I haven’t undergone any major epiphanies lately, sorry. Life’s been much of the same, nothing to gripe about really, but I’ll try anyways. Somewhat isolated out here in the gentrified desert, bouts of self loathing, a little road rage here and there, some brooding and wallowing, lots of coffee, rereading of Byron’s letters volume 3, an occasional Xanax to calm my idling nerves, lots of television (regrettably?), the cooking (amazingly well as usual), hiking with dogs a lot, riding of horse less than is my custom….etc.Sounds quite nice though doesn’t it, I work hard to remind myself of how nice it is, harder than I should sometimes.
I hadn’t played tennis in a couple of weeks because I broke my strings on all rackets and it took me forever to get them back, also there is a hole in my tennis shoe :(, also because my hitting partner is ignoring me and I haven’t a suitable substitute. It’s hard to be very good at something where an equally good partner is required. Poor me.
Someone asked me why my blog is so sort of “me centric”, asked why I don’t share more of my strong opinions about things that matter. The tone was markedly disdainful but somewhat masked by a compliment towards my “whimsical” writing style. As I am presently endeavoring to be more tolerant all around, I contained my knee jerk eye-roll and indulged, to some extent, the obnoxious querist. Firstly, I am not publishing a gazette here, it’s a “public diary of personal reflections”, it says so in the subtitle. As such, its primary function is to be all about me. Why? Is justification or cause needed for being self-involved in this medium? Ok. I am keeping record of my innermost thoughts so that in some far off future my brain can be reconstituted as a computer, with robotic reanimation and eternal life being the ultimate end goal of course. Also I don’t write a lot of opinion pieces about current events etc. because I mostly don’t give a shit, or don’t want to have to educate myself thoroughly enough on any meaningful subject in order to be able to really write about it. Maybe less people should express their opinions actually, cus few are informed enough to rightfully form them. A daily cocktail of ennui, apathy and sloth informs my creative efforts and outputs. Plus I wouldn’t want to make an enemy of The Atlantic, I don’t have a death wish. Additionally, Mark Twain said to write about what you know. Well all I really know is myself and my life, so I write about it. Is it indulgent to incessantly rant and rail as I do, sure, but is there a place better suited for this activity than a WordPress site, fashioned like a blog and read only by the hapless few who Google-search the word “slap” and are erroneously guided to my humble internet cubbyhole. Nope.
I spent Saturday at the Maricopa dog pound going through a two and a half hour volunteer orientation. I don’t know why I hadn’t gotten started with this years ago, I’ve thought about it plenty ever since I got my dogs from that very same pound. Wait I do know, being at the pound makes me very very sad, but I think I’ve wasted enough time choosing my peace of mind over whatever relief I can offer these dispossessed animals. I have chosen the necessary job of cleaning cages and tending to the needs of the animals on the Euthanasia list. I think I can do most good there, as my people skills are unpredictable at best. Adoption counseling and picture taking would go over easier on my nerves no doubt, but not on my conscience.
My infamous intolerance though did flare up during this “orientation”. As I sat there for a miserable 2.5 hours, all I could think about was the utter inefficiency of their process content wise. The two women leading the orientation talked and talked and talked, spinning endless, irrelevant tales and anecdotes about their personal experiences, their dogs, families and their shelter related career paths, with an occasional, seldom bit of pertinent information sprinkled in. It was so tedious and pointless, that I had to completely tune them out half way into the presentation. Though I know they are just eccentric, well-meaning sort of folks, I became deeply irritated with having my time thusly wasted by them. People, like myself, who drive up to 1 hour one way with the singular purpose of acquiring practical knowledge necessary for a specific task, needn’t be held hostage in hard plastic chairs for over two hours by two women who just want to talk about themselves. Amidst the blather I started composing on my phone a biting but constructive anonymous email, addressed to the two of them, about the virtues of time management, efficiency and conciseness. Writing out my frustration in this way helped stifle my ire and I mustered the willpower not to send it just then. This is probably for the better, since they both were/are, I am sure, lovely, warmhearted people, better in fact than most for having devoted their lives to helping the world’s four legged orphans. I had to center myself, remember my newly minted tolerance mantra, recite it and just sit there like a fidgety statue flipping through Koala memes on my phone.
On a better note, I am going to Vegas next weekend, this is mostly exciting because I get to see my most adored friend Anna from whom I am otherwise separated by 400 unbearably long miles! I am driving myself, which is a loathsome development, but the trip is so spur of the moment that I can’t justify the criminally inflated rate of flying. It is a robust 5 hour drive, which with my tiny bladder makes an 8 hour drive, and I am dreading it already. I am counting though on an exceptionally fun time there to prepare me for the 5 hour volunteer training session at the dog pound that is scheduled for the day after my return. Most certainly handling dogs on the Euthanasia list will turn me inside out and upside down, but I have to say I really look forward to helping and being of general use to them. I have been feeling more and more as of late, that the meaning of life has fallen outside my purview, I’d like to urgently restore it to its usual place inside my shiftless soul.
And, as always, I’d like to say that I miss my childhood and my grandma…and those pink pants. But mostly my amazing, beautiful, brilliant grandma, from whom I got all that is good in me.
I am a very curious, horridly direct, incisive sort of person, afflicted with uncontrollable truthfulness, which means that I find most people obtuse, insecure, boring and kind of namby-pamby. It also means that I frequently make these same people quite bothered or at the least uncomfortable. Being, as I am, in the minority, I realize that I am perhaps more the problem than they are. It’s a miracle really that I managed to get married, and happily, and early on, even my mother thought I would end up as a bit of a feral thing living deep in the woods up in some tree surrounded by wet man-eating koalas.
The qualities that I respond to in people are universally hailed as well as claimed by most, while being in fact possessed by almost none. Earnestness, good nature, true inner confidence, directness, decisiveness, insightfulness, self awareness, consideration of others and an agile mind are just some of the things that are necessary for me to form connections with other people or simply to find them likable. I am not just rattling off a catalog of positive human qualifications either, I take careful inventory and fastidiously measure every one of the items mentioned in all whom I meet. The list is absurdly long too, but it has organically grown inside me like a weed, regrettably I am not its gardener and haven’t the power to redact it. Trust me, I would if I could, life would be plenty easier.
If I had to sum it all up I’d say integrity is what I find to be most lacking in my species, and I mean the daily kind, the integrity of little things, small decisions, ordinary moments, minute conversations. I think this is a legitimate gripe against western peoples and something that amply justifies my burgeoning misanthropy-ism. The trouble is though, that it’s the other, much less weighty, much more superficial stuff that often informs my feelings about my fellow humans. Sometimes, before I even have the chance to examine their deeper, more substantive aptitudes, I find myself either painfully disinterested or worse, not being able to stand them at all. Therein lies what I’ve discerned to be my central (and only actually) character flaw. Intolerance.
I am intolerant. Sometimes it means that I’m short, sharp and dismissive. It also means that inside my head I am unkind, judgmental and even unjust. The side effect of my, lets call it “persnickety”, mental conformation is that I have throughout my life been sort of socially lacking, more so than my communicative, lively nature would ideally have it.
One of my resolutions for this new year, which marks the beginning of the fourth decade of my time on earth, is to better myself (where betterment still can be attained). There aren’t a lot of areas for improvement here, cus I am obviously awesome, but this intolerant thing, well I’ve started working on it. It’s time to do some changing. I’ve realized that not all friends have to be great or close or real even, some can just be friends “lite”, like the free version of the app you want with the ads and the limited functional scope. A connection does not have to be absolute and exact to warrant some level of friendship or social engagement. I don’t know if this is progress or regress, because it certainly smacks a bit of a kind of disillusionment and settling. I am hoping though, that it’s not so much an abandonment of my exalted ideals, as it is their necessary modification and softening. Bonding being achieved not through an instant congress of souls or minds but rather through repeated physical proximity and shared social experiences? Seems like reasonable recourse.
It has not been easy. These new friends might look good, but they are trying the hell out of my patience and resolve. I do find myself having bits of legitimate fun here and there, and whereas my mental health is sometimes stretched to its limit I opt for hugging, rather than kicking or biting. I am testing the theory that negative thinking can be remedied by positive body language. I realize this might seem utterly ridiculous, but I am actually a very physically affectionate person by nature, and hugging or touching those I love is very natural to me, so I’m hoping it works similarly in reverse with those I am trying to love. Also, going out has given me a reason to color coordinate again and that’s like totally like EVERYTHING.
Mmmm that’s all I care to say on this subject right now…but it will be a multi-part post, detailing my experience as a newly minted social person with friends and things to do on a Saturday night.
Hmm, most blogs I am reading these days are terminally boring..dull…tedious even…unbearably drab. I mean so BORING. Maybe, quiet possibly my blog is also very boring to others, but it’s not to me, and this gripe is all about what’s boring to me. Step it up people. Get it done. Give me 1, just 1 post that I, of my own free will, can read to completion, extra points if it gives me something to think about for some short period after.🤪
It’s 2 am in Vegas. After an epic weekend of hanging and partying with my besties, I’ve spent most of my last day here alone, marooned in my hotel room, binge watching Ally McBeal on Netflix and eating junk food. It’s what I call regrouping. Anyways, I am well primed for a depressing, esoteric sort of rant. I promise I will in the end have a point.
Being the neurotic, deep-&-over-thinking type I’ve always struggled with just about every aspect of the human condition. I think I had my first existential crisis as a tottering, slobbering toddler with many more to follow in its wake. I envy people who can glide through life largely unaffected by or unaware of the preposterousness of the entire ordeal, and I don’t say this disparagingly. Don’t they recognize that we are all literally born to hazard; the human experience, though punctuated by some occasional variant joys, is really one of perennial exigency and loss. Still, most just mosey on; they grow, grow up, they find joy, have sex, make love, squeeze themselves into various conventions of living (some with more ease than others), they grasp at satisfaction (however slippery it might be), search for meaning (or invent it), bury their loved ones, make or birth new ones, and, after brief quarter and midlife crises, they finally settle into old age. Seamlessly, living becomes about mitigating the pains and indignities of aging, bouncing grandchildren on knees, reminiscing about days long gone, afternoon naps and weekly games of bridge. Those are actually the lucky people. The unlucky ones might not even get to grow old, or they do, but alone, perhaps ailing beyond the assuaging powers of medicine or without the attentions of loved one. Yes, this is the price of living, it is at best a lottery, and in a way we’re always loosing, even when we are winning.
To many it just is what it is, and I envy the “is what it is” lot. They are the lucky ones. I guess they can also be seen as the “glass half full” people or maybe even just “full”. Though I do not possess their optimistic take on life, I bask in its warm glow like a cold blooded reptile sprawled out beneath the sun. I married such a sun, and every day he gives me the warmth and the stability I need to remain earthbound. In his infinite wisdom he lets me be me, do me, whining, sinking, grappling and struggling, all side-effects of my coping ineptitudes and my free spiritedness.
Although I am mostly just baffled by time’s passing…I, more precisely, don’t do well with what it means for me, the limitations it puts on me, and so I am always looking for answers in an answerless void, trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. I’ll probably go through life feeling forever like I’m missing something important but intangible, like wings or a unicorn; or maybe answers, or a time machine, a dead person, a path not taken, a thrill not had, a youth not fully realized and all too quickly gone. That last one, the one about youth waning, is at the center of all my current grumblings.
A couple of nights ago, while here in Vegas, I had occasion to not only feel 16 (as I always do) but act 16 too. I wore a rainbow tutu, took Molly with my friends (which I hadn’t done in well over a decade), made it rain at a co-ed strip joint, danced all night with a sweet, truly beautiful (inside and out) much younger boy and ate a mountain of French Fries on my bed before finally passing out, fully dressed, on a pile of ketchup packets and just in time for the sunrise. It was an indisputably fun, unforgettable sort of night, but in the end it left me feeling sad and dispossessed.
It was a wrinkle in time, which, for the sake of all things right and orderly, had to be quickly ironed out. I resurfaced from it sorely aware of how little it belonged to me, and how soon there’ll come a time when It won’t belong to me at all. It’s not that I want to be 16 again, or experience any dissatisfaction with my life, really, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world just about most of the time. For all the things I have, most can only hope for. My family is my amazing everything, my husband is my rock & my best friend, my few good friends are more than just “good”, I have fun hair and even a pony 😛 etc. etc.; It isn’t that I want to be 16, it is simply that I never again will be 16, ever. NEVER. The gap is set to steadily widen, and widen it does. Simple enough, pathetic even, I know.
I am suddenly facing the looming limitations and expectations, which come with being fortunate enough to enter that wretched fourth decade of life, the one that marks indisputably the onset of adulthood. It has left me grateful, sure, but even more so, for a time, perturbed and kind of robbed. For most women who face their 30’s with uncertainty it is an experience which is something like a midlife crisis; for a woman like me, one stuck in perpetual childhood, it is worse. It feels like a merciless suffocation (not the fun kind), in most dramatic terms it feels like a dying of the light. I even had a nightmare last night about turning 31, a full on nightmare, I was relieved to wake up and remember that in reality there was a handful of months left before the event….but then I realized it’s ONLY a handful of months.
When I turned 30 this year, I did so with pronounced bravado, much more so actually than any of my previous birthdays, but I can honestly say that I am now having a painfully delayed reaction to it. I’ve had a good run of my 20’s, I like who I was and how I grew. I wasn’t a perfect human, but I learned life’s lessons dutifully, I strived for self-betterment, I sought quality and depth in most things. I can say that I am an ethical person, my integrity means everything to me, I am uniquely committed to living honestly, I mostly do the right thing, I say what I mean and more than I should…. but still, inside, inside I often just feel so little and so 16. And the further away I move from 16, chronologically speaking, the more I feel like a panic. Like something is moving in on me, grimly, and I cannot quell it. Neither can I properly incorporate it into my own-personal-human experience. I am lost in time, and time is no less lost in me.
Although the rainbow tutu belongs to me, I worry that I won’t belong to it much longer, and there in lies the crux of it all. Having cried into my ketchup stained pillow for a good part of the hour while typing this up, I feel slightly relieved, which leads me to believe that this whole rant might have been partially hormonal. Anyways, there is always Botox and lying about my age I suppose, that should buy me a few extra years. Tutus forever for me and mine. Tootle-loo.
A few days passed since my exodus and yet I hadn’t heard from him at all. It was the biggest break we had to date in terms of communication. Eventually I called him but he didn’t pick up and didn’t call me back. I called again, nothing. I left a couple of concerned voice mails. Nothing. It was all around confounding. I didn’t know what to think. I’d never been an alarmist but I started to worry for him, as he was now marooned up in that house quite alone, not counting the wine. I texted him a few times too requesting a confirmation of life, still there was no reply. Finally, right when I was ready to drive over to check on him, he shot me back a short text, casually letting me know that he was fine, but busy. This was followed by another period of radio silence. I remember feeling very confused and anxious and finally penning a heartfelt message which questioned the state of our relationship, while reminding him of my friendship and love. He did respond then, denying the validity of my concerns and reassuring me that nothing in fact had changed between us. That exchange I, for some reason, remember in its entirety. He insisted that our friendship, despite evidence to the contrary, had undergone no change at all and that I was still “singularly unique and special” to him. This was, as i had shortly learned, a flat out lie, as he was in fact done with me for good, but putting me out of my misery would have required too great a generosity on his part, it was no 4$ latte or DVD after all. To be clear, the crux of my injury wasn’t that he had a sudden change of heart, demoralizing as this was, the real hurt emanated from his not caring or respecting me enough to simply take my call and tell me something-anything real. If he had, I would undoubtedly still have been hurt, but I would also walk away with as high an opinion of him as ever and a mind to healing.
No measure of wariness towards J could have prepared me for this turn of events. I was, in all honesty, soul-crushed and for a long time thereafter truly, deeply sad. If his disappearance from my world seems innocuous as far as transgressions go, let me assure you it was not; it was acutely, painfully felt. Sure, dropping the proverbial curtain and exiting stage left is every person’s prerogative, but sneaking out under cover of night is not. To this day abandonment ranks on my list of painful experiences as one of the worst and most contemptible. I hate to be dramatic, but I think he could have just as well punched me in the stomach. It felt in every way like a violence and a theft. Had he indicated his intentions to disengage, extended any, and I do mean any, courtesy explanation aimed towards closure, or even just a stock Good Bye, I would have been able to process it differently. It was his silence, evasion and complete lack of basic human regard for me that shocked my system, and although it mostly bruised my heart, it was also a blow to my pride and my self-esteem. (Admittedly, the latter was struck the least)
It boggles my mind even now that this seemingly earnest, tender hearted boy (..or man I guess) with his love of dogs and his rare gift for words could be so inexplicably thoughtless (cruel). Though obviously, I misunderstood completely the degree of his attachment and care for me, what surprised me most was how sorely I misjudged his character. He was in regards to me indecent, an utter failure. At the time I would have bet my arm that underneath the charm and the words, there was a conscientious person of substance and heart. I would have lost that bet (and the arm) as words proved to be ALL he was.
Before now I never talked about any of this, because, in part, I was ashamed of having let myself fall into it as I did. After all I was and always will be the only one responsible for my own feelings, the fact that I got hurt was, as they say, on me. Victim girl or Foolish girl were not monikers I cared to take up and “vulnerable” is perhaps a word I detest most and in general, god forbid it be spoken in reference to me. Pride and unresolved confusion further conflated into a kind of secretiveness. On some level too, I think I hoped that the story still had a chance of finding a better conclusion, so I kept it tucked away in a cognitive limbo. That’s the trouble with hope, enduring as it is, it doesn’t fall within the purview of good judgment or reason.
A few years later, with hope finally abandoned, I wrote J an email outlining how I felt. It was a way of self-generating the closure he couldn’t give me. I wanted it to be finite, so I asked that he not respond, even if by some chance he felt inclined to do so. I don’t remember what exactly was in it, I imagine it was some version of all this, and I don’t know that he read it, but if he did, he heeded my request obliging me with his continued silence.
The overall experience marked me indelibly, but it did not change or callus me. In all fairness the universe did make ample karmic recompense to me shortly thereafter, turning Lonely girl into a decidedly Lucky girl (so lucky). I am still genuinely concerned for J’s happiness and still only wish him the best. I think I’ll never stop rooting for him, and that is something I don’t dislike about myself. The most significant thing I carried out from it all, besides a purple heart bruise, was a lesson in accountability. From that point forward I was always painstakingly careful not to lead anyone on whom I did not intend to keep.
This is not a story about romance or young love, although in a way it is a story about a kind of love at a time when I was young. Recently I read a blog by Erin. J. Bernard, where she described a past romantic dalliance of unique nature, and a brand of rejection usually reserved for the weirder, lonelier segment of humanity; writers, artists and misfits. I found myself reminiscing about a person and a time in my own life which to my mind mimicked her experience. It was not a lasting or, in the grand scheme of things, a terribly significant event, but it was singular and it left an indelible mark on me. Like all of life’s harder lessons it was necessary and dutifully learned.
As I take inventory of my past, I find that, as usual, memory is at best a precarious mechanism, disorganized and not at all trustworthy. I wish I was the journaling type then, as to have at my disposal some authentic reference material, but no such luck. Trying to commit to an honest account of a time long gone is admittedly a bit more difficult, than I originally anticipated. If science is correct in its assertion that all cells in the body, including brain cells, renew themselves completely every 7 years, then I can say that none of what I was then remains in what I am now. Except of course for these scattered memories, but don’t get me wrong, they are nothing to scoff at. Memories are, to my heathen mind, one and the same as soul. And so, for lack of journals, I guess I will have to prod at my soul.
I was always that weird, introspective kid clutching a book. From the very get go I knew that I understood things differently from others. When I was little I tried to explain certain truths to other five year olds, like the rate of seconds as they tick on the clock, they laughed at me, absolutely rejecting my completely correct take on time. This was just one occasion amongst many to come when I was completely right about something only to be rejected and ridiculed by the ignorant majority or by the uppish adults. I am not and never was by any means a saint, but I knew I was different, in some ways I knew I was better. I understand how it sounds, it’s quite wrong to say and vexing to hear, but I am not afflicted with false modesty. I never experienced jealousy or envy, if someone was more beautiful than me, received more praise, had nicer things, better toys, I was happy for them. To my mother’s relief I did not covet, so she never had to explain to me why I couldn’t have something that was had by someone else. I didn’t lord my advantages, whatever they might have been, over others; I couldn’t understand the pleasure of being boastful or the point of being popular. I couldn’t understand why winning mattered, how putting someone down or leaving someone out could be fun. It baffled me that while I lived comfortably so many others in the world suffered. When I was 8 I wrote a letter to God, who had not yet at this time disproved himself to me. I asked that he take some of my food and clothes to the children in Ethiopia, and packed it all up nicely into a suitcase. My mom was not amused. In short, I wasn’t motivated by the same things that motivated my peers.
The only reason I wasn’t ostracized or actively mocked for my obvious deviation from the norm, was that I was attractive and hailed from marginal privilege. The latter seemed to eclipse all of my more divergent qualifications. It was very clear to me from a very young age that the lottery of good genetics and favorable economic circumstances was responsible for my good standing in the world. Who I was on the inside didn’t much factor in.
I had a hard time connecting with people and subsequently a very hard time making friends. I wasn’t much different from that really weird girl with greasy hair and bad skin, who made everyone uncomfortable. She sat in the back of class, got made fun of, ate lunch alone and was left out of everything. I knew I was more like her than anyone else, yet I was treated differently, I was welcome at most tables, into most groups and at all sleepovers. I was offered regard and consideration, merely because my packaging was more advantageous. I became aware of this unjust truth first when I was 10, and although it undoubtedly made my life easier, it also mostly made me sad. As it followed I didn’t value that acceptance and didn’t try to maintain it. I became a unique kind of outcast. I didn’t fit in with the cool kids, even though I was welcome, because in reality we had nothing in common, but I didn’t fit in the with the weird kids either, because I was externally too well adjusted to share in their experience of the world.
I am offering this lengthy prologue to explain the precise kind of loneliness with which I was afflicted for the majority of my life. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find friends, as in bodies to surround myself with, I just couldn’t find any I wanted to be surrounded by. In high school I spent most lunch periods in the home room, in the company of a book and Miss Ellis, the English teacher. I went to the movies mostly alone but sometimes with my grandmother, who was in fact one of the greatest friends I ever had. I carried out no connections at all from any of my school years. If I went to a high school reunion I wouldn’t know anyone, and I doubt anyone would know me, except maybe for a handful of boys who were, reportedly, sweet on me. I cultivated a few random friendships during college years, these friendships were seldom and short lived, mostly because of me, but not always. Unfortunately, if I was very drawn to someone, then most likely there had to have been something wrong with them, more wrong than there was with me. And I don’t mean something obvious or nefarious, like a hidden tail where there ought not be one or a penchant for squirrel dissection. No. I am talking about subtle inadequacies mostly related to the function or rather dysfunction of their proverbial hearts. Out of those few I can think of only a couple that mattered. One such that mattered is the subject of this narrative, if ever I can stop talking about my lonesome childhood and get to it.