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.

I Feel Dizzy.

Sometimes I think that if I can just figure out what I want and need and really understand myself then that’s "it." That’s the key to everything. When I was little, I loved ‘The Neverending Story.’ I never got the end of it, though.

"Sebastian...say my naaaaame!!"

All Sebastian had to do was name the queen? Why? Why didn’t she just have a name? Why was he the only person who could name her? And why would a silly thing like that save the universe from disintegrating?

But now I think I get it. He was reading this book, interacting with this fantasy world that came to life, and he had to make the ending. He had to end the story. He had the power and all he had to do was find the key, he just had to understand what his role was, and then the world was saved, he got to keep the flying dragon-dog and scare the mean bullies.

But in reality, understanding yourself (if it's even possible) doesn’t change the world. You might understand that you have certain qualities, and you may understand why you behave the way you do, but understanding alone does not equal change. Knowledge is power, yes, but knowing is only half the battle. Ha. I used to have a joke with an old friend over what the other half was. We decided it was fighting.

And that makes sense. You have to know what to do, you have to understand what’s going on, and then you have to take action. You are the only one who can change your life and change who you are and who you become.

There are a lot of changes I want to make to myself and to my life. There are a lot of changes that I want but I know I need to learn more about what those changes specifically are and how to make them…if that makes sense. And then sometimes I worry I don’t understand myself enough. That there are changes that need to be made, but I’m totally unaware that I’m making mistakes or need some improvement in an area.

"I didn't see the change,
And isn't it all so strange?
We turn our heads from side to side,
Missing what's right before our eyes.
We're getting closer every day.
I didn't see the change."

Sometimes changes blindside us. They happen before we even realize things were shifting. There is no happy ending like in The Neverending Story because we will never fully understand ourselves. Or anyone else. We just have to make do as best we can and hope it all turns out alright. And have to keep ourselves from going crazy with all the questions.

You know what they say, "the destination is the journey" and "the question is more important than the answer," blah blah. You'll make yourself dizzy if you keep walking in circles. I will never know all the answers, and I don't want to waste time trying to find them. I want to have fun. And be surrounded by loved ones. If I can simplify it greatly, I know what I want.

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