Reality.

It has been a long day.

You sell a few boxes of contacts over the course of your shift, but that’s not enough to make the time go by any faster.  The clock ticks away, inching closer and closer to quitting time.  You sit at your desk, almost draped over it, exasperated and waiting for the day to end.

A familiar face enters and she looks just as you remember her.  You once regarded each other as sisters, and those feelings of affection quickly rise to the surface upon her reentry into your workplace and into your life.  There’s a hug, long and comfortable.  You ask each other questions about what the other has been up to.  Before you know it, it’s time to close up shop and head home.  She asks you to accompany her to the bar you used to frequent.  You agree.

Continue reading “Reality.”

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[5.] Insult to Injury

[This is part 5 in a series about shitty things I’ve done to people.  You can read the original post here.  This post accompanies the one before it, so if you haven’t read that, you might be lost.  In the interest of protecting the anonymity of all parties involved, all names have been changed.]

When I was living abroad, my Discman and my headphones were my best friends.  Too broke to afford an iPod at the time, I burned mix CD after mix CD and carried at least five of them in my messenger bag at a time, not only to have variation, but to be able to have a song that reflected my mood.  Happy, sad, contemplative, I believed then and still believe to this day that there is a song for every single identifiable emotion.  And when May told me that I “didn’t know what love [was],” the only songs I could listen to were of heartbreak and longing.

My obligations became less and less important in the days following that conversation.  I ignored calls from family members and skipped a lot of my classes, opting to grab a taxi to the city center, just to walk around and listen to music.  I had recently discovered Broken Social Scene’s album “Feel Good Lost,” having purchased it on a whim at the Virgin Megastore downtown.  After the first listen, I carried it wherever I went.  I roamed the city trying to convince myself that I wasn’t hurting, but my music selection proved otherwise.

Continue reading “[5.] Insult to Injury”

[4.] Love Or Something Like It

[This is part 4 in a series about shitty things I’ve done to people.  You can read the original post here.  In the interest of protecting the anonymity of all parties involved, all names have been changed.]

Once upon a time, there was a girl.  But to talk about the girl, I have to give you some much needed backstory.

It was 2004.  I was fresh out of high school and I made the brave decision to attend college overseas in my father’s country of origin.  Apart from visiting my family there once every other year, I had little knowledge or understanding of it the place.  For better or worse, that mattered little in my decision making process.  As my senior year of high school drew to a close, I had to choose between two options:  go to my father’s alma mater in the city and rely on the unreliable metro rail system every day, or go abroad and experience as much as possible without restriction or retribution.  I opted for the latter.

Continue reading “[4.] Love Or Something Like It”

Under Covers, A Playlist.

5. “Ne Me Quitte Pas” by Nina Simone (Jacques Brel cover)

Since quitting drinking, Ambien is the only thing that can lull you to sleep.  Quick, effective, and less of a hangover in the morning.  You decide that both your brain and body feel better and you go with it.  While you’ve been making a conscious effort to walk along a straight and narrow path, you can justify replacing drugs and alcohol with pharmaceuticals.

The Ambien does, you notice, effect your dreams, and each dream is intense, vivid, and bizarre.  Last night’s dream was no exception.

In the dream, you lit a post-coital smoke while next to The Ex in the bed you shared together.  Naked, awash in afterglow, you lied on your back, taking long drags of a Parliament Light 100, the signature brand of the ex before The Ex, He Who Shall Not Be Named.  It was a vivid dream.  You could see the smoke swirling above you, forming familiar shapes.  For a moment, they were like cloud forms.  You took another drag and exhaled deeply towards the sky again. The Ex was lying next to you on his stomach, head turned to the side, watching you smoke.  His face was neutral, not disgusted, as if he was looking past the cigarette and at you, deep into you.  You’re not cuddling, but your bodies are pressed against one another’s. The cold, sweaty clamminess of his skin feels too real.

Continue reading “Under Covers, A Playlist.”

In The End…

 

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Man, a lot has changed since my last post.

I woke up as a single woman last Tuesday.

I woke up as a single woman on Tuesday because my now-ex terminated our relationship.  I woke up as a single woman on Tuesday because my now-ex terminated our relationship after I had forced him in a position to do so.

I woke up as a single woman on Tuesday because my now-ex terminated our relationship after I had forced him in a position to do so, and I did nothing to stop him.

There were three things that were made abundantly clear on Monday night: (1) I was not satisfied with the relationship, (2) he was not satisfied with the way I was treating him and our relationship in response, and (3) love wasn’t enough to keep the sinking ship afloat.

But that’s okay.  That’s okay because it’s life, and love and loss are both a part of life.

Right now, I’m trying to figure what to do with my life.  I bounced from couch to couch for a few days before sucking up my pride and asking if I could stay at my parents’ house.  It’s been an adjustment, an adjustment that has provoked major anxiety within me.  I guess that’s par for the course.  The anxiety is coming from a place of not wanting to move backwards; I’ll be 30 in a week and living with my parents again is not where I thought I’d be.

Phrase of the month (thus far): “Oh well.”

 

On Validation // “Quiet”

You know what, dear friends and gentle readers?  Relying on external sources for a sense of self-worth and personal validation is about as effective as banging your head against a brick wall, expecting to relieve your headache.  It doesn’t work.  In fact, it causes even more pain.

I’ve attempted to impress my father for over two decades.  Not just impress, but earn some level of respect and admiration from him.  Time and time again I try, only to be met with cold resistance and the realization that I will never, ever be good enough.  But time and time again, I try.  And time and time again, I fail.

It feels like not being asked to the school dance, or being picked last at a game of kickball.  It is an internal pain.  You feel, or rather, you know that you will never measure up.

My current profession is only temporary as I work towards something greater, but despite being temporary, I do my best.  My father visited me at work today and purchased a few things.  I was able to discount some items because, well, he’s my father and that was the least I could do.  He was very cordial with my coworkers.  Had them smiling and laughing.  He observed how I interacted with other customers, how I tended to their needs and assisted them with their purchases, tailoring my suggestions to the individual, and not the individual’s wallet.

I’m not exactly sure what I expected.  At the bare minimum, I expected some level of appreciation in the form of a “thank you.”  But it didn’t come.

At 29, I internalized the rejection just as I did when I was 19, and just as I did when I was 9.  I interpreted the lack of verbalized gratitude as a sign that my work fell short of acceptable, regardless of the care and effort that I put into it.  After he left, I maintained whatever was left of my smile and continued to help others, but with the depleted spirit that occurs whenever I expect something from him that I inevitably never receive.

It is difficult to change a way of thinking that has been ingrained in you for the majority of your life.  Not allowing my interactions with my father to effect the way I view myself is something that I am able to maintain for moments at a time, only to revert back to my old behaviors following some kind of disappointment.

My father loves me the best way he can, but not in a way that I need.  He’s a good man, for the most part, when the mood strikes him.  But he can be a shitty parent.

And that happens.  And it’s okay.

One day, I’m not going to hang my head every time he refuses to acknowledge the things I do for him.  One day, I won’t feel like a failure when my thoughtfulness is ignored.  One day, I will be able to appreciate myself for who I am and not base my self-image on whether or not I can make him happy, or proud.

Sometimes you can’t make people proud.  And that’s okay.

What matters most is becoming your own ally, because personal comfort is a hard-won thing, and when achieved, it can propel you into greatness.

You can and you will be great, so long as you don’t base your perception of greatness on the opinions of others.

I can and I will be great, so long as I don’t base my perception of greatness on the opinions of my father.

I will be 30 in six months and one day.  I can spend the rest of my life waiting for something that may never come.  That is indeed an option.  Or alternately, I can become my own friend, and thank myself for another day of positive interactions and active living.  I can thank myself for another day of working hard to achieve my goals.  I can thank myself for being myself, as weird and wonderful as I am.

I can become the person I base my self-worth on.  Another day on earth, another day out of bed, another day spent working hard, another day living my life; these are things I can thank myself for and be proud of.  These are things I can achieve my own validation for.

It’s not easy.  But it’s possible.  And the possible should be sought after and strived for.  And that’s what I’m going to do.

Your song of the evening, dear friends, is “Quiet” by This Will Destroy You, a post-rock band out of Texas.  They put out some great instrumentals.  Thinking music.  Please give them a listen.

TBT: Teenage Antics and the Mass Pike // “I Love NYC”

[A quick aside: I’m having a difficult time with today’s blog post simply because my stress level is pretty high and I’m goddamn irritated.  I’d love to vent my frustrations, but venting has only made me angrier today, oddly enough, and I’d like to retain the last sliver of emotive control that I have.  Coming to a personal resolution is seeming less and less possible.

There.  I’ve acknowledged my mental roadblock.  On with today’s post!]

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As a teenager, I was very, err, passionate about things.  My high school on-again-off-again sweetheart (because he “didn’t believe in titles”) resumed contact with me towards the end of my senior year after nearly an entire school year of silence.  There had been a falling out, but that’s another story for another time.

Instead of going through all of the sweet nothings exchanged and declarations of love made, I’ll cut to the chase: I drove to Boston and back in 25 hours in the name of love, only to have my heart broken 4 hours after my arrival.

Continue reading “TBT: Teenage Antics and the Mass Pike // “I Love NYC””