Life is Busting out ALL Over!

Archive for January 2009

– So The Bachelor. I just finished tonight’s emotional shitshow of an episode and I have to say I’m impressed. Usually, on the first episode you can see which women are going to lose it or take a turn on the unrealistic “I want to marry a virtual stranger NOW” train. This season it was relatively calm, I mean no handing the Bach dirty underwear or anything like that. But I think that calm was just waiting to explode and tonight it did. I mean, everyone, EVERYONE cried. I can’t believe it took this long for some of this to come out and I can’t believe the intensity. Holy crow.

We get it – it’s tough to watch the man you love (as much as you can love someone after spending an average of 45 minutes alone time by this point, except for Molly who got some loving in the tent) have connections with other women. But I don’t know, maybe you should have thought of that before you went on THE BACHELOR, a show that’s been around for 8 years. You know the drill, ladies.

I totally think Molly is going to win, only because I like the pick the winner early and I think she’s going to be it. But please, were the making out + sounds really necessary? I also had to fast forward through most of the episode between the women singing original songs, the makeout sounds and the pretending to be on a soap opera, my “embarrassment for other people” meter was at an all time high. I tried to not FF, and ended up just looking at my cat instead.

– I can’t spell February,  of course now I can. But I couldn’t for shit today as evidenced in the first newsletter I wrote/edited and sent out today. Fortunately I caught it before it really got sent out, but not before I sent to my coworkers TWICE. Oops.

– The weather here is fantastic – I’m dreading the summer daily but for right now I’m taking the 60 degrees anyway I can get it. I’ve known for awhile that I’m going to get a friend for my cat/roommate. She’s been displaying signs of loneliness and I play and snuggle with her as much as I can when I’m home but let’s face it I can’t do it all day, I mean I moved here for a job. So I’ve had it in my mind that I’d get a second cat. I know the cat thing now and it’d be a relatively easy transition from one to two. I grew up with dogs and hope that one day I’d be able to adopt one, preferably once I got a yard.

Except I moved to the dog capital of the world. I’m not kidding. Austin makes it seem like only a select few people in Chicago have dogs. They are out everywhere. People running with dogs, in my apartment complex, around Town Lake, in the cafes, walking up and down the busy streets. EVERYWHERE. Which is awesome. The animal shelters are out in full force too. On the weekends, the grocery store where I shop has lots of green space (all the parking lots do, there are laws against cutting down trees here. The Wal-Mart has a flipping park bench on it’s burm between the trees and the cars). So on the weekends – because it’s nice out – the shelters put up tents and pens and bring out dogs to adopt.

This has not gone unnoticed by me. In fact I’d estimate that I probably spend more time with the dogs than I do shopping. And suddenly the little voice that was “I want a dog” gets louder and louder. I am really rational about it. I tell myself that I need to wait to make sure I really know my budget and do well with it months after the move (not weeks) and be consistent before I take that on. I tell myself that 700 sq ft is no place for a dog. I tell myself that I work too  long and it would be unfair to the dog to be cooped up for 10 hours a day. I’ve gotten the names of the shelters so that I can volunteer and learn more about dogs since it’s been awhile since I’ve taken care of one.  I know that I’m probably not responsible enough for a dog but dammit if those big eyes (I’m talking to you, Baxter) do not bore through my cold, cold heart. I’m going to have to do my shopping after work otherwise one of these days I’m going to go to the store for milk and come back with a canine.

– I think I’m going to get a haircut and get bangs. But the thing is that I grew out my bangs 13 years ago and am kind of scared. I do have a large forehead so it wouldn’t look bad, I keep telling myself. As a child I was a victim of a cruel cowlick that would never stay in place, no matter how much mousse I put in (and wrong because no 8 year old should ever be charge of mousse… “It feels so fun in my hands!”). So there is big part of me that wants to get bangs just to see if that sucker would come back or if I’ve finally beaten it once and for all.

Probably not the smartest reason to cut your hair, but I suppose there has been worse.

You think she looks cute, but she's watching and what she really means is "I NEED MY ORDER NOW! CUSTOMERS ARE WAITING! MY GOD WOMAN!!"

You think she looks cute, but she's watching and what she really means is "I NEED MY ORDER NOW! CUSTOMERS ARE WAITING! MY GOD WOMAN!!"

Uh, pardon the mess. eep.

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Three weeks ago tomorrow I moved into my apartment. It seems like a lifetime ago, but I can articulate each day I’ve been here and it doesn’t feel that long. I’m having a hard time keeping up with this blog, which is sort of an oxymoron (my blog doesn’t move) but at times I feel so much change that I have too much to say but when I just try to Keep It Simple, Stupid – it doesn’t feel like I have enough in my life to really even talk about. I know this will change and it will feel easy again, and just like change in this country, I suppose I just don’t want to wait for it.

One of the things that has surprised me most about this move is the loneliness I feel. I say that with confidence because it’s not the loneliness that drives really great writing, or songs, or fills the depth of a character in a good movie. It’s not dramatic. It just is.

What shocks me most about this is that it’s completely unexpected. You’d think when getting a job 1200 miles from home and making a permanent move that you know involves changing your license plate, one might consider that he or she is moving somewhere with no immediate family and friends, no network. But for some reason, I never did.

I’ve always done “alone” really well. I was relatively alone/single for the first 26 years of my life practically sabotaging any romantic relationship that came my way during that time, just to stay that way, because I knew how to do it. I’m one of a handful of women I know who chose to live alone when years of roommates organically moved on. I’m a stubborn son a bitch who would chose living alone moving forward because it suits me and I like my own space, even if that space meant a shoebox or pushing my budget rather than live with roommates again. I traveled alone for a year for a job, I went to grad school alone, and sadly I even spent much of my serious relationship alone, I’d be kidding myself to think there was a true partnership there.

So I get it, I understand it. Why would I worry about it? I didn’t and now I really feel it. I think part of this is just the transition of it all, new job, new city, new everything, and not knowing any of it or understanding simple things like the fact that the proper pronunciation of a word is the best way to point out the fact you are an outsider, because it is not  how the Texans pronounce it (Guadalupe = Guada-LOOP). It’s just growing pains. I am loving my new job but it’s overwhelming, I’ve never done this position before, I’m constantly learning, I’m trying to find my own rhythm, waiting for the months to pass by when one day I wake up and realize, “Hey, I actually know what I’m doing and I don’t have to overthink it”. That can make you feel alone, even if you are fortunate to have the nicest group of co-workers who do things that you wouldn’t even think to do for a new member of the team.

I think I’ve said before, if not here than to others, that I don’t need a new job, a new city and a new group of friends all in one month, I can slow down a little. Slowing down isn’t something I really know how to do. I pick up things fast, I talk fast and almost demand everyone else pick up the pace to keep up with me. I think, in realizing how lucky I am and to not take it for granted, I have become aware of more things that I otherwise would just not pay attention to in my former/still effort to become an expert on everything as quickly as possible.

In this effort, in the smallest of moments, when I remember to give thanks, I also realize that loneliness. I know it’s not going to be there forever, and maybe I’m meant to feel it now because it won’t be there but be replaced by love and community and it will just fade into an ancedote I tell to someone who is feeling that same way someday too.

I also think about how interesting it is that something – to be by myself, to find comfort in not solitude, but being the short straw – is now something that feels uncomfortable.

Tonight I went to a Book Club I joined last week. We are reading a really decent book and I’m enjoying the book far more than I thought. I went to the hostess’ house way, way, way on the other side of town for our meeting and I met 7 women I had never met before. There was an ease into which we all welcomed meeting each other and telling stories and then discussing the book. It wasn’t until after we finished talking about the book that we decided to go around and really introduce ourselves and say what brought us to the Book Club, but also to our city. It was pretty amazing. All of us had moved here within the last year, many of us from outside of Texas, one even from Chicago, like me. And all of us realized that we wanted to branch out a little bit more and find some friends. 4 out of the 8 of us that met tonight are pregnant (NOT drinking any of that water, thank you) and all due within a month of each other.

Off the bat, I don’t really see any of those women becoming a close friend of mine, although they seem like wonderful people and I certainly can see some of them becoming close. But you never know. When I met my best friend in the world, in college, her first impression of me was that I was a bitch. Two months later we were thick as thieves (I’m not sure I like that simile, but I like the way it sounds).

I guess my point is that I don’t know what to make of this unexpected uncomfortableness with being alone, but it was nice to find others who might just find the same way. Maybe this loneliness is just a first impression that won’t hold true at all.

You know, when the worst thing happens to all day is your favorite pen crapping out on you… you’re doing pretty well.

THE BACHELOR.

I know. I can’t believe it either. It’s not totally out of the blue for me, however. Back in my pre-life, my roomies and I were HUGE Bachelor fans, probably because it bonded us together (I was the odd man out of the apartment as my two roommates were good friends from college, one of them went to high school with MY friend and they were all supposed to live together until my friend got knocked up before she could move in and was planning a wedding. I needed a place to live, taking over my friend’s lease would help her out… 3 weeks later I moved in. It was crazy but worked out and the bonding definitely helped. Thank God).

Anyway, my roomies and I would take bets on the girls, we had favorites, booed the Bachelor when he was stupid, I got made fun of during the kissing scenes because I get really embarrassed for other people and bury my face in my hands – even strangers who are willing to make fools of themselves, it’s too much for me, but the best was the Finale episode when we’d each get our own bottle of champagne and watch it together. All of us single and all of us clinging on to the shred of hope that love would enter our lives even if it was based on the image from an eventual doomed reality TV relationship. After the first couple seasons, which seemed fun, I lost interest, met the ex-boyfriend and traded in the show for watching 24 with him, which was worth it – mmmmm… Jack Bauer, and said sayonara to The Bachelor. I think I even had some choice words about gender roles and some serious self-righteousness when it came to my attitude towards the show.

I don’t know why I’m so into this year’s Bachelor. It is most definitely that I’m so stoked to have DVR again, that I’m trying to fill it out with shows I don’t have time to watch until the weekend. It might be the fact that he’s ridiculously good looking and that he’s got a kid and seems really sweet with him, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m single for the first time in years.   Could it be that maybe, just maybe that I’m really starting to heal and have hope again? And maybe, just maybe I’ve starting thinking about dating again?? I think so.

Even if it involves reality TV, semi-stalker ladies and vision boards… who cares?! The girl (and The Bachelor) are back!

One of the mental switches I’ve made in this new year is how I think about my life. Upon reflection, I view my life as pre-life and post life. This really doesn’t make much sense because I’m actively living what I reference as “post-life” but I like balance so I guess the terminology works.

My pre-life refers to basically my twenties, after college up until grad school. (Grad school I really struggled personally, although I was empowered in so many ways, because it truly felt like my life was on pause while I got my degree and awaited the changes it would bring – for someone that needs to know what’s going to happen next, it was almost torture). Much of my pre-life was very fast paced. I was young but never felt  like I was aging, even as I got on in my twenties. I lived with roommates in Chicago, I worked in account management at an ad-ish agency, which the nature of that job moves you at a fast and furious pace all the time, not to mention that most of your day (12 hours at least) is spent at the job so it’s just move, move, move for the majority of your day. My down time moved similarly only it’s pace was drink, drink, drink. It was great fun and I enjoyed every second of it except when I didn’t and then quickly moved on to the drinking portion of my day.

The only problem with it was that because I was so career driven, and the agency world forces you to make it your life because the hours can be very long, I never really paid attention to myself. Those years felt like college, in the respect that I never felt accountable as I should have at ages 23 – 27, only that I had a paycheck. After I moved to a different company and got out of that rat race, I had more hours outside of work, but I also was in a serious relationship so you can see what I replaced with what.

Needless to say, during my year long + “pause” I had a lot of time to reflect on what had led me to my “do over”, the career change. I battled a ton of regrets, like what if I only had the self-awareness when I was younger… then I would have gone to grad school earlier and I wouldn’t be starting my career out at 30 and would be well on my way already. Then the relationship fell apart and there were even more regrets.

What I realized is that everything else in my life took priority over me. I never took the time to really mature if I’m going to be honest, I never took the time to find out my likes and dislikes, I never took the time to be quiet with my soul, to listen to my own heart’s desires.

So, the “pause” I took, if for nothing else, helped me realize that I needed to put myself first. That I needed to truly learn to live with myself, to accept myself for what I can bring to the table and to forgive myself for what I can’t and also for any missteps along the way.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions because Jan 1 is my birthday and well, it feels depressing to make some sort of deadline on my birthday that I won’t end up keeping and honestly I’m just thinking of other things. However, given that my move to Texas was the week of my birthday and that I spent New Year’s Eve alone (well, with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin but they couldn’t talk back) and was so overwhelmed with all that I had wanted to happen actually did, it made me really reflective. Soon after midnight, when a new year was ushered in as well as another year in my life started, I promised myself that I would put myself first and with not having friends (yet) or family (at least the ones who I feel an obligation to) here, I knew there wasn’t room for any excuses.

In my pre-life I always ate breakfast at the office. This was due to either rising early to hit the gym before work (it was near my office so it was just like going to work but way too early) or I snoozed to the last possible minute that it left no time. I’d bring a packet of oatmeal and heat it up in some communal mug and eat it at my desk as I started my work day. I thought it worked well. No time was wasted and I still got a meal in.

Now, in my post-life (or current one, I suppose), I eat my breakfast before I shower and dress in the morning. I didn’t do this with intention other than on Monday, which was my first day of work, I didn’t think I’d have time to eat breakfast with all the hoopla (and man, was there hoopla!) and getting settled with the new gig. The other issue is that since I’m following a gluten-free diet to make my tummy feel better, I’ve started eating eggs (the kind of oatmeal I used has gluten in it and the non-kind would require me to boil water, which I wasn’t going to do in the break room). While I have these special Ziploc bags I can throw all the eggs and fixins in and heat up in the microwave so it turns into an omelet, that just seemed too much to do on that first day, and at work in general but I thought it would be an option. After my first day, I learned my hours are much earlier than what I worked in my pre-life (and also this Austin isn’t Chicago but the traffic sure is. Jeesh!) but also that since I meet one-on-one with students, I wasn’t going to have much time to check my email, let alone try to eat breakfast before I’d have an appointment.

The rest of the week I followed suit and fixed my omelet before I showered and ate at home. And you know what? It’s kind of amazing, how one little thing can really improve my attitude. I don’t eat for very long, maybe 10 minutes tops, but sitting down and catching the news and just to fricking think for that time makes me happier. I feel purposeful, and as silly as it might sound coming from a 31 year old, I actually feel like an adult. Maybe it’s that protein that nourishes me better than breakfasts of the past, but it’s something. I feel like maybe it’s really just about the small things we do for ourselves that make a difference.

So I’ve altered my New Year’s promise to myself: I’m taking time to do the small things.

After taking the time to move myself down south and get settled, with some hiccups (what’s some driving through tornado warnings and thunderstorms or movers showing up two days late?), I’ve made it to my new city.

And as of today, my new job. Things are overwhelming, I don’t think I’d anticipated how much it would be, but it’s still all very exciting and I remain thankful, which I think is a positive thing.

My internet is installed and I’m once again back in the land of the living. I had no idea how much I relied on the internet until I didn’t have it. And while I’ll never be able to quit the internet, I have to say it was somewhat of a relief to be off the grid and a tad unreachable. Kind of felt like I was back in 1993 or somewhere thereabouts when I did not have the internet at all. Except I didn’t have Smashing Pumpkins or REM on non-stop, like I did then.

I’ll be recapping 2008 in the coming days but since I last posted we have entered a new year and I have entered a new age. (Is it me or is 31 just an ugly number??) I have great hopes for 2009, the central being that I hope to continue my feelings of thankfulness and my growing self-admiration for taking my life back and putting my needs first. I promise to tone down the ego but I wish nothing but love, health, happiness and lots of laughter for all of you.


Synopsis

musings and panic attacks of a Chicago girl embarking on a new life in Texas. Only it's not always June and it's not in song.

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