Tag Archives: life

With Age Comes Wisdom and Understanding—and also the knowledge that everyone is hideously hypocritical and judgmental.

They say that your life is your own, that you make your own choices.  I question the truth in that idea.  I have always been bound by the expectations of others, I’ve never felt truly free to make my own decisions.

I must live my life.  I must stop letting my family dictate what I can and cannot do and start letting my own heart and mind choose for me.

I decided (finally) that I was an adult and could look after myself, thank you.

But that creates another dilemma…

Because now that I am choosing my path, I feel compelled to keep it secret.  Because I still feel like I need the approval of a bunch of Southern Baptists who get offended so easily over the most stupid of things.  Because I need the love of a demographic that is hateful and judgmental and I just don’t know if them being my family will cancel out that inbred need to have the perfect Christian family when I choose to do something they don’t like.

I’ve watched the community that has been with us for nearly two decades turn its back on my brother because he’s going through some stuff right now. I’ve watched family turn their back on him, say things like “I don’t want my child going over to your house because he’s there.”  He’s been skipping school and drinking on the weekends. There was also a little pot involved.  I’m pretty sure it isn’t contagious, and I’m also sure that none of the drinking or smoking happens here at home.  Do you think that your child will somehow become an alcoholic and a stoner at ten years of age because she was within ten feet of my brother?

My cousin can’t find a church to go to because all of them house people who look down on her for the mistakes she made when she was a teenager.  Her own parents have cut her off–they won’t even help her get a loan so she can go to college.

This is conditional love, guys, and it’s not right.  Newsflash: ostracizing people when they make mistakes isn’t cool.  I’m not saying you should waltz up and say that drinking and smoking illegally are wonderful life choices.  And I understand that you may be nervous around the people making these mistakes.  But just because their choices scare you doesn’t mean you get to be douche-nuggets about it.

All this happening around me is making me worry for my own future. How the hell am I supposed to live my own life in the midst of all this two-faced judgment and shame?

It’s like the only reason I’ve gotten this far in life is because I’ve toed the line and done what was expected of me.  One wrong move and BAM!  There goes all the support you’ve relied on your whole life.

Sigh. It’s complicated and simple and the whole thing just reinforces my growing belief that at the end of the day the only person you can really count on is yourself.

Nearly All My Life I’ve Lived a Lie

When I was a kid, I used to watch this old VHS tape.  It was your standard motivational-child sing-a-long.  I don’t remember much about it.  It’s all half-formed fuzzy childhood memories.

But I do remember that the last song said something along the lines of “you can be whoever you want to be.”

This paired nicely with Barney telling me that I was special and Kidsongs telling me that I could practically do anything ever.

Then I got older.

Everything was fine until middle school when I suddenly didn’t fit in well anywhere.  I was too awkward to hang out with the girls (who discovered makeup, fashion, and hair-styling ages before I did), and the boys would never do more than tolerate me because I was a girl.  I was not one of them, no matter my interest in video games, sports, and Pokemon cards.

This awkwardness persisted well into high school, where suddenly there were couples.  Everywhere.

Around this time, I discovered the concept of Feminism.

I clung to only one tenet:  That I was a strong, independent woman who didn’t need a man to complete me.

I believed this not because it was true, but because it gave me a shield against the hurt I felt because I was alone.

Today, one of my coworkers asked me if my husband was coming on a business trip with me.

I don’t have a husband.

I try to be the fun, creative person I know I am.  I try to live life to the fullest and not worry about relationships.  I know I can have just as much fun as a single adult as I could if I were dating someone.

But when she said that, when she asked about a nonexistent figure in my life, a deep-set sadness pierced through me.  I realized that I still cling to that tenet of Feminism, for the same reasons I had in high school.

I’ve said I’m happier alone.  I’ve said I want to be alone.  I’ve said that I don’t think I ever want a relationship.  I’ve said these things recently. Like, less than a week ago.

All of it, lies.

I would argue that my self-deception isn’t all bad.  It’s allowed me to stay single during most of my academic years–allowing me to focus on my grades and not a boyfriend.  It’s allowed me to make decisions without taking into account someone else’s opinion/desires.  It’s made me learn how to take care of myself in the real world.

But now that I’ve graduated, now that I can allow distractions…

My self-deception is preventing me from pursuing something that I undeniably want.

But now that I perceive my deception, will that awareness stem the tide of its reach?

Duality of Work

Post-graduation, I find myself juggling two jobs to help make ends meet.

I know I’m not alone.

Many people pick up part time jobs on top of their regular ones to help pay the bills.   Here’s a list of some things I’ve found to be true while dual-job working.

1. When you have two jobs, everything is doubled–except your salary.

I’ll make maybe $2000 extra this year, but it’s enough to let me breathe easier each month.

2. You’ll have two bosses, so be sure you can manage both of them at once.

I’m lucky, my bosses are pretty awesome.  Yours might not be, so be sure you can handle it–or have an escape route if you can’t.

3. You’ll have double the workload.  (Duh.)

4. You’ll have less days to yourself.

It’s ridiculously hard to plan things because you have to take days off from both your jobs instead of just one job.  It’s also harder to keep up with how many days you took off.  Unless, you know, you just never take a day off.  Ever.  (I don’t recommend this.)

5. You won’t be able to do as much fun stuff.

Because you work every day of the week, you won’t be available when Suzy Q asks you to go to the aquarium with her this weekend.  Sorry about that.

6.  You’ll have to be perfect at two jobs.

Both of your bosses will expect you to live and breathe for the sole privilege of working for them.  You may fail at both (sometimes repeatedly) before you can deal with the increased workload.  You can do this.  Stick to your guns and don’t give up.

7. You’ll have double the problems.

You will make mistakes.  You’re only human.  But if you’re working two jobs, you may feel as if you never get anything right–since your mistakes might stagger across your jobs.  For instance, if I forget to file all the charts one week at one job, I might forget to sweep under the beds at the other the next week.  You’ll feel like you’re constantly in trouble.

The benefits of having two jobs are obvious.  Money, for one.  Always having something to do.  Perks that come with the jobs (like free travel, or discounted products).  Having an office of your own, or having really good views.

But let’s be honest.  Nobody wants two jobs.  Not really.  You do it because you have to, and the problems are so much more apparent to you than the benefits.

Chances are, one (or both) of your jobs are dead-end careers.

The most important thing is to keep up morale.  No matter what, don’t let your  frustrations dictate your mood.  In the battle of The Man vs. You, how you win is being happy regardless of what The Man does.

Just do the best you can, and forget the rest.

What an XBOX Taught Me About Life

I recently caved and bought an Xbox.  It was a glorious, very frustrating day of my life.  Glorious, because that was the day I purchased Skyrim.  Frustrating, because everything that could have gone wrong, did.

I’d been thinking about getting an Xbox for a while.  And by “a while” I  really mean over three years.  Ever since I played at a friend’s house, I knew that I wanted one.  But I never had the money and I always justified it, saying that I was “a Nintendo person” and that I didn’t need an Xbox because I had Zelda–what more could you possibly want?

Now that I have a steady job, I have more money floating around.  It’s weird because I can actually get some of the things that I want instead of just having what other people (aka: family) gave me.  I don’t have to wait for Christmas to get a new pair of shoes.  I can go buy them myself, right this second if I want to!

It’s kind of liberating, but also kind of terrifying.

I’ve started being really afraid of spending money because once it’s gone, there’s no getting it back–so if something bad happens that requires money to fix I’d be in serious trouble.  So I wasn’t going to spend any money at all when I took a friend to a nearby gamer-type store.

Nope.  No money at all–but then I was suddenly distracted by my 3-year-long unrealized wants.  I decided I was getting an Xbox.  Finally.

Against my better judgment, I went up to the counter and asked for the one I wanted.  I knew that as soon as the words were out of my mouth there was no going back.

I stood there patiently, waiting for the Xbox I knew would be mine soon.

Patiently….patiently……a little less patiently……

I stood there for over an hour while I waited for them to ring me up.   First bad thing that happened: check.

Enthusiasm slightly dampened (but not extinguished!), I carted the package of wonder to my humble abode, where I opened it gleefully to find….

Not what I ordered.  This is not what I ordered!  Did I make a mistake?  Did they make a mistake?  Someone definitely made a mistake.  This is not the newest model, I specifically wanted the newest model–surely this can’t be right.

So I took it back to the store.

They said it was fine.  That the box said it was the right product so it must be right.  That they had others in the back but they’d be just like the one I already had–would I like the special limited edition crackerjack-filled shiny $400 one coming out half a year from now?  It’s a special editionnnnnn.

Now, I was not familiar with this particular game store.  But I was familiar with another one just like it someplace else.  So I called them.  Turns out I was right.  I decided to turn in my new/old Xbox and go visit the other store to make things right.  The only thing was that I wouldn’t make it to the store before they closed for the night.  I would have to wait until the next day.

So I wound up sitting at home, Xbox-less, staring at a very expensive paperweight the game I had purchased that day.  I had been so excited, but I was so very sad at that moment.

The next day I got my Xbox, and I realized that the console was more dear to me because of the hardship I went through to get it.

What’s more, I knew that I really wanted it–this wasn’t a flighty desire that was going to fly out the window.  No, this had been thought about, dreamed about, and planned for.  And yes, maybe it is silly that I value a game console.  There are loads of other things I could have bought that are more useful.

But isn’t it worth something that the value of a thing increases based on the hardship that occurred while getting it?

We live in a society filled with technology.  Kids have iPads, iPhones, Xboxes, all the cool gadgets–and they’re getting them at younger and younger ages.   They will never treasure these things if they are just handed to them.

I don’t treasure the things that I’ve had given to me.  But I do treasure the things I’ve fought for, paid for with my own hard-earned money.   I often don’t realize how much I value these things because I invest so much time into them–it’s too broad of a scale for me to wrap my mind around it.

Itook an Xbox and a havoc-filled day to show me that the best things in life come with a truckload of difficulty attached.  I’m pretty sure this is my favorite life-lesson to date.  The reward’s pretty sweet–hours and hours of Skyrim.

Blogger’s note:  Thank you guys for putting up with me while I ran around doing stuff the past two Fridays.   I’m going to try a new strategy tomorrow in regards to blog posting, so maybe there won’t be any more mishaps.  At least in regard to my posting late because I have Friday plans.

A very special thank you to “Orangeantelope” for his help last week!  Mayo milkshakes will get their own special post next week. (If I set a deadline, I’m more likely to do it.  So a deadline has been set.)

Sleepless in Havelock

Today marks the first day I completely forgot to try to post anything to WordPress.  Thankfully, I have friends who try to keep me from drinking mayo-milkshakes–a punishment I know is probably coming my way eventually.
I spent today sitting on metal bleachers, watching a girl’s all-star softball game.  I love how sports can bring people together.  Simply by routing for a specific team, I found myself surrounded by a crowd of parents who were instantly my comrades in the Battle of Havelock–a rousing skirmish between the gallant ladies of Bladen and the fearsome hordes of Williamston.  The hordes were giant and scary and threw their clubs at frightening speeds.

The ladies of Bladen fought valiantly and bravely in the face of the surrounding wildfires, but the heat and the flying clubs proved to be too much for them to overcome.  They scored nary a hit.

My comrades and I were disappointed, but proud of our brave warrior-queens.

My sister’s reading this right now.  She’s giggling to herself and saying that it wasn’t all this dramatic.  She should realize that dramatic embellishment is always a good thing.

What I’m not dramatizing is how busy I’ve been lately.  Between house-sitting and driving to Havelock (where the battlefield ballgames are being held), I’ve had barely any time to myself.

I do know this though: I’d rather my life be filled with Havelock warriors, hyper house-hounds and saber-cats, and countless hours traversing the dusty streets via our Chevy carriage than be bored and lonely with nothing but my trusty laptop for company.

Life is an adventure!  I plan on living it, even if that means my blog posts aren’t always clear, rational, or understandable.

Besides, pretending everything is a medieval battlefield makes softball games more interesting.  And who wouldn’t want to make things more interesting?
Blogger’s note:  This post was written while the author was half-asleep, after a day filled with sunstroke-inducing hours in the blistering noon-time sun.  It is probably not coherent in any way, shape, or form.  It was written solely to avoid a mayo-milkshake.

Note 2: For whatever reason, this did not publish on Friday night when it was supposed to.  Which means I get a punishment.  Post your suggestions in the comments below!

Things I Did Today (Exhaustion in 7 Steps)

1: Went to work like a good little hive-worker.

2: Went to a friend’s house.  We were supposed to go to the shelter and pick out a kitten for her, but instead she wound up getting stuck with a very pregnant dog that her friend left behind after a move to Sanford.   I was a little bummed that I couldn’t hug kittens, but I did get to hug a very sweet new dog-friend.  I think that’s a fair trade.

3. Went 45 minutes away from my house with my little sister to my aunt and uncle’s house in an attempt to befriend/appease their very territorial Cocker Spaniel.  I’m house-sitting for them soon and we wanted to be sure that the pup would listen to me and not be belligerent for the entire week.   Not that I was worried.  He minded me before when I stayed there last year and is a total pushover if you give him a treat.   Who knew that a t-bone treat meant instant friendship?

4. Came back home to promptly leave again to go out to eat for my mother’s birthday!  By far my favorite part of the evening (because I rarely get to go out for free on Dad’s dime–thanks, Dad!).  Even though we told the waitress it was her birthday, they didn’t come sing for her.  I said I’d lead the nearby patrons in a rousing rendition of “happy birthday”, but Mom didn’t seem too thrilled by the idea.

5. Went out shopping for Mom’s birthday!  She said she wanted a new pocketbook.  Because my mother is very difficult to shop for purse-wise, we figured it’d be best if she picked out her own bag.  Naturally, all the kids picked out purses and then tried to convince mom to pick theirs as her present.  I pointed her toward my favorite purse brand (which just happened to be on clearance) and tried very hard not to be a sore winner when she liked my suggestion the best.  I think I succeeded, since none of my siblings glared at me on the ride home.

6. Birthday cake at nine-thirty at night is the best kind of birthday cake.  Mom finally got her song.  It was lovely.

7. I goofed off for two hours and then wrote this cop-out blog post.  Because I’m serious about meeting deadlines, but apparently not serious enough to realize that it’s ten o’clock and I really should stop piddling around on the internet and get to work.

Expect a better blog post soon!

That Feeling When…

That feeling when you realize you’ve gone from being appreciated to being taken for granted.

That feeling when you’re upset and hurt and scared of being replaced but there’s nothing you can do about it.

That feeling when you realize you’re on your way out.

That feeling when you’re furious but can tell no one for fear of gossips, snitches, and back-biters.

That feeling when you thought something was perfect, but now it’s in ruins.

Yeah.  That feeling.  It sucks.

How I Inadvertently Gained Job Experience

I’m gaining job experience as we speak.  This is ridiculously wonderful.

I found out today that many publishing companies and other literary places like that consider blogging to be a form of job experience.  My world has been rocked.

This means I have years of experience.  Sure, most of it is crap, and it’s spread out over a few blogs, but still!  There has to be some gems in here somewhere.  Maybe not diamonds, though.  Something cheap, but still sparkly enough to attract some sort of attention.  Maybe agates or quartz or something.  Cubic Zirconium.

Anyway, I’m seriously considering applying for some stay-at-home writing or copy-editing jobs.  It would be part-time, something easily doable in tandem with my full time gig.  And it would be in my major to boot.

I mean…I love my job, but I don’t want to be a secretary forever.

I’m just really excited that something I’ve already been doing counts in “the real world.”  Here I was thinking I was just goofing off on the internet and I’ve actually been somewhat productive.

Now if only I can get my novel-reading hobby to count as experience, I’ll be set.  “Applicants must have read over two hundred books in their lifetimes.”

Somehow, I don’t think they’ll go for that.

Why I Could Never Give Up Coffee

Mmm, coffee.

The inspiration for this post–delicious coffee in my souvenir mug. With polka dots. Because polka dots are awesome.

Coffee is the human equivalent of the nectar of the gods.

I dare you to walk by a pot of coffee and not inhale as deep as you can.

Hello caffeine high!

Nothing is more magical.  Don’t believe me? Just ask this guy.

Coffee can cure headaches.

I get headaches from stress, stale smoke smell, bad b.o., pollen, and caffeine addiction.  Coffee fixes them all.

Flavors.  All the flavors.

There are literally hundreds of ways you can have your coffee.  Chose from different roasts, creamers, and add-ons like whipped cream, Splenda, sugar, chocolate shavings, caramel drizzle, etc.  Coffee is only boring if you make it boring.

Empowerment of procrastinators everywhere. 

Coffee is the weapon of choice against deadlines, long papers, and internet binges.  All-nighters don’t stand a chance against coffee.  Sure, there are other caffeinated beverages out there.  But they don’t make you feel warm and fuzzy inside like coffee does.

Coffee equals community.

It brings everyone together at the office.  We all follow our noses to pay homage to the coffee pot every morning, and then wind up talking about our day, our dogs, our favorite TV shows, and all the other trivial things life has to offer.   In college, coffee brought all my roommates out of their morning hibernation, and placated our early-morning grumbles.

The bottom line is that coffee is awesome, and living without it would turn me into some sort of enraged, twitching lunatic whose productivity level is nonexistent at best.  And it would mean no more blog posts.  So, diet be damned, I’m keeping my coffee.

And Then I Was Lucky to be Alive

I’ve been trying to write this post for over two months now.  But every time I try, I just…stop writing.  So this is what post traumatic stress is.  Huh.

I’m going to try again.  Deep breath.  Here we go.

In a previous post, I mentioned that March was a rough month for me.  But it didn’t start out that way.

I had been working my new job for about a month, and it was going well.  So well, in fact, that I had decided to adopt a puppy like I had wanted to do for years and years.  I had gone to the shelter on a Friday and picked out a completely adorable pup and was told I could pick him up in a week.

I spent the first half of that week fretting over my new puppy, wondering if he was scared in the shelter, frustrated that I couldn’t just go get him right then.

The following Tuesday I was coming home from work, just like always.  I had my iPod playing over my stereo.  “Call on Me” by Eric Prydz.  (If you’re going to google that song, don’t look at the music video.  Trust me.  It’s not something you want to see unless you’re a hormone-riddled teenage boy.)

I have a habit when I drive.  I tend to drift close to the white line when a car goes by me in the opposite direction.  I live in the country, and our roads are tiny.  There’s not much room, and if I had a dollar for every car that’s passed me with a tire across the center line I’d be a rich woman.  I took physics in high school.  We learned about the laws of motion.  That, coupled with photos of head-on collisions, makes me understandably nervous about incoming cars.

So I was driving along, listening to my music, when a car went by.  I drifted close to the white line, like usual.  Unlike usual, that section of road had no extra asphalt stretching past the white line.  So when I hugged the line, my right tires fell of the road entirely and onto the shoulder.

Going off the road isn’t that big of a deal, usually.  You slow down, you edge back onto the road as gently as possible, no harm no foul.

Except there were mailboxes a few yards ahead.

If I could have a do-over, I’d just breeze by the mailboxes.  There was probably enough room for my car to squeeze by with it’s tires on the shoulder. But I, in the panicked state you get when you’re doing something slightly dangerous, decided that, even though I’d only been coasting and slowing down for a few feet, I had to get back on the road right then.

Which, once again, usually isn’t a problem.  I was only going about forty-five miles an hour.  I’ve successfully gotten back on the road at that speed before. But, unfortunately, the shoulder was a few inches lower than the road.  Four inches, to be more precise.  The state had dug out the weeds encroaching upon the asphalt a couple of years prior, and the road had never leveled out like it was supposed to.

So when I went to move back onto the road, my car did a little hop as the tires hit the “curb” of the road.   I think the hop jarred my hands or something, because the next thing I knew I was in the other lane, headed for the other shoulder.

They say that it’s important not to panic in these situations, that over-correction causes accidents.  I panicked.  I couldn’t help it.  This sort of thing doesn’t happen to me.  I’m a good driver.  I only speed five miles above the speed limit.  I stop at stop signs.  I drive carefully.

So when everything went to hell, I over-corrected.  I was afraid I’d hit a car head-on if I stayed in the wrong lane. I twisted the steering wheel, trying to maneuver my unruly car back into the right lane.  So then, naturally, I was fish-tailing.  Once you start fish-tailing, it’s really hard to regain control of your vehicle.  Ask me how I know.

After weaving around the road a bit, I saw the right-side shoulder out of the corner of my eye.  I decided that it would be best if I got off the road, especially since there was a nice big yard for me to roll into.  The idea was that I could sort of coast or fish-tail to a stop in the yard.  That the shoulder and yard would save me.  So I let the car go off the road–it was headed that direction anyway.

That’s when I learned that the shoulder is not your friend, ever.

Not a foot into the shoulder, my front right tire dug into the ground sufficiently enough to flip my car.

...this is sad.

See? Not your friend.

It felt like a roller coaster loop.  Except instead of being thrilled, I was terrified.  It’s strange how similar those two emotions are.  My car came to a stop on its roof.  I only flipped once, since I wasn’t going very fast.  I wound up hanging from my seat belt, feet dangling towards my shattered windshield.

My first thought was that the seat belt hurt, and I reached up to unbuckle it.  Up, because the floor had suddenly switched places with the roof.  When I finally found the buckle and pressed it, I flipped in mid-air over my seat belt, landing on my knees.  Remember the shattered windshield floor?  Yeah, that was still there.  I missed it by a quarter of an inch.  My right knee hit the plastic separating the windshield and the door window.  My left knee hit the driver’s side armrest.

My next thought was that I had to turn off the car, because it was bound to explode.  That’s what my panicked self thought happened after a wreck.  That’s what always happens in movies.  So I frantically fumbled for the keys, found them, and turned the car off.  But I wasn’t able to get the keys out, and I couldn’t figure out why. (Until later, when I realized the car was still in drive while it was upside down.)

Then I decided I needed to get out of the car, but the door wouldn’t open.  But I found that if I butt-bumped the door, it would inch open a bit.  So I rammed the door a few times until I could crawl carefully out of my car.  Then I sat in the dirt and trembled for a few seconds before a good Samaritan nurse lady came and got me.

When you’ve just been in an accident, people don’t arrive.  They appear out of thin air like guardian angels.  I swear, I blinked and five people were there.  The nurse-lady was the first on the scene, wearing lime green scrubs, a phone to her ear (911), asking me if I was okay.  The second was a stocky African-American man, head shaved bald, a concerned expression and a hand out to help me to my feet.  He half carried me to the third arrival–a short blond lady with a golf cart whose yard I had just wrecked into.  She let me sit in her golf cart and mumble half-formed thoughts and words until medical personnel arrived.

There were others, but I don’t remember their faces.  I had my spot on the golf cart, I wasn’t in pain (yet), and I was pretty much set.  My only requests were for my bag (which was laying on the roof towards the back of the car), and for someone to call my mom.  (This is a really big ouchie, mom.  I don’t think a band-aid will cover it this time.)

Everything became a blur of faces and the repeated question of if I was okay.  Nobody believed me when I said I was fine, that I didn’t think  I was hurt that badly.  The fire trucks showed up first, then the ambulance.  I let the EMTs check me out, and they took me into the back of the ambulance.  It could have also doubled as a freezer, it was so cold back there.  I tried not to think about how many people had died where I was sitting.

Right about then is when my dad showed up.  Mom had called him, and he’d booked it to get there.  I’d been doing pretty well emotionally.  Holding in the flood of fear and tears.   Staying calm and stable.  When Dad showed up, my fragile control withered.  Suddenly I was crying and clutching my father’s hand, choking through the questions the EMT’s were asking me to make sure I wasn’t messed up in the head from the crash.

When we got out of the ambulance (no, I don’t want to go to the hospital, I feel fine, I swear), mom was there.  More crying and hugging ensued.

The good Samaritan strangers had left one by one, with my thanks.  The fire trucks and the ambulance had gone.  The cops showed up and did something with a wheel on a stick, then decided not to write me a ticket.  (Thank you, officers.) One of the officers stayed with us while we waited for the tow truck. Everyone we knew that worked in Lumberton stopped at the wreck and talked to us.  It got to where I was embarrassed, frustrated, achy (Hello, pain! There you are.  I wish you’d just stayed away. Where’s the pain meds?), slightly depressed,  and wanted the whole thing to just be over already.

Finally, the tow truck showed up.  They loaded my broken, battered car onto the truck and hauled it home.  We’d been home all of thirty seconds when my pastor showed up.  Apparently I’d been big news around the county that day.  Nothing travels faster than Southern small-town gossip.  My pastor was very supportive, told me how fortunate we were, that cars were replaceable.  He said all the right things, gave us hugs, then left us to deal with the situation.

As for me?  I called work, got the next day off, and slept for sixteen hours.

We did go and get the puppy later that week.  And I did manage to buy myself a new car.  Sort of.  I’ll be paying it off for the next five years.  That debt will go well with my student loan debt.

Car!

At least the new car is pretty. Runs good too. Vroom vroom!