Friday, November 28, 2008

People who know me well...

... understand that I have dry skin, but still prefer a gift of bubble bath to body lotion. They know when to call and when to give me my space. They've seen me crumble, but still, in their impossible goodness, like me in spite of the weaknesses. And they know that vulnerability is a big deal, because I'm much happier being (or at least being perceived as) together. Ahh.
The people who know me best understand why visiting Carlsbad, New Mexico, today was such a milestone, and would be thrilled to know that I met a really nice boy at a party tonight who was good enough to fawn over me even though it's still difficult for me to get too excited about it. They understand that my grumpiness of late is mostly due to lack of sleep and lack of time but also lack of attention from the source from which I crave it most. They understand how I can mean the kind things I say but also my need to remove myself from uncomfortable situations for a bit. They know I need a Club Med vacation, or maybe some counseling, but get why I'd rather spend my money on a jaunt through the Mediterranean (February: Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Malta). They accept my frivolities and eccentricities, even when they are maddening and foolish. And I'm sure grateful those people are in my life. Thank you to the friends, the fans and the flabbergasted. I am a mess, but I am sincere.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Something Good

I can't talk about it right now. Not in detail. But, my dear friends of cyberspace, I am blissfully happy. Like Edward and Bella reunited happy. Like Jacob Black found his Renesme happy. Like the world is scarier than it's ever been before, but I can face it happy. Sometimes you have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and do it alone, and I tried. That took me a ways. But today I've got the happiness that only comes when you are part of something larger than yourself, part of a team. I don't want to jinx it. I don't want to jump the gun. This is teamwork with crews rebuilding whole cities after Hurricane Katrina. This is Habitat for Humanity. This is saving a little Ethiopian girl for 20 cents a day. But my hands are no longer idle. My heart beats with a purpose.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To be grateful

Sometimes it's the little things that get you through and make you happy. In those dark moments when you can't sleep because you feel like a heel and your stomach keeps churning, you can be grateful the morning sickness is medically-induced, rather than due to a baby growing inside you that you'd never begin to know how to take care of. At those times, one can breathe a sigh of relief that motherhood will not be happening for real, and just hope that all the sickness will at least pay off with a good complexion.
There is a sweet satisfaction in someone else's infant, though. Namely, in a niece who, though just ten months old, seems to know her aunt needs a little extra love and thus wraps her tiny arms around my neck and squeezes extra tight. Not once, twice. She keeps reaching for me. I'm sure it's not because I'm especially lovable. She just instinctively knows I love her more than life itself, and I need her.
It is liberating to actually have those moments when you can't care what other people think. It's not that I don't want to. It's just that the sustaining shoulder to lean on or the hand I hold publicly gets me through the big trials. I count on the love of my friend to not ease some trivial, temporary heartache or awkwardness, but to carry me when I feel like dead weight, struggling to reinvent myself into who I was all along.
I'm even happy to have someone I don't know tell me like it is, even when it cuts to the core. And I'm happy I've asked him to stop repeating gossip to or about me, so I can escape from the extra fetters of trying to please everyone.
I'm thankful for a friend I put on a pedestal. It's true that the man I love in my mind possibly bears very little resemblance to the friend in real life, but that doesn't keep me from aspiring to be like him or what I think he'd want me to be. And I'm grateful that when the real man offers me the easy way out, the man I know he can be someday still holds me to a higher standard.
Lastly, sickly, I'm grateful for a glimmer of hope based on a passing acknowledgement from the man I loved best of all. Even if it was secondhand, even if it was him cursing about a family with two members who have hurt both of us deeply. I do not delight in his anger or hate, but the selfish, natural woman in me lets my heart pound inside my chest knowing he is still real, and that for one brief moment, he was on my side.
These are the real blessing I count this morning.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A little more explanation

...OK, upon a few minutes consideration, the last post seems a little dramatic and weird or harsh or something. It's lacking.
And because I've never really been one to censor myself, why start now?
This is what's been going on, this is my life:
I've always been an emotional person. My dad used to yell at me for it as a child, "Control your emotions! Develop a thick skin!" He told me I could never be a lawyer because I couldn't help but take everything personally.
Well, over the years, I guess I got really good at hiding some emotions. I still let the happy ones bubble up, so I can come across as perpetually up and effervescent (this is due to my mother's advice: "No one wants to be around a sad person"). And anyone who knows me well knows I can suddenly become a cry-baby. It's really stupid. I do really well at suppressing things until one day it all spills over at the drop of the hat. It's one of my bigger weaknesses.
However, there is one area of my life that I've mastered wearing a mask, with very few cracks. People think that because I march to the beat of my own drum, I don't care one bit what they think. They think they can say whatever they want to me or about me, and that either I won't hear (duh! Is there a bigger gossip circle than a Mormon ward?) or I won't care. Boy, are they wrong.
In truth, I get absolutely crushed by others' opinions and snippy comments. I can't help it. I want people to like me. I crave approval, acceptance and love. And just because I give those things out pretty freely doesn't necessarily mean they are coming back my way. That's a real challenge.
Sometimes I fool myself into thinking that I DON'T really care, but it always catches up to me. But at the same time, I can't bring myself to not be true to what I really believe. Talk about a vicious cycle!
For example, I just got the boot from someone I tried to fool myself into thinking I only liked a little, when in fact I cared a lot about him. And I'm about 80 percent ok with it, because the girl I got dumped for is really wonderful. She really means well, and she deserves happiness. She is also true to herself and is a genuinely good person. My former flame likes her mostly because she is such a good person, and in our conversations about her, I always built her up for it as well. She is an angel. I guess I just feel bad that somewhere along the way, I got the reputation in our social circle as the happy-go-lucky one, when, without taking one bit of her goodness and kindness away from her, I'd like to think that I'm also good and kind. Does that make sense? But I feel like if I say it, people think I'm bragging or trying too hard. They're all so caught up in who they think I am that they don't really see what's real. I've become a caricature.
Still, it's much better to be thought of as "the fun one" than the on-the-rebound/loose/snotty/stuck-up/user/jerk with the thick skin. I think these days, that's what most people think I am... even though a lot of it is unfounded (especially the loose part! I'm a good girl!). There's this one guy who pretends to like me, but he says really mean things about me and my friends. I've always tried to be nice to him, but he feeds off drama. There's another girl that I really do try to be nice to, but the harder I try, the more I hear rumblings about what she's said about me. It's not all undeserved, and I'm doing everything I can to deserve a better reputation than the one I have, but it's like it's all set in stone these days.
Another example from my hellish 48 hours: a girl calling me out in church for an indiscretion that was more a matter of circumstances. She was talking about how it's irreverent to whisper during meetings. My sister leaned over and asked me what she'd said and I tried to repeat it. I wasn't having a conversation about what I did over the weekend... I was just filling my sister in. But I got the pointed look, the raised voice, the evil eye... all from the podium in front of the whole congregation. Nothing like humiliation to call me to repentance, I guess. But how about a little compassion?
The other reputation that I don't like? That I'm too old, too educated, too independent, too puritanical, too stodgy, and too bitter to be worth some man's time. In this weird subculture, I'm practically a spinster, it's true. And living alone for so long has made me rather capable, which I wouldn't trade. If I'm bitter, it's at my situation and my seeming stagnancy. I will admit to being angry-- angry at all the people trying to keep me in this little box they've created for me; angry at Ray who I loved so completely and who bolted at the first sign of trouble and when he realized I couldn't choose happiness for him; angry at new boy for not being honest with me; angry at the drama mongers who are nice to my face and vicious behind my back; angry at the people who won't give me the benefit of the doubt or a second chance; and mostly angry at myself for having ever got myself into this mess in the first place. Sometimes I wish I weren't so good at hiding it all. Of course, then I'd likely be even more alone, because I'm rather ugly on the inside.


And just like that, I'm out. Again. I graciously concede to those who have prior claim on all 7 of my late kissing partners. Or an even later, yet bigger claim. It's not worth being called a whore or a bitch or having people walk on eggshells to spare my feelings (sorry to those sensitive folks out there who don't use those words... I'm quoting, of course). I think I'm better on my own anyway.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shh... Lean in a little closer

And now, I'm having a really good time.
Well, mostly. You know your life is tricky when you have to be careful about what you post on a public space. I used to have no secrets. Now I have tons. They're not as scandalous as people might think, but I have them. And the worst part is the way people act when they try to guess my secrets. They might guess what happened, but not my motivation. For example, I'll tell you a secret. The other night, whilst watching a movie, I held hands with two boys at once. One of them was my so-called date, a platonic friend I'd walk to the ends of the earth for. We're buddies. We cuddled on my couch and he held my hand and stroked my hair, and then jokingly tried to smother me with one of my throw pillows. Pretty typical evening, I'd say. But underneath the pile of blankets, my other friend secretly held my hand at the same time. And I didn't let go.
What does all this mean? Is my former roomie right, saying that it's just because I love adoration? Is my best friend right, telling me I should have not held hands with either of them? Am I acting out from loneliness, trying to fill the hole in my heart that may close up, but will never be the same? I'm not sure. I can't really get my head around it. But do you want to know another secret? Right now, I'm not worrying about the implications. Not the girl who hates me because she's convinced I'm out to destroy her social life. Not the confusion that will inevitably come. I only worry about how all this (and believe me, all THIS involves a lot more than hand-holding and a rogue game of spin-the-bottle) is going to affect the lives of those 7 boys I kiss(ed). But even the worry isn't enough to void the spring in my step or the smile on my face.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

But most of all, very powerful

It was an aftershock.
This weekend, I had a mini-meltdown, but boy, did I bounce back.
On Saturday, I got some news that I found a little troubling, and the next thing I knew, I was in a panic. I hated feeling so weak, but I called a friend and talked it out with him. I never wanted this particular pal to know what a messed up little girl I am, but it literally saved me. We talked about how you can't really love someone unless you are willing to be vulnerable to hurt. I didn't get hurt. I got comfort. A half hour conversation with my friend, with his reassurances that he cared about what I had to say and wasn't going to ditch me changed my evening. I finally felt at peace. It's like a scab. The second time the wound opens, it's not quite as bad. I kept trying to just cover it all up with bandaids. The pain was my peroxide and my friends are the salve. I didn't want to clean out the wounds, but there's something powerful in someone kissing you to make it better. Metaphorical kisses are every bit as powerful as the real thing.
Of course... the real thing is pretty nice too. And in an unrelated vein, I think the real thing might be helping me along as well. And the prospect of the real thing is enough to make me feel alive again. Thank heavens for a week of social bliss.
Kissing and telling aside, I think there's another thing that's making me feel better. I had a bit of a reality check Sunday. I'd had a REALLY nice day. Church was so uplifting, and it was a day when the messages seemed particularly meant for me. But I am foolish and vain, so even though I heard good things I could put into practice, the real blessing was getting a glimpse of how much I'm lacking in other areas. I don't really know how it is that I can be so nice and happy in one moment and then turn around and be vicious the next... so I apologized. And I'm trying to be better. I wanna be like Job-- not the baldness and family leaving me and affliction after affliction-- but I want to stare my little trials (and the big ones too) in the face and say, "That's ok. I'm taking the high road." I want to come out a winner instead of a sinner, ya know?