Uncategorized

The Perks of Being Your Mom

Another school semester will soon begin. If you’re in school, are you looking forward to starting classes? If you’re out of school, what do you miss about it — or are you glad those days are over? — The Daily Post

Recently, I found one of these questionnaires on Tumblr. I haven’t done one of these since high school, and now as I do it, I find myself going, “I took these questions a lot more seriously ten years ago. Now they seem kind of…silly.”

So I guess I miss the sense of endlessness in school. I miss the free time. I miss the ability to take things so desperately seriously. I miss the feeling of having your heart so full that if someone touches it the wrong way, it would burst in a horrible explosion of viscera and emotional devastation. I miss that sensation that the most difficult decision you were going to make that day was saying ‘hello’ to someone you liked.

Also, here’s my questionnaire.

1.Do you want a boyfriend or girlfriend?
Ha! Lord, no. A husband is enough.
2.When did your last hug take place?
Today. In my house. With aforementioned husband.
3.Are you a jealous person?
I used to be, and maybe sometimes I think, “What I wouldn’t give for that person’s time/money/freedom/dog.” But recently I’ve been working on living more in the moment, and part of that is not comparing what you have with what someone else has.
4.Are you tired right now?
A little. I’m getting there. Most nights I take a sleep aid just so I don’t stay up all night. This night owl needs neutering.
5.Do you chew on your straws?
No. I do play with them, though. I’ll move it up and cap it with my finger so I trap the liquid inside, and drink it that way.
6.Have you ever been called a tease?
Ha, yeah. Boys are weird.
7.Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
I don’t believe so. I get to a certain point of delirium around 20-some hours, and although I’ve managed to pull all-nighters, I usually end up loosing my mind and there are just these missing gaps of time…
8.Do you cry easily?
Yes. Certain songs, movies, thoughts will reduce me to a blubbering mess. Luckily, I’m usually alone when this happens.
9.What should you be doing right now?
I should be going to bed.
10.Are you a heavy sleeper?
Absolutely. I shared an efficiency with my boyfriend in college, and he was always eager to have people over. I got very used to sleeping through company, parties, drinking…even a guy who came in with a broken nose.
11.Do you think you can last in a relationship for 6 months?
If I got into another relationship at this point, I highly doubt it. From where I currently stand, though, I don’t think I’ll ever not be married.
12.Are you mad at someone right now?
Nope. Feeling groovy.
13.Do you believe in love?
I believe in love like I believe that we are all bits of stardust. It’s hard to imagine, but when you stop and think about it…it makes sense. It exists.
14.What makes you laugh no matter what?
Goats yelling like humans. Every time.
15.Who was the last person you talked to?
My husband and his best friend, who he was talking to on Google Hangout.
16.Do you get butterflies around the person you like?
No, but he’s been getting yellow jackets in his room. Does that count?
17.Will you get married?
…Again?
18.When was the last time you smiled?
A little while ago. I made a brownie. It was delicious.
19.Does anyone like you?
Uh. Yeah. A lot of people. I remember these questions being more difficult in high school…
20.Do you secretly like someone?
Nope. I tend to yell that in people’s faces every chance I get.
21.Who was the first person you talked to today?
I’m tired of saying “my husband” so after that, it was my Mom. And my sister, who she was driving to work.
22.Who do you feel most comfortable talking to about anything?
Most recently, my pal Jenn, who is the fiancee of my husband’s BFF.
23.What are you NOT looking forward to?
Going to bed. Definitely.
24.What ARE you looking forward to?
I just got a plane ticket to fly home for my birthday. I am stoked.
25.Has someone of the opposite sex ever told you they loved you, and meant it?
Yeah. Frequently, in fact. I feel there is a generational relevance that is lacking here…
26.Suppose you see your ex kissing another person what would you do?
Make an inappropriate comment. My favorite is still from this moment, when I was in college, and these two friends of mine were making out hardcore in the kitchen. And when I started to hear it, I said really loudly, “Man, that must be one stuck jar of pickles.” Ruined the moment completely, and they both practically fell out of the kitchen, laughing.
27.Do you plan on moving out within the next year?
Maybe. You never know.
28.Are you a forgiving person?
Absolutely. A forgetting person? Meehh…
29.How many TRUE friends do you have?
At least THIS many.
30.Do you fall for people easily?
Oh, yeah. I also tumble, trip and splat for people, and it’s never that hard.
31.Have you ever fallen for your ex’s best friend?
Have you ever fallen for your ex’s mom’s best friend? BURN.
32.What’s the last thing you put in your mouth?
Um. Brownie. Remember, we talked about this. It was delicious.
33.Who was the last person you drove with?
Neil Gaiman. I was listening to “M is for Magic.”
34.How late did you stay up last night and why?
I stayed up until about 10:30 because I got distracted writing.
35.If you could move somewhere else, would you?
Definitely. I have a laundry list of places I’d love to live for a year or so.
36.Who was the last person you took a picture of?
I don’t take many pictures of people, but I did take a picture of my Loot Crate and a bag of sexy stuff from Pure Romance.
37.Can you live a day without TV?
Yup. Hulu.
38.When was the last time you were extremely disappointed?
When I watched the season finale for True Blood. Lame.
39.Three names you go by..
Kate, Katie and Katherine. Notice a trend?
40.Are you currently in a relationship?
Guys. Married. Geez.
41.What is your all-time favorite romance movie?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Shut up, it’s totally a romance movie.
42.Do you believe that everyone has a soul-mate?
Sure. Several.
43.What’s your current problem?
Paying off my debts. Yuck.
44.Have you ever had your heart broken?
Heart, no. Wrist, yes.
45.Your thoughts of long distance relationships?
They’re great. I absolutely recommend having at least one.
46.How many kids do you want to have?
HA. GOOD ONE.
47.Have you ever found it hard to tell someone you like them?
No. In fact, never be afraid to tell someone you like them. If they react like a dick, they don’t deserve to be liked because they are awful people (you can forgive them at your reunion in 10-15 years). When you’re young and constantly around people, it’s really easy to think that only certain people can like you. When you get older, you should give love as good as you get it.

Uncategorized

A Pinker Side

“When the full moon happens, you turn into a person who’s the opposite of who you normally are. Describe this new you.” — Daily Post for August 20, 2013

I straighten up

Head back, chest forward

The only colors on me are the ones that look good on me, or so I’ve heard:

Pastels, pinks, greens

An hour early, I’m up to do my hair,

My makeup must be perfect

How could anyone see me looking less than chiseled, polished, prepped?

I do as I’m told

No questions

Everything is early to bed, early to rise

There’s some free time at the end of the day, sure,

But I’m not going anywhere

Not when my family is at home waiting for me

I am the perfect cookie-cutter wife/mother/partner

Submitting to the mold that’s for me

Only appropriate, only proper, only in daylight

Because at night, after dishes are done and everybody is in bed

I go out, and I’m a street fighter

Bashing brains in, letting all that Mrs. Manicured, Mrs. Gee Whiz Okeydokey

Tear out a motherfucker’s throat

I am feared and loved

The cunt of your nightmares

Because there is nothing more pure and beautiful and terrifying

Than white-hot, white-gold fury that manifests itself

In blood

Guts

And glory.

 

And when the sun comes up, I wake up

Confused

Because my hair is still perfectly coiffed

Except for somebody’s tooth caught in a ringlet.

—–

What would your dark side be like? Would it really be so dark or just…different?

Uncategorized

Between the Ears

We all have things as need to do to keep an even keel — blogging, exercising, reading, cooking. What’s yours? http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/daily-prompt-activity/

“I’m going to put my ears in.”

“Ears” is a term I learned at my current day job a few years ago. It’s short for earbuds or a headset of some sort. It used to sound awkward, odd. How can you put your ears in? But after some time, I took up this piece of pidgin…along with many types of ears. I have about 10 different types of earbuds, and my prized possession is a set of large, sound-cancelling headphones with the color scheme of R2D2.

I don’t get a lot of time alone these days. And I’m working on slowly changing that, but there are a lot of moments where that isn’t an option. You see, I work from home. So does my husband. My writing career and other hobbies also make me a bit of a homebody, and there are some parts of the week where my partner is the only person I interact with.

But when I really have to hone in? When I really just need to be nestled inside the bubble of my own space and focus – or, better yet, zone out entirely, flick the auto-pilot button and sit back – I put my ears in. I make a date with Audible or Damien Rice or Netflix or a podcast or even just let the white noise simulate  a rainstorm, waves, airplane noise, and it’s like all the entrances and exits inside my head have been closed off.

I’ve barricade the door.

I’ve closed off the escape hatch.

I think we’re alone now.

Uncategorized

Quirkyalone: Five Acts

  1. When my sister goes away to college, I am now and again in Williamsburg with my mother. She is busy, and I walk across the street to a coffee shop. It’s small and quiet and I settle in because, like Goldilocks, I’ve found a place that’s just right. I’ve slipped soundlessly into a quiet time in my life when there is no Internet, no boys, no margin of error. I order a raspberry bar, sweet and decadent with a crumble on top. I sit and pretend – like when I go to the library where my mother works – that I am a part of this sophisticated university with a very nice book, a small treat and all the time in the world to myself.

 

  1. I board the #6 Broad Street bus on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It hums and rumbles and moves, a stormcloud that makes its way back and forth, east to west across Richmond. I sit alone, forehead pressed against the cool glass, scanning the passing faces and bodies, shops and sidewalks. It’s neither too hot or cold this afternoon, eventless, and the city is lazing about. All ages board, and all ages part. I glance up as I realize that the bus is stopping to rest at the farthest part from where I’ve started. The driver and I exchange glances, and something passes between us. For him: suspicion, confusion, a little wonder because it’s so clear I have no destination. For me: a question that keeps arising for months now, and that is what could be wrong with me.

 

  1. There’s a book at the university bookstore. It looks fun with bright colors and small annotations designed in the pages, like it’s been drawn in for me. It says, “Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics.” I read the first two pages and when I walk to the counter to buy it, I feel like I am breathing for the first time.  I am alone and not alone, grateful for this moment where I can touch that frantic, clawing creature in my chest and say, Shh. It’s all right. Now we know.

 

  1. The world welcomes me like a quiet friend. I walk miles in Washington DC, creating figure eight footprints at the zoo and only going to the parts of the Smithsonian I like. In San Diego, I spend countless minutes staring out at the Pacific Ocean, open my arms and let the smell of it love me like I love it. In New York, I let the busy energy carry me like a leaf, jump into cabs, jump out again. When I drive, I howl out the window. I stop when I need to, but mostly I soak. I bask. I speak to no one, and I open my ears to everything. There is no nest, there is no shell, not for me. I just go.

 

  1. We are learning to dance. Instead of steps, we have words, and I try not to step on his toes. I am waltzing around him to show the space that is necessary between our bodies, to explain how we can still touch without invasion. We are both beginning to understand that leading is an illusion, that each is dependent on the other for connection, cohesion. We can be graceful or have two left feet; sometimes there is no fixing, and we have to step away. But after a time, we always come back together, touch hands and one and two and one and two and –
Uncategorized

What Do You Do With a BA in English?

Today, a fellow writer friend of mine posted this article written by a UVA English professor. In it, he discusses why it is important for those of the currently matriculating crowd to consider a major in the same field of study I did 10 years ago. “All students—and I mean all—ought to think seriously about majoring in English,” he says. “Becoming an English major means pursuing the most important subject of all—being a human being.”

I can’t imagine what it must be like for kids going on to college these days. Granted, there’s always been a bias against this “useless degree” (which I pay homage to in the title of this post) but the screaming message of the masses today seems to be, “If you don’t get a college education in something that will get you a job with benefits effective the day after your graduation, you’re going to die.”

I moved to Pittsburgh literally after I graduated. I found a job within a week and immediately had a bit of a nervous breakdown. I jumped around to a few other positions, and soon I had a laundry list of experience. This seemed like a good thing, right?

The day I knew times were a-changin’ was in 2009. I was trying to get another job and had succeeded in getting a telephone interview. The HR representative asked me a few of the generic interview questions before getting to something I wasn’t expecting: “According to your resume, I see you have worked for two companies in the past two years. Why is that?”

I almost laughed – just almost – because I couldn’t imagine why someone would ask me why I didn’t stay at a job. I hadn’t been fired – if I had been, I would have expected some inquiry. But no, instead I was being asked why I wasn’t still working for the same company. 

I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I know what I didn’t say. I didn’t say, “Because I wasn’t happy.” I didn’t say, “Because I felt called to do something bigger with my life.” I didn’t say, “Because I wanted a change.” And obviously you can never say, “Because I want more money.” And it doesn’t matter what I did say, because at that point – I realized after the fact – the interview was over.

The American world is such now that the highest premium is placed on settling down and getting comfy. The message is short and sour: get somewhere you can tolerate, put your head down and make some money. Eventually you might be able to do something worthwhile but not until you’re debt-free. You folks looking for a college education? If you don’t get it in something useful, you’re a burden to the system.

I am so grateful for my opportunity to be an English major. When I stop too long and think a little too hard about my years in Richmond, I get this horrible, nauseous nostalgic squeeze around my heart because it was truly the years that defined me as a person, good and bad. Despite everything that was happening to me socially at that time, I always knew I was pursuing my passion and something I wanted to study.

I just want to hug all the young people who are facing the pressure to head into a program they feel like they have to be in. I want to reassure them that it’s going to be okay, that they’ll be fine if they do something different. I want to shake all the people who keep putting out those toxic articles about the rise of debt and the mistakes being made by anyone looking for an education and how lazy and self-absorbed young people are these days. God, it’s no wonder there’s such an epidemic of stress-related and mental illnesses.

Most of all, though, I’d like to tell Mark Edmundson that he’s right and to thank him for his article. If only there was more inspiring voices like his.

Uncategorized

Love Letters and Unicorns

Yesterday, that picture I did from the Last Unicorn got reblogged by Peter S. Beagle’s official Tumblr. Holy shit, guys. Do you even know the noises I made?*

Understandably, my Tumblr went…kind of insane. And in doing so, I got to take a look at the old site, and I realized…I really, really love Tumblr.

So I wrote about it here and you should read it. I feel it’s only appropriate that my little letter stay on Tumblr, otherwise it would be kind of like giving that note about being someone’s prom date to someone other than that person. Don’t worry, you don’t need a Tumblr to view it, but afterwards you might just want one. And I’m not even being paid to say that.**

*To summarize, it was kind of like how Spielberg spliced together a bunch of different animals to make the T-Rex roars in Jurassic Park. In this case, it was like…a dolphin, a howler monkey, a colicky baby and Michael Jackson.

**Call me maybe?