Tidbits

I quit my second job on Friday night. I just couldn’t take a second more of their bullshit. Walked in, saw the customer service nightmare that awaited me (all entirely preventable drama created by the megalomaniacal, drug addicted owner) and decided that I needed to choose myself for once. So I walked out, and do not regret it. I’ll find another way to make that extra $700 a month. I’m really going to miss working a front desk, though. I genuinely enjoyed all of my little interactions with travelers. One day I’ll get back to the front of house.

Of course, the day after I quit, I ended up breaking my cell phone. It’s almost four years old, and way past its warranty, so I went ahead and ordered a new phone. I’m rationalizing it by telling myself that I’m probably going to be making up some of the difference in my income by going back to marketing part-time, so it will be more helpful if I understand new technology. Plus, I’ll take better Instagram photos. OK, that last part is just something that I love – and that’s OK. I deserve to have fun now and then. What good is life, otherwise?

I’m also moving forward with having my teeth professionally straightened – again. I already had Invisalign about eight years ago, but was never warned that my teeth would move back if I didn’t wear an aligner. It sucks, but my teeth aren’t straight anymore, and it sets me apart at work. As much as I’d love for it not to be the case, people in my profession need to look pulled together – and I don’t. My teeth are just one small piece of the puzzle, but they’re a piece that I can start with, thanks to great dental insurance through my company. So here we go with getting my fangs set to rights.

 

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Pieces

I’m working a lot lately. My life is all work and sleep. I don’t even cook at home anymore. There’s a cafeteria at my day job, and I eat lunch there. If I stay late enough into the evening, there’s dinner, too. I’ve lost 15 lbs. this year already from just not having any time to drink a glass of wine or feed myself junk food. Haven’t even exercised. Just started eating salad at lunch, and don’t have the time to wait for Domino’s deliveries at night.

You might have noticed I’m not writing. For the most part, that’s due to work, but not all. I don’t really have the brain power for it right now. Of course I’m tired, but I’m also feeling set apart from other people (I wouldn’t call it “lonely” but I am alone more than not). I also feel like I need to just think and be right now, and soak up what I learn from that. Under all of this is me, still feeling hurt by my breakup. I’ve found that if I keep my mind busy, and avoid anything that reminds me of him, I’m generally pretty safe. I’m at the 6-month mark now, and in some ways it’s not as bad. In others, it’s worse. But that’s the game, I guess. You keep walking through the pain, and eventually the pain is just a little part of who you are, instead of the thing that used to threaten to stop you.

It’s annoying, because I’d like to be able to say that I didn’t care so much, didn’t think about him, didn’t wish I had some solution to the problems that made the relationship impossible. And barring that, of course, it would be great to magically feel ready to move on. I’d really love to be able to have a little romance in my life. I’m not getting any younger, and it’s been way too long since there was the hint of physicality in my dating life. But I’m not ready emotionally. So I’ll hang out with my cats awhile longer, I guess.

Luckily, that date that I went on a few weeks ago (the one that didn’t work out) had an unexpected result. I made a new friend. We’ve hung out a few times, and since he’s literally the only person that I’ve had a social engagement with outside of work in weeks, I feel like he’s a godsend. It’ll be sad to see him move on next month, but it’s always nice getting to know new people. Plus, we’ve been hanging out at my favorite cafe, so he’s helping me get to know the baristas more. I like that a lot.

I paid off a credit card today. Part of me is excited – it was the one with the highest APR. But then I remember that there are four more to go, and I think of how many more 80-hour weeks I’m going to have to work to make a serious dent in that amount, and it’s a crushing realization. But there’s nothing much that I can do. Just gotta keep walking. One foot in front of the other. Eventually we’ll get there. Eventually.

Tongue Tired

I’ve been out of words for awhile now. The last time I wrote here, it was my intention to start blogging with intensity over at my new site, and reserve this site for journal posts. As it turns out, I haven’t been able to write on either site. I’ve been curiously devoid of words. I’d say tongue tied, but that implies that you’re finding it difficult to release pent up words. I guess I’ll say tongue tired, instead. Just exhausted by the mere thought of dredging up words. Unable, unwilling.

Tomorrow marks my first full day off of work in months. That’s probably half of the reason I’m so blank. I’m not feeling physically tired (even when I work 36 hours straight, I don’t suffer from physical exhaustion anymore). However, I’m in a place now where my brain is chug, chug, chugging along for the entire time I’m at my job, but the moment that I leave, it just turns off. I go through the motions, but to be quite honest, it’s something of a half life. I see people going out to parties, couples walking hand-in-hand, artists showing their creations, and I’m jealous but instantly worn out just from imagining trying to fit any of it into my life.

I do have fun in my life. It’s not always a drag. When I’m at my job, I chat with coworkers, take pleasure in figuring out all of the strange complexities of event management, do all of the odd jobs at the front desk, get hotel guests to tell me all about their travel adventures. But as soon as I punch out, that girl is mostly gone. She shuts down, and the quiet part of me comes back, the part who wants nothing more than to listen to nerdcore, watch BBC shows, and enjoy a nice glass of Scotch.

The good news is that throwing myself into my work is having positive results, even if it’s taking forever and a day. Having no time to do anything but work and sleep means that I’m not wasting money anywhere. It’s still taking a long time, but I’m paying down my debts, little by little. Maybe by the time I’m 40, I’ll be able to afford a car. Ha. Oh god, I wish that were a joke.

Anyway, I also feel a tad less heartbroken than I did a couple of months ago, so that’s good. I’m still smarting a bit whenever I think of my ex, but we’ve had some nice, simple conversations about safe subjects via text, and I feel like eventually things won’t be so crappy. I really miss him. He’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had, so it really hurts to not be able to talk to him about the things that are impacting my life. But it’s healthy to not talk to him about, well, him, lol.

In related news, I feel like I’m making some strides toward eventually being a successful single girl again. I shared the same airspace with a really cute guy at my coffee shop the other day, and felt an unfamiliar urge to talk to him. He was intriguing, had a great Scottish accent, and he was totally peacocking around in a way that made me wonder if maybe he might have noticed me, too. He commandeered the coffee shop radio and played some great tunes, and we all know that’s my type of guy. Spoiler alert: I didn’t talk to him, because I got legitimately tongue tied and awkward and ended up hiding behind my computer until he left. But it was still an interesting thing to have happen. I’m very seldom attracted to people, and even less seldom do I run into smart, funny, AND interesting men. So it’s kind of cool to know that any still exist. Bonus points – he openly mocked American football while standing in line for coffee. Be still my heart.

Other guy stories: I joined Tinder on NYE, for about four hours, then hid my profile. I matched with five guys, three of whom were total ugh, one was cute but kind of boring, and one was a gentleman who has remained in touch without being pushy. We’re both into food, so I hope to meet up with him after work one night once I’ve lived through Mardi Gras, just to grab a drink and try out appetizers at some restaurant neither of us has visited before. Also interesting, I think that a guy at work might like me. He’s an enigma, and you know I can’t resist the promise of a weird time, so we’ll see what happens.

I think that’s all I have to say tonight. It’s time to go home and watch Aquarius.

What I Read in 2017

For the past five years, I’ve been keeping track of every book that I read, with the goal of reading one book per week. The list is tracked in a tab at the top of this page, called “Reading List.” Every year, I’ve gotten closer to my goal, but I still didn’t quite make it in 2017. Even so, this was the year that it finally felt like my reading goals were firmly cemented into my daily practice, so that’s something to celebrate.

The other thing that I like to do at the close of the year is to take stock of the books that I’ve read, and note what caught my interest this year. How have my tastes changed? What remained the same? What genres am I drawn to? Etc. I’m glad that I’ve been keeping track, because it turns out that my tastes have actually changed quite drastically. Up until about five years ago, I only read fantasy and horror, with the occasional foray into medieval historical fiction. As I started pushing myself to read more, I noticed that while my love of medieval fiction never waned, I began to find fantasy tedious. (The jury is still out on horror.)

This year, I read a considerable amount of non-fiction (mostly memoirs), and spent a delicious couple of months exploring Viking warfare in Saxon England with a fictional series by Bernard Cornwell. Exactly half of the books on my list had a female protagonist. Almost half took place in Great Britain or Ireland. Over 60% focused in some way on spirituality or religion. Here’s the full list:

  1. Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher (1/10/17)
  2. A Vision of Light, by Judith Merkle Riley (1/12/17)
  3. In Pursuit of the Green Lion, by Judith Merkle Riley (1/21/17)
  4. Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner, by Judy Melinek, M.D. & T.J. Mitchell (1/22/17)
  5. Plain and Simple: A Woman’s Journey to the Amish, by Sue Bender (1/26/17)
  6. The Water Devil, by Judith Merkle Riley (1/31/17)
  7. Résistance: Memoirs of Occupied France, by Agnes Humbert (2/5/17)
  8. The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink (2/5/17)
  9. The Boy at the Gate, by Danny Ellis (2/18/17)
  10. Stray Bullets, Vol. 1: Innocence of Nihilism, by David Lapham (2/19/17)
  11. Shockaholic, by Carrie Fisher (2/23/17)
  12. The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher (2/25/17)
  13. The Color of Magic, by Terry Pratchett (2/28/17)
  14. The Macha of Chira: Confessions of an Anthropologist, by Ethelyn G. Orso (3/6/17)
  15. The Three Weissmanns of Westport, by Cathleen Schine (3/12/17)
  16. The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter, by J.S. Drangsholt (3/17/17)
  17. In Praise of the Bees, by Kristin Gleeson (3/18/17)
  18. Mercer Girls, by Libbie Hawker (3/20/17)
  19. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed (5/17/17)
  20. Solid State, by Jonathan Coulton, Matt Fraction, and Albert Monteys (8/10/17)
  21. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson (8/12/17)
  22. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson (8/12/17)
  23. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3, by Kieron Gillen, Brandon Graham, Clayton Cowles, Jamie McKelvie, Kate Brown, Leila Del Duca, Mat Lopes, Matt Wilson, Stephanie Hans, Tula Lotay, and Jamie McKelvie (8/12/17)
  24. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 4: Rising Action, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson (8/12/17)
  25. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5: Imperial Phase (1), by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson (8/14/17)
  26. Bitch Planet, Vol. 2: President Bitch, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Taki Soma, Valentine De Landro, and Kelly Fitzpatrick (8/14/17)
  27. Seven to Eternity, Vol. 1, by Rick Remender, Jerome Opeña, and Matt Hollingsworth (8/14/17)
  28. P.S. from Paris, by Marc Levy (8/14/17)
  29. Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle, by Mary J. McLeod (8/25/17)
  30. How Not to Run a B&B, by Bobby Hutchinson (8/27/17)
  31. A Thousand Days in Venice, by Marlena di Blasi (9/5/17)
  32. Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance, by Jack and Rochelle Sutin (9/9/17)
  33. The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Tales, #1), by Bernard Cornwell (9/16/17)
  34. The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Tales, #2), by Bernard Cornwell (9/19/17)
  35. Lords of the North (The Saxon Tales, #3), by Bernard Cornwell (9/26/17)
  36. Sword Song: The Battle for London (The Saxon Tales, #4), by Bernard Cornwell (9/30/17)
  37. The Burning Land (The Saxon Tales, #5), by Bernard Cornwell (10/4/17)
  38. Death of Kings (The Saxon Tales, #6), by Bernard Cornwell (10/8/17)
  39. The Pagan Lord: A Novel (The Saxon Tales, #7), by Bernard Cornwell (10/22/17)
  40. The Empty Throne (The Saxon Tales, #8), by Bernard Cornwell (10/31/17)
  41. Warriors of the Storm (The Saxon Tales, #9), by Bernard Cornwell (11/7/17)
  42. The Flame Bearer (The Saxon Tales, #10), by Bernard Cornwell (11/17/17)
  43. Bad Things, by Tamara Thorne (12/3/17)
  44. Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt (12/17/17)
  45. ‘Tis, by Frank McCourt (12/26/17)
  46. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett (12/27/17)
  47. For One More Day, by Mitch Albom (12/30/17)
  48. The Gift of Story, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D. (12/30/17)

Overall, I am proud of my efforts this year, if a little disappointed that I couldn’t fit just four more books in. But that just gives me reason to try again next year, right?

2017GenreBreakdown2017ReadingList

If you’re interested in seeing a breakdown of I read last year and the year before, click here to visit What I Read in 2016.

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.

 

Me, Myself, I

Working on an idea, but I’m only 10% of the way there. So we’ll put down what we can, then work with it as new thoughts come.

The idea is this: I do not know me.

This isn’t to say that I have amnesia, or that I’ve been living under an assumed identity, without free will. I have had my run of this place since 1981. And if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I am by no means basic, thoughtless, devoid of personality. Even so, there is a large part of me that just wants to fit in, to be liked. So when I do happen upon someone who likes me, I tend to let them call the shots, so long as it doesn’t hurt me. I just don’t feel that arguments over trivial matters are warranted – and when it comes down to it, much of life is trivial.

But all of this need to be agreeable in all things has led to a problem. Much like Jane Austen’s character Jane Bennet, in Pride and Prejudice, I so often capitulate to the whims of others that I find it hard to define what my natural likes and dislikes might be. Now that I’m single, and on my own 24/7, I am starting to listen more to my inner voice. It’s scary how often my initial thought on any given subject is “But what would X think?” or “How will I ever find anyone to love me if I do Y thing?”

It’s scary, but also funny, because the REAL me has an overabundance of balls, and tends to be screaming from the back bays that X can go fuck himself, and anyone who doesn’t think I’m amazing for doing Y can join him. I’ve just spent my entire life putting that person, the loud, brazen, angry weirdo, in the closet. So much of my life I spend being quiet and meek, good humored, sensible, a peacemaker. But the real me is something else.

The other night, an old acquaintance from college came into town, and asked me out for a drinks. He was staying at a fancy English-themed hotel, the kind of place that has afternoon tea. We were there well into the evening, so I had scotch instead of a nice darjeeling. After he went up to bed, I stopped by the ladies room, then left the hotel. I walked out with a tiny trashcan in my purse (yeah, I carry a big purse). About two blocks away, I rethought my trend towards kleptomania and brought the trashcan back. It was an intelligent decision. Who wants to go to jail for stealing a $10 trashcan? But I’m still disappointed in myself for not having the guts to keep walking. Not because I really give a shit about the trashcan, mind you, but because stealing it was something that I wanted to do, and for ONCE in so very long, I didn’t care if it impacted anyone else. I wanted it, so I did it. And then I realized that it was selfish and shortsighted and someone would get in trouble for not spotting the theft (yadda, yadda), and I walked back to the hotel and replaced the stupid trashcan.

Anyway, this is all to say that I can only want what I want for about two blocks when I’m drunk. Had I been sober, I wouldn’t have even tried. I wouldn’t have tried to want. I would have wondered what someone else wanted. The bartender, perhaps. The bathroom attendant. The front desk person. The cab driver I hadn’t yet met. Any number of people that I never see, but who still hold power over my life – my parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles. The only way for me to get anything done for myself in my life is to actively flip an emotional switch to “off” and cut anyone I love out of my daily existence.

So, I guess I did figure something out, after all.

Anyway, I’m just exhausted and scared. I am 35, and still don’t feel like I have control over my life. Not because of the fates, but because of everyone around me. Because of you. And it’s not your fault, obviously. I just need to find a way to figure out which voice is really mine, and which one is the imaginary voice of the world that I need to reject.