March 27, 2009
It is time to write a post about work. Blogging about work is an internet taboo, and several ill-fated bloggers have been fired because of it. This is not that kind of a blog post. This post is the pendulum upturn from the last post. Work is one thing, among a few others, that God has given me to help me get through this ditch of a time. Because, baby, let me tell you, if I did not have this job, I’d probably be living in my brother’s basement in South Dakota right now instead of drowning in a pool of organic juice in Santa Monica (I worked at an organic juice company before I started my new job). Not that living in my brother’s basement would be bad, only if it flooded, really, because it would be nice to just walk up stairs and be all, “Hey, family, how’s it goin’? Say hello to your muthuh for me,” and to be able to love on my niece and nephew up close instead of through commenting on pictures of them through Facebook. And it’s not that my last job was that bad either. In fact, it was pretty phenomenal in that it was very clearly a stepping stone to get to this job. Had I not worked that job, there’s no way I would be able to do this one.
SO. Today I hopped on a plane at 7:30 this morning and began a journey on my first business trip to Portland, Oregon. After getting off said plane, I decided to forgo the taxi cab fee and see if I could figure out the Max lightrail system. Some of you are laughing right now because how hard can it be to figure out a lightrail system, right? You are forgetting that you are reading the writing of a girl with intense anxiety issues. A girl who is all, “But what if I get on the wrong train car, and I end up in West Harlem?” However, living in L.A. for a year also taught this girl to combat her worst case scenarios with practical solutions: “If you end up in New York, just pay another $2 to hop on another car and come all the way back. Think how many states you’ll see in between!” So, I pulled up all these great memories of friend AA and I travelling all over London on the Underground (Mind the Gap!), and this sistah put some street savvy to work. BAM.
This sistah also didn’t get a lot of sleep last night because of anxiety issues dealing with the former boyfriend. She arrived in Portland excited and longing for adventure, and drop-dead tired. After a few hours working in the hotel lobby (I mean with a laptop and a pair of glasses, NOT fishnets and a cigarette), this girl checked into her hotel room and slept a few hours of blissful sleep the most comfortable bed this body has ever known. In between the last moment of panicking about something illogical and finally going to sleep, it occurred to her that she was getting paid to go to Portland to study all about stuff made by indigenous peoples of third-world nations. Because that is her job. And not only that, but her job is to help a specific group of women formerly enslaved in prostitution, whom she will meet in a month. A month! Because not only is it her job to go to Portland, but it’s also her job to go to INDIA! And three different, very diverse places in India, to boot.
Oh my freaking goodness, I love my life!
So, I’m not going to frost my job with a clean, white coat like the Sierra Nevadas that I flew over this afternoon. It’s a job. I am working my way up to being 50% of the staff of an organization. Like most nonprofits, we are understaffed. The problem will always be large, and the resources stretched to their limits. It’s easy for me to get anxious. My mind is like a morse code machine, constantly tapping out words, spinning out thought-bubble upon thought-bubble of information. It is easy for the thought-bubbles to turn on me and smother me. I am making a decision today, however, to put a stop to my anxiety by laughing at it. My life is too awesome to let it drown me.
Last night was a low, low point in my week, not because of my company, but because I was just stretched thin. I called best friend L to tell her about something very embarrassing I did. It was so embarrassing that I cried right afterward, alone in a bathroom, while hastily trying to pull myself together. It was the capstone of the frazzledness of this week. She didn’t pick up, so I left her a horrible voicemail, which I pray she promptly deleted. Basically, I got all choked up when her recording started, and after the beep, I vomited something like the following: “I’m having a really hard time [voice wavers and gets all high-pitched] because I just did something that was really stupid [sniffles] and it’s really kind of funny but it’s also sort of tragic and I feel really bad [laughs and sobs at the same time]. So, call me back if you get this tonight. I’ll be up late.” Later that night, when I didn’t pick up on her first call, she called again. I couldn’t pick up the second one either because I was saying goodbye to some friends, but then I called her on my way home. When I told her what I did, there were no words of sympathy, no moans of, “Oh, sweety I’m so sorry.” L busted out in the most genuine laugh. “I feel like I’m in an episode of Sex and the City,” I told her. “It was that embarrassing.” And I laughed too.
March 23, 2009
While standing in line at Trader Joe’s today, it occurred to me that every Orange County woman I see in public, not counting the women that I know personally, has an element of Fake. I will try not to be too judgmental and hope that readers will merely take this as an observation. So, maybe I ought to rephrase to be kinder: “It seems that every Orange County woman I see in public, not counting the women that I know personally, has an element of physical enhancement with which she was not born.”
Since the 1970’s, the world has not seen so many fake eyelashes. At Panera, one of the girl cashiers always brings me back to the Mary Tyler Moore Show re-runs. Just about everyone has plastic fingernails, which reminds me of that episode of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, where Will Smith keeps trying to compliment his girlfriend, only to find out that everything he likes about her is attached cosmetically. She gets angry, and with every retort rips something off her body and says, “HERE!” and when she’s snapping off all her fingernails, she says, “Here, Here, Here, Here, and HERE!” Ah, the things we remember from our youth… I have never seen so many boob jobs nor lip plump-ings gone awry in my life. Baby, we’re not in Minnesota anymore. I would be concerned that breast implants in Minnesota would freeze during particularly cold winters. Also, epic lip chappings.
The differences between L.A. and Orange County definitely abound. When I was telling an L.A. friend that we have a canal in our backyard, I expected her to be impressed at the dock and ducks and water flowing just beyond our fence. She said, “You have a backyard?!?!” There are spotlights on the palm trees right outside my house. Swans swim in the canal. The ocean is just three blocks away. Neighbors walk their little dogs, carrying baggies to clean up excrement. People talk to one another and call out, “Good morning!” from across the road. Children play in the streets. Sometimes it is as if I live at a resort, and though it is nice, I am not altogether comfortable with the idea.
This blog originally began as a chronicle of my life moving to Los Angeles. Though I love my life in Orange County and believe strongly that this is where I am supposed to be right now, part of me feels a sense of loss. I worked so hard to live in L.A. I conquered a lot of discouragement and learned and changed so much. I just miss the city. I miss the bustle and the crazy and the helicopters hovering over my neighborhood while I rush to lock all the doors. I miss that feeling of exiting off the freeway after all the chaos and traffic and honking, only to turn onto my quiet, peaceful street. A return to the familiar, to a place I was fighting to call home. I miss my friends. Oh, man. I miss them. A few have come down to visit, however, and that has been so kind. Friend K calls L.A. her abusive lover. I pine for my abusive lover, even as I smell the ocean through my bedroom window and slow down to appreciate the amazing panorama of the ocean on my 5-minute commute home from work.
Once, on a walk to the grocery store from my home in L.A., I walked underneath an underpass for the 10 Freeway and encountered the decaying carcass of a kitten, bulging in a yellow plastic bag, with fluid dripping out from it and into the gutter, Baudelaire-like. If any of you know me well, you know that I have a very hard time being around dead things, that I just want everything to breathe and have a life and blink and meow and be warm and all that. The departure of life from a body startles me… here are the remains of something that once was and will never be again. Though I will never be as obsessive about death as Tolstoy was, it intrigues me because of the dramatic and unconscious recoil I have when faced with it. I do not think about the logic behind running away from a stuffed moose head on the wall. I do not think about how crazy that former boyfriend must have thought I was when I asked him to remove the deer heads in his house before I got there because I preferred not to have them watching me. As a child, sporting goods stores would make me cry. Mom would walk me through, guiding me with her hands over my eyes. It is one of my favorite memories of childhood, probably because I felt the fear so intensely, and I still know the warmth and the dish-soap smell and the rough dryness of Mom’s hands on my closed eyelids. The hardest part about Los Angeles was that I felt like I was walking blindly much of the time, without hands to guide me, and with all these logical and illogical fears protruding from the walls and hovering over me, staring. I felt that D’s hands should have been there, perhaps not covering my eyes because I’m a little old for that now, but maybe just at his sides, walking beside me. There is this deep loneliness, this neglected void in me right now. I keep praying that God will show me how to fill it up. And perhaps that I can find someone who will again walk with me through all the dead things. I have plenty of friends who would do this, but let’s be honest, I’d like to be able to walk through the dead things with someone with whom I could procreate. After marriage, of course.
It is hard for me to blog right now. Part of me wants to join the trend of starting a secret blog, just so I can be motivated to write, but so I don’t have a name attached to all the stuff that’s happening right now. It’s just too much. It’s so hard to write about anything when I can’t write about the Thing that is constantly there, the nagging guilt, the incredible sorrow, the second-guessing, the fleeting relief… the void that is a breakup.
I hate it that so much of my self-confidence was wrapped up in him. Epic fail. Now I am bordering on Contents For a Secret Blog and will kindly back down. Oh, the anger. Oh, the hurt. Oh, the frustration and confusion and sorrow. It feels as though, this week, I should go to the ocean and do something dramatic, hoping that someone, somewhere, is filming it for the Academy Awards. For all the movies I’ve watched, I haven’t really learned much more than that on how to handle grief. Perhaps there is a “For Dummies” book on the subject. It would make a lovely funeral gift, all wrapped in black paper.
March 11, 2009
Hello, World. It has been a while.
I left work early today because I wasn’t feeling well. Allergies. I took a nap and ended up sleeping for three hours. My body is still angry about the time change. That’s probably another factor on why I’m finding it hard to sleep right now, at 12:51 a.m., Pacific time. Lately a myriad of reminders that I am getting older have been hitting me, the first being that I actually have a sleep schedule now. A sleep schedule! And my body struggles to accept adjustments in it. The second is that it’s getting a lot harder to lose weight and eat what I want to anymore. Goodbye, great metabolism. Hello, green salads.
My job continues to be amazing, though I’m entirely overwhelmed. I go to India at the end of April for 2 1/2 weeks.
My house continues to be amazing too.
My break-up is not so amazing.
And neither is my writing.