Tag Archives: memories

Have Job, Will Grumble

Waking up for work in the morning is never an easy thing to do. I think it must be at least 11 times harder when you haven’t done it in 11 months.

After starting a new job earlier this week, I was reminded of that unwelcome gut punched feeling first thing in the morning when you realize you really, REALLY can’t go back to sleep this time. No matter how (very) tired you may still be. No matter how much (5 hours) more you could sleep if given the chance. No matter how much you can think of nothing but doing this:

for the rest of your life. You simply cannot. You must awaken and you MUST get this party started.

The first thought that enters my brain each morning that I wake up at 7:00 am is “Ugh. Seriously?” followed by: “Urrrrgh… this is fucking brutal.” then: “I can’t do this somebody please kill me kill me now.”

What makes it all the worse is the fact that it’s September (BLARF!) and this brings back all sorts of crippling memories from the ghost of 1st week back to school past…

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It’s the RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RI_[lazy two finger click] of 5:45 am, followed by the RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*RIE*R_[irritated palm slap] of 5:54.

It’s the staring at the ceiling in utter frustration and anger from 5:54 and 6 seconds – 5:57 while slowly facing the reality of the responsibility that awaits you; brushing teeth, getting dressed, walking around places and making sounds come out of your mouth all the while trying to look cool and seem normal enough not to become a social pariah at least for one more day. Truly horrific shit…

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Finally managing to pull myself off of the mattress is at once one of the simplest and most difficult tasks I will encounter all day. Get past the point of actually laying down and you’re golden. Unfortunately, it’s usually not until around noon before I actually start to feel good about the decision I made this morning. The time leading up to that is pure and total hell full of doubt and remorse and daydreams about sleeping while simultaneously eating, watching television and reading internet gossip. Of course, by 2:00 I can’t help but feel irritated that it’s NOT 5:00 yet so it’s really just a ceaseless nightmare.

At least it is for me. For others, waking up is the least of their problems.

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Filed under (me), work

The Quest for Perfection Only Leads to Despair

Growing up I longed to have green eyes like my grandmother. I thought by having green eyes I’d be just that much better: prettier, confident, more likeable. It’s not like I had a PROBLEM with brown eyes in general, just the fact that I had to have them. I wanted to be different and unordinary and in my immediate family filled with eyes of brown, their presence became my oppressor.  

In the 8th grade I wore a pair of disposable purple contacts for almost the entire school year. I wore them long after their life-span until they were yellowed and itchy. (There’s a really good reason they’re labeled as disposable.) I didn’t care though. I suffered through it because I wanted to be just that much closer to my idea of personal perfection.  

It was also around this time that I bought my first straightening iron. With that discovery I was taking great strides toward finding my “best” self. One without kinky-frizzy hair overtaking my head and face. Now I had the sleek and smooth strands that it seemed all the rest of the world had without struggle.  

i was making "sexy-face" in this picture which is WAY more embarrassment than i'm ready to deal with just yet...

I soon learned that all these methods of “improvement” were really just a means of trickery to hide my own self-loathing. For the moment I would feel better about myself because it was like I had duped mother nature: “Haha, bitch. Look at me now! I’m AWESOME! No thanks to you… ”  

living the lie

But contacts must come out at night (unless you want to peel them off your eyeballs the next morning) and at the slightest hint of humidity, even the most fastidiously flattened hair will curl when confronted with moisture. It’s physics. Or something…  

After years of fighting my ocular pigmentation and follicular genetics I decided to toss the lenses once and for all and chop off my hair. I no longer had to worry about spending hours on my tresses or what might happen to it if exposed to certain elements. Extra hold hairspray and Bed Head wax were my good friends and little, if anything, could permeate my super coif…  

giving the camera my best "jerk-face" and Ronald McDonald a run for his money

It wasn’t too long before I began to miss my long hair and all the hassle it had once caused me. Talk about indecisiveness. I just couldn’t figure out what it was that would make me happy with the way I looked. If it wasn’t my hair bothering me then it was my jiggly thighs, chunky arms, convex belly, excessive body hair, et al.  

I began to realize that something had to give. Since I was kind of stuck with my physical attributes no matter how much it des-troyed me to accept, it became clear that something had to be me. I had to start being happy with what I did have and not focus so much on the flaws.   

Isn’t it less plausible that “perfect” people are not without flaw themselves but rather that they refuse to let it ruin them? Food for thought…  

I know I’m not covering ground-breaking content by saying all this. I think most sane/living people have this revelation at one point or another otherwise they end up insane/dead. Since I’m not all that keen on joining the latter just yet, it became clear that I had to start thinking highly of myself* otherwise I couldn’t expect anyone else to.  

I mention all this because for most of my adulthood my “career” has existed in complete opposition with this theory.  

Instead of looking for change inside of myself I kept expecting each of my jobs to hold the answers to my professional pursuits. I never had a good idea of what it was I wanted to do when I “grew up”. I figured with enough time and effort put forth I could shape my job(s) into something that would last the test of time, make me happy and secure. Clearly, this never happened.  

I have never had a job that I wanted. I have only had work that I needed. For the last 5 years I have had 3 jobs all of which I have taken on out of sheer desperation. The need for money has always been the determining factor in seeking employment; my personal needs from a job have always taken a back burner because of this.  

It’s not that I think my story is all that different or all that much worse than anybody elses out there. We have all hated our jobs at one point or another. We have all faced workplace injustices and convinced ourselves that we deserve better than (because in my experience we usually do) what our jobs can offer us.  

The difference is this: I’m not playing second fiddle in my life anymore.  

When I started at my current job, 3 years ago, I was definitely bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I was eager to please and willing to take on ANYTHING that was up for grabs. It was never a means to be a show-off or better than anyone but to prove, mainly to myself, that I was a hard-working, fast-learner who would rather be busy at work than twiddling my thumbs, clockwatching and praying for day’s end.  

I won’t bore you with the specifics now since I’ve gone into quite elaborate detail about both my rise and fall from grace at work before. I will, however, say this: There was a time when I thought I could make my current job work for me. I envisioned an almost perfect future for myself and my family given the opportunities this job could afford me. I considered myself lucky for having a job that some people work towards and look forward to having their whole life.  

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my quest for “perfection” in a career path I hadn’t really wanted was only leading me to despair. I needed to be happy and if I couldn’t feel that way with what I was doing then I had to be the one to make the change because lord knows the job wasn’t going to just start getting better. I had to learn to accept imperfection from both life AND myself.  

It certainly hasn’t been easy but I’m not about to give up.  

It’s been incredibly hard for the über practical person I am to commit to taking such a risk. To embark upon a chapter full of the unknown has left me riddled with questions in search of answers:  

Q: What if I quit my job and then CAN’T just CANNOT find another job and I have to shuffle back with my tail between my legs begging for employment?  

A: That’s not going to happen because the fact of the matter is that job is NOT right for me. I’ve done my time there, worked my butt off and if it comes down to absolutely needing money I WILL find another job; full-time/part-time/whatever it takes. Even if it means I must take a considerable pay cut, as long as I am happily living in the moment and satisfied by my way of life then that’s all that matters.  

Q: What if I find myself completely unable to handle the prospects of self-employment/entrepreneurship and all the hardships/inconsistencies that are involved?  

A: Then I get myself another crappy corporate job somewhere else and hope it’s not as bad as the place I left behind except I can’t imagine ever being that desperate because I’d rather have sold off all my personal property and/or sell oranges by the freeway than go back to cube-hell. (15 internet points if you can correctly identify the origins of the probably imprecise, definitely pilfered orange quotes!!!)  

Q: What if I realize I’ve made a terrible mistake and the 9-5 corporate life really is for me?  

A: Not gonna happen. Not now, not never. Just, NO.  

I will never be perfect and, moreover, do not wish that for myself anymore. Perfection is boring, stagnant, tepid, flat and EASY. That’s right, the quest for perfection is a pursuit for the easy way out. It always has been for me, anyway. Looking perfect makes it easier to get by, you don’t have to use your intelligence or personality as much and that’s just sad. Working the perfect job is also easy because you will likely never feel the rush of a real challenge, the thrill of seeking out something new and unfamiliar.  

I’m not looking for that anymore. I’m looking to live the shit out of my life.  

Starting… NOW.  

So, if you’re looking for a hard-working, smart-mouthed, wannabe writer/blogger extraordinaire, cat obsessed, manic-depressive misanthrope… I’m totes your gal. 

*My definition of thinking highly of myself fluctuates often. One day thom could mean: I am the effin’ cat’s pajamas! I totally rock at life and I’m going to conquer the pants off of the UNIVERSE!!! Give it another day and thom sounds more like: At least I’m not the biggest heinous-faced loser on the planet. Probably…

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Filed under (me), just a thought..., work

to the bee on his birthday…

Dearest bee, 

a.k.a. 

Beezuzu 

Beezus 

Beebs 

Beezer 

Uncle Beebles 

Justin Beeber 

or simply… 

B, 

I love you, but this you know. I say it to you often enough for it to register and aren’t words just that? WORDS? Sure they can convey meaning but it’s the sentiment behind those words that makes them powerful. If I lost my voice tomorrow and could never string those 3 sounds together again I know I could show my love for you in countless other ways. I’m not suggesting that our love is unique in this way but it IS special. 

It’s hard to believe that you have been a best friend to me for almost 10 years now. It’s not the idea that we’ve known each other for that long but the thought that there was a time when you weren’t in my life. How did I ever get by? Sure we fight, bicker, sulk, stand-off, tease, ball-bust, antagonize and disagree with/at the other over stupid stuff but that’s just it. The stuff? It’s stupid. Mostly small and generally insignificant in the grande scheme of things. When it comes to what matters you always have the answer to my question and if you don’t then we hunker down and figure that shit out together. 

*** 

Right now I’m at BlogHer and although I’m (hopefully) having fun, learning things and meeting new people, please know that if I could be anywhere, I’d want to be with you. EVERYDAY but especially today. It’s your birthday, bee, your 28th birthday. You told me that you wanted me to go to the conference regardless because it was a great opportunity even though I did (almost) everything in my power to sabotage my going. You pushed me on to break out of my comfort zone and go after something even though it scares the shit out of me. You always support me and that is something I try never to take for granted. Here it is YOUR birthday and it’s like you’ve given me the greater gift. 

How typical

Well, my bee, I do hope that your day is the most special and you do whatever it is that makes you happiest. I must admit I’ve been hard-pressed to think of anything else but you while I should be focusing on all things blog-related. I just can’t help it. I guess I’m selfish that way. I want to share it all with you and when we are apart I can feel the pull, the empty void that always exists when you’re not around. 

While others here are excitedly looking forward to the many after conference meet-ups going on in NYC tonight, I find it difficult to think of anything but getting home to spend the evening with you. Maybe all we’ll end up doing is staying home and doing a bunch of nothing. It really doesn’t matter to me just as long as I get to do it with you. 

Happy birthday, bee. 

I love you. 

Always. 

damn, you're cute...

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Filed under (me), just a thought..., the bee

Who, (me)me?

I’m new to this whole meme thing but it really couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been feeling highly uninspired and generally exhausted these past few weeks which, needless to say, has taken a major toll on my mind grapes…

Maybe you’re wondering:

What the hell IS a meme?

Don’t feel bad. I read this and I’m still not entirely sure.

No matter!

We are DOING this people.

Ok, so here’s the jizz on this one:

I was tagged in this meme by Jules over at Mean Girl Garage. She is sarcastic and snarky which, clearly? = AWESOME. She’s damn good at this whole blogging thing; she posts regularly (WHAT now?!), is highly entertaining AND entrepreneurial. She is a co-founder of Studio 30+ which is a home for 30-something (plus!) bloggers to come together, share ideas, bitch, moan, rant, rave and find other like-minded comrades in blog-land.

Basically Jules is the 3o+ age bloggers networking messiah.

A moment of silence in honor of Her Holy Presence, please…

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Memes have rules and here they are:

  • Thank the person who gave you the award.  My gratitude knows no bounds, mi’ lady…
  • Share 7 things about yourself.  ONLY seven?!   *sigh*   FINE.
  • Pass along the award to 15 bloggers who you think are fantastic.  Hmmm… This makes me feel funny. I could EASILY think of 15 worthy bloggers but since I’m more of a “doer” than a “delegater”, imma leave this one up to y’all. do you want to do this meme? AWE-SOME! you totally should…

Now, let’s get on with it…

1.  I can be very stubborn. Being this way can often be misconstrued as plain ol’ ignorance but I assure you it’s not the case. For instance: I know that technically, the proper name for the colorful fruity ice-creamy substance you might find in your grocer’s freezer is actually sherbet or sorbet, however I have never called it anything but sherBERT and I don’t plan on changing my ways anytime soon. Also, both (me) and the bee verbalize the abbreviation “vs.” so that it sounds like the word “verse” as opposed to the correct pronunciation of “versUS“. Is this a common thing? I’m not really sure, I just know that we both grew up in different areas and managed to carry-on with this incorrectitude into our adult lives. No plans on changing there either…

2.  I rarely wash my hair. At most my head hits water only twice a week, but usually just once. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • I am lazy.
  • I have very thick curly/wavy hair that not only requires a LOT of maintenance to look decent but actually looks better with some head grease to weigh it down and keep that bitch in check.
  • I am lazy.

3.  As a kid, I was convinced that I was black. Well, at least somewhat. This idea was put in my head because of some of my physical dissimilarities with my family members. I was the only one in my immediate family with coarse/curly hair and DARK brown eyes. Also, I once saw a picture of Harry Belafonte in a magazine and mistook him for my paternal Grandfather. Now that I’ve shared this I think the only thing this proves is that I was a childhood racist.

4.  I used to think that I was  “selectively” ambidextrous but now I know there really is no such thing. What does exist is something called cross-dominance which Wikipedia explains as “a motor skill manifestation where a person favors one hand for some tasks and the other hand for others.” For me, this means that although I generally write with my right hand, I eat with my left. I also have much more control over the left side of my body when it comes to physical activities. Not that I’m much of a partaker in sports (UNDERSTATEMENT ALERT!) but I hold a bat/tennis racket in my left and swing a golf club from my left side exclusively. In any of those activities, my right side is kind of useless. I can only wink with my left eye and curl the left side of my lip (think Elvis). The two times I’ve ever gone snowboarding I was goofy-footed all the way. I actually can write with my left hand, just not as well:

 

5.  On a similar note: I also have extremely dexterous feet. Sort of like monkey feet. Beyond being able to pick up items with my toes, the bee is often astounded at my ability to splay them out and move and wiggle them with such range. I attribute this to my past as a dancer and, no, I do not mean “dancer” as in another word for “stripper”. That being said, I have no issues with exotic dancers or those who get naked for money (more power to ya) but anytime I mention my past as a “dancer” I usually get the ol’ arched eyebrow look followed by a “REALLY?!“. No. I have a hard enough time getting naked in front of a mirror so doing so in  front of strangers is not high on my list of priorities.

WARNING!!!

Pictures of feet to follow:

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got nuttin' but love for ya...

 

'cept this one's got a mean left hook...

ps - the littlest piggy has a FREAKISHLY small toenail. seriously, it's like practically invisible...

6.  Ok, I’m going to get pretty serious for a moment:

Like many people out there, I suffer from depression. I currently treat my disease with medication but for a long time I didn’t. There was a time, not too long ago, where I used self-harm to cope with my fractured mental state. I would cut and burn my skin to transfer the pain in my head to my body. I don’t say this to garner sympathy, I say it because it is a part of who I am and I truly wear my scars on my sleeves. I can’t hide most of them and I don’t really care to anymore anyway.

I actually wrote a whole blog post on this subject once but never published it. It’s not that I’m embarrassed or ashamed but I just know there is a stigma with these types of things, plus people I know who don’t know about all this read this blog and I didn’t want to freak anyone out. (there goes that) Anyway, it’s not a huge thing. It’s something I deal with on a day-to-day basis much like any other form of addiction. I’ll probably never NOT have thoughts of self-harm floating around in my head, it’s just that I deal with those urges differently now. Maybe I’ll finally publish that post one day. Maybe.

Now, back to it…

7.  I have pooped myself as an adult and it was not the result of being intoxicated. It was actually the result of needing to fart after eating baked beans. Without going into TOO much detail, I’ll just say that I ended up with what looked baked beans in my underwear after that incident. This was about a year ago.

Did you really think I was gonna do one of these things without mentioning a poop story?

PUH-LEEEEEESE…

I could have gone on and on and ON with this list but thank god there was a limit of 7 because I have a chronic case of verbal diarrhea most days and you folks have better things to do. I’m sure of it.

So, there you have it!

7 (mostly embarrassing) things about myself I’ve never shared in blog form before. Hopefully I haven’t alienated anyone with these admissions but in case I have you should know that I still love you…

and you can suck it.

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Don’t Put Marbles In Your Nose/Put Them In There/DO NOT PUT THEM IN THERE (or anything else for that matter)

I’ve always been a “different” kind of person. Words that have been used to describe me since as far back as I can remember include: weird, strange, eccentric, alternative, unique, quirky, DIFFERENT. And those are just the nicer ones.

I mention this because when I was much younger I decided that shoving fuzzy willows* up my nose would be a great idea because I liked how they felt.

There is no doubt that fuzzy willows are perhaps some of the most decadently soft and luxurious little suckers in all of existence. In fact, if someone was entrepreneurial enough, I’d bet that harvested willows could be turned into some seriously excellent fabric, potentially putting the fur industry out of business.

Think about it…

Now, picture this:

I am 3 years old.

At the time, we lived with my grandmother, and my Gramm, being my Gramm (and likely my direct link to eccentricities abound) had less of a house and more of a museum filled to the brim with various tchotchkes, antiques and oddities. One of those oddities was an old spittoon that held branches of fuzzy willows.

My mother is busy at the sink, finishing up the last few dishes before she has to jet off to work. I am all of 5 feet away curiously picking at the fuzzy roundness of the willow branch emerging from the brim of the spittoon when one after another after another AFTER ANOTHER find their way into my pint-sized self’s nostril. No sooner than the last of ’em have been shoved into my nose, my mom turns to find her 3-year-old looking something like this:

My mom has now entered into full panic-mode.

So here I am, 5 or more (nobody is really sure) fuzzy willows unceremoniously shoved into one nostril, my breathing is struggled and my complexion is spotty.

~momentary aside~

I was very inquisitive and somewhat independent as a child, frequently looking to push the boundaries of what was the norm or acceptable into something that what was straight up bizarre-nified. I went through a brief phase where I would only wear different shoes together. I can remember being in kindergarten and wearing 1 pink cowboy boot and 1 rubber soled canvas slip-on to school. Rubber soled so I could still participate in that day’s poor excuse for physical activity: jump roping. So while I perfected the one-legged double jump, I’m sure my biggest success was establishing myself forever more as a closeted extrovert.

I’m not entirely sure something like that even exists but I’m totally claiming its discovery as my own.

(except i can’t because i just googled “closeted extrovert” and found someone’s blog! check. it. out.)

So!

The closeted extrovert (according to my own definition) is someone who just lives to push the envelope but doesn’t want to be seen as overly “show-off-y” or “obnoxious”. Just sort of outer circle and mysterious/weird, strange, eccentric, alternative, unique, quirky, DIFFERENT. Apparently there is also something called a “clos-et extrovert” and that’s basically the exact opposite of what I’m talking about so let’s forget I even mentioned it…

~resuming~

My mom runs next door to get my uncle (because what the hell ELSE do you do in a situation like this?) and he looks at me and then looks at her and suggests I be seen by some medical professionals.

The next few hours are a blur of lab coats and arms holding down my tiny body to an exam table so I don’t squirm away while a GINORMOUS pair of tweezers infiltrates my nostril in the hopes of removing the fuzzy perpetrators before they lodge themselves too much farther inside my nasal cavity.

Thankfully, I was left physically unscathed by the whole incident and (probably) all willows were successfully removed from my head.

It was a highly traumatic event to say the least but I learned my lesson. If you’re going to put things up your nose make sure they are BIGGER than your nostril.

Like a tiny marshmallow.

Duh.

*i had to ammend the name of said item due to a large number of kiddie p()rn perverts finding my blog.

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Just Kids

Last weekend I got myself a copy of Patti Smith‘s newest book, “Just Kids“. It documents her formative years as an artist and how she met her kindred spirit, Robert Mapplethorpe during a time when she needed a friend the most. The way Patti speaks of Robert makes it hard to discern whether she is speaking of a friend, a lover or a brother and the truth seems to be that he was all that and more. Their intense relationship exceeded that of societal norms and even Robert’s tragic passing at the age of 42.

I’m only a fraction of the way through the book but already I’m having a hard time putting it down. One reason is that Patti Smith is an absolute chanteuse in my mind. Brilliant and beautiful and a fearless renegade. She is at least partly responsible for changing the way art and music is ingested in our culture. The other, bigger reason, is that the love story that unfurls in this book reminds me ever so much of the first, and ultimately chance, meeting I had with my favorite cohort and partner in life.

You might know him as The Bee.

Her book is encapsulated in these words: “It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation”. For (me) and The Bee, it was the summer before 9/11 and in many ways, the last days of an innocence. It was our first taste of real freedom, and our whirlwind love affair with Philadelphia and each other would change me from basically bitter to mostly sweet.

The weekend before my high school graduation I was scheduled to attend a freshman orientation at Temple University. It was a rite of passage for all new matriculates but I couldn’t have been less interested or excited at the prospect of acclimating myself to my new home away from home for the next 4 years or so (because really? it took me closer to 5). The weekend before graduation had always been heralded as Senior Week and because of this god forsaken orientation, I was standing at the edge of a questionable neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia instead of playing beer pong for 48 consecutive hours in a condo in Brigantine with the rest of my compatriots.

Suffice to say, I was pissed.

I quickly found a friend, one of the few high school alums who would be attending Temple along with me (everyone else must have gotten the memo about the senior week/freshman orientation scheduling conflict) and we settled into our familiar time-filling conversations. It was then, standing on the sidewalk outside of my would-be dorm on a warm June day, that I saw a boy that made my heart STRAIGHT-UP skip a beat.

He was alluring in that “I’m not even trying to look this hot” way that had me drawing an immediate comparison to Brandon Boyd (It was 2001 and Incubus was relevant, I swear.) He stood on the steps to the dorm with a girl I assumed was his girlfriend, chatting amongst a group of some other fresh meat. Perhaps the glance we shared was more than fleeting because our next call of duty was to queue up and receive our room assignments for that night and guess who ended up in line behind me?

Our first words exchanged were in the moments after signing the roster where he commented on the spelling of my name. I later found out he was so observant due to the fact that his girlfriend (fyi – not the girl from the steps, bee is just a lady killa) and I shared a name phonetically, if not in print. I thought this was strangely coincidental if only as a means to have something to fall back on in our future conversations. I would soon find out there would be no lapse in things to talk about between us.

Our bond was instantaneous. We walked around together within a small group of other newbies but I honestly can’t remember being all that interested in what anyone else was doing beside the two of us. I was pretty sure he felt the same way but our words wore the veil that masked our intent from our action. We showed each other the scars we had accrued over the span of our short lives, talked about our families and found we had a shared love for American McGee’s Alice and Parliament Lights.

After the scheduled events for our first day were over we were left to our own devices, free to seek out entertainment (or trouble) independently and (me) and The Bee stole away together to pour over a list of classes to choose from for the upcoming semester. I had always been bright but since the beginning of Junior High, I was never what one would call a star student. I did my homework infrequently and studied even less (that means never) and I was lucky that I squeaked by in my competitive high school without getting booted. The only area I could always be counted upon to excel was standardized testing (which I attribute as my ONLY savior for college admittance), I just cared very little to actually apply myself.

When it came to choosing courses or a major (what now?) my being clueless would be an understatement. The only class I had really enjoyed during high school was film. And I know, I. KNOW. That’s almost as bad as saying my favorite class was lunch or recess but I really loved movies and what they conveyed, that when The Bee mentioned that he was selecting Film as his main focus of study, I couldn’t have been more on board with that plan.

We spent that evening talking and smoking cigarettes in the courtyard that a few months later we would be able to look down upon from The Bee’s dorm room. Too little time was spent sleeping and the next morning we awoke to find that the first thing on our agenda was to have our ID photos taken. Not having time to put on any make-up or fix my hair, I looked the worse for wear but my new buddy was in good spirits despite having slept on a bench in one of the communal lounges. It turned out that his designated roomie for that evening was *AHEM* engaged with a lady friend and since the beds had been (quite rudely, I might add) pushed together by the love bugs, there was literally no room for sleeping in that scenario.

We waited amongst an OBSCENELY huge group of frosh newbs to get our picture taken that day but I can’t recall being all that perturbed as I had a jovial companion who seemed to enjoy my presence as much as I did his, despite my haggard appearance.

~

Here’s the part where I throw my all-in-one fax/scanner/copier/printer through a window because it conveniently chose to just stop working and now I can’t scan the ID photos taken that day to aptly tie this post into a neat little bow and present the beautiful dichotomy between mine and Patti’s stories. That, and The Bee can’t find his ID. Soooooooo, I guess he’s going through the window instead…

Anyway, I always hated how I looked in my ID photo (picture chubby cheeks and disheveled pixie hair accented with a hot-pink bandana) but the smile on my face is 100% genuine. The Bee had said something to make me crack up. What exactly, I can’t remember, but less than 24 hours after meeting each other, I was beginning to realize that I had finally found the missing piece to my puzzle.

At the end of that day, we parted ways, not to speak again for a few months when we spotted each other online and realized that we had both been assigned to the same floor of the same dorm. It didn’t really occur to me then the potential fated nature of that fact, I just knew I was excited to have such an amazing friend just down the hall.

Our time together at Temple was limited. The Bee left after the first semester and so did the magic that I had begun to associate with my time spent there. Although we were not romantically linked during our time at school, our relationship was often interpreted as such, since we were rarely without the other. My boyfriend at the time regularly voiced his overwhelming distaste for my close friendship with this boy that I obviously thought so highly of and although his jealousies were technically unfounded, I soon realized my emotions were undeniably guilty of a betrayal.

After The Bee left school, I spent more and more time at home versus campus and pretty soon the appeal of dorm life had waned completely. Over the next 4 years we remained good, however distant, friends; the space between us caused by locale and logistical complications. Yet, whenever we saw each other during that time the overwhelming rush of blissful excitement would run through me and we would fall in line again, like we’d never missed a step.

Tomorrow will mark our 5th official anniversary together. In many ways it feels like it’s been ages longer than that and somehow impossible to think that we’ve shared so many years with each other already. I feel really lucky in that way. He’s my partner & my best friend.

Thanks, bee.

Happy Anniversary.

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On Uncertainty, Dark Revelations and Giving Thanks

I changed my mind.

The obscenely long post that I had in the works has been put on hold indefinitely. Mainly for the reason that it deals with my struggles with mental illness and the effects of having such a life. I think it’s a good story and one that needs to be told, it’s just not a pretty one. I’m also about to become neighbors with my in-laws and I don’t want word getting back to them about how whacked-out in the skull I really am. Let them find that out for themselves. I think they must have a clue since 2 years ago I had a full on anxiety attack while in church with the family on Christmas Eve and had to sneak out during Communion. THAT, my friends, is the best example I have to prove, not only the existence of, but the overwhelming power of Catholic guilt. It’s just that mine works backwards, instead of guilting me into church it guilts me right the fuck out of there. I know when I’ve overstayed my welcome.

Not writing and silently mourning our move was just the recipe needed to finally finish reading The Road. How’s that for an unintentional religious segue? If you’ve read The Road you know that it takes place in an end of days scenario, not all that farfetched considering our penchant for warring and eco-destruction . It’s a book that openly questions the existence of a god and depicts what remains of humanity when proven that there is none. Perpetually sick and starving nomads traverse the road in constant fear for their safety and ultimately their lives. Food is so scarce that I imagine every gulp of not-so-fresh water they drink must taste like a delicacy. The relationship between man and child in this story is so tender and heartbreaking and like a true southern gothic, the ending leaves you with tragic epiphany.

I finished the book with perfect timing, 1. because the movie comes out today, not that I’ll have a chance to see it for all of the current mania at hand in my life but DAY-um if Viggo Mortensen isn’t all sorts of badass and sexy no matter what he does especially when portraying a filthy vagabond and 2. because the story makes you thankful just for having clean air to breathe and a place to rest your head at night that isn’t a pile of dead leaves. Because this is a time of year where we reflect on all things we are thankful for, it just seemed fitting. So I’m making a list of my own including but not limited to the following people:

My exquisitely beautiful, kind-hearted and eccentric, Grandmother.

my gramm and her sister petitioning for peace while in their teens. wish youda known them when, dontcha?

She did more than her fair share of raising me in my younger days and without her influence I don’t know if I would have been exposed to a fraction of the diverse art, culture and music that I have been fortunate enough to experience thus far. Together we have travelled from Maine to Florida and every state in between. She took me on my first and only cruise to Mexico where I was seasick for 2 days (not her fault) and subsequently learned that Dramamine only works if you take it prior to puking. She accompanied me to New Orleans when I was 17, allowing me to seek out all things esoteric and taboo, feeling “grown up” for the first time. She funded my trip to Italy with my high school class so I could experience New Years 2000 in Rome. Musicals? Theatre? She’ll gladly buy the ticket so that you have a chance to experience a piece of magic unfold upon the stage. She taught me how to appreciate architecture and nature as well as finding beauty in the mundane. For her, I am so unbelievably thankful.

My always supportive, ever-loving, driven and fabulous, Mother.

I blame my mom for all my music obsessive-ness. If it hadn’t been for the power struggle between my mom’s choice of MTV and my desire for all Nickelodeon all the time during my formative years I would likely have never learned about Run DMC, Chrissie Hynde, Tom Petty and her all time favorite group, U2. I can remember waiting in a line for an entire day just to get tickets to see them play Philadelphia and I couldn’t have been more than 3 years old at the time. In the summer of ’88 we took a road trip to visit my mother’s sister who was living in Anaheim, CA to visit Disneyland and, oh yeah, to see U2 and Sting play the Amnesty International concert in LA. I can still remember my mom asking the woman at the ticket counter for earplugs for me. She gave us cotton balls. I didn’t need them, I fell asleep in my seat within moments. I was the best dressed kid thanks to my mom’s always original and innovative stylings. I rocked Betsey Johnson & Norma Kamali, leopard print sneakers and a denim duster littered with pin backs before it was en vogue. I thank you, mom, for opening my eyes and ears to all that is good in taste.

My brilliant, one of a kind, sweet natured and wildly talented, Sister.

Oh, how I love this girl. She is one of the coolest people I know, never ceasing to amaze me with her keen eye for detail and amazing ability to absorb everything that goes on around her. I only wish we weren’t so far apart in age. Nola is the sister I always wish I had while I was growing up. I  imagine us getting into all sorts of trouble together, crushing on the same boys, stealing each other’s clothes, spilling secrets late night from our shared bedroom, covering each other’s ass when we know we’re headed for trouble, going from overwhelming anger to  an outpouring of love for the other all within the span of a few hours. Nola is the artist I wish I was. She can sketch something in moments with such a special flare that it can be mistaken for no other. She has taught herself pieces for the piano just from hearing a few notes of a song. She also writes some of the most intricate and astounding fan fiction I have witnessed from the mind of a pre-teen. In short, she is truly amazing. I would not be the same without her in my life and for that I cannot be thankful enough.

And finally:

My handsome, hazel-eyed, best friend. The thoughtful and generous (to a fault), Mr. Bee.

To be brief, The Bee has been my saving grace on more occasions than I can count. He never fails to mention just how he feels for me and even if he’s not saying it, his actions always speak loud and clear. Through good times and bad, we have held onto the other knowing that there will always be light ahead if we have each other to lean on. Thanks be, for my Bee. I’m still not sure how I got this lucky so I’ll just leave it at that. I’m not in the business of questioning fate. At least not today.

Happy Turkey Day, y’all.

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Hard On for Philly

dr. dog-philly (143)

phallic, no?

I was going to title this post “Heart On for Philly” as a veiled attempt to cover up my intent and as a blatant steal from the newest Eagles of Death Metal album (because that title rocks my socks) but I went for the more lewd of the two. Well, you’re reading this post aren’t you? So I guess it worked. Now, where was I? Right. I fucking love Philadelphia. You’ll have to excuse my language but I felt the expletive was necessary to properly convey how passionate I really am for my second home. For years I took the city and its accessibility for granted, as it was never more than a 30 minute car ride over the Ben Franklin bridge from my house. That, or during the times I worked in the Olde City section of Philadelphia, a 20 minute ride via NJ PATCO, or the “Speed line” to those in the know. In my late teens it was my plan to run as far away as possible from South Jersey and its western neighbor, toying with the notion of attending college in either New Orleans or San Francisco. Thankfully, for Me AND The Bee, that never panned out as we would have never met on the steps of Temple University’s White Hall our first day of freshman orientation all those years ago, but that’s a whoooooole ‘nother story. A good one too, but let’s save that for another time, shall we?

A huge chunk of my family lives in the city, which is both truth and the perfect allusion for how I feel when I finally cross over the Delaware River from NJ to PA. It’s then that I realize I’m coming home, ever comforted by its undeniable familiarity. From the skyline to the cobblestones, the city is full of history, often overshadowed by a bigger and more boastful city in New York. How unfortunate, since so much of our country was founded in the humble structures that make up Philly’s close knit neighborhoods. I’m not aiming to speak ill of NYC, even after last night’s crushing loss to the Yankees in the World Series (we’ll fix that next year). I’m only wanting to boast about the amazing city that Philadelphia is and that so few, living where I currently do, really appreciate.

Since moving from South to Central New Jersey almost 5 years ago, and oh yeah there was that ill-fated move to North Carolina 2 years after that (another story, another time), I frequent the city much less than I used to in my college-aged heyday. When the opportunity arises to see a band play, I always scout out their dates in Philly before New York, because, frankly, I prefer traversing the streets of Philadelphia than the labyrinthine gridlock of NYC any old day. My allegiance is ALWAYS to Philly teams, during good seasons and bad, the only exception being the addition of the Pittsburgh Steelers which I have adopted per request of The Bee because he loves them and I love him. So there. At least they’re from Pennsylvania, right?

[cue crickets]

So, I left behind my beloved city and my South Jersey roots for the love of The Bee. Although I miss my old home always I have no regrets at leaving as I know I would miss The Bee more if we were so far apart. I know, “Awwwwwww”, right? Maybe we are all designed to spread our wings and fly away at some point, trying out new places in the hopes that it will be better and brighter than the dismal existence (we think) we’ve left behind. In my experience, running away for the sake of running away is rarely better or brighter, just different. I’m looking at YOU Greenville, NC.

Anywho, we are finally beginning to recover from our mini-vacation to Philadelphia as a part of my birthday celebration a few weeks back, complete with lengthy walks in the rain and WAY after dark binges at Jim’s (they have the best cheese steaks, don’t let anyone tell you different).

With that, I leave you with some of my favorite shots we took during our most recent stay in the city.

java

outside of the coffee shop where "The Waitress" works from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

dr. dog-philly (39)

interior of Silk City (5th & Spring Garden), decorated for Halloween

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view of a rainy Broad Street from our hotel window

And my personal fave:

dr. dog-philly (31)

photo by The Bee, of me and the color changing leaves (around 10th & Locust)

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Confessions of a Bad Friend

Yep, that’s me. Maybe “absentee” or “lame ass” friend would be more fitting since I don’t really think I’m a shitty friend per say, just not around very much to be much of a friend at all. I wasn’t always like this though. Let me start by discussing my first and oldest of friends. As only children, raised by single parents, we were born exactly 9 months apart and even lived together with our moms for a few years when we were about 5 or 6. We shared many a life experience together, one of the most significant being the earth-shattering news that we were about to be first time siblings to two little girls, born just 4 days apart. Earth-shattering being SUCH the appropriate term with reference to 13 year olds who are used to ruling the roost and going through just the teensy-est bit of the terrible teens. Together we waved goodbye to our only-child status and oh did many a bitter tear flow. We also learned the joys of having younger siblings together and now, 12+ years later, I have an amazing friend where I thought I would just have a little sister. This is the good news. The not so good news is that my oldest friend and I have not actually seen each other in about 7 years. The bad news is this is not the only instance I have of not seeing/talking to a friend for years at a clip.

I told you I was trouble.

steff-strumm

In a previous post I discussed my issues with the ol’ “Ring! Ring! Hello?” device. I’m not good with it. I rarely (if ever) pick it up to call people and when people call me I usually stare at the phone in terror like the voice at the other end is there to deliver a death sentence. All this is normal, right? Yeah, I thought so. That being said, add the fact I live about 50 miles away from the majority of my friends, socialization isn’t something I’m used to doing anymore. So when the opportunity arises to commiserate, I usually fall deep into an anxiety ridden despair, unsure of what to do, what to wear, how to behave. The last time I made the effort to drive the hour and a half to visit with some friends I was stuck on the NJ Turnpike for 4 HOURS, sitting in traffic because GUESS WHAT? there was an accident right before the exit I needed to get off at and SURPRISE! I was now trapped on the turnpike until I could make it to the next exit just 7 miles down the road. That’s right, 4 hours = 7 miles and after all that I was really no closer to seeing my friends who would likely be wrapping things up right about the time I would be arriving. That may have been more of a sign that I need to check the traffic report before leaving the house for long trips than a sign that I am not supposed to have friends, but nonetheless I have not seen that group of friends since.

eustace girls

So here I am, back to explain why I’ve written this post in the first place. Over the years I have seen many a friend come and go. There have been lots of reasons for the loss of connection. Growing apart, moving away, and my personal favorite: learning you never really liked the person very much to begin with. Ouch. Sometimes the truth, it hurts. How can you know if you really like someone unless you get to know them, right? More than anything I attribute it to basic growing up. Maybe you find a significant other or a passion through a meaningful career or hobby and well, we all have to be a little selfish from time to time. I just fear I may have become too much so, and more than a little self involved, forgetting to do the simplest things like checking in with a friend, just because. I will admit I am much MUCH better with communication via, email or letter, but unless I’m looking to have a bunch of pen pals, it’s really no way to conduct a friendship. It’s not that I don’t think of my friends often, I think about them all the time, which is actually a part of the reason why I shy away from making the phone call. When I think of a friend, and then I think about the last time I saw or spoke to them and I have to count the months, or worse, YEARS since contact, I begin to feel more than a little ashamed. What if this person wants nothing to do with me anymore? Have they written me off like a bad day at the racetrack? Maybe they have already moved on and I will just humiliate myself by attempting to reach out to them again after all this time? REMINDER: My mind is a vast abyss of self criticism.

Now I know I’m not the worst friend in the world. Not by a lot really, but that still does not help me shake the thought that I could have, should have been, so many times, much much more of one. I’m trying to start a new chapter on my life. The pieces are slowly falling into place in all the different areas, but this is a major rift that has needed some serious repair for quite some time. Ima get there.

 

This one goes out to my friends. You know who you are…

 

I’m sorry I wasn’t there more

Just know it doesn’t mean I didn’t care

I know things have changed for me and for you

 

When I didn’t call, or write, or show

It was nothing you did, the fault was my own

I guess I couldn’t face anything at all

 

I’d like to make amends and become a better friend

I’d like to hope that I’m not too late

But maybe I am

 

There’s no changing what’s happened

Or the time we’ve spent apart

The absence hasn’t made me forget

 

I can only speak for myself here

I can’t live with regret

Just know, that to me, we will always be friends

shann-steff

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