ugly.

storytime.

i’m out to lunch, and an acquaintance, we’ll call him A,  is there – we’ve always been friendly. another person at lunch is playing the game where we’re “casting” everybody around the table – who would play us in a movie. eventually he turns to me, and since the game has been going on for a while i’ve been thinking about it, and my response is “mila kunis”. which immediately elicits a derisive snort from A. pretty much the last thing you could accuse me of being is a shy wallflowery type, so i immediately turn to him and say “what the fuck, A? what does THAT mean?”, and he tries very hard to backpedal away from his response.

commentary: A lacks a filter. that’s ok – i do sometimes too, and i’ve offended people. while i was offended, a simple apology would have taken care of it.

more commentary: i am pretty unaware of the ins and outs of pop culture, and someone told me years ago that i look like mila kunis. *shrug* ok. in no way do i think i’m some fhm model (do they still even do fhm? is that a thing?). this is not the first time it’s been brought to my attention that i am a girl of fairly average, if that, attractiveness. i am not a bastion of confidence to begin with so…that.

i’m also – well – i’ve been described as a dog with a bone. so my ragging on A continues for a few minutes, until he offers me some of his chocolate dessert in apology and i say, “no, that might make me fat and then i’d be EVEN UGLIER so i’d better not”. A lowers his voice a bit and says, “look, you are really really making me feel like an asshole and it was NOT that big a deal so you need to just drop it”. i look at him incredulously (mostly that someone just tried to tell me what i needed to do), but for the sake of not making a scene, as it wasn’t the place nor time, i dropped it.

commentary: i’ve been known to push an issue further than other people are comfortable when something has offended me. i can accept that i may have done that.

more commentary: however, *I* don’t have to do a damn thing because *you* feel like an asshole. you caused you to feel like an asshole. you could just apologize for the assholish thing you did – genuinely.

and now, all of this happened last week. and i still feel, well, ugly. i am familiar with all of the cliches about how no one can make you feel any way without your consent and blah blah (and mostly, to be honest, i find them trite – i am not one for popular quotes or cliches), but the fact is, someone was insulting to me and i have a certain feeling in response to that, and it’s hard as hell to shake. i understand this wasn’t something done out of malice, or with any ill will, but – filterless people (i include myself in this group), for the sake of basic human courtesy and decency, try to develop at least the most basic of filters that allows you to not insult undeserving people. i was in no way trying to equate myself to some hollywood superstar goddess – believe me, i’m not the type – and i didn’t need to be cut down a few pegs.

so, basically, please try to be a generally nice person. because you don’t know how long your thoughtless words stick.

reverb 11: gift

prompt: what was the most memorable gift you’ve ever received?

like most smart and socially awkward children, i was really into books and reading. for as long as i can remember, that’s been one of my favorite activities and a giant comfort in my life. i lived with my greatgrandparents as a young child and although papa had, at most, an 8th grade education, he taught me how to read as soon as he could, believing that if i knew that i was set. he wasn’t wrong.

i think it might have been the year i was in eighth grade. amazon was a really new thing. i was into greek mythology and astrology and all sorts of business. every present under my parent’s tree that year was fairly flat and professionally wrapped – and on christmas morning, i was an extraordinarily happy adolescent, surrounded by probably 15 hardcover (hardcover!) books on everything i was into at the team. there was a dream interpretation dictionary in there, i remember. but christmas was all books. and i loved it.

i’ve had memorable gifts through the years. some tiffany & co jewelry, a new laptop. this year, a bridge camera and a kindle fire (! to both).  but something about my parents supporting my interests, however esoteric and ridiculous they may have seemed, was pretty amazing.

echoes.

what is it that you’re looking for here in this wasteland?

when i was younger i found the boys who would grow up to be men like you and i would sink my fingers into their hearts, not caring about the jagged glass that was cutting me the whole. way. down. i found them and i tried so very hard to twist them into mine, i tried to be everything. once, i succeeded.

no one wants to hear those stories.

how many times i’ve been looked at and all they can say is, “i don’t know how you did that”. and the answer is, universally, neither do i.

it’s not an honor to better someone else when you do it at the cost of everything that lives inside you. just once could one of you stop with the pleading and the imploring and the thanks for a moment, long enough, to notice that i do not exist to make. you. better. i am not a goddamn vessel for your worry fear anger anxiety and how, how did you see through to my own emptiness when i dress up every day in this facade of “don’t fuck with me”. mostly though, i don’t want your accolades. they remind me of what i’ve lost.

eventually, even the masochistic among us tire of vampirism, and what appeared to be bonding and love is revealed for what it is. eventually, you leave, and over time it all feels like it happened in a different life. i’ve had four lives now.

the past three are echoes. they’ve been reverberating a little stronger lately, and perhaps it’s a sign of growth that i know their sound families and i can feel their pull but say, “ah. there you are. i think maybe not, this time”.  and i will keep walking, and they will get fainter. and fainter.

reverb 11: loathing

i’ve missed a few days of reverb – and i’m sorry about it. i was really proud of my streak this year, but this month is just killer. between stress around the holidays (last month, i had $16 in my checking account four days before payday. add present buying to that?!), reverb, and stratejoy’s joy council (a group seminar thingy reflecting on this year and planning for awesome things for next), my head has been all explodey. no, really, i had a migraine that came and went for a WEEK. so i backed off and in keeping with the spirit of my year, i am really trying hard to feel like i don’t suck for that.

prompt: who or what did you loathe and how did you express that this year?

rude people on the subway. the pole is not your close and personal friend. it is for all of us to hold onto so we don’t fall on our asses. and i will indeed knuckle the hell out of your back to get you to let go. i have no scruples. be warned. also, headphones are about $5 a pair these days. i have no need to listen to your ringtone on repeat – and also, that is a might ghetto solution for having mp3 files, you hoodrat.

the dog: i mean, i know some of you will (and probably already do) judge me for this but i truly loathe my boyfriend’s dog sometimes. i try to be a human with a soul about it, and sometimes she is rather sweet. but she wreaks havoc on our house EVERY SINGLE DAY. i walk in from work, looking forward to peace and downtime, and i must first spend 20 minutes cleaning up whatever disaster she thought up that day, and also, a healthy pile of excrement. and yes, i’ve heard all of the well meaning advice, and no, i’m not particularly interested in tips and tricks. i know you are well-meaning, but this is my bitchy post and i won’t have it ruined by logic and reason. i’m not really an animal person and yes, when she’s ruined things that are important to me, i’ve considered tossing her out the window. he loves her (for reasons i can’t quite fathom), and i’m doing my best to acquire patience.

i’ve loathed the recent article in forbes, “if i were a poor black kid”. that was some infuriating shit. see also, the jcpenney shirt about girls being too pretty to study. also, most anything on fox news. why yes, that is my heart bleeding all over the floor.

i loathe laziness and entitlement. people who complain about not being able to find a job, and then brag about how they’ve applied to twenty…over the course of two months. times are hard and i get that, but this is a situation that calls for stepping up your game.

i loathe facebook. there, i said it. i did a major “friend” purge over there earlier this year, which was quite cathartic, but there are various people you have to remain “friends” with for political reasons, and i can’t count the number of people i’ve hidden from my feed this year. notable examples include someone who recently entered a relationship and couldn’t STOP with the schmoopy shit. what pushed me over the edge was posting a picture of a plate of spaghetti with broccoli (is that even a thing?) and tagging his girlfriend and talking about how she always kept him full and happy. gag. also, any and all conservatives who like to spout inflammatory shit, people who make their default pic one of them kissing their significant other (and i don’t mean a peck, i mean KISSING), and people who don’t seem like they made it past 3rd grade english class. oh, and the people who post those asinine quotes. and anyone who does the “99% of you won’t repost this” business.

i’ve gone on long enough. i am a type a, rather obsessive person and it’s too easy to crawl right up there under my skin and piss me off. maybe i’ll calm down a little in 2012…or maybe  won’t. probably won’t.

reverb 11: fear.

prompt: what scared you more than anything else? what did you learn about yourself?

again with the disclaimer of, i won’t pick one of anything. too overwhelming for my december stressed out brain.
(also, i’m sort of having a bad night. this colors my results. fair warning)

i am afraid that i don’t know how to operate any other way than alone. i fear i cannot be a partner.

i fear my relationship is falling apart.

i fear that my old hurts have finally caught up with me and had the effect they always should have, and that i’ve lost the real ability to connect. i fear i am entirely too much show, and not enough substance.

i fear that i will never, never be like the rest of you, with lives and plans and things to do and families and happiness. i fear i am playacting, all the time. that i am living an imitation life. i fear that i am incapable, and that i will forever be running on a treadmill, trying, and failing, to keep up.

i fear that i am not worthy.

i fear that i am doomed to only adhere myself to those who will drag me down.

all of these things grip me almost every day.

i learned that no matter what fear of mine comes to fruition, i will stand up when it’s over.

i learned that in order to do something, you just have to stop thinking, get up, and do it. movement requires movement. it seems so simple – and it is not.

i learned that every single move we make is a choice.

 

 

reverb 11: more.

prompt: what do you wish you had done more of in 2011?

laughing. i wish i had done more laughing. today i let myself laugh wholeheartedly at very silly things and it was wonderful.

letting it go. i hold on really tightly to things that would probably be insignificant to you but for whatever reason, are very very important to me. i wish i had relaxed a bit and let go of just a little of my crazy this way.

reading. i love reading. i love it so hard, and i forget to do it all the time. yesterday i let myself stay in bed with 1Q84 for about 4 hours and it was glorious. i did this a few weeks ago with the magicians and the magician king – with equally glorious results. i loved/am loving all of the books named, so take them as recommendations too.

decorating. i have a long and storied history of envying people’s decorations, their things, the things that speak to them and of them, and i have a very hard time choosing any for myself. for the first time in my life i have a large enough space that will be mine for a permanent enough time that i should put some effort into making it so, and i’m frozen. paint chip displays drive me away in minutes, and i have browsed the internet for hours for various forms of wall art. hours. and i can’t choose – i can’t choose accent furniture, i can’t choose a paint color, i can’t choose decoration. i wish i had been able to do this.

and there you go.  what about you?

 

 

reverb 11: beauty.

disclaimer #1: i fear that my reverb writing isn’t very…well…good. i’m not inspired daily – or i am, but i am inspired in little snippets that just appear in my brain that 75% of the time, i forget to transcribe and they flitter away in short order. i am rarely inspired to pump out a whole blog post. also, i am having a whole lot of year reflection happening between reverb and another group i’m participating in (stratejoy’s joy council) so i feel kind of repetitious. so – my apologies.

disclaimer #2: i can’t pick one of anything. i fret and fret about picking the “best” or the “most x” or the “perfect” one and then i never actually choose because i can’t ensure these things. so, any prompt that asks me to pick one of anything, i’m not going to do that, to save myself a whole lot of mind stress (see? progress! growth! abandoning rules for the sake of sanity!). i shall give you a smattering and you shall be pleased.

prompt: describe a moment of beauty that you witnessed this year.

i am watching fish swim. i am swimming in the caribbean sea and i have a snorkel and mask on and i am watching beautiful tropical fish swim in their natural habitat. i stay afloat for hours, reaching out to them, trying to find new and more populated spots around the jetty. but mostly, i am just entranced and amazed by these bright colored little animals, by this entire world that exists under the ocean.

i am sitting on the grass in union park. for my coworker’s birthday i’ve suggested we gather up a group and visit the wafels and dinges truck after work. we do, and we sit, and we share with each other as real people aside from our daily responsibilities to our organization and each other. we are all friendly, kind, interesting, and it is a lovely summer evening.

i am at sushi lounge and it is your birthday weekend, just two weeks after mine. you’ve gathered your friends and your boyfriend here and we have a night of celebration ahead of us. i am so happy and proud to be your friend, to be a part of this whole weekend you put together. i am happy to celebrate YOU. plus, the sushi and plum wine are really delicious.

we are riding bicycles around a strange town on the north shore of long island and i’m convinced we can find a beach. we stop and i consult the almighty google maps, and sure enough, beach we find. it’s not a public beach and we’re likely breaking the law – there isn’t much of a shore. i find a long stretch of wood that reaches into the water – the north shore is full of rocky, angry beaches and even though it’s a sound the waves break like it isn’t. i walk out as far as i can until the waves are crashing over my shins and threatening my thighs. i stare out for as long as i can.

 

reverb 11: time

cutting this one in close to the edge. have i mentioned that it’s hard to write every day? because it is.

i actually want to write about the disappointment prompt, but i can’t in the public sphere. suffice to say, my job is amazing and i love it, and i’m so grateful for that.

prompt: how did you fill your time this year? are you happy with it? would you change it?

mostly, i worked. and ever since being hired by a wonderful nonprofit org in april, nearly every day of that has been a joy. i learn a lot that i’m really interested in at my job and i’m finally happy with the path i’m on.

big announcement: next semester i’m entering a web development intensive program at nyu. by april or may, i will be able to BUILD INTERNETS.

outside of working:

the truth is, i did a lot of arguing this year. i’ve done a lot of crying. i’ve done a lot of trying to figure it out, and a lot of confusion. these parts, they haven’t been pretty. part of my goal for next year is to nail down a solid plan to reduce this. drastically.

i did a lot of fretting. that’s just my nature. although, yes, i know i need to chill out some. working on it.

i began journaling, and taking some time to focus on myself. this work has been – transformative, and inspirational.

i baked. a lot. and attempted to cook most nights of the week. these things calm me.

it’s been a long week and full of migraines and frustration. i’ll be back in top reverb form before the weekend is out. swearsies.

reverb 11: clipped.

prompt: what label/story/box/belief clipped your wings this year? how can you flip the script next year? what’s your new story?

well, lucky me, i already wrote a post about this. you can read the whole thing, but i’ll paste the relevant bits below:

so here is something i’ve learned. i don’t have to be anything. i don’t have to be a fashionista or a gourmet cook. i don’t have to wear makeup or heels. it doesn’t make me less of anything – as a matter of fact, it only makes me more authentic to stay true to what i want. i don’t have to be sweet, i don’t have to be a neat freak, i don’t have to have starry eyes for this city. i don’t have to have the most organized budget. i don’t have to cross every item off of every list – i don’t have to schedule every second. i don’t even have to exercise. i don’t have to be the wittiest, the funniest, the deepest writer.

just because it’s great and works for other people, and is admirable, does not mean that it’s a requirement in order to succeed as a human.

the pressure i’ve put on myself, you’d think the world would rip at its seams if i was not everything.

but it is not true. it is a lie.

and by extending myself and my efforts into things that aren’t me, i’ve dishonored what i am. what we are, at the very end of the day, is all we’ve really got.

i don’t have to be what i’m not, and i don’t have to be everything. it’s a rather revolutionary concept in my little universe.

these beliefs have torn me. i spend more time than i’d like to admit either running frantic or with my head in my hands, disappointed that i’m not living up to some idea, that i’m not doing it right. i worry – i worry so much and so hard that even OTHER type a people stare at me wide-eyed and tell me to calm down. i snap, i break, so much of the time i am brittle. and i don’t want it anymore.

next year? next year i vow to be exactly what i am, and honor and love that. i vow to not place the weight of the world on forty three categories of self improvement, and to take things at a reasonable rate. to pick out some of what i am, and to admire that, rather than fret about what i’m not – and to not feel guilty about it. to examine and inspect everything that looks like it might be a neat way to be, and decide honestly if it really works for me. to be ok with, to adore, everything that is sitting here right now. because it actually is enough.

reverb 11: forgive

prompt: who have you forgiven in 2011? what was the journey like that brought you there?

i am still on the journey.

forgiveness, like letting go, is something i am not good at, was not built for. your offenses and transgressions stick in the crannies of my mind forever. i do not know how to forget – i hold on. the most i hope for is that i understand the reasons behind what you’ve done, and that i become ok with them. i shouldn’t say that – it’s a self limiting belief, i know – but i know what i am now and what i am is not a person who forgives.

i have not forgiven her. she was and likely remains a snake of a woman, a doer of evil, a predator, and completely self-consumed. i have trained myself out of checking on her internet spaces, because all they do is rile me – and i have committed to pushing her and all of the wrong she did out of my mind, my heart, my space. i am not always successful. my goal is to let go of my conviction to put her in the hospital if i ever see her in person again. that is not nice and that is probably a bit crazy but that is the truth.

i have forgiven him, to the extent that i will. i don’t know if it happened this year, or last. i know why he left the way he did and i know the sadness and anger that makes you do such things, and i know the places where i was wrong. he broke his promises to me. and it’s alright. i forgive him for leaving.