Tuesday, April 04, 2017

13 Reasons Why


I just finished watching Thirteen Reasons Why on Netflix and of course I am now a bubbling, triggered mess of tears and puffy eyes and general sadness. I am struck by the  honest the portrayal of grief and growing pains and disconnectedness. I am struck by my connection to both Hannah (the girl who dies) and Clay (the boy who loved and lives). I am struck by how guttural my grief still is and how scared that I continue to grow and evolve around this giant aspect of myself.

This series is fantastic though it will take me days to get out of this grief funk that continues to surface from time to time.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

United States of Whatever

Our last (hopefully) snowstorm of the winter killed my car battery and I just spent an hour sitting in the lobby of Mavis while they restored my baby back to life.

As expected the lure of a snowstorm was quickly replaced by real world annoyance. Shoveling, bundling up, avoiding ice and trying to revive a dead battery. I attempted to call out of work the day after the snow storm because overnight the snow just turned into ice and I was worried about driving. My work from home day was pretty successful so I figured I could manage working from home again.

That idea was quickly shot down by my boss who seems not to like me personally but loves me professionally. It's hard to explain but as usual i'll try. He likes Patricia so much, I think he assumed no one would be able to replace her when she could no longer manage customer service and her new role in the company. Because of this he gave me the hardest time when I first started. He made snide critiques about how long it took me to learn something. He'd reprimand me via Patricia about minute details that i had little to no control over and once he got so agitated by my presence he spent 15 minutes talking to her about how i wouldn't measure up. This all occurred week one.

If you are wondering why I didn't quit then, it's because I was poor. I was struggling to pay my rent, struggling to feed myself, struggling to commute back and forth. I was sick of going on interviews and having to prove I was a competent and good worker.  Everything around me was falling apart: Sean, the bookstore, the university job, my health...so I took the first job that was offered to me and vowed to stick it out. I had no choice. So even after that first week where I was made to look like a complete and utter fool, even when my boss treated me like I did not belong there...i stuck it out.

Of course, I quickly proved that I was a good employee but  also much better at Patricia's job than she was. My boss and Patricia tried to continually find errors in my work only to come up with....nothing. Despite my anxiety and general discomfort with people, I excel at customer service. I like being helpful, I like resolving things. When given a task, I am willing to go above and beyond to complete it. So at work, I am a champion employee.

Patricia resents this because it makes her look dumb and my boss refuses to accept that he was wrong about me while also taking all the credit for how great of an employee I am. Because of this how he treats me vs. how he talks about me are two different things. I feel like I am in an emotionally abusive relationship. I am praised for my work, I am told how much of an asset I am but he always gives me shit if I take a day off and has reprimanded me for minor errors. If i make a spelling mistake or answer the phone a ring too late he expresses legit disdain.

On Friday he raised his voice at me because I wanted to handle a client situation in a way that would provide a permanent solution not a temporary one. He did not like this one bit and felt inconveienced when I offered a solution that would require more work then he is accustomed to. He didn't chew me out or yell at me, but he definitely raised his voice and attempted to put in my place which was unnecessary. This exchange happenned the day after my failed attempt to call out. He called me 10 minutes after I sent in my "i'm not coming to work today email" and offered to pay for my cab ride to and from work if i came in. "it's better if you are here" he begged and like an asshole, I went in.

I am frustrated by my job. It's is a poorly run, disorganized place that just happens to pay well. I am anxious to work anywhere else, especially since my skills are sort of exemplary. I like working, I like being useful, I like being good at something and because I am not so great at a lot of things, being a great employee has to suffice for now. But I am worried about the economy, I am worried about health insurance, I am worried about being laid off, I am worried about making a big change in this 'climate" and having things come crashing down suddenly.

I live in a perpetual state of real world anxiety. I am finally providing for myself and strengthening my skills. I am finally on the path to a healthy, stable life. But that seems up in the air now. I want to find a new job, a job that will turn into a career for me. I want to buy a home. I want to be in a committed relationship. I want to travel and see the world. And I can still do all of these things, sure, but it isn't without a level of complete and utter dread.

I never really understood how closely my quality of life was related to the stability of my country. But now I know and strongly believe that it is. I am afraid to make any moves in any direction because I am fearful of: war, economic collapse, isolationism, populism, racism. It's absolutely insane and yet here I am...unable to move. Paralyzed partially because of instability.

This summer my mom, brother and I are going to California. We've been planning this trip for a year. The tickets are purchased, the hotel booked and plans solidified. I am excited but also terribly nervous. I keep talking about the trip as if it isn't going to happen. As if some calamity will prevent us from heading out west in a few months. I hate that I live in this state of preparedness. That things are so bad I a) cannot appreciate the good (i'm going to California!) and b) that I am expecting things in the states to get worse.  Worse than they already are.

I have to find a way to channel my anxiety because right now it is paralyzing me. I am unable to take any of the big steps I finally feel prepared to take because of what is going on around me. But I want to miss out on opportunities: growth, love, adventure and hell even a new job because of things that are out of my control. I have to find a way to breathe and live while the world I know and love unravels.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Stella


I am working from home today because, well, I live in the northeast and after months of complaining that we have yet to have a proper workday snowstorm...bam, a blizzard in the middle of the March. Sorry, everyone. Finally my prayers to the snow goddess worked.

My dad says I'm officially a New Yorker again because while snow is beautiful and meditative, I tend to favor Fall and Spring. I am only tolerate of snow the weeks leading up to Christmas. After that, the idea of shoveling, bundling up, avoiding slush and of course the dreaded "yellow" snow makes me resent the soft yet thunderous flakes.

With snow everything is only beautiful and peaceful when it's coming down and we are all tucked inside. It's only truly magical untouched. Sans footprints, or car tracks or worse when it begins to dissolve. Snow, for me, is only beautiful when it covers everything and stalls time.

I feel a kinship to Snow. I had Scarlett fever when I was a baby and almost died and a snowstorm saved my life. My mom tells this story all the time because I enjoy listening to it. Her seeing me blue lipped and unresponsive. Her freaking out and crying because she thought I was dying. She wanted to have another child (me) because she decided to leave my father. She didn't want my brother to grow up alone. She felt she could survive leaving my father as a family of three not two. So when she found out she was pregnant, she decided after I was born that she would leave my dad.

When she found me unresponsive that night, she had no clue it was because of Scarlet Fever. She just knew I was suffering. She called the ambulance who were on their way to us but she was frantic and instead of waiting in the house she decided to take me outside in a snowstorm. Her family is from the south, from an Island off the Coast of Charleston that is full of superstitious people. I can only imagine that in her moment of sheer terror at losing the child, she thought nature would save me. Or at least that the snow would reduce my fever.

So she carried me outside. Knelt in front of our house where the snow was already 3 inches or more high and she used the snow as a blanket around me. When she tells the story, it always sounds like she buried me in a shallow snow grave. She covered my whole body except for head and feet until my fever resided. She says I didn't move for a few seconds but then suddenly jolted back with a cry, not of pain but maybe of life. And when the ambulance finally arrived we were both covered in snow while cradled me in her arms.

So I get snow. I understand it. I am thankful every year for at least one big snow storm to jolt back me back to life. Sure, I am elated about Spring and flowers and sunlight and skirts but I am always grateful for a little snow. It always seems so restorative and quiet because everything for a brief moment is untouched and stilled.



Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Hashtag 31


I'll probably delete this cause ya'll know how I feel about privacy. But I'm 31 today. 31. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Birthday


Tomorrow I turn 31. Oh. My. Gawd. I cannot comprehend this.


Today I woke up around 7, took a shower, ate breakfast and read a few chapters from an Ocativa Butler book. Once I was satisfied with ending at the right moment in the book (and fully caffeinated), I decided to get dress so I could head to work. 

I got my hair done this weekend, so I was feeling extra pretty today. I decided to wear my black denim jeans, a low cropped grey t-shirt under a light black hoodie. I paired this with a fake leather jacket because Spring is around the corner and I am over long puffy coats. I finished the look with my black combat boots that always make me feel badass and feminine.

As I was leaving my apartment, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. These days, I am often struck by my appearance and the way I carry myself. I am 30 years old. I am less anxious, more grounded and okay in my skin. I am more aware of who I am, which makes me worry less about how others see me.

With my straight jet black hair hitting the collar of my leather jacket, My thin face eclipsed by huge brown eyes...I was overcome by the person starring back at me. I've come so far since college, and post college and Marie's death.

I am the same 19 year old girl who wore layers of clothing to hide my chubbiness. I am the same 21 year old who spent her birthday alone playing the sims. I am the same 22 year old who cried on the subway after saying goodbye to my mom. I am the same 25 year old who lost her best friend suddenly and fell to pieces. I am the same 28 year old who caressed a horrible boy to sleep a few nights before he departed for the Navy.

And yet despite everything...I am also this entirely new person. A person that surprises me everyday. A person who speaks her mind, is flirtatious, is confident and fiercely independent. A person who pays bills, and drives a car and makes doctors appointment. A person who makes decisions and frets about life and is contemplative. A person who still struggles everyday with congruence and wholeness. A person who still seeks balance on the tip-rope.

I turn 31 tomorrow, and it strikes me how profound and momentous that is.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Loneliness.

My mind is very muddled these days and honestly, for the most part, I am not coping or managing. Between daily anxiety attacks and little energy to do much of anything...things are not well for me mentally. I am struggling to step out of myself and just breathe. There are things I can control, there are things I cannot and these two realizations will never ever find middle ground.

This insanity that is life these days would be easier to manage if I had actual friends. But I am suddenly a friendless, hapless, 30 year old. I do not regret ending my friendship with Kat. It was necessary but she was kind of the reason I had so many people in my life. She was the beautiful popular one who befriended the small and socially awkward girl. She was like knowing the bouncer of a club I would otherwise be denied from. And now that we aren't friends, I don't have much of a support group around me. My access has been revoked.

I have not been this alone since college and I must admit returning to this alone-ness is strange. Familiar, survivable but strange. I suddenly don't exist as I used to. This is only really evident when I want to do something and realize I don't have anyone to do them with. Heather, my only real friend at the moment. is only accessible on her time. She's sort of straight forward about this,  so I am not offended or hurt. .When she needs to do something (shopping, movies, eating lunch) that she doesn't want to do alone, she'll ask me to go because she knows I am available. It's a little isolating and we haven't really hung out much these last few weeks because she has a life very independent of our friendship.

My non-existent social life  is a direct correlation to my increasing anxiety. Don't get me wrong... I am very much an introverted person. I struggle to express myself verbally, I need "me" time, I am a fan of silence...but loneliness is not something I enjoy. They are two different entities. Life is simply about sharing experiences and moments with people you choose to have in your life. Whether it's a handful or a few chosen few.  It is about interconnecte-ness. It is about love, in all it's various forms. And I miss having bonds with people. I miss feeling needed and loved.

So of course I am an anxious and messy these days. Of course I am vulnerable and sensitive to everything around me because I don't have the comfort of friends to assuage my fears. Left to my own devices I am a paranoid, sullen and un-centered person. I am not my best self. I recognize now that  you can be an introvert and still required the presences of people to thrive. Sometimes that gets lost in the conversation of introversion and extroversion.

With spring approaching I hope to curb this hopelessness. I need to be more social. I have to make friends. I have to be a part of a community again. I worry about my alone-ness, not on a large scale but on a small intimate scale. My birthday is a week away, I will be 31 years old and I have no one to share the day with.  I worry that my alone-ness is permanent. That I have missed the window for connections. On a large scale this thought terrifies me. On a small scale, this thought ignites my resolve to do something so my life feels...centered again.