Ever Red

Once, I found a tube of Chanel lip color at one of my favorite bars. I already get cold sores on occasion, so I have no fear of catching the virus now. I loved the color, this deep berry shade called Ever Red, and it was obviously nearly brand new, so I kept it.

Months later, I saw a good friend of mine using the same type of lipstick, but in a slightly different shade. I told her about the tube of Ever Red I’d found. She told me that a few months back, she’d lost a tube of Chanel lipstick in that exact shade, at that same bar. At the time, she was really upset, because she’d only used it once, and it was expensive. But then she went back to the store and found a shade that she liked even more, and thought that she was actually happier with the new choice than she would have been with the old one.

Maybe you took from that, “Gross, she reused mystery lipstick that she found at a bar!” Or maybe you thought, “Wow, great score,” or perhaps, “Talk about a crazy coincidence!” Someone (or many someones) probably thought, “You’re lucky you didn’t catch something.” I just thought that my friend was glamorous for splurging on Chanel lipstick (among all of the other stylish beauty choices she makes). I offered to give the lipstick back, but instead, she gave me the other tube, too. She’d moved on to a new brand that she liked more.

In the end, the first tube leaked into my bag one day. I’m just too much of a mess for Chanel, I guess.

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Life Block

I’m tired. Soul tired. Deeply exhausted. So stressed that I’ve gone beyond stressed and come out on the other side, and instead of worry, I feel nothing. I just chew my cheeks and crack my wrists and keep on moving, moving, moving.

I am overweight. My stomach pooches out. I hate it, keep thinking how to fix it, keep doing nothing. I don’t have the time to sleep, how do I find the time to exercise? My mind tick tocks off the edge just trying to figure it out.

Tomorrow is my last day at work. Monday is my first day at work. I also have my second job on Friday night and Sunday morning, and in between, I’ll attend a wedding on Saturday. I want to sleep through all of these things, but that’s not in the cards.

My house is filthy. It seems like there’s cat litter in everything, on everything. Nothing smells good. Everything’s gritty or dusty. Even the cleanest things are still covered in cat hair. Munky threw up on the rug. I have a huge pile of dirty clothes that I have to smuggle in to work tomorrow night, to wash overnight and smuggle back out in the morning somehow.

I’m living at the precipice. I see my life and it is not me. I am not me. I am not here anymore, but when I leave the house, I’m putting on a good enough show.

In truth, I am so lonely. The only friend I want to talk to is the one who doesn’t love me anymore. Every other conversation tiptoes around the edges, skips over the hidden like it’s invisible instead of just hard to find. Eclectic people find me square, and square people find me eclectic. It feels like my life has writer’s block. I need to shout at the stars, but silently, in code, and know that someone is listening, using his decoder ring, nodding along. Without that person on the other side, this is just implosion, madness. I can’t make myself understood anymore. I speak a dead tongue, and no one is left who cares to translate.

Wish Wash

There’s this lump in my throat, and sometimes as I’m walking home from work, I just start to ugly sob for half a second. Then I swallow, and keep walking, feet slapping against pavement, happy songs on the radio to balance me out enough to keep me from sitting down and staying there. What is this? What stage of grief? I am angry and sad and lonely and lonesome (which feel like two different things) and angry again and wistful and pragmatic and and I know that even if things were different, nothing would really change. I keep wondering if this is how my one-before-this-one ex felt about me – like his best friend had died, ripped away by the undertow in the middle of the darkest night, snatched from his grasp before he knew what was happening. And then I wonder if my now-ex feels about me the same way I feel about my one-before-this ex, and that line of thought nearly kills me each time it pops into my head. Because I find out anew every day that there is no one on my wavelength, and even though there are plenty of people who love me, whom I love, people who make me smile and people who tell me stories, and people who ask me about my life, there’s only one person I can share my imaginings with, and never have to wonder if the dreams sunk in correctly. There is precisely one person in the world with whom I have been completely myself, at all times, and now he is gone, and I am sinking inside myself so deeply and it’s dark in here, so dark. I know that I’m just tired. I haven’t slept in going on two days. I haven’t had a drink in a week. I haven’t had a hug in nearly a month. I haven’t spoken to another human being in my own house in months. I am turning 36 tomorrow, and there’s no one to slow dance with me in the kitchen, to kiss the small of my back, to listen to me talk about the shape of the moon in my heart, and understand exactly what I’m struggling to say. I don’t want to do this.

The Things on My Desk

I’m too tired to put this in any particular order, so I’ll just jumble up a few facts here for your general amusement.

To begin with, I got a promotion! Or maybe a new job, or a little bit of both? I’m not entirely sure, to be honest, but the official offer letter was signed today, so I’m free to tell you about it. It’s within my same company, just at a different hotel. It’s a step above what I’ve been doing already, and I got a decent pay bump, with a chance for bonuses. I just got word that I’m supposed to start on the 20th, which gives me two weeks to get my affairs in order at this job before heading to my new office.

The thought of a new office is exciting, especially because at present, my desk is in the center of a large, open office, and all sorts of people pass through, usually interrupting me to ask questions that are completely unrelated to my job. On pay day, the housekeeping staff stop me every five minutes or so to get their checks (not my job). The Pepsi delivery guy needs me to sign off on his order (as does the liquor delivery guy, and the Staples delivery guy – also not my job). The beer delivery guys never seem to have any clue where they’re going, so for them I have to stop everything I’m doing and walk them to the other side of the hotel and guess at answers that I don’t know about beer placement, selections, etc. You guessed it, we have another employee to do that job, as well. If only anyone could be found whenever people come in with deliveries or questions. There’s a kind of magic to the office that ensures I will always be the only person available whenever any questions pop up or delivery people swing by.

If anyone is looking for anyone at all, they stop at my desk and ask me if I’ve seen so-and-so. If anyone is having a conversation about something trite, at a volume far too great for office conversation, you can bet it will be right in front of my desk, and usually right after I’ve taken an important phone call. Front desk get a confusing phone call? Routed to my desk, even when it’s something I have no clue how to answer.

All sorts of stuff gets left on my desk – piles of it, in fact. And all sorts of stuff gets taken off of my desk, too. I have one pen, and I have to hide it in my filing cabinet when I leave for the night, plus I use burgundy ink so that I can track the pen down if and when it does get taken. I have my own Swingline stapler that I purchased and brought to the office on my own, and it disappeared last week. People eat at my desk on the weekends, and leave their food grease. Pretty much the only positives of having this particular work space are that it’s solely mine – I don’t have to share with any other coworkers, which is not true of the other two desks in my part of the office – and that I know everything that happens in the office. Save for who stole my damn stapler, the bastard.

I’ve decided to keep my second job for now, though I’ve requested to bump it down to two days a week, and only on Friday night and Sunday morning. If they can’t accommodate that, I might have to quit. I’m hoping not to, since I’ll finally be making enough money to finish off paying off a few things, and I’d really love to do that this year. We’ll see. I’m not looking forward to keeping the same long days, but it’ll be OK for a little while.

Other than that, things are mostly OK. Not that exciting, but OK. I was invited to a multi-person birthday party tomorrow night to celebrate, among other people, me, but I decided not to go. Mostly because I wasn’t involved in the planning process at all, but also because I’m not friends with most of the people who will be there, and to be honest, I’d rather stay home with the cats than make any effort towards being friends with most of the people. I’ve known them for years, and am not ashamed to say that they’re not my tribe. And of the few people who will be going who ARE my tribe, one is my ex, and I miss him, and I don’t feel like putting myself through the wringer with heartsickness at my own damn birthday party. So that’s where we are with that.

I’ve also given up liquor, soda, and land animals/birds this month, but I’m not going to make a thing of it. Just going to go with it and see what happens.

Next up, I desperately need to build a working wardrobe for the next job. I’m going to need dressier clothing than I currently have, including suiting. I’m not looking forward to the trying-on process, but we do what we must.

 

Going boldly…

Something good is in the works. There’s reason for me to feel optimistic, even excited. But at the moment I’m apprehensive and don’t really want to share too much information, lest I be disappointed again. If you have any time/love/energy to spare tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2pm CST, though, please send it my way.

I’ve also had a really good idea that I’m working on setting up between now and November 1st. A new blog, a new plan. It needs more detail, but the basic gist is this:

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I needed to turn my energy inward for awhile, focus just on loving myself, and all that entailed. Somewhere along the line, I found this really cool TED talk on marrying yourself, and I started reading up on that concept from people who have done it. Really liked it, so I’m doing it, too. I’m giving myself a timeline, at first, so it will be a little more like a handfasting than a traditional marriage. But I expect that it will end in forever 🙂

For the next year and a day (starting November 1st), I’m going to focus on my relationship with me. I don’t know if that means that I’ll stay single or not, just that I will dedicate myself to listening and loving my mind/body/life. I’ve still got some work to do on building a plan that I can stick to, but I do know that one thing I’m going to plan for is to do one thing that scares me every month. An adventure, something WAY out of my comfort zone (many things scare me, so I have to make a rule that I can’t just, say, go out to a bar by myself and call myself done for the month).

I’m also going to work at defining myself, and figuring out how to show the world who I am. My physical form does little to explain my true passions and personality, and it’s off-putting, even to me.

But first, I need to finish up this night shift, work tomorrow, then go home and get a good night’s sleep. Then there’s Wednesday afternoon, and after that, the world. Welcome to my new, bold life.

 

(10 x 3) + 6

I’m almost 36. Are things changing? Have things changed? What’s different? How much closer am I to my goals? What are my goals? Why do I feel like I’m standing still? Why doesn’t the world make sense? How much longer before it starts to? Will it ever? I strongly doubt it. I sometimes despair of ever getting my shit together.

I feel so much older lately, these last few months. Maybe just this last month. When I suddenly had to face the fact that I’m here alone, I have no partner, just wrinkles and fat and too many cats, not a single pair of decent shoes, a pile of debts that refuses to budge, no matter how resolutely I pick up extra shifts and stop sleeping/eating/talking. I would like to give up now, please, if I may. I am tired. Bone tired. Soul tired.

To tell the truth, it’s the cats that keep me here. I wish I could say that it’s optimism, or faith, some form of belief that things will get better, that my life will mean something. But in the end, it’s as I suspect it is for many people: my children. Who will take care of them if I leave? So I stay. And that means roughly 19 years, or until our politicians get us all killed, whichever comes first. At the moment, I strongly suspect the latter.

Anyway, I’m old. Older. I still look young-ish. Not as young as a few years ago, but not as old as I could look for my age. I haven’t birthed any babies, and I’ve never smoked or spent a lot of time in the sun, so my skin is still in good shape. I’m swollen around the eyes lately, and if you look closely, you’ll see all of the grays in my otherwise brunette ‘do. Plus, there’s much more facial hair than ever before. I hate it. I do what I can, but it’s resilient. It’s wirey. It comes out of nowhere, a sudden chin hair, sprung out of a mole midafternoon. Well, I am a witch. What did I expect?

I want tattoos. I want to wear my inside on my outside, for people to see me as I am. But I’m afraid maybe they do. I fear I am wan, as a personality. That I am nearly nothing, and almost gone. I have never amounted to anything, and I doubt I ever will. I am so bored of all of this. People say things like “there’s so much living yet to do,” as though we should all know that means something good. For me, the future stretches on as either something filled with terror, pain and death, or else nothing – a winding, milquetoast road, paved with the quiet indignities of a long, lonely life.

I wish there were a way to opt out of this round. I just need a break. I need a long walk. I need a friend to hug me and tell me that this is all for something, that there’s a point to struggling on. If there is one, I don’t see it.

But maybe it’s just that the way forward has been buried up to its chin in platitudes, nearly drowned under the weight of all of that fake optimism everyone’s using to cover up their terror. Maybe I’ve just got to shovel everyone else’s bullshit away to see the truth underneath. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have more energy to attempt to be OK. One day closer to 36.

And who knows, maybe it’s 36 that makes all of this make sense. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Roller Coasters & Hotel Rooms

I just had a millisecond of clarity, so I’m going to try to record it while I have something in hand. Apologies if this makes little to no sense yet.

One of the things that I most love about vacationing on my own is that when I’m in a strange place with no friends or family around, I feel fully alone, isolated, and yet happy. I can fully embrace the fact that I have no support system, no protection, no idea of what’s going to happen next or how I might handle it. In the moment, while I’m feeling it, it surfaces as melancholy, maybe a little bit of wistfulness, the sad side of wanderlust. I walk around in shops alone, eat meals alone, go to bed alone, stare out of hotel windows alone, stumble through stilted foreign language conversations with cab drivers and servers alone. There are moments that propel themselves, and others that I have to fight through. I am fully participating in the experience, which honestly doesn’t always happen at home. For me, traveling is a practice in mindfulness.

Even though I’ve explained the emotion that accompanies this as melancholy, it is not sad. It twists my heart. It is unpleasant, in places. But it’s more like the beginning moments of riding a roller coaster, when you’re getting all strapped in and waiting for the ride. There’s this way that you go “Oh man, this is unpleasant,” and then the next moment you’re going, “well, that could have been worse,” and then you’re going, “wait, this is amazing!” (Except that’s not how I handle roller coasters, just how it looks like other people handle them. For me, a roller coaster is like, “this is unpleasant,” “omg, I can’t believe I thought *that* was unpleasant – this is seriously unpleasant,” “I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die, why am I doing this?” and “OK, that was actually kind of funny, in a weird, existential way – and look, I’m not dead!”)

Anyway, this all goes to say that I handle traveling on my own completely differently than living on my own. I tend to look at travel as an adventure, where I’m privileged to be exploring the world solo, and every new moment is an opportunity. It all feels like I’ve done it before, and I’m brushing up on a lesson that I’ve already learned in a life before this one. It only hurts, feels melancholic, because it reminds me of old pleasures. But I’m still open to the new ones, and travel never fails to bring me new ways of seeing that feel like old lessons I used to know. Maybe that’s also because I tend to go to places of great spiritual importance to me, who knows?

So tonight, I was sitting on the corner of the bed, looking at the floor, thinking that I need to get up in six hours and go to a job I hate. I never just sit on the side of the bed at home. I do that all the time in hotels and hostels and albergues. And that physicality is probably why I had just the tiniest flash of that same travel melancholy I get all the time when I’m away, doing what I actually want to be doing. For just a second, I thought, “maybe I should see going to work tomorrow as an opportunity for adventure, instead of a punishment.” And then it hit me – I’m still traveling.

This is just an extended stay at a destination that bores me, and that’s OK. There’s no reason that I can’t tap into the feeling I love about traveling, even here in this place that I call home for most of the year. There’s no reason not to turn this into an adventure. You can do anything that you imagine (within some amount of reason), wherever you are in the moment. I know that, because I’ve done it. I’ve been bad and good, in places new and places familiar. I can bring new energy to this place if I so will it, and I do. So I’ll invite the mystique into my existence here, in this hotel room of an apartment, into this mess of a life.

Who knows, maybe it will be funny, in a weird, existential way…