On my way home from work, I walked by a tiny bird that was just sitting, soaking wet, on someone's driveway. When I walked up to it, it was clearly awake, but didn't fly away or even move that much besides looking at me and trembling. So I took it home and looked up what to do on the internet.
According to the internet, it had probably flown into a window or something and gotten concussed, but would recover on its own if I leave it somewhere safe, dark, and quiet.
I put it in a Victoria's Secret box, with a towel, and left the lid open a crack for air, and then left the box in a closed room and went to a doctor's appointment. When I came back an hour later, I peeked in on the little guy, taking the lid off BEFORE going outside, which was a huge mistake. He did recover, but now he was freaking out, tweeting swearwords at me, and flying around my living room. By the time I got the back door open, it had gone into hiding somewhere, and I had to move every piece of furniture before I saw it ducking behind the DVD towers.
I got as far as, "There you-" and it bolted for the door.
And flew into the screen window.
Imagine if the next time you met someone and felt like you clicked, you just automatically told them exactly what you wanted from them? Instead of trying to win them over, feel them out to know they feel the same way before you make a move, or trying to steer them into making the first move so you can go forward guilt-free, what if you were just candidly, borderline-creepily honest?
With one guy I used to take martial arts with in college, I would have said, "I know you're really into sex, and I'm not as much, but I am into you. What if I just let you pick me up and throw me onto the bed, but then we just watched cartoons together until I fell asleep on top of your chest? Then I'd get you bagels and coffee in the morning, and we could drive to the top of the parking garage next to the amusement park, and drink our coffee while watching the sun rise over the roller coasters."
With one girl I grew up with, I would say, "Can we lay some tarps and canvas down in your living room when your roommates are out for the night, and recreate the paint scene from Better Than Chocolate? I'll bring wine, takeout, and paper plates and cups so we don't have to worry about making a mess, and you can pick the colors and music."
I haven't clicked with anyone for a while. It's like that part of my pleasure center just turned off and I don't know how to turn it on again. I meet cool, smart, attractive people and nothing that propulsive pops into my head. No electricity, no sweaty palms, no obsessively checking my phone for signs of contact from them after I give them my number or e-mail. But if I were to meet someone exceptional and that were to change, and I applied the creepy no-filter rule, I might say something like:
"I want to take you to the Museum of Art, blindfold you, lead you to the small, dimly lit hieroglyphics room, and let you take the blindfold off so it seems like you've literally been teleported back in time to an ancient temple, because romance is a type of magic and everyone deserves to feel like their lives are magical once in a while."
"Hold eye contact with me just a second longer than it feels appropriate. Tell me that I’m beautiful, in the morning when my hair is a mess. When I’m dressed up. When I walk into a coffee shop to meet you for a date. Just because. Kiss my cheek. Kiss my forehead. Kiss the back of my neck. Not as foreplay, just to kiss me."
"When you're having a bad day and I can't come over, I might secretly send you a delivery from our favorite date restaurant. And of course I'll include dessert. Please don't forget to take a second to look at the sunset out the window. Have a good night. PS: I'll miss you too."
Today's rambling blog post is brought to you by: Loneliness.
From the same company that brought you: Rejection! Don't want to settle for a comfortable relationship that doesn't truly make you happy? Does the thought of adding someone else's personal problems to your own make you cringe? Enjoy sleeping in the middle of the bed? Try Loneliness! The first thirty days are free(ing)! If not completely satisfied, return for a full refund of Settling.
Met a guy online, and we met for coffee on Friday.
He was really, really good looking. But really, really quiet. Couldn't tell if he was nervous and introverted or just not into me.
I did most of the talking, but then felt like I was talking too much so I let a few periods of silence go by waiting for him to say something. But the silence would go more than 30 seconds and I would just start talking again.
Eventually I asked as a joke, "Would you rate this as a comfortable with each other silence or an awkward first date silence?" And he said that it was him, because he was quiet. He had actually thought I would be talking more. So after that, I didn't get self conscious about doing all the talking. But it was still weird. We hugged good night and the whole thing felt very ambiguous until the next day when I got a text from him that was basically, "We should just be friends."
So that's how that went down.
I may have laughed too hard at this, but seeing as I live in Hipster Central, Massachusetts, I can't say she's wrong...
The actual title of the article: "Hipsters Broke My Gaydar."
TRIGGER WARNING: THIS POST IS ABOUT EXACTLY WHAT THE TITLE SUGGESTS
So Dad, I know you're republican and I'm democrat. Makes sense. I can see where you're coming from on a lot of issues. But now you're telling me that you've voted for Trump, and that's a little different. So sit down, and I'm going to tell you the story of the time a group of young men cornered me in a night club, and grabbed my pussy.
You don't want to hear a story like that about your little girl? Well, I didn't want it to happen. That's the thing about sexual assault: you don't actually get a say. So too fucking bad for you. Sit back down.
When I was 21, I was living with a group of girls a few years old than I was, and hanging out with people in their mid-twenties to early thirties. Finally I was able to go to the places I couldn't get into before, because I'd finally turned 21! The first time I went to this particular nightclub, I was with three other girls. Two of us were wearing pants, two were wearing skirts. Two gentlemen sat at our table and bought us a bottle of champagne. But when they went to pour the champagne, every time they got to a girl who was wearing a skirt, they would pour it not in her glass, but in her bare lap. Then they would make a big show about how sorry they were and try to wipe down her legs with napkins. After about ten minutes we all had to leave the club, because quite frankly, the girls in skirts had to take showers and change their clothes after getting drenched against their will multiple times. We all agreed those two guys were assholes, but didn't really do anything about it besides leave. They were probably pissed that they spent all that money on the champagne just to have us leave without so much as a thank you.
The second time I went to this same club, I was with a larger group, including men and women. There might have been about seven or eight of us. A group of about ten or eleven young Hispanic men had practically taken over the dance floor, which was fine, because they were clearly celebrating something. The problem for them was, they hadn't brought any women with them... so they needed to find some. They found our group, and started grabbing girls by the wrist and pulling them in. Two of my roommates went in willingly, laughing and dancing suggestively together as the men all formed a circle around them and chanted "Sexo! Sexo!" I just watched. When my roommates left the dance floor, the men pointed to me and started summoning me with their "come hither" fingers. I laughed and apologized shook my head. That dance looked a little too intense for me.
Then my roommates pushed me. Physically, pushed me onto the floor. And the men caught me and formed a circle around me, and the "dance" had begun. I use quotation marks because I didn't dance at all. I was spun in place, around and around by the hands of the group of men, as they continued to chant "Sexo! Sexo!" and the more disoriented I became, the more they grabbed me, and I never knew which hands came from where. They honked my breasts. They flicked my nipples. The rubbed my belly from under my shirt. And yes, they grabbed my crotch. One guy even poked his middle finger extra firmly during the grab, like he was trying to penetrate me through my shorts. I tried to break away. They grabbed me by the waist and pulled me back. When the dance was over and I finally got away, I hid in a bathroom stall and cried and got really angry at my friends for putting me in that situation. When I tried to explain what had happened in the dance circle, they got angry at me. I was being a downer and a prude.
"Oh no! You're saying that you went to a nightclub and men actually wanted to DANCE with you and TOUCH you? Oh perish the thought, Virgin Mary! Next you'll be telling me they thought you were pretty wanted your phone number!"
So I shut up about it. When my friends wanted to go to that club after that, I stayed home, and they rolled their eyes about what an old lady I was, the youngest among them, because I stayed home and went to bed while they went out and had fun. I told myself that I wasn't the dancing sort, right up until Donald Trump reminded me by admitting on tape that he does the exact some thing to other women, on purpose. And then it all came back to me. I WAS the dancing sort. I wasn't the let-myself-get-molested sort. And those had become the same thing in my brain. And I didn't trust my friends to help me when one crossed into the other.
And Dad, just in case you think this is an isolated incident, let me remind you:
~The first time a man your age told me I had a nice ass, I was thirteen.
~Your wife was molested by a rabbi as a child, and that's why our side of the family isn't religious.
~My little sister was raped by her boyfriend when she was a teenager, and couldn't go to the police because she was on drugs at the time and she knew she would get in trouble.
~My fifteen-year-old cousin was raped at a house party, in front of several of her classmates. The only reason they were able to convict the boy was because, get ready for it, HER FRIEND TAPED IT AND PUT IT ONLINE.
~Your sister was raped by her husband and while they are now divorced and you always talk about how much you hate him... was he ever arrested? Did you ever actually confront him about what he did to your sister? Do you think he's sorry?
~If you were on speaking terms with your mother, and you asked her if she had ever been sexually assaulted, would it 100% surprise you if she were to say yes?
So just so we're clear, sexual assault happens to EVERY WOMAN YOU CARE ABOUT. And it's not because we all make bad decisions and put ourselves in bad situations. And it's not just because there are some very evil men in the world that use their strength to hurt us. It's because everyone around those evil men lets them do whatever they want. And while Donald Trump has never hurt anyone you know, you ARE aware that he has assaulted some women (and girls) that you don't know. And not only did you not condemn him for it, you made him your leader and representative.
And now you're telling me to lighten up. To not take it personally. To not be a downer. And you sound like every friend that your female family members have ever had that was unwilling to help us while we were being molested. You sound like the reason we were molested successfully.
So the next time you hold my two-month old niece, take a good look between her legs and keep in mind that one day, a man's hand is going to honk her pussy and make her cry, and nobody is going care.
54% of men in the US voted for Trump. 63% of all voting WHITE men. 54% of total voting American men are aware of things he has said and done on camera, and admitted to with pride, and said to themselves, "That guy should be in charge."
Which says to me that 54% of men, while they are probably not all going to commit sexual assault, are willing to look the other way when it happens.
So the next time I see one of those, "Not all men are like that" arguments, I can simply reply, "Not all, just more than half."
Before I was just thinking of "trying" sex and relationships with women out of curiosity and desire. Now it might be as a necessity. America has got me feeling so unsafe.
The photo journal continues!
Here's some fireworks from the stern of my boat on the Harbor, the weekend of Independence Day:
Just the plain old gorgeous Boston skyline at night, as seen from the water. I get to see this at least four or five nights a week while I'm working, and it definitely helps the shift go by more pleasantly.
Some of my coworkers, hanging out in their "break room."
The view of the Wharf:
Peddocks Island, national park as well as home to a few diehard residents who refused to let the government move them after their island was declared a national park.
One day we were cruising by one of the fire department's red boats while they were doing a drill. Holy hoses on all sides, Batman!
No, it's not just because it's October. :-P
I have always been interested in goth fashion, but never explored it until college, and even then, only in October, or if I was going out to an industrial dance club where I would fit it, aesthetically. I went to college in Florida, where the weather is decidedly NOT friendly towards heavy makeup, pale skin, crushed velvet, or leather pants. Google "goths in hot weather" and you'll see what I was up against. Also, I was constantly broke and constantly under the belief that before I could dress how I wanted, I had to lose 20 pounds, make my skin perfectly clear, and grow my hair out long. IDK, college students are great at making excuses.
After graduating, I moved back to the Frozen North, and dyed my hair purple, but also entered the working world and all of the dress code restrictions contained therein. I also changed jobs a lot, so I was always interview-ready. Now that I have a permanent job that I actually kinda LIKE (gasp), and I have to wear a uniform there every day anyway, the rest of my wardrobe is totally up to me. And I find dark inclinations crawling back up from the black pit that is my 90's-child soul. Inclinations toward... bell sleeves, oooooo! And platform boots covered in buckles, ooooo! *Continues to make exaggerated spooky noises until you roll your eyes.*
ANYway, this is going to be a work in progress. All I've done so far is dye green stripes in my hair, buy a couple of tops on RebelsMarket, and make plans to go a goth dance night with a couple of friends after Halloween. I'll take pics if I make any more drastic steps. I know how much you ladies love pics. ;-)
Hopefully I will stop short of shaving my eyebrows off and drawing on new ones, but we'll see.
I got a new job back in May, and almost completely dropped off of shybi. Sorry! Here's your update: it's going okay! The pay is terrible, but I'm a deckhand on various vessels, I'm on the water almost every day, and it feels pretty good. On top of learning an awesome new set of skills, I get to see some very interesting and beautiful views on a daily basis. So I thought I would share some of them with you now.
Enjoying a sunset on the water.
Me in front of my city:
Cruising next to the moon:
Cruising on the Charles River, going under bridges:
The moon again, crescent this time!
Dear High School Lacrosse Coach,
I just saw online that you recently had your first baby girl. Congratulations. I hope you're both healthy and stay that way.
However, I also hope that your daughter is a fat teenager.
I hope her classmates make her feel bad about herself no matter what she wears, and that everyone in her life constantly insinuate she should "do something" about her body. And I hope that despite this, she is smart, and strong-willed, and brave, and that she joins a team sport in high school, even though she knows she's not athletic and will probably start out sucking at any sport before eventually getting good at it.
I hope she has a coach just like you.
I hope she has to go from barely being able to run 1 mile to being forced to run 2 miles after school 5 days a week, and her shins always hurt and her lungs feel like they're going to explode. I hope she has no time for homework because she spends her non-school daylight hours running drills with her new teammates and being yelled at for dropping balls and for letting her fat ass fall behind everyone else. And I hope she keeps going anyway, day after day, for 2 school years.
I hope that her school performance suffers as a result of her extracurricular demands from the team, and whenever she stays after school for tutoring, she misses practice and gets punished by running more laps when she goes back.
I hope that the coach never puts her in a single game. Not one, in 2 years. But that she keeps going to all of the games in uniform anyway, and stands next to the coach hopefully watching on the sidelines, and that every time one of her teammates is pulled out, the coach physically moves their head all around your daughter's fat head, trying to find a viable player to send out in her place. I hope that even when the team is losing the 9th game in a row, by more than 12 points, the coach still doesn't feel the need to let your daughter play.
I hope you have to see her come home from school and practice every night, sore, dirty, and red-faced, and ready to burst into tears at your slightest criticism because she's already been put through the physical and emotional ringer before you even get to talk to her each day. I hope you have to hear her, your only daughter, your most beloved person in the world, refer to herself as a "fat, worthless sack of crap." I hope you spend every night building her self-esteem back up to teenage-average and talk her into going to school every morning when she tries to pretend to be sick.
I hope one day she finally works up the nerve to confront her coach, and stays late after practice to ask, in private, why she is never allowed to play. And I hope the coach tells her that she is making a fool of herself out there, and advises her to "find something that she's good at." And admits that the athletics department isn't allowing them to cut anyone from the team, so the only choice is to keep people on the team that "probably shouldn't be there," and wait for those people to quit. Hint. Hint.
And then I hope your daughter finally does quit. I hope she doesn't get the deposit back for her uniform and equipment. And that her coach tells everyone else on the team that she quit (not that she was asked to quit), and that her former teammates, who are also her classmates, start ignoring her in the halls and refer to her as "Quitter."
Finally, I hope that this early experiment with leaving her comfort zone prevents her, for years, from trying other sports, or anything that she might be bad at in the beginning, out of fear that she will once again be humiliated and shunned. And that you have to witness all of this, and that you know without a doubt that the coach has done something very damaging to your little girl who might have accomplished anything if she could just believe in herself and in the value of courage and hard work.
And then I hope you remember me.
A full-time job, less than an hour's commute away, where I am paid an appropriate living wage for the city in which I live. Where I am allowed to have legally required breaks in a break area or outside of my workplace, rather than at my desk.
Where I will be trained in how to do my job, and then consequently can do my job well and feel good about my performance, and perhaps get trained in how to do other, more advanced aspects of the job. Where added responsibility will be welcome because it is accompanied with added title or pay. Where my benefits allow me to get sick, see any doctors I need to see, fill any prescriptions I need to take, have a period of rest after necessary surgery, AND YET I still get to take a small vacation at some point in the year if I want.
Where two people who are paid the same amount of money are held to the same standards. And someone who makes much MORE money is held to a much HIGHER standard.
Where my managers are either more educated than I am or are eloquent enough to fake it, and they tell the truth, even if it's not pretty, and they strongly enforce the rules that they themselves follow. Where I am safe from harassment, insults, and being shouted at on a daily basis just for showing up. Where I am safe from racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, antisemitism, et cetera, and where I can report any encounters I have with these -isms without damaging my professional relationships. Where I can be safe from widespread drug use and the theft of my personal belongings.
A job which consists of tasks that are specific enough that I can actually know whether I am doing them correctly, but in an environment flexible enough to allow me to perform these tasks in the most efficient way I can, even if that means changing the way it's done. Where there are consequences for big mistakes (or shitty actions framed as "mistakes"), but room for small mistakes.
And that is probably why I'm still unemployed.
This newfound anxiety around my work history is really not helping. It keeps drilling "Anywhere-you-work-will-still-suck-like-everywhere-else" into my brain like a fat ass farting into a wet seat cushion.
When I first applied for unemployment, I had to start a work search activity log, to prove that I was continuously looking for work. I used a sheet from an extra-long legal pad. Each line was a different day or a different application, a different job I tried to get. This is what it that piece of paper looks like today:
...and here is the back:
And I don't know how much longer I can do this.
When Sandra was ten, she learned about all the "bases" from her thirteen- and fifteen-year-old cousins. She had been the first girl in her class to get her period, and their mothers had encouraged the older girls to spend more time with her for "womanly talks." What they could have meant by this encouragement, it probably wasn't this.
"Second base is up the shirt," they said.
"My shirt or his?"
"Yours, obviously," the thirteen-year-old jeered, "Who cares about his?"
"Third base is down the pants," continued the fifteen-year-old.
"My pants or his?"
"And kissing is first base?"
"Only if you use tongue."
Sandra made a face, ready to gag at the thought of touching a little boy's tongue. "Well, what's regular kissing, then?"
"Kissing is nothing."
This was the most confusing explanation of all. Kissing was nothing? She had never kissed anyone besides her parents or grandparents before, so she knew it did not necessarily have to be romantic. But didn't every fairy tale end with True Love's Kiss solving every problem? How could that be nothing? Unless of course both Snow White and Sleeping Beauty had woken up with princes' tongues in their mouths.
Sandra left this enlightening conversation feeling very naive and embarrassed about the rookie mistakes she might have made if she'd attempted her first kiss without prior knowledge of bases. Days like this were when it would have been useful to have an older sister. But unfortunately, Sandra only had a brother - Carlos. He was one and a half, and not very knowledgeable about baseball, the sport or the metaphor.
"Do you want to be my girlfriend?"
Sean Fagan had floppy blondish hair and blue eyes. Sandra knew multiple girls in Ms. Bennet's 5th Grade class had crushes on him, and he had been compared multiple times to Leonardo Dicaprio. If she were going to have her first kiss with anyone, this was certainly a good candidate.
"Yes," she replied, and he immediately took her hand.
They had walked around the side of the school to talk during recess. The one tree on the sloping lawn was starting to bud into its spring form, and it was surrounded by mud that the two children pushed around bashfully with their sneakers. Here their classmates couldn't hoot or make fun of them, but if they stayed too long one of the volunteer playground aides would come drag them back to the hardtop with the rest of the kids.
"I don't think we should tell people," Sean said next.
Sandra mustered some determination and spat back: "I think we should kiss."
His eyes widened, "Now?"
She nodded and closed her eyes. Several long, silent seconds passed before she opened them again, and she saw that Sean too held his eyes shut tightly, and had his lips puckered in waiting like he would for a grabby aunt. Nevertheless, Sandra had already decided that this was happening, so she leaned in, and stuck out her tongue.
"Ugh!" Sean opened his eyes just before contact, and recoiled, "Gross, what are you doing?"
"It's a French kiss, jerk!" she called after him as he ran away just as fast as possible.
Almost instantly she could hear him complaining loudly to his friends and laughing, "She tried to lick my face!"
"Like a dog?" she heard another boy holler, and it continued like that until they wandered to a farther spot on the playground where she could no longer hear them.
Sandra sighed, and squished down a small heap of mud under her formerly white shoe. Looks like she was single again.
"Where'd you learn how to kiss?" said a voice near the school's brick wall, and she looked up to see Tiffany Duke, a tall eleven-year-old from another class, watching her quietly from behind a curtain of overgrown bangs.
"Leave me alone!" said Sandra. She felt her face getting hot, so she turned away.
"Sorry," muttered Tiffany, and Sandra could hear more mud behind her being disturbed as the other girl came closer, "I'm not trying to make fun of you, I'm just saying you might have to work up to things like French kissing next time if you don't want boys to get freaked out and run away."
She spun around, red face be damned, "But that's First Base!" she declared, "It's supposed to be the thing you do to work up to... you know, other stuff."
Tiffany made a surprised face, then screwed up her thick eyebrows and seemed to roll Sandra's words over in her mind for a while before thoughtfully responding, "I might... wait, for the Bases stuff, until high school. Holding hands, and hugging, and kissing is good enough for me right now. Mostly because I really don't want to lick somebody else's mouth-- especially Sean Fagan. I've seen him eat his boogers before."
"Ew!" Sandra smiled, and it was a relief to take kissing as a joke, for a change. "But just regular kissing... does that even do anything? What's the point?"
"It's probably fun," Tiffany shrugged, and suddenly, looking down at Sandra, she seemed like a much older, wiser, more casual woman of eleven who took things like kisses in stride with gratitude and poise. "Haven't you ever kissed somebody you really liked before?"
Sandra lowered her eyes and shook her head, but felt a hand curl around her chin and pull her face higher. Tiffany looked fondly into her eyes, lowered her head, and kissed Sandra's forehead. The shorter girl was so shocked that it didn't occur to her to resist when Tiffany's clean white hands cupped her cheeks and held her gently in place. They'd just had their lunch hour. She smelled like grape jelly and white bread.
Next the tall girl kissed each of Sandra's eyelids, forcing her to close her eyes. Then she kissed the top of her nose, and the apple of each cheek, and Sandra felt the skin on her lips tremble in panicked anticipation of the pressure that was coming... but Tiffany kissed the point of her chin, instead. Sandra opened her eyes and could only see a curtain of bangs and a well-trained side part, as she felt Tiffany's lips press dryly against the base of her neck.
When Tiffany stood straight, she grinned and suddenly looked like a big kid again. "First kisses are special," she said matter-of-factly, letting her hands fall from Sandra's face, "I'm going to save mine."
"Is somebody back there?" came a sharp voice from the playground, and one of the aides came around the corner of a building to herd back the stray girls. "You two! You're not supposed to be over here! Get back to the hardtop where it's dry. Look at your shoes-- you're a mess!"
The girls joined their school mates, apologetically, but hand in hand.
How I thought life would be 5 years ago if all my friends had babies without me:
ME: Hey, you want to go on an adventure with me?
FRIENDS: No way. We're parents and we hate adventure and don't know why we ever liked it. Bye! Come find us when you have your own kids and we can relate to you again!
How life actually is now that most of my friends have had babies without me:
ME: Want to go on an adventure?
FRIENDS: Can I bring my kid?
ME: Of course! I love that freaking thing!
BABIES: *cuddling me and hysterically laughing for no reason*
FRIENDS: Well let's go already!
As my role model, Auntie Mame once said: "Life's a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."
Hey hey, I'm still unemployed! I haven't had a problem paying my rent, thanks to a 3-way combination of severance, unemployment benefits, and help from my parents. The first one ran out quickly. The last two make me feel like a leech, but I don't feel bad enough to not take it... or even bad enough to move into a more affordable neighborhood. If they want me in the suburbs they'll have to DRAG me, and then change the locks.
After I got over the initial hurt feelings of losing my job and not immediately being offered my OLD old job back, I was surprised how okay I actually was with the concept of not working. My apartment has never looked cleaner and I have become a more attentive and optimistic friend, daughter, sister, etc. I think I could be an awesome stay-at-home mom one day, if I had a spouse who could support me on a single income. But again, I like living in the city, so the likelihood of that is pretty low. Also I'm a little too old and fat to be a trophy wife. ;-)
The local career center offers free classes in things like networking, LinkedIn, negotiation, etc, so I've been taking those. I've also been applying places like museums, labs, and universities, trying to find positions that have more to do with my major and what I thought I'd be qualified to do when I got my college degree. I joined the Massachusetts Historical Society as well as a History Club meetup group, and when I can afford it I plan on also joining the Archaeological Institute of America and attending some of their seminars.
I stopped applying to customer service positions, but if I run out of jobs I might actually like and don't hear anything else back, I might have to go back to applying for those. I've noticed a stupid trend where employment placement centers will poach my resume off of a job search website that I've joined, and then call me to offer me temp work three towns over in an industry that has nothing to do with my work experience. Then I tell them I don't have a car and they're like, "Oh, nevermind!" Yeah no shit, that's why I didn't apply for that job.
I've also been thinking about volunteering to join another archaeological dig, like I did in college, but the problem with that is 1) it's not a job, 2) you pay your own travel expenses. So even though I'd have archaeological experience on the other end of it, it still horrible for my short-term situation of needing a job and money. Then again, it would also be horrible for a long-term situation of having a full time job, since that job probably wouldn't be okay with me taking off for two months at a time to work in the mud in Norway or the Isle of Man.
My birthday was super fun! 31 is nowhere near as scary as 30 was. Also, I am great at finding cheap or free things to do almost any night of the week. Another bonus of living in Boston.
Two weekends ago I saw a burlesque tribute to Labyrinth. Last weekend I went to The Donkey Show, which was a disco performance-art version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, then Tuesday I attended Paint Nite with my parents and sister. I drank a lot and painted a sunflower next to a stormy sea. This past Friday, I want to XMortis, an industrial goth dance night, which was almost worth the fact that it was 6F outside and I was freezing my chapped black lips off.
Today, I have chocolates, flowers, and a bottle of pink Mascato. Pretty much everything but a date. Oh, and it is now one degree out. ONE. F%^*ing February.
I had my gall bladder out last month. LOVE IT. Wish I'd done it years ago.
My recovery, thankfully, could not have gone more smoothly. I can eat and drink pretty much anything now (although I shouldn't, if I don't want to lose my liver next) without discomfort. I have also gotten the green light to start exercising again.
Back in college, I used to take Kung Fu classes. I have been thinking of starting over at another school ever since. Unfortunately, there are no branches of my old school anywhere near me, so I would have to start over. Also unfortunately, I was about 25 lbs lighter and eight years younger when I started as a white belt in college, and I was self-conscious about being too fat and old even then. Once since moving in Massachusetts I tried a new kung fu school and it didn't work out, which I think was an indication that I chose the wrong school, but when I stopped going it still made me feel like a quitter. I haven't tried again. In my head, I tell myself that I'll sign up with this OTHER school I've picked out, right after I finish doing the Couch to 5k program.
On paper this makes sense, because that way my endurance will be built up when I get to the school, and I won't instantly have shortness of breath and have my face turn purple while the other martial artists are doing jumping squats like little crickets. But really? It's a convenient way for me to avoid signing up. The Couch to 5k program takes 9 weeks to complete if you run 3 times a week. And I don't run 3 times a week. More like twice a month. Hence, I'll never finish and never have to put myself out there in a new class.
My little sister is pregnant again.
On the one hand: Yay! Babies! I'm a double-aunt!
On the other hand: Seriously? You work part-time, your boyfriend is only employed in the summer, and you are struggling just to take care of yourselves and the 1-year-old you already have. SERIOUSLY? *throws up hands* Okay.
This is pretty much how I felt when she got pregnant the first time (they were both unemployed and living for free with my dad then), but the thing is, there's nothing to be done once it's officially on the way. So there is no sense in expending any energy judging her or worrying about how she's going to live. Nothing I do has any effect on how this turns out, so I might as well just be excited about the new baby. And if the second one is anything like the first one, it's going to be an awesome, happy, gorgeous kid.
I have no romantic interests as of late. Maybe that's because I'm not working so I'm not regularly seeing as many people. Maybe I don't feel so pretty lately between the surgery scars, the weight gain, and my haircut growing out awkwardly. Maybe I'm a little gun-shy after the last guy I asked out dropped off the face of the earth and lied about moving to California (he's totally in the same town I am, just not on social media), and the first/last girl I expressed interest in immediately got into a serious, exclusive relationship with her best friend AFTER I made my feelings known.
I really don't want to make the first move anymore, at least not for a while. But I think I may put out some vibe that suggests I don't want other people to put the moves on me, either. So now nobody's asking anybody out, and I'm bored as hell.
My apartment is now where I spend the majority of my time. The crabs are doing alright with the bad weather. I got them a new heater for Christmas and now the challenge lies in keeping their tank humid enough. As it is the air in my bedroom is so dry that I had a spontaneous nosebleed the other night. My roommate has cracks in her hands like illuminations on the Book of Kells.
I did not get a surprise kitten. Neither for Christmas, nor for my birthday. Harrumph. I know I don't have a job so the last thing I need is another living thing to rely on me, but come on, if my sister's broke ass can have a litter of humans then I should at least get to have one kitten.
I am definitely no closer to moving to New York City. I don't even have a plan. Right now the plan is to find a job and try to publish some writing.
I am writing up a storm! Might as well, since I'm not doing much else. I have cleaned off my desk of all distractions, and hung a dark red sheet from the ceiling to act as a curtain, so now it's like a have a little writer's nook separate from the rest of my bedroom. I can't see the TV or my books or magazines from there. I just light an old glass lamp and a candle and a stick of incense, put a couple of flowers in a small vase, flip up the laptop (or notebook) and go to town.
What's really great this year that wasn't there before last year, is that I'm working WITH people, I have deadlines, and I have a reason to write every day besides escapism.
I belong to a small writer's group that meets once a month in Harvard Square. I'm also exchanging writing with a friend of mine who has recently moved to Boston and is also a fantasy writer. She is extremely enthusiastic and prolific, so she manages to keep me motivated to keep up with her better than the writing group does. She is also planning on self-publishing a fantasy anthology on Amazon and wants me to be part of it.
An ex-coworker artist friend of mine is currently working with me to turn one of my finished short stories in to a comic book. It's a horror story and she has a very cutesy art style, so I think the juxtaposition works pretty effectively. We'll see when it's done, though. She is still waiting on my for the second half of the script. It is more time consuming than I thought it would be!
Finally, I have been submitting short stories independently to various publications. So far I've gotten all rejections (some personalized!) except for one "maybe" that basically stated I had been short-listed for an anthology by Word Weaver Press. A maybe is pretty exciting to me at this point, so I'll take it!
I'm going to start taking another beginner's drawing class in the next couple of months. Obviously money is a concern, but I really want to get back into drawing practice and leaving it to my own devices just isn't cutting it.
And that's your WanderBust update! Happy Valentine's Day everybody!
Do Away with 9 Bad Habits:
~Talking to myself in public
Start (or better enforce) 9 Good Habits:
For the first time in my entire life, I lost my job. From The Grommet. Some of you may have shopped there. Don't. You can get everything cheaper from Amazon, or if you want to support the small companies who make the products at The Grommet, you can buy most of their stuff directly from the makers. The Grommet is just a middle man between small manufacturers and the people with disposable income who want to shop with a conscience.
Speaking of having a conscience. Last Monday I was in urgent care. The next day I went back to work and my bosses, who knew I now needed extensive medical care, told me they would be delaying may insurance an additional 40 days (I'd already been working without benefits for the standard 90 days). They said overall my performance was good, but they wanted to iron out some kinks and help me with some small mistakes they've seen me making over the previous few weeks.
Instead of pointing out my mistakes at the time and correcting them so that they would stop happening, they had been writing them all down, collecting them for a meeting in the future where they could lay out all the little ways I suck.
For those of you who follow my status updates, you've probably noticed my complaints about customer's being too mean and personal over the phone. Then last week there was this: "Wouldn't it be nice to never again be in a situation where you have to rely on someone else doing the right thing?" This was in direct response to having my benefits taken away exactly when I needed them the most.
I started looking for a new job immediately (while simultaneously applying for government healthcare so I could get the ultrasounds and surgeries I still needed), but unfortunately, could not dump them in time, before they dumped me. On Friday, they said that they hadn't noticed enough improvement over the past week and a half, and did not want to devote the resources to train me anymore, so they were going to let me go.
Then came time to clean out my desk, which was humiliating, because I share an office with six other people. My supervisor went ahead of me and asked them all to move into the next room so I could have some privacy. So my ex coworkers were just standing around in a locked, windowless room while knowing that next door, I was being fired and turning in my laptop and security badge. They even escorted me out of the building, like I was going to shoot up the place or something. Like an hour ago I hadn't been defending the company's policies to one disgruntled customer after another and taking so much abuse on their behalf with a forced smile on my face for $14 an hour and no health insurance or vacation pay.
I feel so used and rejected. My friends and family have been very supportive, and I know in the long run everything is going to be fine, but this just sucks. I'm used to seeing people getting fired for reasons that aren't a surprise to anyone: stealing, perpetual lateness, harassing coworkers, drug use, you name it. I've even seen people caught doing those things NOT get fired. But now suddenly I'm "not meeting expectations," and "not progressing quickly enough," and out I go. Almost everywhere I've worked, even if it wasn't a good fit, I've believed I was a good employee, and well-liked, and intelligent. I didn't feel like any of those things while I was at The Grommet. I'm not sorry I had to leave. I am sorry it was not on my terms.
(You may notice that there are no foods on this list. That was intentional. I could easily make another list of 100 things that make me happy that is JUSt food) ;-)
2. Skyscrapers, skylines, and high city views
4. Old architecture
5. Autumn in New England
6. Walks in the woods
7. Good books
16.Magic & fantasy
20.Crowded dance clubs with good DJs
30.Orgasms & cuddling
32.Watching snow fall
33.High thread-count sheets
35.Fireplaces in winter
38.MST3k, Cinematic Titanic, Rifftrax
40.Giant friendly monsters
50.Walking around cities
51.Fresh new haircut
52.Smell of gardenias
54.Trick or treating
55.Cirque du Soleil
64.Disney movies and theme parks
69.Anthropology and ethnographies
71.Beauty and the Beast in all forms of the story
74.Black and white photo booths
77.When the good guys win
78.Candles and incense
80.Good, old black and white movies
81.Dolphins, seals, sharks, sea turtles, and whales
84.Jacuzzis and hot tubs
85.Saunas and steam rooms
86.Guardian angel and fairy godmother archetypes
88.Birdhouses and bird cages
89.Aquariums and fish ponds
90.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
91.Ivy on brick mansions
94.Witches and witchcraft
95.Clean and organized rooms
96.Snail mail and packages
100. Learning to use cool gadgets and machine
A friend from my old job has been working for a company he seems to like a lot for the past year. Actually, he just got promoted, and now he has to fill his old position. So he called me.
On paper there is absolutely no reason I shouldn't apply for this job. In fact, I am in the process of updating my resume and crafting a cover letter right now, because I figure, even if it turns out I don't want the job, there's no harm in going in for an interview, right?
So for the past three years I've been trying to get promoted to a full time position and complaining A LOT when I get passed over, because hey, I'm not a fucking college kid anymore and I need grown-up money for grown-up work. Now that it comes down to applying for THIS full time position, suddenly my brain is all, "But... forty hours a week PLUS OVERTIME? That's too much! What if you get overwhelmed? What if you're finally making enough money to live but have no time to enjoy your life? In a way wouldn't that be WORSE?"
Sigh. No, brain. Not really.
I'm trying to force myself to be logical:
1) I will get paid vacations. And I'll be working 4 days a week, 10 hours/day. I will not be living at work.
2) I will have HALF the commute that I have now, which will actually give me more free time.
3) I already work over 35 hours per week at my part-time job. Five more hours for WAY more money is not the end of the world.
4) The list of things I want to do? About 90% of them cost money.
5) I currently have no savings to fall back on if something terrible happens. THAT is worse than working 5 more hours a week.
6) All possible hours I would have at the new position are between 9am and 9pm. No more having to wake up at 4am or stay at work until 1am. Normal hours only!
7) The main reason I'm even looking to change jobs is because my current employer refuses to make me full time.
8) I'M A GROWN UP.
9) There is 0% chance that at this new job I will end up bagging groceries for someone I went to high school with that's way more financially successful than I am.
10) My back, knees, neck, feet, and arms will stop hurting all the time because the new job won't require as much heavy lifting or repetitive manual labor.
Ugh. Stop being freaked out about this, Jess.
Maybe I'll do better if I make a list of all the things I want that I can't afford. Then it will seem like I'm writing the cover letter in exchange for those things, and not indirectly for more responsibilities which will eventually earn money that I can exchange for those things.
Which story should I write 50,000 words of over the course of 30 days this summer?
Option 1:An artist in New York City befriends a huge, slobbering, dog-like monster and tries to keep him secret while investigating his origins.
Option 2:Twin troll brothers live with other magical freaks on Beacon Hill, and must help a little boy break a curse before his mother transforms into a Banshee.
Option 3:After losing their friend’s dog in a bet, two teenagers try to navigate a secret marketplace full of strange creatures and dangerous treasures, in order to get the dog back.
My dad is in the process of fixing up a "new" house, so he's staying there while he fixes it up before he officially moves his stuff in. My 16-year-old cousin (let's call her V), decided his old house would be a great place for a party, and she and a LOT of her teenage friends broke in, started drinking and blasting music, and proceeded to pretty much destroy the place.
All of that would just be obnoxious and selfish teenage shenanigans, except for one thing: over a thousand dollars is now missing, as well as all of the jewelry that my late grandmother left to my sister (who I'll call E). V swears she doesn't know anything about the missing property. She never went near the place where the valuables were kept, but evidently her friends did, and now she won't give us any additional information. Sooo... my dad and sister called the police, and now the whole lot of them are down at the police station (still no sign of grandma's jewelry though).
This is turning into a huge clusterfuck of "How could an uncle call the police on his own niece!" and "How could a girl steal from her own cousin!" And everyone basically feels stabbed in the back by everybody else. I'm staying out of it, but it's still really sad.
When I was a teenager, E was a little girl, and V was a baby, I used to picture us all grown up and friends together, raising kids, inviting each other over for holidays, going on trips, sharing private childhood jokes about what dorks our parents were, as well as what dorks we were turning into. I never would have pictured us stealing from each other, destroying each other's property, or having each other arrested. Real families are so messy, and love just doesn't seem to be enough of a reason to treat each other well. Instead we're all just struggling along as individuals, not part of anything bigger, and regard each other full of grudges and bile.
I kind of thought that one of the perks of being in the city was easy access to social activities. There are so many awesome things going on around me, and I seek them out, but usually I'm alone. I have work friends, college friends, childhood friends, a roommate, and family members that care about me, but... I don't feel like anybody's really that available, for fun. I don't feel afraid or awkward doing things on my own. It's summer, and there are beaches, and free movies in the park, and sunrises/sets, and art exhibits, and local concerts, and kayak rentals, and day trips, etc...
A couple of weeks ago I spent my day off getting on a ferry from Boston to Salem, and spent the day walking around downtown Salem, sightseeing, shopping, visiting graveyards, and even got my cards read. Then I took a ferry back the same day. It was really scenic and fun, but at the end of the day, it almost felt like a secret. Like, I was the only one on this mini-adventure, and there was no witness that it had even happened. I didn't talk to anyone. When I saw something cool, I couldn't point it out to anyone. I just drifted around like a creepy stranger.
Is this one of the main reasons why people date? So they can do things like this without feeling like that?
The "lone wolf" archetype is a myth. I think I may need a pack. Doesn't anyone want to run wild with me?