophy of always accepting a date when it's offered. My time is more valuable than I ever gave myself credit for.

  6. I am getting old. That's ok. Kind of. But I need to start using eye cream. Like the old proverb, "Trust in God, but lock your car."

  7. People do good things for all sorts of reasons, some of them bad...a lot of them bad. And sometimes the motive matters more than the result, sometimes the other way around. I just want to always be one of the people who does good things for good reasons.

  8. I now know how to hula hoop. I even own one of my own that someone made just for me. It's actually a good workout for the tummy muscles.

  9. I need to trust my instincts about people more often. With guys I date, but also with friends that I have. Life is too short to spend it with people who aren't good influences or who aren't healthy. I want to surround myself with people who challenge me, who make me think, who support me and who give me something to strive for.

  10. I don't like sitting at a desk all day. I like people. And movement. And variety.

  11. When I'm upset and someone says, "It'll be okay," that's quickly becoming one of my biggest pet peeves. It's just not always true. No one knows whether it is or not when they say it, they just say it so you'll stop saying 'it's not going to be ok.' I'm going to try not to say that anymore either. It's important to be creative and truthful.

  12. I am not going to be thin and small forever. Time to start working out again and beat down Father Time and his big ol' clock. And maybe have one less pint of Magic Hat #9 when I go to the bar.

  13. It's more important to be true to who you are than to be or say whatever you think people will like. I know that's so cliche, but I really have wasted too much time keeping my thoughts and opinions to myself and pretending to be someone I'm not. If people don't like me for me, then see #9 because they're not worth my precious precious time.

  14. People don't care enough about things that matter.

  15. As bad as things get, I can survive just about anything. Because eventually, in time, things will get better. And almost always they're better off than ever before.

  16. "Some people have all of life's answers worked out the day they're born and there's no use trying to teach them anything new. And trying to change what they think, the attempt to explain, the hope they'll come to see your side of things, it was exhausting, because it never made a dent and afterward you only ached unbearably."

  17. I know I am doing better than I think. But I still have lots more to learn. To be continued!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Cone Heads

One of my friends adopted a dog a couple years ago from a rescue society. A little Shih Tzu, like my Katiebug, and her name is Lula. Poor Lula was scared and on guard. She'd be mistreated. And neglected. Because of that, she had some kind of surgery and needed to wear one of those embarrassing cones around her puppy head.

Those cones are funny because you can only see straight in front of you. There's no way to see what's on either side of you. So there's no way to get distracted by others. No comfortable way to look back or down so you're just forced to look straight ahead. Seems like it might be good if your mind and heart could have a cone thing.

I spend way too much time thinking about negative people and negative experiences. I spend too much time thinking about other people and not enough thinking about myself and all the positive things in my life and in my future. I think about what other people think of me and how they view me and how they judge me. That's unhealthy. I suppose everyone does it, though. And I think about bad memories too much. Bad memories should lose their power quicker. If that makes sense.

There's a Counting Crows song that says, "The price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings." And I have too many expensive memories.

So the solution to all my problems is one of those cone things for my head and heart. Then I can focus only on what's ahead of me.

Hmm...but...sometimes it's good to be able to look back. And pay close attention to those around you. Even when you're thinking about what others think of you or how they view you, sometimes that can be a good thing. You just have to surround yourself with the right people so you're not listening to the wrong ones.

Back to Lula. She seemed to be frustrated with her cone thing. Understandably. But here's a pup who's already afraid and defensive, and now she can't keep an eye on what's happening around her which just makes her more confused. She has no direction or guidance. And starts to think the worst of what she can't see and doesn't know.

She ended up barking at my little Katiebug and scaring her out of her wits. She tried to bite Katie through that cone she was so hostile! And my friend had to take Lula home. The cone thing made all her fears and suspicions more powerful and more negative. She had to be all alone and away from everyone until it was taken off. I wouldn't want that to happen to me. Even with all my issues, I play well with others.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Art Imitating Life? Or Life Imitating Art?

Grey's Anatomy is really the greatest show. I know it's unrealistic. I know they've all slept with all the other castmates. I know it has its flaws. But I really do love it. As I've said before, it makes me feel. But it also makes me think.

Last night, as I sat with my girls watching the season finale, I struggled against what I knew was happening - Christina and Burke were not getting married and Meredith and Derek were breaking up...again. I identify with Meredith a lot. In a lot of ways, I identify with Izzie - she's so principled, compassionate and idealistic. I get that. But Meredith's murkiness and neuroses I really identify with most. I know she's fictional, I know they all are, but art does imitate life so humor me, please.

I wonder sometimes if I'm too murky to have that happily-ever-after. I've learned a lot in the past couple of years about what I want and need from a partner - more than in the whole of the rest of my life, I think. But I still worry that when the moment arises, I will fail or won't be up for the challenge. I have such issues with intimacy. Do people like me get happy endings?

So last night, as Meredith was telling Christina that she had to get married because Meredith needed to know that there were happy endings for people like them, I was telling the TV the same thing. Yes, I am way too emotionally invested in a fictional TV show. Of that, I am clear. But that is the purpose of art (you're dang right I'm calling Grey's Anatomy art). Art is supposed to teach us about life and about ourselves.

A couple years ago, I changed the way I talked about marriage. Instead of saying, "When I get married," I started saying, "If I get married." Sometimes people try to correct me, thinking I need encouragement and say, "Oh, you'll get married." But honestly, that's not fact. There's no guarantee.

Changing the way you think about marriage is okay. I don't want to think that it will definitely happen for me because if I did, I would spend a lot more time thinking about why it hasn't yet and when it will, etc. etc. ad nauseam. It's good, I think, to prepare myself for always being on my own because that may very well be the case and if it doesn't happen, the alternative will be a nice surprise. But I won't waste time putting anything off until...

I've been the happiest single-me ever lately. I love my life right now. My friends are the only relationship I need, and they satisfy all my emotional needs. I am very content, in fact, surprisingly so. But that doesn't mean that I don't want more. We always want more, don't we?

I think it's okay, if you're content with yourself and your life, to always be single. I think I'd rather be that way than always in and out of love. Breakups get harder as you get older, and I can't imagine how brutal they'd be in 10 or 20 years from now. No, I think I'd rather just find my way to contentedness with myself and my single life than struggling against that 'Will it happen for me?' question all the time. What a dull way to live life. Always stuck in the past or the future, never for a moment enjoying the present.

A guy friend of mine said something that got under my skin recently. He made some crack about how women spend more time thinking about getting married than men. Then he added something that made me think he was saying that men don't think about getting married at all, but women think about it often. That really bugged me. I have a lot of guy friends, and I've had very candid conversations with many of them about marriage. They all want it. They all think about it. And isn't it human nature to long for companionship? Really, all I want, all anyone wants I'd argue, is to be happy.

But, for now at least, that desire for companionship is still part of what I think total happiness would include for me. And I refuse to believe that there's something wrong with me for wanting to one day, some day, have a lasting and successful partnership. I also refuse to believe that men don't want that and don't spend time thinking about it. I certainly don't want to marry a man like that nor do I want any of my friends to.

And finally, I refuse to believe that because the fictional characters I adore so much can't get their shit together and find their happy ending (single or otherwise) doesn't mean that I won't be able to myself. Even if one day, my idea of what happiness involves changes.

After all, it's just TV.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Karma - A Bitch? Or a Hoax?

Last Friday night, I retold one of my favorite stories from high school. And I ended it by saying, "And that's when I started believing in karma. Because I thought that if someone didn't treat me right, karma was on my side and would get em for me!"

After telling that story, I started thinking about karma again. Do I still believe in karma? I like the idea of it. And the mysticism. But I've seen so many bad things happen to good people. That's not exactly how karma works, though, is it? Isn't it just that if you do good, good will come back to you and if you do bad, bad will come back to you? But it can't be perfect. Let's look it up -

Pronunciation Key - [kahr-muh]

1. Hinduism, Buddhism. action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation: in Hinduism one of the means of reaching Brahman. Compare bhakti (def. 1), jnana.
2. Theosophy. the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person's deeds in the previous incarnation.
3. fate; destiny.

There are still a couple people, if my original philosophy that karma was all about being good or bad to me holds true, who still haven't gotten their just desserts. Recently, in fact, that has begun to puzzle me...and irritate me. So my belief in karma started to fade, without my even realizing it. Until yesterday, that is.

A wonderful woman that I know, a mother of a close friend, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery and went back to her doctor a couple days ago for a check-up. She was told that some of her tissue was dying and causing a serious infection so she needed emergency surgery. My friend called me at midnight, from another continent, asking if I would take off work yesterday to be with her mom. I said yes, of course.

Yesterday morning, I woke up earlier than usual because I wanted to be at the hospital early, and it was an hour away. Groggily, I ate breakfast and got ready. No time for coffee. But as I was driving, I realized I needed gas and stopped at a gas station in literally the worst part of DC. I got out of my car to pump the gas and thought I had better lock my cardoor...then locked my keys in my car.

I was stuck without my cell phone, without cash and without a clue what to do. I walked to a police station that was only a block away and asked the nice officers there for help. They called a sergeant on duty who had jimmies to see if he could get into my car. After waiting an hour for him to show up, he couldn't get into the car. My eyes teared up, feeling sad for my friend's mom who was scared and alone and also sad that I wanted so badly to make this easier for her and her family. My foolishness was preventing me from being there when she needed someone the most.

The sergeant had pity on me and told me he would call a locksmith. He did. And there was more waiting. I called my mom collect (no cash) from a pay phone and asked her to call the hospital for me. More waiting. And dodging a man clearly on drugs as well as a couple "hey baby!'s" from passersby. Finally,the sergeant came back and told me he would wait with me for the locksmith.

While the sergeant was giving someone directions, I saw a AAA truck pull up and thought they were who he called. They weren't, but the man was kind enough to help me. He told me he wasn't going to charge me. He said he still needed to earn his blessing for the day. Karma.

I thought maybe since I was doing a good deed by visiting with my friend's mom, I was being rewarded with kindness from a stranger. I started to feel good. That the universe was recognizing me. I was so relieved to be back on my way, thanked everyone profusely and smiled as I drove to the hospital.

Then I remembered why I was going. Breast cancer. A kind, genuine, good woman had breast cancer. A woman and a family who have already suffered more than most ever do. That can't be karma. And I'm back to being confused about the ways of the world. Why do bad things happen to good people? Maybe this whole karma thing is just a ploy to scare people into being good and nice.

All we can do is pray. And try to be the best people we can be.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Carpe Diem and All That Bullshit

I haven't written much in awhile. I was sick last week. And the past two weeks were really stressful. Do you ever feel like you need a break from your life? That's how I've been feeling lately. I want to stick my head in the sand like an ostrich and come out only when the coast is clear.

I try very hard to live in the moment. Each day, I think of good things that happened, I thank God for the people that helped me through the day. I truly believe in all that "Carpe Diem!" bullshit. I try to find joy in simple things. And I do. All of that works for me. Kind-of.

What is hard is not to rehash all the ickiness in the past. Why do I do that to myself? Instead of playing over and over in my head the happiest scenes in the past year or two, I replay the saddest, ugliest ones. It feels like for whatever reason, I keep punishing myself and keep making myself feel bad for things that I should have already dealt with.

I also spend too much time thinking about the future, which is hard because, of course, I have no idea what it actually will be like. The problem is that I know that in just a couple of months, my life will change dramatically. So even though that hasn't happened yet, it's hard to think about what my life is like right now, in this moment.

I don't feel it when I'm with my friends. I have so much fun, I just get lost. And part of me knows our days this summer are sadly numbered so maybe I'm enjoying my time with them a little more than usual. I feel it the rest of the time, though. I feel it walking through DC. I feel it when I'm at my apartment thinking about what a pain it will be to pack and move all my junk. I feel it BIG time when I'm at work. It's hard to find motivation to do my job when I know I'm turning in my notice in a few short weeks.

The worst, though, is the constant nagging in my stomach. Am I doing the right thing? Will I be happy? Will everything be ok? I try to imagine my life in Atlanta, and it's tough. All I can imagine is being lonely and feeling isolated. But just because that's how I felt when I lived there before, it doesn't mean that's how it will be this time around. I can't help but remember those feelings, though. For the past two years, I've associated those feelings with Atlanta. And now I have to disconnect that and realize that it was my life at the time and not the city I lived in that made me so unhappy. And hot damn, I love DC. I thought about putting school off for a year, deferring my acceptance, but my good friend told me that if the only reason I would do that was to have fun for another year, that didn't seem like a strong enough reason.

Ok ok. The moment. Today. I had a funny conversation with the girls I work with and had some good laughs. My friends are emailing right now about going to a baseball game this weekend. And tomorrow night is Tuesday night, my favorite night of the week. My boobs look hot in the cute top I'm wearing. I have an exciting work project that I'm leading right now that will hopefully be a huge success and will help make a difference. I have a sweet puppy to go home to tonight. And I just finished a delicious bottle of Vitamin Water.

Sigh. I can run through the right motions, but somehow, it still doesn't quite work. I'm still thinking about how in a few months, I won't have all the same happy things to be thankful for. But hopefully, some new ones. Chin up, sunshine.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Historic Capitol Hill Marketplace Burns

I've been talking to a couple of my good friends lately about how hard it is to know what's right and what to do. At least we're all in this big confusing melty mess together. It makes us all feel less crazy to see other people, who we don't think are crazy, struggling with similar trials and rough spots.

We all have different issues we're juggling right now, but it all boils down to the same questions - "Am I doing the right thing? Am I on the right path? Will I be ok? Will it all work out?"

We often wonder where the choices we make will take us, whether it's in the right direction or irrevocably away from something that's meant to be. So many times, we use those same tired old cliches to make ourselves feel better and reassure our doubts - If it's meant to be, it'll work out. Destiny will find a way. All roads lead to the same place. Blah, blah, blah!

In the end, we just have our gut as our guide. We make mistakes, yes, and sometimes frequent ones. We lose sleep. We upset our stomachs. But we also embark on adventures and add new chapters to our books. But are they new chapters in new books because we're so far from where we're "supposed" to be?

It takes you into one circle after another til you're so dizzy you can hardly hold your head on straight. And when you're so busy searching for clues and purpose, you miss out on a lot, and then everything loses its meaning.

I'm struggling right now so much because I feel like I really haven't been happier than I am right now. This is it. This is what I was trying to find. Good friends, stability, satisfying job, the neighborhood I live in and the city have so much character and personality, everything matches here, and I feel so comfortable in my own skin. Finally.

So why am I changing anything? I'm terrified.

Very early this morning, I was awakened by the sound of siren after siren whizzing past my window. I didn't know what was going on, but it was the loudest noise I've ever heard, and I briefly wondered what could be happening before I drifted back to sleep. When I got to work, I learned that the beautiful Eastern Market was on fire and much of the building was destroyed. The headline on this post was the headline in the Washington Post.

It's a historic building, built in 1873, and has been in continuous operation since then. People sell everything there - fresh dairy products, meat, fruit and vegetables, flowers, and even jewelry and art in the flea market that is open on the weekends. It's the heart of the community. I go there every weekend when the weather is warm, and it's my favorite place to walk visitors around in, showing them how historic and fun my neighborhood is. And now all that is gone.

There are already talks from the Mayor's Office and our tireless District Representative about rebuilding the Market and making it even better than it once was. I can't help but think. Is that what happens to us sometimes? We burn down a part of our life, only to rebuild it later to a finer glory? It will take time, but can't we all recover and be restored? Is that what this all is about?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I've been thinking a lot the past few days about anger. It means something different to different people, people express it in totally unique ways and have varying definitions and parameters for it.

Anger scares and upsets me. I heard someone say once that anger is nothing more than an outward expression of inner fear. So if you are angry, before you react, think first about what you're afraid of.

The problem is, of course, that no one takes time to think when they're angry. Not enough time anyway. I've heard people say before that they can control their anger, but that control really only goes so far. People make no sense when they're angry. It's amusing to me, sometimes, when I'm fighting with someone because some of the things they say are so exaggerated they're absurd. Something this same person would laugh with me at if their anger wasn't distracting them from thinking clearly.

Usually, for me, I spend more time with the fear and hurt part of anger than the anger part. Not that I don't get crazed and irrational myself sometimes because, really, we're all human.

I was thinking about anger. Laughing at how ridiculous it makes people, the chilling damage it can leave on relationships and the intense power it has over people and their lives. And then the Virginia Tech shooting happened.

What is most striking to me about that tragedy is the aspect that violence against women has played in recent shootings, including this one. More will come out soon, but right now, we know the shooter stalked women, hated women and took inappropriate photos of women without their knowledge or consent.

The last shooting in Colorado involved sexual assault. The Amish shooting was committed by a self-proclaimed child molester who killed little girls who had been "tempting" him.

No one will ever know or understand what prompted this recent violence. But the connection between the recent shootings should cause alarm and will hopefully open a dialogue in this country. A theory many have about violence against women is that it is about power and control. People who feel powerless want to exhibit power over others. Which, really, is at the core of mass murders as well.

So much fear. So much anger. I pray we can all channel this recent fear and anger into productive action that will bring about peace.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Future's So Bright?

I wrote this on the train a couple days ago...

There's a prissy French woman in the seat across from me. She has a young boy, maybe 6 or 7, in the seat next to her. He's working some kind of puzzle or word game, and she stares down at his paper through her little librarian glasses.

Every once in awhile, she glances back at me and glares through the dark rims as though she suspects me of cheating off her son. She's wearing a cardigan around her shoulders, a look I tease a friend for also wearing by joking that it makes her look like a villian from an 80s movie. The Frenchwoman is no different - except to say that she looks like a villian from a Hitchcock thriller.

And in the seats behind me, there are loud American children jabbering away about SpongeBob and shouting back at their mom about their MP3 players.

Sometimes I worry about the longterm effects of the Iraq War, that it will bring about the downfall of our country and economy and will be the end to the US as a world power. It's separating us so much from our Western allies.

Tonight, I worry it's too much TV and an oversaturation of media. Combined with inattentive parents who are too consumed with the latest US Weekly and the continuing Britney/Kevin divorce saga to bother with rearing our future leaders. Then again. Maybe I'm just having a bad day.

I worry a lot about the future. My favorite question lately is, "What is going to become of me?" Because I really don't know. I can't seem to make much sense of anything anymore. I have reason to celebrate and be happy, yet I feel dismayed and discouraged. What is that about? And I ask myself why I would want to leave what has become my new home and my new family for the setting of a painful past? Which future should I risk?

I worry sometimes that I'm too fickle and addicted to adventure or drama. So much so that I cause it to disrupt peace and calm and destiny.

But that's a grim view of oneself and a bleak outlook at what lies ahead.

Why now? How can something that's good cause hurt? Maybe because it's difficult, it will have great rewards. Maybe I should trust my desires and that they will lead me on the right path. I need to be a bit more positive about the future.

Which is hard to do. Especially when the little French boy is singing a song about learning numbers while the Americans are rapping behind me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We All Learn to Love

One of my best friends had a baby a little over a year ago. It's really the first baby that I've been around since I babysat in high school. It was an awkward adjustment for me, I'm not gonna lie. Babies are...weird. For a long time, they don't talk or move. They just cry and poop. Ick. But they get a lot cuter when they start to walk around and talk nonsense. Isabelle is her name, and she's really starting to grow on me.

At Christmas, she called me 'dog' which is what she calls anything she likes a lot so that was a big compliment. And when I saw her last weekend at Easter, she was the sweetest she's been in her short little life. See, what I learned while watching my friend become a parent is that babies have to learn to smile and laugh and love. At first she only smiled when she farted. I'm serious! I guess it felt funny to her.

Well, for the first time, she hugged me last weekend. She recently learned hugging and what that means, and she really likes it. She hasn't mastered kissing yet (and yes, I know, it can take some people YEARS haha). When she kisses, she just sort of pushes her face against your cheek. Still cute, but not quite right.

But hugging she has down pat. She gets hugging. And it feels good to her. To show love and get love in return. It's funny that love doesn't really come naturally to us. That it's not a natural instinct like walking. People value love in different ways.

For me, love has always been a top priority in my life. I want to constantly be around my friends and family and when I am, I get overwhelmed so often at how strong the love emotions I feel are. Sometimes, I can't help but grin. I look around at my friends laughing at the bar or at my family chattering away with one another, and I am overcome.

I've always put my relationships with other people first in my life. As a friend told me recently, when we're old and look back at our lives, we won't care as much about what we did as we will about how much fun we had and how happy we were. I believe that with my whole heart. So how I can leave those I love so much?

For some, leaving is a part of life. Some people don't form strong bonds or don't value the people in their lives over their career accomplishments or aspirations. Some people don't value others over themselves. I do. I am not like those people - I can't even understand them.

My stomach has been hurting me a lot lately. I have a decision to make, and it is the most difficult one that I've had to make in a long time. I don't feel equipped to make it. I need more time. I need more information. I need a sign or something telling me what to do. Because this is not coming natural to me. This decision. Usually, I can tell by my stomach whether I'm making the right decision or not. But this time, my stomach is just as confused as I am. When I think for awhile about making one decision, my stomach cramps. And it feels just the same when I think about the other decision. Which makes me think that there may be hurt on either side of this choice.

I envy that sweet little baby. Things were a lot simpler back then. But she's just learning about love, and even though I've had more practice, I find that there's always something I can learn about love. But because I know it so well, I'm able to experience it more fully. And one thing you learn as you get older is that love complicates things and brings with it a lot of pain and fear.

In catholic school
As vicious as roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised
By a lady in black
And I held my tongue
As she told me "Son,
Fear is the heart of love"
So I never went back

Monday, April 2, 2007


I had an interesting Saturday night. I went to see one of my favorites - Will Hoge - this soulful, bluesy rocker with a kickass voice. Part singer/songwriter, part Memphis blues-rock. Love him. He plays the acoustic guitar and the harmonica, an instrument I really can't get enough of. His music is not at all the type that would attract brawls or girl fights, but that's exactly what transpired.

He has an incredibly powerful voice and always sings part of a song or an entire song without any accompaniment or microphone. The first time I ever saw him was a few years ago in a little Athens hotspot. He jumped up on the bar and belted out an entire song. He stepped away from the mic on Saturday too, but my listening enjoyment was interrupted by a woman sitting nearby talking loudly. My love of music blossomed in many long nights spent at the Bluebird Cafe, whose motto is "Shh!" and I think it's disrespectful to the artist to talk loudly during a concert and also disrespectful to other audience members. I leaned forward and said, "Shh!" I didn't say, "Shut the fuck up, bitch" or "If you don't shut your mouth, I'm gonna shut it for you" or anything like that. I didn't say a word, in fact, just a sound.

She flipped her head around and gave me a icy death look, then flipped back to her friend and said, "Oh no she didn't! I know she didn't just shush me!" Foolishly thinking that communication can solve any disagreement, I leaned forward and explained myself, "He was singing without any instruments." I received another glare and just shrugged, turning my attention back to Will.

I decided not to let this woman's attitude contaminate my evening and walked back down near the stage, where my other friends were standing. We were dancing and having a good time, when the rude woman's mean friend came down and got in my face to say, "You just told my friend to shut up, and I want you to know that when she was talking, she was saying how good he sounded! Don't you open your fucking mouth to her again!" I tried to respond and said, "But he was..." Though at that point, she whipped her brown hair in my face and stomped away.

I had to fill in my friends and explain why a stranger just yelled at me. I laughed it off and decided not to let it bother me. It's easy to get caught up in little things, and this ridiculous altercation was not something I was about to let bring my funk down. I went back to enjoying the awesomeness that is Will Hoge. The next thing I knew, the two women pushed and shoved their way through the crowd and stood directly in front of my friends and I. Very aggressive. We exchanged glances and took a step back.

My friends were really nervous by then and one of them had his arm tight around me. I thought they were exaggerating and told them everything was fine. I even encouraged my big strong bodyguard to go get another beer, reassuring him that he didn't need to protect me. He wouldn't listen and stood behind me shooting daggers at the women. Several minutes passed without any dramatic event, and one of my favorite songs came on that I always have to dance to. I stepped away from the 6'3" tough guy standing guard over me and went a few feet away to dance and sing with another friend.

The song ended and we were laughing when I felt violent, persistent taps on my shoulder. I knew who it was, of course, but decided I could ignore her angry tapping. She kept it up so I turned around. She waved her finger at me, yelling, "Don't you ever mother-fucking say another mother-fucking word to me! EVER." I shrugged and said, smiling, "Ok. Are you having fun tonight?" She looked confused and cocked her head to the side like my dog when I ask her a question. "Because I'm having fun tonight, and I hope you're having fun tonight too," I grinned sincerely. She grunted and turned sharply on her heels. Mama always said to kill 'em with kindness. :)

Later on, my bodyguard told me that before the two women bombarded down to stand in front of us, the rude woman was cracking her knuckles and her neck. Getting ready to rumble. Everyone saw it but me - I was blissfully clueless. Thank God for good friends!

I started thinking about how thankful I was that I was with the people I was with. How would other people have handled the situation if they had been there? Haha one good friend said if she was there, she would've just punched the woman. What would have happened if I was there alone? I'm really just not that tough. More sugar than spice.

I have the greatest friends, I love that they're so protective, that they would fight for me. And I love that the people in my life are always on my side. While I'm listing things I'm thankful for, I should also add that I'm grateful I didn't get bitch slapped Saturday night.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Liar Liar, Pants on Fire!

Apparently...there's a reason those pants are blazin'...

A few years ago, my mom said to me, completely out of the blue, that liars go to hell. She said, "Did you know that? Did you know that liars go to hell? It's in the Bible." I was thinking, Oh no...what is she talking about? Did I lie to her recently? Did she find out about some lie I told when I was in high school? Where did this come from...

I just said, "Yeah, Mom, I know that..." And she said, "Well, I didn't! I was just reading the Bible last night and read it! There it was. I mean, I always knew that lying was bad, but didn't know that it said liars go to hell. But it's right there in the Bible." Later, my aunt and I were teasing my mom about something, and I learned she did the same thing to my aunt! And had her wondering where that was coming from and if she had lied recently.

Honesty is the most important thing to my mother, it always has been, and that verse validated feelings for her that she'd always had. She passed those feelings down to me. No matter what, honesty is the most important. Be honest in relationships, be open and truthful with those you love, live your life with honesty and tell the truth at all costs.

When I was little, I think I was 7 or 8, my father was briefly married to a woman named Jane who had a spoiled daughter named Chelsea. We didn't get along that well. She was a jealous child - always taking the toys I was playing with even when she didn't want to play with them, wanting whatever I had, always vying for attention. She had a little crown thing with a veil that she used to wear around the house (she really thought she was a princess), and one day she cried to her mother that it was broken. Her mom got angry because she had a temper problem and I guess the stupid thing cost a few bucks. She asked how it got broken. Chelsea said I did it.

So Jane asked me, "Did you break Chelsea's crown?" I said no, and she asked again. Then I thought, Well, the room is messy...maybe I did it by accident? So I, very truthfully, said, "I don't think I did it. But it's possible that I might have stepped on it by accident and just didn't know I broke it." And that was seen as an admission of guilt so I got timeout for the afternoon. I cried and cried. I remember being so confused because I was just telling the truth like my mom said. Later, Chelsea told me she broke it. She was a little bitch.

While my mom is right, it is most important to always be truthful and honest, sometimes you're not rewarded for doing the right thing. Sometimes you're even punished. My former roommate is not an honest person. She told me things she did to other people that they never knew about. She told me about telling people one thing, but actually thinking or feeling another. She told me things that she wouldn't tell most people, which is good I guess, but it means that her other friends don't really know her. I can understand, of course, why she wouldn't tell people those things because they'd think the thoughts I do - that she's not nice or considerate.

It hurts me, though, that she acts one way when she's just around me than when other people are around. She puts on a show for people, and they fall for it. Dishonest people can charm the world, but not forever. That's what I tell myself anyway. Though you know what my mom says...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

We're All in This Together

We are all connected. We all affect each other. There's a commercial that I love, I don't even know what it's advertising, but it shows one person doing something small and nice for another person. Like a man drops something, and another man picks it up for him. And then I think someone's bike is tipping over so another person grabs it. Little things like that. It gives you the impression that you can spread kindness and compassion from one stranger to another.

Sort of like that terrible Pay It Forward movie where the nice kid dies at the end. Who wants to be nice if some weirdo ends up shooting you? Great message there...

It's true, I think, that strangers can affect each other's moods in little ways. If a stranger happens to say or do something out of the ordinary, it can brighten my day. On the other hand, if a stranger is unnecessarily harsh, that feeling can stick with me throughout the day too.

It works the same with friends. I had a terrible day on Tuesday. But a friend of mine needed some advice, I gave it, she took it and it really helped. And that made me feel useful and of value to the world. It may sound silly that I needed reminding, but that day, I did. And, like strangers, friends can also put a damper on your day and can spread their bad mood to you.

When that happens, I usually blame myself. That's my unhealthy reaction to everything. Though sometimes, it's valid. Is it my fault that I let myself be affected by someone else's mood? But aren't close friends supposed to feel each other like that? I don't know. I sometimes feel like there's something wrong with me. I take things too personally, I'm too sensitive. And that is true some of the time. Though not all the time.

The fact is that I know what my needs are. I've been able to work with people when I understand what they need. I had a boyfriend who used to have a hard time putting thoughts and feelings into words (ok how many boyfriends like that are there?!). But I knew that he would be able to, he just needed time to work through it all. I understood his needs, and though that wasn't what I would have preferred, I could work with that because I cared for him and wanted to meet his needs.

I know my needs. And though it may be unreasonable, I expect people to work with them. It's the give and take of compromise that has to really be worked out, though. Can I give up on this one thing or this one time because it's what someone else needs? And can they for me? I think things are okay as long as everything is reciprocal. You have to take care of yourself and the other person, though.

Everything is like that, isn't it? All give and take, push and pull, back and forth. We are all connected. And because of that, we've got to do our best to help each other and spread kindness and love. I try very hard not to let that happen, though I'm sure like everyone I make mistakes. I have a tough job, and some days are really rough, but I try not to bring others down too. All we can do is try. But we have to. We have to try.

Music says it better than I ever could...

woke up this morning
i suddenly realized
we're all in this together
i started smiling
cos you were smiling
and we're all in this together
i'm made of atoms
you're made of atoms
and we're all in this together
and long division
just doesn't matter
cos were all in this together

i saw you walking
in the city
we're all in this together
the city's changing
cos we are changing
and we're all in this together
every twelve seconds
someone remembers
that were all in this together
in the kitchen
of your rent-control apartment
we're all in this together

c'mon baby
i don't mean to rush you
i only wanted to reach out and touch you
i've gotta start to open my heart

i know you think
about jumping ship before it sinks
but we're all in this together
ask a scientist
its quantum physics
we're all in this together
and on the subway
we feel like strangers
but we're all in this together
yeah i love you and you love her
and she loves him
but we're all in this together

ya know baby
there's never been protection
in all the history of human connection
c'mon darling
it's alright to show me
you don't ever need to be lonely
once you start to open your heart

i saw you crying
i started crying
cos we're all in this together

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fantasizing About Strangers...

One thing I love about city life is interacting so much with strangers. When you drive everywhere, you end up only interacting with people you're driving to see or from seeing. But walking through busy streets and riding the train every day forces you to be around strangers.

Today, I was jamming out to a little Paolo Nutini when I noticed the guy sitting across from me on the Metro. He looked about my age, and was wearing black pants and a black shirt with the Capitol City Brewing Company logo on it. I've been there a few times so I assumed he was on his way to work. He was reading a copy of the Express and had a skateboard leaning against his legs. It had a skull on it with wings and those scary earrings people wear that look like bolts. Creepy.

I started wondering about this guy. What is his life like? Why is he a waiter in his mid20s? So I started imagining a life for him. A really cool one. With a girlfriend who has green hair and tattoos. And he's in a punk band. Trying to make it big. Or maybe he's an intern for some cool liberal group like or TreePeople.

In imagining all these lives for this stranger, I was projecting my own fantasies onto him...and it was fun! I have all kinds of fantasy lives that keep my imagination entertained. I live in a punk band, I'm a crazy activist, I live in Austin and work in the music industry, I live in Chelsea and work at an art gallery, I live in London and oh, I don't care what I do, I live in London!

Then we got to Metro Center - his stop. And he exited the train. He had a little sticker stuck to his pants. They must have been new - it was the sticker that tells you the size. I almost reached up and ripped it off for him. Then I remembered we actually are strangers. And I decided to let his friend he writes comic books with take it off...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What's the World Got in Store?

There is a lot about life that I don't know. It makes me feel young and tells me that I am. I often wonder what will happen to me. What is in store for my life? Wonder if I'll make the right choices. Am I on the right path?

Part of the beauty of life is in its mysteries. I think it would be easier to relish that if I didn't feel like mystery is all I have. I am young. I haven't lived enough to see how the choices and paths really pan out in the long run. People tell you it'll all work out, but until your life is long enough to look back at several instances where it has in big ways, it's tough to have faith in that motto all the time.

Of course I have seen the bad fade into good. Of course. Many times over. But I want to get to a point where I can look behind me at the dots I've made connect and turn into something rich and beautiful.

Something I usually don't like thinking about is growing old. I'm vain and don't want all the wrinkles and fat. But that's not all you get with age. You get wisdom too. And I want that.

I pray for many future moments of looking back at my life with pride and satisfaction. Come what may, I wanna feel that I've done right and good. I wanna believe what they say.

Close your eyes and go to sleep, baby
Take your head off your feet, honey
Cause you've been working hard and I know you're tired
You been trying hard not to think I'm a liar

What's the world got in store?
What's the world got in store for you?
What's the world got in store for you now?

Come on baby somehow, I need you
Do I have to show you how, baby?

I'm not trying to knock you out
Or was it about
I just know you need your rest
But I can't say what's best for you

You've been working hard and I know you're tired
I've been trying hard not to feel like a liar

What's the world got in store?
What's the world got in store for you?
What's the world got in store for you now?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

In Between

In some ways, I am a difficult person. But I bring those difficulties upon myself. It's my own fault. Sometimes I almost feel self-destructive and unable to stop once things get going.

I went to a concert last night. It was awesome, I love the band, one of my favorites. The music is full of passion and feeling and inspires and uplifts me every time I hear it. The venue was not the best - a college basketball arena, as a matter of fact. There were no assigned seats with all tickets being for general admission only.

For the opening band, I picked a seat for my friend and I on the sidelines. In a corner somewhere hidden between parents who came because their kids wanted to and adolescents who are too young to really comprehend the meaning behind those poetic lyrics I love so much. It was comfortable, and we were rebellious and snuck in alcohol (college arena=no booze allowed) so we really did need a hiding place to discreetly pour our airplane bottles of vodka into our sodas.

But we were on the side. In the corner. Away from the excitement and fervor that is a rock and roll show.

In between acts, we decided we needed a better view. So we walked down to the floor and made our way through the crowd. We winded around people to find our spot in the middle. We zigzagged into every hole we could find. It was easy. There were lots of little holes for two small ladies such as ourselves, and we finally settled on a spot.

From this spot, we could see the stage, but it was tough to see the lead singer at all times. There were a few tall people in my way. I twisted my neck and shifted my weight every minute or so to adjust to the movement of others so as to still have a view. At some point, so many people had joined the floor and pushed their way up that we became increasingly more crowded. And thus, it became even harder to see.

For one song, I found myself mesmerized by the lights on stage. The backdrop was made of lights - big and small, in all shapes, sizes and colors. It was hypnotizing. And because I could no longer see the band, I stared and stared at the bright blinding lights. After a few minutes of staring at lights, your eyes adjust and everything gets blurry. It was safe where we were, not as uncomfortable if we had been farther up. But after awhile, I really couldn't see clearly.

While we waited for the band to come back for their encore, we walked to the back of the arena by the doors. We knew it would be hard to get a cab once the concert ended so it seemed like the smart thing to do. We watched a couple songs from there. There were fewer people, we had more room and a better view of the stage. We could see the band clearly, the lights weren't distracting, but it was impossible to see the facial expressions of the musicians. A concert is better when you can see the musicians' faces and understand the music as they do and see the feelings the songs bring out in them.

And I started thinking. About being on the sidelines, in the dark corner, isolated yet comfortable. Or having the guts and gumption to fight your way to the front, to the best view, to be so close that you're a part of the action. No matter how cramped or smothered you may feel, you'll forget all of that when you get lost in the thrill of the experience. Or playing it safe, in the back, still a part, but distant enough to be comfortable and have a good view so you clearly know what's going on - though you're too far removed to be fully immersed.

Or what about the in between? You're cramped and uncomfortable, without a good view, can't make your mind up as to where you best fit so you stop yourself short - in between. And the noise, the commotion of the background steals your full focus and attention to the point of blinding and disorienting you. Your perception is unbalanced, and you can't tell what's going on or what to feel. It seems to be safer than fighting, and you don't have to risk anything. You tell yourself it's a better place to be than to be stranded on the side, away from everything, scared of putting yourself out there at all or hidden in the back where you understand what's happening but choose to be distanced and unaffected. So foolish to trick yourself like that and into thinking "in between" is a destination at all. It's not a place, it's a state of mind.

In between is barely there. In between is messy and cowardly and needless. And getting lost in the backdrop distracts you from finding the right path. It's an unnecessary difficulty you bring on yourself.

Friday, March 23, 2007

You're Still Alright

I heard this song last night and can't get it out of my head. It's been hypnotizing me all day. And for some reason, even though it's a positive song, I can hear hopelessness in its soul. And that's what attracted me to it.

When everything you have goes away
You realize that nothing means a thing
Everything you thought was a big deal
Now you see it all and what is real

When all you have just falls apart
And nothing seems to work out right
And you’re trying

You’re still alright

When everything starts to feel the same
And everyone around you seems to change
You went along with me when things weren’t right
And when the morning slowly fades to night

When all you have just falls apart
And nothing seems to work out right
And you’re trying

You’re still alright

You can hear it at

I believe it in some way - if you're still trying, you're alright. I recently changed my ringtone back to the Eye of the Tiger. Sometimes, I need to be reminded I've gotta keep on keepin' on.

I don't think things in life have rules. In love, there are no rules. With people, no rules. No set rule or path you have to follow. I don't mean morals when I say 'rules' because I do believe in absolutes when it comes to right and wrong. I just mean that it's important not to limit yourself and not to limit the realm of possibilities you give yourself. Be open and have no expectations. And good things will flow to you. It's hard to hold true to that mantra when life has you dizzy.

But even when nothing makes sense. Even when you confuse yourself. Even when you don't have the answer. Even when you once thought you did and now you're turned all around and upside down all over again. Even when it doesn't seem like it's gonna be alright, when you can't believe that it's gonna work out and everything's gonna be grand. It helps to hear 'You're still alright' and it helps to know that someone out there believes it.

Whoa, Get a Whiff of This!

I love city life. Today is one of the first warm days of '07. It's not hot, but it is warm. And it's the first day where I could distinctly smell the city's sweat.

Ok, I know it sounds gross, but I love it. The warm humidity cooks all the city smells: the dirt, the grim, the cement dust flying in the air from whichever construction site is nearby. It cooks them all up and then we breathe in that steamy stench of the concoction.

And again, I know it sounds gross, but I can't help it - it's the smell of home. Maybe it's because I love New York so much. That city has the most potent city sweat (though often mixed with garbage). And DC's smell has become comforting to me too. That means I'm really starting to love this old town.

Other smells I love: opening a new book for the first time, a cake baking, lilies, wet grass, the scummy lake water and the salty ocean, my sweet puppy, snow, peanut butter, a Tennessee tailgate, basil, wood, fresh warm laundry, my aunt's old house, my grandfather's house, olive oil, chlorine from a swimming pool, cigars and my favorite smell of all - my momma.

Awhile back, I was hemming and hawing over a boy. What to do, what's right, what do I want, the usual indecisiveness you'd expect from me. I was talking it over with a friend, and she asked the funniest question, "Do you like his smell?" And it was the right question. Because our smells are not the scents we try to cover them up with. The Old Spice, the cucumber melon deodorant, the strawberry body wash or cocoa lotion (why do all girlie products smell like food? the way to a man's heart is through his stomach? is that it?).

Our scents are our natural, human scents. That little boy scout who was lost in the mountains last weekend was found by a dog who sniffed his dirty, worn t-shirt. At some level, we as humans are still animals.

They say that scents are attached to memories. Maybe I love city sweat because of all the good times I've had in city summers. Maybe I loved that boy because I loved his scent.

Scents are fleeting, just like moments. We get little whiffs of happiness and then it's gone. And the scents associated with those brief instants serve to remind us of what we once had, what we once felt so that we can have it again and feel it again for even a fraction of a second...before it's gone...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ooo Ooo It's In His Kiss...

Kisses. Kisses are stories. There is so much in a kiss, so much can be felt or seen about the past, the present, the future. And their power is often underestimated and abused. For a brief (brief!) time, I had the nickname of The Kissing Bandit because I thought it was fun to kiss strangers in bars. Oh yeah, I was that girl.

Last night, I went to see Pete Yorn at the 9:30 Club. It was tough to see the stage from where we were standing so I spent a lot of time watching the crowd. We stood near a couple who looked a few years younger. Their body language was interesting. He was trying to get closer, she was pulling away. In a flirty way, but still away. Twice it looked like he tried to kiss her, and she gave him the edge of her lips, though never full on. They were cute, holding hands, but I couldn't help but wonder if he was more into her than she was into him. And did he know it? Did she? You can tell a lot from a kiss.

I remember a lot of first kisses. I remember THE first kiss. Not so good. Sloppy, awkward, wet. I didn't like it. I remember my next kiss, which was four years later. That one was much better. More genuine. Sweeter. I was seriously crushin'.

I remember last kisses too. Most of the time, you don't know that a last kiss is going to be the last, but every once in awhile you do and it's sad. I remember a passionate kiss, hands everywhere, arms tight. We were standing by the door. And we couldn't stop ourselves. It was after the breakup, a total mistake and we knew it, but we savored that last moment, and it will always go down as one of the best. I remember my first kiss with that guy, and it was just as hungry. Those kisses said a lot about our relationship - not a lot of substance or depth, but damn, we did have passion.

Another last kiss indicative of an entire relationship was a few days before I moved here. I wanted to make the most of the last moments, to lose sleep doing naked things and talk until the sun came up. He wanted to go to sleep. And he wanted me to leave him alone. He was mad at me for leaving.

I kept trying to kiss him, but his lips were tight, refusing entry. Eventually, I told him off and left. I am so proud of myself for walking out that door and never back in. The whole relationship was my needs not being met, me wanting more than he did or was willing to give. Such a mess it made of me. Such a mess I let it make. But never again will I fall into that trap.

I love Joni Mitchell, and she has a lot to say about kisses:

"Young love was kissing under bridges
Kissing in cars, kissing in cafes
And we were walking down Main Street
Kisses like bright flags hung on holidays
In France they kiss on Main Street
Amour, mama, not cheap display"

"I want to talk to you, I want to shampoo you
I want to renew you again and again
Applause, applause - life is our cause
When I think of your kisses
My mind see-saws"

"He tried hard to help me
You know, he put me at ease
And he loved me so naughty
Made me weak in the knees"

I know so much about kisses now. I know what to expect, what they should taste like. As I've matured, I've learned that I really hate wasting them. Recently, I went on a few dates with a guy and couldn't take any more - he was a terrible kisser. Lacking in both style and form. That kiss told me what I already knew, that we were incompatible.

What will my next kiss be like? What will it tell me? What will it tell him? I'm hoping for see-saws, naughty love, weak knees and not some cheap display. One full of passion but also substance.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Don't Wanna Grow Up, I'm a Toys-R-Us Kid

Growing up is the pits. I really hate it. I miss waking up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons, not to get a windshield replaced. I used to come home at 4 and play outside. Now I come home at 7, and it's too dark and I'm too tired to play. Back then, I could wear whatever I wanted every day, not drab professional garb to make all the sheep look alike.

I miss My Little Pony, makebelieve, graham crackers with peanut butter, dance class, running in the warm sunshine, no responsibilities, no consequences, all fun and all play all the time. I'm tired of meetings, bills, debt, too broke to do what I want, rules, questions with too many answers, questions with no answers that keep me up at night, watching my fat intake, crackety old bones and wrinkles under my eyes.

I could whine all day. But there are good things about being a grownup too. It has its advantages. I have to remind myself, but some things are good.

No curfew! That was my most favorite college freedom. Coffee is good for me now. (Kind-of.) No one makes me eat vegetables covered in processed cheese. Alcohol...oh joy, oh bliss. Sleepovers with boys! Not that I've had one of those in quite some time, but I've had enough whose memories keep me warm at night. Oh, and I don't have to keep my room clean all the time. Work still gives me my paycheck no matter how many shirts are strewn across my bedroom floor.

But I keep waiting for it to get easy again. Even at 27 (almost 28 - eek!), I'm still waiting for someone to take care of me like when I was young. I need to be nurtured, I like it, it feels good, it helps. But I'm a grownup and have to take care of myself. There's no way Mommy can do it all for me now and no promise of a future with anyone else pitching in. No assurances that I won't always be on my own, providing for myself.

Sometimes, I feel like I'm just not a good adult. Or I'm not adult enough. I told one of my friends that once, and she laughed and said, "It has nothing to do with being an adult. You work for a non-profit, and you live in DC. You're not immature - you're poor." That's what friends are for.

But there are so many things I should be better at. I wonder if those improvements that I need are holding me back? But growing up is a continual process so, chances are, I'll always be struggling with these things and others.

But I'm not really struggling alone. Mom isn't nearby, and Mr. Right isn't either, but my friends and I are doing alright taking good care of one another. One thing is true - friendships get better and richer as we get older. And tequila shots can do the rest.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Time Traveling

* I wrote this last Friday morning in Georgia on the back on some directions...

Being here feels like time traveling. This is the past, not the present. But things have changed, it's not quite the same as it was once, so is it really the past? Suddenly, I'm confused.

Unsure of where I am, when I am, I question everything. What do I want? Why am I here? Should I be? It feels so foreign, yet so familiar.

I drive past an old house I've seen hundreds of times before. On the side of 316. They're always selling cars in their front yard. (Oh, Georgia.) But these cars are new cars. The rusted RV they tried to sell the full year and a half I lived here is gone. Sold maybe? I don't know.

Every street in Atlanta, in Athens, is full of memories. Some good, some bad, all overflow with feelings. I remember roads, but not names. I'm easily lost and need directions to places I've been many times before.

One of my favorite Sex and the City episodes says:

"Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe you have to let go of who you were, to become who you will be."

I don't know. I feel upside down, turned around, my stomach is full of knots. I feel lost in time. Lost in the back pages of my own life. This doesn't feel like home anymore. How can that be? Sometimes it's easier just to forget, but is it better?

* And you know what? I think this confusion was just a phase. Or was from something else altogether. Because from Friday night on, it felt like home to me. And it was even hard to come back.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

My Portion

I am so content right now it's eerie. Suspiciously so. I just feel so centered and grounded and so aware of every moment.

I look back sometimes at these silly posts and remember what was happening in my life when I wrote each one. If anyone reads this (ok, besides the 3 people that do), they would have no idea the context of each reflection or commentary. But it's so much better when you can color in the background.

I have watched myself grow up. It's such an amazing thing to be able to notice. Hurrah. Progress! And I've watched my friends grow up too, which is truly beautiful. It's a rare and special thing that I have so many close friends that I've known for such a long time. I really treasure our history.

I've seen them graduate, choose careers, find success, marry, even become a parent. We've made mistakes together and helped each other move on. Even despite distance because, sadly, all my best friends do not live in one area. But we manage. I know that there are a handful of good people that I could call no matter what time, day or night. When they get married, I'm there no matter what. When my friend had her child, I flew home and met the sweet baby when she was just hours old. We go to funerals to support each other and throw parties to celebrate each other. I just could not make it through life's big moments without these people, and I am so incredibly blessed to have so much love in my life.

And so I'm content. I don't really care, for the first time in my life, if I ever marry or find someone. In fact, I rather like being single and hope I stay single for a long while. I'm just so happy in my life, I really can't imagine anything else coming into it. And I really don't want anything to. My cup overflows. I have enough.

There's a Bible verse I like, somewhere in Psalms, that says God is my portion. Yes, God is my portion. And my friends and family are my portion too. Exactly the right amount of sustenance and substance. I am content.

Friday, March 9, 2007

This Old Dog

Ok, I really do think that the whole of the world can be understood by watching the right 'Sex and the City' episode. Well, let me rephrase that. The whole of the moment...I don't know what I'm saying. I just get that show, and it gets me. And teaches me with its witty little parables.

Last night, the episode called "Old Dog, New Tricks" was on. Carrie and Mr. Big had broken up for awhile, and they were trying it again...but the same old things that irritated her before were irritating her again. So the question was, "Can you change a man?"

Big was always checking out other women when he was with Carrie, he was half an hour late to meet her, he wouldn't give her a key to his place, he wouldn't stay one night in her place, he always smoked cigars...she had a long list of complaints. The cigars thing was small, but the rest said a lot about how important she was to him. Finally, he rolled over in bed and knocked her to the floor. And she was fed up. He didn't even make room for her in bed, as though he didn't even know she was there.

At the end of the episode, he finally conceded to spend a night at her apartment. And I was upset. That was all he gave her? That seemed like such a little thing, though it was big to him, it was insignificant compared to the fact that he wasn't letting her be a part of his life.

All the while, Miranda and her boyfriend were having problems because they were on two different schedules, and it was hard to make time for each other. In the end, Miranda changed and made room for the guy. The closing narration said, "You may not be able to change a man, but once in a blue moon, you can change a woman." I was so unsettled.

Can people really change?

Sometimes I feel like if you're used to someone being a certain way - selfish, moody, inconsiderate - then you'll always expect them to be like that. Even if you're trying not to, you find evidence that they still exhibit that same old terrible behavior. And maybe that's because some people never change, because they can't ever change fully. I don't know.

Some people didn't like that Carrie ended up with Mr. Big in the series finale. They didn't find it realistic. I liked it because it's not realistic. It's fiction, it's a fantasy world where men who are cold and selfish and emotionally distant like Big change. And become that sweet, romantic hero who sacrifices things (like moving across the country) to make it work with his woman. I want to believe that can happen. It probably can't, though. And certainly doesn't. But it's nice to see it happen in a silly little TV show since most likely, we'll never see it happen in real life.

You might be able to change someone from being habitually late to being on time. Or change a smoker into a non-smoker. But you can't teach a man how to treat a woman right or teach him how to be nice. You can't turn a selfish, cold narcissist like Big into a kind, considerate person. Life can change him, maybe, but you can't.

So men can't change. But women can. And we can change that desire to be with a man who doesn't satisfy our needs, who doesn't give us what we deserve and want. The only old dog who can learn new tricks is ourselves. We can learn and improve - we can change, even if they can't. Or won't. Or just don't.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Out There in '07

Around the first of the year, I decided that maybe I wasn't putting myself out there like I should. I felt like I was clinging too much to failed relationships of the past and unrealistic expectations for the future. And I came up with a little slogan - "Out There in '07!"

It kind of goes along with the new year's resolution of a good friend so it's something we shout out to each other, a kind of call to action or mantra. Usually slurred out loudly around closing time, but also serves as a reminder to keep the faith, keep putting in the effort.

I think in some way this attitude change has really helped me. I think I'm sending out a different vibe, and it's working. I've been on a lot of dates in the past few months. Even dated one guy for a month. A couple days ago, I had a first date with a guy I met two weeks ago. We'd talked on the phone a few times, and I could just tell that I wasn't into him. I was really grumpy the day of the date, didn't want to go, knew I didn't like him, plus it was snowing and I just wanted to stay home. But my friend, my spotter if you will, told me I needed to give him a shot and not make up mind so quickly, a good pep talk, you know. Then I started thinking maybe I was give guys the ax before giving them a fair chance. So I went. And it was a disaster. And I wish I'd stayed at home.

I learned a lesson from all of that, though. To trust my instincts. I'm not as messed up as I might think I am sometimes. I'm not trying to shoot myself in the foot - sometimes I actually do know what's best for me. And also, being "out there" doesn't mean going on a date with every guy that asks. I can get rid of that rule now. And stop wasting my time with guys I'm not interested in. I'd much rather be curled up with my sweet puppy than out on the town with some weirdo dude.

"Out There in '07" is a state of mind. Not a required set of actions. And I am out there. Dangit.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Shifting When the Wind Blows

I am so that girl, that 'the grass is always greener' girl. I wonder sometimes if I can ever be happy where I am. I mean, sometimes, it's a serious, genuine concern of mine. When I was living in NYC, I loved it, I was happy, but then I started visiting home a little more frequently. And I had a boyfriend back in Knoxville too. We broke up, but I hoped it would someday work out, you know, the way you always do.

Then, one of my best friends said she needed me, and I knew it was true. Plus, I thought it'd be fun to move back home and live there for a few months before school. And it was. It was a fun summer. The first two months were hard, though, I was homesick for New York. I found that I didn't like Knoxville as much anymore, it wasn't the way I remembered it. But soon enough, I was moving onto another adventure that I was sure would be great.

Grad school in Athens was great. I couldn't have imagined anything better. I loved every minute of that sweet little college town. I love it as much now as I did then, and I never had a moment where I didn't love living there. But my days were numbered, and before I knew it, I was moving on again. That was a tough choice. I was trying to decide between New York and Atlanta. Two totally different towns, two divergent paths. I ultimately chose Atlanta. It was closer to home, it was a lot of fun, and there was love there. But...

I was miserable. I lived there for a total of 9 months and 10 days. Ew ew! The traffic made me want to crash my car into the interstate divider or run it off into an embankment. My job was tedious, pointless and felt like a waste of my time and intelligence. My friends there were fun and nice, but none of them were people I couldn't live without. Don't even get me started on the lifesucking relationship.

So when the opportunity again arose to bust loose and move onto another place, another life, I took it. I moved to DC with no job, a few close friends (who got me through!) and a room in an apartment full of strangers. But I found "the" job, the one I'd always wanted. I made some irreplaceable friends, found a kickass townhouse apartment in a neighborhood I love, and things are good.

So why am I looking back again? Why do I think things would be different if I moved back to Georgia? Why do I think that anything would be better that all I'm enjoying now? I think what I get caught up in is looking back and looking forward. You can't see in two directions at the same time. You'll end up running into something and falling.

I want to live the life I've imagined! Go in the direction of my dreams! I just don't know which direction they're in. Or what that imagined life really is like. I want my cake and want to eat it too. I'm so full of it. I talk a big game - "live in the moment," "enjoy each day like its your last," "carpe diem!" - but in the end, I spend a lot of time looking back and looking ahead.

Since I moved to DC, I've started to play a little game with myself. Every once in awhile, I have a night or a moment that I want to treasure because it's a brief bit of pure happiness and peace. I'm trying to collect those memories in my mind and remind myself of them. Because I've been miserable before, I know what it feels like to hate your daily life and now that I'm in a better place (in so many ways!), I want to appreciate those moments of bliss. And when I'm having days like today, when I'm looking back at the good memories of the past, I hold the most recent memories, the DC memories, in front of me. To remind me of where I am now. And why it isn't half bad.

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