Hello from the other side

I went to Vegas as a poor 23-year-old this past week, from Saturday to Tuesday. Still seems unreal. What feels especially unreal is how well I felt I fit in. How much the lifestyle intrigued me.

One of the friends I went with scored first class tickets on the flight there. We sat down with more than enough foot room. With 12 seats taking up first class, you almost felt like no one else was on the plane. Just you and your little first class world. Offered orange juice or water. No thank you. Continental breakfast? No thanks, but thanks. Your friend will have some, though, from which you’ll sneak bites. Cereal, milk, fresh fruit, cheese, three cinnamon rolls. Free alcoholic beverage. Space. A curtain and partitions is all that separates you and coach. Hello from the other side.

12065513_10207999756697715_9034330678990809057_n

And then you fall asleep, waking up only when the plane touches ground, and you leave before everyone else–the woman with three children attached to her hips. The man with a frayed beanie. The 13-year-old traveling by herself for the first time, scanning the crowds for the safety of the relative she’s visiting. The old couple shadowed by 50 years of history and memory.

Vegas, Baby. Time to win some money–money that you never see unless you catch a ride on some rare comet of luck. Unlikely. Lost.

11181869_10207999745937446_5723764262970826120_n

On the way home, you look down from your oval window 50,000 ft. up. Coach. Trapped. The smell of body odor and breath and limited space. Complimentary soda. Headphones, and your neck pillow. A curtain and partitions is all that separates you and first class.

Hello from the other side.

There are a lot of old people at Barnes and Noble…

Which has nothing to do with the theme of this post… Well, sorta.

hgvbjkmkl

I’m not offended by it. It’s comfortable actually. There’s just something about old people that makes me feel all warm inside. Maybe there’s something about them that gives me hope. They’ve lived such long lives, and yet, they’re still out and about… and smiling. They’re still incredibly interested in what the world has to offer. I hope at 87, if I make it there, I’m still high on life. Or let me rephrase… I hope by the time I’m 87, I’m MORE high on life than I am now. I hope to look back and have no regrets. Fat chance, right? You wish, Steph.

As I write this, I realize I’m setting myself up for incredible disappointment. What am I actually doing with my life? I’m sitting at a Barnes and Noble doing work for a job that has me sit for eight hours a day. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE my job. I get to travel and see AMAZING places. But does it fulfill me? I like to think so. But will it fulfill me in the long run? Will I look back and feel satisfied? Will I employ hindsight and then settle into a big, fluffy, metaphorical arm chair with a sigh of contentment and a smile of pleasant finality? Right now, I fear that isn’t in the cards for me just yet. I need to do something. Something more.

I need to do something that scares me, but something I’m ready for. Like move to Ohio? Maybe? My aunt seems to think she can get me a job up there. Could that be something I do in the next year? Move six states away from my family? Can I actually do that? The thought terrifies and excites me at the same time. But isn’t that the beauty of life. Shouldn’t I do the things I fear in order to experience the thrill of living?

The Old Man and the Sea

I just finished reading Ernest Hemingway’s famous baby novel, “The Old Man and the Sea” just the other day…

Initially, into the first few sections, I wondered, “Ok, so what’s all the fuss? Why is this book even famous?” And then the old man snagged the Marlin. The battle ensued, until finally, FINALLY, he reeled that sucker in. And I actually felt pride for the old man–for the old man who could have easily settled for retirment years ago. Who says being 65 means you should stop confronting the hardship of life? Who says turning 70 means you shouldn’t try? Who says being 120 classfies as the age to “put up your sword”?

With bloodied hands, the old man allowed himself to catch his breath. The marlin tied up beside him. Nearly 30 feet in length. The simplicity of Hemingway’s words parallels the simplicity of the story, the environment, and the theme.

And then come the sharks. I did not expect this.

And by the time there was nothing left of the great marlin but a skeleton, I felt the deepest sort of disappointment in my gut. Even after the first shark took its hold and tore away a chunk, the marlin lost its purity. And I think the old man felt it, too. Plenty of meat still clung to the fish, but suddenly the meat that was left became even more precious. I guess it goes to show that no matter how hard you work for something, once you get it, you can lose it just like that. In the blink of an eye, all your hard work gets lost down the drain of life. As if nothing mattered. As if your bloodied hands stand for nothing at all. And as your only witness, you come to accept your life, all those trials and tribulations that, in your mind, could be recorded as epic tales, as a blip on the chain of existence/history, too small to see with the naked eye. You come to accept that you are in fact no one at all–just the main character in a story no one will ever read, other than yourself, that is.

Phew. What a good book. I have a soft spot in my heart for short, simple books packing HUGE universalaties. Word? Whatever.

Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

I feel guilty that I’m not you….

Listful Thinking

I’m feeling bad right now because I haven’t posted anything here in weeks. MONTHS, MAYBE.

I know it doesn’t really matter. Nothing was riding on this. No one was staging a hunger strike to get me to write, or holding people hostage, or sending me threatening notes. It’s not a big deal, or even a little deal. In fact, the word deal should not be brought into it at all. Nevertheless, it’s hard to look my blog in the i’s, especially since it turned five in September and I wasn’t even there for it.

View original post 598 more words

My birthday was yesterday…and I think you’ll want to hear this

I don’t like surprises–specifically when I know they’re going to happen. The anticipation is too much for the curious cat inside me to bear/bare(?). I warn you to never lead on about something you don’t want me to know about because I will nag you until you’re on the ground, whispering soft reassurances until I finally leave you alone.

My boyfriend, Tim, in an attempt to shut me up for that very reason, right out told me, a week before my birthday, that I was going to have a surprise party, or rather a surprise dinner with all my friends. Well, that’s cool, I thought. I wondered why he told me, but hey, I can’t blame the guy. I’d tell me, too.

I’ve had to act surprised before, in a similar scenario, and I’m just not the best actress in my opinion. Plus, failure makes me anxious. So I figured we could just tell everyone that I knew about me knowing the surprise. That way, we’re all off the hook. No more pretending, right? Wrong. He didn’t want me to speak a word. With that being said, I totally did speak a word. To my best friend and my roommate. And for about a week, I let the others I knew were coming pretend to not know anything. Ha. Ha. Nudge Nudge. Yeah I know you know about something you know I know… Wink. Wink.

My birthday rolls around and I’m getting a kick out of this Aloof Game everybody’s playing. I’m feeding off of it, and totally playing along. You should know, I LOVE my birthday. The attention. The pampering. I’m not afraid to admit it. On my birthday I am allowed to act a princess. Period. I couldn’t WAIT to go to dinner and it be completely about ME. Full disclosure, I got a bit aggravated with Tim somewhere around mid-afternoon for various reasons that I don’t need to go into, but it’s good for you to know. God, my writing sucks today, doesn’t it?

Anyway, we’re arguing at work and then Tim leaves to go get ready for dinner. Did I mention we work together? I meet him at his place, we argue a bit more in the car, and then we pull up to the restaurant. 6:30 sharp. For some reason, I’m feeling very emotional at this point. I think it’s because I stopped taking birth control? Anyway, Tim says, “So, you’re probably not going to like what I’m about to say, but there’s actually no one here. It’s just a you and me dinner.” My face drops. “I thought it would be a funny surprise. Isn’t it funny?” I do not laugh. I immediately burst into tears. Call me a brat, I don’t care. But suddenly, my night of drinking wine in the middle of the table amongst my friends like Jesus at the Last Supper disappears. Don’t get me wrong… I love my boyfriend and spending quality time with him, but you can’t set my expectations so high only to pound them into the cement with a bat.

Well, he consoled me, told me it probably WAS a stupid idea on his part, and we went inside. Dinner was fine, mostly consisting of me drinking wine, feeling better, and telling him how stupid he was for thinking his idea was a good one. I mean, c’mon. What an idiot, right?

We were going to meet my roommate and her boyfriend for drinks afterwards, but to be honest, I wasn’t feeling it. So I told Tim I wanted to go to the work kickball game instead. On the way home, I sulked in the passenger seat as he silently drove. Conversations were short, mostly lined with sass and mostly on my part. But I felt justified.

As we pull into my apartment complex, Tim exclaims that he’s so angry he needs to work out. So he swings into a parking spot and turns the car off. “Excuse me?” He tells me again that he needs to work out to blow off steam. I’m thinking, What? YOU need to blow off steam? And I’m not getting out of this car with you. I’m in a dress!

He comes over to my side of the car, sticks his hand out, and insists I come with him. Why? I ask. Just come on, he says. Well, I start to figure something’s up. But, you can’t blame my hesitation at this point. Was he setting me up for another surprise only to pull it out from under me? I take his hand, reluctantly, and we skirt the corner of the building. My roommate is standing at the gate to our pool and ushers us inside. Now I’m really trying to put two and two together. Are there more people here? I’m looking around, searching for movement. Or maybe we’re just meeting Hannah and her boyfriend for a nice night by the fire pit. To be honest, the latter depresses me. I walk a few paces. The fire pit is lit, but there’s no one else around. Half way there, the silence breaks as a mob of people jump out from behind the pool house and yell SURPRISE!

I always thought I could read people really well. I always thought I knew how to expect the unexpected. But I did NOT expect this. Apparently I AM blinded my emotion at times. The first thing I did was look at Tim, hitting him lightly across the chest. He was smiling, like an innocent, yet guilty little gremlin. I didn’t know what to do as everyone began to edge toward me. The spotlight had never been so blinding. I smiled and put on a happy face, because I really, truly was. But guys, I had just been balling my eyes out only an hour ago. All of my favorite people were there, even those 100 miles from where I lived.

I was so happy. And I was so sad. All in the same night. I hated Tim for what he thought could have been funny, but I loved him for knowing me so well. For knowing the only way to surprise me. God, I hate him.

Do I make sense ever?

When I really sit down to write, I feel like I have so much I’m meant to say. So many stories that need to be told—not real stories. Fictional ones, but I feel this visceral urge to have these characters’ voices heard, as if they were real. Are they real? In the sense that they manifest what’s real and what’s true? Maybe the only way we can see truth is through fictional manifestation. Symbols. Tales. Satire. Archetypes. Plot. Conflict. Fables. Morals. Truth is hardly easy to comprehend so it must be done so indirectly. Does that make any sense at all? I’m really just letting myself word-vomit because I’m listening to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack with a headache.

What is humor?

Since getting back on WordPress, I’ve made it a point to follow blogs. I was looking at some this morning, and found myself really liking the humor, particularly from young woman. (See post below.) I was actually laughing while reading, something I hardly do. I don’t laugh when I read, at least not out loud. But, as I chuckled to myself at work, I did something I absolutely HATE doing–comparing myself. I thought, What is it that she’s doing to make me laugh? How is she so funny? How’d she get so many followers? Is it because she’s funny? Am I not funny? Why am I not funny? Because, let me tell you, when I go back and read some of my older posts, I want to gag on the effort I clear put into trying to be funny. I mean, to me, I’m just sad. Not literally. But my attempt at humor is just sad, which really is a disrespect to my father who, to me, is the funniest human alive. What am I doing wrong? When I write, I like to think my voice is coming through, but maybe that’s just because it’s in my head…

Maybe it’s because I write too much about depression and anxiety. Maybe I need to try telling stories. My problem is…I have a severe case of Not Able to Recall Words disease. See, the words sit on the edge of the tongue, and no matter how hard I try, they won’t come out of my mouth. So, as I’m writing, I end up settling for a sub-par word that definitely does not sound as good as what I wanted. Sadly, there’s no cure, which is rather unfortunate for a writer…

See? Look at me… I’m being all self-deprecating again…

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Loving this woman!

Listful Thinking

Everyone has nights where they lie awake thinking of every mistake they’ve ever made and cringing at the ceiling. I had one this weekend, thinking of something that happened when I was 15. It was 3am and Rational Brain — the part of me that should have said, “Look, Stephanie. That was 10 years ago. It might be time to let it go.” — had gone to bed at a reasonable hour, so it was just me and Crazy Brain hanging out in the dark, regretting everything.

Crazy Brain, as crazy brains are wont to do, decided that it was vitally important that I track down the journal I kept from ages 14 to 15 to find out what my teenage self had thought about the incident in question. Immediately.

View original post 761 more words

Why I believe the word “If” should be removed from our lexicon…

“IF only I hadn’t made that mistake…”

“IF only he hadn’t slept with that woman…”

“IF only I had been more careful…”

What do these three sentences have in common? They’re brooding. They’re analytical. They’re unnecessary. They’re dependent on the PAST. And what happens if we get stuck in the past? It increases the probabality of depression. You know why? Because we cannot change the past, and anyone who lives in the past knows the feeling of helplessness in not being able to change it. Wondering what would have happened if this or that had happened is pointless. Will it change anything? Fix anything? No. Don’t set yourself up for INEVITABLE disappointment. Having depression myself, I realize there is no easy fix, as some would believe. But MAYBE, if we ridded the word “if”….

Now, there are two dirty demons who wreak the most havoc in the brain–one we’ve already covered, meaning lucky #2 must be…. ANXIETY.

“What IF he doesn’t like me…?”

“What IF I end up going crazy…?”

“What IF I have a panic attack and my friends think I’m weird and don’t want to be my friend anymore and then I’m alone with no one to turn to and then I kill myself?”

And what do these three sentences have in common? Read above answer, but replace PAST with FUTURE. How many nights have I wrestled with that small, insignificant, fragile two-letter word? I have to admit, the epiphany for this post hit me last night, and I was too excited to start writing it. Because it makes so much sense, doesn’t it? It makes the problem sound so simple. All anxiety/depression-related issues stem from the word “if.” And, ya know, like chemicals and stuff…

Clearly, this post is meant to be a bit humorous–I realize getting rid of a word won’t take away the feelings associated with depression and anxiety. But doesn’t recognizing the connection give you some perspective? Doesn’t it prove we’re our own worst enemy? Again, I am not implying that depression or anxiety can be cured or should be taken lightly. But as a victim myself, I think it’s important to start the conversation…

If only we could figure out a way to wholly dedicate ourselves to the PRESENT, we might start living…