Archive for the ‘aging’ Category

Breaking the cycle of negativity…

I grew up knowing that my mother was different than everyone else’s mom. It was something I had to learn to accept, though to this day I’m not sure I did until this year.  I wasn’t the easiest child during those early years either. I’m sure I still am not in her eyes. But somewhere along the way from childhood to adulthood, I’ve just stopped resenting her.

This year was the first time in my life that when people asked me of my spiritual beliefs I could truly say that I was very spiritual. Maybe not in the “traditional” Southern Bible Belt way, but I pray and I put faith in more things than I have ever in my life. My head is spinning with change.  Positive change. A word so overused this year but very appropriate to my growing. Discovering who I am was never something I felt I had to journey but somehow I am on one and I’m not as scared as I thought I would be.

I’ve always loved my mother, but one word I can never put to her is the word change. She’s just not a fan. Though her words from years gone by are less harsh, they still hold weight in my heart. She is manic depressive. I have to tell myself that everyday when I think of what she may have said or what I anticipate her saying. Even though she is more well than not through medication, she still is the mother I watched have breakdown after breakdown and I for one was a child who had to grow up fast.

This morning was a breakthrough for me in all of this I’ve just written. No matter what you try to attach to what shapes my mother, beyond her control or otherwise, one word I have to associate with her is negativity. She is a wonderful woman, loving and kind and I don’t say this as a way to insult her passive aggressively. But as I move along in my path in life, and as she has so much trouble accepting much of it, her general words on it all are not supportive. For years I craved acceptance and for years to come I will have to forget about asking or wishing for it. And in growing I have to shut my mind and ears off to words that will no longer help…especially these: “You know IT runs in the family.”

Let me tell you about IT. My grandmother, uncle and mother are very familiar with IT — mental illness.  Suddenly a mention of having trouble getting out of bed or the fact that I have been working on projects to help non-profits seems all to familiar to my mother. “You have highs and lows. You always want to do different things.”  What I reminded her of is that I have a thyroid disorder as I’ve mentioned in this blog before and so does she. The thyroid has much to do with mood and all around general health. And in the mornings that I have trouble pulling myself from the covers, I don’t dread my life. I’m just tired. And through my wanting to help people anyway I can, I’m not overly simulated with mania, I just want to make a difference.

I let her know today that I have to break this cycle of negativity. We have to as our own selves. We have to make our own path and follow it even if it feels scary. Even if your family doesn’t approve. You just have to take YOUR step. No one else can do it for you. And not everyone will applaud when you take it.

Tomorrow is when I turn 30…

And I blame this distractraction for the non-stellar writing panache lately. Tomorrow I shall update you on the last day of my countdown. It may be over but I won’t stop improving.

I have to say, of all the birthdays in my life, this was one for the books. The one that I didn’t plan a damn thing and didn’t bother to remind people of the date. I just mourned. The calls have come in. “What are you doing for your birthday?” I just said, “Nothing.” There will be dinner plans but there you have it. No revelry. Just a whimper.

 I’m not really sure why I’m dreading this number. It is afterall, as many of you have pointed out, just a number. But I guess as a child and through my teens, I saw 30 as that marker of your successes, how far you have come and how far you may be going…

I definitely can say I’ve come a long way. But a not-so-shy 16-year-old unrealistically put everything into a time capsule for this age: being more traveled, finishing my first novel (*insert your own laugh track here*), getting married… She must still be in here, somewhere. I think she’s hiding from embarrassment! Or just reality…

I don’t know why we impose so much on such a seemingly meaningless number. Last year I celebrated the “death” of my 20s like it was my last hurrah…At 29 I didn’t give any thought to the 30 celebration because I just didn’t see what the celebration was about.

“Ugh. 30,”  I said and am still saying. But really I should just be happy to be alive…That’s what they tell you. “Be happy to be alive.” I am. Life is good. But they just don’t tell you how to stop dreading this kind of milestone. What will 40 feel like?

On a possibly unrelated topic, the other night I dreamt of riding horses with Amy Winehouse of all people. It wasn’t pretty like galloping. It was hard riding. Very fast. And angry. The horses were huge and majestic. I’ve probably lost it…Anyway, this could have so many odd meanings. Would anyone like to take a stab at it?

Did I mention I’ve had drinks?

Uh oh. I’m shaping young minds!

Yesterday was very serial. So much so that I forwent writing about the city council here or Ellen’s stupid crying about a dog (topics I planned to write about today.) I woke up this morning still thinking about it so I decided to write.

I was asked to speak to a high school in the community I cover. I always get nervous when I’m asked to do these things. Because today’s teens are definitely not yesterday’s teens — they know so much more and don’t tolerate the same things we used to. I also get a little nervous because being that I’m still fumbling along in this industry, even though in a much better role now, so I just can’t help wondering how in the world am I supposed to shape young minds about journalism when I’m still trucking along myself. I’m not a shy person as I’m sure you have guessed but knowing these two things when I’m in front of a classroom gives me the shakes.

Also they had to take notes. So the moment I started talking — I stopped. Then laughed that they had to take notes. Good start so far. Everyone laughed right along. I told of my triumphs and many tribulations — as I believe the teacher had wanted me to. I even revealed that I was a cocktail waitress for a time while freelancing. I gave them the goods. And man the questions they asked! Even the teacher. I tap-danced through some of them because they were along the lines of “what will happen to journalism’s integrity.” Hum…I wanted to have our official bigwig next to me for some of those questions, but I managed and heads nodded and notes were written. As I gave many of my answers I kept thinking, “Is that me saying this?” because they weren’t exactly bad or ridiculously misguided. I think I did alright and a lot of the girls said they liked my outfit, which was the most important thing for me to get right before walking in the room. You know how teen girls can be about fashion!

It just didn’t seem that long ago that I was in their place, sitting there listening to a guest speaker. Very serial and it struck a cord in my heart because I envied them so much. Just to be in that school desk, knowing what I know now would be a gift. I even told them so. I warned them of everything in this industry and the plus of the whole “high” of it. I warned them to take all the classes I didn’t — video editing, page building. I pushed them on internships and the importance of knowing what you have a passion for over the money it can bring. And they seemed entertained and hopefully left with their heads no longer in clouds about how quickly they will be in a significant role in their future careers.

Once upon a very long time ago, I wanted to be a teacher. But as things pushed along (a broken engagement and some hard-knock lessons learned) I wandered down to the basement of my college and filled out the application to be a reporter for the school paper. Addicted ever since except the small moments in which I’m in a classroom. This will sound very sappy so I warn you, but somehow being in that room with bright, eager faces ready to learn, I wonder what I may have missed not being teacher and what kind of one I would have been.

Technology and the loss of innocence

Someone should figure out how to bottle innocence. Once in a tightly sealed and hopefully decorative container, it should reside behind a glass shelf that reads in all red cap letters: IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS. Driving to my parents’ house usually brings my mind to way too many thoughts. It’s not a very long drive, but long enough and passes through enough traffic to make the mind wander.

Usually when I reach the town they live in, I’ve already relived high school. This usually means I’ve made the mistake of listening to the older pop/rock stations and heard something that reminded me of that time or this time with so and so and what’s-their-face. It becomes even a more sad affair when I decide to make a detour to one of the millions of local Sonics for a quick slush. Why? Because I usually pass my old high school. Or go down a street I had driven years ago to get back home, only it had a few less churches and strip malls then. I just start thinking…

Today I started thinking about innocence. And what, like I mentioned, would happen if I could drink such sweet nectar as our lost innocence in case of an emergency. My emergency would be to erase how technology has made communication so damn impersonal. Even though as you would figure it, technology should make things easier — more communicative. Easier, yes. More communicative, no. I’ve lost relationships via email. Lost them over the Web. Destroyed them in text messages. What happened to communication? The good old fashioned kind? I would settle for two soup cans and string if that would get me to it better. What happens when we get so advanced we forget humanity? Break out the label-makers because yes, you can label this as very idealist and sappy. But can you answer this question? Have you even thought about it?

Not only that, things get misinterpreted all the time when they aren’t said. For example a recent text I got from a guy who is trying to get back in my life (not sure if I’m really into that idea anymore) said something about “no strings attached.” Upon closer reading I realized he meant that comment on his end not mine. He meant, “Just let me take you to dinner, no strings attached.” I had to re-read this because there was a misplaced comma but it might as well be passivity in language, lack of spell check…things just get lost. The same can be said when you are angry. Once you have sent that message it’s gone and more than likely you will not get a chance to explain yourself verbally, in person or with those soup cans.

We rely so much on things that aren’t breathing. Somewhere we lost our bottle of innocence. The essence of what is pure. Our youth. We have grown so old and above ourselves. We put the gospel on the words we read on little LCD screens, monitors — the underside of your flip phone. There is no second story or forgiveness once it’s all out there. There is no discussion. Well, there is this forum of communication — blogging. We use our blogs as an open dialog stream of consciousness where everyone can come in and have their say. We use our blog as a reciprocal place to meet wits. But even this wonderful vein of technology can only mimic the real thing. In the end there is just no comparison to the spoken word. It came first. It is the skeleton of it all. The point of it all. I only hope it doesn’t get buried in pixels, bytes and coding!

I hear assistant living calling

I just had one of those moments I dread.

I’m guilty of a little short-term memory every now and then. We all are I suppose. But I just did something I’ve feared my whole life. I repeated myself. When I say repeat, I don’t mean verbally. I mean that I printed off an email. Put it in a folder. And then went to the copier 15 minutes later looking for it as if the prior actions never happened. I asked a co-worker who was leaving the printer if he saw it and he said no. So I printed it again only to file it back in the folder I had filed the earlier one already.

Hello geriatrics. Please save a bed for me.

“You have 10 profile views…”

Once upon a time in the land of pseudo optimism, I opened an account on a dating site — even though I pride myself on being independent and embracing my single life (*snickers a little…*) I know. I know. But gee, I just ran plum out of places to meet guys I would eventually have nothing in common with. Go figure.

At the time I opened the account it was after a few people in my life convinced me to put myself out there, so I did. Just to see what it was all about. However I’ve since neglected the profile pretty much because I refused to waste my cold cash for the “pleasure” of contacting/responding to an I’m Online smiley face. But because I never turned the email feature off, I was still getting email alerts every time I got profile views or if someone sent me a message. I should have deleted it sooner but left it up just to see what would filter in — partly for laughs but mostly for curiosity.

It’s kind of sad though. One: To even have the profile in the first place. Two: To realize online the same thing you realize in “real” life — looking kind of sucks. I figure it’s just better to lie low and see what happens in your day to day bustle. Well that and the messages below are from guys I’ve attracted and they weren’t a strong case for going the online route. Please note that I have not altered a single word except any phone numbers or “real” names. And nine out of ten of the guys who contacted me were well over my age range (no offense to any readers of a certain age!)

Bonjour and you are joli. Here it is a Sunday night and I have long since been awake. And as I met the Lord this morning in the stillness of this days awakening-I ask Him once again Lord, will today be the day that I find a friend who is looking for me? So after viewing your profile, I ponder for awhile to pay this fee, please allow me to introduce myself I am Chef Joey I am a man who has many gifts and have already reached several of my goals. My life and my love for God have moved me into Next Dimension thinking. “A Man of substance, a hard working man and I do put in many long hours, oh and a character, I get silly at time”. I look forward to the next season of my life, with the one, He prepare for me. I am a classic romantic. Small notes on a pillow, surprise warm baths and hot oil for a weary day. If you want to be romance and spoil, that I can do. I have shared some of my thoughts with you; won’t you take the time to share a few words with me? As I stated in my profile I am open to a real conversation, via telephone. Online chatting/emailing back and forth does absolutely nothing for me. Talk with me, I’d love to hear your voice my number is 555-555-5555.

Signed A. Guy I Need a Translator For AND Probably Needs a Green Card

Prove you wrong? Hmmmmm……….. I guess I can surmise from that, that you just naturally assume you are right . I checked out your website. You have a very discerning eye. You’re very artistic. My artistc talents tend toward the graphic. I enjoy drawing and painting a bit. I would really like to learn more about you. Please check out my profile and if you find it interesting, hit me back. I would love to chat with you.
Have a great day, hope to hear from you soon.

Signed A. Guy Who Said He’s Looking for a Dark-Skinned Beauty (AND WELL OVER 50!)

Granted my profile headline did say, “creative cynic, prove me wrong.” Cheesy, I know. And this guy’s about the most intelligent message I had received. But did I mention he was/is looking for a dark-skinned beauty? WTF???!?!?!

Nice essay…obviously an intelligent, interesting lady. I could probably shoot some stick w/ya…we’ll chat soon…

Signed A. Guy Who Took My Love of Pool to New and OBVIOUS Heights

Hi ,I’m (bleep) i like your pic(s) & profile a little about myself i’m spontaneous,fun loving & witty. I’m open minded and eclectic I enjoy meeting new people going to new places and doing new things.I’d love to hear your story if open to talking drop me a line ….. …have a great day……ciao!

Signed A. Guy I Can’t Believe Signed A Message with Ciao

I could go on but that would just be wrong. It’s only a small taste of the messages I got. You know how Seinfield would be so damn picky about his dates and would find the dumbest things to dump them over? Well I’m not sure if I was really being picky by not responding to these guys but I do know I got the creeps. And even though looks aren’t everything, how hard is it to get a photo of you that isn’t in front of your Driver’s Select  BMW or out of focus, or taken with a cell phone, or obviously from 1985? 

As 30 rears it’s hopefully lovely head, I wonder if I can nab me an 80-year-old hottie who likes billiards, black women and needs me to send money to his far off land so he can come marry me proper.

Wow. I make a really pissed of cat.

Self discovery in a drug store

After work today, I stopped by a local CVS to pick up some photos I had developed.

I don’t shoot film anymore but during the move I discovered three disposable cameras. I shudder at the thought of ever using such awful creations of photography EVER again. The lighting always sucks. Whatever flash built in is mediocre. There is no possibility of a “macro” shot. But I was still curious as to what was on those archaic things. Two of them didn’t have an exploration date — one of them did and it was well past the date of when I decided to have them developed.

I knew what was possibly on them — I knew that at least two of them were from a trip I took about three years ago or so with an ex to San Antonio. The other was a shear mystery. (All of which is why I went to CVS over a better photo shop. Why waste good money?) So given the possible context of the two, I seemed to not think twice about leaving the poor suckers on the passenger seat in my car while I was typing away at work. That was dumb I know but that’s what I did.

So today was the big reveal. I only got about 30 images total that developed. That was either because of my obvious stupid flub about keeping them in the car or the years of neglect in drawers, (possibly a glove box) and cardboard boxes. But alas there they were. Thirty photos of nothing that special: A few pics of me and the ex, some rock formations from the Natural Bridge Caverns in San Antonio and some photos from a birthday party/drag show.

I stood there looking at them after the lady at the counter explained why they didn’t all turn out. I’m used to digital now. The age of film is lost to me. I said my “thank yous” and left the store. When I reached my car I sat a while with those photos in my hands, shuffling them and staring at each strange image. I couldn’t help muttering to myself, “Whose life do these images belong to?”

All the faces in those pictures are no longer who I see. The activities from all of them seem distant memories. Since those photos I’ve made a new life with new people in it. All the while I keep no contact really with anyone in those shots I spent all of $12 and some change to get developed.

I make new memories now. But I’ve been looking back a lot lately of who I was before and who I decided to spend my time with — and still I wonder, who the hell was that?!