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Reflections

24 Nov

What a week. I have felt like I was in the middle of a downward-spiraling hurricane of depression and self-pity, with no way to pull myself out. I’m climbing back up. I always do. And as I spend Thanksgiving day alone, I feel the need to reflect out loud about the things that have brought me to this point, and why I know I can move forward.

Yesterday, when I was trying to figure out why I felt like my soul was being crushed into a grey mass of oblivion, I knew part of it was the impending holiday spent alone. I was shutting everyone out, pushing away friends and family, because I didn’t want to be a part of anyone else’s family day. I didn’t want to put on a happy face and go through the motions of someone else’s traditions. I wanted to be alone.  Honestly, holidays for the past few years have been positively hell even with my own family around for them. Either Mr. Smith was about to deploy, or deployed, or back from deployment and making me miserable. Our holidays always sucked.

Then I thought about the last time I was alone on Thanksgiving. It was 1999. I lived in Spain at the time, and I was pregnant from a one-night stand with a married guy. I decided to have an abortion, but since the procedure is illegal in Spain, I had to fly to the States. I had no one to come with me. I flew in on Tuesday, found a hotel near the clinic, and went by myself to have an abortion on Wednesday. I have never felt so stranded in my life. Until the next day, when I sat in a hotel room, in physical and mental anguish, alone on Thanksgiving day. My family knew I was in the States, and my mom was upset that I couldn’t fly to Kansas to spend the day with them. I told her I was there on a temporary work assignment. I flew back to Spain the next day, and I resumed a miserably lonely existence riding out some of the worst months of my life. Which is saying a lot, considering some of my shit.

Back to the present time… yesterday, I opened up and try to relay this bit of history to someone I’ll call Birch who was trying to understand why I was so upset. Mid-story, I got a phone call from Mr. Smith, who had been blowing me up about needing to talk about divorce “stuff”. That turned out to be a subterfuge for a much larger announcement, made even more ironic by my trip down memory lane… he was calling to tell me that his girlfriend (who also happens to be his first ex-wife aka Voldemort #2, for those who aren’t in the know) is pregnant. And they wanted to tell Bug about it, along with the rest of his family on Thanksgiving (all of whom had been inviting me to join them… thank God I didn’t).

End of phone call. *Cue meltdown.*

Birch called back. I told him what I had just learned and started bawling. I don’t know why it hurt me so much. It just hurt. Usually at this point, I would shut down, stop talking to anyone, hang up, go radar silent. For some reason, I can talk to Birch like I’ve never talked to anyone. I still feel like I don’t make sense outside of my head, and that I’m rambling and awkward, but at least I’m talking.

Eventually it started to come out. I was tired of seeing everyone else being happy around while I’m alone. I’m tired of feeling confused and lost. I’m tired of keeping my feelings so closely guarded that I have no outlet for them. And, in this case, my feelings were of fear. Fear that Mr. Smith and Voldemort #2 are starting a family, one that will include my son and will give him something that I can’t… like siblings, and two parents… fear that I will never be happy or in love again. That part of me will always be alone in a hotel room on Thanksgiving, hating myself for the decisions I’ve made. Ugh.

I spent the rest of yesterday in a pretty solid funk. I stayed up late, on my couch, drinking and smoking myself in to oblivion. At least I calmed down a bit, had a couple of good conversations — including one in which I called Bittersweet to tell her the baby news and we shared a good laugh over what an idiot my ex is. I went to bed feeling about a million times better than I had that morning.

When I woke up today (at almost 2 p.m.), it was hard to get out of bed knowing that everyone else I know was probably surrounded by family or friends, eating, sharing, getting on each other’s nerves… but I took a deep breath and got up anyway.

I cooked myself some awesome food, looked up movie times to go see a show, thought about getting in the shower to get ready to get out of the house… and then I proceeded to lay on the couch surrounded by blankets, pillows, my heating pad, and food. I watched a lot of Glee, and ignored “happy Thanksgiving” text messages. I talked to Bug on the phone and tried to not cry when he asked me how my day was.

Maybe that sounds awful and depressing, but it’s an improvement over how I’ve been feeling. Because I need to cut myself some slack and take a day to rest and just… FEEL. Without wallowing in guilt or self-pity for sometimes being down, or having days (hell, weeks) when I don’t get done what I want to get done. I have a past, and some of it is brutal. But I have come so far and learned so much. Now, I have beautiful things in my life that I can appreciate even more because of everything I’ve experienced.

So, today, I am thankful. For being strong enough to be alone. For being able to move forward and open myself up again. For being able to recognize that part of having a lot of good in your life means sometimes having a little bit of pain and darkness. I’m thankful for my past, and even more thankful for all the possibilities of my future.

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Brain Dump

27 Oct

So many thoughts, so little time to get out my netbook, log in to my blog, and write them all down in coherent sentences. Therefore, since I have obviously managed to complete the first two steps of this process, I’m going to cut myself some slack on the last one and just unload a bit. I’m tired of always thinking of things to write about and then never writing them because I “don’t have time” or I don’t have some perfect blog entry fully written in my head before I get to the keyboard. I guess this is an exercise in stream of consciousness.

I’m back “home” this week. Part business, part pleasure trip. I came back to do a week of volunteer work and do some networking. In my “free” time, I hoped to catch up with family & friends. I also looked forward to some “me” time to just do whatever — read a book, watch endless DIY shows on HGTV while painting my nails — you know. As usual, I’ve grossly underestimated the amount of time things take to do. And I’m broke.

Not enough time is one thing. Not enough time AND not enough money? Suck. But related to another thing I was hoping to accomplish on this trip, which is figuring out how to get myself out of this awful personal/business rut of doing my bar gig and a few things on the side and barely scraping by. Because this is *not* working for me. I mean, it is. But it’s becoming stressful to be this broke all the time.

I want to love what I do. I want to be so damn happy that I get to work every day in my chosen profession. I’ve seen what it can be like… I’ve seen the people who have that form of happiness in their lives. (And I’ve seen the resigned desperation of those who hate what they do, or only work to pay the bills.) I know what I want to do. I don’t know how to get there from here. Ugh.

 

Mountain Detour

26 Mar

Last week, I took a spontaneous, last minute road trip to D.C. from Kansas. I had every intention of blogging about it as I drove (not literally AS I drove, safety nuts) but every time I stopped for the night, there was someone great to catch up with, or my attention would be derailed by reading up on Autostraddle, or Twitter, or Facebook, or… the welcoming softness of a hotel bed. So, that’ll be a catch-up entry later.

On the way out, I happened to stop in Lewisburg, West Virginia. I hadn’t been there before this trip. I came in to town through the mountains in the middle of the night. There’s something powerful and exhilarating about weaving through the foothills in pitch darkness, with my headlights cutting through the night not quite far enough to keep me from thinking that, in the next 100 feet, the road drops off the face of the earth. When I woke up the next morning, I stepped outside to a quaint little mountain town full of beautiful houses, and awesome little local shops, including a coffee house that brewed a delicious espresso. I couldn’t stop thinking about the town. If I hadn’t been in such a hurry to get to D.C., I would have stayed longer.

So, since my return trip started today in the early evening, I decided it was the perfect distance from D.C. (about 4 hours) to stop for the night on my way back home. Same twisty night drive coming in. And when I got here, I found even more reasons to love it. One of my favorite things about traveling are the random encounters with people. You never know who you will run in to, who will strike up a conversation with you, or give you a great story to tell. And Lewisburg didn’t disappoint.

As I pulled in to town, I stopped at the gas station to pick up a drink for the hotel. I got some iced tea from a “Teazer” fancy tea machine, which had to be brewed in a certain cup. Then I spent five minutes trying to find a lid that fit the cup. I gave up and headed to the cash register. As I set my purchase on the counter, the cashier pulled out a fitting lid from behind the counter and popped it on my cup. Her name was Wanda, and she was 70 if she was a day, grey and white hair pulled back in to a ponytail. She chuckled when I said, “Oh, good. I thought I was losing my mind because I couldn’t find those lids over there.”

“No, it’s not just you. For some reason unbeknownst to me, we have to keep those lids over here instead of by the drink machines,” she explained.

“Oh. Well, that’s odd.” I commented.

“Yeah, I think if you leave them over there, they do tricks or make messes when you’re not watching them.” Wanda joked as she rang up my snacks.

I smirked. Another great thing with meeting new people is finding the ones who can play one of my favorite games: carrying on conversations about really silly, random things. The kind of conversations where you walk away with a grin, knowing that you just bonded with another human being over the most innocuous thing. Tonight, it was to be iced tea cup lids.

“Maybe they’re a bad influence on the other lids, or they teach them naughty things to do,” I suggested.

“Oh, yup. I’ve got it.” Wanda nodded, “That’s why they’re called TEAZERS — they pick on the other lids, so sitting behind the counter is timeout.”

“Ha! That must be it!” I smiled at her as she handed me my change. She was chuckling out loud, “Have a good evenin’, sweetie.”

My next stop was for food. I have this road trip rule about only eating at places that I can’t eat at back home. I had to break my rule and pick Hardee’s, though, because I just couldn’t bring myself to eat alone at a Shoney’s. That’s an experience that has to be shared. Plus, I have a thing for Hardee’s Mushroom & Swiss burgers, but on sourdough bread and with a side of extra mushrooms. The Hardee’s in my hometown manages to screw it up every time, while charging me almost $7 for a fast food burger (because of all the add-ons). And I continue to go back. Because it’s worth the pain, these things are so good.

I was pleasantly surprised and cautiously optimistic when the girl at the drive-thru not only got the gist of my requests, but also only charged me for a regular sandwich. When I got the bag, I could tell it was right by the weight of the extra mushroom container. I know it seems simple, but I really love some foods a certain way. And I really hate stupid people. So, score another “cool” point for Lewisburg and it’s adept teenage fast foodies for being able to get my stuff right.

The highlight of the evening though is my hotel. When I arrived, I took a cruise through town, hoping to find something besides the corporate chain I stayed in on the way out. I’m game for saving $30 a night to not have a continental breakfast I won’t eat anyway. Not to mention I get the charm and quirkiness that comes with local lodging establishments. Fort Savannah Inn fit the bill, and I looked them up and called to confirm availability and wireless access. Good to go. On the main street near downtown, I pulled in to the parking lot in front of a lodge-type building with a sign advertising the main front desk. I saw the innkeeper peeking out the window at me, so I got out and went inside. The inner lobby door was a six-foot wide barn door that led in to a dark, defunct souvenir shop and cafe with “KEEP OUT” signs posted everywhere. Uh, okay.

I found the other door to the office, and pulled it open as the barn door creaked shut behind me. The innkeeper hollered at me from ten feet away, “You the lady who called?”

“That’s me.” I headed toward the desk and went through the usual check-in rigmarole. $52 with tax included seemed a fair deal compared to the $80+ tax at the chains. So far, seemed pretty normal. I hopped in the car to drive around to my room, and was greeted by outdoor kids toys on the motel walkway. Sweet. Motels with people living in them? Guaranteed experience.

Now I’m settled in the room. Once I figured out that none of the three (completely different) dead bolts on the door actually work, I used the door chain that appears to be from the 1950s and probably wouldn’t keep the wind out. I closed the curtains on the first-floor window that backs to completely pitch black woods, and I took in the wood beam ceilings and furniture that appears to have come from a dozen different hotel auctions spanning the last 30 years. I love it. And when I turned on the t.v. and it was already tuned to HGTV, I knew I had another sign that Lewisburg likes me and wants me to stay here.

Tomorrow was going to be a day for hitting the road hard. But I think at least a half day of antique shops, flea markets, local coffee, and taking in some mountain scenery here sounds like a much better idea. School will wait if I don’t make it back from spring break on time. But sometimes you have to pay attention when life tells you take a detour.

Sometimes

8 Sep

Sometimes I think I’d be better off relegating myself to a life of being single.  Oh, I’d still have intimate relationships.  But they’d be with the understanding that I’m beholden to no one, I don’t share a house with anyone, and you can take me as I am or see yourself out.

Sometimes the things I write in my head never make it to paper or blog.  They die a slow and painful death, expiring in snippets as I remember less and less of them throughout the day.  They’re like little daydreams that never survive past the world between awake and asleep.

Sometimes I question my sexuality.  I try to remember how long I’ve felt this way, and whether or not what I feel is what I really feel or just what I think I should feel.  And the older I get, the more lesbian-oriented I get.  By the time I’m 50, I’ll be the biggest dyke ever.  I’ll be the aunt at the family reunions who brings her “roommate.” My husband and I will just be really good (probably divorced) friends who happen to have a (really awesome) kid together.  Then I think about living a life without having heterosexual sex ever again, and it makes me a little sad. I guess I’m destined to a life in limbo.

“Sometimes is never quite enough,” according to Alanis Morrisette.  I couldn’t agree more.  People think I’m so demanding sometimes.  Ha.  Try living in my head.  I’m uber-demanding of myself every second of every day.  I guess I never got over the “if you’re flawless, then you’ll win my love” mindset that was so ingrained in me.

Sometimes I look at my blood relatives and I wonder how on earth it is I came from the same tidal basin of the gene pool. Maybe I’m adopted.  There are days when I don’t want to speak to my family again, unless I can tell them exactly what I think and how I feel for once without being called selfish for doing so.  I frequently can’t believe I made it out of my home/hometown/home state with my sanity in tact. Clearly, they did not.

Sometimes I wish I could be oblivious.  Stupid, even. What must it be like to live a life of contentment, of never wanting more? To just not know any better?  To never question, to just fall in to line and be happy with the status quo.

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to just be dead. I don’t mean that in a “Oh, look at me, my life sucks, someone hear my cries for help,” kind of way.  I just mean it in a very factual sense.  I think about how peaceful and quiet death is going to be, and I sorta look forward to it.  Then I feel like a major asshole for thinking things like that when I have so many amazing people and opportunities in my life.

In Light of Recent Darkness

22 May

For reasons I’ll refrain from elaborating on, I am compelled to mark the resurgence of my participation in the blogosphere with an entry to explain where I’ve been, and why I’m back.  Or at least acknowledge that such an absence has occurred.

Either way, I can’t just start writing again like it hasn’t been eight-plus months.  Obviously a lot has gone on in that time.  Some of which I’ll catch up on – in passing or directly – some of which is still a work in progress, and some of which is just plain done and gone.

Topics may be a bit dark, nerves may be a little raw, and posts may not be as loquaciously insightful as usual.  The style and look may morph. Old posts might disappear or change.  New people will be linked and/or joining us.

At the risk of going on and on about only tangentially related topics without saying much (I’m still percolating other entries), thanks for still being here.  In the words of one of my fave blogs: Thanks for stopping by.  I mean it.  Really.