Friday, December 30, 2005
But... *sigh*. What is one to do? See, I have this disease. It is called "I Am Entirely Too Nice To People Though I Pretend to Be Cold Hearted and Mean but With People I Genuinely Love I Truly Wear My Heart on my Sleeve Since it Seems Entirely to Big to Actually Fit in my Chest Cavity". It is very serious, as is obvious by it's multi-syllabled name. (I am fairly certain that's not a word. Anyway...) Because of this, I try to be that best friend-sister-associate-girlfriend person that never judges so that people never feel badly about talking to me when they need someone to talk to. Because I would feel like a horrible friend if anyone in my life ever felt like they didn't have someone to talk to. Take for instance Shani. When Shani wants to tell me about things she's done, trials she's had with her mom, friends that are stupid, I listen, maybe offer advice if she asks for it, certainly try to brighten her spirits with a little dry humor and threats of violence. Because, that is what I'm HERE for. I don't always agree but I try VERY HARD not to judge and certainly not to lecture because Lord forgive me if I EVER turn into my friggin' mother. And because, well Shani doesn't deserve my own ill-gotten biases or my judgement because, despite any mistake she ever makes for the rest of our lives together, she is still one of the most beautiful people I've ever had the joy of knowing. Take for instance also my sister who is, to put it lightly, spoiled as hell. AS HELL. ROTTEN some might even say. And she does and says things I would NEVER do. But she's my sister. And if she can love me through my subtle psychosis for the last four years the least I can do is not judge. I just, I guess, care about people too much. I called ex-boyfriend today for his birthday and he casually mentions that his knee is swollen. I, somehow forget that the last few months even happened and that I am not in fact his girlfriend anymore and hit him with a barrage of questions, "Did you elevate it?", "Did you wrap it up?", "Did you take something for the swelling?", "Are you going to the doctor?" (Good Lord I am my mother... SHIIIIIIIIIIT.) Here I am questioning this grown ass man who's played every sport known to man if he knows what to do with himself after coming down on his knee wrong. Geesh. Because well, I guess there will always be a part of me that wants to know that, where ever he is, he is completely and totally 100% ok. And there's yoj who shares entirely, AND I DO MEAN WAAAAAAAAY too much information with me but I can never find it in my heart to judge her or to not care for her no matter how much I may disagree. Because no matter how I've ever fucked up, she's never done more than held my hand and told me she loves me. And I mean, me and John still have a damn good relationship right? So I'm not judgmental? I don't judge yes?
But see there's this one friend I have. And I just. Can't. Take. Her. SHIT. She talks and I immediately make smart comments to make her feel bad. Because she just keeps doing the same. Dumb. SHIT. I try so hard. I do. I try to give her my same, calm, zen, rational and unjudgmental voice I give everyone when we talk about their problems but I just can't get it up for her. Especially when it comes to men. GOOD LORD WHEN IT COMES TO MEN. I swear this woman manages to find the SAME NIGGA1 in different skin EVERY SINGLE TIME she meets someone new. And it never fails, it always starts the same way, "La, he's different2. It's something about him." There is NOTHING DIFFERENT. EVER. I realize this almost immediately when she goes into her "he drives this kinda car, and has an apartment and wears this kinda clothes and has this kinda jewelry" initial description of him. What about the man himself? Does he have a career and not just a job? Does he keep his word? Who are his friends? Is he religious? What does he love in life? What is he passionate about? What kinda man is he? How does he treat his mama? No answers to these questions because NOTHING IS EVER DIFFERENT. And we all realize this immediately when he eventually becomes described as some variation on the "married-divorced-babymama-7 kids-no job-lives at home with his mama-no degree having-no ambition" theme. And I swear I try, but as soon as she comes out her mouth with them words, "Lala he's different.." I am laughing. (Oh god, I've been in the country too long- 'them words'?!? Who AM I right now?) And then she SETS ME UP. She asks me things she already knows the answer to. "He's not in school. Should I get involved with him?" No. "His S.B.M3 is crazy. Should I still talk to him?" HELL NO. "He doesn't have a job. Should we go out on a date?" Biiiiiiiitch PLEASE. Just STOP IT. You people know I come equipped with no tact, no airbags to make anything easier. Stop asking me things you DON'T want the answer to.
It just astounds me really. How such a successful, grown ass, "got my shit together", beautiful, smart woman as herself keeps getting involved with these D.A.N.s4 It is just so completely beyond me. And I try not to judge her, try real hard but I SWEAR she is the stupidest sista with a degree I have EVER met. When it comes to men. And family. And finances. And.. SPORTS5. Which personally drives me crazy because I believe that as a HUMAN you must have at least a working knowledge of sports, especially if you're gonna be one of those women who pretends to like sports just to pull a man as she does.
Anyway, I digress...Maybe I am just exceptionally hard on her. This is her theory, that I am exceptionally hard on her and lighter on my other friends. I don't think its true... I'm pretty hard on everyone I love. If not with my own issues then DEFINITELY with making them live beyond theirs. Because I know what great people I have in my life, I KNOW what they are capable of. And I will not let themsettle for less just to appease them and hold their hand as they get hurt through the same STUPID SHIT.
So maybe I am judgemental? Am I? I would like to think not. As stated above, I try REALLY hard not to be. Maybe I am failing. Or maybe she just makes it too goddamn hard to be my usual understanding, patient and compassionate self when she keeps bringing these grilled out6 having, trapstar7 life living, Impala pushing, no bank account having, 3 crazy baby mama having, no ambition, ain't 'bout shit niggas for me to meet. Ok I'm kidding...about the grill. But come on?!?! How many more "Lala he's different"s can I take?!? I'm just one tiny little Cowboys fan people!! All I want in life is some waffle house, a little bit of dry humor and to see the Heat win a ring. Oh, and expensive shoes. GOT TO HAVE my expensive shoes. (At recount I was up to 303 now I believe. I think this is officially a sickness.) Is that too much to ask? WHERE in that equation do you see "other friends' unnecessary drama that she brings on herself repeatedly and in the same fashion"? Was it behind the expensive shoes? Did I miss it?
So am I being to harsh maybe? Am I judgmental? Or am I just a bitch? You be the judge. I'm tired of it.
La's Country Grammar Dictionary
1. nigga- n. or adj.usually a male but occasionally a female who is a cheating, lying, no good, no job having, hustling, bullshitting, fast talking, no ambition, manipulative, no morals having blight on the population of the rest of us upstanding black people. You can find an example of a nigga here.
2. different- adj.usually found spoken in invisible quotation marks to be takenwith a grain of salt as "different" generally denotes someone exactly the same as the last 5 losers she has dated
3. S.B.M.- n.acronym for 'Super Baby Mama'; a woman who has not just one child with a D.A.N. (see below) but multiple children with one as if trying to become some type of child birthing superhero. For more information please go here.
4. D.A.N.- n.acronym for 'Dog Ass Nigga' which can find its roots in disgruntled Howard females generally disgusted with what Howard and DC has to offer by way of men who are not niggas, don't have an STD and/or aren't gay. You can find more information about these men here.
5. Sports- n.generally considered anytime of aerobic activity done for competition including but not limited to, basketball, football, baseball, hockey, soccer, boxing and generally doesn't include sex unless it's with a trapstar (see below) Additionally, some of these sports even form entire leagues according to the type of sport played including, the NFL, NBA, NHL. You can find more information on this phenomenon here.
6. grilled out- adj.a plate in a person's mouth adorned with platinum, diamonds, gold, silver or other jewelry as decorations on the teeth as a flashy display of wealth. see also acronyms 'stupid' and 'ghetto'
7. trapstar- n. or adj. generally denotes someone who's occupation is classified as a "street pharmaceuticals distribution agent" commonly referred to as a drug dealer. You can find more information about this here. And here. Oh and here too.
Monday, December 26, 2005
This time of year causes me to think about this time of year in years gone by. Right now I'm thinking of 2 Christmas holidays in particular... last year and when I was 15. Last year, I spent Christmas morning not sitting around a tree drinking cider and opening presents with my family but rather naked in my bathroom, shower turned up high and on the phone with Almost Fiance in tears because a child of divorce is never really allowed to grow up so long as she still has parents that will fight over who she gets to spend the holiday with. Fights with the family (I mean physical fights), separation from the man I was in love with at the time and facing his impending deployment to Iraq, a huge argument with my mother and still feeling like I was 5 years old and caught between to bitter parents...ahh yes, the joys of the holidays.
Then there was the Christmas I was 15. And I got to visit my mother in the hospital. Not one of those kinds where the nurses are kind old ladies with blue hair who sneak you extra pudding. I mean one of those sterile hospitals where they strap some patients to their beds in pretty rooms with soft walls and take your shoelaces from you as they'd done my mother. Fun times I say!!!
And that brings us to this Christmas, which, while uneventful, still came with it's own set of issues. Awkward phone calls to people I didn't wanna call but knew I had to anyway lest I get cussed out (yuletide tidings!!!), weird family stuff, a call from Mr. Wonderful during which I might have broken his heart a little (more on that in a later post). And then we went to my aunt's house. Not one of the crazy ones who is actually related to me but rather my mama's best friend who has been greater to me than those whose blood I actually share. When we get there, I sit down to eat (because apparently, I'm too small and must not eat in DC-hardly) and I begin talking to the older woman who is sitting down next to me. A few minutes into the conversation I realize she is deep into the furthest stages of Alzheimer's. To look at her, you would never realize that she is 90 years old and deep within the clutches of dementia. But she is. As time goes on, she becomes increasingly out of it, trying to eat inedible objects, throwing things, getting fidgety. Her daughter comes over to her and says, "Mama let's get you into bed." She stares at her blankly for a moment before she replies, "Who ARE you?"
Before I know it, I am crying and, lest I embarrass myself in a room full of strangers, I run to the bathroom. After safely hiding behind the door, I take refuge in the fact that I am behind closed doors and I let the tears fall. The truth is, I am not crying for the confused woman sitting in the dining room. I am crying because she makes me think of my own grandmother who passed last year.
My grandmother was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen with my own two eyes. And I'm not just saying that because she was mine. As a young girl she was the kind of beauty that made people openly stare. Even when she got older, as her hair turned gray and she began to get sick, there were still traces of the girl she used to be in her features. And she was funny. In a wry, sarcastic smart ass kinda way. There wasn't a person in a 50 mile radius who could match wits with her because not only was she witty but she was smart. There's a few more things you should know about my grandma... she was kind. And generous. She raised herself, her brothers and sisters, her own children and some children that weren't even hers without complaint. She was fiercely independant. Even into her old age rather than begging someone to take care of her she would get it done herself in her own way. She never compromised herself. Never degraded herself. And she made the best damn cheese toast this side of the Missssippi.
I loved my grandma. Although I'd never admit it openly to anyone in my family, we all know I was her favorite. She took care of me when I was sick, fed me my favorite foods, taught me to cook, how to sing, played with me and talked to me like I was a grown up. (She also fostered in me a deep and abiding love for crossword puzzles and All my Children.) She lived so much life and shared so much of it with me so generously, that I only hope to grow up and be half the woman she was. I loved her fiercely.
Which is why I hope she forgives me for the way I treated her in the years before she died.
Right before I went to college, my grandmother started getting sick. Triple bypass surgery, diabetes, pneumonia, couple of heart attacks. To me, those were nothing. I never feared her dying. To me, she was too strong for that. Those were just minor things. I'd visit her at her bedside in the hospital (one of the only people in this world I will step foot in a hospital for) and she'd smile and take my hand and say in her deep country drawl, "I know everyone is scared. But that's because they don't know no better."
And we'd smile, and laugh and a few days later we'd be back to cooking cheese toast and singing in the kitchen. The day I graduated from high school she looked so beautiful in her white suit, one of her signature big hats that older women from the south seem so fond of. She, my mother and I were getting ready to take a picture, 3 generations of beautiful women, dressed in white, smiling, laughing, enjoying each other. My grandma grabbed my hand and looked me square in the eyes.
"Candace," she hissed. "What are we doing?" I looked at her strangely, confused. My cousin, Candace, wasn't even in the house.
"Grandma why did you call me Candace?" She looked at me a moment. "Girl you know what I meant."
I did know. And it scared me.
In the years that followed, I watched her slip more and more away from her magnificant self. She became more forgetful, more fidgity, more easily aggitated. The kind woman I knew became prone to terrible mood swings, fitful bursts of anger at the smallest provocation. She was not herself. She began to forget where she was, where she was going. She'd leave the house and wander down the street until a neighbor saw her and brought her home. She began to forget our names and our memories. And it hurt me so badly to see her begin to lose herself to the onset of this disease and it hurt me to know that she would, one day soon, forget all the dear memories I held so close to my heart.
I am not proud of myself for my behavior. I pulled away, wouldn't return her calls, was short with her when we did talk, would avoid seeing her on my trips home, which became more and more sporadic for that very reason. I tried to make myself forget all the good memories because I didn't want to become slave to them, to live in them while she slipped further and further away from my grandma who taught me how to press my hair and make peach cobbler. I just couldn't handle it. And I treated her so badly for so many years. I am beyond disgusted with myself.
My junior year of college my mother called me, told me I was coming home to see my grandmother because she wasn't doing well. She gave me the no-nonsense tone she rarely uses on me because it rarely works and I started packing my bag as soon as she got off the phone. I slept fitfully that whole night and when I arrived in Atlanta, I was nervous, palms sweaty, heart beating irregularly. I couldn't sit still in the car on the way to the nursing home we eventually had to put her in.
"Hey Vickie," she said to my mother in a weak voice as we walked in. She looked beyond her and to me. Stared at me. And I saw it there in her eyes; she didn't know who I was. Had no clue. And I swear my heart broke in half. After a few moments and a little bit of prompting she remembered who I was and we tried to continue on with the conversation as though nothing had happened. But the damage was already done. I began to realize that my grandmother wouldn't make it a year to see me graduate from college as she'd never done, she'd never see me get married or have kids or babysit them and sneak them candy from her purse that always smelled like juicy fruit and peppermint. She'd never see me win any awards or be there when I needed parenting advice or when I wanted to know how to make a peach cobbler for my own family. And I... well there are no words for how sad I felt that day. I vowed that I would come home for Thanksgiving and I would spend so much time for her, singing and talking to her and doing crossword puzzles that she would beg me to leave.
Thanksgiving never came for her.
Just a week later I was back in Atlanta, this time standing outside a hospital room with the rest of my family, debating whether or not we would take her off the life support that was sustaining her. After she passed, the days flew by in a blur. I could hardly convince myself to be part of the planning and before I knew it we were at her funeral. I never cried until the moment they took her casket out of the hearse. It was so small. And for a woman who, in my eyes, had the power to harness sunshine and run through raindrops without getting wet, for someone who lived so much life for so many years, it just didn't seem fair that somehow her whole life was supposed to be wrapped up in this one little box. I cried. I cried for hours. I cried through the church service and all the way to the cemetary. I cried when they put her in the ground and when they threw the first shovel full of dirt onto her beautiful head. I cried when I threw a yellow rose (her favorite) down into the ground with her and realized that was the last time I could ever give her flowers. Because there, on the steps of the church she took me to when I was a little girl, as they carried my grandma past me in her casket, I realized that I treated my grandma so horribly and it must have hurt her so badly. And I don't know if I can ever forgive myself for that.
Today while I was sitting there, watching them carry the little old woman to her room, I wanted so badly to get up and run from the house. I wanted to go to my grandmother's old little white house and find her right inside the screendoor, staring out into the neighborhood, fly swatter in hand, apron on, long gray hair pulled back in a bun. I wanted to walk into her small kitchen and cook and sing hymns and and do crossword puzzles and sneak peppermints from her purse. I wanted to listen to her when she talked, watch All my Children with her and yell at the TV and talk about what I wanted to be when I grew up. But I can't. Not anymore. And I shoulda been doing it when I had the chance.
Noelle, who has a great blog over at A Most Livable City, posted this about her grandmother not too long ago. And it really hit home. I too, wish that I'd told the La from so many Christmases ago that things were going to slowly begin to change and that, before I knew it, time would have gotten too far away from us and I would have done things that I would regret. I wish I'd had the foresight to see that it wasn't just about me, it was about us, our memories, our beautiful relationship, not just the hurt I was feeling. I wish I'd not been so selfish. I wish... I just wish I could have told me the things I know now.So, maybe you don't like the holidays all that much. And that's ok. I don't either. But spend a little time with your family and the people who love you like family. Because you only have one. And even with their faults, their irreplaceable, priceless. Play that video game with your little brother, learn that recipe from your mom she's been trying to teach you, watch that football game with your dad. Because tomorrow, you may be throwing yellow roses into the ground. Don't miss what you have already. Don't let go of the opportunities to make right the things that you took for granted, that you made half attempts at correcting. Just do it. Just be there, be present and commit it all to memory. Don't lose out on this time just because you're busy or you're tired or they irritate you. One day you'll give anything to be able to do those things you'll wish you'd done.
I know I would.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
#1: On a purely egocentric note... how do you know me? I haven't even made my first movie yet and people already know pointless trivia about my life. Have I met you? Have we had a conversation? Or do you make it a point to know personal details of other people's lives whom you've not actually spoken to? I guess me and Shani reached our goal... we shared our random overheard-s and got a little under some peoples' skin. Really, that's all I want in life.
#2: You will notice that above this particular post, there are 5, yes FIVE, HIGHLY racist posts that we put up. Or I put up and Shani laughed at. Of those 5 posts, we got 1, yes ONE comment. From ONE post about this organization, we get THREE comments. Where is our head at people? Racism is about to be made into a LEGAL mental illness so that the people who tie our children to trucks and drag them for miles can get off with a slap on the wrist. People who rape our women and still burn crosses on our lawns (it happens...I've seen it. I live in the south) can get no more than community service or time in a mental hospital depending on the severity of the crime. This is about to be made LAW in our land. And from this we can get no comments? But as soon as someone makes a joke about Greek life, it is ON AND POPPIN'.
Where is our focus people? Yes, it is just a blog. Yes, the highly educated at Howard make some truly ignorant comments no matter how much book sense they're getting. But in the bigger sense of community, where is our outrage at these things? The over and above legwork to make comments about the injustices that are going on right underneath our noses while we concern ourselves with matter that are just trivial in the grand scheme of things?
Just something to think about.
Anyway, Shani and I are only two people. And more so than that we are two VERY STRESSED AND VERY BUSY people. Don't believe we're busy? I haven't seen Shani since AT LEAST homecoming in OCTOBER. This blog and AIM are our only forms of communication. So if you feel as though we are not presenting a well rounded idea of the musings of the Howard University community, please submit some of your hearings to us at email@example.com. We would appreciate it. We could use a break.
Over the holiday we're going on hiatus to b oth rest and redo the site so you'll have a whole new Overheard to come back to next semester. Please feel free to send us things you hear over the break. We'll post them as soon as we get back and figure out how to settle second semester seniors with still having lives and 2 jobs. And if you feel as though there is something you'd like to say about the things we post or the things we do around campus, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, you'll have to give me a little time to respond...it is SO HARD to respond to emails with these damn paparazzi always on my tail and the fans always hawkin'.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
When I finally did get off work, my phone rang immediately.
"So have you decided if you're coming with us to watch the game? We're going out to Jillian’s to watch it on the big screen and eat," Mr. Wonderful says on the other end.
And that was the end of that.
I'd already somewhat made up in my mind that I didn't wanna go, but even if I hadn't that would have cemented it for me. Jillian's, like many places in this city I love, holds a lot of memories for me. And whether or not I want to admit it, some of them almost feel like sacred places in my history.
I tried, unsuccessfully of course, to explain to him why I was so uneasy about going. While he was his usual understanding and gracious self, I'm not sure I came off as sane and even keeled as I would generally prefer. And after I foolishly chastised myself for being entirely too emotional and sentimental I started to wonder if maybe there should be some territorial rights after a break up.
I'm one of those people who believes that every city has a soul of sorts; it has an underlying rhythm and flow that is uniquely its own. Miami is upbeat, a beautiful city with beautiful people where sexy seems injected even into the humid air that sticks to your skin. New York is fast paced, rapid, aggressive. When I'm in New York I am hyper everything....hyper-aware, hyper-aggressive, hyper-ambitious. I am me...on full throttle because New York makes no allowances for slackers. Atlanta is the exact opposite...it is laid back, languid, and soothing. Atlanta is the place I go to regroup, to slow down, to see some people who will smile for no reason and get some REALLY good (and fattening) food. Each city has a distinct personality, a distinct rhythm, a spirit all its own.
And then there's DC. Although I've only lived here for four years, the city holds strong ties to me. I have developed a whole life in DC, thousands of memories that I cherish. And some that I haven't quite gotten enough distance from for them to not pain me, yet.
There are days when I'm walking and I'll look up and realize I'm somewhere I've been before. The details of that other time will rush in and hit me quickly, knocking me off my proverbial feet. And for a split second I am right back there, right back to who I was then, feeling what I felt. And when I come back to myself and realize that it is no more, I am so sad.
I still can't walk across the yard and look at the bench where Gay Husband and I shared our first kiss without a little twinge of something, way down low in the pit of my stomach. Hell, there are still places, some four years later, that I can't bring myself to go in Atlanta for fear that my skin will somehow spontaneously burst into flame at the sheer magnitude of the memory of something First Love and I shared. But I mean, I can't keep moving after every big break up, right?
That is what Mr. Wonderful tells me. You see, somehow IT happened. You know IT; that inevitable conversation you must have with every new person in your life about your past relationships and why they are no more. He told me to talk. So I did. I took him through the three significant relationships in my life, start to finish, no detail spared (that is kind of a lie, but you get the point). Before I knew it I was crying and I still had 3 more years to go.
He listened. And then he told me his past, which, well, it ain't sweet. And we talked some more. And it felt nice to not be pretending to not be upset for once. And that's what brought us back to DC.
“I'm really looking forward to moving. I just...can't be here anymore.”
“You can't move to a new city every time you go through a break up.”
“I beg to differ. There are a million beautiful cities in the world...and I mean even I can't go through that many devastating breakups, right? RIGHT?”
So, what are the territorial rights? For cities, for friends, for possessions. I've done the whole "give you back your stuff give me back my stuff" thing and it just seems so petty. I have, in essence, abandoned my hometown because there are almost ten years of memories embedded in the very concrete of many of those streets and sometimes I just can't bear the thought of walking on top of them.
What do you do about missing the sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, friends of your recently departed? I still talk to Almost Fiancé’s best friend. We still hang out from time to time, often going to the diner they all first took me to. And while I love him dearly and completely enjoy his company, sometimes it makes me so sad. And anxious, because I am not sure where I am allowed to tread.
Who gets what? Do you have to forego whole restaurants, areas of town, whole cities just get some closure? Must you do the whole returning of things, taking down the pictures, throwing away letters and cards things? Is there a better way other than erasing all traces of this person from your life and going on as if they only exist in purple edged memories you recall from time to time? This is the question I posed to Mr. Wonderful.
"I dunno," he replies. "How the hell do you think I ended up in DC?"
Ahh, yes. Blind leading the blind, no?
So what of it dear internets?
In the end, I got off the phone, perplexed and a little perturbed with myself for having not grown enough in all this time to learn how to better deal with issues rather than abandoning these cities I love. I mean, in essence, aren't I doing the same thing I so despised in the people who left me? Leaving quickly and without notice, only a few pieces of trace evidence left behind to prove I was ever there. Isn't that, aren't I, then, just as bad as they? And it brings the question, if there are territorial rules, then where are my roots? Am I grounded anywhere or am I still looking for fertile soil to plant firm roots in? And once I find it, will I always be the kinda woman who has to leave a city to leave the pain?
I ordered a pizza and watched my Cowboys (lose) alone. After the game was over, Mr. Wonderful called me, presumably to have someone to commiserate with about our team's pitiful defeat as he was surrounded by (sorry) Redskins fans. I didn't pick up the phone. Somehow, I felt as though there wasn't much to say that hadn't already been said. I checked the message he left. Cheery, funny...wonderful. I wanted to call him back... I really did. But...I just couldn't get it up.
Somewhere out there, my heart was still wandering the streets of DC...just not with him.
But I digress. As stirring as I'm sure that paragraph must have been for you, it is not the point of this post. It is the point of my next post entitled "Why I Keyed my Professor's Car then Tied Him to the Tailpipe and Drug him 10 Miles Down Georgia Avenue." The point of this post is what all of that madness will drive you to.
I called him.
Please stop smiling and clapping ladies.
According to the holy trinity of control in my life (Joy, Reka and Shani) I shoulda called Mr. Wonderful pretty much immediately following our impromptu date earlier this week. I, in my infinite amount of stubborness, SWORE I would not. And I hadn't. At all. Until fine arts totally stepped in. At the point where I just couldn't take it anymore and most were dealing with crisis of their own (Shani please don't ever lose your phone again) I needed to vent. And BAD. That plus the fact that, well I wanted to talk to him. So I called...
... And then I hung up when he answered.
I spent the next .47 seconds shaking my head at my own immaturity until he calls me right back. I pick up the phone and try to say hello as though nothing is wrong and he says, "What are you? 12 or 21?"
I HATE him by the way. I, of course, laugh because #1 I am being completely ridiculous because I am, in fact, 21 and not 12 and because #2 it sounds like something I would say. Plus, I just really needed a laugh. A few minutes into the conversation he tells me I sound really tired and somehow out tumbles the entire sorted story of this bullshit class which has become my life. I end it with, "And that's why I need a drink."
And we laugh. Because, well I'm funny, especially when I'm in full on charming flirty mode as I am with this man. We talk for awhile longer, and by talk I mean I vent and he laughs at me. When I tell him how many classes I'm taking (8 to the normal college student's 3 or 4) he gasps.
"How the hell are you alive?!" he asks me.
Alive? Is that what I've been?
We go on, me bitching, him laughing, for awhile. Then he says, "Where exactly on campus is this building where they let you stay there all night?" I explain to him that it is in fact the mouth to hell located at the very top of the campus therefore spewing its evilness down the steps and onto the yard. After a few more minutes he breaks up. Which I don't understand because isn't Verizon the "can you hear me now? Good!" company that can get signals even in the womb? Amidst my hellos and right before I hang up, someone places coffee in front of me. And not just any coffee, Starbucks coffee, better known as crack in a cup. I look up and there's Mr. Wonderful. He cracks me that wonderfully straight beautiful smile and looks down at me.
"I figured," he says, "that this would do you more good than a lemon drop right now."
I hate him so much.
He is GOOD. A worthy adversary. Just to spite him and to fight this blooming feeling in my stomach (damn butterflies) I say snidely, "I bet you didn't even get it right."
I sip it.
Its a grande Vanilla White Mocha, shots of vanilla, extra whip cream, no sugar. Jesus who gets that right? The strength of the coffee even with the vanilla shots tell me he went to my favorite Starbucks. I question this.
"Yes I went to your favorite one. You said their coffee was strongest."
I will of course now have to kill him.
He makes me take a break from brooding and we walk around campus. He's doing most of the talking as I am still pretty much in shock that he came all the way to my campus to bring me coffee before I cracked. I sip the liquid crack (TELL me they don't put some kinda narcotic in the coffee!!! I DARE you!!) and I feel warm from the inside. It takes me a few laps to realize its not the coffee. Its him. We talk, slow and easy, with the ease of people who've known each other for years. Then he says the words every girl is dying to hear...
"I'm a diehard Cowboys fan."
Well maybe not every girl, just me. I mean but COME ON. Did God MAKE this man especially for me?!? Lol
See, I love football. I used to just like it, but ever since I got it explained to me even more a few months back, I now LOVE it. I'm not one of those girls who pretends to like sports to seem attractive, I genuinely love them. I'm a "shut up the game is on" kinda gal. The only game I love more is basketball. Just to test him I ask him who he thinks the best player in the NBA is right now.
"Shaq of course. I mean what other player in the league right now not only has his dominance but his ability to almost singlehandedly make every player he plays with better and make any team playoff material?"
I just. Can't. Take. It.
That sounds exactly like what I would say when asked the same question. We talk more basketball, and we both agree that we're looking forward to the Heat playing the Lakers on Christmas Day more than we are spending time with our families. Its like a match made in NBA heaven.
We walk and talk more and somehow an hour has passed. I tell him I should get back, and he agrees. Then he tells me, "Me and and some of my boys and some of their girls are getting together to watch the Cowboys games tomorrow. They're all Redskins fans. I could use some backup. Wanna be my date?"
I smile on the inside briefly. And just for a second. And then I'm cold again. I could explain why but you wouldn't get it and you wouldn't care because its so small, so miniscule that it shouldn't matter but its important to me.
See... Cowboys/Redskins games are sacred to me...and someone else.
He sees my hesitation. "Look I'm not trying to pressure you. But you have to let go at some point."
And he's right.
I don't give him an answer but I'm considering it. Maybe. We'll see. I dunno. I'm not sure. Because of the team thing. Because I don't know if I'm ready to meet his friends. Because surrender is a hard concept for me to fathom right now because even partial surrender has gotten me heartbroken. But... Hmmm.... Who knows?
Somewhere in this train of thoughts he kisses me on my cheek and it catches me off guard so much that my breath catches. He lingers a split second longer than he should, and before I know what I'm doing, I kiss him. We pull away, breathless, and after a beat of silence he says, "I didn't mean-" I shush him.
"Sometimes you have to surrender."
Then I walk inside.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The Rebirth of Butterflies (Subtitle: And Then the Sky Opened up... or Something Else that Means "I Finally got It" because I Couldn't Decide)
However I said all that to say that today was the last day I will see her in awhile. We walked around campus for awhile, taking random pictures and sharing memories ("ohmigod remember that time..." *insert hysterically loud laughter here*). We stood, heads together, and fought back tears we knew were coming anyway, gave each other tight hugs and I swiftly turned and walked away before she could see the tears sliding down my cheeks and start crying too.
I walked into the building and I wanted to call someone, someone who knows me, understands my issues with separation, could maybe make me smile so that maybe I could stop crying long enough to finish my (bullshit) final. I tried Gay Husband. He didn't answer. (I think he's been screening me all day.) I tried Yoj. She didn't answer. (I think she's screening me.) I tried Shani and apparently all circuits were busy. (I think she's screening me.) And that left me with... Almost Fiance. Who, despite our current status, knows me quite well.
Before I even go through the whole ordeal of finding his number in my 500+ contacts in my phone, (yes I finally took him off speed dial and changed his ring you loser so don't start. I just can't delete it yet. Be patient) I even contemplate calling my mother. But considering I had to spend most of the last weekend she was here drunk just to cope, I don't think a highly emotional convo with her is best. So I call him and we get disconnected. I think maybe this was a sign. But I, never really recognizing signs until after they have passed, pick up the phone anyway when he calls back, frantic that something has happened to me. I will spare you the details but it was an excruciatingly (is that a word?) awkward 20 minute conversation. When I got off the phone, well I just wanted to feel something, ANYTHING. But nothing. Just numb.
And then it hit me. I finally got it.
I. AM. SINGLE.
I don't think I really got it before. The last couple months since we broke up have kinda passed in a blur... I don't think I really understood until that very point that we weren't together anymore.
And strangely, I felt better.
So I did something I had been putting off and trying to convince myself I didn't wanna do for a couple weeks. I looked in my purse, got a card out of my wallet and I made a phone call. And I...
Made. a. Date.
With a boy.
A straight one. (Isn't it sad I have to put that?)
After I hung up, the strangest thing happened...
I got butterflies.
Right down there in my tummy like you do when you're nervously anticipating something with a little excitement thrown in? Yeah all that. And then...
After finding out I did most of my (bullshit) final wrong, I went home and started getting ready. I put on some music, picked out some cute-I'm-not-trying-too-hard-but-I-still-want-you-to-be-impressed-clothes, did my makeup and my hair (which surprisingly I'm starting to re-like; we'll see if it lasts once I get my roots touched up next week). He called and told me he was downstairs, I grabbed my (new) coat because its freezing cold and I actually RACED down the stairs. Two at a time no less. Lest I look like a loser, I regained my composure at the door and walked out into the cold night air. Before my (beautifully) heeled feet could hit the concrete he jumps out of the truck, comes over to me, hugs me, and walks me to the car. He OPENS MY DOOR (who says chivalry is dead) and goes around and gets in. He looks at me for a moment before he puts the car in drive.
He says, "You have the most beautiful skin of any woman I have ever seen."
It catches me off guard because it comes so quickly and without shame. And because it isn't your typical guy "you look real nice" compliment. I blush at least 382 shades of pink and tell him thank you in a jumbled stammer. During the car ride to the Thai place (who told him I liked Thai? 5 points) we have easy, effortless conversation. And MY GOD this man is hilarious. For someone who is supposed to be all straitlaced and serious by nature he is making accountants look really good right now.
We get there (not Thaiphoon unfortunately) we order, talk alot more and our food comes. And...it. sucks. So what does he do? Instead of getting all bent outta shape about this date not going exactly as planned he says, "I've got a better idea," and we end up in Adams Morgan eating huge, greasy pizza slices. (1,000 points for fun and rolling with the punches)
We walk around for awhile, as much as the cold will allow, now the conversation even more loose, lingering on the side of flirty a touch longer than before. We talk about how we met (I will spare you the movie-like details) and somewhere the convo turns serious. I tell him a little about me, my family, Almost Fiance, school, enough about me that it can be uncharacteristically open of me and not so much that I feel exposed. He does the same. And I feel good, somehow less burdened about the issues I know I have and trying to pretend they aren't there. He is easy with them, handles them with care. When I finish my little speech he says, "Ok. I won't push you."
Yeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssss for that answer.
He drives me home, loud uproarious laughter spilling out of the sunroof I insisted he open so I could see the stars. We get back to my building and I go to answer my door. He gently pulls my hand away, jumps out, comes around and opens it for me and helps me down from my lofty perch in the passenger seat. (SUVs are damn near impossible for tiny people to get in and out of in heels. 5,000 points for the little things.) He walks me to my door, hands me the remains of my uneaten pizza and looks me square in my eye (which few men can seem to do. Another 1,000 points for confidence). I am nervous because I know that even though I have enjoyed the night I do not want him to kiss me, I am not ready for that kind of intimacy. His gently places his large hands in my hair, fitting perfectly in place inside the curve of my head. He tenderly pulls me closer and I draw in my breath softly because I know I am going to pull away and that rejection is going to hurt him. And he...kisses my forehead.
Damn all the forehead kisses there ever were.
I somehow make it back to my room without tripping over something, butterflies still firmly in place. 30 minutes later after I've changed and washed the city from my skin, the phone rings and he is on the other line. He says, "I know I'm obligated by the dating gods not to call til the next day but I wanted you to know I had a great time and I'd like to see you again Saturday when you're off."
Are there even enough points for that?
When I got off the phone I started thinking, thinking about readiness. My mother said this weekend, in a rare moment of profound clarity, "There is power in surrender." And I think that she is right. Surrendering myself to the knowledge that I am, in fact single, that it is, in fact over, gave me exactly what I have been looking for... peace about it. I finally got it. I am single/it is over.
And that's ok.
Granted, I am never gonna call Mr. Wonderful. I'm not quite sure why but I know myself. Part of me feels selfish is keeping Mr. Wonderful to myself when I know that I have no intentions of allowing things to get serious so he can be the wonderful boyfriend I know he would be. So maybe some other wounded woman can have him, get a little hope. Because that's what he gave me. I know I'm beginning to thaw on the inside.
He gave me back my butterflies.
And I've still got his card...
Saturday, December 10, 2005
"We as artists must be willing to delve in dark waters that many fear and do not understand. We will be called crazy, we will be called depressing, we will be misunderstood. Power comes in knowing this and choosing to do it anyway."
"I always wanted to be intoxicated with the feeling of love; I just never thought about the hangover."
~ Between Lovers Eric Jerome Dickey
"No not baby anymore/if I need you I'll just use your simple name/Only kisses on the cheek from now on/And in a little while we'll only have to wave"
~"Love Ridden" Fiona Apple
"Love is never as ferocious as when we fear we might lose it."
~The Weight of Water Anita Shreeve
"You fondle my trigger then you blame my gun."
~"limp" Fiona Apple
"Got caught in your web/and I learned how to bleed/was prey in your bed/and devoured completely"
~"Walk Away" Christina Aguilera
"You will find as you look back on your life that the moments that stand out, the moments you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love."
"Leaving, after all, is not the same as being left."
"I will not tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death."
"So I stand before you now/faulty but not broken/fragile as the break of day/and sometimes sad like words unspoken"
~"Corners of my Mind" Nikka Costa
I believe that we as beings are all divinely endowed with a certain degree
of gift of talent when we are created. It is this talent that makes us an
individual and sets us apart from others. But every once in awhile, a
being comes along that is so abundantly blessed beyond the realm of what is
normal or standard that it sets them far apart from everyone else that has ever
been made in the same vein as they. And it is this fear of seperation, of
difference that creates fear. Also, when there is someone so amazingly
endowed with talents beyond themselves, it is an amazing power. And if you
are benevolent of this power, respectful of it, do not take it for granted, you
will always be scared, fearful of what it could mean because there is a small
part of you that recognizes that wielding this power could mean that you will do
things that have never been done before you and will never be done again.
You have been abundently and divinely endowed with talent beyond even what you can imagine when you were created. I know that such a blessing can be
overwhelming and even quite scary. But do not shy away from your
blessings. Do not lay to waste what God has bestowed upon you. Wield
your power in the humble and benevolent manner that I know you to handle
everything else and I know, in my heart, that the entire world will one day be
in awe of what God has created in you. You are given power as an entity;
don't throw it away because you are scared of what you might become if you lay
yourself open to it.
That says alot I believe. People ask me all the time exactly how I can believe so mightily in the things people set out to do with their lives no matter how strange, difficult or out of the way their process may seem. And that is why.
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
What started out as a pretty damn good day swiftly went downhill about four o'clock. It started to snow. Nothing ever good happens to me in the snow. I went into work only to realize that I'd left part of what I'm supposed to wear at home in one of the 30 bags I have to carry with me everyday.
My manager tells me, "Well just go buy a new one. You need to get one or you have to go home and I'm going to write you up."
Which isn't really such a big deal. But then he insinuates that I did this on purpose. That it was all part of some elaborately planned scheme to get out of working a measley four hours.
And that's where I just lost it.
There are very few things in life that I have ultimate control over, very few things that means more to me than anything. #1 being my word. Anyone who knows me knows that I will go to the ends of the Earth to keep my word to anyone. The 2nd most important thing to me is my character. I have worked insanely hard to be a woman of good character. My work ethic, I can unbaisedly say, is better than most people I know my age. I work very hard, I try very hard and I can't stand the implication that I am anything but diligent at anything that I do. It upset me. I left my job with an attitude, only to go back home in the snow, which at this point was falling harder. I got down in the train station and I realized that somehow the snow has hit me in my face and now my face is wet. Only, I never passed back outside. I realized that I was crying. And I don't know why. I willed myself to stop, to PLEASE stop embarassing myself in public but the tears kept coming. My train came, I got on it, and hoped to God that I could keep my face down long enough to shield my tears from the other passengers who were alraedy begininng to look at me strangely. It didn't work. I kept right on crying, now just completely enraged at myself not only for crying but for doing it in public among all these strangers who didn't know me and, worse, didn't care. They all looked at me with sad eyes, some with disdain, some with pity but no one moved in my direction. The woman sitting next to me even got up and stood to ride the next 5 stops to her station rather than sit next to the crying girl. I kept right on crying, no rational thought fully capable of keeping me from completely losing my shit in front of these people who didn't know me.
I got to my station, got off and got on the shuttle to go home. Once I walked a couple blocks in the snow to my front door, I went upstairs and put my things down. I assume that maybe the fierce cold outside stopped the steady stream of tears because I don't actually remember when the crying stopped. At some point it hits me that I haven't eaten yet. I don't have much of an appetite but I decide I should probably go get some food. I'd love, of course, to stay in given the weather conditions outside but, alas, I don't have any food in my fridge because I don't have time to shop. I begin to think, try to put a finger on exactly what bothered me so badly about getting sent home from work that could make me cry. I mean most people would be happy if they were me, if they had a performance coming up in 2 days, finals all week and were getting sent home enabling them more time to study. I just couldn't quite put my finger on what the hell was going on.
I left my building, still insulated in thought, walked down the street I've taken a million times, wondering what the hell was so wrong with me that I could not only cry (as I don't do often) but could do so in public (which I NEVER do).
I didn't even hear them come up behind me.
I felt something push me in back.
"Empty your pockets."
Steady voice, deep, calm. On the inside, I felt nothing. No fear, no internal sense of this can't possibly be good. Instead I said the one thing that came to mind, "You've got to be fucking kidding me."
He wasn't of course.
Thankfully, I'd left my phone at home because I was feeling anti-social, and only had with me the money I planned to eat with. His friend, the moral majority of sorts I guess, said from behind me, "Come on man. Let's go. Don't do this shit." I gave him the money I had in my pocket without turning around. I heard the fading sound of footsteps behind me hurrying over freshly fallen slush. I stood, stark still, for what seemed eternity, heavy snowflakes falling down around me. I don't know how long I stood there. I just knew that for once it felt good to be standing still.
I turned around and walked home, still somewhat unaware of what had just happened, my skin hot despite that fact that it was snowing and my coat was open. I climbed the stairs to my room, feet heavy, head down, walked inside and crawled into my bed. I lay there in the darkness, where it was ok to cry, ok to be upset about the realities of the day I just had. I cried for awhile, tears sliding down the side of my face and into my hair, my ears, onto my pillow.
And then it hit me.
Just how alone I am.
That was what upset me at work. What made me cry all the way home.
People take things so for granted. They believe that there is always a way out of anything, that there are always people that they can depend on if need be, that there is always someone there for them they can talk to, go to for help when they have troubles. They believe infinitely in the possibility of themselves, of the goodness of people, in the fact that no matter how bad things get, there will always be at least one person in their corner.
So what of the people who don't have that?
I am pretty alone in the world. I didn't quite know how to explain that to my boss. How do you explain to a stranger that ever since you can remember you have been taking care of yourself by yourself? How do you say that you don't have anyone to call to help you out in crisis because you have learned too hard and too often that people are only temporary? How do you explain that you are putting yourself through school alone, that you take care of yourself, pay your bills, make your own way alone and that you are trying to handle that all the best way you can and would appreciate if someone, somewhere gave you a little room for human error? How do you explain that you don't have very dependable parents, not those kinda parents you can call and they can do things for you. Well rather, one who can't and one who probably won't. I don't really have the kind of friends, for the most part, who really know me, and even if they did, could offer any sort of help to me on days like today when the world just seems to be too much.
In that moment, I wanted so badly to not be silent, wanted to much for the phone to ring, for me to have someone to call and talk to or maybe not even talk to... I wanted to badly to not be in that room, by myself, thinking about the fact that if something would have happened to me, no one would have known. I realized that I didn't have not one person I could really call. Not because the friends that I have are bad friends or anything of the sort but because they don't KNOW me, because they have their own lives they are trying to live just as I am trying to make it through mine. It is, I guess, the way that it is. Not neccessarily for the good or for the bad, but rather just is.
These are the things I know. People are transient, temporary. Especially when they are in my life.
I laid in that bed today and I started to think about the last year, the last few years. Some pretty bad stuff has happened to me in the last 5 years or so, some things I have never told anyone because, well, I don't know how I feel about the transient nature of people allowing them to walk away with my secrets in tow. I don't know why these things have happened to me. I don't know what I did to deserve them. I can't recall anything so intensely horrible that I just deserve the things I have endured. Maybe I've just forgotten. But I don't think I am a terrible person. I try very hard not to be. But what becomes of the people like me, the people who endure things beyond the scope of what naturally occurs in a human life? What happens to the people who continue to get up every morning, trying so hard to be hopeful and positive and just to have the universe constantly turn their world upside down? Where do these people go? Do they make it? Do they make it alone?
I'm tired. Of just...dealing. Of not really living...just dealing with the things that happen to me, some because of wrong decisions I have made and most because of decisions others made without taking me into consideration. That's all anyone ever really wanted I think... some consideration. Certainly, that is something I could use a little more of.
I just don't know anymore. I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I have tried being nice, being positive, being everything to everyone that everybody needed. I have nothing to show for it. I have tried being mean, detatched, cold, even cruel to people in an attempt to distance myself from temporary comfort. It has not helped. I don't really know what other options are left.
Is a life really lived if there is no one in it to witness it?